REVELATIONS ABOUT CUBA BY THE ECONOMIST: “…Unless the country reduces the obstacles to private investment in hotels, services and supply chains, it will struggle to provide tourists with the value for money that will keep them coming back. Unlike Cubans, they have a lot of choices.”  “The currency system is, to use a technical term, bonkers… workers are then paid in CUP at one to one. That is, the agency and the government take 95% of their wages.”

OBAMA IS NOT TRUMP. CUBANS ARE NOT MUSLIMS BUT LAST YEAR THE STATE DEPARTMENT WOULDN’T ISSUE VISAS TO CUBANS WHO WANTED TO VISIT THE UNITED STATES, according to TV LOCAL 10 broadcasting from Miami: Last year, travelers from Cuba faced a lower possibility of getting a visa than any other country in the world, according to data from the U.S. Department. The possibility was less likely for Cubans than it was for travelers from countries with U.S. travel warnings related to terrorism in Afghanistan and Mauritania.” 


THE ECONOMIST, April 1, 2017

What the tourist industry reveals about Cuba

The revolutionary economy is neither efficient nor fun

From the print edition | The Americas

Apr 1st 2017| HAVANA

TOURISTS whizz along the Malecón, Havana’s grand seaside boulevard, in bright-red open-topped 1950s cars. Their selfie sticks wobble as they try to film themselves. They move fast, for there are no traffic jams. Cars are costly in Cuba ($50,000 for a low-range Chinese import) and most people are poor (a typical state employee makes $25 a month). So hardly anyone can afford wheels, except the tourists who hire them. And there are far fewer tourists than there ought to be.

Few places are as naturally alluring as Cuba. The island is bathed in sunlight and lapped by warm blue waters. The people are friendly; the rum is light and crisp; the music is a delicious blend of African and Latin rhythms. And the biggest pool of free-spending holidaymakers in the western hemisphere is just a hop away. As Lucky Luciano, an American gangster, observed in 1946, “The water was just as pretty as the Bay of Naples, but it was only 90 miles from the United States.”

There is just one problem today: Cuba is a communist dictatorship in a time warp. For some, that lends it a rebellious allure. They talk of seeing old Havana before its charm is “spoiled” by visible signs of prosperity, such as Nike and Starbucks. But for other tourists, Cuba’s revolutionary economy is a drag. The big hotels, majority-owned by the state and often managed by companies controlled by the army, charge five-star prices for mediocre service. Showers are unreliable. Wi-Fi is atrocious. Lifts and rooms are ill-maintained. [ More]


THE NARRATIVE AND THE REALITY OF A MEDICAL POWERHOUSE. In response to the article we are reprinting below, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), and business entrepreneur and lobbyist Carlos Gutierrez are likely to point out that similar outrages take place in other countries. But they would miss the point. Castro’s Cuba is advertised to be a medical powerhouse, and after more than half a century of revolutionary experiment such things are not supposed to happen, and Cubans who dare to complain should not be thrown in jail. This Cubanet article does not say a word about the island’s medical apartheid. If the eight year old girl was a foreigner or a daughter of a high military officer or government official, or her last name was Castro she would have been helped a long time ago.

Cubanet, March 29, 2017

Hany Leydis, another victim in a medical powerhouse

We learned about this Cuban girl’s problems months ago, but officials took no notice of her case

By  Osniel Carmona and Alejandro Hernández

HAVANA – A constant drip of human feces and urine from the floor above, the danger that her building will collapse and the lack of medical attention and rehabilitation for her condition are just some of the difficulties faced by the eight-year-old girl.

The girl, Hany Leydis, was born November 20, 2000 after a 36-hour delivery with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, in the Abel Santamaría Hospital in the western province of Pinar del Rio.

Mileidys Acosta Calzadilla and Lázaro Ernesto Márquez – the girl’s mother and stepfather – told their story to CubaNet, which first wrote about their case in November.

“My water broke the day before she was born, at 4 pm. I went to the clinic and from there they sent me by ambulance to maternity,” Acosta said.

But when she arrived, Acosta added, “they did nothing. The next day the doctor realized that my water had broken and at 9 in the morning they started to induce me. I gave birth at 11:30 pm.”

The delay created complications for the baby girl, who was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.

“They had to use forceps, because they realized that I could not give birth to her and there was no time for a cesarean section,” she said.

When the baby was eight months, Acosta said, her mother “noticed that she did not do the things normal for a child of her age. She turned, but she did not sit up or crawl.”

Acosta said she presumed that some children just developed faster or slower, but she decided to take the baby to her doctor. The doctor could not answer her questions and referred her to a doctor who specialized in physical therapy.

“That’s who told me about the girl’s problems,” she added. “When the hospital released me, after the birth, it’s incredible but they never told me that the baby had any problems.”

Hany Leydis had surgery five years ago to correct a problem with her legs. The surgery was successful, but the incisions became infected at home “because of all the putrid stuff falling from the ceiling,” the mother said. The girl spent another 12 days in a hospital, until the infection cleared.


“I developed a hernia from lifting her on and off the wheelchair, and the Hermanos Amejeiras Hospital did not want to do the surgery,” said the girl’s father. “Happily, I underwent the surgery, but I can’t lift that kind of weight again without risking a return of the hernia.”

The mother also cannot lift much because she underwent surgery for an ovarian cyst.

“She has not received any physical therapy for five years, and we have to find a first-floor home because the building is in imminent danger of collapsing.” said Marquez. “The government has been bouncing us around on the issue of the house, but has not delivered.”

He said a proper house was located in 2013 but was sold by government officials. A second home offered to the family later was just as bad or worse than their current apartment, and it was rejected.

“I have gone to all levels at the departments of housing, government, social security, shelters, the Council of State, the Cuban Association of Physically Handicapped, everyone,” the father added. “And nothing.”

Local 10 (Miami), March 30, 2017

Cuba is top country for U.S. visa refusals worldwide

Despite grim prospect, Cubans make sacrifices to apply for U.S. visa

By Hatzel Vela – Reporter

HAVANA – Cuba remains among the top countries for U.S. Visa refusals.

After the “wet foot, dry foot” policy allowing Cubans who managed to arrive to the U.S. without a visa to stay came to an end Jan. 12., the majority of Cubans who applied for a visa were denied. 

Despite the grim prospect of a nearly 82 percent rate of denial, according to the U.S. Department of State, Cubans were still vying for a chance to come to the U.S. [More]

Diario de Cuba, March 31, 2017

Editorial: Holding the Repressors Accountable

DDC | Madrid | 31 de Marzo de 2017

Both off and on the Island, in recent weeks several successful actions have been taken against State-perpetrated violence.

Composed of lawyers, professors, human rights activists and political and student leaders of several Latin American countries, a new organization was announced: the International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes against Humanity by the Castro Regime. Dedicated in its first stage to documenting and investigating violations, it will organize public hearings in various capitals and advocate for the creation of an international tribunal to investigate these crimes.

In Havana, a delegation of the Ladies in White submitted to the Attorney General of the Republic a detailed analysis of the repression suffered by the women’s movement from 2016 to 2017. The report was also presented to the delegation of the European Union (EU) and the Apostolic Nunciature, and in the next few days will be sent to the Military Prosecutor’s Office, the State Council and various embassies.

In Washington the Citizens for Racial Integration Committee provided the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with a report covering the 187 cases of human rights violations of Afro-Cuban citizens. This report will serve as the basis for efforts by various activists in their dealings with Cuban authorities.

Also in the US, at the University of California Irvine (UCI) School of Law, a group of independent journalists and activists from the Island offered the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression first-hand information on violations of this right. The group met with teachers and students, and advised the Special Rapporteur to insist on his request for an authorization to visit Cuba.

Meanwhile, at its last meeting the UN Committee against Enforced Disappearances raised objections to the official Cuban report, called for the Island’s authorities to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to recognize the International Criminal Court. It also pointed out the fact that the Government does not currently recognize the legitimacy of any human rights organizations in Cuba.

All this activity comes in addition to the sustained work, on and off the Island, by organizations such as the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, Archivo Cuba, the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, the Cuban Human Rights Observatory, and Cubalex.

It is not just a question of documenting and publicizing each of the violations and crimes, but holding the regime’s representatives and institutions accountable for their repressive and criminal record. The joint work by international and Cuban organizations, although not officially recognized, serves to pressure the repressors and serve notice that their crimes are being methodically recorded and will not go unpunished.

In recent months State-sponsored violence against opposition activists and independent journalists has increased, but also growing and strengthening are means and instruments to peacefully resist such violence, and to keep the truth about our most recent history alive.


One News Now, March 30, 2017 

Cuba starving for children – and here’s why

By Charlie Butts (

If Cuba is to emerge into a vital and productive nation, it must first begin to encourage families. That’s the advice of one of the leading experts on the international pro-life movement. [More]