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Cuba and the United States Return to the Trenches / Iván García

Iván García, 19 June 2017 — For both countries it amounts to a remake of
the Cold War, this time in version 2.0. It will take time to determine
the scope of the contest or if the new diplomatic battle will involve
only bluffs, idle threats and blank bullets.

With an unpredictable buffoon like Donald Trump and a conspiratorial
autocrat like Raul Castro, anything could happen.

The dispute between Cuba and the United States is like an old love
story, one peppered with resentments, disagreements and open admiration
for the latter's opportunities and consumerist lifestyle.

Beginning in January 1959, the dispute between Havana and Washington
took on an ideological tone when a bearded Fidel Castro opted for
communism right under Uncle Sam's nose. The country allied itself with
the former Soviet Union and had the political audacity to confiscate the
properties of U.S. companies and to aim nuclear weapons at Miami and New
York.

Successive American administrations, from Eisenhower to George Bush Jr.,
responded with an embargo, international isolation and subversion in an
attempt to overthrow the Castro dictatorship.

Times changed but objectives remained the same. Castro's Cuba, ruled by
a totalitarian regime which does not respect human rights and represses
those who think differently, is not the kind of partner with which the
White House likes to do business.

But the art of politics allows for double standards. For various
reasons, Persian Gulf monarchies and Asian countries such as China and
Vietnam — countries which have leap-frogged over democracy like Olympic
athletes and are also heavy-handed in their use of power — are allies of
the United States or have been granted most favored nation status by the
U.S. Congress.

To the United States, Cuba — a capricious and arrogant dictatorship
inflicting harm on universally held values — is different. Washington is
correct in theory but not in its solution.

Fifty-five years of diplomatic, economic and financial warfare combined
with a more or less subtle form of subversion, support for dissidents,
the free flow of information, private businesses and an internet free of
censorship have not produced results.

The communist regime is still in place. What to do? Remain politically
blind and declare war on an impoverished neighbor or to try to coexist
peacefully?

Washington's biggest problem is that there is no effective mechanism for
overturning dictatorial or hostile governments by remote control. The
White House repeatedly shoots itself in the foot.

The embargo is more effective as a publicity tool for the Castro regime
than it is for the United States. This is because the military junta,
which controls 90% of the island's economy, can still trade with the
rest of the world.

The very global nature of modern economies limits the effectiveness of a
total embargo. In the case of Cuba, the embargo has more holes in it
than a block of Swiss cheese. Hard currency stores on the island sell
"Made in the USA" household appliances, American cigarettes and the
ubiquitous Coca Cola.

There are those who have advocated taking a hard line when it comes to
the Cuban regime. In practice, their theories have not proved effective,
though they would argue that Obama's approach has not worked either.

They have a point. The nature of a dictatorship is such that it is not
going to collapse when faced with a Trojan Horse. But as its leaders
start to panic, doubts begin to set in among party officials as support
grows among a large segment of the population. And what is most
important for American interests is to win further approval from the
international community for its geopolitical management.

Obama's speech in Havana, in which he spoke of democratic values while
directly addressing a group of wrinkled Caribbean strongmen, was more
effective than a neutron bomb.

There are many Cubans who recognize that the root of their problems —
from a disastrous economy to socialized poverty, daily shortages and a
future without hope — lies in the Palace of the Revolution.

Hitting the dictatorship in its pocketbook has not worked. In Cuba, as
Trump knows all too well, every business and corporation which deals in
hard currency belongs to the government.

And all the money that comes into the country in the form of remittances
ends up, in one form or another, in the state treasury. Sanctions only
affect the people. I am convinced that, if Cuba's autocrats lack for
anything, it is more digits in their secret bank accounts.

Like other politicians and some members of Congress, Donald Trump is
only looking at the Cuban landscape superficially.

The United States can spend millions to support Cuban dissidents (though
96% of the money goes to anti-Castro organizations based in Florida),
launch international campaigns and impose million-dollar fines on
various foreign banks to punish them for doing business with the
Caribbean dictatorship, but they overlook one thing: the regime's
opponents — local figures who would presumably be leaders of any
prolonged, peaceful battle for democracy on the island — are failing.

The reasons vary. They range from intense repression to the opposition's
proverbial inability to turn out even five-hundred people for a rally in
a public square.

I understand the frustration of my compatriots in the diaspora. I too
have suffered. I have
not seen my mother, my sister or my niece in the fourteen years since
the Black Spring in 2003 forced them to leave for Switzerland.

Various strategies have been tried yet the island's autocrats still have
not given up. They are not going to change of their own free will. They
will retreat to the trenches, their natural habitat, where they can
maneuver more easily. And they will have the perfect pretext for
portraying themselves as victims.

As is already well known, the real blockade is the one the government
imposes on its citizens through laws and regulations that hinder them
from accumulating capital, accessing foreign sources of credit and
importing goods legally.

The regime has created anachronistic obstacles to the free importation
of goods from abroad by imposing absurd tariffs and restrictions.

But Cubans want a real democracy, not a caricature. We have to
understand that we must find the solutions to our problems ourselves.

Cuba is a matter for Cubans, wherever they happen to reside. All that's
lacking is for we ourselves to believe it.

Source: Cuba and the United States Return to the Trenches / Iván García
– Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuba-and-the-united-states-return-to-the-trenches-ivn-garca/ Continue reading
Saber la verdad del régimen no basta A 30 años de la Glásnost, una mayor circulación de información en la Isla no ha debilitado al castrismo Viernes, junio 23, 2017 | Ernesto Santana Zaldívar LA HABANA, Cuba.- En Cuba, durante bastante tiempo, pareció lógico creer que, dado el profundo temor que siempre mostraba el gobierno […] Continue reading
Commentary: The real reason Trump wanted Cuba restrictions
OPINION By Jonathan C. Brown - Special to the American-Statesman
LYNNE SLADKY
Posted: 4:00 p.m. Saturday, June 24, 2017

President Donald Trump's reversal of his predecessor's Cuban policies
proves once again that all politics are local. The White House says that
the regime of Raúl Castro should reform its own political structure,
become more democratic and release political prisoners. However, the
U.S. does not impose these broad internal reforms on other nations such
as Russia and Saudi Arabia. Why treat Cuba differently?
Only one American serviceman has died confronting Havana. He was an Air
Force pilot shot down in Cuban airspace during the 1962 missile crisis.
On the other hand, Washington has renewed political and trade relations
with the autocratic regimes in China and Vietnam despite their armed
forces having killed thousands of American soldiers in the Korean and
Vietnamese wars.

Washington continues to punish Cuba because of U.S. domestic politics.
Nearly a million refugees fled from Cuba since 1959, and most settled in
South Florida. Those who came for political reasons formed a powerful
lobby that has been instrumental in the making of every Republican
president from Richard Nixon to, yes, Trump. Republican Party debts
remain more important in the U.S. relationship with Cuba than the
island's actual behavior on the international scene.

Here is where domestic politics enters the equation. Punishing Cuba
satisfies only one dwindling constituency in this nation — Cuban
refugees mainly from the first two decades of the revolution. U.S. Rep.
Mario Díaz-Balart — who stood prominently at Trump's side as he signed
the renewed restrictions — serves as a case in point.

In the 1950s, the congressman's father, Rafael Díaz-Balart, served as
Fulgencio Batista's deputy minister of the interior, the ministry
responsible for internal security and running the prisons. Rafael
Díaz-Balart and other officers of Batista's dictatorship fled from Cuba
during the first weeks of the Cuban Revolution in January 1959.

What is more, the elder Díaz-Balart's sons have family ties to the
Castros. Mario and his brother Lincoln, the ex-U.S. congressman from
South Florida, are cousins of Fidel Castro's first-born son, Fidelito,
who remains loyal to the revolution. They owe this family link to their
aunt, Mirta Díaz-Balart, who married Fidel before he began his rebellion
against the Batista regime. The couple divorced in 1954 while Fidel was
spending time in brother-in-law Rafael's prisons.

This first wave of pro-Batista refugees established several anti-Castro
movements in the Miami and New York areas as early as 1959. Soon
thereafter, they were joined in exile by a massive wave of politicos who
had opposed Batista along with Fidel but found themselves pushed aside
as Castro's guerrilla revolutionaries seized control of most
governmental institutions. Among the refugees were Catholic activists
and middle-class youths from the universities whose departure from Cuba
by the thousands was financed by the CIA and other U.S. agencies. For
more than a half century they have been taking their revenge on those
countrymen who remained with Fidel.

By 1981, the most politicized of these two groups — the Batistianos and
the exiled moderate revolutionists — joined together in the Cuban
American National Foundation (CANF).

Modeled on pro-Israeli Jewish groups, the CANF dedicated itself to
lobbying the U.S. government to tighten restrictions on American travel
and trade with Cuba. The foundation raised money for political
candidates mainly but not exclusively from the Republican Party who
promised no quarter for Castro's communist dictatorship. Their effective
anti-communist campaign lasted well beyond the fall of Fidel's chief
benefactor, the Soviet Union.

Yet, Fidel did not fall. Fidel was able to rule for 47 years, retire
peacefully and leave power to his brother.

Trump's directive will achieve two out of three of its intentions. 1) It
will reduce U.S. investments and tourism in Cuba. 2) It will satisfy the
resentments of the first generation Cuban-Americans for the loss of
their homeland to the revolutionaries; in gratitude, they will support
the president's re-election in 2020.

But the new Cuba policy will not promote democracy on the island but
reinforce autocracy at the expense of the average Cuban's well-being.
This has been the legacy of the U.S. economic blockade of the past 60 years.

Brown is a professor of history at the University of Texas.

Source: Commentary: The real reason Trump wanted Cuba restrictions -
http://www.mystatesman.com/news/opinion/commentary-the-real-reason-trump-wanted-cuba-restrictions/hAIPJBqNcqdk9fw7G7o28K/ Continue reading
Iván García, 19 June 2017 — For both countries it amounts to a remake of the Cold War, this time in version 2.0. It will take time to determine the scope of the contest or if the new diplomatic battle will involve only bluffs, idle threats and blank bullets. With an unpredictable buffoon like Donald … Continue reading "Cuba and the United States Return to the Trenches / Iván García" Continue reading
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A 30 años de la Glásnost, una mayor circulación de información en la Isla no ha debilitado al castrismo Continue reading
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El régimen fabrica 'políticos' y 'comerciantes' a partir de soldados Continue reading
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El fotógrafo Alex Castro, uno de los hijos del difunto dictador Fidel Castro, fue visto en una de las tiendas del hotel de lujo Manzana Kempinski.

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How to get off the eaten track in Santiago de Cuba
A trip to Santiago de Cuba should start with dinner at a paladar
(family-run restaurant) and end with drinks on the roof of the Hotel
Casa Granda.
By JENNIFER BAIN Travel Editor
Wed., June 21, 2017

SANTIAGO DE CUBA, CUBA-Ramon Guilarte welcomes us to his home and
restaurant with a cocktail full of vitamin R. Will it be a Cuba Libre,
rum and cola, or Estacazo, rum and lemonade? Rum is ridiculously cheap here.

Esta Caso seems more fun, thanks to our host's animated explanation
(some of it lost in translation) about how drinking this is like getting
whacked with a stick. As we dig into platters of mango, papaya and
pineapple, Guilarte opens a bottle of rum and pours a little on the
ground as an offering to the saints for good luck, and then asks us each
how big a "stick" we want in our drinks.

"Don't expect a common restaurant," he warns with a theatrical flourish.
"Everybody that comes to the restaurant is a friend. I think it's
important that you feel like home — and these are not empty words."

La Fondita de Compay Ramon is a paladar, a family-run restaurant that
boosts the economy and gives tourists and locals the chance to connect.
At this farm-themed paladar we sit in cowhide "taburete" chairs found in
typical farms and our host is dressed like a traditional farmer.

In between a stunning red kidney bean soup and unpretentious platters
full of rice, pork, cabbage, shrimp, chicken and plantains, we learn
that Guilarte is a painter and empty nester with two daughters and two
grandchildren.

"Painting, and the life of a painter, is very lonely. Painting is
totally opposite to this business." He opened Compay Ramon in 2012 in
the Ferrerido neighbourhood of Cuba's second largest city. His
neighbours don't mind the nightly commotion, maybe because they often
get to share the leftovers.

"Best food in Cuba," according to "the Intrepid Group" in one of the
many accolades scrawled artfully on the wall and dated Dec. 16, just
weeks after Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro died and weeks before my
first visit to Canada's favourite Caribbean island.

You'll find plenty of online accolades for our enthusiastic host. "Ramon
is a character," allows our Cubatur guide and translator Ricardo
Zaldivar Rodriguez, "but this is not a show."

I duck down the hall into the tiny kitchen to meet Guilarte's smiling
wife Mayra Gayoso Romaguera and her helper, who is washing dishes by
hand. I peek at a modest bedroom.

My first night in Cuba ends with a stewed green papaya dessert and
Guilarte showing how to roast coffee beans and brew coffee the
traditional way and then sharing a cigar.

Santiago de Cuba, with half a million people, is often described as "the
hottest city in Cuba" because of its temperature and charm.

We cram a lot into a whirlwind day — historic sites like the Santa
Ifgenia cemetery, where Castro's ashes are marked by a large rock from
the Sierra Maestra mountains, and where national hero/poet Jose Marti
has an elaborate mausoleum. People bring them red and white roses
respectively.

We hit Antonio Maceo Revolution Square, a former fort/prison called
Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, and a Catholic church with a sacred
Virgin of Charity statue called El Cobre near a copper mine. I buy a
bundle of copper-tinged rocks from a guy in the parking lot.

Cubans make the most of what they are given. There is virtually no waste
here — public garbage cans are nearly always empty.

I'm more curious about the present than the past and so relish the
chance to wander down Calle Enramada, a pedestrian street where I don't
have time to join the lineup for hot churros.

"If you don't mention this street name," says Rodriguez, "it might be
said that you have never been to Santiago de Cuba."

At La Barrita Ron Caney, a bar by a rum factory, I sample seven-year-old
rum, smelling it with closed eyes, tilting the glass to see the body and
holding a sip in my throat while the house band plays traditional Cuban
music.

There is music everywhere, in Plaza de Dolores, in Casa de la Trova Pepe
Sanchez, and at Tropicana, an outpost of Havana's famed cabaret.

"When we hear music, we start dancing," says Rodriguez, who sings and
dances throughout our week together.

At Restaurante Matamoros, the chef pops out of the kitchen to join the
band while we enjoy a soupy meat and vegetable stew called ajiaco. After
dinner we have coffee nearby at Café Constantin, where my Bembito Bomban
is a cheeky reference to Afro-Cuban women and combines coffee, cacao
liqueur and cinnamon.

Cuba is changing, so you will mix and match old and new.

Melia Santiago de Cuba is new, glitzy and a short drive from the
historic centre, with decent Wi-Fi (a very big deal), a pool, and a
breakfast buffet, where I wrapped thin slices of cheese around chunks of
guava paste.

In the heart of downtown, Hotel Casa Granda oozes colonial charm, with a
breezy rooftop restaurant and sweeping city views. For my last meal, I
had a Cuban sandwich (an American invention) and a local spin on
pepperoni pizza (forgive me).

It was no Fondita de Compay Ramon, but it was still equally, magically
Cuban.

Jennifer Bain was hosted by the Cuba Tourist Board, which didn't review
or approve this story.

When you go

Get there: I flew Cubana de Aviacion airlines (www.cubana.cu ) direct to
Santiago de Cuba and flew home with a stop in Camaguey. WestJet, Air
Canada, Air Transat and Sunwing all fly to various spots in Cuba.

Get around: It's easy to take taxis around Santiago de Cuba, but if you
have a driver and guide (like I did with Cubatur), you'll have the bonus
of a translator/fixer.

Stay: I stayed at the modern Melia Santiago de Cuba (melia.com).

Eat: Find La Fondita de Compay Ramon on Facebook.

Know: You can only buy Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) in Cuba and can't
exchange them at the end of your trip. Get them at the airport and
foreign exchange shops. Wi-Fi is limited to public squares and some
hotel lobbies. Buy a 60-minute Wi-Fi card for 2 CUC (about $2.75
Canadian) at the airport or your hotel. North American plugs don't work
so bring an adaptor for the European 220-volt system.

Source: How to get off the eaten track in Santiago de Cuba | Toronto
Star -
https://www.thestar.com/life/travel/2017/06/21/how-to-get-off-the-eaten-track-in-santiago-de-cuba.html Continue reading
Para algunos miembros del régimen, ya sean de “línea dura” o “suave”, las limitaciones del “bloqueo” son un mal necesario Continue reading
Familia opositora en huelga de hambre exige absolución de condena en su contra junio 19, 2017 Los hermanos opositores Adairis, Anairis Miranda y Fidel Batista Leyva exigen la absolución de la condena de un año de privación de libertad que aún pesa sobre ellos. Los tres hermanos opositores Adairis, Anairis Miranda y Fidel Batista Leyva […] Continue reading
Alberto Hernández sucedió a Jorge Mas Canosa Continue reading

Mario J. Pentón

El expresidente de la Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana (FNCA), Alberto Hernández, murió el pasado viernes en Miami. Fundador de esa organización y uno de los líderes más reconocidos del exilio cubano tuvo tres pasiones en vida: la medicina, la libertad de Cuba y su familia, dijeron sus familiares.

"Mi padre fue un abnegado luchador por la libertad de Cuba. Pelear por ella se hizo una obligación para él", relata su hijo Alberto Hernández Jr, a El Nuevo Herald.

Nacido el 19 de febrero de 1933 en La Habana, Hernández se caracterizó por su liderazgo y profundo sentido de la justicia, según explica Horacio García, su amigo y compañero de lucha.

#EPD Dr. Alberto Hernandez, un amigo de muchos años y un luchador incansable para la libertad y democracia en nuestra patria natal en #Cuba pic.twitter.com/k2EO5L5b2v

— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) 19 de junio de 2017

Hernández dirigió la Federación Estudiantil Universitaria (FEU) y combatió con ímpetu la dictadura batistiana. Tras el giro comunista a la Revolución de 1959, se enfrentó con igual determinación a Fidel Castro.

Partió al exilio tras refugiarse en una embajada extranjera en La Habana, recuerda su hijo, y desde Estados Unidos se mantuvo al frente de varias iniciativas anticastristas. Fue médico personal del presidente de la FNCA, Jorge Mas Canosa. Tras la muerte del líder más popular del exilio, asumió la presidencia de la Fundación.

En 2001, Hernández, junto a otro grupo de miembros de la FNCA, protagonizaron una escisión y fundaron el Consejo por la Libertad de Cuba (CLC), que presidió hasta su muerte.

Remedios Díaz Oliver, miembro del CLC, dijo a este diario que Hernández era "un hombre legítimo y bueno de verdad".

"Posiblemente es el más patriota que haya conocido. En muchas ocasiones utilizaba sus propios recursos para ayudar a otros cubanos recién llegados al exilio. Era un hombre responsable y ético como pocos", añadió.

We mourn the passing of #DrAlbertoHernandez founder/frm chairman CANF & CLC patriot, friend, mentor, RIP Alberto #Cuba will be free pic.twitter.com/3lvCL5ek9n

— Ninoska Perez C (@NinoskaPerezC) 18 de junio de 2017

La congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen calificó al anticastrista a través de un tuit como "un luchador incansable para la libertad y democracia en Cuba" y también destacó su papel en la promoción de los derechos humanos en la Isla.

También Ninoska Pérez, una reconocida periodista cubanoamericana lamentó la pérdida de Hernández y lo calificó como "un patriota, amigo y mentor".

A Alberto Hernández lo sobreviven sus tres hijos y varios nietos.

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‘Nuestro proyecto de sociedad ha fracasado’, dice Fernando Pérez Continue reading
Rusia dice que política de Trump hacia Cuba recuerda “estilo de la Guerra Fría” Para Rusia este cambio de rumbo de EEUU en su política hacia la isla demuestra que “el discurso anticubano todavía es muy popular”, dijo el ministerio de Exteriores ruso en un comunicado. El ministerio ruso de Exteriores condenó este domingo el […] Continue reading
Yoani Sánchez: “Populismo, para los cubanos, es lo que hemos conocido toda la vida” “Una reunión de tres personas ya puede considerarse delito”, señala la periodista cubana. Libre Mercado 2017-06-18 “Hablar de populismo para un cubano es hablar de lo que hemos conocido durante toda nuestra vida, porque esa forma de ejercer el poder ha […] Continue reading
AP: Al “cancelar” política de Obama hacia Cuba, Trump deja intactos muchos componentes de esta junio 17, 2017 Michael Weissenstein, Associated Press El corresponsal jefe de Associated Press en La Habana cree que la selectividad en las medidas del Presidente y el mantenimiento de muchas implementadas por Obama aminorarán el impacto económico para el gobierno […] Continue reading
El capitalismo de lujo distrae a familias habaneras 16 de junio de 2017 – 20:06 – Por IVÁN GARCÍA La gente de a pie, que no pueden pagar artículos sobreevaluados, se conforma con ver el brillo tras los cristales y sueñan o se frustran aún más LA HABANA.- Socialismo a la cañona para los cubanos […] Continue reading
Citizen Kastro-Citizen Alcides / Regina Coyula

Regina Coyula, 14 June 2017– Jorge Enrique Lage interviews Miguel Coyula
(excerpts) 4

… at many times during the interview, Alcides interrupted himself and
began to speak to Fidel as if he were right in front of him. It's
something one saw a lot in our parents' generation: bothered by
something Fidel was saying on TV and arguing with him, but supposedly
there was no one listening inside the box. Documentaries offer that
opportunity, that fantasy secret for many.

For me the film is a love-hate story between two men and a woman. The
men are Rafael Alcides and Fidel Castro; the woman is the Revolution.
Alcides lost her, and deeply resents the man who snatched her from him
to dominate her, strangle her, and make her into an unrecognizable
ghost. But in spite of it all, Alcides continues loving her somehow.

When he died I said that one of my actors had died, but Fidel appears
in Memories of Development, Nobody, and Blue Heart. In the three films,
I had to listen to many hours of his speeches and conversations to be
able to edit and construct the dialogs in them. I can tell you it was
pretty exhausting to work with him, who'd succeeded in telling me the
lines I needed. But definitely he was one of the great actors of the
20th Century, including at the beginning of the 21st.

Supposedly, now one can read it as a great hallucination too, but when
Alcides speaks, he addresses him in the present, as if he were alive.
This doesn't come out of nowhere. Anyone who reads Granma and reads the
recycled quotes from Fidel in every issue can, as in the persistence
embedded in all the talking heads you see on Cuban television, arrive at
the conclusion that we're being governed by a dead man.

Translated by: JT

Source: Citizen Kastro-Citizen Alcides / Regina Coyula – Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/citizen-kastro-citizen-alcides-regina-coyula/ Continue reading
No satisface a todos cambio de política de Trump hacia Cuba Por The Associated Press Associated Press 17 de junio de 2017 La decisión del presidente Donald Trump de cambiar las políticas de su predecesor respecto a Cuba dividió a diversos sectores de la población, en especial a exiliados cubanos en Miami y a legisladores. […] Continue reading
¿Qué es Gaesa, el consorcio empresarial de los militares de Cuba señalado por Donald Trump y cuál es su peso en la economía de la isla? Ángel Bermúdez BBC Mundo 17 junio 2017 En torno a ese grupo se tejen numerosos mitos. Hay quien lo compara con una matrioska, con la típica muñeca rusa cuyo […] Continue reading
Trump rolls back some, not all, changes in US-Cuba relations
Darlene Superville, Michael Weissenstein and Josh Lederman, Associated
Press, Associated Press • June 17, 2017

MIAMI (AP) -- Pressing "pause" on a historic detente, President Donald
Trump thrust the U.S. and Cuba back on a path toward open hostility with
a blistering denunciation of the island's communist government. He
clamped down on some commerce and travel but left intact many new
avenues President Barack Obama had opened.

The Cuban government responded by rejecting what it called Trump's
"hostile rhetoric." Still, Cuba said it is willing to continue
"respectful dialogue" with on topics of mutual interest.

Even as Trump predicted a quick end to President Raul Castro's regime,
he challenged Cuba to negotiate better agreements for Americans, Cubans
and those whose identities lie somewhere in between. Diplomatic
relations, restored only two years ago, will remain intact. But, in a
shift from Obama's approach, Trump said trade and other penalties would
stay in place until a long list of prerequisites was met.

"America has rejected the Cuban people's oppressors," Trump said Friday
in Miami's Little Havana, the cradle of Cuban-American resistance to
Castro's government. "Officially, today, they are rejected."

Declaring Obama's pact with Castro a "completely one-sided deal," Trump
said he was canceling it. In practice, however, many recent changes to
boost ties to Cuba will stay as they are. Trump cast that as a sign the
U.S. still wanted to engage with Cuba in hopes of forging "a much
stronger and better path."

In a statement released Friday evening on government-run websites and
television, Cuban President Raul Castro's administration said Trump's
speech was "loaded with hostile rhetoric that recalls the times of open
confrontation."

The lengthy statement went on to strike a conciliatory tone, saying Cuba
wants to continue negotiations with the U.S. on a variety of subjects.
"The last two years have shown that the two countries can cooperate and
coexist in a civilized way," it said.

Embassies in Havana and Washington will remain open. U.S. airlines and
cruise ships will still be allowed to serve the island 90 miles south of
Florida. The "wet foot, dry foot" policy, which once let most Cuban
migrants stay if they made it to U.S. soil but was terminated under
Obama, will remain terminated. Remittances from people in America to
Cubans won't be cut off.

But individual "people-to-people" trips by Americans to Cuba, allowed by
Obama for the first time in decades, will again be prohibited. And the
U.S. government will police other trips to ensure travelers are pursuing
a "full-time schedule of educational exchange activities."

The changes won't go into effect until new documents laying out details
are issued. Once implemented Trump's policy is expected to curtail U.S.
travel by creating a maze of rules for Americans to obey. The policy
bans most financial transactions with a yet-unreleased list of entities
associated with Cuba's military and state security, including a
conglomerate that dominates much of Cuba's economy, such as many hotels,
state-run restaurants and tour buses.

Surrounded by Florida Republican officials, the president was unabashed
about the political overtones of his election victory and Friday's
announcement:

"You went out and you voted, and here I am, like I promised."

Cheered by Cuba hardliners in both parties, Trump's new policy is
broadly opposed by U.S. businesses eager to invest in Cuba.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, typically supportive of GOP presidents,
predicted the changes would limit prospects for "positive change on the
island," while Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said Trump's policy was
"misguided" and will hurt the U.S. economically.

Trump's declaration in a crowded, sweltering auditorium was a direct
rebuke to Obama, for whom the diplomatic opening with Cuba was a central
accomplishment of his presidency.

Yet it also exposed the shortcomings in Obama's approach.

Unable to persuade Congress to lift the decades-old trade embargo, Obama
had used his power to adjust the rules that implement the embargo to
expand built-in loopholes. Obama and his aides argued that commerce and
travel between the countries, which has blossomed since he relaxed the
rules, would make his policy irreversible.

Ben Rhodes, the former deputy national security adviser who negotiated
Obama's opening with the Cubans, said it was disappointing Trump was
halting the momentum that had built but added that it could have been worse.

"This is a limitation on what we did, not a reversal of what we did,"
Rhodes said in an interview.

For Cubans, the shift risks stifling a nascent middle class that has
started to rise as Americans have flocked to the island on airlines,
patronizing thousands of private bed-and-breakfasts.

"When he's cutting back on travel, he's hurting us, the Cuban
entrepreneurs," said Camilo Diaz, a 44-year-old waiter in a restaurant
in Havana. "We're the ones who are hurt."

Granma, the official organ of Cuba's Communist Party, described Trump's
declarations in real-time blog coverage Friday as "a return to
imperialist rhetoric and unilateral demands." Cuba's government may not
formally respond to Trump's speech until a speech Monday by its foreign
minister.

The Castro government is certain to reject Trump's list of demands,
which includes releasing political prisoners, halting what the U.S. says
is abuse of dissidents and allowing greater freedom of expression.
Refusing to negotiate domestic reforms in exchange for U.S. concessions
is perhaps the most fundamental plank of Cuba's policy toward the U.S.

Cuba functioned as a virtual U.S. colony for much of the 20th century,
and even reform-minded Cubans are highly sensitive to perceived U.S.
infringements on national sovereignty. Trump, on the other hand,
described his move as an effort to bring about a "free Cuba" after more
than half a century of communism.

"I do believe that end is in the very near future," he said.

Cuba's 1,470-word statement Friday night labeled Trump a hypocrite for
calling on Cuba to improve human rights, saying the U.S. government "is
threatening more limits on health care that would leave 23 million
people without insurance ... and marginalizes immigrants and refugees,
particular those from Islamic countries."

The statement reiterates Cuba's commitment to "the necessary changes
that we're making now as part of the updating of our socio-economic
model," but says "they will continue being decided in a sovereign way by
the Cuban people."

The U.S. severed ties with Cuba in 1961 after Fidel Castro's revolution,
and spent decades trying to either overthrow the government or isolate
the island, including by toughening an economic embargo first imposed by
President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Obama announced in December 2014 that he and Castro were restoring ties.
Less than a year later, the U.S. Embassy in Havana re-opened, and Obama
paid a historic visit to Havana in 2016.

___

Weissenstein reported from Havana and Lederman from Washington.

Source: Trump rolls back some, not all, changes in US-Cuba relations -
https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-rolls-back-not-changes-us-cuba-relations-073828473--politics.html Continue reading

Carlos A. Montaner

El presidente Donald Trump se propone modificar y endurecer la política de Barack Obama con relación a Cuba. Obama, que acertó en ciertos aspectos sociales de su política interna, erró totalmente en su estrategia cubana. Me parece, pues, razonable cambiarla. No todo lo que Trump hace es equivocado. A veces, entre tuits insomnes, acierta.

Si hay algo que el jefe de cualquier Estado debe tener muy claro, es precisar quiénes son los amigos y los enemigos de la nación a la que le toca proteger. Trump sabe o intuye que los Castro, desde hace décadas, intentan perjudicar a su país por cualquier medio. En 1957 Fidel Castro escribió una carta a Celia Sánchez, entonces su amante y confidente, explicándole que la lucha contra Batista (la carta está firmada en Sierra Maestra) era sólo el prólogo de la batalla épica que libraría contra Washington durante toda su vida.

Fidel Castro, que fue un comunista convencido, cumplió esa promesa, luego reiterada docenas de veces oralmente y por la naturaleza de sus acciones. Por eso, cuando Fidel murió, Donald Trump, que había sido electo presidente pocas semanas antes, pero todavía no había tomado posesión, tras calificarlo  como un “dictador brutal”, dijo: "A pesar de que las tragedias, muertes y dolor causados por Fidel Castro no pueden ser borradas, nuestro Gobierno hará todo lo posible para asegurar que el pueblo cubano pueda iniciar finalmente su camino hacia la prosperidad y libertad".

En consecuencia, Trump, a los pocos meses de iniciar su andadura, ha retomado el propósito de cambiar el régimen cubano, irresponsablemente cancelado por Barack Obama en abril de 2015, como anunció el expresidente durante la Cumbre de Panamá, aunque, contradictoriamente, tuvo la solidaria cortesía de reunirse con disidentes cubanos que habían viajado desde la Isla, gesto simbólico que hay que agradecerle.[[QUOTE:¿Por qué Trump ha retomado la estrategia de “contener” a Cuba? Porque Raúl Castro no ha renunciado a la confrontación, lo que aconseja privarlo de fondos]]¿Por qué Trump ha retomado la estrategia de “contener” a Cuba, como se decía en la jerga de la Guerra Fría? Porque Trump y sus asesores, guiados por la experiencia del senador Marco Rubio y del congresista Mario Díaz-Balart, verdaderos expertos en el tema, piensan que Raúl Castro no ha renunciado a la confrontación, lo que aconseja privarlo de fondos.

Muy en consonancia con la impronta que Fidel dejó a su hermano y a su régimen, la revolución cubana continúa siendo enemiga de los ideales e intereses de Estados Unidos, como si la URSS continuara existiendo y el marxismo no se hubiera desacreditado totalmente hace ya más de un cuarto de siglo. Para Cuba la Guerra Fría no ha concluido. Para ellos, “la lucha sigue”.

Eso se demuestra en la alianza cubana con Corea del Norte, que incluye suministros clandestinos de equipos bélicos, prohibidos por Naciones Unidas, incluso mientras negociaba el deshielo con Washington. Es evidente en el respaldo a Siria, a Irán, a Bielorrusia, a la Rusia de Putin, y a cuanto dictador u “hombre fuerte” se enfrenta a las democracias occidentales. Se prueba en la permanente hostilidad contra el Estado de Israel, pero, sobre todo, queda clarísimo en la actuación de Raúl Castro en el caso venezolano.[[QUOTE:Si Obama creía que la dictadura cubana, a cambio de buenas relaciones, ayudaría a Estados Unidos a moderar la conducta de la Venezuela de Chávez y Maduro, se equivocó]]Si Obama creía que la dictadura cubana, a cambio de buenas relaciones, ayudaría a Estados Unidos a moderar la conducta de la Venezuela de Chávez y Maduro, se equivocó de plano. La Cuba de Raúl Castro se dedica a echar gasolina al incendio que devora a ese país, con el objeto de no perder los subsidios que le genera la enorme colonia sudamericana.

Los militares cubanos son el sostén esencial de la dictadura de Nicolás Maduro, personaje formado en la Escuela de Cuadros del Partido Comunista cubano llamada “Ñico López”.  Proporcionan inteligencia y adiestramiento a sus colegas venezolanos para que repriman cruelmente a los demócratas de la oposición. Los muy hábiles operadores políticos cubanos, formados en la tradición del KGB y la Stasi, asesoran a los chavistas y le dan forma y sentido a la alianza de los cinco gobiernos patológicamente “antiyanquis” de América Latina: la propia Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua y Ecuador.

Tiene razón el presidente Trump cuando afirma que Barack Obama (pese a su hermoso discurso en defensa de la democracia pronunciado en La Habana) no debió haber entregado todas las fichas norteamericanas sin que Raúl Castro hiciera concesiones fundamentales en beneficio del pueblo cubano y de su derecho a la libertad y la democracia. Eso es lo que Trump ahora intenta corregir.

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Tiene razón el presidente cuando afirma que su predecesor no debió haber entregado todas las fichas de EEUU Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 14 June 2017– Jorge Enrique Lage interviews Miguel Coyula (excerpts) 4 … at many times during the interview, Alcides interrupted himself and began to speak to Fidel as if he were right in front of him. It’s something one saw a lot in our parents’ generation: bothered by something Fidel was saying on TV … Continue reading "Citizen Kastro-Citizen Alcides / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
American and Cuban flags flown together in Havana. Photo by Patrick Leahy … citizens of Cuba,” Trump said in the city’s Little Havana neighborhood … dined with Fidel Castro in Havana in 1999. In 2000, Leahy … diplomatic ties with Cuba, and swapping prisoners. The Cubans wanted the return … Continue reading