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Category: Cuba

Cuba after Castro

Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba on December 31, 1959. Expropriation, nationalization of the industry and the departure of more than two and a half million Cubans followed. It has been a long spell for Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz born in August 13th 1926. He has been in power in Cuba since 1959, but today he will resign his post to be replaced by someone else.
That person is likely Fidel’s brother Raul, but that will not be confirmed until the end of the day. Raul has been acting President of Cuba since July 31st 2006 when Fidel became reclusive after surgery so chances for him are good. Question is: Will Cuba change under Raul, or will it be an extension of Fidel and his dictatorship? Time will tell.

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Cuba after Castro

ut also the advancement of health care and education, and a continuing struggle to turn Cuba into an ideal communist state. In Miami the great countdown has begun. The Cubans who have fled the socialist experiment over the past 45 years have faith again. The momentum is there, or at least close, so the exiles in Miami hope. They’ll soon be able to take possession of Cuba again and start reconstruction, from communist utopia to Caribbean investment paradise. In Miami, where 1.2 million Cuban exiles live, Cuban organizations, companies and people are ready for the post-Castro era. This documentary takes stock of the scenarios people in Miami envision for Cuba after Castro and of thepossible consequences for the island and its inhabitants.

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born August 13, 1926) is a Cuban politician, one of the primary leaders of the Cuban Revolution, the Prime Minister of Cuba from February 1959 to December 1976, and then the President of the Council of State of Cuba until his resignation from the office in February 2008. He is currently the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.

Castro was born into a wealthy family and acquired a law degree. While studying at Havana University, he began his political career and became a recognized figure in Cuban politics. His political career continued with nationalist critiques of Fulgencio Batista, and of the United States’ political and corporate influence in Cuba. He gained an ardent, but limited, following and also drew the attention of the authorities. He eventually led the failed 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks, after which he was captured, tried, incarcerated, and later released. He then traveled to Mexico to organize and train for an assault on Batista’s Cuba. He and his fellow revolutionaries left Mexico for the East of Cuba in December 1956.

Castro came to power as a result of the Cuban revolution that overthrew the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, and shortly thereafter became Prime Minister of Cuba. In 1965 he became First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and led the transformation of Cuba into a one-party socialist republic. In 1976 he became President of the Council of State as well as of the Council of Ministers. He also held the supreme military rank of Comandante en Jefe (“Commander in Chief”) of the Cuban armed forces. Castro has been portrayed as a dictator in spite of his disapproval of dictatorships.

Following intestinal surgery from an undisclosed digestive illness believed to have been diverticulitis,[10] Castro transferred his responsibilities to the First Vice-President, his younger brother Raúl Castro, on July 31, 2006. On February 19, 2008, five days before his mandate was to expire, he announced he would neither seek nor accept a new term as either president or commander-in-chief. On February 24, 2008, the National Assembly elected Raúl Castro to succeed him as the President of Cuba.

Waiting for Fidel

“This feature-length documentary from 1974 takes viewers inside Fidel Castro’s Cuba. A movie-making threesome hope that Fidel himself will star in their film. The unusual crew consists of former Newfoundland premier Joseph Smallwood, radio and television owner Geoff Stirling and NFB film director Michael Rubbo. What happens while the crew awaits its star shows a good deal of the new Cuba, and also of the three Canadians who chose to film the island.”

Waiting for Fidel – Cuba

hen Fidel Castro was barred from the U.N. 50th-anniversary parties and fun, Christopher Hunt’s curiosity was piqued. He decided to spend a winter in Cuba, avoid New York’s icy misery, practice his Spanish, absorb some Cuban culture, and maybe even meet Fidel. In the time-honored tradition of great travelogues, everything goes wrong and everything goes right. He finds wonderful people while trying to meet Castro (including the man who played Grandpa Munster on the 1960s television show, The Munsters), and sees a lot of Cuba, from Havana alleys to resort beaches to the mountains that sheltered Castro and his band of rebels years ago. Some questions get resolved, while unanswerable Cuban quandaries take their place, such as how Cubans balance fear, hunger, passion, and hope in a country of food shortages, endless lines, and police surveillance. Hunt’s finely rendered account of four months in Cuba whets the appetite for more about Cuba and more penned by Hunt.

Hunt doesn’t travel the easy way. His last book, Sparring with Charlie (LJ 5/1/96), was about navigating the Ho Chi Minh Trail on a motorbike. Here he retraces Fidel Castro’s 1959 Liberty Caravan through Cuba, doing it illegally (as a foreigner) by hitchhiking on crowded trucks and staying in the unlicensed homes of local people. His goal was to interview Castro, but in this he failed. He did, however, come in contact with a cross section of ordinary people to provide a view of a nation that appears to be reaching the end of its socialist era, rife with shortages and encountering a notable increase in crime. He finds growing dissatisfaction with the government and an alarming polarization of power and privilege. Hunt writes with sympathy and humor, which somehow makes for enjoyable reading despite the suffering he describes. A good choice for public libraries.

Holidays in the Axis of Evil

Holidays in the Axis of Evil was a television documentary series shown on BBC Four in the United Kingdom, first broadcast in January 2003. In the series, reporter Ben Anderson travelled to all of the countries in U.S. President George W. Bush’s “Axis of evil”: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Syria. The Bush regime claims that North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and Cuba are part of an “axis of evil”. In a remarkable two-part travelogue, reporter Ben Anderson, armed with a hidden camera and a tourist map, visits all six rogue states and tries to find the reality of life in some of the most repressive regimes in the world. He spoke to us about this unusual vacation.

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(Video hosted on Google.)

xis of evil is a term coined by United States President George W. Bush in his State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002 in order to describe governments that he accused of helping terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction. President Bush named Iran, Iraq, and North Korea in his speech. President Bush’s presidency has been marked by this notion as a justification for the War on Terror. In 2002, George W Bush named North Korea, Iraq, and Iran as the world’s most evil countries and called them “An Axis of Evil”. Very quickly, Syria, Libya and Cuba joined the exclusive club. They are all accused of harbouring terrorists and attempting to build or acquire weapons of mass destruction. But, there is another connection between the six countries – you can go on holiday there. Journalist, Ben Anderson, went on holiday through the Axis of Evil countries in an attempt to meet the enemy and find out what the locals feel about being branded as “evil”.

A decade before the 2002 State of the Union address, in August 1992, the political scientist Yossef Bodansky wrote a paper entitled “Tehran, Baghdad & Damascus: The New Axis Pact” while serving as the Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the US House of Representatives. Although he did not explicitly apply the epithet evil to his New Axis, Bodansky’s axis was otherwise very reminiscent of Frum’s axis. Bodansky felt that this new Axis was a very dangerous development. The gist of Bodansky’s argument was that Iran, Iraq and Syria had formed a “tripartite alliance” in the wake of the First Gulf War, and that this alliance posed an imminent threat that could only be dealt with by invading Iraq a second time and overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

The phrase was attributed to former Bush speechwriter David Frum, originally as the axis of hatred and then evil. Frum explained his rationale for creating the phrase axis of evil in his book The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush. Essentially, the story begins in late December 2001 when head speechwriter Mike Gerson gave Frum the assignment of articulating the case for dislodging the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in only a few sentences for the upcoming State of the Union address. Frum says he began by rereading President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “date which will live in infamy” speech given on December 8, 1941, after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. While Americans needed no convincing about going to war with Japan, Roosevelt saw the greater threat to the United States coming from Nazi Germany, and he had to make the case for fighting a two-ocean war.

Frum points in his book to a now often-overlooked sentence in Roosevelt’s speech which reads in part, “…we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.” Frum interprets Roosevelt’s oratory like this: “For FDR, Pearl Harbor was not only an attack—it was a warning of future and worse attacks from another, even more dangerous enemy.” Japan, a country with one-tenth of America’s industrial capacity, a dependence on imports for all its food, and already engaged in a war with China, was extremely reckless to attack the United States, a recklessness “that made the Axis such a menace to world peace”, Frum says. Saddam Hussein’s two wars, against Iran and Kuwait, were just as reckless, Frum believed, and therefore presented the same threat to world peace. In his book Frum relates that the more he compared the Axis powers of World War II to modern “terror states”, the more similarities he saw. “The Axis powers disliked and distrusted one another”, Frum writes. “Had the Axis somehow won the war, its members would quickly have turned on one another.” Iran, Iraq, al-Qaeda, and Hezbollah, despite quarrelling among themselves however, “all resented power of the West and Israel, and they all despised the humane values of democracy.” There, Frum saw the connection: “Together, the terror states and the terror organizations formed an axis of hatred against the United States.” Frum tells that he then sent off a memo with the above arguments and also cited some of the atrocities perpetrated by the Iraqi government. He expected his words to be chopped apart and altered beyond recognition, as is the fate of much presidential speechwriting, but his words were ultimately read by Bush nearly verbatim, though Bush changed the term axis of hatred to axis of evil. North Korea was added to the list, he says, because it was attempting to develop nuclear weapons, had a history of reckless aggression, and “needed to feel a stronger hand.”

The Havana Cigar

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elcome to Havana, Cuba…home of the legendary Cuban Cigar! This is a fascinating place where a stick of rolled tobacco leaf is turned into an intricate art form — producing a desire of international passion. The secret of this extraordinary cigar is born from the rich Cuban soil, her special seed and the magnificent leaf itself. The island’s famous tobacco growing regions, including the legendary Vegas of the Vuelta Abajo, are hailed as those which produce the legendary “Havana smoke” — renowned for being the best the world has to offer and “The Puro”…meaning of pure Havana origin.

You will discover the Cuban cigar’s history from the experts including the Havana historian, the Cuban peasant with his hands of gold and the legends collector. Through human contrasts and into the discovery of a living tradition, this film follows the footsteps of the “Havana myth” that they each personify in their own way.

For the pleasure of the aficionado, the connoisseur and cigar lovers everywhere, this wonderful documentary will take you on a journey into the mystical world of the Cuban cigar and the magic that surrounds it.

Who betrayed Che Guevara?

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The two young Swedish journalist’s Erik Gandini and Tarik Saleh have worked one year with Sacrificio, a film about the events surrounding the death of Che Guevara. They have traveled the world around and met among others the man who shot Che Guevara and the former CIA agent who walks around with Che’s last tobacco in his pistol butt. In their attempts to find out what really happened they discover that the man who is accused of having betrayed Che Guevara as a matter of fact lives in Malmö, in the south of Sweden

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