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Posts tagged ‘Cuba’

Maria Conchita Alonso: Oliver Stone ‘Got Paid’ to Support Venezuela.


Actress and singer Maria Conchita Alonso says movie director Oliver Stone “got paid” to support the Venezuelan government, a dictatorship being infiltrated by foreign interests that ultimately pose a threat to the United States.

“It’s a dictatorship right now in Venezuela. And it’s a danger for the United States,” the outspoken Cuban-born, Venezuelan-raised star told “The Steve Malzberg Show” Wednesday on Newsmax TV.

“This is a war about the next-door neighbors of the United States. The Cubans are there. The Russians. The Iranians. The Chinese. Just now, in the past few days, planes full of soldiers from Cuba have been arriving in Venezuela. Chinese are also arriving in Venezuela.

“The final point of all this is, they want the United States. Why is that so hard to understand?”

Story continues below video.

Alonso passionately described the personal tragedies unfolding in the streets of Venezuela.

“These students were tired of [the fact that] you can’t find food, you can’t find medicine, if you go out of your home to see your mom or take your kids to school, or whatever, your life is in danger,” she said.

“Every week, hundreds of people are killed by the huge crimes that exist now in Venezuela. Isn’t it better to just go out and do something and stop this once and for all? … The kids are out on the streets trying to save a country,” she said.

“And the students have no arms… I mean, they have nothing, and the military is infiltrated with a lot of Cubans and they’re… attacking with real bullets and with the other ones that do hurt you and open holes in your body but they’re not real ones.

“Four students have been killed, three students and one girl were killed…. A 17-year-old kid was run over by an SUV from someone from the pedevesa [the state-run oil and gas company], from the government. The kids are out on the streets trying to save a country, trying to tell the Cubans, ‘you get out of here.’”

Stone — whose films include “JFK,” “Natural Born Killers,” and “The Hand” —  is producing a biopic on the life of the late Hugo Chavez and recently implied that student protests against the current regime aren’t legitimate.

“Venezuela is a democratically elected government. These people who keep protesting are sore losers,” he said in an interview.

Alonso, co-star of the Robin Williams flick “Moscow on the Hudson,” says Stone received funding from the Chavez government for film projects and therefore has remained sympathetic to the Venezuelan government.

“He got paid all the money [from the Chavez regime] and has to do this….

“And the same thing years ago, Danny Glover got paid, I don’t know how many millions… to make a movie about one of the first presidents from Haiti….

“It’s all about money.”

See the “Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Joe Schaeffer

Luis Rosales: Time for World to Join Venezuela’s Fight for Democracy.


Everyone who believes in democracy, freedom and human rights today should be standing with Leopoldo López, the brave young opposition leader who is defying the growing radicalization of the ruling government in Venezuela.

López, a charismatic, Harvard-educated former mayor of Caracas’ Chacao district, has emerged as the face of the growing opposition to the leftist government of Nicolas Maduro, the successor to the late dictator Hugo Chavez. On Tuesday, López was arrested on what international human rights groups have called baseless charges for the deaths of three people killed in an anti-government demonstration earlier this month.

Although President Maduro has called him a fascist, Lopez is completely the opposite. He is an honest politician who really believes in democracy. He has devoted his life to helping his country stand up to the growing authoritarianism of Maduro. He has long been persecuted by a government that controls most of the country’s media and its corrupt judiciary.

From the beginning, when he was first elected mayor in 2000, Lopez challenged this repressive system. Chavez ordered judges to ban him from holding further office after saddling him with trumped up charges. The government consistently has used this method to eliminate popular opponents. As one of the three most popular political leaders in the country, Lopez stepped back and unselfishly endorsed another opposition candidate for president, Henrique Capriles, in order not to fracture the anti-Chavez opposition.

Chavez died in March, 2013. Maduro, a declared Marxist who many observers consider to be a puppet of Cuba’s Castro regime, succeeded him and was elected after a very controversial process fraught with charges of fraud. The opposition believed it was robbed. But the official apparatus, tightly controlled by the Chavistas, ignored the claims and stifled any official audit of the vote.

That was Maduro’s original sin, the first of many. His rule has been an unmitigated disaster. Venezuela, a global oil power, leads the South American continent in inflation. As the economy has collapsed, it also has taken the lead in other negative indicators like the rate of crime and domestic violence. And that is what feeds the growing opposition movement.

Over the last several weeks, millions have taken to the streets across the country to express their discontent. The government has responded by mobilizing its own armed mobs, backed by both the military and the police, to attack peaceful demonstrators. This, in turn, has divided the opposition.

Capriles leads a group that believes that change can be encouraged through dialogue and nonviolent demonstration. Lopez, however, believes that a repressive government must be challenged with strength when it attacks its own people. He believes that Maduro, like Lenin and Castro before him, is trying to create the conditions for a “proletarian dictatorship,” the first step toward totalitarian socialism.

The history of the last century is replete with nations that have succumbed to this tactic: Russia, the nations of Eastern Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea and Cuba to name just a few.

In every case, when socialists took power, they immediately suspended individual liberties, freedom of press and private ownership to end what they considered an “outdated” capitalist and bourgeois systems. The new elites, backed by a massive, authoritarian bureaucracy, never saw any reason to reverse course. What emerged were single party states with either no elections or cruel parodies of them, without freedom, and heavily militarized at all levels of society.

This is the system that Leopoldo López fears will emerge in Venezuela if the people do not stand up and fight now. And it’s going to take democrats and human rights activists from all over the world to help him in his fight. There needs to be a push now to stop Maduro from repressing students and other demonstrators and force him to release Lopez before it’s too late.

We the people have to put international pressure on Maduro’s regime and push our democratic governments and elected representatives to do the same. And we need to do this now, not only for the sake of Lopez, but also for the future of Venezuela and Latin America.

Luis Rosales is a political strategist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is the author of the new book, “Francis: A Pope for Our Times.”

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Obama to Congress: Let Us Try Gitmo Prisoners in US.


President Barack Obama on Thursday gave credit to Congress for relaxing restrictions on transferring detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the custody of foreign governments but said lawmakers need to go further.

After signing the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2014, Obama noted that Congress retained regulations that prevent the transfer of prisoners to American soil, where they could be tried in federal court.

“The executive branch must have the authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees,” Obama said in a signing statement released during his Hawaiian vacation.

Prosecuting alleged terrorists in U.S. federal court is “a legitimate, effective, and powerful tool in our efforts to protect the nation,” Obama said.

The United States also needs “flexibility, among other things, to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers,” Obama said.

The regulations could remain an obstacle to the administration’s years-long bid to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, where 158 detainees from various countries remain after years of detention without trial at the U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. The prison has been condemned internationally.

While lawmakers of both political parties refused to yield on the ban against bringing prisoners to the United States, they were willing to relax rules for sending prisoners to their home countries.

Among the earlier restrictions was that the administration had to certify that the country where an inmate was being sent was not “facing a threat that is likely to substantially affect its ability to exercise control over the individual.” This had all but ruled out politically chaotic Yemen, which is home to the largest group of Guantanamo detainees.

Transfers had also been banned to countries that Washington designated “state sponsors of terrorism,” which made it difficult to move Syrian inmates. And prisoners in the past also could not be sent back to any country where previously released Guantanamo detainees had returned to “terrorist activity.”

Such rules will be lifted or significantly relaxed under the new law.

Even before the legislation was enacted, the administration had become more active in making transfers, sending two detainees each to Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Algeria.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Fidel Castro Hails Brother for Obama Handshake at Mandela Memorial.


Image: Fidel Castro Hails Brother for Obama Handshake at Mandela Memorial

HAVANA — Fidel Castro praised his brother, Cuban President Raul Castro, on Thursday for shaking hands with President Barack Obama at a memorial for Nelson Mandela, saying he demonstrated courtesy and dignity with the gesture.The elder Castro, in his first comment on the death of Mandela, touched on the handshake that made headlines around the world, at the end of a long column published in the Cuban media that praised Mandela and reviewed Cuba’s role in ending apartheid.

“I congratulate Comrade Raul for his brilliant performance [at the memorial], and especially for his firmness and dignity when with a friendly but firm greeting to the head of government of the United States he said in English, ‘Mr. President, I am Castro’.”

The White House played down the handshake, saying it was unplanned and went no further than pleasantries.

Still, the meeting had resonance because U.S. relations with Cuba have undergone a surprise warming in recent months with several instances of cooperation instead of the usual hostile rhetoric.

Obama said last month in Miami that it may be time for the United States to revise its policies toward Cuba, against which it has had a trade embargo for more than half a century.

Obama questioned whether the policy that was put in place in 1961 remains an effective way of dealing with U.S. differences with the communist-ruled island nation.

Fidel Castro, 87, who was operated on in 2006 for intestinal bleeding and never fully recovered, handed over power to his brother, who is five years younger, in 2008.

Fidel Castro made no public comment on Mandela’s death at the time and was too old to attend last week’s ceremony in South Africa.

He has not been seen in public in months, though an official photo released on Monday showed him seated in a blue sweat suit talking with his biographer, Spanish writer Ignacio Ramonet, last week.

Fidel Castro was a leading voice against apartheid when some other world leaders were reluctant to speak out.

Mandela was deeply appreciative of Cuban support in the fight against apartheid — a conflict that included Cuban troops who fought and died in southern Angola.

Castro, in his Thursday column, complained that the roots and crimes of apartheid had been given short shrift in coverage of Mandela’s death, as were his beliefs.

“It’s a very real fact that Mandela was a complete man, profound revolutionary and radically socialist, who with great stoicism withstood 27 years of solitary confinement,” Castro said.

“I have never ceased to admire his honesty, modesty and enormous merit.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Mandela Interpreter Committed to SAfrica Psychiatric Hospital.


Image: Mandela Interpreter Committed to SAfrica Psychiatric Hospital

By Robert Brothers

The fake sign-language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service — who caused international outrage as he flapped his arms around while pretending to sign — was admitted to a psychiatric hospital Thursday, according to the South African newspaper the Star.
Thamsanqa Jantjie’s wife Sizie took her husband for a check-up at the Sterkfontein Psychiatric hospital in Krugersdorp, which suggested he be admitted immediately, the Star reported.
“The past few days have been hard. We have been supportive because he might have had a breakdown,” she said.
Jantjie claims to have a long-history of mental disorders and on December 10 — the same day as the Mandela service — the interpreter was reportedly supposed to go to Sterkfontein for a check-up.However, the appointment was moved when he was offered to interpret at the memorial service held at FNB Stadium in Soweto, according to the Star.

Following the memorial service, Jantjie told various media outlets that his performance was sub-par due to a sudden attack of schizophrenia, which caused hallucinations.

“I saw angels falling on the stadium. I heard voices and lost concentration,” he said.

It was later found that Jantjie had been part of a mob which burnt two people to death 10 years ago — an allegation he denies — and that he had also faced rape, kidnapping, and theft charges, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.The South African government apologized to deaf people after the scandal. Last Wednesday, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said the government will investigate claims that Jantjie did not use actual sign language.

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© 2013 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.

Newsday’s Ellis Henican: Obama’s Right to Talk to America’s Enemies.


The Obama administration is right to reach out to America’s enemies, including Iran and Cuba, according to Newsday columnist Ellis Henican.

“There are 190 countries in the world, probably half of them, say, are run by dreadful people who do awful things to their citizens, who don’t have our Bill of Rights and our level of freedom. And so you’re left with a choice,” Henican told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.

“You can insult them and turn your back and poke your finger in the eye or you can try to engage them,” Henican said.

In recent weeks, the United States hammered out a controversial nuclear disarmament deal with Iran and revealed it has had informal talks with Cuba.

Henican — co-author with former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist of the upcoming book, “The Party’s Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat” — admitted the strategy doesn’t always work.

“Engaging is always frustrating. It’s never perfect, and the other side uses it for propaganda,” he said.

“But in the long run, haven’t we learned that by and large [to try] to engage people even when we don’t like the way they run their country?”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Bill Hoffmann

Scarborough: We Can’t Hold Gitmo Prisoners Forever.


Image: Scarborough: We Can't Hold Gitmo Prisoners Forever

The entrance to Camp VI at the U.S. military prison for “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo Bay.

By Wanda Carruthers

 

The United States can’t hold prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba forever, MSNBCMorning Joe” host Joe Scarborough said Friday.

“We cannot hold these people indefinitely. We either have evidence to convict them, or we let them go. And, 11 years later it’s time to do one of the two,” Scarborough said on the show.

Retired Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert, who helped open the facility, called for its closure in a column for the Detroit Free Press

He wrote, “Our decision to keep Guantanamo open has helped our enemies, because it validates every negative perception of the United States.”

The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay opened in 2002 to interrogate suspected terrorists following the Sept. 11 attacks. Since then, the detention facility has housed 779 prisoners, with 162 currently still imprisoned there.

The problem, Scarborough said, is what to do with prisoners after they are released. After previous attempts to transport the prisoners to allied countries were undercut by media reports, Scarborough maintained the prison is still open because “our allies know they can’t trust us.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

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