Reports from Cuba: GAESA traps the ‘Wonder City’ in its tentacles

By Pablo Pascual Mendez Piña in Diario de Cuba:

GAESA Traps the ‘Wonder City’ in its Tentacles

Construction of the Prado & Malecón Hotel.
Construction of the Prado & Malecón Hotel.

Parodying Eusebio Leal Spengler’s TV show, I resolve to “walk Havana” to verify that at the intersection of the streets Zulueta and Teniente Rey workers of the Unión de Construcciones Militares (UCM) and the French construction company Bouygues began to erect the socio-administrative building and temporary facilities, thus initiating the reconstruction of the Gran Hotel. Also known as the “100-room hotel”, it is a mass of ruins that for decades has been held up by steel structures to prevent its collapse.

Eight blocks north is the Hotel Regis (Prado and Colón), a building combining eclectic styles from the 19th and 20th centuries. On the verge of collapse, it awaits builders. The building is surrounded by a fence and some panels announcing that the investor is the ALMEST real estate group; the operator, Gaviota; the supplier, TECNOTEX; the builders, UCM and Bouygues (BBI); while project plans are the work of the company Restaura, belonging to the city’s Office of the Historian.

Despite the delays, there have already been notable advances on the Packard Hotel (at Prado and Cárcel), which is about 60% done. According to the schedule, it should be completed this year.

In the vicinity, construction recently began on the Hotel Prado y Malecón (located at the corner of the same name), where one can hear the sound of the pile drivers excavating the foundations, a tough job being carried out by soldiers of the General Military Service (SMG), slave labor used by the UCM and BBI for construction tasks not calling for skilled workers.

In San Rafael, by the facade of the Manzana de Gómez Hotel, they are touching up the public lampposts and the marquee, as soon Kempinski will open its doors to offer 172 rooms and 74 suites; shops with 16 locales for the sale of well-known brands, a pool, restaurant, café, business lounges and a panoramic bar, plus beauty services, lockers and massage rooms. However, to build this “Taj Mahal” the builders hired 400 Indian laborers, “who were four times more productive than Cuban workers” according to the official press, which, at the same time, covered up the fact that the foreigners received salaries 20 times greater than those given Cubans.

With these investments, the powerful military consortium GAESA will augment the capacity of its subsidiary Gaviota in the center of the capital, one of the areas most popular among international tourists.

The worrisome thing is that the services offered by the State – in addition to being delivered by prestigious hotel chains – are being criticized by those making up the avalanche of tourists triggered by the political thaw Obama set in motion in 2014: abusive practices, a lack of hygiene, legions of cockroaches, the contraction of diarrheal diseases and high prices are some of the most frequent complaints. These hotel companies may also be hiring foreign personnel to render services, as regulations permit it.

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Ay! Slumming Brits sickened by Cuban filth

Bride & groom in healthier environment
Bride & groom in healthier environment

Buyer beware!

From our new Caveat Emptor Desk:

(We’re spotting so many of these stories in the British and Canadian news media that we’ve had to shift them from our overburdened Schadenfreude Desk to a new department).

Once again, a pair of Brits looking for a “dream holiday” in Castrogonia have encountered bitter disappointment.

The honeymooners in question caught a ghastly intestinal virus at their apartheid resort and had to be rushed to a Castronoid hospital.

The bride and groom attribute their illness to the savagely filthy conditions they were forced to endure at their primitive honeymoon resort.

All that filth, despite a princely sum of $6,240 for a  “dream holiday”!  (A full seventeen years of income for a Cuban).

What the article below doesn’t reveal is that these two slumming bigots will have paid another whopping sum for their apartheid medical care.

The doctor’s bills handed to tourists are never “symbolic” in Castrogonia.

In fact, they are so un-symbolic that no tourist is ever allowed to return home until the grossly inflated medical bill is paid in full.

This is how Castro, Inc. works.

And God help any tourist who dies in Castrogonia.  Their family won’t be able to fly the corpse back home until they’ve paid a heavy ransom.

So it goes.

Yet, the slumming bigots and voyeurs keep pouring in, searching for “dream holidays,” filling all those “luxury” rooms in Castro, Inc.’s apartheid resorts.

Groom in Castronoid hospital
Groom in Castronoid hospital

Newlyweds forced into hospital on drips after falling ill three days into Cuban honeymoon ‘due to filthy conditions’

Newlyweds plan legal action after what they claim was “unhygienic” hotel conditions on their dream honeymoon to Cuba left them suffering in agony with the horrific stomach bug.

James and Kathryn Longhurst’s two-week £5,000  ($6,240 USD) holiday turned into a nightmare in November last year, as he ended up on an IV drip in hospital.

The couple, who married in July and live in Eastleigh, Hampshire, could not have expected such a disastrous stay at the five-star Paradisus Rio de Oro resort in Holguin, Guardalavaca.

Paradisus Rio de Oro apartheid resort
Paradisus Rio de Oro apartheid resort

But they claimed that the 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.

Project manager James, 38, said: “Two days into the holiday, I started getting really bad diarrhoea, which I put down to the climate, but then I started vomiting and I was violently ill.

“I went to medical centre, and I was really dehydrated so they put me on drips and pumped me full of drugs.

“My tongue turned black from whatever happened to me.

“We couldn’t enjoy the holiday at all, we were devastated, and now I’m absolutely furious that Thomas Cook haven’t responded to our complaint.”

Kathryn, 43, a general restaurant manager herself, also said she suffered from gastric illness and was left “disgusted” at Thomas Cook.

“Within two days it hit us, and it didn’t really go away for the rest of the holiday – it was a bit of a shambles,” she said.

Continue reading HERE (more ghastly photos too!)

Paradisus Rio de Oro: Cuba for tourists
Paradisus Rio de Oro: Cuba for tourists
Cuba for Cubans
Cuba for Cubans
Cuba for Cubans
Cuba for Cubans

Black Cubans denounce the apartheid Castro regime’s institutional racism

One of those inconvenient facts about Cuba that the American left overlooks because in their view, these oppressed and enslaved Cuban blacks are lucky to have such a benevolent white slave master.

Frances Martel in Breitbart:

‘We Cannot Dissent’: Black Cubans Denounce Racism Under Communist Rule

ladies-in-white-black-cubans-reuters-640x480

A coalition of black civil society leaders listed the many challenges that black Cubans face as a product of the institutional racism of the Communist Party government on the island to the Interamerican Human Rights Commission this week.

The speakers, members of the Citizen’s Committee for Racial Integration (CIR) in Cuba, among other organizations, took turns detailing the struggles of black Cubans on the island.

“The Revolution thinks that we have to be appreciative to them for treating us as people,” CIR spokesman Juan Antonio Madrazo explained, noting that communist leaders deny the existence of racism entirely and appear to retaliate with especial cruelty towards black Cubans who object to the human rights violations they are subject to under the Castro regime.

Although Fidel Castro’s predecessor Fulgencio Batista was of mixed racial heritage, communist leaders claim that no racism exists in Marxist societies. As the highest authority in Cuba, the communist government also claims to be the source of all Cuban citizen’s self-worth.

CIR representatives added that black Cubans are more likely to suffer violations of their right to assembly and expression, although no Cubans enjoy full freedom of speech.

The communist government also does little to fight discriminatory policies in restaurants and the few private businesses allowed to operate, particularly in the luxury areas of Havana reserved for foreign tourists. All Cubans are barred from these areas – either officially or due to their lack of access to the Cuban “convertible” peso, a currency meant only for tourists – and their presence outside may also often be unwelcome.

On a technical front, the speakers decried the lack of institutional representation for black people in Cuba. The Cuban census does not count citizens of mixed racial descent as black, for example, which results in a skewed picture of the actual racial makeup of the Cuban population.

CIR member Marthadela Tamayo told the Spain-based Diario de Cuba following her testimony that the lack of initiative on the part of the government to improve the lives of black people – who remain disproportionately poor and underrepresented, despite the promises of economic equality in 1959 – is due to “the fear to hear discussion of racism in Cuba in public, discussion of repression of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and activists generally – but especially all Afro-Cubans.”

Continue reading HERE.

Shocking! More Irish Che nonsense

Billy-Cameron-Scanned
Che idolater in Havana

From our extremely busy Shock Desk:

The moronically twisted Irish politician who proposed erecting a monument to mass murderer Che Guevara in Galway a few years ago is in the news again.

This time he’s called attention to himself by revealing that while he was visiting Castrogonia, he had an image of the Argentinian psychopath Che tattooed onto his left arm..

And he’s very proud of his new body art, even though it’s in the wrong spot.

After all, the only proper place for a Che tattoo is in the nether regions of the body, at the exit point of the digestive system.

Moreover, no Che tattoo is complete –regardless of location — without an accompanying swastika on one’s forehead.

No other symbol has ever captured Che’s ideals and actions more appropriately.

Billy Cameron with a more appropriate tattoo
Comrade Billy Cameron with a more appropriate tattoo

From The Connacht Tribune:

Radical Galway politician got Ché Guevara inkwork in Cuba!

by Dara Bradley

A grey-haired, young-at-heart, left-wing revolutionary male politician in his sixties, with connections to the Labour Party and Galway, visited that socialist bastion, Cuba, recently and got a tattoo of Ché Guevara on his arm.

We sh*t you not.

Now, before you start writing letters to Áras and Uachtaráin, wondering if President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins has completely lost the plot, and is experiencing a mid-to-late-life crisis, it’s not him.

Though Mickey D fits the description of the tattooed tourist, he wasn’t the only one who visited Cuba in February.

Irish President Mickey D
Irish President Mickey D

Step forward one of El Presidente’s best buddies, City Councillor Billy Cameron: The 61-Years-Old Man with the New Ché Guevara Tattoo.

 Comrade Cameron, who is the elder statesman of Labour in Galway West, now that Michael D is resident in Phoenix Park, has only gone and got himself inkwork on his left shoulder – it would have to be left, wouldn’t it? – while in Cuba.

The Bould Billy, whose day job includes selling stamps at the post office in Newcastle, has always had a soft-spot for Ernesto ‘Ché’ Guevara, an Argentinian Marxist revolutionary.

Sure, the radical postie even proposed the erection of a statue to Ché Guevara in Galway City, the home of his ancestors. But that idea was shot down by conservative Council colleagues in 2012.

Just over four years later, Comrade Cameron has got his permanent monument to the guerrilla leader but it’s stuck to his body rather than the city’s streetscape.

Continue reading HERE

Still dead
Dead since 1967

1977: Another president tried to work with Cuba

DuplomacyII-X carter fidel

In 2012, President Obama started secret talks with the Castro regime.

We remember today another president who tried to work with Cuba:

When Carter took office in 1977, he indicated to Cuba that the United States was prepared to enter into direct diplomatic negotiations on a number of issues, including fishing rights.

On March 24, 1977, negotiators from the United States and Cuba met in New York City to discuss the fishing issue. It was the first time since 1961 that U.S. and Cuban officials had talked face to face on any issue. In the months that followed, other breakthroughs occurred.

The two nations agreed to establish “interest sections” in the other’s country that would operate as de facto embassies pending the restoration of full diplomatic relations. Castro freed some political prisoners and Carter eased travel restrictions to Cuba.

These were encouraging signs, but many factors worked together to prevent any progress toward normalized relations.

The strong and vocal Cuban-American community in the United States pressured congressmen and the president to back away from closer relations with Castro. Officials within Carter’s administration cautioned the president about appearing too “soft” with the communist dictator.

When Carter suffered a series of diplomatic setbacks in 1979, such as the fall of the pro-American leaders of Nicaragua and Iran, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, he began to toughen his stance with Cuba.

He criticized Cuba for its role in the Angolan civil war, and warned Castro about allowing Soviet troops into Cuba. Castro responded to these new attacks in a novel manner.

In early 1980 he encouraged tens of thousand of Cubans, some from jails and asylums, to immigrate to the United States. Over 100,000 Cubans flooded into the United States, causing some serious problems, particularly in south Florida.

By the end of 1980, U.S.-Cuban relations were as acrimonious as ever.

President Carter learned a bitter lesson by the end of his term. Unlike President Obama, President Carter unplugged the talks and walked away. Castro reacted by being Castro, or a leader who never negotiated in good faith.

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

British teen idol spied on Cuba’s Castro for MI6, claims new book

I don’t know what it is about Cuba that makes it such fertile ground for the most bizarre tales.

Via The Sun:

THE SPY WHO SANG TO ME: Teen idol Adam Faith claimed to be ‘MI6 spy sent to Cuba’ in new book by close friend

Music producer David Courtney says the Sixties singer and actor was tapped up by British spooks because of his business connections on the Caribbean island

faith and castro

SIXTIES teen idol Adam Faith worked as an MI6 spy in Cuba, it has been claimed.

The multi-talented singer and actor, who died at the age of 62 in 2003, was said to have been tapped up by the British secret service because of his business connections on the Caribbean island.

The claims have been made in a new book published by close friend David Courtney, a music producer, who said he met Faith while the star was having a meeting with a spook at the Savoy hotel in London.

He told The Sunday Times: “[Faith] called me to one side and asked me to sit at a table across the way while he continued his meeting.

“I could see he had become more animated with his hands and nodding his head. After about 15 minutes he waved over to me to join them. The guy in question was a very pleasant unassuming chap. We talked for a while and he left.

“I said to Adam ‘What was that all about?’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I am going to tell you something but you must never repeat it.’ I agreed. ‘I have been filming a travelogue series for the BBC in Cuba, and that guy is from MI6.

“‘They approached me and said they knew I had built up connections in Havana and asked me to do some work for them there, basically spy for them in preparation for the post-Castro era.’”

The meeting was understood to have taken place ahead of a 1997 trip to the Communist island which was in the process of opening up following the fall of the Soviet Union six years earlier.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: ‘We’ve been investigating Ivan Garcia for five years’

By Ivan Garcia in Translating Cuba:

“We’ve Been Investigating Ivan Garcia for Five Years”

Ivan Garcia (l.) and Raul Rivero (r.) in a Miami cafeteria on September 17, 2016
Ivan Garcia (l.) and Raul Rivero (r.) in a Miami cafeteria on September 17, 2016

When the summons arrived for an interview with a police official, the girl’s puzzled family thought it was a mistake.

Let’s call them Kenia, Pedro, and Camila. They are neighbors of mine and prefer to remain anonymous.

Kenia was summoned to a police station on Finlay street, in the Sevillano District, near the State Security barracks known as Villa Marista.

“When I arrived, the man started harassing and threatening me, saying that I hung around with foreigners. Then he wanted to get information about Ivan García, ’a known counterrevolutionary that we’ve been investigating for five years.’ He wanted to know details about his private life, about where he got the money to repair his house. He also asked my opinion about his work as an independent journalist. At one point he described him as a ’terrorist’ and said that both he and his mother were ’conspirators.’

“I was in a state of shock. I told him that he is a friend of mine and my family, and that if what he said is true, why didn’t he arrest him. The officer who interviewed me— young, hostile, and with a military haircut — replied that for now they had no evidence, but they were contacting people like me to collaborate with them and give them more information. I refused to be an informant,” says Kenya.

They were more direct with Pedro. “They accused me of giving confidential information to Ivan Garcia. I told them that I had been retired for four years. They threatened to open a file on me for collaborating on some of the news stories written by Ivan. At the end of the meeting, they warned me to be careful not to say anything to Ivan, because ’he might get off scot-free, but you, Pedro, old as you are, you could die in jail.’”

Without providing any evidence, they issued Camila a warning for harassing tourists and prostitution. “I didn’t sign it. But they told me that if I keep associating with Ivan I will be prosecuted for prostitution. I was accused of pimping and, together with Ivan, of controlling several prostitutes who, in return for money, offered information about their work. All that is a scandalous lie. Out of fear, I promised to delete Ivan’s phone from my contact list. ”

All three were warned that they would soon be summoned again. I told them that when they were, to let me know so I could go with them. If you want to know about me, cite me; it is despicable to intimidate innocent people.

Read more

The Children of the Revolution: The dynastic succession of Cuba’s elite children has begun

The more things change in Cuba, the more they stay the same.

Juan Juan Almeida in Translating Cuba:

Cuba’s Children of Power Take Possession

Perla Rosa Rosales Aguirreurreta, newly appointed Havana Historian
Perla Rosa Rosales Aguirreurreta, newly appointed Havana Historian.

The appointment of architect Perla Rosa Rosales Aguirreurreta to succeed historian Eusebio Leal as head of Havana’s Office of the Historian is the most recent example of the Cuban regime’s making strategic decisions whose sole purpose is to implement a very well-organized dynastic succession plan.

In order to further strengthen their hold on every corner of the country, family members of high-ranking military officials and leaders of the Cuban Revolution are inheriting key posts and strategic positions in the political power structure controlled by the Castro family.

For example, Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, eldest child of the late Fidel Castro, is scientific advisor to his uncle, General Raúl Castro. The general’s daughter, Mariela Castro Espín, is president of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) and a deputy in the National Assembly of People’s Power, the country’s unicameral parliament and supreme body of state power.

Alejandro Castro Espín, youngest child of Raúl Castro, is an advisor to the National Commission for Defense and National Security.

Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja — former son-in-law of Raúl Castro and father of two of the general’s grandchildren — is CEO of the Business Administration Group and head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces Department V.

Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz — the son of Isidoro Malmierca Peoli, who was Minister of Foreign Affairs — is the Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment in Cuba.

Ernesto Daniel Plasencia — son of Colonel Santiago Plasencia and close friend of Raúl Castro — is a diplomat who recently concluded a stint as the Cuban ambassador to Qatar.

Leopoldo Cintra González — son of Army General and Revolutionary Armed Forces Minister Leopoldo Cintras Frías — is the commercial vice-president of the Habanos Corporation.

Listing every member of this fraternity would be impossible. However, the case of Rosales Aguirreurreta — daughter of General Ulises Rosales del Toro, vice-president of the Council of Ministers, founder of the Communist Party of Cuba and member of the Politburo — stands out not only for being the most recent example but also for being among the most significant.

Continue reading HERE.

Meet another fugitive American terrorist/murderer sheltered by Castro regime

LaBeet
LaBeet

Consider this a footnote to yesterday’s post on the recent London massacre.

If anyone needs proof of the Castro regime’s love of terrorism and terrorists, just read this story.

In 1972 Black Panther Ronald LaBeet (a.k.a. Ishmael Ali LaBeet) was involved in a savage attack on a golf course in the U.S. Virgin islands, during which eight people were slaughtered and eight others were injured.

LaBeet and his Black Panther companions stormed into the Fountain Valley golf club, and after shooting two American tourists in the head, execution style, the attackers fired  at others on the club’s outdoor dining terrace, killing and injuring more people.

Witnesses reported afterwards that the shooters shouted racist anti-white slurs as they fired their weapons.

All five men were arrested and tried, and were defended in court by none other than the well-known communist lawyer William Kunstler.  The five murderers were convicted to life in prison –after shouting more profanity-laden and racist anti-white slurs in the courtroom — but LaBeet managed to escape in 1984 as he was being transferred by plane to a prison in New York.

LaBeet retrieved a gun hidden for him in the plane’s bathroom, hijacked the plane to Havana, and asked for political asylum.

The Castro regime granted his request and refused to send LaBeet back to the U.S.  Consequently, he has been living in Cuba all these years, beyond the reach of American authorities.

LaBeet did serve a brief prison sentence in Castrogonia for hijacking.  One must assume that the murders were viewed as acceptable or laudable by the Castro regime, since he was not charged with that crime, but the hijacking — which was not planned by the Castro regime — was viewed as a display of independent thinking, something all Castronoids fear and feel compelled to punish.

Ever since his release, LaBeet has been living free as a bird –or as free as anyone can be in Castrogonia–  like other “revolutionary” American criminals protected by Castro, Inc., including the much-better-known Joanne Chesimard (a.k.a. Assata Shaku)

And LaBeet’s fame may soon eclipse Chesimard’s, now that he is the subject of a documentary, “A Skyjacker’s Tale.”

Details below…

LaBeet, Yankees fan
LaBeet, Yankees fan

From The St. Thomas Source:

Ishmael Ali LaBeet, one of five men convicted of murder in St. Croix’s 1972 “Fountain Valley Massacre,” has made a home for himself in the Holguin Province of Cuba – north of Guantanamo on far the northeast side of the 700-mile country.

As far as anyone knows, he has been in Cuba since hijacking a plane in 1984 to the island nation.

According to a close Canadian friend of his, LaBeet did serve some time in a Cuban prison for the hijacking, but has been free since then.

“He’s Cubanized,” says Bill Chester. ‘He’s got his ration book and apartment.”

Chester says in the eight or nine years he has known “Ali,” as he is called by his friends, he has refused to talk about his part in the killing of eight people and wounding eight others on the then-Fountain Valley golf course on St. Croix, an event that changed forever the destiny of the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

He does talk politics, Chester says, and is a hard-core communist.

LaBeet stood trial 10 months after the Sept. 6, 1972 bloodbath and was convicted and sentenced to eight life terms in prison. But 12 years later, while being transported back to a mainland prison after failing to achieve his goal of being held on St. Croix instead of in a mainland prison, LaBeet pulled a gun that had been hidden in a lavatory on the American Airlines plane and hijacked the plane to Havana.

“It’s hard to believe he’s the guy who did that,” Chester says. “He’s a nice guy.”…

…Peter Kornbluh, a Cuba/Latin American expert and author of “Back Channel to Cuba,” said during the course of several general conversations that the government in Havana sees the scores of U.S. fugitives living in Cuba as political refugees and is unlikely to ever agree to extradition.

Continue reading HERE and for more details go HERE (in Spanish)

Free as a bird
Pensive murderer

Castro regime issues death threats to family of Cuban dissident victim of machete attack

More than two years ago when President Obama announced the U.S. had surrendered to Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship, he promised his policies of appeasement and unilateral concessions would lead to a kinder and gentler totalitarian regime in Havana. This is what kinder and gentler looks like in Cuba.

John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Mother and son of 2015 machete attack victim receive death threat from Castro regime agent

“I am obliged to once again denounce the dictatorial regime of the Castros, this time as a mother and human rights defender.” – Sirley Avila Leon, March 20, 2017

Sirley Avila
Sirley Avila

Las Tunas, Cuba: Yoerlis Peña Ávila on March 15, 2017 received a death threat against him and his grandmother, Sirley Leon Aguilera, for being family (son and mother respectively) of Sirley Avila Leon, who was the victim of a May 24, 2015 machete attack carried out by a regime collaborator that left her permanently disabled. The threat is in response to her legal demand presented to recover 126,000 Cuban pesos ($4754) in damages resulting from the attack.

On March 15, 2017 he was able to send an e-mail to his mother that described what had happened that same day: “I was working and a man that I do not know told me that it was better that the legal demand not be continued because you did not know the risk in which you were exposing me and my grandmother that for you to suffer they could attack us.”

Four days earlier on March 11, 2017 Sirley Avila Leon had contacted her son, and again on March 13th on both occasions they discussed the legal action being pursued, but then found it increasingly difficult to communicate. It appears that the Castro regime does not want this legal action to be pursued and is using intimidation to try to shut it down.

There is good reason to be concerned with this pattern of threats and harassment. Over a three year period (2012 – 2015) regime agents made a series of threats and took actions that culminated in the attempted murder of Sirley Avila Leon on May 24, 2015. Another round of threats and harassment when she returned to Cuba on September 7, 2016 following medical treatment in Miami led to her decision to leave Cuba on October 28, 2016 and request asylum in the United States when death threats against her person escalated and her attacker, Osmany Carriòn, was free and bragging that he would finish the job he started.

Sirley Avila Leon is asking democratic representatives, human rights organizations, and members of international organizations and all people of goodwill to urge the Cuban government to investigate the threat made against her son and mother.

Continue reading HERE.