Monday, February 15, 2010

Cuba invades Venezuela

The venezuelans have never agree to this....we don't want to be like Cuba ..... we are tired of Chavez...... please help us.
Cuba Invades Venezuela
Mac Margolis

Cuba may be a fading star in the socialist firmament and run by a sclerotic dynasty, but don't tell Hugo Chávez. The Venezuelan president is giving the Castro franchise a second life by farming out more and more of his crisis-battered government to Havana. A growing number of corner offices in Chávez's bureaucracy--including defense, national security, police, immigration control, and now energy--are occupied by Castrocrats. Ramiro Valdés, Fidel's former comrade in arms and an ex-interior minister, was recently picked to coordinate Venezuela's response to an energy emergency causing widespread blackouts. (Critics note that Cuba has long been afflicted by power failures.) Chávez's foes suspect that Valdés, famed for policing the Internet in Cuba, was hired to spy on Venezuelan dissidents. Other Havanians are serving as key advisers in the Defense Ministry and the newly reformed Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, and dealing on Caracas's behalf with trade unions, coffee growers, and hospitals (apparently the final straw for the health minister, who quit on Feb. 10). Chávez argues that no one is better prepared to handle domestic crises than the Cubans. Most Venezuelans shudder for the same reason.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

US condemns Cuba over blogger beatings

US condemns Cuba over blogger beatings
(AFP) – 2 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The United States said it "strongly deplores" the forcible detention and beating last week of three Cuban bloggers on their way to a peaceful march in Havana.

Award-winning blogger Yoani Sanchez, whose online reports chronicle the dark side of everyday life in communist Cuba, was detained and beaten along with two fellow bloggers by Cuban secret police on November 6.

"We have expressed to the Cuban government our deep concern with the assaults," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement.

"The US government strongly deplores the assault on bloggers Yoani Sanchez, Orlando Luis Pardo, and Claudia Cadelo.

Sanchez, who writes the blog "Generation Y," told AFP last week: "(The government agents) beat me and then they shoved me into a car head first. They did not give me any explanation at any time, but it is clear their goal was to stop us from taking part in the march."

Three agents in street clothes had snatched them off the street in the Havana district of Vedado.

Sanchez, winner of the Maria Moors Cabot 2009 award and Ortega y Gasset Prize awarded by Madrid's El Pais newspaper, said she was not seriously injured and was released half an hour after the arrest.

"Clearly, the beating hurts even more a day later; I am still really affected by all of this, but it is not going to stop me from writing my blog," she added.

Kelly said the United States called on Cuba "to ensure the full respect of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its citizens."

Washington has repeatedly urged action by Cuba to move forward on free speech and greater respect for human rights before lifting the US embargo on the island.

Cuban authorities say Sanchez and all other political dissidents are "mercenaries" in the pay of the United States and other western countries.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dictaorships and double Standards

Article Dictatorships and Double Standards--By Amb. Jaime Daremblum

Excellent article by the former Ambassador of Costa Rica to the US. Worth pondering...and particularly for some member countries of the OAS and the organization's current leadership. PMB

Dictatorships and Double Standards
Cuba doesn't belong in the OAS.
by Jaime Daremblum

In all my years as an observer of international affairs, I have seldom seen the Organization of American States (OAS) so energized by a single issue. If only that issue were the humanitarian tragedy of Haiti, or the defense of democracy in those member countries where it is under siege--such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. Instead, the OAS has been hell-bent on extending membership to Communist Cuba, which, until last week, had been suspended from the regional group since 1962.

In a consensus vote on June 3, OAS members endorsed Cuba's right to rejoin the organization. But Fidel Castro wants no part of that. He blasted the OAS as an "an accomplice in all the crimes committed against Cuba." Cuban National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcón announced that, regardless of the decision to end Cuba's formal suspension, the Communist regime had no desire to be an OAS member.
For its part, the United States supported the pro-Cuba resolution but insisted that it include a provision that Havana's reentry into the organization must account for OAS "practices, proposals and principles." In other words, Cuba's return will not be automatic; the process will entail a dialogue initiated by Havana and will require Cuba's compliance with various stipulations. "Membership in the OAS must come with responsibilities," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "and we owe it to each other to uphold our standards of democracy and governance that have brought so much progress to our hemisphere."
Most Latin American and Caribbean countries--led by Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega, the radical Sandinista leader--argue that Cuba's readmittance into the OAS should be unconditional. As an AP story put it, "The United States is largely isolated within the OAS in demanding conditions." It is troubling that so many Latin governments are eager to let a totalitarian regime join a club of democracies without asking that regime to make any commitments on human rights. The 1962 OAS resolution that expelled Cuba was quite clear: "The present Government of Cuba, which has officially identified itself as a Marxist-Leninist government, is incompatible with the principles and objectives of the inter-American system." Cuba remains a Communist government that crushes dissent and jails democracy activists. Its political system is no more compatible with OAS "principles and objectives" in 2009 than it was in 1962.
All 34 OAS members are now bound by the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which was adopted in 2001. Its language is equally clear: "Member states are responsible for organizing, conducting, and ensuring free and fair electoral processes." In addition: "Member states reaffirm their intention to strengthen the inter-American system for the protection of human rights for the consolidation of democracy in the Hemisphere."
Bringing a totalitarian dictatorship into the OAS would make a mockery of those words. Yet Havana's non-participation in the OAS has become a cause célèbre throughout the region. The push to let Cuba rejoin the OAS is part of a larger Latin American effort to end Cuba's isolation in the Western Hemisphere. Some Latin nations are even lobbying intensely for the United States to repeal its embargo against the Communist island. They would have more credibility in arguing this position if they showed greater concern over Cuba's severe human rights violations. Unfortunately, while Latin governments tend to get loud and boisterous when it comes to denouncing the U.S. embargo, they are generally quiet and meek in their criticism of Cuban repression.
For that matter, these same governments have also been remarkably quiet about Hugo Chávez's depredations in Venezuela and the antidemocratic maneuvers of his cronies in Nicaragua (Ortega) and Bolivia (Evo Morales). Chávez has been steadily consolidating an authoritarian regime without hearing much disapproval from his fellow OAS members. Indeed, by and large, Latin American and Caribbean nations have failed to stand up for Venezuelan democracy while Chávez has been demolishing it. (The Venezuelan strongman is now harassing his country's last remaining independent television station.)
The abandonment of Venezuela's anti-Chávez opposition has not been Latin America's finest hour. Some of the region's current leaders--including Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Chilean president Michelle Bachelet--were once pro-democracy dissidents fighting against dictatorial regimes. At the time, they received support from Venezuelan democrats. Today, as Venezuelan democracy crumbles under the boot of an autocrat, they are mostly silent.
The political transformation of Latin America was one of the great democratic success stories of the late 20th century. But now, with Haiti falling deeper into its tragedy, and democracy under attack in Venezuela and elsewhere, some regional officials have decided that embracing a Stalinist dictatorship is more important than aiding a poor nation and defending freedom. They should be ashamed.
Jaime Daremblum, who served as Costa Rica's ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2004, is director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Hudson Institute.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Cuba Embargo

The Cuban Embargo

The Cuban regime is buying hundreds of millions of dollars of agricultural products and medicines in the United States, but they have to pay for them up front (NO CREDIT).
There is no embargo from Spain, France, Canada, Mexico, China, or Russia just to mention a few countries. The Cuban dictators can buy anything they want, but they are not paying and their credit is no good. The problem with the Castro Brothers is MONEY. They want to buy, but not to pay. They want us, taxpayers, to subsidize their subversion and espionage all over the world.

Why do we complain about Francisco Franco being a military dictator in Spain for years?
Why do we judge Augusto Pinochet for his war crimes?
Why do we complain about Somoza in Nicaragua?
Why do we call Trujillo a criminal or assassin?
Why we don’t do the same with Comandante Fidel Castro or General Raul Castro?

Eleno O. Oviedo
Plantados until Freedom and Democracy in Cuba
Former Political Prisoner for 26 years in Cuba.
Abducted from a British Territory in 1963

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Blog of Yoani Sanchez

Interesting blog from Yoani Sánchez (1975). She lives in Cuba and write about how is life there.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cuba in fear of the unknown as Fidel Castro fades

The cubans don't know what will be their future......... they hate to see Chavez in TV all the time, like in venezuela. We are all tired of Chavez and Fidel.
vdebate reporter

February 24, 2008
Cuba in fear of the unknown as Fidel Castro fades

Fidel Castro's long goodbye is posing a delicate moral dilemma for Alfredo Hernandez, a member of one of the few Jewish families to remain in Cuba after the 1959 revolution.
Hernandez’s grandparents arrived in Havana in 1913 and acquired a sprawling cattle ranch near the eastern city of Camaguey. The farm was confiscated in the first wave of Castro’s nationalisations.
As the ailing 81-year-old Cuban dictator slowly relinquishes his grip on power – his brother Raul is expected to replace him as president today – Hernandez has been wondering if future changes in economic policy might one day offer his family the chance to fulfil a long-held dream.
“It was our house, but Fidel gave it away,” Hernandez said. “Maybe now Fidel is going we might get it back, no? It’s only fair for people to reclaim their belongings.”
It is a question many Cubans have been pondering with mounting trepidation as both political and economic uncertainty envelops a ruined economy once memorably described as “Stalinism with pineapples”.
Yet Hernandez is the first to admit that questions of ownership and compensation will be hard to address in any future economic transition from state regulation to private initiative. His family may have been booted off its ranch, but it was offered a replacement home in Havana that in turn had been seized from a wealthy businessman who had fled into exile in Miami.
“If we can claim our farm back, does that mean they get their house back?” said Hernandez, a 32-year-old English teacher. “It’s the house where I’ve lived all my life. My family has lived there for nearly 50 years. I can’t imagine losing it.”
The Castro regime has long played up the threat of mass disruption should President George W Bush succeed in his supposed plan to “annex” Cuba and hand over all its assets to the capitalist gusanos (worms) of Miami’s 1m-strong Cuban exile community. The US government maintains a growing list of almost 6,000 legal claims to confiscated Cuban property, estimated to be worth more than $6 billion (£3 billion).
Billboards around Havana warn of the dangers of “El plano Bush”, which is not only said to threaten property and jobs but, according to one poster near the grim Soviet-era housing estates of suburban Alamar, will also “take away your good morning kiss from your child, deny you their hug before school and extinguish the sparkle in their eyes”.
Other Cubans last week doubted there would be any change at all – a feeling reinforced on Friday when, three days after declaring that “my elemental duty is not to cling to positions [of power]”, Castro returned to the country’s state-control-led newspapers with new warnings about the annexation plots of the devious “Yanquis”.
Cecilia Lopez, a former surgeon at one of Havana’s most prestigious hospitals, says the political posturing of the Cuban and American governments has long been “a stupid game” to her mind.
“The Americans are fools,” she said. “As long as they insist on this economic blockade, the Cuban government can blame everything on Washington and people here will accept that. If they take away the blockade the government will have no more excuses.”
Lopez walked away from her high-ranking job four years ago, disgusted with insanitary conditions at the hospital and a rate of pay so low that staff were departing in droves to work in Cuban medical missions abroad. “They thought it would be easier to feed themselves in Venezuela,” said Lopez. “But I think a lot of them were disappointed.”
Her hospital has since been renovated, but the work was done so shabbily that the ceiling of the intensive care unit recently collapsed on a patient who had just undergone cardiac surgery. “You laugh,” she said, “but it’s horrible.”
Like many in Havana last week Lopez shied away from blaming Castro for the island’s massive ills, which include water shortages, food rationing, severe restrictions on travel and internet use, and the continuing repression of dissidents. Other countries have black markets in currency or cigarettes but Cuba remains perhaps the only place in the world where a shifty-looking trader might whisper in your ear: “Pssst! Want to buy some carrots?”
Not only has there been no spontaneous eastern-European-style uprising, but there was not a trace of antiregime graffiti on the crumbling walls of old Havana last week, and in three days of talking to dozens of Cubans about Raul’s takeover the harshest words I heard were spoken in a barber’s shop: “One Castro for another is no change,” said a young Afro-Cuban who was having his head shaved. “Same direction, same fear.”
Various explanations have been offered for the outwardly placid reaction in both Havana and Miami to the looming demise of El Comandante, the only leader most of the Cuban population has ever known. Cuba-watchers in Washington believe that only Fidel’s death is likely to trigger any serious national soul-searching.
Most analysts believe that Raul Castro, considered a pragmatist and a potential reformer, is highly unlikely to begin dismantling his brother’s legacy as long as Fidel is alive.
Yet it quickly emerged that many Cubans have already made up their minds about who they do not want exercising any kind of authority in Havana. “He’s a stupid clown,” said Arturio Perez, an artist.
“He’s a very cheap copycat,” said Cesar Morales, a trainee teacher. “He’s a sham and an opportunist,” said Gustavo Barredo, a taxi driver.
They were all talking about Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan strongman who has laid claim to Castro’s mantle as the chief thorn in America’s side and the standard-bearer of Latin American revolution. A frequent visitor to Havana, Chavez has cosied up to Castro while using Venezuela’s oil fortune to prop up the Cuban regime.
His de facto subsidies are estimated to be worth up to £2 billion a year – almost as much as the aid Cuba lost after the 1991 collapse of its previous benefactor, the Soviet Union.
Chavez’s revolutionary posturing – he waves books by Che Guevara at his rallies and often appears in a Che-style beret – has become a source of intense irritation in Havana, where the Venezuelan leader is seen by many ordinary Cubans not as a saviour, but as a sinister fraud.
“He has become like a second president in Cuba,” complained Maria del Carmen Lablanca, a former government translator. “We have only four television channels, and on three of them there’s always Chavez. Why? He’s not my president and I don’t want to see his show on my TV.”
At times it seemed last week that criticism of Chavez had become a code for criticism of Castro himself. If Raul emerges – as expected – as Cuba’s new president today, his relationship with Chavez threatens to be his most testing challenge.
Most analysts believe that the economy would quickly collapse without its Venezuelan crutch; yet the more Cubans see of Chavez, the more publicly they may complain.
It is all adding up to a tense and unsettling transition in a country that seems trapped between a broken ideological fantasy and a promise, albeit distant, of paradise regained. Perhaps the most notable sentence in Castro’s announcement last Tuesday was: “This is not my farewell to you . . . I shall continue to write.”
Fidel’s folly
When Fidel Castro took power in January 1959, his country was among the five most prosperous nations in Latin America.
After 49 years of his brand of socialism, it ranks as one of the poorest in the region. Cubans today live on a minimum wage of 225 pesos or just over £5 a month, while national wealth has barely increased in decades.
According to the Index of Economic Freedom, Cuba’s centrally planned economy is one of the least free in the world, exceeded only by that of North Korea.

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

A letter to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez: On the subject of his oil handouts to Fidel Castro.

*Gustavo Coronel:
A letter to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez:
On the subject of his oil handouts to Fidel Castro.

Mr. President:

The purpose of this letter is to let you know that your recent public declaration about Venezuela and Cuba being “one single nation” and about the 93,000 barrels of oil per day you have been delivering to Fidel Castro for about four years constitute acts of treason.

Let me tell you why:

1. Your decision to send Venezuelan oil to Fidel Castro was never properly consulted with the Venezuelan nation. Venezuelans would have rejected this handout due to our immense and unfulfilled needs. The subsidy you are giving Fidel Castro is estimated at some $2.3 billion per year. After the 15 year-life of the agreement you will have given Castro an amount of Venezuelan money that is similar to the current international financial reserves of our country. This is a gift of abnormal proportions, an act of aggression against the Venezuelan people;

2. You claim that “only lackeys of imperialism” object to these handouts. This is typical of your arrogance and the manner you deal with those who oppose your decisions. Recently you have accused the members of the Brazilian Congress and the Cardinal of Honduras, in addition to the Venezuelans who dare to dissent from your actions, of being “lackeys of the empire”. In your eyes, therefore, I will also be a lackey because I have no doubt that you are illegally giving away to Fidel Castro our national property, resources that do not belong to you but to the Venezuelan people. You will have to answer for this when your time comes;

3. The supply of oil to Fidel Castro is being done in terms that are totally adverse to the interests of the Venezuelan people. The low interests, the periods of grace, the payment in services which cannot be properly quantify constitute a fraud against the Venezuelan nation;

4. Oil, as you should know, is a non-renewable resource. It was formed in nature millions of years ago, when your political regime was not around. Giving oil away, exchanging it for political favors, bartering it for bananas, black beans Cuban bodyguards and pseudo medical staff, constitutes a criminal management of this resource. In the name of all Venezuelans I protest for this detrimental aggression against our nation;

5. You argue that the volumes of oil being given to Fidel Castro are “small”, as compared to the amounts Venezuela has supplied to the U.S. for “one hundred years”, in occasions “a gift”. Let me tell you that Venezuela has never given away its oil as you do today. It always obtained money for its exports. The money coming from oil has often been wasted by governments, but never in greater amounts than today, under your regime. The only Venezuelan president that has given oil at great subsidies to U.S. citizens is you, through a program of “oil for the poor” that already costs us over $100 million and targets U.S. communities that have an average income ten times higher than the average income of millions of Venezuelans. You do it for political propaganda, at the expense of our real national needs.

6. You say that Cuba “is already paying more than it has to” for the oil you send Castro. This is an irresponsible statement on two counts: one, you validate the irregular payments Cuba is making and, two; you open the doors to increased demands from Castro. This is double treason.

Finally you say that today “Cubans and Venezuelans are one and the same nation”. I protest against this servile assertion. We are free citizens, not slaves. We have no wish to belong to a single nation under the bloody paws of a dictator that has recruited you as heir. One thing is to feel solidarity with the peoples of the hemisphere. A different thing is to become oxen driving the wagon of Latin American despotism. All-out resistance from democracy loving Venezuelans will meet your attempts in this direction. .

*Gustavo Coronel is a 28 years oil industry veteran, a member of the first board of directors (1975-1979) of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), author of several books. At the present Coronel is Petroleumworld associate editor and advisor on the opinion and editorial content of the site. All Coronel's articles can be read in his blog www.lasarmasdecoronel.

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