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Alberto JonesThe Alberto Jones Column XIII -  2010

Dr. Alberto Jones is a member of the West Indian Welfare Society in the city of Guantanamo, Cuba who now resides in northern Florida. He is an activist with strong communal ties to his homeland and is the director of the Caribbean American Children's Foundation as well as a director of the Cuban American Alliance Education Fund, Inc. He writes regularly on issues concerning Cuba, and we present his letters and columns here.  Past columns are in Alberto Jones Column, Column I covering the period 1998 - 1999, Column II, 2000,  Column III, 2001 (Part I), Column IV, 2001 (Part II), Column V, 2002, Column VI, 2003, Column VII, 2004, Column VIII, 2005, Column IX 2006, Column X 2007, Column XI in 2008, Column XII in 2009, Column XIII in 2010Column XIV in 2011, Column XV in 2012, Column XVI in 2013, Column XVII in 2014, Column XVIII from 2015 to 2016, Column XIX from 2017 to 2019, and Column XX from 2020 to 2021. See also Alberto Jones on Race & Identity.

Alberto Jones has been featured in Seeing the people, not Cold War politics, Times-Union, 2/07, by Tonyaa Weathersbee, a member of the Trotter Group of Black Columnists.

A Worldwide Battle of Life and Death. Part I
, 12/25/09

A worldwide Battle of Life and Death, Part II, 4/4/10

A Worldwide Battle of Life and Death. Third Chapter, 5/1/2010


Una Batalla Mundial de Vida o Muerte. Primera Parte, 25/12/09

Una Batalla Mundial de Vida o Muerte. Segunda Parte. 4/4/10

Una Batalla Mundial de Vida o Muerte. Tercera Parte, 5/1/10

US-CUBA relations at a deadly crossroad, Part I, 12/8/2010top

During a highly anticipated campaign speech in Miami in May 2008, Barack Obama drew a thunderous applause from a large audience when he denounced president George W. Bush’s failed isolationist policy towards Cuba.

He went on to say, if elected, he would name a special envoy to Latin America, invest millions of dollars in a region that had been neglected, open travel to Cuba especially for Cuban-Americans, because they would be the best ambassadors of democracy. He further expressed his willingness to discuss existing political differences with the Cuban government.

Two years later, the only promise kept by the now President Barack Obama has been relaxing the Cuban-Americans travel regulations, a boost to Miami’s Cuba-related economy and an incredible 64% approval rate in that city, according to a recent Bendixen poll.

At the same time, Cuban-Americans from across the United States have expressed their total support for these new regulations, by voting in mass with their feet as they travel to their homeland in droves, despite lingering, unfriendly, quasi hostile treatment by some Immigration and Customs officials, who continue to perceive Cuban-Americans as potential enemies.

It therefore becomes an imperative to improve the Cuban-Americans visitors’ and Cuban airport officials’ relations, in order to consolidate this new development, by creating a more friendly, welcoming atmosphere, as it is elsewhere around the world.

Another very serious issue that should not be ignored because of the negative impact it exerts on thousands of elderly and low income Cuban-Americans, who are denied the opportunity to visit their country, because of the onerous processing fee for their Passport and Visa and for having to purchase the most expensive airline ticket in the world.

Proof of the above, is the fact that a round trip ticket Miami-Dominican Republic or Miami-Haiti, which is twice the flying time Miami-Santiago de Cuba, can be purchased regularly for $225.00 as opposed to $500.00 for the latter.

Additionally, thousands of senior citizens and others fearful of flying, could benefit immensely with the introduction of a Fort Lauderdale-Habana and a Fort Lauderdale-Santiago de Cuba Ferry Service, which could double or triple the passenger/cargo volume immediately, with substantially lower ticket prices.

For some, these thoughts may suggest I have digressed from the main topic. Rather, they are intended to foster, develop and expand on the only US-Cuba measure that President Barack Obama has enacted.

The disastrous effect that the November 4, 2010 mid-term election has had on the Democratic Party and on President Barack Obama, where Councilmen, Mayors, State Legislators, Governors, Judges, US Congressmen and Senators were swept out of office like garbage, has turned out to be the worst Democratic Party political debacle in over sixty years.

With the Democrats demoralized and weakened, none of those campaign promises that the President had enunciated and failed to enact will be brought up during the second half of his presidency, because of his indecisiveness, his unwillingness to step on toes and his propensity to compromise although he had the majority in Congress and in the Senate

Conversely, the Republican Party and the Tea Party strength and authority has grown exponentially, enabling them to elect across the nation the most reactionary, religious fundamentalist, xenophobic and backward politicians to high offices in recent US history.

The right-wing Cuban-American Congressional delegation has never before been in such a strong, challenging, leadership position, from which they will be able, with the aid of many radical newcomers, to reformulate the views, approach and direction of a large and important section of the United States government.

With the appointment of US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as Chair of the all-powerful Foreign Relations Committee, we can only imagine the bellicose, aggressive, war-like bills that will be coming out of her office, while no one proposing understanding, dialogue or friendship with a host of government she hates will be heard.

The net result of the US-Cuba relations following the disastrous mid-term election, may be recorded as the greatest political setback in the past fifty years, which can easily escalate into a political, military confrontation similar to the tragic days of the Missile Crisis in 1962. 

For half a century, Cuba has defended herself against these brutal aggressions by denouncing them in the media, appealing to every reputable international organization, solidarity groups, high profile international scholars, Nobel Prize winners and children’s organizations in vain. Not even the nineteen consecutive yearly condemnations by the United Nations General Assembly, demanding that the United States cease and desist its wicked blockage against Cuba, have moved this President or any of his predecessors to uphold this worldwide demand.

The only thing we are sure of at this moment is that the Cuban people have suffered too much, they are exhausted and they are demanding a moment of peace, happiness and tranquility for their homeland and their children.

After carefully reviewing this new terrifying scenario, it is no exaggeration if we conclude that if the embargo is not effectively dismantled and brought to a crashing, deafening end, it may well live with the Cuban people for the next fifty years.

In the name of peace, harmony, love and understanding among the people of the United States and Cuba, I will offer to the world, some unsolicited, lay, empirical, never tried, nothing to loose suggestions, that if they were to work as anticipated would shatter the support base of the genocidal embargo imposed upon our people.

General Antonio Maceo, Then, Now and Forever, 12/10/2010top

On December 7th 1896, General Antonio Maceo, the greatest son of Africa ever to live in Cuba, fell in a skirmish in Punta Brava, Havana, after rising through the ranks from an enlisted soldier to second in command of the Cuban Army of Independence.

After leading the Cuban Army of Independence successfully into its most decisive and critical battles during the 10 Year War, the Protest of Baragua and the War of Independence in 1895, during which he faced and defeated on the battle ground each of Spain most courageous, accomplished and decorated army Generals, for which he earned the honorable title of the Bronze Titan.

His outstanding leadership was tested over and over in the most diverse circumstances in which he had the opportunity demonstrate his love of country, patriotism, fidelity and courage, which lead Jose Marti, the father of the Cuban Nation, to proclaim that the power of his brain was equal to the power of his arm that held his sword.

If there was ever a role model to influence the behavior, hopes and aspirations of the Cuban youths, especially those of African ancestry, it was the Maceo family in general and General Antonio Maceo in particular, who was like a lighthouse leading us into a safe harbor.

It is therefore very painful for hundreds of thousands of Afro-Cubans to witness how 114 years after this tragic event, so much of the core values for which he lived, fought and died remain unfulfilled and out of reach for too many of his children.

No one in his/her right mind can deny the extraordinary educational advances that Afro-Cubans have made in the past half a century. Yet, the socio-economic gap between us and other ethnic groups have persisted and widened in many cases.

A clear and determined effort by many in positions of authority within the government or holding administrative responsibilities has segregated and relegated Afro-Cubans to the least desirable jobs, poor living quarters, stagnation, opposing their promotion into positions of high visibility, all of which have been clearly identified, repeatedly exposed and denounced with limited or no success. Racism is today a fact of life in Cuba.

For this monstrosity to take place in the land of General Jose and Antonio Maceo, Quintin Banderas, Mariana Grajales, Juan Almeida, Jesus Menendez, Guillermon Moncada, Juan Gualberto Gomez and thousands of others exemplary Afro-Cubans, is an affront to our history and moral values.

This very serious failure through neglect or indifference, lead to a spurious document entitled “Acting on our Conscience” which hit the cyberspace on December 1, 2009 like an atomic bomb pretending to address this repulsive reality.

In fact, it’s only purpose was to pit Black intellectuals, scholars, religious leaders and ordinary people in the Black world against each others, forcing many to take side in this thorny issue, weakening our tenuous unity and turning everyone into losers.

This divisive, sectarian, opportunist document did irreparable harm to our struggle to earn our rightful share and social dignity in our country that was founded under the banner of “With All and for the Wellbeing of All“.

Likewise, for those responsible to correct and eradicate this revolting social manifestation from our society, they should be reminded that by ignoring this festering wound, by not confronting head on this viper or by pretending this corrosive mental secretion will fade away, they are setting up themselves for a rude awakening when this malignancy metastasizes out of control across the island.

The murder of Placido, the Ladder Conspiracy, Triunvirato, the massacre of thousands of members of Independent Party of Color and others are graphic examples of when such deranged behavior is left unchecked.

On the other hand, Cuba’s monumental internationalist solidarity contributions during the past fifty years in Algeria, Congo, Mozambique, Grenada, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia, Jamaica, East Timor, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and no where else like in Haiti, Angola and South Africa, supersedes, obliterates and debunk all questions, doubts or insinuations attempting to tarnish Cuba’s well established position in favor of the poor, ignored and abused.

Although it is clear, that Cuba has a monumental task at home to clean-up its racial inequality and racism at the earliest date possible, the horrendous earth quake that flattened Port au Prince on January 12, 2010, causing over 250,000 dead, 300,000 wounded and maimed and 1.5 million women, children and elderly without shelter, exposed to a harsh tropical environment, compel all men of good will around the world, to put on hold their national issues and focus on this unprecedented calamity.

Immediately following this disaster, I published “ A moment of reckoning” 1/13/10, “Act now in Haiti before it is too late” 2/15/10 and “Will we allow Haiti to die” 11/5/10 to no avail. Today, more than 30,000 victims have contracted Cholera and 2,000 have died unnecessarily due to this foreseeable and preventable disease outbreak.

As the world learned about the magnitude of this disaster, an incredible outpouring of solidarity took shape with nearly every country offering every possible type of assistance. Billions of dollars were pledged and Barack Obama enlisted two US ex Presidents to lead the recovery effort.

Eleven months later, Haiti continue to be plagued by inefficiency, indolence and ineptitude in face of massive human suffering. Many of those supposed to lead the recovery effort have engaged in posturing, photo-ops, press releases, and in TV and Radio appearances.

The time has come for us ordinary people to step up to the plate. This tragedy is basically an American, Caribbean, African disaster, irrespective of all of the humanitarian support and kindness of the rest of the world.

As we write these notes, 200,000 school children are on the streets of Port au Prince without shelter, schools, healthcare, and food, seriously exposed to a host of transmissible diseases.

No country in the world except Cuba, has the infrastructure, human resources, expertise, commitment with the pain and suffering of the poor and the political will, to open its doors and confront a problem of this magnitude, which calls for the immediate relocation of thousands of these victims to a safe haven, where all basic means of survival will be available.

But Cuba cannot do it alone. Cuba is undergoing its most critical financial crisis in its 500 plus years history. Cuban-Americans elected to the US Congress and Senate have already put Cuba on notice of enhanced punitive measures, determined to inflict greater suffering and deaths on its people.

Tens of thousands of Afro-Americans physicians, attorneys, accountants, businesspeople, churches, social organizations, farmers and educators, need only to provide a once a year nominal donation to save these children.

Hundreds of thousands of emigrants from the Caribbean and Latin America in the first world should be persuaded to do likewise. Each of our Caribbean Islands and Central American countries, albeit with their own poverty, should make a public commitment of their level of financial or material contribution.

If all nations on their own, their citizens and institutions would once and for all shelve temporarily all divisive sentiments and come together in the largest and most important humanitarian airlift in our hemisphere, this could enable the relocation of tens of thousands of Haitian children from their Port au Prince disaster zone, to fully refurbished and equipped schools on the Isle of Youth in Cuba.

This proposal may sound novel, outrageous or undoable to those not familiar with Cuba’s history. In the decade of 1960-70’s, over 40 thousands students from war torn African countries were safely removed to the Isles of Pines, where they received shelter, education, food, healthcare and culture. Thousands of these survivors can be found in their country or adopted countries, sharing their higher education expertise in every field of science, health or culture.

Haiti is no different from Africa or anywhere else. Putting in motion a project of this nature, can not only save these children, but it can also open a path for that country’s development, leaving behind ignorance, backwardness and the scorn of others, by becoming the shinning light that L’Ouverture, Desalines and others fought and died for.

We need not to depend of hundreds of millions of dollars that were donated for these purposes, most of which are sitting in mega banks, paying exuberant wages to bureaucrats or on their luxury office space rentals.

Now is the time for the entire world to begin to address the un-payable debt it has contracted with Haiti, for all what Haiti have thought and given to the world and for all the pain and suffering, the world has inflicted on this victimized nation.

A Looming US Foreign Relations Disaster in the making: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to Chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee, 11/28/10top

An apparently benign, innocuous article reproduced in the Daytona Beach News-Journal 11/27/10 “Ily to lead Foreign Affairs”, which refers to Cuban-American Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will have a catastrophic, long-term, confrontational impact on US relations with the most important nations in Latin America and many more around the world.

US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has demonstrated during her 25 years in the Florida Legislature and the US Congress that she is a vicious, rabid political extremist, who in order to address her visceral hate against Cuba, her vindictive feelings against the Cuban government for having “hurt my Dad”, is willing to allow her deranged inner bitterness to pull this country to the edge of the precipice.

Just in Latin America, Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen will put the US on a collision course with oil rich Venezuela, Brazil and Ecuador, in addition to Argentina, Paraguay, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Mexico and the Caribbean islands.

Completely oblivious of the fact that half a century of confrontation with Cuba has only served to inflict indescribable pain, hunger, destruction and death on the Cuban people who she claims to love. The goals of the US embargo to decapitate the Cuban government has failed and will continue to fail, as long as we continue on this belligerent path that may re-enact the horrific days of the missile crisis of 1962.

Working against the best interest of our State, Mrs. Ros-Lethinen has devoted her life to incite and fan the flames of hatred between the US and Cuba. While more than 20 States of the Union are continuously leading business delegations to Cuba, opening agricultural, medical and other markets that have earned our country billions in sale, she has done everything she possibly can to shut off every avenue of dialogue, friendship and understanding .

With the arrival of President George W. Bush to the White House, Mrs. Ros-Lethinen, the Diaz-Balart brothers, Bob Menendez, Senator Mel Martinez and other extremists, rammed through the US Congress the most inhumane, anti-family bill against Cuban-Americans in history. This Bill restructured the Cuban family, by excluding aunts and uncle, allowing only closest family members a one-week visit every three years and forbidding each visitor from spending more than $50 a day.

A graphic example of the wicked entrails of those supporting this Bill was a response to a question posed to a high ranking State Department official during a press conference as to what would happen if a Cuban-American should need to visit an ailing family member in Cuba who would die at a later date? His response said it all: “It is for them to decide if they choose to visit a dying family member or to be at the funeral.”.

Tragically, the damage and hardship created by these mean spirited actions has been felt in Miami as well. The huge Flee Market on 36th street with hundreds of small enterprises went out of business, Calle 8 suffered irreparable hardship, the charter airlines Concourse at the Miami International Airport suffered severe financial distress and hundreds of Cuban-Americans became beggars on 103rd street in Hialeah.

A mere five months since President Barack Obama lifted these cruel measures, flights/passenger to Cuba have experienced a 6 fold increase, 20th street SW has gone from an eye sore to a booming small business area in Miami that was deserving to be featured in Times Magazine. Much, much more mutually beneficial development could be achieved, if reason and logic were to prevail over hate and destruction.

US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s pervasive obsession with Fidel Castro and Cuba lead her to utter the obnoxious remarks of “I welcome the opportunity of having anyone assassinate Fidel Castro.” She threw her full political weight behind the failed kidnapping attempt on six year old shipwrecked Elian Gonzalez, who had experienced the drowning death of his mother, nine friends and who may have suffered greater trauma than most of us in our lifetime. He certainly did not receive simple motherly love and comfort from that gang of hate mongers.

Thousands of citizens of Florida demand of US Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen and the rest of the Cuban-American delegation to Congress that they focus on the massive housing crisis in our state, job creation, health and education crisis, violent crime, drug abuse and tens of other maladies that have a direct impact on the lives of our citizens, rather than spewing out bilious hatred and frustration everywhere.

The state of Florida with its similar climate, geographical proximity, common cultural and historical links with Cuba, should begin to develop the closest socio-economical-complementary, mutually beneficial relation with its closest and most powerful neighbor. Failure to do so will expose numerous weaknesses and vulnerabilities we have as compared with Cuba that may wreak havoc in the near future to our economy and livelihood, now that Cuba has began to open and expand its development.

topNi un día de Paz para Cuba, 22/11/2010

HAVANA TIMES, 22 nov.- El día 6 de Abril de 1960, Lester D. Mallory,  sub-Secretario de Estado para Asuntos Inter-Americanos, escribió en un memorando interno: “La mayoría de los Cubanos apoyan a Castro….el único mecanismo previsible para enajenar el apoyo interno debe ser a través del desencanto y la insatisfacción basado en la frustración y dificultades económicas…cada medio debe ser tomado rápidamente para debilitar la vida económica de Cuba.
 
Mallory propuso una línea de acción la cual….lograría los mayores avances al privar de dinero y suministros a Cuba, reducción de salarios para incrementar el hambre, desesperación y el derrocamiento del gobierno.
 
Un embargo económico, comercial y financiero fue impuesto a Cuba en el mes de Octubre de 1960, el cual se convirtió en un embargo casi total, el 7 de Febrero de 1962, después que ciudadanos y corporaciones propiedad de ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos fueran nacionalizados.
 
Mi hija mayor Isabel Maria, nació el día 27 de Febrero, veinte días después que esta infame ley fuera establecida.  Siete meses después, el día 22 de Octubre, Isabel Maria, su madre y yo, nos encontró apiñados a oscuras en nuestra vivienda de Guantánamo, esperando por el comienzo de la conflagración nuclear, la peor crisis militar de nuestras vidas.
 
Desde entonces, cada argumento plausible real o imaginario, ha sido invocado por todas los subsiguientes gobernantes de los Estados Unidos, tratando de justificar el mantenimiento del embargo como son:
 
-  Por la pérdida propiedades en Cuba y la prohibición  del gobierno de los USA para que acepten la compensación ofrecida.
-  Por Cuba haberse declarado  socialista.
-  Debido a la presencia de misiles nucleares en Cuba.
-  Por cuanto Cuba fue acusada de “exportar” revoluciones hacia América Latina.
-  Debido a las intervenciones militares de Cuba en África.
-  Debido a la falta de elecciones abiertas, multi-partidistas y las violaciones de derechos humanos.
-  Debido a la falta de libertad de expresión  y la existencia de presos políticos.
-  Por estar Cuba en la lista de países terroristas.
 
Mudando constantemente la meta
 
A fin de continuar sosteniendo estos argumentos y seguir moviendo la meta, cientos de millones de dólares han sido gastados por el Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos a través de fundaciones fantasmas a fin de crear una enorme maquinaria propagandística alrededor del mundo, con el propósito de distorsionar la imagen de Cuba y la de  sus dirigentes, debilitar las instituciones Cubanas a través de grupos subversivos que han sido  creados, financiados y dirigidos por ellos, montar un baraje diversionista en  radio, TV, literatura y cine así como al proveer salvaguarda a conocidos terroristas en los Estados Unidos.
 
Legalmente, estas medidas han sido impuestas a través de diferentes mecanismos como son la expulsión de Cuba de la OEA, oponiéndose a que gobiernos de Europa occidental inviten a altos funcionarios Cubanos a sus países, creación de medidas anti-Cubanas selectivas como son, Pedro Pan, la Ley de Ajuste Cubano, Pie Seco/Pie Mojado, la Oficina de Control de recursos económicos Cubanos, Comerciando con el Enemigo, el Acta de Democracia Cubana y la ley Helms-Burton entre otras.
 
Cuba ha respondido a estas acciones agresivas, mediante la presentación de quejas en conferencias internacionales, simposios, asambleas políticas, ONU, CARICOM, SÉLA, ALBA y otras instituciones, donde han denunciado el efecto demoledor de esta asfixiante medida sobre la vida, el bienestar y desarrollo de la nación.  A través del tiempo, este mensaje ha logrado permear la poderosa barrera económica que los Estados Unidos ha erigido, tratando de escudarse de este acto despectivo.
 
Todas las instituciones mencionadas más arriba y otras, han condenado esta imposición genocida al pueblo de Cuba y la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas ha denunciado y pedido durante 19 años consecutivamente, sea suspendida esta reprochable decisión, el cual los Estados Unidos ha ignorado en forma flagrante.
 
A lo largo y ancho de los Estados Unidos, cada día son más los Condados, Ciudades, Estados, Congresistas, Senadores, Empresarios, Grupos Humanitarios, Religiosos, Académicos, Centros de Investigaciones, Juristas, de la Salud y otras instituciones de reputación, que han denunciado y demandado que el gobierno de los Estados Unidos rescinda estas medidas draconianas y de pasos concretos a fin de normalizar sus relaciones con Cuba.
 
Obama encendió la llama de la esperanza
 
Durante su campaña presidencial y después de haber sido electo presidente, Barack Obama represento un viso de esperanza que condujo a millones alrededor del mundo a creer que la fosilizada relación antagonista entre los Estados Unidos y Cuba, seria tratada de manera diferente.  Cambio, fue el lema de su campaña política.
 
Veintidós meses después de asumir la presidencia, el único cambio visible en la disputa US-CUBA, esta dado por la restauración del derecho a viajar de los Cubano-Americanos, tal cual era durante la administración de Bill Clinton y por permitir un número ilimitado de visitas y envíos de remesas familiares.
 
A pesar de que la presidencia de Barack Obama tenía una mayoría en el Congreso y en el Senado, muchas de las medidas que este propuso, carecían del vigor y una inflexible defensa , lo cual condujo al ala de la  extrema derecha del partido Republicano, sabihondos y a personalidades de la radio y TV a interpretar su forma amigable, no co