Saturday, February 2, 2013

Odds and ends

  • From the right, here’s a critique of USAID’s Cuba operations (a “sordid affair”) from Jacob Hornberger of the libertarian Future of Freedom Foundation.  Over-the-top in places, but his main point is right: it’s wrong for the Administration to describe the Alan Gross operation merely as an attempt to assist the Jewish community in Cuba, and at the same time to present USAID’s overall program to its Congressional champions and others as a muscular effort to change Cuba’s political order.  If it were about helping the Jewish community, the money wasted on Gross’ operation could have delivered more than $1,000 to every Jewish household in Cuba.  And every penny was wasted, right down to the nice satellite equipment now owned by Cuban state security.

  • Outgoing National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon continues his role in Cuban diplomacy and is featured in Cuban media in recent weeks receiving officials from Bolivia, Brazil, and France, making it hard to conclude that his departure from legislative office is anything but a retirement (or, we’ll see, semi-retirement).

  • AP: Yoani Sanchez got her passport and is preparing to travel, while a passport was denied to a dissident who was released from jail but is technically still serving a sentence under licencia extrapenal.

  • The Hill: Ric Herrero of the Cuba Study group writes about how former Senator Hagel’s views on Cuba are in sync with those of Cuban democracy advocates. 

  • AP on the recreation of Sloppy Joe’s in Havana.

  • El Confidencial: “Sources close to the legal advisers” of Partido Popular activist Angel Carromero say that he is preparing a lawsuit against the Cuban government, alleging that its agents drove his car off the road, causing the accident that killed dissidents Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero last July.  The car’s other passenger, the Swede Aron “Rip van” Modig who has heretofore been silent about the circumstances of the crash, is said to have delivered a sworn statement supporting Carromero’s allegation.  A contradictory Europa Press report cites “sources close” to Carromero claiming there will be no lawsuit; it adds that Carromero is “recuperating bit by bit.”

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