Maggie Alarcón

Posts Tagged ‘Alan Gross’

December 17th and the Voice of Reason

In Cuba, Cuban Americans, History, Politics on December 17, 2015 at 5:01 pm

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Margarita Alarcon Perea

December 17th marks the anniversary of the first year of the release of Alan Gross, the return of three Cuban prisoners unjustly jailed in US prisons and for the first time presidents from both Cuba and the United States live on their respective television networks speaking about the same thing and both on the same page.

Last year Raul Castro and Barack Obama got their acts together and decided to do something that for far too long had been silenced, they gave voice back to reason and spoke of restoring relations between their two countries.

Since that day, which on all accounts was joyous albeit an enormous surprise, much has happened in the form of restoring the diplomatic side of the relations, but not much else. Watching the debate the other night I fear much more needs to be done before November of 2017. Yet I am hopeful.

At least Cuba wasn’t mentioned openly. So maybe the two pseudo Cuban contenders for their party’s nomination have since figured out that siding with irrationality by actually bolstering the notion of how they would turn back all that has happened since last year’s televised speeches or the less Latino hopeful candidates criticizing the current President of the United States for having “given so much in exchange for nothing” or ranting about how if he were to come down to the Caribbean’s largest island before leaving office might be indicative of nothing less than …say, treason? Of course, this is an exaggeration on my part, but heck, he was accused of not being “American” enough for almost two straight years!

In any case, it’s been a year already. The secretary of State has opened the long closed Embassy, the Stars and Stripes waves every day, morning, noon, and night. US tourists are coming down nonstop, Cuban Americans are devising ways of investing on the island in the most intuitive and inventive fashion ever. So I guess, Cuba won’t be part of the debates in the near electoral future.

Maybe the candidates have figured out that the voice of reason silenced for so long is now the shout of logic that just won’t keep quiet, lest they lose those historically beloved 28 electoral votes.

 

Originally posted on the Huffington Post

Alan Gross, American Jailed in Cuba, Vows to Come Home ‘Dead or Alive’

In Alan Gross on April 23, 2014 at 2:39 pm

 

From NBC News

Alan Gross, the American subcontractor jailed in Cuba, has vowed that he will return to the United States within a year “dead or alive” and is pleading for the White House to intervene, his lawyer said Wednesday.

In an interview from Havana, attorney Scott Gilbert told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell that after more than four years in 23-hour lockup, his client can’t face the thought of another decade behind bars. 

Photo Credit: Roberto Leon NBC News Havana

Photo Credit: Roberto Leon NBC News Havana

 “He will return to the United States before his 66th birthday, dead or alive,” Gilbert said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” after meeting with Gross and Cuban offcials.

Gross, 65, lost 11 pounds during a nine-day hunger strike earlier this year. It was unclear if his pledge meant he might undertake another one.

“I think Alan can be volatile, as would be anyone confined in this situation. And I take Alan’s statement not as a threat but as expression of extraordinary frustration and determination and, and as he said to me yesterday, continued hope.”

Gross, a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID),was arrested in 2009 while trying to establish an online network for Jews in Havana.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for subversive activities. Gilbert said that Cuban officials reiterated their offer to begin talks about Gross’ possible release with no pre-conditions, but the U.S. has balked.

“We have asked the president to engage,” Gilbert said. “We believe the administration should do whatever it takes to free Alan, who was in Cuba in the first place on U.S.government business.”

Gross spends all but one hour a day in a cell with two other men, his lawyer said. He is allowed two short phone calls a week and his meals are “limited and mediocre,” he said.

 “He does not intend to endure another year of this solitary confinement,” Gilbert said.
— Tracy Connor

 

Watch  live video from Havana on Andrea Mitchell Reports   @NBC News  Havana

U.S. Secretly Built ‘Cuban Twitter’ to Stir Unrest, AP Reports

In Cuba/US on April 3, 2014 at 12:45 pm

 

The U.S. government masterminded the creation of a “Cuban Twitter” — a communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba, built with secret shell companies and financed through foreign banks, The Associated Press has learned.

The project, which lasted more than two years and drew tens of thousands of subscribers, sought to evade Cuba’s stranglehold on the Internet with a primitive social media platform. First, the network would build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then, the plan was to push them toward dissent.

 Yet its users were neither aware it was created by a U.S. agency with ties to the State Department, nor that American contractors were gathering personal data about them, in the hope that the information might be used someday for political purposes.

It is unclear whether the scheme was legal under U.S. law, which requires written authorization of covert action by the president and congressional notification. Officials at USAID would not say who had approved the program or whether the White House was aware of it. The Cuban government declined a request for comment.

At minimum, details uncovered by the AP appear to muddy the U.S. Agency for International Development’s longstanding claims that it does not conduct covert actions, and could undermine the agency’s mission to deliver aid to the world’s poor and vulnerable — an effort that requires the trust and cooperation of foreign governments.

USAID and its contractors went to extensive lengths to conceal Washington’s ties to the project, according to interviews and documents obtained by the AP. They set up front companies in Spain and the Cayman Islands to hide the money trail, and recruited CEOs without telling them they would be working on a U.S. taxpayer-funded project.

“There will be absolutely no mention of United States government involvement,” according to a 2010 memo from Mobile Accord Inc., one of the project’s creators. “This is absolutely crucial for the long-term success of the service and to ensure the success of the Mission.”

The project, dubbed “ZunZuneo,” slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s tweet, was publicly launched shortly after the 2009 arrest in Cuba of American contractor Alan Gross. He was imprisoned after traveling repeatedly to the country on a separate, clandestine USAID mission to expand Internet access using sensitive technology that only governments use.

USAID said in a statement that it is “proud of its work in Cuba to provide basic humanitarian assistance, promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to help information flow more freely to the Cuban people,” whom it said “have lived under an authoritarian regime” for 50 years. The agency said its work was found to be “consistent with U.S. law.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s State Department and foreign operations subcommittee, said the ZunZuneo revelations were troubling.

“There is the risk to young, unsuspecting Cuban cellphone users who had no idea this was a U.S. government-funded activity,” he said. “There is the clandestine nature of the program that was not disclosed to the appropriations subcommittee with oversight responsibility.”

The AP obtained more than 1,000 pages of documents about the project’s development. It independently verified the project’s scope and details in the documents through publicly available databases, government sources and interviews with those involved in ZunZuneo.

 The estimated $1.6 million spent on ZunZuneo was publicly earmarked for an unspecified project in Pakistan, public government data show, but those documents don’t reveal where the funds were actually spent.

For more than two years, ZunZuneo grew and reached at least 40,000 subscribers. But documents reveal the team found evidence Cuban officials tried to trace the text messages and break into the ZunZuneo system. USAID told the AP that ZunZuneo stopped in September 2012 when a government grant ended.

First published April 3rd 2014, 4:07 am NBC News Online

 

 

 

 

 

And Then There Were Three

In Cuba/US, Cuban 5 on March 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm

 

By Tom Hayden

 

Fernando Gonzales became the second member of the Cuban Five to be repatriated to his homeland when he arrived at Havana’s Jose Marti airport on Friday. His prison term cut from nineteen to fifteen years, it was a long journey for Gonzales from a desert cell in Arizona to his release in Havana.

This was one deportation to celebrate.

Gonzales is fifty years old, and will join hands with Rene Gonzales, released last year, in advancing the campaign to free the remaining three.

The US government and media define the men as “spies” who belonged to a Cuban “Wasp network”, when the truth is far different and complicated. The five Cubans were not stealing US nuclear secrets, but monitoring live plots by US-supported Miami Cuban exiles to harass and attack the island. (For a recent authoritative account, see Stephen Kimber, What Lies Across the Water, 2013.)

Resolution of the Cuban Five matter is one of the impediments to overcome in normalizing US-Cuba relations after a fifty year hot-and-cold war. Behind the scenes, contacts and talks are developing. The Cubans are holding a US AID contractor, Alan Gross, convicted in 2011 of illegally smuggling advanced communications equipment into Cuba. His sentence runs through 2026.

There is reason to believe the US position is changing gradually. If so, releases of both Gross and the remaining Cuban Three could evolve on separate tracks as part of a mutual overall resolution of the US-Cuban conflict before President Obama leaves office and President Raul Castro retires.

 

Action and Reaction

In Alan Gross, Cuba/US, Cuban 5, Politics on February 20, 2014 at 11:47 am

 

Margarita Alarcón Perea

Isaac Newton’s third law of motion states: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This law is exemplified by what happens if we step off a boat onto the bank of a lake: as we move in the direction of the shore, the boat tends to move in the opposite direction (leaving us face down in the water, if we aren’t careful!).

Bashing yourself in the water aside, politics are also constantly affected by this third law.  In recent weeks , ever since the “handshake” during Nelson Mandela’s funeral services, one saw a constant flow of news on Cuba and the United States. Granted, the “handshake” was no more than a show of common courtesy, but the media took it up to mean so much more it grew to be hilarious. Other things did take special meaning in what could be deemed steps towards the much belated ending of hostilities between both nations.

The bilateral talks between Cuba and the United States. Judy Gross´s statements pleading to President Obama to find a solution taking “any steps necessary”, which include taking Cuba up on its longstanding offer to exchange Mr Gross for the remaining  Cuban Five imprisoned in the US. A bipartisan group of over 60 senators requesting the same regarding the case of Alan Gross. The recent poll taken by the Atlantic Council in Washington which shows an overwhelming majority in the US, including Florida favors normalizing relations with Cuba, putting an end to the embargo and freeing travel to and fro. Senator Bernie Sanders came down on a brief visit to meet with Alan Gross and later go to the Guantanamo prison camps. The Havana leg of the trip gave Sen. Sanders  the chance to speak to the press briefly where he said he hoped a solution to the Gross case would be reached soon as well as better relations with Cuba.

There is an obvious trend, the US and Cuba are advancing towards finally breaking bread, ever so slowly, but the trend is there. That would be the “action” if we apply Newton’s third law. The “reaction” unfortunately is not what we would hope for.

Every time in history that there has been a positive “action” from within the parties involved in resolving the conflict between Cuba and the US, the “reaction” has come from groups of either within the US Congress or Cubans on the island somehow involved with a foreign element. This time is no exception.

With the publication of a piece this morning by AFP, we read that a group inside Cuba is preparing to launch a campaign to gather signatures in order to change the constitution. This is by all means a valid attempt at producing change inside the island. It is in fact, the way Cuba establishes the changing or modification of its constitution. The problem with this “reaction” is that when reading the piece one learns that “the reform bid would bring together several Cuba opposition groups and actively launch in May with events in Cuba, the US states of Florida and New Jersey, Puerto Rico and Spain.”

Why is it always that when a group or person decides to change something in Cuba foreigners  are always somehow in tow or dare I say, the inciters?  Do they necessarily need the backing? Do they not know how to form dissent within their own ranks? Is this such a difficult feat to achieve?

Rather than holding hands with foreign interests, it would do Cuba and the US both a lot of good if the “reaction” to actions such as the ones that have been occurring were born from within the island by islanders with no other parties involved.

If not, falling on your face in the water is the only thing we will be expecting. 

Former U.S. diplomat Patrick Ryan: Time to drop Cuba from terror list

In Alan Gross, Cuba, Politics, US on April 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm

 

 

By Former U.S. diplomat Patrick Ryan

 

From The Hill

As a former U.S. diplomat who authored the 2007-09 Country Reports on Terrorism for Nigeria and visited Cuba many times on official business, I believe keeping Cuba on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism is absurd and highly political, particularly given its glaring omissions. 

Where is North Korea, which has conducted small-scale attacks against the South over the past several years — and recently threatened a nuclear first strike against the United States? Despite the fact that Cuba maintains a capable espionage network, no credible intelligence sources claim it is currently a security threat to us. Cuba’s listing is about Florida electoral politics. 

A small minority of Cuban-American politicians has been dictating U.S. foreign policy toward one of our most geographically proximate neighbors for too long — and using the highly questionable terrorist listing to justify continuation of the Cold War-era embargo. 

Ironically, these members of Congress support Cubans’ ability freedom to travel to the United States but not Americans’ freedom to travel to Cuba, and use the terrorist justification for this. If we truly want to undermine the Castro regime, the best way would be to end the listing, including the embargo and travel ban, and flood Cuba with American visitors, as well as our products and democratic ideas. Ending the restrictions would also demonstrably help the Cuban people — a stated aim of these same politicians. 

In comparison, most Vietnamese-Americans — who also lost a civil war to communists, 16 years after the Cubans — long ago accepted reality and supported the 1994 normalization of relations with Vietnam. The U.S. buried the hatchet and engaged a country whose human rights record, like Cuba’s — and China’s — has been disappointing, and with whom we were actually involved in a war that took the lives of more than 58,000 Americans. 

So why not Cuba? 

The fact that members of the Basque separatist group ETA have retired to the island with the blessing of the Spanish government, that FARC members are residing in Cuba during peace talks hosted by Havana and supported by the Colombian government and that various fugitives from American justice — none of whom have been accused of terrorism, by the way — have lived in exile there since the 1970s, are simply not credible arguments for maintaining the designation.

Frankly, it’s well past time that U.S. policymakers had the courage to tell the most vocal Miami exiles to acknowledge reality and move on, as many of them already have. Fortunately, the younger generation of Cubans in Miami isn’t as obsessed with the island as their forebears — and Cubans are no longer a majority of the Latin American population in South Florida.   

President Obama won Florida twice, and is in a unique position to remove Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism and push Congress to end the embargo in his second term. As Cuba continues its sporadic offshore oil exploration with foreign partners, including U.S. allies, it would seem advantageous for it to be a part of the process, in order to help ensure there will not be another disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, not to mention the economic benefits it would receive from increased exports to the island. The only way to do so is to take Cuba off the terrorism list.

The Castros have used the listing and embargo as excuses for their economic mismanagement and the dismal plight of ordinary Cubans for decades. The last time momentum existed in the U.S. Congress towards lifting it, the Cuban government shot down two small planes flown by the exile group “Brothers to the Rescue” that allegedly violated their airspace, ensuring the embargo and listing would continue. 

I am well aware of the poor human rights record of the regime and am not an apologist for it. The incarceration of Alan Gross, a USAID subcontractor who brought communications gear into Cuba, contrary to Cuban law, is regrettable, but should not hold U.S.-Cuban relations hostage. Nevertheless, it’s time for a new approach, as the current anachronistic policy has failed miserably for more than a half century.

 

Ryan is a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service who previously worked on Capitol Hill. Recently having returned after 14 years away, he has a degree in International Studies from Johns Hopkins and is currently consulting in D.C. on issues that have nothing to do with Cuba, the embargo, or potential business interests there.

 

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/guest-commentary/296867-former-us-diplomat-patrick-ryan-#ixzz2Ry1RShQv 
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Spring is in the air

In Alan Gross, CAFE, Cuba, Cuba/US, Cuban 5 on April 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Margarita Alarcón Perea

Spring is in the air. It is a constant much like Pi, happens every March 21st whether it’s snowing or raining or bright and sunny.  Its striking  that on this same date,  March 21st, was also the birth of Benito Juarez, known as the Benemerito of the Americas, title bestowed on him by the people and government of Colombia on May 1st of the year 1865, because of his unrelenting struggle to free Mexico and gain independence.

While president of Mexico, Juarez had a maxim that lives on today in the Mexican nation: “Among individuals and nations alike, respect for the rights of other people is what constitutes peace”. This statement always comes to mind when I think of the place Cuba has held in the region since its independence from Spain in the XIX century.

Cuba’s rights as a nation have never been respected by other nations or individuals, ever.  After the island garnered its independence from Spain the Paris Treaty left the island at the bequest of the Government of the United States and it remained so till 1959 when the Revolution of Fidel Castro triumphed establishing a socialist government in the country. Although the Cuban Revolution brought about much needed change on a social level, educating the uneducated, bettering conditions outside of the capital and establishing universal health care as the main government strategies to help its people, the country still depended because of an embargo imposed by the US on the next best option, the Soviet Union, and again, Cuba depended on someone else and much of its sovereignty was put on hold. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union as a country and a concept, Cuba was left stranded economically, politically and even socially.

Those were very difficult times, but the social benefits that still existed on the island were still stronger than the hardship and the Cuban people continued in their strife to advance, even if alone. The embargo against the island continued as it does today, but the rest of the world began to slowly open up to Cuba, and not just because of His Holiness John Paul II desire that this be so.  Cuba had proven over the years that it had something to offer and that sovereignty and independence were not to be gambled with. Cuba has never been a satellite of the Venezuelan Bolivarian Revolution, although the relationship with it  and with Hugo Chavez was strong. The difference between the two moments in time is simple: during the first forty some years of the Revolution the country had to build itself up from scratch, by the time Chavez and his oil and social justice powered revolution came to power, Cuba already had sufficient bargaining chips to stand on its own and level the playing field. No longer were the stakes as lopsided as they had been in the past.

The Soviet Union is no longer around, neither is Chavez,  and his Revolution looks to be walking on unsteady ground, which is sad not only for Cuba on a personal and national note, it is also sad for the rest of Latin America as a whole. For no matter what one may opine on President Chavez, he did put the continent on the forefront and he did bring much needed changes to both the nation of Bolivar and the rest of the region. Yet the one thing that has not changed, the one thing that remains the same, is not just spring on the 21st of March. The one thing that remains the same is that on April 30th, well into spring, the secretary of state of the United States will have to submit his recommendation to the president on whether to keep Cuba on the list of terrorist nations or not.  Keeping Cuba on the list means no chance on earth of giving the president even the slightest chance of moving forward on bettering relations. Relations which if were to compare to a tennis ball, are now, and have been on the White House´s court for a number of years now.

More recently during the last Congressional visit to the island when President Raul Castro told US Congress members that a sit down with all cards on the table was in the offer.

It is true, Cuba has Alan Gross in jail. But he is being detained because he came down with an agenda to help undermine the Cuban government or regime, however you want to put it. Cuba has the same although slightly different situation in the US. Five Cuban intelligence agents are still in prison in the US. But their crime was never trying to undermine the US government to which they not only had no access, they also had no intention of doing, and quite frankly it would have been the most foolish of intentions.

The Cuban Five were in the US collecting information from US based paramilitary terrorist organizations in Miami which have been plotting, conspiring and bringing about terrorist acts against the Cuban people for over 50 years. They not only plot against Cuba and its people on the island, they also plot and have achieved to harm, destroy, terrorize and kill those who, whether Cuban or not, have the interest in forging better more rational relations with the island.  These terrorist groups have names, Omega 7, Alpha 66, Vigilia Mambisa, Brothers to the Rescue  and others. They have henchmen and they have leaders, one of which is infamously well known in Miami as one of the cities proud citizens, Luis Posada Carriles, a man who has more blood on his hands than most have running through their veins.  The Cuban Five infiltrated the US under false identities, this is true. They also infiltrated these terrorist organizations under false pretenses  But they did all of this in order to protect Cuba and those who want a normal life between Cuba and the US. News flash: they also, did most if not all of this, with the acquiescence of both the US government and the FBI.

Exchanging them for Alan Gross may not seem like the logical thing to do, but not on the US side, after all, Gross was accused of something he did do and something which is illegal not only in Cuba and the rest of the world, it is also illegal in the US: in theory, you are not allowed to openly try to topple foreign regimes in the United States of America. Heck, even Alan Gross accepts responsibility for his actions and recommends he be exchanged for the Cuban Five.

Now,  Secretary John Kerry has to decide if Cuba, an island that has never committed a terrorist act against the US or any other nation for that matter, should remain on an infamous obscene list.  Cuba deserves to be treated with the same respect it does its neighbors and colleagues in the world arena, it doesn’t set standards, it doesn’t disrespect others rights to decide, it thus, should be commended for its desire, as put by Juarez , to establish peace.

Unlike the unvarying Cherry Blossoms in DC and Pi, let’s hope Mr Kerry’s decision breaks one constant this Spring.

Cross Cuba off the blacklist

In Alan Gross, Blockade, CAFE, Fidel Castro Ruz, History, Politics, US on March 13, 2013 at 11:45 am

The nation has long since changed the behavior that earned it a U.S. designation as a sponsor of terrorism.

Editorial in todays Los Angeles Times

Washington has for three decades kept Cuba on a list of countries that sponsor terrorism, even though it has long since changed the behavior that earned it that distinction. By all accounts, Cuba remains on the list — alongside Iran, Sudan and Syria — because it disagrees with the United States’ approach to fighting international terrorism, not because it supports terrorism. That’s hardly a sensible standard.

The State Department says it has no plans to remove Cuba from the list. But Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who recently led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Havana, is urging President Obama to consider a range of policy changes toward Cuba, including delisting it, which would not require congressional approval. Designation as a state sponsor of terrorism carries heavy sanctions, including financial restrictions and a ban on defense

None of the reasons that landed Cuba on the list in 1982 still exist. A 2012 report by the State Department found that Havana no longer provides weapons or paramilitary training to Marxist rebels in Latin America or Africa. In fact, Cuba is currently hosting peace talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and President Juan Manuel Santos’ government. And Cuban officials condemned the 9.9/11 attacks on the United States.

Moreover, keeping Cuba on the list undermines Washington’s credibility in Latin America. During last year’s Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, presidents from the hemisphere expressed frustration that the U.S. remains frozen in its relations with Cuba, enforcing an embargo that dates to the Kennedy administration.

Cuba is not a model state. The government often fails to observe human rights. Its imprisonment of Alan Gross, a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development who was sentenced to a 15-year jail term in 2009 after bringing communications equipment into the country, has prompted repeated visits to the island by U.S. officials seeking to secure his release.

The list, however, is reserved not for human rights violators but for countries that export or support terrorism. Clinging to that designation when the evidence for it has passed fails to recognize Cuba’s progress and reinforces doubts about America’s willingness to play fair in the region.

Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times

Servicio gringo, Revés cubano

In Alan Gross, Asamblea Nacional/National Assembly, CAFE, Cuba/US, Cuban 5 on February 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Margarita Alarcón Perea

Hace unos días el Presidente Barack Obama le concedió una entrevista en la Casa Blanca a José Díaz Balart de Telemundo, y si, es familia de los otros. La conversación giró alrededor de la reforma migratoria, y el control de armas  como los proyectos más importantes para el Presidente durante este, su segundo mandadato. Por supuesto, siendo un Díaz Balart y trabajando para Telemundo, Cuba tenía que estar en la palestra. Esto lo damos por sentado, lo que no se podía dar por sentado fueron las respuestas del Presidente.

El presidente no tenía mucho nuevo que decir, y no fueron las palabras en si lo que me llamaron la atención, fue todo lo que dijo “entre líneas.” No le dedicó oraciones interminables a hablar sobre lo que Cuba tenía que hacer o dejar de hacer, muy propio de los discursos de antaño. Ni tampoco desestimó las preguntas con un simple comentario sobre los derechos humanos en Cuba o algún que otro bloguero. Dijo cosas como “ Creo que podremos ver progreso en estos próximos cuatro años. Y estoy felíz de participar en el.” Dijo que era un “camino de doble vía”. Antes de todo esto, por supuesto, tuvo que hablar de “libertades básicas de la prensa y de asamblea”, pero de ahí pasó a “no pretendemos que cada país opere como lo hacemos nosotros.”

Esto, por supuesto, el hecho que haya hablado con tanta franqueza acerca del tema, le llamó la atención a los funcionarios cubanos y esto llevó a que la Directora del Departamento de Norte América del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Josefina Vidal le dedicara un tiempo a responderle. La señora Vidal le llama la atención al presidente Obama y le implora que reflexione seriamente sobre los cambios que se están llevando a cabo en Cuba y deje de prestarle atención a las voces que lo rodean. Fue un brillante juego de tenis al estilo de Wimbledon, un servicio agradable fue devuelto con revés preciso.

Es un partido lento el que vislumbramos. Tomará más tiempo que los juegos clásicos de Grand Slam a los cuales estamos acostumbrados. Pero lo importante es jugar.

No podemos olvidar que cuando la Sra. Vidal habla de “aquellos que lo rodean” no está divulgando específicamente a quienes se refiere pero ella está muy al tanto de la realidad que rodea a Barack Obama respecto a Cuba.  El hecho de que haya escogido a un poeta cubano americano sin historia política específica, cuyos padres no parecen tener vinculación alguna con el enjambre que es la comunidad cubano americana en Miami  o en Nueva Jersey, fue algo que le llamó la atención a muchos. Incluso más que cuando la primera dama escogió a un diseñador cubano Americano para el vestido que usó durante la primera inauguración.

Richard Blanco es ahora la diana de la retorica anti cubana, pero no aquella que se dedica a la política específicamente, no, esa no. Ahora le están gritando oprobios tanto al presidente como a él y lo hacen desde Europa.

No voy a desgastarme en copiar y pegar las sandeces, inexactitudes, incoherencias y demás barbaridades aquí ahora, dejo al lector con el derecho de buscar por si solo lo que han dicho algunos.  Lo que si recomiendo es que lean esto escrito por un (al parecer) cubano americano desde Miami, profesor del Miami Dade College y publicado en inglés en el sitio del Huffington Post.

Escritora cubana Supuestamente amistosa hacia los gay cuestiona la masculinidad de Richard Blanco

Ariel Gonzalez

 Era inevitable que escoger a Richard Blanco como el poeta para la segunda inauguración del Presidente Obama provocara reacción de parte un segmento bastante vociferante de la comunidad cubana en el exilio. Pero resulta una sorpresa cuando leí que Zoe Valdés, una escritora de prestigio, publicando un artículo en el sitio de derecha Babalu Blog. El ataque contra Blanco es digresivo, se contradice y está sustentado en falsas premisas. Sin embargo, es un llamado de alerta, de advertencia contra permitir que las emociones provocadas por la ideología se coloquen por encima del rigor estilístico y el sentido común.

 Lean el articulo complete aquí.


El momento de actuar, de hacer algo, se hace tan evidente e inminente, que algunas de estas personas están perdiendo los estribos. Le lanzan dardos a diestra y siniestra a cualquiera que tenga un ápice de sentido común o de sentido de pertenencia con su historia, su pasado, su vida.  Pero ya no vivimos en las décadas de los atroces actos de terror contra las voces de la sensatez; los tiempos son distintos, y nosotros también.  

El presidente Obama tiene ahora una ventana, evidentemente está abriendo las persianas y está mirando hacia afuera, ayudémoslo a limpiar la mugre que lleva décadas ahí, empañándole la vista.

Citando al propio Richard Blanco: “(Según la communidad cubana en el exilio) Castro…destruyó el paraiso que fue Cuba. Sin embargo, mi profeor de historia de bachillerato me contó de una Cuba pre-revolucionaria como una isla abandonada llena de corrupcion, y alababa a Castro por sus reformas sociales, citando estadisticas que apoyaban esto mostrando las mejoras dramaticas en los servicios de salud, y en la educacción; y muchos intelectuales que conocí en la universidad glorificaban a la Cuba post revolucion como una sociedad modelo. ¿Quien dice la verdad?¿Cual es la verdadera Cuba? ¿Quien nos cuenta la version correcta? ” 

Cuba da un pasito pa´ lante, EEUU responde con uno pa´ tras

In Alan Gross, CELAC, Politics, US on February 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Margarita Alarcón Perea

Hay gente que son imposibles de complacer. Por ejemplo, tomemos como punto de partida a los cambios llevados a cabo recientemente en Cuba. A lo largo de los últimos cinco años ha habido un crecimiento considerable en el establecimiento de negocios en el sector privado en la isla con la apertura de tiendas, paladares, hostales, barberías y peluquerías. Negocios caseros aparecen como la verdolaga respondiendo a las regulaciones del estado y a las necesidades de la población. Recientemente, nuevas regulaciones permiten que cubanos en la isla establezcan cooperativas en localidades que antes eran administradas por el estado. Ya los cubanos pueden disponer de sus bienes como viviendas y automóviles y venderlos o compáralos a su gusto. La propiedad privada de nuevo se considera un bien adquirido a través del esfuerzo digno y no algo que automáticamente lo pone a uno en las mismas filas de un capitalista inescrupuloso de antaño.

Ahora bien, el más radical, sin discusión,   puesto en práctica  en Cuba y fuera de ella ha sido la eliminación del permiso de salida. Los cubanos no tendrán que pasar por horas de papeleo innecesario ni colas interminables para poder salir de la isla. Y más aun, las condiciones que permiten que un cubano viaje han cambiado radicalmente. Solo aquellos individuos menores de edad o con condenas pendientes o que ocupan cargos de alto rango o cuyo trabajo pudiera considerarse seguridad del estado, tendrán limitaciones a  la hora de viajar fuera de la isla. El resto es libre como el viento. Esta medida también afecta a los cubanos residentes en el exterior. Con la nueva enmienda, los cubanos que antes tenían prohibido volver a la isla, ya podrán regresar cada vez que quieran. El caso más notorio hasta la fecha ha sido del pelotero José Ariel Contreras, quien luego de su deserción ha jugado para los Yankees de Nueva York y los Medias Blancas de Chicago y quien estuvo recientemente en la Habana de visita y pasó 10 días en el país.

La mayoría de los analistas coinciden en que todos estos cambios se deben a las diferencias en manejo de gobierno entre Fidel y Raúl Castro. Algunos incluso discuten que Raúl Castro está dando pasos lentos a favor de conciliar las cosas dentro y fuera de la isla. Cuidadosamente revisa cada uno de los aspectos dentro del sistema de gobierno y de legislación en el país a lo largo de estos más de 50 años para así ir modificando aquellos que han ido afectando a la población, tanto fuera como dentro de la isla

Al final, el paso más importante siempre se considera que se toma para conciliar las cosas con el inquilino de la Casa Blanca, y francamente, si Cuba quiere que Obama levante el embargo y se siente a la mesa con la isla, le tienen que dar algo que justifique ese paso con sus detractores.

Aquí viene la parte que me tiene entre las lágrimas y la carcajada. Hace ya más de una década, un grupo dentro del Congreso de EEUU, conocido como el Cáucaso Negro, viajó a la Habana y se entrevistó con Fidel Castro. Entre las cosas que hablaron estuvo la propuesta de Fidel de entrenar a estudiantes norteamericanos en la especialidad de medicina, siempre y cuando a su regreso a los EEUU se incorporaran a los barrios pobres y más necesitados de asistencia médica a ejercer la profesión. Fue así como nació la inclusión de los EEUU en el proyecto de la Escuela latino americana de Medicina. Los legisladores estadounidenses regresaron a su país con la propuesta pero no fue hasta que el Reverendo Lucious Walker y la organización IFCO tomó las riendas en el asunto, que comenzaron a llegar los primeros estudiantes a la isla. Hasta la fecha, la ELAM ha graduado a más de 80 médicos procedentes de los EEUU y en estos momentos hay más de 100 llevando a cabo estudios en Cuba.

Cuba lleva años “exportando” solidaridad hacia América Latina, Asia, el Pacifico Sur Y los EEUU. De manera gratuita, a la usanza de la verdadera solidaridad y en un campo que pudiera bien ser el talón de Aquiles de cualquier administración presidencial en EEUU.

Ahí está, prueba irrefutable que Cuba no exporta revolución ni valores socialistas, exporta educación, y salud. ¿Queda claro, no? Pues, al parecer a todos no les resulta así. Cada vez que el gobierno de Cuba da un paso, positivo y conciliador para con sus propios ciudadanos y por el bien de estos, y hacia mejorar las relaciones con su vecino más cercano, hay quienes simplemente no lo soportan.

Hay quienes prefieren hacer esto:

Proyecto de ley en Florida evitará otorgar licencias a médicos estadounidenses que estudien en Cuba

Un proyecto de ley presentado por dos legisladores de la Florida evitaría que doctores estadounidenses que estudien en Cuba puedan recibir licencia para ejercer en Florida. Los legisladores Manny Díaz Jr y Rene García, ambos de la ciudad de Hialeah pretenden evitar los viajes de doctores estadounidenses a Cuba para estudiar o recibir entrenamiento.

“Los estudiantes de Estados Unidos que hacen la vista gorda a los abusos de derechos humanos básicos y civiles en Cuba no poseen la claridad moral de atender a los pacientes en la Florida” dijeron los legisladores a “El Nuevo Herald”. Cuba ofrece un programa gratuito de entrenamiento médico para ciudadanos estadounidenses y de otras partes del mundo el cual Manny Diaz Jr y Rene García califico de ser una herramienta de propaganda de los Castro.

Los legisladores que el proyecto de ley no aplicaría a aquellos que estudiaron en Cuba antes de venir a Estados Unidos por lo que los exiliados cubanos que se graduaron de medicina en la isla no estarían afectados. El legislador Rene García es también responsable de la ley que pretende prohibir a compañías que tienen sucursales trabajando en Cuba obtener contratos con el estado de la Florida.

Ahí lo tienen. Cuba da uno o más pasos a favor de la lógica y hay quienes en el Congreso de los EEUU le ponen una llave inmovilizadora a la Casa Blanca y a los ciudadanos de los EEUU. La ironía en todo esto es que en la declaración del Representante Manny Díaz y el Senador René García hay un detalle interesantísimo. Los norteamericanos que pretendan estudiar medicina en Cuba no podrán ejercer en la Florida según lo propuesto por estos señores. En cambio, todo aquel cubano que se haya graduado de la misma carrera de medicina, en el mismo país (Cuba) y cursando el mismo exacto programa académico podrá ir a los EEUU y ejercer la carrera sin problemas de ningún tipo. Entiéndase, un cubano ejerciendo como medico en el programa  solidario con Venezuela o Ecuador o Bolivia, ese, si podrá irse a los EEUU donde le otorgan de uno a dos años de vivienda subsidiada y una pensión para ayudarlos mientras estudian para pasar los exámenes de reválida y así poder ejercer en USA. También se les facilita una lista de ciudades donde podrán radicarse para ejercer la profesión.  Y todo esto gracias a la generosidad desconocedora del contribuyente norteamericano! Y quién sabe?! Va y para el estado de la Florida ni siquiera exigen pasar la reválida! Está clarísimo, se permite “el robo de cerebro” desde la isla, se prohíbe ofrecerle educación gratuita a los ciudadanos norteamericanos. Vaya cosa, eso sí que está bueno!

Libertad de viajes, propiedad privada, libre empresa, cambiar a Alan Gross por los Cinco, nada de eso es realmente el problema. No importa lo que haga Cuba, siempre va a haber alguien al otro lado del estrecho de la Florida que hallará una escusa, subnormal o no, tal de hacerle imposible a cualquiera en el gobierno de los EEUU, la posibilidad de poder estrecharle honesta y abiertamente la mano a la isla.