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Posted March 18, 2010 by publisher in Oswaldo Paya

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March 18 marks the seventh anniversary of the beginning of the Black Spring where 75 Cuban dissidents were arrested for their struggle for human rights.

Dagrun Eriksen, deputy leader of the Norwegian Christian Democrats (KrF), has nominated Oswaldo Payá, the most prominent leader of this struggle, for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

“The Nobel Prize to Payá would be a significant contribution to a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba”, says deputy leader of KrF Dagrun Eriksen.

Cuba has a long history of violent regime changes. Today’s regime is getting more and more unpopular, and many fear that it might end in a bloody rebellion. Oswaldo Payá has, with a clear message of non-violence, through many years been Cuba’s most prominent dissident in a peaceful struggle for human rights.

Oswaldo Payá has succeeded in gathering different groups off dissidents in dialogue and peaceful resistance. He has consistently tried to work within the frames of Cuban law. From 1996 he has led the work on petitions in support of fundamental human rights, with reference to the Cuban constitution that guarantees that 10 000 signatures should set off a referendum. In spite of strong resistance from the government, they succeeded in this work. The government’s response however, was to arrest 75 oppositional leaders in what became known as the Black Spring of 2003.

Payá has taken the initiative to a “National Dialogue” in which over 12 000 Cubans have participated in discussion groups on visions for the future of Cuba. The suggestions were gathered in a “Program for All Cubans”, which Payá presented in 2006 as a basis for a peaceful transition to democracy. In January 2010 Payá released the ALL CUBANS FORUM, inviting all the Cuban society, within Cuba and abroad, to present proposals for a peaceful change towards democracy.

The Nobel Peace Prize to Oswaldo Payá will be a strong contribution to peace and democracy in a country where the people has been denied their fundamental human rights for far too long. Oswaldo Payá represents all Cubans who want a peaceful change based on reconciliation and dialogue. Such a prize will also give inspiration to peaceful human rights defenders all over the world, says Dagrun Eriksen.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on March 25, 2010 by cacf2@aol.com with 21 total posts

    Will people who have a minimum of respect, decorum and/or basic life experience, stop posting follishness about Paya and others, who are unknowns, one block away from their doorsteps?

    They may assume this impossibility, after our affable President Barack Obama was granted this honorific prize, not for what he have accomplished in life, as it is usually the case, but for what he may hypotethically accomplish in life.

    Is this how this Prize was conceived?

  2. Follow up post #2 added on December 16, 2010 by Stayce Mccracken

    Yawn. Anyone of non-US origin knows Cuba IS a democracy and is considerably more progressive (and less corrupt) than the US. Americans don’t need any help looking like misinformed idiots to the outside world. This is so irresponsible. Surely it’s the criminal Miami Noise Machine.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on December 16, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Are you trying to be an idiot or just confrontational.

    Cuba is a democracy? How many Presidents have been elected since 1959?

    You can be stupid if you want but don’t be disrespectful.

    Cuba consulting services

  4. Follow up post #4 added on December 17, 2010 by Stayce Mccracken

    Our own CIA acknowledges that what has prevented a superpower from successfully carrying out a coup against a tiny vulnerable nation is, aside from worldwide backlash, the fact that Cubans actually like the guy. Imagine that—a people not disgusted with a man who organized the overthrow of an evil US-backed regime that allowed us for years to exploit and oppress them. The republic is democratic in that—gasp—its reforms are representative of the people’s will (unlike here) and far more progressive than ours. They’ve taken the filth out of politics like no other and, regardless of the bs we eat up stateside, Cubans are very vocal and several political parties are represented well in the main body of its government. I challenge you to name a single problem Cuba faces that we do not face ourselves. I challenge you to submit to me anything that we do better. I’m not “trying to be an idiot”. I’m trying to help people like you to not be.

  5. Follow up post #5 added on December 17, 2010 by Stayce Mccracken

    How is it that Chavez keeps getting elected by wide margins over and over again, despite US-funded subversion and despite what is considered by outsiders to be one of the most non-corrupt voting processes in the world? I mean, he’s an evil dictator too, right? So long as you don’t ask an OPEC nation. I’ll assume you grew up in the US and, as such, find it inconceivable that 1. people might like their presidents, 2. socialism might be preferable to those who actually understand what imperialism is all about.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on December 17, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    You are being intentionally disruptive and disrespectful.

    I know you call this dialog but I call it brainwashed Communist propaganda.

    So, stop being an idiot or you’ll be banned.

    Cuba consulting services

  7. Follow up post #7 added on December 17, 2010 by Stayce Mccracken

    I apologize for ‘intentionally disrupting’ your propaganda, but my aim isn’t to be disrespectful. I agree this isn’t dialogue, as you seem unwilling (or unable) to counter my points. I thought your ‘Stop disagreeing with my political views or you’ll be banned’  threat was not just ironic considering the article praises freedom to dissent but also was indicative of your mind’s inability to fathom an alternative reality, IOW, brainwashing. Just saying.

  8. Follow up post #8 added on February 01, 2011 by amartin

    How the socialist Cuba is more imperialist than the US

    Definition of Imperialism “the creation and maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural and territorial relationship, …., based on domination and subordination.”

    1. The Cuban government has an unequal economic system by having two currencies in the country.
        One to pay their workers and another to sell the goods the workers need. The     currency used to pay the workers is devalued by 2500%. The other currency is used by foreigners or Cubans with access to this currency by means of their families. This is definitely an imperialist rule on its own people, which the US does not have.

    2.  The Cuban government blocks any cultural descent of artists or musicians example. The group called “Porno para Ricardo” , The song “100% Cubano” from Pedro Luis Ferrer are not allowed to be performed on the streets or sell their cds in Cuba. This is also an imperialist rule on the cultural affairs of the Cuban people. We don’t have this in the US note the most criticism this nation gets are from his cultural elite & artists. Think Michael Moore

    3.  Cubans living on the interior provinces many times are denied to move freely or even settle in the capital Havana City. People are often stops at checkpoints within town and provinces and asked to give explanations of their intentions. In the Playa municipality in Havana for example you are not allowed to have a change of address there unless you have family there and have prove that you live there, not even cars are allowed to be transferred to Havana. This is a very imperialist control of the day to day freedoms of their citizens. We don’t have this in the US while is true you may be stopped by the police you have rights and can live everywhere you want without asking for permission to your government.

    4. The Cuban government dominates all aspects of the Cuban live from the radio to television, schools and even the unions belong to the government.  Political parties are not allowed in the country and it’s fully rule by the PCC (Communist party of Cuba)
    The elections are run by the PCC by nomination their members and then obligating people to participate by enforcing this thru the CDR (revolution defense committee) there is a high percentage of candidates been nominated for a town on which they don’t live or reside in any way.
    Most of the time people don’t even know them, they don’t offer any political platform instead the election is a selection of the candidate base don their biography. There are no rivals on the elections only one candidate per seat even if 3 people only vote for him he will be elected since there are no opposing candidates.
    This is an imperialist way to impose your political views on your people. We don’t have that in the US, we may not like our leaders sometimes but they are elected freely even when there is suspicion of irregularity there is a legal way to deal with that.

    Sure we have many of the same problems Cubans have it’s our way to give everyone a change to have an opinion what makes us different.

    Come back to us when you find a Cuban Govermewnt sporsored website that allows this type of civilized decent me and you taking advantage right now. I will love to see that so can express my opinion freely just like you do here.

  9. Follow up post #9 added on February 02, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    One more thing—You’re distorting the meaning of imperialism: 

    The policy of extending a nation’s authority by TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony OVER OTHER NATIONS.

  10. Follow up post #10 added on February 02, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    Sorry if this posts twice!

    1. Logically, all Cuban necessities and services are purchased with the CUP, as this is the source of earned income. 

    CUC is simply hard currency used to generate outside revenue in order to fund its social programs and development since CUP is not an internationally valued currency.

    Luxury foreign goods such as microwaves and computers are generally not affordable, which is why those who own them are usually those who receive outside remittances in the form of CUC. 

    Dual currency is slowly being phased out due to growing disparity. 

    Factor in free medical care, free education, free health care, food rations, unemployment compensation, disability and retirement benefits, virtually no taxes… Factor in subsidized housing and utilities and low cost entertainment. Otherwise, any valuation comparison between the two is meaningless. 

    If you want to criticize monetary manipulation, wealth disparity and economic disadvantage, you needn’t look outside US borders. 

    2. Dissent, per se, is not discouraged. Cubans are VERY outspoken and free to criticize public policy. What isn’t tolerated is the outright stirring up of revolt. Much of this is the result of our massive propaganda campaign and funding of dissidents to create internal unrest. Besides, sedition is punishable in nearly every nation—including our own. 

    The musicians you mentioned were targeted for pornography, sedition and obscenity. You can’t honestly pretend the US doesn’t have a remarkable amount of censorship and repression. Familiarize yourself with the FCC, the Patriot Act, union-busting, protest crackdowns, vilification of those deemed unpatriotic…

    3. Cubans can travel freely throughout the island. What you speak of is its effort to curtail urban overcrowding. In the cities, there is required square footage of living space per occupant and limited housing availability. Occupancy codes are on the books here too. We just have less oversight and more housing. 

    It’s impractical—if not impossible—for Cubans to secretly relocate given their reliance on government subsidies and services, so it’s absurd to believe there are checkpoints to monitor movement. 

    Yes, we can move anywhere so long as there is available housing, which we have in abundance. However, if a city experienced a pile up in violation of building codes, you can bet there would be a crackdown. 

    4. Cuba’s government controls the media. Quite true. In the US, media is controlled by corporations which control our government. Cuba just cut out the middle man. 

    Political parties not allowed in Cuba? Someone ought to tell the Cuban Liberal Movement, the Cuban Liberal Union, the Christian Democratic Party of Cuba, the Cuban Democratic Socialist Current, the Democratic Social-Revolutionary Party of Cuba, the
    Democratic Solidarity Party, the
    Liberal Party of Cuba, the Social Democratic Co-ordination of Cuba, the Orthodox Renovation Party… Non-Communist party members are routinely elected.

    Candidates who represent municipalities MUST be residents of that municipality. They must receive at least 50% of the vote. Its ban on political campaigning and fundraising is—not surprisingly—admired across the globe. It discourages corruption and distortion. Clean politics… How novel!

    You—like many—suffer not only from the delusion that our ‘enemies’ are accurately portrayed in the media, but also the delusion that the US is free and democratic and all that other flag waving crap.

  11. Follow up post #11 added on February 02, 2011 by amartin

    1. I’m not talking about income disparity but slavery when you earn 5 cents an hour of work. The Cuban government values your work in dollars when you work for a hotel and turns around and pay you in 5 pennies. They are taking the role of the Imperialist middle men. The Government is your pimp.

    There is nothing free when you have to factor in those services sold as “free” their cost is higher than our cost here in the US it cost Cubans their economic freedoms.

    Pigs in the slaughter house have free medicine too.

    Here in the US if you work you make money if you do business you make more as simple as that, you don’t have to be a foreigner to be able to do more.

    2. Since you are so informed about their repressive ways you know better than this, there are a ton of samples of their cultural imperialism. People can verify this anyways they can. Simply call the department of culture and tell the you have a music group that sings songs against Fidel and you see their answer. Or maybe you want to make a movie against the revolution the same way Michael more did here against bush and see what the answer is.

    I and many of my friends were placed under arrest for listening to Led Zeppelin in the 1980’s it was called “diversionismo idelogico”

    3. That is a nice explanation to justify the imperialist way to control the movement of their people. I bet you have seen the control points thru out the Island too. Cuba is a police state as simple as that. I have family who were for more than 2 years trying to relocate and they could not even transfer their car, the house had more than plenty square footage that was not the issue. Good try. That was a nice way for you defend their Imperialist repressive way.

    4. Here in the US corporations control the media yes is true but there is more than one corporation and you do get more than one points of view. In Cuba the government acts like a corporation without competition and just the fact you are able to express your point of view here and everywhere makes my point. Only an imperialist repressive government corporation like Cuba does not let everyone else express their opinions like you do here.

    Imagine for a second you lived in Cuba and didn’t agree with them, were can you express your opinions where? Please list one national radio station, one television station, one news paper one internet web site were you could express your opinion against the government just like you are doing here.

    All those parties are illegal in Cuba; they are there thanks to the Cuban people fighting for their basic rights. Please mention names of any non-communist elected recently and their party affiliation?

    Please remember to answer the question on what Cuban sponsored website people are allowed to dissent just like you do here?

    The United Sates not perfect but is free you are allowed to read, believe and do almost anything you like. Cuba in the other hand is an Imperialistic, repressive and racist regime.


    I don’t want or intend to change your mind unless Cuba you are allowed to your own believes. Think for a second what you would do if you were a Cuban living there with different opinions to their government (just like you have here).

    If their system is not good enough for you then is not good enough for anyone defending and thinking other wise is plain racist and Imperialist please don’t be one.

  12. Follow up post #12 added on February 03, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    1. Your argument: The average Cuban makes $5 a week. An American working 40 hours at minimum wage grosses $290 before taxes. For every $58 an American makes, the Cuban makes $1. 

    That an American earning minimum wage makes (before taxes) $58 for every $1 Cubans make means to you that, in comparison, Cubans receive slave wages. By your reasoning, AMERICAN minimum wage is a slave wage in comparison to Americans in the $200,000 income bracket. 

    The bigger flaw is in your equating two completely different forms of currency. Cubans aren’t paid in USD, nor do they spend in USD nor are their goods and services priced in USD. Value is based on stretch—on purchasing power within a given economy. 

    The very most you’d spend on housing and utilities in Cuba is less than $10 a month. Let’s be ridiculously cheap and say a low income American pays $400 monthly for the same—obviously in a very bad part of town and certainly not large enough to accommodate a family. And let’s not even subtract taxes. Both pay roughly 1/3 toward housing. 

    We don’t have mandatory living wages in the US like Cuba. We have minimum wage, which has not in decades keep up with the cost of living. And in Cuba, there are no mortgage debts, foreclosures, evictions, late fees, homeless or utility cut offs. It’s called security. Housing is a right in Cuba. Here, it’s a privilege.

    And what about the American corporations like Walmart and Nike that outsource to foreign countries in order to pay slave wages and avoid labor, safety and environmental laws? 

    “Pigs in a slaughterhouse receive free medicine too.” It’s a shame that Americans don’t!

    2. Our media and government label dissenters as unpatriotic extremist conspiracy nuts, if they succeed in drawing attention at all. Our free speech is protected only to the extent it does not threaten the status quo. It’s illusory. With the rise of the Internet and social media came a rise in government criticism and subsequently a rise in infringement, which we conveniently call Homeland Security. 

    Our government has the right to secretly search our homes without a warrant, attach GPS locators to our cars without court order, intercept our mail, email and phone conversations, access our financial and medical records—even our library and video rental records—all without our knowledge. It has the right to hold a citizen without charge indefinitely without access to an attorney and without informing family members. All in the name of domestic terrorism protection. Given our well documented history of targeting peaceful law abiding citizens who participate in demonstrations, maintain blogs, visit websites, or hold membership to an organization critical of US policy, or in any way draw attention to themselves as dissenters, one cannot underestimate the effect such powers have on indirect censorship. 

    So you went to jail for listening to Led Zeppelin. Think of all the Americans beaten, gassed, hosed, arrested, even killed for taking part in non-violent demonstrations. Remember the Kent State Massacre? Remember when we tried to deport John Lennon on bogus marijuana charges because the government considered his calls for peace dangerously subversive? How about the five Cuban political prisoners we hold for uncovering US-backed terrorist plots against the island? I could go on forever! 

    3. What is your explanation for Cubans being prevented from relocating if not economically motivated? They’re just being assholes?

    4. We don’t have competition in America. Small businesses struggle to avoid being driven out by a handful of corporations that control nearly everything. 

    And once again, you seem to misunderstand the term imperialist. 

  13. Follow up post #13 added on February 03, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    The constitution was amended in the early nineties to guarantee the right to form political parties. They are not illegal. 

    Your statistics are wrong. Black 10.1%. Mulatto and Mestizo 24.8%. White 65.1%. 

    Of the National Assembly’s 614 members, 118 black and 101 mulatto. That’s 36% representation. The percentage climbs much higher when municipal representation is taken into account. 

    The US Senate currently has ZERO blacks and in its history has only had 6. Congress currently has 42 blacks 
    and only 118 blacks ever. So we have had fewer blacks in the last 150 combined than Cuba has in just one term!

    You’re talking about a country that has contributed more to the downfall of African apartheid than probably any other. And Cuban blacks were the primary beneficiaries of post-Revolution reform. Cuba is miles ahead of us when it comes to equal rights (especially women’s) so don’t play that card. 

  14. Follow up post #14 added on February 03, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    1. It appears that you have never been to Cuba. If you have, you are so brainwashed that you never saw the real Cuba.

    2. We get your Commie wannabee types through here all the time. Your arguments may be logical in theory but in practice in Cuba, the reality is very different.

    So, even though you think you know what you are talking about, you have no idea what you are talking about.

    3. This is an article regarding Oswaldo Paya’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and I don’t want you to intentionally or unintentionally take readers off that topic.

    So, first point… go to Cuba. Second point… stay on topic.

    Cuba consulting services

  15. Follow up post #15 added on February 03, 2011 by amartin

    WOW what a brain wash! It’s more like Brain bleached.

    Unanswered questions:

    1. Please remember to answer the question on what Cuban sponsored website people are allowed to dissent just like you do here? Give me a site ending in .cu

  16. Follow up post #16 added on February 03, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    There is “open minded writing” at HavanaTimes.org but the truth about that site is here at HavanaTimes.COM

    (Just type in those domains and you’ll see what I mean. I didn’t want to link out to either)

    Okay… now back to Oswaldo Paya nomination.

    Cuba consulting services

  17. Follow up post #17 added on February 03, 2011 by amartin

    What a shame!
    A us citizen will all her rights utilizing them to defend a terrorist & Imperialist Dictatorship.

    That created and enact Imperialistic rule upon its people.

    A dictatorship that does not allow and punish descent with years in prison higher than the ones served by Nelson Mandela.

    I hope you can at least look yourself on the mirror every day and feel good about your bleached brain.

    If corporations were so bad like you said and control so much How come Google, facebook, yahoo, ebay and many other internet companies were created by kids out of college not by huge companies?

    Oh one more things it’s a lie political parties are not allowed in Cuba only useful idiots believe that.

  18. Follow up post #18 added on February 03, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    Given that only a couple hundred thousand have Internet access (mostly government workers) it’s not really ripe for argument. 

    I agree it does appear Cuba attempts to suppress counter-revolutionary blogging. Whether or not it is right, it certainly has reason to be concerned given that we spend millions each year to funnel propaganda into their country. 

    Still, I will point out that one of the most well known bloggers on the island, Yoani Sanchez, is walking the streets a free woman. So are many others who disseminate foreign propaganda. Why are they not in jail? Supposedly there are at least two dozen unauthorized bloggers criticizing the government regularly. Why haven’t they tracked them down and seized their computers and cell phones? Wouldn’t be hard to do.

    I’m told Twitter is not restricted. 

    Your point that some brilliant Ivy Leaguers started successful businesses is what exactly? They are now multiple-billion dollar corporations. 

    Calling Cubans ‘terrorists’ is just laughable. Don’t throw that word around. Back it up. 

    Why say that my arguments are “logical in theory” if you cannot counter them legitimately with “reality”? I mean, if reality supports your version, it should be rather easy to factually dispute what I’ve said. Why resort to ad hominem? 

  19. Follow up post #19 added on February 03, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    Publisher: We’ve strayed off topic, but doesn’t that always happen? The site is about Cuban politics. Debate is a good thing. Don’t be so picky. wink

  20. Follow up post #20 added on February 04, 2011 by amartin


    The brain bleached free American defender of a terrorist tyrant is unable to proof the political parties are legal and has no web site ending in .cu that allow dissent yet is asking me for proof .

    In Cuba’s terms this comments she had posted will be consider “counter revolutionary” yet she has a medium to do it here while at the same time defends the ones that are not allowing Cubans to do so.

    Here we go:

    1. Cuba is imperialist because it uses the state as an empire against its own people.
      1a. Cuba Does not allow Cubans to own big business (only foreigners do)
      1b. It has a double currency system one for the slaves (Cuban Workers) and another for         the elite and foreigners.
      1c. Cubans need to ask for permission to get in and out of its own country.  See “carta Blanca” Invitation Letters requirements, visa issue for Cuban living aboard.
        1d. Cubans are not allowed to buy and sell houses its illegal to do so. People still do it by playing tricks on the system with “permutas” but is illegal to do so.
        1e. Cubans have their food rationed and regulated, there are some people in Cuba now day who don’t know what a piece of beef is (Beef from a caw)
        1f . Cubans are constantly been watched by their neighbor and are obligated to do so themselves its called “CDR”
        1g. Cuban workers are not allowed to have independent Unions instead are obligated to belong to the state Union which is basically a department of the government. Notice how unions throughout the world protest any measure and in Cuba they are the ones delivering the measures to their workers.
        1h. Cubans are tortured in jail and send to jails far away from their houses. The legal system is full of holes and are open to interpretations so they don’t define what the “couter revolucionary means” and many other terms commonly used.
        1i. Cubans loose their belongings when they want to live abroad, a state worker comes to your house and takes “Inventory” of your belongings only those allowed with a special permit to live abroad do not go thru this rule.
        1j. all the bloggers are blogging despite the government their blogs are not allowed and are block in the Island. Basically they are doing this illegally and are not arrested because of the international community watch.
        1j The Imperialistic government of Cuba have a 24/7 vigilance against the dissidents and prepare and promote “actos de repudio” against them. Portraying them as the people against them.

    Here are some samples of those acts:

    1. Notice the uniformed students who were arranged by the government to come and protest. Remember the schools are government schools, transportation is scarce they are been transported by the Imperialist government to do this on a dissident’s house.



    Political repression against women:


    Che Guevara wearing t-shirt against women:


    I don’t think you need more proof of these Imperialist Tyrany if you need more you can get it look for it and you will find it.

  21. Follow up post #21 added on February 04, 2011 by amartin

    Here are some proof of the Cuban Goverment Initial Terrorism in Havana.


    Can read about:

    More recently:

    Terrorism can be defined as political action employing extraordinarily violent means to achieve the largely psychological effect of intimidation and demoralization of a nations government and its populace. Terrorism is a weapon of the weak, used by gr oups and individuals who have little conventional military power. Terrorism is also cheap. Training and supplying small groups of men and women with light arms and explosives is far easier than building and sustaining a rurally based guerrilla army Avoidi n g Stunts. As a result, terrorism is especially popular with countries short on resources and long on ambitions, such as Fidel Castros Cuba. Havanas terrorist activities rarely make headlines and nearly always avoid serious inquiry In part, this is because .

    Havana has avoided the terrorist stunts, such as airplane hijacking, that attract maximum and unfavorable international attention. Castro also does not periodically and publicly threaten to unleash terrorists against the West In fact, the Cuban leader av idly avoids any mention of the subject even in his legendary diatribes. This style contrasts sharply with that of Libyas mercurial Muammar Qadhafi.

    Castros targets for subversion and terrorism have included such Latin American military dictatorships as Ge neral Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic as well as democratic leaders Romulo Betancourt of Venezuela and Jose Napoleon Duarte of El Salvador.

    Cuban-aided terrorism helped destroy Uruguayan democracy for a decade and contributed greatly to the erosion of Chiles: democratic institutions under Salvador Allende.

    Wrecking El Salvador’s Elections. In El Salvador, meanwhile, Cuban-supported guerrillas and terrorists attempted to wreck the March 20,1988, legislative and mayoral elections with the bomb and the bullet, just as they had six years earlier when Salvadorans went to the polls in that country’s first free election. In the same month, a former pilot of Panama’s strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega said that planeloads of Cuban arms had been flown into that country. for .purposes that remain unclear. This development confirmed by U.S. officials, is fraught with future peril to Panamanians and Americans. The arms, now apparently cached in secret locations around the country, could be a bargaining chip fo r a desperate Noriega, anxious to protect his position.

    It is not likely that the Cubans would be interested simply in improving the Panamanian general’s chances for a safe exit. Havana would be interested in having those arms.available for its supporters in Panama. The outbreak of even low-level terrorism in a country unused to serious violence could destabilize this already fragile, strategically vital nation even more. Ultimately, a terrorist campaign could provoke U.S. military intervention Counterterr o rist Priority. Cuban terrorism, compared to the Libyan or Iranian variety has attracted far less attention, and therefore, little in the way of an effective riposte by the U.S. This must change if future U.S. administrations are to build the consensus nec essary to move decisively to punish the. Castro regime for its nearly three decades of sponsoring terrorism around the world A new consensus requires heightened public awareness of the Cuban terrorist threat.

    Once this consensus forms, a ‘revived counterte rrorist policy can give greater priority to Havana. First, the U.S. must publicize and expose Cuba’s role in international terrorism to a wide international audience; and the Cuban people must be told about their government’s role. Second, Cuba should be i ncluded in overall U.S. counterterrorism plan and embargo lists along with the Middle Eastern terrorists. Third, the U.S. should consider ending its low-level diplomatic ties with Cuba THE EARLY YEARS OF CUBAN TERRORISM Cuban history is replete with examp les of terrorism, most notably in the early 1930s when groups of young Cubans struggled against General Gerard0 Machado, who ran Cuba with an iron hand for nearly a decade beginning in 19

    25. Calling themselvesrthe*ABC itis unclear what the initials stood for), these young Cubans invented many of the techniques of modern urban terrorism (coordinated bombing, for example which Cuban advisers have passed on in scores of training camps around the world to thousands of Argentinians Brazilians, Chileans, Colomb ians, Ecuadorans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, and Uruguayans, to name a few in Latin America, and to Basques, Namibians, Palestinians West Germans, and Yemenis.

    Castro himself wrote and spoke publicly of terrorism even before he began his insurrection against Fulgencio Batista, who seized power in April 1952 in a coup after retiring” in 1944 following a decade of strongman rule. Ironically, at the time Castro opp o sed terrorism; once inpower, this changed 2 The” Guevara’s Failure. In the early years of their rule, Castro and his closest followers were wedded to thefoco, the belief that radical revolution could erupt when a group of rural guerrilla fighters took up arms against the government. Their fundamentalist belief in thefoco, of action first and political work a poor second, was profoundly shaken when Castro’s close associate The” Guevara made his quixotic stab at guerrilla warfare in Bolivia in 19

    67. Guevara was convinced he could create a revolution in impoverished Bolivia and that in turn would ignite a continental revolution. But his small band of Cubans and Bolivians failed to attract the support of the Indian peasants they supposedly were liberating, an d the local communist party ignored them. After months of barely surviving the Bolivian wilds, Guevara and his dwindling band were tracked down by army rangers and decimated in a series of skirmishes.

    During Castro’s fight for power, his 26th of July organ ization committed acts of urban terrorism as did his Rebel Army operating in the Sierra Maestre mountains. Rad Castro Castro’s younger brother, for example, kidnapped a group of Americans and Canadians and held them hostage in rebel-dominated territory. T h e purpose was to forestall an expected army sweep and air force bombing of the areas. The tactic worked. Under U.S. pressure Batista delayed the offensive three weeks, allowing the rebels to regroup. Raul Castro also organized one of history’s earliest in ternational plane hijackings, which resulted in the wreck of the aircraft and the deaths of 17 people in 1958 Smuggling Arms from Cuba. In Venezuela, a war raged against democratically elected governments between 1961 and 19

    63. It featured some of the most bloody acts of urban terrorism committed in Latin America in the past quarter century. This campaign by the so-called Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) had the full support of Havana.

    In November 1963, four tons of arms were found by security f orces in a cache on Venezuela’s lonely northwest coast. The weapons of Belgian, Italian, and American manufacture were traced to sales made to the Castro government in 1959 or were from stocks left over from the Batista era, according to a special commiss i on of the Organization of American States. The arms had been smuggled from Cuba aboard a boat belonging to the Cuban National Institute of ‘Agrarian Reform. Intending to ruin Venezuela’s December elections, Castro-trained terrorists threatened voters with death if they showed up at the polls.

    More than three years after their defeat in the 1963 elections, the Venezuelan terrorists were still being encouraged by Castro. In July 1967, FALN terrorists kidnapped and subsequently murdered the brother of the Ven ezuelan foreign minister. Though the murder was denounced by the Venezuelan Communist Party, the PCV, the Cuban press printed the FALN statement on the killing without any show of disapproval, and Castro denounced the PCV for “betraying” the revolution.

    I n the 1960s, perhaps 80 percent of Cuban-supported insurgencies in Latin America were rural based. But by the 1970s, Cuba was supporting primarily urban-based insurgencies following the Venezuelan model 3 Aiding Urban Terrorists. Castro has been careful n e ver to endorse urban terrorism openly He and his propaganda apparatus were quite vocal, however, in their support of such urban terrorist groups as Brazils Carlos Marighella, the Uruguayan Tupamaros, and the Chilean Movimiento Izquierdista RevoluciOnaria (MIR The Cuban Communist Party daily Granma, reprinted Marighellas terrorist Minimanual in 19

    75. The book went through many editions in several languages over the years and was distributed by Cuban publishing houses around the world. The .Cuban magazine T ricontinental, published in November 1970 a special edition of Marighellas writings, including the Minimanual The Cuban press followed the Uruguayan Tupamaro activities without ever criticizing its acts of terrorism. For instance, it published the so-call e d conversations of Dan Mitrione, an American security expert attached to the U.S. embassy in Montevideo, with his Tupamaro captors, and cast the Tupamaro kidnapping in a sympathetic light As for the Chilean Movemiento Izquierdu Revolucionario (MIR the Cas t ro regime followed a two-track strategy. Privately, even under the left wing rule of Salvador Allende the Cubans gave material support and training to the ultra-left MIR with or without Allendes knowledge or permission. The MIR openly promoted and attempt ed to carry out a violent revolution even when Allende was in power.

    Two years ago, sensing that the government of Chilean President August0 Pinochet Ugarte was in trouble, Castro renewed high-level support for the MIR and the armed wing of the newly milit ant Chilean Communist Party (PCCH) including the provision of training and arms. In July 1986, Chilean police discovered 50 tons of arms hidden in several places on the sparsely populated desert country of Chiles northern coast. The weapons had been broug h t by Cuban fishing boats and were destined for the so-called Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FMR), the armed wing of the Chilean Communist Party. With more than 3,000 U.S. and Belgian rifles and nearly 2,000 Soviet rocket launchers traced to Vietnamese a nd Cuban stocks, the FMR unleashed a campaign of terror in Santiago designed to further polarize Chile, thus making it an already difficult transition toward full democracy all but impossible OUTGROWTHS OF 1960s TERRORISM For Castro, however, the experime n t in outright terror was hardly a total loss. By degrees, no doubt, the Cuban leader learned that the Tupamaros and theArgentine Montoneros did not bomb and machine gun entirely in vain. Although, the terrorists did not win or even come close, they manage d to undermine the regimes they were fighting, thus preparing them for a future generation of gunmen.

    Defeat served Cubas other purposes, too. At least the cadre of the Southern Cone terrorist organizations were carefully preserved to carry out assignments in other parts of the world as part of Cubas growing international network of terror and subversion.

    Not surprisingly then, by the late 1970s, South American terrorists were showing up in Central America and even the Middle East acting as internationalis ts, but in fact in the pay and under the discipline of Havana. And, when and if an opportunity were to arise, the 4 internationalists could be reconverted into nationalists, fighting once more in their home countries In any case, Havana after much trial a n d error, continues to support armed revolutionaries, principally, but not exclusively, in Latin America In practice, this has meant aiding urban terrorists more often than rural guerrillas CENTRAL AMERICAN TERRORISM The Nicaraguan Sandinistas seized power in an insurrection against an unpopular dictator, Anastasio Somoza. Arme.d and abetted by Cuba, this action featured a high incidence of urban warfare with the consequent heavy loss of life. In El Salvador, several factions within the Cuban-backed rebel c o alition, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), began as urban terrorist groups, several of which were trained and armed by Havana. When the security forces cracked down in 1980, the FMLN concentrated its efforts in the countryside. Reversa ls in the rural areas, thanks to sustained U.S. assistance and a reformed Salvadoran military, have led the rebels back to urban operations with the apparent full blessing of Havana.

    Though not a priority for Castro, Havana has helped forge a fighting coalition in Honduras from the squabbling extreme leftist groups in March 19

    83. Subsequently, both Havana and Managua have provided training and arms to several of these groups particularly the Peoples Revolutionary Union/Popular Liberation Movement, widely known as the Cinchoneros. In September 1981, the Cinchoneros seized control of the Chamber of Commerce building in San Pedro Sula, Hondurass second city, and held several cabinet ministers and over one hundred business leaders as hostages while they deman d ed release of their jailed comrades-in-arms Rekindling the Guatemalan Insurgency. In Guatemala, Cuban support of guerrilla and terrorist groups stretches back to the mid-1960s. In 1981, according to U.S. intelligence, the Cubans trained some 2,000 guerril l as and terrorists. Their weapons were provided by Nicaragua. As one result, the Guatemalan insurgency was rekindled in the 1980s and posed a serious and growing threat to the regime until 1985 Cuban support of terrorism in Costa Rica, meanwhile, has had t h e lowest of profilesin Central America. Havanas chief interest in Costa Rica is preserving the arms and agent network it established in the late 1970s for the overthrow of Nicaraguas Somoza. This network is attempting to destabilize other more vulnerable C entral American countries, El Salvador in particular. On occasion, however, Cuba has provided weapons and training for Costa Rican terrorists directly to the Peoples Revolutionary Movement, which it helped create in 1982 CUBAS TERRORIST NETWORK being the u ltra-adventurist rebel within the Soviet bloc. He has not insulted a Latin Cuba no longer works alone. In marked contrast to the 1960s, Fidel Castro has stopped 5 American communist party in years, and he has become a disciplined member of the anti-Americ an team.

    But the Cubans were not the only ones to change The Soviets also learned that supporting revolutionary organizations, including terrorist groups, could be of strategic advantage, providing it were done prudently. In the next ten years the cooperation betw e en Cuba and the Soviet Union became closer and more extensive Its high point came in the mid and late 1970s as Cubans and Soviet forces rolled into Africa in order to safeguard proto-Mdst regimes in Angola, Ethiopia, and Mozambique The Sandinista victory i n Nicaragua touched off further turmoil in the rest of Central America and the Caribbean. Moscow and Havana worked and continue to work closely together, fomenting armed revolts through a combination of urban terrorism and rural guerrilla warfare In March 1982, police raided a terrorist safehouse in the Costa Rican capital, San Jose.

    Besides discovering a large cache of weapons destined for El Salvador, the security forces arrested nine members of a Cuban terrorist arms-running network set up in the 1970s: four Salvadorans, two Nicaraguans, a Chilean, a Costa Rican, and their commander, an Argentine Montonero. There is no direct evidence, but the group they arrested apparently had received Cuban support over the years Support for Puerto Rican Terrorists. Y o ung Jamaicans, disguised as brigadistm learning construction skills, were being trained as terrorists in Jamaica in the late 1970s. One such brigadkta, Colin Dennis, in his book The Road Not Taken: Memoils of a Reluctant Guenilla, details his training in C uba in 1980, which was devoted exclusively to urban terrorism, including bank robbery and assaults on police posts. The Eastern Caribbean island of Grenada under Maurice Bishop (who seized power in 1979 with the help of the Cubans) was being turned into a n arsenal principally by the Cubans and Soviets for arms export to the vulnerable democratic governments of the region.

    Castro long has supported Puerto Rican terrorist groups. After an FBI investigation of a 1983 Wells Fargo depot robbery, thirteen member s of the Puerto Rican terrorist group, the Macheteros, were arrested in Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, and Texas. A federal grand jury in August 1985 indicted seventeen people for the Wells Fargo robbery and for shipping most of the stolen funds to Cuba. One of those indicted, Victor Manuel Gerena, has been given sanctuary in Cuba.

    The FBI also learned that the’ Castro regime has provided training and sanctuary for a variety of Puerto Rican terrorist groups over the years. Among the weapons given the terroris ts are M-16 rifles and anti-tank rockets traced to stocks that the U.S. abandoned in South Vietnam in 1975.

    Soviet and Cuban officers labor together in terrorist training camps in cooperation with other Soviet bloc states. They also work with such noncomm unist, but ,anti-American regimes as Libya and such groups as the Palestine Liberation Organization 6 A sample of Cubas new style internationalism can be gathered from its efforts in remote South Yemen. According to terrorism expert Claire Sterling Barely two months after [the Yom Kippur] war, in December 1973, forty Cuban experts in terrorist warfare arrived secretly in South Yemen. With them was an East German specialist in the field named Hans Fiedler, who had been in Cuba since 19

    71. Landing in Aden, they were at once whisked upcountry to a Palestinian guerrilla camp run by Haif Hawatmeh. Second in importance only to Habash and Haddad in the Rejection Front i Hawatmeh had been an orthodox Communist all his political life This network remains in busine s s with the Cubans acting as one of its most active affiliates THE INSTRUMENTS OF TERROR Cuba has developed several secret services, which have trained and supported guerrillas and terrorists. Much of what is known about who and what in the Cuban governmen t supports the terrorist apparatus has been gleaned by U.S. and other Western intelligence agencies from a handful of defectors The DGI and Terrorism The Direccion General de Inteligencia (DGI organized in 1961, is the oldest, largest, and best known of Ca s tros intelligence services involved worldwide in aidingterrorists. .The DGI resembles an orthodox intelligence agency. Its more than 2,000 officers collect and analyze information, conduct espionage, and are involved in counterintelligence activities thro u ghout the world. Its agents usually work under cover as Cuban diplomats, and their Centros correspond to KGB residences that also are located physically in their countries embassies. The DGI Centro chief typically operates with complete independence from the resident Cuban ambassador.

    The DGI has aided American black militants and the Puerto Rican Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN According to the testimony of a defector, Orlando Hidalgo Castro, the DGI was also involved, in the late 1960s, in aidi ng Latin American revolutionary groups, when most, if not all, were pursuing an urban terrorist strategy for destabilizing South American governments.

    Hidalgo Castro described how persons recruited as potential guerrillas and terrorists traveling to Cuba from Latin America would fly first to Paris, since direct connections between Latin America and Cuba did not exist in the 1960s and 1970s. They would remain there while the Centro obtained the necessary false documentation for further travel, either Russi a n or Czech visas. From Paris, the men would fly to Moscow or Prague and from there to Havana where they would be assigned to training camps 1 Claire Sterling, The Temr Network: The Secret War of International Temnsm (New York Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1 9 85 p. 253 7 Terrorist Training Camps. Beginning in the early 1960s, according to Hidalgo Castro his service ran training camps, which instructed as many as 1,500 men a year in guerrilla and terrorist techniques. Once in Havana, the trainees were grouped b y nationality. Usually there were 15 to 25 men in each group, although there could be as few as three. The various nationalities generally were kept apart for security reasons and because the courses given to the different groups varied Little has changed about the camps before or since Hidalgo Castro’s experience with them. This has been established by the testimony of numerous ‘trainees who either surrendered or defected upon returning to their countries.

    A Venezuelan, Juan DeDios Marin, for example, rece ived his training in late 1960, first at a seaside estate named T&ara; and then two months later at the infamous Minas del Fiio camp in the Sierra Maestre. He had been lured to Cuba with the promise of a technician’s job. There was no such job. He received instruction in weapons, explosives, and such urban terrorists techniques as robbing banks, grabbing payrolls, destroying factories, and killing policemen. He managed to escape by faking epileptic fits and making contact with the Venezuelan consulate while in the hospital Lured to Cuba. A Jamaican, Colin Dennis, tells of a similar experience that occurred in mid-19

    80. Like DeDios Marin, Dennis was lured to Cuba by a false promise of travel to the island with no strings attached. After arriving in Cuba, he was taken to a remote camp in the western part of thekland, where for eight weeks he was trained in the use of an assortment of weapons and given instruction in assault techniques especially designed for police stations, banks, and prisons. Both of these men were to be members of urban terrorist squads, one to attack the fledgling democracy in Venezuela, and the other, the anti-communist government formed by the Jamaica Labour Party.

    In June 1981, Guatemalan Paulino Castillo told reporters that he had undergone a seven-month training program in Cuba. His =-man group was divided into two sections.

    The first was trained in rural guerrilla tactics; the second in urban terrorism. After his training was completed, he returned to Guatemala via Nicaragua, but sub sequently surrendered to a Guatemalan army patrol The DGI and Soviet Involvement In 1961, the DGI apparently was “colonized” by the Soviet Union. The Cuban service, as its East European counterparts, was effectively put under the direction, if not control , of the Soviet KGB.

    According to DGI defector Hildago Castro Nlew advisers would be assigned to the DGI. They would also serve as liaison officers between DGI and the Soviet intelligence service For under terms of the agreement, the operations of the DGI would thereafter be more closely coordinated with those of the KGB. DGI 8 virtually became an arm of Soviet intelligence a fact of special value to Russia in regard to operations in the United States, where DGI had been utilizin the stream of Cuban refuge e s as a cover for the infiltration of agents 9 The America Department When Moscow put the DGI under its wing, Castro in 1974 created another intelligence arm, the Departamento de America the America Department. Unlike Cubas other five intelligence services the AD is under Castros immediate control and.a part of the Cuban Communist Partys Central Committee. Nominally, at least, it is subordinate to the Departamento General de Relaciones Extenoms (DGRE From its creation, the America Department has been led by U.S.-educated Manuel Pineiro Losada, a close confidante of Castros since the Sierra Maestre days.

    While the DGI relies on numbers operating worldwide usually within Cuban embassies the AD has fewer than 300 agents working in relatively few, carefully selected target countries within the Western Hemisphere, taking on only those assignments that Castro gives maximum priority.

    The Departmento de America has been responsible for Castros most conspicuous successes in the Western Hemisphere. Examples The Cuban Ambassador to Grenada, an ADagent, between 1979 and 1983, directed the subversive efforts of the Ma urice Bishop regime closely, including plans to destabilize the eastern Caribbean by shipping clandestine arms to the regions leftists In Central America, beginning in 1978, AD agents put together a complicated gun running network that snaked through at l e ast two Central American countries before the weapons arrived in Nicaragua to aid the Sandinista rebels After the Sandinistas seized power, the same AD network continued to run arms into El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala Many analysts believe that AD o f ficers stationed in Panama (a key post for the department) are supervising the arms shipments from Cuba to Panama It isassumed.these weapons are meant to bolster Panamas strongman, General Manuel Antonio Noriega As with the DGI, AD agents are assigned to C uban embassies and missions in the Western Hemisphere, although a few may have had assignments in Europe. An estimated two or three AD agents are assigned to each mission including Cubas interests section in Washington, D.C and Cubas mission to the United Nations in New York City. High priority countries, such as Panama, may have as many as six officers 2 Orlando Hidalgo Castro, Spy for Fidel (Miami: E. A. Seeman Publishing, lnc 1971 pp. 39-40 9 As in the DGI, AD personnel do not have to report to their am b assador unless he is a member of the Depcutamenfo. Unlike the DGI, at least four Cuban chiefs of mission, past and present, have been identified as AD agents including Ulises Estrada in Jamaica, Julian Enrique Rizo in Grenada, Osvaldo Cardenas in Suriname , and currently, Julian Lopez Diaz in Nicaragua.

    According to Radio Marti News Department Director Jay Mallin A major responsibility ofthe AD is to facilitate military and sabotage training for pro-fidelista clandestine and guerrilla groups. The AD brings members of these organizations to Cuba and then gets them back home.

    It provides them with weapons, explosives and other materials. Actual transportation and training may not be done by the AD but by troops.of the Special Operations Directorate [located w ithin the Ministry of the 1nterior1.3 The ADS status has continued to rise, primarily because it was instrumental in giving Castro his one clear-cut victory in Nicaragua after two long decades of failure there and elsewhere FUTURE OF CUBAN TERRORISM Spons orship of terrorism is a longstanding and major part of Cubas foreign policy. It is likely, in fact, that Cuba will increase its terrorism, particularly if it achieves some successes.

    Training and supporting small bands of terrorists, often with third coun try weapons (such as from Vietnam costs relatively little. Moreover, because of Havanas chronic and mounting economic failures, it is unlikely that the Castro regime will undertake major new commitments in foreign policy other than helping already favored revolutionary (but operationally terrorist) groups.

    Havana also may be encouraged to continue its support of terrorism because of new restraints imposed on the U.S. counterterrorist program. The U.S. Congress is considering measures that further restrict the foreign policy operations of the Executive Branch, thus making it even more difficult for the U.S. to react to terrorism. The American anti-terrorist campaign, moreover, was never directed at Cuba, but at more obvious offenders; suchsas Libyas Muammar Qadhafi POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS Cuban terrorism is perhaps more dangerous than the Iraniasor Libyan variety because the U.S. public is not aware of it. Since Castro avoids the sorts of terrorist acts that make headlines, U.S. officials are unable to build t he consensus necessary to punish Cuba for three decades of sponsoring terrorism worldwide. Measures the U.S. should consider to deal with Cuban terrorism, therefore, should include 3 The Washington 7imes, October 25,1983 10 Calling Attention to Cuba’s Ter r orism. Publicity is the key to containing Castro-style terrorism. Despite its long involvement in promoting violence, Havana has never been spotlighted as have Libya’s Muammar Qadhafi or Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini. The Central American public affairs offic e in the State Department needs to be expanded and reorganized. More attention must be paid to publicizing Cuban terrorist activities worldwide, not just in Latin America Informing the Cuban People. Greater efforts can be made to expose Cuban terrorism on R adio Marti, the U.S. government’s alternate radio service to Cuba. The Cuban people should be told about Cuban involvement in terrorism 3 Investigating Cuban Activities. The U.S. Senate should reactivate the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Security a nd Terrorism. The subcomhittee should convene hearings on Cuban terrorism and then set priorities for the counterterrorism policy counterterrorism policy must pay more attention to Cuba. Top attention is still given to Iran and Libya Reforming Counterterr o rist Policy. Besides more effective publicity, U.S Ending Diplomatic Relations with Cuba. Since 1978, the U.S. has pursued a policy of quasi-diplomatic relations with Cuba. Each country has, in effect, an embassy in each other’s capital in the form of an ” interest section” under the control of another embassy In the case of the Cuban interest section in Washington, it is formally part of the Czech embassy. In Havana, the U.S. interest section is part of the Swiss embassy. It is time to consider ending even this tenuous relationship with the terrorist country nearest U.S shores.

    Prepared for The Heritage Foundation by Roger Fontaine a Washington writer; formerly a member of the National Security Council staff 11

  22. Follow up post #22 added on February 04, 2011 by amartin

    But I understand our “Compañera” Communist from USA free to present her points will never be satisfied because her brain is bleached.

    What is sad is her ability to defend repression, terrorism and IMPERIALISM from a government to its own people.

    I have proof my point you are a hypocrite since you are using rights they don’t have in Cuba to defend the ones that deny CubanS that same right.

    If you are a true communist and revolutionary supporter you should auto censor yourself in honor to the Cuban Government.

    Peace with you.

    Go to Cuba and live with a regular family without any CUC and see if your belly will allow your beach brain to funtion.

  23. Follow up post #23 added on February 07, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    That’s the best you can do? Women in White?! Cubans rightfully despise them—and all other Washington/Miami funded dissidents. The government doesn’t have to send people out to harass people like this. They take matters into their own hands. 

    This woman is a known agitator. She hangs subversive banners outside her home. Obviously, her intention is to instigate in order to collect propaganda. Do you not see the neighbors walking away only to have her provoke them into returning? Come on! Does she look scared to you? How is it she is a free woman? She is as safe as any American taking an unpopular stance. Explain to me the difference between you guys teaming up against me for espousing what you consider to be an unpatriotic position and Cubans doing the same. 

    “At the beginning of 1959 United States companies owned about 40 percent of the Cuban sugar lands – almost all the cattle ranches – 90 percent of the mines and mineral concessions – 80 percent of the utilities – practically all the oil industry – and supplied two-thirds of Cuba’s imports.”

    We hate Cuba because it succeeded in defeating US imperialism and humiliated us in the process. Plain and simple. Were we crying foul for all the poor Cubans tortured, killed and repressed under the US-backed Batista regime? No. It wasn’t until we lost our political and economic influence that our hearts began to bleed. I’m not the one in need of a history lesson. Read up on Operation Northwoods, Operation Mongoose and the countless acts of terror we have visited upon Cuba since the revolution. 

    There ARE political prisoners in Cuba. They’re holed up and tortured in Guantanamo Bay courtesy of US military. The only ‘prisoners of conscious’ jailed in Cuba are the ones found guilty of cooperating with the US  to commit treasonous activities. Cuba has made public the evidence of guilt. 

    I question your motivation here, based on what evidence you put forth. It is one thing to speak out of ignorance, but if you are knowingly supporting your argument with these misleading examples, then it does no good to argue with you. 

    Why are Americans forbidden to travel to Cuba and see for themselves what a horrible place this is to live? Why is it that thousands around the world travel there every year and speak of what a wonderful place it is? Why do are media repress all of the success stories? 

    Cuba is not without problems. It isn’t a utopia. But neither is any country—least of all our own. I’d take a humble compassionate and austere leader any day over our corrupt wealth and power-obsessed leaders.

  24. Follow up post #24 added on February 07, 2011 by amartin

    I gave proof already, is not only the ladies in white but thousands of repressed dissidents.

    Obviously this will never convince you.


    You a hypocrite person supporting a country that denies its citizens the rights you have.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

    I do not support:

    The embargo. (I want to end the embargo)
    The travel ban (I want to end the travel ban)
    Posada Carriles (He is a terrorist just like Cuba’s government is)

    Finally you are more like the Cubans dissidents than you think.

    You are dissenting from your government just like they are, you are dissenting from the USA who was created by a revolution (the American revolution) and nobody had called you a “counterrevolutionary” for your dissenting opinion.

    Cubans in Cuba who try to be like you are called “counterrevolutionaries” and are oppressed by a terrorist dictatorship yet you choose to be here and support the oppressors.

    That is called a HYPOCRITE

  25. Follow up post #25 added on February 07, 2011 by amartin

    1.  “At the beginning of 1959 United States companies owned about 40 percent of the Cuban sugar lands – almost all the cattle ranches – 90 percent of the mines and mineral concessions – 80 percent of the utilities – practically all the oil industry – and supplied two-thirds of Cuba’s imports.”

    “Americans owed 40 % of the Cuban sugar lands” - That means individual Cubans not a terrorist government owed the other 60% WOW! That was great compared by today where Individual Cubans don’t own any significant percentage because all was taken by the terrorist government.

    Today all utilities, cattle ranches and every industry in the country are owned by the dictatorship and foreigners.

    Can you name any mayor industry in Cuba owned by an individual Cuban?

    No why because they were robbed from the right to be independent and productive citizens.

    Today the Cuban government and their foreigners allies own everything and had turn Cuba from a producer of sugar, rice, coffee, oranges and many other products to an importer of them.

    Even the tomatoes consumed on the hotels are imported.

    Cuba imports sugar that is incredible!

    You are a hypocrite and useful idiot who support the IMPERIALIST RULE the cuban government has on its people.

  26. Follow up post #26 added on February 07, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    Cuba is still the 8th largest producer of sugar in the world. The reason they import is that much of their own is under contract for export. Remember also that we manipulated the sugar market and cut off our importation, which accounted for nearly all of Cuba’s export at the time of the revolution. Naturally, it sought to diversify. More than 50% of the sugar fields were reforested or set aside for cattle or alternative crops. It has one of the most praised organic farming industries in the world. (US farmers are over there learning their methods.) Cuba now boasts a booming industrial sector and world class biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Tourism is huge. 

    They are far more productive and independent than they were in the days when nearly all were landless peasants working for foreign companies or the tiny Cuban elite. Far better off than in the days of US mafia-run casinos and brothels. Far more free to speak than in the days of the disgusting brutal Batista regime. 

    All work is unionized and NOT, as you allege, controlled by the government. It has one of the largest professional work forces in the world and 1 in 5 Cubans hold a university degree. 

    Cubans DO own property. 85% of homes are privately owned. All homes have quality drinking water (compare to 35% pre-Castro.) All homes have toilets (compare to 37% PC.) All have bath tubs (compare to 17.4% PC.) Nearly all homes have electricity (7% PC.) 

    Life expectancy has gone up 19 years. All health indices (infant mortality, disease rates, etc.) meet or exceed US levels. Literacy nears 100%. Quality is uniform in education. Can’t say that here! None are homeless. None go without food.

    Racism is much worse here, as is homophobia and sexism. Cuba’s civil rights were already well underway back when we were hosing down blacks who dared insist on equal treatment. 

    Look at their world film festival, ballet, baseball, rap music, surfing, martial arts… Things ALL Cubans can afford to do, see and learn. Look at all the kids running and playing in the streets instead of sitting in front of a television playing video games. 

    Whatever its shortcomings, it isn’t terrible. Not even close. NO OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD criticizes Cuba the way that we do. Most are far more critical of the US. 

    Do you know that Castro offered to allow our CIA’s propaganda Radio Marti and TV Marti unobstructed access in Cuban in exchange for the US allowing pro-Cuban radio and television over here? We said no! 

    Your claim that there are thousands who dissent is completely bogus, even by our government’s account. If there were, I’d think we could do better than recycling a handful of US-funded names like Yoani Sanchez and—oh, please—the Ladies in White. A good question is—if they were allowed 100% freedom of expression, what would be left to complain about? 

  27. Follow up post #27 added on February 08, 2011 by amartin

    Seems to me you are very well trained and brain bleached with all those fictitious statistics not even the Cuban government believes.

    All the new measurements they are taking are because they finally find out they are the most inefficient dictatorship in planet earth and after running on credits and charity for years after the collapse of the Soviet Union they are now trying to prevent their own collapse by going on “Diet Capitalism”

    When the statistics become a state secret in a repressive communist society it should never be trusted. Only useful idiots believe all that garbage.

    Cuba is a racist and repressive society. Only the elite and foreigners can own business and have the rights Cubans like those you so hatefully discredit are fighting so hard to archive.

    You need permission from the government to travel and the basic human rights are denied.

    Cubans are victim of their system and the sympathy of people like you who support their oppressor.

    The Cuban Government is not Cuba, Cuba is more than that. That is why most of those accomplishments are Cubans accomplishments despite their government.

    Yes Cubans do have a university degree earned by themselves after many years of sacrifice and for me and many of my generation after 7 years of HARD LABOR from age 13 working on the citric fields of Jaguey Grande without pay (CHILD SLAVERY).

    Yet despite all those sacrifice Cubans with a university degree make more money caring a foreigners bag or been their secretary than using their degree.

    Go and live like a Cuban without dollars and see how you like it.

    Once again you are a hypocrite unable to answer real questions about basic rights.

    The Cuban government received and used millions of dollars from an external power (Soviet Union) to export terrorism and to impose an IMPERIALISTIC RULE upon its own people. That “economic help” was fine with you?

    Hypocrite pro-dictator Cuban heater is what you are and can’t deny. You are using our freedoms to defend those who denied the same rights to other people.

    For you is fine as long as they are Cubans. You are probably that’s ok; they deserve to live under a dictatorship but not me. 

    But don’t feel bad, read those fake statistics three times a day and you won’t feel guilty of supporting a TERRORIST DICTATOR.

  28. Follow up post #28 added on February 08, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    I consider “basic human rights” to be necessary things like food, water, shelter, healthcare, education… Cuba’s doing just fine.

    You have very little understanding of history, geopolitics, democracy and capitalism. Your entire argument is based on American propaganda. I find it very hard to believe you are college educated, let alone a Cuban university. Unless, of course, you are based out of Miami and know full well that what you are saying is untrue/grossly exaggerated. If you know it’s a bunch of BS you’re passing off, I could believe you are intelligent—and a whole lot of other things I will not mention.

  29. Follow up post #29 added on February 09, 2011 by amartin

    Here we go she is an elitist pro-dictatorship free American who uses her freedom to defend freedom deniers and now is coming up by judging people based on their education.

    I can tell by the way of your arguments that you belong to this special class of elite leftist unsatisfied with their freedoms and unwilling to put their money where they mouth is.

    I am college educated but even if I’m not does not make your argument more valid.

    Seems to me your high education brings down you capacity to analyze reality beyond a book page or a conference dictated by a repressive government.

    I in the other hand have no problem telling you that you are right this country tried many times to kill Castro illegally, some Cubans in Miami are terrorist, Posada Carriles is a terrorist, the us society have issues with racism, the us military had committed abuses and excesses and many other issues we are currently dealing with openly.

    However your illuminated intellect does not allow you to measure the Cuban government by the same standards and while you see all is wrong in our society you praise them and their oppressive ways.

    Would you admit to the following?

    The Cuban Government was created on the based of terrorism by the 26 de Julio movement placing bombs in Havana stores and Movie theaters.  The Cuban government exported their revolution ideas and terrorist ways to many countries in the world by training and helping all guerrilla movements in Latin America who are known for their criminal activities and terror imposed for many years.

    Economic Freedom.
    The Cuban government does not allow its citizens to own their own business. They are only allowed to do “cuenta propia” or work on their own. Businesses in Cuba are owed by the government and foreigners. Foreigners invest capital together with the Cuban government and they together take profits. In this case the government acts as a capitalist and is choosing to allow foreigners capitalists and not Cubans do participate.

    Freedom of Information
    The Cuban government controls all the media only their point of view is made public. They utilize the media to discredit any dissident ideas of even criticism. When I said the media I mean newspapers, radio, TV and Internet. You will never ever see an opposite comment or critic on any Cuban media. All citizens with such criticism is deem a “counterrevolutionary”

    Workers rights.
    The Cuban worker is simply a government inventory. Cuban workers are exploited by their government which in term allows their exploitation by valuing their salary in hard currency to the foreigner investor and paying them in worthless Cuban pesos.
    They are obligated to participate in their government union which in the case acts like a department of the government their leader is a member of the “Consejo de Estado”  the union leader is called SALVADOR ANTONIO VALDÉS MESA and you can find information here: http://www.juventudrebelde.cu/cuba/2008-02-25/miembros-del-consejo-de-estado/
    Where you can see he belongs to the state roster. In 1999 he was the communist party director in the Camaguey province.
    They are many more arguments to show you but I’m sure your well educated and intellectual bleached brain can’t comprehend because it is not in sync with the propaganda you feed on.
    I’m sorry for taking your erudite mind out of its daily routines.
    We the less smart scum should never challenge your arguments maybe we should create a security department here to control the internet and only allow your class of educated and revolutionary people to use it (just like in Cuba)
    Now go back and read the fake statistics 3 times today so you don’t feel bad today about supporting a TERRORIST DICTATORSHIP.

  30. Follow up post #30 added on February 09, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    What?! Castro NEVER used bombs! Perhaps you’re confusing their methods with our own. We bombed the hell out of Cuban refineries, mills, sugar cane fields… And we bankrolled countless acts of terror. 

    And please—pick ANY Cuban-backed revolution you find immoral. It would take too long to correct you on all of them. 

    Cubans are NOT obligated to unionize. 97% do, because they are not corrupt political machines like ours. The government does NOT control unions. Matters are handled almost exclusively at workplace-level. That a branch of government provides oversight is a no-brainer. Our equivalent federal agency is the NLRB. Its members are appointed by our president and approved by the senate.

    Do you see a Communist media outlet in the US? How about any mainstream media without a political agenda? No! We’re Capitalists bashing the Commies. They’re Commies bashing the Capitalists. Their propaganda is based on patriotism, Marxist ideology, non-materialism and truth about capitalism. Ours is based on  patriotism, corporatism, material accumulation and LIES about socialism. 

    The Internet, as I said, isn’t widespread enough (thanks to us!) to debate just yet. However, I did recently read that the despicable Yoani Sanchez’s propaganda blog is now fully accessible in Cuba. Funny they haven’t arrested her after all this time. 

    I already discussed the dual currency and silly little “slave wage” claim. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it. 

    The government takes all the profits? You’re kidding, right? I won’t even bother arguing that unless you tell me you’re serious. 

    By the way, this brain bleached useful idiot didn’t mean to insult your intelligence with the college remark. I know plenty of brilliant non-grads and plenty of ignorant grads. My point was that most educated people are—even if not substantially—aware that much of what we say about Cuba is propaganda. Claiming, as I believe you did, that you obtained a degree there (courtesy of the government) naturally leads me to suspect that you have an agenda, as clearly you would know—having lived there—that you are misrepresenting facts. That’s all I was saying. 

  31. Follow up post #31 added on February 10, 2011 by .

    Now go back and read the fake statistics 3 times today so you don’t feel bad today about supporting a TERRORIST DICTATORSHIP.

  32. Follow up post #32 added on February 10, 2011 by amartin

    That is it! Thank you very much for proving my points.

    You are a hypocrite free American using its freedoms to defend an imperialistic state who controls, exploit, restrict and govern its own people without the rights you enjoy.

    Your lies are easy to catch and your arrogance about your intellect and education of people is deplorable.

    I have nothing to thank the Cuban government for if the Cuban people have to live like slave for the little they get from their government then that slave life without rights is their payment for those services they don’t have to be thankful for anything.

    Morals? You mean to tell me its ok to massacre people because of morals? It’s ok to fund and train terrorist’s organizations in Latin American for an ideal? What is the difference with fascism then? They had ideals too, wrong like in the case of the communist but never the less were ideas.

    WOW! That is very impressible. You think is ok to be a terrorist as long as is on your side of the argument.

    If you want to find out about Castro bombs is simple find these magazines written at the beginning of the revolution.

    Bohemia Ediciones De La Libertad (3 magazines) There you can find all the details about Castro and its 26 de Julio Bombings.

    This magazine was very sympathetic with the revolution yet published all the atrocities committed by Castro and its group as well as the atrocities committed by The Batista dictatorship.

    The point is simple Batista was a cruel dictator who killed people same as Castro. You don’t like Batista but like Castro.

    That makes sense right?

  33. Follow up post #33 added on February 10, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    My arrogance about my intellect and education? Firstly, I’m 33 and STILL working on my Bachelor’s! Secondly, ignorance and stupidity are not the same thing. People don’t choose to be unintelligent, so who is anyone to judge? People DO choose to be close-minded. Thirdly, take a look at your own comments about me before drawing conclusions about the type of person I am based on mine. Let us all be civil and avoid insults altogether.

    I have not read Bohemia Ediciones de la Libertad but I find it hard to believe a website hawking “Burn in hell Fidel” tee shirts and “Free Cuba” baby rompers would promote anything objective or “sympathetic” to the movement. 

    It was totally misleading for me to say Castro “never” used bombs. I was rashly responding to your having accused them of targeting hotels and movie theatres and in re-reading it, clearly I failed to qualify the statement. Using explosives to target enemy combatants and interrupt transport or utilities is sabotage. Targeting civilians—or structures where civilians are within range—is terrorism. They were saboteurs, not terrorists. They are not legitimately linked to ANY terrorist bombings:

    US Embassy Havana, Despatch 389, January 3, 1957 (Declassified)

    “The Embassy is advised that the Cuban Government has no evidence to support the claim made by Minister of the Interior Santiago Rey that Communists are responsible for the recent sets of terrorism. Nevertheless the appropriate agencies of the Cuban Government have been ordered to put the Communist label on any disturbances in order to reduce anti-government feeling and activity BY NONCOMMUNIST REVOLUTIONARIES.” (Page 2, Paragraph 1) “People were shocked to read in their morning papers yesterday that on the previous evening q girl was so severely wounded by the explosion of a bomb at the “Tropicana” night club that she had to have an arm amputated.” (Page 2, Paragraph 3)

    In battle, they strictly adhered to fair treatment of the enemy. Soldiers were captured and disarmed. Those who did not wish to join the movement were released. None was abused. Only a handful of recalcitrant captives were executed. Soldiers were allowed to safely retrieve fallen comrades. There is no credible evidence to suggest otherwise. Contrary to Batista’s army, they obeyed all rules of engagement. 

    Che personally ordered hundreds of Batista’s men to be executed summarily. Granted, the evidence was (and still is) there that the killings would have legally been justified had they gone through the motions. But it absolutely was wrong—even if only from an appearance perspective. I won’t argue that. Killing is sometimes justified, sometimes necessary, never moral.

    I will say with the utmost conviction that they have never supported the wrong side. They funded, trained and fought alongside foreigners to fight off US-backed terrorists, not to become them. 

  34. Follow up post #34 added on February 10, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    “Even the treatment accorded the enemy is important; the norm to be followed should be an absolute inflexibility at the time of attack, an absolute inflexibility toward all the despicable elements that resort to informing and assassination, and clemency as absolute as possible toward the enemy soldiers who go into the fight performing or believing that they perform a military duty. It is a good policy… to take no prisoners. Survivors ought to be set free. The wounded should be cared for with all possible resources at the time of the action.”  ~ Che Guevara on guerrilla warfare

  35. Follow up post #35 added on February 11, 2011 by amartin

    Here you go again with phrases and stupidity from Cher Guevara the killer in chief. 

    That great you can show your counterrevolutionary point of view (against USA created by the American Revolution) yet nobody can take that right away from you.

    However you are supporting the ones who do not allow the Cubans that same right.

    Just the fact you are able to place your male intentioned comments here proof that we are free. Yet you re their supporter.

    That makes you a hypocrite who support an IMPERIALISTC GOVERNMENT, TERRORIST, WHO SLAVE THE CUBAN WORKERS.

    Please read the statistics today so you can feel good again for supporting them.

  36. Follow up post #36 added on February 15, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    You claim to support free speech for Cubans. Surely you realize that people like you who spread misinformation and call for overthrowing its government are precisely the reason why Cuba must take measures to maintain its sovereignty. Our disingenuous puppeteers in Washington and Miami are using well-intentioned but ignorant Americans and funding Cuban dissidents to perpetuate these lies, forcing Cuba to be proactive


    The US is the only country ever to be condemned by the World Court for acts of “international terrorism.”

    The US is unrivaled when it comes to committing acts of terrorism. 


    The Georgia-based School of the Americas has trained tens of thousands of Latin American terrorists—many who infamously go on to commit atrocities. Training manuals cover “the execution of guerillas, extortion, physical abuse, coercion, and false imprisonment.”

    “The U.S. Army School of the Americas is a school that has run more dictators than any other school in the history of the world.” — U.S. Congressman Joseph Kennedy 

    Tell me again, which of us is on the side of terrorism? 

  37. Follow up post #37 added on February 16, 2011 by amartin

    So your conclusions are that the Cuban government can and is crushing any dissent because people criticize them?

    Basically under that analysis the American government should silence you for expressing your opinions, yet you are free to do so.

    You are an American counter-revolutionary who presents her misinformed point of view and does not like the way her country is run under your analysis we should incarcerate you for 20 years just like the Cuban government does to anyone who dissent?


    That makes you a hypocrite who support an IMPERIALISTC GOVERNMENT, TERRORIST, WHO SLAVE THE CUBAN WORKERS.

    Please read the statistics today so you can feel good again for supporting them.

  38. Follow up post #38 added on February 16, 2011 by amartin

    Oh - I get it now.

    What you are saying is:

    Only when they stop criticizing the Cuban Government is when the Cuban government will allow its people to express them selves freely.

    Makes sense now right?


  39. Follow up post #39 added on February 16, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    I didn’t say Cuba “crushes dissent”. You tend to just throw things out there without context or substantiation. You’re parroting propaganda, basically. 

    Do you believe that the US government should be overthrown? If not, then you have no business calling for the overthrow of Cuba. Our government is vile. Stop being a hypocrite. 

    What is it that Cubans are prevented from criticizing? Seriously… Answer that question. This is why I don’t believe you are from Cuba. How could you possibly have spent so much as a day there without seeing just how quick Cubans are to speak their minds?! 

  40. Follow up post #40 added on February 17, 2011 by amartin

    The US government is overthrown every 4 years it’s called DEMOCRACY.

    Good for you but not for the Cubans, their government last forever without the right to change anything. You are an American Counter- Revolutionary with freedoms to write here and speak what you believe not the Cubans counterrevolutionaries those you agree they should be put in jail for 20 + years.

    But its ok you feel good reading those fake statistics.

    I’m 100% Cuban born and raised in the revolution; I don’t have to prove it to you because it won’t change anything. There are a ton of Cubans saying the same thing I’m saying living in Cuba today and you don’t agree with them and characterize them as counter-revolutionary.


    But that is ok. They get the following (This is my mom food list for December on the government subsidized ration card it should last you a whole month. After that you need to buy food with CUC equivalent to dollars)

    5 pounds of half broken rice full of dirt and little rocks
    2 pounds of beans
    1/4 pound of salt
    4 eggs
    Cost less than $15 Cuban pesos


  41. Follow up post #41 added on February 21, 2011 by Stayce Mccracken

    Let’s talk about freedom. 

    There is no such thing as true home ownership here. Aside from imminent domain laws, our government requires property taxes in perpetuity. Our land is never paid off. Failure to pay means the government can seize your land. 

    You may not own a business unless you abide by regulations, receive approval and pay for the privilege via taxation. 

    All social media (Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, etc.) as well as all websites, blogs and comments, are monitored by Homeland Security. Our comments here included. Our government is allowed to create fictitious profiles in order to gain access to private accounts. Any time an American types in one of a long list of words ranging from pork to Islam, they are flagged. It’s called the Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative. Conveniently, none of the major televised news organizations has made mention of it. You can read all about it on the department’s website. 

    We recently reintroduced the Internet kill switch bill—not coincidentally in the wake of social media revolutions. This would allow our government to shut down the Internet in the event of a domestic uprising. 

    We have a million-strong list of ‘suspect’ Americans who are singled out when flying—many on the No-Fly list that have done nothing more than criticize the government, including reporters. They are not convicted terrorists and have broken no laws. 

    We are phasing in national ID cards which we will be mandated to carry at all times. They will be microchipped and linked to a database providing all sorts of personal information ranging from financial information to criminal history. We call them Real IDs b/c of the fascist image the term ‘national ID’ evokes. 

    We infiltrate and monitor anti-war, animal and civil rights, pro-constitution and liberal groups which the government deems subversive despite being non-violent. We require permits to demonstrate and set up ‘free speech zones’ that are often far from the action and force media to choose between covering protesters or the events. We arrest non-violent demonstrators and charge them with disturbing the peace or creating a POTENTIAL for public unrest. 

    We have made it illegal for independent organizations to provide humanitarian aid or counsel to any so-called terrorist group. We aren’t even allowed to work with them to encourage peaceful resolution, lest we be charged with providing aid and comfort to the enemy. We are not allowed to decide for ourselves if someone’s an enemy. If our government says so, then we are not to question it. 

    Travel permits will soon be required for domestic flights. Yes, we will have to get permission to fly from one state to another. And of course we all must subject ourselves to radioactive body scans which allow the monitors to produce naked images. Or we could allow them to pat us down, grope every inch of us. No one else does this. 

    Our Army has begun constructing several massive razor-wired civilian labor camps throughout the country. For the time being, they are being used to exploit prisoners but the government reserves the right to use them in declared states of emergency—including an unexpected influx of immigrants. By definition, they are concentration camps.

    We have the highest incarceration rate in the world and the majority are non-violent offenders. Why? Cheap labor. Our inmates produce all uniforms, body armor, canteens, helmets, etc. for our military. Actually, they make all sorts of things ranging from school furniture to Victoria’s Secret bras. Incarceration is profitable. We aren’t protecting our citizens. We’re jailing them unnecessarily to create a workforce. 

    Cuba has never committed an act of aggression against us—or anyone. Yet we are not free to go there. We may go to any other ‘terrorist nation’ but not Cuba. Why? Are we afraid of being exposed? Regardless, it is a right which we have been unjustly stripped of. 

    We insist on election monitoring when we want to influence foreign elections but only once have we allowed foreign monitoring of our own. And even that was reluctant. 

    Our government compiles information on all citizens. Anyone suspected of holding anti-government sentiment is watched. This includes “defenders of the US Constitution against federal government and the UN”. Without a warrant and without notification, it collects our medical, phone, financial, credit, psychological, employment, criminal, video rental, library, club and tax records. The government may track our location via our cell phones or GPS secretly attached to our cars. They may search our homes without warrants. They may detain us without charge indefinitely, without access to a lawyer, without notifying our families. I’m not making this stuff up. 

    Anyone elected to public office must swear an oath of allegiance to our country and swear to uphold the constitution. So must anyone working for the government. Not really an issue when you consider that really the only way to be elected is to be backed by the Party and funded by the corporations who run our government. 

    In order to obtain citizenship, immigrants must likewise swear allegiance to the constitution and agree to take up arms in its defense.

    Our media is unarguably controlled by the very corporations that purchase our politicians. Whether you pick up a local or national paper or magazine, watch the local or national news or listen to a local or national radio station, you are taking in an agenda. Al Jazeera is considered one of the best most unbiased news organizations in the world. We have essentially banned it here for being too critical. Media which amounts to foreign propaganda is illegal. The death of Internet neutrality makes independent site access much more difficult as those who can pay will be given search preference. 

    Remember the ban on photographs depicting victims of the war, injured soldiers and flag-draped coffins? Do you know that in order to be an imbedded reporter, you must cooperate with the military and only footage that is approved may be disseminated?

    Now I could go into our history of spying on and “neutralizing” law abiding groups whose only crime was questioning government or calling for civil rights. COINTELPRO and TALON would be great examples. But that would be exhausting. The point is, our record shows that we are far more interested in targeting homegrown dissent than we are in targeting actual  —or imagined—terrorists. 

    What this means is that our freedom of speech, thought and press is largely an illusion. The single most effective form of censorship is self-censorship. Create an environment where citizens are afraid to speak out and it will regulate itself. No one wants to draw the attention of our government. No one wants to be targeted. I would never consider being publicly outspoken for fear of reprisal despite holding passionate views. It is scary enough to me knowing that my government already has me on a watch list somewhere. I limit myself to the occasional criticizing on the Internet and researching for my own self-awareness, knowing full well that I will never hold influence. Those braver than me—like Michael Moore—are publicly castigated and marginalized. If it is not worth the risk to someone like me, imagine how easy it is to shut up the average apathetic American. 

    I’m a little off topic here, as it isn’t about Cuba. But what you are arguing is that it lacks freedom. I’m arguing that is equally—if not more frightfully—true here. 

    By the way, knocking Cuba for surviving off of foreign charity is pretty funny considering we are the world’s number one debtor nation. 

  42. Follow up post #42 added on February 21, 2011 by amartin


  43. Follow up post #43 added on February 21, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Okay. I think both parties have said about as much as they can say.

    I’m going to close the thread.

    Cuba consulting services

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