Tag Archives: USAID

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

Rene González and Alan Gross: speed and bacon

Disparates – (español)

Machetera

I suppose the Latin American term for an apples and oranges comparison is peras y manzanas.  [Pears and apples.]  Somehow it doesn’t have quite the same ring.  In Spain, the expressions are funnier.  No hay que confundir el culo con las témporas. [No need to confuse the ass with the temporal bones].  No confundir churras con merinas.   [Don’t confuse the sheep that produces itchy wool with the sheep that makes merino].

But at the moment, thinking of Rene González and Alan Gross, I prefer the Spanish no mezclar la velocidad con el tocino [don’t mix up speed and bacon], because it’s an expression that highlights the absurd, and nothing is more absurd than the comparisons that are being marketed by the mainstream U.S. press on behalf of the State Department about these two men. 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 inconvenient truth about Guillermo Fariñas

The Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas and the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize español, français

Salim Lamrani

English translation: David Brookbank

On October 21, 2010, the European Parliament announced the recipient of the 2010 Sakharov Prize “for freedom of thought”, and awarded it to the Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas Hernández. According to the European organization, Fariñas joins “a long line of dissidents and defenders of human rights and freedom of thought”.  The president of the Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, pointed out that the opponent of the government in Havana “was prepared to risk his health and life to change things in Cuba”. This is the third time in nine years that a Cuban opposition figure has received this distinction, following the Ladies in White in 2005 and Oswaldo Payá en 2002.1

It is worth reviewing the personal journey of Guillermo Fariñas and his entrance into the world of dissidence in Cuba, before evoking the politicization of the Sakharov Prize. Continue reading

Behind the Coup in Ecuador

Behind the Coup in Ecuador – The Rightwing Attack on ALBA español

By Eva Golinger

Translation: Machetera

The latest coup attempt against one of the countries in the Bolivarian Alliance For The People of Our America (ALBA) is attempt to impede Latin American integration and the advance of revolutionary democratic processes.  The rightwing is on the attack in Latin America.  Its success in 2009 in Honduras against the government of Manuel Zelaya energized it and gave it the strength and confidence to strike again against the people and revolutionary governments in Latin America. Continue reading

The utility of Cuban prisoners

Ex-Cuban prisoners color coordinated for maximum photogenic value.

For whom are the [Cuban] prisoners useful? español

Enrique Ubieta Gómez

Translation: Machetera

So here’s the problem.  The ex-prisoners arrive in Madrid.  The press clings to them for a few days.  If they’re lucky, they’ll begin to live from their labors and not from subversive activity that was quite well paid.  Perhaps some will manage a post in cyberspace.  But, as the Cubans say, no es fácil [it’s not easy], in the midst of an economic crisis.  I have no idea how much they’ll be paid for their commentary (the offensive or threatening diatribes they launch at revolutionary bloggers), but if we don’t publish them, they don’t get paid.  Little by little, they’ll be forgotten.  They’re no longer any use.  In other words, they’re no longer any use for their former promoters, for U.S. imperialism. Continue reading

Ernesto Hernández Busto, rest in peace

For awhile there I lost track of Ernesto Hernández Busto, but it seems that I’m not the only one.  After his appearance in Texas at the George W. Bush Institute, where apparently W mentioned his invited guests one by one but passed EHB over (worried perhaps about team loyalty?), the bleating from Barcelona suddenly ceased.  Now we know why.  EHB closed his blog, “until further notice.”  Who is Machetera going to kick around now?

Zoé Valdés, the ex-Cuban-wannabe-Parisian with the penchant for posting quarter century old photos of herself (age is kinder to some than others) isn’t half as tempting a target.  Also, the fact that she’s turned her blog into some kind of aggregator where she posts nonsense about 90 times a day means that it’s work to read it now, instead of Machetera’s guilty pleasure.  Honestly, where do these people find the time?  Oh, I forget, they’re paid.

Well, here’s a good piece on EHB’s disappearance anyway:

Ernesto Hernández Bushto and the General Strikeespañol

Ernesto Pérez Castillo

Translation: Machetera

Ernesto Hernández Bushto is a rascal, but a willing one.  For mysterious and unexplained reasons he closed his blog –www.penultimosdias.com – some days ago and in the meantime has gone about teasing El País, promising them lemonade while delivering water, in the form of a new article (The Limits of Cyber-Dissidence) which is nothing more than a self-referential link to his own speech some months back in the auditorium of the Bush Institute.

EHB is on the far left and that is not a wax figure in the middle

Continue reading