Category Archives: Cuba

The Establishment proposes catching up in Cuba by ignoring its government

La Alborada – May 20

Tr-bigstick-cartoonA group of former diplomats –including some very interventionist ones–, former members of the US legislative and executive branches, retired military officers, current bankers and corporate officials, NGO heads, and some others, have sent an open letter to President Obama asking that he take action to facilitate the penetration of the Cuban economy through actions that are within his power to take.

Somehow, this is being dressed up as an effort to improve relations with Cuba. It is hardly that, however. It looks more like recommendations that might be advanced by Freedom House, USAID, DAI, NSA, CIA, NED, NGOs, and other members of Washington’s alphabet soup. The difference seems to be that these actions would be authorized openly to facilitate involvement in Cuba’s economy, in particular the developing small-business sector, by “US NGOs and other organizations.”

There is no mention whatever of doing any of it with the approval or cooperation of the Cuban government, except in one paragraph at the end of the list, which proposes that the US “engage in serious discussions with Cuban counterparts on mutual security and humanitarian concerns,” and that in so doing it “leverage these talks to press Cuban officials on matters such as the release of Alan Gross and on-going human rights concerns.”

The last part about Alan Gross is a nod to the current US posture that no improvement in relations is possible unless Gross is released unilaterally, but it does not matter: the proposals seek no improvement in relations, but only a new effort to get into Cuban business now. There is nothing urging the President to negotiate an exchange with the remaining three prisoners of the Cuban Five, nor to remove Cuba from the list of sponsors of terrorism. There is no suggestion of doing away with the blockade.

The underlying motivation is revealed in one phrase: “…the U.S. is finding itself increasingly isolated internationally in its Cuba policy.” That is to say that, while the US government and the media argue that the new Cuban economy is not going anywhere, that the Mariel EDZ will draw no investors, and that Raul Castro is incapable of making the economy work, an important sector of the US establishment recognizes that if they don’t get on the bus now they may have to wait a long time before the next one comes by.

These are some of the signers:

- John Negroponte, former Deputy Secretary of State; former Director of National Intelligence, and –based then in Honduras– coordinator of US intelligence and activities in Central America during the wars of the 1980s.

- John Adams, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Retired); former Deputy U.S. Military Representative to NATO; former Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, U.S. Army.

- Admiral James Stavridis, Commander of U.S. Southern Command 2006–2009; Supreme Allied Commander NATO 2009–2013; Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University.

- Paul Cejas, former U.S. Ambassador; President and CEO, PLC Investments, Inc. (management of portfolio investments as well as investments in real estate and venture capital projects).

- Andres Fanjul, Fanjul Group (big sugar).

- Moises Naím, a minister under Carlos Andrés Pérez in Venezuela and currently a right-wing alarmist and proponent of taking down the governments of all of the ALBA countries. (Cuba is, of course, a founder of ALBA.)

- Ambassador Thomas Pickering, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

- Ambassador Charles Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, where he actively assisted coup plotters before, during, and after the coup of 2002; President, Institute of the Americas.

- George Weiksner, Vice Chairman, Credit Suisse – the same bank that yesterday agreed to pay $2.6 billion in penalties for helping wealthy US clients evade taxes in a scheme federal investigators said spanned decades.

What do they propose? Here are some examples (emphasis is ours):

- Allow unlimited remittances to non-family members for the purpose of supporting independent activity in Cuba and expand the types of goods that travelers may legally take to the Island to support micro-entrepreneurs.

- Establish new licenses for the provision of professional services to independent Cuban entrepreneurs.

- Allow U.S. NGOs and other organizations to lend directly to small farmers, cooperatives, self-employed individuals, and micro-enterprises in Cuba.

- Allow Cuban entrepreneurs to participate in internships in U.S. corporations and NGOs.

- Authorize the sale of telecommunications hardware in Cuba, including cell towers, satellite dishes, and handsets.

The signers may not be aware of the ZunZuneo debacle and of the way that NSA spies on other countries through back doors built into US hardware, but it seems that they just don’t care what the Cuban government thinks of these ideas. They want Obama to open the gates for intervention.

It’s hard to come to a different conclusion given the character of the proposals. They’re not a good approach to improving relations.

 

Alan Gross’ Fasting Folly

By Max S. Cruz

Alan Gross’ fasting folly

healthshakeTwo weeks ago, Alan Gross, a USAID subcontractor arrested in Cuba in 2009 for activities aimed at overthrowing the Cuban government, desperately announced that he was beginning a fast in an attempt to get the attention of US President Obama, who has basically abandoned Mr. Gross:

“I am fasting to object to mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments, not only regarding their shared responsibility for my arbitrary detention, but also because of the lack of any reasonable or valid effort to resolve this shameful ordeal.”

All major news sources rushed to tell the world that a man had gone on hunger strike.

“Fast” and “hunger strike” are not interchangeable terms. Continue reading

Cuba’s Updated Migration Policy Totally Confounds the United States and the Micro-Republic of Miami

tumblr_ls54y12Nd81qa0pmyo1_500Cuba’s Updated Migration Policy Totally Confounds the United States and the Micro-Republic of Miami - español aquí

Edmundo García

Translation: Machetera

On Monday, January 14, Cuba’s updated migration policy went into force and one of the listeners of my radio program, La Tarde se Mueve (Afternoon Moves) called in to say that it was as though the floor had been yanked right out from under the Miami critics of the Cuban revolution. They can’t figure out where to stand; they’re completely adrift in the comments they’re making on the radio, TV, and other regular press outlets. Continue reading

The Cubans are coming! The Cubans are coming!

Panic in Washington: The Cubans are coming! 

Jean-Guy Allard

English translation: Machetera - (español)

Now they don’t even bother to hide their worry: the same politicians who slandered Cuba for decades, saying Cubans “can’t travel,” and even going so far as to draft laws meant to push disaffected Cubans to hurl themselves into the sea, are now rushing to figure out how to stop Cubans from arriving in the United States and, in case they manage to arrive, how to stop them from returning to Cuba.

Victims of the traps they themselves set at the height of the Cold War, when the Cuban Revolution, criminally isolated by the blockade, was forced to protect itself by any means, including restrictive migration laws, the Cuban American members of Congress and their clan have suddenly realized that they’ve shot themselves in the foot.  The political structure manufactured to serve U.S. annexationist plans toward Cuba is on red alert and desperately seeking a solution to what it has announced is a dangerous and unexpected invasion by those it has pretended to be defending. Continue reading

Department of double standards: Ángel Carromero

Carromero's deathtrap

Carromero’s deathtrap

Ángel Carromero: How the Spanish media are covering the legal impunity of a homicidal driver

José Manzaneda

Translated by Manuel Talens/Edited by Machetera – (español)

Imagine a man who had his driver license revoked after 46 traffic tickets, 6 of them for high-velocity speeding. Imagine that he then caused the death of two people as a result of driving at excessive speed in a construction zone. [1] The Spanish Criminal code defines this action as “reckless driving resulting in death” and imposes a sentence of several years in prison. [2] No one would believe that such a reckless driver could have TV news and leading newspapers at his beck and call, demanding his release without being countered in any way. Continue reading

Héctor Pesquera on the loose in Puerto Rico

Héctor Pesquera, Puerto Rico’s new Police Chief

Héctor Pesquera, Official Mafioso Hitman Against the Cuban Five, is Chief of Police for Puerto Rico - español

Jean-Guy Allard

Translation: Machetera

Puerto Rico’s governor, Luis Fortuño, has officially named Héctor Pesquera, the former head of the FBI in Miami and the mastermind of a conspiracy that led to the arrest of five Cubans who’d infiltrated terrorist groups in Florida, as the new Superintendent of the Puerto Rican police.

Puerto Rico is facing its most serious wave of crime, violence and corruption in many years.

Pesquera arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on a flight from Fort Lauderdale, and was immediately escorted by FBI agents to the Federal Building, his “alma mater,” at Chardón Street in Hato Rey, where the federal agency is headquartered.

It was at the request of the Mafioso Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart that Héctor Pesquera directed, organized and carried out the arrest of the Cuban Five, who had been sent to Florida from Cuba in order to fight the terrorist campaigns being waged against the island from that city.  The five were transformed into spies through a huge media show.

Pesquera ordered the mistreatment, solitary confinement, and rigged trial of the five Cuban patriots who remain kidnapped in US territory.

This policeman with multiple connections to Cuban American terrorist fauna, is of Puerto Rican origin, the black sheep of a family with deeply held nationalist convictions. Continue reading

Burson-Marsteller, Alan Gross, and the light at the end of the tunnel

The lesson at the Salpêtrière (1887), by Pierre-André Brouillet (1857 - 1914)

PR as Valium - español, traducido por Manuel Talens, de Tlaxcala

Machetera

Saltpêtrière is a legendary Parisian hospital.  Built in the 17th century, it was known as the cradle of neurosciences for having hosted great teaching doctors such as Charcot, Babinski and Freud.  In the image above, a famous painting by Pierre-André Brouillet, the French doctor Jean-Martin Charcot is portrayed explaining how to diagnose hysteria in a female patient whose name has gone down in the annals of medical history: Blanche Wittman.

The scene is unmistakably sexist: a roomful of men deciding how to treat a woman for a condition whose very etymology reveals its sexism.  Simply by virtue of the fact that she is a woman, she is at the mercy of their decisions. A victim.  The two nuns waiting to catch Blanche as she collapses are mere voiceless spectators.  The men in this image know everything, the women, nothing.

A century and a quarter later, the story behind this painting suggests nothing so much as the case of Judy Gross, the wife of the USAID contractor imprisoned in Cuba. Paternalism remains very much alive, and both The New York Times and Washington Post confirm this through their participation in the inane media campaign to pressure Pope Benedict XVI to counsel Cuba to exchange Rene González for Alan Gross.  Counseling Cuba, as though it were an unruly child, not a sovereign country, is offensive enough.  But it’s nothing new.  The counsel that Judy Gross is receiving on the other hand, is another matter.  Instead of being treated as an active subject, capable of taking her future into her own hands, Judy’s campaign to bring her husband home is being managed and reported by people who have their own, very different priorities. Continue reading