Archive for the ‘Communism’ Category

Venezuela: Maduro negotiated for Hezbollah training camps in Venezuela

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

A new book by Emili Blasco, Bumerán Chávez: Los fraudes que llevaron al colapso de Venezuela claims that Nicolas Maduro negotiated with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah for Hezbollah training camps in Venezuela.

The article, Nicolás Maduro negoció con Hizbolá la presencia de sus milicianos en Venezuela
Se entrevistó con su líder Nasralá para hablar de narcotráfico, blanqueo de dinero, suministro de armas y entrega de pasaportes
(Nicolás Maduro negotiated with Hezbollah its militia’s presence in Venezuela
He discussed with its leader Nasrallah drug trafficking, money laundering, supplying weapons and passports), by Blasco, the book’s author and Washington, D.C. correspondent for Spanish daily ABC, explains that the meeting, orchestrated by Hugo Chavez, took place in Damascus in 2007 when Maduro was Foreign Minister.

La cita en Damasco fue probablemente resultado de las conversaciones mantenidas en enero de 2007 por Chávez y el presidente iraní, Mahmud Ahmadineyad, que significaron un salto en la cooperación de Venezuela con los intereses del radicalismo islámico. En marzo de ese año entró en servicio un vuelo semanal entre Caracas y Teherán, con escala en una base militar de Damasco, lo que puso el Caribe más rápidamente al alcance de Hizbolá.

[my translation] The appointment in Damascus likely came about from January, 2007, conversations between Chavez and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which bounced up cooperation between Venezuela and Islamic state interests. On March that year, direct flights started between Caracas and Teheran, with a stop at a military base in Damascus, which placed the Caribbean at Hezbollah’s closer reach.

(h/t HACER)

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In other Venezuelan news, the government is using posters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles for target practice at the Universidad Nacional Experimental de la Seguridad military college.

UPDATE
Linked to by Frontpage. Thank you!

[Post corrected for misspelling]

Venezuela: Censorship all around

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Dictatorship control on all,

The Economist:
Maduro’s muzzle
Not content with harassing the press, the regime censors itself

Under Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded Chávez as president in 2013, the government is supplementing its relentless propaganda with self-censorship. The apparent goal is to hide from Venezuelans bad news that might weaken their already shaky faith in the regime. The health ministry, for instance, has not published a weekly epidemiological bulletin since early November, despite concurrent outbreaks of three mosquito-borne diseases. Last May Venezuela saw its first cases of chikungunya, a disease originating in Africa, which causes very high fevers and severe joint pains. It took the authorities five months to declare chikungunya a notifiable disease. The most recent bulletin still fails to include it.

Self-censorship is not confined to the health authorities. The National Statistical Institute (INE) has not published poverty data for 2014. No one has provided production figures for PDVSA, the state oil corporation, for the past three months. When officials explain their silence, which is not often, they talk of a need to avoid “political manipulation” of statistics.

Not that this should come as a surprise to long-term readers of this blog: For years I have mentioned that

The International Monetary Fund keeps a List of IMF Member Countries with Delays in Completion of Article IV Consultations or Mandatory Financial Stability Assessments Over 18 Months. As of the writing of this post, Venezuela hasn’t held an Article IV consultation with the IMF in 99 months.

Let me translate that into plain English: The Venezuelan government has not allowed its own numbers to be verified for almost a decade.

It also stopped reporting a number of standard indicators several years ago

About the only thing that’s new is Nicolas Maduro’s latest conspiracy theory.

By the way, why is Venezuela still considered a hybrid regime?

States that fit the hybrid regime profile can be identified based on the following characteristics:
– elections which are not too flawed and which have the potential to make a difference;
– significant levels of corruption, particularly in the judicial and electoral arenas;
– a lack of vital components of democratic quality, such as checks and balances and government accountability;
– a problematic press freedom situation, typically including incumbents’ desire to control the media, particularly television;
– a poor civil liberties situation, including limits on freedom of expression and the freedom to form organisations and trade unions; and
– a problematic rule of law situation, including a lack of judicial independence.

The elections were rigged.

Carlos Rangel posts on Muzzling a country

Cuba: Strawberries can get you jailed

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Over three million foreign tourists went to Cuba in 2013 and 2014, and Cuba last year received $300million + in trade with the U.S., but after easing U.S. sanctions, the average Cuban is sent to the clink and loses everything over strawberries (h/t Babalu):
Any farmer caught selling to the general population the strawberries that he cultivates will be fined 1000 CUP* (national currency) and have his land confiscated.

Today’s must-read

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Cuba still sponsors terrorists, says man whose dad’s killer is harbored there

Guillermo “William” Morales, a U.S. fugitive, in Havana, where he has been living. Morales escaped from police custody in the 1970’s, after being sentenced to 89 years. He was the architect of bombings in New York City that claimed lives, including that of Frank Conner, showed in the inset photo with his son Joseph.

H/t Babalu

Venezuela: May the farce be with you

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

The VII Summit of the Americas ended last week but the clowns are still parading. Endless propaganda articles from Leftist media extolling “the new defeat for US” continue to pop on my news alerts, but every so often you get one worth reading: For instance, Daniel Lambert-Rodríguez’s account of Nicolás Maduro’s body double (you read it right, body double) hi-jinx,
In Venezuela, One President Too Many

The international media lying in wait outside the Panama City Sheraton Hotel last Saturday were momentarily misled when a stocky individual, sporting Maduro’s trademark mustache, strode out presidentially. Hand-in-hand with a petite woman somewhat reminiscent of Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores, the pair seemed headed in the direction of the Atlapa Convention Center, accompanied by a red-bereted honor guard and other sundry officials.

Embarrassingly, the performance proved short-lived. Fuller of figure than his presidential counterpart, with a wider nose and a distinctly rounder hairline, Budget Maduro didn’t fool the paparazzi for long. They wised up in time to film the real Maduro scurrying into a nearby vehicle which promptly took off, tires screeching.

To dig himself deeper, Maduro then called CNN “a network of lies”. You can’t make up this stuff if you try,

Not just his own, but also his wife’s,

From a historical standpoint, the list of world leaders who’ve resorted to hiring decoys for themselves reads a bit like a who’s who of mustachioed madmen — Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Saddam and Uday Hussein – individuals with a reasonable expectation of mortal danger at every turn. Not everyone is cut out for such theatrics. The act of picking out one’s own body double must be greatly discomfiting: Every unconscious mannerism, each nagging bodily insecurity must be spotlighted, and considered objectively, if the ruse is to be a success. And while wrestling with one’s own inner demons is one thing, picking out a body double for your wife seems a particularly dangerous game — particularly for a man so clearly concerned with his own mortality.

Caracas Chronicles posted on that farce. Venezuela News and Views looked at the other farce, that of the 10 million signatures: Fake signatures in lieu of votes, popular clamor in lieu of democracy.

Cuba: “We’ll pay Spain”

Friday, April 17th, 2015

One for three big lies* joke:

Cuba to compensate Spanish firms that stayed loyal in “difficult years”
Havana makes pledge to Spain’s top trade official as he leads investors’ delegation

The pledge was made to Jaime García-Legaz, Spain’s secretary of state for trade, who this week has been leading a delegation of Spanish business people representing 43 companies to Cuba in search of investment opportunities.

The Spanish companies can now adapt the joke* to 1. The check is in the mail, 2. I’ll respect you in the morning, 3. I’ll pay you what I owe you.

* The three big lies joke (NSFW):
(more…)

Cuba off Sponsors of Terrorism list; how’s that working so far?

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Two items:
Obama Says Cuba Doesn’t Sponsor Terrorism. So What Are All These Hijackers and Bomb-Makers Doing There?
The White House says that Cuba has nothing to do with terrorism. But Havana is like a Star Wars cantina of Cold War radicals—including some of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists.

Cuba was originally placed on the terrorism list in 1982, as punishment for its support of communist insurgencies in places ranging from Nicaragua to Angola. In recent years, it shared a place on that list with just Iran, Sudan, and Syria. (The Bush administration controversially removed North Korea in 2008.) There are some 70 American fugitives from justice living in Cuba today, though not all are terrorists. And while Cuban soldiers may no longer be fighting American-backed proxies in Southern Africa, Cuba remains something of a Star Wars cantina of violent Cold War-era radicals.

In addition to JoAnne Chesimard AKA Assata ShakurWilliam Morales and Charlie Hill,

It is not only American terrorists who find safe haven in Cuba. Over a dozen members of the State Department-listed Basque terrorist group ETA reside on the island, though the Cuban government has repatriated several members back to Spain. Last month, however, the Spanish government requested that the United States try to persuade Cuba to extradite two ETA leaders; it’s difficult to see how that will ever happen now that Washington has surrendered even more leverage to Havana by removing it from the State Department list. Cuba also shelters a number of insurgents associated with the FARC, a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization long at war with the Colombian government.

Which brings us to the second item,
Day After Obama Removes Cuba from Terror Sponsor List, Terror Group Sponsored by Cuba Kills 10
Cuba has been harboring FARC terrorists for years. This morning, FARC murdered 10 Colombian soldiers.

Reaping the fruit of “smart diplomacy,” early on.

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But wait! There’s more!

A 2014 report by the Washington-based Center for a Secure Free Society alleges that Cuban state security had assisted Venezuelan officials with passport technology information to help provide new identities to nearly 200 individuals from the Middle East.

All of this will look like small potatoes once Obama gives Guantanamo to Cuba.

Breaking: Cuba off Sponsors of Terrorism list

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

The White House announced on Tuesday that President Obama intends to remove Cuba from the American government’s list of nations that sponsor terrorism.

Fifty-five years of fostering terror, but only the last six months matter,

The State Department says it has determined that Cuba has not engaged in terrorist activity in the past six months — a criterion for designating a country as a state sponsor of terrorism — and therefore no longer belongs on the list.

How was this determined?

But never mind my pesky question. What this means, in immediate practical terms, is that Cuba’s Communist regime will be issued credit to purchase U.S. goods.

Cuba’s credit rating is Caa2, firmly in junk bond status.

What could possibly go wrong?

Related:
Obama’s deceptions on Iran and Cuba

When Americans are told that Cuba is hosting Russian ships in its harbors, opposition to normalization jumps to 58 percent while support sinks to 30 percent. When Americans are told of Cuba’s attempts to smuggle 240 tons of weaponry to North Korea, opposition jumps to 63 percent and support drops to 26 percent. When Americans are told that Cuba is harboring a cop-killer and terrorists, opposition jumps to 63 percent, and support plummets to 23 percent. When asked whether sanctions should be maintained pending Cuba’s progress on human rights and free elections, Americans agree by a margin of 64-16. And when asked whether Cuba’s designation as a supporter of terrorism should be maintained because it harbors terrorists, respondents agreed 68 percent to 16 percent.



Cuba: Victory lap at the VII Summit

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

How’s this for a proposal?
Stay the hell away from any Summit of the Americas and stop elevating the clowns.

What the US Got From Cuba Deal: Zilch
That pointless pow-wow between Raul Castro and President Obama over the weekend only underscores how Havana is giving up nothing for normalization.
(emphasis added)

But the president’s trolling of Cuba-defending Republicans ought to result in mockery, not outrage. Because the real problem with the Obama administration’s approach to normalization with Cuba isn’t the normalization itself. It’s that this normalization came without getting the United States any of their long-stated policy priorities for the Cuban people in return. Normalization is President Obama’s gift to the Castro regime—a gift with no strings attached.

This is, not coincidentally, the exact same problem we see with the administration’s approach to negotiations with Iran (with far more at stake, of course). In both cases, an avowed enemy of the United States is handed huge strategic concessions by the Americans—in exchange for what amounts to nothing.

Unilateral sanctions on Cuba have been oppressive and largely ineffective, and that’s why the public largely supports lifting them. But rolling them back should have come through the normalization process in Congress, and it should have come in return for tangible reforms in Cuba.

The government in Havana is best understood as a cross between violent left-wing radicals and organized crime. And we are normalizing our relations with them now—for what, exactly?

Summit Ends In Triumph For Castro

Things are so bad in Venezuela that its citizens are starting to pick up rifles. A nascent guerrilla movement is rapidly forming in the western region of Venezuela, according to Reuters. Such is the desperation that comes of Cuban control of all levers of power, as well as fraudulent elections to preserve a facade of democracy.
It also has been seen before — in spontaneous rebel movements that sprang up in Central America in the 1980s and in the military “Dirty War” that gripped nearly all of South America in the 1970s. Anyone attempting to fight back was smeared by the Castro propaganda machine as a human rights violator. But people fought back anyway, and some, such as Chile, really won.
There is also terrorism, which Cuba has spread through every country in the region in the past. Incredibly, it’s still going on as two large caches of smuggled weapons from rogue states in the Caribbean show.

Apartheid in Cuba: When will Cuba end its ‘internal embargo’? (h/t Babalu

When I travelled for two weeks in working class areas of Cuba last year, a Cuban worker explained to me that while they hear endlessly from the government about the “American embargo against Cuba,” the real problem is the “internal embargo”—the embargo that the government elite has imposed on the Cuban people to keep them from participating in the economies of the elite and the outside world.

The internal embargo is so complete that, not only is there physical separation from the elites, but there is even a separate currency.

You can bet that embargo won’t end.

How’s this for a proposal: Stay the hell away from any Summit of the Americas and stop elevating the clowns.

Breaking: Dissidents attacked again in Panama by Cuban gov operatives

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Telemundo 51 (video at the link in Spanish) reports that Cuban government operatives are again harassing dissidents attending the VII Summit of the Americas.

Blogger Yoani Sanchez stated that the dissidents had to take shelter from their aggressors at the Salón Topacio of the Panama Hotel, while the police and the military try to regain control outside the premises.

On Twitter,
@RosaMariaPaya THREATENED WITH BEATINGS. They told her she can not coincide >Raúl Castro!

As I was saying this morning, Cuba’s “Not Ready For Prime Time Civil Society.”