30 December 2007

The Sigh Bomb

Cuban gatherings, especially my family holiday gatherings, are LOUD.

My family gatherings are smaller now, and a lot quieter.

But, back when all my aunts and uncles were still alive, and before my cousins and their kids had scattered to the four corners, they were deafeningly loud. Inevitably the din reached a collective “sigh” at one point causing a strange uncomfortable quietness. Usually an elderly aunt or uncle, who was sitting innocuously smiling tucked away in a corner chair, would give out a deep heartfelt sigh.

Sometimes the sigh was accompanied by a “bueno…….” that trailed off. Then everybody would just sit there and stare at the floor in silence as if watching where the “o” in the bueno had trailed off too.

I always noticed this “bummer” of a sigh when I was younger. It was unnerving, unsettling.

People would nervously scatter from the epicenter of the sigh bomb and eventually, led by the kids, everything would be back to normal with everybody trying to scream over each other.

This year right after dinner, between the meal and the flan and the turrones, I let out the sigh. I can’t really describe it, though I’ve experienced it many times before. It’s like a something deep inside of me aligned with another part of me very, very far and for a split second became whole again. And then the sigh.

Cuban melodrama, rum induced nostalgia, mojo generated heartburn? I don’t know.

And I know I’m really disappointed in her right now…but this happened to start playing right after the sigh bomb ….

De mi tierra bella, de mi tierra santa,
oigo ese grito de los tambores y los timbales al
Y ese pregón que canta un hermano,
que de su tierra vive lejano
y que el recuerdo le hace llorar,
una canción que vive entonando
de su dolor, de su propio llanto,
y se le escucha penar.

La tierra te duele, la tierra te da
en medio del alma cuando tú no estás.
La tierra te empuja de raíz y cal.
La tierra suspira si no te ve más.

La tierra donde naciste
no la puedes olvidar
porque tiene tus raíces
y lo que dejas atrás.

La tierra te duele, la tierra te da
en medio del alma cuando tú no estás.

Siguen los pregones, la melancolía.
Y cada noche junto a la luna sigue el guajiro entonando
el son.
Y cada calle que va a mi pueblo,
tiene un quejido, tiene un lamento,
tiene nostalgia como su voz.
Y esa canción que sigue entonando
corre en la sangre y sigue llegando con más fuerza al

La tierra te duele, la tierra te da
en medio del alma cuando tú no estás.
La tierra te empuja de raíz y cal.
La tierra suspira si no te ve más.

That's it:

La tierra te duele, la tierra te da en medio del alma cuando tú no estás. La tierra te empuja de raíz y cal. La tierra suspira si no te ve más.

And the words turned the sigh into a tear and when I heard the silence being broken by “Daddy are you OK?” , I coughed and pretended I was chocking on the sidra.

And I said "That's bitter"..."Que amargura"..to be exact.

29 December 2007

In Vino Veritas?


It’s been over a week since I have posted anything on the blog.

My apologies. I took a few days off for family celebrations and libations and comelatas.

Then, I got slammed with a Trojan horse via e-mail. Luckily, I was able to prevent any major damage. But be careful of e-mails form corporate accounts with New Year Messages! The subject on the virulent e-mail said something like "Happy 2008 Without Fidel."

I’m toying with the idea of moving to the blog to a server for 2008. We’ll see.

Although I haven’t posted anything in the last week, I have been keeping up with all the “news” coming out of the island and as usual, it’s the news services basically parroting the party line. Is no good news? Maybe not for our enslaved brethren for whom no news means more of the same.

Raul & Co. have decided to divert attention from the question on hand-CAMBIO-by making a soap opera out of whether Fidel is going to remain as president of Cuba or not. Interestingly, at least to me, is Raul’s tendency for candid sarcasm. They guy knocked the American two party system as being just as undemocratic as Cuba’s one party system and compared the choice between voting between the Tweedledee Republican and the Tweedledum Democrat to voting between Him and Fidel. I’m sure the junior despot meant to deride the American system, but gave a rather interesting insight that the struggle for power in Cuba is really between him and his older incapacitated half brother’s minions, (talibanes), and himself. In Vino Veritas.

… and speaking of vino…………

21 December 2007

Photo Op

On Wednesday, Fidel and Hugo had lunch. I expected to be barraged with a bunch of pictures yesterday with accompanying articles telling me how well the recuperating Fidel looks. And nothing. Today nothing still. There were only news accounts that Chavez and Castro met again for 2 1/2 hours.

No pics, no videos, no quotes, no nothing from the recuperating dictator who has been recuperating now for 18 months.

And all this nothing after Chavez had bragged that Fidel would re-appear in public when the Cienfuegos refinery was re-inaugurated.

I guess Fidel is not looking his best these days.

20 December 2007

Giving Up

Well, it looks like Cuba is lowering its red flag and raising the white flag of surrender, at least when it comes to agriculture.

All through the 60’s, in Cuba, it seems all you ever heard was about something called “la Reforma Agraria”. Fidel devoted hours upon hours upon hours to lecture us Cubans on how Cuba with its land reforms and socialist model was going to become an agrarian powerhouse that was going to feed its population and have enough left over to export…just like before he took over.

And here we are 46 years later and Cuba has to IMPORT ½ its food, $2 Billion worth, with 50% of its fertile arable land going to waste. To waste. Not being farmed. Run over by Marabu. While the population is hungry.

In a normal country, a farmer who owns the land, would farm it and sell the harvest. The harder he works, the more he makes. You know the drill.

But in Marxist-Castroist-Feudalist Cuba, the State owns the land and all the farming “industry” and the farmers are “employed” by the state and get paid a salary. The harder they work, well, the more they sweat. That’s it.

Faced with the system’s inability to produce enough food to feed its people, the regime realizes that what it needs is a different system and it has been forced to give up on the Castro agricultural model- Surrender. Wave the White Flag. Admit defeat. But rather than give the land to the farmers and let them farm efficiently, assuming there are any farmers left who know how to farm correctly since it has been 49 years since it has been done, the regime would rather bring in foreign investors to farm the Cuban land.

They would rather have foreigners make money off the sweat of Cuban farmers than allow Cuban farmers to make money. This allows them to steal the difference between what the foreign Ag companies pay the regime for the Cuban indentured servant farmers and what the regime pays the Cuban farm workers. It also ensures that the Cuban farm workers stay at the same misery and poverty level as the rest of the population so that they can be controlled with State induced famine through food rationing.What a slap in the face.

And I keep hearing that Raul is a reformer who’s going to bring “structural changes.” Structural changes as to how the regime goes about exploiting the Cuban people, maybe.

19 December 2007

Oh, Oh Hugo…

Hugo has been summoned to Havana “‘pa leerle la cartilla”-read him the riot act.

Now that Raul has shown Hugo who’s the “top” in their relationship by exposing his “campaign contributions” to other countries and by leaking the embarrassing truth about how and why he had to concede defeat in the constitutional reform referendum earlier this month and maybe even ensuring the referendums defeat by undermining the voting fraud and count manipulation, Hugo has to go to Havana and give an accounting of his actions to Fidel. Over lunch.

Hugo was hoping to dress Fidel up in fatigues again to join him at the opening of the Cienfuegos refinery on Friday; something which would put the Cubazuela idea back on track, but it doesn’t look like Raul is going to let his brother change out of the Adidas tracksuit just yet.

Fidel still exercises control over Granma and Mesa Redonda, where he’s more than happy to contradict Raul and back Hugo, but that’s as far as it goes.

I’m still hearing rumblings that Fidel wants to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the revolution’s triumph in green fatigues and combat boots.


18 December 2007

A Minute in the Life of a Gusano Updated

I ran into and old Cuban neighbor. He’s about the same age as Fidel.

He usually takes his morning walk just about the time I go to work. Today he happened to walk by just as I was getting in my car. He says “¿pa la pega?” to which I replied “que remedio no me queda”-one good qliche deserves another. And that’s usually the extent of our conversations.

But today, he asked me if I heard anything about Cuba…so I told him about Castro’s cryptic little message on mesa redonda last night.

He says “you know, yesterday was San Lazaro”. “Christ raised Lazarus from the dead” “Fidel is a santero, you know” “You see?” No, not really but the guy’s in his eighties so I nod politely – “he’s raising himself from dead on San Lazaro. I tell you”

Just then, another neighbor, on his way to work, drives by and waves. We wave back.

The old guy asks me what we were talking about. I say Fidel’s note.

He ponders my response and says “you can’t pay attention to those guys they’re a bunch of liars!”


Calling all Cryptologysts………

Treachery…Power Struggles…Misinformation…Santeria…Chocheria….

What to make of Crypt keeper Castro’s cryptic message read on mesa redonda last night?.

Well, like my neighbor says, you shouldn’t even listen to liars.

But, what do you make of this?:

The White House said Tuesday that democracy would "soon" come to Cuba, one day after ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro said in a letter read on television there that he would not cling to office.

"It's an interesting letter. It's hard to make out what he is saying or what he means, as is not unusual, and so we're just continuing to work for democracy on the island and we believe that that day will come soon," said spokeswoman Dana Perino.


Since they pretty much said the same thing as my old neighbor said, I’m heading to his house right after work to see if he can decipher this “soon” statement from the Whitehouse.

17 December 2007

Castro Retires?

News from the Cuban Mesa Redonda is that Fidel may be giving up power to make way for a younger generation of Cubans. ??

Odd that the ailing dictator again chooses Mesa Redonda to make this "announcement" Is this a message to Raul not to change anything and keep the hard line?

Or is it Raul finally "retiring" his older half brother so that he can rule without an Adidas wearing monday morning dictator second guessing his totalitarian tricks?

Without a hitch.

So 18 months after Fidel was sidelined, undergoing close to a dozen procedures and cheating death more than once, the succession that had been declared to have gone off without a hitch, seems to be hitting some speed bumps.

Apparently successions involve a successor taking over from the “successee” in order for the succession to succeed. Fidel, the “successee”, is not only refusing to get out of the way but actually working, it seems, against what the successor, Raul, is working towards.

For example on Monday, Cuba announced that it would sign two UN treaties related to Human Rights-soon. By Friday, Fidel had sent a note to “Mesa Redonda” explaining why he had not signed those two treaties. Castro had given a speech on his objections to the treaties in 2001 after ex-Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien had urged Castro to so. Hmm. Are the Fidelistas in the Cuban ruling copula running back and forth to the comandante tattle tailing on his brother and getting him to rebutt?

The regime says one thing, Granma prints a reflection contradicting it. Juventud Rebelde criticizes the process. Nothing changes. 18 months in a state of suspended animation waiting for the casket to finally close on Fidel’s reign of terror. There are even unconfirmed but credible rumors that Raul is going to start a new weekly newspaper to make his ideas known. One would think that in a totalitarian country, where the state controls all the press outlets, like in Cuba, this would not be necessary, but….maybe Raul is not 100% in control…so say the “malas lenguas” out there.

Meanwhile, the natives are getting restless and pissed off that the promised and much hyped changes, like Fidel, are nowhere in sight. Coupled with an invitation to debate by Raul himself, ( any debate would point to change and thus against the Fidelista Taliban), people are becoming very vocal and less afraid of the authorities, who because of the international spotlight shining on Cuba in anticipation of Fidel’s death and anticipated ensuing opening of the country, have had to tune down their usual brutality. Even the new kindler and gentler repression, like the apology after the desecration of Santa Teresita RC Church in Santiago, the deportation of Spanish Human rights activists who went to Cuba to support the ladies in White and the government instigated over the top, brutal melee on Darsi Ferrer’s peaceful march on Dec. 10, have exposed the regime’s authoritarian and brutal side.

Yesterday, El Mundo, in Spain published an incredible account of what really happened in Venezuela on December 2, behind the scenes, that made Hugo finally concede his defeat. The article basically says that the Chavez regime is being run from Havana through its intelligence agents in Caracas. Now, to me, this story is a hit-piece on Chavez coming from Havana. It shows Chavez to be a hysterical and capricious child that doesn’t make any decisions without checking with his handlers in Havana. I read it as a warning to Hugo from Havana reminding him that Raul controls his image, and his safety, therefore his life. Fidel himself had warned Chavez against assassination.

Though Raul loves the 100,000 bbls per day he gets from Hugo, the word is, he doesn’t like the motor mouthed “Bolivarian”. He probably didn’t take to it too kindly when Chavez pitched the Cubazuela idea favored by Chavez and Fidel which would make Chavez Cuba’s president once Castro is gone on Cuban soil.

Chavez is betting on Fidel and the dyed in the wool–red, of course- Fidelista Taliban to win more influence over Raul. They may not have the Army, like Raul, but they have Hugo’s cash. Chavez and his Cuban allies are still touting the idea that Fidel is getting ready to put his fatigues back on. Chavez has publicly begged Fidel to so. The rumors to this effect are that Fidel will show up at the Cienfuegos refinery’s grand re-opening sans his Adidas tracksuit or at a small controlled event in Havana to celebrate the revolutions triumph on Jan 2- A warning to Raul, reminding him that he, as Granma likes to point out, is only the interim leader and that the succession can be undone with a quick change of clothes.

15 December 2007

Mama, Yo quiero Saber....

Donde estan los cantantes
Que se les escaparon a Los Galanes
y los quieren devolver
Fue su fuga fasinante y la china los quiere prender...

Donde estaran,
Ay mama
Estaran en la Yuma
Estaran en la saguesera
o en la Ciudad que Progresa

Estan en la Yuma y cantaran en los Cayos
Ya Veras
Mama ya estan en la Yuma
Mama cantaran en los Cayos
Mama ya estan en la Yuma
Mama cantaran en los Cayos

And so.... just like he sent out his troops to recover the two boxers who tried to escape their master at the Pan American games and return them to their rightful owner, Fidel, Brazilian President and Fidel admirer, Lula da Silva, has now ordered them to search for the three Cuban musicians, singer Miguel Angel Costafreda and guitarists Juan Alcides Diaz and Arodis Verdecia Pompa, who also want to escape Castro's slavery.

They're already setting up the deportation, like they did with the boxers, based on expired visas.

Aside from the fact that it's ridiculous that in this day and age Cubans can't freely travel anywhere in violation of the UN Charter, there are many foreign governments that are all too willing to accept Castro's position that all Cubans are property of the Cuban State.

By accepting the conditions by which visiting Cubans are handled, watched and repressed on their sovereign soil, these governments are complicit to Castro's tyranny and oppression. The day that all free governments refuse to accept Castro's rules and stop legitimizing his totalitarian regime, we will be one step closer towards a free Cuba.

14 December 2007

Must See

Jose Reyes over at Cubanology has outdone himself with this one.

13 December 2007


It's not just a wristband...

It's an attitude!

12 December 2007

Ghost of Christmas Cancelled

Every year, when I put up my Christmas lights and get ready for Noche Buena, the High Holy Day of Cubandom, I think back to when I was in child.

Not your warm fuzzy nostalgic Christmas memories, mind you.

I think back to our old Christmas tree and the old decorations that my dad and I used to put up. I knew every single decoration on that tree. They were like family members. Irreplaceable. Literally. It wasn’t like you could go out and buy new ones. If one would happen to fall and break, it was like you lost a family member and there would be a hole on that tree forever.

You see, Christmas was a capitalist, imperialist, bourgeois and useless tradition to children of the revolution like me. Like anything fun also seemed to be. And the Revolutionary Grincho, gringo hating Fidel had been sent by providence to take all the joy out of life and cancel Christmas.

Christmas was like any other day. Not really. It was more miserable than any other day because it was the day that had been robbed. Stolen. Cancelled. Taken Away.

And so you went to school and you talked about this Imperialist Yankee named Santiclo with your friends. He was no Rey Mago, but he had his own jolly style. Besides, he had all the capitalist, imperialist, bourgeois toys- you know, the good ones. I was stuck with a “juguete basico”. Don’t ask.

Anyway, to make a long story longer, I think we would not get any days off from school other than New Year’s. Years later, I read that the aging Grincho, in all his magnanimousness, had decided to let Cubans celebrate Christmas once again. That was in 1998, when JPII visited Cuba. Bless Him.

And today, I get the news that for the first time since the year of the big mistake,1959, Cuban children will get a Christmas Vacation.

A Christmas Vacation. In Cuba. Shock of shocks. Vacaciones Navideñas.

My kids, who live in the land of religious freedom, home of the brave and pay for everything with green bills with “God We Trust” printed on them, get a “Winter Break”. Vacaciones Navideñas have been outlawed here by the politically correct revolutionaries. Son of a bitch! ¡Me cago en su madre!

11 December 2007

Scene of the Crime

The “Big Brother” tactics of the castro regime have been on full display recently. With churches getting raided, dissidents roughed up and detained, visiting human rights activists deported, etc.

It used to be that these crimes happened in obscurity and silence.

But the world has changed.

The wall that big brother Fidel had built around his "animal farm" to keep onlookers form witnessing his crimes is, like everything else on the island, beginning to crumble.

Brave independent journalists and activists in Cuba grew tired of not having their story told by a complicit international press that censored itself from reporting the plight of the Cuban people either out of fear of Fidel, ideological kinship or both. Castro’s victims, using today’s technology and with the help of foreign exiles and sympathizers have found a way to get their stories out to the rest of the word through small holes in big brother’s wall.

The international press, who was content at basically being press agents for the regime, has begun to realize that they are being beat to the story by a motivated alternative press with an urgent agenda to get the truth out. This has caused them to react. They are starting to report on the criminal acts of Castro inc. They have no choice, thanks to the courage of Cuban dissidents and competition in the news marketplace that has shined a gigantic spotlight on the island waiting to see what happens next now that Fidel is no longer running the farm.

The regime itself has been forced to change its tactics and do some major damage control because the crimes are being reported. Long incarcerations after sham trials are a thing of the past. Just last week, the regime the regime apologized for the desecration of a Santiago de Cuba Curch, Santa Teresita. Crocodile tears, I know, but tears nonetheless. And yesterday, it announced it plans to sign two UN Human right accords.

They know they are being watched.

10 December 2007

Count On Castro...

There are always constants you can count on, like death and taxes.

Another is the brutality and intolerance of the Castro regime.

Darcy Ferrer knows that. And he set out to expose the brutality for the whole world to see today, on International Human Rights Day. And he did.

From the SunSentinel:

As the picture shows, you can always count on the Castro regime to behave in a barbaric and violent way.

Ironically the incident occurred on a day when Cuba announced that it will sign part of the declaration of Human Rights

HAVANA - Government supporters roughed up a dozen peaceful demonstrators marking International Human Rights Day with a silent march Monday.
The melee broke out shortly after Cuba announced its intention to sign two U.N. pacts on political and civil rights, part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

So this is how the regime celebrates the signing of the UN pacts, by sending out its goons to rough up peaceful demonstrators.

Just like death and taxes….

07 December 2007

ReCastro Reforms

This blog has been highly suspicious, dubious even, of the intentions and or ability of Raul ReCastro to make good on his promised economical changes to improve the everyday lives of Cubans.

But, I may have to revisit those suspicions in the coming year because word is getting out that the changes which will take effect early next year will be announced soon.

The first change has been leaked to EFE, and it involves the relationship between foreign companies and Cuban workers.

The new rule, according to this report, is much closer to the American model than the traditional Soviet model. Believe it or not.

You see, the regime has looked at the inequities that exist between those Cubans that have access to CUC’s and those that don’t. They have concluded that this inequity is unjust and that a leveling of the playing field is required.

So, in the spirit of brotherhood and egalitarian fairness that are two of the pillars of the Cuban revolution, the regime has decided it will tax the extra revenue that those Cubans who work for foreign companies get under the table, as a stipend, from their employers.

What, you thought they were going to increase wages to the Cubans who don’t work for foreign companies and therefore to get a gift here and there?

Why, that would go against the other pillar of the revolution: socialized misery.

Holy Infamy

06 December 2007

The Youth Factor

We have seen an example of the profound power and influence that a youth / student movement can have on a society in the Venezuelan constitutional reform referendum vote.

Can something similar happen in Cuba?

In Cuba, the young people that are currently in their late teens and early twenties represent the generation that grew up during what Fidel Castro’s regime euphemistically called the “special period”. They are a generation which has known more sacrifice, want and waiting than perhaps any other generation since Castro came to power nearly 50 years ago-and that’s saying a lot.

Their coming of age has also coincided with the advent of the digital age and of affordable personal communication and entertainment devices such as the PC, the internet, cell phones, video games, etc. that make being a young person in today’s world incredibly exciting.

Of course, knowing that all these marvels exist out there but are denied to you because your government is hell-bent on saving you from the evils of wanton consumerism, must be pure torture. It must also be torture to live in the only country in your entire hemisphere where you are not legally allowed to freely express yourself in an age where technology has made it the norm for youths to do so.

It must seem as if there’s a world-wide conspiracy to keep you stuck in a 50’s time capsule. Like a tropical zoo or museum. Like a live archeological exhibit or a social experiment. The living, breathing primitive inhabitants of the land that Walmart and McDonald’s forgot; the last iceberg of the cold war-still floating around in the Caribbean.

The regime knows that it cannot survive if it cannot convince Cuba’s youth to continue sacrificing – not for what they want, but for what their parents-the first generation of the revolution-sacrificed for. (in vain).

Cuba’s youth is beginning to show signs of rebellion. A nascent student movement is beginning to spread, possibly spurned by the lack of promised changes that the new Cuban leader has been promising for the last 16 months. Youth isn't patient.

Both the “wristband revolution” , (“cambio” bracelet march) and the recent university autonomy movement lead by Universitarios sin Frontreras are examples that Cuban youth is ready for change and willing to sacrifice for their future not to keep Castro, Inc. in perpetual power.

Youths are fearless and formidable adversaries as Hugo Chavez found out on Dec. 2. The regime knows this too nd other than more reprassion and sacrifice, it really has no answers for the angst of the young people in Cuba.

If and when the young people in Cuba realize the power in their numbers, all bets are off.

05 December 2007

Fairy Tales Can Come True ...

It Can Happen To Hu..................................................go Chavez....



I was reading Carlos Alberto Montaner’s latest reflection-better his than you know who’s-on Chavez’s defeat and I wound up laughing out loud on one of his observations.

In the piece entitled, in Spanish, “They Finally Shut Him Up” Montaner praises the Spanish King for coming up with the campaign slogan that became a rallying cry for Chavez’s opposition: ¿Por que no te callas?

He likens the King’s exchange with Chavez as a reverse fairytale, because it was the King pointing out that it was the peasant who was wearing no clothes. He,he,he.

Meanwhile, world leaders, dignitaries and leftists continue to want to dress the naked Chavez up in the clothes of a Democrat.

They are giving him thanks, praise, kudos and accolades for admitting his defeat at the polls and accepting the will of the people.

Pluheez…as an elected official, that’s what is expected of him. He’s just doing his job. And not very well, apparently, since by some accounts he had to be pushed into accepting his loss.

And the whole point of the blessed referendum was to establish a constitutional dictatorship so he wouldn’t work for the people and the people would work for him.

What nonsense!

Ok, so I go from laughing to being infuriated in the time it took me to write this.

04 December 2007

Santa Barbara Bendita

Me acorde...y no esta ni tronando........

03 December 2007

No Election Magic For Chavez

I stayed up way past my bedtime last night waiting for the official results from Caracas.


By 10:00 pm EST, it was pretty much obvious by the actions of the Chavistas that the “NO” had probably won.
But I jast had to wait and see if Hugo was going to magically pull a rabbit out of the his chavista hat. No rabbit. Chavez was Lapin-Less, excuse my french.

The Venezuelan opposition and ex-Cuban intelligence agents that have defected claim that Chavez has padded the voter rolls and that his electronic voting machines are programmed to use the extra votes to pad the margin of victory.

If this is true, then how on Earth could the “NO” have won? It would mean that the people that have supported Chavez in the past either abstained or voted against his reforms in such numbers that even the padding wasn’t enough to overcome the opposition.

A lot of conspiracy theories this AM:

According to the exit polls quoted in Miami’s Mega TV, the “NO” margin of victory should have been more like 5.4%. A face saving deal for Hugo brokered by Baduel?

Some cynical ex communists I know believe that Raul’s programmers in Venecuba assured Hugo’s defeat just to show him who’s in control.
Some even say that Chavez, by losing, wins because he now can claim to be a democrat, not a dictator wannabe whose 21st Century socialism is nothing but a cheap knock off of the Cuban tragedy

Which brings me to my point.

In Havana, the grieving regime touted Chavez’s defeat as proof of a “demonstration of the Revolution’s ethics”-because he has promised to abide by the results … "for now." As if that crowd knew anything about ethics or carrying out the will of the people or giving the people an opportunity to express their will, for that matter.

I don’t know what they actually printed in today’s toilet paper ration since I only see Granma international’s online edition, but isn’t that just rubbing the Cuban people’s nose in it?

Letting Cubans know that in Venezuela ordinary citizens, with rights, can express their will at the polls while they in Cuba can just imagine what that would be like-if they even comprehend the concept. And lamenting that people of Venezuela didn’t vote away what’s left of their democracy ,and be like Cubans, for an extra day off and more government subsidized social programs is humiliating to the Cuban people who have been without a true voice since 1952.
Descarados. No tienen Vergüenza.

01 December 2007

Hugo's Oil Hedge

As we draw closer to Venezuela’s Yes or No vote on constitutional reform, Hugo Chavez’s motor mouth is running at nitrous oxide enriched turbo speeds.

Each new diatribe gets wackier. In his latest, Chavez threatens to “cut oil sales to the United States if the American government interferes in Sunday's referendum.”

“Interference?”. Who’s the referee responsible for flagging the infraction? Why Chavez, of course.

Chavez already has a ready made connection between the US government and “interference” with the constitutional reform vote. According to the Venezuelan government, there’s a CIA plan afoot aimed at “destabilizing campaigns, distribution of false polls, while the CIA plot supposedly indicates a vote for yes, and a call of fraud when it passes.”

The plan, “Operation Pliers”, (Tenazas), came to light when a memo describing the operation from CIA officer Michael Middleton Steere to the director of the US agency, Gen. Michael Hayden was discovered by the Chavez authorities. The Venezuelan government has threatened to expel an unnamed diplomat if the memo turns out to be authentic.

The Venezuelan opposition claims that Chavez’s elections are farcical because the voter rolls, which they claim the government won’t share with the opposition, are inflated by about 20% and the electronic voting machines that the Chavez government manufactured and programmed are coded to use these phantom voters to win.

With just about every poll showing that Chavez’s “SI” is behind and loosing more support everyday, Chavez is being forced to hedge.

If “Si” wins the referendum by the allegedly pre-programmed 20%, when all the polls, even the ones from pollsters that accurately predicted Chavez’s previous electoral victories, show the “No” to be winning, the opposition, the international press-read CNN whom he has also accused of working for the CIA in yet another plot of pschological warfare to instigate his assassination-, and the international community will cry foul and demand investigations. Citizens will pour into the streets in protest and it might get real ugly.

Chavez, the referee, can then throw his interference flag, call the CIA’s number, stop oil sales to the US, which by the way, is the currently only country with refineries that can handle Venezuela’s heavy crude and is responsible for the roughly 60% of that country’s oil revenues, take over the country's media, kick out the foreign press, and plunge Venezuela into political and economic chaos with a ready-made scapegoat-the USA and its CIA- and further strengthen his grip on Venezuela. The ones that will suffer the most will be the Venezuelan people , but that won't matter after Sunday since Venezuela will by then be an officially socialist state where the individual exists to serve the state, not the other way around.

Sound Familiar? It should. It's a replay. The plays are being called and reviewed by the replay official in the Havana booth.
They're hedging that because roughly 11% of the American oil supply is Venezuelan, that the US will not lead any international protests, where Chavez has been busily making enemies lately, or back the oposition's claims of fraud to keep the domestic gas prices at the currently high levels.