#JayCarney denies #WhiteHouse involvement with #JayZ & #Beyonce’s #Cuba trip

April 12, 2013

I’m not sure why I’m bothering to reblog this. The economy is in shambles. Men are out of work… the feminists deny it… and people are worried about Jay Z getting clearance from a guy who said Ayers was just some guy in his neighborhood.

 **Written by Doug Powers (Michelle Malkin)
After it was reported that Jay-Z and Beyoncé traveled to Cuba to soak up some warm Havana weather and maybe get a chance to meet Jimmy Carter, even some of President Obama’s fellow Democrats, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz, were critical of the fact that somebody in the federal government gave the couple permission to make the trip (rumor has it Beyonce was asked to leave Cuba after being caught lip-syncing El Himno de Bayamo).
Thursday, Jay Carney insisted the person who ok’d the trip was from the Treasury Department, and not a certain White House resident who likes golf and just happens to be good friends with Jay-Z:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today denied the White House had any involvement with their trip, saying the Treasury Department handles all clearances for travel to Cuba.
“I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury,” Carney joked.
In the song, Jay-Z also recounts a conversation he had with President Obama about his trip. “Obama said, ‘Chill, you, gonna get me impeached… We don’t need this s-t anyway, chill with me on the beach,” he raps in the nearly three-minute song.
Carney dismissed the claim. “It’s a song,” he said. “The president did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip.”

Carney said it was preposterous to think that the White House was involved in Jay-Z and Beyonce’s Cuba trip, which might be true. Jay-Z could have given himself permission from the Situation Room for all we know.
I haven’t seen anything like this since Marlin Fitzwater’s flat denial of reports that then-President Reagan gave Run DMC permission to perform in East Germany:

The blog Naked D.C. performs a more in-depth analysis of Jay-Z’s “Open Letter” here.
Oh, and North Korea might have nuclear weapons capable of being delivered by ballistic missiles. Hopefully at tomorrow’s presser Carney will be asked what Beyoncé thinks of that.
**Written by Doug Powers
Twitter @ThePowersThatBe


breathing machine is involved

January 8, 2013
(Simply) The history of this part of the world shows that close associates are often the initiators of coups and army, swearing loyalty to the current government, forgets the oath. In addition to the multibillion dollar arms contracts, Russia has also invested in the oil industry in Venezuela. Russia plans to set up a consortium to develop oil fields in the country, the project involving all major Russian oil and gas companies. The project is estimated at $ 20 billion. The sources cited by Stratfor reported that the candidate favored by Chinese, Russians and Brazilians is Nicolas Maduro, while Cubans tilt more toward Chávez’s brother Adam, mainly because they don’t believe Maduro will guarantee the oil subsidies they have enjoyed so far.

Brazil’s President in Cuba: Business Yes, Dissidents No

February 8, 2012


Media_httpwwwcbccagfx_kzozgMedia_httpblogsaljaze_khlxbMedia_httpblogsaljaze_cjyzc(Anna Mahjar-Barducci)Human rights activists had high expectations for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s first official visit to Cuba last January 30. Rousseff visited Cuba just few days after the international media reported that Brazil was distancing itself from Iran over the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses. Further, just a week before her arrival to Cuba, the Brazilian government gave a visa to a Cuban opponent and blogger, Yoani Sanchez, raising hopes that Rousseff would show some support to dissidents. Many therefore thought that the Brazilian president would have taken a public stand against human rights violations perpetrated by the Castro’s dictatorship, but that turned out to be just wishful thinking.Media_httpblogsaljaze_xacfb
Although Rousseff once said she “prefer[red] a million critical voices over the silence of the dictatorships,” in Cuba the Brazilian President preferred business. Rousseff refused to meet Yoani Sanchez or other Cuban dissidents, and focused in promoting bilateral trade. The Americas Society website reports that trade between the two Latin American countries increased 31% from 2010 to 2011, reaching $642 million last year. The Brazilian government is opening a $350 million credit line to Cuba to finance food purchases, and another $200 million to purchase agricultural equipment. Moreover, Brazil’s development bank, Odebrecht, is investing in the Cuban sugar industry and also helping to finance an $800 million plan to renovate the port of Mariel, hoping to transform it into one of the most important hubs in Latin America that could be of use to Cuba’s nascent oil industry. The Miami Herald‘s Cuban Colada blog stated that Cuba confirmed the presence of reserves of up to 20 billion barrels of crude oil in waters off the Gulf of Mexico; and the Brazilian oil company Petrobras is negotiating with Cuba for offshore exploration rights. Oil was evidently more attractive than human rights. Reuters sarcastically commented that Rousseff made her first visit to Cuba with capitalism on her mind.
Rousseff, who was a leftist guerrilla fighter inspired by Fidel Castro’s communist revolution, nevertheless found the time to criticize the US prison camp at Guantanamo and the US trade embargo against Cuba, but apparently felt it was not relevant to discuss the condition of dissidents in Cuba. According to a recent Human Rights Watch report, the Cuban government relies on beatings, short-term detentions, forced exile and travel restrictions to repress virtually all forms of political dissent. In January, the Cuban dissident Wilman Villar died in custody after a 50 day hunger strike. The Buenos Aires Herald mentioned that Villar’s death created pressure on Rousseff to raise human rights issues with Cuban leaders, but that she was unlikely to do so publicly.
Reuters notes that Rousseff’s trip to Cuba was made just before a visit in Washington set for next month, and mentioned that the decision raised some eyebrows, given Brazil’s recent confrontations with the United States over trade. Brazil’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. In the last few years, in spite of the world’s crisis, Brazil’s GDP kept growing at an average rate of more than 5%. As the seventh largest economy by GDP, with a population nearing 190 million, Brazil understandably aspires to become a world power and a regional giant. The last two Brazilian presidencies, however, former President Lula da Silva’s and Rousseff’s, have coupled this legitimate aspiration to an ideological confrontation with the US.
The Americas Society website suggests that Brazil’s strategic trade and investments in the Caribbean, and elsewhere in the developing world, are part of the government’s global strategy. Matthew Taylor, a Brazil specialist at the American University’s School of International Service, commented that Rousseff’s policy is to grow Brazil’s “soft power” on the international scale to raise Brazil’s role in the world. As Taylor told the Wall Street Journal, “Brazil is taking on a bigger role in the hemisphere in terms of aid and finance.”
Brazilian commentators, however, mentioned that precisely because Brazil is becoming a raising power, it would have been better for Rousseff not to visit Cuba at this moment. The visit actually provoked strong criticism both in Brazil and worldwide. The Brazilian diplomat Marcos Azambuja wrote that if Brazil wanted to do business with Cuba, he should have sent high government officials, but that Rousseff herself should have not gone. “A [Presidential] visit to Cuba has its price to pay,” he wrote, mentioning that even if Rousseff’s intentions were only to do business, the end result is that she paid tribute to the failed policies of the Cuban regime.
(IMAGE VIA AJ)

Compromises, Compromises…


US met Cubans over jailed Jewish-American, official says

October 14, 2011

Washington official declines to comment on report that US offered Cuba prisoner exchanger deal to win the release of Alan Gross. (Reuters/Jerusalem Post)

WASHINGTON – US officials met Cuban officials recently to discuss the case of Alan Gross, a Jewish-American aid contractor imprisoned on the communist-ruled island, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Friday.
But she declined to comment on a US media report which said Washington offered to let a convicted Cuban spy freed last week from a US jail, Rene Gonzalez, return home immediately in exchange for Havana’s release of Gross.
The Associated Press report, citing unnamed US officials, said Cuba rebuffed the American offer to lift parole restrictions requiring Gonzalez to remain in the United States for three years. Havana asked that Washington also pardon at least some of the four other Cuban spies who were jailed along with Gonzalez in 2001, according to the report.
“I can confirm that a meeting between US officials and the Cubans did take place as part of our efforts to get Alan Gross home,” Sherman told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, adding the meeting was “quite recent.”
“I cannot comment on what was said in that meeting,” she said.
Gross was sentenced in Cuba this year to 15 years in prison for crimes against the Cuban state. When arrested in 2009, the contractor was working for a US Agency for International Development (USAID) pro-democracy program and was accused by Havana of illegally distributing Internet and satellite communications equipment on the island.
US President Barack Obama’s administration, which has eased restrictions on US travel and remittances to the Caribbean island, has said Gross must be released before any further moves to improve US-Cuba ties can go ahead.
The release a week ago of Gonzalez, a Cuban intelligence agent jailed for spying on Cuban exiles, raised some speculation that he could be exchanged for Gross. Gonzalez had served 13 years of his 15-year sentence in the United States.
“We have always said we would use all diplomatic channels to try to get Alan Gross home. We continue to call on the Cuban government to release Mr. Gross on humanitarian grounds, and to allow him to return to his family and bring to an end the long ordeal that began well over a year and a half ago,” Sherman told lawmakers.
Gonzalez, 55, was the first to be freed of the so-called “Cuban Five” espionage agents arrested in 1998.
Gonzalez left the jail in Florida but his original sentence included the condition that he spend three years of supervised release in the United States.
Cuba’s government and Gonzalez’ family and supporters are demanding he be allowed to immediately leave the United States, saying he is at risk from possible reprisals by the Cuban exiles on whom he was convicted of spying.
Representative David Rivera, a Republican from Miami, which has a large Cuban-American population, told Sherman he was angered by the Associated Press report that US officials as well as a former US state governor, Bill Richardson, had discussed with the Cubans a possible swap of Gonzalez for Gross.
It was “outrageous,” Rivera said, “that we would be negotiating with a terrorist regime to release an American hostage.” Cuba is on the official US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
 WASHINGTON – US officials met Cuban officials recently to discuss the case of Alan Gross, a Jewish-American aid contractor imprisoned on the communist-ruled island, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Friday.
But she declined to comment on a US media report which said Washington offered to let a convicted Cuban spy freed last week from a US jail, Rene Gonzalez, return home immediately in exchange for Havana’s release of Gross.
The Associated Press report, citing unnamed US officials, said Cuba rebuffed the American offer to lift parole restrictions requiring Gonzalez to remain in the United States for three years. Havana asked that Washington also pardon at least some of the four other Cuban spies who were jailed along with Gonzalez in 2001, according to the report.
“I can confirm that a meeting between US officials and the Cubans did take place as part of our efforts to get Alan Gross home,” Sherman told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, adding the meeting was “quite recent.”
“I cannot comment on what was said in that meeting,” she said.
Gross was sentenced in Cuba this year to 15 years in prison for crimes against the Cuban state. When arrested in 2009, the contractor was working for a US Agency for International Development (USAID) pro-democracy program and was accused by Havana of illegally distributing Internet and satellite communications equipment on the island.
US President Barack Obama’s administration, which has eased restrictions on US travel and remittances to the Caribbean island, has said Gross must be released before any further moves to improve US-Cuba ties can go ahead.
The release a week ago of Gonzalez, a Cuban intelligence agent jailed for spying on Cuban exiles, raised some speculation that he could be exchanged for Gross. Gonzalez had served 13 years of his 15-year sentence in the United States.
“We have always said we would use all diplomatic channels to try to get Alan Gross home. We continue to call on the Cuban government to release Mr. Gross on humanitarian grounds, and to allow him to return to his family and bring to an end the long ordeal that began well over a year and a half ago,” Sherman told lawmakers.
Gonzalez, 55, was the first to be freed of the so-called “Cuban Five” espionage agents arrested in 1998.
Gonzalez left the jail in Florida but his original sentence included the condition that he spend three years of supervised release in the United States.
Cuba’s government and Gonzalez’ family and supporters are demanding he be allowed to immediately leave the United States, saying he is at risk from possible reprisals by the Cuban exiles on whom he was convicted of spying.
Representative David Rivera, a Republican from Miami, which has a large Cuban-American population, told Sherman he was angered by the Associated Press report that US officials as well as a former US state governor, Bill Richardson, had discussed with the Cubans a possible swap of Gonzalez for Gross.
It was “outrageous,” Rivera said, “that we would be negotiating with a terrorist regime to release an American hostage.” Cuba is on the official US list of state sponsors of terrorism.


Cuba to drill six oil wells off Florida coast

September 17, 2011

Mark Tapscott Editorial Page Editor
President Obama and his Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have all but shut down the U.S. oil and natural gas industry drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but foreign powers like China, Cuba and Venezuela aren’t hesitating to move in to take advantage of America’s bureaucratic paralysis.
Global Post reports preparations are moving forward for six wells in an area off the Florida coast in which U.S. experts have estimated could contain five billion barrels of oil. The Cubans are moving to tap into this potential energy bonanza with extensive aid from China, which built the massive drilling rig, and Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela, which is providing drilling and production expertise.
A Spanish firm, Repsol, with partners in Norway’s Statoil and Italy’s Saipem, will oversee the operation. For more from Global Post, go here. Not by coincidence, the latest data on U.S. drilling activity shows a continuing decline in the number of rigs in operation. The Washington Post reports this morning that another 10 units stopped operating, leaving a total of 1,958. Most of the newly idled rigs are in Texas.HAVANA, Cuba — Somewhere between here and China, a hulking, hungry oil rig dubbed “Scarabeo 9” is making its way across the oceans, preparing to put a very controversial hole deep in the Gulf of Mexico.
To nervous Floridians, even its name suggests “scare,” or “scar.” It will puncture the sea floor in Cuban-controlled waters just 60 miles off the Florida Keys, not far from a protected coastline where offshore drilling is banned under U.S. law.
More from Cuba: Economic inequality on the rise
U.S. geologists believe there may be 5 billion barrels of oil down there. Cuban studies estimate the total at four times that, enough to put the island on par with mid-size energy exporters in the region like Ecuador and Colombia.
A major oil strike could rescue Cuba’s struggling socialist system from its financial woes, giving the Castro government access to new credit and a potentially lucrative industry.
More from Cuba: Venezuelan subsidies keep Cuba afloat
Having conducted test wells in the area before, Spanish energy company Repsol and its partners are now bringing the Chinese-built Scarabeo 9 to a site off Cuba’s northwest coast, where it aims to drill as soon as November at a depth of more than 5,500 feet, deeper than the blown-out well that spewed 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf last summer.
That disaster has added to anxiety about Cuba’s exploration efforts, but it has also intensified calls for U.S. officials to engage the Castro government on spill prevention and contingency plans.
A high-level delegation of U.S. oil-spill experts traveled to Havana this week to meet with Cuban officials. It has urged the Obama administration to cooperate with the Castro government on a joint-response plan that could avert environmental catastrophe for both countries.
India and Pakistan are the powerhouses of South Asia as well as historic enemies. How do their military forces stack up today?
Last week’s winner compares the military might of two continually feuding countries. Check the membership site in late-September for a link to completed piece.
The delegation included William Reilly, co-chair of the presidential commission that investigated last year’s spill at the Deepwater Horizon rig, at the well known as Macondo.
“The fact that Cuba is about to drill six wells in the next two years, some of them very deep, deeper than Macondo, in places we wouldn’t allow it if it were in our waters … you better believe that the United States has an important interest in that,” Reilly said.
“The Cubans have never regulated this industry, they don’t have familiarity with it, but they are doing things to get ready for it,” he added. “We want to make sure the Cubans have got the lessons we learned, and get a sense of what they do need — that the U.S., in its own interest — would help them get.”
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), a long-time Castro foe, criticized the delegation’s visit, saying it gave “credibility” to Cuba’s attempt to become “the oil tycoons of the Caribbean.” Other lawmakers have also urged retaliatory measures against Repsol.
But experts say with Cuba moving forward, the U.S. should help them do so as safely as possible. Some of the industry’s leading safety-equipment providers and cleanup contractors are nearby along the Gulf Coast, but the U.S. trade embargo bars them from doing business with the island.
In recent months, Cuban authorities have given minimal information about their drilling plans, but the U.S. delegation gave new details into the project.
The fact that the drilling rig was built in China should not raise concerns, said delegation member Lee Hunt, president of the Houston-based International Association of Drilling Contractors, a trade group. As many six other rigs already working safely in the Gulf of Mexico were built in the same Chinese shipyard, Hunt said.
“It has the latest generation of equipment,” said Hunt.
American trade sanctions against Cuba prohibited the use of more than 10 percent U.S. technology in the rig’s construction, but Hunt said the Norwegian-designed platform will have an American-made blowout-prevention system that is more advanced than the one which failed on the Deepwater Horizon.
While Cuban oil officials will manage and regulate the operations, the engineers and crews doing the actually drilling will be composed of experienced international oil workers, said Hunt. An Italian firm, Saipem, will be operating the rig, and Repsol’s partners include Statoil, a Norwegian company that he and others praise as a world leader in safe deepwater drilling.
When asked how closely U.S. oil companies were following Cuba’s drilling plans — and if they might be angling behind the scenes for access to its waters — members of the delegation said it would depend on the size of the find.
If the deposits hold close to 20 billion barrels, as Cuban geologists claim, that would probably attract some interest, said delegation member Richard Sears, a former vice president and deepwater drilling specialist at Royal Dutch Shell.
For now, though, Sears said, U.S. firms will likely prefer to work in parts of the world with proven hydrocarbon reserves and fewer political hurdles than Cuba. “The challenge for any company is how you allocate resources,” he said.
“Do I want to fight political and public-relations battles?” said Sears. “Or do I put my resources into other parts of the Gulf of Mexico where I have well-established leases?”


Hezbollah Cuba

September 2, 2011

…According to a report in Italy’s respected Corriere della Sera Wednesday, three Hezbollah terrorists operating out of Mexico have left that country to establish a permanent “bridgehead” to the communist island, calling their clandestine operation “The Caribbean Dossier.”…Twenty-three other terrorists from the Iran-linked terror group are expected to join the operation, which has a startup budget of more than $500,000. Corriere reported that the mission in Cuba is to provide logistical support for upcoming terrorist attacks planned in the hemisphere.
This is what “state sponsor of terrorism” means, which is how the U.S. accurately classified this odious regime since 1982, even as Cuba’s leftist apologists have dismissed it, claiming Cuba is no threat…The Italian newspaper reported that Hezbollah might be planning a major attack against Israeli targets in the Western Hemisphere in retaliation for Israel’s killing of Hezbollah’s chief assassin, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus in 2008. Mughniyeh was a Hezbollah terrorist leader implicated in the two huge attacks in Buenos Aires in the 1990s on Jewish targets — strikes that remain unpunished.


Hugo Chávez hospitalized in critical condition in Cuba

June 25, 2011

Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez was hospitalized in critical condition in a Cuban hospital on Saturday, according to a report in El Nuevo Herald. (Ynet) and image via blabbeando.blogspot.com