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Cubanazos, established to provide nationwide U.S. news and political issues affecting the island of Cuba. We sincerely hope you enjoy the Cubanazos.com website and by all means post your comments/opinions by using the comments option below each post.

Artie Ayala & Omar "El Bombero" Fernandez

June 30, 2008


I will vote for McCain. Here's one of many reasons. McCain was fighting for his country, (and his life) while this loser was smoking marijuana and snorting cocaine! The guy said that he didn't do heroine because he " ....didn't like the pusher who was selling it to him"

Barack Obama, asked about drug history, admits he inhaled
Published: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2006

Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat who said Sunday that he was considering running for president in 2008, has created a little sunlight between himself and both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton. For one thing, he said, "When I was a kid, I inhaled." "That was the point," Obama told an audience of magazine editors. The direct admission was in contrast to Bill Clinton's denial in his 1992 campaign for president that he had smoked marijuana. "I didn't inhale," Clinton said, cementing the idea that he liked to have things both ways. Obama had written in his first book, "Dreams From My Father" (1995), before entering politics, that he had used marijuana and cocaine ("maybe a little blow"). He said he had not tried heroin because he did not like the pusher who was trying to sell it to him. In an interview here at a meeting of the American Society of Magazine Editors, Obama said he was not making light of the subject. "It was reflective of the struggles and confusion of a teenage boy," he said. "Teenage boys are frequently confused." The question of drug use has become a standard one for politicians, sometimes as a test of their ability to be straightforward. If the politician has used drugs, conventional wisdom says it is best to try to get the question out of the way early.
Obama was also asked for his views about Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York Democrat who has been a dominant figure in discussions about potential presidential candidates. Obama praised her but made clear that he did not agree with her vote for the Iraq war. "I think very highly of Hillary," he said. "The more I get to know her, the more I admire her. I think she's one of the most disciplined people I know. She's one of the toughest. She's got an extraordinary intelligence, and she's somebody who's in this stuff for the right reasons. She's passionate about moving the country forward on issues like health care and children." But, he said, they clearly had "different assessments" about the wisdom of going to war in Iraq. Perhaps mindful that he could end up as her vice presidential running mate, he added that he had it easier because he was not in the Senate at the time, while she had to vote. Asked how he might campaign against her in a primary, he said he had not thought about that. But he did sound like a candidate in criticizing the Bush administration in somewhat stronger terms than he had previously. "This administration has done great damage to this country," he said, citing the Iraq war as the chief reason.

June 27, 2008

Cheaper Gas Prices

I named the post cheaper gas prices but there's really nothing cheap about gas these days,. At any rate I found this site which might be useful for some. It has listings of all the states and cities in the U.S. that have the best prices on gas. The prices are reported to GasBuddy.com you people like you and I. Go ahead, give it a try and let me know if this site helps you at all... Happy Hunting !

June 26, 2008

The Crack Pipe !

Thursday - June 26st, 2008
As our loyal readers are aware, Artie and I have decided to back John McCain as the best candidate for the security and stability of the US. Our reasons are varied but two of them stand out above the rest. (1) John McCain is an honorable, honest man whose sacrifice and love for his country is obvious. (2) Barrack Obama is not.
To that end, Artie decided to send emails to many of our fellow bloggers asking for their support of McCains campaign. Many responded favorably, some ignored it, and that was fine with us. Free country etc. etc.
But....One fellow blogger decided that a mere "thanks but no thanks" or a simple ignoring of the email was not sufficient. He decided to respond with insults, disrespect and delusional innuendos. I do not write this as an attempt to denigrate a fellow blogger but the truth is my defense. And defend us I will.
Tomas Estrada Palma has views and opinions that are, to say the least, "out there". His comments and emails are posted below. We realize that what we, as bloggers, say and write usually has but a minimal impact on the realities around us, and probably won't solve the energy crisis, or bring back $2 a gallon gas, for example. But it makes for interesting reading.
At least he took us off the crack. Enjoy. This one is on us.

From: Artie Ayala <artieayala@artieayala.com>
Date: 2008/06/23 Mon PM 12:04:39 CDT
To: trestradapalma@verizon.net
Subject: Join me and support John McCain
Dear McCain Supporter,
Artie Ayala would like you to join Team McCain. Please click here to join John McCain's team today. Only with your help and support can we elect John McCain the next President of the United States.

Please, check out the information about presidential candidate John McCain..Thanks
-Artie Ayala-

Artie Ayala

----- Original Message -----
From: <
To: "Artie Ayala" <
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2008 9:30 AM
Subject: Re: Join me and support John McCain

Hey Artie!
Put the crack pipe down. I'd like to help you out but I could never vote or support collectivists like McCain or Obama. If one of these maggots is the next president it doesn't make one bit of difference to me which one. So you can support McCain if you like and Fantomas can support Obama. I won't think any less of either of you. Supposedly it is still a free country but with either of the collectivists in charge - perhaps not for much longer. So enjoy democracy while we still have a bit of it left.

For liberty,

Today... Thursday - June 26, 2008

Hey Tomas!
Artie has too much class to respond to your disrespectful comments, but I don't.
Needless to say, neither he nor I smoke crack. I realize you wrote that opening comment for effect rather than accuracy as are most of your missives, but it shines a very bright light on the hypocrisy of your misguided opinions. Your characterization of Barrack Obama as a collectivist is perhaps not a stretch. As the line between any liberal leftist and collectivism's brother, socialism, is as vague as the non smoking section in an airliner. But to think that with a few keystrokes you can convince ANYONE that John McCain belongs to the same mindset borders on delusional! Assumming you know the real world definition of collectivism, on what act or statement or position do you draw your laughable opinion? Have you done ANY research on McCain or did your characterization come to you in a hallucination during a conspiracy high?
McCain is far from my choice for the perfect candidate. then again, most are. But he is the correct choice to stave off the further demise and degradation of this countries values by it's detractors and enemies. Regardless of your opinions of past and present conflicts, how can you possibly justify your labeling of a man who is an undisputed patriot? A soldier who didn't dodge the war by fleeing to Canada or joining the reserves? Who actually fought for DEMOCRACY and your right to call him a maggot, no matter how misguided and unsound your characterization? Would a collectivist, in your mind, marry a savvy, capitalist multimillionaire and keep their wealth SEPERATE? Would a collectivist advocate and run on the premise of LESS government intrusion and LOWER capital gains taxes? Would a collectivist send his son into harms way in the Middle East?
You were sent an email requesting, not demanding, your support of John McCain, as were many others. Most will agree, disagree or ignore it. We don't care. NONE have taken the time to return an insulting email but you. Artie acted on the assumption that, based on Obamas' fondness for empowering murderers, you would gladly back his opponent. We apologize for the assumption. You have managed to contradict my opinion of you with a short, classless rant.
Artie, being the creative, sensitive type, would never agree to me sending you this response and has no prior knowledge of it. Although he is more than capable of defending himself, I refuse to not defend a friend.
Tomas, I know, and understand why, this message will fall on deaf ears. What with all the conspiracies and plots you have been tasked with exposing. But, there is no need to respond as I am done and will not engage in a useless exchange of words with you. I'll leave it up to you to restore your credibility if you are so inclined.

Omar Fernandez

Today...Thursday - June 26st 2008
Time will tell amigo but cut back on the cafe.. My opinion of McCain is valid. He is a collectivist. As for conspiracies, I guess you don't believe in gravity either but believe Bush. But YOU or no one has even tried to explain how three steel framed buildings can fall as fast as the speed of gravity yet supposedly while crashing through themselves. . Give it a try...maybe you can convince me. But if you are like the others who have been duped by the Neo-cons you will attack ME but won't go near ANY scientific facts. Since I know what IS going on I am prepared. You believe these snakes so you will find great disappointment in the near future. Don't blame me. I'm a messenger delivering a message you ears refused to hear.But you go ahead and believe the murderous traitors and vote for them if you like. But I feel one must be on some kind of crack to do so. Good luck freeing Cuba following these collectivists.

June 25, 2008

President Obama and the Coming Stock Market Crash

How destructive to the U.S. economy would a Barack Obama presidency be?
An exclusive Newsmax analysis warns: There could be a very rough time ahead.
Beneath Obama's flowery rhetoric lies a dangerous economic plan that will wreak havoc on the American economy.
Obama plans to return to the failed policies of high taxation coupled with an expansion of government spending.
Worse, Obama says he is absolutely committed to almost doubling the capital gains rate — something he will easily accomplish with a Democrat Congress.
In the coming months — when investors realize that Obama will raise the cap gains rate — there could be a stampede of asset sales as investors rush to take their profits now to avoid Obama's doubling of the tax rates next year.

Cuba Welcomes End of EU Sanctions

HAVANA (AFP) — Cuba welcomed on Tuesday the European Union's lifting of sanctions against the communist-rule island, saying "truth" and "reason" had defeated the punitive measures.
"We never surrendered in this confrontation, because we were convinced that reason would prevail," Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said during an official visit in Angola, according to the state-run agency Prensa Latina.

The EU "had no other choice but to abandon its strongarm policy," Perez Roque said. "The truth opened the way in the recent decision of the EU to lift its sanctions."
It was the first reaction of Raul Castro's regime since the EU officially lifted its sanctions on Cuba Monday in the hope of encouraging democracy on the island in the post-Fidel Castro era.
The move was decried by Washington and Cuban dissidents.
The measure was a largely symbolic political step as the EU sanctions have been suspended since 2005. It was championed by Spain, which normalized relations with Cuba last year.
Last weekend, Fidel Castro, 81, who officially handed power to his brother Raul in February due to an illness, described the EU's decision to end the sanctions "enormous hypocricy."
Castro criticized the EU for demanding that human rights be respected in Cuba, while it approved a "brutal" immigration law and kept quiet about abuses committed by US President George W. Bush's administration.
Cuban dissidents had said that Fidel Castro's decision to voice his criticism of the EU while the government remained silent hinted at a disagreement between the Castro brothers and within the Communist Party.

Do You Think You Know This Man ?

This was sent to me by a friend....

Please read below and ask yourselves, is this REALLY someone we can trust as the President of our great nation?

A few lines from Obama's books; In his own words.....

From Dreams of My Father: 'I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.'

From Dreams of My Father : 'I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race.'

From Dreams of My Father: 'There was something about him that made me wary, a little too sure of himself, maybe. And white.'

From Dreams of My Father: 'It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.'

From Dreams of My Father: 'I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn't speak to my own. It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa , that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself , the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.'

We CANNOT have someone with this type of mentality running our GREAT nation!!
I don't care whether you are a Democrat or a Conservative.
We CANNOT turn ourselves over to this type of character in a President.

PLEASE help spread the word, copy and paste this into an email and send to your friends !

Cindy McCain...Very Interesting!

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal on Cindy McCain, John's wife. This is a summary of the article.

She graduated from Southern Cal and was a special-needs teacher. After her Dad died she became involved with his beer distributing firm and is now the chairwoman. Sales have doubled since she has taken over from her father. They have a marriage prenuptial agreement, her assets remain separate.
She is involved around the world clearing land mines and travels to different countries on a detonation team and serves on their board.

They have a 19 year old son serving in Iraq , another son in the Naval Academy , a daughter recently graduated from Columbia University , an adopted daughter in high school, and a son who is the finance guy at the beer firm. Raised kids in Phoenix , Az rather than Washington DC.(better atmosphere) He commuted.

In 1991, Mrs. McCain came across a girl in an orphanage in Bangladesh . Mother Teresa implored Mrs. McCain to take the baby with severe cleft palate. She did so without first telling her husband.

The couple adopted the girl who has had a dozen operations to repair her cleft palate and other medical problems.

They have a Family Foundation for children's causes. She will join an overseas mission of 'Operation Smile', a charity for corrective surgery on children's faces.

She has had two back surgeries and became addicted to pain killers. She talks openly about it which she says is part of the recovery process.

Are you surprised the liberal media is so quiet about her attributes?

She sounds more capable than Hillary or Obama.

June 23, 2008

John McCain - Ready From Day One

John McCain has a remarkable record of leadership and experience that embodies his unwavering lifetime commitment to service. First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982, John has led the fight for reforming Washington, eliminating wasteful government spending, and strengthening our nation's armed forces.

John McCain's reform agenda to reduce federal spending and lower taxes quickly elevated him to statewide office and he was elected to the United States Senate in 1986, after serving two terms in the U.S. House.

In the Senate, John continued to demand that Congress put an end to loopholes for special interests and fix the broken system in Washington that too often allows lobbyists to write legislation and members of Congress to waste taxpayer money. In November 2004, Senator McCain was overwhelmingly reelected with nearly 77 percent of the vote.

As the son and grandson of distinguished Navy admirals, John McCain deeply values duty, honor and service of country. John attended college at the United States Naval Academy, and launched a 22-year career as a naval aviator upon his graduation. He continued the McCain tradition of service to country passed down to him from his father and grandfather when he asked to serve in the Vietnam War.

On July 29 1967, John narrowly survived the first of many near-death experiences during his lifetime while preparing to take off on a bombing mission over North Vietnam from his ship, the USS Forrestal. A missile accidentally fired from a nearby plane struck the fuel tanks on John's plane and created a deadly inferno aboard the ship. John barely escaped the fiery disaster that killed 134 men, injured hundreds more and destroyed 20 planes.

Instead of taking the option to return home after the Forrestal disaster, Senator McCain volunteered for more combat duty - a fateful decision that stopped the clock on his life and separated him from his family, and country, for five and a half years.

During his 23rd bombing mission on October 26, 1967, a missile struck John's plane and forced him to eject, knocking him unconscious and breaking both his arms and his leg. John was then taken as a prisoner of war into the now infamous "Hanoi Hilton," where he was denied necessary medical treatment and often beaten by the North Vietnamese. John spent much of his time as a prisoner of war in solitary confinement, aided by his faith and the friendships of his fellow POWs. When he was finally released and able to return home years later, John continued his service by regaining his naval flight status.

Senator McCain's last Navy duty assignment was to serve as the naval liaison to the United States Senate. John retired from the Navy in 1981. His naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Senator McCain has seven children and four grandchildren, and currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Cindy.

Watch This Video About McCain...
Why We Need John McCain....
John McCain is an experienced conservative leader in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan. He is a common sense conservative who believes in a strong national defense, a smaller, more accountable government, economic growth and opportunity, the dignity of life and traditional values.

Obama Changes Presidential Seal

Sen. Barack Obama has promised "change," and his campaign has already been hard at work changing one of the basic symbols of the nation — the Presidential Seal.
On Friday, the press was abuzz over the new seal, which was unveiled on Obama's podium when he spoke to a group of Democratic governors.
While the Obama seal does include the American bald eagle clutching arrows and an olive branch, the resemblance ends there.
The Latin phrase "E Pluribus Unum," which translates to "Out of many, one," now says "Vero Possumus." Press reports translate the Latin words as "Truly, we are able" — a rough translation of the Obama campaign slogan, "Yes we can."
The deletion of "E Pluribus Unum," long considered the de-facto motto of the United States, is not accidental for multiculturalists, who have long denigrated the concept that immigrants must strip away their old culture in favor of the "oneness" of American civilization.
In the 1990s, such activists promoted the alternative concept of the nation's ethnic "mosaic," rather than a single, overarching metaphor to describe American society. For example, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has pointedly criticized the "E Pluribus Unum" motto as not reflecting the nation's diversity.
Other Obama changes to the seal include the removal of the shield over the eagle's breast, representing the president's oath to defend the Constitution. The shield has been replaced with the letter "O" — presumably for Obama — and the image of a rising sun.
"This is too serious a contest about too serious of issues for a candidate to be playing make-believe on the trail," Brian Rogers, a spokesman for presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, told The Los Angeles Times.

June 22, 2008

Political Correctness

The following is the 2007 winning entry from an annual contest at Texas A&M University calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term. The term was Political Correctness.

The winner wrote:
"Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end

"La Cubanita" Who's Backing Obama !

Maria Isabel is Cuban and organizes trips to Cuba and is a campaign worker for Obama. Her office is the one that had the picture of Che in the background. The Obamas refused to admit they knew her until these pictures surfaced. They said that her campaign office was unauthorized and they had no knowledge of it. Yeah.

Information provided by Omar "El Bombero" Fernandez

June 21, 2008

The Fan !

A six grade teacher in Vermont asked her students which of them where Obama fans. The teacher, needless to say, was a big Obama fan. All the children raised their hands except for Johnny. The teacher then asked Johnny, "why are you not a fan, you were the only one in the classroom who hadn´t raised his hand, to which he replied, "Well my mom is a republican and so is my dad; so that makes me a republican".

The teacher then asked Johnny, "if your mom was a moron and your dad an idiot what would that make you ?" Johnny replied...." I´d be an Obama fan"

June 20, 2008

America's Marines in Denver and Leadville

McCain Scores Big With Offshore Oil Drilling Proposal

John McCain has drawn first blood in the political debate following Barack Obama's victory in the primaries. His call yesterday for offshore oil drilling — and Bush's decision to press the issue in Congress — puts the Democrats in the position of advocating the wear-your-sweater policies that made Jimmy Carter unpopular.
With gas prices nearing $5, all of the previous shibboleths need to be discarded. Where once voters in swing states like Florida opposed offshore drilling, the high gas prices are prompting them to reconsider. McCain's argument that even hurricane Katrina did not cause any oil spills from the offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico certainly will go far to allay the fears of the average voter.
For decades, Americans have dragged their feet when it comes to switching their cars, leaving their SUVs at home, and backing alternative energy development and new oil drilling. But the recent shock of a massive surge in oil and gasoline prices has awakened the nation from its complaisance. The soaring prices are the equivalent of Pearl Harbor in jolting us out of our trance when it comes to energy.
Suddenly, everything is on the table. Offshore drilling, Alaska drilling, nuclear power, wind, solar, flex-fuel cars, plug-in cars are all increasingly attractive options and John McCain seems alive to the need to go there while Obama is strangely passive. During the Democratic primary, he opposed a gas tax holiday and continues to be against offshore and Alaska drilling and squishy on nuclear power.
That leaves turning down your thermostat and walking to work as the Democratic policies.
McCain has also been ratcheting up his attacks on oil speculators. With the total value of trades in oil futures soaring from $13 billion in 2003 to $260 billion today, it is increasingly clear that it is not the supply and demand for oil which is, alone, driving up the price, but it is the supply and demand for oil futures which is stoking the upward movement.
The Saudis have made a fatal mistake in not forcing down the price of oil.
We could have gone for decades as their hostage, letting their control over our oil supplies choke us while enriching them. But they got greedy and let the price skyrocket. The sudden shock which has sent America reeling is just the stimulus we need for a massive movement away from imported oil and toward new types of cars.
The political will for major change in our energy policy is now here and those, like Obama, who don't get it need to rethink their positions. To quote FDR, “this great nation calls for action and action now” on the energy issue.
What has been a back-burner problem now has moved onto center stage and McCain has put himself in the forefront.
The Democratic ambivalence stems from liberal concerns about climate change. The party basically doesn't believe in carbon-based energy and, therefore, opposes oil exploration.
That's why Obama pushes the windfall profits tax on oil companies — a step that tells them “you drill, you find oil, and we'll take away your profits.” But Americans have their priorities in order: more oil, more drilling and alternative energy sources, flex-fuel cars, plug-in vehicles and nuclear power.
With his willingness to respond to the gas price crisis with bold measures, McCain shows himself to be a pragmatist while Obama comes off as an ideologue to puts climate change ahead of making it possible for the average American to get to work.
Of course, the high price of gas makes it inevitable that the U.S. will lead the world in fighting climate change.
With $5 gas, Americans will switch en masse to cars that burn less gasoline. Already we have cut our oil consumption by 500,000 barrels a day in the past year (about a 3 percent cut).
The move away from oil will be exponential from here on out, dooming radical Islam and reversing climate change at the same time. But while we are getting new cars, we need more oil and McCain has flanked Obama on this issue. Big time.

EU Allows Renewed Ties With Cuba After Fidel Castro Steps Aside

European Union leaders ended a ban on diplomatic ties with Cuba four months after Fidel Castro stepped aside as president and his brother became head of state.

The sanctions were imposed in 2003 after Cuba jailed opposition activists and executed others who had tried to emigrate. They've been suspended since 2005, a position that is reconsidered every six months under EU rules.

``The voice with which we speak with Cuba is going to be much stronger,'' Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told journalists after meeting with EU counterparts in Brussels. ``We are going to continue to assess the situation. We are going to continue to make contacts with the democratic opposition.''

Since the ascension of Raul Castro in February, there have been indications that Cuba would become more tolerant of dissident voices. The 27-member EU said today it wants to see more progress, while holding out an olive branch to Cubans and their new government.

``We see encouraging signs in Cuba,'' EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said before the meeting. ``We should show the population of Cuba that we are ready to work with them.''

A promise to keep pressing Cuba to improve its record on human rights was key to assuaging countries such as the Czech Republic, which expressed concern about abuses earlier this week.

`Fairly Tough'

``We're going to have fairly tough demands,'' Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said. ``We've been ready for a dialogue for a long time, they have not been ready.''

The U.S., which has prohibited all exports to Cuba since 1960 after the expropriation of American property, protested the EU's plan to lift sanctions as it was being made yesterday, Agence France-Presse reported. Raul Castro has only made ``very minor cosmetic changes'' since taking power, AFP quoted State Department spokesman Tom Casey as saying.

Fidel Castro, 81, began transferring day-to-day control to his brother in July 2006, when he underwent intestinal surgery. Since then, the older brother has maintained his influence by using commentaries in the state media to forestall Raul's bid to allow more private enterprise.

``We want to see progress, the release of political prisoners, and many many other things but we should not be insensitive to what is going on,'' Ferror-Waldner said.

June 14, 2008

Change? BS!

My wife and I went to Homestead recently in search of trees for our home landscaping project. Returning to the Keys on Krome avenue, we noticed a small building advertising fresh fruit juices and shakes. Outside were two men sitting and talking.

They both arose as we approached and said hello. The older gentleman, who appeared to be in his 50's, took our order of 'dos batidos de piña" and relayed the order to the younger, 30ish, man. We struck up a conversation while enjoying the delicious shakes and one of the best "Tamales en Su Hoja" we have ever had.

The older man, Jose, (not their real names) arrived in the US from Cuba 9 years ago and the younger man, Valeri, a mere 9 months ago. From our conversations, their Cuban pride and ability to "resolver" was apparent. Valeri bragged of how miserable and meager the food rations were at the university where he earned his "free" degree in Journalism. He said he would now pursue another career because of the politics dominating American media. Possibly in the medical field.

What struck my wife and me the most was their vehement animosity toward the "self proclaimed experts of all things Cuban" (their words), so prominent on Spanish media. Valeri seemed more a-political but both men seemed to parrot each others opinions. And strong opinions they were!

They were not shy in expressing their distaste for those who, they say, are now condemning a way of life which made them very comfortable a short time ago. And they named names. Many of the names they mentioned are currently commanding respect and large audiences on shows like Maria Elvira's as "experts". According to our new found friends, liars and hypocrites would be much more descriptive and appropriate labels.

They told us of first hand experiences with the "Cuban scum" (again, their words) who they knew in a previous life in Cuba and are now living the good life at the expense of many they persecuted and worse. Our new friends also told us that, in their experience, an overwhelming majority of the population are 'Fidelistas". Very sad if accurate. The unfortunate truth is that many Cubans probably deserve what they tolerate.

Makes you wonder where the truth starts and ends.

One truth that is evident from the story below is that the collective gang-banging of the Cuban people by the Devils' spawns is still going strong.


Apparently abusing Bush administration rules that restrict who can send money to the island, the Cuban government is cutting off resources to human rights activists who had been receiving cash from exile groups in Miami.
Dissidents who get money wired to them every month from the Cuban American National Foundation via Western Union say they are now being asked: Is the sender your direct relative?

At least a dozen dissidents could not pick up their money this month and had to try several Western Union locations in Havana before finding one that would release the funds, according to the foundation.

I went to Western Union, and the woman looked at me and said, `Is this from a brother, sister, parent or child of yours?' If not, I can't give you the money,' '' Berta Soler, whose husband Angel Moya is serving a 20-year prison sentence, said in a telephone interview from Havana. ``I found that strange, because I get money there every month -- and from that same girl at the counter.''

The Bush administration restricted remittances to Cuba in 2004, changing the rules so that Cuban Americans in the United States could send $100 a month only to immediate relatives.

The rules still allow organizations such as CANF to request special licenses from the Treasury Department to send money to dissidents.

It appears that now the Cuban government is using those stricter family rules as a vehicle to cut off the cash supply to the opposition movement.

Many exile organizations support dissidents and the families of prisoners because most of them cannot get work. The money goes for things such as transportation to visit prisoners in far-flung penitentiaries or to pay for office supplies.


''The government is trying to choke us,'' Soler said. ``If it weren't for that money, we would not be able to bring food and milk to our husbands in prison. We are not terrorists trying to topple the government. We spend it in stores in Cuba -- government stores.''

The move comes a month after the Cuban government publicly denounced several high-profile dissidents for receiving cash from a group called the Legal Rescue Foundation, which was founded by a militant Cuban exile activist Santiago Alvarez. The Cuban government accuses Alvarez of funding terrorist activities in Cuba, and used the money he sent to dissidents to portray them as ``mercenaries.''

The Cuban press published e-mails that showed Washington's top diplomat in Havana sometimes served as a courier to carry the funds to the island.

Although the dissidents say the Cuban government is putting up the obstacles, the CANF places the blame squarely on the Bush administration. CANF chairman Jorge Mas Santos sent a letter to President Bush saying the restrictions are stifling the organization's work.

''The 2004 regulations imposed by your administration have crippled the ability of organizations such as ours to help further the cause of Cuban freedom,'' he wrote. ``. . . On many occasions you have invoked the names of dozens of Cuba's political prisoners and dissidents, stating the importance of helping them further their work, yet in practice the policy you have imposed ironically deprives them of the resources to do just that.''

The U.S. State Department referred questions about the matter to the Treasury Department.

Treasury spokesman John Rankin declined to comment on Mas Santos' letter, but noted that the department does have a process in place for people to send money to dissidents.

Western Union declined to comment.


''In accordance with the laws of the U.S. Treasury Department, Western Union is licensed to send money from the U.S. to Cuba under limited circumstances through the Office of Foreign Assets Control,'' the company said in a statement. ``Western Union is dedicated to providing a reliable service for U.S. consumers sending money from the U.S. to their families in Cuba, and to more than 200 countries and territories around the world. The issue at hand appears to be between a nongovernmental organization and the U.S. government, and Western Union is not in a position to comment.''

The dissidents said they get about $50 a month from the foundation.

Soler eventually picked up $300, which she shares with five other families of political prisoners.

''It's all very strange and a little arbitrary,'' said dissident Jorge Olivera, who said he was refused his funds at one Western Union location but eventually got his money by going someplace else.

``I view this very suspiciously. They are trying to drive us into a situation of extreme poverty. Prices are very high in Cuba. We have no salaries and need this help.''

June 11, 2008

McCain Targets Fla. Cubans with New Radio Spot

McCain once again reaching out to Hispanic voters on the radio, this time targeting Cuban-Americans in South Florida in a 60-second radio ad voiced by Roberto Martin Perez, who was imprisoned by the Cuban government for 24 years, until his exile in 1988.
"Cuban Prisoners," as the ad is called, will air on Radio Mambi, a 50,000-watt news and talk radio station popular with the state's Cuban-Americans. It's a station that transmits all across Southern Florida, and sometimes even as far away as Jamaica, according to Loretta Anaya, head of sales at Radio Mambi.

"If there's one radio station that every politician must and will be on, it is that one," Anaya said. "It reaches the bulk of the Cuban community. It reaches business people. It's the where to be what to do, what's happening around the world news station."

In the ad, Martin Perez relates his decades as a political prisoner in Castro's Cuba to McCain's half decade as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. "The harsh reality is that millions of my fellow Cuban citizens are prisoners in their own country," says Martin Perez in the spot. "Despite this, our spirit remains resilient; and John McCain knows that Raul Castro is, like his brother, a man that does almost anything to stay in power, violating the fundamental rights of Cubans.... While some support a dialogue with Raul Castro, John McCain believes we should support the courageous men and women who continue to stand up for freedom in Cuba."

The ad continues: "As someone who has survived the harsh conditions of the Vietnamese prisons, John McCain knows that freedom in Cuba won't be achieved with concessions to dictatorships."

The McCain campaign started airing Spanish-language ads about the economy last week in Nevada and New Mexico. Spanish-language radio stations are some of the most popular in the nation's largest markets, serving an audience of avid listeners.

As for Barack Obama's campaign, Hispanic media outreach coordinator Vincent Casillas promises an "aggressive Spanish-language media outreach campaign" that will begin "within the near distant future."

June 6, 2008

Cashing In on Castro's Cashing Out

For 49 years, Fidel Castro has shouted to the world: Cuba Si, Yankee No. In February, though, the seeds for dramatic change were planted, when the ailing Cuban dictator called it quits ? a departure that some Wall Street pros say could lay the groundwork for a boon for investors.

Adding credence to the idea that America-Cuba relations will change for the better is a recent statement by Senator Obama that if he wins the White House, he would be amenable to one-on-one talks with Raul Castro, who has taken Cuba's presidential reins.

Envisioning a renewed America-Cuba relationship, some investors are already hopping aboard the Cuban investment bandwagon, as exemplified by a sharp run-up in the Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund, which invests in companies doing business in the region, following Fidel Castro's resignation.
Another sign Wall Street is ready to say "si" to Cuba is some pent-up interest in Carnival Corp. ($39.34), the world's biggest cruise ship company. Based in Miami, it operates throughout the Caribbean and is viewed as a significant beneficiary of Fidel Castro's farewell. Some of Carnival's institutional holders are even said to have fattened their positions somewhat, partly because of the political change.

No one, of course, expects America and Cuba to become bosom buddies overnight, but one enthusiast, the Complete Investor, a New York newsletter, is telling subscribers it's not too soon to think about the benefits of a resumption of economic contacts. Noting that the reign of 76-year-old Raul Castro is likely to be short-lived, one of the letter's analysts, Nick Lanyi, raises the prospect, which some political figures view as a near certainty, of the two countries eventually resuming ties.

As a result of a 1963 U.S.-imposed embargo, it's currently illegal for American citizens to do business with Cuba, aside from some agricultural and medical transactions. If restrictions were eased or lifted, many American companies would no doubt be eager to do business with a nation of 11 million people just 90 miles south of Florida, Mr. Lanyi notes.

Carnival is in a prime position to capitalize on falling barriers between the two countries, and would likely grab a huge chunk of the cruise traffic.

In recent years, Carnival has enjoyed robust demand for cruise ship berths, spurred by America's growing retiree numbers and many upper-middle-class baby boomers, the industry's most productive demographic groups. Europe and Japan are also providing an expanding pool of likely customers in these age categories.
Carnival, clearly on a fast track, saw revenues increase to $13 billion last year from $9.7 billion in 2004, while net income sprinted an average 20% a year over the past five years.
In addition, Carnival is strong financially, has a solid cash flow that supports $3 billion or more in annual capital spending, and offers a nearly 4% dividend yield.

On the negative side, a slowing economy and sharply rising fuel prices have been a drag on growth recently, and fourth-quarter results were disappointing. But analysts look for rising sales and earnings this year, as the company continues to expand capacity (an additional 22 ships are on order for delivery through 2012).
With the stock trading at around 13.5 times estimated 2008 earnings, Mr. Lanyi rates it "a bargain for long-term investors" and has a price target of $55, roughly a 38% gain from current levels.

Another beneficiary of resuming ties with Cuba would be Copa Holdings SA ($34.49), an airline in Latin America and the Caribbean that is nearly 50% owned by Continental Airlines. Based in Panama, it operates a network of flights to 36 cities in 21 countries throughout the region. A low-cost carrier, its operating margins are among the highest in the industry and interest on debt is amply covered by cash flows.
Earnings may remain flat this quarter and next because of higher fuel costs, but they should pick up, Mr. Lanyi says, if oil prices come back to earth and the Latin American economy continues to grow. The stock trades at about 9.3 times projected 2008 earnings.

In the film "The Godfather Part II," the head of a Mafia crime family, Michael Corleone, refuses to invest in Cuba because of political upheaval in the country. He was right then, but given the real-life political upheaval there, a number of Wall Street pros say it's now time to rethink the issue, say "si" to Cuba, and make a decent buck doing so.

June 3, 2008

Dedication And Courage

This post has nothing to do with our beautiful homeland, Cuba. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Satanic Castro brothers.
I posted it because it has a connection to me and the men and women I have lived with and worked side by side with. Though the real truth for this post is the lesson we can all take from it. I guarantee it will touch your heart. Let it touch your soul.

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