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A 62 year old Canadian man says he lost $90,000 when he 'married' a 25 year old Cuban woman

ept. 16 - A Quebec man says he's out $90,000 after falling in love with a Cuban woman, marrying her, and moving her to Canada.
He also claims that when she arrived, she was pregnant with another man's baby and left him after six days.
Michel Beaudry told QMI Agency that he wants to share his story to help other Canadians avoid making the same mistake.
The 62-year-old met a 25-year-old woman while on an all-inclusive Cuban vacation in March 2013.
"At first," said Beaudry, "I thought it was impossible that she would want to be with me."
The relationship blossomed, bolstered by Beaudry making about 10 trips to Cuba to visit. They married in September 2013.
In June 2014, his wife was given permission by the Canadian government to move to Canada.
From the first day, she explained to Beaudry that she didn't want to lead a normal married life with him.
"She said she loved me like a father figure. I slept on the sofa while she slept in my room."
Beaudry says his wife also announced she was pregnant. He had a vasectomy, and knew he could be responsible for a child that wasn't his.
Six days after her arrival, she asked for $50,000 to buy a home for her relatives in Cuba. When Beaudry refused, she packed her bags and left.
"She lied all along," said Beaudry. "She only wanted money."
Reynaldo Marquez, Beaudry's lawyer, told QMI that they are seeking an annulment of the marriage. "I want her to leave the country," Beaudry said. Calgary Sun

 

Cuban Officer Held At Detention Centre Classed As Refugee

Sept. 16 -  En Español Noticias Martí

The Cuban military officer being held at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre has been classified as a refugee by the United Nations, according to legal counsel for the detainee yesterday.
Lawyer David Alvarez confirmed to The Tribune that he is also in talks with a US federal agency, which has requested the approval of the Bahamas government to interview his client Mayor (Major) Ortelio Abrahantes.
After more than five months at the detention centre, Mr Alvarez said his client was optimistic for a possible resolution to the “political tug of war” over his life.
“It has been very frustrating,” he said, “it seems like he’s in a political tug-of-war, and he’s caught in the cross fire of what I’m trying to do, which is save his life, and the Cuban officials. He has a lot of information, sensitive information that may be of interest.” Mr Alvarez said: “the Bahamian government is in the middle of this, I know they have a relationship with both American and Cuban officials.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday that he had “no comment on the matter.”
Mr Abrahantes is said to be an officer of Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior, who has defected with sensitive information involving operations conducted by the Cuban government.
According to reports, Mr Abrahantes was taken to the Bahamas on March 27 after a sail boat he was aboard was intercepted by the US Coast Guard.
Requests for assistance from the UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) have been successful, according to Mr Alvarez, who said the agency has submitted their recommendations to the Bahamas government.
“(UNHCR) said my client classifies as a refugee and should not be sent back to Cuba for his own safety and in compliance with international law. They are also going to start asylum proceedings.”
Calls placed to UNHCR representative for the Bahamas, Katie Tobin, were not returned up to press time.
The claims were first reported on Miami-based news network Television Marti (TV Marti) last month. It was suggested that if deported, Mr Abrahantes will be court marshalled and could face execution by firing squad or a long-term prison sentence.
Yesterday, Mr Alvarez said he met with representatives from a US federal agency, the name of which he said he’d been asked not to disclose, last Wednesday in Nassau.
He met with Mr Abrahantes at the detention centre on August 27.
Mr Alvarez said: “They (US) are looking at the case, they want to meet with him but the hold up is that they keep postponing the meeting. I am hoping to meet with my client and those representatives next week at some point. As soon as the Bahamian government gives the go-ahead to interview him.”
Mr Alvarez said that he believes that his client has been treated “okay” at the facility because of the political pressure and media exposure. “He’s doing well, he has his hopes up,” he said.
“I’ve been keeping him up to speed and he knows about this potential meeting coming up. At the same time, he’s very concerned about his safety and for his wife and his daughter who are still in Cuba.” Tribune242
 

Why Cuba Targets American Universities

Sept. 9 - “My job was to bug their rooms with both cameras and listening devices. Most people have no idea they are being watched while they are in Cuba. But their personal activities are filmed under orders from Fidel Castro himself. And Castro’s undercover agents don’t wait around hoping the famous visitors might randomly engage in these things. They tempt them, bait them with offers.” – Cuban intelligence defector Delfin Fernandez.
As Mr. Fernandez correctly points out, Cuba’s General Directorate of Intelligence (DGI) has no qualms about using unseemly measures to gain cooperation from people who may be of service to the Cuban government. Though Fernandez is specifically speaking about celebrities in this instance, the tactics employed are not exclusive to a certain subset of American culture, rather the DGI, like most intelligence services, use a variety of methods to acquire information from people who may have access, or even among those who will have access, to sensitive information.
While using recruits to gather information is a common method used by nearly every intelligence agency, there are other reasons Havana seeks out celebrities and academics alike – to influence U.S. public opinion or policy towards the island nation. In other words, these recruits are known as agents of influence. For decades, the Cuban government has racked up a string of impressive successes in penetrating the U.S. government and society. Turncoats such as Ana Montes and Walter Kendall Myers are perhaps two of the better known moles operating on instruction from Cuba, but Carlos Alvarez, a professor at Florida International University, was working with the DGI to keep tabs on Cuban dissidents and defectors living in Florida. Though no classified material was accessed in the Alvarez case, it underscores the utility of having such an unassuming person to conduct intelligence activities.
In a private sector advisory released September 2, the FBI stated that Cuba remains interested in recruiting agents at U.S. colleges and universities. This advisory follows the FBI warnings of the past few years that openly stated the desire of foreign intelligence services (FIS) to gain access to sensitive material, whether government classified or company proprietary, through recruitment at institutions of higher learning. In fact, former Cuban intelligence officer Jose Cohen stated in a 2002 paper that Cuba considers recruiting at U.S. universities a “top priority,” and actively seeks those candidates who are likely to “occupy positions of importance in the private sector and in the government.” Cohen defected to the U.S. in 1994, but his analysis has proven accurate. It’s interesting to note that both Myers and Montes were first approached by Cuba’s DGI while at college. According to open sources, Montes may have been approached while attending Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies through a facilitator vetting good recruits for Cuban intelligence collection. Without a formal diplomatic presence in the U.S., Cuba relies on other avenues to move intelligence officers into the U.S. One such avenue is the Cuban Mission to the UN which is the third largest mission in New York and it is estimated that nearly half of the employees at the mission are actually DGI. Other avenues include cultural centers and an extensive ‘illegals’ program.
Cuba is a small nation with limited resources and it cannot always rely on cash to entice new recruits. Instead, Cuba plays on ideological sympathies, blackmail, or even promises of favorable investments in the Cuban economy once the U.S. embargo is lifted. Recruiting agents while they are young and unaware of the consequences of their actions is a tried and tested methodology that has paid dividends for Havana.
Colleges and universities rely on openness and sharing of information to facilitate learning, but this also represents a vulnerability that is easily exploited by those with impure intentions. Though Americans often consider Cuba to be a bygone threat of the Cold War era, the island nation still resides a mere 90 miles off of Florida and Cuban cooperation with Russia or China certainly help to raise the level of concern. Furthermore, many leaders of the U.S. intelligence community have repeatedly stated that the presence of foreign spies in the U.S. is outpacing that of the Cold War. Indeed, espionage costs the U.S. economy a substantial amount of money – nearly a trillion dollars annually according to some estimates. Cuba may only represent a single threat among the many challenges facing U.S. national security, however each threat takes its toll and an educated public that is sensitive to the threat is often the best defense.

In Homeland Security

 

FBI: Cuban Intelligence Aggressively Recruiting Leftist American Academics as Spies

Sept. 5 - Sexual entrapment a common tactic
Cuba’s communist-led intelligence services are aggressively recruiting leftist American academics and university professors as spies and influence agents, according to an internal FBI report published this week.
Cuban intelligence services “have perfected the work of placing agents, that includes aggressively targeting U.S. universities under the assumption that a percentage of students will eventually move on to positions within the U.S. government that can provide access to information of use to the [Cuban intelligence service],” the five-page unclassified FBI report says. It notes that the Cubans “devote a significant amount of resources to targeting and exploiting U.S. academia.”
“Academia has been and remains a key target of foreign intelligence services, including the [Cuban intelligence service],” the report concludes.
One recruitment method used by the Cubans is to appeal to American leftists’ ideology. “For instance, someone who is allied with communist or leftist ideology may assist the [Cuban intelligence service] because of his/her personal beliefs,” the FBI report, dated Sept. 2, said.
Others are offered lucrative business deals in Cuba in a future post-U.S. embargo environment, and are treated to extravagant, all-expense paid visits to the island.
Coercive tactics used by the Cubans include exploiting personal weaknesses and sexual entrapment, usually during visits to Cuba.
The Cubans “will actively exploit visitors to the island” and U.S. academics are targeted by a special department of the spy agency.
“This department is supported by all of the counterintelligence resources the government of Cuba can marshal on the island,” the report said. “Intelligence officers will come into contact with the academic travelers. They will stay in the same accommodations and participate in the activities arranged for the travelers. This clearly provides an opportunity to identify targets.”
In addition to collecting information and secrets, Cuban spies employ “influence operations,” the FBI said.
“The objective of these activities can range from portraying a specific image, usually positive, to attempting to sway policymakers into particular courses of action,” the report said.
Additionally, Cuban intelligence seeks to plant disinformation or propaganda through its influence agents, and can task recruits to actively disseminate the data. Once recruited, many of the agents are directed to entering fields that will provide greater information access in the future, mainly within the U.S. government and intelligence community.
The Cubans do not limit recruitments to “clandestine agents,” the report said. Other people who do not have access to secrets are co-opted as spies because of their political position or political views that can be exploited for supporting Cuban goals, either as open supporters or unwitting dupes.
“Some of these individuals may not be told openly that they are working for the [Cuban intelligence service], even though it may not be too hard for them to figure out,” the report said. “The relationship may openly appear to be a benign, mutually beneficial friendship.”
Chris Simmons, a retired spycatcher for the Defense Intelligence Agency, said Cuban intelligence has long targeted U.S. academics. For example, Havana assigned six intelligence officers to assist Council on Foreign Relations Latin Affairs specialist Julia E. Sweig in writing a 2002 book on the Cuban revolution, he said.
“College campuses are seen as fertile grounds for the recruitment of the ‘next generation’ of spies,” Simmons said. “Cuba heavily targets the schools that train the best candidates for U.S. government jobs, like Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, and George Washington University.”
One goal of the Cubans is to recruit students prior to federal employment, a method that allows Havana to direct a recruited agent into targeted key spy targets, like Congress or the FBI, Simmons said.
“A preferred target are ‘study abroad’ programs in Cuba, as participating students are assessed as inherently sympathetic to the Cuban revolution,” Simmons said.
Cuban intelligence has recruited numerous spies in the past that became long-term penetration agents inside the U.S. government. According to the CI Centre, a think tank, there have been 25 Cuban spies uncovered in the United States since the 1960s, including former CIA officer Philip Agee to who defected and worked closely with both Cuban intelligence and the Soviet KGB starting in 1973.
One of the most notorious Cuban spy cases involved Ana Montes, a senior analyst who worked in the highest levels of the U.S. intelligence and policymaking communities.
Montes, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, pleaded guilty in 2002 to spying for Cuba for 17 years. She is serving a 25-year prison term.
Montes was recruited by Cuban intelligence in 1984 while a student at the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where she was a graduate student and had voiced her hatred of the then-Reagan administration policy of backing anti-communist rebels fighting the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.
She was recruited at SAIS by another Cuban spy, Marta Rita Velazquez, who worked for U.S. Agency for International Development and fled the country after Montes was arrested in 2001.
Two other notable Cuban spies were Walter Kendall Myers, a State Department Foreign Service contractor who worked for Cuban intelligence from 1979 to 2007, and his wife Gwen Myers. They were recruited after visiting Cuba. Walter Myers was a leftist who criticized “American imperialism” in a diary entry after visiting Cuba. He held a top-secret security clearance and in 2010 was sentenced to life in prison after a conviction for spying.
Cuba’s spy agencies “actively target academia to recruit agents and to support Cuban influence operations.”
“Unfortunately, part of what makes academic environments ideal for enhancing and sharing knowledge also can assist the efforts of foreign intelligence services to accomplish their objectives,” the report concludes. “This situation is unlikely to change, but awareness of the methods used to target academia can greatly assist in neutralizing the efforts of these foreign intelligence services.”
The FBI report was based largely on testimony from José Cohen, a former officer of the Cuban Intelligence Directorate, known by its Spanish acronym as DGI, who defected in 1994.
The targeting of American spies takes place at schools, colleges, universities, and research institutes. “Cuban intelligence services are known to actively target the U.S. academic world for the purposes of recruiting agents, in order to both obtain useful information and conduct influence activities,” the FBI said.
The academic world, because of its openness and need for networking, “offers a rich array of targets attractive to foreign intelligence services,” the report said, noting that U.S. government institutions draw on academia for personnel, both for entry level staffing and for consultation from established experts.
Cuban intelligence seeks leftists and others sympathetic to Cuba’s communist regime because it lacks funds needed to pay recruited agents, the report said.
The process includes targeting American and Cuban-American academics, recruiting them if possible and eventually converting them into Cuban intelligence agents.
Cuban front groups also are used to recruit spies in the United States, including a network of collaborators and agents in Cuba that make contact with counterparts in the United States.
Specific universities in Washington and New York that were not specified by the FBI are targets because they are close to Cuban intelligence posts in those cities.
An example of the recruitment effort was provided to the FBI by a “self-admitted Cuban intelligence” officer outlining how a spy is recruited at a U.S. university.
“The Cuban intelligence officers located at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations in New York, New York, or the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., obtain a published work by a specific professor or student … from a university the [Cubans] are monitoring,” the report said.
A Cuban control agent in Havana studies the work and works together with a co-opted Cuban academic and together the pair analyzes published material and forms a plan of action that may include a personal letter to the targeted individual in the United States.
“The letter will suggest a ‘genuine’ interest in starting a friendship or contact regarding the topic of the article,” the report said. “The personal letter becomes a pretext for the Cuban intelligence officer stationed in the United States to use for initial contact with the targeted individual.”
A Cuba spy posing as a diplomat develops a relationship with the academic that can last months or years of assessing motivations, weaknesses, and current future and access to information.
In some cases, the Cubans use compromising video or audio and sexual entrapment to develop U.S. spies.
“Ultimately, when the time is right, the plan will be executed and the targeted individual will be approached and formally asked to help the government of Cuba,” the report said. The Washington Free Beacon

 

Private airplane with unresponsive pilot is about to run out of fuel over Cuba (UPDATED)

Sept. 5 - 3:30 PM The FAA reported that the plane crashed in Jamaica after it ran out of fuel

NORAD was tracking the small, fixed wing, private airplane that flew over the Atlantic into Cuban airspace. The pilot has been unresponsive to communication attempts.
Two F-15 jets were tracking the plane and report that two pilots appeared slumped in their seats.
A Cuban jet is now tracking the plane. Previously, the two F-15's were tracking the plane, but had to turn around once it entered Cuban airspace. At one point, the Socata TBM 700 was flying at 25,000 feet, which is high altitude for this type of aircraft. The U.S. Coast Guard is communicating with Cuban authorities about the plane.
It's unclear how much fuel the plane has or how many passengers are on the plane, but the plane does hold six or seven passengers.
The two F-15 that were previously tracking the aircraft have flown to the southern side of Cuba in case plane is still in the air. NORAD has bluntly told CNN that the plane will run out of fuel very soon.
How to handle the plane should it run out of fuel over Cuban land will be up to the Cuban government.
The Federal Aviation Administration tells CNN that the pilot has not communicated since around 10 a.m. ET.
The plane left Rochester, NY at 8 a.m. ET set for Naples, FL for a 2:05 p.m. arrival.
Socata, now known as Daher-Socata, is a French aerospace company that started in 1911. They produce general aircraft and aircraft structures. WNEM.com

 

The Castro brothers made $700 million in one year from their slave doctors working in Brazil

Sept. 4 - Since August 2013, Cuba has collected over US$700m from the Brazilian government in exchange for the services of 11,456 Cuban medical professionals working in over 2,700 towns and cities across the country. The Brazilian government recently announced that the programme will continue next year, with total payments amounting to US$511m.
Analysis
The Cuban doctors participate in Brazil's Mais Médicos (More Doctors) programme, which aims to bring medical services to remote or underserved parts of the country by employing overseas doctors, mainly from Cuba. It was created in response to the mass protests that rocked Brazil in June 2013 over the poor quality of public services, including healthcare. The programme pays each participant a salary of around US$4,500 a month. However, the participation of Cuban doctors is organised through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The Brazilian government disburses the payments to the PAHO, which then transfers the monies to the Cuban government after taking a 5% administrative commission. The Cuban government pays the medical professionals working in Brazil a monthly salary of US$1,245, and pockets the rest.
With 440,000 health professionals in a country of 11m people, Cuba has one of the best doctor-to-patient ratios in the world. As the government has sought to cut costs and "update" the economy since 2008 under President Raúl Castro, it has cut the number of doctors operating on the island and offered to sell their services abroad.
Currently, the sale of services abroad is Cuba's largest source of hard currency: in 2014, the government estimates that it will collect US$8.2bn from these deals. Around 50,000 Cuban health professionals work in 66 countries worldwide, although around half of those work in Venezuela, with an additional 11,456 in Brazil. The agreements with other foreign countries are similar to the Brazilian setup, with Cuban doctors paid less than the salary of local medical staff, and the remainder of their pay being transferred to the Cuban government.
Impact on the forecast
The Economist Intelligence Unit is not changing its macroeconomic forecasts in light of the renewal of the programme, but it will come as a relief to the Cuban government and will help to mitigate the scaling-back of the sale of professional services to Venezuela.

The Economist      Noticias Martí (Español)

 

Cuba Strengthens Embargo: Limits Flow of Necessary Goods from US to Island

Sept. 3 - The Cuban government has implemented new laws Monday that strengthen the embargo between itself and the United States--not limiting tourism from the West into the country, but limiting the transport of necessary goods like underwear and soap from Cuban families in the United States to their relatives on the island.
The new law, Fox News reports, significantly reduces the amount of goods Cuban Americans can bring in their luggage and ship via boat from the United States. It also affects Westerners in other countries with strong Cuban populations, such as Spain, but experts believe it will not affect tourists who have no family on the island; they will be able to continue to pack their luggage freely.
While the United States bans tourism to the island, Cuban Americans with relatives on the island are legally allowed to bypass the embargo and visit the island, particularly because they are unlikely to spend money on tourism and support the regime. They, instead, spend their money on helping Cubans with no connections to the government who cannot leave the island.
Fox News reports that nearly $2 billion a year is spent on goods in the United States that Cuban Americans take home to their families. These goods include anything from underwear and shampoo to car tires--items necessary to live in Cuba that are very difficult to come by without having connections in the Castro government. "All the clothes and shoes that I have come from my granddaughters in Spain or my siblings in the U.S," one 75-year-old Cuban woman tells the Associated Press. She is worried she will run out of clothes due to Cuba's newly imposed embargo.
Opponents of the United States embargo on the Cuban communist regime, which bans Americans from spending money on tourism that supports the terrorist government, often claim that the United States does more harm than good to impoverished Cubans in maintaining the policy. Rarely does one hear the same critics raise their voices when the Castro government imposes its own restrictions, which only limit the influx of goods that keep many lives afloat on the island, rather than feeding directly into the government's coffers.
In addition to limiting the amount of goods going to average Cubans, the Associated Press notes that reducing the number of items allowed into the country forces Cubans abroad to send money via wire transfers that would have otherwise been spent directly on goods. While the Cuban government can do little to steal a cut of the price of one pair of underwear, it easily imposes high duties on money coming in from abroad, funding the lavish lifestyles of the Castro elite.
Cuban Americans, according to a poll released in June by Florida International University, strongly support ending the trade embargo on Cuba, but not reducing pressure on the communist government to change. Given the trade embargo's decades-long legacy of not toppling the Castro regime, Cuban Americans surveyed appear to support diversifying attempts to weaken and destroy the communist enterprise, including keeping Cuba on the United States' list of state sponsors of terrorism. The last time the question was asked in 2007, 71% of Cuban Americans supported "exile military attacks" on Cuba.  Breitbart

 

Market-style reforms widen racial divide in Cuba

Sept. 3 - Cuba's experiment with free-market reforms has unintentionally widened the communist-led island's racial divide and allowed white Cubans to regain some of the economic advantages built up over centuries.
Under President Raul Castro, who took over from his brother Fidel Castro in 2008, Cuba has expanded its non-state workforce, loosened travel restrictions and promoted private cooperatives and small businesses.
As the communist government relinquishes its once near-total control of the economy, inequality has widened, undoing some of the progress seen since the 1959 revolution.
Much of the funding for new businesses such as restaurants, transportation services and bed-and-breakfast inns - targeted at tourists, diplomats and dollar-earners - comes from family members who emigrated to the United States over the last 50 years, especially Miami.
They sent almost $3 billion to relatives back in Cuba last year and, as they are mainly white, their investments put black and mixed-race Cubans at a disadvantage as they try to set up their own businesses.
Walter Echevarria, a 60-year-old black man, co-owns a humble cafeteria run out of a ground-floor Havana apartment belonging to one of his partners.
There is no seating, and the clients are mostly state workers who order pork sandwiches and juice or a coffee for about 15 Cuban pesos, or around $0.60.
"It's usually the whites who have family abroad and send them money, and they can set up bigger businesses," Echevarria said while customers lined up at the take-out window during the busy lunch hour.
With the additional economic freedom under Raul Castro's reforms, there is also greater discrimination.
Armed with a substantial resume, Miguel Azcuy quit his job at a state-owned restaurant to go job-hunting in Cuba's incipient private labor market two years ago, hoping to wait tables in the fast-growing restaurant sector.
The job offers never came. Azcuy, 39, had a degree from gastronomy school and 15 years of experience in state-owned restaurants.
He's also black, and says his race closed opportunities that would be available to white Cubans. Researchers and analysts also say the market-oriented economic reforms under way have put poorer Afro-Cubans at a disadvantage
"I felt like the owners of many of these places looked at me with disdain," said Azcuy, who has since managed to open a small cafeteria selling coffee and juice from his home near a major hospital in Havana.
"They didn't trust me. They didn't give me a chance. They probably figured that sooner or later the blacks will let you down. Here people say they are not racist but at the moment of truth their prejudices come out."
Anecdotally, the divisions appear obvious in a society descended from Spanish colonists and African slaves.
Tato Quiñones, a researcher who heads a private group called Brotherhood of Blackness, says it is enough to observe the small number of Afro-Cubans who have relatively lucrative sources of income such as owning restaurants, driving taxis, or renting out rooms in their homes.
Shortly after Raul Castro took over as president in 2008, he allowed Cubans to visit resort hotels, previously reserved only for foreigners. Today, in the exclusive beach resort of Varadero, the Cuban clientele is almost all white.
Black construction workers largely built the hotels but client-facing staff are mostly white. Continue reading Reuters

 

Catholic archbishop in Cuba criticizes government

August 30 - In an unusual gesture for a member high in the Catholic Church’s hierarchy in Cuba, the Apostolic nuncio Bruno Musaro spoke openly about Cuba’s “extreme poverty and human and civil degradation.”
Musaro made his controversial remarks while on vacation in Italy after holding a Mass in the San Pio de Pietrelcina park, in the Italian municipality of Vignacastrisi.
The Cuban people are “victims of a socialist dictatorship that has kept them subjugated for the past 56 years,” Musaro said, according to the Italian newspaper, Lecce News24.
“I’m thankful to the pope for inviting me to this island, and I hope to leave once that the socialist regime has disappeared indefinitely,” said Musaro, a Vatican ambassador living in Cuba since 2011. “Only liberty can bring hope to the Cuban people,” he said.
The Italian newspaper said his remarks were “a cry for help, a call to the weapons of conscience and common sense” made by the diplomatic envoy from the Holy See, who also said regarding Cubans, “The only hope for a better life is to escape the island.”
The monsignor compared the realities of his native Italy and Cuba and warned Italians that they should make note of the fact that “in Cuba, a doctor makes 25 euros a month, and to live with dignity, some professionals go work as waiters during the night.”
“In Cuba, everything is controlled by the state, even milk and meat. Eating lamb is a luxury, and whoever kills one to eat it is arrested and taken to jail,” he said. “Half a century later, and people are still talking about the revolution. It is praised. Meanwhile, people don’t have work and don’t know what to do to feed their own kids,” the archbishop said.
Masuro was born in Andrani in the Lecce region, nearby to Vignacastrisi, where he officiated the Mass. He was named a Vatican representative in Cuba in 2001 after a long career within the Catholic Church.
He was ordained as a priest in 1971 and began his diplomatic service in 1977. He was previously designated apostolic nuncio in other Latin American countries such as Panama (1994), Guatemala (2004) and Perú (2009).
According to a source of the Apostolic branch in Cuba, he is currently “on vacation” in Italy and isn’t expected back until three weeks from now.
The source claimed to be unaware of the comments made by Masuro and denied that his mission in Cuba had ended, although other media outlets suggested it had.
The archbishop’s comments were given in Polish and on Vatican Radio on its website. They were not given in Spanish or in English.
Masuro’s declarations could bring tension to an era in which the Catholic Church has improved its relationship with Raúl Castro’s government.
Monsignor Felix Perez, adjunct secretary of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, recently told the Italian news agency ANSA that Cuban authorities have approved plans to build two new churches in Santiago de Cuba and Pinar del Río.
The frank nature of Masuro’s criticism contrasts with the caution that high members of the Catholic Church uphold when it comes to topics of politics and social well-being on the island.
The Christian Liberation Movement quickly welcomed the archbishop’s comments.
From Havana, activist Luis Alberto Marino said on Radio Martí that Masuro’s words “give a lot of hope to those of us on the inside and those on the outside who believe that another Cuba is possible.”  The Miami Herald

 

British tourist receives compensation for nightmare at a Cuban hotel

August 22 - A Redditch man who suffered ‘horrendous’ illness that ruined his dream holiday has been given £17,000 ($28,200) from tour operator Thomas Cook.
Paul Hughes says he has been left too worried to eat out in restaurants after falling ill with severe sickness and diarrhoea at the four-star Iberostar Daiquiri Hotel in Cuba, during a two-week trip with his wife in January 2011.
After being appalled at the hygiene conditions he faced at the hotel, which Iberostar describes as luxury, the 52-year-old instructed specialist travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.
The tour operator admitted liability for Paul’s illness shortly after the issuing of proceedings.
But Irwin Mitchell had to proceed to a trial on the level of compensation to be paid after Thomas Cook refused to agree a settlement which reflected the severity of Mr Hughes' condition.
This culminated in a trial in Birmingham in June where a judge agreed that the tour operator must pay more than £17,000 compensation.
Mr Hughes said: “Upon falling ill I suffered severe sickness and diarrhoea and extremely painful stomach cramps, it was horrendous.

“Three months after we came home, my symptoms still hadn’t gone so I saw my GP who provided me with advice as to how to deal with my symptoms.
"My bowel habits still haven’t returned to normal and it feels like I’ve been left with a permanent reminder of the awful trip. It has been very hard to get used to this.
“I used to eat out a lot with my family but tend not to anymore as I’m too worried about suffering anything similar to what I had to go through in Cuba.
He added: “Nothing can turn back the clock but I am relieved the legal battle is now over. I just hope that my case acts as a reminder to those in the travel industry about the importance of following good hygiene practices so no one else has to go through a similar ordeal.”
Clare Comiskey, from Irwin Mitchell, said: “It is disappointing that we had to issue court proceedings and then take Paul’s case all the way to trial in order to secure justice for him.
"This is particularly unfortunate given the ordeal he has already been through, but we hope that the settlement draws a line under this chapter of his life and allows him to begin to move forward.”  Redditch and Alcester Advertiser  Radio Marti (Spanish)
 

When Nature Calls: Cuba's Public Health Infrastructure Exposed

August 16 - A disaster will not spontaneously trigger an outbreak of disease, unless, of course, a highly infectious disease such as Ebola is the reason for the emergency event. Countries are vulnerable to both newly emerging and remerging communicable diseases when collapsing infrastructure and continuing neglect threatens the health of residents and tourists visiting the country.
Cuba’s current challenges with cholera, dengue, and its viral relative, chikungunya, are good examples. Cholera and dengue continue to spread throughout the island, while the Cuban government claims that all the reported cases of chikungunya have been imported to the island from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. According to the Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) Update on Chikungunya Fever in the Americas (August 8, 2014), Cuba has officially reported 11 imported cases with no suspect or confirmed locally acquired cases since the start of the outbreak in the Americas. (1)
Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by an infected mosquito, has reached this hemisphere for the first time in history in December 2013 when it arrived on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin and spread throughout the region. Recent data shows local transmission of chikungunya has been identified in 29 countries and territories in the Caribbean, Central, South and North America, including the United States with a cumulative total of 508,122 suspected and 5,271 laboratory-confirmed cases, as of August 1, 2014. (2) Cuba rebuffs what independent journalists, rumors, and local health professionals describe on the island.
Here we go again.
Most likely Cuba’s failure to report chikungunya is intentional and not due to poor data gathering capabilities. Cuba has an advanced epidemiologic surveillance system with highly skilled scientists and dedicated health professionals. However, the government’s failure to release timely outbreak data threatens health security today.
A brief discussion on the relationship of climate change, failing infrastructure, and the frequency and intensity of natural disasters is considered below to identify both the challenges and realities with such diseases as cholera, dengue, and chikungunya in Cuba.
Climate Change
• Scientists project that climate change will impact both the frequency and intensity of extreme weather patterns. The Caribbean region, and islands like Cuba, could expect rise in sea levels, and this combined with more intense weather events will make flooding more common.
• Cuba’s coastal regions will be impacted the most, however, Cuba could experience protracted seasons of both droughts and flooding, and reliable potable water could become scarce.
•According to José Rubiera, top Cuban Meteorologist, the “seawater temperature is rising and the conditions in the upper atmosphere are favorable to rapid intensification. These cases are now somewhat more frequent; it means something is changing.”(3)
•The vibrio cholera bacteria has been known to survive in brackish waters and estuarine environments, attaches to zooplankton and moves along the ocean currents as it is carried into new areas,(4) continuing the threat to Cuba and Hispanola.
• This danger is especially problematic in countries where fragile water, sanitation, sewage, and housing systems are further threaten by climate change and rising water temperatures where the multiplication of the cholera bacteria has been documented.(5)
Continue reading   Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies University of Miami

 

Citizens protesting against the regime on March 28 in Havana's famous Galiano Street

 

Freedom for Venezuela

 

Who said that brainwashing doesn't work?

Dec. 7 - Elian González after 14 years of brainwashing: "Fidel Castro for me is like a father. I don't profess to have any religion but if I did my god would be Fidel Castro. He is like a ship that knew to take his crew on the right path"

 

Videos: The Ladies in White protest in Havana and stopped from marching in Holguín

Dec. 3 - Video of a protest by the Ladies in White on Sunday December 1 at Parque Gandhi in Havana and an attempt to march in Holguin, but were stopped by Castro's police

 

 

Cuban lady is brutally attacked by Castro's police for expressing her opinions

Nov. 4 - Anonymous Venezuela has a warning: This is the future of Venezuela unless they get rid of Maduro and the other puppets under the control of the Castro brothers.

 

Yoani Sáncez's presentation at Google Ideas Summit

October 26 - Yoani Sánchez explains how Internet without Internet is used by Cubans inside the island.

Learn how you can help promote Internet without Internet in Cuba:

The Real Cuba  Also on Twitter: @WebPaqsforCuba  On Facebook: Paquetes Web Para Cuba

 

Learn about a new technology that allows Cubans in Cuba have access to websites banned by the Castro regime and how you can help:

The Real Cuba  Also on Twitter: @WebPaqsforCuba  On Facebook: Paquetes Web Para Cuba

 

Video of another act of repudiation against members of UNPACU

Oct. 9 - This took place in Cardenas on Sunday October 6, 2013

Click here to see the video

 

Yoani: Cuban authorities are worried about web paqs circulating inside Cuba

Sept. 13 - Tweet from Yoani Sánchez:

"Authorities worried because of "packages" or "combos" with a collection of audiovisuals in the black market"

As I have said before, projects like Web Paqs for Cuba are the best way to bypass the blockade at the Internet, put in place by the Castro dictatorship to prevent Cubans in the island from knowing what's happening inside Cuba and in the rest of the world.

You can learn more about Web Paqs for Cuba and how you can get involved in this project at La Singularidad Cuba (Español) The Real Cuba (English) Twitter and FaceBook

 

Video taken at the Hijas de Galicia Hospital, Luyanó, Havana, Cuba

July 8 - Video taken in April of this year at the Hijas de Galicia Hospital, one of the hospitals for Cubans who do not have hard currency to pay the Castro brothers.

Very different from the hospital where they took Micahel Moore and the hospitals that are used by foreigners who pay with dollars.

Click here to see the video

 

Clandestine video shows Bahamian guards brutally abusing Cuban rafters

June 15 - June 15 - This clandestine video taking inside a Bahamian jail, shows a guard kicking and insulting Cuban rafters who were trying to reach the United States and ended up in the Bahamas.
There should be a tourism boycott of the Bahamas, unless the Bahamian government orders the arrest and prosecution of this brutal thug and stops abusing Cuban rafters who are risking their lives in search for freedom.
Click here to see the video

 

Tweet from Yoani Sánchez about the Web Paqs for Cuba project

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Learn more about Paquetes Web Para Cuba

Visit our page about Paquetes Web Para Cuba

You can also visit us on Facebook to find all information about the Internet Web Paqs for Cuba, a project to help the Cuban people have access to the websites that are blocked by the Cuban regime.

Make sure to click on 'Like" as a sign of support Paquetes Web Para Cuba

 

Spanish daily ABC has an article about the false myth of Cuba's healthcare

Foto de la versión impresa del reportaje en ABC

March 17 - On Thursday of last week, Carmen Muñoz a columnist for Spanish daily ABC, called me to ask for permission to use the photos at therealcuba.com for an article about the false myth of Cuba's healthcare.

I was able to send her many of the photos on high resolution to use on the print edition of the newspaper.

The article was published on Sunday on ABC and is also on their web page at ABC.es  (Spanish)

 

Twit by Cuban blogger Orlando Luis Pardo about Paquetes Web Para Cuba

 

Our new page: Fidel Castro, the World's oldest terrorist

 

My interview with Baseball PhD

March 29 - I was interviewed by Ed Kasputis, of Baseball PhD, about baseball in Cuba before Castro and about the two Cubas, the one for foreigners and the one for regular Cubans.
Ed did a previous program with Mr. Sports Travel of San Diego, CA, about the five top international baseball destinations and was surprised to find out that the #1 destination was Cuba.
He received some nice pictures of Cuba and was ready to book a trip when he saw therealcuba.com and changed his mind.
He interviewed me as part of a program about the new Marlins Stadium and I was able to talk about baseball in Cuba before Castro and then we had a long chat about what is the reality of life in Cuba under Castro.
The program lasts 53 minutes, if you are not a baseball fan and just want to hear my interview about Cuba use your mouse to move the dial to minute 25:35  Click here to listen

 

Listen to Fidel Castro

For those who think that the Cuban people chose the system imposed by the Castro brothers, here are some of the things that Fidel Castro said and promised when he gained power Click Here

 

Satellite photos of Cuba's prisons, missile installations, military bases and more

 

A look at Havana before the Castro brothers destroyed it Cuba B.C

 

Visit our updated page: The Useful Idiots

 

We have new photos of Havana taken in October of last year

Oct. 9 - A friend sent me around two dozen photos of Havana that he took at the beginning of this month.

Some of them are very sad, because they show how Havana has been completely destroyed by this gang of human termites.

Some others are hard to believe, including this one of goats having "lunch" off the dumpsters on a Havana street.

Click here  to see them

 

Socio-Economic Conditions in Pre-Castro Cuba

Dec. 17 - Cuba Facts is an ongoing series of succinct fact sheets on various topics, including, but not limited to, political structure, health, economy, education, nutrition, labor, business, foreign investment, and demographics, published and updated on a regular basis by the Cuba Transition Project staff at the University of Miami.

Click here to learn the truth about Cuba's Health, Education, Personal Consumption and much more in pre-Castro Cuba.

 

 

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