Tag 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

11 Comments

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

 

8 Comments

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

4 Comments

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

25 Comments

Filed under Barbados, 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!

42 Comments

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

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…

7 Comments

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

19 Comments

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

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)

6 Comments

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

45 Comments

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”

48 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Cuba, History