Archives for July 2015
Not Julius Caesar, but Caesar Rodney of Delaware: On Independence Day, let’s thank Caesar.
and his cabinet members at Quito’s Plaza Grande in front of the presidential palace,
At 2.3 hours into the rally, they broke into song; at 3:30, they started dancing.
Elsewhere, Correa Feels the Wrath of Massive Protests in EcuadorGuayaquil Streets Overflow with 400,000 in Opposition to Rising Socialism, no song-and-dance there.
A few notes on Venezuela:
Venezuelan Ombudsman Tareck El Aissami said that he would meet with the senator and added, on his Twitter account, that the pair would discuss “issues related to Venezuelan democracy, human rights and national peace.”
Meanwhile, over at the UN Human Rights Council, Venezuela’s Chief Prosecutor, Luisa Ortega
Ortega was pressed on the treatment of Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni – detained for releasing a political prisoner without the president’s permission – by the Tunisian representative Yadh Ben Achour, one of the Arab World’s most respected legal rights scholars. It seems Ortega blew a gasket, snapping, “so that the lawyer Yadh Ben Achour, representing Tunisia, may shut his mouth, it is not true that Judge Afiuni was raped. He is making things up.”
. . .
But the worst, for Ortega, was yet to come. Hours after her outburst, Judge Afiuni turned up at her trial in Caracas – a trial that’s taking place now, five years and four months after the fact – and repeated that not only had she been raped in prison, but that both her vagina and anus had been seriously injured in the attack.
Jerry Brewer writes at Mexidata, Cuba and FARC, and their Sinister Presence in Venezuela
Cuba maintains one of its largest intelligence networks in Venezuela (and in Mexico). The late President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela preferred direct access to Cuba’s security service, as indicated by cables that were released and sent from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to the State Department.
The Cuban security apparatchik remains a key source of Venezuela’s training for its military, and its domestic and foreign security services, as well as for the development and support of people and groups with terror agendas, and to restrain and inhibit opposition to the repressive leftist governments of Venezuela and Cuba.
Read the whole article.
In case you missed it, TalCual: Government of Venezuela is Soft on FARC, Hard on Mayor Barreto in a border town where smuggling is the #1 industry,
Guerrillas, paramilitary groups and criminal gangs rule Apure’s second-largest city, not the government of Nicolás Maduro. None of its officials in that secluded region of the country have control over them. Neither the National Armed Forces, nor the National Guard, much less the governorship of the state or the mayor’s office.
Nobody from Caracas cares about what happens there, unless it is of interest to the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). That explains the diligence of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) in validating an irritating ruling made by most municipal councilmen there who disregarded the will of the people of the municipality by removing opposition mayor Lumay Barreto from office and appointing a PSUV activist in her place. That’s what the Government calls “participatory democracy.”
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,
We may call it a “What The Hey moment”; Bill Sanderson was more direct,
— Bill Sanderson (@mrgeology) July 2, 2015
Other “WTH moments”:
Today’s “WTH Moment” brought to you by Jorge Ramos
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.”
Fortuño was governor from 2008 to 2012, and lost since he insisted on doing what needed to be done. Listen to this 2011 interview with John Stossel,
The debt is only part of the problem,
and includes the staggering failure to adequately account for revenues and expenditures
which points to serious structural problems the current governor, Alejandro García Padilla, is not addressing, asking instead bondholders to “share the sacrifices.”
Here’s the situation as I see it:
It is not in García Padilla’s interest to improve the economy
García Padilla’s administration relies heavily on a large bureaucracy, and he knows his predecessor was voted out of office for trying to reduce it. Estimates show that the government of Puerto Rico has 160,000 employees too many. That’s enough of a voter base to keep him in office.
If the U.S. refills the ATM, García Padilla will claim credit for it; if the U.S. doesn’t, he has someone to blame.
And don’t forget that García Padilla and other commonwealth supporters lost miserably during the last plebiscite, when statehood won by approx. 60%. For as long as Puerto Rico remains in a financial swamp, García Padilla knows the question of statehood will be dismissed with “And They Want to Be a State?”
(Or as Ed Koch put it, “The People have spoken … and they must be punished.”)
Again, it is not in García Padilla’s interest to improve the economy.