Travel to Cuba Opening UP

Another Obama Action!!
{Updated: Monday, October 31st, 2016}
        The President of tripadvisor, Stephen Kaufer, says his company has received permission from the U. S. government to book accommodations to Cuba, another major slice the Obama administration is making to combat the decades-old stranglehold the U. S. Congress has had on America's much-hated Cuban policy. Mr. Kaufer's powerful travel agency will soon be allowed to book travel to Cuba for both U. S. and non-U. S. citizens for hotel, flight, cultural tours and short-term rentals. Because of the congressionally mandated U. S. embargo of Cuba, everyday Americans are the only people in the world without the freedom to travel to Cuba but, using his Executive Powers, President Obama has gradually loosened many of those laws.
       Stephen Kaufer, the President and CEO of TripAdvisor, is merely one of thousands of top U. S. executives anxious to begin doing business with Cuba. After getting permission this week, Mr. Kaufer said, "We look forward to helping travelers all over the world discover Cuba's vibrant history, people and culture as we begin the important work to make these trips possible. We applaud President Obama's continuing efforts to ease these restrictions and build relations with our island neighbor just 90 miles south of Florida."  
        As evidenced by the 191-to-zero vote in the United Nations on October 26th, all nations of the world, including the United States itself, oppose the United States embargo against Cuba that, among many other dastardly things, makes it illegal for everyday Americans to travel to Cuba, a freedom all citizens of all other nations have. Such humiliating anti-democratic laws appease a few in the 535-member U. S. Congress and have existed almost since the Cuban Revolution overthrew the Batista-Mafia dictatorship on the island on January 1, 1959. The majority of Americans -- including businessman Stephen Kaufer -- are tired of such restrictions and, inspired by the leadership of President Obama, are finally beginning to speak out against and even break down some of the barriers that harm 300+ million Americans and 11+ million Cubans.


Fidel Comments on UN Vote

And Meets Portugal's Leader!
{Updated: Sunday, October 30th, 2016}
         Wednesday -- August 26th, 2016 -- Fidel Castro met with Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Portugal, in the living room of his Havana home. The photo was taken by Fidel's son Alex Castro. The visit from President De Sousa occurred after this week's 191-to-0 vote at the United Nations denouncing the U. S. embargo against Cuba, with even the United States abstaining and refusing to support it even as the U. S. Congress maintains it. Both Fidel and President De Sousa issued official statements about the vote. 
        President De Sousa: "The UN vote rightfully, unanimously and universally rejected the embargo as an illegal extraterritorial practice." 
            Fidel Castro: "It is important not to forget the considerable human and economic damage caused by the blockade. The world unanimous vote of 191-to-zero shows the United States not to be the great democracy it purports to be. And by abstaining, even the U. S. government seems to admit that basic fact that its Cuban programs have revealed to the world. The undemocratic and self-adorned American Congress can keep the blockade in place but it cannot hide the criminal aspects of it from the world. That point is made 191-to-0."
       After the private meeting with Fidel Castro, Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa had a formal meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana. President de Sousa congratulated President Castro on "the unanimity of the UN vote" and quipped, "See, I told you that Obama was a brave man." President de Sousa, more seriously, then added, "I like being able to celebrate that UN vote with the people of Cuba. But I want the leaders of Cuba and the people of Cuba to know that Portugal plans on increasing trade and investments in this beautiful island filled with deserving, wonderful people." 
    The Cuban media's graphic on the  191-to-0 UN vote.
        At the United Nations this week, Samantha Power had the unenviable task of becoming the first United States Representative to the United Nations to admit before the world that the United States government could not support the United States embargo against Cuba. The photo is courtesy of Voice of America/AP. Ms. Power said, "Instead of isolating Cuba, the embargo isolates the United States from the rest of the world, including right here at the United Nations." It was and is a truly historic and amazing statement, but most of all it is an indictment of the weakest link in the United States government, the 535-member United States Congress, and of this generation of Americans who have shocked the world by not defending their great democracy against a handful of right-wing rogues and political opportunists who use the power of the United States to punish innocent people, decade after decade, in a nearby weaker nation. "Instead of isolating Cuba, the embargo isolates the United States from the rest of the world, including right here at the United Nations." In other words, the rogues and political opportunists in the United States Congress could care less about the harm their Cuban policy does to America, to democracy, and to innocent Cubans.
      The BBC used the above AFP photo of this white-haired Cuban to illustrate an article that explained how the U. S. embargo has punished innocent Cubans since 1962. Americans, meanwhile, have been propagandized or intimidated to accept the premise that the embargo only harms the Castro brothers. As the U. S. UN Representative Samantha Power said this week, it has produced "the exact opposite" effect, meaning that it has only succeeded in harming everyday Cubans as well as the United States itself.
       Cuba's talented and out-spoken 28-year-old television anchor, Cristina Escobar, said, "The Cuban people didn't deserve the United Nations 191-to-TWO vote in the past against the blockade. They deserved only a 191-to-zero vote. And that's exactly what they got this week. AND THAT'S WHAT THEY GOT THIS WEEK."


NO NATION Supports Embargo

Yesterday's UN Vote: 191-0
{Thursday, October 27th, 2016}
        Yesterday at the United Nations, the entire world opposed the American economic embargo against CubaThe vote was 191-to-zero. Not even the United States, the nation that has bent its democracy to allow a few right-wingers to dictate its Cuban policy for decades, could bring itself to vote to support the embargo that Cuba calls a blockade. At the UN in New York, the U. S. abstained and then was joined by Israel.
       At the United Nations this sign denounced Israel as the only nation in the world in recent years that has joined the United States in supporting the embargo against Cuba. In the eyes of the world, that Israeli vote had been bought-and-paid for because Israel is by far the biggest recipient of U. S. economic and military aid. But yesterday after the U. S. abstained, so did Israel. So the world sees a 191-to-0 vote.
       At the UN, Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez made an impassioned denunciation of the embargo. He said, "The human damages caused by the blockade are incalculable. There isn't any Cuban family or sector in the country that has not suffered from it, especially the lives of the everyday Cubans." 
The U. S. UN representative Samantha Power agreed. 
She abstained.
         Representing the four Cuban-American members of the U. S. Congress from the Miami area, Mario Diaz-Balart issued this official statement: "In today's UN vote, President Obama continues to side with the Castros instead of the Cuban people." Mario Diaz-Balart followed his Havana-born brother Lincoln to the U. S. Congress from Miami, which only sends anti-Castro zealots to Congress although most Cuban-Americans even in the Little Havana section of Miami support Obama's Cuban policy, not the Diaz-Balarts. The Diaz-Balart brothers are the sons of Rafael Diaz-Balart who was a key Minister in the Batista dictatorship before becoming one of the richest and most powerful exiles in Miami after the Cuban Revolution ousted Batista on January 1, 1959. A handful of anti-Castro zealots like the Diaz-Balarts in the 535-member U. S. Congress -- with a few easily obtained sycophants -- have dictated America's Cuban policy, which includes the embargo that now no nation in the world including the U. S. supports.
      Cuba has no trouble convincing the world that the United States of America's embargo/blockade against the island is the longest and cruelest embargo ever imposed by a powerful nation against a weak one. Unpatriotic Americans have pusillanimously allowed it to demean their democracy since 1962. 
The UN vote: 191-0.
        Almost eight years ago when he began his two terms as President of the United States, Barack Obama -- being a democracy-loving American -- was ashamed about the decades-old U. S. embargo of Cuba. So was President Kennedy back in October of 1963 when he informed his top aides that his top priority when he returned from Dallas was to normalize relations with Cuba; so was President Carter in the 1970s till he was replaced by right-wing Republicans in the White House; and so was President Clinton in the 1990s till Miami-based Brothers to the Rescue airplanes taunted Cuba with overflights and produced a provocation that forced Clinton, instead of normalizing relations with Cuba, to sign the Helms-Burton Bill that has since debilitated millions of innocent Cuban people and the U. S. democracy. But of all the American presidents since the 1960s, Mr. Obama has shown the most guts, the most intelligence and the most concern for the U. S. democracy by powerfully and astutely using his executive powers to slice into the Batistiano-directed congressional laws regarding the embargo...an embargo that ALL THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD OPPOSE. Yet, the dysfunctional U. S. Congress with an approval rating in single digits still maintains the essence of the embargo without even having to acknowledge that the nations of the world oppose it 191-to-zero and that even the United States of America no longer supports it. So study the graphic above and comprehend how democracy-lovers like the decent President Obama view the embargo opposed by the entire world. If you do that, I believe you will feel sorry for the U. S. democracy.  

U. S. Recognizes Cuba

Obama's Legacy at Work?
       This photo is courtesy of Sara Krulwich/The New York Times and it reflects another tribute to President Obama's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, which includes the apparently begrudging admission that it is a sovereign nation even as forces opposed to Obama and Cuba continue numerous, unheralded, tax-funded regime-change programs targeting the island. The photo above shows Genaro Mauricio at the American Museum of Natural History working on a coral reef exhibition entitled "iCuba." It's just one part of the Cuban displays and it's the very first time the museum has ever recognized the island of Cuba.
A model of the Cuban solenodon at the Museum.
       Both the VOA, Voice of America, and ACN, the Cuban News Agency, used the above REUTERS photo to report this week that Cuba will greatly expand Internet access by the end of this year. The Cubans shown above are using a Wi-Fi hook-up to access the Internet. There are already just over 200 such hook-ups across the island, but the hourly fees are rather prohibitive for many Cubans. The VOA estimates that there are only about 5% of Cuban homes currently with Internet access but the ACN says Cuba is working to increase that availability now and that Cuba will offer Internet service on mobile phones in 2017. At the same time, Cuba has clearly indicated to the U. S. that it will back-track on such efforts if "we detect, as we have in the past, concerted efforts by foreign regime-change factions to grossly misuse Internet advances."
     This photo is courtesy of Havana Times.org. This little Cuban girl's proudest possession is her squeezable doll. This beautiful little girl is no one's enemy. But the U. S. embargo is her enemy.
   The photo of the little girl in today's Revolutionary Cuba holding her beloved squeezable doll reminds me of this historic photo from the 1950s during the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba. This photo of a little Cuban girl clutching a block of wood and pretending it was her doll was taken by the great Alberto Korda. As poignant and as famed as it is, it is not the photo that made Korda an historic legend; that was his still ubiquitous photo of Che Guevara. But this is the one that he was most proud of, the one he said, "touched my heart and taught me the difference between right and wrong, the difference between the innocent and the guilty." Korda realized this little girl was no one's enemy but the Batista-Mafia dictatorship was her enemy.
Poverty in Batista's Cuba that impacted Alberto Korda.
      Alberto Korda was born in 1928 in Havana. He died of a heart attack in Paris in 2001 while showing an exhibition of his renowned photos. He is buried along with other notable Cubans at the Colon Cemetery in Havana. After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959, Korda became Fidel Castro's and Che Guevara's favorite photographer as he, too, became a legend. In addition to the famed Che photo that still adorns millions of coffee mugs, T-shirts, and dorm rooms, Korda took other famous photos such as the one depicting Fidel at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington in April of 1959 and Fidel with Nikita Khrushchev in the Soviet Union in 1963. But the photo that he said most "touched his heart" was the one of the little Cuban girl pretending that the block of wood was her doll. If the other photos made Korda rich and famous, it was the one he took of that little girl that proved he, indeed, was a good man and one with a heart.


Distorting Cuba

An American Pastime!!!
{Updated: Tuesday, October 25th, 2016}
       My most recent issue of Smithsonian Magazine included a 15-page update on the Cuban Revolution. It was an accurate, insightful and unbiased account of that historic event that has had such a profound effect on Cuba and the United States. The Revolution, by elevating Cuba as a player on the world stage far out of proportion to its size, also has greatly affected international events, alliances and liaisons. On a Cubaninsider essay entitled "Smithsonian Updates Cuban Revolution," I reviewed that article. It reminded me that there are excellent sources in the United States that actually tell the truth about the U.S.-Cuban nexus, which is in sharp contrast to the mainstream U. S. media and the U. S. government, both of which take their Cuban directives and narratives from the most visceral elements of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship booted off the island to American soil way back on January 1, 1959. The U. S. democracy, to the sorrow of its greatest admirers, has not been able to correct shooting itself in the foot in 1952 when right-wingers in Washington teamed the U. S. with the Mafia to support the vile Batista dictatorship in Cuba.
         As with Smithsonian Magazine, I also subscribe to National Geographic Magazine and the latest edition I received today had an accurate, insightful, and unbiased 20-page update on Cuba. It was written by Cynthia Gorney and featured great photos by David Guttenfelder. It's entitled "Here Comes the Wave" and it dedicates the superb 20 pages to inform us about the "Changing Cuba" resulting from "A warming relationship with the U. S." As with the Smithsonian Magazine summary of the Cuban Revolution, this National Geographic article tells the truth about today's Cuba...the kind of truth that the U. S. media and the U. S. government will not tell you lest it might upset a few very rich and powerful Cuban-American hardliners.
           This is one of the many photos by David Guttenfelder that illustrates the 20-page update on Cuba in this week's new edition of National Geographic Magazine. It's an excellent, fair portrayal of the island.
           This photo was taken a few days ago -- on October 20th, 2016 -- in Havana, Cuba. The photographer was Ladyrene Perez. Ladyrene works for the state-controlled Cuban media. This photo, and the story behind it, became a major news item that day in Cuba -- including print, television and online pro-government blogs. International outlets such as the BBC also covered it. The photo is just as significant for the U. S. as it is for Cuba. Yet, the mainstream media in the U. S. would not touch such a photo or the meaning behind it. As a democracy-lover, that reminds me of the apparent veracity of a comment that Cristina Escobar, Cuba's impressive 28-year-old news anchor, made when she was in Washington to cover the last of the four Vidal-Jacobson diplomatic sessions: "Journalists in Cuba {working for the state-run media} have more freedom to tell the truth about the U. S. than U. S. journalists have to tell the truth about Cuba." Instead of ignoring that comment due to political correctness, I believe democracy-loving Americans should contemplate it on behalf of America and democracy. With that in mind, here's the story behind the above photo. It shows America's Secretary of Health, Sylvia Burwell, and Cuba's Health Minister, Roberto Morales, signing a joint agreement to cooperate for the benefit of Americans and Cubans.
       After the extremely important signing ceremony, this photo also taken by Ladyrene Perez shows America's Secretary of Health, Ms. Burwell, shaking hands with Cuba's Health Minister, Mr. Morales. The mainstream U. S. media and 8 Cuban-Americans in the 535-member U. S. Congress believe Ms. Burwell and Mr. Morales should be fighting each other, not shaking hands. Ms. Burwell...and most Americans, most Cubans, most Cuban-Americans, and most people in the world...believe that Cuban-American handshakes should take precedence over decades of belligerence designed to benefit a few and harm everyone else.
      America's top health official, Secretary of Health Sylvia Burwell, believes the agreement she signed with Cuba a few days ago will benefit Americans, Cubans, and people around the world. She, like leading cancer experts in the U. S., admires the vaccines Cuba's medical scientists have invented and she wants those vaccines further tested and then made available to American patients. Ms. Burwell believes Cuba's lung cancer vaccine is "a remarkable advance in cancer research that can possibly benefit Americans." She also admires Cuban research and vaccines designed to combat such diseases as "dengue, zika and diabetics." NO WAY, you say, THAT A FEW CUBAN-AMERICANS IN CONGRESS IN CONJUNCTION WITH AN INTIMIDATED OR INCOMPETENT MEDIA SHOULD DISMISS THE MAJORITY OPINION OF AMERICA'S TOP HEALTH OFFICIAL!! But such insanity and cowardice permeates the American conscience on a daily basis, while pusillanimous and unpatriotic Americans, for the most part, meekly and silently permit it to happen.
       The Burwell-Morales health agreement linking U.S.-Cuban cooperation is a brave and positive product of President Obama's historic efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. Most Americans, almost all of the citizens of the world, and most Cuban-Americans even in the Little Havana section of Miami support Obama's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, which would benefit millions of people in areas such as health and greatly improve America's image. Yet, a few revengeful and self-serving members of the U. S. Congress -- aided and abetted by the power of the mainstream U. S. media -- will probably succeed, as they have for six decades, in maintaining a very disastrous anti-American & anti-democracy Cuban policy.
       Miami's Marco Rubio is a fixture in the U. S. Senate and is already making his second bid to become U. S. President in 2020 after failing in his 2016 bid. Rubio's qualifications for the Senate and as a presidential candidate are two-fold: {1} He is a anti-Castro Cuban-American from Miami where it seems only anti-Castro zealots get sent to Congress although most Cuban-Americans in Miami favor Obama's Cuban decency as opposed to Rubio's Cuban belligerency; and {2} Rubio can stay a Senate incumbent and a Presidential candidate because he is the Poster Boy for courting and soliciting the deep-pocket wealth of every right-wing or conservative billionaire eager to purchase the U. S. democracy as their own toy. Yet, even minus any other qualifications, Rubio -- as the graphic above indicates -- gets "Breaking News" coverage from the mainstream U. S. media whenever he wants to assault and demean decent and sane Cuban overtures from decent and sane Americans like President Obama and like Secretary of Health Sylvia Burwell. Yes, it's the same mainstream U. S. media that doesn't have the guts or integrity to report on the important U.S.-Cuban health agreement signed in Havana a few days ago, the type of decency and sanity related to Cuba that Rubio vows in his "Breaking News" rants to "block in the Senate" and "turn back" when he {or his kind} capture the White House, which would surely also probably mean a very quick re-capture of Cuba.
      This expensive monument, and many others like it, are in the Little Havana section of Miami heralding and commemorating such great American endeavors as the..."17th April 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion."  
      This monument of a powerful lion is in the Prado neighborhood in Havana, Cuba. It is a tourist attraction, made more so the day when a gorgeous little Cuban schoolgirl decided to sit on the lion's back as she posed prettily for tourists. The photo, a superb one, is used courtesy of Havana Times.org.
      Cubans are well educated free-of-charge and, naturally, they are quite curious about worldly things. They now have more access to digital information at Wi-Fi hook-ups such as this busy street-side outlet.
      Among the notable twenty-somethings in Cuba is Cristina Escobar. At age 28 she is the most ubiquitous and most respected young adult on the island. Well-educated, bilingual and a brilliant television anchor, Escobar's two most famed quotes -- both on YouTube and left behind in Washington after her well-publicized dominance of a White House news conference -- are: {1} "Cuba's fate is up to Cubans on the island, not Cubans in Miami or Washington;" and {2"Journalists in Cuba have more freedom to tell the truth about the U. S. than U. S. journalists have to tell the truth about Cuba." Now whether or not you believe Cristina, or whether or not you have plans to recapture Cuba, you might want to respect her views, which seem genuine. It's likely that young adults like her on the island will predicate Cuba's future, not a few rich and powerful Cubans in Miami and Washington. Cristina graduated from the University of Havana where she majored in broadcast journalism and U.S.-Cuban relations. Being a superb journalist and being an expert on U.S.-Cuban relations, she is often interviewed -- in Spanish or English -- on regional and international networks. At the University of Havana her senior thesis had a very interesting title: "President Obama's Expected Cuban Policies." Yes, her predictions and assessments in the thesis were eerily correct.
So, hey, America!! Instead of being force-fed Cuban information by Senator Marco Rubio or the mainstream U. S. media, you might want to hear and see what Cristina Escobar thinks. She's easy to find...on Cuban television if you happen to be able to visit the island, on regional television where she hosts a news program in English, on YouTube in Spanish or English, in international interviews, and on the Pulitzer Center website that sponsored a major Tracey Eaton-produced video featuring Cristina, a feisty and informed young Cuban who believes that Cuban news should supersede Cuban propaganda. So, do you agree that's a refreshing idea for both Cuba and the U. S.



Vidal Targets THE Embargo

She Might Win!! 
       The U. S. economic embargo against Cuba...which the island calls a blockade...has been in effect since 1962. Cuba has had no problem convincing the rest of the world that it constitutes "genocide" and that it is "history's all-time longest and cruelest blockade ever imposed by a strong nation against a weak one." Each October the United Nations highlights that generally accepted fact with a stunning 191-to-2 vote supporting Cuba's position on the embargo/blockade. The problem with such near-unanimity-of-opinion is two-fold: {1} The U. S. is the strongest nation in the history of the world and it has a veto in the UN as well as, if it chooses, over world opinion; and {2} Since the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship was overthrown by the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the U. S. government and a coerced or apathetic U. S. citizenry have allowed Batistiano-Mafiosi remnants to dictate America's Cuban policy via control of Miami's and Washington's Cuban-related politics. Since 1952, when the U. S. teamed with the Mafia to support the vile Batista dictatorship in Cuba, Americans have been successfully propagandized or intimidated to keep them from even complaining about the damage such a Cuban policy has on America's democratic reputation.
       As this poster indicates, America's Cuban policy -- such as teaming with the Mafia in 1952 to ransack Cuba till the Revolution intervened in 1959 and then allowing the revengeful Batistianos to regroup and thrive on U. S. soil -- has not only served to demean the U. S. but it has also garnered considerable support for the Castro regime both on the island and on the international scale. That is what makes posters like this resonate as pugnacious little Cuba is depicted as being the quintessential David vs. Goliath by merely surviving decades of such things as...assassination attempts, unpunished terrorist acts, the military attack at the Bay of Pigs, and, of course, the embargo that Cuba successfully portrays as "the genocidal longest and cruelest blockade ever imposed by a really strong nation against a weak one."  
        And that brings us around to this very effective poster that was plastered around Havana this week -- late October of 2016. The lady shown in the upper-left at the microphone is Josefina Vidal, Cuba's brilliant Minister in charge of relations with the United States. The poster promoted an anti-blockade speech Vidal delivered at the University of Havana on October 17th, a prelude to next week's next UN vote on the blockade. Vidal is deeply respected in Cuba, Washington and around the world, and the University of Havana is brimming with well-educated students who strongly resent how their parents, grandparents,and now their siblings and themselves have been and are being unmercifully punished by the blockade.
    Havana students awaiting the arrival of Josefina Vidal.
Vidal did not disappoint those students. 
She arrived wearing an anti-blockade T-shirt!!
      Sitting on an elevated stage and utilizing a microphone and loudspeakers, Vidal unleashed a blistering assault "on the genocidal heartbreak the blockade has caused your parents all their lives and now is seeking to do the same thing to you...and to your children." Notice the attentive reaction of the Cuban students.
     Vidal, surrounded by a sea of young, well-educated Cubans who agree with her, spent an intense session in the open-air, tropical heat beseeching the students to "never forget who your prime enemies are. They are the ones behind the blockade and other uncivil acts against Cubans on the island while enriching and empowering the worst Cubans off the island to afford them unchecked and unlimited means to assault you as they seek revenge for the revolution and to enrich and empower themselves in America. If you are displeased with government officials like me on the island, you can let us know and then you can judge our reaction. But the time has come to do more to fight the anti-Cuban forces off the island...forces such as the blockade, the occupation of rightful Cuban territory at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. tax-funded programs designed to recapture this island to, as they tell the American people, to bring you democracy...such as when they brought your forebears the Mafia in the 1950s. Only a few of the revolutionaries are still around, the ones who kicked the Mafia back to the U. S. and, despite the blockade, provide you free and good educations, free and good health care, and protect you, I believe, better than Americans are protected on their streets or in their homes or cars. But we are more survivalists than perfectionists. If there is to be democracy or socialism or whatever in your lives, you are the ones who should decide that, not the anti-Cubans in Miami and Washington. We have gained much working with the decency of President Obama in the past two years, but there is still Miami and still Congress beyond his control, and he has only days left as President. The blockade-runners are still powerful as they hide behind a superpower. You young dear Cubans are sooooo strong. You just have to be a bit stronger considering the strength of those who are trying to literally starve you with the blockade." 
      Vidal's impassioned assault on the embargo not only stressed the harm it brings to the older students but also to "your siblings in lower grades below college level. They are also made to suffer each day by cruel elements in a foreign country." The U. S. media is not in the business of presenting Cuba's side of issues such as the embargo, but 51 minutes and 27 seconds of Vidal's speech at the University of Havana was and is available online at powerful venues such as HuffPost/TheWorldPost. In that video Vidal speaks Spanish but she was just as emphatic when she later answered questions in English concerning the embargo.
      Vidal's main theme to the University of Havana students emphasized that Cuba's revolutionary government, in "stark contrast to the Batista years of the 1950s and the intent of Cuba's enemies in Miami and Washington during these crucial modern times" provides "all its people free educations and health care and street safety." And that salient point seemed to resonate the strongest with University of Havana students such as Rosalie Contreras who told "REUTERS" that, "We have world opinion behind us and we must not allow the blockade to do to the children beneath us what it has done to us and our parents. Josefina is fighting just for us and for them, not against us and them while basking in a Miami mansion."
      This is Josefina Vidal modestly dressed in her modest Havana office. She is the indefatigable leader of Cuba's David vs. Goliath struggle against the island's prime enemies in Miami and in the United States Congress. She may lose that struggle but she is both skilled and determined enough to amazingly make it a contestable battle in which she believes her side is supported by what she calls "world opinion and by what would be justice for past and current Cubans who have fought so hard for independence and for sovereignty."
       As a world-class and nonpareil Cuban Minister, Josefina Vidal has already achieved milestones that a handful of ultra-powerful Cuban-Americans deemed impossible -- such as getting Cuba removed from the Batistiano-dictated Sponsors of Terrorism list; opening embassies in Havana and Washington for the first time since 1961; loosening a Miami-dictated rule that made everyday Americans the only people in the world without the freedom to visit Cuba; getting a friendly U. S. president in 2016 to be the first sitting president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge arrived on a warship in 1928; having U. S. cruise ships visit Cuba for the first time in over five decades; having U. S. commercial flights land in Cuba for the first time in over five decades; etc. But Vidal has three more impossible tasks testing her diplomatic skills: {1Ending what she calls the "blockade;" {2} ending what continues as a string of U.S. tax-funded regime-change programs; and {3} getting Guantanamo Bay returned to what she calls its rightful owner, "Cuba." The odds are about a million-to-one against her regarding this unfinished business but she faced similar odds on several things she has already achieved. Thus, being underestimated works to her own advantage. 
And you know what
      There are four firmly entrenched Cuban-American members of Congress from Miami. Polls show that most Cuban-Americans even in Miami's Little Havana district favor normalizing relations with Cuba but...alas...it seems only anti-Castro zealots and scions of zealous anti-Castro families can get elected to Congress from Miami, which still occupies fertile U. S. soil. Another irony related to U.S.-Cuban relations is that a staunch pro-Cuban lady in Cuba, Vidal, seems more concerned about the demeaning image America's Cuban policy casts on America and democracy than do the Cuban-Americans in Congress. Now chew on that for a moment and, of course -- being in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave -- you're perfectly free to disagree, at least verbally, with such ironies and assumptions.



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 ...