Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Skull & Bones: John Kerry ...

Presidential candidate John Kerry on Meet the Press, not talking about Yale's 'secret society' Skull & Bones.

LPP First Draft...

Kerry's "Hold" Benefits Castro

Monday, June 13, 2011
From Investor's Business Daily's Editorial Board:

Who Benefits? Castro
With Democrats resisting spending cuts in the great budget battles, all of a sudden one Democrat, Sen. John Kerry, is interested in cutting a measly U.S. program to promote democracy in Cuba. Something smells bad.

The senior senator from Massachusetts, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has inexplicably put a "hold" on a $20 million USAID program to support democracy, human rights and civil society in Cuba, a crumbling communist dictatorship that hasn't seen freedom in 52 years.

It's not that Kerry has any interest in Cuba. Congressional sources say a top staffer with pro-Cuba sympathies, Fulton Armstrong, is putting the screws to the program even at the expense of his boss' political interests. A lot of them think it would be nice to know why.

Ostensibly, the aim of Kerry's "hold" is to save money. But wait a second — that's because "the programs only provoke Havana, which has made it illegal to receive the U.S. funds," as the Miami Herald reported.
From the U.S. perspective, that makes no sense. Wittingly or not, the beneficiary of this "hold" is the Castro regime, even if the "hold" just delays the program.
Initiated in 2005, the program has always enjoyed bipartisan support. Even the Obama administration favors it and has repeatedly said that full relations with Cuba cannot be restored until the regime moves to permit basic liberties. The hold has created an atmosphere of "fistfights" among Democrats, as one source told IBD.

There's also no smoking gun of waste or fraud. Putting funds on hold will only ensure that Cuba's oppressed citizens don't get Internet and text-messaging access, dissidents go without food support, and students miss training on basic business concepts and how free markets work, among other things the program does.
Armstrong's initiative is so strange it's got Capitol Hill boggling at how it works against even the interests of his own boss. Hill sources say Kerry is interested in being named Obama's next secretary of state. He'd be a shoe-in for that, but his "hold" puts in question whether he could be confirmed by his own fellow Democrats.

His successor on the committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., is a Cuban-American who values this program highly. "What are his chances of getting confirmed after this?" a source close to Congress asks.

As Armstrong takes this rogue action, it's notable that his pro-Cuba sympathies are no secret — he favors lifting the U.S. embargo and establishing diplomatic relations, like many Americans.

Capitol Hill Cubans

Post-op Chavez runs government from Cuba

Oil-giant Venezuela tries to limit energy use AFP – Venezuelan Minister of Electricity Ali Rodriguez speaks during a press conference in Corpoelec (National …

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he had his "full faculties" after an operation in Cuba and was still managing government affairs despite being ordered to rest for several days more.
Chavez, 56, had a pelvic abscess successfully removed on Friday during a scheduled visit to Cuba, forcing him to postpone his return to Venezuela.
"I am in full control of my faculties," Chavez told TV network Telesur, saying he was in constant touch with his ministers and giving orders for state affairs.
The operation, following a knee injury and string of colds that kept Chavez out of the public limelight for weeks, has put a spotlight on the health of a man who prides himself on loving sport and projecting a physically robust image.
Supporters have been praying for his recovery, while critics have been insinuating he may have something worse.
"The operation was a success," Chavez said. "There is no malignant sign and no infection."
Ally and mentor Fidel Castro, the former Cuban president, had been at his bedside, bringing films and books to help him while away the time, Chavez said.
"He attends to every detail."
The president said he had signed a law to double the Venezuelan government's debt limit this year.
Chavez said he was also anxiously tracking power cuts that are irritating many in Venezuela.
The latest wave of blackouts, in the western oil-rich state of Zulia, have been headline news in Venezuela for days, with some residents taking up pots and pans to protest.
"The electricity issue has me very worried," Chavez said, urging Venezuelans to save power and accusing some enemies of deliberately sabotaging the grid.
Asked when he would be back in Venezuela, Chavez said it was impossible to predict but "it won't be long."
The socialist leader's close relationship with communist-led Cuba has been controversial throughout his 12 years in office. Chavez's open acknowledgment of Castro as his inspiration infuriates his political opponents.
Chavez's operation has set off chatter about his government's dependence on him, and his one-man domination of the political apparatus.
"Chavez has no obvious successor with his immense charisma and unrivaled political talents, at least among his small inner circle," UK-based newsletter LatinNews said.
Without him in theory, the "revolution" might not survive while the removal of subsidized oil shipments to Cuba and other Caribbean and Central American governments could change the political dynamic around the region, it added.
In practice, though, Chavez plans to run for re-election in 2012 and is currently favorite to win in most analysts' views.
(Additional reporting by Deisy Buitrago)

Cuba under the lens at the Getty Museum

'A Revolutionary Project: Cuba from Walker Evans to Now' invites viewers to contemplate the country's many contradictions through a wide array of photographs.


Ernesto "Che" Guevara makes several matinee-idol turns in the Getty Museum's just-opened photography exhibition, "A Revolutionary Project: Cuba from Walker Evans to Now."

There he is as a dashing, beret-clad guerrillero in Alberto Korda's iconic portrait. And there, posing with his future wife, Aleida, in 1958, as the communist rebels prepared to oust the brutal Batista dictatorship. And again, vigorously pitching in with volunteer work as Fidel Castro's minister of industry in 1961.

But the photo of the revolutionary leader that best encapsulates the show's themes and conveys the tensions of the country in its crosshairs isn't a picture of Che exactly. It's Virginia Beahan's 2004 image of a shoe store in the central Cuban city of Camagüey. A portrait of Guevara dominates the shop's window display, but there isn't a single pair of zapatos in sight.

Viewers are invited to contemplate whether the United States' ferociously effective, decades-long economic embargo, the Cuban government's misbegotten socialist policies, or some combination is to blame for turning the store, and countless others like it into a ghostly shell. Similar questions and Cuba's many contradictions — physical beauty and stark impoverishment, political ideals and Cold War debacles, tragic failure and boundless potential — arise repeatedly in the exhibition, whose works span the early 1930s to the present.

"Part of what we wanted to do was to show people various sides of what Cuba is like now, because there is such a myth about not only its history but its current state of affairs," says Judith Keller, the Getty's senior curator of photographs.

"I think it's the contradiction of the great potential you see in the people," continues Keller, who visited Cuba last year with the exhibition's co-curator, Brett Abbott, curator of photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. "There literally is music on every block and people being very productive and trying to patch up their housing. But at the same time the place is crumbling, and there is no food in the shops."

The Getty's unveiling of Evans' photos from the 1930s would be an event practically all by itself.

When a publisher sent Evans to Havana in 1933, his nominal mission was to produce photos to accompany a book, "The Crime of Cuba," by radical reporter Carleton Beals, a diatribe about oppressive, unequal conditions under then-President Gerardo Machado.

Chracteristically, Evans was more attracted to the flâneur culture of Havana's shabby-genteel streets and its architecture's faded grandeur. His images of plantation serfs and Havana beggars, fashionable women and swarthy stevedores in rakishly angled hats, cigars and cigarettes dangling insouciantly from their lips, combine sharp social observation with formal elegance.

The Getty, which owns large holdings of the legendary photojournalist's work, published a book of his Cuba pictures in 2001 but is displaying them en masse for the first time.

The three contemporary photographers in the show get under the country's skin in very different ways. Beahan focuses on the historical and cultural narratives that lie hidden in plain sight in Cuba's landscapes. Her deadpan depictions of the bay where Christopher Columbus made one of his first stops in the New World and the beach where the exiled Castro returned to start a revolution disguise their significance like undercover spies.

By contrast, her pictures of pro-government billboards dotting Cuba's highways practically shriek out their Spanish-language slogans ("If They Invade Us, I Will Die Fighting — Fidel").

Russian-born Alexey Titarenko turns a skeptical if sympathetic eye on what had become of Fidel Castro's Workers' Paradise after its Soviet sponsors withdrew their financial and military support in the early 1990s. Keller says that Titarenko deliberately photographed Havana in much the same way he'd photographed his native St. Petersburg in a previous series, "as a communist kind of Cold War city that has suffered very much from the communist policies and communist rule. And so he, with his black and white and very sort of dusty gray imagery, he is removing any spark, any color from the city [Havana], which is in fact very colorful."

The third contemporary photographer, Alex Harris, a former student of Evans, ponders the hate-love relationship between Cuba and the United States through three very different lenses: the lives of Cuban prostitutes, the windshields of vintage American cars, and the busts and sculptures of the great Cuban poet and national hero José Martí that are ubiquitous throughout the island.

"I became very interested in the idea of Cuba, what is it people hope for, dreamed of, hoped to obtain, and I think I really found it in this one individual [Martí]," says Harris, speaking by phone from North Carolina, where he teaches at Duke University.

The ambivalent tone of the outsiders' images is countered by the jubilant mood of photos taken by Cuban photographers during the heady days of the revolution in the early years of Castro's rule. Some, like Perfecto Romero's image of Camilo Cienfuegos asking Batista's soldiers to surrender, depict actual historic watersheds. Others were staged to promote revolutionary ideology. Castro, a master in constructing his own brand of celebrity populism, grasped the propaganda value of photography and how it could be used to forge a new Cuban identity. That intent can be seen in Osvaldo Salas' photos of young artillerymen at the Bay of Pigs, defiantly brandishing their rifles after the disastrously failed U.S.-backed coup attempt.

The Getty's show, which runs through Oct. 2, is one of L.A.'s opening salvos in a months-long cultural salute to the island nation that's taking place on both U.S. coasts this year. Upcoming happenings include a display of Cuban film posters at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, performances by the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in Costa Mesa and Los Angeles, a spotlight on contemporary Cuban cinema at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and an Aug. 24 Hollywood Bowl concert headlined by the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club.

A recent easing of travel restrictions between the countries may permit more such cultural exchanges. That could broaden perceptions of Cuba on this side of the Florida Straits, beyond postcard images of white-sand beaches or bleak impressions of tattered buildings and empty store shelves.

"It's a very picturesque place, and one of the challenges is capturing it in a way that goes beyond the picturesque," Abbott says. "There's so much politics wrapped up into all of this. But I think especially the contemporary photographers are trying not to be political, even though there are political undercurrents."

NURSING SUMMIT IN HAVANA: Fidel and Raul Visits Chavez
Indicated Writer matter   
Siblings Fidel and Raul Castro visited
the Venezuelan Hugo Chávez in the hospital 
recovering from a EMOP. It is unclear 
when he will return to the Bolivarian leader Caracas

"The president is recovering satisfactorily. Received a visit 
from Fidel and Raul. Was up for more than an hour, 
"the official daily spread Granma, Which also reviews
telephone conversation with Chávez Telesur.

Photo credit: Reuters

Chavez, 56, arrived in Cuba on Wednesday, 8 June as part of a 
tour that began in Brazil and Ecuador, and Friday, while visiting 
Fidel Castro, his friend and political mentor, suffered severe
pain and had to resort to emergency doctor and undergo surgery.

On Saturday 10 "I spent a day difficult, the first postoperative day,
I even stopped and had to back to bed by sickness. Today
(by domingo12), however, I was more than an hour out
of bed"Chavez said, according to the report Granma.

The Venezuelan leader has not stated on what date will return
to Caracas, but its officials Government state that is recovering
and could travel the next day.
Monday, June 13, 2011 23:31

Source: AFP

Última updated on Monday, June 13, 2011 23:49
(6-10-11-5:00 PM)
II .- Business "tourist" in the U.S. who work on Cuban state receptive "Havanatur SA "
Havanatur Cuban state enterprise can not be established legally in the U.S. and associations that go to "strategic" with persons located in the U.S. and set up businesses conveniences.
In the beginning, the end of the 70 past century, the company Havanatur freely operated in the U.S. and was often seen with their management through the streets of Miami.
But the laws of the United States was forced to withdraw. or better said, to withdraw the name and Cuban officials were acting with impunity .
But the Cuban Intelligence, sorry, the company Havanatur state, had gained the necessary experience and operational contacts or "business" to become established with other denominations or names.
Recall that Havanatur SA, belongs to cluster business "capitalists" of the Cuban government are sheltered under the Cimex Corporation and its former presidents were Patricio La Guardia Antonio La Guardia, Jose Luis Padron and Max Marambio (the Guaton), all high members of the Cuban intelligence.
Supposedly the main objectives were to continue the flow of tourists to Cuba, "family reunification", study visits, cultural exchanges, academic exchanges and visits to religious.
But it is very clear that the goals and missions permanence of the Cuban state enterprise Havanatur remain the same since its founding.
Among these objectives, tasks and missions include:
.- Substantial monetary income to have the exclusive travel and visits to U.S. Cuba and therefore set the consider relevant fees to be monopolistic.
.- To control the entire flow of people, goods and money from the U.S. into Cuba. Counterintelligence work.
.- Continue to conduct operational intelligence work, using business and personal fronts "legal."
.- Costa and self-financing operations with money generated by these companies.
.- To maintain the flow of dollars into the top leadership government. Paper small box of Fidel and Raul Castro.
Can not be ignored that intelligence systems Cuban know perfectly legal-judicial systems of the U.S. and function that perform their tasks and missions. U.S. is a rule of law and has defined its rules. Cuba is a totalitarian regime and knows how to play dirty and has much experience in these matters.
They know the legal intricacies and on that basis develop their work with business "fronts." Also, know that it is not priority of U.S. institutions control and fight against these agencies to "promote travel Cuba. "
At this time we will not introduce the terms legal fronts of these companies that operate freely in the U.S. and that without certainly working for the Cuban government and its intelligence institutions. But must be made clear that there is no naivete in the senior management of these business facades. They know what they do and are well trained and there enough money at stake.
Delve into operational issues and the countless intelligence activities that are taking place behind these agencies Travel to operate with impunity in the U.S. and especially in Miami.
.- Legal facade for the operation of companies wholly service of Cuban regime.
Legalization of intelligence activities.
Concealment of intelligence activities.
Multiplication of intelligence activities.
.- Preparation of financial resources that are indispensable for the functioning of the intelligence structures of tyranny in the U.S..
.- Obtaining biographical information, photocopies of passport with the generals of each person, social insurance records birth, death records, identity cards, driving licenses, etc..
This information is extremely useful and priority for intelligence departments that develop the work of officers and illegal operators in the U.S. as they are kept updated on documentation, legalization and safety of official documents U.S.. In addition, they can encroach on any time the identity of others for operational purposes.
They make biographical cards with photos of all staff working and / or use these travel agencies. Consolidate database is so important for any intelligence service.
Study and characterization .- operational purposes of all Customers using these travel agencies.
.- Personal and impersonal contacts, direct or indirect with the extensive network of agents and partners that exist in the U.S..
Free .- mobility, frequent trips, open communications between Cuba and U.S. and internally.
.- Access to a wide range of domestic and business international. Diversification of business activities. Not only dealing with travel, remittances also, parcel, application for visas, immigration procedures, international courier, telephone companies, accounts banking, export and import, etc..
.- Extension Puerto Rico and thereby strengthening operational work.
.- Political influence, access to the press, television, radio. For politicians, congressmen, senators. Hiring lawyers. Systems pressure on political and legal structures in the U.S.. Implementation of "lobbyists."
With brief analysis we can see and realize the deep network penetration is the Cuban intelligence services in the U.S..
Each wholesale agency that serves as a front for activities of Cuban government and its intelligence services, dozens of small agencies are located throughout the city, state and nation. They also have hundreds of "travel promoters" that move freely visiting schools, universities, corporations, institutions, unions, churches, etc..
A   concrete example, for now, the role that made all these agencies  of who promote travel to Cuba from the U.S. market was  Cubalinda agency, led by former officers of the central American intelligence Phillip B. Agee(Photo)agent of the former public services Russian and German intelligence at the time and lately Cuban intelligence, until his death in Havana on January 7, 2008.

Fidel Castro's sister bridge game drives in Cuba

By Wilfredo Cancio Isla

- Quietly and without much fanfare, the bridge (Card game) is returning to boom in Cuba by the hand of a special sponsor: Enma Castro, sister of Fidel and Raul Castro.

Enma Castro, sister of Fidel and Raul Castro, during a bridge tournament in Cuba

Emma, ​​aged 75 and living in Mexico, has not only boost  knowledge of bridge between the younger generations Cubans, but this year just won an historic event to the island, Cuba hosted the XXVI Zonal Championship Federation Bridge Central American and Caribbean, Bermuda Qualifier Bowl & Venice Cup 2011 to be held next October in Veldhoven, Netherlands.
"I am delighted that this tournament gave our players the first opportunity for international experience, " said Ariel García Mujica, president of the Cuban national team in an interview with Topic Bridge. "I thank Emma [Castro] for their enormous effort to develop the bridge in Cuba."
The zonal qualifying tournament was held between 20 and 28 of last May in tourist facilities in Havana and Varadero, with assisted by players from a dozen countries. Cuba participated with a  young and none of its members qualified for the world championship.
However, still few Cuban players have been considered made giant strides in a few years. Recently prohibited activity more than a decade, the bridge has become the only card game allowed in Cuba. The Cuban Association of Bridge (ACB) is made  by about 40 members and recently became part of the World Bridge Federation (WBF).
Enma Castro is the president of the ACB and the principal cheerleader international festivals began to be held in Cuba 2000, with the cooperation. Frankie Frontaura, professional bridge Argentina.
"I am honored and proud that for the first time in history Cuban sports have organized this event, "said Emma in Closing remarks zonal tournament and the Cuban festival. "I hope they have undergone a good stay in Cuba and that you, like me, realize that all this is a great start to the Cuban bridge. "
Higher affinities with Fidel
Born in 1935, Enma is the sixth in a family of seven children marriage of Angel Castro and Lina Ruz. Ramon is the largest and youngest  Agustina.
His sister Juanita is described in the book Raul and Fidel, my brothers. The Secret History (2009), as "delicate, quiet, very studious, very Amigans provided large circle of friends who grew from childhood and who follow  everywhere. "
Cuban team that participated in the recent international bridge championship held last May.
"Emma has always been the sister who has had more affinity Fidel" believes Juanita, who lives in Miami.
Emma married in 1960 with the Mexican businessman Victor Lomeli, a whom he met in the days of the preparations for the expedition yacht Granma in Mexico. Lives since then in the Mexican capital often Cuba visit often.
Has maintained a close relationship with Juanita, who visit in Mexico regularly. In fact, Emma Juanita received at home when it decided to exit from Cuba on June 19, 1964.
In January 1998, during the visit of Pope John Paul II Cuba, Emma was in Havana and appeared in a photo alongside Raul and Fidel.
With great tenacity
The festivals began in 2000 as an event  Argentine tourists only under the condition of present awards  cash. But a year later, won the endorsement Frontaura Havanatur and  Convention Bureau, arguing that the bridge was being considered as an Olympic sport, and brought to the surface-to category II officially the International Bridge Festival in Cuba.
The first part of the competition is traditionally made in the Hotel Melia Cohiba in Havana and then participants travel Varadero.
"What has been the bridge in Cuba owes this lady, who is  a spectacular person, fuerac standard, "said one player Cuban team. "She is very enthusiastic, very simple, and was never here  talked about politics or anything else than the sport and how to throw forward. "
Of the 40 players who are members of the ACB, eight are under 25 years  five have more than 56, so that the sport is largely in the hands  youth. The bulk of the members live in the Havana neighborhood El Cerro.
The ACB hopes that the rapid spread of the bridge between Cubans can generate some government assistance in the future immediately.
The Bridge served as a demonstration sport at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002.
Last updated Monday, 13 June 2011 12:07

Peas ( new cuban Coffe)brew

In 1958 Cuba produced 60,000 tons of coffee, for just 6,300 in 2011.
A worker at a coffee plant in Havana. (Reuters, April 2011)
"Do not go yet, Paco, I'm going to bring a cup of peas  acabaditos brew. For understandable enough, this phrase could  be daily today in Cuba if Castro's government did not insist on coffee call the 50% mixture of aromatic and stimulating grain other 50% of roasted and ground peas.
A purpose of announcing the scheme, on 3 May, which returns to the mixture of both grains after giving the public Vietnamese coffee for a short time, lower quality and higher caffeine content, "the International Coffee Organization (ICO), with  Headquartered in London, reiterated that coffee has more than 5% blend  with other grains can not be called coffee. It's that simple.
This contrasts with the fame that Cuba had for about 160 years producing and exporting nation one of the best coffees in the world especially the mild Arabica Bourbon variety, harvested in eastern mountains.
According to the Cuban Agriculture Ministry itself, in the 40's the country was one of the largest exporters of coffee that was appreciated internationally. In 1958 the country produced 60,000 tons, one million bags of 60 kg, equivalent to 132.2 million pounds, divided among the six million The former residents dropped 1.8 pounds of coffee per month for each Cuban.
But the commander arrived with his socialism "and ordered it to stop." And how: from the last harvest (2010-2011) Cuba produced 6,300 tons of coffee, one-tenth of what was harvested when the country  was "exploited" by capitalism.
Exporters importers luxury flights
In October 1966, days after Hurricane Agnes struck the coffee areas in the Sierra Cristal in Eastern, I went with a group of journalism students to the mountain region, renamed in 1958 by Fidel Castro as a Second Eastern Front "Frank Pais". Our mission was to try to convince the private coffee that unite  their farms into cooperatives, instead of working individually, to  and "leverage resources and increase production."
In addition to how well we had my colleagues and I in that People formidable field for a month, living on the plateau of the Mahogany and moving on horseback or foot through those beautiful mountains, I well remember two things: 1) that only one of dozens of farmers I interviewed said that he would "think" what the co-operative and 2) the prediction that some of them made me that the controls imposed by the state and the low price  received for each can (44 pounds) of coffee grown, production coffee would continue falling.

Shortly thereafter, at the end of the 60, Mario Garcia Incháustegui -The UN ambassador in 1962 who will "hit" to the ridiculous  deny that Cuba had nuclear missiles, "department director International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Trade (MINCEX), told me off the record that the sessions of the ICO in London and were not making excuses for effect justify the failure of the export figure was assigned to  Cuba that organization, which regulated the supply and global demand coffee through a system of export quotas for each country member, and avoid the falling prices.
Incháustegui related to cyclones and other damages Weather forward by the Cuban delegation headed by him to try to mask the coffee debacle. "I insist on arguments, but I do not believe, "he said. And with great frustration, I reported that the OIC had already qualified for the of Cuba as a "share paper, giving step that entity and then delete that share  and distribute it to other exporting countries increase their calling sales.
In short, as the coffee I augur oriental Communist government intervention caused a cataclysm. High a grain exporter of excellent quality, the country became a net importer of cheap coffee.
Today, through the ration card was given to each person a monthly fee of 115 grams (a quarter pound). But as is blended with 50% of peas, which actually receives each Cuba is 57.5 grams of coffee per month, compared with 828 grams per  capita per month in 1958.
The true black nectar, as is known, they take the foreigners, the nomenklatura and those who receive remittances from relatives abroad and can pay $ 6.25 per pound in shoppingIn a country where the average wage is $ 18 per month.
When crops had fallen to very low levels, the solution that happened to Castro was called "lace Havana. "Circled the coffee capital of the variety caturra, a coffee  sun is grown in Brazil, regardless of the soil and  climate were different, and that the Brazilian plantations were not attended by office workers and students "volunteers." The was a colossal failure and became part of the bloated inventory nonsense of the Commander in Chief.
With a yield between 0.36 and 0.40 tons of coffee per hectare  1958, according to the Ministry of Agriculture today are harvested in Cuba 0.11 to 0.12 tons per hectare. Productivity shrank almost  70%. Of the 80,700 hectares of coffee recorded, according to the daily Granma, Only 68,600 are in production.
The worst thing is that because of his pathological desire to control everything, Castro regime does not face the crisis bravely even within  the limits of the system itself. If the government released private farmers (about 38,000) of state constraints, and they pay only a third of the price paid by the robust coffee matter, which is priced between 1.25 and $ 1.35 a pound, production  would soar.
This happened in Vietnam, where communist-officially since 1986 allowed farmers to plant and sell the harvested freely market prices. And coffee importer, Vietnam became the second largest producer and exporter of grain, ahead of Colombia  and only after Brazil.
But Castro is not willing to do the same.