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Judi Lynn

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Patrick Comer: Facts on Cuba still elude many Americans

Patrick Comer: Facts on Cuba still elude many Americans

By Patrick Comer
Posted: 12/29/2015 05:10:31 PM MST | Updated: about 3 hours ago


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People watch a free concert given by Puerto Rico's Olga Tanon, from a building flying a Cuban flag in Havana, Cuba, on Dec. 12.
(Desmond Boylan / AP)
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In his guest opinion (" Freedom Still Eludes Cubans", Mark Read appears to believe that Latin America, and Cuba in particular, remains frozen in the Cold War era.

News flash: A lot has happened over the past 50 years, and Cubans have seen truly historic change in just the past few years! Both U.S.-based imperialist capitalism and Soviet-style communism long-ago demonstrated their failings and have steadily given way to innovative mixed economies throughout the hemisphere. But this transformation has not been easy.

Those who tie their fortunes to the oppression of others never give up without a fight. If you check your facts (try Amnesty International) you will find that the number of people oppressed by left-leaning regimes in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador, while substantial, is dwarfed by horrific sacrifice of peasant farmers, journalists and human rights advocates at the hands of right-wing dictatorships and their death squads. Most right-wing oppression — from Chile to Haiti — was financed or covertly supported by the U.S. government and U.S.-based corporations throughout the 20th century.

I recall, in my travels through Guatemala in the mid-1980s, the harrowing stories of aid workers and indigenous farmers, after whole villages were massacred by the Guatemalan military; most made up of teenaged thugs sporting U.S. weapons and U.S. army uniforms. I remember, as a Peace Corps worker in 1989, how the mercenary Contras — still well armed by the Reagan administration, but then left unemployed by Central American-driven Peace accords — became the most violent criminal gangs ever seen as they spilled over the border into northern Costa Rica.

More:
http://www.dailycamera.com/guest-opinions/ci_29322226/patrick-comer-facts-cuba-still-elude-many-americans

Behind the Ronald Reagan myth: “No one had ever entered the White House so grossly ill informed”

Monday, Dec 28, 2015 04:15 PM CST

Behind the Ronald Reagan myth: “No one had ever entered the White House so grossly ill informed”

Reagan embarrassed himself in news conferences, Cabinet meetings. Recalling how GOP cringed at his lack of interest
William Leuchtenburg

No one had ever entered the White House so grossly ill informed. At presidential news conferences, especially in his first year, Ronald Reagan embarrassed himself. On one occasion, asked why he advocated putting missiles in vulnerable places, he responded, his face registering bewilderment, “I don’t know but what maybe you haven’t gotten into the area that I’m going to turn over to the secretary of defense.” Frequently, he knew nothing about events that had been headlined in the morning newspaper. In 1984, when asked a question he should have fielded easily, Reagan looked befuddled, and his wife had to step in to rescue him. “Doing everything we can,” she whispered. “Doing everything we can,” the president echoed. To be sure, his detractors sometimes exaggerated his ignorance. The publication of his radio addresses of the 1950s revealed a considerable command of facts, though in a narrow range. But nothing suggested profundity. “You could walk through Ronald Reagan’s deepest thoughts,” a California legislator said, “and not get your ankles wet.”



In all fields of public affairs—from diplomacy to the economy—the president stunned Washington policymakers by how little basic information he commanded. His mind, said the well-disposed Peggy Noonan, was “barren terrain.” Speaking of one far-ranging discussion on the MX missile, the Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton, an authority on national defense, reported, “Reagan’s only contribution throughout the entire hour and a half was to interrupt somewhere at midpoint to tell us he’d watched a movie the night before, and he gave us the plot from War Games.” The president “cut ribbons and made speeches. He did these things beautifully,” Congressman Jim Wright of Texas acknowledged. “But he never knew frijoles from pralines about the substantive facts of issues.” Some thought him to be not only ignorant but, in the word of a former CIA director, “stupid.” Clark Clifford called the president an “amiable dunce,” and the usually restrained columnist David Broder wrote, “The task of watering the arid desert between Reagan’s ears is a challenging one for his aides.”

No Democratic adversary would ever constitute as great a peril to the president’s political future, his advisers concluded, as Reagan did himself. Therefore, they protected him by severely restricting situations where he might blurt out a fantasy. His staff, one study reported, wrapped him “in excelsior,” while “keeping the press at shouting distance or beyond.” In his first year as president, he held only six news conferences—fewest ever in the modern era. Aides also prepared scores of cue cards, so that he would know how to greet visitors and respond to interviewers. His secretary of the treasury and later chief of staff said of the president: “Every moment of every public appearance was scheduled, every word scripted, every place where Reagan was expected to stand was chalked with toe marks.” Those manipulations, he added, seemed customary to Reagan, for “he had been learning his lines, composing his facial expressions, hitting his toe marks for half a century.” Each night, before turning in, he took comfort in a shooting schedule for the next day’s television- focused events that was laid out for him at his bedside, just as it had been in Hollywood.

His White House staff found it difficult, often impossible, to get him to stir himself to follow even this rudimentary routine. When he was expected to read briefing papers, he lazed on a couch watching old movies. On the day before a summit meeting with world leaders about the future of the economy, he was given a briefing book. The next morning, his chief of staff asked him why he had not even opened it. “Well, Jim,” the president explained, “The Sound of Music was on last night.”

More:
http://www.salon.com/2015/12/28/behind_the_ronald_reagan_myth_no_one_had_ever_entered_the_white_house_so_grossly_ill_informed/

Indiana attorney general stands by conviction of Purvi Patel for feticide and child neglect

Indiana attorney general stands by conviction of Purvi Patel for feticide and child neglect

This story is a part of Across Women's Lives

PRI's The World
December 10, 2015 · 5:45 PM EST

By Amy Gastelum


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The state's response to Purvi Patel's appeal of her conviction for feticide and child neglect.

Credit:
Amy Gastelum
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Thirty-five-year-old Purvi Patel, the daughter of Indian immigrants, has now served eight months of a 46-year sentence at the Indiana Women’s Prison. In October, Patel lodged an appeal of that conviction with the state’s Court of Appeals, and now Indiana’s attorney general has responded. It's not clear when the appeals court will issue a ruling on her appeal.

Patel’s case has gotten international attention as well as support from reproductive rights groups who worry her conviction of feticide sets a precedent that enables more convictions of women for outcomes of their own pregnancies.

Both Patel’s appeal and the state’s response center on the night of July 13, 2013, when Patel appeared, bleeding, in the emergency room of St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center near South Bend, where she lived.

At first, Patel did not tell doctors that she had been pregnant. But Patel still had a placenta inside her womb, attached to a severed umbilical cord. She later told doctors she had lost the pregnancy at home and left the fetal remains in a dumpster. This led to a police search, aided by one of the doctors who treated Patel. They found the remains, and police questioned Patel in the hospital after she emerged from an operation to remove the placenta.

More:
http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-12-10/indiana-stands-its-conviction-purvi-patel-feticide-and-child-neglect?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link

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Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation Documents Guatemala Atrocities

Source: Associated Press

Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation Documents Guatemala Atrocities

It's the Shoah Foundation's first time working in Latin America after gathering 52,000 accounts from the Nazi Holocaust, genocides in Armenia (1915-23) and Rwanda (1994) and the 1937 Nanking Massacre in China.

Sonia Perez D. Dec 26, 2015 9:26 PM

AP - Juan Chen Chen lit up as he recalled a childhood spent romping in the Guatemalan countryside, playing soccer and spinning tops while his parents harvested maize and squash.

But his voice turned somber and his eyes wandered blankly to focus on a nonexistent horizon as he described the events of March 1980, when the army came to town. Chen managed to hide, but others weren't so lucky.

"I saw when they put a bullet in my father's head," he said. "My father was left lying there, and the dogs began to eat his brains. ... It was the soldiers who were providing security for the dam."

. . .

Chen's tale is among hundreds of oral histories being collected by the USC Shoah Foundation, founded by American director Steven Spielberg. When completed, it will be the most comprehensive repository of eyewitness accounts from Guatemala's 1960-1996 civil conflict in which some 245,000 people were killed or disappeared, most of them by soldiers and paramilitary gangs.

Read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/1.693975

Why a gangster’s grandson can give up hopes of a Cuban Christmas present

Why a gangster’s grandson can give up hopes of a Cuban Christmas present


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Meyer Lansky is booked by New York City detectives in 1958 to be questioned about a gangland slaying. (AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman)
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Tim Fernholz
December 25, 2015

Friendlier relations between the United States and Cuba promise lucrative payouts for nearly all involved. US businesses are eager to open up a new market, Cuban citizens are eager to see the end of an embargo and the socialism that held them back from prosperity, and even Cuban officials expect to make a buck managing the transition ahead.

One person who is unlikely to see any riches? Gary Rapoport, the grandson of the infamous gangster Meyer Lansky, who says that his family deserves $8 million in compensation dating back to when Cuba’s new socialist government seized the Riviera, an oceanfront hotel and casino that Lansky opened and the Cuban government still operates.

The US and Cuban governments have begun talks to figure out how they will settle claims on American property was seized after Fidel Castro’s revolution, while Cuba has its own claims of damages due to the US embargo and military invasion of the Bay of Pigs. The US government recognizes $1.9 billion in claims by US individuals and businesses against Cuba, plus simple interest, while Cuba says it is owed more than $120 billion by the US government. Experts are optimistic that a grand bargain could square these claims and move the US to end the embargo.

But the Lansky heirs are likely out of luck, because their ancestor helped screw up the US-Cuban relationship to begin with. Lansky was one of a number of US crime figures who set up operations in Cuba—yes, that Cuba meeting scene in The Godfather Part II really happened—and helped turn the country into a gambling mecca. That involved extensive bribes to the country’s autocratic leader, Fulgencio Batista, who made Lansky his officially salaried “gambling advisor.”

More:
http://qz.com/581588/why-a-gangsters-grandson-can-give-up-hopes-of-a-cuban-christmas-present/?utm_source=YPL

Astonishing answer to a very old prayer for this long-suffering, compassionate, hard-working woman.

No doubt she had almost given up on her own hope. What a day it must have been when she learned her search was successful,
that her efforts had not been in vane, and that the child wanted to find her, as well.

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The lady's son and his wife, the parents of the granddaughter.

Clara Anahi's murdered parents, Daniel Mariani and Diana Teruggi.












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Chicha Mariani, at the bullet-scarred house of her son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. Armed forces attacked the house in 1976.

Photograph from Kameraphoto[/font]

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A Reporter at Large

March 19, 2012 Issue

Children of the Dirty War

Argentina’s stolen orphans.

By Francisco Goldman


n November 24, 1976, eight months after a military junta took power in Argentina, launching the Dirty War that introduced the term los desaparecidos—“the disappeared”—to the world, a house in a peaceful, tree-lined neighborhood of La Plata, about forty miles southeast of Buenos Aires, came under attack. The assault, which involved two hundred armed forces on the ground and bombing and strafing from the air, lasted for four hours. María Isabel Chorobik de Mariani (known as Chicha), an art-history teacher who lived a few blocks away, heard it, as did others throughout the city. The next day, Mariani found out that it was her son’s house that had been attacked. Daniel Mariani, an economist, and his wife, a graduate student, were both members of the leftist guerrilla group known as the Montoneros. They had been in the house that day with their three-month-old daughter and three other militants. Neighbors called the building the House of Rabbits, because the people who lived there bred and sold rabbits, but that business was a front; the basement held the printing press that put out the underground newspaper Evita. The militants were only lightly armed. “They should have surrendered,” Mariani told me. Instead, they resisted.

Daniel, it turned out, had left for a meeting in Buenos Aires shortly before the attack. His wife, Diana Teruggi, was slain on the patio. She had hidden their daughter, Clara Anahí, in a bathtub, covered with towels. After the attack, a soldier found the baby and carried her out to the street. He asked the commander of the operation, Colonel Ramón Camps, what to do with her. Two police officers were sitting in a car nearby, and Camps told the soldier to give the baby to them. Thirty years later, a neighbor told Chicha Mariani that she had seen one of the policemen place Clara Anahí in an ambulance. When the policeman noticed her watching, he shouted at her to go back into her house or he’d kill her.

As soon as Mariani found out that her granddaughter had been in the house, she began to search for Clara Anahí, checking police stations, hospitals, juvenile courts, and churches. In months of looking, she found no trace of the child and no one who would discuss the situation with her. Even Mariani’s closest friends now crossed the street to avoid her. Finally, a woman working in a juvenile court took pity on her. “You’re very alone, Señora,” she said. She suggested that Mariani meet up with other women who were searching for missing children, and gave her the telephone number of Alicia de la Cuadra. De la Cuadra, whose daughter had been pregnant when she was “disappeared,” told Mariani about a group she belonged to—the Madres de Plaza de Mayo—which had been created in April, 1977, by mothers searching for children who had been detained by the military regime. The Madres gathered in front of the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires every Thursday to march in silent protest around the plaza, wearing white kerchiefs embroidered with their missing children’s names. Mariani participated in a protest with the Madres and soon formed another group, with de la Cuadra and ten other Madres who were also looking for missing grandchildren. They became known as the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo.

Mariani’s son, who had continued his militant life, was shot dead in a La Plata street eight months after the death of his wife. Years later, Mariani’s husband, a symphony conductor, still often hallucinated that the floors of their home were soaked with blood. He spent most of his time in Italy, and he died in 2003. Mariani stayed in La Plata and dedicated her life to finding Clara Anahí.

More:
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/03/19/children-of-the-dirty-war

Thank you, forest444!

What a loving triumph snatched from the jaws of defeat.

Poll finds Cubans in Miami aghast at welfare abuses

Poll finds Cubans in Miami aghast at welfare abuses

By Megan O'Matz, John Maines and Sally Kestin
December 18, 2015, 3:50 PM

Most Cubans coming to the United States today are seeking economic opportunity, not political refuge, and don’t deserve U.S. taxpayer assistance, according to a majority of Cuban-Americans polled by the Sun Sentinel and Florida Atlantic University.

Cuban-Americans especially disapprove of Cubans who collect aid as presumed refugees, then travel back and forth between the U.S. and Cuba. About 62 percent said the U.S. should cut off welfare for those who regularly return to the Communist island.

The poll revealed a divide between recent arrivals and Cubans who have lived in the U.S. for more than two decades. Those with deeper roots here firmly objected to giving welfare to Cubans not fleeing persecution, while those here five years or less favored such aid.

The survey of 423 randomly-selected Miami-Dade County residents of Cuban descent was conducted by phone, in English or Spanish, over four days in early December by FAU’s Business and Economics Polling Initiative. Two-thirds of those polled were born in Cuba and four out of five had lived in the U.S. more than two decades. The majority said they are U.S. citizens and registered Republicans. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.

More:
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sfl-cuba-benefits-poll-htmlstory.html

Operation Naked King: U.S. Secretly Targeted Bolivia's Evo Morales In Drug Sting

Operation Naked King: U.S. Secretly Targeted Bolivia's Evo Morales In Drug Sting
A confidential informant says the DEA had its sights set on Bolivia's populist leader.

 09/15/2015 07:46 am ET | Updated Sep 15, 2015

Ryan Grim
Washington Bureau Chief, The Huffington Post  

Nick Wing
Senior Viral Editor, The Huffington Post

The United States has secretly indicted top officials connected to the government of Bolivian President Evo Morales for their alleged involvement in a cocaine trafficking scheme. The indictments, secured in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sting called "Operation Naked King," have not been previously reported.

Morales, a former leader of Bolivia's coca growers union, has long been at loggerheads with the DEA. In 2008, Morales expelled the agency from the country and embarked on his own strategy of combatting drug trafficking, acknowledging the traditional uses of coca in Bolivian culture and working cooperatively with coca growers to regulate some legal activity and to promote alternative development elsewhere. Morales' plan has been effective at reducing cultivation, according to the United Nations.

But that doesn't mean the DEA accepted its eviction quietly. In fact, the agency went after members of Morales' administration in an apparent effort to undermine his leadership.

The sealed indictments, revealed last week in a lawsuit filed by long-time DEA informant Carlos Toro, target Walter Álvarez, a top Bolivian air force official; the late Raul García, father of Vice President Álvaro García Linera; Faustino Giménez, an Argentine citizen and Bolivian resident who is said to be close to the vice president; and Katy Alcoreza, described as an intelligence agent for Morales. Toro said in the court document that he played an integral role in securing the indictments as part of the DEA's undercover investigation into the alleged Bolivian cocaine trafficking ring, which the agency ran out of its office in Asuncion, Paraguay.

More:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/operation-naked-king-evo-morales_55f70da2e4b077ca094fdbe1?section=australia&adsSiteOverride=au

Argentina: Hundreds protest outside Buenos Aires congress over media censorship fears

Argentina: Hundreds protest outside Buenos Aires congress over media censorship fears
James Lillywhite
By Video by James Lillywhite
December 18, 2015 13:49 GMT


Hundreds of people have protested outside Argentina's congress amid fears of censorship and media monopoly. Protesters gathered in Buenos Aires on 17 December to demand the new president, Mauricio Macri, and his government reconsider proposed reforms that could lead to private organisations taking control of the country's mass media.

They say they are worried about censorship in Argentina if the anti-monopoly laws are loosened or repealed, and demanded that the president keeps the rules against market concentration.

Martin Sabetella, director of the Federal Authority of Audiovisual Communication Services (AFSCA) watchdog – which is in charge of enforcing the legislation – said: "We have come here to defend the audiovisual communications law, which is a tool to ensure freedom of expression, a plurality of voices, to guarantee a deep democracy that is enriched by all voices.

"There is no true democracy without a democracy that's true to its word. And there is no democracy true to its word if the drive of companies is not limited, which harms the freedom of expression. We have come to also confront what is happening. And that is an attempt to violate the laws and the constitution which advances the rights we've gained."

More:
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/argentina-hundreds-protest-outside-buenos-aires-congress-over-media-censorship-fears-1534030

Native Americans Launch New Video Against ‘Hollywood Indians’

Native Americans Launch New Video Against ‘Hollywood Indians’
Published 19 December 2015

Native Americans counter stereotypes and reclaim pride and dignity in what it means to be Native.


A Native American art group launched a new video that takes pride in Indigenous culture and identity as a rebuttal to a controversial Adam Sandlers movie that stereotyped Native Americans earlier this year.




The video, created by Survival of the First Voices Festival, was inspired by a group of Native Americans--including the cultural advisor---that in April this year walked off the set of an Adam Sandlers movie they say was denigrating and racist.

Four of the actors appear in the video, intended to reclaim pride and dignity in what it means to be Native American.

“In the video, there is no bashing of Sandler or the movie's production team. Instead it highlights our important request: Respect our culture, respect our dignity--because our people, our traditions, and our history are beautiful and sacred,” Native actress and co-founder of the art group Allie Young told Indian Country Today.

More:
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Native-Americans-Launch-New-Video-Against-Hollywood-Indians-20151219-0004.html
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