Lake Erie Conservative

thoughtful discussion(s) about issue(s)

Posts Tagged ‘Fidel Castro’

… 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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… 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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… Easter # 3 for a Prisoner of the Castros …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Monday,April 28th,2014

.. I picked this one up from a favourite blog of mine , BabaluBlog . It was written for the WallStreetJournal byanother favourite of mine , Mary Anastasia O ‘ Grady ..

.. [h/t — BabaluBlog]..
.. [link] to M.A.O. ‘ s column from the W.S.J. …

Easter No. 3 for a Prisoner of Castro
Bearing witness to Cuba’s political persecution costs Sonia Garro her freedom.

Christians the world over celebrated the resurrection of their savior on Sunday with worship services and family gatherings. Thirty-eight-year-old Sonia Garro shares the faith too, but she spent the holiday in a Cuban dungeon as a prisoner of conscience, just as she has for the past two years.

Ms. Garro is a member of the Christian dissident group Ladies in White, started in Havana in 2003 by sisters, wives and mothers of political prisoners to peacefully protest the unjust incarceration of their loved ones. It has since expanded to other parts of the country and added many recruits. The group’s growing popularity has worried the Castros, and they have responded with increasing brutality.

Cuba’s military government wants us to believe that the Brothers Fidel and Raul Castro are “reforming.” To buy that line you have to pretend that Ms. Garro and her sisters in Christ don’t exist. Of course that’s often the impression one gets from Havana-based reporters working for foreign media outlets.

They’ve been invited into the country not to serve the truth but to serve the dictatorship. Fortunately, there are brave and independent Cuban journalists who continue to tell the Ladies’ story, despite scant resources.

In the late winter of 2012, Cubans were looking forward to a visit from Pope Benedict XVI and the Ladies were lobbying the Vatican for an audience. Their relentless pleading was embarrassing the dictatorship, which had been beating them in the streets on their way to Sunday Mass for almost a decade. It was also making the Church, which had already cut its own deal with the regime on the terms of the visit, look bad. On the weekend of March 17 Castro sent the Ladies a warning by locking up some 70 of their members.

Most of those detained, including leader Berta Soler, had been freed by the time the pontiff touched down in Cuba nine days later, but Ms. Garro was not. Benedict celebrated some Masses, did photo ops with the despots and left.

It was a clever strategy: The world saw the release of the many Ladies, which obscured the continued detention of the one. That one—poor, black and not well known internationally—serves, to this day, as a constant reminder of the wrath Castro will bring down on anyone in the barrios who gets out of line.

By 2012 Ms. Garro already had experience with state violence. Her record of counterrevolutionary activities included running a recreation center in her home for troubled youths. For that she was twice beaten by government-sanctioned mobs. She suffered a broken nose in police detention in 2010.

When security agents took her home to put her under house arrest ahead of the pope’s visit, she was met by a mob sent to harass her. Her husband, Ramon Alejandro Muñoz, had climbed to the roof and was chanting anti-dictatorship slogans. Two neighbors took the couple’s side. Special-forces police were called in. They raided the home, shot Ms. Garro in the leg with rubber bullets and hauled the couple and two neighbors to jail.

Eighteen months later prosecutors charged Ms. Garro with assault, attempted murder and public disorder. Her husband and one neighbor, Eugenio Hernández, are accused of attempted murder and public disorder. The prosecution is seeking a 10-year prison sentence for Ms. Garro, 14 years for Mr. Muñoz, and 11 years for Mr. Hernández.

Anyone who has ever read about Soviet show trials will recognize the state’s case. The prosecutors claim that Messrs. Muñoz and Hernández were both on the roof and knew a police officer could have been killed when they threw things to try to stop him from climbing a ladder to reach them.

The regime alleges that the couple had been planning street disturbances. The “evidence” confiscated from their home included bottles, machetes, rebar and cardboard protest signs. The state claims that containers with fuel found in the home were Molotov cocktails.

Every household item or piece of scrap found in a poor Cuban household is considered a weapon when the state wants to convict a prisoner. By its logic the frying pan and the iron should have been cited too. With good aim, they can be deadly. As to the combustibles inside the home, Ms. Garro’s sister Yamilet Garro told independent journalist Augusto Cesar San Martín Albistur, “the items were for lighting during the blackouts that are quite common in the area.” For Castro, the most dangerous items were the antigovernment signs.

Ms. Garro’s real crime is her refusal to surrender her soul to the state. That makes her an exemplary Christian but a lousy revolutionary. The peril she presents is showing Cubans how to be both.

Write to O’

.. LEC here again — the column , and Ms. Garro ‘ s moral stands , speak for themselves …

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… What was Maria Conchita Alonso thinking ?? …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Tuesday,January 28th,2014

.. my guess is that she was and is thinking …

.. of freedom , liberty , and the pursuits of happiness .

.. She is a Cuban – American . She well knows what the Castroite dictatorship is and what it stand for , and what it does not stand for . She knows what her old political persuasion [likely Democrat] these days works with the people who stand with Fidel and Rauol , with Maduro , et al . in South American , and those who enslave humanity .

..God Bless You , Maria , and your courage to speak your mind and your heart …

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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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… 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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