Looking At Cuba

Through Democratic Eyes
     A recent editorial in the Toronto Star illustrated why Canadians, and all non-Americans, are able to view Cuba with far more of a democratic perspective than Americans. The Toronto Star is Canada's best and largest newspaper. The Canadian people have not been propagandized since the 1950s and they have never been denied the freedom to visit the island and judge it for themselves. On the other hand, Americans since the 1950s have been proselytized about Cuba by the remnants of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship that fled the Cuban Revolution in the early morning of January 1, 1959...quickly setting up shop, their U.S.-backed dictatorship, with Miami's Little Havana becoming its new capital. In all the decades since, the transplanted Batistiano-Mafiosi rulers have been lavishly supported by the CIA, the U. S. treasury, the U. S. Congress, and the U. S. military. Yet despite all that, plus the longest and cruelest economic embargo ever imposed by a strong nation against a weak one, the island of Cuba has doggedly remained a sovereign nation, albeit a poor but proud one. Because the Cuban narrative in the U. S. as well as Cuban-related laws passed by Congress have been dictated by visceral Batistiano-types aligned with equally vicious right-wing politicians, two generations of Americans since 1959 have lacked the guts, intelligence or patriotism to protect, not the island, but their own democracy. But that is simply not the case in all other nations, especially Canada on our northern border, and any right-wing thug or propagandized idiot who disagrees with that must also deny such things as: {1} the murderous terrorist bomb that killed 73 innocent people on a CHILD-LADEN Cuban civilian airplane in 1976 with Americans being quickly persuaded that "it's the biggest blow yet against Castro," AND THUS IT AND THE CUBAN-AMERICAN TERRORISTS WERE FINE AS LONG AS THOSE VICTIMS WERE CUBANS; and {2} the yearly 191-to-2 vote in the United Nations emphatically opposing the U. S. Cuban policy is SUCCESSFULLY PRESENTED TO THE PUSILLANIMOUS AND PROPAGANDIZED AMERICAN PEOPLE AS A VICTORY FOR THE 2 AGAINST THE 191...because the 2, I guess, are nuclear superpowers who benefit from punishing innocent people on a nearby island because...HEY!!...IT MIGHT INDUCE THEM TO OVERTHROW FIDEL CASTRO, something THAT HASN'T HAPPENED TO FIDEL, WHO IS NOW 89. BUT...hey!!...WHY DON'T WE PUNISH NON-CASTROS ON THE ISLAND FOR ANOTHER HALF-CENTURY OR SO. Americans accept such undemocratic cruelty and ignorance, but not non-Americans...including Canadians.
     And that brings me back around to that recent editorial in the Toronto Star. It concerned the upcoming historic visit by U. S. President Barack Obama to Cuba on March 21st and 22nd. It's the type editorial that American newspapers simply cannot write because they too have been propagandized and/or intimidated since the 1950s by self-serving Batistiano-types who control the Cuban narrative and congressional laws related to Cuba. Even the bravest and most liberal U. S. journalists are primarily too politically correct, meaning they tell Americans what they expect to hear about Cuba, which is, in a word, lies. Here are some of the points in the Toronto Star that the U. S. media wouldn't dare express to propagandized Americans regarding President Obama's historic and meaningful upcoming visit to Cuba:
            "This historic gesture is intended to normalize relations between the Cold War adversaries after more than half-a-century of enmity and embargo. It can only buoy Havana's democratic reform movement and offer hope for a better life."
            "Public sentiment has shifted dramatically in favor of normalizing. Today polls suggest that 70 percent of Americans, including a majority of conservative Republicans, support Obama's moves to resume diplomatic ties and ease the embargo. So...does a majority of Cuban Americans born in the U. S. favor closer ties. So does half the older generation, who fled the island."
       "Republican hopefuls Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both Cuban-Americans, reflexively chastise Obama...but their criticism has resonance with fewer voters than before. A majority of Americans have a favorable view of Cuba and see the cruelty of punishing its people in a futile bid to bring down the regime."
             "Efforts by 10 successive U. S. Presidents to unseat the regime in Cuba have demeaned a superpower. With every passing year the embargo became more pointlessly vindictive as the U. S. traded briskly with Communist China, with communist regimes in Vietnam and Laos, even to a limited extent with North Korea."
            But, of course, the U. S. never supported a vile Batista/Mafia-like dictatorship in China, Vietnam, Laos, or North Korea...and then exacerbated that undemocratic blight by permitting such an overthrown dictatorship to quickly and permanently set up shop on U. S. soil. And that's why Cuba says much more about the United States than it says about Cuba, something we cannot say about China or any other nation.
       And that's why the Toronto Star, unlike American newspapers, can actually tell the truth about the revengeful and vicious attitudes of Cuban-Americans Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, something U. S. newspapers wouldn't dare do. So convinced that the American people are incapable of opposing their views concerning the continued punishment of innocent Cubans on the island, Cruz and Rubio are well aware that such acute gutlessness will not harm their bids to attain the Republican nomination as President of the United States. And if indeed they become Commander-in-Chief, they will also be convinced that there is nothing they can do to Cuba that intimidated and ignorant Americans will object to. And once again, they can base that assumption on such things as the endless embargo...and a remembrance that Americans readily accept the mantra that the terrorist bombing of Cubana Flight 455 was "the biggest blow yet against Castro" and when a decent Cuban-American newsman in Miami, Emilio Milian, voiced opposition to such terrorism against innocent Cubans he was car-bombed and again Americans readily accepted that terror too. Therefore, the Toronto Star, being on Canadian soil, has the freedom to tell the truth about Cuba, Rubio, Cruz, etc., and Canadians and all other people in the world except Americans have the everyday freedom to visit Cuba. Rubio and Cruz, unlike most Cuban-Americans and most people around the world, want to prolong the punishing of innocent Cubans to sate their revenge motives and their political careers. The Toronto Star editorial called them out on that "cruelty" but American journalists do not have the guts to do so. And that's precisely where America's democracy stands on the eve of what the U. S. media calls Super Tuesday's crucial presidential primary elections in America.
      Ashley Guindon was 28-years-old. On the very first day she went to work as a policewoman in Woodbridge, a Virginia suburb of Washington, she was shot dead when she responded to a disturbance at the home of a 32-year-old Army Sgt. who worked at the nearby Pentagon. She was a skilled and dedicated public servant who had served six years as a Marine Corps reservist and then attained a Masters Degree in forensic science. The gun violence that took Ms. Guindon's life on her first day as a policewoman is endemic in the United States. Politicians who shower time and tax-dollars on regime-change programs aimed at Cuba might be better advised to devote their efforts on U. S. problems such as gun violence.



A Stacked Deck

Against Americans & Cubans
     Thursday's Republican Presidential Debate in Houston, as the eight prior ones, revealed two basic things about the U. S. democracy: {1} It's been bought-and-paid-for by unsavory, undemocratic, and greedy billionaire individuals and corporations; and {2} the mainstream U. S. media, owned by individual and corporate billionaires, is nothing more and nothing less than an assortment of self-serving propaganda machines. The prime purpose of the debates is clearly two-fold, to spread corporate propaganda and to make money with the expectant high viewer ratings. CNN, like all the other hosting networks, again allowed the Republican National Committee to stack the deck, starting with who the RNC allows to be in the live audience. Instead of just allowing the American people to decide who they will vote for, both the RNC and the television networks have stacked the deck in favor of Marco Rubio, the first-term U. S. Senator from Miami who hit the Senate begging every conservative, right-wing, and Jewish billionaire on the planet to back his presidential bid. A total failure, except as an obstructionist anti-Obama zealot, Rubio is last among the 100 Senators when it actually comes to showing up to vote. Yet, from an extremely weak Republican list of presidential wannabees, the Republican party and the broadcast media are both extremely biased against all other candidates in their favoritism for Rubio. Shamelessly, as Donald Trump again pointed out Thursday night, the RNC, with the connivance of CNN and the other networks, always stacks the live debate audience with Rubio supporters, accounting for wild shrieks whenever Rubio says something. Such tactics insult the intelligence of the viewers in a money-crazed, seemingly unending process, which is also related to the networks feasting on advertising dollars. Yet, it seems, the viewers are more intelligent than they are supposed to be, accounting for the fact that millions of democracy-lovers are desperately seeking a non-political candidate because they obviously and correctly have figured out that established politicians are bought-and-paid-for by greedy, unsavory billionaires.
        This photo was taken Thursday night during the last Republican presidential debate on CNN. The image above was the very moment that front-runner Donald Trump had pointed to his right and called Marco Rubio "a choke artist" and then gestured to his left and called Ted Cruz "a liar." Indeed, Rubio and Cruz also dominated the comedy-like session calling Trump both a fraud and a liar. Incredibly, all three of them are correct and, yet, they are THE THREE TOP REPUBLICAN CONTENDERS to be President of the United States beginning in January of 2017, less than a year away!!! Trump, a billionaire businessman, is unqualified to be President but he surely would be a better choice than the two totally bought-and-paid-for right-wing Cuban-Americans who are proof that moderate, non-extremists Cuban-Americans need not apply for national office because presumably they would not sell their political souls to the highest bidders. Yet, there are well over a million moderate Cuban-Americans far more qualified to be in the U. S. Congress or the White House than the likes of Rubio and Cruz. Even the MAJORITY OF REPUBLICANS seem to understand that, accounting for Trump's amazing and totally unanticipated lead in the polls.
     Regardless of what the ubiquitous television pundits say, the Republican presidential sweepstakes is a two-person affair -- Donald Trump vs. Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz is awash with many millions of right-wing and evangelical dollars but the Republican establishment will prop up only Rubio as the alternative to Trump. That is possible because Rubio's shortcomings can easily be sanitized by many millions of right-wing and Jewish dollars as well as the corporate billionaire ownership of the television networks that fully realize that Rubio has by far the biggest "For Sale" sign on his back, and being for sale is surely the prime prerequisite to getting elected. Thus, without doubt, the television anchors and pundits -- and not just Megyn Kelly at Fox -- are obligated to shrill for Rubio. Beyond that, the Republican National Committee can further stack the deck in Rubio's favor with a billion dollars in extra cash and such blatantly non-subtle tactics as stacking debate audiences with Rubio supporters, making it appear to supposedly stupid viewers that he is wildly authentic while Trump or any other opponent is derisively shrilled downward.
        Friday morning after Thursday night's debate in Houston, Marco Rubio went one-on-one with Matt Lauer on NBC's top-rated Today show. Four times in a very short span Rubio called Donald Trump a "con artist." It was clearly obvious that Rubio's band of high-priced publicists and script-writers had just rehearsed and over-rehearsed that new "con artist" tag. The grossly over-scripted memorizer Rubio, unlike the smart and extemporizing but equally dangerous Cruz, will remain a threat to reach the White House because of his money and the sanitizing of his character by political ads and obliging, fawning networks.
      In an earlier Republican debate, Chris Christie -- the abrasive New Jersey governor -- famously defanged and befuddled Marco Rubio as a robotic fraud who merely memorized scripted lines. Christie, a skilled former prosecutor, prompted five almost back-to-back repetitious, scripted lines from Rubio.
         Christie had been one of the original 17 Republican presidential contenders till he and most of the others  were wiped away by the startling, unprecedented Trump support. Yet, as the above photo shows, Christie on Friday threw his support behind Trump. It is well-known that Christie cannot stand Donald Trump. But if the alternative to Trump is Marco Rubio, Christie and many others will be forced to join the Trump bandwagon. Voters either don't vote or choose the lesser of two or three or four or even 17 evils.
        The Republican Party could easily Stop Trump and then defeat the flawed Hillary Clinton, but not with Marco Rubio although the deck is clearly stacked for Rubio by the Republican Party, the television networks, and twenty-or-so multi-billionaire right-wingers. Any of a million moderate and talented Cuban-Americans would qualify as decent and viable presidential contenders, but not Rubio. Ken Silverstein, a veteran and respected investigative journalist, has labeled Rubio the most "corrupt" presidential candidate in recent memory, which includes Nixon. Silverstein, in his major article, listed numerous names and dates depicting Rubio's corruption, all of which is ignored or sanitized by the mainstream media. Even when the mainstream New York Times listed some of Rubio's unsavory real estate, credit card, etc. dealings, MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough that morning held up the article and declared that it "will get Rubio elected President," the typical reaction of other anchors shamelessly shrilling for Rubio. On television and in his stump speeches, Rubio gets stirring applause when he repetitiously recounts his poverty-stricken upbringing in Miami where his Cuban mom was a maid and his Cuban dad was a bartender. It is never pointed out that Rubio as a Cuban-American in Miami had massive advantages non-Cuban Americans were never afforded, especially once he aligned his political career to the obligatory Bush dynasty and the Tea Party. Even when untruths about Rubio are revealed, the mainstream media wouldn't dare mention such revelations. For example, Rubio made it all the way to the U. S. Senate from Miami with the obligatory claim that his parents escaped the Castro tyranny in Cuba although, truth be known, they escaped the Batista tyranny in Cuba long before Castro overthrew it. But you don't get to the U. S. Senate from Miami, or to the White House from Miami, by denouncing Batista or by not vilifying Castro.
      Of course, Fox News is the home-base for Marco Rubio and right-wing Republican politicians, anchors and pundits. But I use the above graphic to remind you that this is 2016, the era of Google. You do not have to depend on right-wing or left-wing propaganda machines. Google, for democracy's sake!! For example, this week -- Friday, Feb. 26 -- the day after the Republican debate in Houston, USA Today had yet another article about how Rubio bilked taxpayers in Miami, does the same in the U. S. Senate, and surely would replicate such things in the White House. That USA Today article written by Paul Singer, in case you want to Google it, is entitled: "Rubio-led Group Seldom Meets." Here are the first two paragraphs:

                                                 "Since March 2013, Sen. Marco Rubio has co-chaired a Senate arms control task force that has met only three times, yet his office has accepted each year a $100,000 reimbursement for the costs of staffing the group."
                                            "A week before he was named co-chairman of the working group, Rubio was one of 11 Republican senators and 42 Democrats to vote down a proposal by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to shut it down because it has a $700,000-a-year budget. The panel provides no public records of its meetings and offers no disclosure of how its money is spent."

             That article in USA Today Friday is merely one example of how Rubio uses his Senate position to rake another $700,000 from helpless taxpayers. As for the other 11 Republicans and 42 Democrats who backed him up on this little scam, please remember that Miami Cuban-Americans learned long ago that acquiring sycophants in Congress..."You support my bill and I'll support your Bridge to Nowhere bill"...is a lot easier than intentionally falling off a log. That's how the all-time richest and most powerful Cuban-American, Jorge Mas Canosa, easily got Congress to pass whatever anti-Castro, pro-Miami Cubans law he wanted...and this occurred right-after the Reagan-Bush administration advised Canosa {as detailed in Julia E. Sweig's great book} to study and then replicate a lobbying machine similar to AIPAC, which maintains Israel's control of the U. S. Congress. Canosa learned from AIPAC, Rubio and a long line of Cuban-Americans in Miami have learned from Canosa. So, instead of being bamboozled by political ads or by propaganda machines, google, Google, GOOGLE!! One place to start is this week's USA Today article about how the "choir boy" Marco Rubio legally secured another 700,000 of our tax dollars that, perhaps, could have served a more decent purpose, like feeding the one-in-five America children who are hungry. 
        In the last Republican presidential debate in Houston back on Thursday night, there was much discussion about immigration, a prime topic that has helped Donald Trump's amazing candidacy. But the discussion only served to illustrate just how gutless and incompetent the U. S. media is on Cuban-related issues. One of the major news items this past week was President Obama's announced plans to close the gosh-awful U. S. prison on occupied Cuban land at Guantanamo Bay. But the CNN/Telemundo moderators of the debate did not have either the guts or the competence to even ask two extremists Cuban-Americans, Rubio and Cruz, about that very topical and very important issue. Meanwhile, two days prior to the Thursday debate in Houston Rubio had actually slipped back to the Senate to initiate a cowardly bill that would bar President Obama from discussing the return of the stolen Guantanamo Bay to its rightful owner, Cuba. The Rubio-led bill was co-authored by three other easily attained right-wing Senators -- Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas -- who are also Tea Party darlings. It was, typically, another stupid right-wing gesture because President Obama has no intention to discuss returning the plush and expensive Guantanamo Naval Base to Cuba but he does plan to close the right-wing prison that Amnesty International calls "the gulag of our time." BUT THE POINT IS THIS: Even with the topicality this week of Guantanamo Bay and Rubio's gutless bill in the Senate, the CNN/Telemundo moderators of the debate typically didn't have the guts or integrity to ask questions related to such things even though two of the top three Republican candidates to be President are Cuban-American extremists. And in the acute discussions about immigration, there was, of course, no brave question about the gross Wet Foot/Dry Foot U. S. law that starkly favors and enriches and entices Cuban immigrants while also starkly discriminating against and deporting NON-CUBAN IMMIGRANTS, also a topical topic because of the thousands of unfettered Cubans currently crossing the Mexican border. In that milieu in which America's two-party political system as well as the U. S. media are bought-and-paid-for, yes, a Marco Rubio or a Tony Montana can be elected President of the proud United States of America!!
      Lindsey Graham -- the veteran, war-mongering, right-wing Senator from South Carolina -- has been a strong supporter of first Jeb Bush and now the two Cuban-American Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. But Friday, the day after the Houston debate, Graham took to the Senate floor, donned a Donald Trump baseball hat, and proclaimed: "My party has gone bat-sh*t crazy!" Indeed it has, Senator Graham, and for once during your incumbency you have fired off a legitimate sound-bite. That unfortunate mental illness has been exacerbated by entrenched right-wing Republicans like you, Mitch McConnell, etc., that Americans cannot vote out of office even as they are punished and ridiculed by such asinine incumbency. But you are correct with your assessment of the endless, money-grubbing Republican presidential sweepstakes. If Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz are the top three Republican presidential candidates, the party is indeed "bat-sh*t crazy" and a handful of right-wing billionaires are welcome to it.
        That leaves even a lifelong conservative Republican like me no choice but to support Hillary Clinton -- even with her far-left liberalism, her controversial e-mails as Secretary of State, and the countless money Wall Street has paid her. But, in a money-crazed, flawed two-party political system, if the Democrat Clinton can save America and the world from a White House occupied by right-wing thugs, more power to her.
Did I mention that the deck is stacked against democracy-lovers??


America's Right-Wing Problem

And How It Victimizes Cuba
But first:
        Ramon Castro, the oldest of Cuba's three Castro brothers, has died in Havana. He was 91-years-old. Ramon was not a revolutionary but he supported his brothers.
       This AP photo shows Ramon Castro with one of his very best friends, famous Florida businessman John Park Wright. Ramon, like his father Angel, was a farmer all his adult life and shunned the spotlight.
         This photo of the three Castro brothers was taken in 1941. That's Fidel on the left, Raul in the middle and Ramon on the right. Ramon's death at age 91 reflects the longevity of the Castro family. Fidel is now 89 and Raul is now 84. Ramon's body was cremated. His ashes will be spread over his farm near Biran, Cuba.
     America's massive right-wing problem had its origin in 1898, the year that, I think, revealed conclusively and irredeemably that the island of Cuba says far more about the United States than it says about Cuba. In 1898 America's two most powerful newspaper publishers -- William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer -- wanted their man, Theodore Roosevelt, elected President of the United States. The way they made Teddy the 26th President from 1901 till 1909 can readily be Googled by anyone inclined to dispute this essay. Teddy's path to the White House started in 1898 when a U. S. warship, the USS Maine, blew up in Havana Harbor killing 266 innocent and young U. S. sailors. That very bloody historic event was the pretext for the Spanish-American War that had two prime goals: {1} To take control of Cuba from Spain; and {2} to get Teddy Roosevelt elected President. The two imperialist newspaper publishers, Hearst and Pulitzer, fashioned the Spanish-American War in Cuba, knowing it would be like taking candy from a baby because Spain was by then far too weak and over-extended to fight in America's backyard. So, Teddy and his Rough Riders were sent to Cuba to defeat Spain. The newspaper moguls sent their top writers, even the famed author Stephen Crane, and their top artists, even the great Frederic Remington, to Cuba to cover Teddy's easy-as-pie victory, which was presented to the American people as a great victory fueled by the ubiquitous mantra "REMEMBER THE MAINE!" The bloody pretext related to the USS Maine worked perfectly as did the easy triumph by Teddy's Rough Riders on Cuban soil. The over-matched U. S. citizens had no choice but to elect the Rough Rider hero, the inimitable Teddy Roosevelt, President of the United States of America for two 4-year terms.
       Theodore Roosevelt as President from 1901 till 1909 did some positive things, especially concerning the environment and national parks. But the fact remains...he was put in office to do the bidding of two right-wing, imperial-minded newspaper moguls -- William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer.
       In 1903 -- during the Teddy Roosevelt administration -- the U. S. crowned its new dominance of Cuba by stealing Guantanamo Bay from the island, like a bully taking candy from a baby. Afterward, the U. S. built a huge and lucrative Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. It remains the oldest U. S. base on foreign soil.
        To this day, Americans have been easily proselytized to believe that the United States of America, the world's nuclear superpower, absolutely deserves and absolutely needs that Naval Base on Cuban soil. The rest of the world believes it is a vivid reminder of America's dark, sordid, right-wing imperialist past.
 Guantanamo Bay belongs to Cuba, not America.
Just like the little boy's candy belonged to him, not the bully.
       All maps reveal that Guantanamo Bay is a part of Cuba, not the United States. In 1903, the year the U. S. stole Guantanamo Bay, imperialism was in vogue. But especially since the 1970s, nations of the world view the theft of land by powerful nations with opprobrium and other detestable descriptions. To this day right-wingers in the U. S. Congress hail the theft of Guantanamo Bay even as it severely harms the image of the U. S. worldwide. For example, the U. S. complains bitterly and loudly cries foul when, for example, Russia takes over Crimea. But what about the hypocrisy related to America's take-over of Guantanamo Bay?
      While right-wingers in the Teddy Roosevelt administration executed the theft of Guantanamo Bay, it was right-wingers in the George W. Bush presidency {2001-2009} that installed the infamous prison at Guantanamo Bay that the world un-affectionately calls Gitmo and Amnesty International calls "the gulag of our time." Beyond doubt, the long-ago imperialist theft of Guantanamo Bay has greatly harmed the image of America and democracy every year since 1903. And then the Bush dynasty exacerbated that historic fact with the Gitmo prison that harms America's image and provides sustenance to America's enemies.
       Vowing to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and to deal sensibly with Cuba, the longest of long-shots, Barack Obama, was elected President of the United States, not just once but twice. He inherited a myriad of right-wing problems, including Gitmo, from the Bush presidency. Also, he has had to deal with a right-wing, dysfunctional U. S. Congress in which a handful of extreme Cuban hard-liners easily dictate America's Cuban policy. Now in the 8th and final year of his two-term presidency, Mr. Obama has made some remarkable advances in Cuban relations, such as reopening embassies in Havana and Washington for the first time since 1961. But each step on the path to Cuban sanity and decency, Mr. Obama is still being vigorously opposed by a handful of right-wing Cuban-American zealots who should be allowed to vote in but not dictate to the U. S. democracy. This week the prison known as Gitmo is a prime example.
      The world has this image of America. Each October the 191-to-2 vote in the UN sharply rebukes the creators of this image -- right-wing thugs within the bowels of the world's greatest democracy. They are not in the least concerned with this image, but a very important and very decent man, Barack Obama, is.
         Last week President Obama announced his intention to visit Cuba next month, on March 21st and 22nd. This week he announced his plans to close the democracy-sapping prison at Guantanamo Bay. Right-wing thugs in the U. S. Congress plus all the Republican presidential candidates and all the right-wing radio and television commentators -- as well as millions of propagandized Americans who permit others to do their thinking for them -- vigorously oppose every one of President Obama's sane and decent initiatives regarding Cuba. In that milieu, since the 1950s, two generations of Cubans on the island have been severely punished by attempts to starve, deprive, and terrorize them -- all in the name of the United States of America that has a great democracy but, as its Cuban policy consistently points out, not one that is strong enough to deal adequately with a right-wing cancer that consumes so much of the political and media structures that should be pillars of the world's greatest democracy that right-wingers insult.
         The above image this week, or at least the fall-out, has dominated much of the news converge on American and international television screens. It shows the leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, flanked by his two sons, making his latest victory speech, this time after scoring a smashing victory Wednesday in the Nevada caucuses. In this speech, referencing President Obama's plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, Trump said: "We're gonna keep Gitmo open and fill it with bad dudes." Such comments are a sad testimony to the fragile status of the U. S. democracy in a two-party system in which most Americans believe both parties are bought-and-paid-for. As a lifelong conservative Republican, I was left, like many others, out in the cold when my party was usurped by right-wingers, a fact cemented by the longevity of the Bush dynasty. To their credit, Americans at last, during this presidential campaign in 2016, have concluded, with the demise of Jeb Bush, the need to end the Bush dynasty. And it is refreshing to see that a younger generation of Americans, as evidenced by the Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders phenomenons, are tired of bought-and-paid-for politicians. But it still leaves thuggish right-wingers totally in charge of the Republican party, as indicated by Trump's salacious pandering to the pro-Gitmo crowd.
        This very popular 10-cent poster in 1898 explains why I maintain that powerful right-wing thugs have hurt Cuba so much and American democracy so much. It also helps explain why Cuba says more about the United States than it says about Cuba. And it also explains how unchecked propaganda can infiltrate a democracy even more powerfully and destructively than it infiltrates dictatorships and Banana Republics. Study the above poster in 1898 -- long before radio, television, and computers became the ultimate propaganda tools. This palpable poster effectively reflected these 1898 facts: {1} The USS Maine was blown up in Havana Harbor, killing 266 young sailors, and then used as the pretext for the Spanish-American War; {2} a couple of powerful right-wing newspaper publishers --- Hearst and Pulitzer -- used the Spanish-American War to capture Cuba and to make their man, Teddy Roosevelt, President; and {3} from 1898 till today right-wingers -- both inside and outside the U. S. democracy -- have used propaganda to greatly harm both Cuba and the U. S. democracy. Therefore, Americans who do not understand the USS Maine and the Rough Riders are not expected to understand the theft of Guantanamo Bay, the U. S. support of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba, nor the installation of an infamous American prison on nearby foreign soil. And unlike Hearst and Pulitzer in 1898, in 2016 right-wing propagandists have veritable bonanzas with radio {Russ Limbaugh, etc.}, television {Fox News, etc.} and computers {The Drudge Report, etc.}
But it started with the Rough Riders in 1898.
Teddy Roosevelt's historic charge up Cuba's San Juan Hill!!
A blatant right-wing American lie.


The Soul of Cuba

Is It Cuban or Cuban-American?
Photo credit: Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters.
       This insightful photo shows a young Cuban sitting on the famed Malecon seawall and gazing northward to Florida, which is only 90 miles across the Florida Straits. So, what is he thinking? Well, his shirt indicates that he is thinking about U. S. President Barack Obama's upcoming two-day trip to the island on the 21st and 22nd of March. Mr. Obama is considered a hero in Cuba because, more than any American since the 1950s, Obama has displayed a genuine concern for Cubans on the island and courageously attempted to normalize relations between the two nations. Cubans like this young man believe the prime motive behind Mr. Obama's overtures is to help the Cubans on the island, reversing a belligerent U. S. policy that has existed ever since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.
 President Obama is the all-time most popular American in Cuba.
        Since 1962, or right after the Bay of Pigs attack in 1961 failed to recapture Cuba, a few Cuban exiles in Miami aligned with a few right-wing members of Congress have maintained an ongoing embargo against Cuba, the longest and many believe the cruelest in history. De-classified U. S. documents reveal that the 1962 purpose of the embargo was to starve and deprive Cubans on the island to induce them to rise up and overthrow Fidel Castro. As Fidel approaches his 90th birthday in Havana, the embargo continues to deprive Cubans on the island but mostly it remains a revenge factor that has spawned a long-standing and lucrative Castro Cottage Industry in the U. S.
         Granma, Cuba's state newspaper, was a bit hesitant to lavishly endorse President Obama's upcoming trip to the island because its editorial writers feared he might mostly succumb to pressure and spend most of his time pacifying dissidents, which Cuba maintains are mostly funded by the United States. But with the post-Castro era looming on the horizon {Fidel is 89 and Raul is 84}, Cuba has already largely embraced a Chinese-Vietnamese capitalist system and embraced most of Obama's overtures although it insists on more before he leaves office -- such as, an end to the embargo, a return of Guantanamo Bay, and a cessation of the never-ending U.S.-funded regime-change programs. Thus, Granma, after pondering Obama's impending visit for a few days, decided the positives outweighed that one negative regarding dissidents. The headline in red in the upper-right of the front page above says: "In Cuba, President Obama will be treated with respect and consideration." Right below that article, the black headline says: "In a statement from the White House." And the headline directly opposite that article says: "Fidel's voice of three generations." Yes, all these decades after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, it's not so surprising that the three top headlines on the front-page of Granma on a given day in 2016 concern...Obama, the White House, and Fidel.
Also not surprsing:
         The vast and lucrative Castro Cottage Industry in the United States is, to put it mildly, irked about President Obama's upcoming visit to Cuba on the heels of the President's Herculean efforts to normalize relations with the island. Dr. Javier Corrales, the Cuban-American professor at Amherst College, for example, released this scathing attack: "Obama is so eager to normalize relations without negotiating any concessions that the United States is very close to creating a situation where we now have a U.S.-backed dictatorship in Cuba." That asinine and ridiculous statement, of course, was loudly heralded by a plethora of media outlets in the U. S. tightly aligned with the Castro Cottage Industry -- including the slick, well-funded Capital Hill Cubans blog and the once-prestigious Wall Street Journal, which is now owned by Rupert Murdoch who was born in Australia 84 years ago and also owns such entities as Fox News. It appears that Professor Corrales relishes a Batista-style "U.S.-backed dictatorship in Cuba," something Mr. Obama believes has hurt America's image enough, THANK YOU!
       In his tirades against the Cuban Revolution and as a prime promoter of the Castro Cottage Industry in the U. S., Professor Javier Corrales is often billed as "The Latin American Expert at Amherst College." No one is supposed to challenge his views because, after all, he is a Cuban-American with a visceral family-oriented hatred of Fidel Castro for booting the Batista-Mafia dictatorship off the island, all the way to Miami as it turned out. In his statement assaulting President Obama for creating a situation in which "we now have a U.S.-backed dictatorship in Cuba," Corrales assumes the American people have neither the intelligence nor the courage to dispute such nonsense. And, of course, he is implying that from 1952 till 1959 the U. S. supported the nice, kind, sweet Mother Teresa dictatorship in Cuba...surely not the brutal and thieving Mafia dictatorship led by Fulgencio Batsita, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Santo Trafficante Jr., etc. OH, NO WAY, MUSES PROFESSOR CORRALES!! THE U. S. WOULD NEVER SUPPORT MAFIA DICTATORS IN CUBA!! WE ALL KNOW THAT, DON'T WE?? THE U. S. WOULD ONLY SUPPORT MOTHER TERESA-LIKE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED LEADERS IN CUBA!! AND AS SOON AS WE OVERTHROW THE CUBAN REVOLUTION WE WILL MAKE SURE TO DEMOCRATICALLY ELECT ANOTHER MOTHER TERESA-LIKE LEADER OF CUBA, ONE THAT LUCKY LUCIANO WOULD BE PROUD OF!! EXCEPT FOR OBAMA, ALL AMERICANS UNDERSTAND THAT, DON'T THEY?
Uh, not really, Professor Corrales.
     These Cuban women objected to the murders {"asesinators"of their children {"hijos} in Batista's Cuba in the 1950s. And...they surely didn't know Mother Teresa.
And...neither did this Cuban mother.
     It so happens that a 99-pound doctor's doctor led the revolutionary fight against Batista and then, in Revolutionary Cuba, laid down the parameters to make sure the retrenched Batistianos in the U. S. didn't recapture the island that she cherished.
       In Cuba today, cast in the mold of Celia Sanchez, Cristina Escobar is the leader of the twenty-something generation on the island that plans to shape Cuba's soon-to-be post-Castro future. Like Celia Sanchez, Cristina Escobar has a do-or-die belief that Cubans on the island, not Cuban-Americans "propped up by the United States," should decide Cuba's future. She also adamantly and famously says {Check YouTube}, "I don't want the U. S. to bring me democracy." She's 28 and wasn't around in the 1950s but she knows its dark Batistiano-Mafiosi history. In particular, she knows that Batista, Luciano, and Lansky had no resemblance to Mother Teresa.
       On Dec. 27-1956 {above} Fidel Castro was smart enough to anoint Celia Sanchez as the prime decision-maker in the Revolutionary War and later in Revolutionary Cuba. He got some things wrong, but he got Celia Sanchez right.
        In 1973 Fidel Castro was prescient enough to predict that the United States "will come to talk to us when they have a black president and the world has a Latin American Pope."  Making good use of their usually unchallenged propaganda apparatuses, Professor Corrales and the rest of the Castro Cottage Industry in safe U. S. havens conveniently misrepresent basic facts in the U.S.-Cuban quagmire. But they can't deny that America now has a black President who is indeed talking to Cuba and the world now has its first Latin American pope, Pope Francis form Argentina, who has recently talked with Fidel Castro in his Havana home. In other words, uncontested propaganda machines are powerful tools, as least until they are challenged. So, I challenge the exalted and normally unchallenged Professor Corrales who claims that President Obama's sane and decent approach to Cuba means that he "is creating a situation where we now have a U.S.-backed dictatorship in Cuba." That's a lie, Professor Corrales, and I think you know it. The President is trying to create a situation in which the United States is viewed as trying to help the Cubans on the island, not starve them or deprive them or bully them. In your propaganda tirades, you might want to mention the "U.S.-backed dictatorship in Cuba" that spawned the Cuban Revolution instead of twisting history by ridiculously using such self-serving vitriol to discredit the unique decency and courage of President Obama.
       This was the situation in Cuba from 1952 till 1959. A handful of Batistianos, Mafiosi, and American businessmen made out like the bandits they indeed were. It is understandable that remnants of that situation, powerfully retrenched in the U. S. since 1959, would love to regain control of the plush, maligned island...again, of course, backed by the United States. DO THESE THREE GUYS LOOK LIKE MOTHER TERESA, PROFESSOR CORRALES?


What If Rubio wins?

And Who Will It Hurt?
   Joe Henderson is a highly respected journalist at the Tampa Tribune, a great newspaper in Florida that, unlike the Miami Herald, is not scared to death of Cuban-exile hardliners. On Aug. 20-2016 Mr. Henderson's column was entitled: "Rubio's Anti-Normalization Plan With Cuba Could Backfire." His first sentence, referencing President Obama's upcoming trip to Cuba that infuriates Cuban hardliners, was: "President Barack Obama just stuck a sharp stick in Marco Rubio's eye." Then Mr. Henderson pointed out that polls in Florida support Obama's "thaw in relations" with Cuba and that includes "in a Miami district considered a stronghold for opposition to normalization." Then Mr. Henderson pointed out that Rubio says he, on his first day as President, will roll back all of Obama's Cuban overtures. And that's when Mr. Henderson got to the crux of his column, writing these exact, extremely sane, and very decent words:
          "The United States is fighting this battle of isolation against Cuba by itself, to the detriment of both nations. Would Rubio close newly opened embassies? Would he put Cuba back on a terrorist watch list? If he did, who would be hurt by those moves? The Cuban people, that's who."
    It doesn't require an extremely smart person or a particularly brave one to agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Henderson. But the result of over a half-century of the world's greatest democracy allowing a handful of the most vicious anti-Castro hardliners in Miami to dictate to the U. S. both the Cuban narrative and America's Cuban policy has made otherwise sane and brave Americans resemble idiots and cowards when it comes to Cuba. That fact is pointed out yearly with the 191-to-2 vote in the UN and by everyday Americans being the only people in the world without the freedom to visit Cuba. In 1976 when Cuban hardliners with CIA attachments downed a Cuban civilian airplane killing all 73 on board with a terrorist bomb, the successful celebration in the Miami media called it "The biggest blow yet against Castro!" When a brave Cuban-American newsman in Miami, Emilio Milian, harshly condemned such terrorism against innocent Cubans, he was car-bombed. Americans insouciantly and meekly accepted such things on their soil in their name financed by their tax dollars. Thus, the Cuban hardliners in Miami, with considerable assistance from the Bush dynasty and a few right-wing congressional stalwarts, have -- from 1959 till today -- maintained their control of both the U. S. media and America's Cuban policy, a policy that Rubio wants to extend until the Batistianos and Mafiosi regain control of Cuba. However, there are today some journalists, such as Joe Henderson, and some politicians, such as Kathy Castor, brave enough and decent enough to disagree.
      Kathy Castor was born 49 years ago in Miami. Since 2007 she has bravely and brilliantly represented the Tampa area in the U. S. Congress. The Joe Henderson article in the Tampa Tribune Aug. 20-2016 pointed out that she is "ready to aggressive push through Congress a bill ending the U. S. embargo against Cuba." Mr. Henderson quoted Ms. Castor as saying: "Naysayers like Rubio and Cruz are wrong. They are shackled to the status quo and a Cold War policy that has hurt the Cuban people and infringed on the constitutional rights of Americans." The unquestionable decency of that quotation is contested by the unconscionable cruelty of Rubio and Cruz, both of whom are convinced that the American people are neither smart enough nor patriotic enough to hold such undemocratic attacks on innocent Cubans against them. Sadly, they are probably correct, especially when the gutless national U. S. media wouldn't dare contrast their views with Ms. Castor's or the 191-to-2 United Nations vote that, of course, agrees with her in loudly denouncing America's Cuban policy that the Amercan people simply do not have the courage or intelligence to correct.
      Congresswoman Kathy Castor of Tampa has fought long and hard for normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. She is appalled at how decades of punishing innocent Cubans by Cuban exiles and other benefactors in the U. S. have so severely harmed the image of the United States and democracy around the world. However, she is not surprised that Rubio and Cruz could care less about such things. Multiple times Ms. Castor has led business leaders from Tampa to Cuba in efforts to help her constituents and Cubans on the island mutually benefit from sane commercial ties. So, if Kathy Castor is a brave, decent, and brilliant Congresswoman, why doesn't she get some traction in the national media and why isn't she, or someone like her, a serious candidate to be President of the United States?
The answer:
        Cruel and unsuccessful first-term Senators Rubio and Cruz -- unlike decent, people-loving politicians like Kathy Castor -- benefit greatly from a money-crazed and media-deprived U. S. political system. Rubio and Cruz -- original products of the Bush dynasty aligned with right-wing Tea Party zealots -- hit the Senate begging every right-wing, Jewish, and evangelical billionaire on the planet for money to fund their presidential bids. After a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that allows unlimited donations from billionaires, Rubio and Cruz had no trouble locating rich, greedy souls who desire their own bought-and-paid-for President, and the "For Sale" invitations from Rubio and Cruz are being heeded. That undemocratic financial farce is coupled with a mainstream U. S. media owned by billionaires who are only interested in making more billions, certainly not in reporting unbiased news that would help Americans make democratic choices. But it is more profitable for the mainstream media to become propaganda machines that promulgate endless months of campaigning complete with millions of unlimited dollars in profits from political ads.
      Hugo Cancio is a Cuban-American who has lived the past 35 years in Miami where he is a very successful businessman. He is also a very decent, democracy-loving man. He travels frequently to Cuba for the sole purpose of helping Cubans on the island, the ones that Rubio, Cruz and other Cuban-American hardliners want to hurt, in the guise of hurting Castro and enriching themselves. Hugo, in an interview with Cuban broadcaster Cristina Escobar that is posted on YouTube, stated a fact of life, namely that Cuban-Americans like him "are not represented" by the hardline politicians who, he says, are the only ones who can get elected to local or national offices in Miami. Therefore, Hugo believes that the system, on U. S. soil, more resembles a Banana Republic than a democracy. The U. S. media showers Americans with the views of congressional hard-liners from Miami but doesn't have the guts or integrity to report what most Cuban-Americans, like Hugo Cancio, think.
      Joe Henderson {on the left above}, the superb journalist for the The Tampa Tribune, had the correct answer as to who a President Rubio would hurt the most. Mr. Henderson said, "The Cuban people." They are the ones who have been hurt the most by a right-wing U. S. policy that supported the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba from 1952 till 1959 and the ousted Batistiano-Mafiosi hardliners in the U. S. from 1959 till today. Sure, a Rubio or Cruz presidency might well finalize America, and not just Miami, becoming a Banana Republic but, if it happens, the American people will be getting what they deserve for not caring about their democracy or about innocent people on a nearby island. Yes, the prime victims, as Mr. Henderson opined, will be the Cuban people who do not deserve such treatment from self-serving bullies supported by the world's superpower and by American people who have never heard of Joe Henderson, Hugo Cancio, Emilio Milian, Cubana Flight 455 or...Kathy Castor.


cubaninsider: "The Country That Raped Me" (A True Story)

cubaninsider: "The Country That Raped Me" (A True Story) : Note : This particular essay on  Ana Margarita Martinez  was first ...