Cuba Nostalgia

I had a chance to visit Cuba Nostalgia today (Sunday, the last day of the three-day festival of Cubanness) for the first time ever. The weather was hot, dry, smoky, the sky tinged with an odd orange glow. But the food was great.

And Cuba Nostalgia itself was great. And right now I’m kicking myself for not taking my camera, but that’s an old, bad habit of mine. I could be on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or experience of some sort and I’d forget the camera. Oh well.

So many different things were going on and–oh, did I mention the food was great? I got a chance to meet Val and Gusano from Babalu Blog (BTW they’ve got TONS of pictures and videos from Cuba Nostalgia). We didn’t get a chance to chat much; they were busier than heck, getting folks to sign the petition for the release of Cuban political prisoners (please sign it yourself, just click here now).

All I can say for now is, the food was great. Er, I mean, I can’t wait till next year…

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Castro regime takes a kick to the groin…

…as Cuban female judo champion disappears and possibly defects to the US during a tournament in Miami:

The Cuban contingent that competed in last week’s Pan American Judo Championships left Miami for Havana on Monday afternoon without gold-medal-winning judoka Yurisel Laborde, who left the group Sunday afternoon.

As I write this post, no official word on Laborde’s whereabouts, but the rumor mill is buzzing with news that she has indeed defected. Kiai!

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Why no display on Castro’s prisons?

Because I’ve long been a big fan of Irish rock group U2, I–in my naive youth–briefly joined Shamnesty International after U2 gave them a free plug during a concert. But then I got older and–as Winston Churchill noted–became more conservative and wiser. And I terminated my membership in the organization.

This news story today bears out my decision:

Amnesty International might not be able to take U.S. citizens to Guantanamo Bay, but the group has made it possible to bring Guantanamo Bay to the U.S.

The group said they’ve created a replica of how many of the detainees are housed 23 hours a day.

Yo Amnesty, why no replicas of a jail cell from one of Castro’s prisons? Heck, it’d be easy for one person to carry around–in a shoebox.

Speaking of shoeboxes, plugs and Castro’s prisons, Babalu Blog–and I as well, for that matter–want you to sign this petition for the release of Cuba’s political prisoners.

If Shamnesty International wants to concern itself with real human rights violations, they might want to focus a little more on real human rights violators. Like the Castro brothers.

Before I go, I invite you to learn more about Cuba Solidarity Day, which takes place May 21st.

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Ho hum, in other obvious news,

night follows day, the sun rises in the east, water is wet and Cuba’s leader tells another whopper:

As a practical matter, it is impossible for this or any other newspaper to set the record straight every time the Cuban government tells a whopper. Orchestrating lies is the specialty of police states. Anyone who has ever listened to Radio Havana or watched a Cuban TV ”news” program knows that Cuban leaders lie to their own people and lie to the outside world. They even lie to each other. But sometimes the lie is so blatant, so malign, so far removed from the painful reality of life in Cuba that it must be refuted, for the sake of common decency if nothing else.

That’s the case with Raúl Castro’s recent claim that there has not been ”one sole case of torture” in Cuba. Even by Cuba’s standards, this is an astonishing falsehood, a lie of such outsized proportions that even Raúl Castro should have been ashamed to utter it.

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