Friday, May 05, 2006
This is very unfortunate. Goss, who was a CIA clandestine officer, was a good friend of the Cuban people. He worked on various issues regarding Cuba, Fidel and Che during his time as a CIA officer and truly understood the problems in Cuba. I fear that once he finally got comfortable in his position now he is leaving. This is a great travesty!
A little known fact is that La Battala de Puebla inadvertently helped the Union win the Civil War.
When the South succeeded from the Union they needed a government to recognize them. The English won't do it, as they had outlawed slavery. Yet the south made some agreements with the French, Emperor Napoleon was a sympathizer, and though the French did not openly recognize them, they made other agreements to help the South ..... Due to another situation, the French invade Mexico (even placing a king in Mexico - Maximillano). After invading Mexico they would continue through the North American continent North and help the South win the war against the North.
because the Mexican peasants prevailed, we now have a free country.
(the story is a bit more complicated then that but read more about Abraham Lincoln and Benito Juarez grate friendship)
More proof can be seen of this
CHAIRMAN BURTON EXPRESSES DEEP CONCERN OVER THE FORCED NATIONALIZATION OF BOLIVIA'S NATURAL-GAS SECTOR BY PRESIDENT EVO MORALES
-CALLS ON PRESIDENT MORALES TO RE-EVALUATE HIS DECISION-
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Dan Burton [R-IN-05], Chairman of the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere expressed his deep concern over the forced nationalization of Bolivia's natural-gas sector by President Evo Morales:
"Yesterday, following a trade mission to Communist Cuba where he signed a free trade agreement with Cuba and Venezuela, the newly-elected president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, announced the forced nationalization of Bolivia's natural-gas sector and ordered the Bolivian army to evict foreign companies from Bolivia's largest natural-gas fields."
"This Castro-Chavez inspired move heralds a troubling leftist slide towards state control and a hardening of nationalist social and economic policies in Bolivia, South America's poorest country. I strongly urge President Morales to re-evaluate his decision."
"Not only will forced nationalization hurt Bolivia's relations with its friends and neighbors, such as Brazil, but it could also have a negative impact on U.S. - Bolivia relations. Nationalization sends the wrong signal at the wrong time. Instead of fearing foreign investment and development aid, President Morales should welcome international companies into Bolivia and seek their assistance."
"I remain committed to improving U.S. - Bolivia relations in my capacity as Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, and I am more than willing to work with President Morales and the people of Bolivia, so we can enhance and promote our mutual interests."
"However, in order to do so, I strongly urge President Morales to re-evaluate his forced nationalization decision, or I fear he risks further isolating Bolivia and its people."
International Venezuelan Council for Democracy (IVCD) is a non-profit organization comprised by Coordinators of multiple Venezuelan organizations around the world, working to strengthen Venezuelan Democracy in defense of human, political, and civil rights, committed to safeguard democratic values and institutions, promoting citizen participation, openness and accountability in government in accordance to the principles established and agreed upon in the Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS). IVCD is a civil and independent organization with no affiliation to political parties. P.O.Box 24 Erie, CO 80516 Phone 1-888-291-2093 E-mail email@example.com . firstname.lastname@example.org . http://www.ivcdteam.org . http://www.blog.ivcdteam.org
PO Box 24
Erie, CO 80516
Thursday, May 04, 2006
I am not sure what is up with DC lately but I've been meeting alot of crazy, Che loving, socialists.
Take today for instance. I went to go look at a house in the transitional neighborhood of Colombia Heights. The ad made the place look great. It was 4 blocks from the Metro (subway). A nice 2 bedroom, 2 bath private home with a little backyard. I thought it would be great. I called to make an appointment with the current tenant and she seemed very nice.
Early this morning I met her to see the house. She seemed friendly but not what I was expecting. She was a small-framed, thin, fair-skinned gringita apparently still in her work out clothes. Bikes were piled outside on the front porch and I scrambled through them to get into the house. As we began to examine the location there was anti-Bush propaganda, socialist posters, Signs for the black Panthers and a pop-art rendition of Che Guevera a'-la' Andy Warhol. I figured me telling her I had an event in the White House later in the day wouldn't score me any points.
Somehow I managed to bite my tongue as the house looked great. Part of me figured I can just get it sanitized later and hope any negative socialist tendencies will leave with the tenants. And then the girl showing me the house raised her arm to brush her hair out of her face. For a second I wondered if I was in some French film or was it that all Che loving socialist women find it empowering to not shave their armpits. (clearly I don't know any personally.) I tried not to make a face ( I can be VERY expressive). I managed to keep myself from looking down and noticing if the same fate was given to her legs.
We chatted more for a bit and she gave me an application form, printed on what she called scrap paper. The paper was the reverse side of some school paper, she is majoring as a social worker. I tucked the paper in my bag. Trying not to read it too much. I thanked her for her time and left the location.
I quickly read the "scrap paper" (aka school project). It was enough to make me a little sick. If she googles me up, for sure I will have no chance at the house. Me a pro-Bush, anti-communist, socialist hating capitalist.
For your pleasure here is a small blurb of the paper:
"Title: Building Socialism, Fighting Racism"
"I worked with the international Socialist Organization (ISO) to fight racism in Washington D.C., and to build a socialist movement that will be able to fight against all forms of oppression.... My work consisted of logistical community organizing of protest and demonstrations, flyering, weekly tabling, mobilizing contact, fundraising, and chairing ISO meetings. I prepared a talk and discussion on the Communist Manifesto .... ""
It goes on but as you can imagine I ran away screaming in my head...... poor idealistic little white girl who thinks all the worlds problems can be solved in a constantly failing experiment....
Long Live A Free Cuba!!!! Long Live Capitalism!!!
Oh yeah, i am still looking for a place to live.....
Cuba entry in Wikipedia stirs controversy
BY PABLO BACHELET
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - One editor complained that Havana sympathizers were transforming a scholarly enterprise into "their own private Fidel Castro fan page." A user was tossed out after threatening to sue another for libel.
The fuss is over the Cuba entry in Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia created, edited and administered entirely by volunteers with the aim of becoming a Web-based knowledge repository for humanity.
But the Cuba entry, like those on President Bush and abortion, has been snared in intense political divisions over everything from the impact of U.S. sanctions on the communist-ruled island to whether it should have a separate section on its human rights record. Russia and North Korea do not.
There have been so many dueling edits - 30 entries on April 27 alone - that the article has been placed off-limits to first-time or unregistered users. The article has notices alerting readers that the neutrality of four sections is under dispute.
A central tenet of Wikipedia is that articles must be written in a neutral point of view. But, as the debate on the talk page attached to the Cuba article demonstrates, neutrality is often in the eye of the beholder.
The debate over Cuba turned intense after Adam Carr, who identifies himself as having a Ph.D. in history from the University of Melbourne in Australia and a gay rights activist, introduced this sentence high in the article: "Cuba is a socialist republic, in which the Communist Party of Cuba is the sole legal political party, and is the only state in the western hemisphere that is not a democracy."
Read the full story and controversy
Monday, May 01, 2006
Latin Leftists Forge Cooperation
Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba up the ante in challenging U.S. influence
Alex Argote (alexphil)
Published on 2006-05-01 16:34 (KST)
Three leftist Latin American leaders recently inked an accord on Saturday which promises to strengthen their countries' economic and political ties against the macho posturing of the United States.
The trio -- Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Cuba's Fidel Castro, and Evo Morales of Bolivia -- met in Havana late last week to discuss the future of their respective nations and of South America as a whole.
At the conclusion of their summit, the three decided to reject the American form of free trade and formulate a socialist version of regional economic and political cooperation. Dubbed as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, the pact was ostensibly created as a counterweight to the U.S.-backed FTAA -- the Free Trade Area of the Americas -- and the Andean community bloc. By forming a strong trade alliance with Cuba and Bolivia, Chavez hopes to dilute the heavy North American influence and control in the region.
In the deal, Cuba promised to send physicians to Bolivia to offer medical help to indigents and educators to assist in literacy campaigns. Venezuela will send fuel to the nation and wrap up a US$100 million fund for development projects, as well as an additional $30 million for social support programs. Also, to alleviate Bolivia's agricultural market woes, Venezuela and Cuba agreed to buy the nation's soybean products after Bolivia was left in the cold with the signing of a free trade pact between Washington and Columbia.
Morales reportedly said, "In Cuba and Venezuela, we find unconditional solidarity." He added, "They are the best allies in changing Bolivia."
Garbed in his trademark olive-green uniform, Castro, who will turn 80 in August, said he was most happy in sharing the spotlight with younger leaders with the same mindset and principles.
The Cuban strongman led a brutal revolution in the late 1950s against the capitalist regime of Fulgencio Batista. Years later, the CIA launched an ill-fated counterrevolution and invasion by several hundred Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs.
A former military officer, Chavez led a failed coup d'etat in 1992. Undaunted, he changed tactics in ascending to the top job and founded the leftist Fifth Republic Movement, which greatly helped in propelling him to power in the presidential elections of 1998. Reelected in 2000, Chavez launched his pet organization, the enormous Bolivarian Missions, to fight malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, poverty, and other social problems. He also railed and acted against the imperialist Washington consensus by propping up alternative models of economic programs and called on Third World countries to develop their own economic forums and cooperation that will be fair to every one involved.
Increasingly vocal against American domination of South American affairs, Chavez earned the ire of Washington, and he strongly believed that the United States orchestrated the 2002 coup against him and the recall referendum to remove him from the presidency. Having survived both attempts on his political star, Chavez now firmly believes that the CIA is now plotting an elaborate, complex military plan to remove him from the picture.
In the meantime, Chavez is almost frantically working to shore up his defenses and regional support by encouraging the rise of ideologically friendly politicians in neighboring countries, particularly Bolivia, Peru, and Nicaragua.
According to Gary Hufbauer, an economist at the Institute for International Economics, "The agreement is a clever mixture of politics and commerce, and weighted toward the politics."
Being the world's fifth largest oil-exporter and a major gas supplier to the United States, Venezuela is quite awash with greenbacks and thus can afford to challenge the West. By seriously backing Peruvian candidate Ollanta Humala and encouraging the political rebirth of leftist Daniel Ortega in the Nicaraguan scene, Chavez is slowly, deliberately nurturing a socialist bloc in Latin America, which may be the ultimate political solution to oppressive Western control over the southern hemisphere.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Read on, no matter what your position, you should be OUTRAGED that democrats would prefer to bow to party politics and political maneuvering then face the issues in this country...
Immigration bill trashed
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
by Ruben Navarrette
The San Diego Union Tribune
Who killed immigration reform? The autopsy shows it was Senate Democrats.
It's tempting to put a pox on both parties. But it wouldn't be fair. Republicans were tireless in search of comprehensive, and bipartisan, reform.
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., joined with U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., to draft the guest-worker legislation, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., made that legislation central to what his committee sent to the full Senate. U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., were vocal in their support. Sens. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., offered a helpful compromise. And Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., showed leadership by reaching out to the other side.
Too bad you can't say the same for Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who was the villain
in this drama.
Hector Flores, president of the League of United Latin-American Citizens, told me he tried to impress upon Reid's office that it was important to get immigration reform done.
"Apparently, it fell on deaf ears," Flores said.
Reid claims it was GOP hard-liners who killed reform by running roughshod over Frist.
Baloney. The hard-liners had -- by all accounts -- no more than 30 votes, including those of conservative Democrats. On the other side, you had -- according to McCain -- as many as 70 votes.
A deal was at hand that would have offered legal status to some illegal immigrants. It would have made the GOP seem more Latino-friendly, but it would also have infuriated organized labor, which opposes something that was in the mix: guest workers.
After the Senate Judiciary Committee put out a guest-worker bill, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney issued a statement saying: "Guest-workers programs are a bad idea and harm all workers."
That did it. Senate Democrats sided with labor and sold out Latinos. The deal came undone because Reid refused to allow the legislation to go through the amendment process. Republicans had come up with as many as 400 amendments but whittled the list to 20. Reid agreed to proceed with debate on just three.
It was a masterstroke by Democrats. Labor is happy. And while Latinos are angry, there's always the chance that Democrats can fool them into channeling that anger toward Republicans.
Remarkably, it's working. At a protest in Washington Monday, one Latina held up a sign that read: "The GOP is losing my Latino vote." At another protest in Dallas, someone handed out registration leaflets urging demonstrators to vote Democratic.
Some Latino leaders don't think it'll be that easy. Cecilia Munoz, vice president of the National Council of La Raza, told me: "I don't believe that it's wise for Democrats to come to our community and ask for votes by saying: "Hey, we kept an immigration bill from going forward.' People understand when they're being used."
Even so, it looks like Reid and the Democrats orchestrated the perfect deception. Trouble is, they left fingerprints.
The Washington Post said in an editorial: "Democrats -- whether their motive was partisan advantage or legitimate fear of a bad bill emerging from conference with the House -- are the ones who refused, in the end, to proceed with debate on amendments, which is, after all, how legislation gets made."
Frank Sharry, the executive director of the liberal National Immigration Forum, said in a statement: "We cannot escape the conclusion that the Democratic Senate leadership was more interested in keeping the immigration issue alive in the run-up to midterm elections than in enacting immigration reform legislation."
And Kennedy told The Associated Press: "Politics got ahead of policy on this." He then refused, according to the article, to defend Reid's performance. The story noted that, "Outside the Senate, several Democratic strategists concluded that the best politics was to allow the bill to die."
The moral: Marches and Mexican flags don't equal power. Labor uses millions of dollars in political contributions to take care of Democrats, and so Democrats take care of labor.
After the bill died, Democrats rubbed salt in the wound by insisting that Latinos had no choice but to stay on the liberal hacienda. Susan Estrich, who served as campaign manager for Michael Dukakis in 1988, told Fox News that Republicans had blown their chance to win Latino votes and predicted that Latino support would help Democrats win both houses of Congress.
You see, in a twist on the famous words of one of their icons, Democrats no longer ask what they can do for Latinos, only what Latinos can do for them.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
umm Babalu made me hungry for Cuban food... being away from home in "gringo-landia" (as my family calls anything not Miami in the USA) it sometimes makes you really, really homesick for Mami's home cooking. Here are some Latin restaurants that include some Cuban comidita, they might not be the perfect, but it brings you a little closer to Cuban heaven...
- Banana Café & Piano Bar * 500 8th Street SE 20003 * 202-543-5906 * Capitol Hill (under a new chef, they make awesome sandwiches and a great stuffed yuca. The Miami Members of Congress love this place).
- Havana Café * 1825 First Street NW 20006 * 202-293-5303
- Cuban Corner Restaurant * 825 Hungerford Dr., Rockville, MD* 301-279-0310 (considered the best place for Cuban food in the Washington DC area)
- Cubano's * 1201 Fidler Lane, Silver Spring, MD * 301-563-4020 (owned by Cuban/Venezuelans, most dishes are great, others need a more authentic Cuban touch.)
- Lauriol Plaza * 1835 18th St. NW, Washington, DC * 202-387-0035 * Dupont Circle (owned by a fellow Cuban patriot. Most of the dishes are Mexican/Spanish but their Masitas de Puerco are amazing!!)
- Yuca * 1800 M Street NW, Washington DC * Farragut (nuevo-Cuban)
- Ceiba * 701 14th St NW, Washington, DC * (high class Nuevo-Cuban and Latin menu, very nice)
- Gua-Rapo * 2039 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209 * Phone: 703-528-6500 (dinner only, Latin, middle-eastern and Nuevo Cuban food)
- South Beach Restaurant & Bar * 7904 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD
- Caribbean Grill * 5183 Lee Hwy, Arlington * 703 241 8947 (Cuban sandwiches and picaditos)
I left one out on purpose - Don’t go to Havana Village in Adams Morgan. Not only does it have a big Che picture (crap) the Cuban Interests Section people hang out there, and we all know they suck.
Most of the time if I really want Cuban food I just go home and make it myself. If you are ever in town let me know, i might make you some of my famous arrozz con pollo.
by Jack Kemp *
"My dear fellow immigrants," with these words President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent greetings to the annual convention of the Daughters of the American Revolution, after the organization banned the great black contralto, Marian Anderson, from singing at their Constitution Hall in 1939 simply because of the color of her skin.
Marian Anderson chose the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to deliver her concert just days later, appropriately ending the concert with "God Bless America." Turning hate and ignorance into love and brotherhood is what marked the works of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Marian Anderson at the site of our American memorial to the Great Emancipator.
You ask, what's that to do with the immigration debate raging these past two weeks in Washington, D.C., and on talk radio all over America?
Well, to begin with, the voices of Roosevelt and Lincoln, preaching and practicing the American motto of "E pluribus unum," are all but absent these days, except for a few of those talking about fixing our broken borders and disabled immigration policies in humane, compassionate and progressive ways.
As President George W. Bush recently reminded us, America can still be a nation of immigrants while remaining a nation of laws if we treat people in the way we would want to be treated and find the right way of enforcement.
The most troubling aspect of this debate is the meanness of spirit toward immigrants, particularly those of Latino or Hispanic heritage. But, it's nothing new, as the Irish, Poles, Germans, Italians, Asians and others were treated the same decades and decades ago.
According to Michael Barone's "The New Americans," a closer look at the Great Migration of the 19th century reveals striking parallels to the current circumstances of the American immigration. The examples of two groups often cited by modern day advocates of restricting immigration - the Irish and the Italians - are particularly instructive.
During the last half of the 1800s and into the 20th century, more than 4 million Irish men, women and children immigrated to the United States. Fleeing the potato famine of the 1840s and seeking economic opportunity, Irish immigrants settled in urban areas starting in the Northeast and eventually spreading across the country. Many of these early immigrants did not speak English. One estimate held that at least one-third of them spoke little English.
What worries me first as an American and second as a partisan Republican from the Lincoln wing of our party, is the Republican Party. The House of Representatives is in danger of doing to itself in 2006, what it did in California in 1996 with Proposition 187 - turning into an anti-immigration party in a rather ugly way.
The House version of immigration reform would be a prescription for electoral and political disaster, not unlike what happened to our party in the presidential election of 1964, when Barry Goldwater, our nominee for president, voted against the Civil Rights Act.
The talk of 700 miles of walls, fences, federal troops, coupled with sending 11.5 million men, women and children back to their "home" countries is the equivalent of "police state" tactics advocated by the likes of Lou Dobbs and others who are not true leaders in the footsteps of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.
Yes, we must control our borders with more and smarter technology, specially trained border security agents, and better enforcement in the private workplace. Yet, we shouldn't be surprised if immigrants don't respect our laws if our immigration laws aren't respected or even enforced.
We must pass an immigration reform package that not only works, but is reasonable, respected and responsible.
I believe the Senate Judiciary Committee bill recognizes the realties of a "guest worker" program that provides our country with the workers we need, while requiring workers and employers to operate with transparency.
The Senate bill also creates a path to permanent citizenship that will, no doubt, be labeled by critics as "amnesty," when far from it, it includes enforceable penalties and makes punishment fit the crime. Those who commit felonies should be deported, but most of our so called "illegals" are in America for freedom, family and faith in our "dream" of equal opportunity.
And by the way, the federal law that caps highly skilled H1B workers at 65,000 a year, down from 195,000 in 2003, has led to a "brain drain" from the U.S. to Canada. This is counterproductive and counterintuitive to a 21st century, high-tech, globalized economy.
As I wrote in 2004, "Looking to the fall campaign season, I am hopeful that other Republicans will stand against anti-immigrant policies, stand up for free trade and stand behind wealth creation for the little guy by allowing workers to put a significant part of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, where they can acquire assets, property and the capital necessary to launch their version of the American Dream.
* Jack Kemp is Founder and Chairman of Kemp Partners and a contributing columnist to Townhall.com.
Monday, April 10, 2006
I advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. I believe this is the only way to truly deal with the immigration debate. I also believe
1) America’s immigration system is broken
2) The US needs to protect our borders
3) We need stricter interior enforcement and harsher rules on employers who hire illegal.
4) A program to push undocumented people out of the shadows.
5) I believe in stopping illegal immigration, not stopping immigration. New immigrants are necessary for our thriving economy.
Because of this I support comprehensive immigration reform. The United States needs to protect our borders and crackdown on employers. By forcing them to follow the law, the demand for employment will go down.
The reason the current immigration laws haven’t worked is because the laws go against the natural laws of supply and demand. It’s a reality of history, if a law goes against supply and demand, that law will not work.
1 million of the 2.5 million new jobs created in the U.S. in 2004 went to immigrants, mostly Hispanics. 1 in every 7 workers in the U.S. in 2004 was born elsewhere – 40 percent of these are Mexican. Possibly 6-7 million are here illegally.
Currently the United States is at about 4% unemployment. That means that America is practically fully employed. The economy has continuously increased for more then a dozen quarters. States with high immigrant populations have higher GDPs then many third world nations. States like Texas, California, Florida and New York are constantly outdoing themselves in production and economic growth.
In a study done by UCLA, each and every undocumented worker had a gross economic contribution of $45,000 in California during the 1990s
While we can not reward illegal behavior with a full blanket amnesty, which is the wrong message. We can provide programs and new laws that pushes these people out of the shadows.
Yet Immigrants are not a drain on the economy. Immigrant workers help continue the cycle of job creation and growth essential for America’s economy Illegal immigrant workers pay about $7 billion each year in taxes – including $2.7 billion into Social Security, which they will never be able to collect.
We need a program to push them out of the shadows because millions are being exploited and living in poverty. By providing program that allows them to come out of the shadows they can better provide for their families and contribute to the communities they are currently living in.
While some skeptics want illegals out of the country because they think they take away jobs from Americans, that is not true. The CATO institute has shown that immigrants do not take jobs away from Americans – instead, they fill segments in the job market where most Americans are either over- or under-qualified. Immigrants act as a safety valve for the U.S. labor market, allowing the supply of workers to increase relatively quickly to meet rising demand.
Deporting illegal immigrants is not only economically unintelligent (the US already spends $56 million deporting people back to their home) but physically impossible. It would take busses stacked back to back from Anchorage, Alaska to San Diego, California to send them all back. On top of the additional monies needed for law enforcement to find them. Why spend so much money on a large group of people who have no criminal offense.
Instead go after terrorist, drug dealers or real criminals. Spend all that money on enforcing the border, build strong virtual walls. God. No one is against immigration reform or border security, we just want a sound policy that is in order to the American principles and tradition.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Chavez Governement Seizes 2 Foreign-Run Oil Fields
- Pres. Hugo Chavez has tightened his grip on Venezuela's energy resources following through on threats to punish international companies that resist government control of the nation's oil fields. Venezuela sized two oil fields from Frace's Ttoal SA and Italy's ENi SpA after the companies failed to comply with a government demand that operations be turned over to the states oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA or PDVSA, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said Monday (Washington Post)
Venezuela: The Sickly Stench of Corruption
As a supporter of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, in the country's National Assembly, Luis Velásquez Alvaray was the author of a law to pad the supreme court with a built-in government majority—and give himself a seat on it. He is now embroiled in an epic exchange of corruption claims that go to the heart of the Chávez administration. Accused of taking kickbacks of $4m for a new judiciary building, he has retorted that drug traffickers are running military intelligence, that the brother of Jesse Chacón, the interior minister, is illegally lobbying for a bank, and that the minister is a pawn of organised crime. Such is the rot that the “Palace of Justice should be blown up”, he says.
Both Mr Velásquez and Mr Chacón deny wrongdoing and claim to have tapes incriminating the other. Mr Chacón still has the president's backing. But the allegations come as no surprise to Venezuelans on either side of their country's bitter political divide.
Mr Chávez claims moral superiority for his “socialist revolution” over “savage neo-liberal” capitalism. He was first elected in 1998 on an anti-corruption platform. In power, he has revealed a taste for designer suits and Cartier watches. He has placed several members of his family in government jobs. Such foibles apart, there is no evidence that he is personally corrupt. But he has repeatedly said that corruption and bureaucracy are his revolution's greatest foes. Eustoquio Contreras, a chavista on the parliamentary audit committee, says bluntly that if the government does not put a stop to corruption, “corruption will put a stop to the government.”
Venezuela has long been notorious for corruption. But in the past, at least the opposition held the job of auditor-general and often that of attorney-general, while the judiciary was bipartisan. Mr Chávez has grasped all the powers of state into his own hands, and eliminated all independent oversight of his government. The opposition argues that the inevitable result of this is graft on an increased scale.
Last year, Transparency International, a Berlin-based group, placed Venezuela a lowly 130th out of 159 countries in its annual survey of perceptions of corruption. It was one of a dozen countries where more than half of respondents said this had “greatly” increased. The government's response was tetchy. José Vicente Rangel, the vice-president and once an anti-corruption campaigner, claimed that the group charges countries a “tariff” for their position on the corruption table.
Under Mr Chávez, no prominent official has been jailed for embezzlement. That may now change. A small but emblematic case involves the grandly titled Ezequiel Zamora Agroindustrial Sugar Complex in Sabaneta, Mr Chávez's sleepy hometown in the state of Barinas, where his father is governor. Officially touted as “the most modern sugar mill in South America”, it is now a monument to a different kind of sweetener: the $1.5m in bribes, kickbacks and commissions that have delayed its opening were exposed in parliamentary hearings in February (after a newspaper broke the story).
Mr Chávez, a former army officer, presides over a regime which is as much military as civilian. An engineering regiment was told to build the sugar complex. It contracted out some of the work and charged a 10% commission on all contracts, many of which went to companies belonging to friends and relatives of the regiment's officers. Many of these companies did no work at all. The regiment's commander paid for a $25,000 pick-up truck for his brother with a cheque from the mill.
The project's director, Antonio Albarrán, told parliament that although he had known about the kickbacks since early 2004, he kept quiet because “we were in the middle of campaigning” (to defeat a recall referendum against the president). By the end of 2004, Mr Chávez had been told, but chose to maintain the policy of secrecy, opting to deal with it as a matter of military discipline. He also promoted Mr Albarrán, making him agriculture minister in January 2005. Several suspects are under arrest, but Mr Albarrán, though no longer a minister, is not.
In half a dozen previous cases under the Chávez government, military officers have been accused by parliamentary committees, the auditor-general and others of embezzlement or misuse of public funds totalling hundreds of millions of dollars. None has yet been charged. Several still hold government jobs.
Civilians have not been immune to temptation. Mr Contreras cites half a dozen cases where the government's agricultural-development fund gave cheap credits to fake co-operatives, or which covered much more farm land than the village in question possessed.
Does the sugar-mill case presage a serious crackdown? Opponents note that a presidential election is due in December. At issue will be whether or not a massive increase in public spending, funded by high oil prices, is translating into better public services—or whether, as the opposition claims, much of the money is being skimmed off. A few show trials of scapegoats would be politically useful.
What needs to be established is whether such cases are the exception or the rule, and whether they involve petty pilfering or grand larcency against the state and, as Mr Velásquez claims, massive bribery of its agents. The only way to get an answer would be through the fearless application of the rule of law. There is little sign of that. Dalila Solórzano, a former police officer, was hounded out of the force for pursuing a case against the head of the investigative police. “We've been in this struggle since 2002,” she says, “and no one has done anything. They talk a lot of rubbish because it's an election year, but the political will doesn't exist.”
Source: The Economist
Monday, March 27, 2006
Miami, FL - Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) issued the following statement today with regard to the "letter to President Bush" that Mr. Jorge Mas Santos and his organization are paying to have published in various newspapers:
"My phone number is in the telephone book and they would have saved themselves some confusion if they had called me.
I have never said that I would support unilateral changes to the Helms-Burton law, nor that I would accept a provisional government led by any of the Castro brothers.
I have fought intensely throughout the years against any changes to the Helms-Burton law and will continue to do so, including many much smaller changes than those.
Perhaps it would have been useful if they had called me, for they are taking as fact incorrect assertions in the press that have distorted my positions.
Precisely the reason for which I insist upon the return of sovereignty to the Cuban people through multiparty elections, is so that no transitional government that continues the dictatorship can be acceptable, led either by the Castro brothers, Alarcón, Colomé Ibarra, Ramiro Valdés, etc. To me there is no difference between any of them. None of them has nor would have any legitimacy. The only legitimate government would be one that is the result of free and multiparty elections.
I do not disagree with the positions on Helms-Burton in this letter by Mr. Mas. What is unfortunate is that he insinuates that our community is divided, when it is not. He could have prevented that insinuation with a simple telephone call. The saddest part of this is that Mr. Mas and his group spend large amounts of money to divide our community instead of trying to help us fight the dictatorship."
This week Congress will debate the Online Freedom of Speech Act, sponsored by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).
It's a bit ironic that while Members in Congress fight on our freedom to blog, others are dying because they want to access the internet.
Today as we speak, a man sits in Cuba, holding on to his last moments on life. His name is Guillermo Fariñas Hernandez, an independent journalist and a freedom fighter who believes in the freedom of information. Guillermo Fariñas Hernandez has gone without food or water for 57 days!!
For years he has been attacked by the socialist government. Now he is on a hunger strike to show the world that freedom is not free and Cuba is not what Fidel makes it out to be.
Cuba is a place where a free thought is a dirty secret, and an independent soul is just as bad a death sentence. Cuba is a place where "happiness" only exisits in moments and the brutality of life are sometimes too much of a harsh reality for many to bear.
Please stand by Fariñas. Write or call your Congressman tell them about Fariñas needs freedom to explore the internet as well.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
The University just got approved to open a medical school!! Woohoo.... not only does this give access to thousands of students that want to pursue a degree in medicine but do not have the incomes to afford private institutions in the area, but it makes FIU so much better...
YEAH to all my gold panthers out there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Drudge Report maybe one the most read news bloggs in the country. EVERYONE reads it.
The tag line links to a good story about Fidel's ex body guard. The body guard, Fernandez, who appears regularly on Oscar Haza and channel 41 in Miami, talked about some Cuban realities like:
"What happened was, the course he took with the revolution was wrong. It has dissolved into this unstoppable, insatiable corruption without limits, a vast lie. The people are in misery. Cuba's people have been enslaved as cheap labor for foreign businessmen.''
The article appeared in today's Miami Herald (link below). Hopefully more people will learn the horrible truth about Cuba!!.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
Last month the world lost a beautiful soul who radiated with life and love. Who taught her children, grand children and great grandchildren to be strong, independent, compassionate and to love a country they had never seen. Her stories made the brilliant tropical island come alive in our heads, and her food made it come alive to our senses.
In her youth my grandma flew planes over la Bahia de Nipe. She got to meet Amelia Earheart. She drove cars and won countless dance competitions. She ran a few businesses (in Cuba and the U.S). Cuban President Prio said she was “La estampa de la mujer Cubana.” A quote she was most found of, as you can imagine. She wrote poetry and short stories and often appeared on Spanish radio talking about Cuba. She raised a family while her husband was taken political prisoner in Cuba for 14 years.
For the last few weeks I have been overwhelmed with the possibility of her death, staying with her at the hospital and praying for a miracle. She passed after two weeks of being gravely ill. (the hospital care did not help!!) I know she is a much happier place now, at the side of the Lord, joined with my grandfather and family. Yet, my family here on earth will never be the same, as my grandmother was the light of our lives and the glue that kept us together.
She taught us to be proud Cubans. I can remember countless times reciting Jose Marti, being soaked with colognia de violeta and Mirta de Perales products, learning how to cook Cuban food and memorizing the history of our proud Caribbean island.
I often laugh that I am the typical Carmensita of “Que Pasa USA?”.And my grandmother was just like her abuela. She chaperoned me and made me always speak Spanish but wanted to be hip with her few English phrases. Like telling my “amigitos” things like “gate-oda-he” which really meant “get out of here.” Till her final days she joked around, danced and love to be silly while being the perfect portrait of a lady.
Not only am I torn with the reality that I will never see her again or hear her comforting voice. Not only do I pain over the fact I will I never receive her advice again. What I abhor the most, what hurts me the most, is the reality that she is another Cuban patriot who will never see a free Cuba.
Day after day members of our Cuban-American community die in exile, never seeing the native home they left behind so many years ago.
During her funeral services the Deacon leading us in prayer told us to pray for our Cuban brother and sisters, and to pray for a free Cuba. He also asked us to pray for the countless of families who have been separated by this revolution. The Deacon reminded that as much as we grieve over her death that we were lucky to have her. So many unfortunate families are never reunited.
I guess we are one of the lucky ones. Most of us at one point made it to the U.S. I was lucky to have her in my life. I was lucky to have such an inspiring and trailblazing woman in my life. I was lucky I could say goodbye and be there at her funeral surrounded by my family. But oh how I miss her.
Vaya con Dios querida abuelita. Te quiero con todo mi corazón.
Today try to pray for all of those families separated by the Cuban dictator. Pray for their peaceful reunification.
Full story below
(CBS4 News) MIAMI --The Cubans denied entry to the US because they landed on a pier of the old 7-mile Bridge instead of on actual US soil are on step closer to returning to the land the were trying to reach.
A federal judge has approved an agreement granting the 14 Cuban migrants entry into the United States.The 14 Cubans, all of whom were repatriated to their homeland after decisions by the US Coast Guard and US Immigration officials, will be given proper immigration papers within ten days of the judge's approval of the agreement.
In return, the US government will drop its planned appeal of the judge's ruling that the Cubans had legitimately reached American shores at the bridge and that they had been illegally returned to Cuba.
The agreement also requires that the judge vacate his previous order against the U-S government, removing a potential legal precedent for lawyers to use against federal officials in future Cuban immigration controversies.
There are still no guarantees that Cuba will let the group leave the island. The Cubans thought they reached their destination in January when their boat landed at an abandoned bridge in the Florida Keys. Federal lawyers had argued that the bridge did not count as dry land because sections of the bridge are missing and it no longer connects to U-S soil. The U-S "wet foot/dry foot" policy calls for most Cubans who reach U-S soil to be allowed to stay, while those intercepted at sea are generally returned to Cuba.
(© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Friday night was just about Cuban praise I also got to meet Robert Novak, Ambassador Kirkpatrick, Ambassador John Bolton and many more (Delay, Gov. Perry, etc...)
When I introduced myself to Ambassador Kirkpatrick I thanked her for all her work on behalf of the Cuban people and her dedication to our cause. She shock my hand and said she did love us very much and then she hailed over Ambassador Bolton saying, "John, this is a Cuban-American come over and meet her."
I think at that moment I had to pinch myself. As I greeted the both of them and got a picture I must say, I felt like the luckiest person in the world.
Novak was larger then life. He is a robust man with a deep voice. Each feature on his face appears to be sculpted in with depth and purpose. That night at CPAC he was to be honored and Sam Donaldson was going to present him. I had a chance to pose for a picture with both and did so, but Novak wasn't excited, he tells me, loudly, "He shouldn't be here!' (Donaldson that is)... it was all in jest as the two reporters have known each other for years....
another great night at CPAC.
Friday, February 10, 2006
In 2004 Miranda was working for the Judiciary Committee and was a top judicial aide for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). While working on the committee he uncovered some memos written by the Democrats, and clearly the Dems were upset. They attacked Miranda.
Many Republicans, and especially Senator Hatch, buckled and fired Miranda. Though he did nothing illgeal.
What really brought Miranda to another level was when he created the National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters from his lap top from home. The goup was built to pressure Republican senators to use the “nuclear option,” a parliamentary tactic that would takes away of the minority party - Dems- of filibustering judicial nominees.
to read more go to http://www.hillnews.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/110905/news4.html
When accepting his award at CPAC's dinner on Friday night Miranda was almost to tears. He thanked everyone that supported him during the last VERY hard few years. He also thanked the United States for accepting his family into this great country and providing him with the wonderful opportunities of a free society.
Also honored was Ms. Kilo of the US Supreme Court case about eminent domain.
I just met Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minute Man project.
For those of you that have the pleasure of not knowing Jim Gilchrist, his organization, the Minute Man Project, basically advocates deporting anyone whose last name ends in a vowel (aka Mexicans, aka Hispanics, aka anyone who speaks Spanish!) He and his followers say that Gilchrist “believes that he may have been chosen by God to protect our boarders from the 'invasion' and the “Reconquista” of America by “illegal aliens,” primarily Mexicans, who kill our children and endanger the American way of life.”
Gilchrist came to meet me as my organization has been fighting tooth and nail against him and his ideas. Flanked by his political director and his executive director they came over to introduce themselves.
Their Executive Director, a taller fellow, dressed in a blue suit introduced Gilchrist. I am not sure if my expression of absolute abhorrent was overly apparent but I tried to contain myself. Gilchrist was proper, introduced himself. I was polite myself and shook his hand.
What I really wanted to say was “How do you feel after you lost the race?” as he recently lost in election in California in one of the most conservative districts in the nation. I contained myself as my mother told me if I didn’t have anything nice to say not to say anything at all. After our short introduction his political director introduced herself. Her bleach blond hair was overwhelming with its very “Barbie” characteristics. With her little dog in tow she was also polite game me her card.
I had run out of my cards but gave them my contact information. Part of me was upset I was doing so. My Cuban paranoid thinking feels they will now break into my email and corrupt my files!!!
I really do not like the Minute Man project and what they represent. On the surface they don’t sound that bad, they say they promote constitutional rights and the safety of America. But in reality they spew a message of hate, fear and intolerance.
Gilchrist said: "Illegal immigrants will destroy this country," Gilchrist said last May. "Every time a Mexican flag is planted on American soil, it is a declaration of war."
Some Cubans reading this will think, "why should I care??" ... Some Cubans think they came here legally and Cubans have worked hard to make a great economy in Miami. The reality is these people don't see Cubans and Mexicans differently. If you speak Spanish you are evil. If you are proud of your heritage and that is a Spanish speaking country, then your evil. But most importantly he is fostering hate in our wonderful nation of diversity. How many Cubans are proud of their Cuban flag? With him, he thinks that is a "declaration of war."
His group of vigilantes have lined themselves on the Southern border with guns and threatening to shoot anyone that crosses over. They claim that Mexicans are invading the US. They claim that we need to secure our borders because we are in the time of war, but no one is standing at the Canadian border. A border where most of the terrorist cross as it is basically NOT protected. What to learn more, read about them at :
This is the Minute Man Project, with thier horrible imagery using our historic heroes to promote their message of hate. http://www.minutemanproject.com/
Yup the guy who made bashing Che a comical art form is a tall Irish fellow who hates communist just as much as the group of Alpha 66 members hanging out on Calle 8.
We had a great chat and shared a wonderful story when he dressed up as communist during a Kerry for President Rally in New York.
He dressed as Fidel Castro and his friend dressed up like Che and carried signs something like "follow France", "bring down unemployment", "withdraw from Iraq" and many people clapped for them and many members of Kerry's team even asked to take pictures with them... it wasn't until a long while later that some people finally noticed that the dressed up communist were actually infaltrators.
And P.S. he reads Babalu all the time...
I got to meet the Che-Mart maker via another great idea, Contra Cafe (http://www.contracafe.com/). The coffe is a product of Nicaragua's former Contras - freedom fighters who fought against the Sandinistas in the 1980s. Today, these former freedom fighters struggle to get by on the profits from their coffee farms. Support them and buy their coffee today!!!
Thursday, February 09, 2006
- I LOVED the the many booths of anti-socialism shirts, like the Che with Micky ears. Got to love it.
- I HATED meeting Congressman Tancredo. This very narrow minded congressman is the worst thing ever to happen to the Republican party. I met him in a small group and he greated everyone else, EXCEPT ME!! He knew nothing about me, but looking at me you can tell I am Hispanic. I forced an introduction and he politely smiled. I think he wiped his hand afterwords. Once on stage he advocated stripping citizenship rights to children born in this country of illegal parents. UGGHHHH!!!!! Can someone please knock some sense into him??
Tonight is a dinner with VP Chaney... we will see how that goes
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
By Eneas Biglione
The recent decision of the public relations firm Allyn & Company to take charge of the task of improving Mexico's image in the United States and Canada has angered some conservatives. They have labeled Rob Allyn -- Allyn & Company's president and CEO -- a traitor and have threatened to boycott the firm.
In a stern response, Allyn declared: "I have gotten so tired of the way people treat Mexico. I believe in the cause, so I love the opportunity to share my views. I've held these views for a long time. I relish the opportunity to help in some small way." He added stingingly, "The conservative movement I signed up for stood for tearing walls down, not building them."
Indeed, Allyn & Company's website boasts that Allyn's public relations team worked with great success on President George W. Bush's 2000 primary campaign. The firm later aided Vicente Fox in his successful bid for the Mexican presidency, the same Vicente Fox who is the first conservative president elected in Mexico after an unbroken 72 years of socialist governments controlled by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Mexican voters entrusted Fox with the responsibility of overseeing great change: to tackle corruption, insecurity, and poverty and to promote improved relations with Mexico's neighbors. Fox perceived the broadening of NAFTA with the United States and Canada as a way to strengthen Mexico and confront the country's weaknesses. He never plundered or begged, but saw in the exportation of Mexican products and workers a possible solution to Mexico's woes. Fox's government stimulated the production and exportation of high-technology manufactured goods and used diplomacy to try to negotiate a temporary visa program that is more generous to low-skilled Mexican workers. Of course, the chronic corruption, wild public spending, and poverty that Fox's government inherited from the PRI are not easy conditions to reverse after only five years in office.
Fox has been at the United States' side during several international scandals: the first occurred when the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro revealed statements made during a private telephone conversation he had with Fox in March of 2002. During the call, the Mexican president requested discretion from Castro during the UN Summit in Monterrey and, more specifically, asked that he not insult President Bush or the United States during his stay in Mexico.
The second scandal is more recent. At the Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Fox proudly declared that Castro and the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez had not succeeded in their attempts to dissuade a majority of Latin American countries from signing bilateral free trade agreements with the United States. After hearing this remark, Chavez repeatedly insulted the Mexican president and even branded him a "puppet of the [American] empire". In both cases Fox risked much for the United States and paid dearly for it in his credibility in certain Latin American countries.
It is worrisome, then, that the United States -- the most powerful country in the world and an excellent example of the institutions that a country must adopt to achieve prosperity -- is devoting so much time and so many resources to the construction of a wall on its border with Mexico. The anti-Mexican hysteria does nothing more than add to the arguments of enemies of the United States and discourage the world's conservatives from working side-by-side with the United States on the true fronts of the fight against the Axis of Evil.
The contract between Allyn & Company and the Mexican government is far from treason. It exemplifies, instead, a search for better communication between countries whose conservatives ought to be natural allies in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, as well as on many other battlefronts as well.
Eneas Biglione is a Senior Fellow at the Hispanic American Center for Economic Research (HACER).
Friday, February 03, 2006
The Republican National Hispanic Assembly is looking for conservative Hispanic bloggers that believe in the principles of the Republican party. If you or anyone you know may be interested email them at email@example.com....
The issues can vary but the message has to be the same - conservatism and/ or republican party issues....
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
As a Cuban American I was praying that President Bush would say Cuba when listing the tyrannies of the world. But he didn't. Yet I am not upset because I know he hasn't totally forgotten about us.... While some are about to club me with a big stick let me remind you that allt he rage on all these blogs is the Cuba News Ticker... we constantly talk about its message of freedom... so where did the money to build it come from? .... The Administration and this President...... The government is spending millions of dollars on TV and Radio Marti... where does that money come from? ... the administration..... The government is providing money to help the dissents in Cuba, the government is taking a hard stand against Fidel Castro... Mind you my friends it is not an easy task THE MAJORITY OF THIS WORLD is against the embargo and the president continues it because he believes in our cause.
As an ex-member of capitol hill staff I can tell you what an uphill battle is sometimes is to convince people to stand on the right side of Cuba. We have that leverage only cuz THE PRESIDENT STANDS WITH US..... so instead of the stupid messages I get from Cubans saying they are leaving the Republican party because Bush did not spend 1.2 seconds and say Cuba (Believe me I wish he would have!) Lets instead follow Babalu's advice. Educate more people around the world about Cuba. Make it a priority to them. Tell them it is not this lovely island paradise.
I know I will get some reaction about the wet-foot dry foot policy but that is a very special topic I will talk about another day. But I do have one advice for the Cuban people. Instead of screaming only at Bush why didn't the entire community ask for the resignation of the Coast Guard Chief of something to that affect... Other communities would have done that. Still scream and Bush but call for action that he can actually do quickly.... Again I will talk about wet-foot dry foot another day.
Many Cubans wish that many years ago we could have kicked Fidel's butt but yet this has not happened. We have to work with what we got if not we are never going to get any where just keep on preaching to the choir.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
So while Dems will be quick to point the finger now, they will do it quickly becuase they are to blame just as much as thier "friends" on the other side of the aile.
And while we are on the subject on lobbyist and things of the such, I think this issue has been blown up ALOT. While I understand and believe their are those who abuse the system and they have to be punished - this is not the majority of Members of Congress and staffers. I believe this is one of those issues the powers-that-be have used to devide poltiicians from thier constituents the "inside the beltway" people versus the rest of humanity. It really isn't that bad people are making it a big deal becuase of politics!
It's an election year, every and i mean EVERY issue, is going to be exaggerated for political reasons, so Americans be careful and read between the lines.
1 - Why was Senator Clinton chewing gum????
- Luce como una vaca!! Didn't her mother teach her anything?
- She also gave a stupid smirk when President Bush made a comment that two of Pres. Bush (41) were hitting medicare age - Clinton and himself
- As long as I am talking about Medicare, what was up with the crazy reaction from the Dems when W said "congress did not act on fixing social security." What are the Dems proud they are letting the government go ot the gutter becuase of partisan politics?
2 - Did Representative Corrine Brown (D-FL) steal Bjork's swan dress?? I think she killed a bird and placed it around her neck?
- Rep. Brown is a representative for the Jacksonville area - yes I am embarrassed she is from my state - she is probably the stupidest member of Congress I have ever met and the tackiest.
- Too bad Celia Crus isn't around to teach a thing or two about how to whear crazy wigs. Rep. Brown's wigs are always about to fall off her head.
- In the past Rep. Brownhas accused Hispanics as "looking all the same." During her rampage on then Secretary Noriega she was swaying her head so fast, her bad wig almost fell off her head.
3 - Was Maxine Waters' butt super glued to her chair? Because the liberal California practically communist Representative never stood up. I think I saw her staring at her nails?
- I really do think Rep. Waters may be a card carrying member of the socialist party - if not a full on communist sympathizer. In my old jobs I use to get calls from people that lived in her area all the time saying to help them, that she was a crazy commuinist... if only I could do something I would... where is McCarthy when you need him?
- She supports Castro and is one of the dilusional people who think he is great! BLAH!!)
4 - A bigger question - Why are the same member of Congress who talk smack about President Bush on "the floor of Congress" push through their colleagues to get a picture with the President and to hob-nob with him in private??
- All I have to say is - Hypocrites!!
5 - Did you hear that Cindy Sheehan was arrested right before the State of the Union speech for protesting inside the House Gallery?
- Sheehan had a poster and was planning on disrupting the speech - Which is against the rules of the House of Representatives.
- Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) gave Sheehan a ticket to the speech, seated in Gallery 5, seat 7, row A. Sheehan was offered the ticket at an "alternative state of the union" press conference by CODEPINK, a group pushing for an end to the Iraq war. CODEPINK organizes trips to Cuba to defy US policy and as they say to "party in Cuba" -- see my old post "Stupid Pinkos")
- Rep Woosley supports Fidel Castro and ALWAYS supports legislation to end the embargo!
6 - I think Judge Samuel Alito has the "best first day on the job" story ever!!!
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
STATE OF THE UNION EXCERPTS
As Prepared for Delivery
America is always at its best when we are shaping events, instead of being shaped by events. Tonight, the President will chart a clear path forward for our Nation:
“In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country. We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom – or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life. We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy – or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity. In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting – yet it ends in danger and decline. The only way to protect our people … the only way to secure the peace … the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership – so the United States of America will continue to lead.”
The President will talk about America’s leadership role in the world, and the importance of working together to better protect our country, support our troops, and advance freedom:
“Abroad, our Nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal – we seek the end of tyranny in our world… the future security of America depends on it.”
“In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores.”
“…Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change.”
“To overcome dangers in our world, we must also take the offensive by encouraging economic progress, fighting disease, and spreading hope in hopeless lands.”
To keep America competitive in a dynamic economy, the President will set out an agenda focused on the priorities that families are most concerned about. He will talk about the importance of having an educated, skilled workforce, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and making health care more affordable, accessible, and portable:
“Here at home, America also has a great opportunity: We will build the prosperity of our country by strengthening our economic leadership in the world.”
“The American economy is pre-eminent – but we cannot afford to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors like China and India.”
“We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hard-working, ambitious people – and we are going to keep that edge.”
“America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world… The best way to break this addiction is through technology.”
On Health Care:
“Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility. For all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care … strengthen the doctor-patient relationship … and help people afford the insurance coverage they need.”
Finally, the President will speak to the character and compassion of America:
“…our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another. So we strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society.”
# # #
Long Live A Free Market Economy!!!!
After 18 years leading the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan is stepping down. The economic guru is practically the most loved man in the administration. More than seven in 10 Americans approve of the way Greenspan's handled his job as Fed chairman. Republicans, Democrats and independents alike all give Greenspan high marks. This far surpasses approval ratings for any other leader in the Administration. Ben Bernanke has been tapped to take over for Greenspan.
Can you only imagine if the Cuba's plazas were filled with images of this revolution instead of that idiota of Che. Most probably Cuba won't look like an ancient city of rumble stuck in time.
Viva Greenspan!! Viva La Economic Revolution! Viva Capitalism!
Monday, January 30, 2006
Immigration is the hot topic these days. Unfortunately a big part of the debate is created by Rep. Tancredo! (BLAH!!!!) The Republican from Colorado is an extremist who want to close ALL immigration to the country and deport every immigrant - most specifically Hispanic (Mexicans and OTM- Other Then Mexicans) back to their country.
This small minded man does have one redeeming quality, he loves the Cuban News Ticker outside of the US Interest Section in Havana. Rumor has it, he may even author a resolution supporting the news ticker. Supposedly he is all about Freedom for Cuba.....
But I don't trust this immigrant hater - I think he figures with Cuba free he can get rid of at least 3% of the Hispanic population in the United States and clean up Miami so he and his family (who are only second-generation Italian) can visit South Florida with out all of his "exotic people." I bet he is dying to wear a speedo on Miami Beach along with all the other wired tourist...
But with no latins around, who will wait on your over privileged white @ss???
I bet he is praying that Puerto Rico never becomes a state of the U.S.
The immigration bill, which already passed the House of representatives, is set to be debated in the Senate between President's Day and St. Patrick's Day.
So get ready folks, its going to get nasty.
Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez, just announced his full support of Cindy Sheehan for U.S. Senate!!!!
Sheehan, a resident of California, announced she will run against long time politician, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record) of California because the Senator will not support calls to immediately bring the troops home. Feinstein who does not support the President but felt with troops committed immediate withdrawal is not possible.
In the past Sheehan has thanked Chavez for "supporting life and peace." Sheehan also said she was impressed by his "sincerity"
This entire series of events make me laugh and cry!!! The only thing Chaves is "sincere" about is hit attempt to RULE TO WORLD. Thankfully I think that Sheehan has lost ALL credibility and people see here for what she is - CRAZY!
I bet people in the White House are laughing their asses off... Yeah Cindy you go win that Senate seat, good luck with that!!
Friday, January 27, 2006
Thought you might be interested in some of the messages running on U.S. Interest Section's electronic display in Havana... You can see why Castro is all jumpy... come-mierd@....
PALESTINOS PARTICIPAN EN PRIMERAS ELECCIONES LEGISLATIVAS DESDE HACE 10 ANOS.
ONG REPORTEROS SIN FRONTERAS ACUSA A LA JUSTICIA VENEZOLANA DE CENSURA A LA PRENSA.
A SOLICITUD DE CHILE, EEUU DETUVO A HIJA MAYOR DE PINOCHET.
ESTADOS UNIDOS OTORGO PERMISO AL EQUIPO CUBANO PARA
PARTICIPAR EN EL CLASICO MUNDIAL DE BEISBOL.
PRIMER PARTIDO DE CUBA SERIA MARZO 8 EN PUERTO RICO.
SEGUN LA OEA, EN HAITI TODAS LAS GARANTIAS ESTAN DADAS PARA QUE SE REALICEN ELECCIONES FEBRERO 7.
LEA LO QUE QUIERA, DIGA LO QUE PIENSA, HAGA LO QUE LE PAREZCA CORRECTO.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: NINGUN HOMBRE ES LO SUFICIENTEMENTE BUENO
PARA GOBERNAR A OTRO HOMBRE SIN EL ACUERDO DE ESE OTRO.
INDIRA GANDHI: EL PODER DE CUESTIONAR ES EL BASE DE TODO DEL PROGRESO HUMANO.
VOLTAIRE: EL HOMBRE ES LIBRE EN EL MOMENTO QUE LO DESEA SER.
PRESIDENTE GEORGE W. BUSH: EL OBJETIVO DE EEUU ES AYUDAR A LOS DEMAS A ENCONTRAR SU PROPIA VOZ, LOGRAR SU PROPIA LIBERTAD, Y ABRIR SU PROPIO CAMINO.
WINSTON CHURCHILL: LA DEMOCRACIA ES LA PEOR FORMA DE GOBIERNO MENOS TODAS LAS DEMAS.
PORQUE LOS CUBANOS NO SE PUEDEN HOSPEDAR EN LOS HOTELES DE LUJO?
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Letter of The Members of Congress Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart to The U.S. Department of Homeland Security
January 10, 2006
The Honorable Michel Chertoff
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
3891 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20528-0001
Dear Secretary Chertoff:
On September 17, 2003, while reiterating our profound opposition to the "Clinton Castro Migration Accord" (CCMA) of May 1995, we wrote to then Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega and Ambassador Otto Reich, with a series of recommendations to address the inconsistencies and arbitrariness of the "CCMA". At that time, we were informed that the "CCMA" was under review and that our recommendations were being considered.
Since we sent our letters, we have witnessed a record number of human trafficking cases from Cuba, a dramatic increase of Cuban nationals attempting to flee the island, an extraordinary amount of refugees repatriated without regard for the merits of their asylum petitions, and, basically, an overall process that constitutes an embarrassment to the United States.
The most recent repatriation of 15 Cuban refugees, who did reach U.S. territory by touching the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys, is simply the most recent example of an arbitrary process that uses any excuse to repatriate as many Cuban nationals as possible without due process.
Currently, 75% of all Cuban nationals who enter the United States and file for asylum have their applications approved. However, of the 11,137 Cuban nationals intercepted at sea from May 1995, through 2005, about 301 Cuban refugees were taken to the Guatanamo Naval Base (GITMO).
This means that less than 3% of Cuban nationals intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard were taken to GITMO having demonstrated a "credible fear of persecution." The disparity in the treatment of these two groups is most concerning, and underscores the severe inequities of the existing process on board the Coast Guard vessels.
We hereby reiterate our strong opposition to the immoral "CCMA" and urge that existing policy be reviewed forthwith. In an effort to remedy the obvious disparity outlined above, we, once again, recommend the following:
1. An immediate, through review of how the interviews of Cuban nationals intercepted at sea are conducted and "credible fear of persecution" is determined;
2. Legal counsel from recognized Volunteer Agencies should be allowed aboard the Coast Guard vessels in order to provide legal advice to refugees;
3. If it is determined that it is not feasible to have legal counsel on board U.S. Coast Guard vessels, all Cuban nationals intercepted at sea should be taken to GITMO for their cases to be properly evaluated and for the refugees to be afforded procedural rights consistent with Cuban nationals who seek asylum on land;
4. A percentage of the unallocated reserve of 20,000 refugees in FY 2005 should be reallocated to Cuban nationals who are not relocated to a third country after 120 days of the date they arrive at GITMO; and
5. The United States Interests Section should issue a report on the status of Cubans who have been repatriated to determine if they have sought and obtained refugee questionnaires as well as the status of their applications for refugee visas.
We believe that even though the very nature of this "Migration Accord" between the Cuban totalitarian regime and the United States runs contrary to the Cuban people’s aspiration for democracy and the United States’ rich tradition of granting refuge to the oppressed, these recommendations would significantly alleviate the detrimental impact of the "Migration Accord."
We urge you to review these recommendations, and hereby request a meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss their possible implementation.
Lincoln Diaz-Balart Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Mario-Diaz-Balart
Viva Cuban Power!.... Letters authored by these three have helped many of Cubans stay in the country. I hope this makes a difference.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
By Mark Trevelyan, Reuters
BERLIN (Jan. 4) - Cuba lay behind the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald and its agents provided the gunman with money and support, an award-winning German director says in a new documentary film.
Wilfried Huismann spent three years researching "Rendezvous with Death," based on interviews with former Cuban secret agents, U.S. officials and a Russian intelligence source, and on research in Mexican security archives.
The film, shown to journalists in Berlin on Wednesday, says Oswald traveled to Mexico City by bus in September 1963, seven weeks before the Kennedy shooting, and met agents at the Cuban embassy there who paid him $6,500.
Oscar Marino, a former Cuban agent and a key source for the documentary, told Huismann that Oswald himself had volunteered for the assassination mission and Havana had exploited him.
"Oswald was a dissident. He hated his country...Oswald offered to kill Kennedy," Marino said in the film.
"He was so full of hate, he had the idea. We used him...He was a tool."
He said he knew with certainty that the assassination was an operation of the Cuban secret service G-2, but would not say if it was ordered by President Fidel Castro.
Oswald was shot dead by Jack Ruby two days after killing Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
The film argues Cuba wanted to eliminate Kennedy as the chief enemy of its Communist revolution, and portrays him and Castro as dueling opponents each trying to assassinate the other first.
What They Said
''Oswald was a dissident. He hated his country... Oswald offered to kill Kennedy. ...We used him.''-- Oscar Marino, a former Cuban agent, speaking in the documentary
Former CIA official Sam Halpern told Huismann: "He (Castro) beat us. He bested us. He came out on top, and we lost."
FBI PROBE ABORTED
Laurence Keenan, an officer of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who was sent to
Mexico City immediately after Kennedy's death to investigate a possible Cuban connection, said he was recalled after just three days and the probe was aborted.
"This was perhaps the worst investigation the FBI was ever involved in," Keenan said. "I realized that I was used. I felt ashamed. We missed a moment in history."
Keenan, 81, said he was convinced Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, blocked further investigation because proof of a Cuban link would put him under irresistible pressure to invade the island, a year after the Cuban missile crisis had brought the United States and Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war.
"Most likely there would have been an invasion of Cuba which could have had unknown consequences for the whole world," he told journalists at the screening, saying that was why Johnson preferred to accept Oswald was "a crazed lone Marxist assassin."
Interviewed for the film, Alexander Haig, then a U.S. military adviser and later secretary of state, quoted Johnson as saying "we simply must not allow the American people to believe that Fidel Castro could have killed our president."
"And the reason was that there would be a right-wing uprising in America, which would keep the Democratic party out of power for two generations," Haig said.
He added that Robert F. Kennedy, brother of the assassinated president and attorney general in his administration, had personally ordered eight attempts on the life of Castro, who is still in power to this day.
Cuban and Russian sources interviewed in the film say the KGB alerted the Cubans to Oswald in mid-1962 after he left the Soviet Union, where he had lived for three years, and returned to the United States with his Soviet wife and their daughter.
Cuban intelligence first made contact with Oswald in November 1962, according to the film.
Huismann also unearthed a U.S. intelligence report shown to Johnson which said Cuban secret service chief Fabian Escalante flew via Mexico City to Dallas on the day of Kennedy's assassination, and back again the same day.
Tracked down by the film maker, Escalante denied he had been in Dallas and evaded questions about Cuba's alleged role. "What is truth, what are lies?" he said, smiling.
Happy New Year] all!!!
My short pause away from blogging was caused by my trip home to Miami.
There is nothing in the world like being home. And when that home combines warm sunny beaches, cool tropical breezes, great food and the people you love it's like heaven.
In the last three years I might have flown back and forth from Miami to DC about 20 times. Not only do I get home sick, but thankfully work sends me to Miami pretty often. Yet no matter how many times I fly over the Atlantic on my way to South Florida, each time I stare determined into the ocean's water. I look over every wave, every spot, always looking, just in case, I see a balsero.
Balsero's those brave men and women who risk life and limbs to reach the DRY lands of the United States.
Reports estimate that 6 Cubans die EACH DAY fleeing the Cuban island.
I have met many in my life. Even have some family members who arrived here on balsa. Unfortunately I have also been to many of their funerals, as most of them die at sea. Most of them never to be found again.
From hundreds of miles above the sea my little eyes look over the ocean wondering if I will spot one. Sometimes I think, if I did spot one, would I even say anything. Part of me thinks yes, so they can be saved but knowing the policy as it is now, if they get picked up by the Coast Guard, goodness knows what will happen. Most probably they will be sent back to Cuba.
I pray for these people and for the safe voyages. It's amazing to me to know that while some risk everything to leave Cuba, some tourist waste thousands to vacation there...
A prayer for the brave balseros, may the lord protect them on their voyage.
Learn more http://www.fiu.edu/~fcf/cubanrafters.html or http://www.cubanet.org/CNews/y04/ago04/25e7.htm
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
December 30, 2005
Counting Castro's Victims
By MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADYDecember 30, 2005; Page A17
"On May 27, [1966,] 166 Cubans -- civilians and members of the military -- were executed and submitted to medical procedures of blood extraction of an average of seven pints per person. This blood is sold to Communist Vietnam at a rate of $50 per pint with the dual purpose of obtaining hard currency and contributing to the Vietcong Communist aggression.
"A pint of blood is equivalent to half a liter. Extracting this amount of blood from a person sentenced to death produces cerebral anemia and a state of unconsciousness and paralysis. Once the blood is extracted, the person is taken by two militiamen on a stretcher to the location where the execution takes place."
-- InterAmerican Human Rights Commission, April 7, 1967
This weekend marks the 47th anniversary of the triumph of the "26th of July Movement," which many Cubans expected would return their country to a constitutional government. Fidel Castro had other ideas of course, and within weeks he hijacked the victory, converting the country into one of the most repressive states in modern history.
Waiting for Fidel to die has become a way of life in Cuba in the past decade. Conventional wisdom holds that the totalitarian regime will hang on even after the old man kicks the bucket. But that hasn't stopped millions from dreaming big about life in a Fidel-free Cuba.
Cuban reconciliation won't come easy, even if Fidel's ruthless, money-grubbing little brother Raul is somehow pushed aside. One painful step in the process will require facing the truth of all that has gone on in the name of social justice. As the report cited above shows, it is bound to be a gruesome tale.
The Cuba Archive project (www.cubaarchive.org1) has already begun the heavy lifting by attempting to document the loss of life attributable to revolutionary zealotry. The project, based in Chatham, N.J., covers the period from May 1952 -- when the constitutional government fell to Gen. Fulgencio Batista -- to the present. It has so far verified the names of 9,240 victims of the Castro regime and the circumstances of their deaths. Archive researchers meticulously insist on confirming stories of official murder from two independent sources.
Cuba Archive President Maria Werlau says the total number of victims could be higher by a factor of 10. Project Vice President Armando Lago, a Harvard-trained economist, has spent years studying the cost of the revolution and he estimates that almost 78,000 innocents may have died trying to flee the dictatorship. Another 5,300 are known to have lost their lives fighting communism in the Escambray Mountains (mostly peasant farmers and their children) and at the Bay of Pigs. An estimated 14,000 Cubans were killed in Fidel's revolutionary adventures abroad, most notably his dispatch of 50,000 soldiers to Angola in the 1980s to help the Soviet-backed regime fight off the Unita insurgency.
The archive project can be likened to the 1999 "Black Book of Communism," which documented the world-wide cost of communism, noting that "wherever the millenarian ideology of Communism was established it quickly led to crime, terror and repression." The Castro methodology, Cuba Archive finds, was much like that used in Poland and East Germany, less lethal than Stalin's purges, but equally effective in suppressing opposition.
In the earliest days of the revolution, summary executions established a culture of fear that quickly eliminated most resistance. In the decades that followed, inhumane prison conditions often leading to death, unspeakable torture and privation were enough to keep Cubans cowed.
Cuba Archive finds that some 5,600 Cubans have died in front of firing squads and another 1,200 in "extrajudicial assassinations." Che Guevara was a gleeful executioner at the infamous La Cabaña Fortress in 1959 where, under his orders, at least 151 Cubans were lined up and shot. Children have not been spared. Of the 94 minors whose deaths have been documented by Cuba Archive, 22 died by firing squad and 32 in extrajudicial assassinations.
Fifteen-year-old Owen Delgado Temprana was beaten to death in 1981 when security agents stormed the embassy of Ecuador where his family had taken refuge. In 1995, 17-year-old Junior Flores Díaz died after being locked in a punishment cell in a Havana province prison and denied medical attention. He was found in a pool of vomit and blood. Many prison deaths are officially marked as "heart attacks," but witnesses tell another story. The project has documented 2,199 prison deaths, mostly political prisoners.
The revolution boasts of its gender equality, and that's certainly true for its victims. Women have not fared much better than men. In 1961, 25-year-old Lydia Pérez López was eight months pregnant when a prison guard kicked her in the stomach. She lost her baby and, without medical attention, bled to death. A 70-year-old woman named Edmunda Serrat Barrios was beaten to death in 1981 in a Cuban jail. Cuba Archive has documented 219 female deaths including 11 firing squad executions and 20 extrajudicial assassinations.
The heftiest death toll is among those trying to flee. Many have been killed by state security. Three Lazo children drowned in 1971 when a Cuban navy vessel rammed their boat; their mother, Mrs. Alberto Lazo Pastrana, was eaten by sharks. Twelve children -- ages six months to 11 years -- drowned along with 33 others when the Cuban coast guard sank their boat in 1994. Four children -- ages three to 17 -- drowned in the famous Canimar River massacre along with 52 others when the Cuban navy and a Cuban air force plane attacked a hijacked excursion boat headed for Florida in 1980.
The horror of that event cost one more life: After visiting survivors in the Matanzas hospitals, the famous revolutionary guerrilla Haydée Santamaría, already in despair over the massive, inhumane boat exodus from the Port of Mariel, killed herself. That was a tragic admission of both the cost and failure of the revolution. The only riddle left is how, 25 years later, so-called "human rights" advocates like Argentine President Nestor Kirchner still embrace the Castro regime.
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"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." - Plato