Monday, August 9, 2010

LPP NEWS First Draft...

N.Korea fires artillery near sea border

  • 7 votes
South Korean fishing vessel 55 Daeseung sails at a port in Pohang Reuters – This handout footage recorded on a closed circuit television of Ponhang Coast Guard and released on August …

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea fired a barrage of artillery shells on Monday, some reportedly landing in South Korean waters, adding to already raised tension on the peninsula.
The firings follow the isolated state's recent threat to retaliate with "physical" force to join military drills by its wealthy southern neighbor and the United States.
The prickly North has often turned to saber-rattling in the past to make a point but analysts have in the past doubted it would dare risk all-out war which would pit it against the combined might of the U.S. and South Korean militaries.
South Korea's armed forces demanded the North immediately halt to the firing, and warned of action if it did not, KBS TV quoted unnamed military officials as saying.
It said North Korea had fired more than 100 artillery rounds into its waters off the west coast, near its disputed sea border with the South, soon after the latest military drills by South Korea had ended.
Lieutenant-Commander Yu Jae-il at the Joint Chiefs of Command in Seoul confirmed the firing, but gave no further details.
Earlier this year, the North fired a series of artillery rounds in the same area.
Tension has mounted on the peninsula this year after the sinking of a South Korean warship -- Seoul says it was sunk by a North Korean torpedo -- and a series of military drills by the United States and South Korea.
At the weekend, ties were further strained by the detention of a South Korean fishing boat by a North Korean patrol. Three Chinese nationals were among the seven sailors aboard.
The issue prompted a rare prod of its ally by China which expressed concern over reports its nationals were among those held.
TALKS AND DRILLS
Earlier on Monday, the United Nations Command said North Korean military officials had agreed to a colonel-level meeting at the Panmunjom truce village that straddles the border between the two Koreas.
Tuesday's meeting will be the fourth such talks in a month.
It said the meetings were being held to discuss the date, agenda and protocols for general-level talks on armistice issues related to the sinking of the Cheonan corvette in March, in which 46 sailors were killed.
South Korea, backed by the United States, blames the North for torpedoing the ship. North Korea denies any involvement.
In recent weeks, North Korea and its only powerful ally China have criticized the series of military drills by the United States and South Korea.
Beijing says the drills threaten both its security and regional stability. It has also made public its own recent military drills, events normally kept secret.
The South completed its own naval exercise on Monday, and will next week conduct an exercise with the United States, the second time inside a month they have conducted a joint drill.

(Additional reporting by Chris Buckley in Beijing; Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)

Don't Buy BHP Billiton Stock

Monday, August 9, 2010
Australian mining giant BHP Billiton is looking to tyrannical regimes for some good slave labor.

According to MarketWatch:

BHP's Iran, Cuba activities subject of SEC inquiry
SYDNEY -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission looked into BHP Billiton Ltd.'s (BHP.AU) activities in Iran and Cuba due to Washington's labeling of the countries as state sponsors of terrorism, according to documents filed with the regulator.

In a document filed June 15, the world's largest miner said that it had earned US$361 million in revenues from Iran in the four years to the end of June 2009 and expected to make a further US$74 million from the country in the most recent financial year.

It had also paid around US$2.3 million to state-owned Cuban nickel and mining research companies for projects in Cuba and Guatemala from 2006-2008, the company said.
Many states and municipalities in the U.S. have passed laws in recent years prohibiting the investment of public funds in corporations doing business with countries on the U.S. government's state sponsors of terrorism list.

Massachusetts last Wednesday passed an Act forcing the state's pension fund to divest its holdings in companies invested in Iran's oil industry.

The SEC occasionally looks into companies doing business in countries on the list to ensure that U.S. investors are fully informed of the level of risk involved [...]

In relation to Cuba, a BHP subsidiary hired state-owned Cuban drilling contractor Cubanex to carry out exploration drilling around its license areas in Guatemala for a contract value of US2.7 million, although only US$2.2 million was spent before the contract was suspended.

A further US$85,000 was paid to state-owned Cuban miner Geominera SA to investigate turning slag into a cement and agricultural additive.

BHP executives in 2006 and 2007 also visited Cuba, meeting the country's minister of basic industry and holding discussions on potential mineral projects, although no agreements were reached and no discussions are now ongoing, the company said.

BHP was also asked about activities in Sudan and Syria, but said it had not had contact with the countries since May 2005.
S: Capitol Hill Cubans
Beach , music and crowd at the Rotilla , the great festival " rave "in Cuba

Havana , Aug. 8 ( EFE ) .- El Festival Rotilla , the big rave in Cuba, closed 72- hours of uninterrupted music on a beach east of Havana, where thousands of young people seeking " alternative culture "of the island between tattoos , alcohol and electronic beats .
In Playa Jibacoa , dozens of tents , stages by the sea, bands and DJs, instant tattoos services , Cuban rum and an atmosphere of total spontaneity , worship the event " without stopping " , which this year celebrated its twelfth anniversary.
Style "rave" purest, Rotilla is free, promotes electronic sound in a naturist area and, according to its organizers, has very low rates of fights.
In 2009 the festival broke its own record with nearly 10,000 people, and this year was around 15,000.
The promotional campaign was launched only a few days of its launch this Friday , to avoid " overloading "the beach with a flood of young people.
Originally it was just a party among friends who wanted to dance "lawless" out of town , and for which it seemed impossible then that the Government and various state institutions arrived to support a "rave" that promotes massive part of Cuban underground art .
"He's grown so big , "he told Efe Joyce , who in 1998 was a teenager he attended with about 200 people the first " rave "in the small beach Rotilla .
Over the years, this coastline was small and had to move the party to Jibacoa , a popular beach located about 57 kilometers east of downtown Havana.
According to the Festival 's executive director , Michel Matos , the event was born as an option for fun and to " alienate "but the essential idea is to have " a different projection of a social group "that exists and find its place in Cuba.
The party became a festival for its combination of styles of electronic music to hip hop , fusion and rock , through performance , film, and even public welfare campaigns .
Rotilla achieved in 2006 directly supported by the Cuban government, whose presence is noted in factors such as police security, potable water distribution , reinforcement of public transport and the promotion in some official media release.
Matos said there have been "progress with the Government and the authorities that are responsible for managing "the region where is located the beach, but added that by tradition the festival is never free of " problems. "
His view is that , as it has grown and gained " voice in the young " , disagreements with the authorities have been higher , ranging from censorship to artists to logistical problems.
But so far no situation has been "substantial "to stop.
In fact , one of the great attractions of this year was the programming of " Villagers " , a controversial underground music duo is known for its irreverence and social criticism , whose themes pass from each other despite the censorship.
Many young people came this weekend because they heard that Playa Jibacoa " Villagers " would be playing outdoors, and also by the expectation of a " creative freedom " total Rotilla makers say they do not always allow to " politicize "the festival.
For Raymond, a young man of 21 who decided to spend three days with no tent or heat stroke , nor thirst , nor fatigue can with the curiosity to experience this " open philosophy " that has nothing to do with other festivals in Cuba.
Opponents of the "rave" , including some residents of the neighborhood, see the event as a source of dirt to the beaches in summer and as a meeting place for hippies and rockers , whose meetings are still viewed by many in Cuba with a cargo " suspect. "
But others defend the cultural heritage of Rotilla because they see it as a movement "defender" of electronic music made in the island.
"This is a mix of people with tattoos false and true , the curious who are bored in Havana and still a good techno , "he told Efe Adrian , a boy who dreams of moving the tracks as a DJ someday.
"But there are also plenty who are on the hunt. I, for one , am looking girlfriend, " he added.
Beach , music and crowd at the Rotilla , the great festival " rave "in Cuba

CHANGE is unstoppable

Santiago de las Vegas , Havana, August 5, 2010 , (PD) Government  Castro  is in a moment of despair , both pressures international , for which makes the internal opposition and it gives symptoms  fear.

Very recently it has been observed has  released  a group of political prisoners. Although it is a step forward , opponents are not satisfied yet.

Rodolfo Noda, opponent and vice -president of Pacific Online movement for Democracy ( LPD) commented:  "The treatment that they  da  prisoners at the time of release is unfair , since the move  directly from prison to the aircraft as if they were terrorists and that is who see their families. For me it is offensive. "

Also within the opposition has created a series of comments on why  give  release these prisoners of conscience. Some argue  this is because  who want to prevent the Damas de Blanco to get the Nobel Prize Peace,
what would be, say , an unprecedented moral defeat for the government of Castro. For  therefore want to avoid at all costs that happen , and as soon as possible because the time they  ends.

Jesus Hernández Matamoros, LPD member of the opposition said: `` One thing important is that with the release of these prisoners have been released to world of injustice and those who still did not trust we, the opponents , this is an assurance that we tell the truth, that we are not we lie .''

The opposition is happy now because after seven years ask intense release for prisoners of conscience, thought their efforts have not been in vain. 

In dissent are many who commented on the great sacrifice and courage of independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas , who was  almost five months on hunger strike .

Matamoros  said : "What he did Guillermo Fariñas is for history. Many do not  agreed with the strike , but we must respect the decision each person and their way of protest. "

The struggle of the Cuban opposition has been hard, but little by little it has been knowing the work performed by it in the country. The population and seem to take into account the opposition, and if many people do not  directly support is, apparently, by  fear. The reality is (no doubt about it ) that nobody wants Cuba to Castro.

With  release of prisoners from the group of 75, has taken a step forward, but still some way to go. Meanwhile, dissent each day grows numerically and takes more strength . There is more hope. All seem to feel   that change is unstoppable .   


S : Spring Digital / Front Line LPPNEWS simultaneous translation

Spread The Word

UPyD as "a coward "that the government does not recognize the Cubans as political exiles released

MADRID , Aug 9 (AFP) -

Deputy of Union, Progress and Democracy ( UPyD ), Rosa Díez, as "a coward "that the government does not recognize the Cubans released in Spain hosted political exiles , which in his opinion only aims to "do not call dictator who is a dictator " , referring to Fidel Castro.
Speaking to Europa Press, Díez has acknowledged being "very critical " with the attitude of the Spanish with the Cuban regime and the release of prisoners occurred this summer , as it considers "unacceptable" that have come to the country without receiving the recognition of political refugees.
For UPyD leader , that decision is " an act of cowardice " of the Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and his foreign minister , Miguel Angel Moratinos, "which has no purpose other than to acknowledge that in Cuba are violated human rights and that these are prisoners of conscience. "
" And do not call that a dictator is a dictator do not recognize the status of prisoners of conscience " , has reported just one day after the lawyer for six of these displaced Cubans denounce Spain announced that the Spanish Government if within six months does not give them that recognition.
"Therefore , I can not congratulate the Government of Spain, " insisted the UPyD leader , who since the birth of the band has put forward to support Cuban dissidents as one of the pillars of its policy. She along with other representatives of the party traveled to the island last May to see first hand the position of the Cuban opposition.

IMMIGRANTS IN SPAIN AS
"We must remember that these prisoners have come to Spain with a stamp in your passport that allows them to return to Cuba to them or their children - has denounced - . And that the Prime Minister and Minister Moratinos seems great. They are here as immigrants. "
At this point, wondered what we would like if the Spanish Civil War exiles from countries like Mexico , Argentina and Cuba itself had been taken " as mere immigrants. " "We would like a shame, that's what seems to me that the Government of Spain do not recognize political refugee status , I find it embarrassing , "he underlined.
S: EuropaPress/ traslate LPPNEWS Front Line
The Cuban CTC labor unions called the world to avoid a " new Holocaust "

Havana , Aug 9 ( EFE ) .- The Central de Trabajadores de Cuba ( CTC, single union ) today launched an " urgent appeal "to all the unions of the world to persuade the U.S. president , Barack Obama, not to enter a war against Iran in order to avoid a " new Holocaust . "
The CTC reports today in his weekly message to workers that call, in line with the proposal that former President Fidel Castro did last Saturday at the Cuban Parliament, which urged to try to persuade Obama to avoid a nuclear conflict on the planet .
The Cuban central also requests that the international trade union movement to call the Nobel Prize for all latitudes for this purpose to convince " that other Nobel Prize " , in reference to Obama.
" The obsessive threat of the great powers , led by the United States , to launch a military strike against Iran, is about to trigger a nuclear conflict with incalculable consequences , "the CTC.
"Serious threats of a new holocaust hanging over much of the world , "he said in a statement.
Map

WELCOME six dissidents after their release ...

Cubans go to court if Spain does not give them asylum

Six of the twenty released Cuban opponents of the Castro dictatorship , hosted in Spain since 13 July, go to court if the Spanish Government denied political asylum who have applied to regularize their legal status in the Iberian nation .
 
José Luis García ( I) , one of the exiles who lived in Spain since last July 13 , said there is still fear in the communist -led Cuba Castro. ( EFE )
 
MADRID (AFP ). These opponents want recognition of their refugee status to make it clear that they were in prison for political reasons and who were deported by the Government of Cuba, EFE reported his attorney Fernando Vizcaíno.

This status should be granted or denied within a maximum of six months by the Refugee Office , involving the Spanish Ministries of Interior Affairs and Justice.

This group , composed of six dissidents and scores of relatives, asked the Ombudsman pursuant to a decision urgently.

According to Vizcaíno, "the government unofficially told that they will not recognize ( asylum) to avoid problems with the Cuban authorities . "

In this case , "he added , dissenters would present an administrative appeal to the courts are those that meet your request.

Counsel also raises the possibility of recourse to international bodies like the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR ) to support the position of the Cuban exiles.

This group also claims to stay in Madrid and not be transferred to other Spanish cities, after the Red Cross said it's not there are vacancies in the shelters it has in the capital.

To this end , the expatriate opposition group has sent a letter to the Interior Ministry in which claims for health reasons to stay in Madrid, because some diseases are derived from his seven years in prison.

According to counsel, the Spanish Constitution protects their right to reside in the place of their choice freely.

Among these dissenters are Ricardo Gonzalez, Mikhail Bárzaga , Hernández and Julio César Gálvez. Some of the convicts who remain in Madrid processed the necessary documents to travel to U.S. with their families.

For its part, the dissident Jose Luis Garcia, emigrated to Spain, said recently that " there is no denying that the island cove still fear, but the more people jump the barrier and oppose the regime, before the necessary consensus will be achieved for coexistence . "
August 8, 2010 21:57

S:ABC Digital/ traslate  result LPPNEWS Front Line

WHY CONSERVATIVES SHOULD SUPPORT CHANGING U.S. POLICY TOWARD CUBA...


Guest Post By Tomas Bilbao, Executive Director of the Cuba Study Group

As a conservative, I have always been puzzled by supporters of the status quo in U.S. policy towards Cuba claiming that those advocating for more effective policies are all “liberals”.
It is well documented that ever since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, when President Kennedy was accused by many of abandoning hundreds of Cuban-Americans who participated in the mission, most exiles have tended to register as Republicans. Over time, they have been a loyal constituency of the party and have enjoyed significant clout in determining U.S. policy toward Cuba. However, this loyalty has come at a cost. The policies advocated by a vocal and politically active minority of Cuban-Americans --the defenders of the status quo-- have run contrary to Republican principles.
Furthermore, defenders of the status quo have spent millions lobbying the U.S. government urging it to isolate the Cuban government by restricting the rights of Americans to travel to the island. Not only is this policy misguided in that helps the Cuban government in its efforts to isolate the Cuban people, but it runs contrary to the Republican principles of the protection of individual rights from the federal government. As a conservative, I expect totalitarian regimes to limit personal freedoms, not my own government.
In an effort to micromanage Cuba’s transition, defenders of the status quo have also lobbied heavily to create complex government regulations and bureaucratic programs at a cost of hundreds of millions to the U.S. taxpayer. Conservatives would agree that privatizing assistance to Cuba’s civil society would not only be more effective, but also would represent savings of over $20 million a year to taxpayers. In addition, deregulating and privatizing this assistance could help avoid putting government contractors such as Allan Gross at risk of being arrested and charged with espionage. At the time Mr. Gross was arrested, he had received over half a million dollars in government grants to deliver to Cuba equipment that current U.S. sanctions prohibit private citizens from exporting to Cuba.
Finally, Conservatives have no business supporting policies that seek to hurt regimes at the expense of the people they victimize. Defenders of the status quo seek to deny resources to Cuba in an effort to force a desperate population to rise up against a well-fed and well-armed military. This policy not only ignores important ethical and moral considerations, but also important historical lessons. After all, it was President Ronald Reagan who, at the height of the Cold War, authorized travel and grain sales to the Soviet Union. He believed that the best way to undermine a communist government was by exposing its citizens to American travelers, products and ideas. This trust in the transformative power of individuals and the American way is what characterizes Conservatives.
I realize, however, that defenders of the status quo have been very effective in selling their argument to policymakers by arguing that changes in U.S. policy are tantamount to concessions to the Cuban regime. They argue that breaking Cuba’s isolation by eliminating travel restrictions would reward the regime by putting money in its pockets. They also dismiss efforts to empower the Cuban people by making it easier to place the liberalizing power of technology in their hands or to sell agricultural products to the Cuban government, by suggesting it is just business as usual. Thankfully, 50 years of evidence that the status quo has failed in every respect and an increasingly vocal dissident community calling for fundamental changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba are quickly proving that the real concession to the Cuban regime is to maintain the status quo.
By Tomas Bilbao
S: GlobalPost

Tags

Aug. 8, 2010, 11:26 p.m. EDT · 

BHP's Iran, Cuba activities subject of SEC inquiry

 
By David Fickling
(Adds background, company comment, detail)

SYDNEY (MarketWatch) -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission looked into BHP Billiton Ltd.'s (BHP.AU) activities in Iran and Cuba due to Washington's labelling of the countries as state sponsors of terrorism, according to documents filed with the regulator.
In a document filed June 15, the world's largest miner said that it had earned US$361 million in revenues from Iran in the four years to the end of June 2009 and expected to make a further US$74 million from the country in the most recent financial year.
It had also paid around US$2.3 million to state-owned Cuban nickel and mining research companies for projects in Cuba and Guatemala from 2006-2008, the company said.
Many states and municipalities in the U.S. have passed laws in recent years prohibiting the investment of public funds in corporations doing business with countries on the U.S. government's state sponsors of terrorism list.
Massachusetts last Wednesday passed an Act forcing the state's pension fund to divest its holdings in companies invested in Iran's oil industry.
The SEC occasionally looks into companies doing business in countries on the list to ensure that U.S. investors are fully informed of the level of risk involved.
However, the three-month inquiry ended on June 15 without further action. "The SEC inquiry was routine and has now been closed," said a BHP spokeswoman.
BHP said that less than 1% of its shares are held directly by U.S. state and municipal pension funds and universities, and 82% were held outside the U.S.
Australia and the U.K., where BHP has its main listings, have full diplomatic relations with Tehran and Havana, and the company leased office space in Tehran from Australia's government trade body Austrade while investigating constructing a natural gas pipeline with the National Iranian Oil Co. between 2002 and 2005.
Soundings with investors did "not indicate that dealings with Iran or Cuba are a significant concern", the company said.
The correspondence listed several activities BHP had carried out in the countries. Alongside the pipeline project, BHP subsidiaries had sold alumina, coking coal, manganese, and copper to state-owned Iranian companies including Esfahan Steel Co., Mobarakeh Steel Co., Iranian Aluminum Co., and National Iranian Copper Industries Co.
It had also purchased four cargoes of Iranian iron ore through Dubai-based traders during 2007 and 2008, earning a profit of US$210,000.
A BHP subsidiary has also earned tariffs for gas from the U.K.'s offshore Rhum field moved through the Bruce field, in which it is a 16% holder. Rhum is a 50-50 joint venture between NIOC and BP Plc (BP.LN).
In relation to Cuba, a BHP subsidiary hired state-owned Cuban drilling contractor Cubanex to carry out exploration drilling around its license areas in Guatemala for a contract value of US2.7 million, although only US$2.2 million was spent before the contract was suspended.
A further US$85,000 was paid to state-owned Cuban miner Geominera SA to investigate turning slag into a cement and agricultural additive.
BHP executives in 2006 and 2007 also visited Cuba, meeting the country's minister of basic industry and holding discussions on potential mineral projects, although no agreements were reached and no discussions are now ongoing, the company said.
BHP was also asked about activities in Sudan and Syria, but said it had not had contact with the countries since May 2005.

Texas rice farmers hopeful for end to Cuba embargo

Posted Sunday, Aug. 08, 2010

Tributes to Fidel Castro, statues of Che Guevara and photographs of Elian Gonzalez might not line the streets of this rice-growing town, but make no mistake about it: The farmers here are pro-Cuba.
Texas rice farmers have been watching intently as Congress ponders a bill that would lift restrictions of a decades-old trade embargo and allow tourists to travel to Cuba. Passage of the bill also would open the communist island country's market to U.S. agriculture.
Farmers in and around Egypt, a tiny agricultural community near Houston , generally describe themselves as conservative (with a few exceptions), but they are more than willing to speak favorably about opening up trade to a communist country.
"Farmers are bottom line-oriented," said Thomas Wynn, an economist and rice farmer from Egypt.
Members of Wynn's family have been working their land in Egypt since the 1800s. They are solid Texas A&M Aggies, and they're glad to pepper conversations with jokes about the University of Texas Longhorns. These days, one of the big topics of discussion in the Wynn household - and throughout rice-growing country in the southeast part of the state - has been the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2010, a bill in Congress that would lift the travel ban and allow the sale of more American goods to Cuba.
Wynn said the bill could be a key to sustaining the Texas rice farming business, which has been hit lately with diving prices and rising production costs.
"The impacts would be enough to ensure the survival of a significant percentage of Texas agriculture," Wynn said. He added that family operations in the Southern states with easy access to the Gulf of Mexico could benefit, in particular, if the bill becomes law.
Members of Congress recently passed the Cuba bill out of the U.S. House of Representatives' Agriculture Committee.
Similar efforts have failed in previous Congresses, but this just might be the year farmers have been waiting for, said Parr Rosson, a professor and economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M's Texas AgriLife Extension. A weak U.S. economy, a new presidential administration and heavy lobbying pressure from the Texas Farm Bureau and other organizations give the bill a reasonable shot at passing.
"This is the best chance in the last several years," he said.
A travel and trade embargo was established in the early 1960s as U.S. relations with the new communist country and its leader, Fidel Castro, deteriorated. Cuba had been a primary market for Texas rice, but after the embargo, the tiny nation was forced to begin buying rice from places as far away as Vietnam.
Dwight Roberts, president and CEO of the U.S. Rice Producers Association, said the bill that passed the House Agriculture Committee could be a step toward restoring Texas' place as a main supplier of rice to Cuba. "It just makes so much sense," he said.
About 10 years ago, some U.S. trade was permitted with Cuba, but there was a thorny twist: All payments had to be passed through a third country, which added cost and complication.

Cody celebrates first day back from Cuba

Last Updated: August 8, 2010 5:11am
Cody LeCompte and his mom Danette couldn't stop smiling on their 
first full day at home. (CHRIS DOUCETTE/Toronto Sun)
Cody LeCompte and his mom Danette couldn't stop smiling on their first full day at home. (CHRIS DOUCETTE/Toronto Sun)
WALSH — It will likely take Danette LeCompte many years to recover financially from her 19-year-old son’s detention in Cuba, but the elated mom couldn’t care less.
Cody is home and that’s all that matters right now.
The Simcoe woman and her son, who was stranded in the Communist country since April because of a traffic accident, arrived at their home just west of Simcoe around 11 p.m. Friday and they were met by about 150 friends and family.
They stayed awake into the wee hours catching up with everyone and then fell into the deepest sleep they’ve had in several months, feeling as though the weight of the world was finally lifted off their shoulders.
But now both mother and son must begin picking up the pieces of their shattered lives.
“This has been a horrible ordeal, but it’s over!” an obviously relieved Danette told the Sun Saturday, smiling from ear to ear.
The single mother said she slept peacefully for the first time in 3 1/2 months knowing her son was safe at home.
“I keep looking at Cody and thinking, ‘Are you really home?’” she said. “It just seems like it was all a bad dream.”
Danette splurged on a two-week vacation for herself and Cody as a way of rewarding him for getting accepted into an aviation program at Sault Ste. Marie College.
But just three days into their trip tragedy struck.
The mother and son rented a car at their resort, the Gran Club Santa Lucia, registering Cody as the driver. They had no idea you must be 21 to rent a car in Cuba and the rental agency employee never mentioned the age requirement.
The age discrepancy is actually a non-issue but some readers have wrongly assumed it is what led to Cody’s troubles.
The pair were heading to nearby Camaguey for a day of shopping, accompanied by Danette’s cousin and his Cuban fiance, when they were T-boned by a truck.
The rental car was totalled and all four occupants sent to hospital, including the fiance, who needed surgery to repair her liver but is now fine.
Soon after, Cody was told he could not leave the country until the investigation into the accident was complete — a process that can take more than a year in Cuba.
And even though he faced absolutely no charges, the teen’s Cuban lawyer warned him he could be imprisoned for up to three years.
Danette returned to Canada near the end of May for about a month to get her finances in order as best she could and she alerted her local newspaper, the Simcoe Reformer, of her son’s plight while she was home.
The distraught mom then returned to be at her son’s side.
Just over two weeks ago, Cody’s story ran in the Toronto Sun and it soon swept across the country causing outrage among citizens from coast to coast.
With Canadians vowing never to travel to Cuba and complaining about the apparent lack of action from foreign affairs, the Harper government stepped in and a deal was worked out within days.
Cody was ultimately allowed to return home after paying 2,000 pesos bail and signing an order stating he would return to the Caribbean island if there is ever a trial.
“We can get back to our lives now,” Danette said.
They both plan to take a few days to catch their breath before heading back to work — Danette at the courthouse in Simcoe and Cody at a marina and boating supply store in Port Dover.
Cody also has to have a doctor check out his hand, which was mangled in the accident.
“I’m just glad to be home,” Cody said.
He doesn’t have much time, but he hopes to still be able to go to college this fall if he can get the money together and get his hand fixed in time.
His college attendance was one of the reasons Cuba was willing to allow him to leave, Danette said, explaining officials in the impoverished consider education a high priority.
Between lawyer fees, the cost of renting cars to deal with the legal process, and their stay at the resort, among other things, Danette now owes well over $30,000.
“My credit cards are all pretty much maxed out,” she said. “But it’s only money.”
Her cellphone bills alone have been run up to about $6,000.
“I just received my latest monthly bill from Rogers and it’s for $1,900,” Danette said.
Her phone was her lifeline back to Canada and she used it many times a day just to talk to the media, who were instrumental in helping them.
“That’s what got us home,” Danette said. “So it was well worth it.” “It’s going to take a long time for me to pay it back, but seeing Cody here says it all,” she added.
Danette has made it clear that she is not asking for financial support from anyone.
However, a trust fund has been set up with TD Canada Trust by a concerned citizen.
And Kevin McCart, who started the Facebook group Bring Cody LeCompte Home, is finalizing the details for a benefit concert that will be held in Hamilton on Sept. 3.
Check out the Facebook group for details on the concert and the trust fund.
chris.doucette@sunmedia.ca

LPP Archive...


Controversial:

Better Off Red?
Twenty Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Recalling the Liberal Media's Blindness to the Evils of Communism


Enthralled with Fidel Castro's Communist Paradise

Even as communism was failing in Europe, journalists continued to lavish positive press on Cuba’s communist regime. Dictator Fidel Castro was painted as a romantic revolutionary, as he had been for more than half a century. Back on January 18, 1959, New York Times reporter Herbert L. Matthews exulted in Castro’s seizure of Cuba: “Everybody here seems agreed that Dr. Castro is one of the most extraordinary figures ever to appear on the Latin-American scene. He is by any standards a man of destiny.”

In 1997, CNN became the first U.S.-based news organization with a full-time news bureau in Cuba since the communist takeover, but the U.S. network became just another cog in Castro’s propaganda machine. A Media Research Center study of CNN’s coverage of Cuba during the first five years after their bureau opened found that communist officials made up 77 percent of CNN’s talking heads, versus 11 percent for the Catholic Church and 12 percent for dissidents. Of the network’s 212 Cuba stories, just seven focused on dissidents.

Liberal journalists ritualistically repeated Havana’s talking points about their nation having the best health and education systems. During the 2000 custody battle over five-year-old refugee Elian Gonzalez, U.S. reporters weirdly suggested Cuba was “a more peaceable society that treasures its children.” In the 2009 debate over health care policy in the U.S., CNN even went so far as to hold up Cuba as a model because “no one falls through the cracks.”

“There is, in Cuba, government intrusion into everyone’s life, from the moment he is born until the day he dies. The reasoning is that the government wants to better the lives of its citizens and keep them from exploiting or hurting one another....On a sunny day in a park in the old city of Havana it is difficult to see anything that is sinister.”
— NBC reporter Ed Rabel on Cuban life, Sunday Today, February 28, 1988. [Audio/video (1:36): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

“Castro has delivered the most to those who had the least....Education was once available to the rich and the well-connected. It is now free to all....Medical care was once for the privileged few. Today it is available to every Cuban and it is free....Health and education are the revolution’s great success stories.”
— Peter Jennings reporting from Havana on ABC’s World News Tonight, April 3, 1989. [Audio/video (0:51): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

“He [Fidel Castro] said he wanted to make a better life for Cuba’s poor. Many who lived through the revolution say he succeeded....Today even the poorest Cubans have food to eat, their children are educated and even critics of the regime say Cubans have better health care than most Latin Americans.”
— Reporter Paula Zahn on Good Morning America, April 3, 1989.

“Considered one of the most charismatic leaders of the 20th century....[Fidel] Castro traveled the country cultivating his image, and his revolution delivered. Campaigns stamped out illiteracy and even today, Cuba has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.”
— Katie Couric reporting on NBC’s Today, February 13, 1992.

“Frankly, to be a poor child in Cuba may in many instances be better than being a poor child in Miami, and I’m not going to condemn their lifestyle so gratuitously.”
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift on The McLaughlin Group, April 8, 2000. [Audio/video (0:11): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

“Elian [Gonzalez] might expect a nurturing life in Cuba, sheltered from the crime and social breakdown that would be part of his upbringing in Miami....The boy will nestle again in a more peaceable society that treasures its children.”
— Brook Larmer and John Leland, April 17, 2000 Newsweek.

“While Fidel Castro, and certainly justified on his record, is widely criticized for a lot of things, there is no question that Castro feels a very deep and abiding connection to those Cubans who are still in Cuba. And, I recognize this might be controversial, but there’s little doubt in my mind that Fidel Castro was sincere when he said, ‘listen, we really want this child back here.’”
— Dan Rather live on CBS the morning of the Elian raid, April 22, 2000.

“The school system in Cuba teaches that communism is the way to succeed in life and it is the best system. Is that de-programming, or is that national heritage?”
— NBC News reporter Jim Avila from Cuba on CNBC’s Upfront Tonight, June 27, 2000.

“For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent.”
— Barbara Walters on ABC’s 20/20, October 11, 2002. [Audio/video (0:11): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

“There’s a good chance that Fidel Castro, who marks his 78th birthday today, could keep going for another 40 years, the Cuban leader’s personal physician says....Cuban officials say the same revolutionary zeal that has driven nearly five decades of socialism can overcome the ravages of time....At least 40 different Cuban research groups are said to be at work unlocking the secrets of aging. The research ranges from studying special diets to basic research on genetics.”
— Reporter Eric Sabo in an August 13, 2004 USA Today story headlined, “Cuba pursues a 120-year-old future.”

“For all its flaws, life in Castro’s Cuba has its comforts, and unknown alternatives are not automatically more attractive....Many foreigners consider it propaganda when Castro’s government enumerates its accomplishments, but many Cubans take pride in their free education system, high literacy rates and top-notch doctors. Ardent Castro supporters say life in the United States, in contrast, seems selfish, superficial, and — despite its riches — ultimately unsatisfying.”
— Associated Press writer Vanessa Arrington in an August 4, 2006 dispatch, “Some Cubans enjoy comforts of communism.”

Anchor Don Lemon: “Cuba as a model for health care reform? Well, we’ll see. It is a poor country. But it can boast about health care, a system that leads the way in Latin America. So, what are they doing right?...”
Reporter Morgan Neill: “There are some impressive statistics. According to the World Health Organization, Cuba’s life expectancy is 78 years. The same as Chile and Costa Rica and the highest in Latin America. And its infant mortality rates are the lowest in the hemisphere.... Health officials admit the system isn’t perfect, but, they say, no one falls through the cracks.”
— 12pm ET hour of CNN Newsroom, August 6, 2009.

S:Media Research Center