CUBA BRIEF: Will President Trump put Cuba back on the terrorist list? Also Engage Cuba agitprop

CubaBrief reported recently on a piece of agitprop released by Engage Cuba. Today we publish a letter from Dr. Fernando J. Milanes on the report which is little more than a piece of disinformation. Hopefully those journalists who fell for Engage Cuba’s report would go back to reread it without putting aside their critical faculties. Dr. Milanes’s letter follows. 

“If Trump reverses U.S. policy on Cuba, cruise lines and airlines could lose $3.5 billion”.  Really??
By Fernando J.  Milanes, MD

“It is clear that both at home and abroad producers have been unwilling to trust their fortunes entirely to the unrestricted play of competition. Both in world and domestic markets businessmen have sought security by substituting collective controls for the free play of market forces.”   George W. Stocking

A teaser on The Miami Herald’s front page leads to an article by Chabeli Herrera titled “If Trump reverses U.S. policy on Cuba, cruise lines and airlines could lose $3.5 billion”.    Really??    The argument of the writer is based on two big unknown ifs; Trump would have to reverse all of Obama’s wasted policy on Cuba, and the financial hit in the headline was taken out of a study made by a known pro-Castro lobby group, “Engage Cuba”.    Even this partisan group clarifies that their data is “from secondary sources, imperfect primary data collection, which leads to a degree of uncertainty”.     Neither of these facts impeded the author or The Miami Herald to use the false headline.    But regardless of the accuracy, or lack off that The Herald uses frequently, the real point of the reasoning is lost.    So what if these private enterprises lost some of their investments?    Have the editors and writers of the paper forgotten, or chose to, the rules of free markets?    Free commerce entail risks, not every investment is assured to be profitable, and loses are not guaranteed by any government.    The cruise lines and airlines were fully aware that executive orders are subject to be reversed, and as many Spanish and Canadian investors have found out doing business with Cuban tyrants, are subject daily to the whim of the rulers.    Welcome to true capitalism, not cronyism, and if indeed the venture turns sour, it might please whatever sense of values they have left; that their dollars spent in Cuba was supporting the continuation of the population’s subjugation and misery.  [ June 3, 2017]

  • Other items in this CubaBrief: The Trump Administration is reviewing U.S. Cuba policy and President Trump strongly opposes terrorism yet President Obama acquiesced to Raúl Castro’s request to remove Cuba from the State Department’s list of countries supporting terrorists. The regime continues to support and protect terrorists. A tough global counter-terror policy must drop Obama’s exemption for Cuba and reincorporate the Castros’ regime to the list of governments that support terrorism.
  • Frank Calzon’s “Cuba continues to support terrorism” published in The Miami Herald.
  • On a different topic the British newspaper, The Sun reports that a family “claims sewage leaked near a swimming pool and they were served RAW chicken” during their Cuban holidays. They and others who also got sick during their vacations on the Caribbean island intend to take legal action.
  • Diario de Cuba (DDC) focuses on “The crisis in Venezuela, according to Cuba’s official press.” The similarities between Maduro’s narrative and the Cuban government media should surprise no one. DDC also reports that Cuban army officers are disenchanted with the regime. And that while the Cuban army “does ‘patriotic work'” its officers are quitting.”
  • Finally the regime continues to expel professors and students from Cuban universities for political reasons. 14ymedio reports: “The Ministry Ratifies the Expulsion of Professor Dalila Rodriguez from the University of Las Villas.”

The Sun, May 30, 2017


Brit family’s dream £6,000 Thomas Cook trip to luxury Cuban resort turns into holiday from hell after they are struck down by crippling stomach bug. Mum claims sewage leaked near swimming pool and they were served RAW chicken

By Neal Baker

A MUM has told how a holiday of a lifetime was ruined when her family were struck down with a crippling stomach bug at a “dreadful” resort.

Debbie Wood said her family’s dream trip to Cuba turned into a nightmare when their hotel served them raw chicken and sewage leaked near the “filthy” pool.

Her ten-year-old daughter Talia got so ill that she needed emergency medical treatment and was bedridden for much of the two-week stay at the Memories Varadero Beach Resort.

Their harrowing story will form part of a group lawsuit being brought by several families who say they suffered holiday hell at the venue.

Debbie jetted off from Leeds with her ex and their three kids to the Memories Varadero Beach Resort with Thomas Cook on March 31 hoping for all-inclusive family fun at a cost of over £6,000.

But all five family members fell ill from a suspected food poisoning outbreak.

Their plight was made worse by “dreadful” bathroom facilities and a hotel said to be in a general state of disrepair. [ More ]

In May, Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera was released from home confinement after 36 years in federal custody, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lopez was considered a top leader of Puerto Rican militant group that said it was responsible for more than 100 bombings in several U.S. cities and Puerto Rico during the 1970s and early 1980s. Carlos Giusti AP


The Miami Herald, June 5, 2017

Cuba continues to support terrorism


President Donald Trump’s strong opposition to terrorism, during his successful campaign, his recent speech to Arab leaders in Riyadh, and comments following the Manchester bombing, are welcome. Now, media reports indicate the administration is reevaluating U.S.-Cuba policy. It can be hoped that as Trump will look south to Cuba, he factor in that the island nation has long supported terrorism and terrorists.

Gen. Raúl Castro, succeeded his late brother Fidel, who for many years sent agents to sow terrorism in Latin American and Europe. Today, Cuba continues to harbor a convicted American terrorist: Joanne Chesimard. She is a fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Indeed, the FBI is offering $1 million for information leading to her capture and arrest. In 1977, Chesimard was convicted of the cold-blooded murder of a New Jersey state trooper, sentenced to life in prison, but fled to Cuba where Fidel Castro granted her “asylum.”

As we know, President Obama acquiesced to Raúl Castro’s request to remove Cuba from the State Department’s list of countries supporting terrorists in a deal to restore diplomatic relations. Chesimard has not been returned to United States to face American justice. Instead, she speaks to American college students visiting Havana. She, of course, speaks glowingly about the Castros’ dynasty.

She’s not the only terrorist to be welcomed in Cuba. Oscar Lopez Rivera is a Puerto Rican terrorist whose sentence was commuted by Obama. Raúl Castro sent his congratulations and invited him to visit the “socialist island nation.” Lopez Rivera spent more than 35 years in U.S. penitentiaries for his role in a series of deadly bombings in New York City and Chicago. He is one of the militants of the infamous FALN (Armed Forces for National Liberation) that in 1975 blew up Fraunces Tavern in Manhattan. Four died, scores were injured.

Chesimard claims to be an American “exile.” Lopez Rivera says he was “a political prisoner.”

This is not all. A summary of Havana’s support for terrorism should include the heist of $7 million from Wells Fargo in West Hartford, Connecticut, in 1983. The money was taken to the Cuban Embassy in Mexico and turned over to the regime. Castro’s Cuba has also been associated with the infamous terrorist Carlos, who in 1975 kidnapped 70 hostages in Vienna (three people were killed) at a meeting of oil ministers from OPEC. “Carlos” who committed several murders in France was, according to The Guardian, provided by Cuba “with passports, money and five apartments in Paris.” As a result, the Quai d’Orsay expelled several Cuban diplomats.

In 2014 Obama pardoned a convicted Cuban spy, who was serving two life sentences in the United States, for his role in planning with Cuba’s military the 1996 shoot-down of two small single-engine planes in international airspace over the Florida Straits. Four men — three American citizens and a legal resident born in Cuba — died. Raúl Castro, then minister of the armed forces, pinned medals on the MIG pilots who murdered them. Upon his release and return to Cuba, the spy was given a hero’s welcome and continues, to this day, to be part of Havana’s anti-American disinformation campaign.

Then there was Fidel Castro’s 1976 speech, in which he denied Cuba engaged in terrorism while issuing a threat to the world, and to the United States in particular: “If the Cuban state were to carry out terrorist acts and respond with terrorism to terrorists, we believe we would be efficient terrorists. Let no one think otherwise. …The mere fact that the Cuban Revolution has never implemented terrorism does not mean we renounce it. We would like to issue this warning” —which became reality.

President Trump and his administration should take heed. Raúl Castro exerts total control over Cuba, but has never renounced or contradicted his late brother. The regime continues to support and protect terrorists. A tough global counter-terror policy must drop Obama’s exemption for Cuba.

Frank Calzon is executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba, based in Washington, D. C

14 y medio, June 5, 2017

The Ministry Ratifies the Expulsion of Professor Dalila Rodriguez from the University of Las Villas

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 3 June 2017 – The [Cuban] Ministry of Higher Education (MES) ratified the expulsion of Professor Dalila Rodriguez from the Marta Abreu Central University of Las Villas. A letter dated May 9 and delivered this Friday to the academic, responds to her earlier appeal and confirms the revocation of her teaching status, as Rodriguez explained to 14ymedio.
The document is signed by the MES legal advisor, Denisse Pereira Yero, and by the chief of the Legal Department, Jorge Valdes Asan. The officials will not consider an appeal by Rodriguez because “an infraction of Article 74 Subsection (d) suffices to lose Teaching Status directly.”

On April 11 the professor received an order of dismissal from her position on the Humanities Faculty, issued by the dean Andres Castro Alegria, and it invoked Article 74 of the Regulation for the application of the Higher Education Teaching Categories.

The argument put forward to justify the expulsion was that the professor had not managed “to rectify a set of attitudes that deviate socially and ethically from the correct teaching activity that her teaching status demands, and that can affect the education of students.” Rodriguez received the news with surprise.

The philologist, 33 years of age and a resident of the Villa Clara township of Camajuani, was, until her expulsion, studying for a doctorate in Pedagogical Sciences after having obtained a master’s in Linguistics and Publishing Studies. She was active in the union and in February received an excellent evaluation.

From the beginning of 2015, the academic experienced pressure from State Security. Several agents interviewed her in order to find out if she had contacts with the activist and evangelical pastor Mario Felix Lleonart. There were also interested in knowing about relationships of her father, Leonardo Rodriguez Alonso, coordinator of the Patmos Institute, an independent organization that defends religious rights in Cuba. [More]

Diario de Cuba, June 2, 2017

The crisis in Venezuela, according to Cuba’s official press

By Boris González Arenas | La Habana | 2 de Junio de 2017

On Tuesday, May 23 journalist Irma Shelton Tase, of Cuban Television’s daily news broadcast, spotlighted statements made by Carlos Aquino, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Venezuela. Commenting on the spread of social protests in his country, the official stated that “the solution to this escalation … does not involve conciliation between the classes. Then he added: “As one of our slogans says, ‘Peace is achieved by defeating the fascists, not reconciling with them.'”

In the remainder of her report, Irma Shelton had no qualms about calling imprisoned Venezuelan dissidents “terrorists,” Hugo Chavez the “eternal commander,” and demonstrations, “fascist.” The linguistic overlap between the Venezuelan Communist official and the Cuban journalist should surprise no one. [More]

Diario de Cuba, June 5, 2017

The Army
The FAR does ‘patriotic work’, but its officers are quitting

By Carlos Trujillo Herrera | La Habana | 5 de Junio de 2017

Although the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) strive to project an image of strength, especially in inland Cuba, they have not been able to stop the flight of officers, a problem apparently on the rise at the institution, particularly in the capital, according to inside sources.

The Army ‘s Political Section takes an interest and seeks to stem the loss of staff through what it calls “patriotic work,” consisting of addressing each individual case and trying to “convince” the officer of the “importance of his mission,” the “advantages” of the Armed Forces, and the “virtues” the Revolution that they must protect.

However, these efforts fall on deaf ears in the cases of many officials whose expectations from when they joined the Army were never fulfilled, sources indicate. [More]