“The Blockade Has Not Ended” Interview with Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s Top Negotiator & Foreign Ministry Head for U.S. Affairs 2

Senior Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal

Senior Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal

By danielacmke, Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations With Cuba

Cristina Escobar – Cuba and the United States are entering a new stage of diplomatic relations. How can these relations be constructed after so many years of confrontation, and what do the recent talks between the two countries mean? These were the questions posed to Josefina Vidal, Ministry of Foreign Relations (Minrex) Director General for the United States, in an exclusive interview with Cuban television.

Josefina, there are people on the street here in Cuba, and also in the international media saying, or asking, if the United States blockade of Cuba has ended. Is this true?

Josefina Vidal – No, no, the blockade has not ended; what has happened is that the President of the United States, making use of his executive prerogatives, which he has, announced a series of measures modifying the implementation of some aspects of the blockade. It was within this context that a series of regulations were issued – mandated by him and formulated by the Departments of Treasury and Commerce – to expand travel to Cuba, expand as well allowances for remittances, and permit some commercial transactions, still of a limited nature, in spheres such as telecommunications, for example.

Cristina Escobar – When can we say that the blockade has ended? What must happen before we can say it has ended?

Josefina Vidal – Since the blockade was first officially declared in February of 1962, until 1996 when the Helms-Burton law was approved, it was the prerogative of the President; that is, just as President Kennedy had declared the blockade in 1962, a later President could have declared an end to this policy.

In 1996 the Helms-Burton law was approved, which codified the blockade as law, which means it was established that, in the future, the President could not on his own terminate the blockade policy, but rather that it was the United States Congress which had the authority to declare an end to the policy.

Nevertheless, it is very important to point out that the Helms-Burton law itself, in an appendix following the codification of the blockade, clearly establishes that the law does not deny the President his executive prerogatives to authorize, through what is called a licensing procedure, the majority of things related to the blockade.

If this were not the case, President Clinton, in 1998 and 1999, would not have been able to modify some areas which allowed for the expansion of trips to Cuba by some categories of U.S. citizens. If this had not been the case, nor would President Clinton have been able to permit, for example, the limited sending of remittances to our country, nor would Obama, in 2009 and 2011, have been able to reestablish family visits to Cuba, restore permission to send remittances to our country, or allow a group of U.S. citizens, those within 12 categories, to visit our country. And what Obama has done now, that is, using his Presidential prerogatives he has broadened the transactions, the operations which can be done within the framework of a trip, a remittance, some commercial operations, and this means he can continue to use these [prerogatives.]”

Cristina Escobar – Has he used them all?

Josefina Vidal – He has not.

Interview continues here:  Josefina Vidal

 

Pro-Castro New York Times Journalist Enjoying Thanksgiving in Havana 4

Colombian journalist Ernesto Londoño

Colombian journalist Ernesto Londoño

The Reporter for The New York Times Who Writes about Cuba is Visiting Havana

Submitted by:   Camila, CubaHeadlines.com

Colombian journalist Ernesto Londoño, who campaign publishers (sic) of The New York Times about Cuba is attributed, is in Havana for work, as revealed on his Twitter account.

“Eager to travel to Cuba, which last visited as a college student, more than a decade,” Londoño said in the social network before departure and showed a picture of his ticket Miami-Havana flight American Airlines.

“Happy to be in Havana on a working trip”, released four hours later. “Which topics are you curious about?” he asked to his followers.

Ernesto Londono, 33, came to the Editorial Board of The New York Times last September. Previously he worked at The Washington Post.

Starting October 11, the New York daily began publishing a weekly article dedicated to defending a change in US policy toward Cuba. So far are six. “And we intend to publish more,” said Londoño. Editorials in the last six weeks have called for ending the embargo and an exchange of the three Cuban spies imprisoned in the United States by the US contractor Alan Gross, imprisoned in Cuba. They have also criticized Washington programs to promote democracy in Cuba and the US program that helps Cuban doctors to escape from missions abroad organized by Cuban government.

Andrew Rosenthal, director of the Editorial Board of The New York Times said the series of articles on Cuba correspond to the historical stance that has had the newspaper regarding the embargo. Also with the view that supposedly the conditions for a resumption of relations between Washington and Havana are given “for the first time in over 50 years.”

Original Source: Diario de Cuba

Agente Cubano Percy Francisco Alvarado Godoy: La USAID y los peligros de colaborar con terroristas (II) 2

canfPor Percy Francisco Alvarado Godoy

La FNCA ha sido desde su creación un instrumento para condicionar la política norteamericana hacia Cuba.

Muchos elementos evidencian cómo las diferentes administraciones norteamericanas la han empleado, indistintamente, como punta de lanza de su política agresiva, recibiendo fondos millonarios a través de sus agencias federales como la CIA y la USAID para articular en cada momento sus planes encaminados a destruir por cualquier vía posible a la Revolución.

Cuando les ha sido necesario, tal como ocurrió con el destape de las corruptelas de Adolfo Franco, han colocado en la USAID a personeros de la FNCA como José Cárdenas, ex directivo de la misma. Esta fue la salida para descongelar en el 2008 los fondos destinados para propiciar la subversión contra Cuba y tratar de mantener las emisiones de Radio y TV Martí.

La ambiciosa FNCA publicó por ese entonces un informe en el que denunció que tan solo el 17 % de los fondos eran realmente empleados para apoyar a la contrarrevolución interna. Fue una jugada maestra encaminada a lograr el malsano propósito de monopolizar el dinero de la USAID, desplazando del privilegiado papel a otras organizaciones radicadas en EE UU, tales como el Centro por una Cuba libre, el Directorio Democrático Cubano, el Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia y Acción Democrática.

No fue, sin embargo, hasta el 2011 cuando la USAID comenzó a tener en cuenta con más atención a la FNCA y a su Fundación para los Derechos Humanos en Cuba (FHRC), luego de haberle retirado su financiamiento tras los escándalos de sus vínculos con Luis Posada Carriles y la oleada terrorista en la década de los noventa, así como su participación en el secuestro del niño Elián González, lo cual provocó una seria caída de imagen para la misma. La USAID tuvo siempre la certeza de que la FNCA empleó parte de los fondos entregados a ella en actividades terroristas contra objetivos económicos, políticos y sociales dentro de Cuba, distanciándose de la misma, al menos, de forma pública.

Fue en el 2011 cuando la USAID aprobó 3.4 millones de USD para la FHRC, parte de los que fueron dirigidos hacia los grupúsculos contrarrevolucionarios por los que apostaban los directores de la FNCA. Otra parte importante de los fondos, a falta de serias auditorías, fueron a parar a los bolsillos de los propios intermediarios y unos pocos liderzuelos dentro de la Isla.

Los envíos destinados por la FHRC a sus grupúsculos seleccionados, fundamentalmente consistentes en computadoras, teléfonos celulares, cámaras, materiales impresos, soportes digitales, alimentos, medicinas, productos higiénicos y ropa, nunca han sido significativos.

Agente Cubano

Theater of the Absurd: Released Convict Rene Gonzalez Turns Blogger to Lobby for Fellow Spies 2

Rene Gonzalez’s Blog: “I’m a spy, they say,”

This page is also available in: Spanish

Why do I entangle on the web

Spy-turned blogger, Rene Gonzalez

Spy-turned blogger, Rene Gonzalez

http://rene4the5.com/

This post constitutes my presentation to the world of the blogosphere. To write it I’ve counted on the politeness of people who have preceded me on this field. Not all of them share the same views, but they all wish for a better Cuba and share an intellectual honesty which I respect. They are also together on the support for the Five. In this regard they represent millions of people both in Cuba and around the world.

I’ve wanted this questionnaire to answer to some of the questions from those millions of people. It is my aspiration that with the development of the blog some other answers are found, even for so many that don’t know about the case or that knowing it, for diverse reasons, are not today with the cause of the Five.

I sincerely believe in truth as a value. I believe that accessing it benefits everybody, even those who refuse to hear it. I trust that truth will find its way through this blog.

El primer agente cubano de “Los Cinco” que quedó en libertad estrena blog 1

(ARCHIVO) René GonzálezADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

(ARCHIVO) René GonzálezADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

(EFE/La Habana) René González, uno de los agentes cubanos condenados en EEUU y en libertad en la isla desde el año pasado, estrenó el blog personal “Soy un espía, dicen”, con el que espera divulgar pormenores del caso de “Los Cinco”, uno de los puntos de fricción en el diferendo entre La Habana y Washington.

González, quien cumplió 15 años de prisión y fue el primero de los agentes en salir de la cárcel y en regresar a la isla, respondió en su primera entrada a preguntas de blogueros que radican en Cuba para explicar así por qué ha decidido entrar a las redes sociales.

“Aspiro a que con el desarrollo del blog vayan apareciendo más respuestas, incluso para muchos otros que no conocen del caso o que conociéndolo, por razones diversas, no están hoy del lado de los cinco”, afirmó González, quien ya se había estrenado en la red social Twitter.

El exagente cubano espera que su bitácora “sea una contribución a la ruptura del muro de silencio que se ha tendido sobre el caso” fuera de la isla y pueda “esclarecer los puntos oscuros del mismo”.

“El blog ofrece una oportunidad de que la historia sea abordada directamente por nosotros Cinco, utilizando un formato que permite el diálogo personal, fluido y permanente con quienes deseen aproximarse a ella”, precisó.

El caso de “Los Cinco” ha marcado en los últimos años el diferendo político que Cuba y Estados Unidos mantienen hace más de cinco décadas, y actualmente se considera uno de los principales escollos para una posible normalización de las relaciones junto a la detención y encarcelamiento en Cuba del contratista norteamericano Alan Gross.

Considerados en Cuba “héroes” y “luchadores antiterroristas”, los espías fueron detenidos en 1998 cuando la Oficina Federal de Investigaciones (FBI) desmanteló la red de espionaje cubana “Avispa”, que actuaba en el sur de Florida.

Todos admitieron que eran agentes “no declarados” de La Habana ante EEUU, pero alegaron que espiaban a “grupos terroristas de exiliados” que conspiraban contra el entonces presidente Fidel Castro, y no al Ejecutivo estadounidense.

René González y Fernando González son los únicos que ya han sido liberados tras cumplir sus condenas, mientras que los otros tres, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino y Antonio Guerrero, permanecen encarcelados.

 

 

 

Castro’s STASI-trained secret police sets up false twitter accounts,” says Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas 4

Humberto Fontova

Humberto Fontova

By Humberto Fontova, on BabaluBlog

From El Nuevo Herald:

“On his (genuine) Twitter account and on Youtube, Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas denounces the action of Cuban security of setting up a false twitter account for him as (@cocofariñas32) at the beginning of October.”

(His genuine twitter is @cocofarinas)

(“El opositor cubano Guillermo Fariñas denunció en su cuenta de Twitter, y en un video en You Tube, que la seguridad del estado cubano había creado una cuenta falsa a principios de octubre, @cocofariñas32, donde se mezclan Tweets reales con opiniones falsas.)

Here’s what Castro’s secret police is posting on Fariñas’ bogus twitter account:

Feature continues here: Cuban Regime’s Fake Twitter Accounts

 

Oh How The Mighty Have Fallen; Cuban 5 Protest in Havana Draws…………Thousands 1

Cuban 5 Rally

Cuban 5 Rally

By Chris Simmons

Telesur English reported a protest in Havana earlier this week drew “thousands” demanding the release of the three remaining Wasp Network spies serving prison sentences in the United States. The demonstrators (largely students) rallied under the marketing savvy theme, “I am Cuba.” The dismal protest followed Havana’s disappointing hemispheric call for Cuban 5 support, which was answered by just 32 Latin American parliamentarians from 14 nations.

It wasn’t so long ago that the Castro regime could produce a carefully-choreographed “spontaneous” protest of 100,000 people in an hour. Now it’s a struggle to get a few thousand demonstrators to show support for one of Havana’s major propaganda themes. Another sign of the slow, steady decline of the government’s influence……

See the original story here: Telesur

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright Sends Letter to President Obama Supporting Jailed Cuban Spies 3

Ann Wright

Ann Wright

Retired Col. Ann Wright spent 29 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves. She was a diplomat in the State Department for 16 years, serving in the U.S. embassies of Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Grenada and Nicaragua. She resigned in 2003 in protest of the then-impending invasion of Iraq. In 2009, she co-authored, Dissent, Voices of Conscience.(Source:  National Network on Cuba)

 

October 5, 2014

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC  20500

 

Dear President Obama,

I am a 29-year veteran of the U.S. Army and retired as a Colonel. I was also a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the decision of the Bush administration to invade and occupy Iraq. Since my resignation eleven years ago, I have spoken and written frequently about my deep concern about policies and decisions taken by the United States government.

I am writing to you with my concerns about the cases of the Cuban Five. I suspect you have been briefed on the history of the decision of the Clinton Administration to prosecute the five Cuban citizens who were residing in the United States for their unarmed, non-violent monitoring of Miami-based terrorist organizations to prevent further attacks against the people of Cuba who have suffered more than 3,478 deaths and 2,099 injuries from terrorist acts from U.S.-based criminals.

I would like to bring to your attention that in 2005, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, concluded that, based on the facts and the circumstances in which their trial was held, the nature of the charges and the severity of the convictions, the imprisonment of the Cuban Five violated Article 14 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Liberties, to which the United States is a signatory. This was the first time the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had denounced a conviction in a case in the United States because of the violations committed during the legal process.

A three judge panel at the Appellate level overturned the conviction of the Cuban Five. I strongly believe that due to intense political pressure from the powerful Cuban community in Miami, a full panel of the Court of Appeals reinstated the conviction.

Protest Letter continues here: Ann Wright

“Former” Spy Arturo Lopez-Levy Markets Travel to Cuba in HuffPo 7

Former Spy Arturo López-Levy, now believed to be in his 8th year as a doctorate candidate.....

Former Spy Arturo López-Levy, now believed to be in his 8th year as a doctorate candidate…..

Hypocrisy and The Right to Travel to Cuba

By Arturo Lopez Levy

Political hypocrisy and cynicism are cancers on the body politics. Most people don’t realize the damage they are doing until it is too late. When elected officials set different standards for themselves while advocating policies that limit the constitutional rights of Americans, the credibility of the political system suffers and the political capital of democratic institutions erodes. The case of staffers for Senator Rubio and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen travelling to China on a trip hosted by the Chinese communist party-state is a painful example. For decades, Cuban-American legislators have fiercely opposed travel to Cuba and reprimanded any colleague who went to Cuba or sent staffers on a fact finding mission or to talk with the government. Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen made the issue of not traveling to communist countries and not giving a dime to the coffers of non-democratic regimes a test of fidelity to human rights. Rubio has often said on the Senate that every dollar spent on a trip to a communist country goes directly to fund repression; every dollar except those spent by his staff on their state-sponsored China junket.

It is at such times of exposed hypocrisy, when leaders must take sides and make clear what our democratic principles are. Integrity differentiates those who predicate their anti-Castro policies on violating Americans’ right to travel, while they travel to China, and those who believe that American travelers are-as Hillary Clinton put it- “walking advertisements” for the benefits of an open society and American democracy, in Cuba and in China.

Yet, when hypocrites like Senator Rubio and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen aggressively questioned the morality and logic of the White House’s decisions to restore family travel and expand remittances to Cuba the Obama administration all too often reacted shyly or not at all. Obama’s officials seem to forget the president’s own discourse about the importance of engaging with Cuban civil society and updating a policy conceived before he was even born.

Many Cuban Americans who voted for President Obama twice are disappointed because the president gives too much to pro-embargo politicians and listens too little to those who defend his promises of a new policy based on dialogue and communication with Cuba. After his reelection in 2012, winning a majority of Cuban Americans who supported his travel reforms, Secretary Clinton advised President Obama to “take another look at our embargo. It wasn’t achieving its goals, and it was holding back our broader agenda across Latin America”. Has he done so?

Feature continues here: HuffPo 

Cuba’s “Free The 5” Campaign Falters As Support Plummets 4

Convicted Spy Rene Gonzalez:  the poster child for the regime's "Free the 5" program

Convicted Spy Rene Gonzalez: the poster child for the regime’s “Free the 5″ program

By Chris Simmons

The headline in CubaSi proclaims “Tsunami of Messages for the Cuban Five Flood the White House.” However, all is not as it seems and even the false enthusiasm of Havana’s spinmeisters can no longer hide the truth. The “Cuban 5” campaign is dying.

A key facet of the “Cuban 5” propaganda operation has been to “flood” the White House with the letters and emails of support on the 5th day of every month. But a drought of supporters has reduced the “tsunami” to a small creek. Just a few thousand messages demanding the release of the three remaining Wasp Network spies arrived at the White House last Friday reported CubaSi.

Almost any well organized and motivated special interest group can generate hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of letters, postcards, and emails at the drop of a hat. In contrast, a Cuba-led program allegedly involving participants from over 40 nations only generates a few thousand emails and letters once a month. The men and women of the Directorate of Intelligence’s “Active Measures” Department (M-IX) should be rightfully embarrassed.

Editor’s Note:  Active Measures are the use of disinformation, threats, and/or violence to discredit opponents or otherwise manipulate the behavior of an individual or group. Disinformation is false or inaccurate information deliberately spread with the goal of rendering genuine information useless.