Kerry to Cuba: “There is Nothing to Fear” (Includes Speech)

John Kerry speaking at the US Embassy in Havana on Friday morning.  Photo: Ismael Francisco/cubadebate.cu
John Kerry speaking at the US Embassy in Havana on Friday morning. Photo: Ismael Francisco/cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — US Secretary of State John Kerry declared today in Havana that Cuba and the United States will mutually benefit from the re-establishment of diplomatic relations, adding – in Spanish – that the rapprochement between the two nations ought not prompt fears among people, DPA reported.

“The United States welcome this new beginning in its relationships with the people and government of Cuba,” Kerry said following the ceremony, where three marines raised the US flag in Havana for the first time since relations were broken 54 years ago.

“We know the road to fully normal relations is long, but, precisely because of this, we have to start this instant,” Kerry added, addressing several words in Spanish to the guests standing in the outer courtyard of the embassy located across from the Malecon ocean drive.

“There’s nothing to be feared, as many will be the benefits we will enjoy when we allow our citizens to know each other better, visit each other more frequently, conduct business normally, exchange ideas and learn from one another,” he declared.

Barack Obama’s chief diplomatic officer also delivered some words of criticisms during his speech, reflecting the differences that still separate Washington and Havana.

“In effect, we are still convinced the people of Cuba would be better served by a genuine democracy, where people can freely choose their leaders,” he said.

Kerry became today the first US chief diplomat to visit the island in more than 70 years. The two countries broke relations in January of 1961, two years after the triumph of Fidel Castro’s revolution, when tensions between the capitalist and socialist blocs were high.

“We are sure this is the time to come closer: two peoples who are no longer enemies or rivals, but neighbors,” Kerry insisted later in his speech, also in Spanish.

“Now is the time to unfold our flags, raise them and let the rest of the world know that we wish each other the best,” the US politician added, quoting Cuban independence hero Jose Marti, making a joke about old anti-American slogans that were once popular in Cuba.

“If any of you are tempted to yell ‘Yankee, go home,’ believe me, I understand. As a Red Sox fan, that’s how I’ve felt nearly my entire life,” he said, alluding to the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

After the ceremony, Kerry had planned a meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez.

On July 20, Washington and Havana officially re-established bilateral relations. The same day, Cuba reopened its embassy in Washington. The historic event was unexpectedly announced by presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro mid-December last year, after months of secret negotiations.

 

The following is the complete speech by Secretary of State John Kerry at the flag raising ceremony at the US embassy in Havana on August 14, 2015.

SECRETARY KERRY: Please be seated, everybody. Thank you very, very much. Muchas gracias. Buenos dias. I’m so sorry that we are a little bit late today, but what a beautiful ride in and how wonderful to be here. And I thank you for leaving my future transportation out here in back of me. I love it. (Laughter.)

Distinguished members of the Cuban delegation – Josefina, thank you for your leadership and for all your work of your delegation; excellencies from the diplomatic corps; my colleagues from Washington, past and present; Ambassador DeLaurentis and all of the embassy staff; and friends watching around the world, thank you for joining us at this truly historic moment as we prepare to raise the United States flag here at our embassy in Havana, symbolizing the re-establishment of diplomatic relations after 54 years. This is also the first time that a United States Secretary of State has been to Cuba since 1945. (Applause.)

This morning I feel very much at home here, and I’m grateful to those who have come to share in this ceremony who are standing around outside of our facilities, and I feel at home here because this is truly a memorable occasion – a day for pushing aside old barriers and exploring new possibilities.

And it is in that spirit that I say on behalf of my country, Los Estados Unidos acogen con beneplácito este nuevo comienzo de su relación con el pueblo y el Gobierno de Cuba. Sabemos que el camino hacia unas relaciones plenamente normales es largo, pero es precisamente por ello que tenemos que empezar en este mismo instante. No hay nada que temer, ya que serán muchos los beneficios de los que gozaremos cuando permitamos a nuestros ciudadanos conocerse mejor, visitarse con más frecuencia, realizar negocios de forma habitual, intercambiar ideas y aprender los unos de los otros.

My friends, we are gathered here today because our leaders – President Obama and President Castro – made a courageous decision to stop being the prisoners of history and to focus on the opportunities of today and tomorrow. This doesn’t mean that we should or will forget the past; how could we, after all? At least for my generation, the images are indelible.

In 1959, Fidel Castro came to the United States and was greeted by enthusiastic crowds. Returning the next year for the UN General Assembly, he was embraced by then-Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. In 1961, the Bay of Pigs tragedy unfolded with President Kennedy accepting responsibility. And in October 1962, the missile crisis arose – 13 days that pushed us to the very threshold of nuclear war. I was a student then, and I can still remember the taut faces of our leaders, the grim map showing the movement of opposing ships, the approaching deadline, and that peculiar word – quarantine. We were unsettled and uncertain about the future because we didn’t know when closing our eyes at night what we would find when we woke up.

In that frozen environment, diplomatic ties between Washington and this capital city were strained, then stretched thin, then severed. In late 1960, the U.S. ambassador left Havana. Early the following January, Cuba demanded a big cut in the size of our diplomatic mission, and President Eisenhower then decided he had no choice but to shut the embassy down.

Most of the U.S. staff departed quickly, but a few stayed behind to hand the keys over to our Swiss colleagues, who would serve diligently and honorably as our protecting power for more than 50 years. I just met with the Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, and we’re grateful to Switzerland always for their service and their help. (Applause.)

Among those remaining at the embassy were three Marine guards: Larry Morris, Mike East, and Jim Tracey. As they stepped outside, they were confronted by a large crowd standing between them and the flagpole. Tensions were high. No one felt safe. But the Marines had a mission to accomplish. And slowly, the crowd just parted in front of them as they made their way to the flagpole, lowered Old Glory, folded it, and returned to the building.

Larry, Mike, and Jim had done their jobs, but they also made a bold promise that one day they would return to Havana and raise the flag again. (Applause.)

At the time, no one could have imagined how distant that day would be.

For more than half a century, U.S.-Cuban relations have been suspended in the amber of Cold War politics. In the interim, a whole generation of Americans and Cubans have grown up and grown old. The United States has had ten new presidents. In a united Germany, the Berlin Wall is a fading memory. Freed from Soviet shackles, Central Europe is again home to thriving democracies.

And last week, I was in Hanoi to mark the 20th anniversary of normalization of relations between the United States and Vietnam. Think about that. A long and terrible war that inflicted indelible scars on body and mind, followed by two decades of mutual healing, followed by another two decades of diplomatic and commercial engagement. In this period, Vietnam evolved from a country torn apart by violence into a dynamic society with one of the world’s fastest growing economies. And all that time, through reconciliation, through normalization, Cuban-American relations remained locked in the past.

Meanwhile, new technologies enabled people everywhere to benefit from shared projects across vast stretches of ocean and land. My friends, it doesn’t take a GPS to realize that the road of mutual isolation and estrangement that the United States and Cuba were traveling was not the right one and that the time has come for us to move in a more promising direction.

In the United States, that means recognizing that U.S. policy is not the anvil on which Cuba’s future will be forged. Decades of good intentions aside, the policies of the past have not led to a democratic transition in Cuba. It would be equally unrealistic to expect normalizing relations to have, in a short term, a transformational impact. After all, Cuba’s future is for Cubans to shape. Responsibility for the nature and quality of governance and accountability rests, as it should, not with any outside entity; but solely within the citizens of this country.

But the leaders in Havana – and the Cuban people – should also know that the United States will always remain a champion of democratic principles and reforms. Like many other governments in and outside this hemisphere, we will continue to urge the Cuban Government to fulfill its obligations under the UN and inter-American human rights covenants – obligations shared by the United States and every other country in the Americas.

And indeed, we remain convinced the people of Cuba would be best served by genuine democracy, where people are free to choose their leaders, express their ideas, practice their faith; where the commitment to economic and social justice is realized more fully; where institutions are answerable to those they serve; and where civil society is independent and allowed to flourish.

Let me be clear: The establishment of normal diplomatic relations is not something that one government does as a favor to another; it is something that two countries do together when the citizens of both will benefit. And in this case, the reopening of our embassies is important on two levels: People-to-people and government-to-government.

First, we believe it’s helpful for the people of our nations to learn more about each other, to meet each other. That is why we are encouraged that travel from the United States to Cuba has already increased by 35 percent since January and is continuing to go up. We are encouraged that more and more U.S. companies are exploring commercial ventures here that would create opportunities for Cuba’s own rising number of entrepreneurs, and we are encouraged that U.S. firms are interested in helping Cuba expand its telecommunications and internet links, and that the government here recently pledged to create dozens of new and more affordable Wi-Fi hotspots.

We also want to acknowledge the special role that the Cuban American community is playing in establishing a new relationship between our countries. And in fact, we have with us this morning representatives from that community, some of whom were born here and others who were born in the United States. With their strong ties of culture and family, they can contribute much to the spirit of bilateral cooperation and progress that we are seeking to create, just as they have contributed much to their communities in their adopted land.

The restoration of diplomatic ties will also make it easier for our governments to engage. After all, we are neighbors, and neighbors will always have much to discuss in such areas as civil aviation, migration policy, disaster preparedness, protecting marine environment, global climate change, and other tougher and more complicated issues. Having normal relations makes it easier for us to talk, and talk can deepen understanding even when we know full well we will not see eye to eye on everything.

We are all aware that notwithstanding President Obama’s new policy, the overall U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba remains in place and can only be lifted by congressional action – a step that we strongly favor. For now – (applause). For now, the President has taken steps to ease restrictions on remittances, on exports and imports to help Cuban private entrepreneurs, on telecommunications, on family travel, but we want to go further. The goal of all of these changes is to help Cubans connect to the world and to improve their lives. And just as we are doing our part, we urge the Cuban Government to make it less difficult for their citizens to start businesses, to engage in trade, access information online. The embargo has always been something of a two-way street – both sides need to remove restrictions that have been holding Cubans back.

Before closing, I want to sincerely thank leaders throughout the Americas who have long urged the United States and Cuba to restore normal ties. I thank the Holy Father Pope Francis and the Vatican for supporting the start of a new chapter in relations between our countries. And I think it is not accidental that the Holy Father will come here and then to Washington, the United States at this moment. I applaud President Obama and President Castro both for having the courage to bring us together in the face of considerable opposition. I am grateful to Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson and her team, to our counterparts in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, to our chief of mission, Ambassador Jeff DeLaurentis and his extraordinary staff, for all of the hard work that has led up to this day. And I just say to our wonderful embassy staff, if you think you’ve been busy these past months, hold on to your seatbelts. (Laughter.)

But above all, above all, I want to pay tribute to the people of Cuba and to the Cuban American community in the United States. Jose Marti once said that “everything that divides men…is a sin against humanity.” Clearly, the events of the past – the harsh words, the provocative and retaliatory actions, the human tragedies – all have been a source of deep division that has diminished our common humanity. There have been too many days of sacrifice and sorrow; too many decades of suspicion and fear. That is why I am heartened by the many on both sides of the Straits who – whether because of family ties or a simple desire to replace anger with something more productive – have endorsed this search for a better path.

We have begun to move down that path without any illusions about how difficult it may be. But we are each confident in our intentions, confident in the contacts that we have made, and pleased with the friendships that we have begun to forge.

And we are certain that the time is now to reach out to one another, as two peoples who are no longer enemies or rivals, but neighbors – time to unfurl our flags, raise them up, and let the world know that we wish each other well.

Estamos seguros de que este es el momento de acercarnos: dos pueblos ya no enemigos ni rivales, sino vecinos. Es el momento de desplegar nuestras banderas, enarbolarlas y hacerle saber al resto del mundo que nos deseamos lo mejor los unos a los otros.

It is with that healing mission in mind that I turn now to Larry Morris, Jim Tracey, and Mike East. Fifty-four years ago, you gentlemen promised to return to Havana and hoist the flag over the United States Embassy that you lowered on that January day long ago. Today, I invite you on behalf of President Obama and the American people to fulfill that pledge by presenting the Stars and Stripes to be raised by members of our current military detachment.

Larry, Jim, and Mike, this is your cue to deliver on words that would make any diplomat proud, just as they would any member of the United States Marine Corps: Promise made, promise kept. Thank you.


121 thoughts on “Kerry to Cuba: “There is Nothing to Fear” (Includes Speech)

  • August 22, 2015 at 9:22 pm
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    do the research on your own and you’ll find it

  • August 22, 2015 at 6:46 pm
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    Weak

  • August 20, 2015 at 1:24 am
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    For the record John, the USSR (Soviet Union) was not established until 30 December 1922. That is after it had crashed autonomous movements in Ucraine (remember your Anarchist comrades!) and Georgia to name a few. It resumed the tsarist imperialist line at the first opportunity, such as the annexation of the Baltic Republics. Now Putin is heir to both tsarist and Soviet imperialism. Also, on 25 November 1917 the Bolcheviks lost the last competitive elections in Russia until 1990 but went on to ignore the results anyway. I am 99% sure you deliberately ignored this inconvenient fact.

  • August 19, 2015 at 4:57 pm
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    Addendum:
    You speak of criticizing grammar Sam. You may have noticed one guy whose never been to Cuba criticizing an apostrophe missing in one of Moses’ contributions. At one time before I ceased responding to the same critic, I had on several occasions to quote the meaning of English words and phrases to him – by referring to the Oxford English Dictionary.
    I have not criticised Nidal Shehadeh for grammatical errors as clearly English is not his language. My message was to try to persuade him to pursue a logical train of thought as it would clarify contributions – only trying to help.

  • August 19, 2015 at 2:14 pm
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    read the following and you would understand how ded Israel came to be WRMEA . Assassinate of U.N. Peacekeeper Count Folke BernadotteBy Donald Neff

  • August 19, 2015 at 1:02 pm
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    Well 20 years from now is a long time and I don’t think it will play out quite the way you think. Currently China, and Russia for that matter, are “regional powers” unable to project their limited power globally, China is only nod expanding its naval forces and are only just now learning about carrier operations. China is hamstrung by corruption and a system that is not based on law. It’s a problem they have openly acknowledged. unfortunately until they have a trully opened system and low forthe type of creativity that is only encouraged in democratic countries nothing will change. They will be relegated to stealing technology from the US, as they currently do, as opposed to creating their own technology.

    By the way, have you taken a look at the stock market lately??

  • August 19, 2015 at 12:53 pm
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    Agreed ….I just read something about that

  • August 18, 2015 at 11:08 pm
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    I used to think like you. Then, a building on Reina Street collapsed and killed a little girl I had just met. Her family had been asking the Castros to repair the building for 15 years. During that time, the son of a party official received an unimaginable amount of cement and building supplies to EXPAND his house two doors down. Anything to hasten the departure of the Castro regime works for me.

  • August 18, 2015 at 11:01 pm
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    Collapse of the US dollar? Have you been watching the news? The dollar is smokin’ hot. The Chinese stock market is crashing and the Russian ruble has lost 40% of its value. And good luck with that Cuban oil project. 5 different countries have tried to drill for it. Nada. Maybe #6 is the charm.

  • August 18, 2015 at 10:53 pm
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    I go to Cuba twice a year to visit my in-laws. But just for chuckles, how would you try to keep me out. The Castros love taking my money and I bring my own toilet paper.

  • August 18, 2015 at 10:53 pm
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    Socialists hate to recognise that Adolf Hitler – originally from Linz in Austria, formed and led the National Socialist Party of Germany – hence “Nazi” as an abbreviation of National Socialist in German.
    So in reaction they label him as a fascist, avoiding the use of National Socialism. I increasingly have to refer to the Oxford English Dictionary in order to correct the misuse of English practised by socialist supporters. It says:
    FASCISM:
    authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization
    That defines Benito Mussolini and his Fascist Party in Italy, but can scarcely be applied to National Socialism.
    It was because of their similar dictatorial positions that Hitler and Stalin were able to agree to both attack and virtually obliterate Poland, dividing it between them. AND THEY BOTH DID ATTACK POLAND!
    Socialists also avoid attacking dictatorship providing it is of the left, but have no qualms in attacking right wing dictatorships. I hate both!

  • August 18, 2015 at 10:28 pm
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    Not being an American – for which I am grateful, I cannot plead to American imperialism.
    As for criticizing grammar, I did no such thing. I recorded my view that in hopping around various countries in the world – without discernible logic, any intended message was difficult to discern.
    Garble:
    reproduce a message, sound or transmission in a confused and distorted way:
    OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

  • August 18, 2015 at 10:18 pm
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    If you bother reading the contributions by Gomezz, you will know that he claims as an expert upon anal cleansing that Cubans don’t use toilet paper – and the diarrhea ain’t verbal!
    The 2012 National Census held in Cuba revealed just 5,000 people resident in Cuba who were not born there. Most of them are of Russian origin, I know one in the city where we live, but she is now an old lady.
    Gomezz is fortunate in not requiring toilet paper when in Cuba, as it is frequently not available in the military owned shops. But its shortage does increase the distribution of Granma, the official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba.
    As for keeping Moses out of Cuba, would you separate him from his relatives there?
    The disappointment is that once you go to Cuba you will be unable to contribute to Havana Times through the Internet. But then, maybe the silence will be golden!

  • August 18, 2015 at 10:06 pm
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    I am not an American and do not live in the USA. The repetitive references made by US citizens in these columns to their domestic political problems do get boring.
    Speaking of mass shootings, you presumably are aware of those carried out under the direction of Che Guevara at the fort in Havana – over 350 and by Raul Castro Ruz in Santiago – 78 one day! You say that Cuba has “virtually no crime.” Why is then that on a per capita basis it has the third highest rate of incarceration in the world? Just who are the regime locking up?
    I realise that Americans shoot over 12,000 of their fellow citizens per year and that the US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world – but they at least say why and who they are locking up.

  • August 18, 2015 at 9:49 pm
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    Which begs a question Terry – why did you give it time?

  • August 18, 2015 at 7:01 pm
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    Moving to Cuba, which I’m not entirely sure you can do, would mean you have money that the average Cuban does not. Your reality will be different than that of the average Cuban.

    ….also I expect you’ll be taking the occasional trio every three months or so to “stock up”, even if its just on books. Lets just say that the newest titles are not to be found in Cuba.

  • August 18, 2015 at 7:00 pm
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    Carly, I was on the front lines during the Vietnam protest days in NYC. One thing I never did was desecrate our flag! True, many wrong and sad decisions have been made by my country but the mere fact that I could protest, organize and write my strong convictions was a tribute to the first amendment that seems to be fading at present. I also can’t imagine
    what Cuba and the US would be like if the World War 11 was lost by those
    who pledged allegiance to the flag you would want to be raised half mast.
    Cuba made the decision to allow this to happen and so I think they
    have a one up over both of us.

  • August 18, 2015 at 6:53 pm
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    IC, it looks like travel to Cuba by 2016 will be as easy as going to Barbados!
    It’s a smart move indeed! Can’t wait!!

  • August 18, 2015 at 6:43 pm
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    The US is diminishing power and along with the rise of China is having less and less influence on the world…watch this space in another 20 years then let’s see how much influence it really has..

  • August 18, 2015 at 6:37 pm
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    Thanks Moses, I actually loved your post and support your ideals, as it just helps us to keep people like you out of Cuba! Keep it comin! PS: You may need the toilet paper for the verbal diarrhea you seem afflicted with….

  • August 18, 2015 at 2:54 pm
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    In other words, you believe in the status quo. You believe that your government should continue their repressive interventionist policies that hurt only the Cuban people. You would rather support your government’s continued tyranny even though history has proven that those policies don’t work. But you would continue with those same policies never-the-less… all-the-while ignoring the cruel misery that those policies undoubtedly inflict on the Cuban people each and every day. Moses, how you can claim with a straight face that you possess any sense of compassion for the Cuban people is beyond me. Now I really am questioning your intelligence as well…sorry. If I understand you correctly, you would rather puff out your chest with bravado and continue to demand that the Cuban government do your bidding while your government relentlessly punishes the innocent men, women, and children of Cuba without mercy… that’s really what you and your government currently advocate by way of your attitude, and your government’s tired policies. That’s not what I would call intelligence, or compassion. And yet I know you’re a very intelligent person… no matter how misguided and overtly self-righteous your intentions are to help effect change in Cuba. I believe your heart is in the right place, but you have to get your head into the game too.

  • August 18, 2015 at 6:06 am
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    OK, in that case, we can agree to causality. FIRST, Castro created a totalitarian state. SECOND, the US responded with its embargo. So it stands to reason that Castro should restore democracy, then the US would lift the embargo. But, alas, it doesn’t appear that it will play out this way.

  • August 18, 2015 at 5:43 am
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    Are you going to work for the Castros? That’s to say that you are going to live on $22 per month. Or, are you taking your retirement income with you? An income that you earned in that first world country? It makes a huge difference. Either way, you are one of only a few thousand people from around the entire world to decide to live in Cuba full time. You are very brave or very stupid. Either way, best of luck to you. Take lots of toilet paper!

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:54 pm
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    Life is politics my friend. The US is the global dominant superpower. …thank God. Saudi Arabia is an oil producing strategic partner. And North Korea is a old 1950s military with some nuclear capabilities that starves its people. Unfortunately South Korea sits with its crazy neighbor to the North, a scant 50 miles from Seoul, a sword of Damocles hanging over its economic head. And at the end its all about business. And as Calvin Coolidge once said, the Business of the United States is business. ….Cuba has no business.

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:44 pm
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    I cant disagree with you there. In fact I believe I misread your original comment. You meant to use the “ant-Castro” travelers to the US as s point of contrast…gotcha. Sometimes the context is hard to pick up on in these posts.

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:35 pm
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    Cubans having been in communication with the million plus Cubans that have migrated to the States, and have been coming and going for from the US almost as long. They know very well the reality that is the USA. And if by impressionable you mean that Cubans are attracted to a life that provides the comforts not available at home, say a glass of milk, or a pan con bistec, then I dong blame them. It’s interesting to note that many Cubans try traditional criollo Cuban cuisines in Miami for the first time, even though they have lived their entire life in Cuba

    …..and the lines to come to the US continue to grow.

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:24 pm
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    Interesting to note that Cubans don’t feel the same way you do. I myself thank God every day that my family was able to flee Cuba and I was afforded the opportunity to succeed in this Country. What you talk about is a small minority.

    Cuba has achieved nothing on the world stage, except serve up the siren song for the wacky people of this world.
    ….meanwhile the lines to get into this Country, despite its flaws, continue to grow. What do they know that you don’t I wonder?

  • August 17, 2015 at 10:28 pm
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    The flag should be at half mast, remember Cuba before Castro, one big gambling brothel with people starving. That was the US legacy there….fact!

  • August 17, 2015 at 7:50 pm
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    Carlyle shame on you…apart from nonsensical contributions you attack someone because of their grammar and not meeting your expectation? American imperialism again in action?

  • August 17, 2015 at 7:44 pm
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    Hear hear well said!!!!

  • August 17, 2015 at 7:40 pm
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    Exactly what it stands for symbolism, its all feathers and no meat. If the States were so concerned about human rights and freedom why is it not trying to change Saudi Arabia and their summary executions, or North Korea with its nuclear missiles….perhaps as they are likely to face a contest they know they will lose. Its always easy to assert yourself over a weaker country.

  • August 17, 2015 at 7:36 pm
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    Informed consent the power of the American marketing machine is pervasive upon young impressionable minds. The people you state who want to go to the States are young people who seem the glam image portrayed on TV. I have met many Cubans who have been to the States only to kiss Cuban soil upon returning. I have no animosity toward people of the States, they are some of the nicest people in the world – its the insidious capitalist machine that treats people like a human fodder…a fact you and no-one here can deny. It is a system devoid of humanity and that is where the most basic fundamental arguments here are founded. The world does not want to see Cuba go down the same path.

  • August 17, 2015 at 7:30 pm
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    Myopic is the word of the day as that is what it seems the USA tried to impose on the world, its myopic vision of utopia. I bet if half of the population of the States were offered a chance to live somewhere else out of the dog eat dog society that breeds anxiety, fear and depression they would leave…including you I suspect….

  • August 17, 2015 at 7:22 pm
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    Well actually Moses I am doing just that…moving there and I come from a so called ‘first world country’. Enjoy being enslaved to the false promises and empty existence so typical of where you obviously live. Enjoy and lets have this conversation in another 20 years and see who has ‘really lived life’ with all its meaning.

  • August 17, 2015 at 6:58 pm
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    IC, it’s embarrassing that I simply cannot go to a US airport, passport in hand and visa, pay for a ticket to Cuba and return without answering various questions as to why I’m traveling to Cuba. That
    is wrong however Cuban’s overall can do just that. It’s a very bad policy and not a good reflection on what I consider to be a basic right.

  • August 17, 2015 at 6:11 pm
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    Moses, I said I UNDERSTAND it…I didn’t say that I condone it…just as I don’t condone the repressive interventionist policies of your government that have been forced upon the Cuban people for much too long.

  • August 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm
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    You see this is the issue with the States Informed Consent makes some arguments which on the surface may appear true, but dig deeper and you will see many people wanting to leave the States. Just look at websites likes Escape Artist. I have met many Cubans who have emigrated to the States and come back – yes come back. That is never reported as they suddenly realize like all those immigrants who you say are lining up, that the real dream heavily promoted with the mass insidious marketing machine is actually a nightmare. Let the facts speak for themselves… I would not want to live in a place with mass shootings, weirdos, the biggest porn industry, general trashy culture. Granted the States is a broad nation that has produced a lot of good, but so has Cuba in equal if not more measure, starting with health care and education. Quite simply Cuba and the thinking world does not want American trashy culture ruining the unique traits that Cuba has worked so tireless in the face of adversity to protect.

  • August 17, 2015 at 4:44 pm
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    Symbolism Terry, symbolism

  • August 17, 2015 at 4:42 pm
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    SFB? What does the Society of Biometrics have to do with this?

    But seriously John, I’m in my late 40’s and I don’t even use those acronyms.

    When taken in there totality, your comments seem to indicate that you are in your late 20’s perhapse? Certainly not in the 70’s as you’ve indicated in these pages. Stop embarrassing yourself John

  • August 17, 2015 at 2:29 pm
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    ….”fascists and communists” are two sides of the same coin John. And didn’t you get the memo? Castro doesn’t want you to call Cuban exiles gusanos any more, after all it’s our billions in remittances that keep the Castro government afloat

  • August 17, 2015 at 2:02 pm
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    Thank you.

  • August 17, 2015 at 1:21 pm
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    “Cuba may have still been a poor country unable to feed and clothe itself but the Cuban people would have been free” Moses you have said a lot of crap on this site BUT this one is classic !!! One for the books haha!!

  • August 17, 2015 at 12:43 pm
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    What does your comment have to do with this thread?

  • August 17, 2015 at 12:41 pm
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    That is not my “way”. I have always advocated for a Cuba free to choose their own way through free, open, transparent, multi-party elections.

  • August 17, 2015 at 12:37 pm
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    You sound like the guy who says he beats his wife for her own good. In spite of US/Cuban relations, there is no excuse for taking away basic human rights. The US should never again make the mistake of setting up internment camps as we did at the onset of WWII. The Castros have no excuse for their actions either.

  • August 17, 2015 at 12:28 pm
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    The CASTROS as I have explained before represent the Castro – led oligarchy. Cubans named Castro and many who have other names but fall in line to maintain the status quo leadership of the country are covered by this term CASTROS. Keep up John. By the way, Fidel is a public figure and fair game for every snide and sideways remark that I can come up with.

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:46 am
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    Aside from the PUERILE and cheap attack on Fidel’s physical condition for which you have a penchant , your posts ALWAYS claim that the CASTROS……….take careful note of the “S” at the end of Castro which indicates more than one Castro….- are running Cuba.
    So were you lying/wrong then or are you lying/wrong now ?

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:40 am
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    SFB,
    I’m currently in my seventh book on the subject of a labor-less and golden future with one more waiting after that.
    Your opinion of my predictions is of little importance to me because I well understand that the vast majority of people have no clue as to the science behind these predictions and so just can’t understand or believe what will have been developed in just a few decades .
    It’s like trying to understand why the Cuban-U.S. relationship is what it is without understanding the underlying imperial U.S. policies that drive that relationship .
    I would recommend getting and reading a copy of Martin Ford’s ” The Rise Of The Robots : Technology and The Threat Of A Jobless Future” .
    It was an easy read but covered all the bases thoroughly and in a way that is understandable to the lay public.
    It was published just this year and is right up-to-date.
    I guarantee that you will not keep your current derisive skepticism .

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:35 am
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    I don’t support the Castros…I support the Cuban people. What I UNDERSTAND are the reasons why the Castros have needed to maintain a policy of strict control. This is why I’m so adamant that the embargo and Helms-Burton must be dismantled first before passing judgement on the Castro government. Once your government completely levels the playing field, I too will promptly have my immediate expectations for reciprocal change within the ranks of the Cuban government…especially where their changes will enhance the welfare of the Cuban people.

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:24 am
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    “Cuba may have still been a poor country unable to feed and clothe itself but the Cuban people would have been free”
    Yup, free to go without enough food , housing, education, healthcare as it was before the revolution and after the revolution is deposed if you have your way.
    What sort of democracy did you have in mind ?
    Modeled after which country’s system ?
    Does it include TOTALITARIAN free-enterprise capitalism ?

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:19 am
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    You attacked the messenger because you could not respond effectively to the facts in his post with which you disagree.
    You then topped it with a likening of the author with a rabid dog.
    Really, chickenshit and totally moronic debating tactics, as is to be expected.

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:14 am
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    It is necessary to understand how the policies of the US government ( imperialism) operate in the world in order to fully understand anything about the U.S./Cuban relationship .
    You have a problem in dealing with that reality because you support those imperial policies.
    You’re just plain wrong to assign all blame for Cuba’s problems to the Cubans and …given the U.S.G.’s 70 or so mainly successful interventions in the past 50 years which utilized the same tactics for nefarious ends., you’re also blind to overwhelming historical precedent .
    That’s just willful ignorance on your part.
    So of course YOU are bored.

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:06 am
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    Three things,
    1)
    There is no apostrophe in the possessive form of it .
    2)
    Being number two must not be fun for you.
    3)
    The U.S. was #1 in a poll last year of 60,000 regular people in the Middle East which had the United States as the main threat to peace in that area of the world by a huge margin. Iran was way down on the list, not having invaded a neighbor for a couple of hundred years .
    That the U.S. GOVERNMENT is hated and feared by billions around the world is a secret only to the people of the U.S. who don’t get out much .

  • August 17, 2015 at 10:58 am
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    You forgot the comma after “Stop” .

  • August 17, 2015 at 10:51 am
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    I had my DNA traced by National Geographic . They trace EVERYONE on the planet back to around Kenya some 60,000 years ago and then trace the migratory path taken by people with the same DNA characteristics. .
    We are all humans and all species homo sapiens with all but the people who never left Africa also having some 2.5 % of both SUBHUMAN Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA, this from interbreeding with those two sub-species in Europe and Asia before they died out some 10 thousand years ago.. or so.
    I come from a Jewish heritage and never heard anything about Turkish khazarian roots although my personal DNA is some 22% south Asian .
    I tend to regard all man as one man .
    We are all brothers and sisters.
    We just forgot how to act that way under totalitarian systems we developed fairly recently as the millennia go, just to prove that we haven’t gotten that far away from our non-reasoning savage progenitors.

  • August 17, 2015 at 10:19 am
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    I disagree with you. The Castro dictatorship does deserve the condemnation and isolation that has been imposed upon it. It seems that your measure of success is simply that it could have been worse. I can agree with you there. But it should have been better for Cubans. Had Fidel installed a democracy instead of a dictatorship, life in Cuba would have been very different. Cuba may have still been a poor country unable to feed and clothe itself but the Cuban people would have been free.

  • August 17, 2015 at 9:24 am
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    As I have already indicated, I am critical of US policies in the Americas from the Monroe Doctrine onwards. But, having evicted the US, Fidel Castro having said that: “I do not seek power and I will not accept it.” became a dictator – and in my view dictators be they of left or right political persuasion are evil.
    The Castro regime held executions without trial, terminated free media, imposed a one party system and ensured that Cubans would live in poverty with the regime holding total power and control over every aspect of daily life with the CDR as a spying service upon who is talking to who and to report if any individual is thought to be showing dissident tendencies.
    Regarding racism, I can assure you that in Cuba it is a lot more than skin deep. Question 6 of the 2012 National Census was:
    What is the colour of your skin?
    White
    Metiza/Mulato
    Black

  • August 17, 2015 at 9:11 am
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    Do please try to write in an understandable format – your habit of garble makes comprehension difficult. Your contribution above hops around from the US, to Iraq to Pakistan, to Peru, to Iran, to China, to Russia, to Taiwan, to the US, back to China, on to Africa, and finally back to the US. It is somewhat similar to a dog with rabies – it can’t bark because it is too busy frothing at the mouth.

  • August 17, 2015 at 9:01 am
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    The myopic concentration upon the USA does get boring.

  • August 17, 2015 at 8:58 am
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    The Security Council which approved the formation of Israel included China and Russia – Western Powers?
    As one of the nomadic tribes, the Jewish people settled in what is now Israel and built Jerusalem which as you will know, dates back 4 thousand years. The other nomadic tribes later adopted the new religion of Islam. Almost 20% of Israelies are Arab. Not all Jewish people are Zionists.
    Yes, I have been to Israel and deeply regret that Yasser Arafat was unable to agree to the settlement offered at Camp David, but that missed opportunity is now history.

  • August 17, 2015 at 8:32 am
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    Seeing that Cuban migration to the the USA, both legal and illegal, is increasing year over year, Cubans must know something that you do not.

    As you said “once you cut through all the political [clap trap], I assume that’s what you meant to say, that fact Cubans who have the means, are leaving in droves. Yes the U.S. makes it easy for them. But if everything you say is true, why come here?

  • August 17, 2015 at 8:25 am
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    The popularity of the USA can be seen through its net immigration rates. It’s interesting to see that many of the countries who are the most vocal critics of the USA have long waiting lists to immigrate to this country. For a country that is so hated that is quite an amazing feat.

    And Tom, you create a false dilemma when you try and tie in owning “flatscreen” TVs and having loving relationships. One is not exclusive of the other. (Not to mention that other types of TVs are not being manufactured. Or was their some inherent value in a Cathod Ray Tube TV set?) But seriously, to answer the second part of your comment, it’s all a question of having the freedoms to make your own choices. Something Cubans still do not have! …Just ask them.

  • August 17, 2015 at 8:04 am
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    Didn’t he promis to go away? Whatever happened with that?

  • August 17, 2015 at 7:18 am
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    Carlyle and Terry were having an interesting adult debate and you jump in like a 10 year old. Lacking any substantive to add to the thread, you name-call. Typical….

  • August 17, 2015 at 12:01 am
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    If Cuba could only get past that whole free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, independent and open elections stuff, they would be damn near perfect. Oh yes, and then there is the whole buildings falling down, food and fuel shortages thing. You obviously don’t live in Cuba because there’s the access to the internet problem as well. Sarcasm aside, enough with the romanticizing Cuba. If you really felt as good about the place as you write, you would pack up from wherever you are and live there. We know that ain’t gonna happen, is it?

  • August 16, 2015 at 11:54 pm
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    Being #1 has it’s drawbacks.

  • August 16, 2015 at 11:32 pm
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    We could debate the “cruelty” that the US embargo has actually caused the Cuban people and likely never agree. Where there should be no argument is the tyranny and repression inflicted upon the Cuban people by the Castros. For goodness sake, Cubans have gone to jail for simply criticizing or making jokes about the Castros. How can you support those thugs?

  • August 16, 2015 at 10:48 pm
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    Stop John. Play nice.

  • August 16, 2015 at 10:46 pm
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    I don’t claim that Fidel runs anything except maybe his bowels given the stoma bag he wears under his Adidas track suit.

  • August 16, 2015 at 10:35 pm
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    Why is it embarrassing? Its the sort of freedom everyone should have. The same freedom you and others enjoy. Many US citizens travel all over the world speaking out against their own government.

  • August 16, 2015 at 10:30 pm
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    Haha John. This from a man who’s waiting for “smarter than human” computers (Isn’t that what you call them?) To solve humanities problems in the next 20 years.

  • August 16, 2015 at 9:53 pm
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    Who, The British? Because I thought the Israelis managed that all by themselves, despite the British. And kicked some Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian ass on the way. ….all by their lonesome.

    ….and here you are, a refuge in a land you hate, even though it opened its arms to you.

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:39 pm
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    Susan,
    I would suggest you visit the “Killing Hope” website and read the “Introduction” to the book and perhaps the second chapter on Guatemala in the 80s .
    The United States is NOT about doing good in the world and your post clearly shows your ignorance of the past 100 years of U.S. interventions.
    I am 99% sure that you do not know that the United States along with Czechoslovakia and a few other European nations invaded the new Soviet Union in 1918 and lost that imperial war by 1921.
    There are far more than 70 interventions you can look up .There are some 54 listed in “Killing Hope” and more in
    ” Rogue State ”
    You do not have any clue as to actual history and U.S. intentions in the world.
    Go look at those books and learn something.

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:31 pm
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    Said the wolf to the lamb:
    “There is nothing to fear”

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:29 pm
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    Who is this “Saul” and for God’s sake tell him to stay away from Damascus. There’s a horrible civil going on there, you know.
    I particularly LOVED your comparison of the Nazis to the Cuban Communist Party .
    It’s SO trite and so typical of the lunatic right to compare fascists with “communists” .
    It IS well known in gusano circles that Fidel sleeps with a copy of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” under his pillow .
    Which accounts for those bags under his eyes.
    That’s a big boring book , you know.

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:22 pm
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    You make infantile claims that warrant similar level responses .
    My comments were and are both relevant and accurate.
    Not many people in academia or even in the U.S. corporate anti-Cuban media claim that Fidel is still running the country .
    Oh, maybe Rush Limbaugh and others like him who make a living saying preposterous things but certainly no
    one with a serious scholastic or historically accurate way of thinking.
    Perhaps you can come up with some sort of proof that Fidel has an active hand in the running of the country and not look the complete fool each time you make that claim but until then, you’re an incomplete fool IMO.

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:10 pm
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    Very well expressed,
    Thank you

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:09 pm
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    The government of the USA is an oligarchy .
    It represents FIRST the interests of the wealthy who finance their political campaigns and not the interests of the electorate ..
    You ARE less intelligent for not understanding something so basic and denying U.S. imperialism. .

  • August 16, 2015 at 6:43 pm
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    Many thanks Carlyle for your courteous reply. I am sorry to hear of your experiences with the Cuban police. Racism is always wrong, yet remains a huge blight on police services all around the world. My observations are that Cuba is a far less racist country than my own (Australia), and this is based mainly on the mixed race social groups you can see everywhere you look in Havana and other Cuban cities. At home, people only ever congregate in groups comprised of a single race, and seem uncomfortable talking with others whose skin is a different colour. This is one of the aspects in which Australia needs to change to more closely follow the Cuban example. The other point I want to make is that, for all its faults and failings, life in Cuba could have been much worse without its strong, post-revolution leadership. It was this that ensured Cuba did not go down the path of Chile, led for 18 years by a brutal dictator after the US-facilitated overthrow of its democratically elected government to prevent the emergence of “another Cuba”. I have never believed that life in Cuba is perfect, but given its history, I also don’t think its government deserves the condemnation and isolation that has been imposed upon it.

  • August 16, 2015 at 6:34 pm
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    I would like to know something, in which countries around the world is America genuinely popular? I can’t think of one… I can think of many when it comes to Cuba…

    Now why would that be? When we are all on our death bed we will look back and think about the things that really mattered, people and loving relationships not the flat screen and the consumerism trap that kept one enslaved for all of their working lives…Cuba is about a sense of community, people, place and things in that order. It seems the USA is about things, paces and people last….

  • August 16, 2015 at 6:14 pm
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    Lets break this argument down into two very basic facts and let those speak for themselves:

    America = people living under bridges, dead if not private health insurance, nutters gunning people in schools and malls, vastly uneducated population, obesity, violence, dog eat dog society, diminishing power in the world as shift toward Asia-Pacific region and little global respect from many countries. The myth of freedom is just that, you are in fact chained up to the system.

    Cuba = people have a somewhere to live, universal health care, no mass shootings, virtually no crime, educated population, outlive Americans, massive global respect.

    I know where I would rather live. Sure Cuba is not perfect but it has stood up to the tripe arising from the USA and has not acquiesced while gaining international respect. Once you cut through all the political dialogue and motherhood statements you see the real situation. Cuba forever!

  • August 16, 2015 at 4:05 pm
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    Terry, no matter what policies the US adopts, nothing will change the determination of the Castro family regime to retain their power and control over the people of Cuba. They are ardent communists, not social democrats. As a so-called pink conservative, I can debate and discuss with social democrats – our views differ, but each seeks the best for society as a whole. It is one party dictatorships that I oppose and that is what the Castro family regime is.
    As I have said above, there is a potential conflict between the so-called government when it is led by Diaz-Canel, Marino Murillo and Bruno Rodriguez and the members of the Castro family who between Alejandro and his brother-in-law control Cuba’s security services (including the CDR the power of which is underestimated by many) and 80% of the economy. Such power is not likely to be readily relinquished. Innocence of the reality of Cuba is demonstrated on this page by a regular academic contributor who questions whether the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba actually exists. It does, and it works hard and effectively. Dr. Goebbels the National Socialist propagandist for Adolf Hitler would have admired it.
    Don’t imagine for a moment that if the US abandoned the embargo, that Socialismo would change or mellow into softness. Raul Castro is not to be compared with Saul on the road to Damascus!

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:40 am
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    keep in mind that 90% of Jews on the planet happy to be Turkish khazarian and have nothing to do with the Semitic people , anti Semite is handy for them to use shamelessly I may add

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:28 am
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    can we keep it Civil and never mind the profanity , I’m in the US due to the fact that’s Western powers took my country Palestine and give it to the Zionist , and if I have a choice and there is piece I would go back in a heartbeat

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:27 am
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    good work well spoken please keep it coming

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:22 am
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    There was a time in human history in which embassies where an extension of friendship , peace , prosperity and justice , in the old days the site of the US Embassy meant a lifeline , reality today and now US embassies ar nothing more then a pit of venomous vipers , an extension of Army and the CIA dressed up in civilian clothing , US Embassy in Baghdad cost 750 million, embassies in Karachi Pakistan occupies 300 acres and I can go on with one example after another , when I drove by the US Embassy in Lima Peru it looks like more of a maximum security prison then representatives off American values , Phineas Musharraf ex Prime Minister of Pakistan in a interview with NPR ask the question ” why do you need an embassy with 10,000 personnel in it ” The answer is simple , it’s nothing more then tentacles of the American evil empire , a strike force ready to move on a moment’s notice with diplomatic protection , Successful overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh was carried out from US Embassy .
    American genocide in Central America was carried out from US Embassy there is many examples .
    Americans need to realize that if it wasn’t for the Chinese drilling for oil in Cuba and the Russians the trying to reestablish bases in Cuba as I heard on RT TV none of this would have happened .
    Imagine a situation in which Russia and China have more influence in Cuba then American , do we go back to a Cold War setting , in which the US will say I will not envied Cuba if you do not invade Taiwan One factor all through human history the price of being engaged as expensive as it might be is better than the price of not being engaged , I hear American political commentators talk about the Iranian mistake , in the sense of complete disengagement from communications with the Iranians , it took a courageous president my President Obama to break the ice , and again the same president extended an olive branch of peace to our neighbors,
    If United States of America open miniature copies off the Library of Congress around the world instead of military bases and false embassies, at the same time did not pump money into the pockets of murderous tyrants and dictators around the world we will be in a different position right now , when you say the US of A it would be more respectable and only at that point the flag would mean something other than war and genocide . By all accounts China is getting the upper hands in Africa without firing a single bullet , the way they do it is by taking the plane fall of disadvantaged Africans and fully educating them returning to there country with pens in their hands and not guns .
    one more issue cannot be escaped , what economist talking about is pending collapse of the US dollar , which mean US won’t have the money to keep all these embassies open .

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:14 am
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    There lies the rub…I imagine. But please, try to get this right… if you continue to support your government’s policies meant to bring pain and suffering to the Cuban people, then yes, you’re lacking in compassion for the Cuban people. It’s that simple. If you want to continue to kid yourself and believe that those old tired and insane US policies are actually targeted at the Castros, and further, reaping rewards, be my guest. But you’d be wrong…and you know it. And please also understand this too… it’s NOT the Cuban government that is inflicting cruel interventionist policies on America intent on bringing misery to the American people. There lies the difference, the hypocrisy, and the truth.

  • August 16, 2015 at 8:09 am
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    Susan, your jumping to conclusions, limited knowledge of the situation, and over-all juvenile attitude is not worthy of my time.

  • August 16, 2015 at 6:54 am
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    By your logic, my dislike of the Castros begets a lack of compassion for the Cuban people. Is that about right? How is it then that your hate for my government which represents the American people doesn’t equate to hating America? Who says that my comments make me appear “less intelligent”? Is that your judgment?

  • August 16, 2015 at 6:47 am
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    Your puerile attacks on me rather than addressing the facts in my comment is out of step with the quality of the debate for this thread.

  • August 16, 2015 at 6:42 am
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    To “Work WITH the Cuban government” means working with the Castros. Kerry said we would do that. He also said we would “work with the Cuban people”. Only in Cuba does that mean “AGAINST the Cuban government”. That’s Castros’ problem, not ours.

  • August 16, 2015 at 12:12 am
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    Aussieguy, I am not an American. I have few criticisms of Cuba and wish that beautiful country and its citizens every good wish. It is where my home is, as my wife is a Cuban and I spend the majority of my time there.
    I do not contribute to these columns in order to discuss the US, its vices and virtues. Suffice to say that I am critical of US policies in the Americas from the time of the Monroe Doctrine of 1842 onwards. But there are plenty of dissatisfied Americans constantly bleating here about their homeland without you and I adding to it.
    But Aussieguy you should know that the State Police in Cuba stop married couples in the street if they are of different colour – I know from experience – four times when visiting Havana. Cuba is a racist country under the Castro family regime.
    Many of us could endlessly list criticisms of the US or perhaps step back and list its many good achievements and merits, but this is the Havana Times and it is now 56 years since the revolution when one dictator was replaced by another. Poor Cuba and its subjugated people.

  • August 16, 2015 at 12:09 am
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    Carlyle, all valid points, and I can agree with most of them. I live in one of the poorer barrios of Cam city several times a year… I live like a cubano when there, so believe me, I know what you mean. But to clarify, the siege mentality of the Cuban government that I spoke of earlier was adopted to insure that Cuba would survive the continued US policies meant to over-throw the revolution and return America to once again exploit the population and Cuba’s resources. Raul and his government are STILL resolute in maintaining their control of all aspects of their economy and population (for better or for worse) to undoubtedly thwart any renewed threat of American exploitation. They’ve maintained a form of war-time Marshal law (for the lack of a better term) to circle the wagons and survive the siege. Until America finally ends their war on Cuba, it has become abundantly clear that the Cuban government will continue to maintain their vigilance, making the transition to any other form of governing otherwise impossible. Real change will only come when the Cuban government no longer feels that America is a serious threat to the sovereignty of Cuba, and to their internal affairs.

  • August 15, 2015 at 11:26 pm
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    Moses, neither of us knows what has been agreed to behind closed doors. I have every faith that the continuing negotiations between the Obama administration and the Castro government have already tabled a very elaborate bucket list on paper as a framework for both to navigate with scheduled incremental changes. I can also appreciate that to make meaningful changes more possible in Cuba, playing field needs to be leveled, and it’s the US that must make initial changes in their policies regarding Cuba to achieve that. That process has begun, but there is much more that the US government will need to do first to both acknowledge and support a willingness to work WITH the Cuban government to help expedite change, and not AGAINST the Cuban government by continuing to advocate their over-throw.

  • August 15, 2015 at 11:06 pm
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    Moses, I don’t “hate” America…I hate your government’s interventionist policies inflicted on the Cuban people. And I am not judging your competence… however your lack of compassion for the people of Cuba has always been evident…disguised as your hatred for the Castros. One begets the other…if that makes you appear less than intelligent when considering the daily misery inflicted on the Cuban people no thanks to your government’s insane policies of repression, than what more needs to be said.

  • August 15, 2015 at 10:56 pm
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    Oh, Terry Downey, STFU. What the hell is wrong with you? You sound like a bitter churl in love with his own opinions. FACT: The “symbolic influence” of the American flag — namely, the human values it stands for as its ideal — has been a source of inspiration and hope for millions of people around the world. Just ask any of those who came here and found becoming US citizens one of the most cherished moments of their lives. And another thing, asshole, it’s been Cuba’s own repressive, communist economic policy that has done more damage to their economy than the US embargo has. Cuba has been trading freely with dozens of nations for decades, and they’re still a mess. Thanks to the communism and tyranny that you do not in the least criticize, but you leave no stone unturned to insult the US and its values. But wallow in your hate and arrogance, while the rest of us in both Cuba and the US celebrate this day with sincere and unbridled joy and happiness.

  • August 15, 2015 at 8:17 pm
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    “Castro family REGIME
    OOOOOOOH it sounds SOOOOO scary when you get all hyperbolic like that !!!!!
    You could write for any… and I mean any… third rate tabloid found at supermarket checkouts with stuff like that.
    It really relates to people at the 12-year old level.

  • August 15, 2015 at 8:13 pm
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    “Castro-style socialism ”
    Still haven’t figured out what sort of economic system Cuba has eh ?
    “… sustain the regime and prolong Cuban suffering.”
    Is this all you got out of Writing Bad Rhetoric 101 ?

  • August 15, 2015 at 8:08 pm
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    I.C. and the others like him/her know full well about why Cubans leave the island.
    Many others have explained it to him and the others but in order to maintain the fiction that they want to be their reality, they must ignore the facts and retreat ever-deeper into their fictions.
    You cannot use fact to debate them because they will not accept fact.

    They’ll soon be as relevant as the John Birch Society.
    Road kill on history’s highway .

  • August 15, 2015 at 8:02 pm
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    Is there REALLY a Propagandat. Department in the PCC ?
    Political parties everywhere don’t do that sort of thing, do they ?
    Try to convince people to do things their way ?
    Well maybe political parties don’t do that except as a regular way of doing things to promote what they want. everywhere in the world .
    “……then that does not necessitate slavish pursuit of the US way of life or political system”
    Until the U/S. Congress calls off the embargo then YES the U.S. IS still attempting to shove free enterprise capitalism and a corruptible multi-party electoral system down the throats of 11 million Cubans.
    We would not accept the Cubans telling us how to run our country.
    Good manners and morality dictate that the Cubans likewise be respected by the United States in their way of doing things.
    IF the U.S. were about good manners internationally and morality in general .

  • August 15, 2015 at 7:53 pm
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    IC, I agree that lifting the embargo is an excellent idea! Let’s get the show on the road! Also, for me personally, and extremely pro business and fiscally conservative, I want to be able to travel to Cuba without any pre conditions!
    It’s truly embarrassing as some of the most vehement anti-Castro citizens
    can come to the US, give speeches and return to Cuba.

  • August 15, 2015 at 7:50 pm
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    Do notice Terry, that in his ineffectual attempt to rebut your factual post Moses reverted to that old evasive right-wing tactic of saying you “hate the UNITED STATES” whenever you criticize U.S. imperialism .
    It’s much the same tactic used by the Israelis : When the political state of Israel is criticized, they call the critics “anti-Semites to avoid addressing the central issue and again because they have no moral or intellectual defense.

  • August 15, 2015 at 5:03 pm
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    You can criticise Cuba all you like, but Cubans still enjoy a longer life expectancy, higher literacy and lower infant mortality rates than their compatriots in the USA. Black Cuban teenagers are not shot dead in the street by state police, and babies are not denied medical care because their parents are uninsured. The US is highly critical of the temporary detention policies said to be used by Cuban law enforcement, yet remain silent when their friends in Saudi Arabia publicly execute women accused of infidelity. They are usually also the first to defend the endless detention without charge of the inmates at Guantanamo Bay. My point is that the USA hardly has the right to accuse foreign governments of human rights breaches when its conduct at home is so abysmal. As I said in my original post, terms like democracy and human rights are really just convenient tools for the US government to use when it suits them, but have nothing to do with the broader agenda.

  • August 15, 2015 at 2:40 pm
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    Your final sentence carefully avoids explaining that Cubans have no choice of government and that the power over and control of their daily lives is held not by a freely elected government representative of the peoples will, but by the Castro family regime – a dictatorship.
    Houses in Cuba are crumbling to collapse, food is rationed and the staple rice is the lowest quality offered by Vietnam – I know, spending hours picking out the flotsam and jetsom that is included. The health care system has good doctors, but crumbling infrastructure and education is riddled with communist propaganda – one of the occupations of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba. As for “public safety” I assume you are referring to a combination of the CDR and the State Police jointly ensuring that any hint of dissention is detected and reported by the former so that people can be locked up without trial by the latter.
    If Cuba succeeds at some time in the future in throwing off the shackles of Socialismo and having open free elections and open freedom of speech and opportunity for the individual to pursue the best interests of their family and their society, then that does not necessitate slavish pursuit of the US way of life or political system. There are other better alternatives. A strong Government does not need to be totalitarian!

  • August 15, 2015 at 2:34 pm
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    Worry is too strong a word. I am concerned that as long as Cuba remains under Castro rule, with or without the US embargo in place, Cuba will continue to decline. The US embargo is not the biggest obstacle to Cuban progress. Castro-style socialism, the internal embargo is the greater problem. Obama’s giveaways to the Castros without any concessions on their part only serves to sustain the regime and prolong Cuban suffering.

  • August 15, 2015 at 2:22 pm
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    First of all, there’s no “vast” overestimating of anything. Reread the first three words of my comment. “There are Cubans” does not imply a large number. Nonetheless, America remains the preferred destination for people from all of the world as measured by solicitations for permanent immigration by a “vast” margin. Your comments here and elsewhere identify your “hater” views of my country. Cubans, who vote with their feet, are migrating to the US in record numbers in the last few years. The facts on the ground would therefore seem to disagree with your jaded views. Your reference to the Nuremberg trials upholds Godwin ‘ Law. While I am convinced that I am quite confident in my distinction between right and wrong, I am equally sure that you are no one to judge my competence. Finally, the power of the US military influence is far from what should be described as “symbolism and propaganda”.

  • August 15, 2015 at 2:20 pm
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    So you are suggesting that all the sins, errors and omissions of the Castro family regime can be blamed upon the embargo and the Helms-Burton Amendment.
    How do you hold the embargo and Helms -Burton responsible for the introduction of the CDR by Fidel Castro?
    How do you hold others responsible for Cuba’s military intervention in 13 countries – which scarcely reflects a “siege mentality”. Was it a siege mentality when Cuba became part of the failed invasion of Israel by the Asad regime of Syria?
    I realise that communist and socialist sympathisers don’t like free societies in which we can give our opinions and express them without fear to those we elect and communist and socialist sympathisers don’t wish the voices of the people of Cuba to be heard, so I understand why you lost that bit!
    A dictatorship is readily acceptable – as you prove- to those sympathisers providing that it is a communist/socialist one.
    To free peoples, dictatorships are evil be they of left or right political persuasion.
    I remain opposed to the embargo and to much of US policy towards the Americas and Cuba from the Monroe Doctrine onwards. But living as I do for the majority of my time at home in Cuba, I am able daily at first hand to witness the incompetence of Socialismo and to experience the frustration of a people unable to control their own destiny being subjugated.
    Trying to run the economy of a country when they are unable to provide toilet paper, coffee and beer in the military owned shops, clearly defines the lack of Socialismo economic ability.
    To that you have to add the confusion of having a Minister of Economics Marino Murillo, within the so-called government but having 80% of the economy controlled directly by the Military through GAESA which is controlled by Raul’s son-in-law as part of the Castro family regime. CIMEX, TRD, Gaviota, Transtur, CubaCar etc. are subsidiaries of GAESA.
    The really big question is what happens in 2018, if as expected Maduro loses power in Venezuela, Raul steps aside as President -but not necessarily as Head of the Military – for the successor that he has personally selected – Diaz-Canel.
    If then Diaz-Canel tries to make changes that the Castro family doesn’t like, who wins, the supposed government or the family that controls the internal (CDR) and external security services through Alejandro Espin Castro and 80% of the economy through Raul’s son-in-law?

  • August 15, 2015 at 12:51 pm
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    My comment was in context with his statement, not yours. This idea that Cubans support and rely on their government and that they score well on access to housing and health care is a myth.

    I am in favor of renewing diplomatic ties with Cuba and with the lifting of the embargo. You need a carrot to be able to wield a stick and the U.S. hasn’t had a carrot In a long time. Lift the bar see what happens. It’s hardly a reward to the Castros and the limited renewed trade it provides will not, I don’t think, serve as much of a lifeline to the regime. It will however remove some of the excuses, although the Castro’s will dig out more (look at Venezuela).

    Every little step in helping independent businesses and pushing Cubans in the direction of a civil society make it that more difficult for the Cuban government to retain control.

  • August 15, 2015 at 12:39 pm
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    Moses, I think you vastly over-estimate (which is typical of many Americans) the symbolic influence of your flag and your military. It’s that attitude that has become so repugnant when one thinks of America as a leading influence in the world. Actions speak louder than symbolism and propaganda… and in the case of Cuba, I think we all know what actions need to be taken by the US government to achieve any semblance of a just and compassionate leadership advocating for the improved welfare of the Cuban people. I’m wondering if you also swell with pride while still supporting your government’s continued goal to punish the Cuban people for another generation. Are you really that heartless? Because if you are advocating for the continuation of those failed policies, that is tantamount to proclaiming yourself guilty. What was it that each of the accused professed at the Nuremberg trials… just following orders? I suppose that adopting a similar mentality when dismissing the misery that is still being created in Cuba every day due to your government’s continued interventionist policies makes it all seem okay. Please tell me that you have the ability and the cojones to stand up and know the difference between right and wrong once and for all.

  • August 15, 2015 at 11:49 am
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    You lost me at the word “regime”. As has been demanded by the world… level the playing field… get rid of the embargo and helms-burton, and only then can one criticize a Cuban government that has been forced to govern their country by adopting a siege mentality to thwart the continued state of war on Cuba perpetrated by America.

  • August 15, 2015 at 11:41 am
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    Moses, I don’t know what you’re so worried about…America will always be in the driver’s seat regardless. You make it seem as if Obama is throwing away all mention of control and caution to the wind… and that the continued policy evolution with Cuba will have totally irreversible negative implications. There will come a time when the Cuban government will to expected to be reciprocal… but the playing field with Cuba must be leveled first before the US government can have reasonable expectations going forward, and allowing the Cuban government the freedom to answer in kind. This has always been the dilemma.

  • August 15, 2015 at 11:24 am
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    How in the world does the US flag and a few Marines at the embassy spell hope for the Cuban people?

  • August 15, 2015 at 11:22 am
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    They know they still qualify for the very unique provisions of the Cuban Adjustment Act, and they also know that the embargo and helms-burton are still in place, severely limiting their potential for prosperity within Cuba. No mystery…and understandable considering America’s continued abuse of power and illegal interventionist policies intent on political over-throw…but instead causing nothing but absolute misery for the Cuban people. IC, are you nothing more than an extension of your governments continued propaganda machine, or is it impossible for you to stand up and know the difference between right and wrong? Just keeping it real.

  • August 15, 2015 at 7:26 am
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    ….and yet they continue to leave Cuba in drives. What do they know that you don’t I wonder?

  • August 14, 2015 at 10:28 pm
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    The past interventions of the USA in countries such as Guatemala, Nicaragua and Chile show that democracy has very little to do with its international ambitions. And if human rights is such a concern, how did Saudi Arabia ever qualify as a close ally? For most people around the world, “human rights” is about having access to the things needed to sustain life. Food and shelter, health care, education and pubic safety. Cuba scores well on these indicators, and exceeds the USA on most of them. I support the rapprochement and believe it will be beneficial to Cubans and US citizens alike. But I also hope that Cubans can continue to rely on a strong government that will stand up to the one nation on earth that truly believes it has the right to impose its will on everyone else.

  • August 14, 2015 at 10:04 pm
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    Making good decisions is hardly the sole domain of politicians. I simply believe that the Castros care far more about staying in power than they do about the Cuban people. Making deals with the Castros with the expectation that they will respond rationally is a mistake. Time will tell if Obama’s long game is correct.

  • August 14, 2015 at 8:57 pm
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    We said.

  • August 14, 2015 at 6:31 pm
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    It’s great to see the Marines and the US flag fly over the embassy. Truly a sign of hope for so many who have been deprived of a decent future.

  • August 14, 2015 at 6:12 pm
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    But notice Miguel that Moses living in the USA is at liberty to express his views openly and without fear. Such privileges are not extended to the people of Cuba who can be imprisoned for criticism of the Castro family regime. In our free societies we can give our opinions and express them without fear to those we elect – the politicians! The voice of the people can be heard – not so in Cuba!

  • August 14, 2015 at 3:44 pm
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    Of course you wouldn’t have chosen this path Moses, you are not a politician who gets to makes global decisions LOL

  • August 14, 2015 at 1:25 pm
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    There are Cubans in Cuba who will see that American flag waving in the wind and feel more hopeful for their own lives. The sight of young US marines will provoke either respect and admiration or fear depending upon your intentions. Despite the fact that I would not have chosen this course for US policy towards Cuba, I could not help but swell with pride to see my flag hoisted over Cuban soil. The US maintains more embassies around the world than any other country. Add Cuba to the list.

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