Thursday, January 12, 2017

Cuba Aims to Survive Trump

Minus A Military Intervention!
{This post updated for Friday, January 13th, 2017}
      This week -- Jan. 10th-2017 -- a great American, Barack Obama, flew to his home turf in Chicago to make his FAREWELL SPEECH as America's greatest and bravest two-term President {FDR served 4 terms}. The speech was brilliant and important.
      The speech President Obama delivered in Chicago was magnificently crafted, heartfelt, and emotional...and one he wrote himself. When listing his achievements, he made it a point to include "opening up a new chapter with the Cuban people." By doing that, President Obama displayed more guts, more intelligence and more patriotism than any U. S. president since the 1950s. And by doing it, he had to confront a dangerous and deeply-embedded-in-the-U. S. Congress Castro Cottage Industry that for going on six decades has enriched and empowered a handful of greedy and revengeful miscreants who have primarily punished two generations of children on the island of Cuba while also direly harming the images of America and democracy worldwide, a fact evidenced by the current 191-to-0 vote in the UN denouncing America's vile Cuban policy.
       President Obama's 8 years in the Oval Office as U. S. President have been tough, really tough. A small but powerful right-wing cabal in the opposition Republican party has, as expected, dogged every sane and decent policy that Mr. Obama has attempted to execute, primarily using his Executive Powers to circumvent a dysfunctional, right-wing and mostly bought-and-paid-for Congress. {Disclosure: I was a lifelong conservative Republican until I became aware of the systemic harm the Bush dynasty was inflicting, in my opinion, on America and on democracy dating all the way back to the 1950s and even to the 1930s and 1940s with Prescott Bush}. Amazingly for a two-term President, Mr. Obama will leave office with an approval rating well above 50%. His extraordinary efforts to normalize relations with Cuba are supported by most Americans, most Cuban-Americans and, in unanimity, by all the nations in the world. He faced a Cuban-policy dictated for decades by a handful of right-wing extremists who can easily dictate to the 535-member U. S. Congress and to every Republican president. Unfortunately, the decent Mr. Obama will be replaced in the Oval Office by a Republican president in just a few days -- on Jan. 20th, 2017.
      Also this week -- on the morning of January 11th-2017, a few hours after President Obama's Farewell Speech in Chicago -- Rex Tillerson faced the U. S. Senate regarding his nomination to be President-elect Trump's Secretary of State. Even in his written opening remarks, prior to the grilling from Senators, Mr. Tillerson -- the head man at oil-giant Exxon-Mobil -- grossly assailed President Obama's sanity and decency regarding innocent Cubans on the island. Rex Tillerson's exact words were: "Their leaders have received a lot, while the people have received little. This does not serve the interests of Cubans or U.S. citizens." That, of course, is a lie. All unbiased sources agree that President Obama has paved the way for thousands of everyday Cubans to become entrepreneurs and for hundreds of American workers and businesses to already begin profiting from Obama's Cuban openings. Mr. Tillerson's disgraceful and cowardly comment merely reflects the fact that President-elect Trump's upcoming Cuban policy will totally march in tune with the vile goals of a few right-wing Republicans who have saddled America and democracy with a 191-to-zero disapproval rating worldwide for punishing innocent Cuban children, not the Castro-ruled government, decade after decade after decade.
       As expected, Rex Tillerson was grilled longest and hardest at his Senate hearing because of his close ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a man who has more nuclear warheads, about 7200 to 6800, than the U. S. has and a man not exactly fond of either the United States of America or democracy.
       In the 100-member United States Senate, Republicans hold only a margin of one over the Democrats but most observers believe all of President-elect Trump's anti-Cuban zealots will get confirmed, including Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State to replace President Obama's John Kerry, a long-time advocate of a sane Cuban policy. In fact, all of Trump's appointments- nominations are anti-Cuban zealots designed to replace Obama's far more pro-democracy advocates -- such as Nikki Haley replacing Samantha Power as the U. S. Representative at the United Nations; Mauricio Claver-Carone replacing Ben Rhodes and Susan Rice as key advisors regarding Cuba, etc. But the most dangerous Trump clump is Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State to replace the very decent John Kerry. So the cruel, dangerous and perhaps bloody dismantling of President Obama's sane and decent Cuban openings will begin on January 20th, 2017 even as more high-profile relations -- such as with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea -- will grab most of the big headlines.
      This updated photo taken by Casey Strong reminds me of why a Republican Congress and a Republican White House, so easily dictated to by a handful of Cuban-American extremists, are consistently injurious to America's and democracy's worldwide reputations, as confirmed by that 191-to-zero UN vote. This photo shows a young Cuban mother feeding pigeons while her precious little girl, neatly attired in an orange outfit, poses beautifully and happily for Casey Strong's camera. All her life that mother has been punished by Fat Cats in a foreign country, the U. S., in the guise of "hurting Castro." And all her life that little girl is scheduled to be punished by Fat Cats in a foreign country, the U. S., in the guise of "hurting Castro." In reality, as Mr. Obama realizes, such greed and cruelty has helped sustain the Castros for over half a century even as the two oldest Castro brothers -- Ramon and Fidel -- died in 2016 in their 90s and the remaining brother, Raul, is an old and very tired 85.
       This photo reveals how typically Cuba's majority peasant children were treated in Batista's Cuba in the 1950s -- no education, no health care, etc.
      This typical photo shows Cuban mothers marching to protest the murders of their children in Batista's Cuba, "asesinatos" apparently designed to quell dissent. Instead, brave mothers like these spawned the revolution that, in 1959, defeated Batista but, in essence, created a revengeful Cuban government-in-exile with Miami's Little Havana as its capital from 1959 till the present day.
      This updated photo shows the drastic difference in how children in Revolutionary Cuba are treated today as compared to the children in Batista's Cuba in the 1950s. For all its faults, Revolutionary Cuba has lived up to its promise to prioritize mothers and children, and has done so even in spite of the U. S. economic embargo that is the longest and cruelest ever imposed by a powerful nation against a weak nation. Batistiano-dictated U. S. laws and the Batistiano controlled Cuban narrative in the U. S. would have you believe that the schoolgirls depicted above are being forced to become world-class actors to look so happy and well-cared-for in Cuba. The Batistiano-fueled Congressional law that for decades has ruled that everyday Americans are the only people in the world without the freedom to visit Cuba is designed to perpetuate such lies because, after all, judging Cuba for oneself would not compute with the very effective and usually unchallenged Batistiano propaganda. Children like these in Revolutionary Cuba are guaranteed free and excellent health care for life, free and excellent educations through college, etc., and FOUR keen international observers -- UNESCO, the World Health Organization, the Pan Am Health Organization and the World Bank -- have all either praised Revolutionary Cuba for its prioritizing children or singled out Cuba as a "role model" in its treatment of mother-child preventative health issues, such as praising Cuba for its extremely low infant mortality rate, for Cuba being "the first nation" to totally eradicate the transmission of AIDs from mother to child, etc. Those who profit from denying the color photo above and the two black-and-white photos that preceded it are, in my opinion, why the nations of the world vote 191-to-zero against America's Cuban policy THAT THE DECENT PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS TRIED SO VERY HARD TO CORRECT.    
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           Cuba's reluctant President Raul Castro turns 86 in June. He is tired. A year from now he plans to turn the leadership of Cuba over to a non-Castro, 56-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel. This month of January-2017 marks the first year of his life that Raul must live without his more famous brother Fidel who died at age 90 back on November 25th. Aware that Cubans are concerned about the imminent departure of America's Cuba-friendly President Barack Obama, Raul Castro "fully expects" incoming U. S. President Donald Trump to be like "the Bush presidents," which to him means "war-like." The above photo taken by Yamil Lage shows one of the newly posted billboards in which Raul Castro tries to assure the Cuban people that the island's sovereignty will survive Trump. Above his name are his own words: "We must look at the socialist and prosperous future of the country." After Raul's imminent departure, left to their own devices, it is likely that Cuba's well-educated and impatient young-adult generation -- led by two brilliant Cuba-loving women in their twenties, Cristina Escobar and Jennifer Bello Martinez -- will chart the island's future. Ever mindful of what the U. S. sicced on Cuba in 1952 -- Batista and the Mafia -- both Cristina and Jennifer have profoundly stated: "We don't want the U. S. to bring us democracy. That is a project for Cubans on the island, not Cubans in Miami and Washington."  Both Cristina and Jennifer are true, sovereignty-loving Cubans.
     Cristina Escobar above & Jennifer Bello Martinez below, a rather formidable modern-day Cuban duo.
           Cristina Escobar & Jennifer Bello Martinez remind some of Cuba's two greatest and most determined anti-Batista guerrilla fighters -- the legendary Celia Sanchez & Haydee Santamaria.
     This week Alaska Airlines made more history as a part of outgoing President Obama's herculean efforts to normalize relations with Cuba before incoming President Trump takes over the White House on January 20th. An Alaska Airlines flight originated in Seattle, had a stopover in Los Angeles and then continued on its pleasant journey to Havana. It marked the first time since 1961 that a commercial U. S. flight from the West Coast had been allowed to fly to Cuba. Alaska Airlines said the advance bookings for such flights "are strong but not sold out," pointing out that the Congress-mandated embargo against Cuba still prevents most Americans from having the freedom to visit Cuba, making Americans since 1962 the only people in the world without that freedom, a fact that pusillanimous Americans accept because, apparently, they fear the power and threats from America's vast and lucrative Castro Cottage Industry, which -- as expected -- has even out-lived Fidel Castro. Eight other major U. S. airlines from cities east of the Mississippi River already had permission to fly to Cuba, so competition for the Cuban business plus the embargo are factors.
      Cuba has decided to take incoming U. S. President Donald Trump's dire threats at face value after minutely studying Trump's condescending promises made to Brigade 2506 veterans in the above speech in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. Brigade 2506 is the unit that attacked Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in April of 1961, a drastic U. S. failure that mightily strengthened Fidel Castro's power in Cuba and around the world. A distinct offshoot of the Bay of Pigs was a new tactic in 1962 -- the embargo designed to starve & deprive Cubans on the island to induce them to rise up and overthrow Castro. The starve & deprive aspect of the embargo continues and, of course, has been augmented by such things as the infamous Cuban Adjustment Act and such discriminatory laws as Wet Foot/Dry Foot designed to favor, enrich and empower Cubans whose feet HAVE OR WILL touch U. S. soil, privileges not available to any non-Cubans. To at last add democratic aspects to America's Cuban policy, outgoing U. S. President Obama has very bravely and decently used Executive Powers in a valiant attempt to normalize relations with Cuba, infuriating the benefactors of America's vast and lucrative Castro Cottage Industry that easily dictates to the U. S. Congress and to Republican presidents. So, Cuba expects the erratic Trump and the refurbished Brigade 2506 to reverse Obama's sane Cuban advances as well as reverse the Batistiano and American disaster at the Bay of Pigs in April of 1961. Moreover, Cuba fully realizes that Trump, using Executive Powers as the President and military powers as Commander-in-Chief, will soon have the capacity to assault Cuba.
       Eric Schmidt, the Chairman and CEO of internet Super-Giant Google, flew to Havana to sign an important intercommunication deal with Cuba. It was in keeping with President Obama's plans, during his final days in office, to make his Cuban policies as irreversible as possible for the Trump administration.
       Scott Gilbert, American lawyer and entrepreneur, a few days ago signed another historic deal, this time to export Cuban charcoal to the U. S. with the first 40 metric tons arriving on January 18th, two days before Trump replaces Obama in the White House. The embargo for decades prevented such deals.
        Cuba hails its sweet-smelling, long-burning charcoal as the world's best. It is made from the invasive and woody Marabu weeds that have long plagued Cuban farmers, at least till the charcoal became a saleable product for the farmers to cultivate as they clear their land. While Cuba wants input from U. S. companies like airlines, cruise ships and Google, and wants to sell items like charcoal to the U. S. market, because of Trump Cuba is shifting to non-American options AND BACK TO A COLD WAR-TYPE POSTURE.
And did you know?

       The smallest bird in the world is the Bee Hummingbird and it is only found in Cuba, and birdwatchers know where to look. On my first day in Cuba, I mentioned to Vivian, the manager of the Victoria Hotel, "This is not why I'm here but where do I go to see the Bee Hummingbird and the Cuban Tody." She reached under the desk and fetched me a plainly marked map, adding, "The Bee is mainly in the area marked in yellow and the Tody is almost exclusively in the area marked in red. At both places there are bird experts to help you."  
       Scientists have minutely studied Cuba's Bee Hummingbird. Totally unique, it a friendly and beautiful little bird. For their nectar meals, they only visit ten flowers and nine of those flowers are unique to Cuba.
The actual size of Cuba's Bee Hummingbird.
The also tiny Cuban Tody is Cuba's national bird.
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