CubaBrief: Goodbye Castros, Hello Communist Party

CubaBrief:  In a thoughtful opinion column just published by The New York Times, two professors from Amherst College and the University of Sidney write that "on March 11, Cuba will hold elections for the National Assembly, which in turn will select the country’s next president on April 19. President Raúl Castro, [Fidel's brother], will not run for re-election... The National Assembly is widely expected to choose a successor from outside the Castro family. Some believe "this could be the first step toward democracy," but Professors Javier Corrales and James Loxton, say that "Cuba is heading for more of the same: undemocratic one-party rule." 

CubaBrief: Chavez, Maduro, and the pernicious role of Castro’s Cuba in Venezuela

In the spring of 2017, and all through the year, social media feeds in Venezuela were filled with images of deprivation and despair: long lines of people hoping to purchase food; women fighting over a stick of butter; mothers who could not find milk to buy; children picking through garbage in search of something to eat; empty shelves in pharmacies and stores; hospitals without stretchers, drugs, or minimum levels of hygiene; doctors operating on a patient by the light of a cell phone; women giving birth outside of hospitals.

CubaBrief: The return of American terrorists in Cuba should be a precondition of future negotiations with Havana.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) should be commended for introducing a Senate Resolution for the immediate extradition of American terrorists enjoying the hospitality of the Castro regime.  According to the FBI there are more than 70 American fugitives “charged with offenses ranging from hijacking, to kidnapping, drug offenses, to murder” receiving safe harbor in Cuba.  

CubaBrief: Secretary Tillerson, President Trump on Venezuela and Cuba

In this CubaBrief we focus on recent statements by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Cuba and Venezuela.

“My Administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.” President Donald Trump, State of the Union, January 30, 2018.

CubaBrief: Killings in Venezuela, Amnesty appeals to Raul Castro, His Reforms have not managed to turn things around, And the sadness of Cuba’s healthcare

According to The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady “It’s instructive that Venezuela’s dictatorship chose to kill former police pilot Oscar Pérez and six other counterrevolutionaries in an extrajudicial execution last week. …He pleaded on social media for a chance to surrender to police. Instead the military dictatorship eliminated the celebrated dissident and his cohorts. It was front-page news.” 

CubaBrief: a Cuban hero dies and nobody notices, 14ymedio threatened by regime, Venezuela murders, and the Inter-American Dialogue focuses on the Cuban economy

In this CubaBrief the Inter-American Press Association (SIP)  condemns threats by state security against independent journalist. Also five former American diplomats call on world leaders to come to the assistance of the Venezuelan people suffering under Nicolas Maduro and Frank Calzon, the Center for a Free Cuba executive director is featured among answers to the latest Inter-American Dialogue publication.

CubaBrief: Havana wants you to believe Cuban intelligence knows nothing about U.S. Diplomats injured in Havana. Raul's gifts to Obama: $5,000 worth of presents

Earlier this week, Josefina Vidal, Raul Castro’s chief negotiator with Washington during the Obama Administration, objected to the testimony of Francisco Palmieri, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America before a Senate subcommittee about the American diplomats who suffered serious health issues, including mild brain trauma while working at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. Ms. Vidal, quoted [on January 9, 2018] by the Miami Herald’s Mimi Whitefield, said that “the “irresponsible statements” by Palmieri were “unacceptable.” 

CubaBrief: Havana's economic reforms fail. Maduro bans opposition and Brain abnormalities in US Embassy patients in Cuba.

The headline on a well-documented article by The Miami Herald’s Nora Gamez Torres is true: “Raúl Castro’s economic reforms were supposed to make life better in Cuba. Didn’t happen.” Cubans are facing increased shortages, and the disastrous two currency system continues to exploit Cubans. Raul Castro, despite many efforts by the Europeans who forgave tens of millions of dollars of Havana’s debt, might not be able to make Cuba’s expected payments, negotiated as part of the debt restructuring.

Cuba Brief/Cuba en Breve: El derecho al trabajo y a la no discriminación de los trabajadores cubanos del informe reciente de Amnistía Internacional

En este Cuba Brief/ Cuba en Breve:  tres tema extraordinarios:

·  El derecho al trabajo y a la no discriminación de los trabajadores cubanos del informe reciente de Amnistía Internacional que acaba de distribuir el blog de ASCE, la Asociación para el Estudio de la Economía de Cuba;

·  un magnífico ensayo del Profesor Rafael Rojas: “ Breve historia de la censura en Cuba (1959-2016).

·   y “Cuba and North Korea in the same line of combat", un analisis muy importante   de Alvaro Alba,  Senior Research Associate en el Cuban Studies Institute (CSI). 

CUBA BRIEF: Cuba's expected next president starts to take higher profile

Yesterday, the Cuban regime held municipal “elections” in which no candidate independent from the Communist Party was allowed to run. The Associated Press reported that “the man widely seen as Cuba's next president delivered a defiant rejection of demands for change in the island's single-party system as he participated Sunday in the first in a series of elections expected to end with his taking over from Raul Castro next year.”

CUBA BRIEF: A bad day for Raul Castro: Mugabe is out and North Korea is in the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism

For sure, Raul Castro knows the old Spanish adage that says “If you see your neighbor’s beard on fire, immerse yours in water.”  Today, is not a good day for the General-President. The United States returned Pyongyang to the list of state sponsors of terrorism and Robert Mugabe, longtime friend and accomplice of the Castro dynasty is no longer in power. We are reprinting in English an article by Yoani Sanchez on the relationship between Mugabe and the Castros. It is very much worth reading.

CUBA BRIEF: North Korea, Zimbabwe and Mimi Whitefield's PR efforts

The Washington Post, November 17, 2017 reports that “North Korea falls back on close ties with Cuba.” Relations between Havana and Pyongyang have been very strong for more than half a century. A big difference today is that under the Trump Administration Washington is not likely to sweep under the rug hostile actions by either regime.

CUBA BRIEF: Raul Castro honors Puerto Rican terrorist, Cuba attack mystery may be Cold War flashback and another airline end its daily flight to Havana

General Raul Castro awarded Cuba's Order of Solidarity to Puerto Rican terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera, responsible for more than one hundred bombs throughout the United States and millions of dollars in damage. He was to remain in prison until 2051 but his sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama shortly before the end of his Administration.