Tuesday, December 16, 2014

U.S. Targets Cuba's Friends

The Island Is Deemed Vulnerable
Updated: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
       Silvio Rodriguez is Cuba's greatest musician, greatly admired by many of America's best known musical artists. Yesterday {December 16th} the 68-year-old Silvio told the United States to "go to hell." Andrea Rodriguez, at the Associated Press bureau in Havana, began her article this way: "One of Cuba's most famous musicians is telling the U. S. Agency for International Development to 'go to hell' for pulling his son and other island-based rappers without their knowledge into a scheme aimed at sparking a youth uprising against the Cuban government. Folk singer Silvio Rodriguez went onto his Segunda Cita blog to fill in his fellow Cubans with the details of the operation revealed by the Associated Press." That operation, revealed last week, is but the latest in an endless series of USAID schemes, lavishly funded by unwitting U. S. taxpayers, to undermine the Cuban government. The frequency and the amount of money each scheme costs stuns Silvio and he is surprised Americans put up with it because, inevitably, each scheme fails "about like the Bay of Pigs attack in 1961 did" and end up making Cuba look like the victim of "a foreign, callous bully."
     One of Silvio Rodriguez's greatest friends in the U. S. for decades was the legendary folk singer Pete Seeger who died in 2014 at age 94. In 2009 the U. S. refused to allow Silvio to come to the United States to help celebrate Pete Seeger's 90th birthday. The reason: A few Cuban-Americans who dictate America's Cuban policy don't like Silvio. That refusal of a visa for Silvio outraged many renowned American musicians; thus in 2010 Silvio was allowed to visit and perform in the United States of America, marking one of the few instances since 1959 that the American people have mustered the courage and patriotism to confront America's Cuban policy that primarily hurts innocent Cubans as well as America's image worldwide.
       USAID, the U. S. agency that Cuban legend Silvio Rodriguez this week told to "go to hell," has used tax dollars around the world to help people in need, greatly enhancing the image of the United States. However, much of the world fully recognizes Silvio Rodriguez's outburst this week and, moreover, agrees with it. Seemingly with no regard for totally innocent Cubans on the island or for putting many of their paid operators in jeopardy with clandestine anti-Cuban schemes, USAID apparently has an unlimted amount of tax dollars to whet the anti-Cuban appetites of a few Cuban-Americans in the U. S. Congress from Miami and Union City. Thus, Silvio Rodriguez is not the only innocent person to tell USAID to "go to hell." Judy Gross, the wife of the imprisoned Alan Gross, has both berated and sued the U. S. government for such self-inflicted wounds deeply embedded within America's Cuban policy, which most people consider an utter failure since 1959 but an unending slippery slope for democracy. For example, some of that abundant anti-Cuban USAID money could possibly aid worthwhile projects, both in the U. S. and overseas.  
         The BBC this week {Dec. 15th, 2014} used this photo to illustrate a major article entitled "Venezuelans March Against United States Sanctions" The sub-title said: "Arrogant Imperialist Yankees." It is the type of coverage that the London-based BBC has the courage and the integrity to report, unlike the U. S. media that wouldn't touch this demonstration in Caracas because it resulted from a new U. S. assault on Venezuela courtesy of self-serving anti-Castro Cuban-Americans in the U. S. Congress who feel totally free to assail any nation that is friendly to Cuba, without fear of being held accountable and without concern for how their anti-Cuban zealotry harms America's image around the world, particularly in Latin America.
            The BBC article this week used this photo of U. S. Senator Bob Menendez -- the anti-Castro zealot from Union City, New Jersey -- to emphasize that the latest U. S. sanctions against Venezuela were steered through the U. S. Senate by Mr. Menendez. International media such as the BBC will point out that the Cuban-American attacks on Cuba's friends are designed to bring the island to its knees, something Cuban exiles have been unable to accomplish since the overthrow of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba on January 1, 1959. That failure astounds many people around the world, like the BBC experts, because the Cuban exiles in the U. S. dictate America's Cuban policy and America, of course, is the richest and most powerful nation in world history...but not powerful enough to regain control of the coveted island.
       That BBC article this week also used this photo of the anti-U. S. march to emphasize that the majority of Venezuelans, especially the poorest among them, do not appreciate the U. S. punishing them because of their government's alliances with Cuba, which they believe Venezuela, not the U. S., should decide. As this photo indicates, Venezuelans remember back in 2002 when the Bush administration put two anti-Castro zealots in charge of "Latin American Affairs" and what followed quickly was a bloody coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Of course, the American media has yet to tell Venezuela's side of that story just as this month's Cuban-inspired U. S. Senate sanctions against Venezuela are sanitized, if mentioned at all, by the U. S. media. Therefore, for anything approaching balanced Cuban, Venezuelan, or Latin American coverage, the U. S. media is the place to avoid but the BBC is a good place to start. The Venezuelan lady wearing the red T-shirt in this AFP/BBC photo as well as the thousands of other Venezuelans with her have a right to be heard if they sincerely believe that the U. S. government should permit the majority of Americans, not just a few Cuban-American zealots, to make American policy regarding Cuba, Venezuela, and all of Latin America. Venezuelans, like Cubans on the island, believe they -- not a few revengeful Cuban-Americans -- should chart their nations' present and future courses. 
       President Nicolas Maduro flew to Cuba this past Saturday, December 13th, to attend the ALBA summit of ten regional nations. President Maduro was at Jose Marti Airport in Havana almost at the same time as President Evo Morales of Bolivia and President Danial Ortega of Nicaragua. Oil-rich Venezuela provides Cuba with badly needed oil while Cuba provides Venezuela thousands of doctors and other personnel. But President Maduro has massive problems at home, exacerbated by falling oil prices, one of the world's highest inflation rates, and what he terms "the accelerated efforts of Miami and Washington to overthrow and assassinate me." Yet, in Havana this week President Maduro {Cubadebate photo above} seemed more concerned about the imminent threat to Cuba. Defiantly, he instructed his Foreign Minister to sign 62 more financial and social accords with Cuba. He said, "Miami and Washington are spending more tax dollars, I'm told, to re-capture Cuba than to destroy me." He then kept shaking his head as he reeled off details of recent revelations of U. S. plots to undermine the Cuban government -- such as hiring young Latin Americans to go to the island and stimulate dissent; a weird but expensive Twitter program aimed at creating a Caribbean Spring uprising in Cuba; and hiring a popular rap band in Cuba {it has since relocated to Miami} to write and perform vicious anti-Castro lyrics. After being up-to-date on those recently unveiled clandestine efforts in Cuba, President Maduro said, "President Obama is not much better than President Bush when it comes to defending its principles of democracy in Latin America. Bush sponsored terrorism and used tax dollars to pay journalists to make-up and publish anti Cuban articles. Obama is not much better is wasting tax dollars on Cuba that actually create more support for Cuba. If these people were smart, considering their unlimited tax dollars, they would have killed Hugo Chavez in that Bush coup in 2002. This week we learn another Bush...what's his name, Jeb?...will likely be a third Bush president in 2016. May God help us!" While in Havana this week, President Maduro dwelled on Cuban problems and didn't discuss his problems back home in Venezuela, but they are mammoth and much of it is related to his country's dire friendship with Cuba.
       Bob Menendez is the anti-Castro/pro-Israel Cuban-American zealot entrenched in the U. S. Senate from Union City, New Jersey. In fact, Senator Menendez is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee...and both Cuba and Venezuela are foreign countries, unfortunately. Just before President Maduro flew from Caracas to Havana this week, the United States Senate passed legislation that directs President Obama to levy harsh sanctions against Venezuelan government officials for their alleged actions against anti-government demonstrators. Of course, both Cuba and Venezuela gain much mileage by claiming that such anti-government demonstrations in Cuba and Venezuela are sponsored by the United States. Giving credence and resonance to such claims is the proven Bush administration involvement in the briefly successful 2002 coup in Venezuela, as well as the repeated revelations related to expensive, supposedly secretive efforts to undermine the Cuban government -- which recently have included the weird Twitter campaign, the even weirder hire of young Latin Americans to create dissension on the island, and the newly revealed weirdest-of-all campaign that paid popular Cuban rappers to denounce the Cuban government. Even before Senator Menendez became Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and before Miami's Ileana Ros-Lehtinen became Chairwoman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, the U. S. Congress has long been deeply embedded with the most extremists Cuban-Americans -- as indicated by the Torricelli and Helms-Burton bills that could not have possibly been more punitive if they had been written by Fidel Castro's biggest enemy, which most journalists believe happened after the Bush dynasty anointed Jorge Mas Canosa head of the Cuban exiles way back in the 1980s. But now 2014 is fading into 2015 and Mr. Menendez has inherited Mr. Canosa's anti-Castro mantle that continues to sap America's treasury and influence, especially in Latin America.   
        After the U. S. Senate passed the harsh sanctions against Venezuela this month, Senator Menendez said, "For too long, Venezuelans have faced state-sponsored violence at the hands of government security forces and watched their country's judiciary become a tool of political repression." Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro back in February of 2014 arrested his prime opponent, Leopoldo Lopez, a graduate of Harvard University and, according to Maduro, "a hit- man for Miami and Washington." In any case, Lopez -- a charismatic, rich, pro-American, and young Venezuelan with a brash and beautiful wife -- is now undergoing judicial procedures that would make any Reality Show or Soap Opera pale in comparison.
       This Alejandro Cegarra/AP photo was taken in Venezuela this week. It depicts what would make a tremendous Hollywood scene. It shows Lilian Tintori, the beautiful wife of the imprisoned Leopoldo Lopez. She is a television star and an anti-Maduro activist herself. This week -- Monday, Dec. 15th -- Lilian went to the prison where Leopoldo has been incarcerated for almost a year. She was refused permission to see him. But a shadowy figure, her husband Leopoldo several stories above her, raddled a cage, his prison cell, once he spotted her down below. The AP article related to this photo Monday said Leopoldo shouted down to her, "Hello, beautiful!" She screamed up at him, over and over, "I love you, darling! I love you, sweetheart!" I love you, darling...." WHAT A MOVIE...yet to be made because the ending remains in doubt.
        This is the very handsome, very rich, and very charismatic Leopoldo Lopez. He was born in Caracas on April 29, 1971. He graduated from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
       In 2012 Leopoldo Lopez ran a very heated campaign to become President of Venezuela, but lost a narrow decision to Nicolas Maduro, Cuba's dear friend. Lopez is America's dear friend. Polls in Venezuela show that Lopez is more popular than Maduro. But President Maduro vs. the imprisoned Lopez often comes down to rich Venezuelans and rich Americans supporting Lopez while poor Venezuelans support Maduro. The battles and conflicts often resonate in the streets but now also in a controversial courtroom.
        Leopoldo Lopez -- the rich American-educated Venezuelan politician -- married Lilian Tintori -- the beautiful Venezuela television star -- in 2007. She campaigned at his side and, after the bitter election, she demonstrated at his side...till his arrest in February. Since then, she has waged massive demonstrations to free him. Emotional and closely monitored, she was allowed in the courtroom this week and so, surprisingly, was Associated Press journalist Hannah Dreier. Ms. Dreier could only take notes because no videos or photos were allowed but she began her AP article with this sentence: "Locked up and denounced by Venezuela's government as a terrorist, Leopoldo Lopez may be out of sight, but he is not out of mind." In that courtroom Ms. Dreier said Mr. Lopez made an impassioned one-hour speech to the female judge, Susana Barreiros, whom he directly accused of being too young and too much "an assassin" for the government.
      This is Susana Barreiros, the Venezuelan judge that Leopoldo Lopez said was "too young" and too much of "an assassin" for President Maduro. She does look young to be a judge. But...an assassin?
        This AP/Ariana Cubillos photo shows Lilian Lintari, Leopoldo Lopez's wife, displaying a tattoo on her left wrist. The tattoo reads: "Venezuela." She says Leopoldo has a similar tattoo on his ankle. Many prognosticators believe that Lilian will soon be Venezuela's First Lady, but first she has to get Leopoldo out of prison. However it plays out, Lilian's love affair with Leopoldo will make for a great Hollywood movie, perhaps with Jennifer Lawrence playing Lilian. More importantly, the political denouement in Venezuela -- President Maduro vs. the imprisoned Leopoldo -- will have vast ramifications throughout Latin America but also in Cuba and the U. S. Congress. After all, Cuba and the U. S. Congress are direly involved in what happens in Venezuela. Most unbiased observers agree that Senator Menendez's U. S. Senate sanctions against Venezuela are meant to hurt Cuba with Venezuela merely being an unfortunate tool in the endless Cuban-American assaults against Cuba. Otherwise, it is unlikely the Cuban-Americans who dictate U.S. Cuban policy would so egregiously assail Venezuela with punitive sanctions against a struggling nation.
Yes, I think Jennifer Lawrence should play Lilian Lintari in the movie.
Who do you think should play Leopoldo and the young female judge?
Antonio Bandaras could play Nicolas Maduro, don't you think?
Senator Bob Menendez could play himself.
Remember, the movie would be a drama, not a comedy.

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