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The Left’s Romance With Cuba’s Archipelago

The Biden administration’s clear hostility toward the Cuban people is part of a long “progressive” tradition.


Editors’ note: As we witness the Cuban people taking to the streets to confront the barbaric communist regime that has tortured them for decades, we witness the leftist Biden administration — and leftist groups such as Black Lives Matter — signal support for Cuba’s Stalinist tyranny and engage in a callous disregard for the Cuban people. It’s no surprise, for instance, that the Biden administration just issued a statement telling Cubans they are not welcome in United States, while illegal aliens are, of course, most welcome.

While the Biden administration clearly turns its back on the Cuban people while they risk their lives for freedom, FrontPage Mag editors have deemed it vital to run, below, an excerpt from Jamie Glazov’s book United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and TerrorThe excerpt is the fifth chapter, titled “Castro’s Slave Camp: Affection for New Killing Fields.” It provides a documented — and frightening — history of the Left’s love affair with Castro’s monstrous tyranny. Don’t miss this essay below.


Castro’s Slave Camp: Affection for New Killing Fields

Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl.
—Che Guevara, Motorcycle Diaries.

Until July 26, 2008, Fidel Castro ruled Cuba with an iron grip for nearly five decades. On that July date in 2008, he stood to the side because of health problems and made his brother, Raul, de facto ruler. Raul officially replaced his brother as dictator on February 24, 2008; the regime remains just as totalitarian as before and can, for obvious reasons, continue to be regarded and labelled as “Fidel Castro’s” regime. [1]

Having seized power on January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro followed the tradition of Vladimir Lenin and immediately turned his country into a slave camp. Ever since, Cuba has distinguished itself as one of the most monstrous human-rights abusers in the world.

Half a million human beings have passed through Cuba’s Gulag. Since Cuba’s total population is only around eleven million, that gives Castro’s despotism the highest political incarceration rate per capita on earth. There have been more than fifteen thousand executions by firing squad. Torture has been institutionalized; myriad human-rights organizations have documented the regime’s use of electric shock, dark coffin-sized isolation cells, and beatings to punish “anti-socialist elements.” [2] The Castro regime’s barbarity is best epitomized by the Camilo Cienfuegos plan, the program of horrors followed in the forced-labor camp on the Isle of Pines. Forced to work almost naked, prisoners were made to cut grass with their teeth and to sit in latrine trenches for long periods of time. [3] Torture is routine.

The horrifying experience of Armando Valladares, a Cuban poet who endured twenty-two years of torture and imprisonment for merely raising the issue of freedom, is a testament to the regime’s barbarity. Valladares’s memoir, Against All Hope, serves as Cuba’s version of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. Valladares recounts how prisoners were beaten with bayonets, electric cables, and truncheons. He tells how he and other prisoners were forced to take “baths” in human feces and urine. [4] Typical of the horror in Castro’s Gulag was the experience of Roberto López Chávez, one of Valladares’s prison friends. When López went on a hunger strike to protest the abuses in the prison, the guards withheld water from him until he became delirious, twisting on the floor and begging for something to drink. The guards then urinated in his mouth. He died the next day. [5]

Since Castro’s death cult, like other leftist ideologies, believes that human blood purifies the earth—and since manifestations of grief affirm the reality of the individual, and thus are anathema to the totality—mourning for the departed became taboo. Thus, just like Mao’s China and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, [6] so too Castro’s Cuba warned family members of murdered dissidents not to cry at their funerals. [7]

The Castro regime also has a long, grotesque record of torturing and murdering Americans. During the Vietnam War, Castro sent some of his henchmen to run the “Cuban Program” at the Cu Loc POW camp in Hanoi, which became known as “the Zoo.” Its primary objective was to determine how much physical and psychological agony a human being could withstand. The Cubans selected American POWs as their guinea pigs. A Cuban nicknamed “Fidel,” the main torturer at the Zoo, initiated his own personal reign of terror. [8] The ordeal of Lt. Col. Earl Cobeil, an F-105 pilot, illustrates the Nazi-like nature of the experiment. Among Fidel’s torture techniques were beatings and whippings over every part of his victim’s body, without remission. [9] Former POW ______ John Hubbell describes the scene as Fidel forced Cobeil into the cell of fellow POW Col. Jack Bomar:

The man [Cobeil] could barely walk; he shuffled slowly, painfully. His clothes were torn to shreds. He was bleeding everywhere, terribly swollen, and a dirty, yellowish black and purple from head to toe. The man’s head was down; he made no attempt to look at anyone. . . . He stood unmoving, his head down. Fidel smashed a fist into the man’s face, driving him against the wall. Then he was brought to the center of the room and made to get down onto his knees. Screaming in rage, Fidel took a length of black rubber hose from a guard and lashed it as hard as he could into the man’s face. The prisoner did not react; he did not cry out or even blink an eye. His failure to react seemed to fuel Fidel’s rage and again he whipped the rubber hose across the man’s face. . . . Again and again and again, a dozen times, Fidel smashed the man’s face with the hose. Not once did the fearsome abuse elicit the slightest response from the prisoner. . . . His body was ripped and torn everywhere; hell cuffs appeared almost to have severed the wrists, strap marks still wound around the arms all the way to the shoulders, slivers of bamboo were embedded in the bloodied shins and there were what appeared to be tread marks from the hose across the chest, back, and legs. [10]

Earl Cobeil died as a result of Fidel’s torture.

Maj. James Kasler was another of Fidel’s victims, although he survived the treatment:

He [Fidel] deprived Kasler of water, wired his thumbs together, and flogged him until his “buttocks, lower back, and legs hung in shreds.” During one barbaric stretch he turned Cedric [another torturer] loose for three days with a rubber whip. . . . the PW [POW] was in a semi-coma and bleeding profusely with a ruptured eardrum, fractured rib, his face swollen and teeth broken so that he could not open his mouth, and his leg re-injured from attackers repeatedly kicking it. [11]

The reign of terror against American POWs in Vietnam was just a reflection of Castro’s treatment of his own people. In addition to physical hardships even for those who don’t wind up in prison or labor camp, his police state has denied Cubans any freedom at all. Cubans do not have the right to travel out of their country. They do not have the right of free association or the right to form political parties, independent unions, or religious or cultural organizations. The regime has outlawed free expression; it has consistently censored publications, radio, television, and film. There is a Committee for the Defense of the Cuban Revolution (CDR) for every single city block and every agricultural production unit. The CDR’s purpose is to monitor the affairs of every family and to report anything suspicious. A Cuban’s entire life is spent under the surveillance of his CDR, which controls everything from his food rations to his employment to his use of free time. A vicious racism against blacks accompanies this repression. In pre-Castro Cuba, blacks enjoyed upward social mobility and served in many government positions. In Castro’s Cuba, the jail population is 80 percent black, while the government hierarchy is 100 percent white. [12]

Cuban Communism follows Lenin’s and Stalin’s idea of “equality,” wherein members of the nomenklatura live like millionaires while ordinary Cubans live in utter poverty. The shelves in the stores are empty, and food is tightly rationed for the average citizen. Teachers and doctors drive taxis or work as waiters to support their families. Under the system of tourist apartheid, ordinary Cubans are not allowed inside the hotels designated for tourists and party functionaries. There are, of course, police inside every such hotel to arrest any unauthorized Cuban citizen who dares to enter.

The $5-billion-a-year Soviet subsidy that just barely kept the Cuban economy afloat during the Cold War is long gone. And notwithstanding the $110 billion that the Soviets pumped in over the decades, Cuba has become one of the poorest nations in the world. Its sugar, tobacco, and cattle industries were all major sources of exports in the pre-Castro era. Castro destroyed them all. [13] Because of his belief in “socialism or death,” Cuba is now a beggar nation. Even Haitian refugees avoid Cuba.

Denied the right to vote under Castro, Cubans have voted with their feet. Pre-Castro Cuba had the highest per-capita immigration rate in the Western hemisphere. Under Castro, approximately two million Cuban citizens (out of eleven million) have escaped their country. Many have done so by floating on rafts or inner tubes in shark-infested waters. An estimated fifty thousand to eighty-seven thousand have lost their lives. [14] Not content to trust the sharks, Castro has sent helicopters to drop sandbags onto the rafts of would-be escapees, or just to gun them all down. Epitomizing this barbarity was the Tugboat Massacre of July 13, 1994, in which Castro ordered Cuban patrol boats to kill forty-one unarmed Cuban civilians—ten of them children—who were using an old wooden tugboat in their attempt to flee Cuba. [15]

Naturally, the Left initiated a romance with Castro and his slave camp, just as it did with Lenin’s and Stalin’s Gulag. American leftists even, in 1969, formed the Venceremos Brigade, a coalition whose members traveled to work in Cuba to show their solidarity with the Communist revolution. These fellow travelers participated mostly in sugar harvests in the first pilgrimages, while later brigade members engaged in various types of agricultural and construction work. High-profile Western leftists, meanwhile, including Susan Sontag, Jean-Paul Sartre, Norman Mailer, and Abbie Hoffman, also made pilgrimages to Cuba. [16]

As earlier believers had done with Stalin, Castro’s devotees heaped grossly disproportionate praise upon him. Leo Huberman and Paul Sweezy made their pilgrimage to Cuba in the fall of 1960. The two believers ended up receiving all the attention they craved from their father-god, marveling at how “lucky” they were to spend “two long evenings with Fidel, in relaxed surroundings and with only a few present.” After their visit, they reported that

Fidel is a passionate humanitarian, not in the fraudulent sense that he loves all humanity but in the meaningful sense that he feels compassion for human suffering, hates injustice because it causes unnecessary suffering, and is totally committed to building in Cuba a society in which the poor and the underprivileged shall be able to hold up their heads and enjoy a fair share of the good things of life. He treats people within this framework—kindly, sternly, implacably, according to their actual or potential role in creating or hindering the creation of the good society. [17]

Castro personally drove his guests around to certain locations he wanted them to see. The two believers recall this tour with great awe and emotion:

On the way out of Havana he made a long detour through the wealthiest residential streets of the Miramar district. As he drove around, he kept saying, as much to himself as to the rest of us, “Look at how they live”; and in that brief phrase there was expressed not so much a feeling toward “them” as a sense of outrage at a system that could enable a few to live like kings while the great majority stagnated in ignorance, squalor, and often outright hunger. [18]

While trying to digest the notion that this secular messiah was driving them around, Huberman and Sweezy witnessed that they were not alone in their reverence:

Accompanying him as he goes among his people, one not only sees it; all of one’s senses are overwhelmed by it. To watch the faces light up as their owners suddenly recognized the driver of our car; to hear the delighted cries of “Fidel, Fidel”; to experience the rush of people, young and old alike, whenever the car stopped, even if only for a red light, people drawn like iron filings to a magnet, wanting to shake his hand, touch his sleeve, wish him well; to smell the sweaty bodies of hundreds of construction workers who swarmed around the car when it was halted by an obstruction in the road, pouring out to him their problems and urging that he take action to clear away obstacles to the more rapid completion of their project—those were indeed unforgettable experiences. [19]

One assumes that Huberman and Sweezy, had they been in Moscow in March 1953 and witnessed Soviet citizens sobbing hysterically upon learning of Stalin’s death, would also have considered that an “unforgettable experience.”

It is eerily apparent from their tone and choice of wording that Huberman and Sweezy are completely immersed in one of the key dynamics of the believer’s diagnosis: the surrendering of self to a stern and all-knowing secular god. Castro is driving them, leading them, explaining all to them. They have no minds of their own, disagree with absolutely nothing, and, like the rest of “the people” in their imagination, are completely in his hands. They are all worshipping Castro, trying to touch his sleeve, surrendering their wills to his supremacy. In this desperate attempt at a religious epiphany, Huberman and Sweezy shed their own individuality and submerge their entire beings into the collective veneration of the tyrant before them.

Huberman and Sweezy did not even consider the vital questions they ought to have asked themselves while observing the cult of personality in action: What if one of these individuals had stood apart from the crowd and voiced his dissent? What if he had announced that he did not think like the others and that he did not approve of Castro or support his policies? What would happen to such an individual? These are the questions that we would expect someone concerned with human dignity, freedom, and “social justice” to ask. But Huberman and Sweezy seem completely unaware that expressions of support for a regime, and expressions of love for a leader, are utterly meaningless in a country where any contrary expression will be punished by imprisonment, torture, and execution.

Jerry Rubin joined the chorus of devotees during his trip to Cuba in 1964, when he engaged in negative identification vis-à-vis Castro’s chief executioner, Che Guevara. Rubin proudly recalls:

We were 84 Amerikan students visiting Cuba illegally in 1964. We had to travel 14,000 miles, via Czechoslovakia, to reach Cuba. . . . As Che rapped on for four hours, we fantasized taking up rifles. Growing beards. Going into the hills as guerrillas. Joining Che to create revolutions throughout Latin America. None of us looked forward to returning home to the political bullshit in the United States. [20]

Berkeley activist Todd Gitlin traveled to Cuba with an SDS delegation to a Cultural Congress in 1967. In the belly of the totalitarian beast, where he was well aware that dissidents were rotting in jail and being tortured beyond imagination, Gitlin too experienced the intoxication of negative identification. Leaving Cuba proved quite painful for him. He recalls:

What was palpable was the pain of re-entry to my homeland. . . . At the Mexico City airport, having a drink with Dave Dellinger and Robert Scheer, I looked out the window and saw a billboard advertising Cutty Sark. I had to change seats: after twenty-three days where public space was turned to revolutionary use, capitalist propaganda disgusted me. [21]

What disgusted him, of course, were the withdrawal symptoms he was experiencing—analogous to a drug addict coming off his fix. For twenty-three days he had experienced his euphoria of shedding his inner self and submerging himself within the totalitarian whole. In Cuba he had found a home where even the slightest dissent would be crushed instantly and the concept of the individual was non-existent. The advertisement he saw, therefore, was a horror to him, since it symbolized a free society where individuals could use their free will to pursue their own tastes and desires. This reality is anathema to the believer.

As Gitlin so well revealed, Western leftist intellectuals were greatly inspired by the persecution of intellectuals in Cuba, just as the earlier generation had been by the persecution of intellectuals in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Charmed by the notion of a society in which their own talent—as well as their entire being—would be extinguished, they continued the practice of labeling the totalitarian monstrosity the opposite of what it was.

Acclaimed American cultural critic Susan Sontag was one of many true believers who similarly engaged in this practice. After a trip to Cuba in 1968, she claimed that “No Cuban writer has been or is in jail, or is failing to get his work published.” [22] She stated this falsehood with full awareness that dissident Cuban writers languished in Castro’s Gulag, and that not one work that was critical of the regime had been published in Cuba. Instead, she boasted that “the Cuban revolution is astonishingly free of repression. . . . Not only has the Cuban revolution not begun eating its children . . . it has no intention of doing so.” [23]

Sontag believed she had found utopia in Castro’s Cuba. Here human beings had been able to shed many elements of capitalist oppression, which included, as Sontag noted with satisfaction, the socially manufactured need to sleep. Sontag observes how it is completely “common,” ten years into the revolution, “for people to go without sleep—talking and working several nights a week.” [24] She also notes, with approval, how “Even deprived of the right to go into private business or to see pornographic films, the great majority of Cubans feel vastly freer today than they ever did before the revolution.” [25] These insights raise several crucial questions: Why did Sontag believe she could speak for the “great majority” of Cubans? How exactly did she know that they felt “freer”? How about the ones who didn’t feel freer? And what exactly would happen to an individual who did try to go into private business or watch pornography? Did Sontag believe that Armando Valladares, and the thousands of other political prisoners who languished in isolation cells while covered in feces, felt “freer” as well?

As leftist intellectuals like Sontag followed the tradition of venerating regimes that imprisoned, tortured, and executed intellectuals, so counterculture leftists who supported gay rights worshipped a tyranny that persecuted homosexuals, dishing out prison sentences of up to twenty years for homosexual behavior. [26]

Castro’s persecution of homosexuality is part of the phenomenon of totalitarian puritanism. As discussed in the believer’s diagnosis, human beings must submit every aspect of their lives to the greater whole of the totalitarian order. Homosexuality is especially reviled in totalitarian structures: because it cannot lead to procreation, it is seen as being solely the pursuit of individual pleasure for its own sake. As Paul Hollander notes in the case of Cuba,

Evidently the persecution of homosexuals can be explained not only by cultural traditions or machismo—plausible as it might seem to be—but also by the totalitarian puritanism of the new regime and its zealous pursuit of conformity in all walks of life. Apparently prior to the revolution no comparably massive and systematic repressive measures were taken against them. [27]

While adamant about the right to “free love” and sexual self-determination in their own society, believers sacrificed—and continue to sacrifice—these principles in regard to Cuba, the Taliban regime, the Palestinian Authority, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and any other society that has won their affection. This is because they see sexual freedom, like intellectual freedom, only as a weapon to be used to destroy their own society. They don’t care about these rights and freedoms in and of themselves. Once Ground Zero has been accomplished and the utopia they dream of is under construction, they see them as no longer important—and even dangerous to hold onto, since they threaten to destroy the road to earthly redemption. Ernesto Cardenal, the Sandinista minister of culture and one of the nine comandantes who ruled Nicaragua after the 1979 revolution, represented the Left best in this regard. After returning from a trip to Cuba, he reported that Cuba’s homosexuals “were actually happier in the concentration camps [that Castro had built for them], a place like that where they were all together must have been almost like paradise for them.” [28]

In true leftist tradition, Western believers continue to shower adulation on Castro  to this day. Humberto Fontova has written a succinct account of the Left’s continuing dalliance with Castro in Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant. Here is just a portion of his compilation of leftist praise for the death-cult leader:

“Cuba’s own Elvis!”—that’s how Dan Rather once described his friend Fidel Castro. Oliver Stone, another friend, describes Fidel as “very selfless and moral” and “one of the world’s wisest men.” “A genius!” agreed Jack Nicholson. Naomi Campbell said meeting Castro was “a dream come true!” According to Norman Mailer, Castro is “the first and greatest hero to appear in the world since the Second World War.” Jean-Paul Sartre said, “Castro is at the same time the island, the men, the cattle, and the earth. He is the whole island.” . . . Actress Gina Lollobrigida cooed, “Castro is an extraordinary man. He is warm and understanding and seems extremely humane.” Francis Coppola simply noted, “Fidel, I love you. We both have the same initials. We both have beards. We both have power and want to use it for good purposes.” Harry Belafonte added: “If you believe in freedom, if you believe in justice, if you believe in democracy, you have no choice but to support Fidel Castro!” [29]

Steven Spielberg visited the father-god in Havana in the fall of 2002. He called the meeting with Castro “the most important eight hours of my life.” [30]

Castro’s Cuba has been an exhilarating gift to the American Left, presenting it with a totalitarian death-cult to worship with a wonderful geographical bonus: it is close to home, just ninety miles from the Florida coast.

Notes:[1] Raul Castro served the Cuban tyranny faithfully and was just as vicious—if not more so—as Fidel. For an account of Raul’s career as executioner and hardliner in Fidel’s despotism, see Humberto Fontova, “Cuba’s New and Improved Tyrant,” FrontPageMagazine.com, February 27, 2008.

[2] For one of the best accounts of the brutality of the Castro regime, see Pascal Fontaine, “Cuba: Interminable Totalitarianism in the Tropics,” in Courtois et al., The Black Book of Communism, pp. 647–665.

[3] Ibid., p. 657.

[4] Armando Valladares, Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag, trans. Andrew Hurley (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2001), p. 137.

[5] Ibid., p. 379.

[6] For China’s case, see chapter 7 of this book; for Cambodia’s, see John Perazzo, “Left-Wing Monster: Pol Pot,” FrontPageMag.com, August 8, 2005.

[7] Valladares, Against All Hope, p. 378.

[8] Stuart I. Rochester and Frederick Kiley, chapter 19, “The Zoo, 1967–1969: The Cuban Program and Other Atrocities,” in Honor Bound: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia 1961–1973 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1999).

[9] Fontova, Fidel, pp. 141–142.

[10] Rochester and Kiley, Honor Bound, p. 400.

[11] Ibid., p. 404.

[12] Fontova, Fidel, p. 88.

[13] Ibid., pp. 14–15 and 49.

[14] Ibid., pp. 8 and 56–57.

[15] Ibid., pp. 157–163.

[16] For a comprehensive account of the Left’s adoration of Castro’s Cuba, see Hollander, Political Pilgrims, pp. 223–267.

[17] Leo Huberman and Paul Sweezy, Cuba: Anatomy of a Revolution (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1961), p. 176.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid., p. 177.

[20] Rubin, Do It, p. 20. In fact, Rubin did return to the “political bullshit in the United States.” He ended up earning private fortunes working on Wall Street and becoming a business entrepreneur, something that the victims of Vietnamese and Cuban tyranny had no opportunity to do.

[21] Quoted in Collier and Horowitz, Destructive Generation, p. 272.

[22] Susan Sontag, “Some Thoughts on the Right Way (for Us) to Love the Cuban Revolution,” Ramparts, April 1969, p. 18.

[23] Ibid., p. 14.

[24] Ibid., p. 10.

[25] Ibid.

[26] For discussions of Castro’s persecution of homosexuals, see Valladares’s Against All Hope; Fontaine, “Cuba,” p. 656; and the memoir Before Night Falls by the Cuban gay writer Reinaldo Arenas, trans. Dolores M. Koch (New York: Viking, 1993).

[27] Hollander, Political Pilgrims, p. 261.

[28] Collier and Horowitz, Destructive Generation, pp. 246–247.

[29] Fontova, Fidel, p. 11.

[30] Ibid., p. 154.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Glazov Gang column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEOS: President Trump Honors Cuban-American Veterans of the Bay of Pigs Invasion

President Donald J. Trump, “America will never be a socialist or a Communist country.”


Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence and Cuban-American patriots of Brigade 2506

TRANSCRIPT

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. Please. Thank you very much. And I’m delighted to welcome you to the White House as we honor the Cuban-American veterans of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Brave people. Great people.

I was honored to receive the endorsement of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association in 2016, and they gave me a beautiful award. And I have it very proudly on a wall of great importance to me.

And I just understood that, once again, I’ve received your official endorsement and support. And I very much thank you for that. Thank you all very much. That’s a great honor. (Applause.) It’s a great honor.

Today, we reaffirm our ironclad solidarity with the Cuban people and our eternal conviction that freedom will prevail over the sinister forces of communism and evil of many different forms.

Sixty years ago, these Cuban patriots formed Brigade 2506 in a daring effort to liberate their homeland from the communist Castro regime. Today, we declare America’s unwavering commitment to a free Cuba. And you will have that. You will have that very soon.

We’re glad to be joined – (applause) – they will have it, Mike, won’t they? Huh? It’s happening very fast, actually.

We’re glad to be joined by Vice President Mike Pence. And you know what I’d like to do? I’d like to have Mike come up, say a few words. He’s very much wedded to what you are believers in. He believes in Cuba, and he believes in a lot of help for you. So, Mike, please come up and say a few words. (Applause.)

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Thank you, Mr. President. It’s a privilege to join you today amongst so many heroes – 23 heroic veterans of Brigade 2506. As you said, Mr. President, April 1961, with American support, Brigade 2506 landed on the beaches along the Bay of Pigs vastly outnumbered by Castro’s socialist forces. Twelve hundred were captured.

America secured the release of nearly all of the prisoners 20 months later, but the last prisoner was not released until 1986. And upon his arrival in Miami, history records that he said, “I am grateful to be in the land of freedom.” (Applause.)

This fall, Mr. President, you’ll also mark 40 years since the conclusion of the Mariel boatlift, when 125,000 Cubans fled socialism for freedom here in America. And I’m proud to stand with you, Mr. President, because President Donald Trump believes this is a hemisphere of freedom, and we will always stand for freedom. (Applause.)

Mr. President, you’ve taken strong action to stand for freedom in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. And today, with the new sanctions that you’ll be announcing at this event, you will confirm that, in this White House, it will always be: que viva Cuba libre. (Applause.) Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much, Mike. And we appreciate it. And it’s great – ey appreciate your help very much, they so stated.

And thank you as well to Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Where is he? Great job. Ambassador to the Organization of American States Carlos Trujillo. Carlos, thank you very much. (Applause.)

And a friend of mine, a great gentleman, just recovered from a very serious bout, but he is strong. There was nothing going to take him down. Mario Díaz-Balart. Mario? Thank you, Mario. (Applause.) Great. Great job. It was great. And I’m – I know you’re 1,000 percent, and you did it fast. You’re strong. You’re very strong, Mario.

Anthony Gonzalez. Great football player, by the way. (Applause.) Great, great football player — all the way through the NFL. That’s great. And we got Ohio State going. We have the whole Big 10. We got that done, didn’t we, Anthony? And you helped, and I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

And Alex Mooney. Alex, thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you, Alex.

I also want to recognize Mauricio Claver-Carone, who has just been elected as the first American to lead the Inter-American Development Bank. That’s big stuff. (Applause.) He’s been my friend, and he agrees with what I said. He would get up — and when I talked about Venezuela, it was much different than the so-called experts. You know, the experts that have been talking about it for 20 years and nothing happens? And when I talked about Cuba, much different.

And my friend would get up and say, “You know, the only one that’s been right about this for two years is President Trump.” Hence, he’s heading this big bank now. It’s amazing. See, if you say nice things about the President, that’s what happens. Right? (Laughter.) But congratulations. You deserve it. You’re going to be fantastic. Thank you very much.

This milestone underscores our historic partnerships across Latin America.

On April 17, 1961, the 1,400 Cuban exiles of Brigade 2506 landed at the Bay of Pigs. They were met by fierce airstrikes, by heavy fire — very, very heavy — and 20,000 soldiers from the Castro regime. These brave warriors fought three grueling days. The brutal Castro regime imprisoned them for 20 months, until the United States negotiated their release.

Today, we are profoundly honored by their presence. We’re joined by these 20 incredible veterans — Brigade 2506 — and their families. Could I ask you to stand, please? Because that’s — that’s really great. (Applause.) That’s really good. You’re looking good, too. You’re looking good. Looking good. Wow. (Applause.) That’s great. Good-looking people in Cuba. That’s a good-looking group. I appreciate you being here. This is tremendous.

It’s an honor. You’ve been honoring me for four years, and now I’m honoring you, and that’s a nice way to do it.

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible) the next four years.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. No, we really appreciate it.

We will honor your courage with my administration’s determination to defeat communism and socialism. And we will do that in our country too. We’re in the process of doing it right now – and it has stepped, in my opinion, beyond the word “socialism” – and we are meeting it with great force.

My administration stands with every citizen of Cuba and Nicaragua and Venezuela in their fight for liberty. And we work for the day when this will become a fully free hemisphere. And it will be, for the first time in human history, a fully free hemisphere. And we will have it. We will have it. And it’s going to happen. (Applause.) It’s going to happen sooner rather than later. A lot of things are going on. A lot of things are going on right now that I can’t tell you about, but I will be soon.

The Obama-Biden administration made a weak, pathetic, one-sided deal with the Castro dictatorship that betrayed the Cuban people and enriched the communist regime. I cancelled the Obama-Biden sellout to the Castro regime. (Applause.)

We will not lift sanctions until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free elections are scheduled. They will have to go through a lot, but things are happening, and it’s very interesting to see the level at which they’re happening.

Earlier this year, we also demanded the release of human rights activist, José Daniel Ferrer. (Applause.)

Today, as part of our continuing fight against communist oppression, I am announcing that the Treasury Department will prohibit U.S. travelers from staying at properties owned by the Cuban government. (Applause.) We’re also further restricting the importation of Cuban alcohol and Cuban tobacco.

These actions will ensure that U.S. dollars do not fund the Cuban regime and go directly to the Cuban people. Big difference. Big difference, really.

We’re also imposing strict sanctions on the dictatorships of Nicaragua and Venezuela. We brought criminal charges against Maduro for his narco-terrorism.

The courageous veterans here today bear witness to how socialism, radical mobs, and violent communists ruin a nation. Now, the Democratic Party is unleashing socialism right within our own beautiful country.

Today, we proclaim that America will never be a socialist or communist country. And I’m going to add that word, “or communist.” (Applause.) It’s the first time I’ve ever said that. I’ve never added the other word, but I think it’s appropriate, Mike, when you look at the kind of ideology we’re also facing; when you see the rioters, looters, anarchists, and then you see the press — the media — play right into their hands. It’s so sad to see the media, the way they’re being used. The media is being used. Like fools, they’re being used. And it’s very sad to watch. But we will prevail. It’s the first time I’ve said that though, “socialism and communism.”

We did not fight tyranny abroad only to let Marxists destroy our beloved country. Together, we will defend our freedom and our American way of life. And we will defend it strongly and successfully, as we’ve been doing.

And as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we give thanks to the countless ways that Hispanic Americans uplift and inspire our nation. They’ve been so good to me.

And I must tell you that the big story is the poll numbers. “Trump has gone through the roof with the poll numbers from Hispanics.” They’re all talking about it. I just watched something and read a couple of articles, and they don’t know what’s happening. I guess they didn’t know I love you, but I do. They’re incredible people. Incredible people. They knew it. But they’re all shocked. There hasn’t been a time when something like this has happened.

Nearly 60,000 Hispanic Americans serve as police officers. More than 300,000 Hispanic Americans serve in the military. Over half of the Border Patrol agents are Hispanic and they’re incredible. I’ve gotten to know so many of them. They’re incredible. More than 3 million Hispanic-owned small businesses provide jobs for millions of Americans. They’re fabulous business people.

Hispanic Americans teach their children to love our country, honor our history, and respect our great American flag.

Hispanic Americans embody the American Dream. And my administration is delivering for you that American Dream, like nobody has ever delivered for the Hispanic Americans, and hopefully for everybody else.

We implemented the historic tax cuts, regulation cuts, and I recently created the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative to expand economic opportunity.

Before the China virus, we achieved the lowest Hispanic American unemployment rate ever recorded in our – in our country. I mean, like, it’s not even close. Last year, Hispanic American poverty reached an all-time low. We built the greatest economy in history, and now we’re doing it again. We closed it up; we saved millions and millions of lives. And now we opened it up. And you’ve been hearing about the “V.” We have a “V.” We may have a “super V.” And it’s coming back fast. We’re going to have a very good third quarter. That’ll be announced just prior to the election.

So I’m putting myself at risk when I say that, because if it’s not good, you can imagine there’ll be playing what I just said. They won’t say that I’m here representing the Hispanic Americans or Cubans or anything else. They’ll just say, “Look what he said.” But I’m willing to take that chance. We’re going to have a great third quarter. And next year is going to be one of the greatest economic years we’ve ever had. We feel very confident based on everything we see.

In the last four months, 3.3 million Hispanic Americans were hired to fill new jobs – a record. I’ve taken bold action to defend the right to religious liberty and the right to life.

We are protecting school choice for over 1 million Hispanic American students – such a big deal. In a second term, I will provide school choice to every family in America. We want every American to have a limitless future.

Here with us today is Bay of Pigs veteran, Humberto Cortina. (Applause.) Where’s Humberto? Stand up, please. Come up. Who founded a small business in Miami and was elected to the Florida State House.

Humberto, say a few words.

MR. CORTINA: Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good. Please. Be careful. I don’t want you falling on me. You’ll never – you’ll never be the same if you fall. (Laughter.)

MR. CORTINA: No – no way.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: You know, if you fall, they’ll never let you forget it. No matter –

MR. CORTINA: No, but the guys that – I know. All of them I know.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: – how good your speech. (Laughs.) Humberto, no matter how good your speech, it won’t matter, right? Please. Go have a good one.

MR. CORTINA: (Laughs.) Thank you, Mr. President, on behalf of the freedom fighters of the Brigade 2506 for the opportunity of being here with you today.

I was wounded during the Bay of Pigs invasion. As a result, the bullets got the sciatic nerve on both of my legs, and I was not able to walk for two years. When I returned from Castro’s prison, I joined the United States Army with a presidential officer appointment. I felt very honored – very honored to serve in the armed forces of our great country. And I always believed that even though we lost that battle, the war against socialism and communism continues now, as it did then.

After my service in the U.S. Army, I graduated from the University of Florida. I’m a Gator, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good.

MR. CORTINA: I’m a Gator. I’m a Gator. And for five years, I worked as the Regional Director of the Council of the Americas in Latin America, where I realized the importance of communication, our values, and the opportunities that this great country offers.

In 1982, I was one of the first Cuban Americans elected to the State of Florida House of Representatives. I have a couple here that – earlier or maybe later. I don’t remember. (Laughs.) And what I learned there was a good and strong leadership means. And as a small-businessman, for 20 years, I appreciate the opportunities that this country extends to everyone who puts the time and efforts to achieve the American Dream, regardless of where you come from.

And as a father and grandfather, I appreciate your leadership, Mr. President, and your vision for the future. And I look forward to your presidency for the next four years. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much.

MR. CORTINA: Thank you very much, sir. Thank you. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, Humberto, very much. That’s great. Thank you. Thank you very much. That’s great. Thank you very much, Humberto.

Mario, would you please come up and say a couple of words, please? Thank you.

REPRESENTATIVE DÍAZ-BALART: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for inviting a group of heroes who have never stopped fighting for freedom for their home and of Cuba, and for freedom and opportunity in the United States. Thank you for inviting these heroes.

And, Mr. President, the cause of a free Cuba, the cause of a free Venezuela, of a free Nicaragua, of a free hemisphere has never had a stronger ally, a stronger leader than this President. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, Mario, very much. It’s my honor. And it’s my honor. Thank you very much.

Also with us today is Colonel Johnny Lopez de la Cruz – I love that name – President of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association; was so nice to me four years ago – who went on to serve for 27 years in the United States military.

Johnny, please come up. Please. (Applause.)

MR. LOPEZ DE LA CRUZ: What an honor. Mr. President, on behalf of the members and families of the Brigade 2506, I would like to express our gratitude for the invitation to join you at the White House. It’s quite an honor.

Today, we are celebrating the freedoms that we have and want to preserve. We are here because we share your commitment to conservative principles: individual freedom, the rule of law, and racial equality. We particularly value your support for our troops and veterans, and the restoration of the military might of this nation while brokering peace agreements and avoiding conflicts and endless wars.

You have kept your promises. You are supporting freedom and human rights in this hemisphere while applying severe sanctions to the regimes of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. And we urge you to continue these policies and the efforts to rid the world of these communist, corrupt narco-terrorist regimes. Cuba must again be free after 60 years of communism. People are suffering in there, as well as in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Mr. President, thank you from the bottom of our heart for this splendid and emotional recognition that you have vested on the veterans of the Bay of Pigs Invasion Brigade 2506.

God bless you, and God bless America. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Beautiful. Thank you. Thank you very much. Great job.

The veterans we honor today are a powerful testament to all that a free people can achieve. In the past six decades, you have built strong families, thriving businesses, and vibrant communities.

Today we thank God for the blessings we share as citizens of the greatest country on Earth. And we hope, pray, and work for the day when the people of Cuba can finally reclaim their glorious destiny. It will happen soon.

Thank you. And God bless America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

©White House. All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLE: Trump Announces New Restrictions on Cuba, Including Travel and Cigars

President Obama flying to Communist Cuba — JFK turning over in his grave

The White House is finalizing plans for the President’s visit to Communist Cuba, perhaps so that Obama can escape from capitalism, at least for a few days? Maybe he will get a few hours sailing in with members of the Pensacola Yacht Club who just recently met up with Communist leaders? President John F. Kennedy must be turning over in his grave.

This trip is paid for by the American tax payer and funded by the GOPe led Congress of the United States. Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressman Paul Ryan indeed have got their hands in our wallets my friends but for nefarious purposes.

Its time to sweep out the aisles, pick up the empty vodka bottles and prepare the engines for Air Force 1 to burn some more JP5 jet fuel and tax payer cash to add to the fictitious Al Gore carbon footprint.

Time to fly to Cuba….. tax payer cost $1.2 million ….. charge it to the Beijing debit card. Don’t worry, it will be our grandchildren who will pick up the interest payments in 2045.

Berta_Soler_2013

Berta de los Angeles Soler Fernandez

Ladies and gentlemen, Cuba still has hundreds of citizens in jail for the political crime of wanting to be free. Yet the President of the United States has not demanded their release before his impending visit.

He could care less about the political prisoners in the Cuban gulags. He is too busy freeing Muslim terrorists from Guantanamo Bay Cuba and training his FEMA and BLM departments to arrest and shoot at American Patriots for grazing cattle on federal (American owned) land.

Many Cuban freedom fighters and dissidents like Ms. Berta de los Angeles Soler Fernandez, the leader of the “Ladies in White” protest group in Cuba are demanding that President Obama call for the release off all political prisoners before this tax payer funded visit.

Ms. Berta has also been invited to meet personally with President Obama at the new U.S. Embassy in Havana, which by the way was funded without congressional authority or Senate ratification.

Ms. Berta HAS NOT yet accepted the invitation to meet with Obama for his refusal to demand the release of all political prisoners and due to the blatant civil rights violations in Cuba by the Communist government. Unlike the folks at the Pensacola Yacht Club who gladly met these Communist leaders in Cuba last fall.

I have emailed this brave and honorable Patriot Cuban freedom fighter personally and all other dissident groups in Cuba and respectfully requested she/they not meet with our President. She is very sad in her heart that so many Cubans are in jails for just speaking their mind.

She has been invited to meet with President Obama at the U.S. embassy in Havana on Tuesday, March 22nd. I asked her stay home. I personally would not attend any meeting with the President. He is a disgrace to the free world. He is a disgrace to this Constitutional Republic and its Bill of Rights. The freedom fighter dissidents who refuse to meet him would be a huge embarrassment to Obama’s so called landmark trip to Cuba.

Ms. Berta has demanded that Obama call for an amnesty for Cuba’s political prisoners.

President Obama truly believes that opening diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba, without Congressional and Senate approval and without congressional funding, is a major foreign policy achievement. Remember JFK and the Bay of Pigs invasion which took place in January 1959?

I say its criminal and an impeachable offense. But then again Speaker of the House Paul Ryan may not know that Cuba has made friends with us?

All President Obama is doing with this visit is aiding and abetting a Communist dictatorship much like the one he has led in the United States since 2008.

The GOPe is also to blame for not defunding the money for the Cuban embassy and its staff. The establishment Republican Party leadership in Washington D.C. has lost all respect from the people of this nation.

Elisardo sanchez

Elizardo Sanchez

So the tax payers will be funding Obama’s afternoons in Cuba at a baseball match between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team alongside Cuban president, Raul Castro – the man who has ordered the mass arrest and imprisonment of Cubans for speaking out against the tyranny of Communism. He is the same man who permitted the Communist sympathizers from the Pensacola Yacht Club to enter Cuban waters last fall.

Dissident Ms. Soler, who would be welcomed into the TEA Party movement, also refused to meet up with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when the embassy in Havana was reopened in August of last year, after he failed to invite dissidents to the official opening ceremony.

Now remember Senator Marco Rubio helped confirm as Secretary of State John Kerry.

So, while the rest of us prepare our income taxes to fund Obama’s trip to Cuba, Elizardo Sanchez, Cuba’s most famous human rights activist, was arrested at Havana airport, on arriving from Miami.

So you see Communists in Cuba much like the BLM in this nation are evil. Group hugs from the Obama White House.

And as a reminder the women in Ms. Bertha Soker’s freedom group were also regularly arrested and beaten up during protests and harassed by police. Her words to me online.

She also accused the Cuban government of beginning a new policy of taking money from their bank accounts, justifying the “robbery” by saying the money had been sent from the U.S. to encourage revolt. Obama also goes into our bank accounts here in the USA without due process violating your 4th Amendment Rights at anytime Obama uses the IRS as his personal political weapon of choice….. no difference…. Communism at work… control of the people.

Now as I write this the freedom fighter dissidents in Cuba are saying “At this very moment, outside our offices, there are three groups of police stationed there,”

Ms Soler, 52, who began her activism when her husband was sentenced to 20 years in prison for founding an alternative political party, insisted the human rights situation in Cuba was actually getting worse. She said there were currently over 80 political prisoners being held, and that Mr Obama should use his visit to call for an amnesty. “He must demand their release,” she said. “It needs to be about more than smiling and shaking hands.”

Cuba’s Communist government has said it has no political prisoners, and that opponents mistakenly consider armed counter-revolutionaries and common criminals as political cases.

This sounds familiar right? Except in the United States counter-revolutionaries are TEA Party patriots, ranchers in Nevada and Oregon and Americans with Gadsden flags or Northern Virginia Battle in their front yards, banned by Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, who is now running for the U.S. Congress Florida’s District 1

Back to Cuba, Ms Soler’s complaint – taken up with gusto by Mr Obama’s Republican opponents – was echoed by Armando Valladares, a former political prisoner now based in Miami. “This visit is an enormous slap in the face to us, and a backing for tyranny,” he said.

Even Cubans that want freedom are against this visit by Obama  but you have to understand President Obama is a Communist sympathizer at heart and he doesn’t care what we or the freedom fighters in Cuba think.

Lets talk about brave patriot Mr. Valladares, age 78. He spent 22 years of his life in a Cuban prison for wanting to be a free man– he also ridiculed the notion that an increase in tourism would enhance Cuban democracy. “It’s incredibly pretentious of the U.S. to think that when the tourists invade the streets, suddenly Cubans’ eyes will be opened and with a magic wand they will be awakened,” he said today.

This my friends is the real story in Cuba.

It will not be printed in the Obama controlled media in the United States. It will be glossed over. President Obama’s trip will be portrayed as a huge political victory for the Communist government of Cuba and the government of the United States. This story will not make the Pensacola News Journal or the any other Florida media outlets.

Cubans are still starving for freedom and continue to rot in Cuban gulags, they continue to be arrested for speaking their mind and continue to live in a state of fear in Socialist/Marxist created poverty.

Our southern borders remain wide open and the Communist backed members of left wing groups who are in this nation illegally even from Cuba are still sucking off the tax payer titty and why even today they blocked roads in Arizona. They tried to shut down the first Amendment Rights of presidential candidate Mr. Donald Trump.

This is how Communists operate ladies and gentleman. Attack, censor, interfere and disrupt (ACID). I am sure Mr. Trump just added another 20 feet to the wall that he promised build to protect the sovereignty of this nation.

Communism is the forefront ideology of Bernie Sanders, Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton and many in our congress all of it paid for by the American tax payer.

Mr. Trump is the hammer about to come down on top of their sickle. Their days of inflecting tyranny on the U.S. are numbered. Their giving aid and comfort by supporting Communist governments abroad are swiftly coming to a close.

Cuba Libre!

US President Barack Obama (2nd L), First Lady Michelle Obama (L) and daughters Malia (2nd R) and Sasha (R) disembark from Air Force One at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on March 20, 2016. Obama arrived in Cuba to bury the hatchet in a more than half-century-long Cold War conflict that turned the communist island and its giant neighbor into bitter enemies. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama (2nd L), First Lady Michelle Obama (L) and daughters Malia (2nd R) and Sasha (R) disembark from Air Force One at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on March 20, 2016. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM

UPDATE: Foreign Policy reports:

And on Tuesday, Obama will meet with dissidents, including Berta Soler, the leader of the Ladies in White, an opposition group made up of the wives of political prisoners.

But just hours before Obama’s arrival, Cuban police arrested dozens of protesters at a Ladies in White event in Havana. The arrests may open the president up to more attacks from members of the U.S. Congress who oppose his engagement with the Castro regime.

Many Cubans remain skeptical that Obama’s diplomatic outreach will influence the government for the better.

“Everyone wants to know how we Cubans feel about Obama coming,” said Yamile Suárez, 36, standing near a recently repaved road in Havana. “I’m frankly just happy that giant pothole finally got filled in, so if I have him to thank for it, thanks, Obama!”

RELATED ARTICLES:

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Castro ordering its dissidents to skip meeting with Obama

Florida: Pensacola Yacht Club Embraces former Cuban Communist Naval Officer

Pensacola, Florida: ‘The City Of Five Flags’ Censores One of Its Flags

Who in the Congress funded the U.S. Embassy in Communist Cuba?

The Congress of the United States has still not voted to fund the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. The Senate still has not confirmed restoring diplomatic ties with Communist Cuba.

So who approved this restoration of diplomatic ties? John Kerry? He does not have this authority without Congressional approval and Senate confirmation.

Who is paying for the Embassy ? What budget is the money coming from?

In January 2016 over 1,451 pro-freedom anti-Communist Cuban dissidents, including 512 women, were arbitrarily arrested and detained by the Cuban police forces.

These folks all had their homes and personal property raided, confiscated and their families investigated. (Much like what the Obama Bureau of Land Management did to ranchers cattle in 2014).

Why? For speaking out against Communism and oppression.

This is the Bernie Sanders ideology of the dumbed down college kids who are promoting this Communist blindly across this nation that is a mirror image of the Castro’s family mind set. Also endorsed by Pope Francis.

This mind set of oppression and tyranny is not welcome in these Cuban freedom loving dissident groups. Bernie Sanders and the Pope would be run out of town.

All this while President Obama is stepping in to “strengthen relations” with Communist Cuba. But under whose authority?

Obama is also going on a visit next month to Havana on Air Force One. Who is funding this? Did the Congress approve this appropriation to pay for the fuel for this trip? Let us see the signed appropriation documents.

Why is Obama visiting this Communist island after the arrests of over 1,400 pro freedom dissidents by Raul Castro’s government in January alone? Why are tractor companies setting up business deals with the Communist regime?

Will these American companies donate some of the profits to the legal defense funds of Cubans currently in jail for speaking out against Communism? Why are U.S. Airline companies negotiating flights in and out of this Communist nation?

Will they too offer a legal defense fund for said political prisoners held in Castro’s jails under the charge of “just wanting to be free men and women.”

You cannot visit Cuba unless you first pay for health insurance in advance or face fines and jail for non compliance. Sound familiar? Cuba implemented Obama/Romney care in 1959. Fact.

Obama said he that he’ll promote human rights during his historic visit, the first by a sitting American president since 1928. This is all propaganda. Obama lies.

In all reality Obama may set up a Black Lives Matter rally, he may pin up some targets up on a state owned Communist barn showing the silhouette of police officers and have some range practice with his Communist friends.

The Congress of the United States currently serve no purpose and have voted themselves as irrelevant by their inaction on most matters concerning the US Constitution and Obama’s blatant disregard for it.

They the congress, by not defunding this US Embassy in Cuba and all fuel funding for US government employees and politicians to said country on US military and chartered aircraft, including AF1 make this much worse of a problem than Obama himself.

The GOPe led Congress are spineless and do not have the guts to put President Obama back in his Constitutional place.

Its time to replace all this in November with real Americans. Not much longer my fellow patriots.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Obama’s Radical Decision to Cozy Up to a Brutal Dictatorship

Obama’s Visit to Cuba Betrays America’s Commitment to Freedom

EDITORS NOTE: Learn more at TheRealCuba.com.

What is the Predominant Refugee Group in your State?

Oregon Live has produced this very cool map.  Please read the story to learn more.

For all of our new readers, go here, to see the federal list of refugee contractors working near you.  You should also see our Frequently Asked Questions.

 

map with predominant refugee group in your state

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

You Only Think You Know How Many Illegal Immigrants Live in the U.S.

New UN High Commissioner for Refugees has been chosen

Florida: Pensacola Yacht Club Embraces former Cuban Communist Naval Officer

This week the Communist sympathizers from the Pensacola Yacht Club set sail from Pensacola, Florida (imagine that) to meet up with Commodore Jose M. Diaz Escrich, a former member of Fidel Castro’s Communist Navy and  leader in his Communist Maritime forces.

The Pensacola News Journal on writing about this wonderful send off did not include the former Communist Navy Captains last name, but that’s okay nobody hides from the Senior Chief……I found it.

Escrich, one of Fidel Castro’ s closest military friends, was born on December 21, 1946 in the port city of Santiago de Cuba.  He entered into the formerly free Naval Academy of Cuba when he was 16 and worked for more than 25 years in the Communist Cuban Navy.

His duties included tracking down and arresting people trying to flee to Key West, Miami and other Florida cities to free themselves from the chains and bondage of Communism.

When the sailors from the Pensacola Yacht Club Show up in Havana Cuba the Castro – Communist Cuban Ministry of Tourism, will be on hand to recognize the participants’ efforts with gifts of flowers flown in from North Korea.

As of October  31st 2015 the number of political prisoners held in Cuba without due process or trial has climbed to 114, the opposition Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) noted.

I wish the Pensacola Yacht Club leadership much success with their mission to bring American dollars to the Communist Island to aid and assist in the continued efforts of Fidel and Raul Castro to oppress their people.

If you would like to contact the Cuban Ministry of Tourism and ask about all the tourists that have disappeared over the years the contact information is listed below. I called them up and they got irritated when I asked if I could speak to Fidel.

I am now on the Cuban Communist Party leadership most wanted list of not welcome with a potential shot at becoming a political prisoner for free speech.

Happy Trails…… The Pensacola Yacht Club is not too happy with me either but they can kiss my free, red blooded, American, flag waving, hamburger eating, apple pie filled you know what.

For those readers wishing to contact the Cuban Ministry you may do so using these links;

National Tourism Organization HAVANACUBA

Plaza de la Revolucion Calle 3ra. N? 6 entre G y F. El vedado HAVANA,CUBA

Tel.: 0053 7 8327535, 8345283, 8365269

UPDATE: Who sponsored the Pensacola Yacht Club sail boat race to Communist Cuba?

The Pensacola Yacht Club have almost concluded their sail boat race to the port of Havana in the Communist controlled island of Cuba.

The trophies will be presented to the winner’s of this race by Commodore José Miguel Díaz Escrich of the Communist Cuban Navy (retired) .

Commodore Escrich worked his way up through the ranks to Commander in Castro’s Communist Navy working with anti-submarine ships and maritime legal issues…. rounding up dissidents trying to flee Cuba to freedom.

The Commodore then returned to the classroom in Cuba, first as a professor at the Communist Naval academy, then as a master’s degree student-candidate at the highest level in the naval academy of the former Soviet Union. How sweet is that ?

Returning to Cuba after four years, he worked in Naval Base Operations on the General Staff, focusing on international maritime and legal issues otherwise known as “Arresting and hunting down Cubans trying to flee the country”.

After 25 years in the Communist Cuban Navy, Commander Escrich then created the Club Náutico Internacional Hemingway de Cuba (Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba)

The Pensacola Yacht Clubs latest port of call.

Fidel Castro and Ernest Hemingway met and fished together in a 1960 Hemingway game fishing tournament, celebrated at the Barlovento Tourist Residence, later named Marina Hemingway. Thus the name of the Marina.

This is also where the American – Communist and author Hemingway presented the Communist Cuban dictator with several trophies. Three photographs of Ernest Hemingway hang in the yacht club’s office today, including one of Hemingway and his boat, Pilar, dated 27 May 1950.

Perhaps the Pensacola Yacht Club sailors will get a tour and pose for pictures also with the new crowd of Communists running the marina.

So the Pensacola Yacht Club have sanctioned, embraced and met with a former member of Castro’s Communist maritime forces whose job it was to capture and arrest fellow Cubans fleeing to safety in Florida. They are soon meeting this Communist to receive trophies and break bread with people that have to date arrested and imprisoned 114 political prisoners for wanting only to be free.

To ensure this event was a success (excluding the bad storm that blew in the following start of the sail boat race) the following companies are listed as sponsors to the Pensacola Yacht Club’s sail boat race to Communist Cuba:

  1. Frontier Motors Pensacola
  2. Technology Associates
  3. Zern Rigging Pensacola
  4. Schurr Sails Pensacola
  5. Weather Routing Inc.

There are currently 114 political prisoners held in Cuban prisons for speaking out against oppression and servitude. Some of which are in jail because of the Cuban naval forces led by Commodore Escrish the new friend of the Pensacola Yacht Club and its leadership.

Perhaps the companies I listed above would now like to offer sponsorship to the political prisoners held in Castro’s gulags next time around and now disassociate itself from the Pensacola Yacht Club, a team that affords hospitality and salutations to a member of Fidel Castro’s Communist Naval forces to satisfy what ? Who knows the answer to that…perhaps they can figure it out.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of CookImages.com.

Coming to America: Asylum Seekers from Cuba, Africa and South Asia

Our June NER article, Trojan Horse Federal Refugee Program Brings Jihadi Threat to America: An Interview with Ann Corcoran noted the increasing numbers of illegal migrants making global treks by air and water to Latin America and the trek north to the U.S. border for asylum. They sought this difficult passage for a variety of reasons; but really one, “to seek a better life”.  Although there may be some among the 3,400 who have undertaken this dangerous long distance passage who may have other reasons in mind. Coincidentally, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Weekend Edition had a front page article, focusing on the passage through the Darien jungle of Panama, “Panama’s Perilous Jungle Is a New Route for Migrants”.  There are  also costly water passages by human traffickers that avoid the Darien jungle equivalent to those we have written about in the Mediterranean.  However, ike the experience of illegal migrants fleeing Syria, Sub Sahara Africa endeavoring to reach the EU via Libya and other crossing points they may be robbed and murdered by ‘coyotes,’ human traffickers.

 Among those interviewed in the WSJ article were illegal migrants from Guinea, Somalia, Pakistan and Cuba.  Note that common thread is escape from Jihadis, Sharia arranged marriages or tyranny, as in the case of Cuban refugees in this group.  What is also not lost is that all  illegal migrants have prior knowledge, that if they survive the trek north and illegally cross the U.S. southern border, they can present themselves as asylum seekers.  Because of U.S. asylum privileges for Cuban border crossers, they will likely not be detained but released to possible relatives. In other cases, as we have seen, they will  be transported to a DHS Immigration Customs Enforcement Detention Center, to await  a hearing before a Justice Department, Executive Office for Immigration Review,  immigration judge. Before him they will invoke the important words, ‘fear of physical or political threats’ before a quick decision is gaveled down admitting them as a refugee. They will then obtain benefits under the Refugee Act of 1980, including community placement, unless they can claim relatives here in the U.S.  The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program then takes over providing a smorgasbord of welfare, Medicaid, housing assistance and a pathway to ultimate citizenship. All without any reasonable means of screening asylees as documentation may be absent or virtually unavailable from their country of origin.

Watch this WSJ video:

Note these WSJ article excerpts.

A Somali:

Ahmed Hassan staggered through dense Panamanian jungle, crazy with thirst, his rubber sandals sliding in the mud, fearing he would die thousands of miles from his homeland in Somalia.

“I told my family I would go to the U.S., that was the plan,” said the 26-year-old truck driver, who said he fled late last year when al-Shabaab militants took his village. He flew to Brazil and made a cross-continental bus trip to Colombia.

In March came his biggest test: crossing the Darien Gap that connects South America with Panama and Mr. Hassan’s ultimate goal, the U.S.

“There was no water. There were snakes,” he said in a small holding center in Metetí, north of the jungle, gashes and bites covering his legs under his traditional sarong. “I thought I might die in that jungle.”

A Guinean:

There is still the journey through Central America and Mexico, but migrants say the Darien is the hardest. “I want to get to the U.S.,” said Hawa Bah, 20, who fled Guinea in West Africa. She spoke as she lay weak on a cot in a Panamanian holding center after getting lost in the Darien for more than 10 days.

“I was being forced into marriage, and I was worried about Ebola,” she said. “I’d rather have died in the jungle than go back.”

A Cuban Couple:

Yamil Gonzales, a Cuban, staggered up an incline above the beach, wheezing. “Agua,” murmured Mr. Gonzales, 45, collapsing against a tree as companions frantically dug through black garbage bags for water.

Soon, he was plowing through underbrush littered with bottles and broken sandals left by prior processions.

“It’s been hard, really hard,” said his wife, Yalile Alfonso, 47. “But in Cuba, there’s nothing. We had to come this way.” The couple was well-prepared, with passports, detailed plans to take buses to the U.S. border and knowledge of U.S. asylum laws.

A Pakistani:

But unlike the jungle route, this approach is close to Colombia, so border authorities can easily deport migrants without passports. That was Mohammed Khan’s fate. A father of four from Swat, a Pakistani area plagued by Taliban violence, he had landed with Mr. Gonzales. Months before, people of his village had pitched in $7,000 for his trip, he said.

A small pack on his back, Mr. Khan, 38, looked elated as he scrambled down the slope toward the tiny town of La Miel. People had told him Panama police would be hospitable.

But he had dumped his passport much earlier. The border authorities shook their heads as he pleaded: “Please, please, help me.” They marched him back up the mountain to Colombia.

Early this month, Mr. Khan texted that he re-entered Panama via the jungle, where he had seen “a lot dead.” He was in Guatemala, waiting to head north.

“Go USA,” he texted. “Plz pray.”

Note the open pathway to the U.S. once access to Panama is obtained:

Critics like Otto Reich, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, have said Ecuador’s open-door stance may result in a threat to the U.S. And Panamanian officials “know they are coming to the U.S. and then once here they will no longer be Panama’s problem,” said Mr. Reich, who heads a government-relations and trade-consulting firm.

Javier Carillo, director of Panama’s National Migration Service, says it is unfair to blame Panama for the problem, since migrants arrive illegally and pass through some nine other countries on their way to the U.S. A spokesman for Colombia’s immigration authority said it combats human smuggling and offers migrants the opportunity to apply for asylum or safe-conduct papers.

Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “is not aware of this human trafficking route.” Officials at Ecuador’s immigration authority didn’t respond to requests for comment. Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry has said the country doesn’t support criminal activity.

Cubans, who say crossing the Florida Straits has become too tough, are the biggest group flowing across and around the isthmus. Others from far-off countries are also arriving in growing numbers: Panama processed 210 Somalis crossing the Darien this year through March, up from 60 in the year-earlier period.

Where have we heard about the Darien Gap in what is now Panama?  Think of the brief Scottish colony of “Caledonia” established in the 1690 in the Gulf of Darien, that was supposed to conduct trade in both the Atlantic and Pacific. The so-called “Darien Scheme” failed for a host of reasons including poor planning, provisions and being ravaged by epidemics until the colony was overrun by Spanish military in 1700. Because it was backed by upwards of 50 percent of currency in circulation in Scotland, its failure ultimately forced the merger that created the United Kingdom in 1707.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

The Prison Called Cuba

mandela-obama-castro

President Obama’s handshake with Cuban President Raul Castro, at a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in 2013. REUTERS TV/REUTERS

We are told we need to feel sympathy for the Cuban people who have suffered from a U.S. embargo and lack of diplomatic recognition. That ignores a long history of oppression in Cuba no matter who was in charge.

Prior to Fidel Castro, Cubans were in the grip of Flugencio Batista who overthrew the existing government in September 1933 and then dominated Cuban politics for the next 25 years until Castro’s revolutionary movement took control of the capitol in January 1959.

Fifty-six years ago in 1959, I was about to graduate from the University of Miami and among my friends were young Cubans sent there to get a degree. I have often wondered which among them returned to Cuba and which, like those who could afford it, were joined by their family who fled Cuba.

The U.S. had been involved with Cuba from the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898 when Spain ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam for $20 million. We stayed in Cuba until it was granted independence in 1902 as the Republic of Cuba. Its first president faced an armed revolt in 1906 so we returned to briefly occupy Cuba to restore some stability, but they never really got the hand of being a democratic self-governing nation.

How much better it would have been for the Cubans if the U.S. had decided to make the island a territory like Puerto Rico. Then we could have let the island prosper without having to end up with becoming a Communist nation closely allied, first with the Soviet Union and after its collapse in 1991, with others like China and Venezuela.

The lesson we might be expected to draw from this is that Communism does not work. It is an utterly failed economic and social system that can only stay in power by jailing or executing anyone who resists. That is exactly what the brothers, Fidel and Raul Castro, have done since seizing power. One consistency of the past five decades has been the anti-America policies they have pursued.

The reason given by Obama was that U.S. policies toward Cuba “have not worked” and that it is time for a change. There is some truth in this and it should be noted that Canada has long had good relations with Cuba as have European and, of course, Latin and South American nations.

Even so, what are we to conclude from the report that Russia plans to join military drills with Cuba and North Korea that may also include Vietnam and Brazil? Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has left it sanctioned and isolated, so the military drills send a message that it still has nations friendly to it, but what nations!

Cuba was caught not long ago when it attempted to ship weapons to North Korea, so we are talking about two dedicated Communist nations. Over the years, it has more than demonstrated its anti-American hostility.

Generally, there is little to be gained by exchanging embassies or relieving Cuba. Lifting our embargo and other sanctions leaves the U.S. with even less leverage, if any.

What has been largely overlooked since Obama’s announcement is the fact that Cuba is still ruled by a Castro and is likely to remain so because Raul’s son, Alejandro Castro Espin, a colonel in Cuba’s intelligence apparatus is likely being groomed to take over after becoming a general and a member of the Communist Party Politburo, Cuba’s ruling body. As noted in an article in The Atlantic, it is the Cuban military not only that plays a major role in the Politburo, it also controls at least sixty percent of the island nation’s economy.

I have no doubt that reaching out to Cuba ranks just below reaching out to Iran as Obama contemplates his “legacy.” Both are notorious enemies of the U.S. Nor would it surprise me if Obama would try to unilaterally shut down Guantanamo. Failing that, he will do everything he can to empty it by the time he leaves office.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba has had to struggle to survive economically. Its earlier behavior got it banned from the Organization of American States that was not lifted until 2009, but which did not confer full membership until it was deemed to be “in conformity with the practices, purposes, and principles of the OAS.” At the time, Fidel said he was not interested in joining.

Not much has changed in terms of the enmity the Castro brothers have expressed toward the U.S. but practical considerations to keep unrest among elements of Cuba’s population under control require them to ease some of the earlier control over being able to travel and likely who Cubans can do business with would improve whatever commerce will be permitted.

At this point, the only “winner” is Cuba.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Fidel Castro’s Testament by Brian Latell

Oddly, there is no mention in the letter of the release of the three convicted Cuban intelligence agents from American penitentiaries. The key figures of the large Cuban spy ring that operated in the United States had been heralded as national heroes by Fidel before his retirement. He was extravagantly associated with the protracted campaign to win their release. The regime’s propaganda and intelligence machines labored long and diligently, overtly and covertly. But Fidel has not taken a victory bow now that they are home.

Rumors of Fidel Castro’s precarious health may swirl again in the aftermath of a letter issued over his signature earlier this week. Addressed to the Federation of University Students, the retired leader is quoted briefly about the changing Cuban relationship with the United States.

After remaining silent for more than five weeks following the announcements by President Obama and Raul Castro of measures taken in pursuit of détente, Fidel finally weighed in. “I will explain,” he is quoted saying, “in a few words, my essential position.”

Ghost written or not, his message provides a hedged endorsement of the process, though not of any of the steps taken by either side to normalize relations. He says nothing, for example, about the impending restoration of diplomatic relations that he caused to be broken in January 1961.

Nowhere in the message does Castro express unambiguous approval for detente. Perhaps the nearest he comes is by stating that he does not reject a “peaceful solution to conflicts or threats of war.” Employing similar lofty language, the letter merely states.

  • “Defending peace is the duty of all.”
  • “Any negotiated, peaceful solution . . . which does not imply the use of force must be addressed in accordance with international principles and norms.”
  • “We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all the world’s peoples, and with those of our political adversaries.”

In short, the message can only be read as grudging. Castro is quoted saying, “I do not trust the policy of the United States, nor have I exchanged one word with them.” It recalls his militance and intransigence during decades of dealings with ten American presidents: “revolutionary ideas must always be on guard. . . . In this spirit I have struggled, and will continue to struggle until my last breath.”

All this sounds reliably like Fidel. But the odds are good that he did not actually contribute meaningfully to the drafting of the document. It is impossible to know of course, but it reads more like a skillful brief composed by Raul Castro’s designees.

They wanted Fidel’s stamp of approval for moving toward better relations with the United States. Emblazoned on the front pages of the major Cuban dailies, the letter got maximum exposure on the island.

After Fidel’s long silence it was also necessary for the regime to stifle speculation that he had died or was on his deathbed. And, for many, his extended silence left the impression that he was opposed to normalization with Washington. It was unacceptable for either of those impressions to persist.

Yet, no utterance attributed to Fidel would have been credible had he enthusiastically endorsed rapprochement. Since his university days –as he in fact mentions in the letter — he pursued radical, anti-American ideals. For him now, in his late eighties, suddenly to abandon decades of anti-American intransigence would not have made sense. After all, the American economic embargo remains fully in force. Other historic Cuban demands are also still unassuaged. How could he give unequivocal approval to a process still in its early stages?

Oddly, there is no mention in the letter of the release of the three convicted Cuban intelligence agents from American penitentiaries, or of the America contractor who served five years in a Cuban jail. The key figures of the large Cuban spy ring that operated in the United States had been heralded as national heroes by Fidel before his retirement. He was extravagantly associated with the protracted campaign to win their release. The regime’s propaganda and intelligence machines labored long and diligently, overtly and covertly. But Fidel has not taken a victory bow now that they are home.

Nor has he met with them as they are being lionized in the official media as representatives of a new generation of revolutionary heroes. If he is not on his death bed, or severely impaired, a photo op with them would have been a routine event. Other than for reasons of health, therefore, it seems inexplicable that he has failed to boast of the Cuban success in bringing them home.

Two days after the letter was aired in Cuba, the press reported that Fidel had met with his old friend and biographer, Brazilian friar Frei Betto. They engaged, it was reported, in a friendly conversation about national and international issues. Normally under such circumstances, a photo of the two would have accompanied the article.

But this time, the photo of them attached to the story was acknowledged to have been taken in February 2014 during an earlier meeting. The most recent photos of Fidel appeared in the middle of last year and he has made no public appearance in about a year. Will rumors of his imminent demise be stoked anew?


Brian Latell, Ph.D., is a distinguished Cuba analyst and a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami. He has informed American and foreign presidents, cabinet members, and legislators about Cuba and Fidel Castro in a number of capacities. He served in the early 1990s as National Intelligence Officer for Latin America at the Central Intelligence Agency and taught at Georgetown University for a quarter century. Dr. Latell has written, lectured, and consulted extensively. He is the author of After Fidel: The Inside Story of Castro’s Regime and Cuba’s Next Leader and Castro’s Secrets: The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine. Brian Latell is a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.

The Stark Contrast Between Two People’s Views on the Communist Cuba / Castro Controversy with Obama

Hope all is well as I trust that everybody had a Blessed & Beautiful Christmas Holy Day…It’s not a Holiday – it’s a “Holy Day”…Along with the Day of the Resurrection, Christmas Day is the most significant day in our calendar year, as if it were not for these two days, I would not be writing this piece; we would not have eternal life…and Barack Obama would be the last thing on my mind…

But, we are blessed to have these two sacred days in our calendars…and, we are stuck with the Emperor for a little more than “730” days. And, boy, have these last “53” days been excruciating. Yes, since November 4th, when the Republican Party slapped the Liberals something silly – their ruthless and squeaky “lame duck” has made more noise than the AFLAC duck on TV commercials. And, with his latest and most blatant Executive Action taking place over a week ago – when he thought he would “go it alone”, again – taking on another Foreign Policy move that he has no place or business even going near – this fiasco with “Cuba & the Castro Commies” – is way out of his league…

And, like I wrote last week in my introduction message in regards to this down-right slap in the face to every Cuban exile living in this country, age 45 and up – Obama has no clue what he is doing with Fidel & Raul Castro – and does not even know what the word embargo means – let alone, what the word democracy means…

And, it seems that every time this dictator wannabe puts his foot in his mouth and does something that he has no business doing – he always manages to escape to Hawaii or the nearest golf course for another “much needed” vacation, as he is there now with Michelle and the girls, on our dime, again…

Yes, that has been Obama’s M.O. for the past 6 years – make a dumb move; create controversy; stir up the hornet’s nest; piss off the entire country; then go hide away in Hawaii or Martha’s Vineyard. But, this time, he knows he has to come back and he knows that come January, a new Congress will be awaiting him. And, he also should be well aware that what he did last week by gutlessly going behind our country’s back and “unofficially” trying to lift the embargo from Cuba, is going to cost him and it did not sit well with two vocal senators who have Cuban ties – Marco Rubio & Ted Cruz.

My prayer is that both, Rubio and Cruz, continue to take the lead in standing up against Obama in regards to this controversy with Cuba, and convince John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and the rest of this new Congress to NOT allow Obama’s Executive Action to actually take place. They need to fight this tooth and nail with all they’ve got and not allow any type of lifting of the embargo to take place until the ruthless tyrants who have run Cuba aground for the past 55 years, declare Cuba to be “Free of Communist Rule” and sign an agreement with the United States stating that Cuba will be a Free Democracy from now on, with Free Elections and that all human rights will be bestowed upon the 13 million Cubans living on this beloved island nation…Churches and schools must be open to everybody.

Until this is done – there is NO DEAL! I am all for progress and making things better with Cuba, but one cannot do business with ruthless dictators who have imprisoned, tortured and killed thousands of innocent people for over 5 decades, pretending that this never took place, and out of the clear blue, declaring Cuba “open for business”…There has to be a price to pay; an apology to take place; and lots of healing and conversion in order for the United States of America to do business with Cuba…Freedom does not come Free – and, it’s Cuba who needs to adjust to United States policies – not the other way around. If an embargo does take place sometime in the future, it is the U.S. who is doing Cuba a favor. Now, they need to come clean; release all prisoners; put down their guns and firing squads; lose that Communist flag; pay their dues and play by our rules. That’s the democratic way…That’s the only way…But, by the looks of things and from Raul Castro’s latest comments, it looks like he wants to stick to his guns and is still saying that “Cuba will always be under Communist rule as long as he is alive”…

And, there, the problem lies…but, Obama, as stubborn as he is, will continue to “go it alone”, and with those big ears of his, pretend that he did not hear Raul Castro’s latest comments…

The real problem is that an individual like Barack Obama has no clue what took place in Cuba the past 55 years. (He does not even now what took place in the United States the past 55 years, let alone, Cuba). He has no idea what the Castro brothers represent – and until you walk in the shoes of those courageous Cubans who left the island between 1959-1965, and see what they had to endure – do NOT even think of messing with their families’ history and the beloved island they had to leave because of Communist rule. This is sacred, personal and sensitive to all Cubans who fled back then and when an arrogant socialist like Obama decides that he knows best and is going to wreak havoc on these Cubans’ past & future by recklessly dealing with two Communist brothers who turned their lives upside down and more – you better be prepared to pay the consequences…Obama, don’t mess with Cuba…You would not want anyone to mess with your birthplace, Kenya…

So, please take a look at these two articles that I have included for you, below, so you can see how different two people’s points of view on this controversial issue with Cuba, Castro and Obama truly are. The first article happens to come from the President of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, who, you can tell, is quite liberal. Claims to be a devout Catholic – but, definitely, left-handed. His views on what Obama is trying to accomplish with Cuba is in total disagreement with the millions of Cubans who are living in this country today who see it as an insult to them and the place of their birth. Donohue’s comments about Obama and Pope Francis only adds more insult to injury and coming from the President of the Catholic League, his socialist views are just as slanted as Obama’s…

http://www.catholicleague.org/obama-pope-right-cuba/

Then, we have a phenomenal article and commentary from an incredible woman who was born and raised in Cuba – who saw it all first-hand, along with her very active family. Yes, Marielena Montesino de Stuart, a devout Pro-Lifer, patriot and outspoken Republican activist, who ran for U.S. Senate in 2012 – truly lays it all on the line here. She has the right to be able to express herself like this because she lived it. She walked in those shoes I was referring to earlier. Marielena basically says everything that I, along with any Cuban-American in this country (ages 45 and up), would have written. She could not have said it any better. Her article should serve as an inspiration to all Cubans in this country. Thank you for being bold for your Faith, your present country and for your country of birthplace…

http://romancatholicworld.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/rewarding-evil-obama-embraces-communist-cuba/

Friends: I humbly ask that we, as American citizens of this great country of ours – please keep this volatile situation with Cuba, the Castros and Obama – in deep prayer. Had it been anybody else (other than Barack Obama), executing this Executive Action – I know I would personally feel a lot more comfortable and confident that something positive is going to be happening in Cuba in the near future. Let’s face it – 55 years is way too long a time to have this beautiful island still under Communist rule – especially when it is only 90 miles away from my sister, Elena’s house, in Key West. But, I along with millions of Americans in this country (Obama’s approval ratings are at an all-time low right now), do not trust Obama with anything – especially with an area he has absolutely no experience in or clue as to what he is doing – Foreign Policy…it’s all foreign to him…and, Cuba can be quite dangerous…

In closing, let’s pray that Obama comes to his senses; that cooler and smarter heads prevail; that our new Congress shows some courage, boldness and self control; and that we, in fact, are able to do something with Cuba in the very near future. I honestly believe that this is in GOD’s Plan and we owe it to all those courageous and passionate Cubans who gave up their lives fighting for their Patria, dreaming that one day we would all be able to say out loud: VIVA CUBA LIBRE!!…I, for one, am one of those. And, although I came from Cuba, myself in 1961, at the age of three and consider myself more American than most Americans – my heart goes out to all those older Cubans who suffered and gave up so much for their beloved homeland (including my beloved mother and late father). It is only right that those well-deserving Cubans get to see a Free Cuba before they die and go to their final resting place knowing that, in the end – good triumphed over evil – GOD over the devil…Free Democracy over ruthless Communism…

VIVA CUBA LIBRE – BUT, NOT UNDER OBAMA!!!

The Cold War Cuban Detritus

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 the Cold War that had existed between it and the U.S. since the end of World War Two came to an end, but there was ditritus, loose ends like Cuba and it has taken until now for an end to the diplomatic obstacles whose roots reach back to the Eisenhower administration. In 1960 it had approved a CIA plan to arm and train a group of Cuban refugees to overthrow the Castro regime.

The Cuban dictator, Flugencio Batista, fled Havana on January 1, 1959 and Fidel Castro and his rebels entered the capital a week later on January 8. One sees the world through the prism of one’s own life and, that event was six months prior to my graduating from the University of Miami.

Among my friends in college were young men who were the children of well-to-do Cubans, so I was more aware of what was occurring than most my age when Castro took over. In 1960 I was inducted into the army and it was big news when the Bay of Pigs invasion occurred on April 14, 1961. President Kennedy had moved ahead on the CIA plan, but it was a failure and it was followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. The nation was literally on the edge of nuclear confrontation.

In the lead up to that the Second Infantry Division of which my unit was a part ceased its training mission and converted to one of battle readiness. In my case, however, I had already been discharged in April 1962. Kennedy declared a blockage of Cuba which had installed the Soviet missiles. Wisely, the Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev agreed to remove them.

AA - Cuba CastroCuba was and is the classic Soviet-style Communist regime. During the 1970s Fidel Castro dispatched troops to Soviet-supported wars in Africa. Cuba’s economy was always lean and its workers make about twenty dollars a month in U.S. dollars. In 1962 Cuba was suspended from the Organization of American States (OAS) that imposed sanctions against Cuba, but 1975 the OAS lifted its sanctions with the approval of sixteen member states and the U.S. but the U.S. has maintained its own sanctions from the days of the missile crisis.

Suffice to say Cuba has a long history of human rights abuses. It represses any political dissent and life for Cubans is devoid of free speech, free association, privacy, and due process of law; rights which Americans and others in free nations take for granted.

For some 53 years, the U.S has had no direct diplomatic relations with Cuba and when President Obama made the announcement that he was moving to normalize relations it was big news. It had been preceded by 18 months of secret negotiations about which, reportedly, no member of Congress was informed about. While it infuriated the Cuban-American communities most people, inside and outside of government agreed it was time, if not overdue, for this action.

There will be much speculation that normalization will be good news for the Cuban people and one can surely hope so, but until the brothers, Fidel and Raul—declared the new president in 2008 when Fidel resigned—are dead, the likelihood for any real improvement in their lives is distant.

In a similar fashion, many American business and agricultural interests are no doubt making plans to become a part of the Cuban economy, but they had better proceed with care. Cuba is still Communist in most respects despite Raul Castro’s efforts to portray himself as a reformer and Cuba a place where foreign business are welcome and can thrive. In 2012 he relaxed property rights, expanded land leases, and licensed businesses from pizza joints to private gyms.

In reality, Raul Castro has, as reported in McClean’s magazine in 2012, “scared off more joint ventures than he has attracted, jeopardizing the investment Cuba needs to succeed. Spanish oil giant Repsol quit the country. Canada’s Pizza Nova, which had six Cuban locations, packed its bags, as did Telecom Italia.” In one case after another, those who hoped to do business in Cuba were disappointed. In 2013 a British company, one of the biggest and most important business partners of Castro’s military and a key investor in the tourism industry was suddenly confiscated and its principals were imprisoned.

One dramatic example is Stephen Purvis, a British architect who, since 2000 had developed tourism projects, factories and docks through his company that was financed by private European backers. After living in Cuba for ten years with his family and investing heavily in it, he was rewarded by being imprisoned after being accused of spying. He would spend 16 months in Cuban jails until being able to flee. Everything his company owned was confiscated. He has since warned others against doing business with the Castros.

Since 1959, more than one million Cubans, about ten percent of the population, have fled Cuba, many of whom found a new home in America. When that many people wanted to leave, it tells you something is terribly wrong with life in Cuba. The tentative steps toward normalization after all this time are necessary, but the American government should proceed with care in the years ahead.

© Alan Caruba

Senator Marco Rubio: Obama Appeasing Rogue Cuban Regime ‘at all costs’

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding reports that President Obama is set to dramatically change U.S. policy toward Cuba following the release of Alan Gross, an American who was held hostage by the Castro regime in Cuba for five years:

“Today’s announcement initiating a dramatic change in U.S. policy toward Cuba is just the latest in a long line of failed attempts by President Obama to appease rogue regimes at all cost.

“Like all Americans, I rejoice at the fact that Alan Gross will be able to return to his family after five years in captivity. Although he is supposedly being released on humanitarian grounds, his inclusion in a swap involving intelligence agents furthers the Cuban narrative about his work in Cuba. In contrast, the Cuban Five were spies operating against our nation on American soil. They were indicted and prosecuted in a court of law for the crimes of espionage and were linked to the murder of the humanitarian pilots of Brothers to the Rescue. There should be no equivalence between the two, and Gross should have been released unconditionally.

“The President’s decision to reward the Castro regime and begin the path toward the normalization of relations with Cuba is inexplicable. Cuba’s record is clear. Just as when President Eisenhower severed diplomatic relations with Cuba, the Castro family still controls the country, the economy and all levers of power. This administration’s attempts to loosen restrictions on travel in recent years have only served to benefit the regime. While business interests seeking to line their pockets, aided by the editorial page of The New York Times, have begun a significant campaign to paper over the facts about the regime in Havana, the reality is clear. Cuba, like Syria, Iran, and Sudan, remains a state sponsor of terrorism. It continues to actively work with regimes like North Korea to illegally traffic weapons in our hemisphere in violation of several United Nations Security Council Resolutions. It colludes with America’s enemies, near and far, to threaten us and everything we hold dear. But most importantly, the regime’s brutal treatment of the Cuban people has continued unabated. Dissidents are harassed, imprisoned and even killed. Access to information is restricted and controlled by the regime. That is why even more than just putting U.S. national security at risk, President Obama is letting down the Cuban people, who still yearn to be free.

“I intend to use my role as incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee to make every effort to block this dangerous and desperate attempt by the President to burnish his legacy at the Cuban people’s expense. Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas to Tehran to Pyongyang to see that they can take advantage of President Obama’s naiveté during his final two years in office. As a result, America will be less safe as a result of the President’s change in policy. When America is unwilling to advocate for individual liberty and freedom of political expression 90 miles from our shores, it represents a terrible setback for the hopes of all oppressed people around the globe.”

Obama Switches Sides Again in the War for the Free World: Provides Life-support for the Castro Regime

In response to the Obama administration’s announcement this week that it is proceeding with normalization of relations with the Castro regime in Cuba — reversing over fifty years of bipartisan policy towards the communist dictatorship — the Center for Security Policy is registering strong objection to this course of action as severely undermining U.S. national security on several fronts.

First, normalization with Cuba represents the latest manifestation of America siding with traditional adversaries at the expense of allies, both governmental and non-governmental, since President Obama took office. Whether ousting former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to make way for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, threatening to impose sanctions on Israel while lifting them on Iran, hitting the “reset” button with Vladimir Putin’s Russia while removing missile defense capabilities from Europe, or remaining neutral on Venezuela’s assumption of a seat on the United Nations Security Council, there has been a clear and disturbing pattern, of which the Castro brothers are the latest beneficiary.

Second, at a time when the Venezuelan regime that has provided life-support to the Castro dictatorship for the past decade is bankrupt, President Obama is rescuing the Communist Castro brothers, just when intensified pressure may at last have driven them from power.

Third, the fact that this normalization with Cuba is taking place against the backdrop of ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran over the latter’s nuclear program, strongly suggests that this policy shift is a “dry run” for eventual normalization of relations with Tehran. It would not be unreasonable for Iran to observe today’s events and infer that it need not cede any ground on its nuclear ambitions, just as Cuba did not cede ground on its fifty-plus-year record of repression of human rights and sponsorship of global terrorism.

Finally, this reversal of policy further demonstrates that this administration is distressingly prone to poor negotiating. Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal’s release was secured only in exchange for five of the most senior, and most dangerous, Taliban leaders held in Guantanamo Bay, while Iran has benefitted from the premature lifting of sanctions in exchange for meaningless and easily reversible concessions on its nuclear program. Regimes and terrorist organizations the world over will doubtlessly be encouraged by Obama’s reversal on Cuba in this regard as well.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, commented:

President Obama’s misguided reconciliation with the Castro regime is just the latest example of the Obama doctrine at work: Embolden our enemies; undermine our allies; diminish our country. The security of the American people, as well as the human rights and democratic aspirations of the people of Cuba, have been put in possibly irreversible jeopardy with this action. It is incumbent upon Congress to do everything in its power to prevent this disastrous policy from taking hold.