Without a doubt, Pres. Obama’s December 17 Statement on Cuba Policy Changes was the top news of 2014 on Latin America.
Read the rest of my article at Da Tech Guy Blog.
After four editorials and three blog posts in less than two months, NYT unofficial lobbyist against the embargo editorial board member Ernesto Londoño met for two hours with Cuban dissidents from Yoani Sanchez’s 14ymedio:
Times writer gets Earful from Cuba dissidents
And for two hours the staff of 14ymedio gave him an earful about life in Cuba, the lack of democracy or a free press; how changes in Cuba were more in name only and not meaningful; how young Cubans are continuing to flee the island in ever greater numbers because they don’t see a future in their own country.
One of those asking questions was Eliécer Avila, the student who, in 2008, asked Ricardo Alarcon, the President of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power, several difficult questions:
Why do Cubans have to work several days to earn enough money to buy a toothbrush? Why can’t Cubans travel freely? Why is access to the Internet restricted and censored?
Those are questions the American editorialist should try to answer when he publishes an account of his encounter with these dissenting Cubans. I am sure he will, and he will explain that all this can also be blamed on the embargo. Sorry, I shouldn’t presume what Londoño is going to write — even if what he had written before has been slanted to an anti-American, pro-Cuban point of view.
The group tried explaining to Londoño why the embargo would not solve the problems of the ordinary Cubans, who according to Sánchez “have fear ingrained in their genes.”
“People in this country are very scared,” Sanchez said. They fear those who tell the government what they say in private; they are afraid of not being allowed to leave the country; of being rejected for a better job; of being told that their children cannot go to the university because “the university is for revolutionaries,” Sánchez added.
Miriam Celaya, an independent journalist, pointed out the government had allowed foreigners to invest in Cuba and grants them permits to import what they need. The same benefits are not granted to Cubans, she told Londoño.
Recently more than 30 Cuban dissidents explained why they did not agree with the premise that the solution to Cuba’s problems was for the United States to lift the embargo. They all pointed to many of the same reasons this group of six staffers from 14ymedio told Londoño.
Additionally, Sánchez’s point was that focusing on the embargo focuses on a decision outside Cuba, while she’s focusing on Cuban civil society, “on when we’ll have freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and when will the straijacket will be taken off economic freedom in this country.”
Let’s see if he paid attention.
With deep gratitude to all who have served our beautiful country in the armed forces, this week’s Carnival.
Last month the Argentine congress gave final approval to pay $5bn (£3bn) in compensation for Repsol’s stake in Argentine oil firm YPF.
The Spanish company has now announced that it has sold the last batch of bonds it received to cover its losses.
A Desperate Mother’s Search Leads to a Fight Against Sex Trafficking
Desperate for answers about her daughter’s disappearance in 2002, Susana Trimarco started the Fundación María de los Ángeles, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates sex slaves in Argentina.
Brazil Deploys Vast World Cup Security Plan
Brazil is spending $855 million on security and safety during the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup, which the country will host from June 12 to July 13, the government said on Friday.
Freak hail storm strikes World Cup 2014 host city Sao Paulo
A hail storm covers streets in ice in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo which will host the opening match of the football World Cup in less than a month
Colombia’s President Santos to face Zuluaga in run-off vote
Official results from Colombia’s presidential election say the incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos will face his main rival, Oscar Zuluaga, in a run-off next month.
Oscar Iván Zuluaga, a conservative candidate closely allied with former President Álvaro Uribe, won the most votes in the first round of Sunday’s presidential election.
— Karel Becerra #Cuba (@KarelBecerra) May 24, 2014
6 Gunned Down on Bus in El Salvador
How Mexico’s New President Is Turning His Country Into a Servile US Client
Enrique Peña Nieto is using violence and repression to dismantle his country’s progressive legacy. So, is servility why Mexico’s holding Andrew Tahmooressi?
Borinqueneers to get Congressional Gold Medal
Marijuana to Be Sold for Less Than $1 a Gram in Uruguay
Authorities said the price was deliberately set below what marijuana sells for illegally, and the quality control of the drug available at pharmacies would be “very high”
The week’s posts and podcast:
Puerto Rico: rising volume of drugs coming from Venezuela
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Cuba and moral blindness
US-Latin America stories of the week
Due to time constraints, I’m unable to translate the interview, but here are the 3 YouTubes in Spanish. With apologies to my English language readers,
Thursday night, Sánchez appeared at Columbia University’s School of Journalism to answer questions.
Sánchez described the problems Cubans have when trying to access the Internet and government surveillance of independent journalists. She also spoke about the changes made by Cuban leader Raúl Castro.
“I would love to pose 50 questions to Raúl Castro. And I anticipate right now that they won’t be answered,” she said.
Sánchez stressed that Cuban government restrictions of the Internet have “been even more aggressive” than she expected.
Cuba is one of 60 countries that censor communications and limit or harass Internet users constantly. The average access to the Internet by Cubans is the lowest in the Western hemisphere. Individual connections are restricted to official entities and educational and cultural institutions, under strict supervision.
Access to foreigners and Cuban citizens must be officially authorized after an exhaustive background check. “But as a journalist I am not frightened by the problems,” said Sánchez. “What’s most important is that the Cuban government and [the Communist Party daily] Granma are reading us. That is why they have created an alternative blogosphere to reply to us. They’re acknowledging us and that’s a first step toward acceptance.”
Prior to her visit to the USA she had visited Mexico, where only four senators attended her speech at the Senate in Mexico City.
After NYC, she’s heading to Washington, DC.
“Un hombre (Assange) que simbolizó a una especie de Robin Hood de la información ha terminado siendo cobijado en el castillo feudal de un Gobierno que evidentemente tiene una política rígida, agresiva hacia los medios de comunicación y la libertad de información”, señaló Sánchez.
A man (Assange) who symbolized a sort of Robin Hood of information ends up sheltered in the feudal castle of a government that obviously has a rigid, aggressive policy against the media and freedom of information.”
The WSJ editorial board looks at Rafael Correa’s motivation,
Mr. Correa’s real motivation is to show solidarity with a fellow enemy of Western democracies. The consolation for the West is that Mr. Assange and his Ecuadorean protectors may have to live with each other for a very long time.
Until Britain grants Assange safe passage, however, Julian’s stuck at the embassy.
No worse fool than a Communist tool:
Cuba May Be the Most Feminist Country in Latin America, says Luisita Lopez Torregrosa,
In sheer numbers and percentages, Cuban women’s advance is notable. Cuba has a high number of female professional and technical workers (60 percent of the total work force in those areas) and in Parliament (43 percent), as well as high levels of primary, secondary and tertiary education enrollment, according to the Gender Gap report.
Newsbusters points out,
Wheee! Such good news for the most prominent of the Cuban women, blogger Yoani Sanchez. Oops! Not such good news as Voice of America notes:
Yoani Sanchez is a Cuban blogger who is not permitted to leave the country. She has attracted an international following for her blog, Generación Y, which gives readers unprecedented insight into the harsh realities of life in Cuba. Her work has won numerous awards, including Columbia University’s Maria Cabot prize for journalism, and the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award in 2011. But Cuba’s Communist government has refused to allow her to leave the country to accept these honors. Requests by Ms. Sanchez to travel have been denied 19 times.
But those are relatively recent instances of Cuba’s “feminist” support. Humberto Fontova knows his Cuban history since he lived it,
The longest-suffering female political prisoners in modern history suffered their tortures in Castro’s Cuba. Many died by firing-squad and prison beatings.
Their prison conditions were described by former political prisoner Maritza Lugo. “The punishment cells measure 3 feet wide by 6 feet long. The toilet consists of an 8 inch hole in the ground through which cockroaches and rats enter, especially in cool temperatures the rat come inside to seek the warmth of our bodies and we were often bitten. The suicide rate among women prisoners was very high.”
In fact, Castroism TRIPLED Cuban women’s pre-revolution suicide rate, making Cuban women the most suicidal on earth. This according to a 1998 study by scholar Maida Donate-Armada that uses some of the Cuban regime’s own figures.
Some suffered months in “Tapiadas” (underground cells in total darkness) Some were jailed a few miles from La Cabana. With the right wind direction, the firing squad volley’s would reach them. “HA-HA! Oiste?… Ce la cepillaron a tu marido! ( Hijo! Padre! Abuelo! Tio!)” (Heard that?! We just shot your husband, son, dad, grandad, uncle!) the guards would gather and cackle at the rat-bitten women, surrounded by cockroaches and caked in filth and menstrual fluid from lack of water in their torture chambers
Obviously Luisita doesn’t believe in the rights of all Cuban women, only in the rights of the Cuban women who toe the Communist Party line.
Additionally, millions of Cuban women are living in compulsory poverty, since the monthly salary is the equivalent of $20/month, which has pushed many young women into prostitution.
Is that feminist enough for you, Luisita?