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After Jail in Cuba, Alan Gross Now Wants to Help the Castro Regime

May 3 - A political-action committee backing candidates in favor of a U.S.-Cuba policy shift will launch its campaign effort Monday with the help of a notable guest: Alan Gross, the U.S. citizen who spent five years in Cuban prisons.
The committee, called New Cuba PAC, will back candidates who favor reorienting U.S.-Cuba policy, particularly with more trade and travel between the two countries. President Barack Obama took steps to lift financial and travel regulations in December as part of a normalization push, but it will take congressional action to fully lift an embargo and allow for full travel to the island.
Mr. Gross’s lawyer, Scott Gilbert, will host the PAC’s inaugural event at his Miami home. Mr. Gross, a U.S. Agency for International Development contractor, was released from detention in Cuba in December when Mr. Obama announced he would move toward normalizing ties with Havana.
Since returning to the U.S., Mr. Gross has appeared at the State of the Union address, but otherwise has remained largely out of the public spotlight. On Twitter, he’s documented his return to normality, including a recent visit to an Apple Store in New York City.
Mr. Gross also has taken to Twitter to voice support for Mr. Obama’s Cuba policy and to urge further change there.
He’s visited Capitol Hill and met with Obama administration officials to discuss his experience in captivity. In February, he submitted testimony to the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees in support of ending the travel and trade embargo.
“My five years in Cuba did not deter me from wanting to bring about change through development and engagement,” he said in written statements to both committees.
Mr. Gross hopes to return to Cuba one day, Mr. Gilbert said, “though in a very different capacity.” Mr. Gross wants to use his experience to bring about change in Cuba, his attorney said.
“This is a person who did not come back to the United States at all bitter and angry, he came back and really has transcended this experience to try to turn it and to use it for good purposes,” Mr. Gilbert said.
Mr. Gross on Monday will address a crowd of around 50 at the PAC’s kickoff, which will be a private event. Mr. Gross is expected to speak about his five years in captivity as well his thoughts on Mr. Obama’s Cuba policy. He will take questions from attendees.
“I believe and Alan believes that the path to a better relationship and benefits for people in Cuba and the United States is increased travel between our countries and increased trade, including information flow,” Mr. Gilbert said.
The PAC’s leadership includes directors James Williams, a consultant who has advised companies and organizations on Cuba, and Ricardo Herrero, also executive director of the pro-engagement Cuba Now, as well as treasurer Maria Garcia Berry, a Cuban-born Republican donor.
“The purpose is to show that folks are willing to put their money where their mouths are in terms of this important policy, and really show that there’s strength on the side of a new course on Cuba,” said Luis Miranda, a consultant who is advising the PAC and is the Obama administration’s former director for Hispanic media.
The PAC is part of a broader campaign that includes an advocacy group, Engage Cuba.
The New Cuba PAC, the first to launch since Mr. Obama’s December announcement, enters an arena where several other PACs already are engaged in pro- and anti-embargo action. Among them is the pro-embargo US-Cuba Democracy PAC, which raised around $560,000 in 2014, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Mr. Williams, the New Cuba PAC director said his group is confident it can raise more, but wouldn’t disclose fundraising targets or contributions.
In Congress, lawmakers expect a protracted legislative battle to end the travel and trade embargo. Several measures seek to dismantle the Cold War restrictions on relations between the two countries, including one introduced by Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) in January that would end all travel restrictions. It is co-sponsored by most members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but has yet to move out of committee.
In the House, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R., Fla.) last week introduced an amendment to a larger budget bill that would bar flights and cruises to Cuba.
The U.S. and Cuba have yet to reopen embassies. In a key move toward doing so, Mr. Obama has removed Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Washington and Havana are expected to engage in more face-to-face talks before they raise flags, but no date has been set for those discussions. The Wall Street Journal


An interview with Cuban priest José Conrado Rodríguez

May 3 - If Cuban priest José Conrado Rodríguez is proud of anything, it is of being a humble man.
"I try to live like the people live," he says. And those who know him confirm that's true. He uses part of his salary to support a program that feeds underprivileged children in his parish.
Conrado recently came to Miami to baptize Pablo, a 16-year-old he helped to leave Cuba so that the boy could receive cancer treatment in the United States. "That's what fulfills me," he says with a smile.
In the first part of an exclusive interview with el Nuevo Herald, the priest spoke about the planned September visit to Cuba by Pope Francis, the role of the Catholic Church in Cuba and the fear felt on the island. During this second part of the interview, he speaks about what he describes as a "crisis of spirituality."
His words are often charged with emotion. "I believe that a man is worth what his heart is worth," he says. "The phrase is not mine. It is from a friend who is in Heaven. Either you believe that others are important for you, or there's no meaning in your life."
The Cubans who go to your Church today, what are they looking for?
I hope they are looking for God, because that's the only thing we can give them. People look for truth, something that is real, something that brings them to life.
Are there Communist Party members among your parishioners?
Yes, of course. Some of them used to walk out when I said something strong during the homily. Now they don't leave. (He laughs). The majority are humble people and people who have never had anything to do with the government.
Has Church membership increased recently?
I just added 18 benches to my Church. They are not always full but, yes, in general I believe it is growing although not as much as I wish. In my case, there is a silent war. We have had problems because we are trying to provide food for children who live in two small towns far from the school. They criticize us, and they have tried to persuade people to stop sending their children. We don't teach them the catechism, we give them lunch. We have some cots where they can take naps, we teach them how to eat. Many rural schools have closed because of the country's poverty, and the number of children in the country has dropped.
What you are saying reflects a government that is not ready to decentralize and lose control. Do you see any type of political opening in the future?
That's one of the great challenges faced by the Cuban government. In Cuba, it's not just the economic problems that need to be fixed. And they must be fixed, because otherwise we will die of hunger. I hope the government understands that we can only save Cuba precisely by opening the doors to other actors, creating a climate of respect for those who are different and seeking help from everyone — not with a totalitarian mindset but a desire for democracy, for the real participation of people in the future.
The Patriotic Union of Cuba is very active in Palma Soriano. Do you believe that these kinds of dissident groups have roots among the people? (The Cuban government dismisses dissident groups as miniscule "grupúsculos").
Grupúsculo? What is that? A small group of people can sometimes change history because at a certain moment they embody a truth, a justice needed at that time. It is not the number that decides, but the truth of the work they do. Many times, selfish interests turn up in struggles that should be selfless, but that happens everywhere. I do see the groups growing. For the first time, I see there's a commitment to coordination, to dialogue. Cuba's grave problem always has been that all of us want to be generals, not soldiers. There are people who never want to be part of "us," and they end up alone.
Do you see anyone who could become a political leader in Cuba?
Not just one, there are several. There are also many people who have the education, the interest — but are careful — and who are not in those groups today but are in the wings.
Could some of them even be within the current government?
I believe the (future) government of Cuba will be made up of people who were also part of the (current) government. And I hope that will happen because it is not good to sweep everything away. There are good people in the Communist Party. I don't know how many, but there are some. Cuba needs all of its children and we have to learn tolerance, to accept that others are different, and the greatness of forgiving those who made a mistake. The fatherland belongs to all, not to one or two or to a small group.
What's the biggest problem for the Cubans in your Church and those who live in the towns you serve?
There is a very big crisis of spirituality. It manifests itself in different ways in towns and cities. Trinidad is a wealthy city, with more than 1,000 families who rent rooms in hard currency and more than 100 private restaurants. This creates jobs. It is a prosperous city where you can see all the houses have been painted — something you don't see in other places. But I see that people still have a lot of fear and hang on to material things, because people sell their souls to the devil when there is big scarcity. There is the quest to own and not share. On the other hand, there's a lot of poverty …
Do you believe that a priority for the Cuban government should be the design of a strategy to combat poverty?
Of course. With the help of the Church and all the other Cubans. I don't believe that the Church is the government's co-protagonist. The government must learn that each Cuban has the right to struggle and the possibility of doing it by themselves. If you don't empower people so that the individual can be truly responsible, you are lost because you cannot meet so many demands.
There's a lot of speculation about who will succeed Cardinal Jaime Ortega. Who would be the best person to become head of the Cuban Church and reflect your ideals?
I have my candidate to succeed Jaime, which I expect will happen soon. But I can't say who it is because I would get into trouble with other friends.
What qualities are important for the leaders of the Cuban Catholic Church?
To be men of God. That is fundamental. To be men of God, pious. Without that, there's nothing to be done.
As a priest in Cuba, what is the most difficult thing for you?
That question is very good, but very difficult to answer. I am hit hard by a hard heart. It is a kind of distrust, of skepticism, of intolerance. It's like a many-headed hydra. To be a priest in Cuba is very difficult because there are many people who believe in nothing and no one.
Sometimes one bears the weight of the suffering of the people and becomes depressed. I am an optimist, and that is one of the characteristics of the Cuban people. We believe in the future. As bad off as we are today, we know there will be a tomorrow. But when one struggles and struggles and does not see any results, or you try to do good and they do you wrong, they betray you, they defame you … the same people for whom you would be willing to die …
And sometimes, there's also fatigue. Of course, what has hit me the hardest is when I have run into incomprehension, suspicion or indifference within the Church itself. When it is your own brothers, that really hurts.  The Miami Herald


GOP spending bill targets Obama's Cuba move

May 3 - House Republicans on Tuesday rolled out a $55.3 billion transportation and housing bill that is lean on spending but fatter on policy riders including new provisions challenging President Barack Obama’s efforts to open up more channels between the U.S. and Cuba.
Restrictions would be imposed on the Transportation Department and Federal Maritime Administration to block the licensing of new air flights and cruise ship routes to Cuba if the landing fields or docks include property that had been confiscated at one point by the Castro government.
The language reflects the increased power enjoyed by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who has taken over the House Appropriations Committee panel charged with managing the annual budget bill. More broadly, it reflects a strategy by the GOP to use policy riders to gather support for spending bills, which could be hard to pass given the tight caps on domestic spending for the 2016 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
GOP allies in the trucking industry also stand to benefit from riders affecting the length and weight of tractor-trailers on the road, for example. Meanwhile, the same bill requires cuts from transit and rail programs to meet its goal of an effective freeze on overall spending.

The Federal Railroad Administration faces a cut of $262 million below current spending, and the Federal Transit Administration would be provided just $10.7 billion — $161 million below the 2015 appropriations level.
The popular TIGER infrastructure grant program is among the hardest-hit. Just $100 million would be provided for 2016, an 80 percent reduction from current funding and $1.15 billion less than Obama’s request.
Community Development Block Grants would be preserved at $3 billion in an effort to appease GOP moderates. But the toll on Amtrak and transit funding is very real for Republicans from Northeast states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and this comes as the Republican budget is promising tens of billions in extra defense dollars by circumventing spending caps that are being enforced for domestic programs.
Against this background, throwing Cuba into the mix was just an added aggravation for Democrats.
“At a time when roads and bridges are crumbling and there is a national crisis of affordable housing, it makes no sense to use this critical bill to meddle in foreign policy,” said New York Rep. Nita Lowey, ranking Democrat on Appropriations and a leading voice for her party on foreign affairs.
Meeting with reporters later, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx expressed his disappointment with the bill’s funding levels, which represent a $1 billion cut from current funding for his department and are $6.8 billion below the administration’s request. Foxx said this is “very disappointing overall because the country is sucking wind,” and he also took aim at the pattern of safety concessions to the trucking industry, which has been a source of campaign funds for the GOP.
“What’s happening is that the appropriations process is now being used to create policy, and when it comes to safety, that’s a real problem,” Foxx said.
Regarding Cuba, Diaz-Balart said his policy riders were an attempt to rein in what he sees as Obama’s broader definition of what American tourism will be permitted to encourage improved relations between Washington and Havana.
“Congress cannot remain idle,” said the Republican lawmaker, a strong opponent of the Castro regime. “The expansion of regularly scheduled flights to Cuba is an obvious attempt to circumvent the tourism ban. Similarly, allowing cruises to dock in Cuba would violate both the spirit and the letter of U.S. law. “ Continue reading Politico


Another anniversary passes with N.J. trooper's convicted killer at large

May 2 - Forty-two years ago today, New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster was killed in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike.
The woman convicted of killing him, Joanne Chesimard, remains at large after escaping from prison and fleeing to Cuba, but a recent thaw in relations with the island nation has brought up new questions and old wounds dating to that early morning in 1973.
Foerster, 34, a resident of Old Bridge, was backing up a fellow trooper who had pulled over Chesimard, James Coston and Clark Edward Squire for a broken tail light on a white Pontiac.
Authorities say that Chesimard fired the first shot. Coston and Foerster were killed in the ensuing hail of bullets.
In 1977, Chesimard was convicted of Foerster's murder and other charges stemming from activities in the Black Liberation Army. But two years later, she escaped from prison, and in 1984 she turned up in Cuba, according to the FBI. Chesimard's escape — she now goes by Assata Shakur — landed her on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists.
Late last year, President Obama announced that he was working toward normalizing relations with Cuba, long the subject of a trade embargo and a travel ban. But it's still unclear whether the rapprochement will bring Chesimard back to the United States, and Gov. Chris Christie has called on Obama to demand Chesimard's return as a condition of lifting an embargo.
One recent report said that the State Department will begin negotiations with Cuba over Chesimard's return.
State Police said in a Facebook post on Saturday that Foerster was a veteran of the Vietnam War, and had previously worked as a welder in New Brunswick. He was survived by his wife and a 3-year-old son.
"His service with the Division was characterized by loyalty, fearless performance of duty and faithful and honorable devotion to the principles of the New Jersey State Police," police said in a Facebook posting today. NJ.com


Venezuela's Desperate Times and Maduro's Desperate Measures

April 22 - On March 1, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced the latest in a series of claims accusing the United States of meddling in Venezuela's affairs: an unspecified number of U.S. citizens, among them an American pilot, arrested in Táchira were, according to Maduro, conducting espionage operations for the U.S. government.
This all comes just one day after his government released four U.S. missionaries arrested earlier in the week.
Over the weekend, Maduro also announced a series of new measures supposedly designed to counter U.S. influence in Venezuela, including visa requirements for U.S. citizens traveling to Venezuela, significantly downsizing the U.S. embassy in Caracas, and banning a number of prominent U.S. officials (some already retired) from entering Venezuela. In recent weeks, Caracas has also accused Vice President Joe Biden of conspiring to overthrow the Maduro administration and alleged that U.S. officials helped to plan an attempted attack on the presidential palace.
All of this bluster and bombast amounts to this: desperate moves from an administration desperate to distract from Venezuela's desperate political and economic straits.
The past two years have been grim (at best) for Venezuela. The country's oil sector, mismanaged under Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, can no longer support the government's vast social programs - particularly not in the context of last year's rapid drop in oil prices.
Without oil income, Venezuela's economy has ground to a halt. Inflation is over 60 percent, the bolivar is at an all-time low even on the black market, and scarcity has topped 80 percent. Goods as basic as toilet paper and milk are nowhere to be found, and the government is frantically seeking additional sources of loan-based income.
Meanwhile, the political environment is toxic. Since early 2014, protests have persisted across Venezuela as the opposition has fought to preserve its place in the country's politics. Last year saw over 40 casualties - not to mention the hundreds injured and jailed. Just last week, that violence resurged when Venezuelan police shot and killed a 14-year-old boy during peaceful protests in San Cristobal.
Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has been incarcerated for over a year on trumped-up charges, and he was recently joined by Caracas opposition-party mayor Antonio Ledezma. All eyes are on prominent opposition politicians Maria Corina Machado, Julio Borges, and Henrique Capriles as potential targets of political backlash from Maduro's administration. Repression of political dissidents only increases as Maduro's approval ratings - now hovering just above 20 percent - continue to plummet.
Meanwhile, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello is facing accusations that he heads an international drug cartel - all based on information from his former head of security, who has since defected to the United States and is working with U.S. federal prosecutors.
All of this is to say that Venezuela - and particularly the government of Nicolás Maduro - is in crisis. Maduro's eagerness to lash out at the United States says little (if anything) about the bilateral relationship - but the worst could be yet to come. Still, it speaks to his sense of panic: panic over his country's economic disaster, panic over his unpopularity, and panic over the faltering of Chavismo in a country so wedded to it.
The recent arrests of Americans in Venezuela, Maduro's anti-U.S. speeches, empty rhetoric, and accusations of espionage, sabotage, and collusion-all of this is no more than an attempt at distraction by a floundering leader desperate for his own preservation.

Real Clear World


Pope Francis may visit Cuba this year

April 17 - Pope Francis may travel to Cuba around the time of his September visit to the United States, the Vatican told The Wall Street Journal on Friday.
Recent popes have all sought an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba, which President Obama called on Congress to do in January. He’s begun to normalize diplomatic relations with the country and met with President Raúl Castro last week during the Summit of the Americas.
That meeting amounted to the most direct contact between leaders of the two countries in more than half a century.
The Obama administration has continued to move forward with its reset of the relationship with Cuba, with the State Department announcing Tuesday that it’s removing the island from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The pope’s visit may coincide with his trip to America, where he’s expected to travel to New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Pope Francis is expected to meet with Obama during the visit and is set to address a joint session of Congress.
No pontiff had been to Cuba in the island’s history until 1998, when Pope John Paul II gave a speech in the island chastising it for prohibiting freedom of religion while also calling on the international community to accept it.
“She needs to open herself to the world and the world needs to draw close to Cuba,” he said of Cuba, according to BBC News.
Pope Benedict XVI also traveled to the country in 2012 where he too called for the end of the U.S. embargo on Cuba. After his visit, Good Friday became a national holiday. The Hill


Obama's Love Affair with the Castros Continues: Recommends Removing Cuba From Terrorism List

April 14 - President Obama recommended today that the United State government reverse its long-standing policy designating Cuba a state sponsor of international terrorism.
The White House issued a statement declaring the administration "intention to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation" several days after the president returned from the Summit of the Americas in Panama where he met with heads of state from across the region, including for the first time with Cuban President Raul Castro.
"As the President has said, we will continue to have differences with the Cuban government, but our concerns over a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions fall outside the criteria that is relevant to whether to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. "That determination is based on the statutory standard – and the facts – and those facts have led the President to declare his intention to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation."
The momentous shift will lift 32 years of numerous financial sanctions against Cuba and represents the latest attempt by the Obama administration to restore relations with the Communist stronghold after more than five decades of a diplomatic freeze.
Cuban officials had made clear during the course of recent negotiations with Washington that relations could never be fully normalized as long as the country was designated as a sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department.
The policy review began following Obama's announcement in December to begin normalization dialogue with the island nation.
"I've instructed Secretary Kerry to review Cuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. This review will be guided by the facts and the law," he said during the announcement. "Terrorism has changed in the last several decades. At a time when we are focused on threats from al Qaeda to ISIL, a nation that meets our conditions and renounces the use of terrorism should not face this sanction."
Obama will send his decision to Congress, which has 45 days to consider the new policy. Should Congress seek to block the measure, it would need to create a veto-proof law declaring Cuba remains a state sponsor of terrorism. It's unlikely Congress has votes to complete such a task.
The Communist Cuban government was added to the terror list in 1982 after the State Department determined the country repeatedly provided support to terrorist organizations in Latin America, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. But the State Department acknowledged recently those ties had "become more distant."
Syria, Sudan and Iran are the only other countries remaining on the list.
The decision is expected to draw criticism from those opposed to normalizing relations with the Castro regime in Cuba.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said after the December announcement that changes to the terror designation would serve to "tighten this regime's grip on power for decades to come."
Cuban officials, meanwhile, have said not only was the designation unwarranted, but also removing it is critical to the process of restoring relations. The banking sanctions associated with the terror designation are so strict that Cuban diplomats cannot even use credit cards while visiting Washington, D.C. or the United Nations in New York, and Cuba's interest section cannot process credit cards for visa applications.
Cuba's leading diplomat told ABC News in February that the decision to put them on the list has always been political.
"People are in disbelief every time they realize that Cuba has been included in the list of so called state-sponsors of terrorism," Josefina Vidal told ABC News' Jim Avila in an exclusive interview. "It has always been a political decision, not a decision based on real facts. Because it's a fact of life, that from the territory of Cuba, terrorism has never been organized, financed, or executed or implemented toward any country in the world including the United States."  ABC News


Gallery of Infamous Handshakes


Cuban rappers criticize government in rhyme at Summit

April 10 - Cuban rapper Skuadron Patriota paced the stage and dedicated his next song to his mom – and moms everywhere who have lost sons to street fights or perilous raft trips from his island country – then launched into his signature spitfire tune, Madre.
"Tolerance zero, freedom of expression zero ... State control to the extreme."
Cuba's historic entry to the Summit of the Americas here has also drawn many of the communist island's critics, including a rare Cuban hip hop protest concert Thursday night. The event took place in a theater just off the Panama Canal and gathered known rappers from the island such as Skuadron, Sivito El Libre and David D Omni.
Omni, who calls himself an "artevista" or art-activist, said he was harassed at the airport upon his arrival by Panamanian customs agents, who warned him not to make trouble or he'd be deported back to Cuba, a complaint echoed by other Cuban dissidents in town for the summit.
Still, he said was excited to share a stage with other Cuban rappers whose lyrics denounce the Castro regime – an event that would be near impossible to pull off in their home country. He said Cuban rappers are unique because they're less concerned with the material trappings that U.S. rappers tend to glamorize and instead focus on social issues and everyday life.
"Cuban hip hop is different," Omni said. "You know you're not going to make money. You rap because you have something to say."
Over the past decade, Cuban hip hop has been one of the main forms of expressing dissent on the island. But it hasn't been without its controversy. A report by the Associated Press last year alleged that the U.S. Agency for International Development attempted to recruit hip hop artists to foster unrest among the country's youth, a charge the artists denied.
The hip hop artists have continued to put out music, often shared through amateur videos on YouTube and many denouncing the Cuban government. Few other artists, singers or political dissidents have been criticizing the Castro government as explicitly and forcefully as Cuban rappers, said Adolfo Leyva, a history professor at Florida State University's Panama campus and an organizer of Thursday's event.
"These people are the ones pushing the envelope," he said.
At the concert, the rappers took the stage in front of a wall flashing images of the Cuban flag, Cuban highways or Havana neighborhoods. Several of them called for the release of artist Danilo Maldonado, known as "El Sexto," who was jailed by Cuban authorities in December for attempting to release two hogs in a public square scrawled with the names "Fidel" and "Raul" – Cuba's iconic leaders.
Gorkí Aguila, front man for Cuban punk band Porno Para Ricardo and an outspoken government critic, played a solo set, including a song mocking Cuban President Raúl Castro, in town for the summit. "I'm here because … well, any chance I have to denounce the Castro government, I'll take it," Aguila said on stage to cheers from the crowd.
One of the headliners of the event was rapper Silvito El Libre, who's father, Silvio Rodriguez, is a renown Cuban musician and favorite of the Cuban government. As his son's rap concert got under way, Rodriguez led his own concert across town, sponsored by Cuban authorities.
Lounging outside the theater before the show, Silvito said he doesn't like to talk about this father. But he said he hopes improved relations with the USA lead to real changes on the island, something that's been elusive for years.
"I think the Cuban government should hand over control to the new generation, to new ideas," he said. "So far, we haven't seen much change."  USA Today


Cuban Col. Alexis Frutos identified as one of those who attacked dissidents in Panama

April 9 - The blog cubaaldescubierto.com has identified Cuban Col. Alexis Frutos Weeden, as one of those who took part in the unprovoked attack against Cuban dissidents participating on the OAS Summit in Panama.

Frutos Weeden is Cuba's intelligence chief in Venezuela.

There is no way that the Castro regime can now deny its involvement in yesterdays beating of peaceful dissidents in Panama.



Pro-Castro mobs come from inside the Cuban embassy to attack Cuban dissidents in Panama

April 8 - Pro-Castro mobs came from inside the Cuban embassy in Panama and attacked Cuban dissidents who were placing a floral tribute in front of the statue of José Marí in Panama City.

The dissidents are there to take part in the Cumbre de las Américas that will begin in Panama city on Friday.

Watch the video


Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, talks about Obama's "wrongful decision"


Each time the Castro's are desperate for money, an ignorant with money shows up

Obama unmasked

Dec.17 - After the end of the Soviet Union, when the Castro brothers lost the subsidy of more than $4 billion a year, Hugo Chávez came in to their rescue.

Now, 15 years later when Venezuela is on the verge of bankruptcy thanks in great part for having become a colony of Castroland, Barack Obama steps up to the plate to save them once again.

The Castros are always lucky enough to always find an ignorant with money willing to save them


This is how much the Castro brothers make from their slave doctors

Nov. 17 - No wonder the New York Times wants to make sure Cuban slave doctors cannot escape. The NYT partners in Havana make billions of dollars a year exploiting the slave doctors and other Cuban professionals.

The slave trade brings the Castro brothers almost four times more than tourism.


Citizens protesting against the regime on March 28 in Havana's famous Galiano Street


Videos: The Ladies in White protest in Havana and stopped from marching in Holguín

Dec. 3 - Video of a protest by the Ladies in White on Sunday December 1 at Parque Gandhi in Havana and an attempt to march in Holguin, but were stopped by Castro's police



Cuban lady is brutally attacked by Castro's police for expressing her opinions

Nov. 4 - Anonymous Venezuela has a warning: This is the future of Venezuela unless they get rid of Maduro and the other puppets under the control of the Castro brothers.


Video of another act of repudiation against members of UNPACU

Oct. 9 - This took place in Cardenas on Sunday October 6, 2013

Click here to see the video


 Video taken at the Hijas de Galicia Hospital, Luyanó, Havana, Cuba

July 8 - Video taken in April of this year at the Hijas de Galicia Hospital, one of the hospitals for Cubans who do not have hard currency to pay the Castro brothers.

Very different from the hospital where they took Micahel Moore and the hospitals that are used by foreigners who pay with dollars.

Click here to see the video


Spanish daily ABC has an article about the false myth of Cuba's healthcare

Foto de la versión impresa del reportaje en ABC

March 17 - On Thursday of last week, Carmen Muñoz a columnist for Spanish daily ABC, called me to ask for permission to use the photos at therealcuba.com for an article about the false myth of Cuba's healthcare.

I was able to send her many of the photos on high resolution to use on the print edition of the newspaper.

The article was published on Sunday on ABC and is also on their web page at ABC.es  (Spanish)


Our new page: Fidel Castro, the World's oldest terrorist


My interview with Baseball PhD

March 29 - I was interviewed by Ed Kasputis, of Baseball PhD, about baseball in Cuba before Castro and about the two Cubas, the one for foreigners and the one for regular Cubans.
Ed did a previous program with Mr. Sports Travel of San Diego, CA, about the five top international baseball destinations and was surprised to find out that the #1 destination was Cuba.
He received some nice pictures of Cuba and was ready to book a trip when he saw therealcuba.com and changed his mind.
He interviewed me as part of a program about the new Marlins Stadium and I was able to talk about baseball in Cuba before Castro and then we had a long chat about what is the reality of life in Cuba under Castro.
The program lasts 53 minutes, if you are not a baseball fan and just want to hear my interview about Cuba use your mouse to move the dial to minute 25:35  Click here to listen


Listen to Fidel Castro

For those who think that the Cuban people chose the system imposed by the Castro brothers, here are some of the things that Fidel Castro said and promised when he gained power Click Here


Satellite photos of Cuba's prisons, missile installations, military bases and more


A look at Havana before the Castro brothers destroyed it Cuba B.C


Visit our updated page: The Useful Idiots


We have new photos of Havana taken in October of last year

Oct. 9 - A friend sent me around two dozen photos of Havana that he took at the beginning of this month.

Some of them are very sad, because they show how Havana has been completely destroyed by this gang of human termites.

Some others are hard to believe, including this one of goats having "lunch" off the dumpsters on a Havana street.

Click here  to see them


Socio-Economic Conditions in Pre-Castro Cuba

Dec. 17 - Cuba Facts is an ongoing series of succinct fact sheets on various topics, including, but not limited to, political structure, health, economy, education, nutrition, labor, business, foreign investment, and demographics, published and updated on a regular basis by the Cuba Transition Project staff at the University of Miami.

Click here to learn the truth about Cuba's Health, Education, Personal Consumption and much more in pre-Castro Cuba.



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