CUBA BRIEF: Two airlines reduce flights, Two tyrannies Zimbabwe and Cuba launch “Parliamentary” forum, Is a Russian spy ship on its way to Havana?

During the Cold War Cuba served as an unsinkable Soviet aircraft carrier. When American diplomats were scheduled to arrive in Havana to negotiate Obama’s Cuba outreach, a Russian spy ship docked in Havana harbor. Putin and Raul are considering reopening a Russian listening post in Cuba. While JetBlue scales back its flights to the island, Cubans continue to flee to anywhere that will take them. Reuters reports  “168 Cubans living in Serbian reception centres, stranded after below-freezing temperatures and closed borders halted their journeys.” Their dream reaching Spain, although Madrid does not have a “Cuban Adjustment Act.”  And Trump nominates Cuban American for cabinet post. Hard to believe but the Center for a Free Cuba has learned that last year American students traveling to the island met with Assata Shakur, the American terrorist wanted by the FBI for killing a New Jersey State Trooper. How many American students on an “educational exchange” will meet David Mauri Cardoso, a Cuban student just expelled from university for “disrespecting” Fidel’s funeral. The crime? The student used the word dictator when referring to Fidel.


The Miami Herald, February 16, 2017

Trump’s labor pick is FIU law dean, a former Miami U.S. attorney

President Donald Trump nominated R. Alexander Acosta, a former Miami U.S. attorney and the current dean of Florida International University’s law school, as labor secretary Thursday after Trump’s initial choice failed to gain support in the Republican-led Senate.

[ Trump made the announcement from the White House East Room. Acosta wasn’t present, suggesting Trump decided on his new nominee so quickly that Acosta didn’t have enough time to make it to Washington.

Acosta, who is Cuban-American, would be the first and only Hispanic on Trump’s Cabinet, and the third Cuban-American Cabinet secretary in history, after Mel Martinez and Carlos Gutierrez.]



The Washington Post, February 15, 2017

Top diplomat to accept award from democracy group in Cuba

By Luis Alonso Lugo and Andrea Rodriguez | AP February 15 at 3:08 PM

WASHINGTON — A prominent diplomat is planning a politically sensitive trip to Cuba to accept an award from a pro-democracy group on the island.

Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States, will travel to Cuba next week to accept the Oswaldo Paya Prize from the Latin America Youth Network for Democracy, a spokesman for the regional organization said Wednesday.


The Washington Post, February 16, 2017

Connecticut congressmen express concern over Russian ship

By Associated Press February 16 at 7:03 AM

HARTFORD, Conn. — Congressmen from Connecticut are expressing concern over reports of a Russian intelligence-collection ship traveling near a U.S. naval submarine base.

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney issued statements Wednesday condemning what they described as Russia’s increasing aggression.

A U.S. defense official said Tuesday the Russian ship has been operating in international waters off the U.S. East Coast. The official said it made a port call in Cuba previously and was monitored off Delaware’s coast. Courtney said the vessel was later spotted about 30 miles from the submarine base in Groton, Connecticut.

The U.S. Navy conducts similar intelligence-gathering operations against Russian military targets, such as its submarine bases, from international waters.

The Democratic congressmen are calling on Republican President Donald Trump to address Russia’s actions.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.


Local 10 ABC News, February 16, 2017

JetBlue scaling back flights to Cuba

Airline adjusting to market demand

By Julie Aleman – Producer

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – JetBlue Airways is reducing its service to Cuba. 

The airline will become the second major U.S. carrier in recent months to cut back capacity on the flights to Cuba.

Beginning May 3, JetBlue will use smaller planes for routes from Fort Lauderdale and other U.S. cities to Havana, Santa Clara, Holguin and Camaguey.

In total, JetBlue will fly 300 fewer seats a day to the four Cuban destinations.

Silver Airways is reportedly planning on dialing back on its commercial flights to Cuba as well.

The Herald (Zimbabwe), February 16, 2017

Zimbabwe,Cuba launch Parliamentary Forum | The Herald

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter

The Zimbabwe-Cuba Parliamentary Forum was launched yesterday with Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda saying it will further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries. He said Zimbabwe and Cuba shared a long history of cooperation dating back to the liberation struggle. “The common bond between Zimbabwe and Cuba is that of an umbilical cord enjoining Siamese twins,” said Adv Mudenda.

“The historical antecedent of our liberation struggle has its genesis in our unbroken human spirit of self-determination and the insatiable hunger for a truly liberated soul and practical self ego-being continually hankering after political, social and economic self actualisation.”

Adv Mudenda said the forum, chaired by Deputy President of the Senate Cde Chen Chimutengwende, should provide a platform for Zimbabwe and Cuba to fight the United States’ imperialism.


Babalu Blog, February 15, 2017

Cuban student expelled from university for “disrespecting” Fidel’s funeral

by Carlos Eire    

This is what “education” is all about in the Castro Kingdom.

It’s “free,” say the Castronoids, but in fact, it’s not free, and it’s not “education” either.

Constant indoctrination, constant testing of one’s loyalty to the Castro dynasty are a fundamental component of the system.

And there is no intellectual freedom whatsoever.


Thomson Reuters Foundation, February 13, 2017

Stranded in snowy Serbia, Cuban migrants dream of a new life in Spain

by Lin Taylor | @linnytayls | Thomson Reuters Foundation

Monday, 13 February 2017

168 Cubans living in Serbian reception centres, stranded after below-freezing temperatures and closed borders halted their journeys

ADAŠEVCI, Serbia, Feb 13 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As snow falls outside a migrant centre along a highway near the Serbian town of Adaševci, a large Cuban family huddles together in their bedroom, idly playing with their mobile phones to pass the time.

With old photos dotting her walls and laundry hanging by her frosty windows, Tania Hernandez’s tiny room – which she shares with six family members – is a far cry from sunny Havana, the Caribbean island capital she left behind in August last year.

But living in these cramped conditions is nothing compared to the political repression Hernandez said she had to endure.

“We decided to leave because in Cuba there’s no freedom. We were very tired of so much repression upon our shoulders, it was too much,” the Spanish-speaking mother of three said through a translator.

The family is part of a small but growing number of Cubans travelling through the Balkans towards Spain, the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.



The Ripon Forum
Volume 51, No. 1
February 2017

Continuing Unilateral Concessions Towards Cuba is not in the U.S. Interest


Quintana_Ana (2) President Obama spent the last two years of his administration attempting to convince the American people that a new course for Cuba policy was in order. In spite of the Cuban government’s continued crackdowns against peaceful dissidents and hostility against the United States interests, he argued that it was time for America — not Cuba — to change its behavior. That is exactly what President Obama did. Via executive orders and without significant congressional support, his administration embarked on a new policy aimed at legitimizing the Castro regime.

From lobbying Congress to lift the embargo to increasing commercial opportunities for the Castro regime, the Obama Administration’s Cuba policy overwhelmingly benefited the Cuban government at the expense of the Cuban people.