Cuban Cigars Are Smoking Hot

Especially in China!!
{Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2018}
    Even as the Trump administration in Washington tightens the screws trying to nail down Cuba's economic coffin once-and-for-all, Jose Maria Lopez is busy signing new deals with friendlier nations like China, Switzerland, and England as he hopes to keep the targeted island financially afloat. Jose's Habanas S. A. is a joint venture with Imperial Brands of England and both companies told Sarah Marsh of Reuters this week that their cigar sales are burgeoning thanks to a sharp uptick in China. Jose said, "Without a doubt, there is a potential for China to become the biggest market for us on a global level." China has quickly zoomed to #3 as Cuba's top export market for cigar sales behind Spain and France.
     A super-salesman, Jose Maria Lopez has aligned his Cohiba brand with Zenith to sell watches under their joint names. Jose is shown above on the right making that announcement as Zenith executive Julien Tarnare looks on. It's a success so far.
    The joint marketing of watches combining the Zenith-Cohiba brands is the type enterprise Cuba seeks with foreign companies not controlled by the United States.
     Jose Maria Lopez's Habanos S. A., whether selling watches internationally or reacting to the nascent Chinese demand for Cuban cigars, reflects the vast potential of what a non-embargoed Cuba can possibly accomplish if left to its own devices.
      But this week, Jose Maria Lopez and the Cuban government appeared particularly delighted with the sharp uptick of cigar sales in China. That includes the most famous Cuban brand-names -- Montecristo as shown above as well as Cohiba and Partagas.
    Despite travel restrictions imposed by the Trump administration, cruises from Miami to Cuba continue to expand. This week Carnival scheduled 17 new sailings to Cuba from Miami in 2019. The Doral-based line will provide a 5-day, round-trip voyage aboard the Carnival Sensation, a 2,052-passenger jewel. Carnival on May 1, 2016 -- after the detente with Cuba engineered by President Obama -- became the first U. S. cruise company in more than half-a-century to transport Americans to Cuba. Then Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International began Cuban cruises.
 Pearl Seas Cruises is concentrating on Cuba.
     This map shows the itinerary and port stops in Cuba for the popular Pearl Mist cruises that launch from Fort Lauderdale on eleven-night Cuba Cultural Voyages.
     So, despite Miami-Fort Lauderdale being dominated by anti-Cuban hardliners, and even with Republicans in charge of the White House and both houses of Congress, there is more interest in Cuba than just recapturing the fascinating, beguiling island.


The Radio Rebelde Anniversary

How It Won A Revolution!!
{Monday, February 26th, 2018}
        This past weekend on the island of Cuba the 60th anniversary of the founding of Radio Rebelde was celebrated. And such celebrations are appropriate because it played a...or perhaps the...major role in the incredible triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959. And, remarkably, to this day in the last week of February, 2018, it still plays a huge role in the survival of Revolutionary Cuba.
         If you discount the above paragraph, then I suggest you do not know much about the history of the Cuban Revolution that has defined the remarkable sovereignty of Cuba while also redefining the imperial history of both Spain and the United States. Radio Rebelde was founded on Feb. 24-1958 by the most iconic of rebels -- Che Guevara, the young Argentine doctor who decided Cuba needed an anti-Batista revolution. At a crucial stage in the revolutionary war, Che secured a ham transmitter and then boldly recruited two technicians, two announcers, and two reporters from Havana's top station, Radio Mambi. At the time Dictator Batista still controlled all broadcast stations across the island...and still had the financial and military support of America and the Mafia. But beginning in 1958 the rebels were capturing key towns in southeast Cuba, holding those towns, and then moving on in that manner toward Havana on the island's northwestern tip. But Che, whom even his critics admitted had an off-the-chart IQ, knew the rebels needed a major radio outlet to keep the necessary support of the majority peasants, the prime victims of the Batista-Mafia rule and the ones whose support was essential to the rebels. Che knew the much-maligned Cuban peasants needed to know the rebels had a chance against the powerful Batista forces. So Che invented Radio Rebelde to keep the peasants informed about the war from the standpoint of the rebels, countering Batista.
        On Feb. 24-1958 Che's brainchild, Rado Rebelde -- Rebel Radio -- blasted on the air with remarkable clarity and powerful reach. The first historic words were: "Here is Radio Rebelde, the voice of the Sierra Maestra, transmitting for all Cuba on the 20 meter band at 5 PM and 9 PM daily. I'm Station Director Caption Luis Orlando Rodriguez." The almost instant feed-back, reinvigorating the peasants, surprised even Che. He as well as other top rebels such as Celia Sanchez often spoke to the vital Cuban population about the progress of the war. Che and Celia had one basic rule: "Now that we can reach the people, and Batista, try as he might, can't stop us, we must NEVER LIE TO THE PEOPLE. Whether it's good or bad news in the war, we must tell them the truth and NEVER LIE to them." The location of Radio Rebelde at that time was a remote and well-protected spot at Altos de Conrado. But quickly, 32 smaller stations had sprung out from Radio Rebelde to round out the Liberty Network that the Cuban citizens trusted and therefore they began to realize that, despite overwhelming odds, the rebels COULD win against the combined might of the U.S.-backed Batista.
       Throughout 1958 Radio Rebelde truthfully informed the Cuban population about the progress of the war, always reminding them of the latest town the rebels had captured and was holding...assuring the people that they could enter those towns and see for themselves. As 1958 was drawing to a close, and as the rebels were moving closer-and-closer to Havana, the frantic Batista forces could not destroy Radio Rebelde. Moreover, the Cuban population came to totally agree in the veracity of the Radio Rebelde updates on the war...and so did Batista's henchmen in Havana.
    At the start of December in 1958, Fidel Castro and Celia Sanchez were still in charge of rebel units protecting vitally captured Cuban soil in the foothills of the Sierra Maestra Mountains and the vital towns and cities in the vicinity of Santiago, Cuba's second largest city. The rebel force led by Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos throughout December-1958 were routinely defeating larger and better-armed Batista forces, capturing town-after-town. By the time Che and Camilo were on the outskirts of Santa Clara, the last major city leading to Havana, the Batista and Mafia leaders were packing their getaway planes, ships, and boats with cash, gold, and other key assets they had not already shipped off the island. The Battle of Santa Clara was raging even as Batista on Radio Mamba and with telegraphs to Washington was saying, "Everything is fine. The rebels are being annihilated in Santa Clara." Just minutes before midnight on New Years Day -- Jan. 1, 1959 -- word reached Havana that Che & Camilo had captured Santa Clara and "were racing hellbent toward Havana hoping to capture Batista and all Mafia leaders in the Cuban capital city!!" From midnight till 3:00 A.M. on Jan. 1-1959 the last of the Batista-Mafia leaders had fled Havana, with Batista first flying to the Dominican Republic that was ruled by brutal pro-American and anti-Castro dictator Rafael Trujillo. But within days much of the Batistiano leadership and loot had overwhelmed Miami's economic and political structures -- and six decades later that, of course, STILL remains the case.
    And so, six decades after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on Jan. 1-1959, Little Havana USA is located in the heart of Miami, Florida -- on U. S. but not on Cuban soil.
    The photo above shows wild celebrations in Little Havana USA on Nov. 26-2016 just hours after the death at age 90 of Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba. Such euphoria in Little Havana on that day was a vivid reminder that Cuban hardliners headquartered in Miami and Washington had been unable to recapture Cuba despite the backing of the U. S. treasury and the U. S. military. As a matter of fact, that phenomenon created many historic undemocratic records...including what the Guinness Book of World Records calls 638 assassination attempts against Fidel Castro. Despite that record surviving assassinations, Fidel Castro died of natural causes at age 90 in Old Havana.
     Meanwhile, Radio Rebelde today is a 24-hour operation that employs 274 Cubans and reaches all of Cuba's 14 provinces. Its news, weather, sports, and live talk shows are still trusted by the Cuban people whose input is essential to its success. Radio Rebelde is often used by individual citizens and groups to voice successful criticism and critiques of their revolutionary government although not to rebel against it.
     Since 1959 the Cuban narrative in the United States of America has almost exclusively been the private domain of anti-Castro Counter Revolutionary extremists such as but certainly not restricted to firebrands like Humberto Fontana. In his tirade above on the Fox News network, Mr. Fontana is trying to convince Americans that "the U. S. Cuban embargo has worked like a charm." In one sense, of course, it has. DE-classified U. S. documents prove that the embargo began in 1962 for the purpose of starving, depriving, and making miserable the lives of everyday Cubans on the island to induce them to rise up and overthrow their government. Since 1962 many millions of innocent Cubans on the island have therefore suffered mightily from that cruel and very real premise. So Fontana is right in that the embargo from 1962 till today has hurt millions of Cubans and also garnered a 191-to-ZERO condemnation of the United States in the United Nations. Of course, the second purpose of the embargo has failed miserably because it has not yet overturned Cuba's revolutionary government as it has sought to do from 1962 till this very day.
      Now read the image above as Counter Revolutionary stalwart Humberto Fontana uses the vast Fox News airways and other venues to proclaim: "You guys don't have a freakin' clue about Cuba! -- Read my books." In other words, I'm sure Humberto would think that I didn't have a "freakin' clue" about anything I said about the 60th anniversary on Feb. 24-2018 of Radio Rebelde. Well, uh, Humberto, I'm sure even if we don't buy your books that you will tell us all about Cuba -- TRUE AND UNBIASED, OF COURSE. And while you're at it, Humberto, explain to us why the tiny and vulnerable Cuban flag still flies over Revolutionary Cuba. We need to know.



Russia Loves Trump's Cuban Policy

And Is Taking Advantage of It!!
     The above photo this week reveals anew how much Russia loves U. S. President Donald Trump's ongoing efforts to reverse the massive diplomatic decency towards the island exhibited by his predecessor, President Obama. And that's rather significant considering that Russia is by far the biggest military threat to the United States. China, by far the biggest economic threat to the U. S., also welcomes Trump's antagonism towards Cuba. Both Russia and China want to increase their influence in the Caribbean and Latin America, and both anti-American powers consider Cuba a key pathway to those goals. Thus, in Cuba today more-and-more Chinese buses as well as sonar panels and wind mills are showing up. And 344 brand-new Russian Lada cars arrived on a recent Russian ship. The above photo shows a Russian locomotive arriving at the Port of Havana, one of 8 new ones in Cuba...and 28 more are on the way. The locomotive depot in Havana is being refurbished by a Russian Company.
       Russia's electrical power generating company Inter RAO has signed a new deal with Cuba to have four new power plants operating on the island beginning in 2022.
     Russia is very anxious to have its flag, as opposed to the American flag, flying side-by-side with the Cuban flag more-and-more during the Trump administration.
   Meanwhile, Revolutionary Cuba is very proud when its flag flies solo because it represents the sovereignty it earned with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959, over the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia regime. Cuba's sovereign flag since 1959 has, symbolically and realistically, replaced five centuries of dominance by just two imperial powers -- Spain and the United States. This pivotal year of 2018 will witness the biggest political change in Cuba since Fidel Castro replaced Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Russia and China want to be more significant players in that transition than Cuba's neighbor, the United States.
      In a few weeks, 86-year-old Raul Castro will retire as Cuba's President. In 2008 Raul had replaced his very ill brother Fidel Castro, who died at age 90 on Nov. 25-2016, as President of Cuba. In April of this year Miguel Diaz-Canel will be Cuba's new President, the first non-Castro Cuban leader since 1959 and one who was, significantly, born after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. This week -- from Feb. 19th to 21st -- six Cuba-friendly members of the U. S. Congress, led by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Representative Kathy Castor of Florida -- were in Cuba. They met with President Raul Castro and other important Cubans, including entrepreneurs, in attempts to assess the damage so far perpetrated by Trump's reversal of many of Obama's Cuban advances. And the six members of the U. S. Congress this week also wanted to meet with Miguel Diaz-Canel but he ignored their requests although he was in Havana this week meeting with African leaders. Diaz-Canel is known to be "outraged that Trump has already double-crossed many of the mutual advantages our President and President Obama negotiated. If the American people allow such things what good is it to waste our time trying to normalize relations with the United States, mutually beneficial relations. We should use that time...most or all of it...negotiating with all the other nations that are our friends." That summation and foreshadowing of Miguel Diaz-Canel's intentions was revealed by a Vietnamese delegation that had met with the upcoming leader of Cuba. And the 56-year-old Diaz-Canel envisions a Vietnamese-style Cuban economy; and he has gotten encouragement on that front from three current Presidents -- Castro, Zi, and Putin.


The Spinning Cuban Carousel

    Six members of the U. S. Congress -- three Senators and three from the House of Representatives -- completed their urgent visit to Havana this week. The urgency was spawned recently when two anti-Cuban Cuban-American U. S. Senators, Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez, Chaired & Co-chaired a very bitter anti-Cuban Foreign Affairs Committee session in the Senate. The six congressional members who visited Cuba this week wanted to curb the Trump administration's attempt to put America's Cuba policies back in the hands of a handful of Cuban extremists, as in the Bush presidencies. Not wanting a total reversal of President Obama's pre-Trump advances with Cuba, the six congressional members had much to discuss with top Cuban officials, especially on the eve of the island's transition to a non-Castro leader in April. The U. S. delegation was led by U. S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. Leahy for decades has worked tirelessly and bravely to normalize relations with Cuba. He is shown above in this Granma photo talking directly to Cuban President Raul Castro in a session that Leahy later described as "animated at times." In addition to Leahy, the other two Senators in Havana were Ron Wyden of Oregon and Gary Peters of Michigan. The three House members on the hasty fact-finding journey were Kathy Castor of Florida, Susan Davis of California, and James McGovern of Massachusetts.
    The latest visit to Cuba by Kathy Castor this week is in keeping with her tireless effort to normalize U.S.-Cuban relations. Born 51-years-ago in Miami, she has represented the Tampa-St. Petersburg area of Florida in Congress since 2007. She met with Cuban entrepreneurs who had built successful businesses because of the Obama presidency but have been starkly and negatively affected by the Trump administration. Congresswoman Castor, who hastened back to Florida a day early because of the aftermaths of the horrendous school shootings, also met with Cuban officials regarding the alleged sonic attacks against U. S. diplomats that have been used by Trump and Cuban-American hardliners as one of their pretexts to hurt Cuba. Castor agreed with the consensus opinion on both sides of the Florida straits that Cuba wouldn't threaten its own tourism lifeline with such a ploy. She said: "I don't see a motivation of the Cuban government itself to having done harm to our diplomats, but I don't know." Castor is also direly concerned that Trump's gutting the embassies in Havana and Washington harms innocent Cubans and Cuban-Americans the most. "We urgently need to get back to a full staff because it is important for families in Cuba and my state of Florida to be able to use embassy facilities so these families can meet." Cuba for two decades has used two currencies -- the peso and the convertible peso. Economists agree the dual currencies have stifled the island's economy and production. Castor said, "They told us Cuba will stop operating under the two-currency system this year. They say it's very complicated because it effects wages throughout the island, but they do hope to end it this year. And they have told us that before too."
       After his three-day trip to Cuba this week, Congressman James McGovern said, "It was a big mistake to reduce the embassies in Havana and Washington. And it was a mistake for the State Department to list Cuba as unsafe."
    And Congresswoman Kathy Castor added one more thing about her trip to Cuba this week. She said that Senator Leahy had a private conversation with President Raul Castro about his retirement in April and the significant changes that might...or will...entail for both Cuba and the U. S. Ms. Castro said, "I wanted to talk to the presumed next President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, but we did not get to do that."
      While Raul Castro, Cuba's out-going President, has shown an eagerness to talk with friendly Americans, like President Obama and like the six members of Congress on the island this week, the same is not true for Cuba's in-coming President, Miguel Diaz-Canel. Ignoring this week's high-level delegation from Washington was typical of Diaz-Canel who much prefers spending his most valuable time with leaders of nations far more friendly to Cuba than the United States is. Thus, the photo above shows Diaz-Canel hosting Her Excellency Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, the Prime Minister of Namibia, while ignoring requests from important Americans. He thanked her for Namibia's help as Cuba tried to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Irma, help he knows the island didn't receive from the United States. Namibia's current leader and Cuba's future leader also worked out trade and "other mutually beneficial agreements" while Diaz-Canel ignored the six Cuba-friendly Americans.
     While Miguel Diaz-Canel supported Raul Castro's historic detente with President Obama, President Trump's June 16-2017 trip to Miami -- when he turned America's Cuban policy back over to a handful of hard-line extremists -- was the "last straw" for Diaz-Canel, who is not only not a Castro but was born after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. After June 16-2017, he said: "Cuba has one enemy, the United States. The Obama window was nice but the other party closed it. Wasting our time on our one enemy makes no sense when that time can be applied to our friends. We must preserve our sovereignty at all costs against a major force, but to advance we must embrace our friends." That includes, Diaz-Canel believes, the Prime Minister of Namibia as well as the leaders of all non-USA nations, including America's biggest competitors, "if necessary, as it seems now." Indeed, in the last two years as Cuba's First Vice President, Diaz-Canel has cultivated close friendships with President Zi and President Putin while also closely studying the Vietnamese economic model.


Cuba Gets Help vs. Rubio

David vs. Goliath for 6 Decades!!
{Updated: Wednesday, February 21st, 2018}
      Cash-strapped Cuba may be catching a break. The Canadian company Sherritt International has a joint venture with Cuba in the production of two of the island's key minerals -- nickel and cobalt. The photo above shows Sherritt mining nickel and cobalt near Moa in the Cuban province of Holguin. Nickel prices have plummeted, hurting Cuba. But Cobalt prices are skyrocketing and Cuba is already 5th in the world in the production of cobalt behind the Congo, Russia, Australia, and Canada. Yesterday -- Feb. 20th, 2018 - - there were reports that Apple wants to buy huge amounts of cobalt directly from miners. The interest in electric cars has already made prices for cobalt skyrocket. Nickel and cobalt prices are vital to Cuba's economy.
     Born 51-years-ago in Miami, Kathy Castor all of her adult life has fought bravely and tirelessly to bring a dose of democratic sanity and decency to an American Cuban policy that, since 1959, has been dictated out of Miami and Washington by a handful of the most vicious Cuban-American remnants of the vile and overthrown Batista-Mafia dictatorship. Since 2007 Kathy Castor has represented the Tampa area of Florida in the U. S. Congress, almost singularly at times battling self-serving Miami members of Congress on behalf of decent Cubans, decent Cuban-Americans, and democracy.
   This photo of the democracy-loving Congresswoman Kathy Castor is courtesy of the PBS network. The mainstream U. S. networks are afraid to feature Kathy because they fear it might upset the anti-Cuban extremists in Miami and in Congress. It's appears to have been that way especially since 1976 when the top Cuban-American newsman in Miami, Emilio Milian, was car-bombed after he criticized extreme Cuban-American terrorism against totally innocent Cubans. While most of the U. S. media and most U. S. politicians are afraid to cross anti-Cuban extremists, Kathy Castor is not. Again this week she is leading a congressional delegation to Cuba to assess how much President Trump's designated Cuban dictator, Senator Marco Rubio of Miami, is reversing former President Obama's decent Cuban overtures that preceded Trump.
      The photo above captured a huge banner that is being pulled by an airplane over and around Senator Marco Rubio's home-base of Miami and Miami Beach. After the horrendous school massacre at nearby Parkland High School, the NY Times reported that Rubio had received $3.3 million in donations from the National Rifle Association. School marches against politicians like Rubio with begin Saturday in Washington and elsewhere around the nation. Meanwhile, the banner denouncing Rubio is merely the latest example of people in Miami expressing displeasure with Rubio but it appears his bulging war-chest remains overwhelming and it also seems that only Counter Revolutionary extremists can get elected from the Miami area to the U. S. Congress although polls show even most Cuban-Americans in Miami favor normalizing relations with Cuba. So, now Rubio's vast publicity machine will have to get cranking again.
     But the 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez in recent days has been more powerful than all 535 members of the U. S. Congress combined, especially in shaming and shaking Senator Marco Rubio for his receiving $3.3 million from the National Rifle Association. Emma, a senior, survived the latest mass school shooting-massacre at Parkland High School near Rubio's Miami base. Emma's heart-wrenching anti-NRA and anti-politician speech is still circulating around the world and has been shown repeatedly by the world's best news source, the London-based BBC. Now Emma Gonzalez and millions of students like her will lead marches in Washington and other U. S. cities on February 24th, 2018, and THEY will more effectively oppose gun-massacres in the U. S. than all the politicians, many of them bought-and-paid-for, have accomplished. Many Americans believe 18-year-olds like Emma should be elected to Congress, not bought-and-paid-for incumbents that can't be voted out of office. 
    But the mainstream United States media...and not just the right-wing Fox Network...regularly makes Senator Marco Rubio out to be a Miami choirboy, the very same Rubio that America's best investigative journalist, Ken Silverstein, calls "head and shoulders above everyone else when it comes to chicanery and corruption." After being anointed America's newest Cuban dictator by Trump, Rubio is shown above laying down his Cuban policy at a very appropriate place -- the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami that is named for a leader of the 1961 Bay of Pigs military attack on Cuba. 
    On June 16-2017 President Trump himself had ventured to Little Havana in Miami and gutlessly signed and smirkingly displayed newly signed Executive Orders reversing Obama-orchestrated sanity and decency towards Cuba. Of course, the usual Counter Revolutionary choir was in attendance, including the laughing Miami member of the U. S. Congress Mario Diaz-Balart who is directly over Trump's right shoulder. Typical of the endless stream of Miami members of Congress, Mario Diaz-Balart is the son of Rafael Diaz-Balart, a key Minister in the Batista dictatorship before becoming one of the very richest Counter Revolutionary zealots in South Florida.
     While most Cuban-Americans even in Miami favor Obama's decent Cuban policies, President Trump's Cuban dictator Rubio is busy "rolling back" Obama's Cuban policies while he should, of course, be using his bought-and-paid-for Senate seat to help Americans instead of hurting totally decent Cubans on the island. Of course, Rubio's presidential bid in 2016 got derailed when Trump labeled him "Little Marco." But, of course, Little Marco is awash in money donated by self-serving right-wingers that will keep Rubio in the Senate and finance his next presidential bid.
     Above is the graphic that fronted the Ken Silverstein article that labeled Rubio "head and shoulders above everyone else" for corruption in Washington, which is saying a lot considering that his fellow Cuban-American Counter Revolutionary zealot, U. S. Senator Robert Menendez, was recently bailed out only by a hung jury after the U. S. government had tried for five expensive investigating years and then an expensive 3-month trial in 2017 to convict Menendez of Miami-related corruption charges. This Ken Silverstein article took about ten long pages to document why it called the "For Sale" Rubio "head and shoulders above everyone else." This week, after the school shooting massacre in South Florida, Rubio has even been criticized in the mainstream media for taking what the New York Times says is $3.3 million in "For Sale" money from the National Rifle Association. Yet, the intimidated mainstream U. S. media and sufficiently propagandized U. S. citizens will not utter a whimper about Trump's anointment of Rubio as America's Cuban dictator.
 Alex Leary, the brave Washington-based journalist for the brave Tampa Bay Times, is brave enough to tell us about Tampa's brave Congresswoman Kathy Castor returning to Cuba to assess the recent damage Trump & Rubio have done to innocent Cubans and to the U. S. democracy. Alex Leary explains that Ms. Castor will meet with "small business entrepreneurs" in Cuba who benefited greatly from Obama's overtures but have been devastated by Trump's. Also, Alex Leary wrote that Ms. Castor and her delegation will visit the Trump-gutted U. S. Embassy in Havana in hopes of trying to "restore full U. S. embassy services" so direly needed by her constituents in the Tampa area, both Americans and Cuban-Americans who have or seek relations with Cuba's Cubans.
     Thanks to President Obama, Niuris Higueras, shown above with her daughter, opened a thriving business that markedly benefited her family. With the Trump election, Rubio is blamed by Ms. Higueras and other hard-working Cuban entrepreneurs for virtually destroying their livelihoods. And, yes, with the support and approval of the Cuban-American executives at the Miami Herald, Ms. Higueras and three other female Cuban entrepreneurs wrote a scathing article daring Rubio to just meet with them to hear their side of the imposing Cuban story.
     The photo-graphic above shows Niuris Higueras and Yamina Vicenta, two totally decent Cuban entrepreneurs who benefited so greatly because of President Obama and who have been hurt so mightily by "Little Marco" -- Miami's U. S. Senator Marco Rubio. Niuris and Yamina teamed with Julia de la Rosa and Marla Recio, two other young female entrepreneurs in Cuba who co-wrote the scathing anti-Rubio article with the cooperation of the Miami Herald editors in Marco Rubio's own backyard.
     And that's why the decent, democracy-loving, Miami-born member of the U. S. Congress from Tampa, Kathy Castor, is returning to Cuba trying desperately to help those Rubio-ravaged female entrepreneurs in Cuba...and try to help Kathy Castor's own Rubio-ravaged constituents, both Americans and Cuban-Americans.
    But while the Miami-born Kathy Castor has been elected and re-elected and re-elected again to the U. S. Congress from Tampa since 2007, the photo above, I believe, reflects why the U. S. Cuban policy gets a 191-to-0 condemnation in the United Nations, probably the only topic that could get such unanimity in a very diverse world. Since 1989...three decades ago...when the Bush dynasty swept Havana-born Counter Revolutionary Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to the U. S. Congress, only other Counter Revolutionary zealots such as Mario Diaz-Balart and Marco Rubio have reached Congress from Miami. This is despite the fact that poll-after-poll reveals most Cuban-Americans even in Miami favor normalizing relations with Cuba. Does the above photo also reveal that two generations of Americans since 1959 have sat on their cushy asses and allowed their precious democracy to be torn asunder by a mere handful of people?? Just asking, of course, with 2 gentle & gigantic question marks.

    Meanwhile, the above view of the Havana skyline bears the caption: "THIS IS CUBA" and "THIS IS OUR PEOPLE." There is a majority in Cuba, and a majority around the world, who believe Cubans on the island...not Cubans in Miami and Washington...should be allowed to predicate the future of the sovereign island nation.

      After the death at age 90 of Fidel Castro on Nov. 25-2016 and after the retirement as President of the 86-year-old Raul Castro in April, the next leader of Cuba will be Miguel Diaz-Canel. He is a popular education-minded teacher who grew up loving the Beatles and motorcycles. He was born after the 1959 triumph of the Cuban Revolution. But while Raul Castro worked closely with President Obama to normalize relations between the two nations, insiders in Cuba believe Miguel Diaz-Canel is so disgusted with Trump & Rubio that Cuba's soon-to-be-leader plans to de-emphasize the United States while re-emphasizing relations with "important friendly nations."
      Miguel Diaz-Canel particularly considers the still-ascending superpower China a "very important friendly nation" that he plans "to Cultivate." In fact, he already has.
      The American embargo, sharply tightened by Trump & Rubio, and dire political and economic problems in Venezuela have spurred Diaz-Canel into action already. He solicited wind-blown and solar-panel energy for Cuba, courtesy of the Chinese, as well as new oil deals with Russia, Nigeria, and Vietnam. "Wasting our time vacillating here-and-yonder on nearby hopeless causes," Diaz-Canel reportedly told Chinese President Zi, "is not nearly as fortuitous for us as dealing with China."
Diaz-Canel courting President Zi.
      And Diaz-Canel is courting President Putin. While Diaz-Canel is said to strongly agree that friendly terms with the U. S. would be far more advantageous to Cuba than any alliances with faraway powers, he is reported to have given up on that hope.
      The photo above illustrates how friendly relations between Cuba and the United States would greatly benefit both Cuba and the United States. Cubans on the island incredibly love America and Americans, if not the U. S. government. Cuba's baseball-mad people still love their all-time favorite player, Yuri Gurriel, although he is now the star First Baseman for the Houston Astros. And Yuri still loves Cuba most of all. When Yuri and the Astros won the World Series last fall, Yuri wrapped himself in the Cuban flag for two hours after the game was over, and at every television opportunity he euphorically said, "My people in Cuba. My title is for you."

     Cuba's superstar broadcast journalist, Cristina Escobar, is the only Cuban to ever ask questions at a White House news conference. She has spoken at American universities and the foreign news media, as above, often interviews her in regards to "Cuba-U.S. Relations. She repeatedly talks about her love for America and Americans, adding, "Like many Cubans on the island I learned to speak English by watching U. S. movies and listening to U. S. music." But, despite offers to defect, she staunchly says, "Cuba's fate is up to us Cubans on the island, not Cubans in Miami and Washington." Americans may not know it, and the U. S. government may not admit it, but the vast majority of the 11.25 million Cubans on the island agree with Cristina. That's why the Cuban Revolution won against overwhelming odds. 
       And that's why the vastly over-matched but pugnacious Cuban flag still waves proudly in the very warm but ominous Caribbean breezes, despite Trump & Rubio.

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 ...