The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to..

…prominent Castro critic and political prisoner of the regime, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet:

Oscar Elias Biscet is a champion in the fight against tyranny and oppression. Despite being persecuted and imprisoned for his beliefs, he continues to advocate for a free Cuba in which the rights of all people are respected.

The ceremony for Dr. Biscet and the seven other recipients of this year’s award takes place November 5. As Babalu Blog notes, Dr. Biscet ain’t too likely to show up for his award–thanks to Castro.

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Useful idiots sure to plan pilgrimage to Houston

…now that the “winner”–and ONLY bidder–of the auction for a lock of Che Guevara’s hair has been announced:

No, the winning — and only — bid was placed by Bill Butler, 61, a book dealer from Houston who called Che “one of the greatest revolutionaries of the 20th century.”

So no doubt useful idiots will be booking their flights today to visit a fellow useful idiot.

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President Bush puts the lie to Castro’s ’embargo’ excuse

President Bush delivers remarks on Cuba policy at State Department
President George W. Bush greets his guests Marlenis Gonzalez, right, and her daughter Melissa, center, Wednesday, October 24, 2007, after his remarks on Cuba policy at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Melissa’s father, Jorge Luis Gonzalez Tanquero is currently being held in a Cuban prison after being arrested for crimes against the regime. White House photo by Eric Draper.

President Bush gave a great speech on the United States’ Cuba policy today at the State Department. You can read the entire speech here. Or read the fact sheet on Cuba policy, titled Encouraging Freedom, Justice, and Prosperity in Cuba, here. Or you can watch video of the President’s speech here.

It was a thing of beauty. So much of it was good, that I would have had to have posted the whole thing here–I’ve posted links above instead. For my money, the best part was when he named names of political prisoners in Castro’s gulag–some of these prisoners’ families were at the speech (see photo above).

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Where do I start?

This story has sooooo many problems with it… my comments in italics:

Fidel Castro wrote Tuesday that President Bush is threatening the world with nuclear war and famine…

As opposed to you and Che, who wanted to nuke America during the missile crisis? Oh, and speaking of famine, how’s that rationing program going, Fidel?

…The brief essay titled “Bush, Hunger and Death”…

Yep, you know plenty about hunger and death Fidel. That’s what you’ve been giving Cuba for 48 years.

…Cuba staged municipal elections on Sunday…

“Staged” being the operative word.

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Tragically funny

I don’t know what’s funnier, the MSM taking Castro’s propaganda about Cuba’s so-called election seriously; Castro himself criticizing our elections; the so-called “election” itself where Cubans WILL vote for the candidate they’re being force fed–or else. Either way, the whole situation is funny, if you can see the irony in it all, but mostly it’s sad:

Convalescing Cuban leader Fidel Castro slammed US elections Saturday as fraud-plagued contests for millionaires, as he urged countrymen to vote in the Americas’ only one-party communist system Sunday.

“Our elections are the antithesis of those held in United States … There, first you have to be very rich, or have an enormous amount of money behind you,” said Castro, 81, who 15 months ago handed over the reins of power to his brother Raul Castro after major intestinal surgery.

Here’s what some other Cubans have to say about their so-called elections:

“It continues to be the same model of voting under a totalitarian regime which is solely interested in perpetuating itself and legitimizing itself,” said Elizardo Sanchez, a spokesman for an assembly of Cuba’s outlawed dissident groups.

AND…

Indeed, with the Cuban government’s habit of crushing dissent, “the atmosphere of intolerance and the lack of respect for freedoms and political and civil rights, make it impossible for the electoral process to be democratic,” said prominent dissident Oswaldo Paya.

AND…

“I am going to go and vote bright and early to get it over with,” a 28-year-old woman law student told AFP. “I don’t want them coming and knocking on my door, and I don’t want to end up with a record. … (but) I’m not going because I think anything is going to change,” she added.

There you go. In Cuba, people go to vote–and they can only vote for candidates approved by the Castro regime–because the regime wants to legitimize itself and if you’d rather not vote, trouble awaits you.

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Che Guevara shot again

Well, a monument to the dead terrorist got shot, anyway. Best of all, supposedly it was shot by leftists:

“We do not want a monument to Che, he is not an example for our children,” the group (Patriotic Command of the Plateau) said in a note left at the scene of the monument shattered by six gunshots, according to the El Universal newspaper.

And here’s another nice quote–at the end of the article, of course:

But polls show close to 40 per cent of the population opposes his self-styled socialist revolution.

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Bay of Pigs remembered

I was surprised to learn the CIA actually has an art gallery. Well, they’ve added a new piece to it: a painting depicting an air attack on Castro’s soldiers. The painting was unveiled at museum dedicated to flight in Birmingham, Alabama, according to this Miami Herald article.

Val Prieto of Babalu Blog was in Birmingham covering the event, read about it on his blog. While you’re at it, check out his photo of the beautiful painting.

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Massachusetts colleges?!?! What the…?

The last place on God’s green earth–the ABSOLUTE last place–that you’d expect to find a viewpoint on Cuba other than “Castro/Che good, U.S. bad” would be a college newspaper, especially that of a liberal Massachusetts college.

So I hope you’ll excuse my utter shock when I discovered this morning not one, but two–TWO–Massachusetts college newspapers presenting the truth about Cuba.

First, from the Harvard (yes, THAT Harvard) Crimson, a piece on Andy Garcia, who visited campus to screen The Lost City:

Critics have blasted the film for presenting a misleading view of pre-revolutionary Cuba.

After the screening, Garcia told The Crimson that those critics were misinformed.

“When you make a movie about a political open wound, people will come at you with a political agenda,” Garcia said. “If a French filmmaker had made this movie, you would not have heard the same things. But I am a Cuban exile.”

Richard A. Serna ’10, vice president of the Latino Men’s Collective, which helped organize the event with the Harvard Cuban American Undergraduate Student Association (CAUSA), said Garcia brought a different perspective to the debate over Cuba.

“Garcia is someone who is trying to tell a story that hasn’t been told,” he said.

Indeed he is. Next, from the University of Massachusetts’ Daily Collegian, we get an editorial–by a student, Ben Duffy, whose name suggests he is not of Cuban descent–titled Guevara: fiend, not folk hero:

The future T-shirt icon oversaw La Cabaña fortress, a true house of horrors where opponents of the reigning Castro regime were executed. José Vilasuso, a lawyer at the fortress, prepared indictments for people who were summarily convicted on little or no evidence. “The statements of the investigating officer constituted irrefutable proof of wrongdoing,” Vilasuso said. “The defense lawyer simply admitted the accusations and requested the generosity of the government in order to reduce the sentence…[Che] reprimanded in private more than one colleague; in public, he chastised us all: ‘Don’t delay these trials. This is a revolution, the proofs are secondary… They are a gang of criminals and murderers. Besides, remember that there is an Appeals Tribunal.'” Yes, there was appealing authority. His name was Che Guevara.

Vilasuso continues: “Nevertheless, in La Cabaña, until June of 1959, about 600 prisoners were executed, plus an indefinite number of prison sentences.”

So Che executed hundreds of people, and he’s the hero. Felix Rodriguez executed Che, and he’s the villain. Whose face belongs on a T-shirt?

Bravo, Massachusetts!

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