Home Free Healthcare? Cuba B. C. End Internet Blockade Cuba by Satellite Americans Killed The Useful Idiots Sugar Industry The Castro Clan Humor Poverty in Cuba Racism in Cuba Free education? The two Cubas The Millionaire Castro The Firing Squads The Children of Cuba Hurricane Castro Videos Elian Gonzalez Murdered by Che Castro's Gulag





We need your donation to allow therealcuba.com to continue telling the World the truth about Cuba  

Click here to send us your comments


Angel Carromero cuenta como el régimen castrista asesinó a Oswaldo Payá y Harold Cepero


Cuba Stalemate Makes Identifying Rafters Difficult

Oct. 27 - The bodies surfaced 20 miles out from a popular South Florida beach: Four men, still youthful. Their remains were badly deteriorated, bitten by sharks, their faces unrecognizable.
One had a horseshoe-shaped scar on his head. Two bore tattoos: One of a spider, the other of a tiger with a flower. The fourth wore a pair of orange briefs and a gold-colored watch.
The Coast Guard delivered them to the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office, where they remained for days, four more among the thousands who have died trying to cross the turbulent Florida Straits.
The remains of rafters that surface near the U.S. are often in such poor condition they cannot be visually identified. Politics makes the process even more difficult with Cuban migrants: Because of the five-decade diplomatic stalemate between the U.S. and Cuba, pathologists can't get matching dental records and DNA from relatives on the island.
"The standard means of identification aren't going to work," said Larry Cameron, operations director for the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department.
Many rafters who flee Cuba simply disappear, but when bodies are found, they often have no documents, leaving a puzzle of scars, tattoos, surgeries and clothing.
Sometimes, relatives in the U.S. emerge and can provide a DNA match. Others remain unidentified, and since Florida law forbids their cremation, the bones are stored in morgues for years. The Broward morgue has bodies dating back to the 1970s. Many others are buried in paupers' cemeteries after DNA is extracted, labeled only by a number, "and we never know that those rafters didn't get lost at sea," said Ramon Saul Sanchez, president of the Democracy Movement exile group.
Identifying these bodies has become a priority again for Florida's medical examiners amid a 75-percent increase this year in the number of Cubans trying to cross by sea. At least 3,722 Cubans have been intercepted or made it to U.S. shores in the last fiscal year.
The U.S. Coast Guard has intercepted 72,771 Cubans at sea in the last three decades. Thousands of others made it to U.S. shores or were prevented by Cuban authorities from leaving. Scholars estimate at least 1 in 4 Cuban rafters don't survive, which could mean 18,000 have died.
In August, 32 migrants left Manzanillo, on Cuba's southern shore, and were stranded at sea for nearly a month. When Mexican fishermen found them in early September, only 15 were still alive. The others tried to swim to shore, or their bodies were dropped into the water.
The four bodies found off the Florida coast Aug. 24 received less attention. There were no survivors to tell their story. But then Sanchez began receiving calls from Cuba: A group of nine rafters had pushed off near Havana five days earlier. No one had heard from them since.
Sanchez gathered their U.S. relatives — some distant cousins — and went to the Broward morgue, where investigators asked for any physical details they could recall.
Aliandi Garcia remembered that his uncle Jose Ramon Acosta, 35, had a scar after brain surgery for epileptic seizures. Then investigators showed him Acosta's shirt — it was gray, with a red Puma logo — the very same shirt Garcia had given his uncle when he left Cuba a year before.
Two others — Alberto Gonzales Mesa, 25, and Guillermo Enrique Buitrago Milanes, 45 — were identified by their tattoos.
The fourth wore that gold-colored Orient brand watch, now clouded by seawater. The family of Junier Fernandez Hernandez, 32, immediately recognized it as a present given to the dead man's father.
Andres Diaz was never able to meet his cousin in life, but he has a small headshot image of Hernandez, dressed sharply in a suit and tie, taken for a passport the Cuban government denied.
"He died trying to come to this country," Diaz said. "We're going to bury him here."  Associated Press

Cuba's Suicide Rate Highest in the Americas

Oct. 26 - Out of every 100,000 people in the island nation of Cuba, 16.3 commit suicide, the highest rate of any country in the Americas in 2009.
According to a study by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)--the regional subdivision of the World Health Organization (WHO)--Cuba is rivaled only by the "non-Hispanic Caribbean" in suicide rates.
The report, titled "Suicide Mortality in the Americas," uses two different time subdivisions to compare suicide rates in North and South America: the average of suicide rates between 2005-2009 and the data available for the last year in which that country provided statistics. In the former category, all of the Americas fare better than the global average for suicide, and Cuba's average pales in comparison to Guyana and Suriname (23.44 and 22.79 per 100,000 people, respectively). Statistics provided for the last available year, however, show Cuba's suicide rate high above other nations. For comparison, Guyana recorded 16.04 suicides per 100,000 people, while Suriname recorded 14.79 in the same year.
The United States recorded 11.38 suicides per 100,000 population in 2009. Jamaica recorded 0.30 per 100,000. The lowest suicide rate that year in the Americas was recorded in Haiti, where only 0.05 people per 100,000 took their own lives.
According to the Cuban dissident news outlet Martí Noticias, the vast majority of people who commit suicide in Cuba choose to do so by asphyxia (71.6%). Poison is in second place (10%), while a surprising 9.2% self-immolate.
The PAHO notes that their information is reliable but ultimately incomplete, as they must rely on government figures provided to them, and countries often differ on what kinds of deaths to classify as suicides. "The validity of reported cases can be obscured by cultural and religious factors, as well as by the stigma attached to those who take their own lives. ... There are legal differences between the countries regarding which deaths should be classified as suicides," the authors note in the study. PAHO researchers and group leaders agree that one of the main objectives of their study is to begin treating suicide not as a stigmatized action, but as an often-preventable tragedy triggered by a host of negative factors that should be individually targeted.
Cuba's current political situation--nearly unchanged in more than half a century--is largely to blame, both for the psychological and economic hardship that many on the island endure. The Castro dictatorship has intensified many of its abuses in 2014, particularly the arrest of prisoners of conscience for peaceful public declarations of opposition to communism. Some prominent members of the dissident community reported this summer, when arrests peaked, that they were being arrested almost weekly. In another harrowing display of police power this year, about 100 women were arrested for taking part in a Catholic mass to pray for Cubans who were killed by the Cuban government for attempting to travel to America during the 13 of March Tugboat Massacre.
For Cubans who are not politically or religiously active, the economic situation appears only to worsen with time. The Castro dictatorship has begun implementing more restrictions in its embargo on the United States, preventing Cuban Americans from sending certain amounts of necessary goods to their relatives on the island, including soap and underwear. The economic deterioration has led to a surge of refugees attempting the dangerous sea route off the island to the United States. Breitbart


Cuban doctors fight Ebola in West Africa 'voluntarily'

Oct. 26 - The world is full of praise for Cuba: No other country has sent as many doctors to West Africa. Critics of the communist regime, however, believe Havana's using its doctors for political purposes - and at a hefty markup.

Cuba is showing the capitalist world how crisis aid should work. Since the beginning of October, the communist island nation has sent more than 250 doctors and caregivers to West Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 50 more are soon to follow.
Since the beginning of the outbreak in March, some 4,500 people have lost their lives to the Ebola virus, mostly in the African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Internationally, the Castro regime's health push has been very well received. Both Margaret Chan, the WHO's general secretary, and the "Ebola czar" for the United Nations, David Nabarro, have personally thanked President Raul Castro and his health minister Robert Morales for their support. Even Cuba's archenemy, the United States, has praised its neighbor's actions.
Largest delegation
Cuba casts a shadow upon other nations with its contingent of helpers. And not for the first time: Cuban doctors and nurses were also rushed to Pakistan-administered Kashmir after the catastrophic earthquake there in 2005; there were many more Cuban doctors and nurses there, in fact, than Pakistan itself sent. And in 2010 they were the first on the scene after a similarly disastrous earthquake struck Haiti.
Other nations support crisis regions, sending helpers and supplies as well. The procses can take a long time, however, as the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa has made tragically evident.
But "Cuba is a special case," says Jose Luis Di Fabio, who heads the WHO's Havana office.
"The country has the ability to react very quickly because of the experience of the physicians and the political will to do so," he said.
Earning billions
It's precisely the country's "political will" that Antonio Guedes judges from a completely different perspective. Guedes is a Cuban, a doctor, and president of the exile party Cuban Liberal Union (ULC) in Madrid.
For him, the political course Cuba is charting does not have altruism at its core. Rather, the regime in Havana is more interested in international attention and goodwill.
"Cuba is doing this first and foremost to polish its political image, secondly for economic reasons, and thirdly, so that countries that have received their help will vote in Cuba's favor in international forums like the United Nations," Guedes told DW.
A staggering 50,000 employees of the Cuban health ministry are currently serving abroad in 66 countries, according to the ministry. Of those, 30,000 are stationed in Venezuela. There are 12,000 in Brazil, 2,000 in Angola, and a further 2,000 in other parts of Africa.
In total, almost a third of Cuba's 83,000 doctors are working in foreign countries.
The government in Havana earns more than six billion euros a year ($7.6 billion) through these doctors, because only a fraction of what the doctors cost these foreign nations are paid out in their salaries.
Brazil pays Havana 3,100 euros per doctor per month. Only because of pressure from Brazil's government do these doctors now get at least 900 euros per month. According to WHO representative Di Fabio, the Cuban government receives a daily flat rate of 190 euros per helper.
The Cuban Embassy in Berlin did not respond to DW's request for information as to the salaries of doctors in Ebola-affected regions.
Severe conditions
Cuban health should expect to be in Africa for six months. By comparison, doctors with international aid organization "Doctors without Borders" remain at the Ebola mission for only six weeks, since the work and safety precautions are so demanding.
To learn the proper handling and use of equipment, Cuban medical personnel must complete and three week course at the 'Pedro Kouri' Institute of Tropical Medicine. However, should they become infected, said institute director Jorge Pérez, they will be treated in a special ward for international aid workers until they are healed or die from the disease.
A Cuban doctor stands in front of a picture of Fidel Castro
Cuban doctor Adrian Benitez, 46, one of the 256 chosen from 15,000 volunteers, poses before heading to West Africa
By comparison, volunteers from "Doctors Without Borders" who become infected with Ebola are immediately transferred to their home country and treated where, so they can be as close as possible to their families.
Given the lack of supplies in Cuba, the decision is understandable, says Guedes, but says this is also a sign of the inhumanity of the regime in Havana.
Nevertheless, 15,000 volunteers from the Caribbean island are said to have signed up for duty to fight Ebola.
Possible, says Guedes, but unlikely.
According to the ULC leader, there is no such thing as "voluntary" in Cuba. "Whoever does not cooperate may lose his job, or at least his position, or his son will not get a place at university."
All of this, thinks Guedes, who runs a medical center in Madrid, does not take away from the result, of course. "Naturally it is always good when people, no matter where in the world, receive the help they need."  DW


Implications of Ending the Cuban Embargo

Oct. 22 -  If the U.S. were to end the embargo and lift the travel ban without major reforms in Cuba, there would be significant implications:
• Money from American tourists would flow into businesses owned by the Castro government thus strengthening state enterprises. The tourist industry is controlled by the military and General Raul Castro.
•Tourist dollars would be spent on products, i.e., rum, tobacco, etc., produced by state enterprises, and tourists would stay in hotels owned partially or wholly by the Cuban government. The principal airline shuffling tourists around the island, Gaviota, is owned and operated by the Cuban military.
•American tourists will have limited contact with Cubans. Most Cuban resorts are built in isolated areas, are off limits to the average Cuban, and are controlled by Cuba’s efficient security apparatus. Most Americans don’t speak Spanish, have but limited contact with ordinary Cubans, and are not interested in visiting the island to subvert its regime. Law 88 enacted in 1999 prohibits Cubans from receiving publications from tourists. Penalties include jail terms.
•While providing the Castro government with much needed dollars, the economic impact of tourism on the Cuban population would be limited. Dollars will trickle down to the Cuban poor in only small quantities, while state and foreign enterprises will benefit most.
•The assumption that the Cuban leadership would allow U.S. tourists or businesses to subvert the revolution and influence internal developments is at best naïve. As we have seen in other circumstances, U.S. travelers to Cuba could be subject to harassment and imprisonment.
•Over the past decades hundred of thousands of Canadian, European and Latin American tourists have visited the island. Cuba is not more democratic today. If anything, Cuba is more totalitarian, with the state and its control apparatus having been strengthened as a result of the influx of tourist dollars.
•As occurred in the mid-1990s, an infusion of American tourist dollars will provide the regime with a further disincentive to adopt deeper economic reforms. Cuba’s limited economic reforms were enacted in the early 1990s, when the island’s economic contraction was at its worst. Once the economy began to stabilize by 1996 as a result of foreign tourism and investments, and exile remittances, the earlier reforms were halted or rescinded by Castro.
•Lifting the embargo and the travel ban without major concessions from Cuba would send the wrong message “to the enemies of the United States”: that a foreign leader can seize U.S. properties without compensation; allow the use of his territory for the introduction of nuclear missiles aimed at the United States; espouse terrorism and anti-U.S. causes throughout the world; and eventually the United States will “forget and forgive,” and reward him with tourism, investments and economic aid.
•Since the Ford/Carter era, U.S. policy toward Latin America has emphasized democracy, human rights and constitutional government. Under President Reagan the U.S. intervened in Grenada, under President Bush, Sr. the U.S. intervened in Panama and under President Clinton the U.S. landed marines in Haiti, all to restore democracy to those countries. The U.S. has prevented military coups in the region and supported the will of the people in free elections. U.S. policy has not been uniformly applied throughout the world, yet it is U.S. policy in the region. Cuba is part of Latin America. While no one is advocating military intervention, normalization of relations with a military dictatorship in Cuba will send the wrong message to the rest of the continent.
•Once American tourists begin to visit Cuba, Castro would probably restrict travel by Cuban-Americans. For the Castro regime, Cuban-Americans represent a far more subversive group because of their ability to speak to friends and relatives on the island, and to influence their views on the Castro regime and on the United States. Indeed, the return of Cuban exiles in 1979-80 precipitated the mass exodus of Cubans from Mariel in 1980.
•A large influx of American tourists into Cuba would have a dislocating effect on the economies of smaller Caribbean islands such as Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and even Florida, highly dependent on tourism for their well-being. Careful planning must take place, lest we create significant hardships and social problems in these countries.
If the embargo is lifted, limited trade with, and investments in Cuba would develop. Yet there are significant implications.
•All trade with Cuba is done with state owned businesses. Since Cuba has very little credit and is a major debtor nation, the U.S. and its businesses would have to provide credits to Cuban enterprises. There is a long history of Cuba defaulting on loans.

Continue reading ICCAS


The Washington Post: Cuba should not be rewarded for denying freedom to its people

Oct. 22 - The other day, Fidel Castro wrote an opinion column for Cuba’s state-run newspaper, Granma, as he has done periodically from retirement. He lavished praise on an editorial in the New York Times that called for an end to the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. But Mr. Castro had one complaint: The Times mentioned the harassment of dissidents and the still-unexplained death of a leading exponent of democracy, Oswaldo Payá, and a younger activist, Harold Cepero, in a car wreck two years ago.
The assertion that Cuba’s authoritarian government had yet to explain the deaths was “slanderous and [a] cheap accusation,” Mr. Castro sputtered.
So why has Cuba done nothing to dispel the fog of suspicion that still lingers over the deaths? If the charge is slanderous, then it is long past time for Mr. Castro to order a thorough investigation of what happened on an isolated Cuban road on July 22, 2012. So far, there has been only a crude attempt at cover-up and denial.
We know something about what happened, thanks to the eyewitness account of Ángel Carromero, the young Spanish politician who was at the wheel of the rental car that was carrying Mr. Payá and Mr. Cepero to a meeting with supporters. Mr. Carromero, who visited Washington last week, told us the car was being shadowed by Cuban state security from the moment it left Havana. He said his conversations with Mr. Payá as they traveled were mostly about the Varela Project, Mr. Payá’s courageous 2002 petition drive seeking to guarantee democracy in Cuba. Many of Mr. Payá’s supporters in the project were later arrested and imprisoned.
After the wreck, Mr. Carromero was pressured by the Cuban authorities to describe it as an accident caused by his reckless speeding. But he reiterated to us last week that what really happened is that the rental car was rammed from behind by a vehicle bearing state license plates. Mr. Carromero showed us photographs of the damaged car, damage that seemed inconsistent with a wreck caused by speeding. But the precise details of what happened are unknown and need to be cleared up by a credible investigation. Mr. Payá’s family has sought one for two years, without success. When the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States sent a query to Cuba about the case, they got no answer. Nothing.
The U.S. embargo has been substantially relaxed in recent years to allow hundreds of millions of dollars of food and medicine exports, in addition to consumer goods supplied to Cubans by relatives in this country. The question is whether a further relaxation is merited. The regime’s persecution of dissidents is unceasing; it continues to imprison American Alan Gross on false charges. While Cuba has toyed with economic liberalization and lifted travel restrictions for some, we see no sign that the Castro brothers are loosening their grip. Fully lifting the embargo now would reward and ratify their intransigence.
A concession such as ending the trade embargo should not be exchanged for nothing. It should be made when Cuba grants genuine freedom to its people, the goal cherished by Mr. Payá. The Washington Post


Carromero: Payá's death was a murder, not an accident

Oct. 11 - En español El Nuevo Herald

Angel Carromero was emphatic during his visit to Miami on Friday: “What happened on July 22 wasn’t an accident, it was an assault,” he said.
The young Spanish lawyer was sentenced to four years in jail in the deaths of opposition figures Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero in a car crash near the Cuban city of Bayamo on July 22, 2012. His fate was decided in a Cuban courtroom because of his alleged role as the driver of the car in which they traveled en route to Santiago de Cuba. Although Cuba insisted the wreck was a car accident, others said State Security agents had been following the car and were responsible.
Carromero was found guilty in a trial he describes as full of contradictions, in his book Death under Suspicion, which he is currently promoting in the United States after obtaining a special permit to do so. Cuba eventually released Carromero to Spain to serve out his term.
Another key witness in the case, Jens Aron Modig continues to remain quiet. The Swedish delegate was also traveling in the car with Carromero but was quickly repatriated to his homeland due to a supposed pact of silence.
However, Carromero decided to speak up a few months after returning to Spain.
On Friday afternoon, he attended a Miami Herald editorial board meeting and displayed a multitude of video stills from footage belonging to the Cuban government. Carromero explained that this footage was used by Cuban authorities to produce a video aimed at convincing the public that an accident provoked by him was the true cause behind the death of one of the main leaders of the Cuban opposition.
In the photos, which were also presented at his trial in Cuba, it can be clearly seem that the details of the car and location of the accident change inexplicably. In one set of photos, the crashed car has a bumper on it; in another it doesn’t. The car in the images is sometimes a blue Hyundai on grass; in others, it is on sand or near a small river.
Carromero, who is an advisor of Madrid’s City Council and the director of the New Generations of the Popular Party in Madrid, pinpointed other inconsistencies in the case.
The three witnesses who testified, despite remembering exactly at which speed the car was traveling, couldn’t, however, specify who took out the four people who had been inside the car. They also didn’t remember the white car that Carromero claims almost “appeared out of thin air” and took him to a hospital in Bayamo, which was soon after “militarized.”
He also remembers that in the Cuban video in which he is shown incriminating himself he has his shirt buttoned in some takes and unbuttoned in others, something he did to prove that the video was staged and not a spontaneous confession.
Carromero claimed to speak with a “clear conscience” about the trial, among other topics. Here are some questions and answers Friday.
What arguments were presented at trial to sentence you?
The formula used to sentence me and to calculate the speed at which the car supposedly traveled has no validity, it's the one of rectilinear motion uniformly accelerated.
This movement doesn't exist and doesn’t account for the acceleration made when you brake, the friction. ..l The international experts contacted by my lawyers broke all of this down. Experts from the CUJAE (Cuba’s University of Engineering) said it was nonsense.
Did those experts go to the trial?
In Cuba, if they accuse you, you’re sentenced. Cuban legislation doesn’t allow for experts to come and testify. This doesn't happen in countries which are not dictatorships.
Did you have access to documents relating to your case?
I never saw the report of my case. They didn't give my defense lawyer a copy. The lawyers has to travel from Havana to Bayamo to transcribe 800 documents by hand. Why didn't they give them a copy the way it's done in all cases? Because they knew that when they copied it that the documents would make it out of Cuba and the case would be read. The drawings of the supposed tests which they had done to me to accuse me had to be done by hand too, like children. You can laugh, but it's not a joke.
When did you send that text message stating, “Help! We're surrounded by military men”?
They let us keep our cellphones at the beginning of our stay in the hospital in Bayamo but later on they took them from us. I sent that text when I was in my hospital bed surrounded by military men. In that moment, they had obligated me to change my version of the story and were filming me with a handycam and I knew it was going to end badly.
The first thing he said was that they had run us off the road and had hit us. This made them nervous, and they hit me. Later on a Cuban official who introduced himself as an expert told me the version that I was to repeat: that I pressed the brake pedal and “fell in an embankment.” In Spain this has another meaning and the phrasing of the words is different too.
Was Modig sleeping when the accident happened as he has alleged in interviews?
There were times when he was asleep but he was the copilot. If he chose to remain quiet and turn the page, well I don't share in that sentiment. I respect it but I've chosen a more complicated road and one with worse consequences for me but I couldn't stay silent.
Has it been a long time since you last spoke to him?
Yes. The last time he came to Spain he simply told me he didn't remember anything.
How did you find out about the deaths of Payá and Cepero?
I asked in the hospital and in the interrogation in Bayamo they told me about it again.
At what speed where you traveling when all this happened?
Well, I don't remember the speed, but whoever has been in Cuba knows that on the main highway, even if you want to, you can't go too fast because it's full of potholes. Also it was a rental car and didn't work so well. I was with Rosa Maria [Payá] yesterday and we remembered that the day before the trip we were about to cancel it because the car didn't accelerate well.
At the time you traveled to Cuba was your driver's license in good standing?
Yes. Not even my family or my friends could defend me in Spain because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to return. The leftist party and the Cuban government took advantage of that silence to try to destroy my credibility. So, I took the heat from the media on my own.
In the book you're very blunt about why you filmed those videos in which you take the blame ...
There's something very clear here, I was surrounded by soldiers, in a loathsome dungeon-like cell without access to lawyers and without being able to call anybody. I was alone and at the mercy of what the soldiers wanted to do to me. This is in Cuba, not a country with rights, and so they told me that if I collaborate, that they'll let me go.
What were you afraid of the most?
Of them killing me. They can do with you whatever they want. You have no cellphone, no outside contact, you're in a dictatorship. It was collaborate and do what I'm told or I wouldn't be here with you today. It's like a video from al-Qaida, my face was swollen and I could barely speak. ...
In which jails were you?
I was in Bayamo and later I was moved to Cien and Aldabo, it's an instructional jail. They stick you in there until you confess, and if not, they won't let you out. I was there until November in a cell in which they'd take me out once a day every two or three weeks. It was psychologically trying and I clung on to the fact that I wanted to go back and that if I did, I wanted to be well and I did it.
What did you do in jail?
Think. Think about my family and friends. Try to keep feeling alive, part of my life. Think about what I'd be doing if I was with my loved ones. I tried to not let the isolation they imposed on me affect me. I don't know if it's mental tricks or what but it helped me.
Did councilmen come see you at your jail cell?
Of course, they didn't let me out but a slew of military men passed by there. They talked to me and told me that Cuba was gorgeous. Of course, I had to act docile towards them because they were my captors and the ones who brought me food. It's difficult. I also fought with myself over that.
But on trial, despite having been docile, you decided to say you were innocent.
Of course, because the regime created a friction and did so in such a bad way that there were elements to defend myself from their version of the facts. My lawyers told me to declare myself innocent because even with their version they had proof to show that I was innocent. It was also an act of rebellion on my part, even though later I regretted it because an official threatened me. It's complicated to act without consulting anyone. One day they told me that I hadn't support from my party and my government. I lived in a contradiction, without knowing, and making decisions blindly is very hard.
When did you have that initial contact with the Spanish embassy?
When I was in Bayamo, the Swiss ambassador and the auxiliary consul from Spain. The ambassador manages to have her national sent home with her and the Spanish consulate just asks me how I'm doing and doesn't provide me with any further instruction.
It's also strange that they sent an auxiliary consul.
They told me that they tried to treat it as a case between consulates, but from that first moment, they didn't send an ambassador and only sent an auxiliary consul.
Why did the Nacional Audience in Spain disregard a petition to investigate the death of Oswaldo Payá, who was a Spanish citizen?
My return to Spain wasn't free. The Cuban government isn't stupid and got a lot out of my return. One of the conditions they put was that the Spanish government has to accept the validity of my sentence and can't revise my case. This was part of a prisoner extradition treaty that both governments signed.
Can Spanish authorities pardon you?
Yes, but they have to communicate that to Cuba first. The Miami Herald


Cuba's 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 disaster.

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 more photos Gizmodo


Cuban couple reunited in U.S. after year-long sea odyssey

Sept. 26 - Almost a year after he smuggled his way out of Cuba on a homemade boat, Jose Caballero was reunited late Thursday with his wife who survived a harrowing sea voyage of her own last month.
The two embraced tightly at the Greyhound bus terminal in Austin, Texas, hours after Mailin Perez crossed the border from Mexico, taking advantage of a U.S. policy that allows entry to Cubans arriving by land.
"Right now we're so happy, but exhausted from all the tension. There were so many desperate moments," said Caballero.
Perez, 30, was one of a group of Cuban migrants rescued at sea by Mexican fishermen this month off the Yucatan peninsula badly sunburned and dehydrated after three weeks adrift.
Only 15 of the 32 passengers of her boat survived the journey from Manzanillo in eastern Cuba, with 15 dying at sea, and two more dying after they were rescued.
"It was such a battle to get here," Perez said later, as she sat down to a traditional Cuban dinner of chicken, and "congri" (rice and beans) prepared by her husband. "I'm happy, but sad for the ones who didn't make it."
The group set off on August 7, and were forced to fashion a makeshift sail for their vessel after the motor failed early in the journey. One by one the passengers died as supplies of food, and then water, ran out. Their bodies were thrown overboard.
Caballero, 40, said his wife lost eight cousins on the boat, adding that she had been an assistant at a blood bank in Cuba and brought medical supplies with her.
"For her it's going to be hard. Right now she is happy she made it, but imagine the trauma she feels," he said.
Caballero left Cuba by the same route in December on a boat carrying 47 people, and is now a maintenance worker at a trucking company in Austin. "We were at sea for only nine days and I still have nightmares about drowning," he said.
Mexican officials detained the Cubans for two weeks before releasing them, saying Cuba had not recognized them as its citizens.
Under the "wet foot, dry foot policy" of the United States, Cuban migrants who make it onto U.S. soil are allowed to remain while those intercepted at sea are turned back.
Cubans seeking to flee the communist-run island are heading in increasing numbers to Central America or southern Mexico and then making a long journey overland to reach the United States.
U.S. authorities say 16,200 Cubans arrived without visas at the border with Mexico in the past 11 months, the highest number in a decade.
Caballero said his wife had previously tried unsuccessfully to leave Cuba four times by boat and he tried to persuade her not to try again. "But there was no stopping her," he said.
The couple left two children behind with relatives in Cuba, a boy aged 11 and a girl aged four.
"That's our hope now, to bring them to the United States," said Caballero. "But not the way we came. Not by sea."

Toronto Sun

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


Freedom for Venezuela


Who said that brainwashing doesn't work?

Dec. 7 - Elian González after 14 years of brainwashing: "Fidel Castro for me is like a father. I don't profess to have any religion but if I did my god would be Fidel Castro. He is like a ship that knew to take his crew on the right path"


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

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



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

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


Yoani Sáncez's presentation at Google Ideas Summit

October 26 - Yoani Sánchez explains how Internet without Internet is used by Cubans inside the island.

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


Video of another act of repudiation against members of UNPACU

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

Click here to see the video


Yoani: Cuban authorities are worried about web paqs circulating inside Cuba

Sept. 13 - Tweet from Yoani Sánchez:

"Authorities worried because of "packages" or "combos" with a collection of audiovisuals in the black market"

As I have said before, projects like Web Paqs for Cuba are the best way to bypass the blockade at the Internet, put in place by the Castro dictatorship to prevent Cubans in the island from knowing what's happening inside Cuba and in the rest of the world.

You can learn more about Web Paqs for Cuba and how you can get involved in this project at La Singularidad Cuba (Español) The Real Cuba (English) Twitter and FaceBook


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

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

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

Click here to see the video


Clandestine video shows Bahamian guards brutally abusing Cuban rafters

June 15 - June 15 - This clandestine video taking inside a Bahamian jail, shows a guard kicking and insulting Cuban rafters who were trying to reach the United States and ended up in the Bahamas.
There should be a tourism boycott of the Bahamas, unless the Bahamian government orders the arrest and prosecution of this brutal thug and stops abusing Cuban rafters who are risking their lives in search for freedom.
Click here to see the video


Tweet from Yoani Sánchez about the Web Paqs for Cuba project


Learn more about Paquetes Web Para Cuba

Visit our page about Paquetes Web Para Cuba

You can also visit us on Facebook to find all information about the Internet Web Paqs for Cuba, a project to help the Cuban people have access to the websites that are blocked by the Cuban regime.

Make sure to click on 'Like" as a sign of support Paquetes Web Para Cuba


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

Foto de la versión impresa del reportaje en ABC

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

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

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


Twit by Cuban blogger Orlando Luis Pardo about Paquetes Web Para Cuba


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


My interview with Baseball PhD

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


Listen to Fidel Castro

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


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


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


Visit our updated page: The Useful Idiots


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

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

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

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

Click here  to see them


Socio-Economic Conditions in Pre-Castro Cuba

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

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



Hit Counter Have visited this page