Monday, June 28, 2010

LPP First Draft...

Rock On, G2 (The Punk Band That Is)

Friday, June 25, 2010
By Jacob Katel in Miami's New Times:

Miami New Times
editor-in-chief Chuck Strouse has limited us to six F-words per post (what is he, the state police?), so we'd just like to say fuck communism, fuck Fidel, fuck censorship, fuck political repression, fuck the system, and fuck the tyranny of evil!

Freedom of speech is awesome. Too bad Cuba doesn't have it. Give thanks America does. If you haven't read this week's New Times feature story, "El Tirano's Punks," by Erik Maza, it details the lives and struggles of Gil and Gorki. They're two Cuban punk rock pioneers; the former re-settled in Miami, the latter currently remains en la isla.

We salute the hell out of Gil for using music to take on a murderous dictator. The exile musician's contributions to the writing and performing of anti-conformist, anti-establishment, dissident music while he was living in a country where it can get you locked up or killed are courageous and inspiring. That's more real than anything we've ever done, and his story makes for one hell of a read.

However, the article paints a sad sort of picture of Gil's band, G2, as a weak force in the MIA. It doesn't mention the band's opening slot for UK legends the Vibrators at Churchill's Pub, or the fact that it shared a bill with Marky Ramone.

G2 has also rocked stages with locals like Tereso, Guajiro, AKA, Animals of the Arctic, the Mutiny, and Anger, to mention just a few. It also fails to note G2's awesome America TeVe performance alongside Floyd The Rock Artist on the show Pelliscame Que Estoy Soñando. View that video here below.

Punk ain't dead; hardcore lives. Rock on, G2.

June 28, 2010

Cuban presence in Cancún raises concern

The arrest last month of Gregorio Sánchez Martínez, gubernatorial candidate and former mayor of the Mexican city of Cancún, opened a window into Cuban intelligence's penetration of that Caribbean resort, writes Juan O. Tamayo in Monday's issue of The Miami Herald.
(gsm) Cuba has long maintained a large intelligence operation in Mexico City, but the Cancún presence is new, and therefore worrisome, the Herald reporter writes.
Today, more than 6,000 Cubans are registered residents of the state of Quintana Roo, where Cancún is situated.
Sánchez is now in jail, pending trial on charges of laundering bribes he allegedly received for protecting drug cartels in Cancún, a key arrival point for illicit drugs flowing from South America to U.S. streets.
He is also under investigation for allegations that include smuggling U.S.-bound Cubans, Chinese and Russians into Mexico and eavesdropping on rival politicians and journalists, Mexican investigators confirmed to The Herald.
For the entire story, click here. See also our June 6 blog item "Details surface of smuggling network..."
Posted by Renato Perez at 07:32 AM in Diaspora, Security, The Americas
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June 27, 2010

Syrian president arrives in Havana

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria arrived in Havana from Caracas (fot) late Sunday. He and his wife, Asma, were welcomed by Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Marcos Rodríguez Costa, in photo.
According to the official program of his visit, al-Assad will hold official talks with President Raúl Castro on Monday, after a ceremonial visit to the monument to José Martí.
The Cuban news agency Prensa Latina said that al-Assad will meet with officials "at the highest level," perhaps a suggestion that First Party Secretary Fidel Castro will join the talks.
Official Syrian sources told the news agency EFE that the Syrian president plans to discuss "the situation in the Middle East, including the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis and the Iranian nuclear program."
Posted by Renato Perez at 11:53 PM in Current Affairs, Raul Castro, The World
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S:Cuban Colada

Something smells rotten here

Mary O'Grady has an excellent (as usual) editorial today in the WSJ, which asks a very simple question: "Why lift the travel ban to Cuba now?" O'Grady wonders why the Obama administration, which was obsessed with the Honduran crisis a year ago and went to great lengths to pressure the Honduran congress to take Zelaya back, seems so unconcerned with the atrocities and human rights violations going on in Cuba. The Honduran situation was intolerable, but death, misery, and the jailing of dissidents in Cuba is not only tolerable, but in addition warrants rewarding the Cuban dictatorship with American tourists and a new revenue stream.
The most interesting (for some of us at least) part of the editorial, however, is the news that sources have informed Ms. O'Grady that Cuba's Cardinal Jaime Ortega made a secret trip to Washington last week to lobby for the lifting of the embargo. During the Cardinal's secret visit to Washington, sources told her, he had several meetings, including a meeting with Obama administration official Arturo Valenzuela, the State Department's assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, as well as meetings with certain sympathetic members of Congress.
Several sources reported to me that the Roman Catholic cardinal from Havana, Jaime Ortega, was on a secretive trip to Washington last week to lobby for an end to the travel ban. One of his meetings was rumored to be with the State Department's assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela. The State Department declined to tell me if this was true or not.
Other sources said that the cardinal reached out to members of Congress, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman and his staffer Peter Quilter. I queried Mr. Berman's office but got no reply. Regular readers of this column know Mr. Quilter's politics. As I reported in April, he traveled with Sen. John Kerry's staffer Fulton Armstrong to Tegucigalpa to warn Hondurans who backed the removal of Mr. Zelaya that they are still in the doghouse.
Something smells rotten here, and it has the same putrid stench that accompanied a certain letter released less than a couple of weeks ago. This entire affair from the very first day has a certain feculent odor to it that has always been associated with the callous opportunists here in the States and their regime counterparts in Cuba.

Webathon Meets Goal

By Joe Feuerherd NCR Publisher and editor in chief
Thank you for your support for the independent Catholic news, analysis, and commentary NCRonline provides here each day. Our weeklong "webathon" was, by any measure, a huge success. Between June 21-25 combined online and pledged "snail mail" donations to NCR exceeded $35,000. More than 750 NCRonline visitors contributed to the webathon. (Meanwhile, we're still counting the hard checks and there was additional $2,500 donated online the day following the formal close of the five-day webathon.)
Frankly, when we launched the webathon we had no idea how the NCR community would respond to this first-ever web-based appeal. The information NCR provides -- in print, online, through conferences and other platforms -- is expensive to produce, but we all live in a media environment where electronic information is considered "free." Fortunately, NCRonline visitors understand that quality journalism requires resources.
NCR is a good steward of the funds we raise. Over the next weeks and months (beginning Thursday of this week with the launch of our new "Distinctly Catholic" blog) you will see the coverage and features on NCRonline expand. And much more of the coverage you have grown to rely on is coming -- stay tuned.
Our team of reporters, correspondents and columnists, and all those who make NCR possible, are truly grateful for your support and privileged to serve our readership. As always, please feel free to contact me at jfeuerherd@ncronline with any questions, concerns or suggestions.

Cardinal George celebrates mass in Cuba

Jun. 28, 2010
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Vatican foreign minister, right, talks with Havana's city historian Eusebio Leal during a visit to the Belen Convent in Old Havana June 20. (CNS photo)
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend to friendSend to friendPDF versionPDF versionSANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops visited Cuba's most revered religious site, the sanctuary of the Virgin of El Cobre, celebrating Mass with several Cuban bishops there as well as at the cathedral of the country's second-largest city during a two-day trip to the country.
The visit by Cardinal Francis E. George June 23-24 was part of an exchange between the U.S. and Cuban churches, said Archbishop Dionisio Garcia Ibanez of Santiago, president of the Cuban bishops' conference.
"This visit ... adds to our mutual understanding, because we have always encountered understanding from the North American church," Archbishop Garcia said.
He added that the U.S. church has long been in solidarity with the Cuban bishops, who have hosted visits from their U.S. counterparts many times.
Welcoming Cardinal George and his companions to the Mass at the Metropolitan Basilica Cathedral of Santiago, Archbishop Garcia said "we are seeing here a sign of the unity of the church, a sign that there is another world where it is possible to dream of and build a world of solidarity and brotherhood."
Accompanying the cardinal were Msgr. David Malloy, general secretary of the USCCB; Jimmy Lago, Chicago Archdiocese chancellor; two other priests, Father Daniel A. Flens, and Father Richard Simon; and Margarita Garcia, a lay Hispanic ministry leader, all from Chicago.
In addition to the two liturgies, the group visited other religious and historic sites in the Santiago Archdiocese, located in the southeastern part of the island.
In his homily at the cathedral June 24, Cardinal George expressed joy at reaching Santiago, "land of the Gospel and saints," the Cuban bishops conference reported on its website. Noting that it was the feast of St. John the Baptist, he reminded the congregation of the saint's call to diminish oneself so that Jesus could increase in one's life.
"Only Jesus can give meaning to our lives," he said.
Archbishop Garcia recalled that he had been Cardinal George's guest in Chicago in 2009, "when we talked about the reality of the Cuban and North American churches."
Cardinal George and Archbishop Garcia were joined for the Mass at the sanctuary in El Cobre by Bishop Emilio Aranguren Echeverria of the Diocese of Holguin, and Bishop Alvaro Beyra Luarca of the Diocese of Santisimo Salvador de Bayamo-Manzanillo.
Cardinal George's visit followed by just days an official and pastoral trip to Cuba by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's foreign minister. Archbishop Mamberti participated in a national social ministry conference and various official government events, including a meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro.