U.S.-Cuba Journalism

Which is the most honest??
{Friday: September 30th, 2016}
       The question posed at the top of this post is actually a legitimate one. That's how much in recent years the mainstream U. S. media has descended toward becoming a billionaire-owned propaganda machine. At the same time, according to Cuba's brilliant young broadcast journalist Cristina Escobar, the Cuban media has become "more honest" than the U. S. media. It was a theme Ms. Escobar stressed, in both English and Spanish, when she grabbed some headlines...and the admiration of veteran U. S. broadcasters such as NBC's Andrea Mitchell, when she was in Washington to cover the last Vidal-Jacobson diplomatic session. After dominating a televised White House news conference with six key questions, Ms. Escobar engaged in a plethora of speeches and interviews around the U. S. capital. More than once, with emphasis, she made this statement: "Journalists in Cuba, like me, have more freedom to tell the truth about the United States than journalists in the U. S. have to tell the truth about Cuba." If that statement does not agree with your upbringing, I can understand; the Cuban narrative in the U. S. has been dictated by anti-revolutionary zealots since 1959. Yet, Ms. Escobar believes her statement is true and if she did not she probably would have accepted some of the million-dollar offers to defect to Miami. In interviews posted on YouTube, Ms. Escobar firmly says, "Cuba's fate is up to Cubans on the island, not Cubans in Miami and Washington." 
      I am not suggesting that Cristina Escobar is the only up-close expert on the relative merits on the quality or current status of the U.S. and/or Cuban media. Nor am I suggesting that you share her passion for Cubans on the island. But I am suggesting that she has a point. As a prime anchor on Cuban television, she has criticized her government on behalf of "the everyday Cubans who have gained the most from the revolution but tonight I will show how pockets of them have been left behind." After making that point, the next day Granma, the island's main newspaper, published Letters-to-the-Editor supporting Ms. Escobar's stance and criticizing the government, which indeed responded in a positive manner to the situation she chronicled. Ms. Escobar, a perspicacious student of U.S.-Cuban relations, doesn't believe the U. S. media has similar courage or integrity to "tell the truth about Cuba or, as a matter of fact, to tell the truth about the vast disparity in dealing with the massive crimes of rich people vs. the lesser crimes of non-rich Americans." When I saw that quote...Wow!...I said..."Darn. She must study the best American editorial cartoonists."
     The great Editorial Cartoonist for the Sacramento Bee won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for his superb talent. His name is Jack Ohman and that's him in the above photo working on another gem. Both the print and electronic media in the U. S. have dissolved into propaganda machines with billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Sheldon Edelson buying up the once-unbiased top newspapers in Washington and Nevada, etc. Additionally, all the television network "news" operations are owned by billionaires who saturate the airways with Talking Head propagandists bent on making sure their money controls Washington. Thus, the last gasp of media integrity in the U. S. lies in the hands and minds of the great Editorial Cartoonists.
      Study the above masterpiece by Jack Ohman. What he is saying parallels what Cristina Escobar said about how rich criminals in the United States are treated as opposed to non-rich criminals. Jack Ohman on the left is reminding us that back in the Old West, Wells Fargo stage coaches were routinely robbed by criminals known as outlaws. On the right Mr. Ohman is reminding us that in modern America the rich executives at Wells Fargo are now routinely robbing the American people...and getting away with it because, unlike the non-rich, they can buy-off the three branches of the U. S. government -- Congress quite easily but also the Executive and Judicial branches. Thus executives like those at Wells Fargo can concoct schemes that steal, say, $200 billion and then merely pay, say, an $8 billion fine to the U. S. government. After eagerly writing that check to pay the fine, those executives happily divvy up the $192 billion profit that goes to their obscene salaries and bonuses. On the other hand, as both Jack Ohman and Cristina Escobar seem to comprehend, a single mom working three jobs in a West Virginia town was jailed when she shop-lifted a loaf of bread and three cans of Pork 'n Beans to feed her two hungry kids because baby-sitters, gas, rent, and a broken-down old car had left her unable to buy food that month for her children. Jack Ohman at the Sacramento Bee and Cristina Escobar in Cuba seem to believe that the vast disparity between the Wells Fargo criminals and that mother in West Virginia should be corrected.
And speaking of Jack Ohman, his gem above flashed from Sacramento across America on December 18, 2014. That was the day after Presidents Obama in Washington and Castro in Havana made simultaneous telecasts to announce their plans to normalize relations for the first time in over half-a-century. On the left Mr. Ohman is reminding us that Fidel Castro's pugnacious revolution was still, incredibly, succeeding in keeping the Batistianos and the Mafiosi off the island but...alas...Cuba was finally ready to embrace some capitalism, ala China and Vietnam. So study CASTRO and COSTCO in the Ohman masterpiece above and you'll see that his few words say a lot more than a thousand propaganda words.
        And don't forget Cristina Escobar when she says, "Cuban journalists have more freedom to tell the true about the U. S. than U. S. journalists have to tell the truth about Cuba." Her comment is a reminder that Emilio Milian, the top Cuban-American broadcast journalist in Miami, was car-bombed after he criticized Cuban extremists for such unpunished things as blowing up a child-laden Cuban civilian airplane known to history, if you care to Google it, as Cubana Flight 455. Her comment is also a reminder that Jim DeFede, the top columnist at the Miami Herald, was fired shortly after he excoriated three Miami members of the U. S. Congress for helping free four well-known Cuban extremists from a Latin American prison to reside as heralded free citizens in the safe haven of Miami. Ms. Escobar points out that, on the other hand, she criticized the Cuban government "on behalf of everyday Cubans" and the Cuban government responded by correcting the situation, and she was neither car-bombed nor fired. Go figure, and don't start with the premise that I'm pro-Cuban and anti-American. I'm no more pro-Cuban than I am pro-Jamaican. But I am pro-American and I think Cuba says more about America than it says about Cuba. Also, I think Cubans on the island, like Cristina Escobar, have as much right and as much insight to express opinions as Cubans in Miami or the United States Congress. If, by chance, Ms. Escobar is right about journalists in Cuba having more freedom to tell the truth about the U. S. than journalists in the U. S. have to tell the truth about Cuba, Americans should, perhaps, be concerned about it...just as Americans from 1952 till 1959 should, perhaps, have been concerned about the United States teaming with the Mafia to support the brutal Batista dictatorship in Cuba; or about the U. S. supporting the Batistiano regrouping on U. S. soil.
And please:
        Don't get the erudite Cristina Escobar started on whether Revolutionary Cuba or Batista's Cuba is/was the best for Cuba. Because if you do you might not like either her answers or her astute documentations.


America's Cuban Abyss

An Endless Bottomless Pit!!
        Since 1952  -- when the U. S. teamed with the Mafia to support the brutal Batista dictatorship in Cuba -- the U. S. Cuban policy has humiliated both America and democracy, a basic fact that is confirmed each October by a 191-to-2 vote in the United Nations. The two first-term Cuban-American U. S. Senators depicted above -- Cruz and Rubio -- surely understand that fact but apparently don't give a damn. More significantly, neither does a large segment of the current unpatriotic, uninformed, and uncaring U. S. population. Since 1959 -- the year the Batistiano-Mafiosi dictatorship was overthrown only to quickly regroup on nearby U. S. soil -- America's flawed, cruel and grossly undemocratic Cuban policy has essentially and effectively been dictated by two generations of hard-line Cuban-Americans, the most self-servingly vicious Batista remnants. Cruz and Rubio represent the second generation of the proprietors of that bottomless pit, a fact revealed in Washington again yesterday.
        Yesterday -- Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 -- as this Carlos Barrea/REUTERS photo shows -- President Obama proudly and bravely nominated Jeffrey DeLaurentis as the first U. S. Ambassador to Cuba in over half-a-century. A brilliant and dedicated career diplomat, DeLaurentis is the perfect choice for that important position, made more important and urgent because more Americans can now actually visit Cuba thanks to Mr. Obama. Since 1992 DeLaurentis has been intimately knowledgeable about Cuba and Latin America and he has distinguished himself diplomatically at the United Nations and elsewhere, including the U. S. Interests Section in Havana. Since August of 2014 Mr. DeLaurentis has been chief of the U. S. Embassy in Havana, newly opened by President Obama for the first time since 1961.
      As always, Cuban-American United States Senators Rubio and Cruz went belligerent yesterday regarding President Obama's nomination of Jeffrey DeLaurentis to be the first U. S. Ambassador to Cuba since 1961. Rubio's snarling comments labeled it "another last-ditch legacy project for the president that needs to be stopped." President Obama, by merely having the guts and patriotism to try to normalize relations with Cuba, has indeed carved out a legacy that the likes of Rubio and Cruz will never emulate. Yet, as Republican extremists in a pathetic Republican-controlled U. S. Senate, they wield enormous and undeserved power regarding America's disgraceful Cuban policy. As first-term Senators, neither Rubio nor Cruz have accomplished a thing -- except for amassing millions of dollars, running for President, vowing to shut-down the U. S. government, and loudly opposing any and all positive overtures designed to correct America's historically flawed Cuban policy. It seems to matter not one whit to Rubio, Cruz and their ilk how much that policy hurts Americans, Cuban-Americans, and America's image around the world. The fact that Americans and especially Cuban-Americans badly need Jeffrey DeLaurentis as the official U. S. Ambassador to Cuba means little to Rubio and Cruz compared to their anti-Cuban bias and their insatiable desires to use the U. S. Senate and a billion-or-more right-wing dollars to take over the White House, a ploy that failed miserably for both of them in 2016 but now extends to 2020, which is their next opportunity.
       This Wikipedia photo shows Jeffrey DeLaurentis making a speech on behalf of America in front of the new U. S. Embassy in Havana. Since the 1950s America's most decent and skilled government officials -- such as Jeffrey DeLaurentis -- have suffered mightily from a U. S. Cuban policy dictated by less decent government officials, none of whom -- it seems -- are ever held accountable by an unpatriotic U. S. public or an incompetent U. S. media. Therefore, expect decent and talented Americans like Jeffrey DeLaurentis to continue to suffer as the U. S. democracy itself continues a downward spiral into the abyss -- a bottomless pit dug by self-serving, unchecked miscreants.
      Moderate Cuban-Americans in Miami, like Hugo Cancio, are as frustrated as the most democracy-loving Americans when America's Batistiano-directed Cuban policy harms the vast majority of Americans and Cuban-Americans. Cancio, a democracy-loving businessman, divides his time between Miami and Havana and fully understands how Cuban-Americans in particular need Jeffrey DeLaurentis as the official Ambassador at the "increasingly busy U. S. embassy in Havana." Cancio says, "Polls show that moderate Cuban-Americans like me are the majority in Miami and we support Obama's efforts to normalize relations. But when it comes to Cuba, moderate Cuban-Americans, majority opinions and democracy never seem to count." 
       Each October in the United Nations world opinion votes overwhelmingly -- 191-to-2 with no abstentions -- to denounce America's Cuban policy. America -- the richest, strongest, and most influential nation in history -- can only persuade one nation to support its Cuban policy and that nation, Israel, is by far the biggest recipient of U. S. economic and military aid. Yet, Americans are supposed to be too stupid or too unpatriotic to care and the mainstream U. S. media is simply too intimidated or too incompetent to even fairly discuss the issue that so drastically harms the U. S. image, as confirmed by the UN each October.
This glutinous image, for example.
       Cuba, unwittingly and unrealistically, says a lot more about the United States than it says about Cuba. That has been an historic fact since 1952 and the U. S. democracy -- the world's all-time greatest government -- seems incapable of extricating itself from what the world recognizes as an abyss, a bottomless pit.
         So as U. S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz vow to block every decent and positive overture to Cuba, such as the badly needed confirmation of Jeffrey DeLaurentis as U. S. Ambassador in Havana, expect Americans to continue on their six-decades-old path of not having the courage or patriotism to care.



Cuba Battles Trump & COVID-19

Which Peril Is Worse?!!
{September 11th, 2020}
      Since the 1950's neither the U. S. government nor the U. S. media has told the truth to the American people about the Cuban Revolution, the historic event that has forever changed both Cuba and the United States. Tony Perrottet, the world's most acclaimed World Travel Writer/historian, is one prime exception to that lack of integrity and courage in the U. S. media. As the world's best Travel Writer/historian, Mr. Perrottet has been enamored with repeatingly visiting Cuba and meticulously studying the enormous after effects of the Cuban Revolution. Unlike lesser skilled and courageous U. S. journalists and authors, Mr. Perrottet starts the mammoth lie perpetrated by the U. S. government and the U. S. media about the year 1952 WHEN THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TEAMED WITH THE TOP ECHELON OF THE MAFIA TO SUPPORT THE BRUTAL AND THIEVING BATISTA DICTATORSHIP. From the 1950's till September of 2020, Americans have been told that it was a proper thing for the U. S. democracy to align with and support the Mafia so rich U. S. businessmen could partake in the rape and robbery of the Caribbean's largest and most beautiful island nation, a mere 90 miles from the shores of Florida.
       And after the Cuban Revolution shocked the world and altered history on January 1, 1959 when it overthrew the Mafia-led BATISTA DICTATORSHIP, chasing the Mafiosi and Batistiano to their new sanctuary in nearby Miami.
      Since January of 1959 Little Havana in the heart of Miami has thrived economically and politically while spending every hour of every day for going on seven decades to RECAPTURE Cuba. Yet, it hasn't happened despite the fact that Little Havana, since Jan.-1959 till Sept.-2020, has been massively supported by the world's strongest and richest nation, the United States. Additionally, Little Havana has greatly benefited by the mammoth apathy of the mightily propagandized American people. And that is where a truly great, brave journalist/author such as Tony Perrottet becomes so important. Being the world's top Travel Writer, Tony's expertise has been in forums like the NY Times, Smithsonian Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, etc.
        The best of Tony Perrottet's six books is "Cuba Libre". And yes, in "Cuba Libre" Tony Perrottet accurately explained how the Cuban Revolution "CHANGED WORLD HISTORY" -- especially the history of the United States of America.
       While having the talent and courage to explain the Cuban Revolution to the world, especially to propagandized Americans, Tony Perrottet years has told the truth about how Cuba has so drastically changed the United States -- starting in 1898 with the Spanish-American War when the U. S. got domination of Cuba, since 1952 when the U. S. teamed with the Mafia to support the ruthless Batista dictatorship, and since 1959 when the Cuban Revolution chased the Batistiano and Mafiosi leaders from Havana to Little Havana. And now the great Tony Perrottet in September of 2020 has penned another incredible insightful article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "CUBA IS STAYING STRONG."
         The September-2020 article by Tony Perrottet is incredibly important because Americans simply have no idea has Cuba has survived as a sovereign nation for all these decades since 1959 -- especially considering that, in 2020, Cuba is the only nation in the world battling both the COVID-19 pandemic and a genocidal Blockade by the Trump administration to appease the Counter Revolutionary zealots in Little Havana and in the U. S. Congress. So, in September-2020 the Tony Perrottet article in the Wall Street Journal is very important...as is a classic article that Tony Perrottet earlier had published in the Smithsonian Magazine, which is reviewed below. 
     I'm a subscriber to Smithsonian Magazine and my favorite television channel is also Smithsonian -- because of its quintessentially historic and topical documentaries. Smithsonian Magazine is the source of a magnificent 15-page historic & topical report on the Cuban Revolution. It was brilliantly written and researched by Tony Perrottet, the renowned Australian-born and New York-based travel writer and historian depicted above. His essay includes historic photos and is also buttressed with updated photos by Joao Pina. To understand why modern Cuba punches far above its weight in the United States and around the world, you need to read this Smithsonian update.
    Tony Perrottet's Smithsonian article is entitled: "VIVA LA REVOLUTION." It's sub-titles include: "Journey Into Cuba's Rebel Heart," The long article begins with the writer and his photographer taking the arduous trip to visit the historic cabin hideaway used by Fidel Castro and Celia Sanchez from April-1958 till December-1958 as they devised the strategy that shocked the world by overthrowing the U.S.-and-Mafia-backed Batista dictatorship. This is Perrottet's first paragraph: "It's not hard to see why Fidel Castro's guerrilla headquarters during the Cuban revolutionary war was never found by the army. Even today, getting to the command post feels live a covert operation. Known as Comandancia La Plata, the remote hide-out was built in the spring of 1958 in the succulent rain- forest of the Sierra Maestra at Cuba's eastern tip, and it still lies at the end of steep, treacherous, unpaved roads. There are no road signs in the Sierra, so photographer Joao Pina and I had to stop our vehicle and ask for directions from passing campesinos on horseback while zigzagging between enormous potholes and wandering livestock. In the hamlet of Santo Domingo, we filled our paperwork in quadruplicate to secure access permits, before an official government guide ushered us into a creaky state-owned four-wheel drive vehicle. This proceeded to wheeze its way up into one of the Caribbean's last wilderness areas, with breathtaking views of rugged green peaks at every turn." Perrottet then added, "In any other country, the Comandancia would make an excellent eco-lodge, but in Cuba it remains one of the revolution's most intimate historical shrines."  
       This and the next five photos are courtesy of the excellent travel website jennyfaraway.com. This is a view of the Sierra Maestra Mountains where Fidel Castro's rebel hide-out was located. When people like Tony Perrottet venture there, they have to go deep and high into this rugged terrain, but in the 1950s it served the rebels well, especially in guerrilla fighting and protecting them from Batista's warplanes.
Signs point hearty hikers to the "Home of Fidel."
Just make sure you follow the right sign.
Then you are on a path to Fidel's old rebel cabin.
      This is an updated side-view of the famed rebel cabin. Notice the ladder and the long pole propping open a wooden window to let in a tropical breeze. There was also a trap-door near the bed that, if necessary, provided a quick exit to slide down a cliff into a rambling creek. The cabin's creation and design -- like most other key aspects of the revolution -- were orchestrated by Celia Sanchez. Americans are not supposed to know that but Tony Perrottet, in his Smithsonian article, was brave enough and astute enough to write: "Perched on a ledge above a gurgling stream, with large windows propped open by poles to let in a cooling breeze, it's a refuge that would suit a Cuban John Muir. The spacious two-room hut was designed by Fidel's resourceful secretary, rural organizer and lover, Celia Sanchez. Celia also thought it important for visitors to see the rebel leader well established and comfortable -- acting, in fact, as if the war were already won and he was president of Cuba. Celia even managed to get a cake to the hut packed in dry ice via mule train for Fidel's 32nd birthday." Perrottet's recognition of Celia Sanchez's definitive role parallels what all Cuban insiders have always known. For example, the highly respected photographer Roberto Salas, an intimate of both Fidel and Celia for decades, wrote in his seminal book, "Celia made all the decisions for Cuba, the big ones and the small ones." Because the Batistianos she chased to the U. S. have dictated the Cuban narrative in the U. S. since 1959, Americans are not supposed to know such facts. It would, you see, interfere with their portrayal of Fidel as the evil one and mess up their machismo, which holds that big, mean macho Fidel beat them but the petite doctor's daughter had nothing to do with it, NOTHING AT ALL.     
The bed where Fidel and Celia Sanchez slept in the cabin.
       Celia and Fidel were the only rebels allowed inside the cabin at La Plata. Celia -- before and after Fidel spent two years in a Batista prison and then another year in Miami, New York and Mexico before joining her rebel army -- was the prime recruiter of rebel fighters, supplies and weapons. She kept a strongbox with up to a million dollars in cash either in the cabin or stashed at strategic locations. Thus, when she and Fidel were away from the cabin it was guarded by selected rebels. She worried about Batista planes spotting and bombing campsites but was careful with campfires and she purchased five BARs, Browning Automatic Rifles, from her key Venezuelan contacts and they downed two bombers and dissuaded others from dipping into the mountain valleys and then trying to ascend back out. At night, the wooden window was closed so Celia and Fidel, both night-owls and insatiable readers, could study by candlelight, like the candle Celia is holding in this photo. Celia was the decision-maker, so it can be assumed that she is reading battle reports or the last-known positions of Batista soldiers. Fidel was probably reading a book. In the updated Smithsonian article, Tony Perrottet mentioned that Fidel in his idle time read books like Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls." For Celia, there was no idle time apart from the next battle.
       In his article for the October edition of Smithsonian Magazine, Perrottet goes into detail about why and how the Cuban Revolution did the impossible by beating the powerful Batista dictatorship that was backed by the strongest criminal organization in the world, the Mafia, and the strongest nation in the world, the United States. The brutality of Batista's forces included, as Perrottet pointed out, the gruesome murders of even "children." That meant that every Cuban not tied to Batista, the Mafia or the U. S. supported the rebels. Cuban women, never leading factors in other revolutions, were the leading factors in this one...starting with the street marches that, as Perrottet stated, demanded that the U. S. "STOP THE MURDERS" of their children. Everyday Cubans, the campesinos, supported those pleas and Perrottet wrote that even some rich Cubans did too: "One of those was the young law graduate Fidel Castro," Perrottet said. The updated Smithsonian article points out the incredibly excessive brutality of the Batista regime. Perrottet included a photo of 78-year-old Uvaldo Pena Mas who explained how, when he was a child, his father was murdered. The photo above shows Celia introducing Fidel to some of the campesinos risking their lives to help her. To prevent that, Batista increased the murders, using what Perrottet called "psychopaths" to carry them out. Perrottet correctly mentioned that Batista used his control of the state media to announce that Fidel Castro, the hero to all the peasants, was dead. Celia quite brilliantly used New York Times reporter Herbert L. Matthews to prove he was still alive so her recruiting would not suffer.
        In the Smithsonian article, Tony Perrottet wrote that the utter despair of the everyday Cubans manifested itself mostly in the courage and outrage of women like Celia Sanchez. Perrottet wrote:  "Delusion had already been tapped by Celia Sanchez, a fearless young activist for the 26th of July Movement who was at the top of  Batista's most-wanted list in the Oriente province. A brilliant organizer, Sanchez would soon become Fidel's closest confidante and effective second in command." Long before anyone thought Batista could be toppled, Celia risked her life every day recruiting rebels and supplies to fight the Batistianos, prompting Cuba's best historian, Pedro Alvarez Tabio, to write, "If Batista had managed to kill Celia Sanchez anytime between 1953 and 1957, there would have been no viable Cuban revolution and no revolution for Fidel and Che to join." Perrottet wrote, "Young farmhands swelled the rebel ranks as soldiers. Girls carried rebel missives folded into tiny squares and hidden (as Celia mischievously explained) in a place where no one can find it. The campesinos also risked the savage reprisals of Batista's soldiers who beat, raped or executed peasants they suspected of having rebel sympathies." Indeed, two of Celia's closest female friends were unmercifully tortured to death as was the young school-teacher Frank Pais and his teenage brother Jesus because Frank was a vital rebel recruiter and organizer. In the Smithsonian article, Tony Perrottet wrote, "Batista's rule was marked by blatant corruption and a savage level of political repressions." Much of that savagery was directed at Cuban children and women, as Perrottet pointed out. That milieu produced history's all-time greatest, most determined and most effective female revolutionary fighters. 
       Tony Perrottet in the Smithsonian Cuban Revolution update said that "80" rebels beat a much larger Batista army to win the first big battle against Batista -- May 28th, 1957 near the "drowsy coastal village of El Uvero." Perrottet also recounted how 250 rebels beat 10,000 much better armed Batista soldiers. And the two most fiercely effective rebel fighters were not macho men like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara; they were the two beautiful women shown above -- Haydee Santamaria and Celia Sanchez. The Perrottet article points out that Batista goons gouged out the eyes of Haydee's brother Abel and presented them to her. Other reliable sources, including Haydee, have said that Batista goons cut off the testicles of her fiance and rubbed them over her face and chest. Celia, the petite doctor's daughter, also got her unmatched inspiration from unspeakable brutality -- the rape-murder of a 10-year-old peasant girl named Maria Ochoa.
           The fact that the Cuban Revolution was largely a female enterprise is aptly documented by The Woman Project.Org. Thus, it is appropriate that Celia Sanchez, who died of cancer in 1980, is responsible for the two quotations that best define it, starting with the one depicted above: "We rebels...get far too much credit for winning the Revolution. Our enemies deserve most of the credit, for being greedy cowards and idiots." Incredibly, after she drove those "greedy cowards and idiots" off the island, they regrouped on U. S. soil and, with rare exceptions, have been allowed to dictate the Cuban narrative and America's Cuban policy ever since. In other words, Celia realized that if her enemies had merely thrown the peasants some crumbs and not so viciously brutalized them, her recruiting would not have been so successful. Then after the amazing triumph of her revolution, her second definitive quotation resonates to this very day: "The Batistianos will never regain control of Cuba as long as I live or as long as Fidel lives." In this last week of September, 2016, Fidel is 90-years-old but he still lives and the Batistianos have still not regained "control of Cuba" despite the support from the U. S. Congress, the U. S. Treasury, the U. S. military and the CIA.
Rebel leaders Haydee and Celia with new rebel Fidel.
              Above Celia and Haydee are showing Fidel some of the money that they had recruited to sustain their Revolutionary War against Batista. If Batista and his prime supporters -- the Mafia and the U. S. -- had not outraged Celia and Haydee, the Batistianos and the Mafiosi would likely still be in charge of Cuba.
         Fidel Castro has never failed -- from age 32 till age 90 -- to give "most of the credit for winning our necessary revolution to the female half of our population." He especially meant the two flanking him above -- Celia Sanchez on his right and Haydee Santamaria on his left. When the above photo was taken as revolutionary rule was re-shaping the island, this trio was listening after they had stopped off to ask Cubans what they most wanted from the revolution. The repetitive answer they received at such stops was: "Good and free educations, and good and free health care." From 1959 till today, in stark contrast to pre-revolutionary Cuba, those two items have been hallmarks of the Revolution -- come hell, hurricanes, the Bay of Pigs, the embargo, Cuban-exile/Batistiano control of America's Cuban policy, and the apathy and cowardice of two generations of Americans allowing a Cuban policy to usurp their democracy.
              This was Celia Sanchez's favorite photo of Fidel Castro. As she was dying of cancer, she asked Vilma Espin to bring it to her and it was with Celia the day she died of cancer -- January 11th, 1980.
            The doctor's daughter that engineered the Cuban Revolution's victory over the U.S.-backed Batistianos and Mafiosi had no problem with Fidel getting the lion's share of the credit. In fact, along with other aspects of her revolution, she made sure that Fidel got the upfront credit even as she, behind the scenes with his full support, called the shots -- literally. The reason Tony Perrottet's incisive article in the current edition of Smithsonian Magazine stands out is the fact that he had the research and the guts to tell truths about the revolution that has been rare in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave since 1959. Perrottet stressed the extreme "decadence" of the Batista fiends that turned Celia Sanchez into history's all-time greatest female revolutionary. And Perrottet even backed up Celia's famed quote about "our enemies" being more responsible for the rebel victory than the rebels themselves because her enemies concentrated too much on being "greedy cowards and idiots." Celia was extremely disappointed the Batistiano and Mafiosi leaders didn't hang around Havana to fight the oncoming rebels. Perrottet wrote: "Batista was escaping with his cronies on a private plane loaded with gold bullion." What Batista and his cronies left behind, according to Perrottet, was "a symbol of decadence, a seedy enclave." And the greed was matched by the cowardice. Perrottet wrote about "the spectacle of 20,000 soldiers submitting to a few hundred rebels," a spectacle that was "enough to make you burst out laughing," to quote the article. 
         The BBC says this was "The first photo ever taken of Fidel Castro and Celia Sanchez together." It was taken in February of 1957 shortly after Fidel had joined her revolution in the Sierra Maestra Mountains.
      The outstanding article by Tony Perrottet in the Oct. 3-2016 edition of Smithsonian Magazine recounted Fidel's and Celia's trek from Santiago de Cuba to Havana to take over Cuba in the first week of January, 1959. Perrottet wrote: "Fidel rode his tank to the doors of the brand-new Hilton Hotel and took the presidential suite for himself and Celia." Perrottet described the Cuban Revolution with these exact words: "The campaign that would, in a little over two years, bring down the Cuban government and reshape world politics." 
Personal Observation:
      If Celia Sanchez's revolution "RESHAPED WORLD POLITICS" how can the Batistiano dominance of the Cuban narrative in the U. S. still maintain that she is an historical nonentity and that they, the fleeing Batistianos, were and are the good guys, not the "greedy cowards and idiots" Celia Sanchez called them.
       Because the Batistianos for decades have dictated America's Cuban policy, everyday Americans are the only people in the world without the freedom to visit Cuba. Is that so Americans can continue to be lied to about the Revolution that Tony Perrottet in Smithsonian Magazine says "reshaped world politics?" President Obama has finally loosened the Batistiano grip on America's Cuban policy but most everyday Americans are still banned from visiting the nearby island. If they did so, they wouldn't find a single statue of the now 90-year-old Fidel Castro. But they would see some beautiful statues honoring Celia Sanchez, such as the one above. Should...uh...the strongest nation in the world have a democracy that would allow its citizens to judge Cuba...and Celia Sanchez...for themselves? Uh, just asking.



Cuba in the Catbird Seat

Courted by World Leaders!!
But first, on a sad note:
Updated: Monday, September 26, 2016 
      Americans and Cubans are massively mourning the tragic death of Cuban-born superstar Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins. He and two of his best friends died in a boating accident just off the shores of Miami early Sunday morning. Fernandez was born on July 31, 1992 in Santa Clara, Cuba. At age 20 in 2013 he was Rookie of the Year in the National League with a 12-6 record and a brilliant earned-run-average of 2.19. This year at age 24 he had made 29 starts for the marlins with a record of 16-8, a 2.86 ERA and 253 strikeouts in 182 innings. He was scheduled to start Sunday in Miami against the Atlanta Braves but Manager Don Mattingly had pushed back that start till today, Monday.
      As one of many Cuban-born superstars in the American Major Leagues, none had attained that super status as quickly as Jose Fernandez and none had more potential. With his next contract, it was expected that he would be earning a salary in excess of $30 million-a-year and much more in endorsements. A dedicated family man with an exuberant and beloved personality, Jose was about to become the proud father of a baby girl.
Jose became a U. S. citizen April 24th, 2015.
        All Major League baseball players were stunned when they got the news that Jose Fernandez was killed early Sunday in a boating accident in Miami. In Los Angeles Yasiel Puig, shown above with Jose three weeks ago, was the clean-up hitter Sunday for the Dodgers against the Colorado Rookies. Before the game, Puig posted this photo on his Twitter page with this comment: "You loved striking me out, and teasing me about it. I'm going to miss you bro." Puig was born in Palmira, Cuba on Dec. 7-1990. In 2013 Puig and Fernandez battled it out for Rookie of the Year in the National League, an honor that Fernandez won. He was in the running for the Cy Young Award as the league's top pitcher this year. Jose's youthful greatness will be remembered forever.
      Last week the President of Iran, the top leader of Japan and the Premier of China all visited Cuba, one right after the other. {The 3 photos are courtesy of REUTERS/Enrique de la Osa}. The photo above shows Cuban President Raul Castro hosting Chinese Premier Li Kequiang at the Revolutionary Palace in Havana. Li Kequiang arrived Saturday, September 24th and will leave today --  Monday. Li Kequiang is China's #2 leader. His boss, President Xi Jinping, had visited Cuba in 2014 and since then Cuban and Chinese delegations have been working on mutually beneficial economic, cultural and political agreements.
     This photo taken Saturday, September 24-2016 in Havana shows Cuban President Raul Castro escorting Chinese Premier Li Kequiang past Cuba's Honor Guard that welcomes foreign leaders. The two men signed 32 important agreements. Li Kequiang said, "My visit is to forge new areas of economic cooperation with Cuba and to have closer ties with the region. We know Cuba is the pathway for our increasing friendship with the Caribbean and all of Latin America. China will continue to intensify the mutual political trust we have and will expand with Cuba." Li Kequiang also confirmed that "China will extend lines of credit to Cuba for certain projects," but didn't mention which ones, which leaves plenty of fodder for U. S. officials to ponder.
     This photo shows Chinese Premier Li Kequiang with Cuba's next President Miguel Diaz-Canel Saturday. The 55-year-old Diaz-Canel is slated to succeed the now 85-year-old Raul Castro no later than February of 2018. The two men above in the past two years have personally had much to do with forging the 32 significant economic and political agreements the two countries signed this weekend in Havana. Similar to statements issued this week in Cuba by Iran's President and the Prime Minister of Japan, China's Premier Li Kequiang spoke of Cuba's formidable role as the "pathway" for international powers to gain more influence in Latin America and the Caribbean. It's been that way since 1959 because of the remarkable triumph and the equally stunning longevity of the Cuban Revolution. The lone restriction preventing some nations to respond to that fact has seemingly been removed by President Obama's remarkable and stunning efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, a process that a small but powerful cabal of Cuban-Americans and their sycophants had easily prevented prior to Obama. The arrivals in Havana last week of powerful leaders from Iran, Japan and China reflect the fact that, not so unlike the Soviet Union long ago, there are powerful nations -- including foes and friends of the United States -- that today would like to compete with the United States in improving their strategic, economic and political ties with Cuba. Having such lofty choices leaves little Cuba in the Cat-Bird seat and once again demonstrates that the beautiful island plays a role on the international stage far out of proportion to its size, population or wealth
In other words
Thanks to Obama, Revolutionary Cuba might survive another year,
at least!!

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