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Friday, February 10, 2017

Please Share: Amnesty International urgent action for Cuban prisoner of conscience Eduardo Cardet

On  January 31, 2017 Amnesty International issued an urgent action for Eduardo Cardet. This blog has been following his plight since last November and welcome the news that Eduardo's case is receiving greater international attention and scrutiny by a well respected international human rights organization.



URGENT ACTION
demand release of human rights defender

Five days after Fidel Castro’s death, human rights defender Eduardo Cardet was detained and has since been held in provisional detention in Holguín, south-east Cuba. He is a prisoner of conscience who must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Dr. Eduardo Cardet Concepción, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación, MCL) since 2014 was arrested in Holguín on 30 November 2016, five days after the death of the former leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro. Eduardo Cardet has spent two months in the provisional prison (prisión provisional) of Holguín. He has been refused bail on three occasions, according to his wife. 

According to five witnesses who spoke to Amnesty International by telephone on the condition of anonymity, Eduardo Cardet was pushed off his bicycle and violently detained in the early evening of 30 November by at least four plain clothed and one uniformed police officer as he returned home after visiting his mother. It is not clear on what grounds Eduardo Cardet was initially detained. According to his wife, who witnessed her husband’s detention with their two children, Eduardo Cardet is charged with attacking an official of the state (atentado). This offence is covered under Article 142.1 of the Criminal Code. One officer is alleging that Eduardo Cardet pushed him during his arrest. 

All witnesses who spoke with Amnesty International counter this allegation, and state that Eduardo Cardet was quickly and violently restrained by plain clothed officials, placed in handcuffs, and beaten, and had no opportunity for self-defence. The witnesses believe that Eduardo Cardet was arrested for his beliefs and ideas.

Prior to his arrest, Eduardo Cardet had given interviews published in international media in which he had been critical of the Cuban government. In an interview with Madrid-based radio station esRadio, aired two days before his arrest, he described the mourning in Cuba following the death of Fidel Castro as imposed, and said: “Castro was a very controversial man, very much hated and rejected by our people”. According to the MCL’s website, Eduardo Cardet’s lawyer informed the family on 27 January that the Public Prosecutor is seeking three years of prison.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
  •  Calling on the authorities to release Dr. Eduardo Cardet immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;
  •  Calling on them to guarantee the peaceful right to freedom of expression, assembly and association including for dissident, opponent or activist voices and to repeal all legislation which unduly limits these rights;
  •  Urging them to ensure that, pending his release, he is provided with any medical care he may require; that he is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated; and that he is granted regular access to family and lawyers of his choosing.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 14 MARCH 2017 TO:


President of the Republic
Raúl Castro Ruz    
Presidente de la República de Cuba
La Habana, Cuba  
Fax: +41 22 758 9431 (Cuba Office in Geneva); +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)
Email: cuba@un.int (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Attorney General  
Dr. Darío Delgado Cura       
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General de la República        
Amistad 552, e/Monte y Estrella          
Centro Habana, La Habana, Cuba       
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/ Señor Fiscal General


Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation          

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

demand release of human rights defender 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Christian Liberation Movement (Movimento Cristiano Liberación, MCL) is a prominent actor in the pro-democracy movement in Cuba. According to its website, it is a movement for peaceful and democratic change and respect for human dignity. It was founded in 1988 by Oswaldo Payá Sardiñaswho became a visible figure of the Cuban political opposition, and four other activists. 

In March 2016, according to news reports, the MCL presented 10,000 signatures to the Cuban parliament in support of Project Varela – a long-standing proposal which advocates constitutional reform within Cuba and promotes freedom of association and speech, free elections, freedom of religion, and amnesty for political prisoners, among other things. According to Article 88 of the Cuban Constitution, laws can be proposed by citizens if a proposal is made by at least 10,000 citizens who are eligible to vote. In July, the MCL submitted a proposal to the Cuban parliament entitled “One Cuban, One Vote” (Un cubano, un voto) which makes a series of recommendations for reforms to the electoral law. 

Amnesty International has documented harassment and intimidation of members of the MCL for decades. In 1991, after Osvaldo Payá Sardiñas presented a petition calling for a national referendum relating to constitutional reform, he had his home destroyed by over 200 people, said to be members of a Rapid Response Brigade. After Osvaldo Payá announced his intention to put himself forward as a candidate for deputy to the National Assembly for the municipality of Cerro, Havana, members of his organization were reportedly subjected to frequent questioning and short-term detention.

[...]

Provisions of the Cuban Criminal Code, such as contempt of a public official (desacato), resistance to public officials carrying out their duties (resistencia) and public disorder (desórdenes públicos) are frequently used to stifle free speech, assembly and association in Cuba.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, a Cuban-based human rights NGO not recognized by the state, documented a monthly average of 827 politically motivated detentions in 2016. In an interview published on 16 September 2016 by ABC International, Eduardo Cardet stated: “Political activities are passed off as criminal offences such as inciting public scandal, contempt of or offences against the authorities, and the political police use these classifications to lock up dissidents" (Se disfraza la actividad política con hechos delictivos comunes, por ejemplo, escándalo público, desacato, atentado, figuras que utiliza la policía política para encarcelar a los disidentes).
Cuba is closed to Amnesty International and nearly all independent international human rights monitors.

Name: Dr Eduardo Cardet Concepción
Gender m/f: male




UA: 32/17 Index: AMR 25/5601/2017 Issue Date: 31 January 2017


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Silent Vigil for Justice at FIU on February 24th for Brothers to the Rescue shootdown martyrs

"To forget the victims means to kill them a second time. So I couldn't prevent the first death. I surely must be capable of saving them from a second death." -  Elie Wiesel



What:   Vigil for BTTR shoot down victims 
When:  Gather Friday, February 24, 2017 @ 3pm Vigil starts 3:21pm
Where: Main Fountain
             Florida International University 
             11200 South West 8th Street Miami, FL 

Vigil hosted by the Free Cuba Foundation at the main fountain at Florida International University between 3:21pm and 3:27pm the times that two Brothers to the Rescue planes were destroyed by air-to-air missiles fired by Cuban MiGs as they flew through international airspace searching for rafters. 

Family members and friends of Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña and Armando Alejandre Jr. will be in attendance. This event is for FIU students and members of the FIU Community and has been held annually since 1996. 


Fact Sheet on Brothers to the Rescue Shootdown


February 24, 1996 shoot down was an act of state terrorism that blew two civilian aircraft out of the sky with air to air missiles while in international airspace after regime planned the act months beforehand with its espionage network in the United States.

 FACT 1: By definition: Terrorism is the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear)
http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=terrorism  


FACT 2: Cuba is responsible for violating the right to life (Article I of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man) to the detriment of Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña, and Armando Alejandre, who died as a result of the direct actions of its agents on the afternoon of 24 February 1996 while flying through international airspace.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights September 29, 1999 Report on the Merits http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/99eng/Merits/Cuba11.589.htm 

FACT 3: Cuba is responsible for violating the right to a fair trial (Article XVIII of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man) to the detriment of the relatives of Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña, and Armando Alejandre, in that to date the Cuban authorities have not conducted an exhaustive investigation with a view toward prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators and have not indemnified those same relatives for the damage they suffered as a result of those illicit acts.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights September 29, 1999 Report on the Meritshttp://www.cidh.org/annualrep/99eng/Merits/Cuba11.589.htm 

FACT 4: In Alejandre v. Republic of Cuba, 996 F.Supp. 1239 (S.D.Fla. 1997), a federal district court awarded the families of three of the four occupants of the “ Brothers to the Rescue” planes shot down by Cuba in 1996 a total of $187.7 million in damages against Cuba.

Lawsuits Against State Supporters of Terrorism: An Overview by Jennifer K. Elseahttp://www.law.umaryland.edu/marshall/crsreports/crsdocuments/RS22094_06232005.pdf 

FACT 5: WASP spy network was involved. One of the “illegal officers” (Gerardo Hernandez) was convicted of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder based on his role in the February 24, 1996, shoot-down of two unarmed civilian aircraft in international airspace by Cuban Air Force jet fighters, which resulted in the deaths of four people, three of them U.S. citizens.

Department of Justice on Obama Commutations 
http://www.justice.gov/pardon/obama-commutations#dec152014 

FACT 6: Brothers to the Rescue had spotted and saved thousands of rafters in the Florida Straits and was engaged in such a mission on that day. The one plane that skirted the boundary briefly was the only one to return. The other two were shotdown miles away from Cuba’s boundary having never entered or touched it on that day and the planes had been in contact with the Cuban tower throughout the flight.

ICAO Resolution on February 24 shootdown http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,UNSC,,CUB,4562d94e2,3b00f1522b,0.html 

FACT 7: On July 26, 1996 the United Nations Security Council: "Noting that the unlawful downing of two civil aircraft on 24 February by the Cuban Air Force violated the principle that States must refrain from using weapons against airborne civil aircraft, the Security Council this afternoon condemned such use as being incompatible with the rules of customary international law "

ICAO Resolution on February 24 shootdown 
http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,UNSC,,CUB,4562d94e2,3b00f1522b,0.html

FACT 8: Ana Belen Montes, the US intelligence community's top analyst on Cuban affairs had throughout a sixteen-year career at the Defense Intelligence Agency sent the Cuba intelligence service sensitive and secret information and helped to shape US opinion on Cuba. Investigation against her was triggered by her odd behavior before and after the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down. On September 21 2001 Ana Belen Montes was arrested and subsequently charged with Conspiracy to Commit Espionage for the government of Cuba. Montes eventually pleaded guilty to spying, and in October, 2002, she was sentenced to a 25-year prison term followed by 5 years of probation.

True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba's Master Spy http://www.amazon.com/True-Believer-Inside-Investigation-Capture/dp/1591141001 

FACT 9: On December 27, 2010 and again in a January 19, 2011 clarification the defense of Cuban spy-master Gerardo Hernandez acknowledged that "there was overwhelming evidence that the 1996 shoot-down of two Brothers to the Rescue planes occurred in international airspace, not Cuban territory."

The Miami Herald: Cuban spymaster now claims Brothers to the Rescue shooting was outside Cuban airspace by Jay Weaver December 27, 2010

FACT 10: On December 17, 2014 President Barack Obama commuted Gerardo Hernandez’s two life sentences and returned him along with two other spies jailed for crimes in the United States to Cuba where they were received with a hero’s welcome in what is an immense propaganda victory for the Castro regime.

Department of Justice on Obama Commutations 
http://www.justice.gov/pardon/obama-commutations#dec152014 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Free Cuba Foundation Issues Statement: Cubans To Get Censored By Castro - Google Partnership

Google has signed an Internet deal with the Castro regime placing its technology in the hands of the dictatorship's telecommunications monopoly ETECSA. This is the latest bit of bad news coming out of Cuba.
Google chair Eric Schmidt, Dictator Fidel Castro in background. 
MIAMI, FLORIDA 

As reported by Google's blog: Alphabet/Google have signed an Internet deal with the Castro regime placing its technology in the hands of the dictatorship's telecommunications monopoly ETECSA. This is the latest bit of bad news coming out of Cuba.

Regrettably, the agreement does not expand public Internet access to the general public making it useless to the Cuban people that have been demanding uncensored Internet access at reasonable prices.

As political dissent grows on the Island and more opposition members are arrested, as Cuba still remains one of the least connected countries in the world, this deal with Castro’s Cuba is nothing potential tool for further oppression on the Island.

For over a year FCF and ENC have tried to advise this tech company about its actions but it still has managed to negotiate its way into a dark chapter of Cuban history.

Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt along with Brett Perlmutter, head of strategy and vice president of operations at Google Cuba, have been negotiating this deal for over a year which the regime had previously rebuffed. Things changed after Trump’s victory as fear that Obama's Cuba policy would be eliminated.

FCF is concerned that like in the case of China which hacked and stole Google user data the same could happen to Cubans that speak out against the regime. Having servers in Cuban territory gives intelligence agencies unfettered access to servers, methods and technology they can now steal, making this bad for shareholders and U.S. interests.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/12/prweb13927907.htm

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Obama, Google and failure in Cuba

Google, the Obama Administration and avoiding in Cuba a repeat of the mess in China

Image taken from Gazette Review
Update December 12, 2016: Google signed an internet deal with the Castro regime placing the company's technology in the hands of the dictatorship's telecommunications monopoly ETECSA. This is the latest bit of bad news coming out of Cuba and was detailed in a statement issued by Google:
 “This deal allows Etecsa to use our technology to reduce latency by caching some of our most popular high bandwidth content like YouTube videos at a local level." 
However an anonymous tech reported off the record that "This may improve reception of cached materials, but not for example email which depends on local bandwidth." This will also not assist more Cubans getting on line. However it does present some opportunities for the dictatorship in Cuba ranging from public relations to technology theft.

The fruits of the Obama Administration's Cuba policy as we approach the two year mark of the December 17, 2014 announcement are proving rotten with a worsening human rights situation on the island and the European Union de-linking human rights considerations from normalizing relations with the Castro dictatorship. As of November 30, 2016 there have been 9,484 political arrests over the course of this year in Cuba, a ten year record and violence escalating against nonviolent dissenters.

Within this context the role of Google is troubling. First Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt went to Cuba in June of 2014 and returned singing the usual cliches in praise of the dictatorship:
The two most successful parts of the Revolution, as they call it, is the universal health care free for all citizens with very good doctors, and the clear majority of women in the executive and managerial ranks in the country.  Almost all the leaders we met with were female, and one joked with us that the Revolution promised equality, the macho men didn’t like it but “they got used to it”, with a broad smile.
The healthcare system in Cuba is a disaster and that has been well documented and debunked repeatedly. The claim that women can exert leadership in a male dominated dictatorship is absurd. The fact that women in Cuba are regularly beaten up by regime agents for exercising their basic rights and those with popular support brutally assaulted and killed should give the Chairman Schmidt pause over his effusive praise for the totalitarian regime.

Unfortunately, taking into consideration his past association with Sun Microsystems, the company that played an important role in erecting the Great Firewall in China that the Google executive now condemns and also Google's own past assistance of Chinese censorship both condemned by Amnesty International this kowtowing to the Castro regime should come as no surprise

Google has played an active role in giving a positive image to President Obama's failed Cuba policy with a temporary demonstration project in Havana that reveals more than it intended. Capitol Hill Cubans on April 7, 2016 reported the following on the presence of Google in Cuba:
Reports from Cuba have noted that the center has been given priority use by Ministry of the Interior ('MININT') officials and trainees. The MININT is home to Castro's intelligence services. Thus, the Google + Kcho Mor center has become a playground for Cuba's spies and future cyber-warriors. Furthermore, after passing various security checks, when regular Cubans finally get to enter the center, they are treated to censored online access. Web pages like CubaencuentroRevolico and 14ymedio remain blocked. Thus, Google has now officially become an extension of Cuba's censors.
This was predictable because it has happened elsewhere. American companies such as Microsoft, Nortel, Cisco and Sun-Microsystems collaborated extensively with the Chinese communists to set up an intranet that blocks free access to internet to hundreds of millions of Chinese. American technology companies identified and located Chinese dissidents for the communist regime who imprisoned and tortured them. For example, according to Amnesty International, Chinese journalist Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in jail after Internet company Yahoo! gave the authorities his personal email account-holder informationAmerican tech firms, such as Narus, aided the Mubarak regime in Egypt during its brutal crackdown tracking Egyptian activists during the Arab Spring and has also been suspected of helping Libya track dissidents.

Image taken from Al Jazeera
Now in the waning days of the Obama Administration the push is on fast track deals with the Castro regime with the aim of locking in his legacy on Cuba and Google is going along.

"Google is choosing to stand with the oppressor rather than with the oppressed, in clear violation of their "Don't Be Evil" code of conduct, partnering with an octogenarian Socialist Dictatorship instead of in favor of millions of Cuban youth; is not only wrong but a terrible business decision," denounced Augusto Monge of the Free Cuba Foundation. 

Going beyond how this effects the interests of free Cubans, but American corporations doing business with totalitarian regimes have negatively impacted U.S. national interests as well that are often ignored in favor of narrow, short term economic considerations. Unfortunately, corporate money has had a disproportionate impact on think tanks in Washington DC and these concerns go unaddressed.

Google shut down operations in China, for a while, when it discovered a cyberattack that targeted it and other technology companies. Chinese nationals had stolen source code for the Peoples Republic of China from American companies in what amounts to economic espionage. In January of 2016 the CBS program 60 Minutes aired a program on these practices called The Great Brain Robbery.

In Cuba businessmen of other countries doing business there have been subjected to arbitrary imprisonment, and confiscation of their assets. For example, Canadian automobile executive Cy Tokmakjian spent three years unjustly imprisoned in Cuba after being subjected to a show trial on September 28, 2014  when he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The Castro regime seized about $100 million worth of company assets including bank accounts, inventory and office supplies, a ruling the company was challenging in international arbitration. (He is not the only Western executive to undergo the experience).  British investor, Stephen Purvis, who was jailed for 15 months and who the Castro regime confiscated 17.3 million dollars of his company's assets in an August 2013 letter to The Economist explained what may be behind the arrests of Western foreign investors:
I spent time with a number of foreign businessmen arrested during 2011 and 2012 from a variety of countries, although representatives from Brazil, Venezuela and China were conspicuous in the absence. Very few of my fellow sufferers have been reported in the press and there are many more in the system than is widely known. As they are all still either waiting for charges, trial or sentencing they will certainly not be talking to the press. Whilst a few of them are being charged with corruption many are not and the accusations range from sabotage, damage to the economy, tax avoidance and illegal economic activity. It is absolutely clear that the war against corruption may be a convenient political banner to hide behind and one that foreign governments and press will support.
An incoming Administration that wants to make America First, look out for U.S. national interests and save taxpayers some money should not only be looking at not going down the same rabbit hole in Cuba as others have done, but to get out of the mess that negatively impacts America in China.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Seven Reasons why Fidel Castro was that bad and the world is a better place now that he is gone

This is not a top seven list, but a compilation of seven actions by Fidel Castro that earn him the title of mass murdering tyrant. It is a rebuttal of those who now claim that the old tyrant who died on November 25, 2016 "wasn't that bad." Unfortunately the harm done by this dictator is not limited to Cuba and has survived him. Links will be provided for sources that back up the claim made.

Fidel Castro twice called for an all out nuclear holocaust

1. Pushed twice for the Soviet Union to launch first a full out nuclear attack on the United States (First Strike). 
The first time was during the October 1962 Missile Crisis in a letter to Nikita Khrushchevand the second time in the early 1980s were Fidel Castro pressed the Soviets hard for a nuclear strike against the United States. This revelation became public knowledge on September 21, 2009 and the newspaper of record The New York Times quotes the source: Andrian A. Danilevich, a Soviet general staff officer from 1964 to ’90 and director of the staff officers who wrote the Soviet Union’s final reference guide on strategic and nuclear planning is quoted in the early 1980s, saying that Mr. Castro “pressed hard for a tougher Soviet line against the U.S. up to and including possible nuclear strikes.” The general staff, General Danilevich continued, “had to actively disabuse him of this view by spelling out the ecological consequences for Cuba of a Soviet strike against the U.S.





2. Fidel Castro participated in genocide collaborating with a convicted war criminal in Ethiopia and defending alleged war criminals from Sri Lanka and Argentina. In Ethiopia the Castro regime backed Mengistu Haile Mariam with advice, troops and high level visits by both Fidel and Raul Castro.  War crimes such as a provoked famine and the targeting of ideologically suspect children for mass killings led to downplaying the role of the Castro regime in the whole affair.  On May 28, 2009 amidst a human rights crisis in Sri Lanka the Cuban government's diplomats took the lead and successfully blocked efforts to address the wholesale slaughter there. In the 1970s the Castro regime also began an unusual relationship with the military dictatorship in Argentina helping to block efforts to condemn it at the United Nations Human Rights Commission for thousands of leftists disappeared by the regime. Reynaldo Benito Antonio Bignone Ramayón, brutal military dictator of Argentina between 1982 and 1983 (in the picture above with Fidel Castro). On April 20, 2010, the Argentine despot was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the kidnapping, torture, and murder of 56 people in a concentration camp. 


Raul Castro preparing prisoner to be executed by firing squad
3. Fidel Castro came into power with firing squads broadcast over television in order to terrorize the populace. Court proceedings fell far short of international standards. Conservative estimate gives the range, according to Matthew White in his website Necrometrics, at between 5,000-12,000 Cubans killed by the Castro regime compared with Chileans killed by the Pinochet regime which number 3,197. Rudolph Joseph Rummel, a political science professor at the University of Hawaii and an expert in Democide (murder by government) also takes into account the Cuban boat people who have died fleeing the dictatorship and estimates 73,000 dead Cubans between 1959 and 1987. In The Black Book of Communism in chapter 25 "Communism in Latin America" by Pascal Fontaine states that in Cuba between 1959 through the late 1990s "between 15,000 and 17,000 people were shot."


4. Murdering refugees for trying to flee the country. In 1972 Fidel Castro goes to the Berlin Wall and praises border guards who shot and killed fleeing, unarmed civilians who just wanted to live in freedom. During his visit to East Germany Castro compared the Berlin Wall with the defenses his regime had near the Guantanamo Naval Base. Eleven years later a front page story in The Miami Herald on July 7, 1993 described what US soldiers at Guantanamo had witnessed: Cuban marine patrols, determined to stop refugees from reaching the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, have repeatedly tossed grenades and shot at fleeing swimmers and recovered some bodies with gaff hooks, U.S. officials charged Tuesday. At least three Cubans have been killed in the past month as Cuban patrol boats attacked swimmers within sight of U.S. Navy personnel at Guantanamo. These acts of brutality led to a formal diplomatic note to the Cuban government by the Clinton Administration.  One year and six days later the Cuban tugboat "13 de Marzo" was attacked and sunk on July 13, 1994 claiming 37 lives, mainly women and children.


37 victims of the 13 de Marzo Tugboat on 7/13/94

5. Fidel Castro turned Cuba into a state sponsor of terrorism. Castro sponsored and trained terrorists and promoted terrorism internationally. The Castro regime has a long history of sponsoring terrorism beginning in the 1960s with the Tricontinental meetings where terrorism was viewed as a legitimate tactic. The University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies in 2004 published a chronology of Cuban government involvement in terrorism covering between 1959 and 2003. For example, their report lists how in 1970 the Cuban government published the "Mini Manual for Revolutionaries" in the official Latin American Solidarity Organization (LASO) publication Tricontinental, written by Brazilian urban terrorist Carlos Marighella, which gives precise instructions in terror tactics, kidnappings, etc. translated into numerous languages which were distributed worldwide by the Cuban dictatorship. There is a chapter on terrorism that defends it as a legitimate tactic. On March 1, 1982 the Cuban dictatorship was placed on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. This was less than three months after the US State Department confirmed that the Castro regime was using a narcotics ring to funnel both arms and cash to the Colombian M19 terrorist group then battling to overthrow Colombia’s democratic government.  


Partners in narcotics smuggling: Manuel Noriega and Fidel Castro 
6. Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro facilitated cocaine smuggling into the United States. The U.S. State Department on March 1, 1982 declared Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism whose government was was using a narcotics ring to funnel both arms and cash to the Colombian M19 terrorist group then battling to overthrow Colombia’s democratic government. In 2001 at Georgetown University when I questioned General Barry McCaffrey, who at the time was advocating sharing intelligence on drug trafficking with the Castro regime, about this relationship between Cuba and Colombia's drug trafficking guerrillas and he recognized it and expressed his concerns.  During General Manuel Noriega's trial information emerged  in 1992 publicly implicating the Castro regime as the Sun Sentinel reported at the time"Federal prosecutors say Noriega traveled to Havana to ask [Fidel] Castro to mediate a potentially deadly dispute with top members of Colombia`s Medellin cocaine cartel. They say the cartel chiefs were upset because a major drug lab had been seized in Panama despite payment of millions of dollars in protection money to Noriega. According to the Noriega indictment, Castro negotiated a peace accord between the cartel and Noriega at the 1984 meeting. The allegation forms a cornerstone of the racketeering and drug trafficking charges against Noriega." At the same time convicted cartel leader Carlos Lehder directly implicated Raul Castro and U.S. fugitive Robert Vesco "to route cocaine flights through Cuba." Capitol Hill Cubans blogged how two years later, a federal indictment listed General Raul Castro as part of a conspiracy that smuggled seven and a half tons of cocaine into the United States over a 10-year period but the Clinton administration overruled prosecutors.


Hugo Chavez with freed coup plotter Hugo Chavez who he mentored into power

7. Fidel Castro was the author of the events in Venezuela that led to first Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro's succession to the presidency. 
In 1990 following a request made by Fidel Castro to Lula Da Silva the Sao Paulo Forum was established with the goal to rebuild the Communist movement or as they put it: “To reconquer in Latin America all that we lost in East Europe.” This set the course for the rise of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela that has been a game changer both regionally and internationally. Food riots are now breaking out in what was once the richest government in South America. 
The hunger, the suffering, and deaths of thousands of Venezuelans should be laid at the feet of Fidel Castro who prepared and backed Hugo Chavez with the assistance of the Cuban military and intelligence services that are keeping Nicolas Maduro in power today. However the communists with their agents of influence in the media will blame capitalism, the United States, imperialismglobal warming, and anything else that distracts from pointing the finger at them.