U.S. Secretly Sent Latin American Youth To Cuba To Stir Up a Revolution

Categories: La Habana

photo by Agensia Brasil via Wikimedia Commons
Dwight Eisenhower still holds the record for the most hamfisted attempts to oust Fidel Castro, thanks to alleged plots like the CIA's exploding cigar caper. But Barack Obama is giving Ike a run for his money. First came the "Cuban Twitter" fiasco, when news leaked that the US Agency for International Development had secretly started a Havana-based Twitter copycat in the hopes it might inspire an Arab Spring-esque rebellion.

Now this morning the AP reports on another USAID scheme: The agency secretly sent teams of young Latin Americans to the island posing as tourists with the goal of sparking revolution.

See also: U.S. Secretly Created a 'Cuban Twitter' to Try to Incite an Anti-Castro Uprising

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Russia Is About To Start Spying on Us Again From Cuba

Categories: La Habana

Photo by Keizers via Wikimedia Commons
The Russians invade a neighboring nation and annex new territory. The outraged Americans respond with financial sanctions and chest thumping. Moscow tips the conflict toward a boiling point by upping its military presence in Cuba, just a few hundred miles from Florida's borders.

Nope, it's not 1962. All of the above happened this week, with the latest development coming just this morning. Vladimir Putin is reportedly reopening a Cold War-era spy post just outside Havana at the urging of the Castro Regime. Welcome back to the good old days!

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Cuban Government Tried to Smear U.S. Senator With Stories of Underaged Prostitutes

Categories: La Habana

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Did right-wing news outlets push Cuban propaganda in order to smear a Democratic United States senator?

Back in 2012, the conservative Daily Caller published shady claims the Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the only Cuban-American Democrat in the Senate, had contact with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. Now the CIA has evidence linking the false claims to the Cuban government.

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New Florida Law Tries To Prevent MLB's Cuban Stars From Falling Prey to Human Smugglers

Categories: La Habana

via YouTube
Yasmani Tomas, the latest Cuban defector
On Saturday, news broke about Cuba's latest high-risk defection. Yasmani Tomas, a top slugger for Industriales, had fled Cuba for potential millions as a Major League Baseball star. But as All-Star Yasiel Puig's harrowing tale showed the world earlier this year, that path from Castro's island to big league ballparks often detours into blackmail and death threats at the hands of cartel-linked smugglers.

The problem is that, thanks to the Cuban embargo, MLB requires defecting players to go to a third country before signing U.S. contracts -- a rule that has created a violent side industry for Mexico's drug gangs. A new Florida law just signed by Gov. Rick Scott hopes to take a bite out of that gray market business.

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Joe Biden Gives Interview to Cuba's First Independent Digital News Site

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A week ago Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez launched 14yMedio, the first independent online media outlet in Cuba. Today it published its first big "get": An interview with Vice President Joe Biden.

The chat follows a 2009 interview President Barack Obama gave to Sanchez that was posted on her blog Generación Y. Biden essentially reiterated many of the previously held positions and answers of his boss, but also called for the release of American prisoner Alan Gross.

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The CIA's Bay of Pigs Documents Can Be Kept Secret Indefinitely, Court Rules

Categories: La Habana

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Photo by Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons | CC 2.5
Bay of Pigs monument in Little Havana.
The American public might never get to know the entire history of the events that occurred during the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, not at least until the Central Intelligence Agency is finished revising the draft copy of its history, which seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the CIA can withhold a 30-year-old volume of the invasion's draft "official history" from the public under the "deliberative process" privilege of the Freedom of Information Act, even though most of the volumes have already been released to the public.

See also: CIA Withholds Bay of Pigs Documents, Claims Release Would "Confuse the Public"

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Four Miami Men Arrested in Cuba on Terrorism Charges

Categories: La Habana

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Cuba's government-controlled media has announced the arrest of four Miami men accused of plotting terrorism on the island.

José Ortega Amador, Obdulio Rodríguez González, Raibel Pacheco Santos, and Félix Monzón Álvarez are currently behind bars after being arrested on April 26 according to the Communist Party newspaper Granma, though exact details are unknown.

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Chavez's Daughter Posts New Photos of Fidel Castro on Instagram

Categories: La Habana

Like a lot of young women, Maria Gabriela Chavez is obsessed with chronicling her life on Instagram. Unlike a lot of young women, she's the pampered daughter of one Latin American strongman and still buddy-buddy with another.

Yes, Hugo Chavez's youngest daughter visited uncle Fidel this week and posted new photos of the aging Cuban dictator on her Instagram.

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Cuba Is Running Out of Condoms (and Beer!)

Categories: La Habana

Photo by Gildemax via Wikimedia Commons
In Cuba -- where sudden shortages of everyday products are as commonplace as Fidel columns bashing the oligarchy -- condoms have always been a reliable stand-in for everything from kids' birthday balloons to bootleg beach balls. Even during the worst of times, the government kept dirt-cheap, Chinese-made rubbers on shelves around the nation.

But this month, condoms have suddenly become as hard to find in Havana as a George W. Bush T-shirt. The run on prophylactics, along with ongoing potato and beer shortfalls, is casting doubt on the Castro regime's claims that a slowly privatizing economy will make empty store shelves a problem of the past.

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A Shady Miami A/C Repairman Was Behind Yasiel Puig's Harrowing Escape From Cuba

Categories: Crime, La Habana

photo by Ron Reiring via Wikimedia Commons
Ever since he earned a midsummer promotion to the Dodgers last year, Cuban defector Yasiel Puig has been the most electrifying man in Major League Baseball -- flying heedlessly into walls, smacking absurd home runs, and annoying columnists by showing up late to games and speeding in his sports car.

But in the shadows, Puig has lived a much darker narrative, where a smuggling ring held him captive in Mexico and threatened to kill him with a machete, and where fellow athletes have accused him of working as a snitch for Castro's regime. At the center of it all, according to an astounding feature this week in Los Angeles magazine, is a Miami air-conditioning repairman with a criminal record.

See also: Cuban Baseball Agents: Risks and Lies

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