Anne Thompson, reporting on Monday morning for MSNBC from Havana during the Morning Joe program, reported that several people got arrested during the Papal Mass but that she didn’t know the reason why they were protesting!
After she finished her report, Joe Scarborough said what everyone, except this NBC reporter knew: “They were yelling freedom, they are opposed to the government and protesting the lack of freedom in Cuba.”
It’s incredible how the MSM refuses to recognize that there is a dictatorship in Cuba and still refers to the Castro brothers as “president” and “former president” of Cuba, when they have never been elected to anything.
For the MSM the only “dictators” are Pinochet, Batista, Franco, Somoza, but not the Castros.
“Unfortunately, this morning’s actions by Cuba’s state security apparatus are only a glimpse into the constant and ongoing repression by the Cuban regime.”
Four dissidents opposed to Cuba’s communist regime were arrested when they tried approaching Pope Francis in Havana on Sunday, an activist group reported.
The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba identified the dissidents as Patriotic Union of Cuba members Zaqueo Baéz, Boris Reni, Aymara Nieto Muñoz and Maria Josefa Acon Sardiña, who is also a member of the Ladies in White, a peaceful protest group founded by female relatives of Cuban political prisoners.
Photos showed some of them being dragged away by security personnel at Havana’s Revolution Square, where they reportedly tried to approach the pope as his white popemobile carried him to the Mass he was giving.
They were yelling “freedom!” and anti-government slogans, according to an Agence France-Presse photographer. Opposition groups have widely criticized the pope’s decision not to meet with them during his Cuba trip.
The Foundation condemned the nature of the activists’ detainment.
“We are deeply disturbed by the arrests of these activists, specifically the violent manner in which the nonviolent activists in Havana were detained by Cuban officials,” director of communications Jose Luis Martinez told The Huffington Post in an email. “This, just after the activists had received Pope Francis’ blessing … We urge His Holiness Pope Francis to intervene on behalf of these activists for their immediate and unconditional release.”
Martinez noted that the activists were led by Baéz, whose cell phone was confiscated by police. Such interferences in activists’ communications are all too common, he said.
“Unfortunately, this morning’s actions by Cuba’s state security apparatus are only a glimpse into the constant and ongoing repression by the Cuban regime to silence activists and dissident voices which have included the arrest and short term detentions of dozens of activists over the past several days in order to prevent them from attending papal ceremonies,” he said. “Cuban officials have definitely not been acting in a manner that reflects the Pope’s mission of peace and reconciliation in Cuba.”
The Pope and the Devil met in Havana and exchanged gifts in what was described as a “familiar and informal” atmosphere by the Vatican.
Francis gave the dictator several books, as well as a book and two CDs of homilies and a copy of his two encyclicals and the Cuban dictator gave Francis a book “Fidel and Religion,” written in 1985 by Freitas Betto with a dedication in it: “For Pope Francis, on occasion of his visit to Cuba, with the admiration and respect of the Cuban people.”
I’ll have more about this later, after I take a short break to vomit.
Today’s U.S. government announcement lifting more trade restrictions on Cuba shows just how one-sided Obama’s deal with Cuba really is. Ever since the U.S.-Cuba rapprochement was announced last December, the only side making concessions appears to be the United States. Cuba continues to beat and imprison dissidents, they’ve showed little willingness to relax the rules for investment or trade, and they’ve done nothing to lessen their stranglehold on free expression, the political process, or the ability of Cubans to travel without government scrutiny.
Donald Trump can be criticized for a lot of things (including his reversal on Cuba) but he has been absolutely on point when it comes to the stupidity shown by this president in negotiating with foreign powers. President Obama deserted Iraq and caused a major power vacuum that was filled by that “JV” team known as ISIS. He drew a “line in the sand” with Syrian President Assad … and then backed away when Assad crossed it using chemical weapons. Obama traded five known Taliban terrorist leaders for one hapless and suspected US Army deserter. He also sent Secretary Clinton to happily push the “reset” button with the Russians … only to have Vladimir Putin invade the Ukraine and threaten the Baltic States. The president supported Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, only to see them deposed in a coup when they quickly alienated both the Egyptian people and its military.
Most recently, Obama capitulated to the Iranians on nuclear negotiations with major – and some would say incredibly dangerous – concessions on when and how to confirm Iranian compliance. And the ink wasn’t even dry when Iran’s top terrorist, General Qassem Soleimani, flew to Russia (in defiance of UN sanctions) to start buying Russian arms to prop up their Syrian puppet.
The situation is no different with Cuba. The president and Secretary Kerry have talked a great deal about human rights and freedom for the Cuba people. However, even those who were willing to give this administration the benefit of the doubt, including many dissidents on the island, are quickly realizing that the whole thing is one huge charade.
For example, when presented with an opportunity to highlight the dissidents, by inviting them to the U.S. embassy re-opening, this administration deferred. Heaven forbid that the world’s greatest superpower should offend the sensibilities of two ruthless, octogenarian dictators. Truth be told I don’t think President Obama cares one iota about freedom for the Cuba people. He cares about two things and two things only: 1) the dismantling of American power around the globe as contrition for what he views as the past sins of our foreign policy, and 2) his own legacy.
Period. Full stop. That’s all you need to know.
Freedom will not come to the Cuban people under Obama’s watch. Neither will an improvement in the country’s dire economic straits. Those who think otherwise are simply deluding themselves. Those who aren’t are going along just because they will benefit financially.
It will be up to the next president to undo the dangerous follies foisted upon us, and the entire world, through President Obama’s inexperience and ineptness at foreign affairs. The damage he has caused has been long-lasting, including to the cause of a free and democratic Cuba. Raúl Mas Canosa is a healthcare executive and a frequent commentator on radio, television and digital media. The opinions expressed are strictly his own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pope Francis plans to meet with Cuba’s president and its priests, its young and its sick, its churchgoers and its seminarians as he travels around the island starting Saturday. But not its dissidents.
The absence on Francis’ agenda of any meeting with the political opposition has sparked bitter critiques from dissidents who say they feel let down by an institution they believe should help push for greater freedom in Cuba.
“He should exert more pressure,” said Antonio Rodiles, head of the hardline group Estado de SATS. “In many cases political systems have come under international pressure that has resulted in change, and that’s what needs to be happen with Cuba.”
Papal observers say it’s likely Francis will speak strongly to Cubans about the need for greater freedom in their country and may speak to President Raul Castro in private about the same topic. But in shying from meetings with dissidents, the pope is hewing largely to the Cuban Catholic Church’s strategy of advocating for change within bounds laid out by the communist state rather than pushing the system to change as John Paul II did in Eastern Europe. There is no one Cuban officials consider more out of bounds than the country’s dissidents, whom they call mercenaries paid by the U.S. government and Cuban-American interest groups in Miami.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said this week that Francis had not accepted any invitations to meet with dissidents, and well-known opposition members told The Associated Press they have received no invitation to see him.
The Obama administration has finalized new rules that sidestep Congress and continue to unilaterally chip away at the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba.
The new regulations, written by the Commerce and Treasury Departments, expand and clarify rules issued in January that increase travel and trade between the U.S. and Cuba as part of the White House’s decision to renew diplomatic relations with Cuba.
“Today’s announcement underscores the administration’s commitment to promote constructive change for the Cuban people,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in statement. “These regulatory changes build on the revisions implemented earlier this year and will further ease sanctions related to travel, telecommunications and internet-based services, business operations in Cuba, and remittances.”
A “stronger, more open” U.S.-Cuba relationship, Lew said, has the potential to create economic opportunities for both Americans and Cubans alike.
“By further easing these sanctions, the United States is helping to support the Cuban people in their effort to achieve the political and economic freedom necessary to build a democratic, prosperous and stable Cuba,” he said.
The new regulations will become official Monday when they are published in the Federal Register.
According to a 27-page document outlining the new Commerce rules changes obtained by the Washington Examiner earlier this week, the new regulations would allow the free-flow of more U.S. goods to Cuban citizens in order to “improve living conditions and support independent economic activity in Cuba.”
They also likely will help facilitate U.S. travel to Cuba by authorizing airlines and ships to lease property and set up ticket offices on the island, and export airplane parts and other “airport safety equipment,” including screening equipment to service major carriers.
Close relatives of Cuban citizens will be allowed to visit the island for more than just official business and certain educational activities to include journalistic activity, professional research, religious activity, as ell as humanitarian projects or certain research or education institutes.