Lesson From Carnival's Cuba Outrage

Friday, April 22, 2016
The Castro regime announced this morning that American citizens born in Cuba will be allowed to enter the island through cruise ships.

This was as a result of the pressure and outrage stemming from Carnival's adoption of Castro's discriminatory practices.

First, it's important to clarify that American citizens born in Cuba will still be required to undergo the Castro regime's discriminatory visa-passport application process.

The Castro regime will also continue to exert its political discrimination, which bars the entry of American citizens born in Cuba, who are critical of its dictatorship.

Finally, the ban remains in tact for American citizens born in Cuba from entering the island through smaller, non-cruise or merchant ships.

But it shows you what a lawsuit, media outrage, unanimous bipartisan condemnation, a public relations fiasco and fear of loss revenue can induce the Castro regime to agree to.

For let's be clear -- if it were not for the scrutiny, pressure and outrage, Carnival would have happily gone along with Castro's discriminatory demands (as it had planned to, until outed) -- and just as Google and Airbnb are currently censoring and compiling information on Cubans at the behest of the Castro regime.

Too bad there's not similar pressure and widespread outrage placed on the Castro regime to stop beating female activists and imprisoning peaceful demonstrators.

On this pressing matter, Castro's getting a pass.

CPAC Cuba Debate: Claver-Carone vs. Cato Institute

Last month, CPAC 2016 featured a Cuba debate between CHC Editor Mauricio Claver-Carone and the libertarian Cato Institute's Juan Carlos Hidalgo.

Click below (or here) to watch the substantive exchange:

WSJ: Obama’s Illusions About Post-Castro Cuba

By Dr. Jose Azel in The Wall Street Journal:

Obama’s Illusions About Post-Castro Cuba

A faux democratization will conceal the military’s grip on power through a dominant political party.

Fidel Castro, visibly weak and infirm at the close of the Cuban Communist Party Congress on Tuesday, spoke of his own mortality: “Soon I will turn 90 years old,” he said. “Never would such a thing have occurred to me and it’s not the outcome of any effort; it was fate’s whim. Soon I will be like everyone else. To all of us comes our turn.”

For the millions of Cubans who suffered for nearly five decades under Fidel’s brutal dictatorship, and those forced to flee their home and their families, his “turn” is long overdue. And sadly, when Fidel dies, his brother Raul, anointed in 2008 and “elected” again this week at the Communist Party Congress, will carry on as dictator while promoting the illusion of political change.

Under what I call a hegemonic party system, the emerging regime in Cuba will not rely on its revolutionary past or one man’s charisma, but on the institutionalization of a dominant political party, controlled by the military, designed to hold power in perpetuity. It will differ from Cuba’s current Leninist model in that some “opposition” parties will be tolerated. This opposition has no possibility of gaining power but suggests the false image of a totalitarian state in transition to democracy.

This image will serve the regime well in projecting political stability and giving potential investors greater confidence in the long-term survival of the regime. It provides investors with the convenient rationalization that their activities are helping advance a democratization process. It also channels the opposition’s energy into participating in a rigged political process. Instead of factions operating against the whole, they become uncompetitive proto parties that are made part of the whole, much as we saw in Mexico under seven decades of PRI rule.

The Cuban political transfiguration began in 2013 when Miguel Diaz-Canel was appointed first vice president of Cuba’s Council of State with the goal of grooming him as Raúl Castro’s successor. Mr. Diaz-Canel, a 56-year-old engineer with a military background, is portrayed as the young civilian face of the government. The mirage was reinforced by Raúl’s announcement that he will not seek the presidency of the National Assembly when his term expires in 2018.

In an address last year to the United Nations, President Obama placed his expectations for change in Cuba on diplomacy and commerce: “We continue to have differences with the Cuban government. We will continue to stand up for human rights. But we address these issues through diplomatic relations, and increased commerce, and people-to-people ties.”

The administration has failed to grasp that, with its help, the Cuban regime’s political trajectory will not follow a democratic path. It will crawl into a hegemonic party system that, as if following the length of a Möbius strip, always returns to its repressive origins.

The Most Important (Under-Reported) Story of the Cuban Party Congress

Thursday, April 21, 2016
Most of the media's focus on the VII Cuban Communist Party Congress has been on the political immobility of the Castro regime.

General Raul Castro, his family and comrades will clearly remain in charge, with no youthful or optimistic outlook for the future.

However, what was widely under-reported was the economic retrenchment of the Castro regime.

This is the area where the Obama Administration and its allies had set the highest hopes for "change."

Well, they got change -- for the worse.

During the Congress, Castro announced that the much-lauded "Lineamientos" ("Guidelines") released pursuant to the 2011 Congress will be amended, so that the prohibition (#3) on the "accumulation of property" by the "non-state sector" will also include a prohibition on the "accumulation of wealth."

In other words, the Castro regime can crack down on any person for accumulating any amount of money, without any recourse, based on its own subjective standard.

Castro also reminded everyone that "cuentapropistas" ("self-employment") are not juridical persons.

In other words, they are legal ghosts.

Of course, this was entirely predictable by anyone that has followed the ebbs-and-flows of "self-employment" since Castro authorized it in 1993.

The regime only expands "self-employment" out of necessity. Then, once it recovers economically, hinders it again.

Thus, every pardoned debt, line of credit and license given by the Obama Administration to conduct business with the Castro's monopolies only hurts Cuba's "self-employment" sector.

It's not a coincidence that the number of "self-employed" Cubans has dropped by 10,000 since the Obama Administration announced its new policy in December 2014.

Obama's new policy is only empowering Castro's regime.

U.S. Should Not Allow Castro to Extort American Citizens

By Manuel Ballagas in Sun Sentinel:

Cuba treats its exiles unfairly, and US does nothing about it

The story of my life is about two passports.

I left Cuba more than 30 years ago, and I have never gone back. I find it impossible to return to a place from which my wife, my son and I were literally thrown by a mob that pushed us, spat on us, and kept hitting us until we were on a boat for Key West, all the time screaming, "Scum!"

Call it trauma, but there are still other reasons for not going back.

Even if I wanted, I would not be able to get on a flight to Havana without first applying for a Cuban passport, at a cost of $400, and then, curiously enough, applying for a Cuban entry visa, at a cost of $200. It is also mandatory that the passport be "renewed" every two years, at a cost of $150. Why should I do all that having been a U.S. citizen for 25 years?

My American passport has allowed me to travel in Europe, Canada and Latin America. It is my best form of ID, except the Castro government refuses to accept I am no longer its citizen and demands I buy its passport, even if I renounced my former nationality long ago, and the Cuban Constitution states that Cuban citizenship is relinquished once you become a citizen of another country.

With the recent decision by Carnival Cruise Lines not to allow Cuban-Americans on their trips to the island, the public has been introduced to just one of the enigmas of Cuba travel. Some are now crying discrimination. Their frustration is understandable, but it surprises me it has taken all this time to realize the Cuban government is getting away with discriminatory practices on American soil — and with the acquiescence of privately owned companies, too.

This has been happening since the Cuban government authorized exiles to travel to Cuba in the late '70s. And not only to Cuban-Americans. Any Cuban who has acquired another nationality in the world suffers this treatment if he wishes to buy a plane ticket to the island. Yet even in this age of "engagement" with the Castros, no nation or government has bothered to address this issue.

Which brings me to the story of my life. The story of two passports. One, I gladly acquired in 1992, when I became an American. The other is one I don't want, being as it is a sad reminder of my former life as a slave in a country I fled. Our government should take notice of this, and not allow its citizens of Cuban origin to be extorted into betraying their naturalization oath by accepting a foreign passport, whether they travel to the island by sea or air.

Plane Flies Over Miami: "Boycott Bigoted Carnival Cruise Line"

Tweet of the Day: 

Famed Cuban-American Jazz Artist Shunned by Obama

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
UPDATE: Hours after this letter was reported in the media, The White House was shamed into "re-inviting" D'Rivera to the event.

Grammy-award winning artist Paquito D'Rivera was recently shunned by The White House from an International Jazz Day presentation.

He has been a vocal critic of President Obama's Cuba policy. And we all know the Obama Administration only likes to listen to its echo chamber.

Upon being notified, D'Rivera wrote a letter to President Obama with his thoughts.

See the full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. President:

A few months ago, the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute informed me that they had proposed that I participate in International Jazz Day, an event organized by UNESCO that will take place at the White House on April 30th, and will have you, Mr. President, and First Lady Michelle Obama, as hosts. This concert will feature many loved and admired colleagues of mine such as Chick Corea, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Heath, Dave Holland, Al Jarreau, Diana Krall, Christian McBride, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Sting, and even my former Cuba-based colleague Chucho Valdés. I was delighted and put the rehearsal schedule and dates on my calendar.

I regarded this invitation as recognition of my contribution to American culture that, throughout the years, has earned me the appointment as NEA Jazz Master, honorary doctorates from Berklee School of Music and University of Pennsylvania, , Kennedy Center Living Jazz Legend, and the Presidential Medal of the Arts, among other awards. So imagine my surprise when, a couple of days ago, I received a phone call from the Monk Institute informing me, without any further details, that my participation did not pass the vetting process by the White House. That is all the information that was given.

If the matter at heart here were my cultural contribution to Jazz and American culture, I wouldn’t take the time to write you this letter, Mr. President. I have played the White House before. However, I fear that this “not passing the vetting process” may have to do with my decades-long vocal position against the dictatorship that oppresses Cuba, my country of birth, and my support of human rights and democratic values that you defended so well a few weeks ago in Havana. This wouldn’t be the first time that I have suffered discrimination instigated by the Cuban dictatorship, due to my democratic convictions, even in the United States. And still, this occasion strikes me as particularly troublesome, given that it is an event in which you, Mr. President, will be the host. You, who just a few days ago defended in my native-land the principle that “citizens should be free to speak their mind without fear, to organize and to criticize their government and to protest peacefully,” and praised the accomplishments of the Cuban exile, of which I am a proud member.

Mr. President, I write to you because it concerns me that your genuine goodwill gestures towards the Cuban people could be understood as a call to be complacent towards the demands of the dictatorship that oppresses it; that these gestures may be taken as a pretext to marginalize, even on American soil, Cuban exiles who defend the right of the Cuban people to express freely and to decide their destiny democratically. It is telling (and I pray that I’m wrong) that if the Cuban regime is willing to exert this level of spite and pressure against a public figure in another country — and not just any other country, but the United States — one can only imagine the level of impunity with which the Castro regime acts against Cuban private citizens at home.

It concerns me, that if this is an act of political discrimination against me, it will take place in your house — which is the house of all Americans, given its symbolic weight. It concerns me because it is easier to bear individual discrimination against my person — no matter how painful and humiliating it may be — than the idea that in the name of coexistence with other governments, regardless of their repressive nature, there will be a violation of the basic principles of free speech that so many generations of Americans have fought for over centuries — principles that are a model and a beacon of hope for a considerable part of humankind.

I suppose that this decision to “veto” my presence was made without your knowledge, but my exclusion from the show will be made public. It is my civic duty as a citizen to warn you that even an event celebrating a musical genre that embodies the aspiration of freedom could be used precisely to do the opposite. Because of my respect towards you — which has only increased recently due to your performance in my native country — I believe it is my duty to inform you that your status as host is possibly being manipulated by the very people who deny the very principles that allowed you to become the President of this country, and which allow me to address the most powerful man on Earth with absolute freedom and without fearing repercussions.

Most respectfully,

Paquito D’Rivera

Meet Cuba's 'New' Leaders

The leadership "selection" of the VII Congress of the Cuban Communist Party encapsulated in one image:

H/T: Yoani Sanchez

Quote of the Day: Generational Change Hype

So much for all the hype about generational change.
-- Brian Latell, a former Central Intelligence Agency Cuba analyst and author of "After Fidel," on the VII Communist Party Congress and the continuation of Castro's dictatorship, The Wall Street Journal, 4/20/16

Curbelo: What Are the Concrete Results of Obama's Cuba Policy?

By U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) in El Nuevo Herald:

Concrete results of Cuba policy

The White House offers a false choice: support his policy or punish the Cuban people

When Congress was debating the nuclear agreement with Iran, the White House told us glibly that our option was to support the deficient product of its negotiation or go to war. The reply of a bipartisan majority in Congress was to reject both war and the agreement, and ask for a more robust product that would eliminate the nuclear threat and create a more stable situation in the Middle East. In the current debate over Cuba, the White House and its allies are offering another false choice: either we support its policy or we punish the people of Cuba.

The first thing that must be made clear is that the only ones responsible for the misery and suffering in Cuba are the brothers Castro. The United States and its government until recently maintained a posture of absolute solidarity with the Cubans, denouncing the dictatorship and supporting its principal victims, the domestic opposition. The United States also has been the biggest source of humanitarian assistance to Cubans. But let's evaluate the president's new policy according to the facts, its achievements and failures, and leave passion aside.

As a member of the U.S. Congress, I have to first ask what this new policy has achieved for the national interests of our country? The dictatorship continues to maintain one of most sophisticated espionage networks within the United States, with the goal of causing us harm and sharing sensitive intelligence with the Russians, Chinese and North Koreans. Fugitives from U.S. justice are still living well in Cuba – criminals who defrauded Medicare, murderers like the woman who killed a policeman in New Jersey, and the pilots who shot down and killed four young men from Brothers to the Rescue, among others.

The Castro brothers, who were the architects of the chaos in Venezuela, continue to support the criminal regime of Nicolas Maduro. Venezuelans continue to suffer, and Florida has lost billions of dollars in commercial activity due to the Cuban intervention. And there's been little talk about the biggest theft of U.S. properties in the history of our country. What little the U.S. can claim as a victory is the release of one hostage and one spy and the tardy return of a Hellfire missile that mysteriously wound up in Cuba – something the White House tried to cover up.

As for the people of Cuba, more than 51,000 have tried to escape from the island since the president made the announcement. Some died at sea or in the jungles of Central America, part of a migration crisis. There is more repression and fewer "self-employed" workers. No one will forget the abuses against the Ladies in White while the president and his family were flying toward the island. Without a doubt, the president's speech on the second day of his visit deserved praise. He supported pluralism and asked for human rights and free elections. He was far more explicit than all the popes, and met with the opposition. We are grateful to him for all of that.

But we must conclude that up to now the party that most benefited from this process started by the White House is the Cuban dictatorship. The United States and its people have achieved little, while many concessions have been made to the Cuban government – among them the official acknowledgment of the Cuban dictatorship as a legitimate government, an injection of millions and millions of dollars into its coffers and the return of Cuban spies whose hands will always be stained by the blood of young U.S. citizens.

Within the Cuban-American community there is now a debate between those who support the new policy and those of us who oppose it. I have met with several people from both sides to listen, learn and debate respectfully. Not to make secret agreements, as was reported in a perverse column published in these pages last week, full of lies, insinuations, conjectures, intrigues, gossip and baseless allegations. The intent of the column was to divide and sow discord, without any evidence and quoting a faceless and nameless source that was totally wrong.

The truth is that we can disagree without disparaging, and work toward a consensus on the assumption that the great majority of us wish the best for the people of the United States and Cuba. My doors are always open to those who want to talk about this issue, within a democratic framework and with good intentions.

Until now, the policy of unilateral concessions has produced few benefits for this great country, which has been so generous with Cubans, and crumbs for our brothers on the island. Returning to the example of the agreement with Iran, what many of us want is a policy that advances the interests of our country in concrete ways, and that helps the people of Cuba without legitimizing and strengthening its oppressors.

Cuba Caught Camouflaging Cocaine with Molasses

By Frank Calzon in UPI:

Cuba caught camouflaging cocaine with molasses

The discovery by Panamanian police of more than 400 kilograms of cocaine in a Cuban ship on its way to Belgium received little media coverage in the United States. The drugs, hidden among tanks of sugarcane honey, were found at the Panamanian Caribbean port of Colón by Panamanian Police Intelligence agents.

Just like when in 2013 Panama discovered a large shipment of war materiel on its way from Cuba to North Korea, Havana said that Cuba was not at fault, that the ship only carried a donation of Cuban sugar for the suffering North Korean people. A search proved otherwise. Now Havana insists that the drugs found last week could have been brought on board the ship at the Panamanian port, and some echo the "explanation."

Panamanian sources point out that the episode resembles the 2013 Cuban shipment of warplanes and missiles under tons of Cuban sugar on a North Korean cargo vessel to Pyongyang.

The interdiction at the Colón Free Trade Zone "has been dubbed Operation Fiery Cane (Caña Brava)," reported the blog Capitol Hill Cubans, adding that "in 2013, the Obama administration allowed Cuba's regime to get away scot-free, despite clear evidence that it was at the center of a major illegal shipment of arms from its Port of Mariel to North Korea."

In 1993, an American federal court indicted Gen. Raul Castro for his participation in a conspiracy that smuggled more than 7 tons of cocaine into the United States over a 10-year period. The Clinton administration "squashed the indictment," according to Capitol Hill Cubans.

The North Korean ship, the Chong Chon Gang, was loaded at Mariel's port, which Castro says is his most extensive effort to expand the island's trade. A Washington source said, "It is very probable that the cocaine shipment also originated in the Port of Mariel." As Mauricio Claver Carone and other experts have pointed out, it is inconceivable that neither the weapons shipment to North Korea nor the cocaine shipment to Belgium could occur without approval at the Cuban government's highest levels.

All Cuban officials remember vividly the 1989 execution of Gen. Arnaldo Ochoa when he was to become commander of one of Cuba's three armies. According to Fidel and Raul Castro, Ochoa was sentenced to die due to his role in narco-trafficking, although according to Cuban law the penalty for drug smuggling does not include the death penalty. The regime said that Ochoa had to die because his drug smuggling placed at risk the security of the country; presumably by providing an excuse to enemies of the revolution (the United States) for strong action against it.

The eighth Congress of Cuba's Communist Party just took place, but the drug smuggling to Belgium was not part of the discussions, and President Barack Obama is not likely to make an issue of it.

Raul Castro favors the use of maritime shipments for dangerous missions. In 2015, the Colombian navy intercepted yet another ship, the Da Dan Xia, a Chinese vessel bound for the Port of Mariel containing "about 100 tons of gunpowder, almost 3 million detonators and some 3,000 cannon shells." The weapons were hidden under tons of grain; although Cuba, as a sovereign country, has a right to purchase weapons. The reason for the cover-up was likely that the weapons' final destination was not in Cuba, but for Colombian rebels, since the Chinese ship was scheduled to dock at Cartagena and Barranquilla, two Colombian ports.

In the case of the three ships' modus operandi was similar: The shipments were hidden under sugar, honey, or grain. In the case of the North Koran ship, Havana at first lied to the Panamanians, and in the cocaine shipment, it insists the drugs, hidden under Cuban honey, were not placed there in Cuba. A well-documented United Nations report charged that extraordinary measures had been taken to hide the weapons shipment, and that the attempted smuggling was a violation of international sanctions on Pyongyang. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, however, was quoted saying that the weapons shipment was not important enough to threaten Obama's Cuba initiative.

Cuban Lt. Col. Alejandro Castro Espín, a Cuban intelligence officer and son of Raul Castro, led the Cuban team that obtained the withdrawal of Cuba from the list of supporters of international terrorism. Alejandro Castro met with Obama in Panama and New York in 2015 when the president met with Raul Castro.

Raul Castro's shipments say much about Havana's appraisal of how much they can get away with under the present administration. Members of the House Committee on Intelligence are concerned and will likely ask Secretary of State John Kerry what the administration knows about the cocaine shipment and if he intends to raise the issue with his Cuban counterpart.

The New York Times Has Moment of Lucidness on Cuba

Monday, April 18, 2016
In an editorial ahead of last weekend's VII Cuban Communist Party gathering, The New York Times (NYT)expected "a series of economic and political reforms" to be announced.

Well, that's not happening.

As General Raul Castro made clear in his opening remarks, Cuba's totalitarian regime will remain in tact, military-run state enterprises will control the economy, and the private accumulation of wealth and property will be restricted (and punished).

But, to be fair, the NYT had peppered its hopes with a dose of reality (frustration). It wrote:

"For many Cubans, the island’s languishing economy is the most pressing issue. In 2011, party leaders promised to overhaul the centrally planned economy, but they have moved too slowly in opening up the country to foreign investment and allowing a private sector to take root. The main obstacle has been the Cuban military, which has long exercised monopoly control over large segments of the economy, creating an oligarchy in uniform that is reluctant to spread the wealth."

Alas, a moment of lucidness.

But if you recognize this is the main obstacle -- then why support business deals with Cuba's military monopolies?

If this is the main obstacle -- then why is the Obama Administration skirting U.S. law and giving a special license to Starwood Hotels to cut hotel deals with the Cuban military?

It defies common-sense to think that doing more business with Cuba's military monopolies will somehow weaken them -- and make them less of an obstacle. To the contrary.

As the renowned political risk firm, Eurasia Group, prognosticated over the weekend:

"The recent rapprochement with the United States will probably undermine the regime’s sense of urgency regarding the pace of liberalization on the island since it has led to an increase in dollar inflows from both remittances and increased tourism and reduced the need to expand local private sector activity."

Moreover, along the lines of the NYT's revelation, it concluded:

"The government is also beholden to elite interests, which will continue to operate as a constraint to more substantive reform. Senior figures within the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) have significant business interests in the country’s most important sectors, including sugar, tourism, and cigar production. In fact, the military’s holding company, GAE, reportedly employs 20% of Cuba’s workers and includes the island’s largest tourism corporation, real estate, retail, and warehouses, as well as the Mariel special trade zone, run by Castro’s son-in-law."

And guess what was the only business pitch made by Raul Castro during his remarks at this weekend's Party Congress?

"Every hotel that is opened is a factory that produces income necessary for our country," said Raul.

In Castro-speak -- that means for his family and its military regime.

Yet, that is precisely what Obama is catering to.

Must-Read: Why Even Google Can't Connect Cuba

A tech correspondent travels to Cuba and recognizes that there's only one impediment to connectivity on the island -- Castro's totalitarian regime.

As for Google's Havana center, where it's actively acquiescing to censorship -- a marketing gimmick.

By Mike Elgan in Computerworld:

Why even Google can't connect Cuba

Reports say Google intends to help wire Cuba and bring the island into the 21st century. But that's not going to happen.
When President Obama said in Havana last month that Google would be working to improve Internet access in Cuba, I wondered what Google might do in Cuba that other companies could not.

Today, Cuba is an Internet desert where only 5% of trusted elites are allowed to have (slow dial-up) Internet connections at home, and a paltry 400,000 people access the Internet through sidewalk Wi-Fi hotspots. These hotspots have existed for only a year or so. Also, some 2.5 million Cubans have government-created email accounts, but no Web access.

I spent a month in Cuba until last week, and I was there when the president spoke. I'm here to report that those government Wi-Fi hotspots are rare, slow and expensive. While in Cuba, my wife, son and I spent about $300 on Wi-Fi. In a country where the average wage ranges from $15 to $30 per month, connecting is a massive financial burden available only to a lucky minority with private businesses or generous relatives in Miami.

And this is why I think the possibilities of what Google might accomplish in Cuba are misunderstood.

It's not as if Cuba would have ubiquitous, affordable and fast Internet access if it just had the money or expertise to make it happen. The problem is that Cuba is a totalitarian Communist dictatorship.

The outrageous price charged for Wi-Fi in Cuba can't possibly reflect the cost of providing the service. The price is really a way to restrict greater freedom of information to those who benefit from the Cuban system.

The strange Wi-Fi card system is also a tool of political control. In order to buy a card, you have to show your ID, and your information is entered into the system. Everything done online using a specific Wi-Fi card is associated with a specific person.

The Cuban government allows people to run privately owned small hotels, called casas particulares, and small home restaurants, called paladares. The owners of these small businesses would love to provide their guests with Wi-Fi, but the Cuban government doesn't allow it. Nor does it allow state-owned restaurants, bars and cafes to provide Wi-Fi.

Google is connected to the global Internet through satellite networks. Cuba is connected to the Internet by an undersea fiber-optic cable that runs between the island and Venezuela. The cable was completed in 2011, and it existed as a "darknet" connection for two years before suddenly going online in 2013.

So here's the problem with Google as the solution: The Cuban government uses high prices and draconian laws to prevent the majority of Cubans from having any access to the Internet at all. The government actively prevents access as a matter of policy. It's not a technical problem. It's a political one.

In other words, Cuba doesn't need Google to provide hotspots. If the Cuban government allowed hotspots, Cubans would provide them.

Read more here.

Cuban Rapper: The Castros Will Not Change

Never, never, while there is a Castro regime, will there be a change in human rights. The Cuban government will not change nor will it allow a political opening.
-- Angel Yunier Rendon, a.k.a. "El Critico," young Cuban rapper and former political prisoner, who took part in the meeting of President Obama with members of the opposition in Cuba and has now sought asylum in the U.S., Fox News Latino, 4/16/16