Monthly Archives: March 2020

Communist Cuba

“A ticket for a two-hour bus ride is well beyond the means of a typical Cuban.” Andy Laperriere

“It’s obvious to a visitor that Cubans live in abject poverty.” Ibid

The Real Cuba Is a Land of Extreme Deprivation

Families were overjoyed when my church group brought children’s Tylenol and cheap reading glasses.

Andy Laperriere, The Wall Street Journal, February29-March 1, 2020, p. A 15

A game of street soccer in Havana, Oct. 20, 2018.

PHOTO: YAMIL LAGE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

I’ve been to Cuba twice with my church, which has been organizing trips for almost 20 years. It’s astonishing some people still cling to a romanticized version of Cuban life under communism. It bears no resemblance to reality.

On these visits, in 2006 and 2007, my fellow travelers and I brought two suitcases, one for our clothes and another for the things we gave away to Cuban churches and our translators. We loaded up on basic medications, especially prenatal vitamins and children’s Tylenol, which Cuban children would otherwise go without.

We bought dozens of pairs of inexpensive reading glasses—the kind Americans can find at the pharmacy for a couple of dollars. Older Cubans sometimes cried when I gave them these glasses, which restored their ability to read.

I can’t say I conducted a study of the Cuban health-care system, but I’ll go out on limb and suggest that people who don’t have children’s Tylenol and cheap reading glasses probably aren’t getting world-class medical care. Continue reading

Leftwing Locust

“Africa’s locust plague is man-made.” Walter Williams

“UN agencies and multiple environmentalist NGOs have been extolling and imposing ‘agroecology’ on Africa.” Ibid

Another African Tragedy

A highly politicized locust outbreak threatens millions.

Walter Williams, Frontpagemag.com, March 6, 2020

Here are a few headlines about an African tragedy: “Africa’s Worst Locust Plague in Decades Threatens Millions” (The Wall Street Journal), “‘Unprecedented’ Locust Invasion Approaches Full-Blown Crisis” (Scientific American), “Somalia Declares Locust Outbreak a ‘National Emergency'” (The National) and “UN Calls for International Action on East Africa Locust Outbreak” (Bloomberg Green). This ongoing tragedy is mostly man-made, according to an analysis by Paul Driessen, who is a senior policy adviser with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.

Driessen says that billions of desert locusts have attacked the eastern Africa nations of Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. According to the U.N., the locust attack in Kenya is the worst in 70 years and the worst in 25 years for other east African nations. Locusts are destroying crops and threatening tens of millions of Africans with lost livelihoods and starvation. These locust swarms can blanket 460 square miles at a time and consume more than 400 million pounds of vegetation daily. They reproduce fast, too, meaning locust swarms could be 500 times bigger in six months.

Africa’s locust plague is man-made. Economic development organizations and activist nongovernmental organizations have foisted “agroecology” on the poorest nations — an organic-style agriculture. They promote the virtues of peasant farming. So how do these poor farmers fight the locust plague? Driessen says: “Desperate Africans are responding with ‘time-tested’ methods: whistling and shouting loudly, banging on metal buckets, waving blankets and sticks, crushing the bugs perhaps even roasting and eating them, under UN-approved nutrition programs. In Eritrea, they are using ‘more advanced’ methods: hand-held and truck-mounted sprayers. In Kenya, police are firing machine guns and tear gas into the swarms!”

Antonio Guterres of Portugal, the U.N. secretary-general, claimed global warming as a cause of the problem. He said there is a link between climate change and the unprecedented locust crisis plaguing Ethiopia and East Africa. Guterres said: “Warmer seas mean more cyclones generating the perfect breeding ground for locusts. Today the swarms are as big as major cities and it is getting worse by the day.”

Guterres’ suggestion that global warming is the cause of today’s plague is sheer nonsense. Locust infestations have been feared and revered throughout mankind’s history. Devastating locust attacks in Egypt around 1446 B.C. were mentioned in the Book of Exodus in the Bible. “The Iliad” describes locusts taking flight to escape fire. Plagues of locusts are also mentioned in the Quran.

Driessen concludes: “A primary reason this plague of locusts has overwhelmed East Africa — indeed, perhaps THE primary reason — is that the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, other UN agencies and multiple environmentalist NGOs have been extolling and imposing ‘agroecology’ on Africa. This highly politicized ‘movement’ rabidly opposes hybrid seeds, synthetic insecticides and fertilizers, biotechnology, and even mechanized equipment like tractors! Acceptance of its tenets and restrictions has become a condition for poor farmers getting seeds and other assistance, and their countries and local communities getting development loans and food aid.”

By the way, locusts are not only a threat to crops; they threaten people in another way. In early January, a Boeing 737 on final landing approach to Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, found itself in the midst of a massive cloud of locusts swarming above the airport. The insects were sucked into the plane’s engines. Their bodies were splattered across the windshield blinding the pilots to the runway ahead. The Boeing 737 climbed above the swarm. The pilot depressurized the cabin so he could open the side window and reach around to clear the windshield by hand. Diverting to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, the pilot was able to land the plane safely.

Fidel Castro’s Victims

“The ‘nature’ of the Cuban military dictatorship is totalitarian. It seeks to control every inch of daily life, public and private, and uses harsh repression to achieve its ends.” Mary Anastasia O’Grady

Bernie Rewrites Cuban History

He lamely concedes that the regime is ‘authoritarian.’ No, it’s totalitarian.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady, The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2020, p. A 15

Opinion: Sanders's Supporters Don't Understand the Cuban Revolution

Opinion: Sanders’s Supporters Don’t Understand the Cuban Revolution
The Americas: Many in Florida, including Democrats such as Representative Donna Shalala, have slammed Bernie Sanders comments on Cuba as uninformed. Image: AP/Shutterstock/Composite: Brad Howard

Many Americans were offended by Sen. Bernie Sanders’s recent praise of Fidel Castro. Perhaps gratitude is in order instead. By candidly sharing his opinion of Cuba, Mr. Sanders exposes the depth of his socialist views.

Mr. Sanders’s enthusiastic support for the Socialist Workers Party in the 1980s is well documented, as is his endorsement of Castro and Nicaraguan Sandinista Daniel Ortega, both of whom were Soviet pawns during the Cold War. On CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Feb. 23 we learned that Bernie’s ideology hasn’t changed much since he was advocating for tyranny in his youth.

Interviewer Anderson Cooper played a film clip from the 1980s in which Mr. Sanders explains why Cubans didn’t side with the U.S. against Castro: Because he “educated the kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society.” To Mr. Cooper, he said: “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it?” Continue reading