Archive for the ‘Fidel Castro’ Category

Mexico: Behind the Peña Nieto-Fidel photo-op

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto attended CELAC last week and sat with Fidel Castro for the cameras. Carlos Puig explains what’s behind the photo-op:
Mexico’s Pena Nieto Is for Reform, Just Not in Cuba

The picture released afterward by the Cuban government — Pena Nieto talking, Fidel listening — didn’t come cheap. Last year, Pena Nieto’s administration erased $340 million of Cuba’s debt to Mexico, or about 70 percent of the total amount. That’s more than the value of trade between the two countries, which reached $297 million over the first nine months of last year; $274 million of that represented Mexico’s surplus. The bilateral relationship is otherwise limited. From the Mexican side, at least, the main issue may be the influx of Cubans who use Mexico as a way station to the U.S.

Puig poses the question,

Yet it isn’t clear what Mexico gains by ignoring the reality that Cuba has no elections, no political parties, no free press or freedom of expression, and that dissidents are harassed and jailed. Certainly, Mexico stands to gain little economic benefit.

Pena Nieto’s choice also raises interesting questions about the character of a government willing to ignore such human-rights violations in a neighboring country. Isn’t such a government more likely to excuse its own human-rights problems, such as the tens of thousands of murders and disappearances during the last decade of drug war?

Meanwhile, in Mexico, there’s a lot going on in Michoacán’s Tierra Caliente. Enrique Krauze describes Mexico’s Vigilantes on the March

The epicenter of the present vigilante confrontation with the Knights Templar is the area known as the Tierra Caliente, a relatively isolated zone that, since colonial times, has been marked by its torrid climate, fertile soil, aggressive animals, poisonous plants, and a tendency toward violence among its inhabitants. Fray Diego Basalenque, who composed chronicles of Michoacán in the 17th century, wrote about the Tierra Caliente: “For someone not born here, it is uninhabitable. For its natives it is unbearable.” It has become a preferred sanctuary for the Knights.

The national government recently sent a substantial federal force (both military and police) to the region. Corrupt municipal police officers have been stripped of their authority and national troops have established a modus vivendi with self-defense groups. The vigilantes have the support of the majority of the population and of respected clerics.

Unverified rumors have it that some of the self-defense units are connected with a narco gang in a neighboring state called Jalisco New Generation Cartel (Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación). Regardless of whether that is true or not, President Enrique Peña Nieto, who came to power in 2012, would be wise to press for the incorporation of the vigilantes into a legal entity, as two powerful presidents in the 19th century, Benito Juárez and Porfirio Díaz, did when they were dealing with crime. They developed a mobile strike force (Los Rurales) that suppressed rampant banditry. The elimination of a gang like the Knights Templar, however, will require much intelligence-gathering and coordination among various law-enforcement agencies. And it will take time.

Joshua Partlow, on the other hand, last week posited that A Mexican militia, battling Michoacan drug cartel, has American roots.


Cuba: Dementor sighting at an art gallery

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Dementor, Harry Potter version:

Dementor, Cuban version:

Details here (h/t Babalu).


Cuba: What Castro knew about Oswald

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Mary O’Grady reports on Brian Latell’s book, Castro’s Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, the CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy
What Castro Knew About Lee Harvey Oswald
The official narrative skips tantalizing signs of a Cuban connection.

The agency [CIA] recruited Rolando Cubela, a revolutionary insider, to do the job.

But Cubela was a double agent. And on Sept. 7, just after Cubela agreed to help the Americans, Castro gave an interview to an AP reporter in which he put the U.S. on notice that “aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders” would mean that “they themselves will not be safe.”

Castro didn’t need to look far for a willing partner to back up those words. It is “known with near certainty,” writes Mr. Latell, that Cuba had “opened a dossier” on Oswald in 1959, while he was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, in Southern California. Oswald was enamored of the Cuban Revolution, and he had made contact with the Cuban consulate in Los Angeles.

On Sept. 27, 1963, Oswald checked into the Hotel Comercio in Mexico City for a five-night stay. He tried to get a visa from the Cuban embassy to travel to Havana. He had a fling with an embassy employee and probably spent time with others who were intelligence agents. When his visa was not forthcoming, witnesses said he went on a rant at the embassy, slammed the door and stormed off.

According to Mr. Latell, during his Mexico City stay Oswald twice visited the Soviet consulate where he met with “an officer of the notorious Department 13, responsible for assassination and sabotage operations.” The KGB was training Cuban intelligence at the time, and “it seems certain that [Oswald's] intelligence file in Havana was thickening.”

Castro’s claim about Oswald—in a speech 30 hours after Kennedy was shot—that “we never in our life heard of him” was a lie. Indeed, in a 1964 conversation with Jack Childs —an American communist who had secretly been working for the FBI—Castro let it slip that he knew of Oswald’s outburst while at the embassy in Mexico City and said that the ex-Marine had threatened to kill the U.S. president.

Castro’s Secrets is also available on Kindle.

Related:
Prose poetry from (who else!) Carlos Eire, Dispatch From the Balcony of Time Travel

Cuba: A grim anniversary

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Today is the 60th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s attack of the Moncada army barracks. Venezuela’s tinpot dictator Nicolas Maduro, along with Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Uruguay’s Jose Mujica and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega are celebrating in Havana.

Carlos Eire, however, is shedding light on what it really means:
A brief and personal history of 100 years of Cuban history

I cannot possibly cut and paste his heartbreaking post. You must read it in full. Click on the photo for the full article:

While you’re at it, buy his books.

And,
Over the years, I have been asked why do I feel such affinity for the plight of the Cubans. It’s simple: If my Spanish grandparents had decided to move to Cuba instead of Puerto Rico, that would have been my story, too.

image-1

There but for the grace of God, go I.

Cuba: FIDEL CASTRO DEAD?

Friday, October 19th, 2012

10PM
The perfect headline,
Another Day, Another Claim That Castro Is Really Dead
More rumors that Fidel Castro has died are quickly denied by the government and his family.

6PM
No announcement. It is, as it was this morning, the same-old, same-old.

The really interesting story is how these rumors continue to take shape.

4PM
While we wait, a blast from the past,

3:25PM
The Ministry of Foreign Relations tweets, “The Ministry of Foreign Relations denounces false reports from @gobcubaexter account and its messages”

3:20PM Nothing on Radio Habana. 3:15PM Nothing on Granma. I’ll be live-blogging the rumors until 6PM, when supposedly “an official announcement” will be made. 3PM: Nothing in the cable channels. 2:45PM The foreign minister tweeted,

 

 

Formal announcement to follow at 6PM.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Bring out Zombie Fidel, again!

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Last week he was dead, this week he had a stroke; the rumors keep pouring in.

Fidel Castro suffered a stroke, Venezuelan doctor says
A Naples doctor said former Cuban leader Fidel Castro is near ‘a neurovegetative state’ after suffering a stroke.

The reason for the latest round of rumors is that

Castro was last seen in public in March, during the visit to Cuba of Pope Benedict XVI. Since June, he has not written his opinion columns, called “Reflections.” He did not send any message or congratulation to Chávez for his recent election victory.

Which means that the regime forgot to get Fidel’s amanuenses on the job.

Fidel’s physical condition is almost besides the point; as I’ve been saying for years, what’s important is what the Communist regime decides to leak out.

For now, it all amounts to a lot of rumors. Keep the champagne in the fridge for now.

UPDATE,
the Diplomad on Castro and the Nazis: Makes Perfect Sense

Let me repeat some things I have said before to show that no contradiction exists between Castro being a Communist, and Castro dealing with post-WWII Nazis. The Castro brothers inherited a virulent strain of anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism common among certain educated elites in Latin America. A legacy of Spain and old-time Spanish Catholicism, it started as hatred and resentment for upstart Protestant England, and in Latin America morphed into hatred and resentment for upstart “Protestant” USA.

The brothers got a double dose of the virus. Their father was a Spanish-born veteran of the War of 1898 who stayed on in Cuba. We can imagine family conversations when the topic turned to the USA. This household environment combined with that era’s Spanish Jesuit schooling would have turned just about anybody anti-American. As I have noted before, Communism in Latin America is a natural complement to a pre-existing intellectual and emotional strain of anti-Americanism, anti-Protestantism, and anti-capitalism. Once the brothers assumed power, it is not at all surprising that they would throw in with the Soviets; Raul was in all likelihood a KGB informant since the early 1950s.

There can be no doubt that had Nazi Germany been around in the 1950s as the world’s preeminent anti-capitalist, anti-democracy, and anti-USA power, Fidel, Raul, and the racist gangster Che (Note: read what he had to say about Mexicans) would have hitched their wagons to the Hitler train.

There is no real conflict between Communism and Nazism except, of course, of which one takes power. They are both phenomena of the left; both believe in the state over the individual; in the state-control of the economy; and in crushing religion and other independent sources of power and potential rivalry to the state. They do not believe in rule of law, tolerance of diversity, and protection of dissent. The biggest difference is that the Communists were much more successful at bamboozling the “educated elites” and used much smoother words to try to disguise their evil natures. The Nazis were always too bombastic, “in your face,” and made little effort to hide their true aims. All that stylistic and cosmetic nonsense aside, Fidel, Raul, Che, Kim-il Sung, Stalin, etc, would have been perfectly happy to be Nazis and to espouse their anti-capitalist, anti-democracy, anti-religion, and anti-individual line. There should be nothing surprising in the Castros’ efforts to reach out to Nazis to help carry on their mad war against the Cuban people and the United States.

Cuba: If it’s October, the rumors must be flying

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Val Prieto was talking about it last week, and now Mary O’Grady asks, Is Fidel Castro Dead, Again?

It’s not just a Halloween thing; O’Grady is asking since this time Nelson Bocaranda, who has been writing about Hugo Chávez’s health, tweeted,

And in his October 16 article (in Spanish) asserted, as O’Grady points out,

By Monday afternoon there was still no official word from Havana. But Mr. Bocaranda stuck with his story. He tweeted: “I reiterate that we will have news from Cuba in the next few days. The delay is not my fault. I am sorry.”

Bocaranda is taking a huge risk by saying this, because he’s laying his credibility on the line, while the news has very little to do with actual fact but a lot to do with a Communist regime’s hold on power.

Cuba is a totalitarian state where the government has a stranglehold on information.

Five years ago, I wrote in my then-Pajamas Media (now PJMedia), article,

Throughout the past year the world has been treated to a series of videos and photos showing the ailing Castro wearing a jogging suit while entertaining visiting dignitaries, most prominently his disciple Hugo Chavez. Chavez, who is providing Cuba 80,000 barrels of oil daily, always returns from these trips exulting about how well Fidel is recovering.

After each of these, the Cuban government’s newspaper, Granma, repeats the same carefully crafted message the Cuban people have been hearing for nearly fifty years: to continue the struggle, to strive for the impossible. The US is “a decaying empire that threatens us all”. It also reminds Cubans that they too, should endure their sorrows – sorrows inflicted by Castro’s own dictatorship – without complaint. The bottom line of the message is, Nothing is ever going to change.

But the reality is that things will change, and will change rapidly immediately following the news of the death. Everything, from large-scale civil upheaval from a people long-oppressed by a cruel government, to a large number of exiled Cubans seeking to reunite with their relatives by bringing them to the USA, to a total collapse of Cuban society, can not be dismissed as a possibility.

The existing Cuban power structure will collapse.

When Castro dies, will the Cuban government release the information at the time of the death? That is very unlikely. Even with all the behind-the-scenes preparations that may or may not have taken place over the past twelve months, there will be a delay because those in power will try to hold on to power for as long as they possibly can.

So the question is, for how long will the news of Castro’s death be delayed?

I stand by my words.

Related:
New Travel Law Just Another Survival Tactic for Castro

Cross-posted in The Green Room.

Cuba: Fidel and the Nazis

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Fidel Castro ‘recruited Nazi SS members to train troops during Cuban missile crisis’
Fidel Castro recruited former members of the Nazi SS Waffen to train his troops at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, declassified German intelligence files show.

Papers released this week by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) – the German foreign intelligence agency – show information gathered by German operatives 50 years ago during the tense days of the Cuban missile crisis.

They reveal that Castro personally approved a plan to hire former Nazi officers to instruct the Cuban revolutionary army, offering them wages that were four times the average salary in Germany at the time and the chance to start a new life in Havana.

They papers, dating from October 1962, show that four former officers from the elite Nazi death squads had been invited to the Cuban capital, although subsequent reports could only confirm that two had arrived.

It also showed how the Castro regime negotiated with two traffickers linked with Germany’s far Right to purchase Belgian made pistols to arm the Cuban forces.

The conclusion drawn by German secret service officials was that the Cuban regime wanted to free itself from total dependence on Soviet backed training and supplies.

Humberto Fontova asks So just what did the SS soldiers teach the Cubans, anyway?

First off, Castro’s troops are hapless draftees who probably detest the regime as much as anyone in Miami. They have no stake in its wars. But mainly, it’s the rampant megalomania and paranoia of their commander in chief that accounts for the Cuban military’s astounding stupidities and failures.

Communist armies in general and Castroite armies in particular promote officers not on battlefield merit but strictly on political reliability, which is to say on lackeyism, cowardice and donkeyheadedness.

Plus, Fidel needed Soviet money for all this grandstanding, just as he now needs Hugo’s oil.


Castro’s hit men

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012


The Miami Herald has a three-part series of articles on Brial Latell’s book, Castro’s Secrets: The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine, The hit teams that carried out Castro’s vendettas

Assassination operations had always been Fidel’s personal bailiwick. None could be conducted that he did not authorize and help plan. The means for carrying out this most sinister of secret Cuban capabilities were always decentralized and rigidly compartmentalized. It was not scruples that concerned Fidel but the need for airtight deniability.

The Cubans used DGI-controlled illegals, surrogates of other nationalities, as executioners. They carried out some of the most sensitive missions overseas, especially against high-visibility, well-protected targets. Death squads drawn from Latin American terrorist and revolutionary groups beholden to Cuba could be relied on, deniability compounded by degrees of separation. Carefully screened, the foreign assassins were trained at secret Cuban bases, learning to kill in gangland-style hits, elaborately orchestrated paramilitary operations, commando strikes and sly poisonings.

The book is coming out on Tuesday, available on Kindle, and can be pre-ordered through Amazon.

Cuba: The Pope’s shameful trip UPDATE: Did Benedict see Chavez?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Yeah, yeah, now the Pope’s given another Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square, right under the Che monument (Che monument soon to get a Galway branch, like a bank). Benedict gave lip service to hope and change.

Raul Castro got the photo-op of his lifetime, getting a Papal blessing, even when Hugo Chavez didn’t attend,

and Fidel Castro got a private audience with the Pope

The meeting followed Benedict’s open-air Mass in the same public square where a younger, healthier Castro once delivered official speeches that lasted for hours and frequently railed against the United States.

Here’s a photo,

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For Christ’s sake.

Benedict turned a deaf ear to the people clamoring for freedom – in the video above you can hear the chant of “libertad, libertad” (freedom, freedom).

The Catholic Church remains silent on arrest of protestor and hundreds of dissidents in Cuba, yet,

Unofficial reports also seem to confirm the future saint Fidel’s first miracle: the instantaneous disappearance from the island of the Ladies in White and all dissidents.

The hand of God lets go of Cuba and Cubans?

I wouldn’t know about the hand of God.

But going by the evidence, one can safely conclude that the Pope sure doesn’t have b*lls.

UPDATE:
Photo of Fidel & Benedict added.
Linked by Babalu. Thanks!
Linked by Nice Deb. Thanks!
Linked by Doug Ross. Thanks!

UPDATE,
Did Benedict meet Hugo?
Pope Blesses Cancer-Stricken Chavez in Cuba, Journalist Says (h/t Venezuela News & Views)

The alleged meeting, which Bocaranda first reported was in the works on March 25, was arranged by Venezuelan diplomats who used to work at the South American nation’s mission to the Vatican, the journalist said. All participants agreed the brief meeting would be without media coverage, Bocaranda said.

Plenty of time to meet the Communists, no time for anyone else.