Tag Archives: obama

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.

 

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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

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

The Cuban Five Must be Unconditionally Freed

The Cuban Five Must be Unconditionally Freed

Speech given by Ricardo Alarcón at the central event held at the Astral theatre in Havana during a day of solidarity for the Cuban Five, September 12, 2011.

Translation: Machetera

I will be brief in order for the artists present to raise their voices in solidarity with Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René.

Today marks the completion of thirteen years of an injustice that has gone on far too long for the Cuban Five.  They have received the worst sentences and most cruel treatment, which among other things, has impeded their families from visiting them, and reached inhumane extremes with the prohibition against Adriana and Olga reuniting with Gerardo and René.  They have also been punished by the total silence imposed by a media tyranny which aims to extinguish the solidarity that they deserve and hide the larger truth: the Cuban Five are in prison for opposing the terrorists who are enemies of Cuba and its people. Continue reading

Yoani Sánchez’s faked Obama interview

Annals of Shame: How to fake an interview with the President of the United States of America and be sure nobody will notice

“The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.” – Joseph Goebbels

Some years ago I accompanied a Cuban friend who needed to sign a document in front of a U.S. consular official at the U.S. Interests Section (USIS) in Havana.  Once past the waiting room where TV Martí plays to its small captive audience – the only one it can legitimately claim on the island – and back toward the section where such transactions take place, I noticed a couple of idle computer terminals.  I asked if I might go ahead and check my email while we waited.  The consular official narrowed his eyes at me.  “No,” he snapped.

That’s the nature of things when you’re a lowly U.S. citizen inside Fortress USA on Havana’s Malecon.  Continue reading

The USA: Scarecrows on the March

The USA: Scarecrows on the March español

Atilio Boron

Translated from the Spanish by Machetera

Those rulers whom the gods wish to destroy are first overwhelmed by a crisis, then coaxed into promising the suffering a radical and effective cure for the maladies of the age and finally damned because their policies are lukewarm and ambivalent.  Obama was a victim of these vicious and vengeful gods who decided to give him an exemplary thrashing in this Tuesday’s elections, taking away control of the House of Representatives, a number of governorships, and reducing the Democratic majority that remains in the Senate to its absolute minimum.  More seriously, the doors to the loft that holds the worst scarecrows in U.S. society, the angriest and most agitated of them all, were thrown open wide, catapulting a number of them to the Senate or the House thanks to a vote from a public that has grown increasingly imbecilic thanks to the patient work of the great media of mass confusion.  For some time now they’ve been working to turn a large part of the U.S. population into those “trained thugs” of which the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci spoke.  Thanks to all this, the U.S. public has accepted as valid and reasonable, affirmations that would have provoked incredulity or hilarity among the most backward and superstitious people in medieval Europe. Continue reading

South of the Border: Oliver Stone y su monstruo del pantano

Traducción del inglés: Atenea Acevedo

Machetera

Vivo en un desierto cinematográfico. Antes había por aquí un cinito tenebroso, pero lo echaron abajo y nos abandonaron a la suerte de Netflix. El piso del viejo cine era pegajoso como el engrudo gracias a los litros de refresco de cola derramados que nadie limpiaba. Según mi papá, no era un mal sitio para ver una peli si llevabas un huacal para subir los pies y una pinza para taparte la nariz.

En todo caso, el perfil demográfico de mi ciudad no es lo máximo. Tampoco sé nada del negocio de la distribución de películas, pero no me sorprende que la gente a cargo de distribuir South of the Border de Oliver Stone se haya saltado mi rincón en el mundo cuando definía la programación del documental el verano pasado. La única opción era organizar una proyección por mi cuenta, pero paso, gracias. Continue reading