Monday, December 19, 2005
But till this day Christmas decorations are as rare as full noche buena dinner. Many Cubans don't know or understand the holiday on the atheist island.
Read this article "Santa blacklisted in Cuba, no Xmas spirit" for more information...
Usually I try to write something new each post, unless it's an ongoing story. I have never responded to a comment on a post, until today!!
My last post I talked about UNICEF, sexual tourism in Cuba and child prostitution on the island..... One of the comments to my post stated that what I was saying was "absurd" The comment, written by Leftside, said that HE found no trace of prostitution in Cuba and that in fact the Cuban government crack's down on prostitution. ..... I want to know what Cuba did he go to????
While I don't doubt the Cuban government "tries" to give the impression they would never let children or adults prostitute themselves for some dollars, the reality is it happens every day. I can give you dozens of reports, articles and first hand accounts about such event that occurred in Cuba. (see below)
Yet my friend, Leftside, you say that I have no bases for my claims and from your personal experience on the socialist island that clearly I am a liar. As you said "I did not see ANY action when I was there last year."..... So what!!
Just because you claim that you didn''t see prostitutes in Cuba, it doesn't mean they don't exist? I don't see drugs or prostitutes in my daily life living in Washington D.C., but I do know they exist. So what you didn't see an overwhelming proof of sex rings in Cuba, but now you can read more about it and realize there are Jineteras in Cuba.
Or maybe you didn't see it because you are one of those idealist about Castro's Revolution. Here's the reality about the "great revolution" - IT FAILED!! Castro and Che's baloney propaganda failed miserably not only because it was a farce of an idea that could never actually take form in real life, but because their great plan was all about their own personal power and not the well being of the Cuban people.
In addition, though Castro can give the good talk at his old age, he would NEVER shut down an industry providing him moneEspeciallylly SOOOO much money. If you haven't noticed this communist/socialist/ believer in equality lives in a palace and is considered one of the worldrichestest men while millions of his people die and suffer.
Defending the Cuban government will get you no where here. And your claim that I "blame the problem exclusively on foreign tourists"... WELL DUH!!!! Tourist are the ones with the money!
The average Cuban on the island sometimes doesn't have enough to buy food, he usually isn't looking for prostitutes or jineteras.... and as far as the drugs comment, just because drugs are not a huge part of the prostitution circles in Cuba (which I am not sure if they are or if they are not... anyone want to help me on that one??) but that alone does not take away the fact that children are being abused on that island. I know that prostitution in Cuba is different that what we picture prostitution to be in the states, but again, it does not take away the raw in-humanity of the act and the desperation of the people doing such things as selling their bodies for money so they can feed their families.
The ECPAT Network - End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism - is a group of international organizations to end child prostitution and pornography all over the world published a study, "Child Prostitution and Sex Tourism: Cuba." It said that "In Cuba, the link between tourism and prostitution is perhaps more direct than in any other country that hosts sex tourists." ECPAT also said a higher ratio of tourists are drawn to Cuba for prostitution rather than for the beaches, the shopping or the cultural experience more than to any other country in the world.
It also said "With mass tourism came large-scale effective demand for prostitution. Since many Cuban people are currently experiencing enormous economic hardship, it is not surprising that a supply of prostitutes has emerged to meet this demand." (link below)
Even from the floor of the House of Representatives Members of Congress from both sides have commented about Cuba's child prostitution rings, thier market for sexual tourism and how the abuse the children of Cuba. Look it up in the House Congressional Record.
I can pick apart your argument word by word, but I figured i might left others post thier comments as well.
And for your reading pleasure:
(note, some of the pages have graphic pictures, please be carefull)
- http://www.protectionproject.org/ (Great report from the John Hopkins University. Go to Human Right Reports and then go to Americas and click on Cuba, President Bush has cited this report when talking about human trafficking in Cuba and prostitution.
- http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/cuba.htm (Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation- Cuba)
- http://www.globalpolicy.org/socecon/develop/2003/0326cuba.htm (Poverty Pushes Cuban Women into Sex Tourism)
I hope these are helpful. I don't doubt that you will comment on some problem with them. But they are the truth.
On more thing, I don''t know how the left always has a way to champion the cause of despicable things. You will defend Castro and his revolution, and the right of people to be self determined individuals, speaking their mind, but you won't admit to Human Right Violations in Cuba or the fact that thousands are rotting in Cuban jails. Boggles my mind, I guess that is why I'm a Republican.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Clearly I clicked on it to see what information was the being presented as news. The poster, the Cuban government via AIN, of course provided "their version" of the truth (special emphasis on THEIR VERSION. But sometimes you got to laugh to keep your self from crying.
Cuba is a source country for children trafficked internally for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced child labor.
The AIN article cites that UNICEF has recognized Cuba for "the excellent protection of children by the Cuban government." .. The article also says that Cuba protects it's children against any type of violence and suffer maltreatment and exploitation.
This is appalling! Cuba is the same government that has one of the LARGEST ring of Child prostitution in the world. It constantly abuses the youth in Cuba for sexual reasons, promoting tourism through sexual tourism, and has a huge market for human trafficking, all with a focus on children.
The article states "there are no 'invisible" or excluded children, despite being located in Latin America -a region where the abysmal gap between rich and poor keeps on growing. " Of course there are no "invisible" children in Cuba! The socialist island makes sure to count each and every one of its slave (umm... I mean citizens). These children work in the fields, promote his propaganda and are part of circle of abuse, which tries to break their spirit and tries to pull families apart.
Cuban children are forced to work in the agriculture industry of the country for months at a time with no parent supervision, separated from the families starting around the age of 11 - 13.
It's amazing to me, and to many Cubans, that UNICEF praises a country that so clearly abuses of its most precious resources, its children.
We all hope one day the realities of Cuba will come to light to the entire world community.
Viva Cuba Libre!!
Thursday, December 15, 2005
I guess the same way that some fathers make their pregnant wives watch football so their babies will love the sport, my mom’s activism subconsciously made her American born baby a super Cuban, with the same fervor as the winning quarter back in a Super Bowl game.
Some of my first childhood memories are comprised of me reciting long poems of Jose Marti to random crowds of people while handing out white roses, asking strangers to sign petitions to denounce Cuba’s Human Rights violations and of course participating in pageants for “Los Municipios de Cuba en el Exilio” (the municipalities of Cuba in Exile festival) . Even in college I helped organize student protests agsinst the Clinton administration because of Elian and another against Jose Serrano. So yeah I’ve been doing this for a while.
A dark reality for all Cuban-American activists is the existence of Cuban spies. Yes they do exists! and no I am not being overly paranoid (ok, maybe a little, but I will get to that) … and Yes they are everywhere. I have met some, heard of many, one even tried to brain wash me…. clearly he didn’t prevail; I saw what he was doing…. LOSER!!!
Even in Washington D.C. during my latest work for “La Causa,” I was taken aside and told about the presence of Cuban spies in DC and how they target people like me!!. Ahh!!! Clearly I have become a super paranoid person, to an existent that recently on a business trip to New York City I let my paranoia get the best of me.
On my only free day in New York City this fall I was just walking around the city. I realized there was a Hispanic parade and quickly got enthralled in the pageantry. Everyone had their national flags, so I went up to the nearest vendor and asked for “mi banderita Cubana.”
As I happily waved and saluted to the few Cuban floats, towards the end of the parade a guy comes up to me and starts asking me about Cuban floats in the parade. He then starts asking about Cuba. He keeps asking me questions. He is Cuban, my paranoia got the best of me. I quickly assumed he might be a spy. I asked him questions, trying to measure him up. I even ask him if he is a spy!!!!
How paranoid does our activism make us (ok me) and we (I) assume that some people we (I) meet might be spies!!!
I know they exists. I know where they might hang out (members of the Cuban government hang out at Havana Village in Adams Morgan - I don’t go there—and it also has a huge Che poster that makes me sick to my stomach). But I also know that I have to chill out, be cautious but chill out.
Thankfully the guy has a sense of humor and we laughed it out. That is after the poor guy spent 20 minutes trying to convince me he wasn’t a spy, showing me every piece of identification he had and telling me a short bio of his life. He was just a nice guy interested in me. …
I finally believed him….. Why not, he was a nice guy Cuban boy… Well, I really believed him after I made a few calls, just in case for peace of mind…. You know…..
Viva Cuba Libre!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Unless you've been living in some cave (umm like me these days) you probably know the U.S. House of representatives is taking up immigration reform this week. Their is a bill by Rep. Sensenbrenner and Rep. King, Border and Immigration Enforcement Act of 2005, that address border security and internal enforcement but has no program to deal with the undocumented immigrants currently living in this nation. Unlike the President's proposal, the House bill focuses more on enforcement and less on dealing with the WHOLE problem.
representative Tancredo is a xenophobia out west who for the last few years has been advocating a "let's close the border and ship them all back where they came from" policy. Funny thing is, his grandfather immigrated here from Italy. Tancredo wants to even stop giving out HI visas, even for highly skilled, and high tech workers until the problems with immigration is resolved. In Tancredo's eyes, that is when we have a land of only light skinned English only speaking European descendents.
These days I feel that my black hair and brown eyes and slight Miami accent will force me start carrying a passport just in case Tancredo and his 80 something goonies move the nation in their direction.
If you think that as a Cuban you won't be effected. Think again. To many of these people all people from Spanish speaking countries are "Mexicans" they make no distinction and assume all of us are illegally here. Some of us maybe a bit more light skinned and have less of an accent but when you have the INS acting like a Gestapo all over Miami trying to deport people, let see how you feel about this.
The most disappointing thing is that I am a Republican!! For the last few months I have been fighting these policies. But the last few weeks it has been insane. Its like every freaking elephant lover in this city is about to use their passive feet to smash the other elephant into pieces.
Look I am all about securing our borders, stricter enforcement but does anyone truly realize what will happen to this nation if we send back every one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this nation, Mexican or OTM (what some love to call Other Then Mexicans).
Ay dios. The economy would crumble, hotels wouldn't get cleaned, fields won't be picked and half the people advocating immigrants return would be left with dirty houses and uncared for children.
Clearly Hispanics can do more, but as my grandparents needed some footing to move up, this current generation is doing the same. The reality is that some are just scared that these hard working Hispanics will have these menial jobs for the meantime and soon enough will take over the work place as we have done in so many other areas.
I am sorry that for almost two months I have been missing in action...
Much like a kid napped victim for the last few months I have been secluded to little whole in the wall, mainly my new office, as I started a new job with new people and not as much Cuba news as I once got.
But alas that has all changed. Here I go again delivering my version of Cuba news with a Washington twist... Well not always Cuba news but as a Cubanita I go for my passion, the mother land of Cuba, as Fransico Vicente Aguilera once said, "Sine patria no tengo nada!"
Viva Cuba Libre!!
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Congressman traveled to Iraq with accused friend
Washington – Just when it seemed U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott's (WA-07) ethical rap sheet couldn't get any more scandalous, it appears he's adding his ties to one of history's greatest scandals. When Paul Volcker's final report on the United Nations oil-for-food scandal was released recently, a friend of McDermott, who traveled with him to Iraq, was listed as a beneficiary.
Detroit-area businessman Shakir Al-Khafaji is alleged to have received oil money from Saddam Hussein's government under the failed U.N. program that was ravaged by illegal kickbacks and bribes. During a 2002 trip to Iraq, McDermott not only traveled on the dime of an organization financially supported by Al-Khafaji, but was actually accompanied by the scandal-ridden businessman with ties to Hussein's Baath Party.
"Jim McDermott will stop at nothing to be in the spotlight, even if it means traveling with one of Saddam Hussein's accomplices in the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal," said National Republican Congressional Committee Communications Director Carl Forti. "Jim McDermott's cozy relationship with Shakir Al-Khafaji truly makes him the poster child of House Democrats' questionable ethics and shady friendships."
According to Crain's Detroit Business, "Al-Khafaji led a delegation of anti-war Congressmen to Iraq in 2002 that included former Rep. David Bonior and Jim McDermott. ... Al-Khafaji and his wife ... gave ... more than $5,000 to McDermott for a legal defense fund..." McDermott has since returned the money, though he has characterized his relationship with Al-Khafaji as "... a friend [who] gives me money."
"Sadly, the very money that Saddam Hussein bilked from the Iraqi people made its way back into the pocket of Jim McDermott's traveling partner and helped finance his Iraq adventure," added Forti.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
press realease from Freedom House.....
NEW YORK, October 27, 2005 -- The European Parliament's decision to award Cuban activists its annual Sakharov Prize is a highly deserved honor, but the European Union must do more to hold the Cuban government accountable for its ongoing human rights abuses, Freedom House said today.
The award, named for renowned Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was given Wednesday to "Cuba's Ladies in White" (Damas de Blanco), a group of women who regularly demonstrate peacefully in Cuba on behalf of relatives jailed over two years ago during a widespread crackdown on Cuban dissidents and independent journalists. Nigerian human rights lawyer Hauwa Ibrahim, and the Paris-based organization Reporters Without Borders also received the award.
"The Ladies in White are the wives, sisters, and daughters of Cuban political prisoners, and through their dignified and courageous acts of defiance they have awakened the world's conscience to the brutal nature of the Castro regime," said Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor. "These women are the standard-bearers of Cuba's growing democracy movement."
Of the 75 Cuban citizens rounded up in March 2003, 61 remain confined to squalid prison conditions, serving sentences averaging 20 years.
Freedom House congratulates the award winners and praises the European Union's efforts to champion human rights defenders, especially those operating within closed and repressive societies.
The European Parliament's decision comes at a significant moment in EU-Cuba relations, as European pressure on the Cuban regime to uphold basic principles of human rights and democratic reforms has wavered over the past year.
"The EU's decision to honor and support the work of Cuba's Ladies in White, while commendable, must be followed by a renewed commitment by European leaders to support the peaceful work of Cuba's democracy advocates and to hold the Cuban government accountable for its continued violations of individual freedoms and the rule of law," said Ms. Windsor.
Every Sunday afternoon since April 2003, the Ladies in White, dressed in all white clothing, have been marching through the streets of Havana and other provincial Cuban cities. The women have often been compared to Argentina's Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, known around the world for their heroic demonstrations against the disappearance of Argentina's missing sons and daughters from the Dirty Wars of the 1970's and 80's.
The European Parliament's Sakharov Prize has now been awarded twice in the past three years to members of Cuba's democracy movement. In December 2002, Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá was awarded the prize in recognition of the Varela Project, a grassroots initiative that to-date has collected over 30,000 signatures in support of a nationwide referendum on Cuba's socialist constitution. More than 40 Varela activists were among the 75 detained in March 2003.
Freedom House has consistently rated Cuba "Not Free" in its annual global survey of political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the World, and in Freedom of the Press, its annual survey of global media freedom.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Monday, October 24, 2005
Thankfully my family is safe, with the exception of a few dozen missing shingles, all things are good... and Dad, stop video tapping the storm in the middle of the street!! Get in the house already!!! Por Dios!!
Friday, October 21, 2005
CODEPINK says they want to go to Cuba because it is their constitutional right to travel. I wish they would understand that those inalienable rights, granted by our fore fathers that they are seeking to express, is a foreign concept to the Cuban citizens.
The simple idea of “life, liberty and property for the pursuit of happiness” does not exists on the island. A Cubans life is not their own; it belongs to the government. Cubans have no liberty; they can not express themselves. They can not speak their minds (without going to jail that is) or even travel within their own country. Cubans can't own land; in fact, they can't even own a cell phone. The pursuit of happiness? What happiness? Though Cubans are a joyful people, they have learned to put up with a lot, for many of them, their happiest moments occur when they can escape the island and reach freedom.... The so-called itinary for Codepink states they will go “visit with farmers at their co-ops” (owned by castro, where many children are forced to work endless hours away from their families.); “[visit] doctors at their family clinics” (which don’t have resources to attend to their patients – but I bet that week there will be plenty of medicine to show off to the Americans); “ [to visit] dancers at the National Folklore Group, and young people at the ballpark.” (I wonder who will be chosen by the government to talk to these self professed freedom lovers”)….. We must all wonder, who exactly will Codepink meet with? A group of handpicked Cubans by the castro government? We all wonder if their trip will be constantly monitored by Cuban officials.
I want to ask Codepink, who are fighting so hard in this country for "progressive thought", Why do you not want to bring such progressive thought into the entire world. Why do you want to express your freedom to party at the expense of those that suffer each day at the hands of a murdering dictator? You state on your web page that "Codepink is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education and other life-affirming activities."...
So, CodePink will: Why don't you help create social justice in Cuba? Will you meet with opposition leaders? Will you ask for the immediate release of political prisoners? Will you ask for the immediate release of journalist from the gulags? Will you ask for an immediate end to the apartheid system that exists between Cubans and tourist? Will you protest the child prostitution rings in Cuba? Will you ask that government allow the operation of libraries, and not imprison librarians? Will you ask for an end to the child labor camps? Will you force the government of Cuba to give their citizens life-affirming activities, and allow them to live in freedom and not in constant panic, hunger and suffering? .....
I bet not!!!!….. Your only mission in Cuba is your personal satisfaction and intoxication in the beautiful beaches my family was kicked out of. As you said yourselves “Don’t miss this historic chance to dance salsa, drink mojitos, and visit beautiful beaches”… I love how you have your priorities in order – there is no part to help the suffering of the Cuban people. If you want to do all that so badly, just go to Miami! In fact, I can make a pretty good mojito. Come to my house, I’ll make you a mojito and tell you the real Cuban story!!
Codepink's only mission to Cuba is a selfish excuse to go against a Bush policy, that will cause no positive impact in the world, but only lead to more human suffering by providing additional revenue to the Cuban dictatorship. Shame on you Codepink, for you do not stand for freedom, you only care about yourselves and not the suffering of thousands of people. This is just a lame attempt to "rebel" against the President because of your general distaste for him. Stop acting like a puberty stricken teenager and realize the consequences of your actions. As you fight to travel to the island, millions more die to leave. Congratulations on having a complete lack of consciousness.
For more information on these so called “friendship visits” go to babalu blog. As usual he has a wonderful insightful and informative commentary and hacks away at all these Pinko groups….
* Kumbaya team – I call them Kumbaya team, or Kumbaya-ers those people that want the world to hold hands and sign together in happiness and peace, who live in some idealistic reality that everyone loves each other and can get along. Who doesn’t understand there is real evil in this world. Those who do not see the evil that does exist because of their idealistic principles and their inability to see reality.
Today on Reason Magazine’s online blog, they had a post titled, " How Are Miers And Castro Alike? How Are They Different? " . In it, they list the few (and CLEARLY there are few) reasons the ruthless communist dictator can even be compared with this freedom loving, law abiding American. The magazine uses the issue of abortion as a means for the comparison… but come on people… How can anyone compare Miers trying to stay ambiguous on abortion (in a failed attempt to become a more viable option for both political parties) to dictator castro. His latest attempt to say abortion is bad and that he wants to stop sexual tourism is full of crap!!!
The socialist island lives off of tourism, and especially sexual tourism - providing over $2 billion a year to Cuba. The police don’t even imprison jineteras - prostitutes any more. It's part of the “cultural landscape.” Abortion has for a long time been a disgustingly abused way of birth control on the island. A practice allowed by Castro. Your going to tell me that this immoral, murderous dictator suddenly had some change of heart, and cares about the unborn and wants to stop one of the most popular means of revenue to the island! Yeah right! Money is money and Fidel Castro doesn't care where it comes from, as long as it's in his pockets. This is just another publicity stunt trying to show Castro as a nice guy, "Santo Fidel"…. Thankfully there are many of us that are not blinded by the smoke he is pumping out…
On another note, though Harriet Miers isn’t my ideal pick either -I would have much preferred a Hispanic on the court - I don’t think she is the monster that everyone is trying to portray her to be. Is she the most qualified for the court? No. Is she the worst decision ever? I don’t think so. She does have an impressive resume and has fought alot of opposition in her life. This won't be the first time she has had an uphill battle … I think that this view of this nomination, like most things in America these days (unfortunately) is based on perception. The White House blew the roll out of this nomination, probably because of all the scandals, but we will just have to wait and see how this possible Supreme Court Justice will do come November.
To read the post go to Reason - http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/10/how_are_miers_a.shtml
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Today Texan Representative Tom DeLay turned himself in to the Harris Country Sheriff's office. The deposed House majority leader was booked on conspiracy and money laundering charges and was finger printed and his mug shot was taken.
Ronnie Earle, the Travis Country District Attorney who has been attacking delay for years and got the indictment, must have cringed when the picture came out. Delay's mug shot looks better then his House of Representatives photo!!! Delay is all smiles, with a nice suit and his Member of Congress pin. ... Who ever got him ready for this picture is a GENIUS!
I know that Earle, and his democratic cronies, where hoping for a nasty horrible mug shot, a la' Pee Wee Herman. Oohh so sad. tear, tear for you!! What a shocker when the Congressman's mug shot made him look like the "Employee of the Month" and not the sketchy-creepy politico that Earl had dreamed up.
I wonder if he will have nightmares of Delay's smiley faces? ... We know that Earl and the Democrats were hoping of a picture/mug shot they could plaster in the mass media. Dreams of sugar plum fairies passing around pamphlets, flyers and national commercials highlighting a mug shot of guilt ridden Delay, forcing the image down the throats of Americans with a slogan- This Man Is A Criminal and so are ALL Republicans!.... umm ok, try to use that message with this picture... Delay looks great!... As my co-workers would say "this picture is brilliant!"
Delay is scheduled for his initial court appearance tomorrow. His bail is set for $10,000. His lawyer will ask the scheduled lawyer to step down. The judge is a active democrat.
Just for comparison sake, let's take a look at mug shots more in the likeness of the vision Earl had for Delay's picture (Nick Nolte, Paul Reubens - akaMr. Pee Wee Herman and Robert Downey Jr.)..... sorry Earl, no crazy hair, no nasty facial hair, not drug induced look...
For more information about Delay or stupid mug shots go to The Smoking Gun.
on another note, the lottery does say a lot about the RIDICULOUS nature of our taxes... The jackpot of $340 million is a payout of about $130... ummm what happened to like half the money? Taxes! Yes there are way too many taxes in this country!
Ice Cream Hangover
By STEPHEN MOORE
October 20, 2005; Page A15
STOWE, Vt. -- I've always prided myself on conscientiously avoiding funding anti-free-market liberal causes in America, so you won't ever catch me pouring Newman's Own oil-and-vinegar dressing on my salad. But I confess to an addiction to Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey and the greatest flavor ever invented in ice-creamdom, Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. I draw the line, however, at the now-retired Rainforest Crunch. The name itself is nauseating. Eating a rain forest?
So this weekend, while in Vermont to speak at the Freedom Fest sponsored by the Ethan Allen Institute, a conservative state think tank (150 people showed up -- more freedom-lovers than I would have thought resided in the blue state that gave us Howard Dean and Congress's only avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders), I paid a visit to the world-famous Ben & Jerry's ice-cream factory.
To be in Vermont and not visit this landmark would be as unforgivable as visiting Rome and not going to the Colosseum. So I slapped down three bucks and waited in the gift shop where a pint of ice cream costs $3.99 -- which to me borders on price-gouging. (One of the supreme ironies of this socially conscious firm is that it is one of the best capitalists you'll ever come across.)
The tour itself is a 30-minute propaganda campaign explaining why the company's founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for their unwavering commitment to the environment and economic justice.
Meanwhile, their factory is a monument to the efficiencies of capitalism and technological progress: Several dozen giant computer-operated machines churn out hundreds of thousands of cartons a day. I half expect the massive energy-gulping freezers to be solar-paneled or powered by green-friendly windmills, but no, they use lots and lots of conventional electricity. It turns out that if you want really good ice cream, you just have to tolerate a little more global warming. That's a trade-off that I personally am willing to make.
Most of my fellow tourists are a bit on the chubby side, and a few start wheezing as we climb the half-flight of stairs to the observation area. These folks need another scoop of Cherry Garcia like a hole in the head. Although this company touts its "wholesome and natural ingredients mixed with euphoric concoctions," the truth is that Ben & Jerry's ice cream mostly contains two hazardous ingredients: fatty cream and sugar.
Herein lies a second irony: This product is probably about as good for your health as a pack of Camel cigarettes -- and at least cigarettes carry the Surgeon General's warning labels. At Ben & Jerry's, the saying goes "if you can't eat a whole pint … in one sitting, you aren't really trying." But if you do, you might as well be injecting your arteries with Elmer's glue. And they have no qualms about marketing this dangerous product to children. If you want to know the definition of a liberal's dilemma, just wait till the trial lawyers slap Ben & Jerry's with a billion-dollar lawsuit.
Our guide is almost apologetic when he tells us that back in 2000 our lovable heroes got filthy rich by selling out to corporate food giant Unilever. But never fear: In the tour video, the new, aptly named CEO, Walt Freese, assures us that "our commitment to social and economic justice and the environment is as important to us as profitability. It's our heritage." I nearly have to wipe away tears streaming down my cheeks.
It is fortuitous that I am here the very week Ben & Jerry's announced that, for the first time in 10 years, it will get back to "leading with its values" by spending $5 million on a social awareness TV ad campaign. More than one analyst has wondered aloud whether this is just a slick Madison Avenue advertising gimmick to hike profits. After all, corporate responsibility has become the chic new marketing theme for Fortune 500 companies like British Petroleum, Starbucks and even GE. But Mr. Freese assures us that "this isn't a short-term strategy to drive up sales. These are issues that are important for our society to address."
And just what are those issues? Here our earnest tour guide raises his chin a bit and proudly declares that the first ads are dedicated to saving the family farm. When I burst out laughing, 22 sets of angry eyes glared at me. For the past 100 years, as the productivity of the American farmer has surged to unprecedented heights, the number of Americans working in agriculture to feed the world has fallen from 35 workers per 100 to two.
This is called progress. What is Ben & Jerry's proposed solution, anyway? To turn back the clock and abolish the tractor? Many Americans seem to be under the illusion that the small family farmer has lived a carefree idyllic lifestyle. In truth, this livelihood has traditionally involved backbreaking toil, work-days that last from sun-up to sundown, and monotony -- which is why sons and daughters have been fleeing the farm for five generations. The only people who actually want to save small farms are people who've never worked on a farm.
The Ben & Jerry's ads moan that the corporatization of farming is a horrid trend. I couldn't help asking our tour guide during the Q-&-A why, if corporatization of farming is such a bad thing, that isn't also true of the corporatization of ice cream. Those same 22 pairs of eyes glare back at me.
It's hard to feel sorry for the allegedly aggrieved farmers who have "lost their land" to corporate greed. In Northern Virginia, where I live (and in many other areas), the farmers have sold their acreage for about 20 times what they paid and now they own million-dollar bungalows in Palm Beach, while the rest of us get to shop at glorious-though-crowded strip malls. It's a win-win.
At the end of the tour -- which I highly recommend for the free scoops along the way -- it's a relief to know that of all the dimwitted, touchy-feely, left-wing social causes Ben & Jerry's could waste $5 million on, this one will probably do society and our beloved capitalistic system the least damage. So as a lover of freedom, I can, in good conscience, shell out $4 a pint for Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, eat it out of the carton in one sitting -- my arteries be damned -- and still feel good about myself in the morning.
Mr. Moore is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Representative Pacheco, a Republican, was born in California of Mexican parents. He served with distinction for three terms, first winning election in 1876. His portrait was revealed today by Representative Jerry Weller (R-Ill), who asked the portrait to be commissioned, Members of the Congressional Hispanic Conference (the Republican Hispanics), including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (the Democratic Hispanics) in a ceremony in the House Administration Committee Hearing Room in the Longworth building on Capitol Hill.
Congressman Rumualdo Pacheco was born in Santa Barbara, California on October 31, 1831 and lived a remarkable life. During his life time he served as a senior Civil War Military officer, was a successful landowner and rancher, elected to the California State Senate, became was the first and only Hispanic Governor of California, was a Member of Congress, First Hispanic as a Chairman of a Congressional committee, and was appointed to the U.S. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Central American States. For more information about Pacheco
Monday, October 17, 2005
WHY LATINOS CAN'T BE TERRORISTS............
1. 8:45 am is too early for us to be up.
2. We are always late, we would have missed all 4 flights.
3. Pretty people on the plane distract us.
4. We would talk loudly and bring attention to ourselves.
5. With food and drinks on the plane, we would forget why we're there.
6. We talk with our hands, therefore we would have to put our weapons down.
7. We would ALL want to fly the plane.
8. We would argue and start a fight in the plane.
9. We can't keep a secret, we would have told everyone a week before doing it. I'm a terrorist.. (Oye Pepe, tu sabes lo que esta haciendo Juan!!!)
10.We would have put our country's flag on the windshield.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
The New York Sun
October 10, 2005
UBS DEALINGS IN IRAN, CUBA TO BE PROBED
By MEGHAN CLYNE, Staff Reporter of the Sun
WASHINGTON, D.C. -The world's largest "wealth management" firm, UBS, will be investigated by Congress for possibly laundering money for two state sponsors of terrorism, Cuba and Iran, lawmakers here told The New York Sun.
The Swiss bank, which operates a large financial services business in America, will be pressed about $3.9 billion deposited in UBS accounts by the Castro regime, according to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican of Florida, who first announced the impending investigation on Friday. Possible improper financial dealings with the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saddam Hussein's Iraq will also be subject to scrutiny, she said.
In 2003, American soldiers liberating Iraq discovered $762 million in American currency stashed in hideouts belonging to Saddam. According to Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, a Federal Reserve Bank probe traced the cash to UBS and other international financial firms. While investigating the Swiss bank's possible business relationship with Saddam's dictatorship, it was discovered that the firm - as part of a program with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in which UBS allowed clients to retire old banknotes and replace them with fresh currency - had also conducted transactions with Cuba, Iran, Libya, and Yugoslavia.
The business relationships were a violation of the agreement with the Federal Reserve, which had stipulated as a condition of the program that UBS neither accept cash from nor transfer it to countries against which America maintains sanctions.
Cuba, Iran, and Libya are on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, and, according to UBS, employees of the bank had filed false accounting reports with the Federal Reserve to conceal the transactions with the prohibited clients. As a result, the Federal Reserve Board and the Swiss Federal Banking Commission sanctioned UBS, which settled the matter by paying a $100 million fine to the Federal Reserve.
To Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, however, the matter is anything but settled. The congresswoman, who is a Cuban-American and a member of the House International Relations Committee, said yesterday that the decision to go forward with the investigation resulted from nearly a year of unfruitful meetings with the UBS officials, including the bank's vice chairman, Phil Gramm, a former Republican senator from Texas.
For several months, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said, she has pressed representatives of the Swiss bank for details surrounding the $3.9 billion, which, according to press accounts, was deposited by the Castro regime into one official Cuban government account with UBS. The deposits took place over the course of 1,900 transactions between 1996 and 2003.
While officials of the Castro regime have maintained that the deposits involve legitimate revenue derived from Cuba's tourism industry and remittances sent by Cuban-American exiles to their families on the island, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen told The New York Sun yesterday that the amount of the deposits far exceeds Mr. Castro's potential legal revenue in American dollars.
One of the Cuban-American congressional leaders involved in the discussions with UBS, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Republican of Florida, said yesterday in a phone interview with the Sun that money laundering is "one of Castro's main businesses." In addition to funneling cash for drug traffickers, Mr. Diaz-Balart said, Havana's strongman abets Latin-American narco-terrorist organizations, such as the FARC and ELN in Colombia. Corrupt Latin American leaders, too, are clients of Mr. Castro's money-laundering operations, he said.
The mysterious $3.9 billion, Mr. Diaz-Balart added, is "just one tip of the iceberg." He expressed frustration that America's intelligence services had neglected to probe the dictator's money laundering services for terrorists, leaving the UBS investigation to Congress.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said that, since UBS's possible money laundering for state sponsors of terrorism posed a threat to American security, it was essential that the bank's alleged connections to Cuba, Iran, and Hussein's Iraq not be left unexplored, quieted by a $100 million fine.
In particular, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen told the Sun, she has consistently pressed UBS for more information about how the potentially illegal business relationships were entered into; whether the bank made any inquiries of the Cuban, Iranian, and Iraqi clients to ensure that the money deposited was obtained legally; and whether the Swiss bank has closed all of its accounts with Cuba and Iran.
On the last question in particular, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said she has met with reticence from UBS, which, she said, is "really not forthcoming with information."
To get answers, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said she and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican of California, will hold joint hearings on the transactions. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen is chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia, which will probe the possible UBS connections to Iran and Iraq. Mr. Rohrabacher is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which will investigate the ties to the Castro regime, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said. Both are part of the House International Relations Committee, and the congresswoman said she hopes to begin the inquiries before the second week of December, when Congress's session ends.
Rep. Sue Kelly, a Republican of New York, also will participate in the investigation, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said. Ms. Kelly, the chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has conducted previous UBS inquiries.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen added that she is also inquiring about the status of a criminal investigation into the UBS matter she believes is being conducted by the Manhattan district attorney, Robert Morgenthau. Calls to Mr. Morgenthau's office and home last night were not returned.
The purpose of the House investigation, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said, is to "discourage international banks, or any financial institution, from having these kinds of clients - Castro, Saddam Hussein, and their ilk." Moreover, "it will make it harder for the likes of Fidel Castro to funnel money to legitimate institutions" if the international financial-services industry understands that such business relationships will be investigated and that illegal activities will carry consequences, the congresswoman said.
A spokeswoman for UBS, Christine Walton, said yesterday that the bank had not been informed officially of the investigation, and declined to comment on whether UBS had begun any internal probe into the $3.9 billion from Cuba and the possible connections to Iran.
As for the violations of the agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Ms. Walton said: "We've already paid a fine for it. If there's a separate line of inquiry from any other government institution, we're unaware of it." Since the bank had not been informed of any investigation, Ms. Walton declined to "speculate," but said it is UBS policy to cooperate with government inquiries.
In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on July 21, 2004, Mr. Morgenthau said, "The banks need to do a better job. Some oversight failures at the banks may be due to ignorance or simple negligence. But it is difficult to discount the influence of the considerable fees that banks can earn through the international money transmittal business." In an editorial that ran shortly thereafter, the Wall Street Journal urged regulators and prosecutors to get tough on money laundering, which the newspaper said "has been aided and abetted by U.S. banks for years."
Friday, October 07, 2005
The Other Gitmo: Where's the Outrage?
By MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY
October 7, 2005; Page A17
Conditions at the prison at Guantánamo are inhumane. Inmates are deprived their right to religious worship, receive scant nutrition and suffer constant verbal and physical abuse from guards. It's a humanitarian outrage.
I refer, of course, to Castro's Guantánamo Provincial Prison in Cuba proper, the prison across the fence from the U.S. naval base compound holding the terrorists. Fidel's lock-up makes the U.S. prison look like a five-star tropical resort.
Torture, deprivation and isolation of political prisoners at the "other" Guantánamo -- or at any of Fidel's gulags across the island -- are no secret. They've been loudly denounced by prisoners' families and reeported by Cuba's independent journalists. But foreign journalists have paid little attention. It seems they're too busy shredding their hankies over whether enemy combatants at the naval base have enough honey glaze on their chicken.
International apathy toward the plight of the political prisoners is just what Fidel Castro counts on. As the dissident movement has expanded in the past decade, El Maximo Lider has found it necessary to strike at it with excessive force from time to time. But when his repression becomes too public, he has to back off.
A hunger strike at the Guantánamo prison, which ended earlier this week, makes the point. Political prisoners Victor Arroyo and Felix Navarro stopped eating on Sept. 10 and 13 respectively, to protest the extreme cruelty administered by Guantánamo prison director Lt. Col. Jorge Chediak Pérez and "rehabilitation" expert Juan Armesto.
As the strike headed toward a fourth week, dozens of Cuban human rights advocates from all over the island were on their way to the prison in a show of solidarity. On Sept. 29, the EU called on the government to "improve the conditions of detention of these individuals and other political prisoners who are being held in circumstances that fall below the U.N. Minimum Standards for the Treatment of Prisoners."
On Monday, as the strikers showed no sign of relenting, Fidel blinked. The two men were removed from Guantánamo. Mr. Arroyo was taken away in an ambulance because he was so feeble, while Mr. Navarro traveled by car. Sources on the island say that Mr. Arroyo is now at the prison hospital in Holguin and Mr. Navarro is at the prison hospital in Bayamo.
In an honest world, the cases of Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Navarro would have raised an international outcry a long time ago. The men were arrested along with more than 70 others in the regime's March 2003 crackdown on journalists, opposition leaders, librarians and writers. All were taken into custody, given summary trials and handed extreme sentences.
A review of the 53-year-old Mr. Arroyo's arrest record shows the regime's pathetic paranoia. One example: In 2000 he was jailed for possessing some toys that he planned to distribute to poor children. The charge? "Hoarding public goods." His real crimes are for things like being director of the Union of Independent Cuban Journalists and Writers and managing one of the most important independent libraries in the country. In March 2003, Mr. Arroyo was working as a journalist in Pinar del Río, when he was detained. On April 7, 2003, he was sentenced to 26 years in prison for "acts against state security."
Mr. Navarro, who is 52-years-old, has an equally "dangerous" profile. An educator for some 20 years, in 1999 he founded the Pedro Luis Boitel Democracy Movement, which led to numerous arrests. His April 2003 conviction for "acts against state security" won him a 25 year sentence.
Mr. Navarro's identification with the heroic Boitel explains a lot about the prisoners and about Fidel's decision to yield to their strike. Boitel was a close prison friend of Armando Valladares, who spent 22 years in Cuban gulags. In his memoir, "Against All Hope," Mr. Valladares wrote of Boitel that he was "the most rebellious of Cuban political prisoners." In 1972, he had gone on a hunger strike to protest prison conditions. After 47 days of no food Boitel was gravely ill. But it was Castro's decision to deny him water that sealed his fate. He died on day 53.
Later, according to Mr. Valladares, the prisoners learned that Castro had given the order to "get rid of Boitel so he wouldn't make anymore [expletive] trouble." In a telephone conversation from Miami this week, Mr. Valladares reminded me that through it all "the international community kept silent."
Like Mr. Valladares and Boitel before them, Messrs. Arroyo and Navarro protested Guantánamo's filth, beatings, bad food, lack of water and use of common criminals to terrorize political prisoners. And like their predecessors, their complaints were met with violence.
In December 2003, Mr. Arroyo's opinions earned him a savage beating by three jailers, who also slammed a door on his leg to cripple him. In September 2004, when he was told his cell would be searched, he asked to be present to ensure that nothing would be planted. For that request, the food that had been brought by his family was confiscated and his few belongings trashed. He was then placed in a "punishment cell," which is a solitary confinement cell too small to lie down in, with no windows and a steel door. He was kept there for 15 days. Mr. Navarro was also thrown in the punishment cells for objecting to inhumane conditions.
The men wrote letters to the government to draw attention to ruthlessness of Armesto and jailer Chediak Perez, but to no avail. That's when they took up the mantle of Boitel.
Castro didn't respond until it looked like the strikers might embarrass him by dying. On Tuesday, Mr. Arroyo's sister reported that Cuban officials in Holguin promised him "a just treatment." But the fact that it had to go so far before Castro would agree to basic humanitarian principles reveals much about the dictator that so many Americans admire.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Rep. Diaz-Balart, the sponsor of the measure, stated the resolution demonstrated the solidarity of the U.S. Congress for all Cuban prisoners of consiouness and pro-democracy activists.
With a final vote of 393 to 31, H. Res 388, calls for the immediate release of all prisoners of consiouness and free elections in Cuba, urges the European Union to reexamine its policy toward Cuba, and calls on the representative of the United States to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to ensure a resolution calling upon the Cuban regime to end its humanrights violations.
UPDATED: Here is the list of commies as per request.....
Conyers (he use to be on the good side, dont' know what happened.. urr)
Jackson-Lee (TX)(if i got a penny for everytime she talked i would be rich!)
Johnson, E. B.
Paul (he's a libretarian on the Republican party - he has some political issues)
Serrano (Shocker! - NOT yuck!)
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
There were early reports that Drier would take over the reigns of leader but those rumors have now fallen flat. (this may have been caused by some party leaders who disapprove of Drier.) In the hierarchy of House politics, Blunt is the next in line and is the safest and more likely choice. Most people believe Delay stepping down is only temporary.
All decisions must be made by the Speaker who is scheduled to speak now.
UPDATE: GOP Conference just got out. Blunt is now taking over the responsibilities of Majority Leader. No titles are being given, only people will be taken on more on their plates but no changes in power structure will take place. This is also a huge disappointment for Drier whose name was so prevalent as the next Leader, even if temporary. – I guess Lincoln Diaz-Balart will stay as Vice Chair of Rules. We will just have to wait another day to see the rise of Cuban power in Congress…
National Journal's CongressDailyPM
Delay has been indited and must resign his post as Majority Leader. Now Hastert will recommend Rep. David Dreier of California step into indicted leader Tom DeLay's duties. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart is the current Vice Chairman of the Rules Commitee... in the most likely of situations Diaz-Balart would rise to Chairman. This would make him one of the most powerful members of the House and the most important and powerful Hispanic in Congress....
more news to come....
BREITBART.COM - Just The News
UPDATED: Smoking Gun has the inditment documentation
Also from Drudge Report the following report:
Statement from the Office of the Majority Leader
Wed Sep 28 2005 13:03:09 ET
(WASHINGTON) - Kevin Madden, spokesman for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (TX) today released the following statement regarding today's announcement by the Travis County (TX) District Attorney's Office:
"These charges have no basis in the facts or the law. This is just another example of Ronnie Earle misusing his office for partisan vendettas. Despite the clearly political agenda of this prosecutor, Congressman DeLay has cooperated with officials throughout the entire process. Even in the last two weeks, Ronnie Earle himself had acknowledged publicly that Mr. DeLay was not a target of his investigation. However, as with many of Ronnie Earle's previous partisan investigations, Ronnie Earle refused to let the facts or the law get in the way of his partisan desire to indict a political foe.
This purely political investigation has been marked by illegal grand jury leaks, a fundraising speech by Ronnie Earle for Texas Democrats that inappropriately focused on the investigation, misuse of his office for partisan purposes, and extortion of money for Earle's pet projects from corporations in exchange for dismissing indictments he brought against them. Ronnie Earle's previous misuse of his office has resulted in failed prosecutions and we trust his partisan grandstanding will strike out again, as it should.
Ronnie Earle's 1994 indictment against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was quickly dismissed and his charges in the 1980s against former Attorney General Jim Mattox-another political foe of Earle-fell apart at trial.
We regret the people of Texas will once again have their taxpayer dollars wasted on Ronnie Earle's pursuit of headlines and political paybacks. Ronnie Earle began this investigation in 2002, after the Democrat Party lost the Texas state legislature to Republicans. For three years and through numerous grand juries, Ronnie Earle has tried to manufacture charges against Republicans involved in winning those elections using arcane statutes never before utilized in a case in the state. This indictment is nothing more than prosecutorial retribution by a partisan Democrat."
In a vote 215-190 vote they shot down the Democratic resolution and Republican Congressman made it very clear they were NOT going to honor someone with such radical ideals... WOOHOOO....House rejects naming post office after Berkeley activist
This piece of federal legislation comes in reaction to the July 22 events in Havana, Cuba when members of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society, were planning a peaceful demonstration in front of the French Embassy in Cuba and were victims of the members of the Castro's dictatorship government. At least 20 of them were arrested. Among those arrested were leaders Martha Beatriz Roque, Felix Bonne Carcasses and Rene Gómez Manzano. Gómez Manzano and other pro-democracy activists remain in prison.
The resolution should come to the house floor this morning.
UPDATE: The vote for this resolution has been pushed back till Thursday (probably with all the ruckus caused by the Delay situation)
The New York Sun wrote a great editorial.... please read....
The New York Sun Editorial
September 28, 2005
Congress Confronts Castro
Congress is scheduled to vote today on whether to get tough with the Cuban tyrant, Fidel Castro. It is now more than two months since Mr. Castro began his latest crackdown on his citizens. The measure the House is scheduled to vote on today, House Resolution 388, is expected to pass, categorically condemning Castro's regime, his imprisonment of his own people for the crime of wanting democracy, and the European Union's coddling of the despot.
After the crackdown began July 22, the number of dissidents arrested has reached at least 50, of whom more than a dozen remained in jail at last count. They join 61 of the 75 dissidents who were arrested in a similar wave of repression in 2003. A month ago, one of those arrested in July, Rene Gomez Manzano, started a hunger strike ["Cuba's Ganji," August 22].Since then, several others have adopted that form of protest, including a journalist, Victor Arroyo, who is now in the third week of his own hunger strike, and an activist, Felix Navarro. Messrs. Arroyo and Navarro were arrested in 2003.
In statements to The New York Sun in August, spokeswomen for both the White House and the State Department called for an end to the repression in Cuba. Now the House will issue a call of its own. The proposed resolution notes the plight of the jailed dissidents. It also reminds the world that Castro still jails anyone with the temerity to try to leave the island, that he still offers safe harbor to American lawbreakers, and that his regime is still listed by our state department as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The resolution also notes that throughout the latest repression, the European Union has been lifting, not tightening, its sanctions. After the 2003 crackdown, the EU countries had cut off high-level official contact with the regime and had started inviting dissidents to events at their embassies in Havana. The EU lost its nerve earlier this year, lulled by the release of 14 of the detainees arrested in 2003. By July, the French embassy in the enemy capital was inviting Castro's cronies to the very Bastille Day party that sparked the protests that led to the crackdown. A failure of feck is the best hope for despots like Castro, which is why today's vote in the Congress matters.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Thankfully our South Florida Delegation in Congress – Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, are outraged that they are highlighting the life of a murder, torturer, psychopath, communist and who has made so many suffer.
UPDATED: Thanks to the letter, the LOC will no longer show the movie!! YEAH!
Friday, September 23, 2005
NBC 6 Webcast
UPDATE -- unfortunatly 10 Cubans were captured only TWO miles off shore!!!!!!
damn wet foot - dry foot policy! stupid Clinton!
Turn on the TIVO, set your VCR or whatever you have but tonight at 9 PM be ready to watch one of the best baseball documentaries ever!!
“Viva Baseball” a movie by Dan Klores shows how Latinos shaped America’s favorite pastime – baseball. Starting from the early part of the 1900s to present day the movie does justice to so many talented Hispanic players who made baseball the great game it is today. It shows their struggles and battles and triumphs in American society and in the game. It makes you love and respect these major leaguers more then ever and makes you even prouder to be Hispanic.
Yesterday I was invited to a special screening of the movie in Washington DC with Hall of Famers Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda and the family of Roberto Clemente, his wife and two sons. Various members of Congress were part of the crowd, including Senator Mel Martinez, Senator Ken Salazar and unfortunately for me, Rep. Jose Serrano, among others.
No matter what Spanish country you are from you take so much pride in these Latin All Stars. From a Cuba perspective its especially wonderful, as the film rightfully credits Cuba as the country who spread baseball to the rest of the region. It also shows Castro in the correct light, as a horrible dictator, destroying baseball, separating families and destroying everything in his path.
It was even more wonderful knowing that Serrano was there, watching his little friend Castro shown in his real form, a communist dictator and harsh tyrant.
In addition the soundtrack to the movie is a gift to any Cuban enthusiast; I could just imagine my grandma in her prime in Havana dancing to the songs….
Yesterday was probably one of the greatest days of my life, I was in the presence of these baseball all starts. My father had told me stories of these dynamite athletes and I now, because of the movie, had a new wonderful appreciation of their legacy. As the movie ended, they all had tears in their eyes. I got to shake the hands and tell them of my gratitude and what an honor it was to meet them. My smile was ear to ear. I could hardly muster the right Spanish words to talk to them. They were so happy to hear me in their native tongue thanking them for their work, their commitment to our culture and baseball.
Mrs. Clemete was the sweetest women I had ever meet. Her sons were polite and modest. Mr. Cepeda took a liking to me and complemented me on my Spanish and took some time to talk to me. I was in heaven!!!
I even got two baseballs signed by Hall of Famers Orlando Cepeda and Juan Marichal - One for me, one for my dad.
This morning I talked to my father for half and hour, his excitement was just as exaggerated as mines. We talked about baseball, about American bigotry and the amazing ways that these men, paved the way for all Hispanics to be accepted in all levels of American culture.
The Hall of Fame has only inducted six Latin players, many hundreds have been neglected in history.
Yet for those given that honor --- , Thank you Mr.Roberto Clemente. Thank you Mr. Juan Marichal. Thank You Mr. Luis Aparicio. Thank you Mr. Rod Carew. Thank you Mr. Orlando Cepeda. Thank you Mr. Tony Perez. And thank you to the hundreds of others who made this country better for me to accomplish my dreams.
Please read this article to know more about daily_news_eng.jhtml">Viva Baseball
Also go to the Viva Baseball Web Page
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Lobbyist seeks Davis seat
An advocate of opening up relations with Cuba joins a crowded Democratic field.
By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Political Editor
Published September 15, 2005
TAMPA - Al Fox, a lobbyist best known for advocating opening up relations with Cuba, has quietly joined the crowded field of Democrats aiming to succeed Jim Davis in Congress.
The 61-year-old Tampa native and Washington lobbyist talked of running months ago, but said he held off while local and national Republicans talked to him about running as a Republican.
"The thinking was, "let the Democrats battle it out,' said Fox, who liked the idea of being in the majority party. "But at the end of the day, there was no way I could tell the national Republican party what they wanted to hear on Cuba."
Fox is founder of the The Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation and a strong advocate for ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba. In 2002, he got local attention when he arranged for a Tampa Bay delegation that included then-Mayor Dick Greco to fly to Cuba and meet Fidel Castro.
Fox has said Cuba will be one of several top priorities, and that as a longtime Washington hand he best understands how the system works.
In a congressional district that includes parts of Hillsborough and South Pinellas, Fox faces a tough primary. No Republican is running, but Democrats include Hillsborough County Commissioner Kathy Castor; Tampa lawyer Scott Farrell; Tampa lawyer Michael Steinberg; and state Sen. Les Miller.
He quietly filed his campaign papers in late August.
Fox's first campaign reports are due in October.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Let's stop and think about this for a second......
yes, me too... why exactly anyone paying attention to this women. Occupied New Orleans?????
lgf: Mama Moonbat: "Occupied New Orleans"
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Can someone tell me what the big deal is about this note????? Becuase I don't get it!
So the guy needs to go to the bathroom!... Doesn't everyone need to use the toilet at one point or another????
The President of the US wanted to go to the “lue” and wrote a note to his aide. Ok. It's not like he was doodling or doing a puzzle. I really don't get what all the hoopla is all about! Maybe he thought it was a good time to go to the bathroom, instead of just abruptly getting up, (which would make Condoleezza ponder what was going on) he kinda stated/asked whatever... It’s the toilet not a secret meeting with the devil... Get over it!
Yahoo! News Photo
The Labor Dept. said 71,000 people signed up for benefits last week- 68,000 of those DIRECTLY claimed Katrina. These numbers are significantly higher then after the Sept. 11 terror attack.
In no time the left is going to start blaming Bush and the Republican Party for the effects of this natural disaster -- because CLEARLY Bush developed the hurricane with his personal secret stash of WMDs to directly attack New Orleans, because he hates blacks, and didn’t want to give any more money to the projects (section 8 housing)! CLEARLY!!!
Tada! – Bush’s master plan of getting more Republican states…. now Louisiana is clear of most of the black people and of the highly democrat population of pre-Katrina citizens that don’t’ want to come back and will now be back as Southern Republican state, as we all knew that all the Dems live in NOLA and this was all part of his really big master plan --- these crazy ideas are from the same people that say Bush is an idiot! If he can come up with all of this, he definitely isn’t an idiot! He’s a genius!
I can already hear the floor speeches and the angry squawking on morning television blaming Bush on the lack of job growth, while I will be growling about their lack of common sense! I’m sick of all these stupid conspiracy theories. People have to stop with all the finger pointing and find solutions…
BBC NEWS | Business | US jobless claims at 10-year high
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Yesterday I had the fortunate opportunity to see a show of the amazing comedian Carlos Mencia. Mind you its probably the 5th show I have seen him live (in addition to his new show on Comedy Central.)
The edgy Hispanic comedian, whose parents are Mexican and Honodurian, is one of 18 kids (yes 18!!!! Aye Mama!) His jokes are reflective of the entire Hispanic community and are in no way politically correct - as he says he speaks the truth. He calls all people hailing from a country with the Spanish Language in Latin and Central America and the Caribbean as a "beaner" as we all eat Beans. He understands that the different communities have problems with the labels of Hispanic or Latin or Central American or whatever - so we are all Beaners, but you understand he says it as a joining word.
He is patriotic, honest and refreshing. What you miss on his Comedy Central show is his lessons at the end of his live shows - telling people to be real, for Hispanics to empower themselves, to get an education, and for all the communities to unite. Telling us all we are an amazing, growing and strong force that make great change.
I love Carlos Mencia and happy the rest of the country is discovering this amazing talent!!!
Check him out!! Carlos Mencia
It's official! Miami native Marco Rubio is Speaker of the Florida House!
This young (34 year old) and good looking Cuban-American is a rising star in Florida politics. Son of Cuban exiles, he has been taking center stage for years. During the last Bush Presidential campaign, many more people noticed his energy, eloquence and political power.
I remember being in Washington D.C. and my mother calling me to ask – “Do you know Marco Rubio? He is amazing!!” after she heard him give a speech at a Bush rally in South Florida…. A few weeks later while working on the Bush Campaign in Miami I heard him on the stump. It was then that I understood what the hoopla was all about!
Many campaign volunteers asked about Rubio. They were marveled by his charisma and presence. Most of them hailed from anywhere but Florida and had never heard of him, but they knew they won’t forget him.. During the campaign up-and-coming politicians were always buzzing around the various head quarters and rallies, but when Rubio took the microphone he stood out.
Rubio is the first Cuban-American Speaker of the House and is also, the second-youngest to hold the position. He is the first Miami legislator to become Speaker in 35 years. Rubio takes over for Panama City’s Allan Bense (R).
Gov. Jeb Bush has somewhat tapped Rubio to follow in his footsteps, with his aggressive agenda, taking on controversial issues and pushing people’s buttons.
In an emotional and energetic speech Rubio, broadcasted in Cuba via Radio Marti, accepted his nomination. During his acceptance, Rubio presented his colleagues with “100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future” asking them to fill the pages of the hard-bound blank book with ways to make Florida better, so that all Floridians can ``achieve financial security and leave for their children a better life than their own.''
Hear the Radio Marti Clip (Spanish)
UPDATED: Check out 26th Parallel's post on Maro Rubio for an example of the State Rep's style.
It is my unfortunate duty to write to you today to ask for your help on behalf of a friend to us all, Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina. Although you may not know him, he is a Cuban brother who was arrested last Wednesday by the Cuban National Revolutionary Police (PNR) as he traveled back home to Guantanamo from Holguin. Rolando, along with his brother Nestor, have an organization called the Democratic Cuban Youth Movement, whose centerpiece project is "Universidades Sin Fronteras", that calls for autonomy of all Universities in Cuba. They have always acted in a peaceful and non-violent way to promote their project and achieve their goals. Due to the lack of human rights and the freedom of expression in Cuba their project is considered hostile to the government and its socialist ideology as stated in the Cuban constitution.
Rolando is currently being detained in a prison in Matanzas. He was last seen by his brother, Nestor, but said that "Rolando was in a critical state, thrown on the floor, barely able to speak, threatened of a 'savage beating', and was on the third day of a hunger strike."
Nestor Lobaina was recently released from prison after serving 5 years for "committing acts against the state." Nestor has not heard from Rolando for the past 48 hours and fears for his physical health.
We ask all of you to join us in solidarity with Rolando and his family as they face the ultimate testament of courage in their valiant struggle for the freedom and respect of human rights for all Cuban citizens. There will be many events occurring worldwide to shed light on Rolando's situation. More information is forthcoming but, as a first step, we encourage you to (will only take a minute) and sign the attached letter and send to the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C. It is our hope to inundate the mail boxes of all Cuban embassies throughout the world to let them know that Rolando does not stand alone and that we are aware of their systematic repression against their own citizens.
The members of the International Youth Committee for Democracy in Cuba (IYCDC) will be holding simultaneous press conferences in their respective countries tomorrow, Wednesday, September 14, 2005, to draw attention to Rolando's detainment and violation of his human rights. The members of the IYCDC will also fast for 24hrs on Tuesday, September 20, 2005 as a show of support and solidarity for Rolando. We hope you can all join us in our activities and pray for Rolando as he faces extreme physical conditions that we would never have to face in our country. If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Cuban Interests Section :
2630 & 2639 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Fax: (202) 986-7283
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SECCION DE INTERESES DE LA REPUBLICA DE CUBA EN ESTADOS UNIDOS:
ME DIRIJO A USTED COMO MIEMBRO DEL COMITÉ INTERNACIONAL DE JÓVENES POR LA DEMOCRACIA EN CUBA. NOTAMOS CON PREOCUPACIÓN Y ESPASMO LA DETENCIÓN DEL CIUDADANO CUBANO ROLANDO RODRÍGUEZ LOBAINA. SABEMOS QUE HA SIDO DETENIDO ARBITRARIAMENTE POR LA POLICÍA NACIONAL REVOLUCIONARIA CUANDO REGRESABA A GUANTÁNAMO DESDE HOLGUÍN.
ROLANDO RODRÍGUEZ LOBAINA ES COORDINADOR DEL MOVIMIENTO CUBANO DE JÓVENES POR LA DEMOCRACIA QUE TRABAJA POR LA AUTONOMÍA UNIVERSITARIA EN LA ISLA. ESTAMOS MUY PENDIENTES DE LO QUE PUEDA LLEGAR A PASARLE Y EN VIRTUD DE ESTO ES QUE SOLICITAMOS A SU DELEGACIÓN DIPLOMÁTICA QUE TENGA A BIEN BRINDARNOS INFORMACIÓN ACERCA DEL PARADERO DEL SEÑOR RODRÍGUEZ LOBAINA.
CASO CONTRARIO INICIAREMOS ACCIONES EN LA CORTE INTERAMERICANA DE DERECHOS HUMANOS.
HAGO PROPICIA ESTA OPORTUNIDAD PARA SALUDARLO ATENTAMENTE.
Thank you for taking a couple of minutes to help Rolando and the Cuban people's struggle. Please feel free to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any queries and we will update you on any information we receive on his condition and events we plan on holding. Please feel free to forward to all those who sympathize with the Cuban people's struggle.
Raices de Esperanza
Monday, September 12, 2005
Today Mike Brown formally stepped down as the director for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). To replace him the administration has tapped one of our native sons, R. David Paulison.
Paulison is a career firefighter from Miami, Florida with over three decades of firefighting experience. He was chief of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department.
He has plenty of emergency management experience. He was an emergency worker during Hurricane Andrew, he also worked on the the ValueJet Flight 592 Crash in the Everglades and was in charge of Miami-Dade County's emergency management office. In addition, he has led the U.S. Fire Administration.
Paulison is much better prepared to handle the daunting task of leading FEMA. He is a person who has been constantly in the line of fire. He has been forced to deal in high pressure, life saving, emergency situations. His direction comes with much more of a grounded view on how to deal with the countries needs. We can all rest assured Paulison is much more equipped to handle the functions of FEMA then a former horse judge.
Yet, I still don't think that it was all Brown's fault. The blame can be laid on MANY, MANY heads. But someone in the administration had to be sacrificed to the poltical Gods.
Brown’s statements, and actions, after Katrina weren't exactly the politically savvy! t was clear he had to be removed, or moved around at least in order to safe the federal governments reputation. It was clear that the situation called for a take charge kind of person, someone with either a military or first responder experience, had to be set into the New Orleans recovery situation. And that is exactly what happened. They placed Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen and USAF Lt. General Russel Honore. (my personal favorite – I felt so relived to see him in his military uniform talking direct and getting things done.) in charge.
Paulison can turn out to be the ideal candidate. America's first responders are our Firefighters and Police Officers. May it be a dirty bomb or an Earthquake, these public servants are the first one on the scene. Having someone that has been in their footsteps and has climbed the ladder from the bottom up will give a lot of weight to the position and the agency in these challenging times. And hopefully regain American’s confidence in the agency.
Brown made the right call by stepping down, or maybe being pushed down, but either way he is out of the picture. He is right when he stated a lot of the focus was being put on him and not enough on the Katrina situation in the Gulf. I don’t' think anyone was really surprised that this happened. I think everyone saw it coming when they took him off the Katrina situation, it was an indication that he would soon be seeing very little of Brown. Maybe this was the administration’s way to save him face, he could step down in stead of an all out public pink slip. Either way we can continue to focus on the recovery efforts.
Thankfully the American people are a very forgiving group. They understand people make mistakes – because they know, they themselves aren’t perfect.
We will all move forward from this stronger and more determined then ever. I think this was a wake up call to all America, we got to get our things in order and be prepared for the worst. What will you do if Armageddon comes to your home town?
P.S….. I bet the new guy knows some good Cuban stories and realizes that if Armageddon does happen, it’s not our fault!
BREITBART.COM - Just The News
Friday, September 09, 2005
CASTRO AID OFFER REPORTEDLY REJECTED
The Bush administration has rebuffed an offer by Cuban leader Fidel Castro to send 1,600 doctors to help in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, three Cuban American Congress members said Thursday.
''We strongly support the decision by the Bush administration to reject the so-called offer from the Castro regime regarding the tragedy,'' said the statement signed by Miami Republicans Lincoln and Mario Díaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Neither the White House nor the State Department would confirm that the administration had in fact rejected the offer. But the office of Lincoln Díaz-Balart, which coordinated the lawmakers' statement, said he stood by its contents and there were indications that the offer was in fact rejected.
''When it comes to Cuba, we have one message for Fidel Castro. He needs to offer the people of Cuba their freedom,'' White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Thursday when asked about the aid offer.
Castro last week offered to send the doctors and 36 tons of medical supplies in what critics said was a political ploy to put the Bush administration on the spot.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
The Miami Herald article states "Martinez said Wednesday that the U.S. government should accept Cuba's offer to send hundreds of doctors to treat victims of Hurricane Katrina, provided they are needed and 'reasonably well-trained." "
In addition Martinez advocates the US should accept money and oil from Venezuela. (not sure how I feel about that. what does this loser want in return! - clearly we aren't giving him anything!)
Martinez goes against all other Cuban Americans federal elected officials. For example. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said: ``I see no need for us to accept the doctors, because we have many U.S. doctors who can meet the medical needs of Katrina's victims. Cuban doctors should take care of poor Cubans who lack proper medical care on the island.''
In the past, Cuba and Venezuela have rejected U.S. offers to send money and assistance after those countries where hit by natural disasters.
The US government has also rejected Iran's offer to send 10 million barrels of crude.
Though the US has accepted about $1 billion in aide, about $350 million are cash donations. (which are much easier to process) The majority of the donations are in kind donations, such as helicoptors, ready-to-eat meals, tents, baby formula and equipment.
Even though President Bush stated that he had not asked for foreign assistance and didn't believe the US needed it on national morning tv, a week later the international support came pouring in. The State Department said they were happily accpting the unprecedented support.
Here is some examples of support.
-Canada: sent 3 warships and one coast guard ship. Canadian divers to help repair the damaged harbor in Pascagoula, Miss.
- Mexico: army convoy and a navy ship stocked with food, supplies, baby clothes and specialists. First time in 159 years that the Mexican Military has operated in US soil. (The Mexico government feel very proud to help a country that assist them so much)
- France: a planeload of tents arrived in Little Rock, Ark., also a plane filled with food for Biloxi, Miss.
- Thailand: food aid and medical supplies from
- Germany: high-speed water pumps
- Isreal: first aid kits
- Netherlands: levee specialists
Accepting this money has symbolic and political implications. Some poor countries have provided $25 thousands. Clearly a small amount, but a symbolic gesture. (and every little bit helps.) Many countries feel proud to help their rich neighbor and show their support. Others believe accepting money from such poor countries is embarrassing. Even though we are happy to see the international support - we can't accept all donations. The US has currently accepted 48 of the 95 offers of assistance. When the US accepts the money, they accept the country. We do not accept the actions of Cuba or the missery of the daily life of the Cuban people.
Cuban's are dieing in Cuba. Fidel just wants to use this for political reasons, not because suddenly he is Mr. Nice Guy. There is nothing nice about Castro or Chavez. He should keep those doctors in Cuba and help the Cuban people, many who have not seen a doctor in months! The US should not, and can not, accept doctors or his so called 25 tons of medical supplies!!!
In reality if these doctors come to the US how many do you think are going back to Cuba. Even at our worst, the US is still better then living in Cuba.
Martinez needs to wake up and realize what he is saying. Who ever is doing Cuba policy in that office is CLEARLY out of touch with his constituency! And Martinez needs to think before he talks!
Walk around Miami and you'll see they all want give Martinez a piece of thier minds. And right now, Martinez is giving me a headache.
In a article in the Boston Globe, there is list of all foriegn donations. (see below). These are only Cash donations.
Kuwait: $400 million in oil and $100 million cash
United Arab Emirates: $100 million cash
Qatar: $100 million cash
Republic of Korea: $30 million cash and in-kind donations
Australia: $7.6 million
China: $5.1 million cash and relief supplies
India: $5 million cash
Ireland: $1 million to Red Cross
Iraq: $1 million cash
Bangladesh: $1 million cash
Azerbaijan: $500,000 cash
Gabon: $500,000 cash
Afghanistan: $100,000 cash
Armenia: $100,000 cash
Bahamas: $50,000 cash
Maldives: $25,000 cash
Sri Lanka: $25,000 cash
Bosnia: $6,414 cash
SOURCE: US State Department
Herald.com | 09/08/2005 | Martinez: Cuban aid should be welcomed