Obama administration lifts some Cuba travel restrictions

2011.01.18

The president has issued his new Cuba travel regulations, and I am disappointed. Despite  what the Cuban government has been doing regarding prisoner releases and opening of their society,  President Obama is still bowing to the hard liners in Miami at the expense of the Cuban and American people.  Then new regulations leave us about where we were under President Clinton, which is better than we were under President Bush, but it’s still a one of a kind foreign policy which only effects Cuba and no other country in the world.

There is no need for our embargo against Cuba, and the travel ban is constitutionally questionable since it allows Cuban Americans to travel to the island, but prohibits the rest of us from going.  I thought this might end under Obama, but I guess we should have known it wouldn’t when he  made a campaign stop at the home of Gloria Estefan, a great singer, but a right-wing hardliner  with direct family ties to the Batista dictatorship  which the Cuban revolution  deposed.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/14/AR2011011405476.html

Amnestiy International calls for review of the case of The Cuban Five

2010.10.17

You probably don’t know of the Cuban Five. They are really not a hot topic here in the United States. The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.They are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González. The Five were  accused by the U.S. government of committing espionage against the United States, and other related charges. But they pointed out vigorously in their defense that they were only involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups, in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba. The Five’s actions were never directed at the U.S. government. They never harmed anyone nor ever possessed nor used any weapons while in the United States. They are considered spies, but their supporters argue that they only spied on radical groups which have a long history of violence against the Cuban people.  When the Committee to Free the Five erected a billboard in Hollywood, I posted this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f5hYWtWjuA

Now Amnesty International is calling on the U.S. government to review their case. Amnesty has often been critical of the Cuban government, so this move is significant for those seeking justice for these men. The Amnesty report is here.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/096/2010/en/675bdaf0-ff18-46ce-bfee-694211b2e43b/amr510962010en.html

There has been speculation that there could be a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Cuba on this issue. The case against them was weak at best, and the fact that it took place in Miami made its conclusions questionable. You can learn more about The Five, here.

http://www.freethefive.org/

Expanding Capitalism in Cuba

2010.09.14

The announcement by the Cuban government that it will lay off a half million workers needs some interpretation, and the best place to find it  is probably at The Cuban Triangle.

http://cubantriangle.blogspot.com/

El Capitolio, La Habana

The blog’s writer Philip Peters, has traveled regularly to Cuba since 1996  to monitor and write about economic and political developments. He  is an adviser to the Cuba Working Group in the House of Representatives. His work is to the point, and helps to defuse the usual misinformation in which the American media often wraps stories  coming out of Cuba.

Wasting Millions on TV Marti

2010.08.24

As a former television newsman, one thing I knew is that you could never miss the story. No matter what, no matter how, you had to get there and report it. So can you imagine missing a story like the Inauguration of the President of the United States? TV Marti did.  TV and Radio Marti are the Miami based propaganda effort that has spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars supposedly bringing free and uncensored news to the people of Cuba. The piece points out the nepotism which has been a part of the station since it was moved from Washington to Miami.  What also needs to be known is that TV Marti  CANNOT BE SEEN in Cuba, since the Cuban government blocks this propaganda from its airwaves. A bigger waste of our tax dollars is difficult to find.

http://www.poder360.com/article_detail.php?id_article=4644&pag=1

Newspapers from across the country continue to call for an end to the travel ban.

In Louisville, Kentucky:

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100821/OPINION01/308210024/Editorial+|+Travel+to+Cuba

And the Boston Globe calls on Congress and the President to stop fighting the Cold War in Cuba.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2010/08/20/still_fighting_the_cold_war/

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Comandante!

2010.08.16

jim@cubaconnections.org

The saddest day in the year has passed for some residents of Miami. Fidel Castro just celebrated his 84th birthday, with comments and congratulations  coming in from all over the world.

http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?z=50&a=465202

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2010-08/14/content_11154179.htm

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/08/13/cuba.castro.birthday/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Vowing that he hasn’t changed and that he is still a revolutionary, Castro has come on strong in the past several months, much to the dismay of radical exile Cubans.  It was only 4 years ago that there was literally dancing in the streets of Miami (below) as word spread of his health problems, which the exiles turned into his death watch. Once again, Castro has outlived and outwitted his enemies.

For those of us in the United States, it is more of the same captivity of our foreign policy by those who don’t like the current Cuban government. It is a clear violation of our freedom to travel and has cost American businesses billions in lost trade. Waiting for the Castro brothers to die is hardly a way to build a foreign policy, as the failures of the past 50 years have conclusively proven.