Will Cuba Survive Trump?

Not Likely, Here's Why!!
      With just hours left in 2016, it has become clear that the American transition from President Obama to President-elect Trump will monumentally alter America's gigantic roles domestically and internationally. For the first time in its history, this transition is akin to switching from hot to cold, from sanity to insanity.
       President Obama invited President-elect Trump to the White House for a handshake and an exchange of decent words in an effort to facilitate the American tradition of a smooth democratic transition from one administration to another. But that gesture, this time, was doomed to fail. The final days of Mr. Obama's two-term presidency finds him, amazingly, leaving office with an approval rating above 50%, a rare occurrence. But the staged photo above could not conceal the power and resurgence of a right-wing minority that stridently opposes all of the positive things that the Obama administration has tried to achieve, and that includes the historic and brave efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. Even as President Obama's right-hand reached out to grasp President-elect Trump's left hand, Mr. Obama was fully aware that Trump's danger to the U. S. and the world relies on the still out-sized power of such entities as fringes of the Bush political machine and the sanctimoniously pompous Tea Party. Moreover, Trump's scary ties to the powerful leaders of two increasingly anti-Obama nuclear powers -- Russia and Israel -- is not lost on Obama nor should it be minimized by patriotic Americans. The Obama administration is convinced that Russia played a huge role in the election of Trump, which stunned the world, and indeed in the last two days of Dec.-2016 President Obama has leveled strong sanctions to punish Russia for that vile anti-democracy assault. Additionally, the right-wing leader of Israel -- fully aware he has dominance over the Republican U. S. Congress and the incoming Republican President -- has lost no opportunity to shame Mr. Obama and the Office he holds, with 2016 coming to an end as both Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu fume and brag loudly about the demise of Obama and the advent of Trump -- hot to cold and sanity to insanity.
        Within seconds after that White House handshake, Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump more honestly seemed to separate themselves, physically and otherwise, as much as possible. Since 1776, no U. S. President -- not even Nixon or the three Bush administrations -- have legitimately been accused of putting the interests of foreign nations ahead and above that of America itself. But already, the incoming Trump presidency is fearfully being accused of, in many instances, favoring Russia and Israel over the United States. And that is a fact that deeply concerns a frustrated Mr. Obama the most, and it is indeed a worthwhile concern.
       As for U.S.-Cuba relations, President-elect Trump has gone face-to-face with the elderly survivors of  Brigade 2506 in Miami and promised them that, starting Jan. 20-2017, he will be their Commander-in-Chief. Brigade 2506 is the unit that, backed by the CIA and tons of tax dollars, infamously attacked Cuba in April of 1961 only to magnanimously lose, handing Fidel Castro his strongest hand yet as the Revolutionary leader of Cuba. Along with Miami's fiercely anti-Castro contributions to the current U. S. Congress -- Rubio, the Diaz-Balarts, Curbelo and the entrenched-since-1989 Bush disciple Ros-Lehtinen -- the remnants of Brigade 2506, after all these decades, have now been freshly refurbished by Trump.
       By way of contrasting Trump's sell-out to Brigade 2506 and Congress regarding Cuba, President Obama's efforts to normalize relations with the island will...at the least...always embellish his legacy.
       In addition to using his Executive Powers to slash deeply into cruel and anti-American congressionally mandated assaults on eleven million totally innocent Cubans, President Obama became the first sitting U. S. President to visit the island since 1928. In March of this year in Cuba he told the Cuban people, "Cuba does not need to fear a threat from the United States." Of course, at the time he had no expectation that a Donald Trump would soon succeed him as President and Commander-in-Chief of the United States.
     This AP photo is being used this week to highlight the anticipated difference between an Obama presidency and a Trump presidency.  The photo shows the tailend of a Sun Airlines Boeing 737 sitting on the tarmac. Sun a few weeks ago was rejoicing after it received permission to start regular commercial flights from Minneapolis-St. Paul in the U. S. to the Cuban cities of Matanzas and Santa Clara. Sun planned to start those flights in March but yesterday requested permission to postpone till...at the earliest...December of 2017. Sun cited "barriers from the embargo" but left unsaid were President-elect Trump's vow to "reverse" all of President Obama's positives related to Cuba. That vow is causing many U. S. businesses, including those already engaged in Obama-sanctioned Cuban contracts, to rethink their Cuban engagements. After all, they understand what reverse means and Trump starting January 20th also will have Executive Powers as well as a Batistiano-dominated Congress that will rubber-stamp any negative anti-Cuban suggestion, making it "legal" just like such abominations as the embargo are "legal."
     Since 1961 till President Obama changed things in 2016, U. S. commercial airplane flights from the U. S. to Cuba had been banned. It was reaffirmed in 1962 by a U. S. embargo of Cuba that was designed to starve and deprive Cubans on the island to induce them to overthrow Castro after assassination attempts and the 1961 Bay of Pigs attack failed to accomplish that on behalf of the ousted Batistiano-Mafiosi leaders who had regrouped quickly on U. S. soil after the 1959 victory of the Cuban Revolution. But earlier this year JetBlue Airlines made an historic commercial flight to Santa Clara, Cuba. Since then, ten U. S. airlines have relished permission to fly to ten Cuban cities. On Dec. 1st of this month Delta Airlines made the first U.S.-to-Havana commercial flight since 1961. But now, with Trump about to replace Obama in the White House, all the U. S. airlines are beginning to cut-back on their scheduled flights to Cuba, citing both the impending Trump presidency and the endless Congress-mandated embargo that to this day prevents most everyday Americans from visiting Cuba although all other citizens of the world have the freedom to do so. But, since 1959, in order to hurt Cuba and appease the Batistianos, the great U. S. democracy has sacrificed freedoms and principles that, prior to eternally bracing the Batistianos, were so very dear to it.
      Earlier this month -- December of 2016 -- in Brussels the 28-nation European Union and Cuba signed an historic Agreement to begin normalizing relations, with all the European countries reacting collectively to the positive overtures taken by U. S. President Obama. That Agreement led to the above handshake between the EU leader Federica Mogherini and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. All the European nations and all the nations of the world support Obama's Cuban policy and oppose the looming threats to Cuba posed by incoming President Trump. But a rogue minority in the 535-member U. S. Congress teamed with a rogue Republican as Commander-in-Chief in the White House can do whatever they desire to sate the insatiable Cuban appetites of a handful of roguish Cuban-Americans. And Cuba understands that.
      This photo as much as anything that has gone before it reflects the extreme divide and daunting chasm between those who support Obama's decent Cuban policy and those who await what they expect will be Trump's indecent Cuban policy. This photo shows Samantha Power, the U. S. Representative to the United Nations, making a long detailed speech on October 26, 2016. That day the nations of the world voted 191-to-0 to express their profound opposition to America's Cuban policy, specifically the embargo that -- from 1962 till today -- has now been labeled the longest and cruelest economic embargo ever imposed by a powerful nation against a weak nation. The big headline out of that 191-to-0 vote that flashed around the world was the fact that Ms. Power abstained and refused to vote to support America's own Cuban policy. Then in the above speech the decent, bold and brilliant Ms. Power explained why she and her boss, President Obama, did not have the heart to support a Cuban policy that defied both logic and decency.
       And then last week Samantha Power at the United Nations abstained again, this time refusing to veto a 14-to-0 General Assembly vote that sharply opposed Israel for continuing to build settlements on occupied land that the world hopes one day will finally lead to a two-state solution to the age-old Israeli-Palestinian problem that, among other things, has so massively plagued the U. S. and its taxpayers. Always before, the U. S. veto in the UN has over-turned any votes to criticize Israel, a tiny country of 7 million people in which the U. S. -- and especially the Obama administration -- had made into one of the world's Top Four nuclear powers, made more powerful recently by another $38 billion package and the delivery to Israel of the first of 30 F-35 fighter planes that are certainly the most costly and supposedly the best ever built. Yet, Israel's right-wing leader and Trump's anti-American Tweets have unmercifully mocked and assailed both Ms. Power and Mr. Obama for strongly opposing the settlements that all previous U. S. presidents also opposed. But with a mighty nuclear arsenal and with far more influence in the U. S. Congress than American presidents, Israel can do whatever it chooses to do, especially with the support of Trump. 
      If you don't quite comprehend the difference between an Obama presidency and a Trump presidency, this photo should help. President-elect Trump has named Nikki Haley as the U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations to succeed Obama's Samantha Power, the antithesis to Haley, who has been the Governor of South Carolina since 2011. All the positive Samantha Power UN votes will be readily reversed by Nikki Haley.
       Nikki Haley is a product of the anti-Cuban Bush dynasty and she is also tightly tied to the anti-Cuban Tea Party and to the most vicious Cuban-American hardliners in Miami and in Congress. During the Republican presidential primary, Haley first supported anti-Castro zealot Senator Marco Rubio of Miami and when he was eliminated she strongly supported anti-Castro zealot Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. In the meantime, during the primary when she tried to put first Rubio and then Cruz in the White House, Haley repeatedly mocked Trump with countless vile and cruel denunciations. So, bent on putting foxes in his henhouse, Trump ends up appointing her his UN Ambassador, which she accepted apparently because of her own future White House ambitions. She has no diplomatic experience. The experienced Samantha Power, Obama's UN Representative, treated innocent Cubans on the island respectfully but Trump's UN Representative, Nikki Haley, will likely carry the Batistiano-Brigade 2506 banner in the UN. Did I mention...contrast? Obama to Trump; Power to Haley, etc. The contrasts will blow ill-winds toward Cuba.


Cuba Worries About 2017

A Post-Fidel, Pre-Trump Cuba 
{Thursday, December 29th, 2016}
      Cuba's Economy Minister Ricardo Cabrisas yesterday held a news conference for the AP and other news agencies and painted a rather bleak picture for the island's immediate financial future. Mr. Cabrisas said, "Our economy shrank almost 1% this year, the first such shrinkage in a quarter century." The plunge in revenue, he said, came in spite of the surge in tourism set off by President Obama's USA detente, which was overwhelmed by the enormous political and economic problems in Venezuela. Mr. Cabrisas confirmed that some of the social contracts with Venezuela have not been paid and that oil shipments in subsidized payments had fallen from 115,000 barrels-a-day in 2008 to 90,000 in recent years and to 40,000 in recent months. Cuba had been able to sell some refined gasoline but low prices for oil, sugar and nickel had also hurt Cuba's economy. Prior to confirmation from Mr. Cabrisas, the London Globe and Mail, Forbes and other major news outlets this week also predicted dire economic problems for Cuba heading into 2017, with roadblocks represented by the transition from the Cuba-friendly Obama White House to the Bush-like Trump administration looming as what one of Mr. Cabrisas' top aides had called "maybe an obstacle that only a healthy Fidel could overcome." Asked if he approved that comment, Mr. Cabrisas said, "I approve what we are trying to do. We will always be challenged by powerful forces. We will remain forever resilient." 
      Meanwhile, 2017 will mark a Cuba that will be forced to cope with a post-Fidel and pre-Trump reality it has never faced before. This Instagram photo, as it flashes around the world, is provoking additional, but pertinent, conversations about the island's future. Thanks to Obama, Cuba's famed ingenuity related to its renowned old cars have even resulted in new paint jobs and actual, not just improvised, repairs. The Cuban leaning against the spanking old car represents the mounting impatience of the island's healthy, well-educated and ambitious young-adult generation that will...more and more...demand input into whatever the future holds for the gorgeous Caribbean nation that reeks of enormous potential IF domestic problems aligned with greedy and revengeful U. S. entities can be overcome or even merely blunted.
      Old Dominion University in Virginia is one of a growing number of American universities and businesses that desperately want to interact with the island of Cuba. Early in the New Year of 2017 both graduate students and undergraduates from ODU plan to spend time in Cuba intermingling with Cubans while also studying Cuba's unique culture, cuisine and farming methods, all of which have been severely affected since 1962 by the cruel U. S. embargo against the island, a travesty unanimously opposed, 191-to-0, by the nations of the world and an abomination that the U. S. democracy continues decade-after-decade to appease a few self-serving miscreants in Miami and in Congress. But now, even after its exciting Cuba announcement, ODU may have to rethink its trip to the island. Trump has already let it be known he will allow the likes of Bush-era zealots Mauricio Claver-Carone and John Bolton along with Miami hardliners in Congress to make his Cuban decisions, amounting to the continuation of a vicious, internationally scorned tragedy that targets millions of innocent Cubans as well as the once sacrosanct American democracy.  


Cuba Awaiting Trump

With Trepidation!!
        A lot remains the same in Cuba as the island prepares for the seismic presidential transition in America from Cuba's proven friend Barack Obama to its anticipated enemy Donald Trump. But before that officially occurs on January 20th in the fast-approaching New Year, there are major Cuban changes too.
         With considerable help from China, Cuba has opened an impressive new factory that has the capacity to produce 120,000 sixth-generation laptops as well as a passel of 8-and-10-inch tablets per year. China provided the funding and a Chinese company, Haier, contributed the staff training, technology and equipment. China considers Cuba "the pathway" to greater Chinese influence in the Caribbean and Latin America, so China is pleased that the unfriendly Trump administration is replacing the friendly Obama administration when it comes to Cuba, leaving China more opportunities to invest in Cuban projects.
       Paul Haven, the Latin American News Director for the Associated Press, also had a big announcement this week related to the ongoing Cuban changes. The AP is returning its Caribbean base of operations to Havana for the first time since 1961. That was the year that the U. S. accelerated its assassination attempts against Fidel Castro and also teamed with the lavishly trained Cuban-exile Brigade 2506 unit to attack Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in April of 1961, only to suffer a humiliating defeat that greatly embellished Castro's hold on the island for the next five decades, which also embellished Brigade 2506's hold on Miami for a similar length of time. In 1999 the AP reopened an office in Havana but this final week of 2016 marks the first time since 1961 that the powerful news organization has shifted its Caribbean-Latin American headquarters back to Cuba.
      The Editor of the newly situated AP regional bureau in Havana will be Michael Weissenstein, a very fast-rising AP star.
    There is a suspicion that the AP's new emphasis on Cuba relates to the expectation that Trump and his friends at the newly emboldened Brigade 2506, still a major entity in Miami's Little Havana section, will try to recapture Cuba to make up for the April-1961 debacle. Meanwhile, China looms as a prime observer not so unlike the Soviet Union did in 1961 to launch the Cold War, which Trump might relaunch as a Hot War in 2017.
WOW!! 2017 might be the most exciting year yet!!


Does Florida Own Cuba?

Or Is Cuba A Sovereign Country?
       Few people on this planet know as much about U.S.-Cuban relations as author/journalist Paul Guzzo at Florida's top newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times. In fact, the Times lists Paul's title as "History Writer" and he is indeed that...and much more.
     Additionally, Paul Guzzo is unique as one of the few U. S. journalists and authors who has the courage and integrity to rise above incessant Batistiano propaganda and report the truth...as raw and sometimes as dangerous as it is...regarding U.S.-Cuban relations. Therefore, it is surely not surprising that during this Holiday season as the pivotal year of 2016 draws to a close that Paul Guzzo in the Tampa Bay Times has penned the most definitive article related to the Cuba-U.S. entanglements. His latest gem, a must-read unless you prefer U.S.-Cuban propaganda, is entitled: "Billionaire Philanthropist David A. Straz Jr. Has Spent Years Quietly Uniting Tampa and Cuba." Before you can consider yourself knowledgeable and up-to-date on the U.S.-Cuban conundrum, you need to know David A. Straz Jr. and why, even as a well-known billionaire in Florida, he needs to very quietly display his love for Cuba.
       This photo of David A. Straz Jr. is courtesy of Paul Guzzo and the Tampa Bay Times. Mr. Straz calls Cuba "a wonderful country" and Revolutionary Cuba loves him back. When his private jet approaches Havana's Jose Marti Airport, all out-going and all in-coming air traffic is halted until Mr. Straz's plane is safely parked in a special place and he has walked off the tarmac. Behind the scenes for many years Mr. Straz, a well-known billionaire philanthropist, has worked tirelessly -- on behalf of Cuba and the United States -- to try to make sure that a majority in the United States and not just a self-serving and revengeful few have input in an American Cuban policy that currently gets a resounding 191-to-0 denunciation in the United Nations. So why, you ask, does such a powerful man as Mr. Straz make his contributions to U.S.-Cuban relations so "quietly" from his base in Tampa, Florida. Paul Guzzo reports that one of Mr. Straz's primary political mentors suffered greatly from also trying to bring decency and sanity to America's Cuban policy, and that's not exactly a great testament to the sacrosanct United States democracy that began a continuous, perhaps unstoppable, backslide way back in 1952 when the United States teamed with the Mafia to support the vile Batista dictatorship in Cuba and then in 1959 the avalanche picked up speed and power when the United States allowed the transferred ousted regime to refurbish itself powerfully on precious American soil.
         The antithesis to Tampa's David A. Straz Jr. is Miami's Marco Rubio. In January Rubio will begin his second 6-year term in the U. S. Senate, a body he once slammed for not getting anything done. Rubio first entered the Senate six years ago with his bio loudly heralding the fact that his parents had escaped the Castro tyranny in Cuba for the freedom of Miami. That was a Batistiano fact; the St. Petersburg Times revealed that, actually, Rubio's parents had escaped the Batista tyranny in Cuba long before the audacious Castro had chased Batistiano and Mafiosi leaders to Florida. Rubio hit the Senate six years ago running for President of the United States in 2016, accounting for the fact that he was actually dead-last in the Senate when it came time to vote. A billionaire auto dealer in Miami had put up the first $10 million to finance Rubio's presidential bid with a promise that whatever money it took to put Rubio in the White House would follow. Running for President and soliciting billionaire dollars consumed Rubio but his first-term in the Senate was highlighted when he was wiped out by Donald Trump in the Florida primary, after which Rubio loudly said he would not seek a second term as Senator from Miami. But that, of course, soon changed when, apparently, it was deemed that his high-profile seat in the Senate was needed as a platform for his 2020 presidential bid. The election to a second term in the Senate, despite losing the primary in his home state to Trump, was a foregone conclusion because, it seems, only anti-Castro zealots in Florida can get elected to the U. S. Congress although polls show that the majority of Cuban-Americans even in Miami favor President Obama's and David A. Straz's decent and compassionate efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. The same Cuban-American minority that overwhelms Congress also seem to think they own Cuba, which happens to be a sovereign nation, at least as long as they can't get the U. S. to recapture it for them.
       During the 2016 presidential campaign, the victor Donald Trump pointed out that "Sheldon Adelson would have total control over Rubio." Sheldon Adelson is the controversial Vegas-Macao casino owner who is worth in excess of $30 billion but is just one of many Jewish billionaires apparently anxious to put Rubio in the White House in 2020. Meanwhile, except for leading the Senate in missed votes and vowing to erase all of President Obama's positive overtures related to Cuba, Rubio has yet to make a mark helping needy Americans or innocent Cubans and in America's money-crazed political arena he doesn't have to. Meanwhile, President-elect Trump is poised to take his Cuban-related advice from the likes of Rubio.
        President-elect Trump, caving in to Senator Rubio and the other five Cuban-American anti-Castro zealots in Congress, even went to Miami's Little Havana and promised elderly Brigade 2506 veterans that he would immediately erase all of President Obama's Cuban sanity and insanely fulfill their long-awaited desire to regain control of Cuba. Brigade 2506 was the unit that attacked Cuba in April of 1961 but instead of annihilating Fidel Castro it helped to forever enshrine his revolutionary credentials at the Bay of Pigs.
      This historic photo reflects how Florida was reconfigured beginning in January of 1959 after the Cuban Revolution booted the Batistiano-Mafiosi leaders off the Caribbean island to what turned out to be a very soft landing on nearby U. S. soil. On the left above is Santo Trafficante Jr. who, along with his father, was the Mafia kingpin in Tampa for decades. But from 1952 till 1959 Trafficante Jr. was one of the Top Four dictators in Cuba, right behind Fulgencio Batista, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. After getting kicked out of Cuba, Trafficante Jr., of course, returned to Tampa as that city's Mafia kingpin. The gentleman carrying the satchel above is the famed Mafia lawyer Frank Ragano. Just before he died in 1998 Frank was kind enough to history to reveal and document many Cuban-Mafia schemes, including in Cuba and Florida.
       This 1958 Life Magazine photo shows Meyer Lansky, the Jewish Mafia kingpin, leaving his Riviera Hotel casino in Havana with a satchel containing a reported $200,000 in 1958 cash. Such fleecing of Cuba from 1952 till 1959 reportedly resulted in tons of money being sent ahead to Swiss and Israeli banks as well as Mafia-related banks in Miami, Tampa and Newark. So, hooking back up with that kind of money beginning in 1959 purchased a lot of property and, even more significantly, greased a lot of for-sale politicians.
     Talented 28-year-old broadcast journalist Cristina Escobar is one of Cuba's and the region's most influential experts on U.S.-Cuban relations. In fact, her thesis at the University of Havana was acutely accurate in predicting How President Obama Would Affect Relations With Cuba. She has made notable journalist ventures to California and Washington but she is adamantly pro-Cuban and fluent in both Spanish and English. In both languages she has stressed the same theme: "Cuba's fate is up to Cubans on the island, not Cubans in Miami and Washington." She admits now that, with the Republican Trump soon taking over the White House and anti-Cuban zealots like Rubio dictating Cuban policy in the Republican-controlled Congress, "We might finally lose our hard-earned sovereignty to a superpower but, like other true patriotic Cubans who died fighting for it on Cuban soil, we must try with everything we have to defend it." 
       There was a time in the not-too-distant past that graphics like this one did not routinely mock the U. S. democracy. The recently concluded, money-crazed, ridiculously long U. S. presidential election left frustrated American voters trying desperately to choose between what most of them considered the lesser of two evils -- the Democrat Hillary Clinton and the equally unpopular Republican Donald Trump. Both campaigns -- before, during and after the election that shocked the world by electing Trump as the leader of the Free World -- correctly complained about a "rigged" election, and indeed it was rigged by special interest money -- both domestic and foreign -- and by an establishment-rigged system that doesn't want to relinquish the greedy and lucrative grip that the nation's billionaires have on the world's economic and military superpower. The graphic above from a conservative group attacks the Democratic National Committee but just as many are replicated by liberal groups attacking the Republican National Committee, perhaps proving once and for all that a rigged two-party system needs some adjustment in the world's greatest democracy. One additional legitimate point that such pundit-driven, self-serving graphics actually make is this: Whether it's a foreign country like Russia or whistle-blowers like Wikileaks, Andrew Snowden, etc., most of the "dreaded leaks" of such things as classified documents or supposedly hidden emails are not attacked for their authenticity but rather for merely being LEAKED. It's a reminder that one of the built-in weaknesses of the U. S. democracy has been and is the routine use of classifying...or hiding...documents and actions from the American public for the oft-stated purpose of "protecting national security" when actually it is meant to "protect" the high-powered perpetrators of secretive evil deeds.
        FOR EXAMPLE, FROM THE 1950S TILL TODAY AMERICANS HAVE KNOWN LITTLE ABOUT THE U. S. GOVERNMENT'S CLASSIFIED AND NEFARIOUS ACTIONS REGARDING CUBA, such as why and how a few right-wing thugs in the Eisenhower administration teamed the U. S. democracy with the Mafia to support the brutal, thieving Batista dictatorship in Cuba in 1952. Or how more high-flying U. S. thugs spawned the Cuban Revolution that booted the Batista-Mafia leadership back to U. S. soil in 1959. Or how, once on U. S. soil, the Batistianos and Mafiosi, aided and abetted by such entities as the Bush dynasty and the Tea Party, controlled the Cuban narrative in the U. S. and then dictated Cuban-related laws in the U. S. Congress designed to recapture Cuba and, in the meanwhile, enrich and empower a handful of the most revengeful anti-Cuban zealots in Miami first and later in Congress. FOR EXAMPLE, study the DE-classified letter depicted above that was dated "13 March 1962" and signed by a rather powerful man -- General Lyman Lemnitzer, the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff and America's most powerful military leader. The letter was classified, hidden, for about four decades...long after the long-admired General had died. The letter followed the April of 1961 U.S./Batistiano attack at the Bay of Pigs that was supposed to recapture Cuba but instead turned into a disaster that greatly enhanced Fidel Castro's grip on the island as well as his international standing. So, General Lemnitzer proposed another "Justification for U. S. Military Intervention in Cuba." The 1961 attack by then was not only labeled a U. S. disaster but also a criminal act conducted by the U. S. democracy, although the U. S. went to elaborate lengths -- even lying to the world in the United Nations -- about its total involvement. My point is, as a democracy-loving American I believe that democracy from the 1950s till today would be better served if the American people knew or know WHO was and is making six-decades of disastrous, even criminal, decisions related to Cuba. Those decisions have resulted in what today stands loudly as a 191-to-0 condemnation in the United Nations of America's Cuban policy, a worldwide vote that reflects the fact that Americans are the only citizens in the world without the freedom to freely visit Cuba and the only citizens in the world who have been bombarded for six decades by anti-Cuba/pro-Batistiano propaganda. Propagandists controlling narratives and actions apart from the participations of its citizens occur, I'm told, in oppressive dictatorships and Banana Republics but I don't believe should be hallmarks of a democracy. Notice in the above secretive first paragraph that General Lemnitzer stressed the word "pretexts" to justify another military attack on Cuba. A world superpower seeking or inventing self-serving "pretexts" to justify laws, attacks, and other ignominious acts against a vulnerable smaller nation have existed regarding Cuba since the murderous explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 served as the "pretext" for the Spanish-American War that finally gave the U. S. its long-desired dominance of Cuba, plus a few imperial bonuses such as the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam. Since 1959's triumph of the Cuban Revolution, of course, uncovering or dictating "pretexts" to recapture or continue attacking Cuba have been easy considering the control of the Cuban narrative, the continuous control of Congress and the malignant control of Republican White Houses. This eliminates checks-&-balances that were supposed to protect the great but fragile American democracy. In other words, restudy the above letter and ask yourself if democracy would have been better served if the American public had been aware of such things...like what General Lemnitzer was up to in March of 1962.
       This photo and the one that follows were taken by Reynaldo La O and are used courtesy of Havana Times.org. Above is a birthday party that took place in a bedroom in the Cuban town of Guantanamo, almost within sight and sound of the plush and unwanted U. S. Naval Base on occupied Cuban soil at Guantanamo Bay. These seven Cuban children...and their parents and grandparents...have been punished by a U. S. embargo first imposed in 1962 and now is etched in history and chronicled as the longest and cruelest economic embargo ever imposed by a powerful nation against a weak nation. A few "hardline" Cuban-Americans, first and second generational remnants of the ousted Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba, have benefited revengefully, economically and politically from the embargo along with a few easily acquired sycophants such as the Bush dynasty and the likes of Torricelli, Helms, & Burton in the U. S. Congress. The majority of Americans, Cuban-Americans and all the nations of the world...based on the current 191-to-0 condemnation in the United Nations...oppose the ignominious embargo. Yet...the unanimity of world opinion reveals that the once sacred U. S. democracy has been unable to correct the nefarious situation for the last six decades. Beyond the benefactors of the embargo, the primary culprits are the vast majority of American people who...either due to pure cowardice or a glaring lack of patriotism...allow it to happen.
       This little birthday girl is no one's enemy. She's just...a little girl. Her Cuban parents and grandparents dearly love her. Look at her birthday plate...cake, cookies, food. To decent, democracy-loving citizens of America and the world, it is abhorrent that a few parents and grandparents living in nearby mansions in a far-more-powerful country are able to craft an American Cuban policy that may benefit them but surely has greatly harmed little girls in Cuba like this for six decades...and running. A U. S. democracy that cares so little about this little girl is now a democracy that needs some adjustments. And that long-overdue adjusting, I believe, should start with making sure that Rubio*Ros-Lehtinen*Menendez*Diaz-Balart*Cruz*and*Curbelo as unchallenged incumbents in the 535-member U. S. Congress should not be allowed to dictate a U. S. Cuban policy that the rest of the world unanimously opposes. This angelic little birthday girl deserves that adjustment because she has a life to live, hopefully a life free of punishment.


CUBA: On Christmas Day 2016

A Special Comment 
        Unafraid of being politically incorrect in the United States of America, on Christmas Eve 2016 I would like to join The Medicc Staff to wish the totally innocent, much maligned children in Cuba a Merry Christmas. MEDICC is the acronym for Medical Education Cooperation With Cuba and it is one of many organizations in the United States that have admirable compassion for everyday Cubans on the island. I have been to Cuba and I remain indelibly impressed how very much, all across the island, the people of Cuba and the Revolutionary government of Cuba care for their children who are, plainly, the revolution's top priority. As a patriotic, democracy-loving U. S. citizen, I am just as indelibly ashamed that...for six decades...a revengeful, thieving and ignominious minority have been permitted to feast on their omnivorous punishment of Cuban children such as the happy, resilient ones depicted above. When a minority in the world's greatest and strongest democracy is allowed to punish children on a nearby island for six decades, the primary culprits, in my opinion, are not the perpetrators themselves but rather the majority of Americans who, decade after decade, permit it to happen due to pure cowardice, ignorance or an egregious lack of patriotism. If this conclusion and sentiment seems off-base or an exaggeration, believe me when I say it is not. All the nations of the world agree with me, based on their current 191-to-0 vote in the United Nations that harshly condemns America's Cuban policy. Of course, the perpetrators of America's Cuban miasma -- a cancerous minority primarily in Miami and the U. S. Congress -- could care less about how much harm and hubris their actions create for the United States and democracy. But, I must say, I remain frustratingly surprised that the majority of American citizens also carelessly don't give a damn either.
The Cuban flag bedecked with Christmas themes.
And so, to the children in Cuba
I want to wish all of you
a Merry Christmas...
and a Happy New Year...
and also say, "I'm sorry."


Cuba, the Punching Bag

And Still A Cash-Cow...
With a Trove of Votes!! 
      The Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, wrote a letter this week and addressed it to Cuban President Raul Castro and then actually mailed it. But any 5-year-old remotely familiar with Florida politics could easily detect that it was purely directed at and lavishly publicized to the extreme anti-Cuban hardliners that Mr. Scott apparently feels comprise the coveted political bigwigs in his state. I mean...let's get serious, Gov. Scott. Your very first two sentences made fun of the 85-year-old Cuban leader regarding the death of his beloved 90-year-old Brother: "As you know, following the death  of your brother Fidel, the streets of Miami were packed with people celebrating. This celebration represented the hope for an end to the decades of torture, repression, incarcerations and death that you and your brother have caused the people of Cuba." Get real, Governor! Did those celebrations in any manner or degree relate to revenge? Those first two sentences were not meant for Raul Castro because they merely replicate what he has heard many times before from Florida politicians seeking money and votes, but harassing him about his brother's death, as you know, plays really big with Florida's most extreme anti-Cuban zealots. Yet, sir, polls show that even most Cuban-Americans in even Miami favor President Obama's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, not the continued asinine efforts to use Cuba as a punching bag, cash-cow and lush political bonanza.
      And Governor Scott...after morbidly teasing Raul Castro about the death of his brother, your tone in appeasing only the most extreme elements in your state didn't soften, such as your unbiased, high-brow statement regarding the next path you expect him to take: "This path is best characterized by oppression, tyranny, wrongful imprisonment, torture, and murder." With such a sentence you even insult the intelligence of the extremists, not to mention everyone else. Even in total control of the Cuban narrative, and even safely ensconced behind the skirts of the world superpower and without any worry that the media will question anything you say related to Cuba, you mostly insult America and democracy by heralding Banana Republic aspects of your state. Bragging about the wild street celebrations of Fidel Castro's death is a reminder of how those same streets so rudely treated the world's Civil Rights icon Nelson Mandela just because he was Fidel Castro's dear friend and certainly not a friend of the extremists you cater to.
         Believe me, Governor Scott, my concern is not for Raul Castro or for the legacies of his two brothers who died this year at ages 91 and 90. My concern is for America and democracy, neither of which, in my opinion, is served by a one-sided, bully-driven Cuban policy emanating out of Florida that severely harms, decade after decade, millions of totally innocent Cubans on the island in the guise of hurting, overthrowing or annihilating the Castros. Your entire letter...indeed your entire political career in Florida although you were born 64 years ago in Bloomington, Illinois...is based on the age-old premise that every single thing Revolutionary Cuba has ever done is totally wrong and every single thing the Batista-Mafia dictatorship that preceded it ever did was totally correct and, particularly, every single thing the Cuban-exiles in Florida have done is absolutely right. With all due respect, Governor Scott, that premise is not only a huge distortion, it is a blatant lie, and one that most Americans, most Cuban-Americans and all the nations of the world...based on the 191-to-0 UN vote...know to be a blatant lie. Thus, sir, your letter to Raul Castro this week speaks only to the choir, not to anyone else...and I am very sure you fully realize that.
       Florida Governor Rick Scott's letter to Cuba's Raul Castro this week did not raise the bar toward helping the much-maligned everyday Cubans on the island. As usual, it seems to be the familiar ploy of always raising the bar even higher in trying to help Rich Scott's political career with no concern for the collateral damage it may cause innocent Cubans or America's image related to its imperialist Cuban policy, an image that actually can't get much lower than the UN's 191-to-0 evaluation. One of the kinder...and stupidest...sentences in Governor Scott's letter was this one: "Like your brother, you are known for firing squads and imprisonment of those who oppose you." Was that sentence a last-ditch broadside against Raul Castro who has heard such things from across the Florida Straits for decades? Of course not. It was a sentence aimed to appease extremist hardliners in Florida, nothing more and nothing less. It also, I think, reveals why Americans are fed-up with establishment career politicians who treat citizens as idiots and patsies, but correcting the situation seems to be getting harder when voters are constantly left to choose between the lesser of two-or-three evils from a pool of bought-and-paid-for career politicos.
        In order to totally vilify Revolutionary Cuba, Florida politicians seem eager to totally sanitize the thieving, brutal Batista-Mafia dictatorship that spawned the revolution. But their are countless photos like the one above that attest to the fact that, from 1952 till 1959, the Batistianos, Mafiosi and U. S. businessmen fleeced the island without any consideration of the majority peasants, such as these.
       By way of contrast, in Revolutionary Cuba no one...not even Florida politicians...can deny that children are prioritized with excellent health for life and education through college provided eternally free despite rich Florida politicians insisting that its northern superpower neighbor inflict it with history's all-time longest and cruelest economic embargo ever imposed by a powerful nation against a weak one. The healthy, well-dressed Cuban schoolgirl sitting confidently on the lion's back represents today's Cuba while the poverty-stricken woman and seven children represent Batista's Cuba. A Florida politician is not about to discuss the difference between the black-and-white photo of the peasant women and children in Batista's Cuba and the color photo of the well-cared-for girl atop the lion's back in Revolutionary Cuba.
       But it was photos like this one that reveal what gave birth to the Cuban Revolution. The well-documented murders of children apparently meant to quell dissent in Batista's Cuba inspired the revolution after brave Cuban women, instead of being quelled, were inspired to let everyone know what was happening. Today Cuba has dissidents too, some legitimate and some encouraged and/or funded from the U.  S., but documentations such as the repetitious one above in Batista's Cuba are not functions of Revolutionary Cuba, although Florida politicians are never challenged when they say otherwise.
        Florida politicians project the falsehood that Cuban exiles from Batista's Cuba were Mother Teresa-like angels on U. S. soil. That's not exactly true. The memorial above remembers the 73 people, including 24 teenage Cuban athletes, that were aboard the civilian Cubana Flight 455 when it was blown into the sea by a terrorist bomb. The historic event from Oct. 6-1976 to this day has a tight Florida nexus, including the alleged bombers who still today have heralded Miami sanctuaries thanks to Miami members of the U. S. Congress helping secure controversial pardons from a Panamanian prison. When Cuban-American newsman Emilio Milian in Miami complained about such terrorist attacks, he got car-bombed; when Miami Herald columnist Jim DeFede excoriated the Miami members of the U. S. Congress, he was shortly fired.
      Even in Revolutionary Cuba...as in the rest of the world...the relatives of terror victims cry, and cry, and then just cry some more. This Cuban mother and sister had a son and brother aboard Cubana Flight 455.
      The highly respected Director-General of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, has praised Revolutionary Cuba "for devoting such a high percentage of its revenue to the health, education and shelter of its citizens." The WHO recently hailed Cuba for being "the first nation in the world to totally eradicate the transmission of HIV from mother to child." And as reported by USA Today last month, Florida recently cut its HIV programs and its nation-leading infections have soared. USA Today has also reported on Florida's being the "epicenter" for medicare fraud and the "epicenter" for pills that attract addicts from distant states just to buy the pills. And Florida also probably does not want to compare its infant mortality rate or it crime rate with Cuba's. Margaret Chan has praised Revolutionary Cuba as "a role model" for other countries when it comes to using limited funds to provide good health and educational care for "all its people." 
    With Raul Castro, Margaret Chan inspects a Cuban hospital.
       While the U. S. media is not in the business of admitting there are two-sides to the U.S.-Cuban conundrum, the Cuba Central segment of the Washington-based Center for Democracy in the Americas is not nearly so biased or intimidated. So, the Cuba Central and CDA websites are excellent sources for Cuban information, which often does the best job of refuting the words and tactics of Florida politicians.
        The dynamo at the Center for Democracy in the Americas, Sarah Stephens, has worked tirelessly for the past decade on behalf of the people of Cuba and the United States democracy. No one has exceeded her expertise and her energy when it comes to trying to normalize relations between the two neighbors.
        This photo shows American superstar Dave Matthews helping the Center for Democracy in the Americas celebrate its tenth anniversary of trying to bridge the gap between the Florida straits and bring sanity and harmony to U.S.-Cuban relations. Mr. Matthews has accompanied Ms. Stephens to Cuba.
      Cuba superstar Carlos Varela teamed with Dave Matthews at the gala celebrations honoring the Center for Democracy in the Americas. Even the Miami Herald in a major article lavishly saluted Sarah Stephens and her monumental work in bringing Cubans and Americans together and for her influencing President Obama's Herculean efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, a nearby country that is not Florida's.
           And yet, it appears to me that Florida Governor Rick Scott's nonsensical, weird, and morbid letter to Cuba's Raul Castro this week was inspired by the lucrative Castro Cottage Industry's firm belief that America's incoming President, Donald Trump, will reverse all of President Obama's sane and decent efforts to normalize relations with the island. Instead of celebrating the death of Fidel Castro in his letter or on the streets of Miami, Governor Scott seemed to be mostly celebrating the impending Trump presidency, which figures to cater to the vast Castro Cottage Industry that thrives on punishing and bullying Cuba while, most of all, keeping the spigots wide open on the unending pipelines that are filled with tax dollars that gush on a continuous basis from Washington to Miami. You know, Miami's lush anti-Castro propaganda machine, Radio-TV Marti, still needs another billion-or-so tax dollars to tell not-so-stupid Cubans on the island how mean Fidel was and Raul is; and, of course, the U. S. Congress needs to continue funding a bevy of Cuban regime-change programs as well as such incredibly discriminating anti-Cuba/pro-Cuban exile programs as Wet Foot/Dry Foot that, since 1966, permits only unfettered and unvetted Cubans whose feet touch U. S. soil to be home free, with instant major benefits. If Governor Rick Scott can write another letter and justify any such things within the bowels of a democracy, or explain to us why all the nations of the world {via the 191-to-0 UN vote} oppose America's cruel Cuban policies, then we should all take time and read it.


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