Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

As expected: WH finishing up latest plan for closing Guantánamo

Monday, July 27th, 2015

All part of the plan:

A White House spokesman says the administration is in the “final stages” of drafting its latest plan to close the prison holding terrorism detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
. . .
Press secretary Josh Earnest says closing Guantánamo remains a priority. Earnest said Wednesday it’s a waste to spend more than $100 million per year on a prison holding only 116 detainees.

Earnest ignores any importance of Guantánamo base as a strategic asset.

I stand by my prediction: Obama will gift Guantánamo base to the Castros before his term is over.

The Indoctrinator Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Today’s Carnival is dedicated to cartoonist Luciano Cunha, creator of The Indoctrinator.

ARGENTINA
Pathetic: Now Argentina accuses Falkland Islands fishermen of stealing their FISHA SENIOR Falkland Islands diplomat has hit back at claims by an Argentine minister that the wealth of the remote archipelago derives from “stolen” fish.

PRO’s Macri says government seeking to ‘demonize’ him

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Frees 47 of 51 Arrested after Violent Protests

BRAZIL
Brazilian politics
The power behind the throne
A junior partner in government is running the country

It is the person, not the party, that is abandoning the coalition, the PMDB was quick to declare. Still, Mr [Eduardo] Cunha’s exit is a worry for the president. Last week came news that police are investigating her predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, for possible influence-peddling on behalf of construction firms. He denies the allegation. That is a further blow to the battered PT. Ms Rousseff needs the PMDB more than ever if she is to survive until the end of her term in 2018. Increasingly, it is running the show.

An oil scandal is shaking Brazil’s democracy to its core

New plant species ‘discovered on Facebook’
Experts identified a plant pictured on Facebook as a new species, since named as “drosera magnifica“, or magnificent sundew, according journal research paper
. Someone tell Pope Francis.

CHILE
Chile charges over burning students
A Chilean judge charges seven former soldiers over the burning of two students during a 1986 protest against Gen Augusto Pinochet’s government.

COLOMBIA
Colombians Outraged by Gang Rape of Bus Driver

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica: Examples of How to be Like Greece (h/t JC)

CUBA
Evidence Mounts That Oswaldo Payá Was Assassinated by the Castros
Human Rights Foundation Documents Cuban Agents at Work on Tragic Day
; Victims of Communism organization follows up on Ted Cruz’s address change proposal

Inside the offices of Granma, Cuba’s government newspaper

There’s a sucker born every minute: Cuba Hoping To Kickstart Offshore Oil & Gas Industry

Springtime for America’s EnemiesDangerous and short-sighted U.S. diplomacy has empowered no one except state sponsors of terrorism and fascistic regimes.

ECUADOR
Rafael Correa recibe la asesoría de la chavista Eva Golinger
La «novia de Venezuela», como la llamó Chávez, se ha ocupado en «desacreditar» a quienes critican al presidente de Ecuador

GUATEMALA
Fired for Daring to Prosecute Extortion in Rural Guatemala
Georgetown University’s False Heroine: Part III

HAITI
A Glimpse Of An Everyday Struggle Among Haiti’s Health Care Workers

JAMAICA
Pennies on the dollar: Jamaica to retire $3B in oil debt to Venezuela

Jamaica has forged a deal to retire $3 billion in oil debts to Venezuela thanks to bond sales.

In a Friday statement, Jamaica said it has issued roughly $2 billion in bonds on the international capital market that will pay down the debt it accumulated through Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan program that provides fuel to countries at market prices but under generous credit terms.

Officials say a negotiated settlement with Caracas will dismiss about $3 billion in long-term debt in exchange for $1.5 billion. It was not immediately clear Friday if Jamaica’s deal will retire all of its Petrocaribe debt.
. . .
Jamaica’s Petrocaribe settlement is similar to one the Dominican Republic negotiated with Venezuela earlier this year. That Caribbean country dismissed $4 billion in Petrocaribe debt in exchange for $2 billion.

MEXICO
Mexican judge jails three Joaquin Guzman prison guards

Filmmaker Ridley Scott to bring life of “El Chapo” to the big screen
British director purchases rights to Don Winslow’s bestseller ‘The Cartel’

Is there a rift between Mexico’s president and first lady?
Rumors fly after videos capture allegedly awkward moments between Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife, Angélica Rivera

PANAMA
Panama, Costa Rica join forces, demand corruption investigation of CONCACAF Gold Cup

PARAGUAY
US asks Paraguay to extradite Fifa official Nicolas Leoz

PERU
Police burn down illegal gold mine town in Peru
Action against La Pampa is latest blow in war against illegal mining that is destroying rainforest and spreading mercury poisoning


First pictures of last-uncontacted Amazon tribe
Mashco Piro tribe have lived in the jungle in Peru for at least 600 years, but have never before been approached

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico debt crisis: austerity for residents, but tax breaks for hedge funds
The Caribbean territory has courted some of Wall Street’s richest citizens, selling its debt and offering inducements while local people face high taxes and cuts

URUGUAY
Uruguay says more Syrian refugees welcome

VENEZUELA
Mega-Gangs the New Plague in Venezuela
Organized Crime Takes Root in Neglected Slums

Venezuela Bars Foreign Lawmakers’ Visit to Jailed Opposition Leader

Memo To Venezuela: The Soviets Nationalized Food Distribution And Guess What? It Didn’t Work

Mother of all battles in scarcity-hit Venezuela: having a baby

The last available health ministry figures for infant mortality under 1 show an increase of 2.35 percent from January to October last year compared with the same period of 2013.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Madrid’s City Hall and the man on the Moon: Tales from a socialist mindset

Puerto Rico: The bets are on

Argentina: #Nisman’s killer washed his hands in the sink

Venezuela: A lesson we can’t forget

Brazil: Meet The Indoctrinator

Mexico: El Chapo’s buddies tunneled out, too UPDATED

Planned Parenthood and the evil of our times

Argentina: Judge in Cristina’s hotel case, “If I turn up suicided, look for the killer”

LatAm currencies slide

Colombia: Today’s infographic

Cuba: “Mojito diplomacy”

Cuban embassy now open in DC



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.
INGREDIENT
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
METHOD
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.

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

UPDATED
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

Cuba: “What next” would mean

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

In yesterday’s post, Cuba: What next?, I posited,

I have been predicting for quite a while that the Obama administration’s next goal regarding its foreign policy on Latin America is to gift the Guantanamo naval base to the Castro’s communist regime.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) explains the consequences this will have for America:

Aside from further demonstrating weakness, relinquishing the base at GTMO would be a strategic misstep of epic proportions for the United States. It would have significant national security and military implications. GTMO is the oldest overseas U.S. naval base and only permanent U.S. defense base in the region. Its location enables U.S. forces to maintain full advantages across a wide spectrum of military operations. It plays a critical role in migrant operations assistance missions and is a logistics center for U.S. ships and aircraft, allowing these assets to maintain tactical advantages and freedom of movement in strategic waters in a region with limited U.S. military presence.

If Castro achieved control of GTMO, what would happen? The all-too-obvious answer is that it would allow him to extend an invitation to one of the close allies of Havana, such as the Putin regime in Moscow or the mullahs in Tehran. If any of the actors interested in taking over the lease of GTMO does move into the warm Cuban waters off Florida’s southern coast, this would provide a direct military threat to the U.S. homeland. Consider for a moment the depth of waters and potential ability for nuclear submarines to conduct intelligence operations or worse.

Two years ago, the Russian Defense Minister stated that Russia wants to build military bases in several countries in the Western hemisphere, including Cuba. Press reports of Russian intelligence ships operating in the waters around Cuba, most recently earlier this year on the eve of U.S. talks with Cuba in Havana, prove that Russia is deadly serious about making good on those intentions.

Duncan does not exaggerate; Last year Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that Russia is planning to expand its permanent military presence outside its borders by placing military bases in a number of foreign countries:

the list includes Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Seychelles, Singapore and several other countries.

“The talks are under way, and we are close to signing the relevant documents,” Shoigu told reporters in Moscow.

The minister added that the negotiations cover not only military bases but also visits to ports in such countries on favorable conditions as well as the opening of refueling sites for Russian strategic bombers on patrol.

Duncan continues

Remember what Russia is doing in its own neighborhood for a moment. Vladimir Putin brazenly acted to annex the Crimean Peninsula, ignoring the international outrage, and Ukraine is worried about a “full-scale” Russian invasion. If the U.S. gave way on GTMO, Putin would likely welcome the opportunity to have warm-water lodging for his navy only 90 miles from the United States.

And let’s not forget Iran,

Similarly, Iran continues to test the patience of the international community with its nuclear operations and refusal to cooperate with international inspectors. If things go badly for Iran with any nuclear deal, having a deeper presence in Latin America through Cuba offers Iran options for retributive action should they want it.

Dr Ely Karmon, in his report Iran in Latin America: President Rouhani’s Era points out,

On April 30, 2014, the State Department issued its Country Reports on Terrorism 2013, which stated that “Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere remained a concern,” but that “due to strong sanctions imposed on the country by the United States and the European Union, Iran has been unable to expand its economic and political ties in Latin America.”[2]

Whether Iran gets what it wants on the nuclear deal (which it does) or not, by lifting sanctions, the U.S. has given Iran every incentive to continue its ongoing economic and political expansion into Latin America. You can expect that making a deal with the Castros on Gitmo is part of their plans.

Related:
1. The Deal Wasn’t About Iran’s Nukes

The administration readily caved on Iran’s nukes because it viewed the matter only as a timely pretense for achieving other cherished aims. These were: (1) preventing an Israeli attack on Iran; (2) transforming the United States into a more forgiving, less imposing power; (3) establishing diplomacy as a great American good in itself; (4) making Iran into a great regional power; and (5), ensuring the legacies of the president and secretary of state as men of vision and peace.

Items 2-5 will play well with that Gitmo gift.

2. Raul Castro calls for new Cuba-US relationship (emphasis added)

In a speech to the National Assembly, Mr Castro said that, for normal relations to resume, a US embargo on Cuba would have to be lifted.

He also called for the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay to be returned to Cuba.

The die is cast, now we just wait for it to roll.

Cuba: What next?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

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

Francis kept his souvenir Communist cross UPDATED

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Pope Francis took the Communist crucifix home (h/t 1P5, emphasis added),

I understand this piece and I did not find it offensive. I carry it with me. I left the decorative honours which President Morales gave me behind… I have never accepted such decorations but Morales acted in good faith, to please me, so I thought of it as coming from the people. I prayed it over and I thought I would leave them with Our Lady of Copacabana, so they go to the shrine. The wooden Christ I took with me.”

I had mistakenly reported that he had left the blasphemous item behind, along with the medals Evo Morales awarded him.

The Rev. Robert Gahl, a moral theologian at Rome’s Pontifical Holy Cross University in Rome is even talking of a “potential for dialogue and even synergy,” with Communism.


Raul Castro blindfolds a man he’s about to execute, signaling a “potential for dialogue and even synergy.”

Which brings me to the next headline:
Pope Francis Downplays Human Rights in Cuba, Reveals Obama Misled

Here is Pope Francis’ reply to the issue of human rights in Cuba:

Human rights are for everyone. And human rights are not respected not only in one or two countries. I would say that in many countries of the world human rights are not respected. Many countries in the world .. and what will Cuba lose or the U.S. lose? Both will gain something and lose something, because this happens in negotiations. Both will gain, this is sure: peace, meetings, friendship, collaboration. These they will gain … but what will they lose, I cannot imagine. They may be concrete things. But in negotiations one always [both] wins and loses. But returning to human rights, and religious freedom. Just think of the world. There are some countries and also some European countries where you cannot make a sign of religion, for different reasons, and on other continents the same. Yes. Religious liberty is not present in all the world, there are many place [sic] that do not have it.

At the same time, Francis says the Cuba negotiations were God’s work, and he didn’t mediate,

There was no mediation. It was the goodwill of the two countries, and the merit is theirs for doing this. We hardly did anything, just a few small things.

It’s enough to make the guys at Babalu beg for mercy.

But wait! There’s more!
Francis now wants to help with the Colombian peace process.

As Peter Lynch said,

Sometimes it’s darkest before the dawn, but then again, other times it’s darkest before pitch black.

Related:
The new Perfect Latin American Idiot.

UPDATE
Dennis Prager:

When the pope keeps a hammer-and-sickle crucifix; when the pope declares free-market capitalism, the one economic system that has lifted masses of people out of poverty, to be largely evil (“the dung of the devil”); when Cuba’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega declares that there are no political prisoners in Cuba; and when the pope issues an encyclical on global warming while the oldest Christian communities in the world are exterminated, it is clear that while one can still turn to individual Catholic priests and lay leaders for moral guidance, one cannot turn to the Church and its pope for moral guidance. On the contrary.

The Communist crucifix Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 13th, 2015

During his visit in Bolivia, pope Francis stepped out of the popemobile to pray at the site where the late Jesuit Luis Espinal’s body had been dumped, after which Evo Morales (who wore a jacket embroidered with Che Guevara’s face to the Pope’s speech) presented Francis with the Communist crucifix designed by Espinal, and a matching medal, which Francis accepted:

Following the ensuing outrage, Francis left the medals and crucifix in Bolivia while the Vatican launched into spin mode.

Evo certainly milked the photo ops. It’ll be interesting to see what Raul Castro does when Francis goes to Cuba.

ARGENTINA
From her official website: Cristina Kirchner interview with The New Yorker – Up Close and Uncut (march 11, 2015) President Cristina Kirchner interviewed by Dexter Filkins from the US magazine The New Yorker, on March 11, 2015

Argentina’s New Intelligence Agency Targets Captains of IndustryPresident Kirchner Fears “Economic Warfare”

The Peronist pope
Francis’s balancing act in Latin America

From March 2013: Sobre el mensaje del arzobispo de Buenos Aires

Cristina travels to Paraguay to meet Francis

BAHAMAS
Bahamas Independence Day 2015: 10 Key, Quick Facts To Know About The Caribbean Paradise

BOLIVIA

Pope gives his backing to Morales’ social programs in BoliviaPontiff reported to have sipped coca-based tea before reaching high-altitude destinationPresident hopes Francis will offer to mediate in border conflict with Chile

Contrast Francis’s visit with Pope John II’s 1983 visit to Nicaragua and his attitude towards liberation theology.

BRAZIL
Brazil: Man’s Lynching Compared to Slave Flogging

Brazil oil giant faces $98bn shareholder lawsuit in US over corruption schemeNew York court to hear case brought by investors including pension funds of British academics and US state workers over ‘Carwash’ scam at Petrobras

The lawsuit claims that Petrobras executives accepted bribes for inflating the value of construction contracts and “used the money to bribe politicians through intermediaries to guarantee they would vote in line with the ruling party while enriching themselves”.

CHILE
Duff idea? Fox hopes Chile’s beer lovers give Simpsons brew a warm receptionCompany to sell beer – which an executive calls fruity with a caramel aromatic – after decades of pirated versions ruling the market

COLOMBIA
Colombian president replaces military chiefs days after scathing report into extra-judicial killingsPresident Juan Manuel Santos overhauls his high command despite rejecting Human Rights Watch claims about role of military commanders in murders of civilians who were then framed as left-wing rebels

Colombian President Welcomes FARC Cease-Fire

The Mixed-Up Brothers of BogotáAfter a hospital error, two pairs of Colombian identical twins were raised as two pairs of fraternal twins. This is the story of how they found one another — and of what happened next.

CUBA
Marco Rubio: Obama’s Faustian Bargain With Cuba

Here’s “What Change Looks Like” Through a Business-First Policy

Twice as Many Cuban Rafters Flee While They Can
2015 Arrivals Exhibit Fear of End to Wet-Foot, Dry-Foot Policy

ECUADOR
Ana’s Story: The Face of Colombia’s Refugee Crisis in Ecuador

EL SALVADOR
This is how bad El Salvador’s murder rate is

El Salvador is on pace to pass its neighbor, Honduras, as the deadliest country on the planet.

MEXICO
Mexican Police Deliver Wrong Corpses to Get Murder Case Closed
Victim Families Allege Cover-Up, Demand Prosecutor’s Resignation

Mexican Ex-Governor Arrested on Tax-Fraud Charges

Some Ford lines may be heading to Mexico

Mexican helicopter trades fire with gunmen on ground near border, kills 6

GUATEMALA
Guatemala: Ex-ruler Rios Montt found unfit for trial
A former Guatemalan general, Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled the country briefly in the 1980s, has been found mentally incapable of standing trial.

MEXICO
A matter of when, not if? Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Escapes From PrisonMexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has escaped from a maximum-security prison in central Mexico, almost a year and a half after being captured, prompting a major search operation.

NICARAGUA
Panama and Nicaragua – Two Canals, One Shared Dream, but with the Chinese financial market in flux, what will happen to the Nicaraguan project?

PANAMA
Venezuelans heading to Panama

PARAGUAY
Pope Praises Paraguayan Women
Pope Francis celebrated Paraguayan women as the “most glorious women of America” in a sermon at the shrine of the country’s patron Madonna Saturday, the second-to-last day of his weeklong visit to South America.

Argentina Sees Exodus as Pope Visits Paraguay
Roughly one million people will cross the border into Paraguay from Argentina to see Pope Francis in the capital, Asunción, immigration officials estimate.

PERU
Better keep Greenpeace away: New Nazca geoglyphs in Peru could be older than famous Unesco siteJapanese team believes new images are older than the famous monkey, spider and hummingbird at the Unesco World Heritage site

Ubinas Erupts in Peru Dispersing Ash Up to Radius of 9.3 Miles

PUERTO RICO
America’s Greece: Fixing Puerto Rico Could Provide Answers for Europe

VENEZUELA
Now it’s serious! Venezuela is almost out of beer

The week’s posts and podcast:
The new perfect Latin American idiot

“Economy class cabin hexagon”? No. Just no.

What current Mexican immigration law is like

Cuba: Policy paper shows correlation between US engagement and rising repression in Cuba

Two books that don’t exist for the NYT

Argentina: Cristina drops the mask on anti-semitism

Bolivia: Evo gives Francis hammer and sickle crucifix UPDATED

Business at the BBC: Firing Clarkson will cost them BIG

NYSE down

Ecuador: Pope calls for “new economic and ecological world order”

Meanwhile, over in Cuba,

Argentina: Cristina cheers for Greece

Today’s immigration headlines

Monday night “It takes 1 to tango”

Ecuador: Pope’s visiting, crowd clamors “Out, Correa, out”



Cuba: Policy paper shows correlation between US engagement and rising repression in Cuba

Friday, July 10th, 2015

At Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter: Policy paper shows correlation between US engagement and rising repression in Cuba

Summary:

  • Levels of violence and numbers of arbitrary detentions have grown exponentially during the 18 months of secret negotiations between the Castro regime and the Obama administration.
  • Human Rights defenders were victims of brutal, life threatening machete attacks in the same month that secret negotiations between the Obama administration and the Castro dictatorship started.
  • The December 17, 2014 announcement of normalized relations was surrounded by repression, violence and death.
  • There has been an explosion of arbitrary detentions in Cuba, jumping from an average of 550 per month to 742.
  • The Castro regime has been implicated in heightening repression against pro-democracy activists in Venezuela, including extrajudicial killings.

Read the full paper here.

Related:
Over 563 Political Arrests in June

Reports from Cuba: ‘If you keep bothering me, I’ll have them call the police,’ says Cardinal Jaime Ortega

Obama administration: Recent repression in Cuba won’t slow normalization

Meanwhile, over in Cuba,

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Cuban Dissident Who Warned Obama Engagement With Castro Would Fail Injured By Castro’s Thugs; “this is what change looks like” to Antonio Rodiles,

Carnival to launch humanitarian trips to Cuba

The trips—which are cleared under existing U.S. Treasury rules that allow approved travelers to go to the island for cultural and humanitarian exchanges—still need a green light from Cuban authorities.

I don’t think Rodiles will get to visit with them.

Victor Davis Hanson:

Apparently, the [Iranian] theocracy sees Barack Obama and John Kerry as hell-bent changers, willing to achieve their own legacies at the expense of the interests of their country and its allies — and thus as bewildering and worthy of contempt in a world where leaders are expected to promote their own people’s interests. Expect the geriatric Castros to share the same contempt for American outreach, and to double down on their anti-Americanism and their ruthless suppression of freedom to add spite to the embarrassment of U.S. appeasement. They see U.S. recognition as a big change that will further empower their police state.

Indeed they have

While President Obama described the embassy as “not merely symbolic” and a move representing the liberation of the American people from “the past” in a speech this morning, the Cuban government issued a statement refusing to reestablish full diplomatic relations with the United States until America gifted the territory of Guantánamo Bay to Cuba and ceased broadcasting radio and television news reports into the island, which constitute the only way many Cubans have of receiving trustworthy international news.
. . .
While President Obama boasted of Americans’ privilege to not be “imprisoned by the past,” 84-year-old dictator Raúl Castro assured Cubans in his official statement on diplomatic relations with the United States that the Cuban people would remain in his shackles. Cuba “will continue bottled up in the process of realizing its economic and social model, to construct a prosperous and sustainable socialism, advance the nation’s development, and consolidate the achievements of the Revolution,” the statement reads.

Raul Castro also wants reparations.