Colin Kaepernick’s Ignorance of Racism in Castro’s Cuba

Kaepernick wearing a Malcolm X hat and a T-shirt with photos of Malcolm X and Fidel Castro
Kaepernick wearing a Malcolm X hat and a T-shirt with photos of Malcolm X and Fidel Castro

The Weekly Standard

The 49ers QB wore a shirt commemorating Fidel’s meeting with Malcolm X.

Over the weekend, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem at the beginning of an NFL preseason game. Predictably, this touched off a firestorm after Kaepernick explained at a press conference after the game that this was done to protest injustice in America. “I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed,” he said. “To me, this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

I think Kaepernick’s gesture is overwrought, but I found his full remarks to be more nuanced and less brazenly anti-American than, say, what you’re bound to hear from your average San Francisco city council member. He’s well within his rights as an American to make such a statement, and I think his motivations are well-intentioned, if misguided. It’s probably also overwrought for the local news to be airing footage of fans burning his jersey.

Kaepernick even said some thoughtful things that conservatives would appreciate. I was particularly struck by this: “Someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.” He has a point. In California, you need 1,600 hours of training to be a licensed cosmetologist. It takes only about 1,500 hours of training to be a commercial airline pilot. Maybe this is more a lesson in occupational licensing reform, but Kaepernick is correct that cops often lack necessary training relative to the pressures and demands we put on on them to keep the peace.

However, there was one startling display of ignorance by Kaepernick that makes me think he’s not the best person to listen to on the topic of racial injustice. I’m referring to his attire at the press conference: a Malcolm X hat, and though it’s difficult to make out, his T-shirt is of photos commemorating Malcolm X meeting Fidel Castro.

One can revisit the great civil rights debate over using violence as a means to an end; suffice to say, America’s better off that Martin Luther King, Jr. and his commitment to nonviolence, not Malcolm X and his “by any means necessary” approach, won the day. And this divide is only highlighted by Castro’s harboring of a bunch of American cop killers, such as Assata Shakur and Eldridge Cleaver, who claim their unconscionable and murderous actions were done in the name of “racial justice”.

The biggest problem here is that Kaepernick is seemingly unaware of Castro’s legacy. Aside from Castro dragooning and executing Christians and gays, Castro’s record on racial justice is decidedly not “woke”, as the Internet likes to say. While Cuba’s legacy of racism predates Castro, it’s safe to say overt racism against individuals of African ancestry there remains far more pronounced than it is in the United States. In fact, racism is kind of an unstated official policy: “State-posts, government jobs, or positions in the tourism industry are often allocated on the basis of skin color. Take a look at the top office holders in Cuba. See any black faces there? No,” Mediaite’s AJ Delgado wrote.

Earlier this year, as the White House was normalizing relations with Cuba, the New York Times declared “Cuba Says It Has Solved Racism. Obama Isn’t So Sure.” Obama even addressed the topic of Cuban racism explicitly during his historic visit. But there’s no evidence Obama used his leverage to extract any meaningful reforms to address the issue.

The fact remains that the Cuban government doesn’t deal with racism, because to talk openly about it would be to admit that Cuba’s not the socialist paradise it’s cracked up to be. But don’t take my word for it—Cuban editor Roberto Zurbano wrote an illuminating article about Cuban racism that was translated and published in the New York Times three years ago:

Six Cuban volleyball players face rape trial in Finland

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RT News

Six Cuban volleyball players are standing trial in Finland accused of raping a woman in early July at a hotel in Tampere, where Cuba’s national team was staying at the time.

The alleged offense happened during the 2016 FIVB World Volleyball League, which takes place in various cities around the world. The Cuban team had played matches in Osaka and Bratislava before heading to Tampere, a city in southern Finland.

Eight men were originally arrested in connection with the incident but two were later released without charge.

Despite the players being detained in Finland, Cuba decided to enter its volleyball team into the Rio Olympics this summer but lost all five of its matches.

If the men are found guilty of the offense, they could face a maximum prison sentence of eight years.

This type of trial is rare in Finland with only 8 percent of cases in which the victim has been raped by a stranger leading to trial.

The trial will take place behind closed doors at the District Court of Pirkanmaa, and is expected to last three days.

More bad news for new ideas in Cuba

eusebioleal

The Miami Herald, by Paul W. Hare

Very few without Castro in their name have survived in the leadership of the Cuban Revolution as long as Eusebio Leal. And he didn’t do it by the conventional means of silence and obedience. He brought loyalty but also ideas to the Castros. Now the military-run business empire has asserted itself in Old Havana as elsewhere and Leal appears to have been outmaneuvered.

Uniquely among Cuban leaders Leal has cared about other things beyond preserving the Castro Revolution. He has been as fascinated by Cuba’s past as its future. He has received numerous overseas cultural awards but his stature in Cuba has been that he thought differently.

In 2002 the British embassy in Havana staged a two-month-long series of events to commemorate 100 years of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United Kingdom. We were told it was the largest such festival by an overseas country ever held in Cuba. Leal was our indispensable ally for venues, organization, contacts and vision. At times the Revolution’s agenda surfaced and he negotiated hard. But his heart was in the history of both our countries. Leal even created a garden in Old Havana in memory of Princess Diana. And as a historian he loved the story of the British invasion of Havana in 1762.

The military conglomerate GAESA will now assume business control over Leal’s beloved Old Havana project. This has been a labor of love and ingenuity. But it has also depended on his versatile role at the heart of revolutionary politics. He proved a man of taste, of determination but also shone as a contemporary entrepreneur in a Cuba which despises individualism.

His versatility served him well. A teenager at the time of the Revolution, he chose to prove that innovation and a love of past cultures and elegance could coexist with the new era. He admired Fidel, a fellow intellectual, and — not accidentally — he was chosen by the official Cuban media to eulogize his old friend again on his 90th birthday. Typically, the Revolution was extracting a declaration of loyalty from a man who was feeling pretty disgruntled .

Times are changing in Cuba and the undermining of Leal’s control has wider implications. He may not be a household name outside Cuba and he may be in failing health. But his project showed he knew the Castros would never allow private sector growth to restore the largest area of Spanish colonial architecture in the Western Hemisphere.

His only chance was to harness funds from tourist visitors and foreign investors. There is still much to do but the current rush of tourists to Cuba owes much to achievement.

Leal’s fate is nothing new. Set in the 57-year context of the Cuban Revolution, many able and loyal leaders have been discarded. Felipe Pérez Roque, Carlos Lage and Roberto Robaina are recent examples. But Leal had survived and appeared to be growing in stature with Raúl. His walking tour of Old Havana with Obama received worldwide publicity.

Leal’s bonding with the U.S. president may have irked the Castros. The disintegration of Venezuela and loss of subsidies under Nicolás Maduro gave the military companies the opening they needed to swoop for Old Havana. Now, effectively Raúl Castro’s son-in-law will rule the roost and U.S.-operated cruise ships will soon be occupying many berths in the Old Havana harbor.

But perhaps the saddest lesson from Leal’s marginalization is the signal it sends to Cuban innovators and foreign investors. The restoration of the Revolution is still more important than the architectural jewels of past eras. Almost at the same time as Leal’s demise, a far less visionary but unquestioning loyalist, Ricardo Cabrisas, was promoted. These are indeed depressing times for Cubans hoping for some new ideas and less of the same.

PAUL W. HARE IS A FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO CUBA AND CURRENTLY SENIOR LECTURER AT THE FREDERICK S. PARDEE SCHOOL OF GLOBAL STUDIES AT BOSTON UNIVERSITY.

Cuba uses Twitter to denounce a Miami conference on internet freedom as an act of ‘subversion’

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The Castro regime uses Twitter to denounce as “subversive” the right of the Cuban people to also have access to the Internet

The Miami Herald

Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry’s director general for the United States, said that an upcoming conference in Miami on internet use on the island seeks to promote internal subversion.

“The illegal use of radio and television against Cuba is not enough for them, they insist on the use of the internet as a weapon of subversion,” Vidal wrote in her Twitter account Thursday.

Her comment was in reaction to an article published by the government-run Cubadebate criticizing the Cuba Internet Freedom conference to be held in Miami Sept. 12-13, which is being organized by the U.S.-funded Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB).

Cubadebate characterized the event as “the first conference on internet use in Cuba, as part of subversion programs by the U.S. government against the island that have been maintained during the administration of Barack Obama.”

The article went on to say that,“since [former president] George W. Bush activated the Law for Democracy in Cuba, which empowers the U.S. Congress to allocate $20 million a year for programs to promote regime change in Cuba, has spent $284 million over the past two decades for this purpose.”

The Cuba Internet Freedom conference is part of Social Media Week taking place in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.

Do Cuban lives matter to Obama?

farinas

Sun Sentinel, by Guillermo Martinez

Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas has met with President Barack Obama at least twice. Together they discussed the lack of personal freedom in Cuba.

That was before President Obama went on a well-deserved golfing vacation while Fariñas was in the fourth week of a hunger strike in Cuba. By the time this column is printed, Obama will be visiting the destruction caused by the floods in Louisiana —and Fariñas may be dead.

In December 2014, Obama decided he wanted his legacy to show he had improved relations between Cuba and the United States. Since then, the United States has given many benefits to the Cuban government.

American tourists are traveling to Cuba in ever-growing numbers. Cubans escape the island and come to seek refuge in the United States, only to return to the island after a year and a day. Some go to see relatives while others go to enjoy a break from the tough life they have endured in the United States.

They all take money to Cuba. This money does not end up in the pockets of ordinary Cubans. All the money American tourists and Cubans who come and go freely to the island bring ends up in the hands of the Cuban Armed Forces – charged by the Castro regime with the responsibility of collecting and spending, as they see fit, all the dollars that flow to the island.

Since Obama opened the doors to more exchanges with Cuba, the Cuban government has repaid the American president by making life harder for all those on the island who dare oppose the regime.

Dissidents are beaten, repressed and jailed with increasing frequency.

Nobody knows precisely how many are beaten or jailed, but most international human rights organizations say the number has more than doubled in the nearly two years since Obama decided to improve relations with the Castro regime.

In Cuba, Fidel Castro turned 90 years old this past week, and his brother Raul rules in much the same ruthless manner as his brother. He has made it clear he will not respond to American acts of rapprochement with any acts of kindness or making things easier for the people of Cuba.

It is an uneven deal the one Obama and the younger Castro brother agreed to in 2014. In it, the Americans give and Cuba takes all it can while at the same time it increases internal repression.

That is the legacy of President Obama in Cuba.

To be precise, his legacy is best seen in the monthlong hunger strike by Fariñas. He has said his condition for ending his hunger strike is for the Cuban government to stop beating dissidents who peacefully demonstrate for human rights.

News from the 54-year-old Cuban comes from his mother, and is circulated on the internet by those who really care about him. News of his giving up the hunger strike or dying as a result of it will make it to the main news media. But for his day-to-day condition, there is little interest in the American media.

Obama, the first African-American president, is concerned about the lives of African-Americans killed in American cities. But he cares little for the life of that brave, black Cuban man who is willing to die so others on the island will not be repressed by the lack of interest from the White House in those who dare protest peacefully in Cuba.

Yes, in the United States and to President Obama, “Black Lives Matter” as long as they are American lives. He cares little for the life of a Black Cuban.

If Fariñas dies, that will be the true legacy of President Obama’s new Cuban policy.

The Capture of ‘The Ghost,’ a Criminal Legend of Miami’s Cocaine Era

mustelier

The Atlantic

Anibal Mustelier is tied to a famous Florida bank heist, Colombian cartel murders in the 1980s, and even Cuban government assassinations.

During the years Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel flooded Miami with cocaine, authorities say Anibal Mustelier was one of the city’s more deadly hitmen. In 1989, he allegedly machine-gunned a local businessman accused of taking money from the cartel. When that failed, he is said to have bombed the man’s car.

Mustelier is now 66, and has spent the past 26 years hiding as a fugitive from the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, and authorities in several countries. It was that knack for evasion that earned him the nickname “The Ghost.” He was so successful at hiding, in fact, that when officers in a Miami suburb caught a lead on a group of bank robbers earlier this month, they didn’t even know whom they were chasing.

Mustelier was arrested over the weekend with little attention. It was only Tuesday that local media outlets published the news. Of the robbery that brought down him down, the Miami New Times reported that Mustelier and his crew had cut a hole in the roof of a nail salon adjacent to a jewelry store. They planned to tunnel through another wall once inside, but they had:

… accidentally drilled through a metal pipe with wires inside, shorting out the lights in the entire shopping center.

Around 8:50 a.m. the next morning, a witness says he saw a “suspicious male” standing outside the store acting as a lookout and heard unknown voices emanating from inside the jewelry store. Possibly realizing they’d been seen, the alleged robbers bolted, carrying large black duffel bags with them and shielding their eyes with their hands.
After the robbery, a confidential informant helped officers record conversations with some of the suspected robbers, one of whom, to their surprise, turned out to be Mustelier. On Sunday, police raided the aging criminal’s home. Inside, they found jewelry, a bulletproof vest, gloves, a mask, and weapons.

Along with charges connected to the robbery, Mustelier has warrants out from an old bank robbery, and an attempted murder. Mustelier is believed to have masterminded one of South Florida’s largest robberies, that of the SunTrust Bank in Miami in 1996. The heist allegedly earned Mustelier and his associates $5 million, and a starring role in an episode of America’s Most Wanted.

Local police said Mustelier was at one time linked to former Cuban President Fidel Castro, working as an assassin for the government. He was believed to have hidden in Cuba for a long time, and possibly in Venezuela. In 2001 he was seen visiting family in the Miami area, but quickly vanished. Lately, Mustelier lived in a small, single-story home with his girlfriend.

One Year Later: Assessing President Obama’s Failed Cuba Strategy

damas1

National Review, by Jeb Bush and Iliana Ros-Lehtinen

One year ago this month, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Havana to celebrate the reopening of the U.S. embassy, 54 years after President Dwight Eisenhower severed diplomatic relations with Cuba’s Communist regime.

During the last year, we have seen President Barack Obama, his administration, and its extended echo chamber work exhaustively to portray the president’s misguided Cuba policy as a success. But the realities on the ground paint a different picture. We saw President Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro enjoy a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national baseball team with FARC terrorists in the stadium, host a jubilant joint press conference, and mingle with Nancy Pelosi, Patrick Leahy, and Charlie Rangel over a lavish state dinner at the Palace of the Revolution.

But today, despite the president’s promises to “engage and empower the Cuban people,” little has changed for those suffering under the Havana tyranny.

Dozens of protesters were arrested in Cuba just hours before President Obama’s arrival in Havana back in March. The Ladies in White, such as Berta Soler and Yaquelin Heredia Morales are still being harassed, beaten, and jailed. Sakharov Prize awardee Guillermo “Coco” Fariñas has been on a hunger strike for nearly three weeks to shine a spotlight on Castro’s human-rights abuses on the island. The regime controls the media and the Internet remains highly censored with little access to divergent views. Last month, the Obama State Department even admitted the dictatorship has failed to live up to the promises it made to broaden Internet access. At a meeting of the Cuban Communist party in April, Raul Castro denied Cuba was moving toward capitalism and continued to deride free markets and private-property rights. Elections remain far from free and democratic.

In fact, prominent leaders of Cuba’s peaceful opposition believe President Obama’s concessions to the Castro regime have been counterproductive to the fight for freedom. Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, also known as Antunez, and who spent 17 years in Castro’s gulags, has affirmed that “a vital segment of the Cuban Resistance” view the Obama administration’s policy of appeasement “as a betrayal of the aspiration to freedom of the Cuban people.”

Cuban pro-democracy advocate Antonio Rodiles, who has been arrested more than 50 times, believes repression by the dictatorship and its Communist apparatchiks is actually increasing. He recently said, “the regime is more legitimate after the change in relations with the U.S.,” adding, “Economic changes won’t bring political changes; now human rights and the promotion of democracy are not the priority of the discussion.”

As we assess the results of President Obama’s foreign-policy legacy, it is clear that Cuba, like Iran in recent nuclear negotiations, has received far more concessions from the United States than what we achieved in return. That shouldn’t come as a surprise — at every turn, the Obama administration has put politics over sound policy, pursuing photo-ops instead of pragmatic and tangible objectives.

Continue reading One Year Later: Assessing President Obama’s Failed Cuba Strategy

Cuba: Crackdown on Christians sees 1,600 churches targeted

religiouspersecution

Christian Solidarity Worldwide

More than 1,600 churches have been targeted by authorities in Cuba this year as a crackdown on religious freedom continues.

Between January and July 2016, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) recorded 1,606 violations of religious freedom.

These included the demolition and confiscation of church buildings, the destruction of church property and arbitrary detention.

In March, prominent pastor and religious freedom activist Rev Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso was arrested just hours before President Barack Obama arrived in the country for his official state visit.

Religious leaders have also had their personal belongings confiscated, and more than 1,000 churches are still considered ‘illegal’ and are under threat of future confiscation.

According to CSW, church leaders have raised concerns that the government’s treatment of religious groups has significantly deteriorated in the last year.

CSW has accused the government of targeting church properties “to tighten its control over the activities and membership of religious groups and thus eliminate the potential for any social unrest.”

In its annual report on international religious freedom, the US State Department last week said the Cuban government “monitored religious groups” and “continued to control most aspects of religious life”.

“The government harassed, detained, and restricted travel for outspoken religious figures, especially those who discussed human rights or collaborated with independent human rights groups,” the report said.

“Many religious leaders stated they exercised self-censorship in what they preached and discussed during services. Some said they feared direct or indirect criticism of the government could result in government reprisals, such as denials of permits… or other measures that could limit the growth of their religious groups.”

The report also mentioned concern from some religious leaders that government tolerance for groups that relied on informal locations, such as house churches, was decreasing.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW is alarmed by the escalation of FoRB violations throughout Cuba, but humbled and inspired by the courage and perseverance of the many religious communities who continue to peacefully resist government pressure.

“We remain disappointed by the broken promises for reform on the part of the Cuban government and urge it to change course. We call on the international community and in particular the United Kingdom, European Union and the United States government to stand in solidarity with Cuban citizens by pressing the Cuban government to halt these repressive actions and ensuring that human rights, and in particular FoRB, remains a core component of any upcoming dialogues with the Cuban government.”

Cuba’s Military Dictatorship in Complete Control: Historian confirms military taking over operations

Hotel Ambos Mundos

The Miami Herald

In the early 1990s, with Havana in ruins and Cuba mired in a devastating economic crisis, the island’s government granted historian Eusebio Leal Spengler and his office broad and rare powers to return Old Havana to its former glory.

Under his guidance, and largely reinvesting its own funds, the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana (OHCH) rescued at least one third of the buildings in the historic heart of the Cuban capital and won lavish international praise.

But Leal’s autonomy appears to have come to an end, with all OHCH operations now under the control of the Grupo de Administración Empresarial S.A. (GAESA), a holding company controlled by the Cuban armed forces.

“You see that building? Ten years ago it was full of putrid water, rats and garbage. The balconies could fall on people walking under them any time. Today they are apartments, thanks to Eusebio’s work,” said Mirna, 68, a retiree who added that she’s worried about the future of the OHCH.

Leal confirmed the change in an email response to questions from a reporter but chose his words carefully. The OHCH, he wrote, “was not transferred to the armed forces but to (GAESA), a development enterprise that has the prestige and capacity to invest, while the Historian’s Office retains the power to advise on preservation and new construction projects.”

Cuba’s government-controlled news media has not reported on the change. Some independent journalists have described the shift as a direct takeover by the armed forces.

Leal, however, said that OHCH employees are not worried because “the preservation work is being extended to (other) cities important to Cuba’s heritage.” But he went on to take a sharp jab at unidentified critics of his efforts to protect the national patrimony.

“We have been hurt, it’s true, because at a moment that requires the utmost respect for life, mediocre people who never achieved anything and are spiritually poor are taking advantage to injure and damage the many others who have worked so many years to preserve the patrimony of a nation, either in Cuba or any other part of the world,” he wrote.

Leal took over the OHCH in 1967 after the death of Emilio Roig de Leuchshering, who had led the agency since its founding in the 1930s. It began to grow, in size, revenue and autonomy as it renovated and sold or rented buildings in Old Havana.

Its almost total autonomy — rarely seen in Cuba’s communist system — was assured in the 1990s with a government decree that empowered Leal to create an enterprise that could earn revenues and reinvest them in Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The decree ordered the OHCH to report directly to the national Council of State rather than to the municipal government. The office also has its own special legal code and judicial standing, as well as permission to import and export goods directly instead of going through the cumbersome national system for foreign trade.

One of its most important benefits is the power to require payments from companies that are based in Old Havana but are not under direct OHCH control. They pay the office 1 percent of revenue if they work in Cuban pesos and 5 percent if they work in convertible pesos known as CUCs.

Among the entities are the Habaguanex hotel chain, the San Cristobal travel agency, the Opus Havana cultural magazine, the Habana Radio station, the Bologna publishing house and several businesses with web pages that advertise and sell OHCH products.

OHCH also controlled the Aurea and Fénix real estate companies, more than 50 cafeterias and two dozen restaurants, museums, concert halls and shops, an import company, a trade school and three construction companies.

In the past two decades, it created 13,000 jobs directly and thousands more indirectly, according to studies carried out by the organization. Sixty percent of the $500 million in revenues it brought went to “social” projects such as a home for the aged. The OHCH also received more than $30 million in foreign assistance.

About 55 percent of the tourists who go to the island visit Havana, and 90 percent of them walk around the historic city center. Per capita tourist income in Old Havana is estimated at 2,185 convertible pesos, compared to 245 in the rest of the capital, studies show.

“The biggest slice of the cake is in Old Havana. Everyone knows that, and that’s why they are taking away of all of Leal’s enterprises,” said one employee of a senior citizen’s home financed by the OHCH.

Leal’s email said OHCH will retain the power to impose a 5 percent charge on any public or private activity in Old Havana, and will still run “heritage” shops such as those in museums. Other state institutions also will continue to contribute to the historian’s office.

Leal’s office grew even bigger in 2003, when it took control of the redevelopment of the old part of the seaside Malecón boulevard, and then in 2005 when it began running the Chinatown section of the capital.

But it began losing branches to other government entities after a string of corruption scandals involving some of its administrators covered by the islands’ independent journalists and never by the government’s mass media monopoly.

“The process of pruning its branches has been slow. They have been removing one after another to protect Leal,” said one Cuban economist who spoken on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. “The auditors found a huge embezzlement, and the only way of not judging the Historian, who in fact had nothing to do with the theft, is to terminate his responsibility for those enterprises.”

Leal flatly denied that version of OHCH’s break up in his email, but added that “wherever there is someone willing to sell his soul to the devil, there will be administrative and corruption scandals.”

The shift to GAESA control, he added, is designed “simply to consolidate development efforts that we cannot face with our own resources.”

Eugenio Yanez, a Cuban academic with the online think tank Cubanálisis, has a somewhat different view of the problems at OHCH.

“First of all, (Cuban ruler) Raúl Castro is more pragmatic, and so he may want an enterprise that specializes in management to focus on running the businesses in Havana,” said Yanez.

But Yanez added that the corruption scandals and Leal’s suspected poor health — he was said to have nearly died recently from an unspecified ailment — had unquestionably added to OHCH’s troubles.

“The auditors found shady dealings,” he said. “The solution was the transfer to the armed forces, which Castro trusts.”

Some of the small private businesses in Old Havana said they felt protected by the OHCH and expressed concerns about its transfer to GAESA.

“The government always promotes its own restaurants, hotels and businesses ahead of the private sector,” said Reinaldo, who runs a clothing shop in Old Havana.

Hairdresser Camilo Condis said the small private businesses in Old Havana have thrived under the OHCH umbrella.

“Without the Historian’s office, the work we do would not have been possible,” said Condis, who works with Gilberto Valladares, the beauty shop owner who met with President Barack Obama during his visit to Cuba.

But since GAESA’s takeover on Aug. 1, the institution that preserved at least one third of Havana’s historic center has been limited to “managing museums, promoting cultural activities and the care of our patrimony,” said a source at the Vitrina de Valonia museum in Old Havana.

It’s not clear how the military will manage the restoration projects in Old Havana, but many expressed fear that they will not know how to maintain Leal’s legacy, and will seek more immediate profits without taking residents into account.

What’s Worse: $400 Million to Iran or $4 Billion To Cuba?

winnerloser

The Blaze, by Humberto Fontova

If it’s any consolation, the $400 million President Barack Obama recently smuggled to terror-sponsoring Iran wasn’t (directly) extorted from the American taxpayer. Instead it was money the Shah (Iran’s ruler in 1979) paid for U.S. military equipment shortly before he was deposed by the terror-sponsoring maniacs still running Iran (i.e. sold down the river by President Jimmy Carter.)

Amazingly the U.S. never delivered the arms to the Shah’s “successors,” who still claim rightful ownership of U.S. jets, tanks, etc. The $400 million, as rationalized by Obama and some in the media, is simply a way of making good on that transaction– a harmless money-back policy, similar to Wal-Mart’s.

I wrote “amazingly” because delivery of sophisticated U.S. military equipment to Islamic maniacs seems like business-as-usual for Democratic presidents. Just ask the jumble of Islamic maniacs shooting, blasting and hacking each other to pieces in Syria.

If delivering (a probably unconstitutional) $400 million to terror-sponsoring, hostage-taking Iran strikes many of us as foolish—or shameful, outrageous and dangerous—what about $4 billion annually to Iran’s closest ally in the Western Hemisphere: Terror-sponsoring Cuba?

Much of the $4 billion (yes, with a “b”) in U.S. dollars annually to the Castro-Family-Crime-Syndicate (euphemized as “Cuba” by the media and Obama’s State Department), also results from Obama’s executive orders—which is to say: it’s ALSO probably unconstitutional.

Worse still, this loot enriches the Castro family at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.

Not that anyone relying on the mainstream media or Obama spokespersons would have the slightest clue about these scandalous and well-guarded transactions that have the Castro family and their military cronies guffawing all the way to (Swiss and Panamanian) banks.
You see, amigos: the U.S. issues 20,000 visas to Cubans annually. And amazingly (except to everyone familiar with Castroism) the Castro regime is in charge of which Cubans get them. So Castro’s apparatchiks make sure to issue their thousands upon thousands of entry tickets into the U.S. to a special type of “refugee.” This type enters the U.S. via comfy commercial flight and sprints from the airport terminal to the nearest welfare office. Shortly he’s sending a portion of his U.S. refugee welfare benefits back to his family in Cuba, where other communist apparatchiks promptly skim off 20 percent in various “transaction fees” and deposit them into communist regime coffers.

And some say communists are “inefficient?”

Some Cuba-watchers even report that the ultra-efficient (in fleecing Americans) Cuban regime even gives preparatory classes to its snickering “refugee” visa applicants. These intensive training seminars focus on how to quickly fill out those pesky welfare forms those fussbucket Yankee Imperialists make you fill out before forking over the $1,200 a month in assorted Yankee Imperialist welfare benefits. Some say these classes even feature wall-maps showing where the Yankee Imperialist welfare offices are located in the Miami area.

And some say communists are “bunglers.”

After completing all the pesky paperwork in Miami some of these “refugees” even return to Cuba, where they continue receiving their monthly U.S. welfare checks sent by their Miami relatives. Considering the cost of living in Stalinist Cuba (where the average salary is $22 a month) these “refugees” eke out a lifestyle like Tony Montana eked out in south Florida.

And some say communist have no sense of humor? HAH!

According to an investigation by Sun-Sentinel :

“In Miami-Dade County, where 24 percent of the population was born in Cuba, immigrants from the island account for 73 percent of arrests for health care fraud; 72 percent of arrests for cargo theft; 59 percent of arrests for marijuana trafficking; and half the arrests for credit-card and insurance fraud. Among Cuban-born defendants sentenced to federal prison for these crimes, two out of three are still Cuban citizens.

“Medicare fraud alone accounts for more than $2 billion in stolen funds every year in South Florida. Investigators, prosecutors and members of Congress have speculated that the Cuban government may be behind the Medicare fraud scheme.”

So more than pirates, modern Cuban criminals operate as privateers: i.e. they have a commission from Castro’s Stalinist/kleptocratic regime, who gets a cut of their booty, at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.

Anybody who knows anything about the Castro family—especially their expertise on U.S. politics–knows that helping fill up a crucial swing-state (Florida) with Democratic voters is hardly an afterthought for the communist apparatchiks when issuing their “refugee” visas in Havana. Thanks to this well-guarded racket, the term “Miami-Cuban” no longer denotes what it did in the 60’s and 70’s (“rabid, right-wing Republican’).

Some of these “refugees from communism” even arrive in Florida pre-packaged with their Che Guevara T-shirts and Castro tattoos. Makes you long for the good ‘ole days of Tony “say hello to my little friend!” Montana. After all, besides investing his profits right here in the good ‘ole USA, Scarface famously boasted, “I kill communists for fun—for money I REALLY gonna carve ‘em up!”