Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Cuban dissidents, divided on U.S. outreach, call for more consultation

    Cuban dissidents, divided on U.S. outreach, call for more consultation By Karen DeYoung February 3 Visiting Cuban dissidents told Congress on Tuesday that while they might disagree on the wisdom of President Obama’s new policy toward Cuba, they were united in believing that further U.S. engagement with Havana should be based on consultation with political […] Continue reading

    Let him go now!

    ‘Let him go now!’ 12/02/2014 7:34 PM 12/02/2014 11:11 PM Five years after the detention and subsequent imprisonment of U.S. citizen Alan Gross in Cuba, pleas for his release continue to fall on deaf ears in Havana. His prolonged detention confirms the capricious and mean-spirited nature of the Castro regime. Mr. Gross was on a […] Continue reading

    Cuba Covers Up Cholera at Home, Yet Sends Doctors Abroad

    Cuba Covers Up Cholera at Home, Yet Sends Doctors Abroad at 10:25 PM Thursday, August 22, 2013 Here’s another one of the absurdities of Castro’s Cuba (and the complicit blindness of its allies): In the last year, the Castro regime has gone out of its way to cover-up a cholera epidemic in Cuba. It even […] Continue reading

    Castro wants money, not a dialogue

    Posted on Sunday, 04.14.13
    CUBAN EMBARGO

    Castro wants money, not a dialogue
    BY FRANK CALZON
    frank.calzon@cubacenter.org

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died, and Raúl Castro is searching for
    "investors" in Cuba. Chávez spent billions of Venezuela's petro-dollars
    shoring up Cuba's economy but Venezuela's new leaders may not be as
    beneficent. Venezuela may cut off its Cuban subsidy, just as new Russian
    leaders did after the Soviet Union's demise.

    American taxpayers are at the top of Castro's list, but can the Cuban
    communist government cash in on its years of political theater
    proclaiming itself the victim of American economic aggression while
    running its own economy into the ground and training and financing
    anti-American insurgencies around the world?

    Perhaps it can, given that the collective U.S. memory is rather short if
    not wholly forgiving.

    Earlier this year, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy visited the Cuban dictator
    and returned home saying this is the time "to overcome continuing
    obstacles" and " to improve relations" because that would be in the
    "best interests of both countries." The senator means well, but his
    statements cry out for a more detailed appraisal of U.S.-Cuban relations.

    The real questions are: Improve relations for what purpose? And under
    what conditions? It might be in America's best interests to improve
    relations with North Korea, Syria and Iran too, but the obstacles
    standing in the way are similar to those in Cuba. There is no quid pro
    quo their leaders are willing to offer.

    Granted that while in Cuba, Sen. Leahy managed to wrangle permission
    from Gen. Castro to visit Alan Gross, a subcontractor with the
    U.S.Agency for International Development, who is serving a 15-year
    prison sentence. Gross after-the-fact "crime" was giving a laptop
    computer and satellite telephone to a Jewish organization seeking access
    to the Internet.

    Gross is innocent and also quite ill. Amnesty International reports he's
    lost more than 100 pounds in prison, and he has developed a growth that
    may be cancerous. Havana won't allow an American physician chosen by his
    family to see him.

    There are others. Amnesty International says that Calixto Martinez, a
    Cuban independent journalist — a reporter not working for state-run
    media — was jailed when he went to Havana's international airport to ask
    about a shipment of cholera medication sent by the World Health
    Organization. He has not been charged nor had a trial. Havana does not
    want tourists to hear about a cholera outbreak.

    But, back to the benefits of lifting what remains of the U.S. embargo
    against the Castros' dynasty: Cuba is broke and has suspended payments
    to many creditors.

    There is no ban on American companies selling foodstuffs or medicines to
    Cuba, which they do on a "cash-and-carry" basis. But Washington won't
    provide credit to Cuba, i.e., absorb the loss if the regime fails to pay
    its suppliers. Thus American companies selling to Cuba get paid and
    American taxpayers aren't on the hook when the regime fails to pay what
    it owes.

    Individually, Cubans have no "purchasing power" to speak of. The
    government is the island's only "employer" and pays workers the
    equivalent of $20 a month. Except for cigars, Cuba now has very little
    to sell to anyone. For 200 years, the engine of Cuba's economy was its
    sugar industry. It is now in shambles due to "state planning."

    Lastly, the United States lists Cuba as a state-sponsor of international
    terrorism. It does so, despite the best efforts of Ana Belen Montes, a
    high-ranking Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, who presented Havana
    as peace-loving and no threat to anyone. Montes was a spy for Cuba. She
    pleaded guilty and is now in a federal penitentiary. Her "reports" are
    still used by Castro's advocates.

    It is difficult to improve relations with dictatorships that deny human
    rights, ban labor unions and abuse and jail peaceful dissidents for
    talking about democracy. Visiting members of European parliaments have
    been arbitrarily arrested in Cuba.

    President Obama tried unilaterally to extend a "hand of friendship"
    without success. Today Havana wants money, not a meaningful dialogue
    that might lead to a "transition."

    Like Sen. Leahy, I wish things could be different, but that requires a
    demonstrable Castro initiative to change the nature of his rule in Cuba.

    Frank Calzon is executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba in
    Washington.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/14/3340674/castro-wants-money-not-a-dialogue.html Continue reading

    Locked Up for Hip Hop: Cuban Brothers Antonio Michel and Marcos Maiquel Lima Cruz

    Locked Up for Hip Hop: Cuban Brothers Antonio Michel and Marcos Maiquel Lima Cruz Takepart.com On Christmas Day, 2010, in the picturesque beach city of Holguín, Cuba, independent journalist Antonio Michel Lima Cruz and his brother and fellow j...

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    Cuba’s escape valve

    Posted on Saturday, 10.15.11

    Cuba's escape valve

    OUR OPINION: Havana shows it has no intention of respecting human rights, improving relations with the U.S.By The Miami Herald EditorialHeraldEd@MiamiHerald.com

    As Cuba continues its crack down on dissidents and young Cubans complain… Continue reading

    After the Black Spring, Cuba’s new repression

    After the Black Spring, Cuba's new repression

    When the last of 29 journalists jailed in a notorious 2003 crackdown was finally freed this year, it signaled to many the end of a dark era. But Cuban authorities are still persecuting… Continue reading