Cuban-Americans are everywhere, not just en la sopa, but in the Final Four as well!
South Carolina’s Frank Martin Began His Career in Miami
South Carolina is headed to the Final Four after winning its first NCAA Tournament game since 1973 in the first round. Head Coach Frank Martin began his coaching career as a high school coach in Miami.
Martin is a first generation Cuban-American. He is the son of political exiles from Cuba. Martin grew up in Miami and graduated from Florida International in 1992. Growing up in South Florida in the 1970’s the two sports that grabbed the attention of Latin-American Immigrant families was baseball and football.
Martin’s mentor is former FIU and legendary Miami High School Coach Shakey Rodriguez. Martin spent 15 years as a high school basketball coach and math teacher. He began his career as an assistant at his Alma mater Miami High School. He stayed there for seven seasons.
Martin was working as a bouncer at a night club in addition to coaching the Junior Varsity at Miami High when an incident at the club pushed Martin to decide to pursue becoming a Basketball Coach full time.
One night a group of men that he had kicked out the club he worked at returned to the club with a gun at approximately 2:30 AM and fired shots at Martin.
Martin told the New York Times in 2010: “It was one of those moments that kind of made me think about what I was doing for a living.”
He credits that night for changing his life and added:“I don’t know what path I would have followed. I would have worked because that’s what my family expected and raised me to do. What line of work, where, how, I have no idea”
Martin left Miami High School for North Miami high school where he spent three seasons. He won three consecutive state titles at North Miami with stars and future NBA Players Udonis Haslem and Steve Blake under his tutelage.
Continue reading HERE.
CBS proudly claims Julia Sweig as a “CBS News Analyst.”
Back in 2008 the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency’s top Cuba spycatcher Lieut. Col. Chris Simmons (now retired), named this very Julia Sweig as a full-fledged “agent of influence” for the Castro regime.
In his 16 years as a U.S. Military Counterintelligence officer, Lt. Col. Simmons helped end the operations of 80 enemy agents, some are today behind bars. One of these had managed the deepest penetration of the U.S. Department of Defense in U.S. history. The spy’s name is Ana Belen Montes, known as “Castro’s Queen Jewel” in the intelligence community. “Montes passed some of our most sensitive information about Cuba back to Havana,” revealed then-undersecretary for International Security John Bolton.
Today she serves a 25-year sentence in federal prison. She was convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, the same charge leveled against Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, carrying the same potential death sentence for what is widely considered the most damaging espionage case since the “end” of the Cold War. Two years later, in 2003, Chris Simmons helped root out 14 Cuban spies who were promptly booted from the U.S.
In brief, retired Lt. Col. Chris Simmons knows what he’s talking about.
When Julia Sweig (seen above on some of her frequent visits to the Castro-Family-Fiefdom) visited Cuba in 2010, accompanied by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, something caught Goldberg’s eye: “We shook hands,” he writes about the meeting with Fidel Castro. “Then he (Fidel Castro) greeted Julia warmly. They (Castro and Sweig) have known each other for more than 20 years.”
CBS news Analyst Julia Sweig thanks the Cuban terrorists seen above for helping produce and promote her book. In Nov. 1962 these Cuban terrorists tried to blow up half of Manhattan.
Julia Sweig’s Terrorist ties were revealed at a conference at the National Press Club put on by Accuracy In Media’s Cliff Kincaid (seen above right with picture of the CBS news analyst.)
Back in 1962 the FBI relied heavily on “HUMINT” (Human Intelligence.) So they’d expertly penetrated the Black Friday plot, knew the plotters and had them tapped. One by one the ringleaders were ambushed and arrested. Had those detonators gone off, 9/11 might be remembered as the SECOND deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Jose Gomez-Abad and Elsa Montero were among the arrested ringleaders of the genocidal terror plot.
“Elsa Montero and Jose Gomez Abad championed this project,” gushes Julia Sweig in the acknowledgements to her book, Inside the Cuban Revolution. “ In Cuba many people spent long hours with me, helped open doors I could not have pushed through myself, and offered friendship and warmth to myself during research trips to the island,” continues the paean by the CFR’s and the MSM’s favorite Cuba “Expert” (Julia Sweig) to her dear friends and professional collaborators, Elsa Montero and (the recently deceased) Jose Gomez Abad.
In her acknowledgements Julia Sweig also thanks Ramon Sanchez Parodi, Jose Antonio Arbesu, Fernando Miguel Garcia, Hugo Ernesto Yedra and Josefina Vidal for their “warmth, their friendship and their kindness in opening Cuban doors.”
Chris Simmons identified every one of the above as apparatchiks of Cuba’s intelligence agency. Josefina Vidal was booted from the U.S. in 2003 for espionage, after Simmons himself fingered her.
I haven’t checked Guinness, but effusively thanking the warm support of 7 different intelligence agents of a Terror-Sponsoring enemy nation in your book’s acknowledgements– three of whom were expelled from the U.S. for terrorism and/or espionage– must be some kind of record, at least for someone outside a maximum-security federal prison.
Julian Assange and Ecuador’s Election
WikiLeaks’ founder is rooting for the leftist incumbent’s party.
Depending on how things go in the April 2 presidential runoff election in Ecuador, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may soon be looking for a new home.
In 2012 Mr. Assange was granted asylum at Ecuador’s London embassy, where he went to avoid deportation. He is wanted in Sweden for questioning on sexual-assault charges but might eventually be sent to the U.S., where he could face severe penalties for posting classified material on the WikiLeaks website.
If former banker and political outsider Guillermo Lasso of the opposition party CREO wins, he has promised to evict Mr. Assange. Should Lenín Moreno—President Rafael Correa’s handpicked candidate—prevail, Mr. Assange’s asylum lodgings are likely safe.
The Assange question may be what brings developed-world interest to this election in a small, struggling Andean nation of 16.5 million people. Yet there are more important reasons to pay attention. Ecuadoreans have a chance to throw off the yoke of populist authoritarianism that Mr. Correa and his PAIS Alliance party have imposed since he took office in 2007. The outcome will have implications for the wider struggle against tyranny in the region.
In Brazil, Argentina and Peru, where democratic institutions have held up, antidemocratic demagogues have been turned out of office in recent years. But it’s too late for Venezuela and Bolivia, both of which are now full-blown dictatorships.
Colombia has lost its proud republican tradition of institutional checks on the executive. Last year President Juan Manuel Santos dismissed the results of a national plebiscite, declared amnesty for drug-trafficking FARC terrorists, and gave them seats in Congress.
Now is Ecuador’s moment of truth.
Mr. Correa has a thirst for power, an affinity for Twitter and a bullying manner. He was an acolyte of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013. During Mr. Correa’s decade in power, civil liberties and the rule of law have disintegrated in Ecuador.
In 2015 Mr. Correa changed the constitution to allow indefinite re-election of a president after 2017. This change ought to have required a national referendum. But since he didn’t have popular backing, he used his control of Congress to get it rubber-stamped. It doesn’t take much speculation to conclude that Mr. Correa is hoping to add his name to a growing list of Latin American dictators: Peron, Castro, Chávez, Ortega, Morales.
Mr. Moreno is Mr. Correa’s proxy in this election. A Moreno triumph is important if Mr. Correa is to be protected from the wide array of corruption investigations that his opponents are demanding.
“Disrespecting the martyrs of the Revolution” is a serious crime in Castrogonia.
Disrespecting Big Brother himself — the Maximum Leader Fidel — is an even more serious crime.
If you doubt the existence of this seemingly insane law, or its seriousness, please consider what is currently happening to the Leyva family in Holguín, at the eastern end of Cuba.
The Leyvas refused to show the proper amount of grief when Fidel Castro died.
This is why three of them are now in critical condition.
Loosely translated from Marti Noticias
Maidolis Leyva, the mother of three hunger-striking prisoners in Holguín, is desperately worried about her children, and especially about her twin daughters, Anairis y Adairis Miranda Leyva.
Maidolis informs Marti Noticias that her twins are both in “grave condition” –critical — in an intensive care unit at the Vladimir Ilich Lenin hospital.
Maidolis is serving a one-year sentence under house arrest and has not been allowed to visit her daughters.
But she managed to get a report from a doctor at the hospital who saw Anairis, one of the twins.
“She told me that she is handcuffed to her bed, and that she’s not receiving much in the way of intravenous fluids, and that there are a lot of military men at the hospital, outside her room and in the hallways. She also said she is in very bad shape, and that her condition is very, very grave. Her temperature is low, and she is dehydrated.”
Maidolis also reports that her daughter Anairis said she would rather die than return to prison.
The other twin, Adairis, is at another hospital at the Hospital Clínico Quirúrgico de Holguín, which is at the opposite end of town.
Adairis is also in “very grave condition,” gasping for air and suffering from tachycardia” (abnormally rapid heart beat).
Maidolis has not been able to get any news about her hunger-striking son Fidel Batista Leyva, who is also in prison. Four days ago — the last time she heard about him — Fidel had blood in his urine. He had also been stripped of his mattress, blanket, and other essential items — as punishment for complaining about his treatment.
Maidolis, Adairis, Anairis, and Fidel Leyva are all being punished for the crime of “disrespecting the martyrs of the Revolution.”
For the whole story in Spanish go HERE (includes audio report from Maidolis Leyva).
There are two types of humanitarian crisis.
The first one is a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or bad hurricane. Most countries generally survive these crisis with decent leadership and some help from the outside.
The second type is what happens to a country that flirts with socialism, as we read recently in Forbes:
The economic horror in Venezuela continues to unfold — the Bolivarian socialists have achieved the entirely remarkable feat of making Cubans flee the country in search of a better life. Seriously,
Cubans, from a poverty stricken socialist dictatorship are now leaving an oil rich nation in search of a better life. It takes a serious level of economic mismanagement to achieve that. That serious level being exactly the one thing that Venezuela has lots of, of course.
So much so that Nicolas Maduro has just appealed to the United Nations to come and organise the supply of medicines for the country. This being something that normal places can manage on their own and usually rather well too.
The cause of all of this is that Maduro, and his predecessor Chavez, decided that the way to run an economy was to do everything that the textbooks say you shouldn’t do to an economy:
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has asked for help from the United Nations to boost supplies of medicine.
Mr Maduro said the UN had the expertise to normalise the supply and distribution of drugs in the country.
Venezuela’s Medical Federation said recently that hospitals had less than 5% of the medicines they needed.
The president blames the problems on an economic war against his government and the sharp fall in oil prices.
There is indeed an economic war going on here. And it’s one being waged by the Bolivarian socialists against the Venezuelan population. The tactic is simply to destroy the price system and thus the market. Given that non-market economies do not work this ensures the destruction of Venezuela’s economy.
What a mess. You can read about it or exchange Facebook messages with someone living in Venezuela. Of course, your friend in Venezuela will often go dark on you. This is because the lights go out and come back on at random.
What a sorry state of affairs down in Venezuela.
This past Sunday marked the 94th peaceful protest march of the Todos Marchamos (We all march) campaign. It also marked the 94th Sunday of violent repression and arrests of peaceful human rights and democracy activists by the apartheid Castro regime. This is what “change” in Cuba looks like.
Cuban State Security arrests 30 Ladies in White in Havana and Matanzas
More than 28 Ladies in White along with several other human rights activists were arrested this Sunday by Cuban State Security. Sources from the internal dissidence report that the arrests primarily took place in Havana and Matanzas to stop them from carrying out the #TodosMarchamos (we all march) campaign.
Former political prisoner Angel Moya told Diario de Cuba that this was the 94th Sunday of repression against the campaign for the release of political prisoners.
“Since Thursday, forces from State Security and the National Police were deployed all around the national headquarters” of the women’s group to “surveil and arrest the women,” said Moya.
“Since then some of the Ladies in White have already been arrested when they attempted to reach the headquarters,” he added.
“Today, the women’s movement leader Berta Soler and Zenaida Hidalgo were arrested the moment they left the headquarters. Members from the Rapid Response Brigade mobilized by the Communist Party carried out another act of repudiation where they shouted communist slogans and yelled vulgarities at the Ladies in White, insulting their honor,” he said.
He added that “more than 12 Ladies in White have been reported as arrested in Havana at this moment,” a number that will possibly “continue to increase as the hours go by.”
Moya reminded that “many of those arrested in the capital are taken to police stations and others are abandoned in remote places far from their homes.”
“Those who are held at the police stations are kept completely incommunicado from their families and each other, the reason why we consider them to be forcibly disappeared.”
Continue reading (in Spanish) HERE.
A dissident family was sentenced last November to the Municipal Court of Holguín on charges of “defaming the martyrs of the country” and public disorder right after the death of the Cuban dictator. The mother, Maydolis Leyva Portelles, was sentenced to one year imprisonment while her daughters and son, the 27-year-old twin girls Adairis and Anairis Miranda Leyva and Fidel Batista Leyva, were sentenced to one year of correctional work with detention.
The four are members of the “Olegario Charlot Espileta” Command, affiliated with the Cuban Reflection Movement and have collaborated with the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), activist and dissident organizations. The dissidents took to the streets on November 27 while a curfew was imposed after the death of Fidel.
All were arrested, taken to a police unit in Holguin, then subjected to an act of repudiation where their home was vandalized. To make matters worse, the prosecutor threatened to take Anairis children away to “re educate” them to revolution ideals.
Since March 7, the twin sisters and their brother Fidel Batista declared themselves under a hunger strike to demand their freedom, the freedom of political prisoner Eduardo Cardet, and the ceasing of State repression. Both sisters are in delicate state in ER while their brother is remains in solitary confinement in prison. This is a statement from their mother Maydolis Leyva ( under house arrest) : ” They are very delicate. My daughters are under the risk of cardiac arrest. The doctors confirmed this and I thought it was an exaggeration but when I saw them I had no doubt of their health deterioration. My son Fidel is in solitary confinement and he is urinating blood. They wont take him to a hospital.”
Legal Process Opens Against ‘14ymedio’ Reporter in Camagüey
This Wednesday the gates have begun to close around independent journalist Sol Garcia Basulto, who has been charged with the crime of “usurpation of legal capacity.” (In other words, “practicing journalism without a license.”) The correspondent for this newspaper in Camaguey is facing a sentence of between three months and a year of deprivation of liberty.
The accusation against Garcia Basulto coincides with that made against the regional vice-president of the Inter-American Press Association in Cuba, Henry Constantin. Both reporters are a part of the editorial team of the independent magazine La Hora de Cuba (Cuba’s Hour), which is distributed in a digital format.
The young reporter was warned by the police about her work interviewing and gathering information in public spaces. A task that she engages in, according to the officials, to “misrepresent information and write against the government.”
If the process takes its course, the journalist could be tried under Article 149 of the Penal Code which punishes those who “perform independent acts of a profession for which they are not properly qualified.”
The police did not mention the names of the possible complainants, but warned Garcia Basulto that she was not “empowered” to undertake work as a reporter. The young woman is being investigated and cannot leave the country. Any travel outside her home province must be communicated ahead of time to the police.
Last November, State Security prevented the 14ymedio correspondent from leaving her house in the days after the death for former president Fidel Castro, while the funeral procession carried his ashes to Santiago de Cuba.
At that time, the young woman denounced the escalating repression against her, which started on 4 December 2015 when she tried to take some photos and collect opinions in front of Camaguey Provincial Court where the trial was being held for the murder of the musician Pedro Armando Junco, known as Mandy.
The Inter American Press Association warned this week about García Basulto possibly being charged with the same crime for which its vice president is being prosecuted. The entity considers that such accusations are contrary to international provisions that support “the right to seek, receive, disseminate information and express opinions.”
Travel agencies advertise apartheid Cuba as a vacation in paradise. What they don’t tell you is that under the tyrannical regime of the Castros, Cuba is a fourth-world country with collapsing buildings and a crumbling infrastructure that cannot provide humane conditions for its own enslaved people, let alone foreign tourists.
Travel agencies getting sued for misrepresenting conditions in Cuba to tourists
Travel agencies rosy picture of Cuba has a legal downside
Lonely Planet pitches Cuba as “old school cool” and an “escape from the hustle and bustle” but at the bottom of the web page has one line of caution: “The US Center for Disease Control has issued a travel alert suggesting that pregnant women postpone travel to Cuba due to the presence of the zika virus.” The Castro regime has a poor history of timely reporting of epidemics on the island, placing tourists at risk. Canada’s Sunwing travel agency pitches Cuba as “Paradise…with a history.” However it fails to mention that the resort they were sending tourists to in Cuba had “water problems” which meant little or no water for at least 12 days according to a March 22, 2017 Global News article. In a follow up article on March 24th Global news reported on the Starfish Cayo Santa Maria resort in Cuba:
Travelers told Global News they had little or no fresh water for their entire trip to the resort, making it impossible to flush toilets, take showers or wash their hands.
Some, like Donna Carvalho of Georgetown, Ont., returned to Canada and went almost immediately to hospital with severe diarrhea, vomiting and an excruciating headache. Carvalho was placed in isolation for five hours and released after she said doctors concluded she had likely become ill from unsanitary conditions at the resort.
Carvalho said she witnessed the hotel restaurant using a “dirty rag” to clean dishes, cutlery and glassware in lieu of a dishwasher. Other travellers described similar nauseating experiences.
The Canadian government has said that the ill served tourists, many of whom returned home very sick can sue the travel agency. It is not only Sunwing that needs to worry about a lawsuit but also the British based Thomas Cook travel agency. James and Kathryn Longhurst booked their dream honeymoon to Cuba for a two-week all-inclusive getaway in Paradisus Rio de Oro in Holguin, Guardalavaca that cost the newlywed couple $6,235. Three days in, Mr Longhurst fell so ill his tongue turned black. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was given injections and put on IV drips. Returned home and continued to feel ill. They are now suing Thomas Cook. Mrs. Longhurst also became ill. The newlyweds cited “filthy conditions” as the cause of the illness observing in a March 23rd article in The Sun that “dining restaurants were poorly kept with food not “covered properly”, “insects and birds” flying around the buffet area, staff not wearing gloves while handling food and the same utensils used for different dishes.”
Continue reading HERE.
Thanks to Carlos Eire, we were reminded of the story of Joanne Chesimard, a radical and violent leftist. She was convicted in the 1970’s of killing a New Jersey state trooper and then escaped to Cuba.
Joanne then became Assata Shakur and was granted political asylum in Cuba. More than that, she became the darling of the revolution or the black woman who represented everything racist and evil about the US. It was pathetic.
We are happy to see that Governor Christie wants to bring her to justice, as we read a couple of days ago:
In 2015, when then-President Barack Obama reopened relations between the United States and Cuba, there was hope that Chesimard would be returned to finish her life sentence. But she remains free today, even though the Obama administration said her return would be part of diplomatic negotiations with the communist regime.
Appearing Friday night on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Christie said “it’s outrageous” that Chesimard lives in freedom, and he pressed the administration of President Donald Trump to fight for her extradition to the U.S.
“I hope that what the Trump Administration is going to do is, before we take any further steps with a relationship with Cuba, that they say, ‘Listen, first and foremost, return this fugitive from justice back to New Jersey so that she can rightfully serve the rest of her term for murdering a police officer,’” said Christie, a friend and supporter of Trump.
“I think this is something that Secretary of State [Rex] Tillerson and others in the Trump Administration should make a top priority in any dealings they have with Cuba,” Christie added.
Indeed it should be a top priority!
The Chesimard case is exhibit A of everything that was wrong with President Obama’s deal with the Castro regime.
Unfortunately, the Obama team did not demand her release, or frankly anything at all. Mr. Obama desperately wanted a deal rather than look out for the US, or in this case the family of a police officer killed by a terrorist.
In an interview with Infobae, dissident, poet, independent journalist, and former political prisoner Jorge Olivera Castillo responds to the question of why the Cuban people do not rise up against the Castro dictatorship (my translation):
“The average person thinks in terms of costs-benefits the people believe there is too high a price to pay for something that is not for certain, such as taking down the one-party regime. Therefore, the people prefer to escape Cuba or insert themselves into the black market and avoid political problems. From there is where the paralysis and apathy of the people originates. It has been very difficult, especially with the decrease in international support. I like to approach politics with both feet on the ground, that is why I don’t see fundamental or profound changes in Cuban society until there is a generational replacement. Above all, the disappearance of the entire political spectrum of emblematic figures such as the commanders of the Revolution and in particular, Raul Castro.”
Socialism, communism, and Islamic extremism, have all come together to attack freedom and democracy and destroy Latin America.
Ecuador, Iran, and Latin America’s Pink Tide
Ecuador will elect a new leader on April 2 to replace its left-wing, populist president Rafael Correa. Washington should pay close attention. Correa’s vice-president Lenin Moreno is a close second in the polls, but should he win, he will likely continue Correa’s economic populism and anti-Americanism, including, crucially, pursuing a strong relationship with Iran.
Correa came to power at the onset of Latin America’s “pink tide” – the rise of charismatic, left-wing leaders like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales. Since then, their growing authoritarianism and failed economic policies have eroded their support, opening the way to more moderate, pro-Western leaders like Mauricio Macri in Argentina and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in Peru.
A Moreno victory, however, could mark the return of the pink tide. Correa has handpicked Moreno to run for the presidency, much as Chavez had tapped Nicolas Maduro to succeed him upon his death. Although Correa has not yet run his country aground as did Venezuela’s leaders, under his stewardship, Ecuador has become a “major drug transit country” with significant “vulnerability for money laundering,” according to the State Department.
Similarly, Ecuador, an OPEC member, has seen its GDP contract amid lower oil prices, albeit not as dramatically as in Venezuela. Additionally, Quito’s membership in the Venezuelan-led regional trade bloc ALBA pushes it further from the U.S. and towards the same Bolivarian socialism that has led to the near demise of Venezuela.
These parallels should not be lost on U.S. policymakers. Quito has long claimed to be an ideological ally of Caracas, and has been its staunch diplomatic partner regionally and internationally. Thus, as Venezuela continues to crumble under international economic sanctions, Iran might shift its center of gravity in Latin America to Ecuador.
In 2010 and 2011, Correa and Moreno travelled to Tehran to sign bilateral agreements, including building a power plant in Ecuador, providing industrial and technical knowledge, and banking partnerships. As vice president, Moreno also oversaw a $30-million deal to conduct joint mining projects as a basis for future extractive activities.
Continue reading HERE.
“And Then You Hear People Say That Racism Doesn’t Exist In Cuba”
I literally just saw a police officer ask a couple of kids for their identification and I’m pretty sure he did it because they were black. That’s just the life they were dealt. I have almost never seen the same happen to white kids. It’s as if whites are invisible to the police.
And then you hear people say that racism doesn’t exist in Cuba. And the funny thing is that it could’ve been those same whites that just finished robbing a house around here because whites also steal. I walk a lot around the neighborhood of Vedado, so I see many things.
Because of the color of my skin and my mean look, I get stopped all the time by the cops. I don’t want any problems. People look at me and think that I’m a tough guy but really, I don’t like fights or drama.
My thing is, I just like walking around town from time to time, finding small little jobs here and there to make money. Some days I sell fish and on other days I sell cans of paint.
I’m not really committed to anything right now but I have to find my way. I live alone but regardless I have to take care of myself. And on the weekends, I like to drink a little, like anybody would.
Definitely not beer though, because it’s more expensive. Besides, I’m more of a ‘rum’ type of guy, even though I advise people not to drink it. Rum is the reason why so many people are messed up in this country. I have a friend who went blind because he drank whatever he could get his hands on. I think he ended up drinking wood alcohol.
Translated by Oliver Inca, Patricio Pazmino, Marta Reyes