Monday Feb 27: Latin America stories & the politics of immigration with Fausta Rodriguez Wertz..click to listen… https://t.co/DNr1Hpcarx
— Silvio Canto, Jr. (@SCantojr) February 27, 2017
“Mexicans are mostly a rabble of illiterate Indians.” (Che Guevara, 1956.)
“As a Mexican, as a Latin American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I am against any form of wall that wants to separate us.” (Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, Academy Awards.)
By the way, this same Mexican actor idolizes the co-founder of a regime whose “wall” killed twenty times as many desperate people as the Berlin Wall.
The Mexican actor Gael Garcia-Bernal has played his Stalinist, racist, terror-sponsoring, mass-murdering idol twice thus far. Once in the Showtime movie Fidel in 2002 then in Robert Redford’s Motorcycle Diaries in 2004.
“This movie (The Motorcycle Diaries) not only pays tribute to Ernesto, but pays tribute to every Latin American who has struggled,” says Bernal. “Latin Americas are who they are because of Che Guevara.”
“I read Humberto Fontova’s book in two sittings. I couldn’t put it down!” ( Mark Levin on Exposing the Real Che Guevara.)
H/T Que Pasa U.S.A.?
Undercover American Tourists in Cuba
Miami Airport is almost a city. And the American Airlines’ departures area is a labyrinth, with dozens of corridors and passages. That’s why Noahn, an American living in Michigan, arrived five hours before his flight’s scheduled departure time to Varadero.
He was travelling with his wife, his eight-month-old son carried in an arm-sling, and a dog with long floppy ears. In his luggage, professional diving equipment and an electric skateboard. The couple speak in carefully enunciated Spanish, with a hint of a Colombian accent. “It’s because I worked for an American company in Bogotá,” explains Noahn.
To everyone who wants to listen to him, he describes his experiences as a tourist in Cuba. He knows the Coco and Santa Maria Keys, located to the north of Ciego de Avila and Villa Clara and Maria La Gorda, in the western province of Pinar del Rio.
“But I was enchanted by Varadero. It’s the third time in two years I’ve been there since the reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the United States. Neither Miami Beach nor Malibu can compare with Varadero, with its fine white sandy beach. The water is warm and there are hardly any waves. Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro and The Bahamas may have just as good or better natural conditions,” he adds, while his wife gives the child some milk in a bottle.
Despite the prohibitions on tourism in Cuba, Americans such as Noahn travelled to the island by way of a third country. “Before December 17, 2014, I travelled to Cuba via Mexico. After that date it’s been easier. There are twelve quite flexible categories, which they call the twelve lies. You declare whichever pretext, and travel in a group or individually. “In theory you can’t go as a tourist, but I bet that’s what half of the American travellers are doing.”
Out of more than 200 passengers on the flight heading to Varadero, only six were Cubans going back to their country permanently or to visit relatives on the island.
Judith, a biologist living in Georgia, is going to Cuba for the second time this year. Why? “Half for professional experience, half tourism.” I’m interested in gathering information on the varieties of Cuban vegetation. Once I finish my research, I’m going to stay a week in a hotel full-board in Camaguey or in Holguin.”
Asked if she felt any harassment or if any federal institution has opened a file on her for violating the country’s regulations, she replies: “Not at all. Seems to me the wisest thing to do would be to openly permit tourism in Cuba, because that’s what in reality people are doing.”
After the re-establishment of relations between two countries that were living in a cold war climate, many more Americans are travelling to the Greater Antilles. In January 11, 2016, Josefina Vidal, an official working in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, and responsible for relations with the United States, reported on Twitter that, in 2016, the island received a total of 614,433 visitors from United States (Americans and Cuban Americans), 34% more than in 2015.
Although on paper the Americans arriving are recorded as being part of a religious or journalistic or a people-to-people exchange, it isn’t difficult to spot well-built blonds or redheads downing quantities of mojitos in a bar in Old Havana or enjoying the warm autumn sun on a Cuban beach.
Here at Babalú we never tire of Cuban American success stories. We congratulate Porto’s Bakery in Los Angeles for not only their wild success, but for bringing the delectable taste of Cuban pastries and bakery goods to the people of California.
How Porto’s Bakery went from an underground Cuban operation to a beloved SoCal institution
After finishing her favorite Cuban sandwich from Porto’s Bakery & Cafe in Downey, Monica Oviedo becomes giddy when she learns the Los Angeles institution is days away from opening in Orange County.
“I’ve already clocked how long it’s going to take me – 15 minutes,” said Oviedo, of La Habra, who’s been trekking to Porto’s bakeries in Los Angeles for 16 years.
When the long-anticipated Buena Park café opens Wednesday with actor Andy Garcia at the ribbon cutting, expect epic lines. Over its 46-year history in Los Angeles, the Cuban bakery has earned a reputation for serving addictive – and dirt cheap – sweet and savory baked goods.
Porto’s expansion to Orange County, and next year to West Covina, comes as Cuba has seized a moment in the pop culture zeitgeist.
Baking to survive
Taking charge is at the heart of the Porto family legacy.
When Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba, Raul Sr. lost his job at a cigar distribution warehouse. He was sent to a labor camp. His wife Rosa, an office manager at the cigar company, also lost her job.
She was left to fend for herself and three children: Betty, Raul Jr., and Margarita.
Rosa, a college graduate, was raised by a strong independent mother who came to Cuba from Spain. Self sufficiency runs through her veins. In 1960, the savvy business woman launched an underground baking operation in her house just to survive.
Using her mom’s tried-and-true recipes and a Sunbeam mixer, she made yellow sponge cakes, soaked in simple syrup and rum and filled with custard. She also made meat pies (pastel de carne).
Her clients would bring her ingredients (eggs, flour, sugar) to make the cakes and pay her with government rations: pigs, chickens, rice and beans.
It was a black market barter-and-trade operation; when police came to raid houses, the tight-knit neighborhood protected Rosa, hiding cakes and baking appliances so she wouldn’t get caught. The Portos lived this way for a decade before they were all approved to relocate to the United States.
“She took a risk because it was either that or starve,” Betty Porto said.
Continue reading HERE.
Since 1959, Cuban exiles have been scattering all over the world when Fidel Castro took power in Cuba in a bloody coup and imposed a totalitarian dictatorship on the island. The majority of them, of course, settled in Miami, but you can find Cuban exiles living practically anywhere in the world. Although the Cuban diaspora is scattered, Cuban exiles have done a lot to help each other survive and start a new life in freedom.
By the same token, there have also been Cuban “exiles” who have not only failed to help other Cuban refugees, they have both directly and indirectly provided cover and support for the apartheid Castro regime. While their fellow Cubans are stranded in other countries, their only concern seems to be making sure it doesn’t make Obama’s failed Cuba policy (and by extension the Castro regime) look bad.
Our good friend Diana Arteaga had this to say about those Cubans on Facebook:
Here you have the (insert slanderous adjective) historic Cuban exile gathering food and goods for Cubans stuck on the other side of the Mexican border because of Obama’s repeal of wet foot dry foot.
Meanwhile the more “compassionate, highly educated” snowflakes at the think tanks and study groups that lobby for closer relations with Cuba and care so dearly for the Cuban people are nowhere to be found.
Thankfully, we still have Cubans willing to help their brothers and sisters in their quest to escape repression and tyranny (via The Miami Herald):
Exile initiative aims to help hundreds of Cubans stranded in Mexico
A group of exile organizations and volunteers are trying to help hundreds of Cubans who are stranded in Mexico following the end of the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” policy on Jan. 12.
Vigilia Mambisa, Democracy Movement, WWFE La Poderosa radio station and other organizations and volunteers have set up a tent on Miami’s Calle Ocho at Southwest 13th Avenue, next to a monument dedicated to the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
More than 4,000 pounds of food, personal hygiene products and other donations have been collected so far. But much more is needed to fill a tractor trailer headed to Mexico on Sunday.
“It’s the people of the community who are mainly helping,” said Ramón Saúl Sánchez of the Democracy Movement. “They are arriving with clothes, food, bedspreads, toiletries.”
Miguel Saavedra, of the Vigilia Mambisa, said that “people from different nationalities have come to make donations in solidarity with the Cubans.”
The donations will be transported in a 53-foot truck traveling by road to a church in the border city of Laredo, Texas. The cargo will be received by Sergio Pérez, a Cuban-American businessman who lives in Las Vegas and who has organized similar operations elsewhere in the U.S. Last month, Pérez temporarily closed his restaurant in Las Vegas, the Florida Café, to gather donations for the stranded Cubans. Some 22 tons of food and other basic necessities have been collected so far.
The supplies are transported from Laredo, Texas to several churches that are assisting some 800 Cubans stranded in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Pérez explained.
In late January, Cubans who were stranded in Mexico complained about the “indifference of Cubans in Miami.”
Pérez, who is flying to Miami on Saturday to finish the preparations for the trip to Mexico, said the Cuban Club in California is also collecting supplies for stranded Cubans.
The businessman said that he has noticed some “disunity” within the Cuban community in exile and urged everyone to help the stranded Cubans.
“We need unity in the Cuban-American community,” he said.
Continue reading HERE.
How sad, how very sad.
One of the monster’s lairs is being stripped of all reminders of his presence.
The monster had many wonderful places to hide in, while his slaves lived in cramped spaces in crumbling buildings.
He also had many, many bodyguards and servants, all of whom are now jobless.
Now, that’s what you call Marxism-Leninism! Glorious!
Some animals are more equal than others, after all.
And no animal was ever more equal in Castrogonia than the monster….
Sic transit gloria mundi.
From Translating Cuba:
by Juan Juan Almeida 14yMedio
They are dismembering the security apparatus at the bunker that for years served as a spiritual refuge for Fidel Castro: an apartment located on the third floor of 1007 11th Street in Havana’s Vedado district.
Little by little they are removing pictures, gifts and belongings along with some trash. The metal security chain, floodlights and even the guard post that prevented citizens from moving freely along the length of the block where the building is located have already been removed.
More than fifty bodyguards have been retired, leaving only a small temporary garrison of five men and one police officer, Colonel Nivaldo Pérez Guerra.
Strategically located in District 13, a downtown neighborhood near the Plaza of the Revolution, the building in question was one of the former Cuban leader’s three official residences. Though he had not visited the place for several decades, it remained his legal residence from 1976 until the day he died…
…“Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. They are getting rid of anything with even a whiff of age. In the case of #11 (as the building is known), the country’s leaders have sent us a message: ’The options are total demolition or a complete remodeling of the place; if we leave it the way it is, it could awaken the interest of an avid array of gossip mongers; and, you guys, you are to be relocated,’” says one one disgruntled man, who for years belonged to the tight inner circle of security personnel guarding the late revolutionary leader.
Read the whole article HERE
It was another Sunday of violent repression in Cuba yesterday as the apartheid Castro regime sent out its State Security thugs and violent mobs to attack dissidents and Ladies in White. The peaceful protestors were attempting to attend church services as they do every Sunday. Reports from the island indicate 30 Ladies in White and dissidents were arrested. Many of them were violently beaten for trying to take part in their peaceful weekly Sunday protest march.
Some 30 Ladies in White and activists arrested in Havana and Matanzas
Some 30 Ladies in White and human rights activists were arrested this Sunday in Havana and Matanzas as they tried to take part in another march of the #TodosMarchamos (We all march) campaign sponsored by the Forum for Rights and Liberties (ForoDyL).
Maylen Gonzalez Gonzalez told Diario de Cuba that in front of the women’s movement headquarters in Lawton, five women and three human rights activists were arrested. Among them the movement’s leader Berta Soler and Angel Moya, a former political prisoner from the group of 75.
“Today’s march was dedicated to Orlando Zapata Tamayo on the anniversary of his death as well as the pilots murdered in the shoot down of the Brothers to the Rescue planes,” said Gonzalez.
“They went out carrying pictures and protest signs and their arrest was extremely violent. They brought a bus and police, the mobs yelled their usual insults at the headquarters. They violently beat up those who went outside,” she said.
“We know that two women were not able to reach Lawton as they were intercepted on their way; others were not able to leave their residences due to police stationed outside their homes,” she added.
Separately, Leticia Ramos Herreria told Diario de Cuba that “in the Matanzas province, 21 Ladies in White were reported as arrested.” Another 11 women were able to “make it mass.”
According to Ramos, arrests took place in Colon, Cardenas, Jovellanos, Perico, and in the town of Carlos Rojas.
“This Sunday, apparently the repression did not last as many hours. The detentions did not exceed three hours. The women were released close to their homes,” added a Lady in White who was among those arrested that morning.
She explained that weeks earlier, “the detentions at the police stations lasted many more hours, they took statements and imposed fines, but today, none of that happened,” at least in Matanzas.
Above we see how the Stalinist Castro regime’s media depicted Jews– (BEFORE(!) they became a valuable source of tourism revenue for the military and secret police coffers of the Stalinist regime.That’s Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin depicted as a murderous monkey surrounded by a murderous Star of David. The depiction is by the official media of the EXACT SAME CUBAN REGIME whose coffers are currently overflowing with tourist revenues from Jewish tourists.”70-year-old Nochum Henkin was killed in a bus accident during an organized trip to Cuba. Together with several other Israelis, Henkin and his wife Chana were on a bus fro the central Cuban city of Morón to Ciego de Ávila when the bus overturned. Henkin was killed, and his wife was saved “by a miracle.” Eight other passengers were injured lightly to moderately.”
Just a tiny sampling of many, MANY Jewish-themed tours currently enriching the Castro regime with $millions upon $millions from the pocketbooks of the very people the Castro regime historically disparaged and insulted.
Lest we forget, Castro’s Cuba co-sponsored the infamous UN resolution 3376 in Nov. 1975 equating “Zionism with Racism.”
Which was repealed in 1991–when Castro’s Cuba was one of the few nations on earth that voted AGAINST repealing it!
“I read Humberto Fontova’s book in two sittings. I couldn’t put it down!” ( Mark Levin on Exposing the Real Che Guevara.)
Humberto Fontova has performed a great service for the cause of decency and human freedom. Every American should read this book. (David Horowitz on Fidel; Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant)
As someone who grew up in a Cuban household in Miami surrounded by Cubans, the scent of violets is as prominent in my childhood memories as the scent of black beans cooking in the olla de presión (pressure cooker). My house and every single other Cuban house in our circle of family and friends with a baby or a small child had a bottle of Agua de Violetas. Back then, it seemed like every Cuban American baby in South Florida smelled of violets and to this day, that tradition continues.
The story of Agua de Violetas is quite an interesting one. The tradition of spritzing all babies with this violet cologne began in Cuba, but the cologne and the Cuban company that produced it soon made it to Miami with the rest of the exile community.
Agua de Violetas: A Familiar Fragrance With An Untold Story
If you grew up in Miami and are of Hispanic descent, chances are high that you smelled like violets as a baby and sometimes beyond your childhood years.
The tradition started in Havana almost 90 years ago when a man named Agustin Reyes developed the first violet-scented cologne in Cuba.
The fragrance was not intended to become a baby cologne but the light, fresh scent became popular among Cuban mothers, who doused their infants in the mixture.
“It was difficult. Sure, at the beginning people didn’t understand it. You know, it was ‘what is this? What do you use it for? Perfume for babies,” said Agustin Reyes III, who currently runs the business his grandfather established, from a plant in Hialeah.
A year after Castro’s revolution took effect, the Reyes family fled the communist island with the formula covertly in hand.
Once settled in Miami, they reestablished the business with the fragrance that had brought them success on the island nation.
Word of mouth quickly spread among the Cuban exile community and Agustin Reyes, Inc. enjoyed newfound success, picking up on a tradition that went on to become iconic in the Cuban culture and beyond.
Decades later, the shelves at most Miami drug stores remain stocked with more than ten brands of the fragrance.
Continue reading and see the video report HERE.
An incisive analysis of Castrogonia’s politico-economic disaster, and of King Raul’s willful blindness.
Worthwhile reading, for sure.
From Diario de Cuba
The energy that Castroism is stifling
by ROBERTO ÁLVAREZ QUIÑONES
In recent weeks the regime of General Raúl Castro has “spooked,” and is now galloping in the wrong direction, in defiance of time and history. The economic crisis is compounded daily, and the dictator and his military junta, far from taking steps to unshackle Cuba’s productive forces, are restricting and choking them more and more.
Price caps on taxi drivers, prohibitions against street vendors hawking fruits and vegetables, the nationalization of agricultural markets based on supply and demand, and bans on the self employed in Varadero, are just some of the Stalinist measures exacerbating the severe economic crisis.
Turning its back on the people, the Government is thus recklessly staving off the emergence of a massive and vibrant private sector, the only force that can rescue the country from this crisis, and that will be, necessarily, that which rebuilds the devastated Cuban economy.
Meanwhile, poverty, despair and unhappiness grow amongst Cubans. The economic, social, political, moral and even anthropological cataclysm caused by Castroism is now of such a magnitude that it is difficult to assess the disaster. Yet, this diagnosis is the first thing that must be done to rebuild the country.
It is a historical shame that Cuba is the only Western country that is actually less advanced than it was in the mid 20th century. The same cannot even be said of Haiti. Many Cubans on the island would be happy if the country enjoyed the same standard of living it did 60 years ago today, when it was one of the highest in Latin America.
So, although it seems a Kafkaesque absurdity, Cuba today is socioeconomically below zero, which it needs to get back to, going on to build a future. The situation is that serious.
Much more HERE
Family, Freedom and the Oswaldo Payá Prize
The home of Oswaldo Payá, the Cuban political leader who was killed, along with Harold Cepero, under murky circumstances in 2012, has a small living room. It is a space consonant with a house of modest dimensions, for a family whose social and political life, under normal conditions, is lived through the appropriate institutions, with no other aspiration than its domestic harmony and its children growing up healthy. It was really not large enough to constitute an appropriate site for the bestowal, on Wednesday 22 February, 2017, of the Oswaldo Payá Freedom and Life Prize, awarded to Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS, and Patricio Aylwin, the former Chilean president who was given it posthumously.
Aylwin’s honor was to be collected by his daughter Mariana. But the Cuban government blocked both her and Almagro from entering the country, in addition to Mexican president Felipe Calderón, who was nominated and had accepted the invitation to attend the ceremony along with other international guests.
The Government also foiled the arrival of an unverified number of people from Cuba’s civil society, either because they were stopped directly, like Henry Constantín, or with the paramilitary cordon set up around the house in the Havana municipality of Cerro, like Diario Las Americas journalist Iván García.
The humble room still proved insufficient to accommodate the members of civil society, diplomatic corps, and foreign media who were able to get there. The chairs initially set up were stowed, and throughout the event the attendees had to stand. It was a vivid example of how, thanks to Castroism, private spaces have to assume the functions of public ones, among other uses not corresponding to them.
The remarks by Rosa María Payá on the need for freedom for Cuba, a reading by Saylí Navarro of a letter written for the occasion by Ofelia Acevedo, Oswaldo’s widow; the words of Ivan Hernández Carrillo, the only nominee who made it to the event, and a taped speech sent by Felipe Calderón to the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy, dramatically demonstrated the competence and political maturity of the organizers.
Rosa Maria’s words, stating that the prizes would not be sent to their recipients, but rather stored and given to them, in that same room, in a free Cuba, expresses an aspiration instilling that small space with a universal dimension.
OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro deserves praise for having accepted the award and the invitation to travel to Cuba to receive it, in Cerro, in a modest room, on an old and rickety chair.
Loosely translated from Marti Noticias:
Rosa María Payá was harassed and threatened by two plainclothes State Security agents today, Sunday 26 February, as she was leaving church with Sayli Navarro, a Lady in White.
The two Castronoid agents — a man and a woman — began following Rosa María and Sayli as soon as they left church and began taking photographs of them.
When Rosa María responded by turning around and taking photos of them with her cell phone, the two agents became infuriated and tried to grab her cell phone.
Rosa María managed to hold on to her phone, but this only made the agents more aggressive. “They began to attack us physically and verbally,” reports Rosa María.
As this was occurring, Rosa María sent out an S.O.S. via Twitter, “I’m about to be arrested by Cuban State Security, outside the church of Salvador del Mundo in El Cerro.”
When Rosa María got home, she immediately called the police to denounce the two agents. Then, when two policemen arrived at her house, they took notes and said that they couldn’t do anything until Rosa María and Sayli could file a formal complaint in person at the police station.
No further information is available at this point.
“What I like the most about Cuba is its pre-globalized beauty.”
“It’s the ultimate, a dream come true…”