Lake Erie Conservative

thoughtful discussion(s) about issue(s)

Posts Tagged ‘Cuba’

… C ‘ est Incroyable [#That is Incredible][US – Cuba embassy reopening]…

Posted by paulfromwloh on Wednesday,December 7th,2016

.. I wanted to give this one an extra special flourish because I am particularly and directly offended by what is happening ..

.. the Cuban Communists have won the diplomatic game , for now . That game is legitimacy . The recognition by our country was bad enough . It gave them the legitimacy of a peaceful and legit government over the Cuban people . But the opening of embassies is another huge step . You don’t open an embassy in a nation in whom has not acted or earned moral legitimacy . The Cuban government has earned none . They have won the game by the worst fashion ..

.. [h/t —]..
.. [link] to the blog news article ..

.. how did they do that ? By our government [the United States government] conceding the moral high ground and walking off of the diplomatic field of play . You don’t win when you don’t play . We have plenty of cards to play . We did not play them . The ObamaCraps refused to . They felt that to do so would be a moral conceit on our part over the Cuban government . Well , it wasn’t . We [as a democratic nation] are morally superior to a totalitarian government [Cuban Communists] that rule their people by the rule of a gun …

.. The Cuban Communist government has no legitimacy to govern their nationa . Ergo , we should not damn well recognize them , much less open an embassy in Havana …

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… What a Disgusting Disgrace !! [#POTUS statement][#fidel castro death]…

Posted by paulfromwloh on Tuesday,November 29th,2016

.. it could not get a whole lot worse ..

.. at least POTUS did not praise the guy . Given his ideology , one could have expected that ..

.. but what he did say what disgusting ..

.. Fidel was a murderous dictator and a thug , one who was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands and the imprisonment of millions . Cubans live in squalor and misery . They earn very little , and are forced to work 2nde jobs in order to get by . That is the national prison that is Cuba today  ..

.. [h/t —]..
.. [link] to the blog post …

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… It is Indeed Appeasement [#Obama ‘ s Cuba Policy]…

Posted by paulfromwloh on Sunday,November 15th,2015

.. there is no other realistic way to put it …

.. to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba after 55 years , and also after a prisoner swap [and one in Cuba ‘ s favour , to boot] , is nothing other than appeasement of the communist regime …

.. [h/t —]..
.. [link] to the interview segment …

.. they have done nothing to deserve it . Absolutely nothing at all …. and His Lordship deines to pay off the Castro Brothers by such a move as this ? …

.. he has also undertaken moves that have put big holes in the trade embargo with Cuba . The embargo still stands , but for how long ?? …

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… Not So O.K. [#Cuba normalization]…

Posted by paulfromwloh on Thursday,September 17th,2015

.. now I have had time to think about the subject of normalization of relations with Cuba . My judgement is pretty harsh ; no normalization with Cuba , at least not now …

.. especially the way that POTUS has done it . How did he do it ? He did it in exchange for … essentially … nothing . No policy changes . No real changes in Cuba ‘ s treatment of political prisoners , or that of the Catholic Church. Nothing .. how sick is that …

.. [h/t —]..
.. [link] to the blog news …

.. now what ? Do we reverse the changes ? To be honest , No . But , do we bring down the Cuban embargo ? hell no …

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… the New York Slimes should be Ashamed of Itself …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Wednesday,April 9th,2014

.. for printing the column for the tyrant of Caracas , Nicolas Maduro , on April 2nd , 2014 .

.. given what is going in in Venezuela , with the protests , the suppression , the tyranny , and the fightback , and the Slimes lowers itself to print a peace of crap like THAT …

.. [h/t — BabaluBlog]..
.. [link] to the commentary …

.. Maduro is a shell of Chavez . He will be extremely lucky to last the year alive and in power . There are only so many Cubans that will be tolerated in Venezuela , and it will trigger a reaction by a great mass of the population . Even the Chavistas cannot be happy with what is going on …

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… Going to Mass Gets You Arrested ?? …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Wednesday,April 9th,2014

.. no , not here in the United States .

.. in Cuba .

.. [h/t — BabaluBlog]..damas de blanco [ladies in white]
.. [link] to the blog post ..


.. for the simple and signal act of defiance by going to mass together , 70 of les Damas de Blanco [the Ladies in White] in Havana were arrested the other day for their beliefs and their faiths …

.. my prayers and best wishes are with you all , les Damas de Blanco . God Speed , and God Bless ! …

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… God Bless You , Humberto Fontova ! [Cuban / American hero] …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Wednesday,October 16th,2013

.. and from the entire conservative blogger community on the loss of your mother .

.. Especially from this blogger . I have lost my mother , quite a few years ago . There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about her , Humberto . So , our mothers are with Angels now , where we all may be someday …

.. the extended Fontova family .. Humberto is at left , his mother , Esther , is at the center ...

.. the extended Fontova family .. Humberto is at left , his mother , Esther , is at the center …

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… from a Native – Born Citizen , to Any Newly Naturalized Legal Immigrant …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Monday,August 26th,2013

.. I say , Welcome !!

.. I pray that one of the first things that you do is register to vote . Also , make sure that you do so when election time comes around . Who you support , that is your own business . That is the way that I operate . I only pray that you do register , and that you do vote .

.. God willing , you will support the party that you choose fully , and without any doubts or any reservations . When it comes to elections , all I ask is that one votes ..

.. Welcome !!

The Family’s First American Citizen

After twenty years, I finally became a citizen of the country where my grandmother longed for me to be raised. I became a citizen of the United States of America on Tuesday, August 13, 2013, the same day as Fidel Castro’s birthday (purely coincidence). The ceremony took place in Tampa, the city where national Cuban hero José Martí (one of my favorite writers) made his first historic speech with the memorable line: “With everyone, and for the good of everyone.”

The day before the swearing in, I was in Miami, the often referred to sun capital where I have been living since June. Therefore, we had to drive more than 250 miles, and I say “we” because I was not alone: Mr. Lopez accompanied me the entire time. Of course, we stopped in Fort Myers. That is the city where my family lives and where I had chosen to live since I arrived from Cuba in 2004. That night I decided to sleep with my grandmother; we both conspired to leave behind our men and share some time together. We did not fall asleep until 3 am, spending hours sharing stories and memories. We spoke in hushed tones and laughed together recalling when I was nine years old and we traveled together on a boat that left the fishing port of Coloma on its way to the Isle of Youth. It was there where a speedboat was to pick us up to we could escape the country. But our fear of both the sea and the dictatorship stopped us from leaving on that occasion. We later laughed at our other attempts to leave the island and come to the land of liberty as my grandmother kept repeating, “My dear, you are only a few hours away from becoming the first American citizen in the family.” That night I dreamed of a respectable American passport that would allow me to enter and leave any country in the world, which made me feel both lucky and grateful.

We awoke early that morning, grateful that the alarm clock went off and on time. I got dressed enthusiastically, putting on what I thought to be appropriate attire for the occasion. I just drank a glass of milk for breakfast, feeling a knot in my stomach that comes from nerves. Everyone lined up at the door to say goodbye: my mother, my grandmother, and my son, who for some reason did not cry because I was leaving without him. Gabriel, who is not yet three and does not speak much, said with a smile: “Goodbye, mami.” I should be honest and admit that I felt fortunate.

The drive from Fort Myers to Tampa did not go by in silence. To the contrary, I sang along with every single song that played on the radio. I am sure I must have tortured the ears of my driver, Mr. Lopez. Unfortunately, my rejoicing was too selfish and did not take into consideration such details. I felt like an orphan girl who had just been adopted by rich and generous parents. This was my moment, and my day had arrived.

I can say that not only were we punctual, we were too punctual. We arrived two hours early. I took advantage of one of those hours to put on my makeup in the car. This time, however, I did not complain about how small the mirrors are in car sun visors. The truth is that I have always believed the men who design these cars should put a little more thought into the needs of a modern woman. The second hour was spent inside the building, waiting patiently for the event to begin.


The event began at exactly one o’clock without any delay (the first lesson for those who want to become American citizens is that in this culture, you are better off respecting appointment times in a precise and formal manner) and lasted for approximately one hour. The hall where it took place was spacious and impeccably organized. The seats set up in the center were for those who were there that day to receive their certificate of citizenship. Other seats were set up on either side of the ones in the center for friends and family members. The ceremony began with a video presentation showing important figures in American history. We then sang the national anthem. Afterwards, they began to announce all the countries of the candidates who were becoming citizens, with each person standing when they heard their country mentioned. I would be lying if I said I did not feel emotional when I heard my beloved Cuba announced. It was a moment where I felt angst instead of patriotism. It was as if they were asking a biological daughter of Cuba, who has been adopted and is now the legitimate daughter of the U.S.A., to please stand up. I stood up with tears in my eyes, my emotions colliding as I felt both the joy of appreciation and the pain of realizing that I would never be that little girl who rode in limousines to the mansion belonging to my adoptive parents. I now recognized the troubling reality that my “mother” never protected me like she should have, that she held me back, that she neglected me, that she never defended my rights, that she gave me a life of hunger and misery, that she never allowed me to express myself freely, that she underestimated me so often, that she never knew my real needs, and that she left me to fend for myself. Nevertheless, a mother that I inexplicably still loved.

The video message from President Barack Obama was an emotional moment and pulled me out of my trance. The song God Bless America made me cry in front of everyone. We swore allegiance to the flag, which represents a nation under God, with liberty and justice for all. Then we swore allegiance to the America, which is nothing less than absolutely and eternally renouncing any other country, principality, state, or sovereignty where we were citizens before. We swore to support and defend the constitution and the laws of the United States against any enemies, either foreign or domestic, and to have faith and loyalty to the constitution. We promised to defend the United States and to obey the orders of the government when the law requires.

We all ended our pledges in unison with a “so help us God,” and then they handed us a yellow envelope. It was like winning the visa lottery all over again. Inside the envelope was a small American flag and two books; a small one with 27 amendments and another one titled “We the People” where we can read the founding documents, the hymns, and see the symbols of the United States of America. They also give us important information on our rights and responsibilities. From what I could surmise from skimming the information, my rights totaled seven while my responsibilities totaled 10. We also received a guide for voter registration in national elections and other information on applying for a passport and social security among other things.

Finally, they gave us our certificate of citizenship. Once I had it in my hands, I looked over at Mr. Lopez who had his eyes fixed on me, trying to capture the moment with photo after photo. I could tell he was moved by the occasion as he stood in the crowd of observers and made a sign for me to check my cell phone, which I had silenced and stored in my purse. I had a text message that said: “Don’t worry, this is a great country, you are going to be fine here, I promise.”

The tears began to flow and I remembered how much I had studied to pass the citizenship exam with more than 100 questions on civics and American history. I remembered the interview conducted in English with the African American woman, who I miraculously understood perfectly. At that moment, a proud smile spread across my lips. I felt a strange happiness that pushed any regret that could exist right out of me.

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… the Anti – Che [Felix Rodriguez] …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Monday,August 12th,2013

.. I wanted to repost this fine National Review piece by Jay Nordlinger about the quinticential anti – Che (Guevara) and pentultimate freedom fighter Felix Rodriguez

.. thank you and may God Bless You for Your Service , Felix ! Hopefully , god – willing , someday , you will be able to return home to Cuba , in both freedom , and in triumph !! …

The Anti-Che

… Jay Nordlinger , National Review …

Miami, Fla. — Felix Rodriguez seems fated to be linked to Che Guevara. This is not entirely just. Rodriguez loves freedom, and has worked tirelessly for it; Guevara loved tyranny, and worked tirelessly for it. “Two sides of the same coin,” some people say. Maybe — but only in the way that light and dark are two sides of the same coin. Rodriguez had a role in stopping Guevara. He was there, in the Bolivian mountains, in 1967. He was the last person to talk with Guevara — a man who did so much to tyrannize the country where Rodriguez was born, Cuba.

The story of Guevara’s last day has been told many times, in many ways. Rodriguez told it in his 1989 memoir, Shadow Warrior. It

... Felix is at left , the slob in a bead is Guevara ...

… Felix is at left , the slob in a bead is Guevara …

is told in a book published earlier this year, Daybreak at La Higuera, by Rafael Cerrato, a Spaniard. La Higuera is the village where Guevara met his end. Cerrato’s main sources for the book are Rodriguez, who was working for the Central Intelligence Agency, and Dariel Alarcón Ramírez, whose nom de guerre was Benigno. A Cuban, Benigno was Guevara’s lieutenant in Bolivia. He was also a member of Fidel Castro’s inner circle. He defected in 1996 — and now he and Rodriguez are friends.

Just a week ago, Rodriguez made a donation to the CIA Museum: ashes from Guevara’s last pipe. But he has a few more of those ashes here, in his Miami home. His den is chock-a-block with mementos. On the wall, for example, is a bond signed by José Martí, Cuba’s national hero. In this den, we talk about events past, present, and future. Rodriguez is an excellent talker (as well as doer). He is large, sharp, and commanding.

He was born in 1941. His hometown is Sancti Spíritus, in central Cuba. His father was a storeowner; his mother helped out in the store and tended the house. Rodriguez’s earliest memory is of being with his mom while she talked about what Hitler was doing in Europe. The little boy was scared that the Nazis would come to Cuba. Among his forebears are notable figures from Cuba’s wars of independence. One of these figures is Alejandro Rodríguez Velasco, who would become the first popularly elected mayor of Havana. In 1895, Máximo Gómez sent a letter to this man’s wife — who had asked whether her husband might come home from the field. Gómez wrote her a tender letter about the value of fighting for freedom. This letter is one of Felix Rodriguez’s treasures.

And who was Máximo Gómez? Cubans know: He was an officer from the Dominican Republic, who went to Cuba to help that country win its independence from Spain. For Cubans, he is a Lafayette. In the 1980s, Felix Rodriguez went to El Salvador, as a private citizen, to help that country defeat a Castro-backed Communist insurgency. The alias he adopted: Max Gomez. Here in his den, he reads out the letter from the original Gómez — and chokes up.

When he was about twelve, an uncle offered him the chance to study in the United States. Felix was reluctant at first, because he loved his life in Cuba. But another uncle, who had studied in Paris, said, “Think hard about this. This is a rare opportunity, and if you pass it up, you’ll regret it.” Felix heeded this advice. And he chose a school in Pennsylvania, because he wanted to see snow. The school was called Perkiomen, in Pennsburg, not far from Philadelphia. When he was a junior in high school, his country experienced its cataclysmic event: the takeover by Castro and his fellow revolutionaries. Felix’s parents were on vacation in Mexico. (It turned out to be a long vacation.) Felix, just 17, determined to fight the Communists, as soon as possible.

It was possible through something called the Anti-Communist Legion of the Caribbean, being formed in the Dominican Republic — which itself was ruled by a dictator, Trujillo. Felix joined up against his parents’ will. He arrived in Santo Domingo — or Ciudad Trujillo, as it was then — on July 4, 1959. He hoped that this date, the Fourth of July, would be as auspicious for Cubans as it had been for Americans. The Anti-Communist Legion staged just one mission into Cuba, a disaster: Castro was waiting for them, and all the troops were killed or captured. Rodriguez had been excluded from the mission at the last second. A friend of his, Roberto Martín Pérez, was captured and spent the next 28 years in Castro’s prisons. Rodriguez vowed to keep doing what he could.

One of the themes of his life is that too few people know what it is to have your country seized by totalitarians. In a 60 Minutes piece, aired in 1989, Mike Wallace asked Rodriguez why he was helping the Salvadorans. “What is it, are you a war-lover? Is that it? Are you constantly in search of adventure?” Rodriguez replied, in short, that people in general are clueless. You can read about Communism, but until you have experienced it for yourself, you have no idea. Also, there is the experience of exile: to be ripped from your country and family and friends, and not be able to return.

Many people think of Castro and his brother as Northern European–style socialists who occasionally get a little rough — or as traditional caudillos who flavor their speech with Marxism-Leninism. In reality, they are in the mold of Hoxha or Ceausescu, monsters. And the Castros’ grip on Cuba is monstrous. Like many Cubans and Cuban Americans, Rodriguez often refers to Fidel Castro simply as “he” or “him.” Equally often, he refers to him as “the son-of-a-bitch.”

#page#At the beginning of 1961, he had an idea: He would assassinate the son-of-a-bitch. It would avoid or shorten the coming war, he reasoned. He and a friend volunteered their services — and the CIA accepted. The Agency equipped Rodriguez with a German rifle, which had a telescopic sight. The Agency also added a radio operator to the team. Three times, this team headed to Cuba on a luxurious yacht, whose captain was American and whose crew was made up of tough, hardened Ukrainians and Romanians, bearing East Bloc weapons. Rodriguez later heard that the yacht belonged to Sargent Shriver, President Kennedy’s brother-in-law. All three times, something went awry, and the Agency changed its mind about the assassination mission. In late February of ’61, Rodriguez was sent into Cuba as part of an infiltration team, whose mission was to help the Cuban resistance in advance of the invasion: an invasion that would be known as the Bay of Pigs.

Rodriguez’s mission was, of course, harrowing, with many close calls. But it was not without its amusing elements. One day, Rodriguez and a companion approached a beach. Not thinking, Rodriguez said to a militiaman, “Is it okay to use this beach or is it private?” The militiaman said, “Compañero, where you been? There aren’t any private beaches anymore. They all belong to the people!” “Oh, right,” said Rodriguez. “Thanks, compañero. Power to the Revolution!” But Rodriguez was soon warned away from a particular stretch of beach: which was marked off for Fidel Castro himself.

In his Miami den, Rodriguez gives a detailed account of the Bay of Pigs, an operation that earned the name “fiasco.” The blunders of the American planners are almost unbelievable. The Cubans had confidence until the end, says Rodriguez: America was John Wayne. And John Wayne never loses. Until he did. After the Bay of Pigs, Cuban hopes sank, and Castro cemented his power. Fear gripped the island. People shrank from resistance, understandably. Rodriguez managed to get to the Venezuelan embassy in Havana, where he was sheltered for five months: He left Cuba in September 1961. He would not be sheltered in the Venezuelan embassy today: The government in Caracas regards the Castro dictatorship as a model. Venezuelan oil helps sustain the Castro dictatorship. As Rodriguez sees it, Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, is loyal to the Castros, like a son to a father (two of them). Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, was the same way.

Rodriguez married a Cuban girl he met when he was 14 — “It was love at first sight.” He and Rosa had two children, Rosemarie and Felix Jr. The family settled into American life — but not entirely. They were between countries, in a sense, as so many others in South Florida were. Then, in 1967, came Felix’s rendezvous with Guevara.

The old Argentinean guerrilla was in Bolivia to lead a revolution, to impose on that country what he had already helped impose on Cuba. The “old” guerrilla was 39; Rodriguez was 26. He was assigned by the CIA to assist Bolivian forces in tracking Guevara down. What was his role in ultimate success? We can say the following: Rodriguez’s skillfully gentle interrogation of a young guerrilla prisoner helped the Bolivians home in on the guerrilla leader. On October 9, Rodriguez met this leader face to face, in the mud-brick schoolhouse in La Higuera. You can imagine some of the emotion. Guevara had killed many people, personally, back in Cuba — mainly at La Cabaña, his fortress headquarters. Before they died, the Cubans shouted, “Viva Cuba libre!” (“Long live free Cuba!”) and “Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ the King!”). And now Rodriguez had him at his feet.

Guevara was a cocky killer, but he was not so cocky at this moment. Still, he had an air of command. Said Rodriguez, “Che Guevara, I want to talk to you.” Said Guevara, “No one interrogates me.” But talk they did — about philosophy, life, and death. Rodriguez asked him about the people he killed at La Cabaña. Guevara said they were all “foreigners.” He himself had been a foreigner in Cuba, of course. And as Rodriguez pointed out to him, he was a foreigner in Bolivia. Guevara answered, “These are matters of the proletariat that are beyond your comprehension.” Rodriguez asked how he, an Argentinean physician, could have become president of the Cuban national bank. Guevara told him a funny story: One day, Castro said to his top cadres, “Who here is a dedicated economist,” or economista? Guevara thought he had said comunista — and raised his hand. That’s how he became president of the national bank. Rodriguez thought he might be kidding — but later, Benigno, the Cuban defector, confirmed the story. He had been present, sitting right next to Guevara.

Rodriguez’s orders from Washington were to do everything he could to keep Guevara alive. Then, the prisoner would be transported to Panama, to be interrogated by the Americans. But the Bolivians had the authority in this matter. It was their war, their country — and they wanted him dead. Rodriguez gave the prisoner the news. “It’s better this way, Felix,” said Guevara. “I should never have been captured alive.” Rodriguez said to him, “Comandante, do you want me to say anything to your family if I ever have the opportunity?” After an interval, Guevara said, “Yes. Tell Fidel that he will soon see a triumphant revolution in America” (i.e., South America). “And tell my wife to get remarried and try to be happy.” The two men embraced. Then Rodriguez walked out of the schoolhouse. (He was never to meet Guevara’s family.)

#page#The Bolivian officer in charge, Joaquín Zenteno Anaya, had offered Rodriguez the chance to finish Guevara off. Guevara had done Rodriguez’s country so much harm, Zenteno said. It was only right that he have the opportunity. But he declined. It was left to a Bolivian sergeant. Rodriguez has always maintained that Guevara died with courage and dignity. He admired him for it, and still does. But that’s as far as his admiration goes.

He remembers meeting a woman some 30 years ago, whose son had been executed at La Cabaña. He was 15 years old. She went to the fortress to beg for his life. Guevara received her. This was on a Monday. He called an assistant and said, “When is this prisoner scheduled to be executed?” On Friday, he was told. The prisoner’s mother thought Guevara was going to grant a reprieve. Instead, he said, “Get him and execute him now, so his mother doesn’t have to wait until Friday.” She fainted. Says Rodriguez, “He was a very, very cruel man.”

What does he think when he sees Guevara’s face on all those T-shirts? What does he think of the people who wear those T-shirts? Mainly that they are ignorant, having no idea who Guevara was or what he did or what he stood for. One day, Benigno and his wife saw a young Frenchman in a Che shirt. His wife asked him, “Who is that fellow on your shirt?” The young man answered, “A rock singer.”

Rodriguez became an American citizen in 1969. And he volunteered for Vietnam. From 1970 to 1972, he was in special operations. He told the Vietnamese with whom he worked, “I’ve already lost my country,” meaning his original country, “but it’s not too late for you: You can fight for your country.” One Christmas, after he was back home in Miami, he received a card from a Vietnamese comrade named Hoa. “Do you think the United States will ever abandon us?” asked Hoa. Rodriguez wrote back and said no. In his view, the U.S. did in fact abandon the Vietnamese, in 1975. He is of the school that says the U.S. won the war militarily but lost it politically, and shamefully. After their triumph, the Vietnamese Communists killed about a million.

In 1976, Rodriguez left the CIA, for several reasons. One had to do with security. In May of that year, Zenteno, the Bolivian, was gunned down in Paris. He had been serving as his country’s ambassador to France. Claiming responsibility was a group that called itself the International Che Guevara Brigade. Not long after, Rodriguez received a call at home. In Spanish, a man asked for “Felix Ramos.” Then he said, “You’re next.” That name, Felix Ramos, had been Rodriguez’s alias in Bolivia. (Unlike “Max Gomez,” it had no political or historical significance.) The Agency offered to give Rodriguez and his family new identities and move them to a different state. But Rodriguez decided against: too disruptive. So, the Agency added security enhancements to his house, bullet-proofed his car, and took some other measures. They also gave him a very high award: the Intelligence Star, for valor.

For some years, the Cuban dictatorship had a price on Rodriguez’s head. From Benigno, Rodriguez learned that Raúl Castro had a special interest in him. There were at least three plots against Rodriguez. Is there still a price on his head? He thinks not: “The Cuban government has enough problems without worrying about me. But it’s always possible that some crazy guy will try to do something to congratulate himself.”

Rodriguez has a lot to say about the Carter years — none of it good — but we will skip ahead to the Reagan years. In 1985, Rodriguez went to El Salvador, as a private citizen, and as Max Gomez. He flew hundreds of combat missions with Salvadoran forces, applying what he had learned about counterinsurgency. He told the Salvadorans exactly what he had told the Vietnamese: “It may be too late for Cuba, but it’s not too late for you.” El Salvador remained out of Communist hands and took a democratic path (however stony). Like all astute observers, Rodriguez sees a general threat to Latin America today: The threat is from little Castros who are elected democratically — once. Then they go about Castroization. Rodriguez cites Evo Morales, among others: He will rule Bolivia for a very long time, presumably.

While in El Salvador, Rodriguez received a request from a White House staffer, a man soon to become famous: Oliver North. Would Rodriguez help with the resupply of the Contras in Nicaragua? They were fighting the Castro-backed, and Soviet-backed, junta in Managua. Rodriguez agreed — but fairly rapidly became disillusioned with the whole “Enterprise” (as North called it). Equipment for the Contras was shoddy and unsafe. Operational security was shaky. What really stuck in Rodriguez’s craw was war-profiteering. In 1987, he testified at the Iran-Contra hearings, without a lawyer, and without holding back. That was the end of his involvement in scandal, he thought.

But a month later, there was an eye-popping story in the Miami Herald: A convicted money launderer for the Medellín cartel had accused Rodriguez of soliciting drug money for the Contras. This was a leak supplied by “unnamed congressional sources.” And who might they be? It was no mystery. In the Senate, John Kerry was chairing a subcommittee known to one and all as the “Kerry Committee.” He was keen to establish a link between the Contras and drug-running. He was especially keen to link the vice president, George Bush, to any such drug-running. Rodriguez had a tie to Bush, because the vice president’s national-security adviser was Donald Gregg, who had been Rodriguez’s superior in Vietnam. Rodriguez wanted to testify before Kerry’s committee in an open hearing, so he could clear his name. But Kerry insisted on a closed hearing.

#page#Toward the end of that hearing, Rodriguez said to Kerry, “Senator, this has been the hardest testimony I ever gave in my life.” Kerry asked why. “Because,” said Rodriguez, “it is extremely difficult to have to answer questions from someone you do not respect, and I do not respect you and what you are doing here.” The senator was not pleased. “Boy, did he blow his top,” Rodriguez says. But after almost a year — and considerable Republican pressure — Kerry apologized to Rodriguez and acknowledged that the money launderer’s accusation was false. Fine, says Rodriguez. But if you Google his name, you will find plenty of references to the Medellín drug cartel. The endurance, the permanence, of the 1987 lie rankles Rodriguez.

While Kerry had Rodriguez before him, he took the opportunity to question him about Che Guevara and Bolivia. For one thing, had he really done all he could to save the guerrilla’s life? Kerry was sarcastic in this questioning. It seems to Rodriguez that Kerry, at that time, had sympathy for Guevara, and the Sandinistas, and Castro. In 2004, when the senator was the presidential nominee of the Democratic party, Rodriguez spoke against him at a rally on Capitol Hill organized by Vietnam Veterans for Truth. Today, of course, Kerry is secretary of state — which pains and disgusts Rodriguez. “I despise that guy. He is a phony. He was a phony during the Vietnam War. He’s a self-promoter.” His voice trails off: “I don’t like the guy at all . . .”

Cubans such as Felix Rodriguez expected the Castro dictatorship to last a year, two years, maybe three. He was 17 when Castro took over; Castro, with his brother, still rules the island, and Rodriguez is 72. Communism in Cuba has lasted longer than Communism in Eastern Europe, by ten years and counting. Obviously, this is more painful and disgusting to Rodriguez than John Kerry’s current status as U.S. secretary of state. Cuba was no Jeffersonian democracy when Castro took over. But it was nothing like the totalitarian hell he and his partners made it. And it has had no chance to evolve in a democratic direction, as the Dominican Republic and lots of other places did. When will it end? When will the Communists fall? Cubans are weary of answering this question, after almost 55 years. Rodriguez, though, points to the Castros’ friends in Venezuela: If the oil ever stopped coming, the brothers would be in trouble. Needless to say, Rodriguez is unsure whether he will see Cuba again.

Twenty-five years ago, he wrote in his memoir, “Sometimes I feel a little bit like Ulysses. . . . Like him, I am from an island nation. Like him, I went to war. And like him, I am having a hard time getting home.” How about today? Does he still feel that way? Is he still trying to get home? Where’s home? “It’s complicated,” Rodriguez says. Yes, it is. It is complicated for virtually all Cuban Americans of his generation. Rodriguez is a patriotic Cuban. He is also a patriotic American. Under normal circumstances, this would be a bald contradiction, but the circumstances of the Cuban exile are peculiar, not normal. Rodriguez says that the Cuba he knew has been destroyed, over these 50-plus years. He doesn’t know anyone over there anymore. The Communists long ago expropriated his family home in Sancti Spíritus. If the regime fell, he wouldn’t claim it. But he might like to negotiate to buy it, “for sentimental reasons.”

The 60 Minutes piece done on him in 1989 is an exercise in soft-Left condescension. It portrays anti-Communism as some kind of mental disorder, or at least a sign of immaturity. Of Rodriguez, Mike Wallace says, “He has never lost his love of war nor his anti-Communist ideals.” Rodriguez doesn’t love war: But he is willing to fight in order to keep or gain freedom and peace. At the end of the segment, Wallace wonders, “What does the future hold for this 48-year-old foot soldier in a fading Cold War?” Arthur Liman, who was chief counsel to the Iran-Contra Committee, says, “I think that Felix Rodriguez will probably end up — and I hate to say this — in an unmarked grave in some faraway place, fighting the remnants of Communism.” Wallace responds, “A little bit like Che Guevara.”

William F. Buckley Jr. once came up with a formulation: Say that Smith pushes an old lady out of the way of an onrushing bus. Then Jones pushes an old lady into the way of an onrushing bus. It would be absurd to say that these are two men who push old ladies around. Felix Rodriguez will always be linked to Che Guevara, and they both fought. But they are not alike. Rodriguez’s face will probably not grace a T-shirt. He is what they call a “right-wing Cuban exile.” Guevara is a “romantic revolutionary” and “idealist.” His face sits on a billion T-shirts. Pilgrims flock to La Higuera, to worship at his shrine there. But of the two men, Rodriguez and Guevara, only one deserves honor.

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… Can the Castro Regime (in Cuba) survive without Chavez ?? …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Thursday,July 25th,2013

[-] passing of Castros
soon , Fidel and Rauol will be gone . It will likely bring a new generation of leaders to the fore . These folks will not be as wedded to the Communism of the Castros , and will be forced into reforms .
[-] spreading of “special zones”
the need for more internally generated $$ will force the regime to open up . the needs to meet the demands of the surrounding democratic powers (Mexico , Canada , & yes , the U.S.) will force it .

More and more special zones will be created . it will create problems with corruption , but it will also create opportunities . The needs of the zones , plus the needs of the new players , will force the regime to open state firms to competitors . And the state firms will not last long against the competition , unless they reform themselves , and find a way to survive .

[-] economic realities of 21st century economy
Cuba is stuck in a 1950s to early 1960s economy . Eventually , the need for change will force them to join everyone else in the 21st century .

[-] Maduro ‘ s eventual fall
Nicolas Maduro will not last long . The corruption , and an eventual decline in oil prices (in part from fracking in the U.S.) , and the lack of investment $$ in the Orinoco region (which is itself frackable oil) will  bring Maduro down by a coup , and then new and free elections , which will publicize the Chavezcista corruption , and sweep away the socialism , including the support of Cuba & other nations .

[-] both nation ‘ s fear of the Church
Cuba has never been able to fully combat the power of the Catholic Church . If they cannot , do you think that Venezuela can . You have to be nuts to think so .

..Despite the rhetoric of the Chavistas, the Cuba-Venezuela relationship is decidedly lopsided. It is mostly a relationship of convenience that seems decidedly biased toward Cuba. Official Cuba has worried that the post-Chavez era would see the end of this special relationship. Their anxieties were exacerbated by the close margin of victory Chavez acolyte Nicolas Maduro received, and the fact that his challenger Henrique Capriles made the alliance an election issue.  Maduro traveled to Havana to meet with the regime to reassure them of his commitment to Commandante Chavez’s vision of an enduring alliance.  The next Venezuelan presidential election could change this calculation. Since the Cuban public doesn’t enjoy the freedom to choose its leaders, any changes to the alliance will almost certainly happen only as a result of Venezuela’s voters having a change of heart. Until then, two of the most intolerant and repressive regimes in the Americas will maintain their relationship addiction with the citizenry paying the highest price.

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… Cuba , North Korea , and the Chong Chon Gang [NK arms smuggling] …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Tuesday,July 23rd,2013

North Korea and weapons of mass destruction

North Korea and weapons of mass destruction (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

.. this article (an editorial) needs no commentary …

Miami Herald Editorial

The seizure in Panama of the Chong Chon Gang, a rusty old North Korean ship carrying last century’s Soviet-era weapons from Cuba hidden under 250,000 sacks of brown sugar, may seem to have the wacky trappings of a  Gilligan’s Island episode with a Cold War flashback that includes a rioting crew and a captain threatening to kill himself when Panamanian soldiers boarded his ship.But as the ship’s containers begin to be cleared of the 100-pound bags of sugar and the weapons systems are exposed and analyzed by experts, no one’s laughing. The case for maintaining a tough line on North Korea and Cuba has been strengthened.

The Obama administration, which has spent years tossing carrots at both communist countries, keeps finding that neither wants to nibble. They’re too busy, after all, plotting against the United States and the United Nations.

Any talk of removing the communist island from the State Department’s terror list remains a fool’s errand when faced with more evidence of Cuba’s role as a pass-through for every renegade nation and terrorist group that seeks harbor there.

The Cuban and North Korean communist dictatorships maintain Cuba was sending “obsolete defensive weapons” for repairs in North Korea so that Cuba can “protect its sovereignty.” Among the 240 metric tons of weapons are two anti-aircraft missile systems, nine missiles “in parts and spares,” two Mig-21 bis jet fighters and 15 engines, the Cubans say.

But if the weapons are obsolete why repair them? In fact, a key radar component of the SA-2 surface-to-air defense system on the ship can still be used once upgraded to ward off newer Western systems that can disable the old SA-2, surface-to-air missiles designed for higher elevations like North Korea’s. Were these weapons headed for North Korea to spruce up for its own use now that neighboring China has toughened its position against Pyongyang?

North Korea’s arms deal with Cuba violates United Nations security resolutions that prohibit the Asian renegade from dealing in arms. The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions against North Korea after its first illegal nuclear test in 2006 and again in 2009, sanctions that authorize inspections of ships at sea. Yet North Korea was removed from the U.S. State Department’s terror list in 2008 after it agreed to international inspection of its nuclear program. Time has shown that this promise was made to be broken.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and past chair, is right to call for North Korea to be put back on the terror list. And those hoping to get Cuba pulled off the terror list should have gotten their wake-up call about the Castro brothers’ ill will, too.

As Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez noted, “Weapons transfers from one communist regime to another hidden under sacks of sugar are not accidental occurrences and reinforce the necessity that Cuba remain on the State Department’s list of countries that sponsor state terrorism. In addition to possible violations of Panamanian law, the shipment almost certainly violated United Nations Security Council sanctions on shipments of weapons to North Korea and as such, I call on the Obama administration to submit this case to the U.N. Security Council for review.”

This is no time to be chummy with rogue regimes. Keep Cuba where it belongs — on the terror list — and add North Korea to the membership because both countries have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted.

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… Cuba and NortH Korea , “Brothers in Arms ??” …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Tuesday,July 23rd,2013

LEC  here — the comments on this are mine .  I insered them into  this article to posit answers  why Cuba ,  North Korea , and other Parties might be playing ” footsie . ”

Panama’s recent capture of a North Korean vessel carrying 240 tons of weapons from Cuba, including rockets, missile systems and two MIG 21s hidden among sacks of Cuban sugar, raises numerous questions and provides few answers.

[-] If the weapons were being sent from Cuba to be repaired in North Korea, why were they hidden in the hold of the ship under thousands of Cuban sugar bags?

— this one is obvious . Panama had likely made it clear that no weapons smuggling through the canal would be tolerated . Both Cuba and NK were afraid of sending the ship by the more circuitous route , either around South America , or past Africa . Either one would have xposed the ship to seizsure by Allied navies , with intel about what was listed on the manifest , and what was actually in the ship .

Why did the North Korean crew resist the Panamanian boarding of their ship in Panamanian waters? And why did the ship’s captain try to commit suicide?

— also obvious . They knew , or had some idea of what was actually in the ship , and the officers and crew were well paid to keep  their

... oops , we got caught ?! ...

… oops , we got caught ?! …

mouths shut , especially being from North Korea .

If Cuba needed to repair these weapons, why didn’t Gen. Raul Castro send them to Russia? After all, these were Russian weapons.

— less obvious . The stuff was old , and there may not have been people available to repair them.  Russian fims have moved on to more advanced stuff. Also , these firms could well have been penetrated by western and other spy agencies .

Better yet, wouldn’t it have been less expensive and more efficient to bring North Korean or Russian technicians to Cuba to repair these weapons?

— same as before . Also , penetration risk . may not have wanted the Russians or North Koreans to know the problems that they were having with the equipment , or where the munitions were or might be going .

Why would Cuba make this major effort to repair “obsolete” weapons, as the Cuban government describes the missile systems and the two MIG 21s?

— they can make $$ from their sale to parties who would want them , and were willing to pay top $$ for them . The problem would then be getting the weapons from Cuba to their intended destination , especially larger stuff .

Wouldn’t it have been easier or cheaper for Cuba to ask Venezuela to send to the island military equipment from their recent Russian purchase and include it in the Venezuelan package of aid to Cuba ?

— Cuba may not have wanted the Venezuelans to know their relative weakness , given their need to peddle weapons .

Or, couldn’t the Cubans have used the credits provided by Russia to purchase modern military equipment ?

— if the credits were for use for anything , Cuba may have needed them for other uses , such as food and fuel , which Russia has in great abundance .  also as before , not wanting the Russkies to know .

This leads to the obvious conclusion that Cuba and North Korea are not forthcoming with answers that could clarify this event. A likely answer could be that those are not “obsolete” weapons but functional, although old, equipment being shipped to another country.

For the past 50 years, Cuba has been an ally and supporter of numerous anti-American regimes and revolutionary and terrorist groups, some still struggling to attain and consolidate by “power and impose Marxist ideologies on their population. One of these is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congolese army has failed to quell a growing 10 month insurgencies which has dragged the country’s eastern region back to war. The rebellion could increase the possibility of conflict with neighboring Uganda and Rwanda, which allegedly are supporting the rebels. The Marxist Congolese government led by Joseph Kabila, a close friend of Cuba, has been struggling to retain power and crush the rebellion.

Congo is a major source of Uranium, which North Korea needs for its nuclear program. Shipments of North Korean weapons bound for the Congo have been intercepted in the past. Are the Cubans and North Koreans gambling to support their comrades in the Congo? The Director of the Sub-Saharan Department of Cuba’s Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador to the Congo, Hector Igarza, led a high level, little publicized, delegation to Congo in February of this year, perhaps offering Cuban support to the beleaguered Congo regime. In September 2011, Kabila visited Gen. Raul Castro in Havana.

If it is determined that the weapons were destined for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or any other nation, it could have significant implications.

It would represent a serious violation of U.N. Resolutions.

It would show Gen. Raul Castro’s continuous commitment to internationalism and his willingness to violate international laws to support an ally.

It would jeopardize a possible rapprochement between Cuba and the U.S.

It would show that the Cubans are more interested in playing an international role and support their old allies, than work with the U.S. toward a possible normalization of relations.

It shows, one more time, that in Cuba economic decisions are dictated by political considerations. Relations with the U.S. are not a priority for Gen. Raul Castro. Supporting anti-American regimes and playing an international role remain Cuba’s priorities.


*Jaime Suchlicki

is Emilio Bacardi Moreau Distinguished Professor and Director, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami. He is the author of Cuba: From Columbus to Castro, now in its fifth edition; Mexico: From Montezuma to NAFTA, now in its second edition and the recently published Breve Historia de Cuba.

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… the Plot Thickens [NK arms seizure] …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Monday,July 22nd,2013

.. COLON, PanamaPanamanian investigators unloading the cargo of a seized North Korean ship that carried arms from Cuba have found the two MiG-21 fighter jets the Cuban government had said were on board, the government said on Sunday.

..Alongside the two supersonic planes, originally produced by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s, officials found two missile radar

... oops , we got caught ?! ...

… oops , we got caught ?! …

systems on board the Chong Chon Gang, President Ricardo Martinelli told reporters in the Atlantic port of Colon.

The discovery, which included cables and electrical equipment, was made inside containers on the ship Panama had feared might contain explosive material. None was found.

.. After stopping the vessel bound for North Korea last week, Panama revealed it had found weapons in the cargo hold late on Monday. In response, Cuba said the shipment contained a range of “obsolete” arms being sent to North Korea for repair.

Panama has asked the U.N. Security Council to investigate the ship and its contents amid suspicion that the vessel is in breach of a wide-ranging arms embargo on North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile program.

“One can’t take undeclared weapons through the Panama Canal below other cargo,” Martinelli said, adding that he had not spoken personally to any Cuban officials since they first asked for the ship to be released last Saturday.

Javier Caraballo, Panama’s top anti-drugs prosecutor, said the planes gave off a strong odor of gasoline, indicating that they had likely been used recently. So far, Panama has not found anything not on the Cubans’ list of ordnance, he added.

The U.N. team is expected to arrive in early August once Panama has finished unloading the 155 meter (510 foot) ship.

The weapons were hidden under thousands of sacks of sugar on the freighter. Before the arms were discovered, Cuba told Panama the cargo was a donation of sugar for the people of North Korea.

LEC again — the Cubans have made themselves a colossal blunder . They have been in bed with the North Koreans , that is no doubt . However , one would think that they would try to be as sneaky and as stealthy as possible . Obviously , they were not enough .

.. The Panamanians are now on full alert . The Cubans (and anyone else) will now have to take the long way (around South America) , instead of the short route . Doing the alternative , itself , has risks . It risks detection , by the world ‘ s naval powers (U.S. , France , Brazil , Australia , India) , and , especially , the world-wide US sosus nets in the world ‘ s oceans .

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… Busted [NK missiles (Cuban ship)] …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Wednesday,July 17th,2013

.. from Newsmax ..

.. PANAMA CITY — Cuba said military equipment found buried under sacks of sugar on a North Korean ship seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal was obsolete weaponry from the mid-20th century that it had sent to be repaired.

.. Panamanian authorities said it might take a week to search the ship, since so far they have only examined one of its five container sections. They have requested help from U.N. inspectors, along with Colombia and Britain, said Javier Carballo, Panama’s top narcotics prosecutor. North Korea is barred by U.N. sanctions from importing sophisticated weapons or missiles.

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said Tuesday that the ship identified as the 14,000-ton Chong Chon Gang, which had

.. oops , we got caught !! ...

.. oops , we got caught !! …

departed Cuba en route to North Korea, was carrying missiles and other arms “hidden in containers underneath the cargo of sugar.”

Martinelli tweeted a photo showing a green tube that appears to be a horizontal antenna for the SNR-75 “Fan Song” radar, which is used to guide missiles fired by the SA-2 air-defense system found in former Warsaw Pact and Soviet-allied nations, said Neil Ashdown, an analyst for IHS Jane’s Intelligence.

“It is possible that this could be being sent to North Korea to update its high-altitude air-defense capabilities,” Ashdown said. Jane’s also said the equipment could be headed to North Korea to be upgraded.

North Korea has not commented on the seizure, during which 35 North Koreans were arrested after resisting police efforts to intercept the ship in Panamanian waters last week, according to Martinelli. He said the captain had a heart attack and also tried to commit suicide.

But Cuba’s Foreign Ministry released a statement late Tuesday acknowledging that the military equipment belonged to the Caribbean nation, saying it had been shipped out to be repaired and returned to the island.

“The agreements subscribed by Cuba in this field are supported by the need to maintain our defensive capacity in order to preserve national sovereignty,” the statement read.

It said the vessel was bound for North Korea mostly loaded with sugar — 10,000 tons of it — but added that the cargo also included 240 metric tons of “obsolete defensive weapons”: two Volga and Pechora anti-aircraft missile systems, nine missiles “in parts and spares,” two Mig-21 Bis and 15 engines for those airplanes.

It concluded by saying that Havana remains “unwavering” in its commitment to international law, peace, and nuclear disarmament.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed four rounds of increasingly tougher sanctions against North Korea since its first nuclear test on Oct. 9, 2006.

Under current sanctions, all U.N. member states are prohibited from directly or indirectly supplying, selling or transferring all arms, missiles or missile systems and the equipment and technology to make them to North Korea, with the exception of small arms and light weapons.

The most recent resolution, approved in March after Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, authorizes all countries to inspect cargo in or transiting through their territory that originated in North Korea, or is destined to North Korea if a state has credible information the cargo could violate Security Council resolutions.

“Panama obviously has an important responsibility to ensure that the Panama Canal is utilized for safe and legal commerce,” said Acting U.S. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, who is the current Security Council president. “Shipments of arms or related material to or from Korea would violate Security Council resolutions, three of them as a matter of fact.”

Panamanian authorities believed the ship was returning from Havana on its way to North Korea, Panamanian Public Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino told The Associated Press.

Based on unspecified intelligence, authorities suspected it could be carrying contraband and tried to communicate with the crew, who didn’t respond. Martinelli said Panama originally suspected drugs could be aboard.

“Panama being a neutral country, a country in peace, that doesn’t like war, we feel very worried about this military material,” Martinelli said.

In early July, a top North Korean general, Kim Kyok Sik, visited Cuba and met with his island counterparts. The Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma said he was also received by President Raul Castro, and the two had an “exchange about the historical ties that unite the two nations and the common will to continue strengthening them.”

The meetings were held behind closed doors, and there has been no detailed account of their discussions.

“After this incident there should be renewed focus on North Korean-Cuban links,” said Hugh Griffiths, an arms trafficking expert at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Griffiths said his institute told the U.N. this year that it had uncovered evidence of a flight from Cuba to North Korea that travelled via central Africa.

“Given the history of North Korea, Cuban military cooperation and now this latest seizure, we find this flight more interesting,” he said.

The Chong Chon Gang has a history of being detained on suspicion of trafficking drugs and ammunition, Griffiths said. Lloyd’s List Intelligence said the 34-year-old ship, which is registered to the Pyongyang-based Chongchongang Shipping Company, “has a long history of detentions for safety deficiencies and other undeclared reasons.”

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… Gotcha [North Korean ship] …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Tuesday,July 16th,2013

.. Panama‘s president said the country has seized a North Korean-flagged ship carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba on its way to the Pacific. President Ricardo Martinelli told RPC radio on Monday that the ship had been headed for North Korea. There were no immediate details on the quantity of arms aboard.

.. He said the undeclared military cargo appeared to include missiles and non-conventional arms and the ship was violating United Nations resolutions against arms trafficking.

..  Earlier, the president said on his Twitter account that the arms were “hidden in containers underneath the cargo of sugar.” He offered no details but posted a photo of what appeared to be a green tubular object sitting inside a cargo container or the ship’s hold. Panamanian authorities have only searched one of the ship’s five cargo holds so far, said Luis Eduardo Camacho, a spokesman for the president.

.. “This material not being declared and Panama being a neutral country, a country in peace, that doesn’t like war, we feel very worried about this war material and we don’t know what else will have . . . passed through the Panama Canal,” Martinelli said.

“Given the history of North Korea, Cuban military cooperation and now this latest seizure, we find this flight more interesting,” he said. “After this incident there should be renewed focus on North Korean-Cuban links.”

..Martinelli told RPC the 35 North Koreans on the boat resisted police efforts to take the ship to the Caribbean port of Manzanillo. The crew was later taken into custody. He said the captain had a heart attack and also tried to commit suicide during the operation.

He said authorities had been tipped off some days ago that the ship might be carrying drugs.

Related articles

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… POTUS gets heckled , but the Heckler has a point …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Thursday,May 23rd,2013

.. Now , I grant you , I do not like hecklers . I think that they are show – offs , scene – stealers , and should be thrown out of the event in question on the spot . However , in this case , the heckler in question has a very good and accurate point .

.. POTUS is making a speech on foreign policy , and calls for the closure of the detainee prison at Gitmo . You would figure that someone would interrupt the speech . Well , someone did .


.. the thing is , the heckler has a point . Obama is the Commander – in – Chief . He could order the detainee prison at Guantanamo Bay , Cuba closed today , if he wanted .

… the thing is , he does not have the balls . He would pay an enormous political price here , by closing it , and overseas , by figuring out what to do with the jihadis that would then be freed by his order .

[Update] I goofed … forgot a part [h/t — RealClearPolitics] and the link (here!)

President Obama is heckled about Guantanamo Bay during his speech on terrorism at the National Defense University on Thursday.

OBAMA: There is no justification beyond politics for congress to prevent us from closing a facility that never should have been opened.
HECKLER: Excuse me, President Obama, you are commander-in-chief–
OBAMA: Today–
[crowd applauds]
OBAMA: So, let me finish, ma’am. So, today once again, today– I’m about to address it. You gotta let me address it.
HECKLER: …close Guantanamo Bay…
OBAMA: Why don’t you sit down and I’ll tell you exactly what I’m going to do. Thank you. Ma’am, thank you. You should let me finish my sentence. Today, I once again call on congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from Gitmo.

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… Continue What You are Doing ( ) ! …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Wednesday,May 15th,2013

… It was the praiseworthy blessing from one history – maker to another . Berta Soler , the putative leader of the Ladies in White (Cuba) was able to travel for the first time , courtesy of the government ‘ s new announced policy allowing Cuban citizens to travel somewhat freely for the first time . And , Boy , has she .

.. In this case , she made it to Rome , to the Vatican , for a Papal Audience with another history maker , the Catholic Church ‘ s Pope Francis I . His Holiness , who is Argentinian by birth , does not often single out individuals after any Papal function . Yet he did , specifically , with Berta , and blessed her . Better yet , he blessed her , and told her (Siga Adelante) to continue on with her holy work .

.. Berta Soler, 48, and another member of the “Women in White”, Clara Maria del Valle, both dressed in white, waited with anticipation,

.berta soler & his holiness .. may God Bless them Both !! ...

.berta soler & his holiness .. may God Bless them Both !! …

and when he reached them she spoke rapidly in Spanish. She told him, “We are the ‘Damas de Blanco’ from Cuba, the relatives of hundreds of political prisoners, and we ask for your help, and also for your blessing on us and all the people who are in need in Cuba.”

..Pope Francis listened attentively, smiled, held her hand, gave his blessing and told her, “Siga adelante!”  “Continue as you are doing!”

.. It was what she and the “Women in White” had long wanted to hear from the Pope. “It was a great day for me, we – the “Damas de Blanco” have always had great faith in Christ, and now it is doubled. ”

.. May God Bless Them Both !! ..

[h/t to and IlStampa. (English edition)]

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… It bothers Me as Well , Alberto …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Tuesday,April 9th,2013

… It bothers me too , Alberto …

.. Alberto de la Cruz is the editor at BabaluBlog . He and his staff have done yeoman (yeowoman) work on the behalf of freedom and liberty . They and the others who write @ Babalu put their lives on the line , every day , for theirs is not an easy task . These days , being staunch in the service of freedom is , seems to be , a thankless task . ..

.. That is , where I only begin , where the actions of Jay Z and Beyonce come to mind . How could they . Patronizing a totalitarian island , one especially where afro – cubans are made to suffer , so much more than even ordinary Cubans do . That , among other things , is when I saw this piece , just after having learned that the Treasury Department had APPROVED their trip . Approved . ..

.. So , I repost Alberto ‘ s column , because even though I am an Anglo midwesterner

, I find what those two have done thoroughly offensive . and , ill – considered . ..

.. If you want to visit BabaluBlog , and see it first-hand , go here ..

What bothers me the most about Beyonce and Jay-Z vacationing in Cuba | Babalú Blog

What bothers me the most about Beyonce and Jay-Z vacationing in Cuba       By Alberto de la Cruz, on April 7, 2013, at 9:47 am

Reading through the news coverage these past few days of Beyonce and       Jay-Z’s ill-advised and thoroughly offensive vacation in Cuba as guests of       the apartheid Castro dictatorship, much of the concern centers around the       legality of their trip to the communist island. That is certainly an       important point since it is illegal for American citizens to visit Cuba as       tourists, even if you are personal friends of President Obama. But what I       personally find most troubling about this scandalous act by American       music’s most prominent couple is their complete and utter insensitivity to       the repression and brutality suffered by the Cuban people — the majority       of them black — at the hands of the tyrannical Castro dictatorship. By       “vacationing” on an island as guests of its oppressive apartheid regime as       if they were just visiting any other destination, Beyonce and Jay-Z are in       effect telling America, the world, and most cruelly, Cuba’s enslaved       people, that they tacitly approve of the island’s brutal and racist regime .

Naturally, the Castro dictatorship sees Beyonce and Jay-Z’s visit as a       propaganda opportunity to portray themselves as something other than a       repressive tyranny. That is why they have heavily promoted this vacation,       releasing photos of the power couple enjoying the sights and luxuries of       Cuba, but making sure they leave out the fact that those amenities are       denied to typical Cubans. All the public sees is two very rich and very       powerful Americans enjoying a Caribbean getaway. The beatings of       dissidents, the stoning of families opposed to the Castro dictatorship,       and their violent arrests and imprisonment is conveniently left out of the       press releases and news reports. The news then becomes simply Beyonce and       Jay-Z enjoying a tropical vacation at a tropical destination.       Whether knowingly or out of embarrassingly irreverent ignorance, Beyonce       and Jay-Z have now become the unpaid spokespersons, the poster children,       the ambassadors of goodwill for the apartheid Castro government. A       violently racist regime that is without equal the Western Hemisphere’s       bloodiest and most murderous dictatorship for more than half a century. To       me, that is the most disturbing thing of all.

This reality, however, is not apparent to everyone. There have been some       who see nothing intrinsically wrong with Beyonce and Jay-Z vacationing in       apartheid Cuba. They are artists, they say, not politicians.       Unfortunately, those who think this is the case are woefully uninformed       about the way the Castro dictatorship in Cuba operates. The decision to       make Beyonce and Jay-Z the regime’s spokespersons for tourism does not       rest with them, but with the regime itself. Once you allow yourself to       become their guests, as Beyonce and Jay-Z have done, you come under their       control and they own everything you say and do while on the island. Every       move made and every word uttered by the couple and their American       companions is recorded and archived for future use. Even their hotel room       is bugged and hidden video cameras are everywhere. In essence, once you       put yourself in the hands of the Castro dictatorship, they own you.       That is why we will continue to see photos of the couple having a great       time in Cuba, and that is why the following video of Beyonce dancing salsa       in Cuba is available for all to see:

So what is so harmful about Beyonce doing a few dance moves for a video       camera? The dance moves themselves are not harmfu, but where and for who       Beyonce dances is where the harm lies. You see, while you are busy       watching Beyonce dancing salsa in Cuba, the Castro dictatorship knows you       will not be watching or thinking about the reality of life inCastro’s       Cuba. You will not be thinking about the hundreds of political arrests       that take place every month, or the tens of thousands of political       prisoners rotting in Cuban gulags. While Beyonce is dazzling you with her       dance moves, you are not thinking about Sonia Garro, a black woman and       dissident who has been unjustly imprisoned for over a year. While your       eyes are focused on Beyonce and Jay-Z partying on the forbidden island of       Cuba, the Castro dictatorship knows your eyes are not focused on the       defenseless Ladies in White being mercilessly pummeled and beaten by the

Castro dictatorship’s State Security and hired thugs:       That, my friends, is what bothers me the most about Beyonce and Jay-Z’s       vacation to Cuba: They have helped the Castro dictatorship hide its       atrocities and racist repression .

.. lakeerieconservative here : I will not repost those gruesome pictures of those  two idiots , again . Instead , to call attention to their cause , I will post a youtube video of a group of true freedom – loving ladies , the Ladies in White . This video , it appears , is from March of 2010 ..

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… Are You Kidding Me ?!?! …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Tuesday,April 9th,2013

… are you kidding me ?!?!

.. according to the Weekly Standard , the Department of Treasury approved the  license for Jay – Z and Beyonce ‘ s junket trip to Cuba ? ..

.. Approved ?!?!

.. Yes . Approved .

.. See the ruckus for yourself ..

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… What must these two have been thinking ?!?! …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Saturday,April 6th,2013

… What were these two knucleheads thinking ? And in Cuba , no less …

.. from Juan Tamayo of the Miami Herald ..

Dozens of Cubans crowded around R&B diva Beyoncé and husband-rapper Jay-Z as they toured Old Havana on Thursday after celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary with island staples like daiquiris, and rice and black beans.

“People outside were desperate to see them and we had to call security, we had to call the police,” said La Guarida restaurant waitress Vivian Aimerich, who helped serve the superstars during their anniversary dinner Wednesday night.

The couple drew even bigger crowds Thursday as they strolled the streets of Old Havana like any other tourists, with Beyoncé wearing a short summer dress and big sunglasses and Jay-Z smoking a cigar and wearing a straw hat, shorts, and sneakers . ..

..Beyonce and Sonia: A tale of two black women in Cuba

… i am hoping that this is o.k. . I will post the link back to it , at  . the link is here .

BabaluBlog Alberto de la Cruz, on April 6, 2013, at 9:31 am

This is a tale of two black women in Cuba… One a victim of apartheid in Cuba, the other a beneficiary of apartheid in Cuba.

The first is Sonia Garro, born and raised in Cuba. She is currently residing in a Castro prison for the crime of demanding respect for human rights and the freedom to express her views. After being violently arrested, she and her husband (who is also black) have been held for more than a year by the Castro dictatorship without charges and without a trial. The world for the most part does not know who she is and there has been little to no outcry for the injustice she is suffering.Sonia Garro Alfonso foto Hablemos Press


The second black woman is Beyonce Carter, an American music superstar born and raised in the United States. She is currently vacationing in Cuba with her husband, music mogul Jay-Z, as VIP guests of the apartheid dictatorship of the Castro family. She is enjoying the luxuries offered in Cuba only to foreigners, which is staffed by the slaves owned by the Cuban regime, the majority of which are Afro Cubans. The world has been enthralled by the stories and pictures coming out of Cuba of her and her husband strolling the beyonce-jay-z-cuba-havanastreets of Havana accompanied by bodyguards and handlers from the Castro dictatorship. For the most part, there has been little to no outcry over their incredibly insensitive and idiotic decision to vacation in Cuba and provide support and publicity for a racist regime that would have imprisoned her and her outspoken husband if they had the misfortune of being born in Cuba .


Now imagine how a black Cuban woman like Sonia Garro must feel after hearing that a prominent and influential black American woman has visited her country and instead of advocating for and demanding her release and the end of the apartheid system in Cuba, she is instead partying with regime officials and enjoying amenities not only built and maintained by enslaved blacks in Cuba, but denied to them as well.


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… apparantly , Chavez cheated …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Wednesday,October 10th,2012

… what else is new ?!?! …

…well , Hugo Chavez “won” re – election , although the folks who conducted exit polls (not many, though) figured out that Chavez lost to his challenger . His opponent , Henrique Capriles , a former state governor , more than likely won the race …

… God willing , Capriles will still be around for a long time . Thankfully , Chavez will not . From the news reports , Chavez still has cancer . For all the efforts of the Cuban (not Venezuelans) to act to cure it , Chavez has not  been cured . So , more than likely , Chavez ‘ s lemmings will have one hell of a succession battle once Hugo assumes “room temperature” …

… those lemmings will try to rule as a dictatorship , but there will likely not be the economic , financial , or military support to do so . it will force a military coup ,  and eventually fully free post – Chavez elections , getting rid of the Bolivarian scum …

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