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A political prisoner in Cuba could use a little attention from Obama

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(My new American Thinker post)

We saw an article this morning that President Obama is planning a global tour to say goodbye to the world.   

It’s sort of like his version of the Derek Jeter farewell tour of 2014. Of course, it’s not a stretch to say that Jeter had a few more successes on his record than President Obama. In other words, fans were sad to see Derek go because he was one of the greatest players of our time. On the other hand, a lot of world leaders want to see Obama go because he’s been so weak at a time when the world needs a strong U.S. more than ever. 

Cuba is on the list, although nothing has been confirmed according to news reports.

Let me make a suggestion if President Obama plans to visit Cuba. How about paying attention to the plight of a Cuban namedVladimir Morera Bacallao (via our friends at Babalu):

Back in December of last year, President Obama and the media seemed very interested in labor activist and dissidentVladimir Morera Bacallao when he was part of the list of 53 political prisoners “released” by the apartheid Castro dictatorship pursuant to their deal with Obama to “normalize” relations. 

Back then, Vladimir fit perfectly into Obama’s narrative that appeasement of the Castro regime yields positive results and the media was all too happy to push that line. However, when Vladimir was arrested and imprisoned again only four months later, he ceased to be of any use to the White House. 

He no longer provided the positive spin the president so desperately needed to defend his disastrous Cuba policy and literally became a non-person as far as Obama and the media were concerned.

Today, after nearly three months of a hunger strike in prison, Vladimir Morera Bacallao is slipping closer to death. 

But since he is no longer useful to Obama’s pro-Castro and pro-apartheid agenda, you will not hear the president, or his State Department, or his minions in the media, utter a single word about him.  

It is not that they do not know what is going on in Cuba, but that they simply do not care.

Let’s hope that someone cares. Vladimir is dying in Cuba and President Obama is planning to shake hands with the dictator who put him there.

President Reagan once called the USSR the evil empire. Maybe it’s time for President Obama to get out of the box and stand up for a man who just wants to be free to write columns and offer opinions. Isn’t that what hope and change is really about?

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.



Written by scantojr

December 30, 2015 at 6:00 am

Dear Obama: Do you care about human rights in Cuba?

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(My new American Thinker post)

A year later, and not much has changed in Cuba.  We understand that change in Cuba is always very slow.  At the same time, the Obama administration did not offer any pressure even “un poquito” (a little bit) to do something about human rights.  Not surprisingly, Raúl Castro reacted to President Obama by tightening his controls over the Cuban people.  In other words, they saw Obama’s actions as a sign of weakness and have taken advantage of it to solidify their regime.

This is how the Castro thugs are celebrating the first anniversary of the U.S.-Cuba announcement:

Capitol HIll Cubans reports that 150 dissidents were arrested on Human Rights Day.  Weird way of saying that this is the change we’ve been waiting for.  Cuban dissidents in the regime’s prisons are still waiting for the change.

Breitbart reports that those people freed after the U.S.-Cuba deal are now back in prison.  The title of that movie is “In your face, Obama!”

The Miami Herald reports that Cubans are trying to get to the U.S. in unexpected numbers:

The Obama administration calibrated diplomatic moves, courted press relations — and attended to such details as the emotional timbre of its flag-raising ceremony in Havana.

But the administration and rapprochement allies grossly underestimated a major factor in the speed-dial pursuit of diplomatic relations with the island: the Cuban people’s desire to emigrate to the United States — and the Castro regime’s historical willingness, in times of pressure, to open a door for them to flee.

One year after President Barack Obama’s historic shift in Cuba policy, the lack of vision — and inertia — on the well-charted subject of massive flight from Cuba is shaping up to be one of the strategy’s failures.

Strategic failure?  I guess so!

No one thought through the consequences of legitimizing a corrupt regime. 

I wonder how all of those Latin American countries feel now about U.S.-Cuba relations!  The bottom line is that Central America was not flooded with Cubans before we recognized the regime.

Happy anniversary to the U.S.-Cuba deal.  It may be popular with college professors, Senator Leahy, and all of those who thought there was a big market waiting for their products.  It is not popular with the dissidents and those of us who believe that the U.S. needs to stand for human rights, not corrupt dictators who hate us.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


Written by scantojr

December 13, 2015 at 7:10 am

Cuba and the U.S. talking about claims

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(My new American Thinker post)

We understand that Cuba and the U.S. will now be tackling the issue of claims, or the millions of dollars confiscated from U.S. citizens in the early 1960s. This is from the New York Times:

The meeting is considered a major step because the United States’ trade embargo against Cuba was initially enacted after Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader at the time, expropriated land from American companies.

Nearly 6,000 people and corporations lost homes, farms, factories, sugar mills and other properties totaling $1.9 billion.

Now, for the first time, Cuba has agreed to meet to consider settling those losses.

The State Department is expected to announce the meeting on Monday. A Cuban Embassy spokeswoman declined to comment.

We want to be optimistic but don’t underestimate Castro’s intentions.   

In other words, the Castro regime may be looking for a trade, i.e. we settle the claims and you compensate us for the embargo. Under such a trade, Cuba would come out ahead and get the cash to settle the claims now valued at $ 7 billion.   

Let’s hope that the Obama administration goes into these negotiations trying to defend U.S. citizens rather than engaging in some “we apologize” mode.   

The bottom line is that the Castro regime stole this property and targeted Americans, such as the man that a member of our family worked for. He owned a small manufacturing company and was an outstanding citizen who created jobs and prosperity in the island. He didn’t deserve to have his property stolen just because Castro had to demonize the U.S. while he closed newspapers, put the opposition in jail and refused to hold elections.   

There is something in this article that worries me:

“Obama is a very good negotiating partner for them to have as opposed to President Trump or President Bush or even President Hillary,” he added, referring to Donald J. Trump, Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton.

Yes, the Cubans will ask for the moon hoping that a weak Obama will give it to them. The Cuban regime wants Gitmo, the end of the embargo, compensation for the embargo, lots of U.S. cash and an apology that everything was America’s fault.  

Let’s hope that the Obama administration goes in with one message: Settle the claims and I’ll get back to you about the other stuff.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.




Written by scantojr

December 7, 2015 at 6:04 am

Raul Castro looking for Mexicans to invest in Cuba

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(My new American Thinker post)

Raul Castro is hoping that Mexico will buy from or invest more in Cuba. It’s a good idea given that Mexico has the second largest economy in Latin America. However, the deal has not been sealed yet.

Allan Wall recently visited the island and did not see a lot of Mexican products:

As for Mexico, you’d think that, after all these years of trading with Cuba, that there would be more Mexican products on sale there.

Admittedly, I didn’t see everything, but the only Mexican product I saw on sale in Cuba was Mexican Coca-Cola. And that doesn’t even appear to be the most common soft drink. There is a regime-connected enterprise that makes Cuban soft drinks.  And I didn’t find the Cuban Coca-Cola equivalent to be very good.

Nor did I find any Mexican snack products, of which there are many good ones, for sale in Cuba.

Now however, there is interest in the Mexican business community for more opportunities in Cuba.

In Merida, Raul Castro appealed to such hopes by declaring, “We also welcome the interest of Mexican companies to do business and invest in Cuba, particularly in the special development zone of Mariel and in sectors such as agriculture and tourism.”

That’s what Raul says, but it still remains to be seen.

That’s correct. It remains to be seen whether Mexico does anything.

Mexico recently waived (a nice word for wrote off) almost $500 million of Cuban loans. It was a public sector loan, since most of Mexican private sector companies sell on a cash basis.

So it remains to be seen if Mexico jumps in. There is a lot of talk about opportunities but not much more.

My guess is that they will be very careful because Cuba is not much of a market to invest or do business with. I guess that’s what 50-plus years of misguided socialism will do to a country.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Written by scantojr

November 11, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Obama Care and a few thoughts about doing business with Cuba

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Written by scantojr

November 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm

The leaders are not the only ones getting old in Cuba

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(My new American Thinker post)

For people like me, watching the reality of Cuba is painful. It does not compare with the Cuba that my parents remember. It was not a perfect place by any means but it did not have many of the problems that we see today.

Cuba has a very serious birthrate problem, as we read this week in the New York Times:

By almost any metric, Cuba’s demographics are in dire straits. Since the 1970s, the birthrate has been in free fall, tilting population figures into decline, a problem much more common in rich, industrialized nations, not poor ones.

Cuba already has the oldest population in all of Latin America. Experts predict that 50 years from now, Cuba’s population will have fallen by a third. More than 40 percent of the country will be older than 60.

The demographic crisis is both an economic and a political one. The aging population will require a vast health care system, the likes of which the state cannot afford. And without a viable work force, the cycle of flight and wariness about Cuba’s future is even harder to break, despite the country’s halting steps to open itself up to the outside world.   

“We are all so excited about the trade and travel that we have overlooked the demographics problem,” said Hazel Denton, a former World Bank economist who has studied Cuban demographics. “This is a significant issue.”  

Young people are fleeing the island in big numbers, fearful that warming relations with America will signal the end of a policy that allows Cubans who make it to the United States to naturalize. Until recently, a law prohibited Cubans from taking children out of the country, further discouraging many from having children to avoid the painful choice of leaving them behind.

Over the last few years, I have spoken to young Cubans who have escaped the island. They tell me that getting married and having children means dealing with milk and diaper shortages. As one Cuban young woman told me: “Why bring a baby into this misery?” They tell me that most young Cubans want to leave because there is no future and no hope that things will get better. They refer to “los viejos” or the old men who run the country.

There are a couple of other reasons for Cuba’s birthrate problems.   

The first one is a health care system that provides abortions for free. I heard from one of these young Cubans that hospitals in Cuba have more abortions than births. Abortion is hailed as part of a woman’s health care package. The result is that very few women are choosing to have babies.

The second factor is that the regime marginalized faith or the church. As we see in the U.S., religious young men and women aremore likely to get married and have children. My parents’ Cuba was a very Catholic and traditional country. Today’s Cuba is nothing like that!

We often talk about the dinosaurs who run Cuba, or the 80-something Castro brothers and all of those aging members of the political class.   Needless to say, they are not the only ones getting old.  

The entire island is a demographic disaster!

P S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Written by scantojr

November 2, 2015 at 5:30 am

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Thumbs up to Governor Christie over the issue of Joanne Chesimard

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Written by scantojr

October 22, 2015 at 11:00 am

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