Archive for the ‘Fidel Castro’ Category

Today’s “WTH moment” courtesy of the NYT

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

The Grey Lady in her dotage, asserts “The embargo and socialism helped protect Cuba’s environment.”

Consistent with senility, the article by Erica Goode, Cuba’s Environmental Concerns Grow With Prospect of U.S. Presence goes bad quickly,

The country is in desperate need of the economic benefits that a lifting of the embargo would almost certainly bring. But the ban, combined with Cuba’s brand of controlled socialism, has also been protective, limiting development and tourism that in other countries, including many of Cuba’s Caribbean neighbors, have eroded beaches, destroyed forests, polluted rivers, damaged coral reefs and wreaked other forms of environmental havoc.

Never mind that beach erosion is a natural process; the Cuban communist dictatorship has destroyed multiple natural habitats, as listed in this paper:

During the last 25 years, the Cuban government, as the almost absolute owner of the island’s economy, has dumped all kinds of waste and hazardous materials into Cuba’s rivers, lakes and bays due to the lack of real concern for the ecology and environmental regulations. At the same time it has changed completely the course of rivers and the normal flow of coastal ocean currents. Furthermore, it has been experimenting with biotechnology, thus creating a potential for biological and chemical warfare. It has also been involved in the construction of a nuclear power plant with serious risks for all adjacent areas. Let us examine the facts on some of these issues.

1. The Almendares River, the main river flowing through the city of Havana, is the most contaminated river in the western hemisphere. It is dead, with no animal life.

2. The Bay of Havana, the Bay of Matanzas (about 100 miles east of Havana) and the Bay of Nipe, in the northeastern coast are among the 10 most contaminated bays in the world.

3. The city of Matanzas is one of the most contaminated cities in this hemisphere, proportional to its population of 150,000, due to industrial waste.

4. During the 1970’s Castro capriciously built over 2,100 dams throughout the country without a serious study of hydraulics or their ecological impact. These dams are adversely affecting the ecology, the fertility of the soil, and are causing the salt contamination of the groundwater.

5. Again, following Castro’s whims, many of the so-called “pedraplenes” have been built along several coastal areas. These are causeways built of sand and stones, with no asphalt. They have altered the normal flow of coastal water currents, causing salt contamination of the groundwater on the land close to these constructions.

6. Cuba and Florida have the largest coral reefs in this hemisphere. Over 40% of the Cuban coral reefs have been destroyed due to contamination. The flow of contaminated Cuban ocean water is affecting the Florida reefs.

7. The water and sewer system in the main urban areas of Cuba have not received any major maintenance in over 25 years. The average age of these systems is over 60 years. Consequently, there is contamination of the drinking water in most main urban areas due to the mixing of drinking water and sewer waste through the transmission pipes. There is a constant deposit of sewage in the streets of most main urban areas of Cuba.

8. Since the mid 1980’s Castro has been developing centers dedicated to the research, development and manufacture of biotechnological materials. Since 1992, Castro has spent over $1.2 billion on these efforts. There are 12 sites dispersed throughout the capital city of Havana. They are found mainly in Arroyo Naranjo, Playa Bejucal and Habana del Este. Due to the sensitive work done in these sites, and their lack of adequate quality control, these centers are a permanent risk to the population of Cuba due to possible leakage of lethal material. There have been several reports of evacuations from these areas due to hazardous leakage. These centers have the potential to manufacture bacteriological and chemical warfare materials and there is increasing evidence that this is happening.

9. The unfinished nuclear power plant at Juragua presents another potential for ecological disaster, including huge loss of human lives. There have been reports of over 24 violations of standards set by the IAEC during the construction of this plant. If it is completed, the possibilities of an accident are four times higher than standard plants. Greenpeace has called plants like Juragua a “ticking time bomb.”

10. If the plant becomes operational, the handling and disposal of the nuclear waste will present another threat to the ecology, as well as to human life in Cuba, the southeastern United States, the Caribbean and Central America.

Missing from Ms Goode’s bad reporting is also any evidence of the catastrophic and systematic decay in living conditions for ordinary Cubans outside the bubble,

“The Marvel”

We may call it a “What The Hey moment”; Bill Sanderson was more direct,

Other “WTH moments”:
Today’s “WTH Moment” brought to you by Jorge Ramos

Today’s WTH moment: Venezuelan vet arrested for smuggling heroin in puppies UPDATED


Also of interest,
Real Clear Politics has an article by Fabio Rafael Fiallo, Cuba’s Own Napoleon III

Today’s tropical socialism has, too, its Napoleon III. His name is Nicolas Maduro, the current president of Venezuela who to a significant extent is a creation of the Castro regime. Not only was Maduro trained in the Cuban schools of agitprop, he was also anointed president of Venezuela – with the lobbying of the Castro brothers – by a moribund Hugo Chavez with waning intellectual faculties who was receiving medical treatment in Cuba.

Interesting article, but I disagree with his conclusions,

Napoleon Bonaparte died in 1821 – well before his political legacy was squandered by his nephew, Napoleon III. The Castro brothers have not been so lucky: They have lived long enough to witness the irreparable damage caused by their pupil, Nicolas Maduro, to whatever remained of popular sympathy for Latin American socialism. This, more than any other setback or defeat, is the worst punishment that destiny will have inflicted on the brothers who have tyrannically ruled Cuba for over half a century.

Fiallo forgets that there’s one thing the Castros and their ilk care about more than their “revolution”: The care the most about staying in power.

For starters, most of Latin America is ignoring Maduro, for as long as he keeps sending them money.

And then there’s the win:
While Pres. Obama pats himself on the back for announcing the July 20th opening of a U.S. Embasy in Havana, Raul answers back by demanding billion$ in reparations, an end to the U.S. embargo, the return of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, and the end of all American radio and TV broadcasts aimed at Cuba.

$5 says they’ll get it, too.

Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
In his post Carlos Eire posted this photo of an open sewer in Batabano, Cuba,

So much for “Cuba’s brand of controlled socialism” being “protective.”

Cuba: Marielito blood on Fidel’s hands

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Brian Latell, author of Castro’s Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, The CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, writes about Juan Reinaldo Sánchez Crespo, author of The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Lider Maximo in the Miami Herald,
An appalling indictment of Fidel. Latell is outraged about Castro’s involvement in the Mariel exodus (emphasis added)

For me, Sánchez’s most appalling indictment of Fidel concerns the chaotic exodus of more than 125,000 Cubans in 1980 from the port of Mariel. Most who fled were members of Cuban exile families living in the United States. They were allowed to board boats brought by relatives and to make the crossing to South Florida.

But many of the boats were forcibly loaded by Cuban authorities with criminals and mentally ill people plucked from institutions on the island. Few of us who have studied Fidel Castro have doubted that it was he who ordered those dangerous Cubans to be exported to the United States. He has persuaded few with his denials of any role in the incident.

Yet Sánchez adds an appalling new twist to the saga. We learn that prison wards and mental institutions were not hurriedly emptied, as was previously believed. Sánchez reveals that Castro insisted on scouring lists of prisoners so that he could decide who would stay and who would be sent to the United States. He ordered interior minister Jose Abrahantes to bring him prisoner records.

Sánchez was seated in an anteroom just outside of Fidel’s office when the minister arrived. The bodyguard listened as Fidel discussed individual convicts with Abrahantes.

“I was present when they brought him the lists of prisoners,” Sánchez writes, “with the name, the reason for the sentence, and the date of release. Fidel read them, and with the stroke of a pen designated which ones could go and which ones would stay. ‘Yes’ was for murderers and dangerous criminals; ‘no’ was for those who had attacked the revolution.” Dissidents remained incarcerated.

A number of the criminal and psychopathic marielitos put on the boats to Florida went on to commit heinous crimes — including mass murder, rape, and arson. Among the many despicable acts Fidel Castro committed over the years, his decision to facilitate that violence stands in a sordid class by itself.

Sánchez Crespo, age 66, died last month in Miami of an unspecified respiratory illness.

Cuba: Fidel’s fantasy islands

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

.The murderous dictator has a getaway from the misery he inflicts on his enslaved people:

An excerpt from Juan Reinaldo Sanchez’s book The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Lider Maximo

Inside Fidel Castro’s luxurious life on his secret island getaway

Fidel instantly fell in love with this place of wild beauty worthy of Robinson Crusoe and decided to have it for his own. The lighthouse keeper was asked to leave the premises and the lighthouse was put out of action and later taken down.

To be precise, Cayo Piedra consists of not one island but two, a passing cyclone having split it in half. Fidel had, however, rectified this by building a 700-foot-long bridge between the two parts.

The southern island was slightly larger than its northern counterpart, and it was here, on the site of the former lighthouse, that Castro and his wife, Dalia, had built their house: a cement-built, L-shaped bungalow arranged around a terrace that looked out to the east, onto the open sea.

While ordinary Cubans suffered, this is where Castro would relax.

Socialism or death, he said.

If Pope Francis is really really nice, maybe he’ll get to visit Cayo Piedra next September. Or will Obama?

Cuba: Fidel, druglord

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Inside Fidel Castro’s double life as a drug kingpin

For 17 years, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez served as a bodyguard to Fidel Castro. But when he became disillusioned with the Cuban dictator’s hypocrisy and tried to retire in 1994, Castro had him thrown in prison. Sanchez made 10 attempts to escape the island, finally making it to Mexico by boat, then across the Texas border in 2008. Now he reveals all in his new book, “The Double Life of Fidel Castro.” In this excerpt, Sanchez explains how he lost faith in the revolution — and “El Jefe.”

Read the article here.

Buy the book here.

Cuba: Spoof?

Monday, January 12th, 2015

This popped up today:

Color me skeptical:

Like I said before, I won’t believe it until CSI releases the post-mortem report.

Cuba: Is Fidel dead yet?

Friday, January 9th, 2015

It’s that time of the year again!

Read all about it, Cuba: Is Fidel dead yet?

This is what he looked like a quarter century ago.

The post-Thanksgiving weekend Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 1st, 2014

LatinAmerYes, I love Thanksgiving Day. No, I don’t go shopping in stores on the weekend.

Now we have that out of the way, let’s look at the week’s stories:

Castro Helped the Devil in Argentina

Although they kept it quiet, Argentina’s dictators had a gentlemen’s agreement with Castro. Under the pact, Videla supported Cuba’s bid in 1977 to join the Executive Council of the World Health Organization, a diplomatic feather in Castro’s beret. The quid pro quo was that Havana stump among nonaligned nations to name Argentina to the United Nations prestigious Economic and Social Council. Apparently Cuba’s vote was the 18th and decisive ballot, landing Argentina the coveted UN seat.

Argentina to Snoop Emails from Citizens with Swiss Bank Accounts
Suspected Tax Violators Must Prove Innocence to Authorities

ICYMI Beware a Leftist Landslide in Bolivia

Capping Brazil’s Corruption Gusher

Brazil’s Economy Claws Out of Recession
GDP Expands 0.1% in Third Quarter But Outlook for Latin America’s Biggest Economy Remains Clouded

Drought-hit Sao Paulo may ‘get water from mud’: TRFN

Chilean Teachers on Strike over Bachelet’s Education Reform
Internal Union Dispute over Benefits May Cause Ruling Party to Reshape Policy

Colombia: Farc rebels release two soldiers

The Blackest of Fridays Planned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara

Castro’s agents had targeted Macy’s, Gimbels, Bloomingdales, and Manhattan’s Grand Central Station with a dozen incendiary devices and 500 kilos of TNT. The holocaust was set for detonation the following week, on the day after Thanksgiving.

CNN promotes pro-Castro editorials of The New York Times to a wider audience

Silence Enables Violence Against Cuba’s Dissidents

Ecuador shrimp prices tumble as Chinese buyers hold off


Antonio Banderas, Distinguished as Buenos Aires Guest of Honor

White House – Illegal Immigrants Entitled to Social Security and Medicare

Incentivizing the Lawless and Penalizing the Lawful

Jamaica’s Economy to Show Growth for 2014/15

The great deceleration
The region’s economies have slowed far more abruptly than anyone expected

Worst off are those countries with populist governments that squandered the windfall from the boom. Forecasters see no let-up in the stagflation afflicting Venezuela and Argentina. Thanks to lack of investment and clumsy macroeconomic management, Brazil’s economy will barely grow this year and faces a fiscal squeeze in 2015. Yet the deceleration goes far wider. The high-flying and well-run economies of Chile, Peru and Colombia are all suffering. The growth rate this year in Chile (2%) and Peru (around 3%) is half that of 2013. Contrast that with sub-Saharan Africa, which is also a big commodity producer and where the IMF expects growth of 5.1% this year and 5.8% next.

As Mexican Border Town Tries to Move On, Some Are Stuck in Limbo

British forensic experts work with Mexican parents to create database of disappeared
As Mexican president announces police revamp following student atrocity outrage, British-funded project aims to identify human remains buried in mass graves across violence-plagued country

Andres Oppenheimer: Canal calamity looms in Nicaragua

Alleged Ponzi scammer Quintin Earl Sponagle returned to N.S., to stay behind bars until Tuesday

Corruption Revives Debate on Peru’s Political Stability

U.S. government warns Puerto Rico of funding loss if transit shuts

Uruguay’s election
Feeling very mellow
Voters are not in the mood for change

Venezuela to charge opposition leader over alleged plot to kill President Maduro
Maria Corina Machado denies any wrongdoing and says the threat is an attempt to silence critics of the government

Venezuela Says 35 Prison Inmates Dead From Overdose
Pressure is building on Venezuela’s government to fully investigate a rising number of deaths at an overcrowded prison, with human-rights activists questioning authorities’ claim of a mass drug overdose by dozens of inmates who stormed an infirmary.

The week’s posts:
Venezuela: AP does Orwell so well

Argentina: Investigate Cristina, get impeached?

En español: Terapia Intensiva 233

Mexico’s failures and immigration

Venezuela: New deal with China

Panama: Legal truble for Carlos Slim

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans

On thankfulness and apple pie

Venezuela: Beyond-the-grave nepotism

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Your country seeks a seat in the UN’s Security Council. Who better than the late dictator’s daughter, who has never held a job?

Security Council-ready!

Chávez Heir Lands First Job: U.N. Envoy
Some say María Gabriela Chávez, a daughter of Venezuela’s late Socialist leader Hugo Chávez, is unprepared to be deputy ambassador to the United Nations, as Venezuela seeks a Security Council seat on the world body.

Ms. Chávez, 34 years old, has never held a formal job and is known as a socialite—the Kardashian of Sabaneta, her father’s hometown—who posts “selfies” on social media, said former diplomats and political analysts. Unlike her older sister, Rosa Virginia Chávez, who studied international relations, the younger Ms. Chávez has demonstrated little inclination for geopolitics.

Rosa Virgina is not to be confused with her other sister, Rosinés Chávez who has demonstrated some, shall we say, unsocialistic tendencies,

while María Gabriela knows all the right people,

She’ll fit right in at the UN.

[Post corrected to add omitted text]

En español: El Foro de Sao Paulo, creación de Castro y da Silva

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Julio M Shilling, escritor y politólogo explica como Fidel Castro y Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva crean y organizan el Foro de Sao Paulo, para destruir la democracia en America a traves del proceso electoral, rescatando e implantando régimenes comunistas.

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.