Category Archives: Cuba

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