debt to Americans for seized properties hangs over US talks
Jan. 27 - A $6 billion
sticking point could create headaches for the U.S.-Cuba talks.
Though concerns over human rights, press freedoms and U.S. fugitives
living free on the island have dominated debate over the Obama
administration's negotiations on restoring diplomatic ties, the Castro
regime also still owes Americans that eye-popping sum.
The $6 billion figure represents the value of all the assets seized from
thousands of U.S. citizens and businesses after the Cuban revolution in
1959. With the United States pressing forward on normalizing relations
with the communist country, some say the talks must resolve these
"The administration has not provided details about how it will hold the
Castro regime to account for the more than $6 billion in outstanding
claims by American citizens and businesses for properties confiscated by
the Castros," Sen. Robert Menendez, D-Fla., top Democrat on the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State
John Kerry ahead of historic talks in Havana last week.
Menendez urged the U.S. to "prioritize the interests of American
citizens and businesses that have suffered at the hands of the Castro
regime" before moving ahead with "additional economic and political
Beginning with Fidel Castro's takeover of the Cuban government in 1959,
the communist regime nationalized all of Cuba's utilities and industry,
and systematically confiscated private lands to redistribute -- under
state control -- to the Cuban population.
The mass seizure without proper compensation led in part to the U.S.
Over nearly 6,000 claims by American citizens and corporations have been
certified by the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, totaling
Today, with interest and in today's dollars, that amount is close to $6
U.S. sugar, mineral, telephone and electric company losses were heavy.
Oil refineries were taken from energy giants like Texaco and Exxon.
Coca-Cola was forced to leave bottling plants behind. Goodyear and
Firestone lost tire factories, and major chains like Hilton handed over
once-profitable real estate for nothing in return.
Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, after leading the talks
in Havana last week, did not mention the U.S. property claims at a press
briefing. The department also did not respond to FoxNews.com's requests
for comment on the matter. In Dec. 18 remarks, however, Jacobson said,
"registered claims against the Cuban government" would be part of the
She also noted Cuban claims of monetary losses due to the 50-year-old
"We do not believe those things would be resolved before diplomatic
relations would be restored, but we do believe that they would be part
of the conversation," she said. "So this is a process, and it will get
started right away, but there's no real timeline of knowing when each
part of it will be completed."
The billions are owed, in part, to an array of major companies.
U.S. banks ranging from First National City Bank (which became Citibank)
to Chase Manhattan lost millions in assets. According to the list of
claimants, the Brothers of the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine even
lost $7.8 million in real estate when they were expelled from the
According to a government study commissioned in 2007, however, some 88
percent of the claimants are individual American property and asset
owners, many of whom would probably like to see some sort of
compensation out of the diplomatic deal-making.
"I think this is a significant issue and it has more resonance today
than it would have had 20 years ago," as nationalization has seen a
resurgence throughout Latin America in recent years, said Robert Muse, a
Washington, D.C., attorney who has represented corporate clients whose
assets were seized. "You have to take seriously the notion that a
government must support their companies when their [property] is
expropriated. You have to have some consistency on that."
Experts who spoke to FoxNews.com agree that fully compensating everyone
on the list would be a complicated, if not impossible, endeavor.
First, the Cuban government, even if it did agree in spirit to pay,
probably would not be able to afford it.
Some individual claimants may be long dead. Further, some of the
original corporations no longer exist, thanks to mergers, buyouts, and
bankruptcies over the years.
Such is the case with the Cuban Electric Company, which has the largest
claim -- $267.6 million in corporate assets (1960 dollars). The company
was part of the paper and pulp manufacturer, Boise Cascade Company
(which also has a claim for $11.7 million), at the time of the seizures.
But Boise Cascade has since spun off and the part of it that held a
subsidiary with a majority stake in Cuban Electric became Office Max --
which later merged with Office Depot in 2013. Company officials reached
by FoxNews.com had no comment on the original Cuban Electric claims.
Muse and others, like Cuba analyst Elizabeth Newhouse at the Center for
International Policy, say that companies that still have an active
interest in getting compensated might agree to more creative terms --
whether it be for less money, or tax breaks or other incentives on
future investments if and when the U.S. embargo is lifted.
"My sense is that some corporations are more interested in having a
leg-up in any trade arrangements than they are in getting their money
back," Newhouse said.
Thomas J. Herzfeld, who heads the 20-year-old Herzfeld Caribbean Basin
Fund which trades shares of firms that would have an interest in Cuba if
the embargo is lifted, said his life-long goal has been "to rebuild
Cuba." He has approached claimants about taking their claims in exchange
for investment shares. He said his fund is "well-prepared" for when
But others warn about popping the corks too soon, particularly if the
Castro regime is unwilling to take the compensation seriously. According
to the Helms-Burton Act, which enforces the sanctions, the embargo
cannot be lifted until there is "demonstrable progress underway" in
compensating Americans for their lost property. (Congress also would
have to vote to lift the embargo.)
"This is an issue where they are going to have to put their heads
together and figure out how to resolve it," Newhouse said. "I think
everyone wants to see it resolved."
Jacobson, at the close of last week's opening talks, said there was some
progress on opening up embassies, but there continue to be "areas of
deep disagreement," particularly on Cuban human rights and fugitives
from U.S. justice in Cuba.
"Let me conclude," said Jacobson, the highest-ranking U.S. diplomat to
visit Cuba in more than three decades, "it was just a first step."
expected, the Castros want more concessions without making any changes
Jan. 26 - The start of talks
on repairing 50 years of broken relations appears to have left President
Raul Castro's government focused on winning additional concessions
without giving in to U.S. demands for greater freedoms, despite the
seeming benefits that warmer ties could have for the country's
Following the highest-level open talks in three decades between the two
nations, Cuban officials remained firm in rejecting significant reforms
pushed by the United States as part of President Barack Obama's surprise
move to re-establish ties and rebuild economic relations with the
"One can't think that in order to improve and normalize relations with
the U.S., Cuba has to give up the principles it believes in," Cuba's top
diplomat for U.S. affairs, Josefina Vidal, told The Associated Press
after the end of the talks. "Changes in Cuba aren't negotiable."
It's not clear if Cuba's tough stance is part of normal negotiation
tactics or a hardened position that could prevent the talks from moving
The Obama administration has dedicated significant political capital to
rapprochement, but closer ties with the economic giant to the north also
could have major importance for Cuba, which saw growth slow sharply in
2014 and is watching with concern as falling oil prices slam Venezuela,
which has been a vital source of economic support.
In a wide-ranging interview, Vidal said that before deciding whether to
allow greater economic ties with the U.S., Cuba was seeking more answers
about Obama's dramatic of loosening the half-century trade embargo.
into effect this month range from permitting large-scale sales of
telecommunications equipment to allowing U.S. banks to open accounts in
Cuba, but Vidal said officials on the island want to know if Cuba can
buy such gear on credit and whether it is now free to use dollars for
transactions around the world, not just those newly permitted with U.S.
institutions. Until now, at least, U.S. law and policy has banned most
foreign dealings with Cuba.
"I could make an endless list of questions and this is going to require
a series of clarifications in order to really know where we are and what
possibilities are going to open up," Vidal said.
Obama also launched a review of Cuba's inclusion on the U.S. list of
state sponsors of terrorism and Vidal said "it will be difficult to
conceive of the reestablishment of relations" while Cuba remains on that
list, which imposes financial and other restrictions.
Vidal also said full normalization will be impossible until Congress
lifts the many elements of the trade embargo that aren't affected by
Obama's executive action — a step seen as unlikely with a
Republican-dominated Congress. Among key prohibitions that remain is a
ban on routine tourism to Cuba.
Even a relatively simple measure such as granting U.S. diplomats freedom
of movement around Cuba, she said, is tied to reduced U.S. support of
dissidents, whom Cuba says are breaking the law by acting to undermine
the government of behalf of U.S. interests.
"It's associated with a change in behaviour in the diplomatic missions
as such and of the diplomatic officials, who must conduct themselves as
our officials in Washington do, with total respect for the laws of that
country," Vidal said.
She also said Cuba has not softened its refusal to turn over U.S.
fugitives granted asylum in Cuba. The warming of relations has spawned
new demands in the U.S. for the State Department to seek the return of
fugitives including Joanne Chesimard, a Black Liberation Army member now
known as Assata Shakur, who fled to Cuba after she was convicted in 1977
of killing a New Jersey state trooper.
Vidal said the two nations' extradition treaty "had a very clear clause
saying that the agreement didn't apply to people who could be tied to
crimes of a political nature."
But the opening already has led to some changes, at least in the
short-term: Cuba significantly relaxed its near-total control of public
information during the talks in Havana, allowing the live broadcast of
news conferences in which foreign reporters questioned Vidal about
sensitive topics including human rights. Cuban television even broadcast
part of a news conference with Vidal's counterpart, Roberta Jacobson, to
foreign reporters, state media and independent Cuban reporters who are
considered members of the opposition.
Cubans said they were taken aback by the flow of information but wanted
to know much more about what the new relationship with the U.S. means.
"We've seen so much, really so much more than what we're used to, about
very sensitive topics in our country," said Diego Ferrer, a 68-year-old
retired state worker.
Jesus Rivero, also 68 and retired from government work, sat on a park
bench in Old Havana reading a report in the official Communist Party
newspaper, Granma, about Jacobson's press conference.
"It's good that Granma reports the press conference in the residence of
the head of the Interests Section," Rivero said. "But I think they
should explain much more so that the whole population really understands
what's going on."
The Canadian Press
suspect William Morales sought amid Cuba ‘normalization’
Jan. 26 - A movement to
extradite fugitive bombmaker William Morales from Cuba is gaining
momentum 40 years after the deadly terrorist blast at historic Fraunces
Tavern in the Financial District.
Some Republican lawmakers have pushed for Morales and about 70 other
suspected criminals living in Cuba to be returned for trial in the wake
of the Obama administration’s plans to normalize relations with the
On Friday, three GOP senators — David Vitter (La.), Marco Rubio (Fla.)
and Ted Cruz (Texas) — issued a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder
questioning the legality of the administration’s normalization despite
Cuba’s harboring of fugitives.
New York Post
ship in Havana on eve of US-Cuba talks
Jan. 20 - A Russian
intelligence warship docked in Havana on Tuesday, a day before the start
of historic US-Cuba talks aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations.
There was nothing stealthy about the arrival of the Viktor Leonov
CCB-175, which was moored to a pier in Old Havana where cruise ships
often dock. But the visit was not officially announced by Cuban
US officials in Washington played down the presence of the Russian
vessel, saying it was perfectly legal and not at all out of the
"It's not unprecedented. It's not unusual. It's not alarming," a defense
official told AFP.
The Vishnya or Meridian-class intelligence ship, which has a crew of
around 200, went into service in the Black Sea in 1988 before it was
transferred seven years later to the northern fleet, according to
The vessel previously docked in Havana in February and March last year,
staying there for a few days. Those visits were also unannounced.
The highest-level US delegation to visit Havana since 1980 arrives
Wednesday for two days of talks aimed at normalizing diplomatic and
immigration relations between the former Cold War foes.
The former Soviet Union was Cuba's main patron during the Cold War.
will be a guest of House Speaker John Boehner during the State of the
Jan. 19 - House Speaker John
Boehner (R., Ohio) will host Cuban resistance leader Jorge Luis Garcia
Perez, known as Antunez, among his guests at Tuesday night’s State of
the Union address.
Guests connected to Cuba, with whom the U.S. is easing trade and travel
rules for the first time in 50 years, received some of the most
high-profile invitations this year to attend the president’s Tuesday
night address before Congress.
Prominent Republicans have divided over President Barack Obama’s recent
move to ease travel and trade restrictions with the island. Mr. Boehner,
along with Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and other Cuban-American
lawmakers, have criticized the administration’s steps to normalize
relations, while Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) has backed the president’s
Mr. Rubio has also invited a figure connected to the Cuban resistance to
Tuesday night’s speech: Rosa Maria Payá, the daughter of slain Cuban
activist Oswaldo Payá.
Alan and Judy Gross will join First Lady Michelle Obama in the box she
shares with Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, the White House
announced Monday. Mr. Gross is the veteran international development
worker freed last month after spending five years in a Cuban jail.
Antunez, the Cuban dissident who will watch Tuesday night’s speech in
Mr. Boehner’s box, spent more than 17 years in a Cuban jail, according
to the speaker’s office. Also attending will be Antunez’s wife.
Mr. Boehner’s other guests include Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop
of Washington, and students and faculty of the Consortium of Catholic
Academies, a nonprofit organization supporting inner-city Catholic
elementary schools in Washington.
The top House Republican will also host a group of families and
businessmen from his Ohio district north of Cincinnati, including Aaron
and Betsy Ward, owners of A&B Cake and Coffee Company in Greenville;
Jamie McGregor, owner of McGregor Metal Working in Springfield; Fritz
Borke, president and chief executive of Borke Molds in West Chester; and
Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State Community College in
“Speaker Boehner’s guests highlight the people and issues too often
forgotten by the Obama administration, including his own constituents in
Ohio, who are struggling with rising costs — especially for health
care–and stagnant wages” as well as “students trapped by bureaucracy in
failing schools, and victims of the continuing tyranny on Cuba,” said
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner.
The Wall Street Journal
Rubio invites Rosa María Payá to attend the State of the Union
Jan. 19 - On Monday, the
White House announced that recently freed Cuba prisoner Alan Gross will
be among First Lady Michelle Obama’s official guests at tomorrow night’s
State of the Union address. Now, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has
countered that move by inviting Rosa María Payá, the daughter of Cuban
activist Oswaldo Payá.
“All Oswaldo Payá wanted was a better future for Cuba and the Cuban
people, and the Castro regime assassinated him for it,” Rubio said in a
statement Monday. “I’m honored that Rosa María Payá will join us in the
Capitol on Tuesday evening as the president addresses our nation. Since
her father’s murder, Rosa María has honored his legacy by continuing to
advocate for a free and democratic Cuba and also fighting to bring his
murderers to justice. In 2013, Rosa María visited the Senate and met
with several senators who pledged their assistance in her search for
Oswaldo Payá and fellow activist Harold Cepero died in a 2012 car crash
that was alleged to have been orchestrated by the Castro regime in Cuba.
At the time, Rubio was among the Cuban-Americans and others who called
for an independent investigation into their deaths.
“While I disagree with the president’s new Cuba policy, I hope Rosa
María Payá’s presence on Tuesday night will at least remind him that her
father’s murderers have not been brought to justice, and that the U.S.
is now, in fact, sitting at the table with them,” the senator added. “I
hope the administration takes the opportunity to demand reforms and
changes in Cuban behavior before relations are normalized. At the very
least, President Obama and his administration should push the Cuban
regime to allow an impartial, third party investigation into the
circumstances surrounding the death of Oswaldo and Harold.”
Following Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba, Rosa María
Payá penned an open letter to President Barack Obama that was published
by the Washington Post.
“We agree, Mr. President, that you cannot ‘keep doing the same thing for
over five decades and expect different results,’” she wrote, quoting
Obama’s words. “But there is nothing new in treating as ‘normal’ the
illegitimate government in Havana, which has never been elected by its
citizens and has been practicing state murder with impunity. That
strategy already has been done by all the other governments without
positive consequences for democracy in my country.”
Obama-Castro show Chapter II
(Alan Gross sitting with his
lawyers at their office. On the wall, a picture of mass murderer che
Jan. 19 - Alan Gross, a
subcontractor recently freed by the Cuban government after five years of
imprisonment, will be one of first lady Michelle Obama’s guests at
Tuesday’s State of the Union address along with Mr. Gross’ wife Judy.
Mr. Gross’s release, part of a spy swap, came on the same day President
Obama announced a large-scale normalization in relations between the
United States and the communist island country.
Others who will be seated in
the box include astronaut Scott Kelly, Ana Zamora, a student in the
country as part of the administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals (DACA) program and Capt. Phillip C. Tingirides of the Los
Angeles Police Department, who has spearheaded a program intended to
foster cooperation between the LAPD and the Watts housing developments.
Prophet Walker, an ex-convict and co-founder of Watts United Weekend who
has collaborated with Capt. Tingirides, is also a guest, as is Larry
Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health, who announced last year that the
retail pharmacy was eliminating tobacco sales in its stores.
Others in the box include students, a doctor who was in Liberia fighting
the Ebola crisis, and several people who have written letters to the
president, including Retired Army Staff Sgt. Jason Gibson, who lost both
legs in Afghanistan, a 13-year-old from the South Side of Chicago and a
working mother from Minneapolis.
The Washington Times
dead and Venezuela bankrupt, it's Obama's turn to bankroll the Castro
Jan. 15 - The Obama
administration began to chip away at the U.S. embargo against Cuba,
announcing new changes taking effect Friday that will allow more trade
and travel between the two countries.
The changes were announced despite concerns from members of Congress
that the landmark shift in U.S.-Cuba relations is a "one-sided deal"
that will benefit the Castro regime.
They come three days after U.S. officials confirmed the release of 53
political prisoners Cuba had promised to free. But some of those
prisoners reportedly are still facing restrictions and being monitored.
Announced Thursday, the new Treasury and Commerce Department regulations
are the next step in President Obama's goal of re-establishing
diplomatic relations with the government of Cuban President Raul Castro,
Fidel's younger brother.
Only Congress can end the five-decade embargo. But the measures make a
number of changes weakening it.
Among them, they would allow U.S. citizens to start bringing home small
amounts of Cuban cigars after more than a half-century ban.
They would give permission for Americans to use credit cards in Cuba and
U.S. companies to export telephone, computer and Internet technologies.
Investments in some small business are permitted. General tourist travel
is still prohibited, but Americans authorized to visit Cuba need no
longer apply for special licenses.
Obama vowed to soften the embargo last month and begin restoring
diplomatic ties with Havana, saying "these 50 years have shown that
isolation has not worked." The deal was the product of 18 months of
secret talks that culminated in the exchange of imprisoned spies and
release of Alan Gross, a U.S. government contractor who had been
imprisoned in Cuba for five years.
The sudden rapprochement between Cold War foes has divided U.S.
lawmakers across party lines and interests.
Among Republicans and Democrats in Congress, Cuban-Americans such as
Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Bob Menendez of New Jersey have been
particularly vocal in opposition.
Rubio on Thursday questioned whether the changes were even legal.
"This is a windfall for the Castro regime that will be used to fund its
repression against Cubans, as well as its activities against U.S.
national interests in Latin America and beyond," he said in a statement.
"Given existing U.S. laws about our Cuba policy, this slew of
regulations leave at least one major question President Obama and his
administration have failed to answer so far: what legal authority does
he have to enrich the Castro regime in these ways?"
He said the "one-sided deal is enriching a tyrant and his regime at the
expense of U.S. national interests and the Cuban people."
But White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the changes would help
"empower the Cuban population to become less dependent upon the
state-driven economy, and help facilitate our growing relationship with
the Cuban people."
"We firmly believe that allowing increased travel, commerce, and the
flow of information to and from Cuba will allow the United States to
better advance our interests and improve the lives of ordinary Cubans,"
he said in a statement.
Some pro-business types have welcomed the opportunity to open up a new
export market in a country so close to American shores. The head of the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example, said Wednesday it was better for
the U.S. to sell computers, smartphones and cars to Cuba than to cede
such business to countries like Russia and China. Still, the embargo as
a whole appears unlikely to fall anytime soon.
Starting Friday, U.S. companies will be able to export mobile phones,
televisions, memory devices, recording devices, computers and software
to a country with notoriously poor Internet and telecommunications
Americans permitted to travel to Cuba for family visits, official U.S.
government business, journalism, research, education, religious activity
and other reasons fall under a U.S. general license and don't need to
apply for a separate license. A limit on remittance payments to family
members in Cuba will be raised to $8,000 per year, from $2,000 per year.
Americans visiting Cuba will be allowed to bring home $100 in alcohol
and tobacco products, and $400 in total goods.
Other changes include:
--Travel agents and airlines can fly to Cuba without a special license.
--Insurance companies can provide coverage for health, life and travel
insurance policies for individuals residing in or visiting Cuba.
--Financial institutions may open accounts at Cuban banks to facilitate
--Investments can be made in some small businesses and agricultural
U.S. and Cuba are scheduled to hold migration talks in Havana next week,
the next step in their normalization process. Leading the American
delegation is Roberta Jacobson, the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America.
Her visit marks the highest-level trip to Cuba by a U.S. official since
Further down the road, Washington envisions reopening the U.S. Embassy
sided deal with Castro sparks surge in immigration attempts
Jan. 15 - The number of
Cubans fleeing to the U.S. has surged since President Obama’s diplomatic
deal with the island nation, according to statistics that lawmakers on
Capitol Hill said suggest the administration was caught off guard.
The Coast Guard interdicted more than 340 Cubans in the final two weeks
of December, more than double the 140 who came in the first half of the
month, before Mr. Obama’s Dec. 17 announcement that he would try to
restore more normal diplomatic ties with Cuba. In the first seven days
of January, another 144 came, keeping up the frenetic pace, according to
Coast Guard records shared with Congress.
Mr. Obama’s announcement set
off rumors that the U.S. would soon end its special immigration policies
for Cubans, which sparked a scramble as migrants tried to beat what they
believed to be a mid-January deadline for getting into the U.S., ahead
of the immigration changes. The changes are merely rumors and no
immediate action is pending, but they proved a powerful lure for
hundreds trying the dangerous crossing.
“The Coast Guard protects our coastlines, and apprehensions of Cuban
migrants could only be expected to increase in light of the Cuba
decision,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and chairman
of the House Transportation Committee’s subcommittee on the Coast Guard.
“I hope the administration consulted with the Coast Guard through its
decision-making, but nothing so far shows the administration did so to
any great degree.”
Mr. Hunter wrote a letter Monday asking the Coast Guard to detail
whether the White House consulted on its diplomatic plans.
Mr. Obama last month announced a prisoner swap with Cuba, sending home
three Cubans serving time in U.S. prison for spying, and getting back an
American government contractor, Alan Gross, and a U.S. spy in exchange.
The Washington Times
Rubio: Cuba deal a 'terrible trade off'
Jan. 11 - Sen. Marco Rubio
(R-Fla.) criticized President Obama for restoring relations with Cuba
after 50 years without extracting democratic reforms from the Castro
The U.S. is "going to bestow upon the Cuban government a strong level of
legitimacy … And in exchange for all that the only thing the Cubans
agreed to do was to release 53 political prisoners whose names, by the
way, have yet to be disclosed," Rubio said in an interview on "The Cats
Roundtable," host John Catsimatidis's Sunday radio show on New York AM
Last month, the Cuban government freed American aid worker Alan Gross in
an exchange involving three Cuban prisoners held in the United States.
The Castro regime also pledged to release 53 political prisoners, which
drew the ire of Rubio.
"And today there are reports that the people who are being released are
both at the end of their prison terms and being sternly warned that if
they take up the cause of democracy they’ll be re-arrested,” he added.
The son of Cuban immigrants who fled the island in the 1950s as Fidel
Castro rose to power, Rubio emphasized that his sole interest is "for
democracy to return to Cuba."
"Cubans don't have access to Twitter or Instagram or Facebook unless you
have a government account, and doing everything we can to open that up
is something I've focused on quite a bit."
When asked about the possibility of running for president in 2016, the
Florida Republican danced around the question, saying "no announcement
He said if he decides the White House is the best place to fulfill his
middle class agenda, he'll run for president. "And if I decide the best
place to achieve it is in the Senate, then I will run for reelection.
But that's a decision I haven't made yet, but in the process of trying
of the XXI Century: Venezuelans Throng Grocery Stores Under Military
Jan. 10 - Shoppers thronged
grocery stores across Caracas today as deepening shortages led the
government to put Venezuela’s food distribution under military
Long lines, some stretching for blocks, formed outside grocery stores in
the South American country’s capital as residents search for scarce
basic items such as detergent and chicken.
“I’ve visited six stores already today looking for detergent -- I can’t
find it anywhere,” said Lisbeth Elsa, a 27-year-old janitor, waiting in
line outside a supermarket in eastern Caracas. “We’re wearing our dirty
clothes again because we can’t find it. At this point I’ll buy whatever
I can find.”
A dearth of foreign currency exacerbated by collapsing oil prices has
led to shortages of imports from toilet paper to car batteries, and
helped push annual inflation to 64 percent in November. The lines will
persist as long as price controls remain in place, Luis Vicente Leon,
director of Caracas-based polling firm Datanalisis, said today in a
Government officials met with representatives from supermarket chains
today to guarantee supplies, state news agency AVN reported. Interior
Minister Carmen Melendez said yesterday that security forces would be
sent to food stores and distribution centers to protect shoppers.
“Don’t fall into desperation
-- we have the capacity and products for everyone, with calmness and
patience. The stores are full,” she said on state television.
President Nicolas Maduro last week vowed to implement an economic
“counter-offensive” to steer the country out of recession, including an
overhaul of the foreign exchange system. He has yet to provide details.
While the main government-controlled exchange sets a rate of 6.3
bolivars per U.S. dollar, the black market rate is as much as 187 per
Inside a Plan Suarez grocery store yesterday in eastern Caracas, shelves
were mostly bare. Customers struggled and fought for items at times,
with many trying to skip lines. The most sought-after products included
detergent, with customers waiting in line for two to three hours to buy
a maximum of two bags. A security guard asked that photos of empty
shelves not be taken.
Police inside a Luvebras supermarket in eastern Caracas intervened to
help staff distribute toilet paper and other products.
“You can’t find anything, I’ve spent 15 days looking for diapers,” Jean
Paul Mate, a meat vendor, said outside the Luvebras store. “You have to
take off work to look for products. I go to at least five stores a day.”
Venezuelan online news outlet VIVOplay posted a video of government food
security regulator Carlos Osorio being interrupted by throngs of
shoppers searching for products as he broadcast on state television from
a Bicentenario government-run supermarket in central Caracas.
“What we’re seeing is worse than usual, it’s not only a seasonal
problem,” Datanalisis’s Leon said. “Companies are not sure how they will
restock their inventories or find merchandise, with a looming fear of a
The price for Venezuela’s oil, which accounts for more than 95 percent
of the country’s exports, has plunged by more than half from last year’s
peak in June to $47 a barrel this month.
“This is the worst it has ever been -- I’ve seen lines thousands of
people long,” Greisly Jarpe, a 42-year-old data analyst, said as she
waited for dish soap in eastern Caracas. “People are so desperate
they’re sleeping in the lines.”
Rights Group Says Short Detentions on the Rise
Jan. 5 - The Cuban government
carried out a record number of detentions of dissidents and political
activists last year, an independent Cuban human rights group said
The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation
recorded 8,899 short-term detentions of dissidents and activists in
2014. That was about 2,000 more than the previous year and four times as
many as in 2010, said the group's head, Elizardo Sanchez.
The detentions can last for a few hours or a few days, but do not lead
to prison time. Some people have been detained several times in a month,
so the total number of people detained is lower.
Sanchez said his group counts about 90 people held in prison for
political reasons ? less than half the figure five years ago.
The report also said dissidents inside Cuba did not know who was on the
list of 53 whom the U.S. asked Cuba to release as part of a detente
announced last month. Neither the U.S. nor Cuba has made the list public
or said openly whether any of those on it have been released.
A U.S. official said on condition of anonymity Monday that some of the
53 had been released but efforts to secure the release of the dissidents
was a "work in progress." The official wasn't authorized to provide
details on who has been freed. The official said the release of all the
dissidents wasn't a prerequisite for planned talks in Cuba between the
Obama administration and Cuban officials later this month.
Cuba's government has long narrowly defined the bounds of acceptable
speech, accusing many dissidents of being agents of the U.S. government
or right-wing exile groups, and subjecting them to surveillance,
temporary detention and harassment.
President Barack Obama pledged this month that easing the embargo on
Cuba and normalizing diplomatic relations would be a better way of
supporting Cuban civil society. Some experts said that lessening
U.S.-Cuban tensions would remove a pretext for repression of domestic
But Obama also said he was "under no illusion about the continued
barriers to freedom that remain for ordinary Cubans," and Sanchez said
Monday that he expected no major short-term changes in Cuba's treatment
The list of those detained in December includes expatriate artist Tania
Bruguera, who was briefly held and released at least three times since
her return to Cuba late last month to organize a performance art piece
involving the installation of an open microphone in Havana's Plaza of
the Revolution for Cubans to speak about their country. Authorities
launched a round of brief detentions on the day of the planned
performance, which did not take place.
Also included in the list is graffiti and performance artist Danilo
Maldonado, who other dissidents said was arrested last month in or near
a square in central Havana as he attempted to release two pigs labeled
"Fidel" and "Raul," the first names of Cuba's current and former
presidents. The right group's report said he was being charged with the
crime of disrespect for authority, which carries a one- to three-year
Payá: Here’s what Cuba really needs, Mr. Obama
Dec.20 - Sr. Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
I am writing to you because I assume that goodwill inspired your
decision to change U.S. policy toward my country.
I appeal to this goodwill, notwithstanding your decision to review
Cuba’s place on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism despite the
Cuban government’s attempt, just a year ago, to smuggle tons of weapons
in a North Korean ship through the Panama Canal. And despite Cuban state
security provoking the 2012 car crash that took the life of my father,
Oswaldo Payá, one of Cuba’s best-known dissidents who represented the
alternative to the regime, and his young associate Harold Cepero. And
even though the Cuban government refuses to allow an investigation and
has not given even a copy of the autopsy report to my family.
The Cuban regime has decided it needs to change its image, so it will
relax its grip in some areas while it remains in power. It has
discovered that it can allow more Cubans to enter and leave the country
and that some people can create a timbiriche (a very small business),
but the Cuban government still decides who can travel and who can open a
small business. Mr. President, your laws are not what is preventing the
free market and access to information in Cuba; it is the Cuban
government’s legislation and its constant censorship.
We agree, Mr. President, that you cannot “keep doing the same thing for
over five decades and expect different results.”
But there is nothing new in treating as “normal” the illegitimate
government in Havana, which has never been elected by its citizens and
has been practicing state murder with impunity. That strategy already
has been done by all the other governments without positive consequences
for democracy in my country.
What would be new would be a real commitment to the Cuban people, with
concrete actions supporting citizens’ demands. We don’t need
interventionist tactics but rather backing for solutions that we Cubans
have created ourselves.
For 55 years, the only free, legal and popular demand from Cubans has
been a call for a referendum on self-government, the Varela Project. We
want changes in the law that will guarantee freedom of expression and
association, the release of political prisoners, the right to own
private enterprises, and free and plural elections.
You asked in your historic speech : How can we uphold that commitment,
the commitment to freedom
I take you at your word, Mr. President. The answer to you and to all the
world’s democratic governments is: Support the implementation of a
plebiscite for free and pluralistic elections in Cuba; and support
citizen participation in the democratic process, the only thing that
will guarantee the end of totalitarianism in Cuba.
My father used to say, “Dialogues between the elites are not the space
of the people.” The totalitarianism of the 21st century — which
interferes in the internal affairs of many countries in the region and
promotes undemocratic practices in countries such as Venezuela — will
sit at the table next to the hemisphere’s democracies. I hope censorship
doesn’t come to that table as well and that we Cubans, whom you so far
have excluded from this process, can have a place in future
We expect your administration, the Vatican and Canada to support our
demands with the same intensity and goodwill with which you supported
this process of rapprochement with the Cuban government. Human rights
are the foundation of democracy, and we expect you to support the right
of Cubans to decide their future.
We ask you to support an independent investigation into the attack that
caused the deaths of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.
We do not want symbolic solidarity. We do not want to participate only
in the parallel forum to the next Summit of the Americas. The chair that
will be occupied by the Cuban government is not the chair of the people,
because the Cuban government does not represent Cuba’s citizens . That’s
why we need to be present at the main summit, so that the demands of
Cuban citizens are heard and empowered by the regional democracies.
Mr. President, dare now, after quoting our José Martí, to put into
practice the honesty that a free Cuba deserves, “with all and for the
good of all.”
God bless our countries.
Merry Christmas to you and your family,
Rosa María Payá Acevedo
Dissident Leaders React to Obama's Announcement
Dec.18 - Via
Capitol Hill Cubans:
Cuban dissident leaders react
to President Obama's announcement to normalize relations with Castro's
Obama made the wrong decision. The freedom and democracy of the Cuban
people will not be achieved through these benefits that he's giving --
not to the Cuban people -- but to the Cuban government. The Cuban
government will only take advantage to strengthen its repressive
machinery, to repress civil society, its people and remain in power."
-- Berta Soler, leader of
The Ladies in White.
"[Alan Gross] was not arrested for what he did, but for what could be
gained from his arrest. He was simply bait and they were aware of it
from the beginning... Castroism has won, though the positive result is
that Alan Gross has left alive the prison that threatened to become his
-- Yoani Sanchez, Cuban
blogger and independent journalist, 14ymedio.
"The Cuban people are being ignored in this secret conversation, in this
secret agreement that we learned today. The reality of my country is
there is just one party with all the control and with the state security
controlling the whole society. If this doesn’t change, there’s no real
change in Cuba. Not even with access to Internet. Not even when Cuban
people can travel more than two years ago. Not even that is a sign of
the end of the totalitarianism in my country."
--Rosa Maria Paya,
daughter of murdered Christian Liberation Movement leader, Oswaldo Paya.
"[Obama's announcement] is horrible and disregarding the opinion of
[Cuban] civil society sends a bad message. The acceptance of neo-Castroism
in Cuba will mean greater support for authoritarianism in the region
and, as a consequence, human rights will be relegated to a secondary
-- Antonio Rodiles, head
of Estado de Sats.
"Alan Gross was used as a tool by the Castro regime to coerce the United
States. Obama was not considerate of Cuban citizens and of the civil
society that is facing this tyrannical regime. In Miami, Obama promised
that he would consult Cuba measures with civil society and the
non-violent opposition. Obviously, this didn't happen. That is a fact, a
reality. He didn't consider Cuba's democrats. The betrayal of Cuba's
democrats has been consummated."
-- Guillermo Fariñas,
former Sakharov Prize recipient.
"The Obama Administration has ceded before Castro's dictatorship.
Nothing has changed. The jails remain filled, the government represents
only one family, repression continues, civil society is not recognized
and we have no right to assemble or protest... The measures that the
government of the United States has implemented today, to ease the
embargo and establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, will in no way
benefit the Cuban people. The steps taken will strengthen the Castro
regime's repression against human rights activists and increase its
resources, so the security forces can keep harassing and repressing
civil society." -
-Angel Moya, former
political prisoner of the Black Spring (2003).
"We are in total disagreement with what has transpired today. It's a
betrayal of those who within Cuba have opposed the regime in order to
achieve definitive change for the good of all Cubans."
-- Felix Navarro, former
political prisoner and co-head of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU).
"It's discomforting that the accounts of the Castro regime can grow, as
the first step will be more effective repression and a rise in the level
-- Jose Daniel Ferrer,
former political prisoner and co-head of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU)
"This is a betrayal that leaves the democratic opposition defenseless.
Obama has allied himself with the oppressors and murderers of our
-- Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez," former political prisoner and head
of the National Resistance Front.
"I feel as though I have been abandoned on the battlefield."
-- Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, former Cuban political prisoner and U.S.
Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.
leader of the Ladies in White, talks about Obama's "wrongful decision"
the Castro's are desperate for money, an ignorant with money shows up
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
the Castros everything they asked, and more
Dec.17 - Everything Obama
said he wasn't going to do, he did today.
He traded Alan Gross, who had
been a hostage in Cuba for 5 years, for 3 Cuban spies including one
directly involved in the murder of the Brothers to the Rescue pilots.
He is re-establishing
relations with the Castro brothers without asking anything in
He will increase trade
relations, travel, tourism, and everything that would bring money to the
Cuban dictatorship, so they can continue to enslave, exploit, torture
and oppress the Cuban people.
As Raul Castro said in his
speech at the same time Obama was speaking to the American people: "We
didn't make one single concession".
They didn't have to since
Obama was willing to give them everything they wanted and more.
It is a shameful day for
speak later today about a "policy change" regarding Cuba
Dec.17 - President Barack
Obama plans to talk today about the next steps in U.S.-Cuba relations,
strained by a decades-long embargo, after Cuba released prisoner Alan
Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat close to Obama, said in a
statement the president would announce the normalization of trade and
travel relations with the island nation.
Gross, a 65-year-old American, left Cuba on a U.S. government plane this
morning to fly to the U.S., said an administration official familiar
with the release. The person spoke on condition of anonymity before
Obama’s remarks, which are scheduled for noontime in Washington.
Gross, who has been in failing health, was released on humanitarian
grounds under U.S. pressure, the person said.
Gross was arrested by Cuban officials while working to expand Internet
access for Havana’s Jewish community. He was accused of undermining the
Cuban state and in December 2009 was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Cuban President Raul Castro is scheduled to speak about the same time as
Obama to talk about U.S.-Cuba relations, Agence France Presse reported.
a deal with Castro to exchange the Cuban spies for Alan Gross
Dec.17 - U.S.
contractor Alan Gross, held by the Cuban government since 2009, was
freed Wednesday as part of a landmark deal with Cuba that paves the way
for a major overhaul in U.S. policy toward the island, senior
administration officials tell CNN.
President Obama is expected to announce Gross' release at noon.
Gross' "humanitarian" release by Cuba was accompanied by a separate spy
swap, the officials said. Cuba also freed a U.S. intelligence source who
has been jailed in Cuba for more than 20 years, although authorities did
not identify that person for security reasons. The U.S. released three
Cuban intelligence agents convicted of espionage in 2001.
President Barack Obama is also set to announce a broad range of
diplomatic and regulatory measures in what officials called the most
sweeping change in U.S. policy toward Cuba since the 1961 embargo was
Alan Gross, at right with Rabbi Arthur Schneier, has been in Cuban
custody since December 2009, when he was jailed while working as a
subcontractor. Cuban authorities say Gross tried to set up illegal
Internet connections on the island. Gross says he was just trying to
help connect the Jewish community to the Internet. Former President
Jimmy Carter and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson have both traveled to
Cuba on Gross' behalf. On December 17, Gross was released from Cuban
Luke Somers, a photojournalist being held captive by al Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was shown begging for his life in a video
released by the terror group. Somers was killed by AQAP militants during
a raid conducted by U.S. forces on Friday, December 5. A U.S. official
said that during the raid, one of the terrorists ran inside the compound
and shot Somers and South African hostage, Pierre Korkie.
Kenneth Bae is one of two American detainees released from North Korea
in November. Bae had been held since late 2012, and in April 2013 was
sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for unspecified "hostile acts"
against the North Korean government. North Korea claimed Bae was part of
a Christian plot to overthrow the regime.
Matthew Todd Miller also was allowed to leave North Korea with Kenneth
Bae in November. According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency,
he was convicted in September of committing "acts hostile" to North
Korea and sentenced to six years of hard labor. He had traveled to North
Korea after arranging a private tour through the U.S.-based company Uri
Tours, which takes tourists into North Korea. He and Bae were released
after U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper went to
Pyongyang as an envoy of President Barack Obama, a senior State
Department official told CNN. Read more
Side of Cuba’s Ebola Economy
Dec.11 -The communist
government’s medical missionaries win praise for the regime, but they
are victims, too.
If you ask most people what Cuba is famous for they probably will name
two things: rum and cigars. But if you ask leftists what Cuba is famous
for they will usually say something altogether different: healthcare and
Despite all the government oppression and poverty and the endless
speeches by el líder maximo and his sibling, the Cuban healthcare and
education systems are still held up as justification for the 1959 Cuban
revolution in and of themselves.
So good is the healthcare system on the island supposed to be, and such
is the abundance of skilled doctors, that Cuba can even afford to export
medical personnel to disease- and crisis-stricken parts of the world in
a gesture of international solidarity that the capitalist West does not
begin to rival.
Estimates suggest that around 50,000 Cuban-trained health workers are
spread across 66 countries, with many stationed in some of the poorest
corners of the globe. In 2010 Cuba provided the largest contingent of
medical staff during the aftermath of the huge earthquake that shook
Haiti. Similarly, after an earthquake devastated Pakistan-administered
Kashmir in 2005, there were more Cuban doctors on hand to aid the relief
effort than there were medics from Pakistan proper. Who said socialist
internationalism died in 1989?
The government in Havana rakes in around $8 billion a year on the backs
of its health workers.
And so today, during the current Ebola crisis, while the rich capitalist
countries pontificate selfishly about things like anti-Ebola border
security, socialist Cuba has again come to the rescue, flying in 461
health workers to stricken West Africa—more than any first-world
Even John Kerry, secretary of state in a country that has spent decades
trying to oust the Castro clan, described Cuba’s contribution to the
fight against the Ebola outbreak as “impressive.”
This penchant for medical internationalism goes back to the greatest
icon of the revolution, Ernesto “Che” Guevara. He was a doctor and
envisioned a world in which a medic would use “the technical knowledge
of his profession in the service of the revolution and the people.”
Yet like Guevara’s socialism, Cuba’s fraternal medical altruism has a
dark side. Che may have felt a genuine affinity with the poor, but he
was also a fanatic who locked up homosexuals and other “deviants” in
labor camps. He wanted to “bring justice to the downtrodden” but he
wanted to do it by launching a first nuclear strike on New York or
Washington. The Cuban government, still led by some of Che’s former
contemporaries, exemplifies a similar contradiction between idealism and
There is in fact a great deal more to the Castro brothers’ medical
diplomacy than the development of Cuba as, in the words of gushing
Guardian columnist, a “beacon of international humanitarianism.” The
government in Havana rakes in around $8 billion a year on the backs of
its health workers. Most notably it receives cheap oil from the Chavez/Maduro
autocracy in Venezuela, but it also gets a hefty sum of much-needed hard
currency from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for every doctor it
sends to Africa and beyond.
Not that there is any shame in that: socialist economies need hard
currency to buy things on the international markets as much as any other
country. But if there’s altruism here, it’s on the part of the workers
themselves, since they rarely see any of the money they bring in for the
dictatorship back home. All the available evidence suggests that they
receive a measly stipend from the regime—about $20 extra a month—with
the rest pocketed by the government to bolster things like Cuba’s
omnipresent security apparatus.
Yet lavish praise is heaped on the supposed generosity of Havana’s
elderly rulers—the same ones who for 50 years have stopped most Cubans
from travelling abroad. “Cuba is a special case,” says José Luis Di
Fabio, who heads the World Health Organization’s Havana office, told
DeutscheWelle. “The country has the ability to react very quickly
because of the experience of the physicians and the political will to do
“Political will” in this instance is a euphemism, for there is ample
evidence to suggest that Cuba’s medical diplomacy is far from voluntary
for those sent abroad on their country’s international missions. Much
like those who decline to attend the “voluntary” pro-government rallies
which sporadically fill the streets of Havana and give a veneer of
democracy to the one-party state, those medics who choose not to play
ball with the Leninist Center can pay a severe penalty. As Madrid-based
Cuban doctor Antonio Guedes told the same German website, “Whoever does
not cooperate may lose his job, or at least his position, or his son
will not get a place at university.”
This jibes with something Yanelis Ochoa, a university medical student in
Santiago de Cuba, told me when I visited the country in 2011. Talking
about the future, Yanelis said that when she eventually graduates she
“may have to go to Venezuela or Brazil for a short time to work.” What
about your boyfriend? I asked. Are you not getting married soon?
“James,” she replied with unusual gravity. “You don’t understand how
these things work. If they say I go then I go. It’s that simple.”
The Daily Beast
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.
New York's Granma, wants to make sure that the slave doctors can't seek
Nov. 17 - The New York Times,
best known as the Castros' mouthpiece in New York, has a new editorial
today, the sixth in as many weeks, in favor of the fascist dictatorship
This time, the NYT wants the
United States to cancel the program that has allowed thousands of slave
Cuban doctors flee their slave masters and seek refuge in this country.
New York's Granma knows that
the Castro brothers make more than $9 billion a year in their slave
trade with Cuban doctors and other professionals, and want to make sure
that those doctors keep working for their partners in Havana.
If you have the stomach to
read it, here is today's NYT editorial:
A Cuban Brain Drain Courtesy of the US
Abandoned Communist Nuclear Reactor
Oct. 10 - Just 90 miles off
the tip of Florida lies a half-baked, abandoned relic of the Cold
War-era arms race — what was once going to be a joint Cuban-Soviet
nuclear reactor. Thank God it never panned out. Because not only do we
now have these incredible shots from photographer Darmon Richter, but
every last aspect of this thing would have been a total and utter
It all started back in 1976,
when comrades in communism, Cuba and the Soviet Union, agreed to build
two nuclear reactors near Juragua, Cuba. And if it had ever been
finished, just one of these 440-megawatt reactors could have satisfied
over 15 per cent of Cuba’s energy needs. As The New York Times explained
when construction officially ceased, this wasn’t your everyday reactor:
The V.V.E.R. design, which was the most advanced at the time, was the
first to be exported by Moscow for use in a tropical climate. It differs
from the Chernobyl-style design in that the radioactive core and fuel
elements are contained within a pressurised steel vessel.
Construction didn’t start until 1983, which gave Cuba 10 years to build
their potential-livelihood, all thanks to the the steady flow of Soviet
funds. Of course, when the Soviet Union fell in 1991, the essential
funds ceased, over 300 former Soviet technicians returned to the
motherland, and all construction came to a standstill — despite the fact
that 40 per cent of the heavy machinery had already been installed.
Still, it wasn’t over quite yet. The whole project spent nearly a decade
in limbo, until finally, in 2000, Fidel Castro told Vladamir Putin that
he was done with the two countries’ former joint-dream. Now, the power
plant at Juragua was officially little more than a testament to what
could have been — which is a very good thing. Because as it turns out,
“what could have been” basically entailed wildly dangerous conditions
and potentially a whole mess of destruction. Continue reading and see
protesting against the regime on March 28 in Havana's famous Galiano
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
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.
Sáncez's presentation at Google Ideas Summit
October 26 - Yoani Sánchez
explains how Internet without Internet is used by Cubans inside the
Learn how you can help
promote Internet without Internet in Cuba:
The Real Cuba
Also on Twitter:
@WebPaqsforCuba On Facebook:
Paquetes Web Para Cuba
Learn about a new
technology that allows Cubans in Cuba have access to websites banned by
the Castro regime and how you can help:
The Real Cuba
Also on Twitter:
@WebPaqsforCuba On Facebook:
Paquetes Web Para Cuba
another act of repudiation against members of UNPACU
Oct. 9 - This took place in
Cardenas on Sunday October 6, 2013
to see the video
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
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
The article was published on
Sunday on ABC and is also on their web page at
Cuban blogger Orlando Luis Pardo about Paquetes Web Para Cuba
Our new page:
Fidel Castro, the
World's oldest terrorist
My interview with
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
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
photos of Cuba's prisons, missile installations, military bases and
A look at
Havana before the Castro brothers destroyed it
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.
to see them
Socio-Economic Conditions in Pre-Castro
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.
Have visited this page