The Top Cuba Update

For the Last Weekend in March!!
{Monday, April 1st, 2019}
    With even the mainstream U. S. media too timid to report fairly on Cuban issues, there are notable international sources not so intimidated. Thus, I think the most interesting update related to Cuba the very last weekend in March-2019 was published in print and online by the London-based The Guardian. The headline is: "Google Revealed As Unlikely Go-Between To Help Trump-Cuba Relations." And the sub-headline is: "Tech Firm Has Acted As U.S.-Havana Intermediary As Memo Says Cuba Trusts Google More Than Trump Administration." 
      The insightful article in The Guardian last weekend used the above Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images photo to illustrate the important update. It shows Google and Cuba signing a new Internet deal this week, this time to enable Cuba to get an underwater optic cable that will greatly increase the island's Internet connectivity and conductibility. The Guardian says Google and then CEO Eric Schmidt began working closely with Cuba during the Obama presidency in 2014 and has maintained a Google office in Havana. Now even the Trump presidency can't stop the world's Internet superpower from aiding Cuba. Trump, for example, has personally met with Google's new CEO Sundar Pichai in the hopes that the USA, via Google, will be able to ward off the Cuban aspirations and efforts of China and Russia, both of whom are trying to be the foreign power most involved in expanding Cuba's already FAST-EXPANDING Internet and Social Media activity. Cuba telecom company, ETECSA, has quickly signed up 5 million Cuban customers and the island now has WiFi hook-ups all across the island...all with Google's considerable and continuing help.
     And so, not surprisingly during this last weekend in March-2019, I think London's The Guardian had the best update on important news related to Cuba. And you can Google the entire article Online.


Cuba Loves UK AND Google

{Saturday, March 30th, 2019}
    During an historic 4-days this week -- from Sunday through Wednesday -- Prince Charles, the future King of England, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, enjoyed a splendorous and productive visit to Cuba. This Chris Jackson/Getty Images photo shows them enjoying a Mojito at The Habanera, a privately owned restaurant/bar in a private home {these are known as paladars}.
  This Chris Jackson/Getty Images photo shows Prince Charles making his own Mojito as Camilla admires his enthusiasm and skill. Asked Thursday if she wanted to go back to Cuba, Camilla instantly replied, "YES! And not later than TOMORROW!!"
     These Cubans were honoring the British flag this week during the visit of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
   This Yamil Lage/Getty Images photo chronicles another good moment in Havana this week. Cuba's telecom company ETECSA signed another important deal with GOOGLE, which has had an office in Havana since 2017. With Luis Adolfo Iglesias representing ETECSA and Brett Perlmutter who is already in charge of GOOGLE'S office in Havana, the two companies agreed to speed-up Internet connectivity but first Cuba needs to install a new undersea fiber-optic cable. Once finished, it will  then be free and very cost-effective for Cuba because now Cuba must pay a third country for Cubans to connect to Google.com and YouTube but the Cuba government is quickly making the Internet accessible for all Cubans to do so. ETECSA has five million customers and now there are WiFi hookups all across the island.
    Almost all Cubans now have access to Smart Phones and Internet hook-ups and the Cuban government is trying hard to make the connections even easier. The island's new President and former Education Minister, Miguel Diaz-Canel, has made Internet accessibility on the island a major priority...and the results are astonishing.
     In his first year as Cuba's President, Miguel Diaz-Canel has held important meetings with Eric Schmidt, the top boss {CEO, President, Chairman} of GOOGLE, the Internet Superpower. They met first in Havana and then, as shown above, Mr. Schmdt hosted Diaz-Canel at GOOGLE'S New York City headquarters where the Cuban President was introduced to dozens of other major American business executives. {Most U. S. execs, farmers, and ports -- including every port in Florida --  want to do business with Cuba}.
  This Ramon Espinosa/AP photo shows GOOGLE boss Eric Schmidt signing an Internet deal with Cuba's Mayra Arevich Marin, the President of ETECSA. While President Diaz-Canel has dire Counter Revolutionary enemies in Miami and in all Republican administrations, he also has some direly important USA friends, like Eric Schmidt, the top boss at GOOGLE. After a new deal was signed Thursday in Havana, GOOGLE and ETECSA engineers are already working together to get that new undersea optic cable in working order to make Cuba's Internet connectivity faster, more efficient, and cheaper...and already Cubans have suddenly become furious fans of GOOGLING and using the social media sources, especially Facebook and YouTube.
     Of course, having close friends like Eric Schmidt at Google and Prince Charles in the UK helps Cuba's new President Miguel Diaz-Canel somewhat offset his dire enemies in Miami and in Washington, such as Marco Rubio. And, yes, already Diaz-Canel has met with Prince Charles in London back in November and this week in Havana.
    And make no mistake about it, a strong majority of Cubans on the island strongly support their President, Miguel Diaz-Canel. Born after the triumph of the Revolution, he rose politically outside Havana as an educator and then served as the nation's Education Minister. Yet, his idol is the late Fidel Castro and he possesses revolutionary fervor regarding Cuba's sovereignty, which he says was "only attained in our 5th century due to the historic victory over U. S. imperialism by the Cuban Revolution at the beginning of 1959." Diaz-Canel, for Cuba's sake, desires a peaceful political and trade relationship with the United States..."the same as most Americans and Cuban-Americans want, but the Republican party in their 2-party system blocks what would benefit both Cubans and most Americans." The photo above was posted Thursday -- March 28, 2019 -- by Havana's popular and influential television News Anchor Rosy Amaro. It shows President Diaz-Canel assisting his wife Lis Cuesta down some tricky airplane steps. Among his edicts as President, in addition to sharply boosting Internet accessibility, Diaz-Canel has told his most important Ministers and six Vice Presidents, 3 of whom are women, "to appear regularly on Cuban television and radio programs to let the people know how, and if, you are working on their behalf...because they can judge whether we are doing that or not."
    It may come as a shock to Americans who have never been to Cuba, but Rosy Amaro is not reluctant to criticize the Cuban government, including President Diaz-Canel whom she strongly supports. If Rosy thinks everyday Cubans are not being treated fairly...she has fired off her criticisms both on her state-owned television station and on social media. For example, she once sharply rebuked the General Manager at the iconic state-owned Nacional Hotel when she learned that a Cuban working at the hotel was charged a fee to take his family on a visit to the hotel's popular garden, which is a favorite of fee-paying tourists. The GM at the hotel then sent Rosy a LONG letter, which she posted in its entirety on her Facebook page. The GM explained that her sharp criticism was warranted and would be corrected. The best way to know Cuba is to ignore what Counter Revolutionaries and anti-Cuban Republicans say and get to mingle with Cubans on the island, as the UK's Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall did this week.
AND OH, YES....................
     ...............the smart, feisty, talented, and well-educated News Anchor, Rosy Amaro, has a five-year-old daughter. And Rosy is totally convinced that Marco Rubio is lying when he claims he will take better care of little Cuban girls on the island than their Cuban mothers are doing and plan to continue doing. Americans paid it no mind but Cubans are still infuriated over a boastful Tweet that Rubio sent to President Diaz-Canel -- "see you soon." It was Rubio's way of telling Diaz-Canel that President Trump had given Rubio the financial and military wherewithal to recapture Cuba on behalf of Rubio's Little Havana stalwarts in Miami. It's highly possible, maybe even probable. But that doesn't mean that Cubans like Rosy, who have traveled widely and have close relatives and friends in the U. S., won't stay on the island and resist...even in the manner of history's all-time greatest female revolutionary fighter and leader:
Celia Sanchez, guerrilla fighter.
Revolutionary leader, Celia Sanchez.
Defender of children, Celia Sanchez.
The legend, Celia Sanchez.
And CELIA SANCHEZ, the historian.


Cuba and the US Media

A USA Shame , MOSTLY!!
      An excellent broadcast journalist, Hatzel Vela is a top reporter for the top news source in Miami -- WPLG-TV 10. Hatzel is stationed in Havana and, from there, he files regular reports back to Channel 10, the ABC Network station in Miami...where the Little Havana neighborhood since 1959 has led the massive and unchecked effort to overthrow the Cuban Revolution, which overthrew the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship that then sent many of its richest anti-Castro zealots to their new capital, Little Havana. With that backdrop, knowing that even the mainstream national U. S. media is much too afraid to report fairly on Cuban issues, I have been surprised that Hatzel Vela actually files regular fair and balanced reports from Cuba to Miami's best television station.
      In fact, yesterday -- March 27-2019 -- to illustrate my respect for Hatzel Vela's televised reports from Cuba to his MIAMI television station, I shared at the top of my Facebook page Vela's March 27th report on the historic visit to the island this week by the UK's future King, Prince Charles. I mentioned that Vela's reporting from Cuba "is unhindered by the Cuban government." Within a few minutes, Hatzel Vela in Cuba posted two quick "likes" on my Facebook page, one for his approval of my comment and one for sharing his actual WPLG-TV 10 report related to Prince Charles.
     MY POINT IS THIS: As a democracy-loving American, I am not happy that Little Havana since 1959 has been allowed to CubaNIZE the U. S. government in a harmful manner, meaning that the perpetrators have been a handful of only the most extremists exiles and their self-serving sycophants, not the vast majority of Cuban exiles nor decent USA politicians. And, to my mind, the most grievous CubaNIZED assault on the U. S. democracy has been its Mafia-like intimidation of the mainstream U. S. media, whose free and fair-minded functionality is vital to all the basic tenets of Democracy. So, therefore, you can understand why I appreciate the fact that at least one prime news sources even in Miami -- WPLG-TV 10 -- and at least one journalist -- Hatzel Vela -- have the integrity and the courage to actually report FROM Cuba BACK to Miami. If Vela can do that, why can't the mainstream national U. S. media do the same thing, which is something the American people need -- namely, both sides of the two-sided U.S.-Cuban conundrum.
     So, for a fair USA report from Cuba on the important Prince Charles Visit to Cuba this week, GOOGLE the Hatzel Vela/WPLG-TV report from Cuba-to-Miami on March 27th. Or tap the 3-minute video report above by Vela from Cuba back to Miami on April 5, 2018 to get an example of fair U. S. journalism related to Cuba. In this video, Vela explains to his viewers in Miami that the overtures to the island made by former President Obama enabled private business owners in Cuba "to flourish despite a lack of materials." This report revealed the vast potential Cuba has if the foreign superpower, the USA, would work with everyday Cubans instead of grossly handicapping them with Little Havana's malevolent 1996 Helms-Burton Act that grossly exacerbated the 1962 U. S. Economic Embargo against Cuba, the longest and cruelest Embargo ever imposed by a strong nation against a much weaker nation. And if you watch Hatzel Vela's 3-minute report above, you will better comprehend the gutlessness of the latest Republican administration, TRUMP'S, to follow Obama's decency by indecently turning America's Cuban policies back over ONLY to Little Havana's most extremists Counter Revolutionaries. In other words, any democracy-lover who doesn't comprehend the malevolent indecency involved in the transition from OBAMA to TRUMP is either an idiot or a coward. And that is precisely why I believe fair-minded reports that provide Americans both sides of the U.S.-Cuban conundrum, such as the Hatzel Vela Cuba-to-Miami reports, are so important, if rare, in the U. S. democracy that has taken SO MANY HITS from Little Havana.


Prince Charles Wows Cuba

The UK Royals Thrill Cubans!!
Photos credit: Associated Press/Ramon Espinosa.
      Yesterday -- March 26th, 2019 -- Prince Charles, the future King of England, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, continued to excite Cubans on their extended visit to the island. The popular Royals Tuesday pointedly stressed their defiance of the Trump administration's renewed efforts to isolate and starve the island. 
       In the photo above Charles is shown squiring Camilla around Havana in a vintage 1953 British MG convertible, which typically has been kept fine-tuned by the famed ingenuity of Cuban mechanics.
     Later, Charles and Camilla stopped off at a park in Havana that is famous for its John Lennon bench. Across the street at the Yellow Submarine Bar and Cultural Center they heard a Cuban band singing and playing Beatles songs. Earlier, Charles had inaugurated a new Havana statue of William Shakespeare by pulling off the cover to debut it. The Royals also visited an agricultural farm where the UK is helping Cuba produce more of its food to counteract the U. S. embargo. They then attended a gala dance program at the famed Alicia Alonso Theater, visited two bio-medical centers, and met with many of Cuba's entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of new private enterprise and ownership laws. Then Tuesday night Charles and Camilla had their second state dinner with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
     But from the standpoint of helping Cuba and defying the USA, the most important chore Prince Charles performed Tuesday is shown above. He cut the ribbon to inaugurate the UK's $250 million Solar Farm at Cuba's vital, state-of-the-art, deep-water Port Mariel Economic Zone located 28 miles southwest of Havana. Later this year the Solar Farm is expected to be reducing Cuba's dependence on oil, at least partially negating the hopes of anti-Cuban zealots in Miami and Washington that the Venezuelan peril will at least finally and completely starve the Cuban economy. Solar Mariel, a wholly owned British company, is finishing the upgrade to Cuba's power grid. Significantly, standing at Prince Charles' right shoulder is 86-year-old Ramiro Valdes, one of Cuba's six Vice Presidents and one of the Cuban Revolution's last still-living legendary rebels and commanders. Valdes was at Fidel Castro's side from beginning to end in the Revolution, including at the July 26th, 1953, attack on the Moncada barracks that launched the Revolution. It perhaps was significant that Charles motioned for Valdes to be at his side for the important ribbon-cutting ceremony at Mariel, a billion-dollar port that has been dredged 60-feet deep and can handle the Supermax ships now going through the Panama Canel. Cuba believes USA Republicans and Counter Revolutionaries are very desirous of owning the Muriel Port, which is rated ultra-modern and ultra-strategic.
 Throughout their visit, Charles and Camilla have massively thrilled Cubans and gone out of their way to spend time with them and chat. Reuters journalist Sarah Marsh reported that Charles ducked into a Havana barbershop and cordially thanked the female owner for sharing her air conditioner with him. She said, "He sure didn't act like a Prince. He is genuine, inquisitive, and just a nice person."
        Walking with and chatting with Cubans along Obispo Street in Havana, Camilla was amused by the statue of the Literary Doorman holding a biography of Jose Marti and gifting visitors with a white rose, which Camilla knew referenced Marti's famous White Rose poem. Cubans were amused that Camilla was amused. "For ME!! A beautiful white rose?"
     This photo shows Lis Cuesta, the wife of President Miguel Diaz-Canel, escorting Camilla, the wife of Prince Charles, to one of the many functions Camilla requested. The Brit's knowledge of Cuban history...such as its medical research, infant mortality statistics, and Alicia Alonso's famed ballet school, etc....has impressed Cubans throughout the Royal visit.
    In fact, Camilla spent a much longer time than scheduled discussing Cuba's free health care for all Cubans when she visited pregnant women and their doctors. Later Camilla explained, "I had discussed Cuba's strong expenditures on health and education for all with top World Health Association and UN officials, but discussing it unannounced till the last moment with everyday doctors and patients was invigorating."
     While the visit to the Mariel Port has been the most important Prince Charles statement in Cuba this week, both the future King and Camilla have given Cubans a breath of fresh air with their friendliness and sincerity in caring for the people on the island. As when she was sharing the bench with the iconic John Lennon statue, Camilla kept her parasol handy to ward off some of the Caribbean sun. Camilla said, "John Lennon praised the Revolution and Cuba remembers that."
      But beyond the Mariel Port ceremony, John Lennon, the meetings and state dinners with President Diaz-Canel, etc., the image that is getting the most international attention is Prince Charles driving Duchess Camilla around Havana in a vintage and fine-tuned 1953 British MG convertible. They both enjoyed the ride.


UK Slams US Cuban Policy

Prince Charles Makes Salient Point!!
{Wednesday, March 27th, 2019}
     Last November Cuba's new President Miguel Diaz-Canel became abundantly aware that President Trump had given permission for Marco Rubio and John Bolton to use the economic and military might of the USA to execute a regime-change in Cuba. One of Diaz-Canel's first reactions was to meet in London with his friend Prince Charles.
   On Sunday, March 24th, Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrived in Havana on a Royal Air Force plane.
     This week President Diaz-Canel and all Cubans on the island are getting A HUGE KICK out of this extremely important visit.
     Monday night Prince Charles was hosted by President Diaz-Canel at a state dinner and also for images like the London Daily Mail photo above.
     Images like this of President Diaz-Canel and Prince Charles are intended to convey to Washington that the UK will make its own decisions in regards to Cuba, and the UK government has made it clear that it supports Prince Charles and the Royal Family's respect for Cuba's independence.
 This photo shows Prince Charles and Camilla in Havana's Revolutionary Square with the iconic, world-famed image of Che Guevara as the backdrop.
    Prince Charles attended this ceremony honoring him and the British flag. It also was intended to remind the world that Revolutionary Cuba overcame "THE LONGEST OF LONG-SHOTS" in 1959 to gain its independence from Batista, the Mafia, and the USA and that it would fight against "even longer odds against foreign imperialism to keep our sovereign island."
    This photo shows Prince Charles eagerly accepting Cuban Churros, the traditional gift that all visitors are offered when they inspect the most historic area of Old Havana. Cuban journalist Rosy Amaro used this photo and said, "It is Cuba...its culture, its people."
     Except to ridicule the UK for allowing Prince Charles to visit Cuba, the conservative and right-wing U. S. media doesn't mention the visit. But more significantly, both the left-wing and mainstream U. S. media are basically too afraid to mention anything positive related to Cuba. However, the British media and especially BBC NEWS, which has a vast and respected international reach, is pointing out the topical justification for a visit to Cuba by the future King of England. Prince Charles himself makes these points: "Cuban has a new non-Castro and non-revolutionary President whom the people know and love as their former Education Minister...Cubans with totally free educations through college are extremely well-educated...Cubans with totally free healthcare for life are remarkably healthy....Cuba has a new Constitution that opens up private businesses and ownership even though the government does not want it to create a vast rich-poor disparity...almost all Cubans now have access to the Internet and Social Media and therefore they know what's happening on their island and in the nearby United States..." Etc., etc. from a brave and surprisingly Cuba-savvy Future King of England.
    Major London-based news sources -- such as the BBC, London Times, The Guardian, London Daily Mail, Reuters News Agency, etc. -- report fairly on Cuban issues. Reuters is one of the world's 3 biggest news agencies and its excellent staff in Cuba includes Sarah Marsh. Even major U. S. media sources are restricted to virtually getting all their quotes regarding Cuba from only Counter Revolutionary extremists such as Little Havana's Rubio and the Diaz-Balart brothers or from Republican politicians who take their orders from Little Havana, and that includes all major Republican politician like President Trump. But Sarah Marsh in her Reuters article about the Prince Charles visit to Cuba had the freedom to stress quotes from a 26-year-old Cuban historian, Aaron Rubio, and from one of America's greatest Cuban experts, notable American University Professor William LeoGrande. Aaron Rubio said, "It's always good for Cuba to strengthen its relations with important international actors but all the more so when the United States has a president responding to the interests of extreme right-wing people who want to harm Cuba." And then Sarah Marsh published this exact quote from William LeoGrande: "Such visits as Prince Charles and the UK are making to Cuba lend legitimacy to the Cuban government and represent an implicit warning to the United States that hostile actions against the Cuban people may incur a diplomatic cost with important allies."
     As a democracy-loving American, I wish journalists in the United States still had the freedom to cover Cuban issues the way Sarah Marsh can cover them for Reuters. Sarah is shown above getting first-hand knowledge from a Cuban farmer before she wrote a Reuters article about the pros-and-cons of farming in Cuba, complete with renewed efforts by the Cuban government to produce more of its own food despite fertilization and equipment obstacles presented by the U. S. embargo that has existed since 1962.
    The London Times has a headline that reads: "PRINCE CHARLES HELPS UK WOO CUBA." The British media reports that 200,000 Brits visit Cuba each year and more would "like to." Prince Charles will visit Cuba's deep-water and state-of-the-art Mariel Port/Investment Zone 28 miles southwest of Havana where the UK already has one project and plans more, which would vitally help Cuba's economy.
 On their extended visit to Cuba, Camilla and Charles are seeing a lot of Cuba's Deputy Foreign Minister Ana Teresita Gonzalez. That's because Camilla is fascinated with "the history of the Cuban Revolution that during the war and after the victory has always had women at the forefront." Both Camilla and Charles have asked to see a Cuban facility that is famed for its cancer research and is getting assistance from the UK's University of Manchester. Charles has also asked to visit the recording studio in Havana of one of his favorite bands, the famed Buena Vista Social Club. Camilla has asked to attend a performance of the ultra-famous Cuban Ballet where the omnipotent Alicia Alonso since 1959 has trained many of the greatest UK and USA ballet stars. AND, OH, YES!! Both Camilla and Charles have asked Ana Teresita Gonzalez to "make sure we get to ride in some of the 1950s-era American convertibles." Ana asked, "What color would each of you like to ride in?" Camilla said "Yellow" and Charles said he preferred "Red." Ana smiled and replied, "No problem, yellow or red."
 A yellow convertible for Camilla.
And a red convertible for Charles.
   OH, YES!! Cuba has spent considerable time and money since 2013 completely refurbishing its Capital Building because a 500th Cuban anniversary will be celebrated soon. And Cuba was proud to show their Royal visitors a rejuvenated El Capitolio.
       This photo shows El Capitolio while re-construction was still underway. But now that it has been restored, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla will be told this week that El Capitolio will soon be home to Cuba's 508-member General Assembly.
Friends: Charles & Miguel.

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