Friday, November 22, 2013

Jack and Oswaldo: 50 years and 16 months

 Time passes but democratic leaders are still targeted
Murdered by Castro? John F. Kennedy and Oswaldo Payá
November 22, 1963 and July 22, 2012 two dates separated by 49 years but sharing two things in common: on both days a democratic leader was murdered under suspicious circumstances and the Castro regime is a prime suspect.

The world today marks the untimely death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy while friends and family of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas mark 16 months since his untimely demise.

Both deaths benefited the interests of the Castro brothers to remain in power in the early 1960s and in 2012 over a half century later.

What is striking that despite these and many more deaths surrounding Fidel and Raul Castro's bloody tenure there are still those who treat the Cuban dictators as respectable figures.

A sad commentary on the state of the world today.

Cuban regime denies involvement in Kennedy Assassination on 50th anniversary

“I have …wondered at times if we did not pay a very great price for being more energetic than wise about a lot of things, especially Cuba.” – Robert Kennedy  (1968)

Fifty years ago today on November 22, 1963 around 12:30pm the Kennedys in their convertible limousine turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. As they were passing the Texas School Book Depository, President John F. Kennedy was shot twice and slumped over toward Mrs. Kennedy. The governor of Texas was also hit. At 1:00pm President Kennedy was pronounced dead.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary the Cuban Interests Section in Washington D.C. tweeted three times on November 21, 2013 at 9:47am, at 5:09pm and finally at 7:19pm the same message: "No Cuban official was involved in JFK's assassination, Fidel Castro told The Atlantic"

Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic had published a new article a day earlier from a three year old interview with Fidel Castro in which the Cuban dictator not only denies involvement in the assassination but argues that "Oswald could not have been the one" while backing Oliver Stone's version of events. Goldberg is the same journalist who discounts the Castro regime's history of terrorism.

Furthermore, the Atlantic Journalist fails to address new information involving the Castro regime and the assassination of President Kennedy.  According to Brian Latell, who was the chief CIA officer in Latin America and a Cuba specialist, in his 2012  book, Castro's Secrets: The CIA and Cuba's Intelligence Machine,: 
"On the morning of the day the president was killed, Fidel Castro ordered a senior intelligence officer in Havana to stop listening for non-specific CIA radio communications and concentrate instead on 'any little detail, any small detail from Texas, ...Four hours later, the airwaves came alive with news that Kennedy was dead."  Latell concludes that "Fidel knew of Oswald’s intentions and did nothing to deter the act."
However in the midst of Goldberg's puff piece for Castro an important piece of information was revealed. 
"Fidel reserved his animus mainly for Robert Kennedy, who was attorney general in his brother’s administration and loathed Fidel and his revolution. It was Robert Kennedy, Fidel believes, who was behind U.S. plots to have him assassinated."
Arthur Schlesinger revealed in his book on Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General's commitment to overthrowing the Castro dictatorship quoting him from a November 1961 meeting:
"My idea is to stir things up on island with espionage, sabotage, gender disorder, run & operated by Cubans themselves with every group but Batistaites & Communists. Do not know if we will be successful in overthrowing Castro but we have nothing to lose in my estimate."
Yesterday in an interview with former CIA operative Eugenio Rolando Martinez the elderly Cuban exile placed into context Fidel Castro's frame of mind in November of 1963. Castro felt isolated and betrayed by his Soviet allies during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 and had operational knowledge of efforts of the Kennedy Administration to overthrow his dictatorship and plots to have him assassinated.

Eugenio Rolando Martinez believes that both Kennedy's were victims of Castro
On November 12, 1963 in a White House memorandum the continued commitment of the Kennedy Administration to pursue an aggressive policy to overthrow the Castro regime is clear:
(f) Support of Autonomous Anti-Castro Groups. The question was asked from where would the autonomous groups operate. Mr. FitzGerald replied that they would operate from outside U.S. territory. He mentioned two bases of the Artime group, one in Costa Rica and the other in Nicaragua. Also it was hoped that the autonomous group under Manolo Ray would soon get itself established in a working base, possibly Costa Rica. Mr. FitzGerald said that much could be accomplished by these autonomous groups once they become operational.
A question was asked as to what decisions remain to be made. Mr. FitzGerald replied that we were looking for a reaffirmation of the program as presented, including sabotage and harassment. When asked what was planned in sabotage for the immediate future, he said that destruction operations should be carried out against a large oil refinery and storage facilities, a large electric plant, sugar refineries, railroad bridges, harbor facilities, and underwater demolition of docks and ships. The question was also raised as to whether an air strike would be effective on some of these principal targets. The consensus was that CIA should proceed with its planning for this type of activity looking toward January.
  Following the assassination of President Kennedy within a year these operations were mothballed and Fidel Castro would remain in power for the next five decades. Is there anyone else who benefited more from the events of November 22, 1963 and of June 6, 1968?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Kennedy assassinations: Cui Bono?

“We are prepared to fight them and answer in kind. U.S. leaders should think that if they are aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders, they themselves will not be safe.”  - See more at:
“We are prepared to fight them and answer in kind. U.S. leaders should think that if they are aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders, they themselves will not be safe.”  - Fidel Castro, September 6, 1963*

What Oliver Stone refuses to tell you about the Kennedy assassination.

As the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy approaches the spin doctors and agents of influence have already begun to cloud the circumstances leading up to the murder of America's 35th president. However, a question that needs to be asked looking back a half century later: who benefited most from his death?

Motive and Opportunity

Recent revelations indicate that Cuban intelligence officials had indeed met with Lee Harvey Oswaldo and that Fidel Castro had prior knowledge that John F. Kennedy would be assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963 but the author, former national intelligence officer for Latin America, Brian Latell does not go as far as to say that the Cuban dictator orchestrated the assassination. However, a respected German documentary filmmaker Wilfried Huismann says that Castro was behind the killing of the 35th president:
We settled the question of why in three years of research on this documentary in Mexico, USA and Cuba. Oswald had been an agent for the Cuban intelligence services since November 1962. He was a political fanatic and allowed himself to be used by the Cuban intelligence services to kill John F. Kennedy. It was a Cuban reaction to the repeated attempts of the Kennedy brothers, above all the younger Kennedy, Robert, to get rid of Fidel Castro through political assassination -- a duel between the Kennedys and the Castros, which, like in a Greek tragedy, left one of the duelists dead.
Oliver Stone, and other apologists and defenders of Fidel Castro, would point the finger at a military coup d'état led by Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson who became the 36th president of the United States. At the same time they claim that President Kennedy was seeking a rapprochement with Fidel Castro that angered anti-Castro and anti-communist elements that participated in the conspiracy to murder President Kennedy. They also claim that Lee Harvey Oswald was a "patsy" and innocent of the crime for which he was arrested. Fidel Castro is quoted at the time of speaking well of Kennedy and that Khrushchev had indicated to him that he was a man one could talk with. Years later Fidel Castro reasserted that it would have been insane for him to have been involved in Kennedy's assassination.

What they fail to mention was that Castro asked Khrushchev in a letter dated October 26, 1962 to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on the United States and the Cuban dictator became enraged when the Soviet leader backed down and struck a deal with the United States without including the Cubans in the negotiations.  George Anne Geyer in her book Guerilla Prince describes in greater detail Fidel Castro's reaction to the missiles being pulled out of Cuba:
 As the missiles were leaving his island, Castro's tongue exploded with every scatological and cursing word he could grasp for. He railed at Khrushchev to the editors of Revolucion, screaming, "Son of a bitch! Bastard! Asshole!"Later he would call Khrushchev a "maricon"or homosexual.
Relations between the Castro regime and the Soviet Union cooled for a time and the Cuban tyrant reached out to former Nazis and right wing German elements for training and weapons. Following the Bay of Pigs debacle in April of 1961 the Kennedy brothers initiated Operation Mongoose. President Kennedy's brother and Attorney General of the United States, Robert Kennedy, headed up the sustained effort to topple the Castro regime and this included the assassination of Fidel Castro. Coincidentally, Operation Mongoose operations were phased out after the assassination of President Kennedy and the departure of Robert Kennedy from his position as Attorney General in September of 1964.

Stone and others who point the finger at Cuban exiles also fail to mention President Kennedy's December 29, 1962 visit to the Orange Bowl where he addressed Cubans exiles, received the flag of Brigade 2506 pledging to return it to them in a free Cuba. They also fail to mention that Cuban exiles had other strong allies in the Kennedy Administration, chief among them Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the president's brother.  Following President Kennedy's assassination they would never again have as much support to overthrow Castro as provided by that Administration.

John Simkin, an unreconstructed leftist, provides a timeline for an assassination attempt against Fidel Castro initiated in September of 1963 with the instruments for the killing of the Cuban dictator handed to a double agent on November 22, 1963, the very day President Kennedy was killed:
In September, 1963, Cubela ( a double agent working for Castro to infiltrate U.S. intelligence) had a meeting with the CIA in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was suggested that Cubela should assassinate Fidel Castro. According to a CIA report Cubela asked for a meeting with Robert Kennedy: "for assurances of U.S. moral support for any activity Cubela under took in Cuba." This was not possible but FitzGerald, now Chief of the Cuban Task Force, agreed to meet Cubela. Ted Shackley was opposed to the idea as he was now convinced that Cubela was a double-agent.
Desmond FitzGerald and Nestor Sanchez met Cubela met in Paris on 29th October, 1963. Cubela requested a "high-powered, silenced rifle with an effective range of hundreds of thousands of yards" in order to kill Fidel Castro. The CIA refused and instead insisted on Cubela used poison. On 22nd November, 1963, FitzGerald handed over a pen/syringe. He was told to use Black Leaf 40 (a deadly poison) to kill Castro. As Cubela was leaving the meeting, he was informed that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.
 Taking into consideration all of the above and the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination which included the end of the U.S. government program to overthrow Fidel Castro and the sidelining of Robert Kennedy from government. ( This should also raise questions about the motives behind the younger Kennedy's assassination on June 5, 1968 at the hands of the Palestinian Sirhan Bishara Sirhan.) The Castro regime had (and still has) close relations with the Palestinian Liberation Organization and other Middle-Eastern terrorist organizations providing them training in Cuba.  Consider for a moment who could have more to lose in a Robert Kennedy presidency than Fidel Castro?

Cuban intelligence had the means

The coverup and aggressive misinformation campaign surrounding the assassinations of both John and Robert Kennedy is reminiscent of other campaigns carried out by Cuban intelligence and their mentors the East German intelligence service also known as the Stasi.

In 1967 in West Berlin an unarmed left wing demonstrator was killed by a police officer in what became known as “the shot that changed the republic.” The 1967 killing put conservative West Germany on the defensive and led the country to tilt towards social democrats in 1969 who took a softer line on East Germany. Thirty two years later the German police officer was unmasked as a Stasi spy.  This Stasi trained the Cuban intelligence service and provided them with trade craft to sucessfully be able pull off both active measures and shaping public opinion to neutralize negative blow back.   The United States also has a long history of underestimating the Cuban intelligence services over the past 50 years.

The Castro regime had the motive, the opportunity and the means to assassinate both Kennedy brothers and cover it up.

"Los líderes norteamericanos deben pensar que si están cooperando con los planes terroristas para eliminar a líderes cubanos, ellos mismos no estarán seguros"

Legitimizing Tyranny: The Price of Hypocrisy at the UN

Human rights defenders protesting election of abusers to HRC / AP

How abusers trumpet their HRC election to silence dissent

By U.N. Watch

On November 12, the UN General Assembly elected 14 new members for the Human Rights Council. Among the 14 elected were 6 countries that UN Watch evaluated as unqualified for membership: Algeria, China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Vietnam. Their newfound membership of the UN’s top human rights body will be yet another occasion for these abusers to spew propaganda and silence dissidents and civil society – often the only ones who dare to tell the truth about these regimes. Since Tuesday’s election, members of the respective governments and representative of their UN Missions have commented on the election explaining that their victories were due to the international recognition of their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.

“The Chinese government attaches great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights. It has made remarkable achievements and has vigorously developed international cooperation in the field of human rights …China is fully qualified to be elected as a member of the UN Human Rights Council. China’s election to the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday also serves as the international community’s acknowledgment of China’s significant achievements in the field of human rights.”
Wang Min, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, 13 November 2013 (Source)

“Cuba’s selection is nothing less than a recognition of its consistent stance of rejecting double standards and the persistent efforts by Western powers to use the Council for political ends, to manipulate the issue of human rights in service of its interests and to convert this body into an inquisitor tribunal for the nations of the (global) South who don’t submit to their designs.”
Anayansi Rodriquez, Cuba’s UN ambassador in Geneva, 13 November 2013 (Source)

Saudi Arabia
“The Kingdom’s election to the Human Rights Council for the third time in a row is yet another confirmation of its pioneering role in the council and the service of human rights issues.”
Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Ma’alami, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, 12 November 2013 (Source)

“This election confirms the Kingdom’s efforts in the enhancement of justice, equality and the protection and promotion of human rights at both domestic and international arenas, as well as the Kingdom’s firm positions towards issues of fair human rights in the world … This election confirms the Kingdom’s prestigious status and international respect and recognition for its roles in the promotion and protection of human rights.”
Dr Al-Aiban, President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, 13 November 2013 (Source)

“The UN election was a ‘good result.’ We will work in order to strengthen cooperation and dialogue and create constructive working atmosphere in the council.”
Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, 12 November 2013 (Source)

“This determination reflects the Vietnamese Party and State’s view of human rights as a common aspiration of human being as well as their consistent policy of respecting and ensuring human rights, and enhancing international cooperation in this field … Vietnam’s election to the UNHRC with the highest vote is of great significance. It shows the international community’s acknowledgement and appreciation of Vietnam’s policies and achievements in its comprehensive renewal process, including the building of a state of law that offers a better guarantee of citizens’ rights.”
Pham Binh Minh, Foreign Minister of Vietnam, 13 November 2013 (Source)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bacardi highlights its Cuban exile heritage

"Exiled, Outlawed, Imprisoned and always free. Bacardi untameable since 1862" - Bacardi Ad campaign


Over the past year this blog has highlighted the importance of Bacardi in Cuban history and in the Cuban exile experience. Today Bacardi has launched a campaign that highlights their tradition of resilience.

One of the campaign posters featuring a Cuban flag reads: “Some men are kicked out of bars, others are kicked out of countries.” “The Bacardi family didn’t just survive — we thrived ...“Because true passion can’t be tamed. Bacardi — untameable since 1862.” says a voice-over in their new commercial that you can view online.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cuba, Taiwan and The United Nations: A question of legitimacy

Earlier today the United Nations General Assembly elected the dictatorship of Cuba to the United Nations Human Rights Council at the same time that human rights situation on the island is deteriorating. This is not a surprise but should be an opportuniy for reflection because 55% of the members of the UN General Assembly are not fully fledged democracies and membership on the UN Human Rights Council is determined by back room deals and vote trading.

Consider the following:

The Castro brothers have a long record of blaming all of its problems on the United States and the ideological differences between the island nation and the continental superpower. The United Nations has aided and abetted this campaign for the past 23 years. There is another country that was brought into existence in 1949 in the midst of a civil war with greater economic challenges that Cuba faced in 1959 and over the past half century despite a hostile superpower neighbor thrived and succeeded in providing their people rising living standards and freedom at the same time that the Castro regime brought greater poverty and repression. Taiwan has consistently offered its people greater economic freedom and over the past 25 years democratized from authoritarian to democratic rule.

Despite this great contrast between the governments of Cuba and Taiwan the United Nations recognizes the totalitarian dictatorship of Cuba and does not recognize the representative democracy of Taiwan.

This should raise questions about the legitimacy of the United Nations.

The United Nations bureaucracy has also been caught up in corruption scandals. Despite reforms the corruption scandals continue to the present day. This led some international figures into proposing a league of democratic states and in June 2000 the Community of Democracies in Poland was founded. There are alternatives to an anti-democratic international body with corruption scandals.

Friday, November 8, 2013

UN General Assembly Considers Cuba's Candidacy to Rights Council as Rights Situation Worsens in Cuba

Artist dying on hunger strike demanding freedom

Cuban dissident and rapper Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, whose stage name is “el Critico del Arte” (the “Art Critic”) has been unjustly imprisoned since March 2013  is at this moment dying on hunger strike demanding his freedom after being beaten and arbitrarily detained.

Next week on November 12, 2013 the General Assembly of the United Nations will hold elections that will determine the new membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Unfortunately, a number of egregious human rights violators will most likely be, once again, elected to this international body.

One of the candidates is Cuba. Between 2012 and 2013 the human rights trends in Cuba have deteriorated. Nonviolent activists have been threatened, beaten, mutilated, attacked with machetes and killed by regime agents.

Press freedoms continue to be non-existent as reported by Yoani Sanchez to the General Assembly of the Inter-American Press Agency.

Even areas in which regime claims to have improved saw the same old restrictions to freedom of movement and attacks on houses of worship.

For the reasons outlined above and many more it is important to let the international community know that the government operating in Cuba should not be on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, Berta Soler, Sayli Navarro and other activists on October 29, 2013 addressed the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to denounce the worsening human rights situation in the island.

This is why Rosa Maria Paya on November 5, 2013 went to the United Nations in New York City and addressed Cuba's human rights record before an international gathering of activists and organizations.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Manuel Jorge Cutillas: The Passing of a Cuban Exile Exemplar

Manuel Jorge Cutillas, gentleman, Cuban patriot and businessman

Manuel Jorge Cutillas was the chairman of the Center for a Free Cuba in Washington DC.  He passed away on November 2, 2013 of a heart attack in Panama. Born in Cuba on March 1, 1932; Mr. Cutillas is the great-great grandson of Don Facundo Bacardi, the founder of the Bacardi Company. He left Cuba in 1960 after the Castro regime confiscated the family business.  He resided in Nassau, Bahamas. He graduated in 1955 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering. He retired in 1997 after serving for many years as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Bacardi Ltd., one of the world's largest liquor manufacturers. 

Following the Bacardi family tradition of service he gave of his time in various causes including that of a free Cuba.  His passing is a great loss to Cuban democrats everywhere and he will be sorely missed. 

On June 25, 2012 he was the lead signer among prominent Cuban exile businessmen of a document titled Commitment to Freedom which denounced the fraudulent efforts of the Castro regime to divide and confuse that concluded stating:
We reject that outrageous proposition, since for us, and for most Cuban-Americans, there is no substitute for freedom. We believe that, absent the dismantling of the totalitarian apparatus on the island, along with the unconditional release of all political prisoners and the restoration of fundamental human rights, there should be no U.S. unilateral concessions to the Castro regime.

The future of the island-nation lies not with the current failed, octogenarian rulers, but with the leaders of the growing pro-democracy movement. They, and not their oppressors, are worthy of receiving international recognition, financial resources and communications technology to carry out their heroic struggle. 

We pledge our continued support to them--the vanguard of the emerging civil society--and look forward to helping in the reconstruction of the island where we were born, but only when the Cuban people can enjoy the blessings of freedom we cherish and they deserve.
Prayers and thoughts go out to him and his family. A mass in his memory will be held at the Epiphany Catholic Church at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 6, 2013. 

Requiescat in pace

Read more here:

UN Watch Coalition Urges EU & US to Oppose Regimes in Next Week's UN Human Rights Council Election

Trying to save the United Nations from itself 

UN Watch and Human Rights Foundation brought famous dissidents to testify before a UN luncheon briefing yesterday. Left to right: Chinese dissident Yang Jianli, Cuban dissident Rosa Maria Paya, Saudi dissident Ali Al-Ahmed, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, HRF president Thor Halvorssen, and Russian dissident Masha Gessen.

GENEVA, November 5, 2013 - As the U.N. prepares to elect 14 nations next week to its highest human rights body, a coalition of non-governmental human rights groups and MPs sent an appeal yesterday to U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign affairs commissioner Catherine Ashton urging them to oppose the candidacies of China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordan, and Vietnam. The regimes were found to be "Not Qualified" under the U.N.'s own membership criteria, in a report presented yesterday at a UN briefing in New York before media, diplomats and human rights activists.

The qualifications of Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan, Uruguay were deemed "questionable" based on problematic human right records or UN voting records. Click here for PDF of the full report. The evaluations were published by two non-governmental organizations, the Geneva-based UN Watch and Human Rights Foundation.

"China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia systematically violate the human rights of their own citizens," said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, "and they consistently vote the wrong way on UN initiatives to protect the human rights of others."

"For the UN to elect Saudi Arabia as a world judge on human rights would be like a town fire department choosing a pyromaniac to be its chief firefighter."

With the release of the report, an international coalition of NGOs and MPs appealed to the U.S. and the EU to take action.

Regrettably, so far neither the U.S. nor the EU have said a word about hypocritical candidacies that will undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the UN human rights system. By turning a blind eye as human rights violators easily join and subvert the council, leading democracies will be complicit in the world body's moral decline.

It will be an insult to their political prisoners and many other victims -- and a defeat for the global cause of human rights -- if the UN helps gross abusers act as champions and global judges of human rights. 
When the U.N.'s highest human rights body becomes a case of the foxes guarding the hen house, the world's victims suffer.
Yesterday's press briefing by UN Watch and Human Rights Foundation featured courageous champions of human rights pleading against the election of their oppressors:
  • Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese civil rights activist who famously escaped house arrest in 2012 after being detained for organizing a lawsuit against Chinese authorities;
  • Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi scholar and political analyst who was arrested as a teenager because of his family members’ political activity;
  • Masha Gessen, a Russian journalist, author, and LGBT rights activist forced to flee her country with her family after a crackdown on same-sex families;
  • Rosa Maria Payá, a human rights advocate from Cuba leading a campaign to launch an investigation into the death of her father, the late democracy leader Oswaldo Payá; and
  • Yang Jianli, a Chinese scholar, pro-democracy advocate, and former political prisoner, who presented a petition against China’s bid for a seat on the UNHRC.
Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen and UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer jointly presented their report evaluating the countries that have submitted candidacies for the November 12 election of new members to the UNHRC. Click here for PDF of the full report.

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