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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