Tag Archives: fidel castro

Maradona: the anti-imperialist perfect ten

Maradona: the Anti-Imperialist Perfect Ten español

José Steinsleger – La Jornada

Translation: Machetera for Tlaxcala

In journalism schools, when young people learn about the concept of “news,” their teachers resort to a classic example: news is when a person bites a dog, not the other way round.  But just this past March in Buenos Aires, Diego Maradona’s dog bit his upper lip, and the news flew round the world.

The star was rushed to emergency surgery (stitches and facial surgery) and experts on the subject turned their attention to the grotesque Bella, a costly example of the Chinese Shar Pei species.  With serene, balanced, affable characters, Shar Pei can react unpredictably if one looks them in the eye, face to face.

Whatever he says, or doesn’t say, does or doesn’t do, Maradona is always news.  And leaders like Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Néstor Kirchner or Mahmoud Ahmedinejad understand that the star’s political messages move the consciousness of the poor and exploited on five continents. Continue reading


Deconstructing Foreign Policy’s interview with Ann Louise Bardach

Gossip and Speculation Pinch-Hitting for Intelligence

Flip flops & stonewashed jeans?

By Machetera

Ann Louise Bardach’s Without Fidel magically appeared under my Christmas tree and I’ve been meaning ever since to write a review.  The problem is that book reviews tend to go on the very back burner around here (as poor Jefferson Morley can attest).  In any case, I was suddenly reminded of the book again with the Bardach interview just published by Foreign Policy Magazine.  FP calls Without Fidel “the authoritative book on Cuba under Raúl” which implies that Bardach is moving in on the ex-CIA agent Brian Latell’s turf.  Unlike Bardach, Latell shows no evidence of ever actually having visited Cuba, but has managed nevertheless to capture a certain corner of the Cuba myth and speculation franchise.  Bardach now finds herself in a similar position; blocked for years (by her own admission) from obtaining a Cuban press visa and declining (by her own account) an invitation to play on the Cuban team, she is forced to rely on a grab bag of second-hand sources, spiced with a healthy measure of personal memory and opinion, to serve up the kind of speculative stew that FP editors devour. Continue reading

Sharp wits in Spanish Congress set for debate on mercenary blogger, Yoani Sánchez

Tejero Molina addresses the Spanish Congress, 1981

Tejero Molina addresses the Spanish Congress, 1981

The U.S. Government and the World’s Great Media Empires Are Using “Mercenary Bloggers” in Their Offensive Against CubaEspañol

By J.P. for La República

Translation: Machetera

The world’s great media empires have undertaken a merciless offensive against the Cuban revolution, offering spectacular coverage to any kind of mercenary blogger movement such as that of Yoani Sánchez or her husband, who receive a spectacular amount of money for the articles they write against the Cuban government and against a supposed censorship that appears rather insignificant in the light of the wide coverage they obtain worldwide.

Last week it was Yoani who issued a denunciation for having been attacked by Cuban agents, but not only was she unable to show any kind of proof of the attack, the doctors who attended her, who were interviewed by La República, did not find any evidence of any kind of aggression.  Later, it would be her husband, Reinaldo Escobar, who would denounce being hit and attacked by a crowd who reacted to his attempted provocation, with shouts in favor of the Cuban revolution.  However, Escobar did not suffer even a scratch from this supposedly “uncontrolled mob.” Continue reading

Jefferson Morley’s struggle to find the truth about George Joannides and the CIA’s fight to hide it

maninmexicoFirst, a brief word of apology to Jefferson Morley, whose excellent and meticulously researched book, Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA was first mentioned here almost exactly one year ago, with the promise of a review to come…like so many other worthy projects, the review ended up on the back burner (the saltmine beckons and is unusually active at present), but it has not been forgotten.  In the meantime, Machetera will say this: the book is terrific – engagingly written, carefully corroborated, it is a must-read for anyone curious about the CIA’s long reach in Mexico, particularly during the period in the fall of 1963 when the CIA did and then didn’t know about Lee Harvey Oswald’s visit to Mexico City in his failed search for a Cuban visa.  So get the book, now.

Second, José Pertierra has just published an exclusive interview with Morley at CubadebateContinue reading

A State Department at the Service of Petty Interests: The Ongoing Torture of Adriana Pérez and her Husband, Gerardo Hernández

c_0016 copyCORRECTIONS: The news that Gerardo Hernández received on his birthday, June 4, 2008, was not that the Supreme Court would refuse to hear the Cuban Five’s case, but that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals had reinstated his two life sentences, after a previous ruling had overturned them.  The Supreme Court’s announcement of the refusal to hear the Five’s case would come a year later, on June 15, 2009.  In a sense, the timing was even more cruel, petty and personal than outlined below.  The interview with Adriana Pérez, Gerardo’s wife, attributed in the article below to California’s La Opinión, was actually an Associated Press interview, from which La Opinión collected selected excerpts.

A State Department at the Service of Petty Interests:
Visa Denial as a Form of Torture

By Machetera

When the U.S. Government announced that it would deny Adriana Pérez a visa for the tenth time in eleven years in order to come from Cuba to the United States and visit her husband, Gerardo Hernández, incarcerated at the federal prison in Victorville, California, it carefully chose the date to break the news.  The denial was announced on July 15, the couple’s 21st wedding anniversary.  When the Supreme Court announced that it would refuse to hear the case of the Cuban Five, of whom Hernández is one, and the one facing the largest sentence, it chose the date with equal care: June 4, Hernández’s birthday.  The timing of both events was as certainly deliberate as it was petty – a stamp of the U.S. State Department, where cruelty and pettiness abound.

Pérez has not seen her husband for almost twelve years, starting since almost a year before a SWAT team tore down the door to his tiny apartment in Miami in September of 1998 and arrested him, answering his question about why he was being arrested with a snarling “You know why.”  So much for due process.  It would be only the first violation of its kind in a never-ending chain. Continue reading

Chasing the tail of U.S. Cuba policy

pescadillaWashington’s impossible equation

When the late Phil Agee described his job application process with the CIA in the late 1950’s, he talked about undergoing repeated lie detector tests where he deliberately lied about various things, just for the hell of it.  He resented being judged by a machine and wanted to see if he could beat it.  At first it seemed that he failed.  The tests were repeated.  Again, an unhappy result.  He was sent home.  Just as he was feeling most desperate, sure he would never be hired and on the verge of admitting what he had done and begging forgiveness, he was suddenly approved.  There are only two ways of viewing such a process.  Either the CIA’s application process is inept, or it deliberately recruits liars. Continue reading

Where do we go from here?

cThis paper presented by Atilio Borón in Havana in early March of this year caught Fidel’s attention and he both referenced it in his reflection, “A meeting that was worth it” and invited Borón to meet with him to discuss these ideas further (more on that, later).  Tlaxcala has prepared the first English translation of Borón’s paper in its entirety – this is the updated and expanded version.

From Infinite War to Infinite Crisis

Some thoughts on the current capitalist crisis, its probable “solutions” and the role that a socialist option might play in the present juncture

Author: Atilio Borón*

Translated by Machetera, Scott Campbell, Christine Lewis Carroll and Manuel Talens

After September 11, 2001, George W. Bush declared “Infinite War” against terrorism, a war without end and one that would not be constrained by geography or time limits of any kind.  This policy is not only wrong, but immoral, and failed: upon leaving the White House, his legacy was a world more violent and insecure than before.  His administration also left as an inheritance a true economic and financial tsunami on a global scale: an “infinite crisis” whose reach defies our imagination. In the following pages, we would like to share some ideas about the current capitalist crisis, its probable “solutions” and the role that a renewed socialist option might play in the present juncture. Given time restrictions we’ll avoid unnecessary technical jargon and will try to express things plainly, yet without resorting to oversimplifications.

1. Let’s begin by characterizing this crisis in the negative form by saying what this crisis is not. This matters because the media bombardment to which our societies are subjected presents economists and establishment publicists talking about a “financial crisis” or a “banking crisis.” Shortly before, it was not even that. It was said that we were experiencing a “sub-prime” mortgage crisis. This was a way of minimizing the crisis, of underestimating it, presenting it to the public as a relatively minor incident in the dynamics of the markets, and that in no way did it question the health and viability of capitalism as a supposed “natural way” of organizing economic life. The passing of time has demolished all these fallacies. Continue reading