Things you wouldn’t understand about Hialeah unless you lived there

Although the majority of my childhood was spent in Little Havana, I did live in Hialeah for a few years. Not to mention all the time spent visiting family and friends who lived in Hialeah during my formative years. Hialeah is a special place, to say the least. And unless you have lived there, a difficult place to understand.

Here are 22 about la Ciudad que Progresa you wouldn’t understand unless you lived there.

Dani de la Osa in Thrillist:

22 Things You Don’t Understand About Hialeah (Unless You’re From There)

When most people think about Hialeah, they… um, laugh. Then they think about Spanglish-inspired business names, excessive car honking, people selling groceries in the parking lot, and sweet mom-and-pop eat spots. And they might be right, but what they don’t know is there are certain things only people raised in the Floridian Havana will understand about Hialeah. Here are just a few… the icing on the bocadito, if you will.

1. Don’t you ever dare confuse East Hialeah with West Hialeah
That’s like confusing a Blood for a Crip, or Chicken Kitchen for Chicken Grill.

2. Driving through West 49th St is NEVER a good idea
It doesn’t matter how bad you need that batido from El Palacio De Los Jugos.

[…]

6. Our street grid makes perfect sense
It’s the rest of the county’s that’s messed up.

[…]

13. Getting flowers from your boyfriend doesn’t mean you’re special
It means there was a guy selling them for $5 at the last red light he hit on the way to your house. And that he probably cheated on you.

[…]

16. We like big butts
Check that: we like big NATURAL butts. Don’t come around Hialeah with those implants, there, “Mami.”

17. Cargo shorts, sandals & button-down shirts are completely acceptable gym attire
And are actually the required dress code at Porky’s.

[…]

20. You NEVER leave the house to get your hair cut, nails done, or teeth cleaned
Because all those people make house calls. And work for cash. And their contact info is guarded with more secrecy than the codes to the nuclear football.

See them all HERE.

Joanne Chesimard and another big fumble at ESPN

 

Where do we rank this one?    Let’s put it somewhere between carelessness and ignorance.

According to news reports:

An ESPN site targeting female sports fans on Thursday removed a poem paying homage to a convicted cop killer after “an oversight in the editorial process” led to the poem being published several days ago, the embattled sports giant told Fox News.

DaMaris Hill’s poem “Revolution” had led the April 25 ESPNW.com feature “Five Poets on the New Feminism,” which was produced “in honor of National Poetry month…to reflect on resistance, redefining feminism and movement,” according to a site description. But Hill’s poem opened with the dedication “(for Assata Shakur),” honoring the one-time Black Liberation Army member who has been hiding out in Cuba to avoid finishing a prison term for her murder rap.

“There was an oversight in the editorial process for selecting the poems for the ‘Five Poets on the New Feminism’ feature on espnW,” a spokesperson told Fox News in an email. “Dr. DaMaris Hill is a respected professor and poet, who submitted this poem based upon her personal feelings toward Assata Shakur. While the editors welcomed a contribution from a notable writer and chose it as a reflection of this one poet’s experience, upon further review we have decided it is not an appropriate selection for our site and have removed the piece from the feature.”

Later Thursday, the title of the feature had been changed to “Four Poets on the New Feminism,” Hill’s poem was gone and an editor’s note at the bottom of the page informed readers of the changes.

Seriously, are people that out of touch with reality at ESPN?   All they had to do was google her name.   They would have learned that Chesimard was convicted of fatally shooting a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, escaped from prison and fled to Cuba in the 1980’s.   Last, but not least, she is on the list of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists.

Yesterday, I read of massive downsizing going on at ESPN.    They lost 12 million subscribers over 5 years!  We are not happy to see people lose their jobs.   At the same time, it’s not very smart to feature a poem from a woman convicted of killing a state trooper.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk), (YouTube) and follow me on Twitter.

El Sexto to open art show in hostile Castrophile territory of San Francisco

From our News of the Unthinkable Bureau:

You’ve got to hand it to El Sexto: the guy displays very little fear.

He not only challenges the Castro dictatorship at home, but opens art shows in places abroad where there are hordes of Castrophiles.

Let’s see how this new show of his is received in San Francisco.

Might he be dis-invited?  Probably not, since he’s being sponsored by Human Rights Foundation.  But he will surely enrage San Francisco’s “progressive” community and may give rise to howls of indignation and protests.

Buena suerte, Danilo, y ten cuida’o con esos ñangaras y  ñangaroides Chevistas ...

From Human Rights Foundation

Cuban Dissident Artist El Sexto to Premiere Art Show in San Francisco

Cuban dissident artist Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado will exhibit his work in a new art show, “ANGELS & DEMONS,” that premieres in San Francisco on Thursday, May 11, from 6:00-10:00 pm.

On opening night, El Sexto will enter a replica of the cell in Havana’s maximum-security Combinado del Este prison where he was once jailed, and will remain there for three days on a hunger strike, consuming only water. Guests will be able to view El Sexto through the bars of his cell as he creates art in solidarity with the Cuban people and political prisoners in countries such as China, Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela. Work on display will include art that El Sexto completed while jailed in Cuba. You can RSVP and learn more here.

ANGELS & DEMONS is the first event in the Human Rights Foundation’s Art in Protest series. Curated by HRF’s Holly Baxter and produced by the artist’s representative, Adam D’Arcy, El Sexto’s unique paintings and drawings will be on display from May 11-24. The show is presented in collaboration with Immersive Art Lab as the inaugural event at their 3255 3rd Street location in San Francisco’s Dogpatch district. The exhibition space is designed by Jenny Boyle at JBI Designs and constructed by Ben Morgenstern’s team at Immersive Art Lab.

Maldonado named himself “El Sexto” (“the Sixth” in Spanish) as a parody reference to “Los Cinco” (The Five), a group of Cuban spies convicted of espionage and attempted murder in the United States, who are celebrated as propaganda heroes by the Cuban dictatorship and used in the regime’s public art across the island. El Sexto considers the Cuban people to be the true sixth hero and tries to act as their voice through his work.

El Sexto’s paintings and performances radiate anti-authoritarianism, and often portray the regime’s leaders as pigs, monkeys, cows, and other animals. As such, El Sexto’s spray paint art has put him at great personal risk inside Cuba. He has been imprisoned four times since he turned 18 — most recently from November 26, 2016, to January 21, 2017 — and has endured torture, months-long detention in solitary confinement, and threats of execution.

Continue reading HERE

Bay area Chevistas

Trump could easily strangle the Castro regime with flick of his wrist (no bombs, no airstrikes, no “boots-on-the-ground”)

Not since Kennedy at the Bay of Pigs has a U.S. President held the power of  life and death over the Castro regime that Trump holds today. This terror -sponsoring regime stole $7 billion from U.S. businessmen, while torturing and murdering some who resisted and has not compensated a penny. The Castro regime also harbors convicted U.S. terrorists and cop-killers and partners with the world’s biggest cocaine producers and smugglers–to say nothing of North Korea. 

Forget U.S. “boots on the ground.” Forget “air strikes.” Forget thousands of American boys coming home in body bags or maimed. Forget billions and billions of U.S. $ taxpayer dollars spent on pipe-dream “nation-building” in tribal pest-holes. This regime-change could be accomplished with a few strokes of a presidential pen. 

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lucaraul-worried

Unlike most of our recent crusades against foreign dictators, terrorists, etc., this one would SAVE the American taxpayer billions. (A reminder: ousting Saddam Hussein cost the U.S. taxpayer $806 billion, while 4,491 American servicemen and women were killed and 33,226 were wounded.)

You see, amigos: Since taking office in 2009 Obama’s executive orders have opened up what amounts to the Castro-Family-Crime-Syndicate’s (euphemized as “Cuba” by the media) economic lifeline. The annual cash flow from the U.S. to Cuba over the past 7 years (mostly in remittances and tourist expenditures) totals over $5 billion annually and exceeds what the Soviets used to send annually to the Castro-Family-Crime Syndicate at the height of their sponsorship in the 1970’s and 80’s. This is no chump change–and much of it is at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.

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In fact, amigos: some estimates put this Obama-facilitated $5 billion lifeline (much of it at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer) as more vital to the Castro-Family-Crime-Syndicate than the cash-flow from their Venezuelan colony, which has been drying up.

And remember, amigos: this economic lifeline from the U.S. President to these Cuban terrorists results from executive orders.  This means that with a few strokes of his pen Trump could strangle the Castro-Family-Crime-Syndicate to submission or death and provide instant relief to the hard-pressed American taxpayer. ( and oh!…Almost forgot!…also free the Cuban people!) .A few walk-backs of Obama’s executive orders and the Castro’s could shortly find themselves sleeping with the fishes, economically speaking.

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“Le ZZZUMBA!!!”

“Humberto Fontova’s book teaches us truths about Cuba that are very discomfiting for many intellectuals.” (Ana Botella, Spain’s former First Lady while giving a book reading in Madrid upon the Spanish-language release of the BOMBSHELL book “Fidel; Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant.”)


“Absolutely devastating. An enlightening and shocking read you’ll never forget.” (David Limbaugh on Fidel; Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant.)

Reports from Cuba: Castro conquers Miami with cannon blasts

Luis Cino Alvarez in Cubanet via Translating Cuba:

Castro Conquers Miami With Cannon Blasts

A friend was telling me, horrified, that last Friday at the Hard Rock Café in Hollywood Beach, Florida, Cuban reggaetoneros [musicians who perform the musical genre of Reggaeton]–from the Island and from ‘over there’, no way to tell anymore what with all the going and coming–put on a show. The lineup consisted of El Chacal, El Taiger (spelled just that way, not “Tiger”), Diván, Chocolate, Harrison, and Descemer Bueno (the only one of them whom I would classify as a musician).

This Cubatón (Cuban-style reggaeton, guachineo included) spectacle was aptly titled The Cannon Blast, as it was an explosion of “Made in Cuba” vulgarity and bad taste.  And there will be other such events, many more, in Florida.

To my friend it was all a joke (or a nightmare): The crème de la crème of the reggaetonero set–who would have to include also Yakarta, Baby Lores, Misha, Insurrecto, the detestable Osmany García, and Gente de Zona–profanely performing their low-class crudities, with their sinister appearance and annoying taca-taca beat, on a stage that has recently featured artists such as Don Henley, War, America, ZZ Top and Daryl Hall and John Oates.

No need to be surprised. This particular cannon blast and those yet to come are part of the none-too-slow colonization by the Castro regime of Miami and indeed all of South Florida.  They want to turn it into a type of Hong Kong, to exploit and emotionally blackmail it with nostalgia for fatherland and family. Not satisfied with maintaining their failed regime at the expense of remittances from emigrés and exiles, the Castroites also–in an effort to stir up problems, debase the milieu, and collect even more dollars–send over infiltrators from the G-2, scam artists, provocateurs, short-fused jokers, propagandizing academics, know-nothing cameleons del tíbiri tábara (from the back of beyond and staying out of trouble),TV shows, and…reggaetoneros.

For the record, it’s not that the head honchos of the regime are aware of the damage they do with the reggaetoneros, thus employing them in a macabre plan to penetrate the exile community and turn Miami into one big Hialeah, full of homeboys and every day becoming more like Marianao or Arroyo Naranjo. Save for the minister Abel Prieto, he of such exquisite taste, the top bosses don’t seem to mind the proliferation of reggaeton. On the contrary, their children and grandchildren, as lacking in good taste and class as their parents and grandparents, go crazy to the beat and enjoy it to the max.

Pertaining to music, the bosses export what they have. This is what there is.

Read more

Jolly Good !!! British firm will renovate and manage luxury apartheid hotel in Havana

Hotel Deauville

From our Apartheid Bureau at our Neocolonialism Chronicles Department:

God save the queen…. It’s about time, for Jove’s sake… the British are coming, Mildred.  Yes, they’re joining Castrogonia’s apartheid tourist industry.

Not since their victory at the Siege of Havana in 1762 have the British dipped this deeply into the benighted tropical island.

Graham Greene would have been delighted, I’m sure.

The military junta that runs Castro Inc. has struck one of its customary deals with a British hotel firm to renovate and manage one of their many, many apartheid tourist facilities.

Will they serve bangers and mash or Cornish pasties?   Not likely, Mildred.

(British delicacies: Cornish Pasties and Bangers and Mash)

Will they serve a traditional tea at 3 pm?  Perhaps, but, of course, only for the superior beings who stay at the Deauville Hotel.

No Cubans allowed for tea, you know.  No sniveling cretins or noble savages.

Never mind the fact that the Hotel was built and owned by a Cuban, Bernardo Tamargo Díaz, and that it was stolen from him by Castro, Inc.

The Deauville is on the Malecon.  Construction of this hotel began in in 1956, and it opened its doors in 1958, just before the Castropocalypse.

Expect to encounter lots of Che memorabilia plastered all over the property.  The Brits do love Che, you know.  Adorable, charming chap.

Dream holidays to all!

Mind the cultural gap…. Keep Calm and Heap Scorn on the Natives!

From Boutique Hotel News (where else?):

St Giles Hotels will be the first UK hotel brand to operate in Cuba when it takes over Havana’s Hotel Deauville.

Owner Gran Caribe, one of Cuba’s leading hotel groups, accepted St Giles’ bid to renovate and manage the Hotel Deauville, in the heart of Havana. Abigail Tan-Giroud, St Giles Hotels head of UK, Europe and the Americas, is handling the negotiations of this deal, with advisory from Geskaria Real Estate Investments.

Currently operating as a three-star hotel, the property will reopen at a later date as The Deauville – A St Giles Signature Hotel, and be added to the brand’s highest hotel classification. The property is located on the Malecón, Cuba’s famous seaside promenade, overlooking Havana Bay and offers a centrally located base to explore both Old Havana and the Vedado district.

“We are incredibly excited and honoured to have been distinguished with this opportunity,” said Tan-Giroud. “Our success in hotel development and management, vast experience in construction, and our brand’s value of preserving culture and enhancing communities, puts St Giles Hotels in a prime situation to partner with the Cuban government on redeveloping this gem in Havana. And of course being the first UK hotel group to be granted entry is a bonus.”

This is the first of St Giles Hotels’ planned expansion into Cuba and the Caribbean and this bid will mark the 11th hotel in the St Giles portfolio, keeping pace with Tan-Giroud’s vision for 20 hotels by 2020. This latest St Giles development news follows 2015 openings including The Wembley – a St Giles Hotel in Penang and The Tank Stream – a St Giles Hotel in Sydney.

Love the Local Colour!

Real life in communist Cuba in 2017: It sucks

John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Reality Bites: Living in Communist Cuba in 2017

“The difference between the communist and capitalist systems is that, although both give you a kick in the ass, in the communist system you have to applaud, while in the capitalist system you can scream.” – Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls, 1993

In the debate over U.S. – Cuba policy the discussion often times pretends that the crimes of the Castro regime are a thing of the past. This does not reflect the current reality of living in this communist country. Fidel Castro died on November 25, 2016, but his equally ruthless brother Raul Castro had already been in charge since July 31, 2006 when Fidel became deathly ill. General Raul Castro formally took power on February 24, 2008 and repression worsened.

Cubans who did not sufficiently mourn Fidel Castro’s death were arrested and jailed. Cuban physician Eduardo Cardet, jailed since November 30, 2016, was sentenced to three years in prison in March 2017 for giving a critical assessment of Castro’s legacy.

During General Raul Castro’s tenure politically motivated arbitrary detentions of opposition activists increased exponentially, along with political violence, and the murder of prominent dissident leaders.

In 2016 there were new prisoners of conscience behind bars and 9,940 politically motivated arbitrary detentions over the course of the year. By comparison in 2009 there were 869 arbitrary detentions documented. Religious repression escalated in Cuba in 2016 including the beating of pastors, the confiscation of Churches, some were demolished by the dictatorship.

Rising violent repression against political dissidents in Cuba, including crippling and disfiguring machete attacks, became a high profile regime tactic starting in 2013. The case of Sirley Avila Leon in May of 2015 is well documented, even if it is not widely well known.

The murder of prominent opposition leaders such as Orlando Zapata Tamayo in 2010, Laura  Pollán in 2011, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, and Harold Cepero in 2012 happened under General Raul Castro’s tenure. Refugees have been killed trying to leave Cuba, shot in the back by Castro’s secret police, as recently as 2015.

Continue reading HERE.

Google goes live in Castro’s apartheid Cuba: What could possibly go wrong?

Google has become the first internet company to go live in apartheid Cuba. In a country where internet access is prohibitively expensive and only a small percentage of the population has access to the spotty and painfully slow connection provided by the dictatorship, Google’s Global Cache can certainly make a difference, as The Miami Herald reports:

Cubans can access Google sites faster now that Google Global Cache (GGC) service is available on the island, an internet analysis firm announced Wednesday.

“GGC nodes in Cuba finally went active in the past 24hrs,” Doug Madory, director of Dyn Research, wrote in an email. “It is a milestone as this is the first time an outside internet company has hosted anything in Cuba.”

But unfortunately, there is a kicker (there is always a kicker with anything that involves the apartheid Castro regime) to this new speedy internet experience Google is providing Cubans. The speed is coming primarily from Google caching large amounts of data on servers located on the island instead of having to go to servers located outside the island.

And guess who owns and controls these servers (emphasis mine)?

Google Global Cache allows users to store content from Google services such as Gmail and YouTube on local servers, in this case those of the state telecommunications monopoly ETECSA. The agreement between Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and ETECSA was signed in Havana in December.

“This will only improve Cuban users experience with Google webpages, with the most notable improvement being in loading YouTube videos,” Madory explained. “Video is very traffic intensive and caching popular videos locally will improve load time and relieve strain on ETECSA’s congested international links.”

In layman terms, the Cuban dictatorship will now be storing all the Google data generated by Cubans on the island on its own servers. All emails, videos, photos, and documents Cubans run through Google services will be sitting on a Cuban State Security server under the full control of the Castro regime.

What could possibly go wrong?

‘Spain cannot lose Cuba twice’

Lauzán in Guamá

As posted here and here, Spain’s King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Rajoy plan to visit Cuba this year, before its hereditary tyrant supposedly steps down next February. They were invited by the Castro regime, part of a diplomatic dance signaling a better, uh, understanding between Cuba’s dictatorship and the ostensibly right-wing Rajoy government (whose party was considerably less Castro-friendly when it was in the opposition). Even Franco had an understanding with Fidel (and like Franco and Fidel’s father, Rajoy is a gallego from northwest Spain).

Both sides show mutual interest, not to say attraction, aimed at mutual gain–or ambos huevos quieren sal. Cuba’s Foreign Minister described recent talks with Spain as “promising,” “productive,” and “beneficial,” while his Spanish counterpart said all issues would be addressed “pragmatically” during the visit, with “respect” and “trust.” Havana’s key goal was to lure Rajoy, since any deals to be made are with him, not the king, a ceremonial figurehead que ni pincha ni corta. Still, though a royal visit is window dressing, it’s nice decoration if you can get it. Felipe’s parents visited Cuba as monarchs in 1999, and his father Juan Carlos went to Cuba for Fidel’s funeral. Evidently, the Spanish royals are not especially averse to intercourse with Castro royalty.

None of this is new or surprising, but quite in character for Cuba’s puta madre. One could consider the matter ho-hum, even if there’s always some reaction to having salt rubbed in one’s wounds, but wait–there’s more. This trip and its context have elicited a remarkable opinion piece in El País, Spain’s New York Times, by Gabriela Cañas (who seems to write frequently for El País, but I don’t know her background). I urge you to read the original (in Spanish) if possible, to fully get its tone. Readers in Spain may find the piece fairly routine, even prosaic, but I found it very, uh, bracing, jaded though I may be. Its title, which is the title of this post, encapsulates it perfectly.

The writer notes other heads of state (like France’s Hollande) have gotten the jump on Spain, but that Rajoy seems determined to “make up for lost time,” and she laments that Spanish foreign policy can put ideology (such as former PM Aznar’s emphasis on human rights) ahead of national interest. She recalls Spain’s first loss of “this jewel of the Caribbean” in 1898 and its pain connected with that “national cataclysm” (it was cataclysmic, alright; Cuba was a cash cow which generated most of Spain’s foreign revenue during the last three quarters of the 19th century). However, Cuba’s pain over the hundreds of thousands of civilians who died horribly from starvation and disease in concentration camps, courtesy of the Spanish governor Weyler, is not recalled (by the way, there is still a city square named for Weyler in Spain, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife).

She goes on to say that partisan political wrangling in Spain over Cuba policy has not helped anybody, and that Aznar’s (relatively) hard line (which somewhat restrained the European Union for a while) hurt Spain (Cuba’s #3 trading partner and #1 among Europeans) and didn’t bring democracy to Cuba. Sound familiar? Faced with Obama’s normalization and its acceptance by all and sundry, including the EU and the Vatican, with the international rush to use Cuba for gain, she chides Spain for its lack of reflexes to “that tourist paradise ready to really open itself to a market economy and, maybe, at some future time, to democracy,” until the EU “finally” ditched its Common Position on Cuba in 2016. She notes approvingly that Rajoy and his party then “rectified” by revving up talks with Havana and accepting its invitation to receive Rajoy and the king. Her view, like that of Spain’s Foreign Minister, is “better late than never.” In other words, let’s get down to business! And she reiterates: “Spain cannot lose Cuba again.”

This El País piece, which is a document, speaks for itself, and uncommonly clearly — certainly much more than Obama or the pope have. Its unabashed and unvarnished promotion of the bottom line, both literally and figuratively, is appalling and offensive, but also, in a sense, refreshing. The only virtue that miseria humana, or human miserableness, can have is to be frank and without pretense. Even Christ said that it is better to be hot or cold than lukewarm, and there is nothing tibio here. This is what could be called savage pragmatism, puro y duro. If anyone still harbored doubts regarding what Spain is about, this hardly leaves room for any. No, all Spaniards are not the same, but for practical purposes, this is how it is, and endless precedents confirm it.

Still, this is not merely about greed or codicia, as it may be for other countries. Spain’s case is much more complex, not to say twisted. Again, I appreciate how unfiltered and explicit the writer is in the piece under discussion. It is clear, at least to my mind, that everything goes back to 1898 as well as the prior colonial era, and that the Spanish mindset is essentially the same now as it was then. In other words, Cuba is seen as lost property, the goose that laid the golden eggs, and everything that can be done to recover or compensate for that loss is considered valid and legitimate. The idea is to take maximum advantage of and get maximum gain from the former jewel in the crown, which is what Cuba is for in the present as it was for centuries.

It is all quite fascinating as psychology, or more precisely, psychopathology. The Spanish may or may not be aware they have a very significant problem over Cuba, but it does not appear to bother or concern them. However, if nothing else, they should at least be aware that it deeply disgusts and repulses a great many Cubans — including me, whose blood is more Spanish than that of Felipe VI.

Reports from Cuba: The Fidel Castro Fair

By Ivan Garcia in Translating Cuba:

The Fidel Castro Fair

The wood charcoal embers are slowly browning half a dozen kebabs with vegetables, pineapples and pieces of pork, while, on a shelf, the flies are hovering around the steamed corn cobs.

From very early in the morning, Jesús, a chubby mulatto with calloused hands, gets on with cooking chicken, pork fillets and sautéed rice, to sell later in his small mobile shop positioned in a large car park, at the main entrance to the International Book Fair in Havana.

A line of kiosks with aluminium tubes and coloured canvas tops offer local favourites, like bread with suckling pig, ham and cheese sandwiches, jellies, mineral water and canned drinks.

“My kiosk specialises in dishes from San Miguel de Padrón.  But the truth is that in this particular fair, sales are sluggish. Mainly because the organisers prohibited the sale of alcohol. You can forget about books and all that intellectual shit, you have to give Cubans beer and reguetón if you want them to feel happy – the rest is secondary”, says Jesús.

Thursday February 16th started off rainy in Havana. Idelfonso, a self-employed clown, looks up at the overcast sky and mutters, “if it starts raining again, they’ll have to take the circus and its tent away, because no-one will bring their kids in bad weather. This fair has been pretty bad for us. No-one has any money, and those who do prefer to spend it on books and food”, he says, in his bear get-up.

In different parts of the car park, private businesses rent out inflatable toys for fifteen pesos for the kids to bounce about for thirty minutes, and five pesos for a quick ride on a horse.

“Many families don’t come to buy books. They would rather their kids enjoyed themselves playing with the equipment. There are hardly any amusement parks in the capital”, says Rita, who deals with charging for the horses.

Families and groups of friends lay towels out on the grass and picnic on a hill from where you get a unique view of the city across the bay.

Gerard, a young man with tattooed forearms, feels uncomfortable. He tells his wife to go off with the kid to play with the inflatable toys while he complains about the lack of any beer.

“These people are really party poopers. Whose idea was it to stop selling lager and nips of rum? I can’t imagine it was because of Fidel Castro’s death, as the bloke has been pushing up daisies for over two months now”, moans Gerard, knocking back a lemonade as a temporary solution to the matter.

Read more

“El Chapo Act”, a brilliant idea from Senator Ted Cruz

Let’s say “thumb up” to Senator Cruz of Texas.  He wants “El Chapo” to pay for the wall:

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today introduced the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act.

The bill would reserve any amounts forfeited to the U.S. Government as a result of the criminal prosecution of “El Chapo” (formally named Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Lorea) and other drug lords for border security assets and the completion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The U.S. Government is currently seeking the criminal forfeiture of more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit profits from El Chapo, the former leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel who was recently extradited to the U.S. to face criminal prosecution for numerous alleged drug-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and money laundering.

“Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border,” said Sen. Cruz. “Ensuring the safety and security of Texans is one of my top priorities.

We must also be mindful of the impact on the federal budget. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and his ilk, we can offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives.”

El Chapo is not the only one. There are other assets out there that could be seized and applied to the construction of the wall, as our friend Fausta reported:

One cooperator, Juan Carlos Ramirez-Abadia, or “Chupeta,” 54, was a leading supplier of cocaine to Sinaloa and BLO through Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel. He directed the production of business ledgers and was also prosecuted by Goldbarg. DEA agents helped obtain “the forfeiture of hundreds of millions of dollars” of Ramirez-Abadia’s purported billion-dollar fortune, U.S. authorities said when he was extradited in 2008 and remains under U.S. indictment…

Mayo’s son, Vicente Zambada Niebla, 41, agreed not to contest the forfeiture of nearly $1.4 billion — including cash, real estate, businesses, vehicles and other property — and cooperate with U.S. authorities while pending sentencing of 10 years to life in prison, a federal plea deal made public in 2014 in Chicago showed.

And then there are his relatives, who are living high off the hog.

Back in 2012 the U.S. Treasury Department put financial sanctions on El Chapo’s wife and son.

What are we waiting for? Let’s get started. Who would oppose having “narcos” pay for the wall?

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk), (YouTube) and follow me on Twitter.

Cuba and Fake News: It ain’t what you don’t know about Cuba, it’s what you think you know that ain’t so

Dr. Javier Garcia-Bengochea tackles the decades of Fake News about Cuba in the Orlando Sentinel:

Social justice in Cuba? No racism? #FakeNewsCuba

It ain’t what you don’t know that hurts you. It’s what you think you know that just ain’t so … Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige paraphrasing Mark Twain.

It’s called fake news. For decades, Cuba has promoted a false narrative regarding its revolution. A receptive media have dutifully perpetuated this lie and Americans remarkably suspend all critical thinking regarding Cuba, accepting this deception categorically.

What Americans think they know about Cuba just ain’t so. Here’s the #FakeNews:

Cuba is a socialist country. Wrong. Cuba is a totalitarian white male military dictatorship that insulates itself from accountability to the Cuban people through the enormous bureaucracy of the Cuban government.

The Cuban government “owns” Cuba’s industries. No, the military owns these, particularly the tourist industry run by Raul Castro’s son-in-law (a general). Virtually every aspect of licensed travel by the U.S. Treasury to Cuba is controlled by the military (who are white). Tourism funds the repression.

There is social justice in Cuba. Nope. The dictatorship has institutionalized an apartheid between foreigners and Communist Party elites — Cuba’s 1 percent — and “ordinary” Cubans. How? Through two currencies, a valuable one for the former and a worthless one for the latter, who are mostly black and brown.

Tourists use one currency (CUCs) pegged to the U.S. dollar. Cubans are paid (by law) in the second worthless currency. The latter can pocket tips in CUCs. Consequently, neurosurgeons rush through brain surgeries to park cars, drive taxis and bus tables for tips. Most doctors, lawyers, teachers and engineers leave their professions altogether. This slavery few Americans even notice. It’s disgraceful.

There is no racism in Cuba. Ha! As one white regime official put it on page 119 of UCLA professor Mark Sawyer’s book, “Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba,” “It is simply a sociological fact that blacks are more violent and criminal than whites. They also do not work as hard and cannot be trusted.” This was 2003; enough said.

Free health care and education for all. Sorry. University professors and managers in tourism are overwhelmingly white and connected to the generals. Most university students must join the communist party.

There are hospitals for foreigners and Communist Party elites and those for everyone else. The former are for medical tourism with Cuba’s best doctors. The latter have no sheets, soap, toilet paper, electricity, medicines or even Cuban doctors — they are imported from Africa.

Where are Cuba’s doctors? Those not driving cabs are “rented” to foreign countries for $10,000 monthly. The chattel slave doctors are paid a few hundred CUCs while their families are held in Cuba. Ditto for thousands of Cuban nurses, social workers and teachers. Human trafficking is the dictatorship’s largest source of hard currency — by far.

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