After all these years many opinion and decision makers around the world are beginning to understand the real nature of the Castro dynasty. Many editorials and commentary in the United States and elsewhere point out that the elevation of Miguel Diaz Canel to be president of Cuba is not a new development. During the 1960s Fidel Castro was not the head of state, although he ran the island as his personal farm.
Canada will remove families of diplomats posted at its embassy in Cuba as the cause of unusual health symptoms is still unknown, though information received from medical specialists has raised concerns of a new type of acquired brain injury, a senior Canadian government official said on Monday.
April 13, 2018, Geneva. Today, Cuban diplomats were conspicuously absent as the Cuban government was strongly condemned for its treatment of human rights defenders and, particularly, for preventing two activists from traveling to Geneva to speak at the pre-session to Cuba's third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the UN Human Rights Council.
CubaBrief: Cuban government sponsored disruptions of the civil society meeting being held in conjunction with the Summit of the Americas in Lima is further evidence of the disregard for human rights of both Nicolas Maduro and Raul Castro.
The Atlantic Council just released a poll which underlined the deteriorating Venezuelan situation, while Cuban troops deployed by Raul Castro there continue to repress and abuse the Venezuelan people. The Chavez- Maduro government destroyed the oil industry that made Venezuela one of the most advanced countries in Latin America, just like the Castro brothers destroyed Cuba’s sugar industry, the engine of Cuban progress and development for more than 200 years.
Right under the radar, Venezuela is getting dumped by its two sugar daddies, Russia's state-linked Rosneft energy giant, and China's state-linked PetroChina. Bye-bye money, because this is a big blow.
Former Colombian President Andres Pastrana and ex-Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga said they were denied entry to Cuba on Wednesday, after traveling to the Communist-run island to receive an award from a local dissident group.
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."
Amnesty International released this week its annual report. The Cuba chapter is full of specific information about the Castros’ repression; it reads like a catalogue of arbitrariness and abuse.
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.
Earlier this week, Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, Commander, United States Southern Command testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Admiral’s posture statement covered U.S. intelligence and security concerns for the hemisphere.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson returned recently from a tour throughout Latin America in which he urged governments in the region to focus on the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. The Colombian government announced new measures to block the flow of desperate refugees from Venezuela.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
Reuters reports [December 14] that Venezuela’s “crippling economic crisis already forced it to slash cheap oil shipments to Cuba.” Significantly, “Venezuela has pulled out of a partnership with Cuba in its Cienfuegos oil refinery.”
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.
We publish in this issue Carlos Alberto Montaner's "A Year without Fidel," and Diario de Cuba's "Those who refused to mourn" about some Cubans who remain in jail because they refused to join the collective bereavement a year ago. And the good news that Radio Marti is increasing its broadcasts to Cuba.