U.S. Flag Raised In Cuba

On An Historic, Hopeful Day
Saturday, August 15th, 2015
          U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry is shown watching the U. S. flag being raised to celebrate the opening of the U. S. embassy in Havana for the first time since January of 1961. In an impassioned speech, Kerry called it "a truly historic moment. The U. S. and Cuba are no longer prisoners of history." Yet, the ceremony and what it represents will be {and already has been} a target for dissidents who have the capacity to dismantle the U. S. flag in Cuba and enhance the chasms that have hurt the two nations for decades. The dissidents Cuba most worries about are the ones they believe are constantly encouraged and funded by Cuban-Americans in Miami and in the U. S. Congress. Yet the U. S. flag made history Friday in Havana, Cuba.
John Kerry became the first U. S. Secretary of State to visit Cuba since 1945.
         Secretary Kerry's host in Havana Friday was his Cuban counterpart, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. Kerry hosted Rodriguez in Washington last month when the Cuban flag was raised at its new U. S. embassy for the first time since 1961. They first met at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City in April.
           The thawing of relations between the neighboring countries -- epitomized by the reopened embassies -- is being heralded around the region and the world, including the vast majority of Cubans on the island and a strong majority of Cuban-Americans in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. But the small minority of extremists who have benefited from hostility between the two nations remain vocal -- in Miami and in the U. S. Congress -- and remain fully capable of turning back the clock to six more decades of status-quo insanity. Prime dissidents in Cuba were not invited in the flag-raising in Havana because Mr. Kerry capitulated to Cuba's contention that they are funded and encouraged by a foreign power, namely the U. S., and the expected confrontations with Cuba loyalists would likely disrupt the flag-raising ceremony. But Kerry later arranged to meet with several dissidents at a U. S. diplomat's home in Havana.
        No less an icon than Fidel Castro stole some of the thunder from John Kerry, Bruno Rodriguez, and the dissidents as the U. S. flag was raised at the U. S. embassy in Havana for the first time since 1961. The previous day -- on August 13th, Fidel's 89th birthday -- he penned an essay that dominated the Cuban media and, as usual, made headlines around the world today. He wrote: "The United States owes Cuba millions because of the half-century blockade. Cuba is owed compensation equivalent to damage which total many millions of dollars as our country has stated with irrefutable arguments and data in all of our speeches at the United Nations." In contrast, the U. S. maintains that Cuba owes millions to Cuban-Americans and U. S. businessmen for Fidel's confiscation of property shortly after the triumph of his revolution in January of 1959. His reply: "Let honest arbitrators decide that and we will respond, as we have done to some honest European claims. But unbiased arbitrators will mostly decide that the property I claimed for the Cuban people, including putting peasant families in mansions left behind by fleeing criminals, were ill-gotten gains from Mafia enterprises. The fact those enterprises and subsequent claims were supported by a superpower does not, or should not, override honesty regarding the claims."
         Here is one way Fidel Castro celebrated his 89th birthday Thursday, August 13th. The photo is courtesy EFE/Bolivian Information Agency. Fidel put on a baseball hat and took a ride in a van with two friends. That is Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on the left and Bolivian President Evo Morales in the middle. The photo was taken outside the La Laguna Hotel where Castro and Maduro picked up Morales. 
       While the U. S. media primarily claims that all Cubans on the island disapprove of Fidel Castro and yearn to be in Miami, such one-sided rhetoric conveniently ignores the fact that he would not have still been around to celebrate his 89th birthday yesterday if the U. S. media or the U. S. government had been just a bit more accurate, or fair, in judging him. For example, it is well known that the CIA -- leading up to the Bay of Pigs attack in April of 1961 -- assured President Kennedy that Fidel would run to his getaway airplane when he heard bombs falling on the military airfield on the edge of Havana; he heard those bombs but ran to the front-lines at the Bay of Pigs to successfully defend Revolutionary Cuba, displaying bravery and patriotism his enemies lacked. It is also well known that the CIA assured President Kennedy that, once the Cuban people knew that the mighty U. S. was attacking, the Cuban people would rise up against Fidel; none did, but 400,000 were ready, if needed, to fight a ground invasion at the Bay of Pigs. Similarly, such misconceptions about Fidel Castro have helped sustain his revolution in Cuba and will aid his legacy.
In Cuba there are Cubans who contrast Fidel Castro with Fulgencio Batista.
           In fact, there are some Americans who prefer Castro's Cuba to Batista's Cuba. This photo of Angye Fox is on her Linkedin page. She is a top Radio Talk Show host and a key businesswoman in Tampa, Florida. Angve was in Cuba a couple of months ago and she will be back in November. And, for sure, she was in Havana this week, along with her son and a host of friends, to witness the U. S. flag proudly flying over its Cuban embassy for the first time since 1961. Angye says she is "fired up" that, at long last, "at least a modicum of sanity" is being applied to U.S.-Cuban relations. For the most part, either because of financial concerns, coercion or political correctness, the U. S. media searches out dissidents and Cuban-exile extremists to broadcast their views about Cuba far and wide, discounting the views of Cubans like the lady above proudly holding the photo of Fidel Castro and Americans like...Angye Fox of Tampa, Florida.
          Alicia Barcena's views on Cuba are also purposely ignored by the U. S. media, but she reflects the views of most people in the Caribbean and Latin America when it comes to U.S.-Cuban relations. Ms. Barcena was born in Mexico 63 years ago. She has been Under-Secretary at the United Nations. She is now Executive Secretary at ECLAC -- The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. She, of course, applauds President Barack Obama's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba but...she questions whether the U. S. democracy is now strong enough to allow majority opinion to have "at least a parity" with a few who benefit from U.S.-Cuban hostility. Her prime concern, as the economic chief for Latin America and the Caribbean, is how the U. S. embargo harms not only innocent Cubans but also "the innocent majority across the entire region." She says, "The blockade of Cuba is still a formidable and illegal obstacle."
         Alicia Barcena is the overseer of the economic survival and, hopefully, the prosperity of the Caribbean and Latin America. She is appalled that the regional superpower's economic embargo...she calls it a blockade...imposed on Cuba to appease two generations of a few revengeful Cubans harms all Caribbeans and Latin Americans whose economic well-being is her responsibility. She is also, undoubtedly, appalled that the U. S. media evades her side of a two-sided story while championing "the wrong side."
                .................if you are a Cuban on the island and you hold up your right hand and announce that you love the anti-Castro extremists in Miami and Union City, the U. S. media -- such as the Miami Herald, Huffington Post, etc., etc. -- will help make you an international anti-Castro journalistic SUPERSTAR!!
      Cuba, amazingly, allows its most famous anti-Castro zealot, Yoani Sanchez, to fly around the world on promotional and recruiting trips...and then return to Cuba to expand her international reach with enough resources to fund yet another expensive anti-Castro digital newspaper. Of course, Miami and the U. S. Congress -- the two primary and most lucrative anti-Castro havens -- are the prime stops on Yoani Sanchez's worldwide travels before she returns to Cuba. In the photo above, she is flanked in Washington by Cuban-American U. S. Senators Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez, two men who have also plowed anti-Castroism for all its worth for a lot of years...and, unbelievably, it's still worth a lot of money and a lot of power. Of course, the U. S. media doesn't have the integrity or guts to ever ask Sanchez, Rubio, or Menendez: "It seems a bit paradoxical that Cuba allows Yoani to travel to Miami, Washington, and around the world on recruitment trips and then return richer and more powerful than ever to advance her anti-Castro agenda. Yet, a few Cuban-Americans in Miami and Congress insist that everyday Americans should not have the freedom to travel to nearby Cuba but they can travel anywhere else in the world they desire. Considering that the U. S. is not supposed to be a Banana Republic, even since 1959, how can that be justified? Mr. Rubio, would you answer that and then we will let Mr. Menendez express his opinion?
And riding very high back in Cuba.

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