Breaking: Dissidents attacked again in Panama by Cuban gov operatives

April 10th, 2015

Telemundo 51 (video at the link in Spanish) reports that Cuban government operatives are again harassing dissidents attending the VII Summit of the Americas.

Blogger Yoani Sanchez stated that the dissidents had to take shelter from their aggressors at the Salón Topacio of the Panama Hotel, while the police and the military try to regain control outside the premises.

On Twitter,
@RosaMariaPaya THREATENED WITH BEATINGS. They told her she can not coincide >Raúl Castro!

As I was saying this morning, Cuba’s “Not Ready For Prime Time Civil Society.”

Cuba, the “Not Ready For Prime Time Civil Society” country

April 10th, 2015

Read all about Cuba, the “Not Ready For Prime Time Civil Society” country

Biden: Like taking a binky from a baby

April 10th, 2015

To quote Duane,
“. . .the thought of pulling a pacifier from a baby’s mouth and inserting it unwashed, sterilized or otherwise de-cootied into my mouth is a thought that has never entered my head.”

Biden puts Bloomberg’s grandson’s pacifier in his mouth

Craig Ramsay for the win!

Colombia: Hillary changed her mind on FTA over $50 million, oops, $130 million

April 9th, 2015

LANGUAGE WARNING

Ace posts, Hillary Clinton Reversed Position on Trade Deal With Colombia After Huge Donation to Clinton Foundation

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Frank Guistra, a mining magnate — that means oil — who gave the Clinton Foundation up to fifty fucking million fucking dollars.

Make that $130 million, Ace,

Oh. I guess I lowballed it.

As Colombian Oil Money Flowed To Clintons, State Department Took No Action To Prevent Labor Violations

The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation — supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself — Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact. Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it “strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.” The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra.

Just how much money are we talking about?

In a Wall Street Journal story from 2008, Giustra is described as a “friend and traveling companion” of former President Clinton who donated more than $130 million to Clinton’s philanthropies.

This is not the first time the Clintons were dealing from both sides of the deck. As you may recall,

Mark Penn, her campaign strategist was also working for the Colombian government towards pushing the agreement.

Penn was fired by the Colombians on Saturday and lost his job as Hillary’s campaign strategist on Sunday, but will remain as pollster and adviser to the Hillary campaign, whatever that means.

Frank Giustra now occupies a seat on the board of the Clinton Foundation,

Just the other day Bill was saying his foundation

is, by a good long stretch, the most transparent of all the presidential foundations and more transparent than a lot of other major foundations in the country.”

It all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is:

Since it’s Throwback Thursday, coinciding with the Summit of the Americas, a quick glance back to 2012, when Hillary tied one on and led the conga line at the Summit,

Is Hillary Clinton becoming an embarrassment as Secretary of State?

Panama: Cuban agents assault dissidents

April 9th, 2015

Yesterday at the Summit of the Americas, Cuban operatives staged an “act of repudiation” on dissidents and U.S. citizens:

About 100 supporters of Cuba’s government aggressively heckled dissidents from the communist-run island attending a civil society forum Wednesday at the start of the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

Opponents of President Raul Castro were greeted to shouts of “imperialist” and “mercenaries” as they filed into a hotel auditorium to attend speeches by summit host Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The Communist regime regularly conducts “acts of repudiation” to intimidate its citizenry into submitting to the dictatorship.

I do not know if either Varela or Clinton condemned the attack in their speeches.

On the same day that the State Department was recommending removing Cuba from terrorism list, other Cuban agents, also in Panama, assaulted a group of dissidents who were placing a wreath at the monument to Jose Martí.

Video: U.S. Citizen and Cuban Activist Who Was a Recent Guest of John Boehner Beaten by ‘Castro Thugs’ in Panama

The U.S. citizen is Orlando Gutierrez, who is the national secretary of the Cuban Democratic Directorate, a group that works to improve the human rights situation in Cuba. Gutierrez is the bald man in the white shirt who gets pulled from the vehicle.

The Cuban citizen is Jorge Luis Garcia Pérez, a pro-democracy activist in Cuba who is known as “Antúnez.” He was wearing a teal shirt, and can also be seen being pulled from the vehicle and beaten.

The anti-Castro activists were arrested, but the mob was allowed to go free.

The news first broke on Twitter,

Marc Masferrer has more on Storify.

Where are the networks? The major newspapers? (Update: I’m told Jose Diaz Balart had a report in this morning’s show)

Coming up next: The Summit of the Americas circus

April 8th, 2015

Coming up next: The Summit of the Americas circus

Read all about it here.

Today’s podcast

April 8th, 2015

On the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Panama

Live at 10AM Easter, and archived for your listening convenience.

Venezuela: Opposition leaders’ wives to attend the Summit of the Americas

April 7th, 2015

The wives of jailed opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma will be attending the upcoming Summit later this week.

Lilian Tintori and Mitzy Capriles will meet with NGOs, and Ms Tintori will be a panelist at the “Civil society and civilian actors” forum.

Let’s hope they don’t get stopped at the airport.

Jamaica: Vendors angry about Obama visit

April 7th, 2015

Potemkin village news today,
Obama Clean-up anger
Vendors furious about their stalls being demolished

“Is more than 40 years I have been selling right here so. Is through this selling I was able to send all of my children to school. Imagine, the Queen come here and them never remove wi, the Prince also come and we were allowed to stay, so why now?” said the distraught woman.

The clean-up operation was questioned in light of the fact that US and Jamaican Government officials have said that Obama would be airlifted by helicopter from the Norman Manley International Airport to Up Park Camp from where he would travel by road to his hotel in New Kingston.

It sounds to me like urban planners were using this visit as a pretext.

Related:
Two can play the CARICOM game

Nicaragua’s steps to dictatorship

April 7th, 2015

Sergio Ramírez at El País on how Daniel Ortega is taking Nicaragua towards dictatorship (link in Spanish).
After 9 years of Ortega in power,

48% of the population subsists on less than $2 a day, and in that group, half subsists on less than $1 a day. Nicaragua’s on the bottom three of the Latin American misery index, along with Haiti and Honduras.

Coming elections?

Ortega, or his wife, will win the 2017 presidential elections.

But family Governments always end up as big political disasters. Tensions will turn up and increase as hopes in Ortega’s populist rhetoric wear out, particularly since Venezuela’s aide comes to and end as that country faces plummeting oil prices, shortages, inflation, and a swelling short-term foreign debt.

Ramírez is deeply pessimistic about the proposed Nicaragua Canal, too. He accuses Ortega of turning over the defense of Nicaragua’s national sovereignty to Wang Jing and the Chinese

Another breaking point will be the failure of the canal project, now seen as a huge hope, which will become a cause for frustration once it is proven to be a merciless lie.

By which time, Ortega will be rich enough to live in impunity.