Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

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

Happy Independence Day!

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

Happy Flag Day!

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

img_1383

Flag Day 2015 USA: 10 Facts To Know About The Star-Spangled Banner



Pope Francis, meet Iñigo Montoya UPDATED

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Pope Francis:
Pope Francis praises Junipero Serra as U.S. ‘founding father’

Iñigo Montoya:

Junípero was not a member of the American Constitutional Convention of 1787, did not fight in the War of Independence, sign the Declaration of Independence, or as far as I cold tell, even set foot on the thirteen colonies.

However, since Junípero was a Franciscan priest, maybe Pope Francis means that Junípero was a founding padre.

UPDATE:
I rarely agree with Latino Rebels, but I agree on this: The Pope’s Saint of Death

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

Did Obama give in on Cuba so Uruguay would take 6 Gitmo alumni?

Monday, December 22nd, 2014


Lame duck Uruguayan president and former Tupamaro terrorist José Mujica brags, according to an AFP and EFE report at La Tercera (link in Spanish), that he asked the Obama administration to release three Cuban spies in exchange for Uruguay accepting six Gitmo detainees.

Mujica indicó also indicated that negotiations with the U.S. government “are far from closed. They depend, among other things, on various decisions outside our reach.”

Paul Mirengoff asks, THE CUBA APPEASEMENT AND THE LATEST DETAINEE RELEASE — IS THERE A CONNECTION?

Although no one seems to dispute that Mujica, a former leftist guerrilla, urged that the Cuban spies be released, the U.S. denies that their release was ever part of the negotiations, which have been going on for many months. It would appear, then, that either Mujica or the Obama administration is lying.

However, the truth may be that Mujica asked for the release of the Cuban spies and the administration signaled that this would be taken care of as part of a larger deal with Cuba. In this scenario, the Obama administration could deny that the release of spies ever became part of the give-and-take of negotiations. Again, it seems likely that releasing the Cuban spies is something Obama wanted to do anyway, for purposes of accommodating the Castro regime.

If Obama’s recent transactions with Uruguay and Cuba are viewed collectively, here is the “bill” to the U.S.: (1) the release of six terrorists with no assurance (not even a paper one) that they won’t immediately return to the fight against the U.S., as so many have; (2) the release of three Cuban spies; and (3) the granting to Cuba’s Communist tyrants of as much legitimacy and economic help as Obama has the power to confer.

There will be more coming from these – up to now – seemingly unrelated stories.

The plan

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

The plan:
1. Create a crisis
2. Overwhelm the system
3. Act by executive order

The purpose: Consolidation of power.

In practice:
1. Create a crisis
by showing that the immigration laws of the United States are not being enforced, while allowing the transport, through the borders of multiple countries, of tens of thousands of illegal aliens.
Questions: Are we supposed to believe that tens of thousands of Central America’s indigents suddenly, all at once, as a group, could come up with the money to pay the coyotes? Or that the coyotes, working for the cartels that control all the smuggling into the country, are not getting paid? Or that the transport of thousands of people on a daily basis is a completely spontaneous, uncoordinated, serendipitous, action?

2. Overwhelm the system (with the added bonus of a national security threat):
National Border Patrol Council NBPC Statement on Influx of Juveniles in Rio Grande Valley Sector (h/t Tree Hugging Sister; emphasis added)

Nearly half of all Border Patrol agents assigned to the Rio Grande Valley are working at duties that would not be considered to be law enforcement. These duties include feeding, clothing, and watching after children. These duties are slowly being taken over by FEMA and other governmental groups, but still leave a small group of agents protecting our borders. The cartels know this and have been actively exploiting the situation. Cartels are forcing juveniles and illegal aliens to cross the border in between the ports of entries because it further ties up Border Patrol agents in the field. In effect, cartels are using these immigrants as a human shield to divert resources that would otherwise be spent interrupting their trafficking operations. Once the agents are taken out of the equation, the cartels are smuggling drugs, weapons, and special interest aliens across the border unfettered. At a time when agents are most needed to deal with the cartel threat, they are unavailable because they are either dealing with a tidal wave of humanity by either arresting juveniles and families in the field or by processing them in the stations.
. . .
This situation, which started due to violence and dire economic conditions in Central America, has now exploded due to the message being relayed that the immigration laws of the United States are not being enforced. Interviews with detainees reflect this and this situation will continue if there are not consequences for breaking the immigration laws of the United States. We cannot continue to release detainees, even with the goal of deporting them in the future, if we hope to stop the flow of illegal aliens through the Rio Grande Valley. Mandatory detention and deportation is the only consequence that will resolve the problem.

At Drudge:

Lawyers for new illegals say most will be eligible for amnesty…

PAPER: Surge into Texas ‘seemingly endless’… 

STATES FIGHT BACK…

Virginia county renews push for deportation data…

Thousands of Sex Slaves Trafficked Over Mexican Border…

Feds lowball number of children crossing…

Illegals using ‘rehearsed’ answers to gain entry…

New use-of-force restrictions imposed on border patrol…

Churches Aiding Invasion…

DREAMers invited to White House for honors…

YORK: Administration Story on Surge Falls Apart…

NY eyes citizenship after 3 years of taxes…

3. Act by executive order: If the crisis is severe enough – which at the current rate it certainly will be – Obama will allow ipso facto legal status to all of them. The question is not whether he would do that; he will. The question is, would he grant them citizenship after the midterm elections and before the new Congress takes office in January 2015?

One crisis after another.

Arguably the most effective president in recent history: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

UPDATE:
Linked to by Gates of Vienna. Thank you!


Venezuela: US to sanction chavistas

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

U.S. House Passes Bill To Penalize Venezuela
Move Ratchets Up Pressure on President Nicolás Maduro’s Beleaguered Government.

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday to penalize Venezuelan government officials found to violate human rights in that country’s crackdown on a protest movement, ratcheting up pressure on President Nicolás Maduro’s beleaguered government.

The bill calls for President Barack Obama to draw up a list of Venezuelan officials who are alleged to have violated human rights, freeze any assets they might have in the U.S., and bar them from entering the country by either withdrawing or denying visas.

A similar bill has been approved by a Senate committee, and is headed for a vote on the Senate floor in coming days.

Passage of the bill also raises pressure on the Obama administration, which has been wary of passing any kind of sanctions for fear it could create a backlash by allowing Mr. Maduro to mobilize supporters against the U.S. and distract from Venezuela’s growing homemade troubles. The administration also fears that the sanctions could jeopardize attempts at reaching a negotiated solution between the government and the opposition.

What negotiated solution? The o-called “negotiations” fell apart already.

14 Dems opposed the sanctions:The

Democrats led by Michigan Rep. John Conyers wrote a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday backing his administration. They also urged an exchange of ambassadors with Venezuela after a four-year hiatus.

Does this sound like a government willing to exchange ambassadors?

Venezuela alleged on Wednesday that the U.S. ambassador to Colombia has plotted to destabilize President Nicolas Maduro’s rule, adding to tensions between the two countries as the U.S. House approved a measure calling for sanctions on officials in the South American nation over human rights abuses.

A couple of days earlier, Mind your own business, Venezuela foreign minister tells Kerry.

In Caracas, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro welcomed the Democratic lawmakers’ initiative, saying he hopes “there is a bit of wisdom” in Washington. This wisdom from the guy who talks to a bird he thinks is Hugo CHavez.

Never mind, the Russian Foreign Minister says all problems should be solved on the constitutional basis, without threats of sanctions. In theory, they should; in reality . . .

Yleem D.S. Poblete posits that, in addition to the human rights violations,

For the sake of U.S. national security interests, the United States needs to act swiftly and resolutely to hold the Chavez-Maduro apparatus accountable.

The bill is now headed for a vote on the Senate floor.

Silvio Canto and I talked about this and other LatAm topics in last night’s podcast:
Elections in Colombia PLUS other US-Latin America stories of the week

Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua: Russia to add military bases overseas UPDATED

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Last November Secretary of State John Kerry declared the Monroe Doctrine dead; Putin was listening:

Russia Seeks Several Military Bases Abroad – Defense Minister (emphasis added)

Russia is planning to expand its permanent military presence outside its borders by placing military bases in a number of foreign countries, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.

Shoigu said 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.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced plans to shrink army to pre-World War II levels. His timing could not have been more perfect.

UPDATE, Thursday Feb. 27, 2014, via Kermit:
Russian spy ship docked in Havana

There you have it:

The Optimistic Conservative:

The timing of SSV-175’s patrol is presumably no coincidence. We don’t know exactly when she left her Northern Fleet home port on the Barents Sea, but since she was in Curacao on the 30th, we do know it was at least before 10 January (and probably before that. At an overall speed of 12 knots, the ship would have needed to leave the Barents around 2 or 3 January). It’s unlikely that the AGI is in Central America just for the excitement of popular unrest in Venezuela, however. The more interesting event could well be the deployment of the Iranian navy task force.

John Kerry was on TV just now saying “This is not Rocky IV.” No, it’s not: this is real.