1996: A deadly weekend for US citizens over international waters

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Thank you to all of my fellow contributors for remembering the terrible events of February 1996.   Let me add a couple of thoughts:

This incident was a low point in U.S.-Cuba relations.  The U.S.-registered aircraft were destroyed while looking for rafters in international waters.  Cuba had no reason to shoot down planes on a humanitarian mission.

Furthermore, Cuba has never taken responsibility for this lawless action.

Nevertheless, a U.S. flag now flies in Cuba, not far from where dissidents continue to be arrested.

And no one reminded President Obama that Cuba has never fulfilled the requirements that President Clinton and the U.S. Congress imposed after the shooting:

to work with Congress to pass the so-called Helms-Burton legislation which would tighten the existing U.S. embargo against Cuba.

The president said he would ask Congress to permit him to use some of the approximately $100 million in frozen Cuban assets in the U.S. to compensate the families of the four missing Cuban-American pilots and crew members.

Clinton also announced additional punitive measures, among them:

tighter restrictions on the movement of Cuban officials in the United States; efforts to increase funding to help the U.S. government’s Radio Marti overcome Cuba’s jamming of its broadcasts; suspension of all commercial charter flights between the U.S. and Cuba.

 

Yes, many of President Obama’s overtures toward Cuba violated what Congress passed in 1996.    Then again, did President Obama ever care about the law?

What happens when a hostile country shoots U.S. citizens on a humanitarian mission? I guess that you reestablish relations and don’t demand accountability.

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

 

“La perreta”: Are the tantrums working or turning off the adults who vote?

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Back in my younger days, I had my share of “perretas” or the Cuban version of a temper tantrum.

My mother would stare at me and say “ya?   ya parastes de gritar?..”

Reality set in and I did whatever I was supposed to do.

I’d love to see my mom greet some of these anti-Trump supporters screaming about this and that.   My mother would say: “are you done yet… well stop being silly and act like an adult so you can make a real difference”.

Over the last few weeks, the political terrain has been flooded by some of the silliest statements this side of reality. Yet, are these anti-Trumpistas really moving the ball?  Are they going to win back the House or Senate with this behavior? My guess is that red state Democrats running for reelection in 2018 are whispering “No“.

We may soon know just how effective the anti-Trump street campaign has been, as John Kraushaar wrote about an upcoming special election in Georgia to replace Dr. Price, now in the Cabinet. It’s a district that Mr. Trump won by 2 points and Mr. Romney won by 20 in 2012. It may an early test,as we see in the article:

On pa­per, this elec­tion should be a golden op­por­tun­ity for Demo­crats to make polit­ic­al in­roads.

The dis­trict is filled with the type of col­lege-edu­cated voters who have grav­it­ated away from Trump—in­clud­ing in­de­pend­ents who don’t have strong par­tis­an loy­al­ties but tend to vote Re­pub­lic­an.

El­ev­en Re­pub­lic­ans will be fight­ing against each oth­er on an all-party primary bal­lot, mak­ing it likely the even­tu­al GOP stand­ard-bear­er will be wounded head­ing in­to an ex­pec­ted run­off. Trump’s pres­id­ency has got­ten off to a rocky start, giv­ing any Demo­crat plenty of ma­ter­i­al to work with.

But the early Demo­crat­ic fa­vor­ite in the race is about as awk­ward a fit for this par­tic­u­lar dis­trict as Demo­crats could find. Jon Os­soff, a self-de­scribed in­vest­ig­at­ive film­maker, is a 29-year-old Bernie Sanders back­er and a former na­tion­al se­cur­ity staffer for lib­er­al Rep. Hank Johnson…

Os­soff fills the con­front­a­tion­al role to a tee.

In case his cam­paign mes­sage wasn’t clear, his web­site is em­blazoned with the head­line: “Geor­gia: Stand Up To Trump.”

Mak­ing the race about Trump is help­ing him raise his pro­file and bring­ing in loads of cam­paign cash.

But money isn’t a sub­sti­tute for a mes­sage that can win over Re­pub­lic­ans who will find Os­soff’s down-the-line lib­er­al views as prob­lem­at­ic as Trump’s pop­u­lism.

Demo­crat­ic act­iv­ists may be en­er­gized by Os­soff’s broad­sides against the pres­id­ent, but they will end up dis­ap­poin­ted if he doesn’t meld them with a cent­rist mes­sage de­signed to at­tract dis­af­fected Re­pub­lic­ans…

If Demo­crats can even run com­pet­it­ively in this dis­trict, it would be a sign that an unadul­ter­ated anti-Trump mes­sage can pay di­vidends.

But if the next Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­ee per­forms like Price—who nev­er won less than 62 per­cent of the vote in his sev­en cam­paigns—it will send a sig­nal that simply be­ing the op­pos­i­tion isn’t enough to win back con­trol of Con­gress.

“If you have an old white guy who’s hard right-wing, pro-Trump, anti-Muslim, and anti-gay mar­riage run­ning against a wo­man who comes across like Michelle Nunn, that’s the dy­nam­ic that could be a prob­lem for us,” said one GOP strategist track­ing the race.

“But you’re not go­ing to have that dy­nam­ic.”

We remember that the GOP won governor’s elections in New Jersey and Virginia in the fall of 2009. They were seen back then as signs that the Tea Party efforts were paying off in votes. Then came Scott Brown’s victory in the special election to replace Senator Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts in January 2010.

My guess is that the GOP will hold on to the seat because Michelle Nunn is not running.

The left will probably react by saying that they lost because they didn’t scream loud enough or were too centrist.

One of these days, the Democrats will learn another one of my sweet mom’s lessons of life:  the problem with screaming is that nobody listens.

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

Trump is right that many do not believe the media

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We’ve heard a lot about the media’s problems.    However, the media’s credibility problems did not begin today.  The Gallup polls about the media tell you the same story over the last few years:

2004: Media Credibility Reaches Lowest Point in Three Decades

2015: Americans’ Trust in Media Remains at Historical Low

2016: Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low

Love him or hate him, President Trump was correct when he told the media this week that the people do not believe them.  In fact, they trust him a bit more, according to another poll.

Polls aside, anecdotal evidence confirms that the public does not really trust the media.  Have you met anybody who thinks the media are truthful?  Have you really?

The media have themselves to blame here, and it really goes back to 2008 when they jumped on the Obama bandwagon.  It was like watching a bunch of teen girls at a Donny Osmond concert.

Yes, the media bias got Senator Obama elected and President Obama re-elected. The media got their man but lost a significant chunk of the nation watching reporters too eager to accept whatever story the White House was peddling.

Will the media get their credibility back?

I don’t know but they can start by bringing a little bit more fairness to their coverage.

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

 

“Clean sheets” not the embargo is the reason tourists go somewhere else

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Our friend Carlos Eire alerted us to the article about tourism problems in Cuba.

Let me tell you about a Dallas couple that just went to Cuba.    They were curious and took a trip to see the island.   We spoke recently about it and the trip was not really what they expected.   In other words, Cuba lacks the infrastructure that Cancun, Jamaica and other places have.

Not a shock, frankly.

Cuba is not ready to handle U.S. tourists who are accustomed to better facilities in Cancun or Jamaica or the Dominican Republic. After all, who wants to go on vacation to an island with 1959 infrastructure? Cuba’s communist system spent a lot of money on the military, prisons and telling gullible U.S. college professors about their health care programs. Unfortunately, they did little to improve such basics as water pipelines, the electricity grid or having hotels with clean sheets.

There is another reason. Cuba is competing with countries that have been marketing to U.S. tourists for decades.

It all reminds me of a conversation I had with an older couple years ago. They went to Varadero, Cuba for their honeymoon. The lady said that Cuba was a popular honeymoon destination back in the 1950s. Back then, the hotels were private and well run, the restaurants were first class and hygiene was not a problem.

Cuba today is not that way. It won’t be that way for a long time. So don’t expect a lot of Americans to go to Cuba.

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

The Mexican left campaigning in Los Angeles?

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During my work days in Mexico, many of my Mexican friends would joke with me about “el 33” or Article 33 of the Mexican Constitution. It goes like this:

Article 33 of Mexico’s constitution establishes the right of the president to detain and deport “any foreigner” and prohibits foreigners from participating “in any way” in the political affairs of the country.

So my Mexican friends and business colleagues would jokingly hint at throwing “el 33” at me whenever I had something critical to say about the Mexican political class. It was an ongoing thing and lots of fun.

Over the last few days, Sr. Andres Manuel Lopez-Obrador, known south of the border as AMLO, was campaigning in Los Angeles and criticizing President Trump. This is from Reuters:

Calling California “a refuge and blessing for immigrants,” Lopez Obrador declared “Long live California” as hundreds of supporters at Plaza Olvera cheered.

“When they want to build a wall to segregate populations, or when the word ‘foreigner’ is used to insult, denigrate and discriminate against our fellow human beings, it goes against humanity, it goes against intelligence and against history,” the veteran politician added.

His visit to Los Angeles came as thousands of people took to the streets in cities across Mexico to protest against Trump.

Three weeks into his administration, Trump has vowed to move ahead with construction of a wall on the border, repeatedly insisting that Mexico would pay for it, while also signaling a new push to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants out of the United States.

“If the Mexican government does not put before the United Nations in the coming days a complaint about the violation of human rights, then we will do it ourselves,” Lopez Obrador said.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Trump have been at loggerheads over the stance Trump first took against Mexico while campaigning for the U.S. presidency last year.

This is wrong in so many ways.

First, it is a slap at the U.S., not to President Trump. Where are the Democrats who keep screaming about Russia messing with our elections?

Second, where is the governor of California calling on AMLO to stop it and go home? More to the point, is California that far gone that no one objects to a foreigner criticizing a U.S. president on our soil?

Third, someone should remind AMLO that Mexico’s treatment of Central Americans and other illegal immigrants has already come under investigation.

It is outrageous to have a man running for president in Mexico flying to the U.S. and sticking himself in our politics.

President Trump should call on Sr. AMLO, and his supporters, to go home!

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

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/02/the_mexican_left_campaigning_in_los_angeles.html#ixzz4Ywaa46nz
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The left is loud about some deportations and silent about others!

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Over the last few days, we’ve heard a lot of outrage about deportations.    Let me recommend to the raid’s critics that they get informed about the way most countries handle illegal immigration, as Seth Barron wrote:

In virtually any other country, the deportation of aliens who have overstayed their visas or who are working in the underground economy might merit a brief mention in the newspaper.

Deporting aliens who have committed serious crimes is understood in most nations to be a necessary duty of the state, like sanitation or the licensing of medical professionals. Nobody thinks twice about deporting criminals in these countries, and immigration enforcement is an uncontroversial aspect of national life.

Canada — often cited by progressives as a model of civilized multiculturalism — deports aliens at almost twice the rate that the U.S. does. Between 2006 and 2014,
Canadian immigration authorities deported, on average, 35 people per day, or about 13,000 annually.

The United States, with nine times the population of Canada, removed about 65,000 illegal aliens from within the borders of the country in 2016.

Then there is Mexico, the country that leads the league in deportations!    They deported Cubans back to the island without regard for what the Castro dictatorship may do to them.

It is very surprising for me to hear all the outrage from Democrats and their friends in the media, about these raids underway. In many cases, the people being arrested are engaged in criminal behavior while others who have refused to obey a court order.

As Mr. Barron pointed out:

The indignation of activists and progressive politicians about the enforcement of our immigration laws is perhaps predictable, but acquainting themselves with global norms regarding legal migration and deportation might help keep their blood pressure under control.

So how did we get here?  I place the blame for this confusion on the Obama administration and their politicization of immigration laws. It was shameful and a correction is desperately needed!

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

 

Your Valentine’s Day card to Iran will be “returned to sender”

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We hope that you had a very Happy Valentine’s Day.

We warn you that you will be seeing that Valentine’s Day card sent to Iran in your mailbox with a big “Return to sender” on the front.

Unfortunately, no girl got flowers in Iran or no wife made some Valentine’s Day cookies. No way! In fact, it is illegal:

Iranian news outlets reported the police directive Friday warning retailers against promoting “decadent Western culture through Valentine’s Day rituals.” Police informed Tehran’s coffee and ice cream shops trade union to avoid any gatherings in which boys and girls exchange Valentine’s Day gifts.

The annual Feb. 14 homage to romance, which tradition says is named after an early Christian martyr, has become popular in recent years in Iran and other Middle East countries.

The backlash in the Islamic Republic is part of a drive against the spread of Western culture.

Saudi Arabia has also sought to stamp out Valentine’s Day but it’s celebrated widely in nearby places like Dubai.

A country that doesn’t tolerate Valentine’s Day? Welcome to Iran, or the country that we gave billions to under the expectation that there were reformers in the horizon.

Years ago, we saw this same regime kill its own people for calling for free and honest elections. Just a few days, they marched with “Death to America” placards.

We need regime change in Iran not more deals.

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

Remember the Maine one more time

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It was one of the first lessons of Cuban history that we learned in school.    The Maine blew up in Havana’s harbor on February 15, 1898.

This is from the front page of The NY Times the next day:

“At 9:45 o’clock this evening a terrible explosion took place on board the United States battleship Maine in Havana Harbor.
Many persons were killed or wounded. All the boats of the Spanish cruiser Alfonso XII. are assisting.
As yet the cause of the explosion is not apparent. The wounded sailors of the Maine are unable to explain it. It is believed that the battleship is totally destroyed.
The explosion shook the whole city. The windows were broken in nearly all the houses.
The correspondent of the Associated Press says he has conversed with several of the wounded sailors and understands from them that the explosion took place while they were asleep, so that they can give no particulars as to the cause.”

The Maine explosion led to the US-Spanish War and the eventual independence of Cuba in 1902.

In 1976, a US Navy investigation concluded that the Maine explosion was likely caused by a fire that ignited its ammunition stocks, not by a Spanish mine or act of sabotage.

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

Venezuela: From shortstops to asylum seekers

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Most people know about Venezuela because of a string of Major League shortstops, from Luis Aparicio to David Concepcion to others.

Today, Venezuela is known for asylum seekers, as we saw in news reports:

New data shows Venezuelans are leading asylum requests to the United States for the first time, as the middle class in the country are fleeing the crashing, oil-dependent economy.

The U.S. government’s Citizenship and Immigration Services reported that 18,155 Venezuelans submitted asylum requests last year, a 150 percent increase over 2015 and six times the level seen in 2014.

Data showed China in second place, with 17,745 requests coming from the country’s citizens.

In 2014, a large number of Venezuelans sought asylum following months of protests seeking to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

All of this about people seeking asylum has a familiar tone to Cubans who went through a similar experience years ago.

Why are they seeking asylum?

It starts with a failed state, a country that does not work anymore. It was not long ago that Venezuela was a destination for people looking for a better life.  Today, they are desperately trying to leave.

Secondly, a failed economy, where the shelves are empty and a loaf of bread is a luxury.

Third, indifference from Latin American leaders who refuse to call for change in Venezuela.

Once upon a time, we looked forward to that young kid with a glove destined for the major leagues.  Today, we greet Venezuelans at the airport leaving their failed homeland.

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

President Lincoln and my late great Uncle Joaquin

 

As we get older, we associate certain moments of history with people we grew up with. For example, the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis remind me of my parents. Hearing of Minnie Minoso reminds me of my father and brother one Sunday afternoon in Cuba.

I am always reminded of my late great uncle on Lincoln anniversaries, from his date of birth to the Gettysburg Address to the day he was assassinated.

President Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. I don’t believe he had a bigger fan on this planet than my late great uncle, who was a judge; a college professor; an attorney; and, I repeat, a big fan of President Lincoln.

I am sure he would have loved this post about Mr. Lincoln written by Scott Johnson:

Today is of course the anniversary of the birth of America’s greatest president, Abraham Lincoln.
As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history.

Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom at the exact moment when the country was on the threshold of abandoning what he called its “ancient faith” that all men are created equal.

Yes, my great uncle would have loved President Lincoln referred to as “America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom.” Yes, he would have loved that!

To say the least, Abraham Lincoln had a huge impact on his life and specially his political ideas.

In fact, he was such a fan that my brother and I got to sit at his home study and hear him recite the Gettysburg Address.

We were too young back in Cuba to appreciate his message. It took me a while, and relocation to this wonderful country, to understand it and to love each and every word.

Years later, I always think of my great uncle on any day, or when I am exposed to any documentary or book, that reminds us of the 16th president of the U.S.

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

Another Democrat does not have a clue about Cuba

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Governor John Hickenlooper (D) of Colorado spent a few days in Cuba.  He spoke about doing business with Cuba but not about human rights.

Then he realy stepped on it. The governor said that many innocent people were hurt in the early years of the revolution.   He followed that by saying that most of those involved had passed away.

Really?  I would love to tell Governor Hickenlooper that my mom, and my father’s cousin, who spent 14 years in a political prison, are alive.   There are lots of former political prisoners living in the U.S.

And the repression in Cuba has not changed much, either, as we saw in the recent mistreatment of “Las Damas en Blanco,” the ladies dressed in white who march every Sunday.

We hope President Trump reviews this misguided U.S.-Cuba policy. This is the same Castro regime we’ve all known for years.

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

An “extra loco” left losing it over Trump

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Two weeks of Trump, and it looks to me that his critics have gone crazy, or “extra loco,” as my mother used to yell at us in Spanish when she thought we were acting strange.

Maybe this state of “extra loco” is a natural consequence of what happened on Election Night.  After all, most of these people thought Election Day was just a formality to Mrs. Clinton’s sweeping electoral victory.

And the media is even worse.

They’ve gone from eating out of Obama’s hand to biting Mr. Trump’s.

They’ve gone from silly poodles to pit bulls in a dogfight.

The media protected Obama, from “Fast and Furious” to the IRS to Benghazi, and now they want to tear up Trump over everything.

As you may remember, I did not start out as a Trump supporter.  However, I’m on his side now, especially after watching the other side freak out over everything.

Memo to anti-Trumpistas: Take a couple of aspirins with a glass water, and remember that you’ve got four more years of President Trump. Maybe eight years!

And it won’t look any prettier on Election Day 2018, with so many Democrats running in red states.

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