Monday, September 20, 2010

LPP First Draft...

The Smartest Guy in the Room

Monday, September 20, 2010
Thinks the Cuban people are dumb.

In yesterday's Washington Post, George P. Will sounded like the smartest guy in the room.

In his column on Cuba policy, Mr. Will discussed Paris cafes, Danzig, Les Deux Magots, Existentialism, Zeitgeist, Jean-Paul Sartre and Czeslaw Milosz.

Then, after setting up his impressive intellectual bona fides, he dedicated one sentence (at the very end) to U.S. policy towards Cuba:

"The U.S. policy of isolating Cuba by means of economic embargoes and travel restrictions serves two Castro goals: It provides an alibi for Cuba's social conditions, and it insulates Cuba from some of the political and cultural forces that brought down communism in Eastern Europe."

While we have the utmost respect for Mr. Will -- and he may very well be the smartest guy in the room -- he succumbed to the same seductive stagger of other intellectuals (some who he ironically criticizes in the column) when addressing Cuba policy:


The premise of Mr. Will's rationale against current U.S. policy is based on a misguided (and insulting) presumption that the Cuban people are dumb -- that they believe Castro's "alibi" for the regime's failures and should therefore be educated by U.S. "political and cultural forces."

Obviously, he is unaware of the tragic plight and death this past February of a 42-old Afro-Cuban plumber -- turned pro-democracy activist and political prisoner -- Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died pursuant to an 85-day hunger strike against the tortures and abuses of the Castro regime.

Despite his humble origins, Mr. Zapata didn't believe the Castro regime's nonsense, nor did he need "political and cultural forces" to explain the severity of Cuba's totalitarian dictatorship. Moreover, Mr. Zapata's entire family, who reside in the remote town of Banes in eastern Cuba and remain under siege by Castro's secret police, don't need "enlightenment" -- they need "solidarity."
As we've said on multiple occasions -- these courageous pro-democracy activists can teach us a thing or two about the importance of freedom, which we so often take for granted; of the overwhelming challenges of modern-day civil disobedience in the face of unchecked brutality; and of the high cost it entails.

And the Zapata family is just the tip of the iceberg. The hundreds of thousands of Cubans that have endured Castro's political prisons, the countless numbers that have met their fate at the firing squad and in the treacherous Florida Straits, and the millions exiled are a constant reminder that the Cuban people are well-aware of the challenge at hand -- it is called Fidel and Raul Castro.

Therefore, the last thing the U.S. should do is bailout and embolden the Castros' politically, socially and economically bankrupt regime.

In the meantime Mr. Will, don't underestimate the Cuban people.

LADIES IN WHITE : the dictatorship is exercised " psychological pressure " AGAINST POLITICAL PRISONERS TO OPPOSE TO leave Cuba
Written by Stated in the field   
Las Damas de Blanco listas para iniciar su marcha dominical en reclamo de la liberación de todos los presos políticos, en La Habana, Cuba.
Las Damas de Blanco , movement of female relatives of the 75 Cuban dissidents jailed in 2003 , reported today that there " psychological pressure '' from the Government of the island on prisoners that group who refuse to be released and immediately transferred Spain.
Laura Pollan , female community leader , told reporters There are 12 of the 20 prisoners are still incarcerated group until now " kept saying not to go .''

''I do not know what will happen to them,'' he added , while reported the existence of " psychological pressure on them to '' desist from its refusal to invoke a process that releases so far has gone through the obligation to travel directly to Spain.
In this regard he cited as example the case of Eduardo Díaz Fleitas, "Which were one month in the hospital 's Combined ( The prison Havana) along with all those who were leaving for a retraction and said he was going ,'' and Nelson Molinet , who have done '' and had the same result ,'' referring to finally relented and will be among the next to travel .
Berta Soler , a spokesman for the Ladies in White , said the Government " has so far not released to those who want to know stay in Cuba ''and " these men have engaged in a ' pot pressure ' softening the brain to say yes (it will ) , then many are not thought out with this form of exile, but have accepted because the family has been very influential .''
Both Pollán as Soler said their husbands , Hector Maseda and Angel Moya , who marks 20 years in prison, say they do not accept the condition of being released from prison and leave the country .
The Archbishop of Havana on Friday announced the next release of Nelson Molinet Espino , Héctor Raúl Valle Hernández, Miguel Galván Gutiérrez and José Miguel Martínez Hernández , who conveyed directly to Spain with his family in no time specified , depending on the speed of the procedures and availability of flights.
Under the agreement reached last May between the government of Raul Castro and senior Cuban Church hierarchy , supported by Executive of Spain , 52 dissidents would be released within four months from July 12 and sent to Spain their families.
S: Cuba Libre Digital Dispatch / LPPNEWS results -Last updated on Sunday, September 19, 2010 21:40

Washington Post: Cuban regime seeks only to perpetuate themselves in power

The Associated Press

Economic reforms in Cuba recently announced only seeking keep in power the communist government , which was forced to take them because their model has failed , the newspaper said on Monday Washington Post.
The decision to remove half a million employees of the state payroll it is only because "the regime Gerontocratic "of Cuba "is in trouble "and" only kept afloat by millionaires grants from the erratic Hugo Chavez, " the paper said in a editorial published on Monday.
The Cuban government has "no intention of allowing greater political freedom "and therefore both launches " halfway economic measures and political maneuvering , with the hope to patch the system without having to change it, " adds publication.
The paper rejects the hypothesis that Cuba is directed to a system like China or Vietnam, where allows the free market but with a strong political control.
"In Castro brothers actually seem to be trying to implement measures such as emergency reforms implemented in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union ... The government will impose strong regulations and taxes to the private sector without providing capital or access to raw materials or foreign investment , "says the paper.
The Post argued against lifting the embargo to the island : "Any fundamental change in U.S. policy toward Cuba must wait until fundamental reforms by the regime. When the Cubans have the right to freedom of speech and assembly ... will be the time that tourists and U.S. businesses can return to the island. "

Psychological pressure to leave Cuba prisoners

Las Damas de Blanco denounce the pressures of the Castro dictatorship to redeem release for deportation to Spain.

HO EDITORIAL.- Laura Pollan , leader of the umbrella organization Wives of jailed dissidents , said that they are pressured by the government of Raul Castro to accept convicts moved to Spain.
Pollan has told reporters that There are 12 of the 20 prisoners the group that undertook the Castro dictatorship and to liberate still jailed because until now " kept saying he would not leave. "
" We do not know what will happen to them, " he added , while reported the existence of " psychological pressure " on them to desist from its refusal to invoke a process that releases conditions to those released to travel directly to Spain .
Berta Soler, spokesman for the Ladies in White said the government of Raul Castro "as yet releasing those who know they want to stay in Cuba " and " these men have engaged in a ' pressure cooker ' softening the brain to told to leave. "
Both Pollán as Soler said their husbands , Héctor Maseda and Angel Moya , who marks 20 years in prison , say who do not accept the condition of being released and left the country .
The Archbishop of Havana announced last week that released next Nelson Molinet Espino , Héctor Raúl Valle Hernández , Miguel Galván Gutiérrez and José Miguel Martínez Hernández conveyed directly to Spain with his family .

September 20, 2010

Half measures are not enough, paper says; Cuba must first make fundamental reforms

Fidel and Raúl Castro ("the gerontocratic rulers of Cuba") are launching a series of "economic half measures and political feints in the hope of patching their regime without having to change it," begins an editorial Monday in The Washington Post.
The gradual release of political prisoners is another tactic, the paper says.
Calls in the United States for a lifting of the embargo and the end of travel restrictions are "part of the Castros' strategy [that] the Obama administration will respond and that a wave of American tourists will arrive with desperately needed dollars."
A liberalization of travel restrictions "may be the best response to the Castros' half measures," The Post says. But "fundamental changes of U.S. policy toward Cuba should await fundamental reforms by the regime.
"When average Cubans are allowed the right to free speech and free assembly, [...] it will be time for American tourists and business executives to return to the island."
To read the entire editorial, click here.

September 19, 2010

Basic Industry chief fired for 'deficiencies'

Yádira García Vera has (fot2) been removed as Minister of Basic Industry because of "deficiencies in the direction of the organization," a news item on the Saturday evening newscast said.
The announcement said that the Council of State, at the initiative of Raúl Castro, had decided to "liberate" García  from her post because those deficiencies were "particularly reflected in the weak control over the resources set aside for the investment and productive process."
First Vice Minister Tomás Benítez Hernández will replace García "on a provisional basis," the TV announcer said.
The Ministry of Basic Industry oversees three sectors of the economy: energy (oil and electricity), geology (mining) and chemistry.
García, 55, had held the post since October 2004.
Posted by Renato Perez at 09:53 PM in Economy & Trade, Personalities, Raul Castro
Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) 
S: Cuban Colada

Cuba fires minister in charge of oil and nickel

Published September 19, 2010
| Reuters
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba fired Basic Industry Minister Yadira Garcia, in charge of the oil and nickel industries, Sunday and said the first vice minister would stand in until a replacement was named.
A government communique said Garcia was let go due to "her deficiencies manifested, especially in poor control of resources destined for investment and the productive process."
First Vice Minister Thomas Benitez was named as a temporary replacement "until a new minister can be appointed," the statement said.
The ministry is also in charge of the cement industry and domestic pharmaceutical industry.
The Cuban oil industry is preparing to drill with foreign partners in the Gulf of Mexico next year and in partnership with Venezuela is developing its refining and other oil related infrastructure.
Unrefined nickel is Cuba's most important export at around 70,000 tonnes per year and a joint venture with Venezuela plans to add 60,000 tonnes of ferronickel by 2013.
Garcia was the last economic minister inherited by President Raul Castro in 2008 when he replaced ailing brother Fidel Castro.
Raul Castro replaced the other ministers in 2009.
(Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

Conservatives see 'right values' in Fla. candidate Rubio

AP/Cliff Owen

By Susan Page

LONGWOOD, Fla. — If Christine O’Donnell reflects the political risks of the Tea Party, Marco Rubio represents its potential promise.
In Delaware, O’Donnell’s upset primary victory last week may cost the GOP what could have been an easy pick-up of a Senate seat. In Florida, however, Rubio has built a double-digit lead in statewide polls this month over Democrat Kendrick Meek and the state’s popular Republican-turned-independent governor, Charlie Crist.

Rubio, whose insurgent campaign pushed Crist out of the GOP primary, has consolidated Republican support and made some small gains among independent voters — and in the nation’s largest swing state. He has done that with a disciplined message focused on limited government, a compelling life story as the son of Cuban immigrants and an earnest demeanor. A former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, he also has the sort of previous political experience that most of the major Tea Party-backed candidates lack.

(Is GOP platform large enough for Tea Party?)
Rubio says he is fighting to protect American exceptionalism.

"When the story of this election is written, it’ll say that it was a year when Americans kind of glimpsed what it would be like to redefine our country and said ‘no thanks,’ " Rubio, 39, said in an interview in the men’s locker room at Alaqua Country Club, the only quiet spot around after he had delivered a speech to an overflow crowd in the clubhouse.

In the Obama administration, "I think you have people who have dreamed of making America more like Western Europe," particularly on economic policy, he said. He said they had seized the recession’s travails as "a perfect opportunity" to move in that direction — and in the process created the Tea Party movement.

(What is the Tea Party? A growing state of mind)
The event in the gated community outside Orlando opened with a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and an effusive introduction by David Barton, leader of a Christian evangelical group called WallBuilders.

Rubio told the crowd that he had entered the Senate race 18 months earlier and 35 percentage points behind Crist for the Republican nomination. "The only people who thought I could win lived inside my home, and four of them were under the age of 10," he said to laughter.

"I honestly believe he’s doing it because he believes it in his heart," Patsy Gilbert of Orlando declares afterwards. She has been making appearances at conventions and elsewhere for the past two years as a Sarah Palin impersonator — there is a definite resemblance — but says she attended today simply to hear what Rubio had to say.

"When you see somebody with conviction, they will not be snaggled with the system," she says approvingly.

A Tea Party test

Rubio has pulled ahead in his Senate race, at least for now, while some Senate hopefuls in other states who triumphed in Republican primaries with Tea Party support are struggling.

In overwhelmingly Republican Utah, Mike Lee is favored to win, but Rand Paul in Kentucky, Ken Buck in Colorado and Sharron Angle in Nevada are in close contests. The race in Alaska was shaken up Friday when Sen. Lisa Murkowski, defeated by Tea Party-backed Joe Miller in the GOP primary, announced she would run as a write-in. O’Donnell, who defeated Rep. Mike Castle in Delaware’s primary, trails in early polls by double digits.

(Tea Party's win fuels a 'civil war' within GOP)
Some conservatives see Rubio as a rising star who may be able to broaden the movement’s appeal and bridge the divide between establishment Republicans and Tea Party newcomers.

(A look at some of the Tea Party's biggest leaders)
The fight in Florida will be a test of that.

"You’ve got to take it one step at a time...but the fact is that Rubio has got all the talents," says David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union and organizer of the Conservative Political Action Conference. Rubio received a hero’s welcome when he addressed the influential gathering in February. "He’s young enough; he’s articulate enough; he’s got a good narrative and he’s got the right values for the party. If he proves himself, he could well become the face of the party in eight years or so."

‘It’s still volatile’

The race in Florida isn’t over.

"It’s still volatile," says Susan MacManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida. Crist and Meek are battling to become the more credible alternative to Rubio. Crist has the support of a majority of independents, a Reuters-Ipsos poll released last week found, but Meek has made gains among Democrats.

Rubio, meanwhile, has been dogged by questions about his personal finances, including his use of a Republican Party credit card while he was speaker.

Still, the four most recent statewide polls this month all show Rubio with healthy leads.

Crist says "there’s merit to the argument" that the race will turn when Democratic voters decide whether he or Meek has a better chance to defeat Rubio. In an interview at the Tallahassee airport, Crist, 54, said he has been "liberated" by his decision to leave the GOP — it wasn’t entirely voluntary, since he seemed certain to lose the primary — and run as an independent.

"If people want somebody who is hard right or hard left, they have those choices in this race," he said. "If on the other hand they want somebody who is more down the middle, then Charlie Crist is their choice."

For his part, Meek called Crist a political opportunist who belatedly is embracing Democratic positions on off-shore drilling and other issues.

"It’s always been about the run for the next office," Meek said of Crist, and he warned that the governor’s turncoat status in the GOP will intensify the party’s determination to beat him: "He’s a guy wearing a kerosene suit in a three-alarm fire."

In an interview, Meek, 44, said he had been disappointed by the failure of national Democrats so far to do more against Crist, who has suggested he might be a Democratic ally if elected to the Senate. "They’re using the excuse they’d like to see the race at a 3- or 4-point margin" before investing more in his campaign, Meek said, but noted he had surged to victory in the final weeks before the Democratic primary to beat a billionaire challenger.

(Poll: Democrats in power could be in peril)
"This is Florida," he said, where the politics can be unpredictable. "Because it’s a three-way race, that needle will move at least two or three times before Nov. 2 arrives."

This article was originally published on

Igor passes near Bermuda as Category 1 hurricane


Wind and rain batter the trees and boats in Mangrove Bay as Hurricane Igor moves onto Bermuda, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) AP – Wind and rain batter the trees and boats in Mangrove Bay as Hurricane Igor moves onto Bermuda, Sunday, …
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HAMILTON, Bermuda – Hurricane Igor swept past Bermuda, lashing at the Atlantic island with high winds and furious waves as power failed in many areas, plunging people hunkered down at home into darkness and leaving officials waiting for Monday's sunrise to assess damage.
The storm, which had weakened to barely a Category 1 hurricane as it approached the British territory Sunday, passed about 40 miles (65 kilometers) to the west just before midnight but sustained hurricane-strength winds of 75 mph (120 kph) battered the island. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said gusts ranged up to 93 mph (150 kph).
A hurricane warning that had been in effect for Bermuda was downgraded early Monday to a tropical storm warning. Meanwhile, a tropical storm watch was issued for the coast of Newfoundland in Canada.
Igor was predicted to veer northeast away from the United States, although forecasters said it would still cause high surf and strong rip currents along the U.S. eastern seaboard.
Wind whipped around trees and power poles on Bermuda, while furious waves crashed over breakwaters and bridges and yachts strained at their moorings. There were no early reports of major damage, although power was out in many areas and communications were spotty.
"We're certainly getting our money's worth in drama," lawyer James Dodi said while standing outside a downtown hotel in Hamilton watching Igor's winds whip through palm trees and howl around buildings Sunday night.
Dodi, 43, a native of Toronto who moved from Canada six years ago, left his Hamilton home and took refuge at the hotel.
Flooding was reported in low-lying areas of Bermuda, while streets in downtown Hamilton, the capital, were covered in several inches of water and littered with tree branches and other debris.
Bermuda's power utility reported that roughly 19,500 customers had lost electricity by Sunday evening on the British territory of 68,000 inhabitants.
Jah Simmons, 25, and Gregory Wilson, 36, headed into the center of Hamilton after their homes lost power. Both said they were relieved the storm was not stronger. "It's a blessing in my mind," Simmons said.
Igor lost strength and was downgraded from a Category 2 hurricane before dawn Sunday, raising optimism that Bermuda would be spared major damage.
"We prayed that the storm would be downgraded, and it looks like our prayers have been answered," said Fred Swan, a 52-year-old teacher.
Before Igor arrived, some storm-seasoned Bermudians ventured outside to marvel as 15-foot (5-meter) surf crashed ashore, even through the government warned people to stay indoors, keeping in mind that the high surf kicked up by Igor earlier swept two people out to sea in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, far to the south.
Most Bermudians played it safe and stayed at home, listening to the howling winds and cracking thunder outside.
School principal Marion Dyer, 47, said she holed up with her 8-year-old daughter and two others after losing power around dawn Sunday, when Igor's outer bands began severely whipping Bermuda.
"Now and again we get bursts of wild wind which sends the rain in all directions," Dyer wrote in an e-mail to an Associated Press reporter. "We have heard several rolls of thunder which are becoming more frequent."
While many tourists hopped on flights home before the airport closed Saturday, Elaine and Brian LaFleur of New Bedford, Massachusetts, said they actually moved up their arrival so they would be here when Igor hit. They wanted a new experience for their 28th trip to the island.
"We've done everything else on this island, but we've never experienced a hurricane," said Elaine LaFleur, 62.
Hotel cancellations were reported across Bermuda, an island about 600 miles off the U.S. coast that is popular with tourists for its pink sand beaches and with businesspeople as an offshore financial haven.
But some islanders checked into resorts to ride out the storm. At the Fairmont Hamilton Princess hotel, about half the 410 rooms were occupied, said Jonathan Crellin, the general manager.
"The hotel is locked down tight and ready to take Igor when he arrives in full," Crellin said from the hotel, which like most buildings in the territory is built of solid concrete.
Bermuda's building codes specify that homes must be built with walls at least eight inches thick, and be able to withstand 150 mph (241 kph) gusts and sustained winds of 110 mph (177 kph). Some power and phone lines are underground.
Officials said schools would be closed Monday and Tuesday, and a local newspaper canceled its Monday edition.
Also in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Julia was maintaining its intensity as it swirled about 1,165 miles (1,880 kilometers) west of the Azores with maximum sustained winds near 45 mph (75 kph).