Friday, December 21, 2007

Odds and ends

  • If you ever doubted what $90 oil does for Venezuela’s foreign policy, or for Venezuelan and Cuban public diplomacy initiatives in the Caribbean, read this Reuters article on the reopening of the Cienfuegos refinery and the Petrocaribe summit taking place in Cuba now.

  • An interesting Herald report on the recent custody case involving the daughter of Rafael Izquierdo of Cabaiguan and the Coral Gables foster family. The State of Florida’s actions were directed by the staffs of the former and current governors. Nothing wrong with that, considering that the Department of Children and Families works for the governor, but it may explain why the state’s actions were so unusual: it asked the court to strip custody from the father even as he was declared a fit parent, and it waited three months before contacting the father to tell him that his parental status was going to be at issue.

  • From the Latin America Working Group, a useful scorecard and fact sheet on presidential candidates’ positions on Cuba. If you like the embargo and the family sanctions and all that, you’ll have to look at the scoring system upside-down, but the info is solid.

  • On the road at Christmas, Charlie Bravo writes about Italy, where Cuban Americans can go to be with their Moms.

23 comments:

HavanaJournal.com said...

Thanks for the link to the English version of GenericionY. I didn't know it was out there.

leftside said...

Yoani is becoming quite the blog-celebrity. Half a million hits in a month, says the WSJ puff piece. Good for her... I might wish that the hundreds of Cuban bloggers who do not bash the Revolution might get the same treatment, or at least acknowledged, but I know this is a dream in the US media.

Phil, I was disappointed with your quote that "almost all" Cuban bloggers do not write from Cuba. Maybe a few years ago, but not today. It is probably closer to half and half, but they are harder to find as the blog sites don't let you search by country of origin. I've found most in Cuba use blogia.

tranquilo said...

leftside, as usual, in your zeal to score a cheap political point, you only further reveal your own obtuseness. Uh, let's see, a U.S. editor has a choice: do a story on Cuban bloggers who ape the party line or on one who doesn't...gee, I wonder which one they'd pick...

leftside said...

Thanks for further making my point. Objectively, one might think it is more newsworthy (and interesting) at this critical junture to try to understand why the Revolution has not been toppled and people keep voting in their 'sham' elections. Instead we get a million and one stories about the struggles of the same 5 tiny groups of oppositional Cubans, which Yoani and her husband are part of (Progressive Arc). There are plenty of Cuban bloggers and journalists who are critical or problems but maintain their loyalty to the Revolution. Reading between their lines and checking their debates might be a much more accurate window into the real debates happening in Cuba right now. The love fest on Yoani's blog is amongst exiles is quite boring in comparison.

But the capitalist press has never been interested in delving for the truth, but staying in business. This means you can not offend special intererst groups, nor advertisers, nor the conservative sensibility of Americans who think they know places like Cuba. Say something like "most Cubans support the Revolution" and you risk upsetting the whole foundation of what we think we know - and what newspapers have been telling us for decades.

Anonymous said...

only on Planet Leftside has the U.S. press been too mean to Papa Fidel...

leftside said...

Right, the US press has given Fidel a pass. Sure they have. I wonder what los exilos say about the European press, let alone the Latin, Asian or African. If only the world's press could follow the dignified example of el Diaro or Radio Mambi, then truth and justice would reign!!!

Agustin Farinas said...

Notice how derisive Leftside writes about Yoani's blog article on the WSJ. He calls it a "puff" piece. Anything that may question the supposed "goodness" of the Revolution is for him anathema and naturally Yoani calls his adored Castro and the Revolution into question.
And of course Dan Rather and Barbara Walters are examples of how the American MSM treats Castro. Those 2 reporters who normally cannot wait to ambush and question to death anything anyone does in the US, were at a loss for words when faced with the Tyrant in person. In fact, they fawned over him and could not wait for the photo op to appear next to him.
And of course no pesky questions about human rights or anything that may upset the object of their affection. And this Leftside calls it: "the US press being mean to Castro"! Will wonders ever cease in sunny Los Angeles!

Anonymous said...

Planet Leftside: where lies are truth and truth is lies....

leftside said...

Don't give me Walters, she says something totally different about the state of US journalism... Here is what (retired) Rathers thinks about Cuba and Fidel. If he represents his secret MSM Fidel defense corps, then things are worse than I thought.

KING: What were your impressions of that island nation?

RATHER: Well, it's no question that Fidel Castro controls the island in every way. There's no question that he is among the last, if not the last, of his genre of old-line, hard-line Marxist-Leninist leaders.

The island is poor. It is very poor. You can say, well, Cuba has always been poor, but economically it's in terrible shape. I think Fidel Castro would acknowledge that. I think if he were here on the program, he would quickly say that's because the United States has this terrible embargo with us.

When the pope was there, obviously, most things and most people, members of the party and members of the government, were on their very best behavior. The pope's coming to Cuba was an enormous triumph for Fidel Castro as seen from several different ways.

But no, Cuba's not in good shape. There's no -- you can't put it any other way.

Fidel Castro is a true believer in Marxism and Leninism as an economic system. He's never strayed from that, and he does run the island. And I know there are other views, but I think as long as he has his health he's going to run it. And when he chooses to run it with an iron hand, which is a lot of the time, he will do it that way.

Agustin Farinas said...

And to emphasize his critical comments, Rather went on a sojourn to the Sierra Maestra mountains to spend days with Castro touring the countryside. Naturally this was a wonderful opportunity to have a photo opportunity and have himself photographed visiting with Castro remote areas of Cuba.
I did not see a single comment from Rather or Walters regarding no free elections for 48 years nor any comments about basic human rights violations. Yes, Leftside, the MSM is very critical of Castro's Cuba. And the Easter Bunny will come in April and the Three Kings will also come on Jan 6th.

And by the way, your own admired leader in his book with Ramonet conflicts with your own figures of 250,000 thousands Cubans in the USA prior to the Revolution. His estimate was 125,000, just like I mentioned on another commentary. Maybe you should read Castro's own propaganda before commenting on these figures. Go read 100 hours with Fidel by Ramonet and then check your numbers. Sure, you do not doubt Fidel figures, do you?

Anonymous said...

On Planet Leftside Dan Rather is a critic of Fidel Castro.

leftside said...

I know yall have to believe that the US press is supportive of the Revolution in order to justify the rare bits of truth (which can not be said in Miami) that do get occasionally mentioned in US reporting. I know even letting Castro or Chavez speak is considered treason by the hard right. But if you are serious, you have to at least provide something we call evidence. For the accepted wisdom from anyone who has studied this, is that the US press is the most anti-communist in in the world. There is no question about that. Cuba gets a more unfair treatment here than anywhere else.

Plus there were plenty of questions from Rather and Walters about human rights abuses in the interviews I saw. Rather compared Castro to Stalin even. Ackowledging their excellent health and education is not bias, it is a rare bit of truth.

Anonymous said...

yeah, right....according to your tortured logic then, anti-communist dictators like Pinochet and Somoza would be lionized by the same press -- don't think so...

leftside said...

Are you nuts? Somoza and Pinochet were pariahs everywhere - except in Washington DC. Their most favorable worldwide press undoubtedly came on the editorial pages of US newspapers. Even in 1984, after CIA involvement was made public, the NYTimes blamed Allende for the economic "chaos," which "brought in the military." Only in the US was there a debate about how to remember Pinochet. When he was arrested in 99, a study found that 95% of all US newspaper articles ommitted any mention of US involvement in the coup and subsequent dirty war. Of course, you can find even more unsightly accounts in places like the Wall Street Journal and such. I won't even get in to the CIA planted stories and journalists in the US and Latin American press.

What is striking about Nicaragua is how completely dependent Somoza was on the US, while his crimes were mostly ignored by the MSM at their height. But killing an ABC newsman might have taken things too far. Incidentally this slain reporter (Billy Steward) was the only MSM reporter to have ever reported on the murder and torture that was happening in the countryside until that time. When the Sandanistas took over, the media finally took notice of Nicaragua and there was some fine US journalism. But the US media also played a crucial role in helping Reagan ignore the unprecedented World Court decision against our mining of the harbor, as well as going along with State Dept. fabrications about the Sandanistas buying MIGS and such. The media almost unanimously blamed Ortega for the wreck of the Nicaraguan economy, not the war that Washington needlessly fueled for years.

Sure the media turned on Somoza and Pinochet when all was lost. When they lost any base in their home countries and the writing was on the wall. Same with Musharraf today. Now compare that coverage to anywhere else on the planet. Join the real world folks...

Omar said...

Leftside has it right again, my boys. Why don't you, Agustin and others, spend more time reading about those issues mentioned by Leftside? It will be hard, they are not mainstream but they are certainly closer to the truth. Why don't you visit, for example, Chomsky's web? You will find plenty of material there and the quality of the evidence can be tracked if you have doubts about it. Why don't you come out of that bubble where Cuba is the worst place in the world and Fidel is just a murderous tyrant with an evil purpose? Do yourself a favour!

Agustin Farinas said...

Omar,
I am not in any bubble. The evidence is there for all who want to see it. Those who want to remain blind and deaf because of ideological blinders will never see it. Cuba is a disaster by any measure who may want to use. 50% of the land available for planting is full of weeds (marabu). These are figures from Juventud Rebelde not mine. Sugar imported from Brazil to supply the domestic market, this in a land that prior to the disaster you so much praise, exported sugar to the whole world.
Cubans after 49 yeras of Revolution cannot even drink a glass of milk for everyone. Not my invention but Raul's own words. After 48 years this system cannot even provide a glass of milk to all who want it!. Naturally you probably know that te cows came from the USA and that is the reason for the shortage. Millions departing since the Revolution in order to breath free and remake their own lives, and please don't say is because of the USA Cuban Adjustment law because hundreds of thousands are in Spain, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Chile etc, and these countries that don't have the Cuban Adjustment law. Athletes, dancers, artists, writers, workers,diplomats jumping ship and deserting at any chance. Even the Haitians know better and do not emigrate to Cuba! The jump could be easy, only 70 miles away by boat, but they don't bother to go there.
48 years with the same system and the same so called "president" who win the elections by 99% of the "people" voting for him.
Of course you do not see any of these factors. To you and Leftside, these things are all the fault of the blockade,but I did not know that Cuba used to import malanga and yuca from the USA,and the blockade is the reason no one sees them anymore.
That a country blessed with wonderful weather and volcanic soil capable of feeding itself and still export vegatables is devoid of them can only be attributed to bad management and wrong policies. But they still insist in entrenching themselves and refuse to admit what is wrong.
And please I repectfully decline the invitation to visit Noam Chomsky site. To read stupidities and fantasies I rather read the comics.
By ignoring all these facts I think you are the one living in a bubble.
My wife just came back from a family trip Cuba in October and her description of the conditions there are worthy of a horror story. But continue to deny the obvious, and then someday when you are confronted and learn the truth,you can always say that you were misinformed and get away with it. You are in good company though, Walter Duranty from the NY times also claimed that Soviet workers were the best fed and happiest in the whole world and loved Stalin, during his visit to the USSR in the 1930's. Now we know the truth was a lot different from what these useful idiots used to write back then. But take consolation, you can always say you lived in a bubble with Leftside and did not know what was going on. Continue to defend the nightmare that Cubans live in.
My advise to you and Leftside is to spend 1 year in Cuba as a regular Cuban and then comeback and comment on this same site. It would be interesting to read your comments then. From the comforts of a capitalist country, your comments about life in Cuba sound hollow to me.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the reference to Chomsky, Omar -- that says it all...

leftside said...

change of subject... says it all.

Anonymous said...

the media turned on Pinochet when "all was lost"???

where do you come up with this stuff??? voices in your head???

Anonymous said...

yeah, that's right, Crackpot, your arguments are so powerful we can only strive to change the subject...

Omar said...

Felicidades a todos! Que venga el cambio pero no el colapso! Que podamos tratarnos sin rabia, con respeto! Mucha salud, paciencia y amor en el 2008!

tranquilo said...

there will be no cambio without colapso, Omar

Anonymous said...

hey, leftside, you detestible wretch, this debate took place in the 1930s and, guess what, Stalinism lost....