Category Archives: Cuba

Financial Times: Cuban tourism boom to harm rest of Caribbean

cuba_beach

What a surprise!

The sight of the Stars and Stripes being hoisted over the newly opened US embassy in Cuba last week, was one of the most visible signs yet of the diplomatic rapprochement between the long-term foes.

If President Barack Obama gets his way, the US Congress will soon go further still and lift its 55-year-old trade embargo on the island.

Such a move would be a major boon to the Cuban economy, not least by unleashing a torrent of big-spending American tourists on the island, which has largely been starved of such arrivals for more than half a century.

This, however, could prove disastrous for some of the small islands elsewhere in the Caribbean which are heavily dependent on tourism. They could see much of the US tourism trade they have come to reply on decamping to the large, and quite possibly cheaper, new competitor in their midst.

… continue reading the Financial Times Cuban thaw poses tourism threat to Caribbean neighbours

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Cuba, Economy

Cubana Flight 455 – How the USA excused, ignored and covered up the terrorist bombing of an airliner

Cubana bomb Kissinger

It has been 38 years since the CIA terror bombing of Cubana Flight 455 on October 6, 2975 just a few minutes after takeoff from Barbados Seawell Airport. The ex-Air Canada Douglas DC8 was crippled and set on fire by the first bomb, but the second bomb in one of the washrooms brought it down in the Atlantic – killing all 78 people on board.

What did the CIA and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger know about it? Lots, according to recently released documents.

See BFP’s earlier article What Henry Kissenger and the FBI knew about Cubana Flight 455 Bombing

Barbados Today: Remembering victims of Cubana Airline crash

 

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Cuba, Disaster

Cuban journalist jailed for reporting Cholera Epidemic in Cuba

cuba journalist prison

Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias still in prison

Rumours of changes to the iron fisted ‘peoples’ government of Cuba are greatly exaggerated as we learn that a Cuban journalist languishes in prison for (gasp) reporting about cholera and dengue epidemics in Cuba.

Martinez’s ‘mistake’ was that he reported in June 2012 that Manzanillo officials were hiding a cholera epidemic from the public. (Hey… wouldn’t want to hurt the tourist business, would we?)

Every once in a while you think things are improving, but then you are dragged back to reality. The Cuban people must be free: and that doesn’t mean back to being a puppet of the USA or Russia or China. Freedom means: freedom for individuals and freedom for the country to determine their own paths. And for journalists to report on matters of public interest.

Feliz Navidad to Calixto Ramón Martínez Aria. We’ll say a prayer for you and your friend Alexander Roberto Fernández Rico.

Reprinted from wefightcensorship.org. Please go to their website to read the full article Radio Silence on Cholera Epidemic?

Radio Silence on Cholera Epidemic?

Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, a journalist who works for Hablemos Press, a Havana-based independent information centre, was arrested on 16 September 2012 after writing about cholera and dengue epidemics in Cuba. Two months later, he managed to call Hablemos Press from Havana’s Combinado del Este prison, defying an order by the prison authorities forbidding him to use the phone. During the call, which Hablemos Press recorded, he talked about the degrading conditions inside the prison. After the call, the Hablemos Press phone line was temporarily disconnected and Martínez was placed in solitary confinement. But the Combinado del Este’s political prisoners have managed to keep the outside world informed about his plight. Continue reading

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Filed under Cuba, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights

Barbados Nation newspaper reports Cuban election as if it is free and democratic

Above: Prime Minister Owen Arthur holds hands with a ruthless dictator and friend

by Cliverton

Barbados Nation news organisation today reported the current Cuban election without any context or reference to the dictatorship of the Communist Party, or to the increasing Cuban government sponsored terrorism against dissidents and their families. The Nation did not mention that hundreds if not thousands of opposition activists have been arrested, beaten and imprisoned in the last few years or that the Cuban military controls over 60% of Cuba’s economy and actively backs a group of ‘official’ candidates. The Nation did not mention that Cuba jails more journalists per captia than any country outside of China. (Then again, North Korea doesn’t have any journalists to jail.)

But hey… what’s a few details like truth and accuracy mean to The Nation when ‘first world’ Barbados is still begging Cuba for medical care handouts?

Cuba: One big island plantation

…Make no bones about it: Cuba is an island of slaves. What else does one call a place where the people eat what one man feeds them; work at what one man decides that they work on; march when one man tells them to march; say what one man tells them to say and think only what one man tells them to think. What else do you call a place where the people are kept from progressing as individuals, where the people are kept away from information, where people are isolated from the rest of the world?

Cuba is just one big island plantation.

… Val Prieto

Yes, I know that Cuba was raped in the first half of the 20th century by American corporations. Yes, I know that the American blockade has been a terrible burden for the ordinary Cuban and that the USA has a double standard with other Communist regimes vs Cuba, especially Red China. And that it is all unjust and Cuba’s history is a prime example of the worst in American hegemony and the politics of starvation. I know all about the plight of the ordinary Cuban.

None of that excuses the Cuban Communist thugs. None of that excuses The Nation Newspaper when it ignores the murders, torture and abuse of ordinary Cubans who want true democracy and individual rights and freedoms.

Here’s the news of the Cuban election according to The Nation. You should read it at The Nation here, but we have to reprint the whole thing because The Nation often changes or deletes articles…

Cubans go to the polls

HAVANA Cuba,Oct. 21, CMC – Cubans go to the polls on Sunday in the first of several votes leading up to the expected re-election of President Raúl Castro in February next year. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Cuba, Human Rights

Barbados Government should obey previous Supreme Court judgment and free Raul Garcia

“The applicant has been held in detention at H.M.P Dodds pending deportation for in excess of 17 months. Counsel for the Respondents conceded that as the applicant is a ‘stateless person’, his deportation and expulsion from Barbados could not now be achieved having regard to Barbados’ obligations under the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.”

“In the circumstances, as the Minister Responsible for Immigration is unable to say when the applicant is likely to be deported from Barbados and as no evidence has been provided that his continued detention is necessary on ground of national security or public order, the Court holds that the applicant’s continued detention under the Immigration Act, is no longer reasonable or lawful and the applicant should be released from detention at HMP Dodds.”

Honourable Madam Justice Maureen Crane-Scott, Q.C., August 31, 2009

Barbados High Court decided the law on cases like Mr. Garcia two years ago!

Barbados Free Press has received a copy of an unreported Barbados court decision that is exactly on point in the Raul Garcia case.

Bajans can now state with certainty that Mr. Garcia is being illegally held at Dodds Prison by the Barbados Government – and that is according to the Barbados Supreme Court. Mr. Garcia’s sentence ended almost two years ago but he is still being held in a maximum security prison because he is stateless. (Main Raul Garcia article here)

Please read this previous court decision (below or at the link above) and you’ll understand that it is Prime Minister Stuart and his government who are the lawbreakers now, not Raul Garcia. Laws and court orders: do they mean anything to our Barbados government? DLP or BLP doesn’t seem to matter – our governments do what they want regardless of court orders.

BARBADOS

[Unreported]

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE

HIGH COURT

Civil Division

Suit No: 117 of 2009

Consolidated with Suit No: 14 of 2009

BETWEEN

“ORSC”                                                                               APPLICANT

AND

THE SUPERINTENDENT OF PRISONS                               1st RESPONDENT

THE MINISTER RESPONSIBLE

FOR IMMIGRATION                                                             2nd RESPONDENT

ATTORNEY GENERAL OF BARBADOS                            3rd RESPONDENT

Before The Honourable Madam Justice Maureen Crane-Scott, Q.C. Judge of the High Court

(In Chambers)

2009: August 31

Mr. Douglas Trotman in association with Miss. Veronica McFarlane for the Applicant

Ms. Irene Stephney, instructed by the Solicitor General for the Respondents

DECISION

[1]        This is an urgent application to secure the applicant’s release from Her Majesty’s Prison at Dodds (HMP Dodds) where he is detained pursuant to orders made by the Minister Responsible for Immigration under the Immigration Act, Cap. 190 of the Laws of Barbados.

[2]        The applicant was born in Cuba on the 29th day of August, 1974. He entered Barbados as a visitor on August 24th, 2006 for a period of 1 month. On expiration of his 1 month entry permit, he applied for and was granted an extension of 15 days. Thereafter he illegally resided and worked in Barbados until January 22, 2008 when he was arrested by police and handed over to the immigration authorities.

[3]            Following his arrest, the applicant was detained at the Grantley Adams International Airport for an initial period of 2 months. On March 18th, 2008 the Minister Responsible for Immigration signed orders for his deportation and detention pending deportation from Barbados. He was served with the Deportation Order on March 18, 2008 and thereafter transported from the airport to HMP Dodds where he still remains under detention pending his deportation. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Cuba, Human Rights

Attorney General challenges David Comissiong: You don’t really care about Raul Garcia

Adriel Brathwaite - Attorney General

“Just sign for the prisoner here, Mr. Comissiong”

In the language of poker Barbados Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite just told David Comissiong and the Peoples Empowerment Party to “Put up or shut up.”

Responding to Comissiong’s criticism about the government continuing to hold Raul Garcia in prison for two years after he finished his 17 year sentence for drug offences, Mr. Brathwaite offered to release Garcia into Comissiong’s custody and care.

The only condition is that lawyer David Comissiong must take Raul Garcia into his home, guarantee Garcia’s behaviour and that he will not leave the home until the matter is settled… which could take years at the current rate of non-progress.

Aside from the political grandstanding by both Brathwaite and Comissiong, the Attorney General has a point about the practical considerations of the Raul Garcia situation: What do we do with him? Garcia’s son Frank has said that there are Bajans who are willing to sign for his father and take him into their homes. How serious are these offers?

Barbados will release Raul Garcia to David Comissiong’s care – if Comissiong agrees

President of the Peoples Empowerment Party, David Comissiong held informal discussions with Brathwaite in Parliament Buildings yard this afternoon, pleading for the release from prison of Garcia.

“He should not be in prison,” Comissiong told the minister.

But Brathwaite informed Comissiong, who is an attorney-at-law, that if he could put him up at his residence and guarantee to him, Brathwaite, that there was where the ex-convict would remain, then he would permit his release. No final decision was taken on that issue.

From Barbados Today story Not ’bout here!

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Cuba, Human Rights

Che Guevara as the Easter Messiah: His opinion of lowly Negros and Mexicans

Some might think this article to be a strange way of commemorating Easter, Christ and his sacrifice, but others will I’m sure will appreciate the juxtaposition of Jesus and Che. Hell… the atheists do it all the time, so why can’t this Christian? And yes, this failed Christian has had a rum or four, but why should that stop him from firing up the old Dell and talking about false Messiahs?

As Easter is upon us, we’ve republished a 2007 article We Know What Jesus Didn’t Look Like… Don’t We?

To be “fair” we will now publish quotes from another religious leader: Che Guevara. (“Fairness” is the enemy of “Justice”, but we’ll leave that for another day.)

“Che? A religious leader?” you say. Yes, Che was a religious leader. His religion was Communist atheism and he was as good a proponent of that religion as any. He was willing to die for it and he did. He was willing to put aside all his humanity for his religion. If thousands had to die for this new religion, so be it. Che was willing to pull the trigger – and often he did personally. (Sounds a whole lot like the Catholic Inquisition or the current Muslim jihad, doesn’t it?)

Seven months pregnant and condemned to death for the crime of being a “counter-revolutionary”? No problem for Che. He pulled the trigger. Even the most barbaric societies allow a condemned pregnant woman to give birth before execution, but not Che.

To this day Communists often punish entire generations for the misdeeds – real or imagined – of one of the family. I’m sure that Che would have simply loved North Korea.

Just so you know my opinion of the icon Che, who also founded the CDR – Committees for the Defense of the Revolution.

Here are a few quotes from Che that for some strange reason don’t appear in the new Apple iPod application of Che quotes.

Just remember folks: don’t believe me, BFP, Reuters, the New York Times or the Barbados Advocate. When you read something, do your own research and seek out original sources of information.

Do that for Che and let me know what you think.

Here are a few quotes from “Che” – otherwise known as He who walks the behind the rows (as Stephen King would say)…

“The Negro is indolent and spends his money on frivolities and booze, whereas the European is forward-looking, organized and intelligent.”

“The negro has maintained his racial purity by his well known habit of avoiding baths”

“Mexicans are a rabble of illiterate Indians.”

… Che

Happy Easter to our Bajan and Cuban communists.

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Filed under Barbados, Cuba, Religion

1.7 million American Tourists heading for Cuba in the first year when U.S. restrictions are lifted: US Travel Official

“Americans really want to see Cuba,” said Robert Whitely, president of the U.S. Tour Operators, which together with the National Tour Association also present at the event, handles 75 percent of all package tour business to the Caribbean.

“We predict that at least 850,000 Americans will go to Cuba in the first year,” Whitely said. That does not include an estimated 480,000 Americans who will go to Cuba on Caribbean cruises when U.S. ships are allowed to dock there, and another 480,000 Cuban American visiting family in Cuba each year, a Cuban official said.

… Reuters reports on a recent US-Cuba travel conference in U.S. travel industry gearing up for return to Cuba

Will US travel to Cuba impact Barbados’ cruise ship arrivals?

Barbados has never done the tourist business that many thought possible from the United States. Whatever the reasons for this it seems a fact that Barbados has been unable to capitalize on the huge potential US travel market as some of our Caribbean neighbours have done most successfully. Many folks in Barbados don’t worry about the impact of Americans being able to travel to Cuba because they say we don’t benefit from the American market anyway so what’s to lose?

Maybe the answer to “What’s to lose?” appears in the Reuters quotes above: it might be our cruise ship arrivals that suffer when Cuba opens up for vacationing Americans.

It’s not about to happen tomorrow, but when it comes US tourism to Cuba will be huge and it will impact the entire Caribbean region.

What has the Barbados government planned to counter the threat to our tourism? Our guess: nothing.

Over to you DLP government. What concrete steps have you taken with this event in mind?

We’re all listening…

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Cuba

Chinese-equipped Cuban Secret Police beat Award Winning Global Voices bloggers

Yoani-Sanchez-beaten

“I was arrested along with Orlando L. Pardo and Claudia Cadelo they carried us off sicilian style. Knocks. We were left lying in a corner.”

Cuban blogger Yoaní Sánchez (wikipedia link) in an SMS text message to Spanish blogger Rosa Jiménez Cano, who works at the Spanish news daily El País

castro-barbados-pm

Photo: Three Men Who Excuse Murder & Oppression of Cubans

Translation of the account posted by Yoaní on her blog

Near 23rd Street, just at the Avenida de los Presidentes roundabout, we saw a black car, made in China, pull up with three heavily built strangers. ‘Yoani, get in the car,’ one told me while grabbing me forcefully by the wrist. The other two surrounded Claudia Cadelo, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, and a friend who was accompanying us to the march against violence.

The ironies of life, it was an evening filled with punches, shouts and obscenities on what should have passed as a day of peace and harmony. The same ‘aggressors’ called for a patrol car which took my other two companions, Orlando and I were condemned to the car with yellow plates, the terrifying world of lawlessness and the impunity of Armageddon.

I refused to get into the bright Geely-made car and we demanded they show us identification or a warrant to take us. Of course they didn’t show us any papers to prove the legitimacy of our arrest. The curious crowded around and I shouted, ‘Help, these men want to kidnap us,’ but they stopped those who wanted to intervene with a shout that revealed the whole ideological background of the operation, ‘Don’t mess with it, these are counterrevolutionaries.’

In the face of our verbal resistance they made a phone call and said to someone who must have been the boss, ‘What do we do? They don’t want to get in the car.’ I imagine the answer from the other side was unequivocal, because then came a flurry of punches and pushes, they got me with my head down and tried to push me into the car. I held onto the door… blows to my knuckles… I managed to take a paper one of them had in his pocket and put it in my mouth. Another flurry of punches so I would return the document to them…

(snip)

We were left aching, lying in a street in Timba, a woman approached, ‘What has happened?’… ‘A kidnapping,’ I managed to say. We cried in each others arms in the middle of the sidewalk, thinking about Teo, for God’s sake how am I going to explain all these bruises. How am I going to tell him that we live in a country where this can happen, how will I look at him and tell him that his mother, for writing a blog and putting her opinions in kilobytes, has been beaten up on a public street. How to describe the despotic faces of those who forced us into that car, their enjoyment that I could see as they beat us, their lifting my skirt as they dragged me half naked to the car.

Full story at Global Voices – Cuba: Yoani Sanchez & Other Bloggers Seized

Further Reading

Along the Malecon blog: We are all Yoani

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Filed under Barbados, China, Cuba, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights

What Henry Kissenger and the FBI knew about Cubana Flight 455 Bombing

Updated October 8, 2013

“We’ve had an explosion and we’re descending immediately. We have fire on board!”

 

Above: Kornbluh on Luis Posada Carriles: Paid CIA Terror Bomber

cubana-dc8-Barbados

“Most of our readers from the United States of America probably have no idea of the roll that their government played in the bombing of a Cubana airliner full of innocent people. After all these years, many of the declassified documents from American government archives proves the US involvement.”

UPDATED: October 8, 2013

Barbados and Cuba have paid homage to the victims of the 1976 bombing of a Cubana Airlines jet off the coast of Barbados that killed all 73 people on board, lamenting the fact that the masterminds of the attack were never convicted.
Cuba’s Ambassador to Barbados, Lisette Perez Perez, told the wreath laying ceremony on Sunday that what happened to the Cubana passenger plane on October 6, 1976 was not an isolated incident.

She said that the masterminds behind of the attack, Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles were never convicted for this criminal act.

“Bosch passed away peacefully in Miami, where he lived in complete freedom (and) impunity, after being granted presidential pardon by (President) George Bush, which was negotiated by the Cuban far-right wing. A similar treatment was given to the other perpetrator of this abominable crime. Carriles was neither charged nor prosecuted in the United States,” she said.

The Cuban diplomat thanked Barbados for its support saying “there is a history of injustice in the waters of Paradise Beach in Barbados.

“The cold–blooded murder of the people on board that passenger plane was a crime against them, their families, and their countries. It was also a crime against Barbados and its people,” she added.

MORE: Jamaica Observer article Cuba, Barbados pay homage to 1976 bombing victims

Why didn’t the representative from the United States attend the 2013 Cubana memorial service in Barbados? Will the US attend in 2014?

Most of our readers from the United States of America probably have no idea of the roll that their government played in the bombing of a Cubana airliner full of innocent people. After all these years, many of the declassified documents from American government archives prove the US involvement.

Each of our good American readers owe it to themselves, to their country and to the world to investigate the Cubana bombing to the best of their ability. You can’t change what your government has done, and you probably can’t change the USA’s stonewalling of the truth – but you can know for yourself what the truth is…

3334 35 36 37 years after the terror bombing of a Cuban airliner, the United States continues to protect the guilty

(Also see Rickey Singh’s October 5, 2010 article Revisiting the Cuban tragedy)

On October 6, 1976, anti-Castro terrorists murdered seventy-three people on Cubana Flight 455 off Barbados.

Declassified letters and reports (like below from FBI Director Clarence M. Kelley to Henry Kissenger) show that the United States Government knew of the plot beforehand and not only that: they knew exactly who was involved almost four months before the bombing.

For over three decades the US government has protected the terrorists. This outrage continues under the Obama Administration and undermines whatever moral authority the United States retains in the persecution of its war in Iraq – a “part-time hobby” war with no end in sight. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Cuba, Disaster

Qatar Building Luxury Hotel In Cuba – Meanwhile Barbados Oceans Two Stops Construction “Cashflow Problem”

Cuba’s Tourism Set To Rocket As US Blockade Falls

Qatar has announced that it will build a five-star resort on the South coast of Cuba and become the first Arab country to “invest in Cuba’s booming tourism sector”. The 450-room upscale resort is expected to be completed by 2015.

The Qatar announcement is only one of the many indicators we see in the news today that the thaw in Cuban-American relationships is already having a tangible impact upon Cuba’s economy and especially its travel industry. As business and tourism struggles throughout the rest of the Caribbean, reports suggest that Cuba’s visitor numbers (and foreign currency inflow) will significantly increase this year largely based upon the pent-up market of Cuban-Americans now able to travel to the old country to assist family members with financial aid, business investment and, most important – business experience.

Cuba Holguin Bed Breakfast

“Casa Particular” Bed & Breakfast Tourist Homes – A Resurgence of Cuban Entrepreneurs

BFP’s own Cliverton received word from Cuban friends that the number of licensed family-run bed and breakfast homes in Holguin has increased by about 22% this year. Although that number makes no distinction between a home that has prepared and opened a single bedroom for rent or a new purpose-built four-bedroom tourist home with ensuite toilets, it is an important indicator of capital investment and growth expectations.

When Cliverton asked what he could bring to Cuba next time, most of his friends immediately said “bed sheets!” Even if they can’t use them in their own B&Bs, bedsheets are the hot commodity at the moment. So if you stay at Rosa’s or Sonia’s place, don’t forget to bring some new sheets. You’ll be amazed at the welcome you’ll receive! (That’s Sonia’s front apartment in the photo. Clean place run by friendly people.)

Oceans Two Construction Stops

Oceans Two Construction Stops

Meanwhile In Barbados: Oceans Two Project Stops Construction

We can all hope that the work stoppage at the Oceans Two resort hotel project is simply about an underfunded project. IF that is truly the case, perhaps some other firm can pick up the pieces and continue.

If, however, the problem is that all the banks have looked at the long term scenario for tourism investment in Barbados and have refused financing on that basis — then we are in big trouble. What is the truth? Around here, who knows? According to the CBC, the project’s owners have refused comment. (See CBC’s 200 Workers Sent Home From Construction Site)

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Cuba, Offshore Investments, Real Estate, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

New US Policy: The First Step To Making Cuba A Caribbean Travel Industry Powerhouse

UPDATED: December 28, 2010

I heard a little blip on the BBC News last night that mentioned possible changes in US law in 2011 that would open up American tourism to Cuba. A little research online doesn’t reveal any more details about the BBC story, but Cuba says it’s ready to manage a sudden influx of 1 million American tourists if the U.S. Congress lifts its 47-year ban on travel to the Communist island.

As we said in our original article below, we’re happy that Cubans will have a chance to progress, but we’re concerned about what American tourism to Cuba could mean for our tourist industry.

“The threat that Cuba presents to our tourism industry cannot be overstated.”

Original BFP article first published April 5, 2009…

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama plans to lift longstanding U.S. restrictions on Cuba, a senior administration official said, allowing Cuban-Americans to visit families there as often as they like and to send them unlimited funds…

… from the Wall Street Journal article US to lift some Cuba travel curbs

Welcome To The Next Cuban Revolution!

Unlimited funds and unlimited travel by Cuban-Americans visiting their families in Cuba.

That is all it will take to start the next Cuban revolution: an economic revolution that will eventually see Cuba developed into the Caribbean’s largest vacation and retirement destination. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Cuba, Offshore Investments, Politics, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Message To Barbados Minister Of Culture Steve Blackett: “Stop Your Damn Foolishness…”

Culture Minister Blackett Talks "Damn Foolishness"

Culture Minister Blackett Talks "Damn Foolishness"

Are we becoming a nation of mendicants? Is the Barbados Government now entering the arena formerly occupied by some members of society? I am relying on the veracity of the article in the Nation where the Minister of Culture Steve Blackett is reported to have said the following “the Government would be looking to the Cubans for expertise and possible funding” (Nation: It Will Take A Lot To Fix Old Library)

Really???? Possible funding???? !!!!

It boggles the mind that the Barbados Government would be looking to Cuba for possible funding in restoring the Barbados Public Library. Mr Blackett have you ever been to Cuba? To Havava? Have you seen the thousands of buildings in a state of disrepair there? Why should the Cubans spend their little cash repairing a building in Barbados when they can repair theirs? Here is a suggestion Mr. Blackett “charity begins at home”.

1 – First determine how much it would cost to repair the library.

2 – Your Ministry should then sponsor a group with the express purpose of raising funds to repair and renovate the library call them “Friends of the Bridgetown Library”.

3 – The fund raising activities should focus on the age of the library; the unique architecture and other examples of similar restored buildings in other parts of the world.

4 – Publish a monthly chart in the newspapers to show the fund raising totals together with the names of the donors and the progress towards the goal.

5 – Make it a symbol of national pride and establish a possible date for reopening e.g to coincide with Independence day. If Barbadians are patriotic and have a sense of national pride in ensuring the restoration of a national symbol, I’m sure they would step up to the plate. Even small donations from a considerable number of people (this bajan would be happy to contribute) and private companies would go along way towards reaching your goal.

Boardwalks are nice but we also have to feed the mind. There, I’ve provided you with a start Minister Blackett, now stop this damn foolishness about asking the Cubans for funding.

Barbados Free Press reader “Sargeant”

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Filed under Barbados, Cuba, History

Does Barbados Really Need To Take Cuban Eye Surgery Charity?

barbados-cuba-eye-surgeryCuban Eye Care – Unanswered Questions

Well it finally official. The Ministry of health has finally started to screen patients for cataract operations in Cuba. This is so despite the unanimous rejection of the plan by local Ophthalmologists. This is a path that various governments in the region have traveled before, with not so good results.

Cataract surgery is a complex procedure with several serious complications, including blindness. There is no guarantee of standard of care or agreement on follow-up. I would like the Barbados government to answer a few questions

1. Who is going to follow the patients post cataract surgery?
2. Who is going to deal with any complications or additional operations?
3. Will patients travel back to Cuba for additional surgery?
4. Will consultants or juniors be performing these operations?
5. Can you show the Barbadian public the qualifications of these surgeons?

I admit that the wait for cataract surgery is long, but this is no fault of the hospital doctors. They have had chronic shortages of equipment and personnel thereby, making it impossible to reduce these waiting lists.
In addition the Lions Eye Care Centre stands Idle with its two state of the art operating theatres idle and raped of their contents.

There has also been a chronic shortage of nurses for many years. all of the above undermine the ability to reduce the cataract waiting list.

Sending patients to Cuba for a surgery that we can perform here is totally ridiculous. This practice also undermines the local ophthalmologist and sets a dangerous precedence for patient care. It also highlights the incompetence of our Ministry of health in managing our health affairs.

… submitted by BFP reader “S”

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Filed under Barbados, Cuba, Health

Irony Defined: Barbados Prime Minister Thompson In Cuba For Caribbean Broadcasting Union Meeting – Keeping His Mouth Shut About Jailed Cuban Journalists

Prime Minister David Thompson

Prime Minister David Thompson

Barbados Government Confers Legitimacy Upon The Cuban Government & News Media While Ignoring Freedom Of The Press & Abused Journalists

The Cuban News Agency released a story that Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson is in Cuba for a meeting of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union. CBU is apparently a non-governmental organisation based in Barbados and does not have an operating website that we could find. A Cuban-sourced story in Caribbean News Net says this about the CBU meeting…

HAVANA, Cuba (ACN): Havana is hosting the 39th General Assembly of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) beginning Tuesday.

The organization, of which Cuba is a member country, groups radio and TV entities in the Caribbean region. The CBU is a non-governmental organization based in Barbados which supports and promotes high quality work of radio and TV private or public entities.

The Havana meeting will focus on common interests of all 23 CBU member countries, including the need for personnel training and entity performance.

Participants will also assess the treatment given by TV and radio stations to subjects such as HIV AIDS and the ongoing campaign against the disease.

The Cuban Radio and Television Institute (ICRT), as the host to the event, has organized a program, which includes a visit by participants to the Cuban HIV-AIDS National Prevention Center, a Havana neighborhood where they will exchange with community members, and a gala in the recently refurbished Bertolt Brecht Theater.

The CBU General Assembly will hold working sessions until next Saturday at the Havana-based Melia Cohiba Hotel. Many countries with the CBU are also members of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), while 18 of them are part of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Another Place To Spend Your Tax Dollars – But Is It Worth It?

We found some entries in Wikipedia that indicate the production work of the CBU was taken over by the Caribbean Media Corporation, and that the Government of Barbados is or was supporting the Caribbean Media Corporation with your tax dollars and resources.

Interesting – I did not know that.

Closer examination shows that both the CBU and the Caribbean Media Corporation appear to be tools in the attempt to advance CARICOM unity.

Yup… interesting what a few quick online searches will reveal.

Cuba Jails Arrests, Beats, Jails AIDS Activist

Yup… check out the story of Yuri Martinez Sanchez at The Real Cuba. I bet his name won’t be mentioned at the CBU Havana conference by anyone: including our Prime Minister.

Remembering Abused Cuban Journalists

We are disappointed that Prime Minister Thompson will be providing legitimacy to the Cuban news media and the despotic Cuban government without publicly mentioning the plight of jailed reporters, librarians and others who dare to believe in Freedom of the Press in that police state.

After former Prime Minister Owen Arthur was photographed with his arm around Fidel Castro and actually holding hands like lovers with the bearded despot, we had hoped for better from our new Prime Minister, David Thompson.

Oh well… we’re getting used to things being the same old, same old ’bout hey.

Further Reading

ACN – Cuban News Agency: Barbados Prime Minister in Cuba For CBU Meeting

Caribbean Net News: Caribbean Broadcasting Union Meets In Havana

Wikipedia: Caribbean Broadcasting Union

Wikipedia: Caribbean Media Corporation

The Real Cuba: Beaten Cuban Journalists & Librarians

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Filed under Barbados, Cuba, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights

CARICOM Praises Fidel Castro As “Lighting The Path For Others To Follow”

Ian Bourne at Bajan Reporter has the full story on how CARICOM equates Brian Lara with Fidel Castro (see BR’s story Opening Address – 29th Regular Meeting with Heads of Government of CARICOM: Hon. Baldwin Spencer PM of Antigua and Barbuda, Incoming Chair of CARICOM)

Here is a reminder about some of that light and Castro’s path as honoured by Barbados and CARICOM.

Remembering the Executed, the Murdered, the Imprisoned, the Disappeared…

The Penalty For Hooking Up To The Internet In Cuba…

Imprisoned Journalists & Democracy Advocates…

Open A Home Library In Cuba And See What Happens….

Racism Against Blacks In Cuba…

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Filed under Barbados, CARICOM, Cuba, Ethics, History, Human Rights, Slavery

Child Of The Revolution Looks At Zimbabwe

“But you know how it is … sometimes, even rigged elections can turn out to be, well, real elections…”

Which is what has happened in Zimbabwe over the weekend.

Despite widespread fraud, and intimidation and harassment of opposition supporters, it is now clear that most Zimbabweans voted to get rid of Mugabe and his crew, according to the international media.

It seems that the vote was so obviously against Mugabe the regime has had second thoughts about announcing rigged results and declaring the old man re-elected, as they have done in the past.

Instead, there are reports that Mugabe is under pressure from his own side to face the inevitable, give up his throne and take his loot and seek refuge elsewhere as a matter of urgency.

I hope that’s the case.

… written on April 2, 2008 by Child of the Revolution – Growing up in Castro’s Cuba (full article link here)

A Man, A Child – Writes About Growing Up In Communist Cuba

Luis M. Garcia grew up in the 1960’s in Banes, Cuba as the embarrassed child of “counter revolutionaries”. He lives now in Sydney, Australia, and if you want to know what happened to him between his birth in 1959 and now, you’ll have to read his biography: Child Of The Revolution: Growing Up In Castro’s Cuba

Nope, I haven’t read it, but I want to. We somehow found Luis a few weeks ago and have added him to our blogroll.

Here is what one of his journalist colleagues said about his book.. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Cuba, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Zimbabwe

Blogging Around Barbados: Pit Bull Chased By Chickens, Who Is This Fashion Model At Mullins Beach?, Penguins and The Death Of Bajan Cricket…

Looking around the net this morning we found some excellent articles – including some we really disagree with. Here’s a sampling…

Bajan Reporter has the story of a cowardly pit bull that is regularly beaten up by a chicken – but on another story we have to strongly disagree with Ian Bourne, who seems to admire Jah Cure for standing up to “adversity” while forgetting the woman he raped at gunpoint. (Bajan Reporter article on Jah Cure here)

Over at Barbados Underground, David proclaims Barbados Cricket At Death’s Door and we couldn’t agree more. Frankly we think there is an excellent case to be made that Cricket World Cup did more harm to the sport than anything else in recent times – or perhaps CWC was merely a symptom of a deeper malaise. If you love what cricket used to be, and could be again, have a read of David’s article.

Looking at the official blog of the governing DLP Democratic Labour Party, we see…

…Nothing. The DLP shut down their blog on January 13th and haven’t bothered with their online readers and community since. Yup, all that two-way communication with voters is of no further use now that they have power. Poor show, DLP.

At least the BLP Barbados Labour Party blog is alive – even if the party and its co-leaders are in disarray while former government ministers worriedly consider their Swiss bank balances.

Keltruth Blog asks How many Bajans can afford Sandy Lane? as it considers a new move by the Cuban government to allow citizens to stay at tourist hotels.

Famous Model At Mullins Beach?

Mullins Bay Blog has an excellent photo spread of the damage to Mullins Beach during the recent big storm and then a story of things getting back to normal with a fashion shoot involving some famous woman who we don’t recognize. Hey… the place where she’s staying is $12k a night (gulp!) so maybe you’ll be able to recognize her. We can’t. When you arrive at the blog, click on the small photo “Picking Up The Pieces” and you’ll be taken to a large photo of the model and fashion shoot.

Mullins Bay Blog articles – Mullins Beach Washed Out To Sea, Picking Up The Pieces

Amazing Nature Story At Living In Barbados Blog

We’re not big fans of nature documentaries etc., but you really have to see the trailer for a BBC Documentary linked to by Living in Barbados Blog. With the advent of new, smaller video cameras we’ve seen all sorts of new discoveries on TV lately – from animals that we thought were extinct to behaviours never before seen. (I remember last summer seeing a documentary where they put a tiny video camera on the back of a cockroach. Who’d have thought that watching an hour of a cockroach crawling around in a kitchen would be so interesting?)

Anyway, Living In Barbados has linked to a simply amazing documentary showing video of penguins like you’ve never seen before. Absolutely breathtaking. You simply must have a look. Living In Barbados Blog

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Blogging, Cricket, Crime & Law, Cuba