Who’s advising Trump to betray his Cuban-American supporters (son-in-law Jared Kushner?)

Just yesterday Trump allowed Castro’s propaganda agency Prensa Latina to open a Washington D.C. Bureau, a favor denied the Castro’s by every U.S. President since 1967.

On top of that betrayal, and while his administration has been repeating that “Cuba Policy is being reviewed” here’s what they’ve (quietly) been up to…(But PLEASE SHUUUUSSSSHHHH!…Those Miami voters who helped hand him the crucial swing state of Florida might hear this!)

In fact, many of Trump’s  policies are not exactly corresponding with his campaign pledges.  Many are blaming this “inconsistency” on the  influence of President Trump’s liberal son-in-law Jared Kushner (who will hereupon be referred to as “El Yernissimo.”)

For a decade prior to his role as one of Trump’s most influential advisors (some say he’s responsible for sandbagging Steve Bannon) Jared Kushner owned and published  the liberal New York-based newspaper  The New York  Observer.  Below please note some items published by this newspaper regarding Cuba—especially  the Cuba embargo. All of these were published under Kushner’s watch:

1.) It is a new era, but Obama can only do so much. The real work lies in defunding the anachronistic laws which have allowed the ‘embargo industry’ to hold the national interest hostage for too long.

2.)  The embargo would have been gone long ago… but for an elaborate system of thinly disguised political patronage born in the early 80s under President Reagan. Reagan helped create the Cuban American National Foundation (patterned after the America Israel Political Action Committee) and provided millions through embargo-supporting programs like the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, Radio and TV Marti and the US Agency for International Development. ‘Transition’ and ‘democracy building’ became catch-words for opportunists like Otto Reich who helped write the laws that funded a self-perpetuating ‘ embargo industry.’

3.) The infamous 1996 Helms-Burton law doled out millions more to embargo supporters despite its blatant violation of international norms.

4.) Normalizing relations with Cuba will help improve relations with the rest of the world, which voted to condemn the embargo at the United Nations for the 23rd time in October of this year.

5.) President Obama’s long overdue policy shift toward Cuba  is the kind of change that many who voted for him in 2008 had hoped the President would make. It was also clever politics. It is not only a popular foreign policy decision, but it is one that will help likely 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Julia Sweig and Phil Peters–indeed, Prensa Latina–could not put it any better. Much more here.

Reports the BBC: “Mr  Kushner, who is married to Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka, also serves as the president’s lead adviser on relations with China, Mexico and Canada. (Cuba too, perhaps?)


Wherever it has been tried, Socialism has failed miserably

Socialism (aka Communism) has been a miserable failure and an unmitigated disaster wherever it has been tried. Not only has it destroyed thriving economies, cultures, and families, it has been responsible for the deaths of over 100-million innocent people.

Nevertheless, those who are either ignorant of history or who are being purposely dishonest continue to tout Socialism as the cure for all that ills mankind. They promote the “social justice” and “equality” Socialism purportedly advances but neglect to tell you that everywhere it has been tried, the alleged quest for social justice and equality only serves to dramatically increase the level of human suffering.

Carlos Sabino in PanAm Post:

From Venezuela to France, Socialism Is Failing All Over the World

Two news items, very different from each other, highlight the unquestionable failure of socialism: the cruel repression by Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro and the result of the French elections.

Venezuelan socialism is a self-deprecating expression of extreme socialist ideas, the type of Marxism that, when applied for the first time in Russia just 100 years ago, called itself communism. The French, on the other hand, like most Europeans, showed last Sunday they no longer have faith in the other variant of socialism, the “light” or moderate form that in many countries has been called Social Democracy or Democratic Socialism.

Both ideologies coincide on a fundamental point: their rejection of capitalism and the free market economy that give everyone the right to produce and consume according to their needs.

Some, like communists, want to eliminate it completely, while others want to control it and reduce it to its minimum expression.

Venezuelan socialists have shown that they have the same totalitarian calling as their Soviet and Chinese predecessors as well as their Cuban counterparts. Not only have they sunk a rich oil nation into poverty, they have also shown that their alleged democracy is a farce, for they do not hesitate to brutally repress their people when they protest.

The Venezuelan dictatorship’s constant aggression toward private property has created an economy incapable of sustaining itself or of offering the goods that people need. Scarcity, inflation and unemployment are the direct consequences of this way of governing, and it leads to repression and dictatorship when citizens try to rise against it.

Faced with this totalitarian form of understanding socialism, a different, democratic and less extreme version of it has sprouted in Europe and the United States. For decades, Social Democrats have been the main political party in Europe and have shaped the societies of almost all their countries, while in the United States, the Democratic Party has been promoting and implementing similar policies since the 1930s. But now the political landscape has changed.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: Cuban counterintelligence plays hardball with journalists

Ivan Garcia in Translating Cuba:

Cuban Counterintelligence Plays Hardball with Journalists

Headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior in Revolution Square.

Money is no object. When it comes to thwarting, harassing and repressing intellectuals or journalists, there are always enough funds in military’s coffers to write a blank check.

Solid numbers are hard to come by but, according to conservative estimates, Cuba’s special services and armed forces account for roughly 35% of the nation’s paltry GDP.

There is never a shortage of fuel, guesthouses, vacation homes, medical clinics or surveillance equipment for monitoring alleged counterrevolutionaries.

It is mistakenly believed that the top priority of the Special Services is the fragmented domestic opposition, which can never turn out more than a few followers for any public gathering. Meanwhile, the brave fighters at the barricades are kept in line by punches, karate chops and detention in damp, filthy jail cells.

The real danger for the government, and for counterintelligence as well, are high-level officials. “They are like laboratory guinea pigs, always under observation. Their phone calls, internet traffic, contacts with foreigners, sexual preferences and personal tastes are monitored. They cannot escape electronic surveillance even in the bathroom,” says a former intelligence officer with experience listening in.

As in the German film The Lives of Others, people with meaningful positions in government, the armed forces, international trade and the foreign ministry are under tight scrutiny. The next most heavily monitored group of individuals — more closely monitored even than dissidents — are those in the world of arts and letters and the sciences.

“The method for dealing with outspoken opposition figures is to intimidate them, pressuring them with physical and psychological abuse, or simply incarcerating them. We know how they think. But individuals such as writers, musicians, scientists, researchers and government-employed journalists are like a knife with two edges. Many are silent dissidents. They often lead double lives. In assemblies, government offices and newsrooms they appear to be loyal to the system. At home they are budding counterrevolutionaries,” observes the former intelligence officer.

According to this source, agents are well-trained. “They focus on managers, officials and employees of important state institutions. Recent graduates of the Higher Institute of the Ministry of the Interior are assigned to dissidents and independent journalists. They are more adept at using physical and verbal violence than intellectual arguments.”

In my twenty-years working as an independent journalist, State Security has summoned me for questioning five or six times. On other occasions the interviews were more casual. A guy would park his motorcycle outside my building or near my house, as though he were a friend, and calmly chat with me or my mother, Tania Quintero, who now lives in Switzerland as a political refugee and who was also an independent journalist.

Read more

How Cuba’s corrupt apartheid dictatorship cooks the books of the Cuban economy

Cuba’s corrupt and repressive apartheid dictatorship has a long history of telling lies. For nearly six decades, the Castro regime has lied about practically everything. From its “achievements” in education and healthcare to its ties to terrorist activities and sponsorship of terrorism, the Cuban dictatorship does nothing but tell lie after lie. It should therefore be of no surprise to anyone that the Castro dictatorship lies about the Cuban economy as well.

Roberto Alvarez Quiñones in Diario de Cuba:

Theft and Subsidies, Not Exports

Once gain former Economy minister José Luis Rodríguez has attempted to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. Apparently the Castro dictatorship has called on him to do its dirty work and cook the books to present a more favorable picture of the regime’s administration.

Rodríguez recently wrote, in Cubadebate, that the export of doctors, nurses and other health professionals brought in revenue amounting to an average of 11.543 billion dollars yearly between 2011 and 2015. False. As a source he drew upon the 2016 Statistical Yearbook on Health – which was so incomplete that it does not even mention how many health professionals work outside Cuba, the most important factor of all. The Ministry of Public Health acknowledges that there are about 50,000 in all.

I think it is appropriate to note that last February Rodríguez announced that in 2016 Cuba paid its foreign creditors $5.299 billion, which is also false. And, in 2006, as Minister of the Economy, he said, with a straight face, that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Cuba had grown 12.5%, the greatest growth in the world, even surpassing China.

This time the former Castroist higher-up – who today serves as an advisor at Cuba’s International Economy Research Center (CIEM), and at the aforementioned Yearbook of Public Health – is guilty of several more “inaccuracies.”

To begin with, in order for the medical services that Cuba exports to 62 countries on four continents to have generated $11.543 billion, the average salary of each contracted Cuban professional would have to have been around $19,200 per month, which is impossible. His claim is even more far-fetched when said yearbook indicates that 35 countries paid for these services, and the other 27 paid nothing.

The key to all this is that the regime lies. It calculates Venezuelan subsidies as a sale of medical services. Curiously, in his article Rodríguez did not include the year 2016, in which Caracas slashed its subsidies to the Island. Experts estimate that they have fallen by 40%, and that oil deliveries were reduced from 110,000 to 55,000 barrels a day, which would explain the current fuel crisis on the Island.

Cuba now depends and will depend more and more of the flow of foreign currency coming from the “Empire” via remittances, packages and travel to the island, which in 2016 came to more than 7 billion dollars. That figure probably already equals or exceeds the subsidies from Venezuela, and triples the gross revenue generated by tourism.

Moreover, even supposing that everything stated by the former minister were true, it is immoral for the Castroist leadership to openly proclaim that it steals salaries from doctors. That’s called trafficking. Those $11.543 billion belong to the doctors, who earned them with their work, and then saw them confiscated.

According to the pact between the previous government of Brazil and Cuba, negotiated with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Brazilian government pays Cuba $4,080 per month for each Cuban doctor. Of this amount, the physician receives less than 25%, that is, less than $1,000, according to doctors who have left Brazil, and complaints from the National Federation of Brazilian Doctors, which describes the contracts as “slave work.” For every Cuban doctor in Brazil, Castro pockets $3,000 a month.

Continue reading HERE.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta confirmed, becomes first Cuban American in presidential line of succession

Cuban American and Miami native Alexander Acosta became Labor Secretary when the Senate confirmed his nomination late last week. As Americans, we are elated Trump has selected an extremely qualified and talented attorney for this cabinet post.

Via The Washington Post:

Senate confirms Alexander Acosta as labor secretary

Former U.S. attorney Alexander Acosta was confirmed as labor secretary Thursday, filling a key spot in President Trump’s Cabinet and setting the stage for the administration to tackle pending rules that could have sweeping consequences for workers and retirement savers.

The Senate voted 60 to 38 to approve his nomination. The Cuban American from Miami will be the only Latino in Trump’s Cabinet. His confirmation comes just as Trump is closing in on his first 100 days in office.

Acosta, 48, will have to move quickly to take action regarding major policies that have been in limbo while the department has been without leadership for the past three months, including a rule that sets limits on the investment advice given to retirement savers and another that expands the number of workers eligible for overtime pay.

– Continue reading HERE

Now as Miamians and Cuban Americans, we are even more elated and we are extremely proud of Alex and what he has accomplished. For one of our own to reach this high a level of government is quite an achievement. But wait, it gets better…

Yesterday I came across this tweet by our good friend Alex Burgos:

Wait, what? A Cuban American is now in the presidential line of succession? You got it!

Now Alex is certainly not the first Cuban American to hold a cabinet-level position, but he is the first Cuban American in U.S. history to be in the presidential line of succession.

Congratulations, Alex!

Castronoid military admits 8 killed in plane crash

Soviet-made Antonov AN-26 transport

From our Minor Disasters Bureau.

Eight Cubans have died in a military plane crash.

The number could be higher, but there is no way to know for sure, since the only information available is being provided by the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

Castronoid ministries have a long-standing policy of minimizing the extent of all disasters and of inventing or maximizing the extent of all positive achievements.

Of course, leave it to one of Europe’s most rabidly leftist newspapers to report the tragic news.  Any pain felt by the Castro regime is also felt by The Guardian.

New York Times, why are you lagging behind on this?  Your Castrophile reputation is at risk.

And don’t be too surprised if some of “those people” in Miami end up being blamed for this crash.

Shhh…. don’t call attention to this…

From Pravda U.K. (The Guardian):

Cuban military plane crash kills eight troops

A Cuban military plane crashed into a hillside on Saturday morning in the western province of Artemisa, killing eight troops on board, the government said.

In a written statement, the ministry of the revolutionary armed forces said the Soviet-made, twin-engined turboprop Antonov AN-26 took off from the Playa Baracoa airport outside Havana at 6.38am and crashed into a hillside outside the town of Candelaria about 40 miles away.

“The eight military personnel on board, including the crew, died,” the statement published by state-run media said. “A commission … is investigating the causes of the accident.”

Officials did not immediately release any further information.

The majority of planes flown in Cuba were produced in the Soviet Union. Antonov produced the AN-26 planes in Kiev between 1969 and 1986.

The last major plane crash in Cuba was an Aero Caribbean flight that went down in flames in 2010, killing all 68 people aboard. That plane was a European-manufactured ATR-72-212.

The legacy of Communism at 100 years: 100-million+ murdered

As ignorant useful idiots celebrate the 100th anniversary of the scourge of communism, the rest of the world mourns its bloody and murderous legacy: 100-million+ murdered by the most evil and deadly ideology in history that to this day continues to curse humanity.

Via FEE:

Communism’s Bloody Legacy Turns 100

One hundred years ago this month, a train pulled by locomotive No. 293 arrived at the Finland Station in Petrograd (St. Petersburg). Though it was late at night, a large crowd waited waving red flags and flowers. Within a sealed railcar was a passenger who would soon become dictator of the world’s first Marxist state: Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Lenin.

Returning from a decade in exile, he was jubilantly greeted by socialist comrades, old and new, who a month earlier had deposed Nicholas II. “The Russian Revolution achieved by you,” Lenin declared at the station, “has opened a new epoch.” A new epoch, to be sure, but certainly not a better one for the more than 100 million people who, over the course of the next century, would be tortured, persecuted, and murdered in the name of communism.

Tragically, these facts are controversial to some—and even unknown by many—in 2017. In particular, a large swath of the millennial generation is unaware of and indifferent to the horrors and deceits of communism as well as those of its fellow-traveling collectivist ideology, socialism.

A recent study conducted by YouGov found only 33 percent of millennials are familiar with Lenin. Of those who are familiar, 25 percent view him favorably. The study also revealed, among other disturbing insights, that 32 percent of millennials believe more people were killed by the administration of George W. Bush than the regime of Joseph Stalin, which was responsible for no fewer than 15 million deaths.

Influenced by educational and cultural systems hostile to free-market economics and willing to whitewash the human toll of Marxism, young Americans are increasingly turning to socialism and other forms of extremist ideology. In a 2016 poll by Harvard University, 33 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 said they supported socialism while 51 percent said they opposed capitalism. Alarming also are the findings that only 25 percent of millennials now believe that living in a democracy is essential, down from 75 percent for their grandparents’ generation.

At the same time, polls suggest that young people value equality more than democracy. From these data we can infer that many millennials care deeply about the state taking care of them, even if it undermines democratic processes. In a word, collectivism.

In fact, our foundation has tracked the growth of dozens of neo-Marxist organizations active on college campuses and in urban protest movements. Their membership is growing and may now be as high as several hundred thousand. Not surprisingly, these groups are revisionist on U.S. history and spread 21st-century propaganda on American social media—messages crafted or borrowed from those transmitted in Havana, Beijing, and even Pyongyang.

Senator Bernie Sanders and other leaders of a newly emergent left deploy the phrase “democratic socialism” as their new ideal. Yet one word, a mere rhetorical modifier connoting noble intent and good governance, should not suffice when it remains unclear how their vision differs from the bloody and economically disastrous socialism experienced by nearly 40 nations in the last hundred years.

But the problem of historical distortion and misperception runs deeper. Last month, the university press of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – ranked the seventh-best university in the country by U.S. News & World Report – released Communism for Kids. By Bini Adamczak, a Berlin-based social theorist and artist, the book “presents political theory in the simple terms of a children’s story, accompanied by illustrations of lovable little revolutionaries experiencing their political awakening.” The “lovable little revolutionaries,” beginning with Lenin, continuing through Che Guevara and Mao Zedong, and remaining with us today from Pyongyang to Caracas, have inflicted misery on the lives of hundreds of millions.

The soil of ignorance and envy bears not fruit but thorns.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: The alliance between Spanish colonialism and the Castroist leadership

Pedro Campos in Diario de Cuba:

The alliance between Spanish colonialism and the Castroist leadership

Bruno Rodríguez, Raúl Castro’s Foreign Minister, along with the President of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, in Madrid.

An article appearing in the Spanish newspaper El País, entitled “España no puede perder Cuba dos veces” (“Spain cannot lose Cuba twice”), analyzes the machinations of the latest Spanish Governments’ policies towards Cuba, and observes that “Rajoy’s government seems determined to make up for lost time with Havana.”

The article, written on the occasion of a recent visit by Raúl Castro’s Foreign Minister to Madrid, applauds and foments the ideas of the old Spanish colonial empire, which saw Cuba as the most precious jewel in its Crown, endorsing taking advantage of the economic weakness in which the Island has been submerged – by Castroism, in the name of socialism – and retaking control over “the ever faithful Island of Cuba,” now in a neocolonial fashion, through massive joint investments in Cuban military and State enterprises.

This new Spanish colonialism, in its penchant for reconquest, does not seem to realize, or to care about, the Castro Government’s notorious reneging on its debts, or the fact that its investments could serve to prop up one of the most undemocratic and corrupt governments in the history of the Americas.

The Spain that brought us slavery, Valeriano Weyler’s “reconcentration” policy, and then spent more than a century attempting to infect us with its hatred of the US, due to the help it gave Cuba in its struggle for independence, has a lot of experience investing in companies of the Castroist state, and sharing in the abusive, joint exploitation of underpaid workers on the Island.

In politics there are no coincidences, and the visceral hatred of Fidel and Raúl Castro towards the US seems to find its roots precisely in an identification by both with a father figure. This rejection clearly stemmed all the way back to the Sierra Maestra, when the first of the two brothers swore to Celia Sánchez that his great war would be against the United States. The younger brother, meanwhile, in his so-called “Antiaircraft Operation,” kidnapped dozens of US workers and soldiers, and took them hostage, as human shields, to his area of ??operations so that Batista would suspend his bombing.

As is known, Ángel Castro, the father of the two, came to Cuba with the troops of Valeriano Weyler and, according to different versions, fought on the Júcaro-Morón military line, and later against the troops of General Antonio Maceo. Following Spain’s defeat, Ángel Castro returned to the Peninsula, but came back to the island shortly afterwards in search of fortune, bought a property, and, changing the fences on land owned by the United Fruit Co., and exploiting countrymen and Haitians, ended up as a wealthy landowner.

A passage from one of the many biographies of the caudillo recounts how, in 1958, with Fidel Castro still in the Sierra Maestra, at a family gathering including Ramón Castro, the eldest of the brothers, and his aunt Juana Castro, in Lugo, she said to him: “As rich as they are, I don’t know what your brothers are doing, getting into that revolution business… Fidel is mad! To which Ramon replied: “Auntie, you don’t know what you’re saying. Cuba is in our hands.” And that’s just how it happened.

Once in power, well known were Fidel Castro’s close ties to the Government of Francisco Franco, and special relationship with one of the key figures in Franco’s regime: Manuel Fraga Iribarne, President of the Xunta de Galicia, who visited Cuba several times.

Read more

Trump allows Castro’s Propaganda Agency (Prensa Latina) to open a Washington D.C. Bureau–a favor to the Castro regime denied by all U.S. Presidents since 1967

Just yesterday morning the Castro regime’s propaganda agency Prensa Latina was given the green light to re-open its Washington D.C. operation (closed since 1967.)  

The plans for the  re-opening were set in motion under Obama’s “opening” to Cuba–and were consummated  today.

Above and below please see type of “reporting” Prensa Latina (just approved for a Washington D.C. bureau by Trump) specializes in.

Prensa Latina was Che Guevara’s baby. The blatantly Communist propaganda agency was launched in Havana in June 1959, at a time Castro himself denied his regime was Communist. The fake Argentine “doctor” Ernesto Guevara started the propaganda agency his chum the fake Argentine “journalist”  Jorge Massetti.

Che Guevara’s and Fidel Castro’s goal with Prensa Latina was to spread Communist propaganda throughout the Hemisphere in Spanish. Granted, the New York Times, etc. did a magnificent job but it was all in English. Hence Prensa Latina.

Apparently President Trump didn’t think that the Castro regime had enough propaganda vehicles in the U.S. Apparently CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, New York Times, Washington Post, Univision, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., weren’t  doing enough to  tell the Castro regime’s side of the story.  So just this week he green-lighted President Obama’s plan to let the Communist propaganda agency open in our nation’s capitol.

“Cubans have been very good to me, in the Florida elections, you know, the Cuban people, Americans…” (President Donald Trump, Feb. /16, 2017.)

Interestingly,  just last month Russia’s propaganda agency Sputnik signed a (more formal) partnership deal with Cuba’s propaganda agency Prensa Latina, now operating in Washington D.C.

“Humberto Fontova is a gifted polemicist who pulls no punches. A great service for liberty, justice and truth.” (The Weekly Standard  on Fidel; Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant.)

“Humberto’s books read like my concerts sound! ROCK-ON–my warrior blood-brother !” (Ted Nugent)


Inter-American Commission on Human Rights keep Cuba and Venezuela on its human rights ‘black list’

Elena Toledo in PanAm Post:

Cuba and Venezuela Remain on Human Rights “Black List”

On Thursday, the Organization of American States (OAS) published its annual report, which details that Venezuela and Cuba remain on the “black list” of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an autonomous body of the continental entity.

As for Venezuela, which has remained on the list since 2002, the IACHR denounces that “structural situations that affect human rights persist” and that the situation of citizen security in relation to the right to life and personal safety is getting worse, along with “a deterioration of the rule of law and democratic institutions.”

The IACHR also warns about the vulnerability of freedom of expression in Venezuela, as well as denouncing the arbitrary detention and imprisonment of opposition members and citizens in general who “make their dissent public.”

The situation in Venezuela has intensified since the beginning of April, as there have been ongoing protests against the Maduro regime. So far, there have been 29 deaths, more than 500 injured, and more than 1,000 arrests.

Regarding Cuba, the report details the high levels of repression, as well as excessive restriction on protests as well as dismissals and threats to government employees if they manifest any opposition to the policies implemented by the ruling party.

They also mention that the island remains on the list for “persistent restrictions on political rights, freedom of association, freedom of expression and dissemination of thought, lack of independence of the judiciary and restrictions on freedom of movement,” which the report stresses, “continue to systematically limit the human rights of the inhabitants” of Cuba.

They also add that “there is an increase in severe repression and restrictions on human rights defenders and dissidents, as well as discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons (lesbians, gays, transgenders, bisexuals and intersexuals) and the exclusion of the black population, which is underrepresented in senior positions in the state.”

Continue reading HERE.

The Venezuelan dictatorship’s toys of repression

If there is anything that Cuba’s Castro regime envies of its Venezuelan colony, it would be its toys of repression. Dictator Hugo Chavez made quite an investment in sophisticated weaponry designed to violently oppress and murder dissenters and protestors. As for Cuba, they tend to use the old-school method of violent repression: Clubs, machetes, rocks, bottles, steel-toed boots, and good old-fashioned beat downs.

Juan Carlos Gabaldon in Caracas Chronicles:

The Toys of Repression

Military-style gear is one thing the regime’s never scrimped on. The trend started by Hugo Chávez in 2005 renewed Venezuela’s military gear, supposedly to prepare for battle against the countless imaginary enemies chavismo created through the years. But really, we always knew who the real target was, because it stared back at us from the mirror each morning.

Initially, the Chávez administration sourced its war toys from traditional suppliers like the United States. But after 2006, when an embargo on military material was applied to Venezuela, Chávez started asking his friends from the East for guns. First it was Russia, later China. Some of these contracts were, ironically, signed by then-Defense Minister, Raúl Baduel; today one of Maduro’s highest profile political prisoners.

Even as the economic crisis hit hard, forcing the Maduro government to reduce its military expenses —by more than 90% compared to the Chávez years, according to some NGOs, — they continued the “Eternal Commander’s” tradition. That’s why, in a country where food and medicines are nowhere to be seen, there’s a squad of armored personnel carriers (APCs), fully equipped with tear gas canisters and rubber pellets, waiting for every march and protest to reach them.

Armored Vehicles: APC’s (a.k.a., “Tanquetas”)

If you’ve taken part in any of the countless demonstrations that have taken place in Venezuela since La Salida, then you’ve seen one of these little white monsters. People call them “rhinos” or tanquetas — but that’s a bit of a misnomer. A vehicle would have to have a gun turret to qualify as a combat-ready tanqueta.

Its official designation is the VN-4 armored vehicle, manufactured in China by the Chinese Defense Company, NORINCO. Unlike most people tend to think, they are quite modern and versatile, able to carry two drivers and up to eight soldiers inside, reaching up to 115 km/h and being able to go for about 700 km. without refueling.

VN-4s can do a lot of damage. The original, warfare-oriented units have a central turret that is usually armed with a 7,5 mm. heavy machine gun. The units deployed in Venezuelan protests, however, have been modified for riot-control purposes with the machine gun being replaced for a more “friendly” tear-gas launcher. The little white beasts can also be equipped with several Bond-like gadgets, including an infrared night-vision system and a central tire inflation system that prevents them from being disabled by a flat tire. These perks, however, are optional, and we doubt if Baduel sprung extra for those.

Out of the 224 VN-4’s that China has officially exported worldwide, 194 were bought by the Venezuelan government and distributed mainly to the GNB. 121 of them were bought in 2012, while the rest were ordered after the 2014 protests.

Kenya, a country actually fighting real terrorists in their border with Somalia, bought the remaining 30.

The VN-4s are already an iconic image of repression against opposition demonstrators. These things are now so popular around the country that there are even mods to use them in Grand Theft Auto video games.One of the perks of having a millennial core of protesters, I guess.

Continue reading HERE.

CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Cuban State Security violently arrests defenseless 19-year-old woman

This is how Cuban dissidents and those who dare to challenge the tyranny of the apartheid Castro regime are dealt with by the Cuban regime’s violently repressive State Security apparatus.

Via Ana Olema on Facebook (my translation):

The repression continues in Cuba on a grand scale while the world looks the other way. This video captures the moment when Aramis, head of the political police in Colon, arrests Yelena Marrero Burunate, a young lady only 19 years old.

Read more

Cuban American New York Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis jumps into New York City mayoral race

Nicole Malliotakis

New York Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is a rising political star in New York. She is also a Republican, a Greek and Cuban American, and a staunch supporter of the cause for freedom in Cuba. Who better to run against New York’s pro-communism and pro-Castro mayor Bill de Blasio than a candidate who understands the horrors and corruption of socialism.

Via the Observer:

Malliotakis, the Latest Republican in the Mayoral Fray, Says She’s the ‘Underdog’ Who Can Beat de Blasio

Two days after filing paperwork to run for mayor of New York City, Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis made her first play to distinguish herself in an increasingly crowded field of candidates vying for the Republican nomination.

Speaking at a GOP mayoral candidate forum at the Metropolitan Republican Club on the Upper East Side Wednesday night, Malliotakis told a 100-strong crowd that she is “used to being the underdog.” She faced off against real estate executive Paul Massey—whose strong cash hauls once appeared to mark him as the frontrunner—and Jets lineman-turned minister Rev. Michel Faulkner, as well as celebrity cop and investigator Bo Dietl, who botched his voter registration paperwork and thus must seek special permission from the county GOP organizations to run on their line.

Malliotakis argued her background as the daughter of Greek and Cuban immigrants gave her a “compelling story that will resonate with the people of New York.”

“I understand the aspirations of the American dream,” Malliotakis said. “I understand that we need to preserve that and it’s very important that we do that but we do it in the right way. We’re gonna allow people to survive and thrive in a city to achieve the dream as my parents have and I think that because I can resonate with many people in the immigrant community because of my background.”

Continue reading HERE.

More coverage of Nicole’s candidacy for New York City mayor at BizPac Review.