Archive for the ‘Communism’ Category

Cuba: The long and the short of it

Friday, February 27th, 2015

The long: The Cuban Culture of Poverty Conundrum

The short:

One can surmise that, despite its human and material toll, the Castros regime not only failed to solve traditional social problems, but exacerbated at least some of them, and moreover created new ones

H/t the excellent Ziva.

Venezuela: Criminalizing dissent, pt. 2

Friday, February 27th, 2015

The Economist itemizes how the Maduro regime continues to criminalize dissent:

VENEZUELA’S “Bolivarian” regime is lurching from authoritarianism to dictatorship. On February 19th it arrested the elected mayor of metropolitan Caracas, Antonio Ledezma. Then it moved to expel Julio Borges, a moderate opposition leader, from the National Assembly—a fate already suffered by his colleague, María Corina Machado, ejected last year. Leopoldo López, another opposition leader, has been in jail for a year and is now on trial. Almost half the opposition’s mayors now face legal action. The regime’s favourite charge to level at hostile politicians is plotting to overthrow the government, often in conspiracy with the United States. But it is the president, Nicolás Maduro, who is staging a coup against the last vestiges of democracy. Venezuelans call it an autogolpe, or “self-coup”.

Hugo Chávez, who created and presided over the Bolivarian state-socialist system until his death in 2013, was repeatedly elected by Venezuelans, thanks to windfall oil revenues and his rapport with the poor. He took his majority as a mandate to squeeze the life out of Venezuelan democracy, seizing control of the courts and the electoral authority, and suppressing opposition media.

The Economist calls for other LatAm countries to become involved:

For too long Latin America has tolerated Venezuela’s abuse of democratic norms. The latest outrages have provoked expressions of concern from Brazil, the Organisation of American States and others. They must do more. They should demand the release of Mr Ledezma and Mr López and call for guarantees that the election will be fair. If they fail to get them, they should suspend Venezuela from regional groupings, such as the South American Union, which require their members to be democracies. The threat of becoming a pariah might just give Mr Maduro pause.

Over in Colombia, President Santos has offered to mediate between the Communist regime and the opposition, since “only dialogue can save Venezuela from its current crisis,” adding that the presidents of Brazil and Ecuador are also willing to help.

By calling for dialogue instead of demanding a stop to the government’s abuse, Santos and his buddies are willing to turn a blind eye to Maduro’s egregious violations.

The opposition in Brazil, however, are the ones on the right track as they passed by a large majority yesterday a motion repudiating Venezuela’s “violation of democratic principles” and demanding that Rousseff’s administration to harden its stance on Venezuela. The only three parties that didn’t join in were Rousseff’s own, the Communist Party, and the far-left PSOL Socialism and Liberty Party.

Machiavellian? No, Putinesco!

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Old: Machiavellian

New: Putinesco.

Russia Boosts Arms, Training for Leftist Latin Militaries
Moscow defense minister inks deals with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua for joint exercises

Shoygu met with defense and military leaders in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua and signed several agreements on warship visits and military training during the visit, which ran from Feb. 11 to 14. It is not clear whether any new arms deals were completed during the visit.

Of course, everything old again,

Dan Goure, a Russia expert with the Lexington Institute, said Russia’s current moves into Latin America “are like a page Xeroxed from the Soviet political-military playbook.”

But, hey, the Monroe doctrine is dead, so there.

Cuba: Nancy at the Saratoga

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Ah, for the optics!

My friend Silvio Canto, Jr. was keeping track of how many times the Hotel Saratoga, where Nancy Pelosi stayed during her Havana junket, had been expropriated by the Communist regime. He found out it was expropriated twice: once in 1959, and again in 2011:

in 2011, Castro confiscated Coral Capital’s minority stake in The Hotel Saratoga.

And for giggles, he had Coral Capital’s two senior executives in Cuba, Amado Fahkre and Stephen Purvis, imprisoned in the notorious torture facility known as Villa Marista (akin to Moscow’s infamous Lubyanka).

Fahkre and Purvis spent nearly two years arbitrarily imprisoned, had all their assets confiscated and were finally expelled to Britain.

Purvis, as you may recall, does not hold fond memories of the sixteen months he was jailed, and Coral was contemplating suing the Cuban regime for the $20+million it seized.

Indeed, the Saratoga ought to be an object lesson to all who contemplate investing with the Cuban regime; a lesson lost on Nancy.

Venezuela: Criminalizing dissent

Friday, February 20th, 2015


As the Communist dictatorship in Venezuela sinks the economy into further chaos, it resorts to criminalizing dissent.

The latest victim is Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, who yesterday was arrested and dragged out of office ‘like a dog’ by the police.

Read my article at Da Tech Guy blog.

UPDATE
In other Venezuela news,
Head of the Defense and Security Committee of the National Assembly (AN) deputy William Fariñas said that pro-government deputies would request the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) to remove the parliamentary immunity of opposition deputy Julio Borges.

Liliana Tintori, Leopoldo Lopez’s wife, states that there was an attempt to remove Lopez from Ramo Verde prison to place(s) unknown.

Cuba: And now, Conan

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Because you keep your edge by touting island-prisons,
Light A Cigar! Conan Storms Cuba Ahead Of Late-Night Competitors

The episode is intended to give O’Brien’s audience a rare glimpse into Cuban daily life, said show representatives in confirming the report to Deadline.

I doubt that his target audience will hear anything about the beatings and arrests taking place while Conan is “storming Cuba.”

Netflix in Cuba, yeah, right

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

I cast a jaundiced eye on Netflix’s announcement at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Venezuela: Persecuting the retailers

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

“Lines at a Government owned supermarket in the middle of Caracas, almost daily now” (click on photo for link)

The latest from the Communist regime? Arresting shop owners:
Venezuela Confronts Retail Sector
Caracas Arrests CEO of Chain Store, Seizes Business, Alleging It Hoarded Goods; 20 Other Executives Held

In the past week, the CEO of supermarket chain Día Día was arrested after a meeting in the presidential palace, two dozen of its store managers brought in for questioning, and all 35 stores taken over by the government.

Behind the Venezuelan government’s moves is its allegation that Día Día and other chains are hoarding food in an attempt to sow instability and overthrow the government.

Worse yet, Día Día Practimercados is a small grocery store chain that caters to Venezuelans living in the country’s slums.

The country’s economic doom can’t be blamed on fallin oil prices, either, since

Venezuela had the institutions it needed to prepare for a fall in oil prices. The main one was called FIEM and it was a Macroeconomic Stabilization Fund designed very specifically to prvent situations like the one we have today, by saving any windfall oil income above the average for the last five years in a rainy-day fund.

Miguel Octavio looks at the chaos,

But we don’t even know whether Maduro is completely in charge or whether others are telling him what to do, including his wife Cilia.

But I am sorry to tell you, the Government is not acting as stupidly as many lead you to believe. To start, they got US 1.9 billion from the Dominican Republic, which purchased its Petrocaribe debt at less than half price. Then Citgo sold US$ 1.5 billion in a 2022 bond at a yield to maturity with a coupon of 11.5% and borrowed an additional US$1 billion from banks by pledging terminals and its shares. Not bad, US$ 4.5 billion at the blink of an eye in Maduro’s coffers. Jamaica could do the same and then Maduro may decide to close his eyes and send the gold to London and problem solved for 2015. Yeap, just like that, we are thinking 2016 and not 2015.

For now, since the regime will never admit that communism doesn’t work, and, unlike Cuba, it doesn’t have an embargo to blame yet, it needs scapegoats.

And now it’s the retailers turn.

RELATED:
Venezuela News and Views posts Patricia Janiot’s documentary for CNN en Español,

I can assure that SHE DOES NOT EXAGGERATE ANYTHING.

Cuba: Next, O will give away Gitmo

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

I’m seeing this in the crystal ball: The Obama administration’s objective is to give Guantanamo Base to Cuba. They understand that,

Once played, the Guantanamo card will be gone and Washington’s long-term leverage over Havana will be forever altered.

Obama Does Have a Strategy
Once you see what he is trying to accomplish, it all makes sense.

Cuba: US clueless on number of fugitives

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Smart diplomacy today,
U.S. has no idea how many fugitives Cuba’s harboring

Nobody tracks it. Nobody even routinely asks for the return of those wanted on serious federal charges, much less more common state offenses, the Sun Sentinel has found.

And,

The Sun Sentinel, in a recent far-reaching investigation into Cuban crime rings in America, disclosed that Cuban nationals are taking advantage of generous U.S. immigration laws to come to the U.S. and steal billions from government programs and businesses.

Millions of dollars have traveled back to Cuba, and many individuals flee there when police close in on scams the Cubans specialize in. These typically involve health care, auto insurance, or credit-card fraud; cargo theft; or marijuana trafficking, the Sun Sentinel found.

“Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.”