Archive for the ‘Communism’ Category

Cuba: Hillary’s ignorance

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Ignorance, or willful blindness? She was Secretary of State, after all.

Hillary was at Florida International University last Friday doing a full flop, and called for an end to the so-called embargo because Cubans “want to read our books, surf our Web, and learn from our people. They want to bring their country into the 21st century.”

Mary O’Grady says Clinton Needs to Read Up on the Castros
The embargo does not block the sale of books to Cuba, or isolate its economy from the world.

. . . when Mrs. Clinton said on Friday that “we must decide between engagement and embargo, between embracing fresh thinking and returning to Cold War deadlock,” she was applying the same reasoning the Obama administration uses to argue that the U.S. needs to either accept the nuclear deal with Iran or go to war. This is a false dichotomy that doesn’t hold for Cuba policy any more than it holds for dealing with Tehran.
. . .
The embargo does not block the export of books to Cuba because informational material is exempt. Cubans cannot read “our” books because Cuba controls the reading material that enters the country and imprisons for “dangerousness” anyone caught with nonapproved texts.

There is no such thing as “our Web,” and the U.S. embargo does not restrict Cubans’ access to the Internet. Most Cubans cannot get computers. Most of those who do have them are denied access to the World Wide Web. It’s only the party faithful who get approval.

As to learning from “our people,” Cuba tightly controls interaction with foreigners, and those who step out of line can go to jail. Try getting a visa from Cuba if you have been labeled a “counterrevolutionary,” as I have. These policies are expressly designed to block Cubans from communicating with each other and with outsiders to keep them from organizing politically or socially.

The unconditional end of the embargo will do nothing to change this. On the contrary, it may strengthen the dictator’s hand if it results in fresh capital flowing to the island.

Which it will.

While Hillary gave her by-invitation-only speech, Police prohibit students from protesting outside Hillary Clinton’s pro-Castro Cuba speech at Miami’s FIU, borrowing a page from the Castros.

Venezuela: The shocking state of its health service

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Venezuela’s hospitals on life support

There is almost no official information available about waiting lists, operating times, or treatment. The government argues that its critics simply distort any figures they release to make them look bad. Opposition politicians say this lack of information means they are hiding the truth.

H/t Caracas Chronicles.

Peru: Shining Path’s shameful prisoner camps

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

The Marxist “criminal narco-terrorist organisation” still exists:

Peru rescues 26 children and 13 women from Shining Path jungle ‘slavery’Officials said some of the captives were kept at the remote hideaway for up to three decades, among them women abducted from a church mission 25 years ago

According to Peru’s deputy defence minister, Iván Vega, the women and children were being kept as slaves by members of the Maoist rebels, who subjected their victims to forced labour and obliged the younger women to have sexual relations with militants. Among them were women whom the Shining Path had abducted from a mission run by nuns in the Andean town of Puerto Ocopa 25 years ago.

Mr Vega described the hiding place in the Junín region, where the captives were found in a joint police and army raid, as a “production camp” providing insurgents with food supplies and a breeding ground for future guerrilla fighters.

To Marxists, human life is simply another commodity.

En español: @OLPL visita Bayly

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

El escritor Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, anoche, en el show de Jaime Bayly,

Interesantísima entrevista.

OLPL va a presentar su libro Boring Home este domingo a las 2PM en George Gallery, 815 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables. La nota editorial del libro en Amazon dice,

Este libro resultó ganador del Premio “Novela de Gaveta Franz Kafka” en Praga, en 2009, y suscitó no pocas desazones al autor en su patria, Cuba, donde fue prohibido y su circulación clandestina fue perseguida. Un libro que le valió la expulsión de los sellos estatales y su condena por pertenecer al movimiento blogger cubano. Boring Home no solo es un libro de cuentos. Posee una cara aspiración: la de convertirse en un artefacto al que le damos cuerda con nuestras lecturas activando sucesivos repertorios mentales. El bioquímico que persiste en el alma libertaria de Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo transmutó sus disquisiciones alquímicas en este libro-sustancia devenido base reactiva de nuestros imaginarios. Pardo Lazo abreva en las fuentes clásicas de la tradición isleña con un don experimental, propio de su carácter autodidacta. Los cuentos Boring Home parten desde el diálogo formal a la farsa, pasan por la distopía y se encierran, en algunas piezas, en la más provocadora ciencia ficción que no deja respiro.

Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez still in jail, FP fails

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Juan Cristobal Nagel links to Roberto Lovato’s lengthy article in Foreign Policy, The Making of Leopoldo López
A closer look at the democratic bona fides of the rock star of Venezuela’s opposition.
As you may recall, Lopez has been jailed since February 2014

on charges of arson, public incitement, and conspiracy
. . .
The judge has been far from friendly to López’s defense, rejecting all but one of the 65 witnesses his attorneys sought to call, while admitting 108 witnesses for the prosecution.

Amnesty International has called López’s trial an affront to justice and free assembly.

Lovato sniffs at Mrs. López, Lilian Tintori,

Later that day, the telegenic Tintori, a former model, kite-surfing champion, and reality show star, appeared at a rally for political prisoners held in Chacao, the Caracas district where her husband once served as mayor and which has been a center of anti-government opposition. It also happens to be one of the wealthiest localities in all of Venezuela. Vibrant in a bright orange windbreaker, with her flawless smile and long blonde hair, Tintori’s strengths as standard-bearer for her jailed husband’s message were on full display.

Would Lovato approve of an unkempt, dowdy scowl, as choice of a wife, if she was in the opposition?

But I digress.

López’s wife, “with her flawless smile and long blonde hair” and all, continues to rally support for her husband, including that of former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez – a prominent figure for the Left – who left Venezuela after not being allowed to visit LL in prison, most recently

Lilian Tintori, the wife of Leopoldo López, reported on Friday that she would visit the Venezuelan opposition leader on Friday together with Spanish Senators Iñaki Anasagasti (PNV), José Maldonado (PSOE), Ander Gil García (CyU), Dionisio García (PP) and Uruguayan Pablo Mieres (Independent Party).

So far, all to no effect.

It is worth pointing out that Tintori must resort to getting international attention to her husband’s arrest since the Chavista regime controls all the media and the Venezuelan institutions.

Lovato writes at length about the 2002 Carmona decree (which López did not sign), and his connections to Pedro Burelli, a former JP Morgan executive and pre-Chávez-era PDVSA member of the board of directors, while (emphasis added)

Over the past year, a series of fresh government allegations have begun to take the shine off 2014’s wave of protests. It began with a thinly sourced government report, issued in May of last year. Called “Coup d’état and Assassination Plan Unveiled in Venezuela,” the report places the U.S. ambassador to Colombia, Kevin Whitaker, and two close López allies — María Corina Machado, now leader of the Vente Venezuela party, and López’s old friend and mentor from Harvard, Pedro Burelli — as part of a conspiracy to “annihilate” Maduro and overthrow the government. The plot, according to then-Justice Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres, included political, business, and military leaders, who, he claimed, were the true forces behind the February 2014 street protests. Burelli, who currently lives in McLean, Virginia, is now considered a fugitive from justice by Venezuelan authorities.To back its claims, the government released emails between the alleged plotters, as well as recorded conversations involving Burelli. Burelli denies all charges and hired forensic investigators who say that the emails were forged and that Google has no record of some of them having been sent.

The article also mentions (wiretapped?) conversations of Burelli, which took place after López’s arrest on Feb. 18, 2014 (emphasis added)

voice recordings of [Burelli’s] conversations released by two local elected officials, who say they took place between Feb. 20 and March 14 of last year,

López was initially charged with murder and terrorism, which were later changed to arson, public incitement, and conspiracy, as I mentioned above.

Lovato’s article raises more questions than it answers: Offhand, I can start with,

  • I don’t understand Lovato’s point. Is he saying that LL is in jail because of the [alleged] actions of members of his party which took place 13 years ago?
  • What do the “fresh government allegations” regarding the emails have to do with the case?
  • What did LL say in Burelli’s tapes? Is he in the conversation at all, since he was in jail? If not, what exactly was said about him that may affect the case? Why, indeed, are Burelli’s tapes pertinent to LL’s prosecution and defense at all ?
  • Of what exactly is LL currently charged? Since the prosecution changed the charges since LL’s detention, will the current charges be changed again?

The Foreign Policy article ends with this:

This article was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, with support from the Puffin Foundation.

Caracas Chronicle’s commenter Bill Bass:

According to the FT text the piece was funded sponsored by the Puffin Foundation a NY institution dedicated to “opening the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy.” , it also sponsors the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Association ( the brigade was made up mostly of communist americans who joined the republican spanish army during the spanish civil war)’ which among other things promotes ‘social activitsm.’ Lovato is decribed to be a visiting professor at the Berkeley Latino Studies Department in Berkeley University . Does that suggest to us something of the progressive ideological inclinations of the people ordering the piece, of the likelihood that it includes some ‘progressive’ american Chavez sympathyzers . Why is a foundation dedicated to giving grants to artists and art organizations funding this politically loaded piece ??

Bill Bass’ comment is worth looking into: Here are links to the Puffin Foundation. The Nation Institute has Lovato’s article on its main page and posted on the Investigative Fund as


By all appearances, Foreign Policy mag has published a sponsored, long-on-words-short-on-evidence piece which struggles to obscure the facts.

That is Foreign Policy‘s failure.


Venezuela: A lesson we can’t forget

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Venezuela: A lesson we can’t forget.

You’re probably thinking, “But Fausta, we have bigger things to worry about: ISIS, border crime, Iran nuclear deals. Why are you carping about Venezuela?” For the answer, read my article here.

Cuba: “Mojito diplomacy”

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

What’s your poison?

Just what we needed:
‘Mojito diplomacy’ as Cuba reboots US relations in reopened embassy

Guests toast inauguration of island’s new Washington mission inside its ‘Hemingway’ bar

Just like Hemingway’s favorite Havana hangout, a small but attractive bar had been set up nearly four years ago in one of the rooms at the Cuban embassy to liven up breaks between the many closed-door meetings held with political scientists and activists there.

Is “political scientists and activists” the current euphemism for operatives of the Communist regime?

But back to mojitos, here are the ingredients:

Depending on who you believe, the mojito either came from the Spanish word ‘mojar’, which means to wet, or the African word ‘mojo’, which means to cast a spell. Anybody who’s ever tasted one will agree that it’s thirst quenching and spellbinding in equal measures.
2 parts BACARDÍ Superior rum
4 lime wedges
12 fresh mint leaves
2 heaped tsp of caster sugar
1 part soda water/club soda
Sprig of fresh mint to garnish
Gently press together the limes & sugar. Bruise the mint leaves by clapping them between your palms, rub them on the rim of the glass and drop them in. Next, half fill the glass with crushed ice, add the BACARDÍ Superior rum & stir. Top up with crushed ice, a splash of soda and a sprig of mint.

To recap: the new “mojito diplomacy” is all wet, cast under the spell of Communism, aims to stupefy, and is served in a room named after a drunk misanthrope who blew his brains out.

It taxes the brain to think of one good thing about the current embassy openings.

Dissidents in the island-prison could not be reached for comment.

At Stratfor, Why the U.S. Should Be Wary of Cuba (registration required)

Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

Cuban embassy now open in DC

Monday, July 20th, 2015

After 54 years, Cuba reopens embassy in Washington on Monday

Over at State, it’s between Croatia and Cyprus.

But As Embassies Open, a Further Thaw in Cuban-U. S. ties Faces Hurdles in CongressObama administration has made little progress in swaying lawmakers to lift embargo

The new regulations took effect in January, but Congress will have to act to fully lift the trade and travel embargoes. Most U.S. companies are currently prohibited from doing business in Cuba and traveling there from the U.S. as a tourist remains illegal.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday that the Obama administration hadn’t made progress in encouraging Congress to lift the embargo but that Mr. Obama could still take steps on his own that couldn’t be blocked by opponents in Congress.

Capitol Hill Cubans has a Statement on the Opening of U.S. and Cuban Embassies

Finally, it serves as a reminder of the coercive tactics that culminated in this process. As Gerardo Hernandez, the Cuban spy who was sentenced to life in prison by a U.S. federal court for the murder conspiracy of Americans, and thereafter commuted by President Obama as part of his deal for the release of an American hostage held by Raul Castro, boasted this weekend:

We are going to have diplomatic relations with the United States without having ceded one iota.”

Meanwhile, the United States has ceded plenty.

Re-establishing of U.S.-Cuba diplomatic ties has been no good for the Cuban people. Marc Masferrer has the specifics.

Bottom line? Nothing New under the Cuban SunEmbassies Paint Over Old, Tired Communism

Venezuela: Just how bad are things?

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Michael Johnston has A Visual Guide to Venezuela’s Failed Economy

Venezuela’s economy is in shambles, with runaway inflation and a massive budget deficit leading to food shortages and frequent violence. Ten (US) dollars for a gallon of milk, an economy nearly fully dependent on oil, ballooning budget deficits, and a stock market worth slightly more than . . . Chipotle.

Hold the guac!

Juan Cristobal Nagel posts about Economists as detectives

Daniel Duquenal looks at Chavistas or Greeks: eat shit and die

And the Santero Economics Will Not End In Venezuela With The Upcoming Elections

The Multi-Trillion Dollar Oil Market Swindle

Cuba: What next?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

A little speculation on what the Obama administration has in mind:
Cuba: What next?