Help Identify This Criminal

Saturday, November 10, 2012
The picture below is of the Castro regime's secret police official who led the violent attack and arrest of over two-dozen peaceful pro-democracy leaders this week.

His pseudonym is "Camilo."

He repeatedly kicked Antonio Rodiles, head of the civil society group Estado de Sats, who was on the floor trying to protect himself in a fetal position, in the head and in his ribs.

Then, he pulled a gun on another dissident, Andre Perez Suarez, pressed it against his face and threatened -- "I want to shoot you in the head so badly."

Of those arrested, Antonio Rodiles and Angel Santiesteban, remain imprisoned and have begun a hunger and thirst strike.

Bye Bye Scarabeo 9

After years of hype, media speculation and non-stop lobbying by the Castro regime's allies.

From The New York Times:

Cuba’s Prospects for an Oil-Fueled Economic Jolt Falter With Departure of Rig

Cuba’s hopes of reviving its economy with an oil boom have produced little more than three dry holes, persuading foreign oil companies to remove the one deepwater rig able to work in Cuban waters so it could be used for more lucrative prospects elsewhere.

The rig [Scarabeo 9], which was built in China to get around the United States trade embargo, is expected to depart in the next few weeks. With no other rigs available for deepwater exploration, that means Cuba must now postpone what had become an abiding dream: a windfall that would save Cuba’s economy and lead to a uniquely Cuban utopia where the island’s socialist system was paid for by oil sales to its capitalist neighbors.

Bendixen's Mathematical Challenge

Friday, November 9, 2012
Pollster Sergio Bendixen has put out a press release claiming that the overall Hispanic precinct vote tally in Miami-Dade County (Obama 51-Romney 49) confirms his exit polling data of Cuban-American votes (Romney 52-Obama 48).

But actually, it proves his math is wrong.

Using Bendixen's own numbers, if non-Cuban Hispanics, which account for 25% of Miami-Dade Hispanics, voted for Obama 82-18, then for the overall vote tally to reach 51-49, the Cuban-American vote, which account for 75% of the county's Hispanics, would have to be at least 60-40 Romney-Obama.

This works inversely also.  If the Cuban-American vote were Romney 52-Obama 48, then to reach the overall 51-49 tally, the non-Cuban Hispanic vote would be in the mid-50s, which is well below the national Hispanic average.

And if you aren't lazy and actually correlate the census numbers, percentages, per precinct, and don' try to confuse observers by focusing on non-Cuban precincts in Kendall, Doral, etc., then this number is likely to be even higher.

Here's the math:

51 = 0.25*82 + 0.75*x

Solve for x:

x = (51 – 0.25*82)/0.75
= 40.7

You can do the same for y, the proportion of Cuban-Americans who voted for Romney:

y = (49 – 0.25*18)/0.75
= 59.3

Or, alternatively,

y = 100 – x
= 59.3

Note you can also do scenarios, for example, if 50% Cuban-Americans voted for Obama, what percent of non-Cubans could have voted for him keeping the 51 percent total unchanged? Assume Cuban-American vote was 50% and let z be the non-Cuban proportion. Solve for z:

z = (51 – 0.75*50)/.25
= 54.0

That is a much lower number than the national average for Hispanics.

Elementary, my dear Bendixen.

Wave of Arrests Sweeps Havana

Amid the world's focus on the U.S. Presidential election, the Castro regime has violently arrested over two dozen of the island's most renowned dissidents.

They include Yoani Sanchez, Antonio G. Rodiles, Laritza Diversent, Guillermo Fariñas, Angel Moya, Felix Navarro, Julio Aleaga, Librado Linares and Orlando Luis Pardo.

They had gathered at a Havana police station to inquire about yesterday's arbitrary arrest of Yaremis Flores and Veizant Boloy, two independent lawyers who provide free legal assistance to dissidents.

As a result, they too were beaten and arrested.

More "reform" you can't believe in.

Did Ryan Hurt Romney Among Cuban-Americans?

We'll see as the final results are properly analyzed.

But Obama campaign officials feel Ryan's pick -- at least -- gave them an opening to make their case.

From The Financial Times:

In Florida, there were several local factors in play with the Hispanic vote, which has a larger Cuban and Puerto Rican component than other states.

Paul Ryan, Mr Romney’s vice-presidential running mate, had voted a number of times to end the longstanding US embargo on communist Cuba, which had been in place for decades since Fidel Castro came to power.

“That did their ticket a lot of harm with Cubans and allowed us to at least get a hearing with them about many other economic issues,” said an Obama campaign official in Florida.

In My Humble Opinion, Pt. 40

From The National Journal:

An exit poll by Bendixen & Amandi International, a Democratic polling firm that has worked for Obama, found a slightly different but still significant breakdown of Cuban-American support, with 48 percent for Obama and 52 percent for Romney. “It’s a historic figure, an unprecedented figure, a real eye-popping figure when it comes to support for a Democratic candidate,” said pollster Fernand Amandi. Obama got 35 percent of the Cuban-American vote in 2008.

But Mauricio Claver-Carone, the leading lobbyist for the Cuban-American community in Washington, is skeptical of exit polls showing such a dramatic uptick for the president. For example, the vote for Obama in Miami-Dade, where the Republican vote is mostly Cuban, increased only 4 percentage points over the last election. Claver-Carone also said Romney won several overwhelmingly Cuban-American precincts in Miami, in some cases by large margins.

A Latino Decisions poll in Florida on the eve of the election found Obama’s support among Cuban-Americans unchanged from 2008.

“I have a problem with the exit polls,” Claver-Carone said, “but it’s going to take a few days to crunch all the numbers.”

Bendixen Peddles Exit Poll Fiction (Again)

Thursday, November 8, 2012
Like every election cycle, Sergio Bendixen, who is infamously known for the inacuracy of his polls, is once again peddling inaccurate exit polling data about Cuban-American voting trends.

This time, he goes as far as claiming that President Obama nearly split the Cuban-American vote (48-52).

Yet, once again, Bendixen ignores the facts.

A simple visual overview of the Miami-Dade County electoral map (below) clearly shows that the precincts with the highest concentration of Cuban-American voters were precincts that Mitt Romney solidly won, in some cases with two-to-one margins. 

It's also important to note that exit polls taken on election day do not account for the high volume of Cuban-American voters that voted early or by absentee ballot. 

Finally, if President Obama would have won a majority of the Cuban-American vote, he would have won Miami-Dade County by a much higher margin.  The county wide number this year is consistent with 2008 and three points down from 2004 -- in both elections, the Cuban-American vote strongly favored Bush and McCain.

As the votes are just now being certified, we'll soon have a further analysis of the facts, precint-by-precint.

Today on "From Washington al Mundo"

Tune in today to "From Washington al Mundo" for a look back at the 2012 Presidential race with Justin Sayfie of The Sayfie Review, Beth Reinhard of The National Journal and Arturo Vargas of NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials).

You can now listen to "From Washington al Mundo" seven-days a week on Sirius-XM's Cristina Radio (Channel 146) from 4-5 p.m. (EST) and again at midnight (EST).

There Fabiola Goes Again

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Even though the vote count for Miami-Dade County is just now being finalized, The Miami Herald's Fabiola Santiago couldn't wait to run off and jump to conclusions on the Cuban-American vote based on a highly unreliable exit poll.

Why can't these columnists responsibly wait to analyze the final results, precinct-by-precinct?

Thus, Fabiola wrote today:

"When I saw the magic number Wednesday morning — a stunning 47 percent — it was not as big a surprise to me.

I had seen the momentum of support quietly building for President Barack Obama among one of his most unlikely constituencies — Cuban-Americans in Miami — over this lengthy and hard-fought campaign.

According to exit polls, 47 percent of the Cuban-American vote in Miami-Dade went to the president — a shockingly high number to both Republicans and Democrats and to pollsters and pundits engaging in post-election analysis."

Never mind that this is statistically impossible if Governor Romney won 38% of the overall vote in Miami-Dade County.

Plus, nearly half of the electorate cast its ballot before election day -- rendering such exit polls useless.

But it shouldn't have come as a surprise, as Fabiola wrote the same narrative in 1997:

"There are also some generational differences. Younger people are more likely than older exiles to favor dialogue and to want to hear music from the island played on Miami radio, according to the poll."

("Exiles Glum About Prospects for Cuba", June 29, 1997 by Cynthia Corzo and Fabiola Santiago)

And again in 1999:

"Some of the change is generational . Cubans who came to the United States in the 1960s - and traditionally have held the more conservative views - now make up only a third of the Cuban population in Miami-Dade."

("U.S.-Cuba Exchanges Becoming More Common", March 26, 1999, by Fabiola Santiago)

After being wrong for over a decade, you'd think she'd practice some prudence by now.

Voters Oppose Taxpayer Funds for Odebrecht

Attention Florida and Miami-Dade County officials.

Yesterday, Miami-Dade voters overwhelmingly declared by a 62%-37% margin that their taxpayer funds should not be used to contract with companies that have ties to dictatorships identified by the U.S. State Department as "sponsors of terrorism."

These include Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.

The main culprit of such behavior is the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht, which has received billions in state and local taxpayer funds while engaging in business ties with the Castro regime's military.

Let's respect the will of the voters.

Odebrecht Just Can't Get Enough of Castro

Despite receiving billions in Cuban-American taxpayer funds, now Odebrecht wants to traffic in illegally confiscated properties as well.

Florida and Miami-Dade officials need to take a principled stand against such unscrupulous behavior.

From Reuters:

Brazilian builder Odebrecht SA will begin administrating a Cuban sugar mill next week in the first sign the industry is ready to accept foreign participation since the 1959 revolution, two company sources said on Wednesday.

Odebrecht subsidiary, Compañía de Obras en Infraestructura (COI), is expected to sign the agreement with state-run sugar monopoly AZCUBA on Friday, according to the company sources and two diplomatic sources.

COI has been working in Cuba for a number of years building new port facilities at Mariel Bay, just west of Havana.

Democracy Prevails

The 2012 U.S. election between opposing candidates with divergent views has officially come to an end.

The American people have freely and fairly chosen to re-elect U.S. President Barack Obama to a second term.

A divided nation accepts the results with respect and civility.

We pray one day Cuba will share in a similar democratic experience.

God Bless America.

Time to Vote

Tuesday, November 6, 2012
The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.   
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States (1953-1961)

Cuba in a Nutshell

From "Castro's Island of Broken Dreams" in Haaretz:

The Communist system has succeeded in reducing the people who live on the island of Cuba to a state of abject poverty, with incredibly low wages, a sky-high number of underemployed workers and a depressingly low GDP. It's funny to hear the impressions of tourists who return from Cuba with stories of happy people salsa dancing in the streets. This is not the reality. Maybe they saw a couple drunks drowning their sorrows in the cheap government-provided rum, which serves as an opiate for the masses. Cuba is really a country of downtrodden people who live in a frightening police state, never knowing if their neighbor is also a police informer.

Over 400 Political Arrests Last Month

Monday, November 5, 2012
According to Cuban independent journalists (CIHPRESS), the Castro regime conducted at least 402 political arrests during the month of October.

This brings the year-long tally -- thus far -- of political arrests by the Castro regime to 4,452.

Compare that to 3,835 total arrests in 2011 and 1,499 in 2010.

It's abundantly clear that the only thing that has changed in Cuba since Raul Castro became dictator-in-chief is that repression has skyrocketed.

Today on "From Washington al Mundo"

Tune in today to "From Washington al Mundo" for a conversation with William J. Dobson, author of "The Dictator's Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy." Dobson is the politics and foreign affairs editor of Slate Magazine; before that he was an editor for Foreign Affairs Magazine.

Then U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis discusses unemployment and Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts in New York/New Jersey.

And Eric Farnsworth, Vice President of the Council of the Americas in Washington D.C., will discuss the role of Latin America in this year's Presidential election and U.S. policy toward the region in a second Obama or a Romney Administration.

You can now listen to "From Washington al Mundo" seven-days a week on Sirius-XM's Cristina Radio (Channel 146) from 4-5 p.m. (EST) and again at midnight (EST).

Must-Read: An Extraordinary Young Lady

Sunday, November 4, 2012
From Pedazos de la Isla:

Fourteen-Year Old Dissident Sends a Message to the Cuban Youth

At just 14 years old, Martha Beatriz Ferrer Cantillo is one of the youngest, and most active, Ladies in White in Cuba, and not only because her parents are renown human rights defenders on the island (former political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia and Belkis Cantillo Ramirez), but because she believes that "it is a just cause" and that "all Cubans deserve a sovereign and free country."

Her young age, however, does not exempt her from the same police repression which all these women face every Sunday and nearly every day, as was proven this past Sunday, October 21st, when Martha Beatriz and three other minors- her sister (7-year old Fatima Victoria), her brother (9-year old Daniel), and another young member of the Ladies in White (11-year old Daniela Garces)- were all taken down from a bus by force and then harassed and physically assaulted by police agents who impeded them from reaching their destination.

"We were on our way from Palma Soriano to the Shrine of El Cobre when we were intercepted on the street by political police agents," said Ferrer, "they boarded the bus and told us 4 that we had to get off, but we refused to do so because us going to Mass does not constitute a crime, as it is not a crime for any other Cuban."

The agents responded the same way they respond against any other dissident: with physical aggression.

"They shouted obscene words at us and then took us down by force… then a police bus arrived and they told us we had to go inside.  We refused.  Various uniformed women shoved and dragged us to the bus. One of these women, whose name I could not confirm, grabbed me by the neck and  choked me.  Daniela was scratched.  And my brother Daniel was pushed and hit a couple of times when they were putting him on the bus.  We fell to the steps of the bus because they were pushing us so much," recounted the youth.

The 4 minors were forcefully put inside the bus.  In the case of Daniela Garces, she was left at the entrance of Palma Soriano, near her house, while Martha Beatriz and her siblings were "abandoned in the bus station."  They all directed themselves to the home of Lady in White Aime Garces.

But it is not the first time that these 4 have been subjected to detentions, physical aggression or threats, affirmed Martha Beatriz without any hints of fear in her voice.

“My little sister and brother have been detained along with my mother when we have been traveling on buses to get to church, while Daniela and I have been removed from buses together before“, she explained.

Much has been said about the ‘apathy’ which ‘consumes’ young Cubans.  However, the adolescent Martha Beatriz affirms that there are more like her, in the Eastern part of Cuba as well as the rest of the island.  The young Lady in White sent a clear message to the youths of her country:

"To the Cuban youth I say, we must fight for our rights, so that they no longer violate them.  Fight for a free Cuba where all rights are respected, as well as the rights of our parents.  So that our parents can have decent salaries and access to jobs as well."

Meanwhile, to the Cuban youth outside of the island she asks they "support us, because we are fighting for the freedom of all Cubans."

When Sandy Hit Cuba

By Mary Anastasia O'Grady in The Wall Street Journal:

When Sandy Hit Cuba

The regime in Havana would rather watch the Cuban people annihilated than risk losing its lock on power.

A day after the worst of extratropical cyclone Sandy—once a hurricane—had pulled out of town, I strolled around Lower Manhattan expecting to find apocalyptic devastation. Instead, the World Financial Center was clean, dry and well-lighted. Inside the complex, the upscale espresso and pastry shop Financier and the Rite-Aid drugstore were open. So too was the Gristedes supermarket on South End Avenue. Out front, workers were unloading a shipment of yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream. Taxis were queuing at the corner.

It is true that the government-owned and -operated subway system had ground to a halt. It is also true that coastal New Jersey, Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island suffered unspeakable tragedies. But in some places, like Manhattan, the hardship was less than what one might have expected. I chalked it up to the work of architects, steel fabricators, farmers, tire importers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers and countless others who by way of enlightened self-interest housed, fed, clothed and otherwise provided comfort in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Walking home I thought of the people of eastern Cuba, who had been hit by Sandy a few days before New Yorkers.

I was not pondering the roots of wealth and poverty, per se. Obviously, market economies, with their private-property rights and profit incentives, do an infinitely better job than other economic systems in protecting people from natural disasters. No news flash there. But the reports from Cuba are grim beyond the run-of-the-mill stories of what happens when hurricanes hit shacks. They are stories that illustrate, yet again, the dictatorship's flagrant inhumanity and cruelty toward the Cuban people.

Sandy ravaged the east end of the island. Blogger Yoani Sánchez wrote of "the wind, the flying roofs, heavy rains and trees falling on streets and houses." Residents, she said, won't easily forget "that first night after the disaster in which, from their battered beds or rickety sofas, they found nothing separating their faces from the starry night sky. Some people lost everything, which was not much."

The international press has widely covered the damage done to Haiti by Sandy but the Telegraph in Britain reported that, according to the Red Cross, Cuba got hit much harder. In Haiti, the newspaper said, "17,000 people were evacuated and thousands of homes destroyed." Meanwhile in Cuba, "75,000 people have been left homeless, with 15,000 homes destroyed." Schools, hospitals and shops are in ruins and the island's eastern agricultural sector is badly damaged. There were 11 dead. Disease could push the number higher.

Almost 54 years after the so-called glorious revolution first triumphed in eastern Cuba, the region is an embarrassment to the regime. The people of "oriente" were promised justice and well-being. Instead they live in poverty and isolation.

In recent years Cuba's outlawed independent press has reported outbreaks of cholera and dengue fever in the region, but the dictatorship has seemed more interested in keeping the news under wraps than dealing with the problem.

Dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero were traveling in the area, reportedly intending to draw attention to the cholera problem, when they were killed in a car wreck earlier this year. The regime refused the families' requests for an independent investigation of the crash.

Independent journalists have been chronicling the Cuban state's failure in the Hurricane Sandy crisis. They have reported that government weather advisories did not warn of the storm's catastrophic nature, and now the reporters are covering the state's bungled handling of the disaster. Food, even bread, is scarce, and displaced residents have nowhere to lay their heads.

Many Cubans, despite their own privation, recognize that Sandy has placed an extraordinary burden on the east. "These are the times to redouble our solidarity, to roll up our sleeves and help them rebuild their homes, to divide the piece of bread, and to go all out to contribute to those unlucky Cubans that Sandy left behind," Ms. Sánchez wrote.

The regime doesn't like private efforts of that type. Some dissidents who tried to organize relief efforts have been arrested, according to independent press reports. Other dissidents have been denied the right to register their homelessness with the state. Advocates for the storm victims have called for the military dictatorship to drop customs duties on food, medicine and construction materials coming from international donors. But easing the import of aid might not be of much help. A member of the Ladies in White, an internationally recognized opposition group, charges that the Cuban state sells donations from abroad—presumably to locals who have access to hard currency—anyway.

Cubans want to help each other. But that implies an attempt to recover civil society, which evolves through grass-roots organization. The dictatorship fears such activity, seeing it as a threat: Better to watch the Cuban people annihilated than risk losing the lock on power. This, and not the bricks and mortar of the World Financial Center, is what makes the Cuban experience with Sandy so different.