Opening Statement



Monday, 21 March 2016

Obama in Cuba: The News Links!

Here's a compendium of news links to Obama's March 2016 trip to Cuba. Follow me on Twitter for regular updates #davidchiarelli



In God We Trust .... nobody else will .....

SUNDAY MARCH 20: Backgrounders + Arrival

A summary of Obama's official goals in visiting Cuba @ The White House

The official Cuban primer on Obama's visit @ Granma

Here are six overall "key issues" or "sticking points" in US Cuba relations, for both sides, that still need to be substantially addressed for "normalization" to occur @ BBC

The "minute by minute" Cuban online coverage of Obama's visit is @ Granma

The New York Times is providing extensive coverage of the visit from Cuba @ NYT

Professor Ted Henken's "class guide" aka Ten Keys To Grade the Symbolism and Substance of Obama's Historic Visit is well worth a read @ Huff

Obama and Fidel Castro are not expected to meet @ NYT

It's a big week for Cuba! Both Obama and the Rolling Stones are on their way @ LA Times



Nope! "Ladies in White" are not Toronto BLM or US Trump rally protesters getting busted!

News reports that dozens of the "Ladies in White" [Damas de Blanca] are arrested in a democracy and human rights protest prior to Obama's arrival @ RT and @ NYT

The US State department and the US media often basically remain quiet about human right abuses in friendly Latin and South American countries like Honduras @ Vice

No Wall Here: US openly welcomes Cubans who flee to Cuba illegally but not economic and human right refugees from other other Latin America countries @ Telesur

Citizens of the socialist, sovereign state of Cuba have suffered under a crippling US Economic Blockade since 1961 @ These Times



Fidel in livelier days as Jose Marti watches!

Here's a useful history of US Cuba relations since the revolution in 1959 @ Telesur

Obama arrives with his family for the first visit of a US president in 88 years. Critics are quick to jump on President Raul Castro's absence as Air Force One lands on the tarmac in Havana. However, the White House has been quick to state, since the outset, that he was not expected from the outset @ Yahoo

These Cuban news videos of Obama's historic arrival are definitely worth a gander @ Youtube

Not prepared to get let the facts stand in the way, US Republicans, including Donald Trump at a Florida campaign stop, indignantly denounce Castro's "no Show" @ Time and @ Telesur

Obama's first stop is at the newly opened US Embassy in Havana. He jokes that it took him three hours on a plane, whereas his predecessor President Coolidge arrived in three days travelling on a battleship @ USA Today



Don't leave home without it! The "Beast" visits Havana! For a US President, it's no JFK joyride anymore, no way! Though compared to most places, Cuba is still very safe for visitors today! 

Perhaps Obama's unaware of the irony of arriving onboard the humongeous Air Force One and in now driving around Havana in his huge limo nicknamed the "Beast", along with an entourage of 1200 aids, business figures and politicos. Regretfully, for others, the US power imbalance in the America's hasn't changed much since Coolidge's 1928 visit @ NYT

Cuban news reports ignore any possible US grandstanding. Rather, in this brief notice of protocol, it focuses on the Cuban Foreign Affair Minister and the Ambassador to the US welcoming Obama upon his arrival @ Granma

Obama and family tours historic Old Havana, a World Heritage site @ Telesur

Here's a visit of the Obama family touring Old Havana in the torrential rain @ Guardian



Michelle, Sasha + Malia at Havana Cathedral

Obama meets with Cuban Archbishop Ortega in The Havana Cathedral to thank him for the Catholic churches help in the breakthrough in normalizing diplomatic relations. Pope Francis was instrumental in the reaching the US "Cuban Thaw" @ CatholicHerald

A Picture Tells a 100 Words? Perhaps -here's a summary of Day 1 in photographs, a sort of a best of @ Medium

These Cuban news videos of Obama's historic arrival are also worth a gander @ Youtube

MONDAY MARCH 21: Meetings + A State Dinner



Obama in Revolution Square: Every GOP's worst nightmare!

Obama gets caught in an iconic photo of Cuban Revolutionary Hero Che Guevera, who the CIA once reportedly hunted down and shot, during his visit to the seat of Cuban government in Revolution Square, Havana. Much controversy ensues on all sides @ Atlantic

The New York Times grapples with the significance of Cuban National Founding Father Jose Marti after Obama presents a wreath in his honour an Revolution Square @ NYT

Here's a video clip of Obama's arrival ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution as he meets up with Raul Castro @ Guardian

A Must Read for Yourself: Here's an actual, full transcript of Obama and Castro's Joint Press Conference after their meet at the Revolution Palace @ Time

Here's a video of their Joint Press Conference @ Latino USA



Raul: "And we might just cut this off if you're B.S'ing us ......" ;-)

Here's an interesting summary and analysis of their comments and statements with further links @ Guardian

Cuban President Raul Castro emphasizes Cuban demands that the US must lift the economic embargo and return the occupied American Naval Base/ Prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Critics argue that detentions and torture at the base, not to mention attacks on US protesters at the Trump rallies stateside, create a double standard in US outrage over human right violations in Cuba @ Global Research

The US doth Protest Too Loudly? Here's a another rather interesting backgrounder on the American Naval Base at Guantanamo and the Human Rights issue @ Telesur

Obama tells Castro that the embargo will end @ CNN and @ Video

Here's a video of Castro defending Cuba's record on human rights. He denies there are any "political" prisoners. Castro is critical of the US human rights record. He points out that Cubans enjoy the universal right to health and education unlike many other countries @ Daily Mail

Obama and Castro sparred over human rights. Castro does not view the prisoners as legitimate "dissidents", a serious bone of contention, especially considering outside US political interference and agitation in the past, under Cuba's 50 year State of Emergency during the US embargo. CNN just basically blew Castro's off arguments as simply rhetoric in it's coverage this afternoon. We get a bit more clarification of the complexities that will still need to be unraveled and addressed @ BBC

Here is a very detailed, extensive list of America's alleged human right abuses @ RSN

Did Obama set Raul up for the human rights question? I'm not completely convinced of this interpretation of what went down during the press conference, as far as Obama's intentions go, but it's worth further consideration @ Politico



Kerry: "... usually just don't get it?!? Who? Us???"

Cuba facilitates a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and the FARC rebels from Columbia as a part of the peace process during Day 2 of the trip, highlighting the new, enhanced and constructive role Cuba can now exercise politically and diplomatically in Latin and South American affairs @ Telesur

Might Obama's huge big, business entourage on the trip in fact represent a new US Economic Invasion of Cuba? More @ Popular Resistance

Obama attends a meeting between US business interests and Cuba's entrepreneurs during the afternoon. The New York Times seem unaware that Cuba has allowed small family businesses since the economic collapse during the "Special Period", with Revenue Canada coming in to help with the taxing arrangements. Often it's been a case of two steps forward, one step back as the Cuban Politboro has moved towards a mixed economy, with Raul Castro, perhaps ironically, once one of the hardliners opposed to the reforms. Anyway, here's how the Times views them from an American perspective @ NYT



Here are some details on the food, drink, cigars, dress and protocols, along with video and photos, of tonight's gala State Dinner back at the Palace of the Revolution @ Daily Mail

Meanwhile back in the US, first generation anti-Castro hardliners and more progressive, second generation Cuban Americans are divided in their support for normalizing relations with Cuba. As hard as it might be for many Americans to understand, throughout the "other" America's there is widespread admiration for Cuba having stood up to and resisted the US's imperialist thrust @ Telesur

Day 2 Photos: Here's a Best of @ Medium

TUESDAY MARCH 22: Obama's Big Speech/ Baseball is @ HERE!!!

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