Cuban Documentary Extols ETA Terrorists

Saturday, June 8, 2013
The 2012 U.S. State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism had (strangely) stated that:

"Reports in 2012 suggested that the Cuban government was trying to distance itself from Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) members living on the island by employing tactics such as not providing services including travel documents to some of them."

Not sure where they got that from, but State may want to reconsider that statement.

According to Diario de Cuba, a new Cuban documentary called "Los Deportados," extols three ETA terrorists residing in Cuba.

The director has said the goal of the film is to "bring Cuban citizens closer to the reality of these people."

One of the terrorists, José Miguel Arrugaeta, who was originally captured in France, but escaped and traveled clandestinely through various countries to make his way to Cuba, stated:

"Coming to Cuba gave us a certain sense of security.  We knew that the Cuban government was serious.  I had the feeling of having arrived in a safe place."

Arrugaeta is wanted in the kidnapping and murder of a Spanish police official.

Moreover, in 2010, a Spanish judged issued an international court order against Arrugueta and members of Colombia's FARC narco-terrorist group in a plot to murder Colombian government officials.

The other two ETA terrorists featured in the Cuban documentary were José Ángel Urtiaga Martínez and Jesús Abrisketa.

Moral of the Anthony Bryant Story

Moral: Terrorists are welcome in Cuba, so long as they don't steal (stolen) money from the Castro brothers.

From Slate:

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the United States suffered through a skyjacking epidemic that has now been largely forgotten. In his new book, "The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking," Brendan I. Koerner tells the story of the chaotic age when jets were routinely commandeered by the desperate and disillusioned. In the run-up to his book’s publication on June 18, Koerner has been writing a daily series of skyjacker profiles. Slate is running the final dozen of these “Skyjacker of the Day” entries.

Name: Anthony Bryant

Date: March 5, 1969

Flight Info: National Airlines Flight 97 from New York (Kennedy Airport) to Miami

The Story: Particularly during the late 1960s, a large number of American skyjackers earnestly believed that Fidel Castro’s Cuba was an egalitarian, post-racial utopia. They diverted planes to Havana not only as a form of protest against the Vietnam War or Puerto Rico’s lack of political sovereignty, but also because they wished to forge new lives in a country they envisioned as a genuine land of opportunity. Most of these skyjackers were quickly disabused of this fantasy, perhaps none quite as famously as Anthony Bryant.

A small-time hoodlum who had spent most of the 1960s at San Quentin State Prison in California, the 30-year-old Bryant claimed that he hijacked Flight 97 under orders from his higher-ups in the Black Panther Party; he said his mission was to arrange for the purchase of bazookas to aid the organization’s struggle against oppression. He used a revolver to commandeer the Boeing 727, and en route to Havana he robbed several passengers. One of his victims, whom Byrant forced to turn over a briefcase containing $1,700 in cash, was a Cuban intelligence operative.

Bryant was elated upon landing in Cuba, which he believed to be a promised land. “Cuba was creating a true democracy, a place where everyone was equal, where violence against blacks, injustice and racism were things of the past,” he would later write. “I had come to Cuba to feel freedom at least once.” But Bryant was given the very opposite of a warm welcome: Because he had accidentally robbed a Cuban agent, he was arrested by the G2, Castro’s secret police, and summarily sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Bryant served the bulk of his time at a sugar-harvesting gulag, where conditions were nightmarish. He routinely witnessed punishments that included machete blows, dog attacks, and flaying with stalks of cut sugarcane. Bryant himself was assaulted with bayonets, leaving his flesh badly scarred. (His accounts of this constant brutality make up the bulk of his 1984 book, Hijack.)

After serving nearly his full sentence, Bryant was allowed to return to the United States in 1980, along with several other American skyjackers who regretted their Cuban adventures. Upon his arrival at a Miami airport, he declared that the U.S. was “the greatest country in the world.” Immediately arrested for air piracy, Bryant had his $500,000 bail posted by Anthony Cuesta, head of the anti-Castro guerrilla group Commandos L.

The Upshot: Bryant pleaded guilty to air piracy in the U.S., but he was sentenced to just five years probation. He became a popular radio host and a sought-after speaker on the right-wing lecture circuit, where he warned that liberal politicians were leading America down the path toward inhuman Marxism. Bryant also became a prominent anti-Castro militant; in 1992 he was arrested for attempting lead a maritime raid on Cuba. (The case was dismissed in 1993.) He died in 1999 at the age of 60.

Still Waiting for Political Reform in China

Friday, June 7, 2013
Wasn't economic reform supposed to breed political reform in China?

Or, at the very least, an improvement in human rights?

Still waiting.

“Facts have clearly shown that during the past nearly quarter-century, China’s top leaders have never been real political reformers,” Tiananmen Mothers, an association for families of the people killed in the 1989 crackdown, said in a statement released by Human Rights in China, an advocacy group. “They come one after another, as if through a revolving door; and as they move forward, they become ever more distant and outrageous, causing a universal feeling of despair to descend on the people from all sides.”

From The New York Times:

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents, joined by a smattering of mainland Chinese, converged in central Victoria Park here on Tuesday to honor the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown and vent their anger at a Chinese leadership that has increasingly signaled its intent to broaden its limited control over the territory.

Thousands attended the annual vigil in Hong Kong on Tuesday, commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Speakers shouted “down with the Communist Party” and “free elections for all citizens.”

Such protests are effectively banned in mainland China, creating a draw for the mainlanders who attended.

“I came because you can’t commemorate this day on the mainland,” said one, a former magazine editor who gave his name only as Li for self-protection. “Here you can soak up the democratic atmosphere.”

Cuban Hunger Striker Rushed to Hospital

Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, a 42-year old Cuban democracy activist and former political prisoner, has been rushed to the hospital.

It is believed he is near death.

Santos has been on a hunger strike since May 24th, protesting his family's forced eviction from their home by the Castro regime.

He and his wife have been staying at the home of Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez," head of the Central Opposition Coalition, of which Santos is a member.

Pro-democracy activists have been holding demonstrations in support of Santos throughout the week.

Got a Dollar to Spare? Help Anti-Castro Punk Rockers...

Cuban punk rockers Porno Para Ricardo are on a mini-tour in Europe, where they are enlightening music lovers in Madrid, Barcelona and Warsaw as to the realities of Castro's dictatorship.

However, they need to raise nearly $2,000 to cover their flights and return to Cuba.

At least listen to their direct appeal below -- and if you can, donate a $1 (or more) here.

Twitter Campaign: #FreeTheCuban11Million

The Castro regime remains intent on coercing the U.S. with its "Free the Cuban 5" (spies) campaign.

But the real focus should be on having the Castro regime free the 11 million Cubans captive under its totalitarian dictatorship.

If you have agree, join the #FreeTheCuban11Million Twitter campaign.


Poster courtesy of Cuban artist Rolando Pulido.

Quote of the Day

Venezuela is an occupied country. The Venezuelan regime is a puppet controlled by the Cubans. It is no longer Cuban tutelage, it is control.
-- Amb. Diego Arria, former Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Nations, El Nuevo Herald, 6/7/13

State: Threats to Safety and Security of Cuba Travelers

Thursday, June 6, 2013
Note how the State Department recommends that "American citizens should avoid all demonstrations" against Cuban pro-democracy activists.

So what's the point of "people-to-people" travel?

To turn a blind-eye to Cuban civil society?

From the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs:

THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY

The security environment in Cuba is relatively stable and characterized by a strong military and police presence throughout the country. Demonstrations against the United States are less frequent and smaller than in past years, are always approved and monitored by the Cuban Government, and have been peaceful in nature.  The same cannot be said about state-organized demonstrations against domestic opposition groups, which can be violent. American citizens should avoid all demonstrations. Hijackings of vessels to depart Cuba are much less common. The United States Government has publicly and repeatedly announced that any person who hijacks (or attempts to hijack) an aircraft or vessel (whether common carrier or other) will face the maximum penalties pursuant to U.S. law, regardless of that person's nationality.

In recent years, the Cuban government has detained U.S. citizens it suspects of engaging in activities perceived to undermine state security. In 2011, it sentenced one such U.S. citizen to a lengthy prison sentence on arbitrary charges after a two day show trial. U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba should be aware that the Cuban Government may detain anyone at anytime for any purpose and should not expect that Cuba’s state security or judicial systems will carry out their responsibilities according to international norms.

Cuban territorial waters are extremely dangerous and difficult to navigate, even for experienced mariners. The potential for running aground is very high and the bottom type is unforgiving. Search and rescue capability in Cuba is limited and running aground will often lead to the complete destruction and loss of the vessel. U.S. boaters who enter Cuban waters (legitimately or illegitimately) have encountered problems that required repairs and/or salvage; costs for both are significantly higher than comparable services in the United States or elsewhere in the Caribbean. In addition, the Government of Cuba does not allow the use of the U.S. dollar for transactions and U.S. credit cards are not accepted in Cuba. Cuban authorities typically hold boats as collateral payment. U.S.-registered/flagged vessels belonging to U.S. citizens have been permanently seized by Cuban authorities. Due to the lack of resources, the quality of repairs in Cuba is inconsistent. Repairs take significantly longer in Cuba than they would in the United States due to lack of the most basic materials and to bureaucratic impediments. Boaters are often confined to their boats while repairs are made. Boaters can be detained while Cuban authorities investigate the circumstances of their entry to Cuba, especially if their travel documents are not in order or they are suspected of illegal activities. Mariners and their passengers should not navigate close to Cuban territorial waters without possessing a valid passport, unless seeking a safe port due to emergencies.  The ability of the U.S. Interests Section to assist mariners in distress is extremely limited due to Cuban restrictions on travel by U.S. personnel outside of Havana.

375 Political Arrests in May

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCHRNR) has documented 375 political arrests conducted by the Castro regime during the month of May.

These are only arrests that are known and documented.  Many more unknown arrests are suspected.

This represents an increase from 366 political arrests in April.

More "reform" you can't believe in.

Castro Reaffirms Support for Assad

For these two "reformers," "self-determination and sovereignty" means permission to beat, imprison and murder with impunity.

From Iran's FARS:

Cuba Reaffirms Support for Syria's Sovereignty

Cuba's First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel reiterated that Havana supports Syria's right of self-determination and sovereignty.

Diaz-Canel made the remarks during talks with Mohsen Bilal, a special envoy of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to an official announcement.

The two sides exchanged views on the ongoing crisis in Syria, Xinhua reported.

Diaz-Canel "reaffirmed the right of Syrian people to a full exercise of self-determination and sovereignty without foreign intervention of any sort," the announcement said.

The meeting was also attended by Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra.

The Cuban government has criticized the countries that support the Syrian rebels and calls for respect for Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Using Freedom to Defend Dictatorship

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Last weekend, a group of pro-Castro protesters gathered at The White House to demand the release of the Cuban Five (now Four).

The Cuban Five are Castro regime intelligence officials who were convicted and sentenced by non Cuban-American juries in U.S. federal court for conducting espionage activities, penetrating military facilities and conspiracy to commit murder.  One of them completed his prison sentence as is back in Cuba.

The protesters, which (strangely) included a large Quebecois delegation (it's the blocked flag being held under the sign), chanted away freely in Washington, D.C. -- with their "Defend the Revolution!" signs, Che berets and all.

These hypocrites are not bothered -- in the slightest bit -- by the fact that Cubans would be beaten and arrested for such a protest in Havana.

Adding to the irony, these D.C. protests are organized by the Castro regime itself, through the Cuban Interests Section.

They use our freedoms to defend a dictatorship.

God bless America.

Council of Americas Simulates Cuba "People-to-People" Trip

The Council of the Americas is hosting a conference next week on the Obama Administration's "people-to-people" trips.

These trips are "educational" tourism junkets hosted by the Castro regime, which include an official tour guide, stays at the Cuban military's fancy hotels, meals at their finest restaurants, salsa and mojitos at their nightclubs, a primer on the "Cuban Five (Four)" and visits with artists approved by the official censors.

And a picture in front of the nefarious Ministry of Interior (know to travelers as the "cool" Che building) as a memento.

Some trips even include visits with the Castro regime's censors themselves, repressive bodies and government ministers -- a real treat.

According to the invitation, "the panel will bring together a group of U.S. government representatives, policy experts, and Cuba travel experts to discuss the goals, procedure, and the results of the policy to date."

So let's see the panel:

Jeff Braunger
Program Manager, Cuba Travel Licensing, Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Tim Hall
Chief Economic Officer, Office of Cuban Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Robert L. Muse
Attorney, Law Offices of Robert Muse

Chase Poffenberger
Executive Vice President, Academic Travel Abroad, Inc.

Alana Tummino
Manager of Policy, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Christopher Sabatini
Editor-In-Chief, Americas Quarterly; Senior Director of Policy, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Wow!

First, two government officials will explain the trips.

And then, talking heads who share the same points of view -- including a lawyer who represents Cuban business interests and an executive that profits from these trips -- will praise them.

It's like a simulation of a "people-to-people" trip to Cuba -- except, of course, within the freedom the U.S. offers.

In those trips, government officials speak wonders of the Castro regime, then a bunch of staged hands nod in agreement.

What about divergent points of view?

Who represents the views of those who believe these trips only benefit Cuba's dictatorship?

Who represents the views of Cuba's courageous democracy activists, a majority of whom have stated that these trips ignore their tragic reality?

We all know why the Castro regime loves these trips.

But why would Obama Administration officials agree to this charade?

FWAM Interview With Antonio Rodiles

Click here to listen to an interview on "From Washington al Mundo" with Cuban pro-democracy leader Antonio Rodiles during his visit last month to Washington, D.C..

Rodiles is the founder of the independent think-tank, Estado de Sats, and of the campaign, For Another Cuba.

The first segment is in Spanish and the second in English.

"From Washington al Mundo" airs every day at 4 pm on Sirius-XM's Cristina Radio (Channel 153).

Today on "From Washington al Mundo"

Cuba Admits Alan Gross is a Pawn

Tuesday, June 4, 2013
By Mary Anastasia O'Grady in The Wall Street Journal:

Cuba Admits Gross is a Pawn

Is Washington negotiating with Havana to free imprisoned U.S. contractor Alan Gross?

Is Washington engaged in a negotiation with Havana to try to free U.S. Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross from a Cuban jail? If so, what’s on the table?

Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), Albio Sires (D., N.J.), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R., Fla.) didn’t ask exactly these questions when they wrote to the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of Western Hemispheric Affairs Roberta Jacobson Monday, requesting a meeting, but there can be little doubt about their concerns.

The letter was prompted by the issuance of a visa last month to Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Cuba’s director of North American affairs for the Cuban foreign ministry, so that she could meet with Ms. Jacobson. It is the second time Ms. Vidal was granted a U.S. visa in just over 12 months. This has raised some congressional eyebrows, and not only because Ms. Vidal’s husband is a former diplomat to Washington who was “declared persona non grata and expelled for his ‘activities hostile to the national security,’” according to the letter.

A larger problem is that Ms. Vidal is a high-ranking member of Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As such, the congressmen pointed out in their letter, “her sole mission is to promote the Cuban regime’s propaganda, undermine U.S. interests, and justify” Cuba’s repression of its own people. “In addition, she has been at the forefront defending the Cuban regime’s unjust holding of a U.S. citizen and harboring U.S. fugitives.”

The implication is that the Obama administration is playing footsie with the Castros. If so, it would seem to be exactly what Ms. Vidal was asking for when she appeared in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on May 10. The CNN host asked, “What would be good for Cuba that could potentially open the door to freeing Mr. Gross?” Ms. Vidal answered: “For Cuba it would be a right to have a response on the part of the U.S. government about its willingness to respond to our proposal to sit down and initiate a negotiation on [the Gross case] and many other matters concerning our bilateral relationship.”

In other words, Mr. Gross is a negotiating chip. Ms. Vidal would not say what Cuba wants in exchange for letting him go, but the release of several Cuban intelligence officers convicted in 2001 of spying on the U.S. is likely on the list.

Not surprisingly, the three Cuban-American congressmen object to negotiating with the dictatorship and are asking, “What was the purpose and intent” of Ms. Vidal’s trip and “what issues were discussed during her meeting with Ms. Jackson?” In addition, they have asked for an “update” on Mr. Gross’s case, which began in December 2009 when he was arrested by Cuban authorities for having brought satellite telecommunications equipment into the country. The 64 year-old is now serving a 15-year sentence in Havana for his “crime.”

For the record, Ms. Vidal also told CNN viewers that Cuba has free elections, political competition and free speech.

Quote of the Week

I have seen the solidarity, I have felt it and now I also have the duty to tell my compatriots on the Island that we are not alone.
-- Yoani Sanchez, Cuban blogger, upon returning to Havana after a multinational tour throughout Europe and the Americas, Huffington Post, 6/3/13

Note to Beyonce: How About "Justice" for Cuba's Ladies in White?

During an interview this morning with the Today Show, pop star Beyonce discussed the "Women's Concert for Change," which took place in London on Sunday and raised funds for women's charities around the world.

Beyonce stated:

"It's just unbelievable to me that there are places in the world where there is no justice, where we're not treated equally, where we can't use our voice... So the fact that I can use my voice, I'm definitely proud."

Really?

A first step would be not to vacation in such places, nor stay at fine hotels and dine at fancy restaurants owned by totalitarian dictatorships that deny people their freedom.

Secondly, why didn't you use your voice to speak out for the injustices in Cuba?

Why didn't you use your voice to speak out for Cuba's Ladies in White, who are harassed, beaten and arrested on a weekly basis for peacefully demanding freedom for their loved ones?

How about leading by example?

Treasury: $253 Million in Frozen Cuban Funds

Monday, June 3, 2013
Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department released its 2012 Terrorist Assets Report ("Report").

The Report describes the nature and extent of assets held in the United States that are blocked because they relate to countries designated as state-sponsors of terrorism -- namely Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.

These assets include funds frozen under U.S. sanctions programs that block all property and interests in property in the United States or in the possession or control of a U.S. person (or, in the case of Cuba, a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction).

As of 2012, there was $253.1 million in blocked Cuban funds in the U.S.  This is up from $245 million in 2011.

This is second only to Iran, which by the end of 2012 had $1.9 billion in blocked funds in the U.S.  Up from $55 million at the end of 2011.

Moreover, Cuba owns six blocked properties located in New York and Washington, D.C.

Iran owns eleven blocked properties located in California, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

Rubio: Cuba Belongs on State's Terrorism List

In Foreign Policy:

Rubio: Cuba belongs on the ‘state sponsors of terrorism' list

In the face of mounting calls [CHC Editor: From whom? From the same activists that have been asking for Cuba's removal from the list since it was placed there in 1982?] to remove Cuba from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FLA) defended Foggy Bottom's recent decision to keep Cuba on the list, in a statement to The Cable.

"The Castro regime sponsors terrorism abroad and against their own people, and removing a country from the list of nations that sponsor terrorism requires evidence of reform," Rubio said. "We have not seen such evidence in Cuba."

"It remains clear that Cuba is the same totalitarian state today that it has been for decades," Rubio told The Cable. "This totalitarian state continues to have close ties to terrorist organizations" [...]

"The Obama administration should abandon considering unilateral concessions to the Cuban regime," he told The Cable. "An American development worker Alan Gross remains hostage and only cosmetic reforms have taken place, while nothing has been done to give the Cuban people greater freedoms."

Raul Castro Keeps Birthday Quiet

Today is Cuban dictator Raul Castro's birthday.

He turned 82.

Yet there has been no mention in Cuba's state media about his birthday.

Apparently, Raul Castro doesn't want to remind the Cuban people that their country is being run by out-of-touch octogenarians.

Focused on the Wrong Rapper

The Sun-Sentinel's William Gibson wrote a story this weekend on the interest that Jay Z and Beyonce's trip to Cuba has spurred in "people-to-people" junkets.

These junkets are fully-hosted by the Castro dictatorship, including official tour guides, and stays at the regime's finest hotels and restaurants.

A real boom to a dictatorship that beats, harasses and imprisons innocent people.

Unfortunately, Gibson's story -- which at times reads like a column with colorful descriptions of Cuba as an "exotic time-locked land" and travel estimates not backed by data -- focuses on the wrong rapper.

So do the Administration's "people-to-people" trips.

These junkets ignore the victims of Cuba's dictatorship, which is why the regime welcomes them with open arms.

Victims like rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga (known as “El Critico de Arte”) from the hip-hop duo "The Unwanted Children."

El Critico” has been imprisoned since March 2013 -- with no charges or trial -- for his criticism of Castro's regime.

So how about shedding some light on his plight?

Please take a minute to see the video below and learn about "El Critico" -- for you surely won't do so from Jay-Z, Beyonce, "people-to-people" junkets or the Sun-Sentinel's story.

Eight Cuban Pastors Beaten, Arrested and Missing

Eight Cuban pastors have been brutally beaten and arrested by the Castro regime this weekend in the eastern city of Bayamo.

According to Diario de Cuba, they are members of the group, Pastors for Change, an umbrella organization that represents over 200 churches, which the Castro regime does not recognize.

They are Damaris Suárez Ayala, Sergio Echevarría Agüero, Osneldis Suárez Aguilar, Julio Magaña Sánchez, Isnelda Fajardo Arzuaga, Gilbert Pupo Hernández, Julio Rosa Piña and Juan Oliva Méndez.

Their whereabouts remain unknown.

More "reform" you can't believe in.

Today on "From Washington al Mundo"

Venezuela's U.S. Hostage Transferred to Notorious Prison

Sunday, June 2, 2013
From Variety:

U.S. documentary filmmaker Tim Tracy, arrested in Venezuela for alleged espionage last April, was transferred May 29 to the notorious El Rodeo II prison outside Caracas.

Tracy and 20 others were transferred from their cells within the government intelligence service building because of a severe bacterial outbreak. Tracy is slated to attend a hearing on June 11, which will determine whether his case will proceed to trial or he will be released.

El Rodeo II was the site of a riot in 2011 where 25 people, including visitors, were killed during a shootout between two gangs within the prison complex.

“El Rodeo is an overcrowded jungle where hundreds of inmates have been killed over the years in riots, violence and attacks,” said Russell Dallen, managing partner of Caracas Capital Markets and publisher of Latin American Herald Tribune. “Sending him to this fifth circle of hell — and away from the headquarters of the (government’s) intelligence service — clearly is an acknowledgment that he was not a spy. Where are Sean Penn and Oliver Stone now?”

Odebrecht Hurts Cuba's People, Environment & Miami-Dade County

Today's feature story in The Miami Herald about the environmental devastation reaped upon Cuba by the Castro regime's Port of Mariel expansion, being executed by Brazil's Odebrecht, illustrates:

1. The extent of the environmental damage.

The Mariel project has killed nearly 10 acres of mangroves in the bay and silted the waters of the bay and one of the rivers that feeds into it, said Eudel Cepero, a Cuba-born environmental consultant and activist in Miami.

“[I] you kill 10 acres of mangrove in the Florida Keys, there’s a revolution,” said Cepero, a lecturer at the University of Miami and Miami-Dade College. “That would be like destroying an entire eco-system.”

2. The economic importance of this project for Castro's survival.

The Mariel project is a “once in a century” chance to set a winning development strategy for the country and “probably the biggest investment project today in Cuba,” Havana economist Pedro Monreal wrote in a column last month.

3. How Odebrecht could care less.

“Companhia de Obras em Infraestrutura (COI), an Odebrecht independent special purpose entity engaged in the development and execution of infrastructure projects in Cuba, is not responsible for any preliminary study concerning the Port of Mariel. All previously researches of this project were developed by the Cuban government,” said a statement to The Miami Herald.

4. How Brazil's government shields Odebrecht's business ties with the Castro regime.

Havana has not revealed any details on the environmental impact of the Mariel project. And the Brazilian government, which is financing $640 million of the $900 million price tag, said last month its agreement with Cuba requires the details be kept secret.

5. How Odebrecht is helping Castro exploit Cuban slave labor.

Mariel will have space for 3 million cargo containers, a duty-free zone that could serve the entire Caribbean and bonded assembly plants — “maquiladoras” — that could produce goods for Latin America and Europe, according to official Havana reports.

6. How Odebrecht could care less about Miami-Dade County.

Once completed next year, he argued, the mega-port could easily become a hub for shipping all along the Atlantic, an area expected to grow following the expansion of the Panama Canal that is due to be completed in 2015.