Were you in Cuba during and after the revolution? Do you know anyone who was imprisoned by the Castro regime? Have you been to Cuba recently and visited--- and not just the parts of Cuba they let the tourist go to?
I don't care about what you've "read about poverty stricken regions in the Caribbean" tell us something that you actually know. Something that you have actually witnessed?
I have been to Jamaica where prostitution is alive and well. Been to Costa Rica where the poor folks are quite open in prostitution been to Mexico where the poorer folks hang out outside major hotels and the maids make extra money turning tricks.
fact is NOTHING you blame Cuba's leadership for is much different than most of the region. Course you don't want to discuss Cuba back when it was friendly to us- and the Mob...
It is very typically that dictator states join together - Iran, North Korea, Cuba and partly Russia, even if they have very opposite ideological fundament. The only common platform is the hatred against the USA and their Western allies. A dictatorship state defines "freedom" as the dictator's right to do whatever he wants with "his" citizens, and "oppression" is defined as external interference on the dictator in this respect. I really hope that the demonstrators in Venezuela will succeed in throwing away the semi-dictatorship down there, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-26335287
For sure the Castroit regime is going to remain mum after getting caught red handed shipping arms to the North Korean tyrannical regime in direct violation of UN sanctions. Why should they talk or cooperate with investigators? All they would do is stay quiet, make believe nothing happened, and chances are that sooner or later, the entire scandal will go away.N Korean ship seized with Cuban weapons 'free to leave' Panama
BBC News - N Korean ship seized with Cuban weapons 'free to leave' Panama
BBC News Latin America & Caribbean
8 February 2014
Soviet-era fighter jet engines were found in the containers
The Panama Canal Authority says a North Korean ship seized seven months ago with undeclared Cuban weapons on board is free to go, after Pyongyang paid a fine of nearly $700,000 (£425,000).
The ship was carrying 25 containers, with Soviet-era weapons and fighter jets hidden under sacks of sugar.
Three crew members, including the captain, will remain in Panama to face weapons trafficking charges.
United Nation sanctions ban any country from providing arms to North Korea.
The Canal Authority initially imposed a fine of nearly $1m - eventually reduced to $693,000 - for breach of navigation regulations.
It says the undeclared cargo endangered Panama's internal security
"Having received the fine and in strict accordance with its regulations the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has authorised the departure of the ship," it said in a statement.
On 30 January, the canal administrators ordered the release, without charge, of 32 of the 35 crew members of the Chong Chon Gang.
The captain, the first officer and the political officer face 12-year sentences for arms smuggling.
The container ship was stopped near Manzanillo, on the Atlantic side of the canal, on 15 July under suspicion that it was carrying drugs.
It had disappeared from satellite tracking for a few days as it approached the Cuban capital, Havana, having departed from Russia's eastern coast three months earlier.
On searching the vessel, officials found military hardware including two Soviet-era MiG-21 fighter aircraft, air defence systems, missiles and command and control vehicles.
Cuban authorities said that the ship was carrying 240 tonnes of "obsolete" defensive weapons.
The North Korean government had called on Panama to release the vessel.
"This cargo is nothing but ageing weapons which are to be sent back to Cuba after overhauling them according to a legitimate contract," the North's foreign ministry was quoted as saying by the state-run Central News Agency.
UN experts sent to Panama to investigate published a preliminary report saying that sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear programme had been violated.
Under UN sanctions, North Korea is banned from weapons exports and the import of all but small arms.
This is a good reason to keep the Castroit tyrannical regime in the list of nations who sponsor terrorism.U.N.: Cuba weapons shipment to North Korea violated arms embargo
U.N.: Cuba weapons shipment to North Korea violated arms embargo - Cuba - MiamiHerald.com
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
A shipment of Cuban weapons to North Korea last summer violated a U.N. arms embargo on the Asian nation and showed a “comprehensive planned strategy to conceal” the cargo, a team of U.N. sanctions investigators have reportedly concluded.
Japan’s Kyodo News International news agency reported that the secret report submitted by the investigators to the U.N. Security Council states that the Cuban shipment constituted “sanctions violations.”
Panama authorities discovered the weapons, including anti-aircraft missile radar systems and engines for MiG warplanes, hidden under 10,000 tons of Cuban sugar when the seized the Chong Chon Gang freighter on its way to North Korea.
North Korea, officially named the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), used a string of companies for the shipment, and the freighter turned off its locator beacon while it sailed in Caribbean waters, according to the report.
“The employment of so many role-players in support of the trip suggests a network of entities centrally managed working together to deflect scrutiny in order to evade sanctions by minimizing the DPRK's visibility in transactions,” the U.N. investigators wrote.
The Panama Government should inspect any North Korea ship traversing through the Panama Canal. This would put an end to the trafficking of drugs and military equipment by North Korea ships that use the Panama Canal.
Don’t be surprised that the UN will end up doing basically nothing to punish the Castroit dictatorship for selling military weapons to North Korea's tyrannical dictatorship.Expert: UN unlikely to sanction Cuba for North Korea weaponshttp://www.miamiherald.com/2014/02/21/3951729/expert-un-unlikely-to-sanction.html
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
Posted on o2/21/2014
Cuba almost certainly will not be sanctioned for violating the United Nations weapons embargo on North Korea, but individuals or enterprises from the island or the Asian country might be designated for punishment, analysts say.
The U.N. Security Council committee in charge of enforcing the embargo against Pyongyang is to meet Monday to start considering any punishments for Havana’s shipment of 240 tons of weapons to North Korea, seized by Panama authorities in July.
A panel of U.N. experts reported last week that the weapons, including anti-aircraft missile systems and engines for MiG warplanes, found hidden under 10,000 tons of sugar in the freighter Chong Chon Gang indeed violated the U.N. embargo.
A study underway of violators of the North Korean embargo over several years found that no government was punished, said Hugh Griffiths, a global arms trafficking expert with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in Sweden.
“The pattern has really been to sanction individuals and entities,” Griffiths said, adding that the SIPRI study has been reviewing the punishments put in place by the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, Japan and Australia.
“I doubt very much that Cuba would be put under sanctions, based on previous violations,” Griffiths said by phone from Sweden.
The six-page list of entities sanctioned by the U.N. committee in charge of enforcing the arms embargo lists no countries. The embargo was slapped on North Korea under U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 for its nuclear weapons program.
The committee, officially named the 1718 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sanctions Committee, has three options for handling the Cuba case, according to experts on U.N. procedures.
It could do nothing at all, and Cuba has lots of allies in the United Nations that would prefer that. Havana escaped sanctions after a panel of U.N. aviation exports faulted its killing of four South Florida pilots over international waters in 1996.
Panama should sanction the Castroit regime for this blatant attempt to circumvent international sanctions against the brutal tyrannical regime of N. Korea. It could denied passage to suspect ships going to, or coming from the island of Dr. Castro, or by a thorough stem to stern search of any suspicious ship with the island on its itinerary.
The U.N. Security Council detail report has concluded that the Castroit regime concealed tons of armaments under sacks of sugar on the North Korean ship Chong Chon Gang, and that all the weapons were in full working order, in violation of the sanctions.Must Read: U.N. Releases Report on Cuba-North Korea Illegal Weapons Trafficking
Capitol Hill Cubans: Must Read: U.N. Releases Report on Cuba-North Korea Illegal Weapons Trafficking
at 10:48 AM Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The U.N.'s Panel of Experts ("Panel") has released its official report on North Korea's illegal trafficking of weapons, in conjunction with Cuba's Castro regime.
In July 2013, a North Korean flagged vessel, Chong Chon Gang, was intercepted carrying weaponry from Cuba hidden under 200,000 bags of sugar.
According to the report, such weapons trafficking remains "one of [North Korea's] most profitable revenue sources."
The report also documents North Korea's efforts to sell weaponry to Iran, Somalia, Eritrea, Myanmar and other countries of concern.
In the case of Cuba, it's the first time a nation in the Western Hemisphere is found in blatant violation of U.N. sanctions.
Moreover, the report notes similar Cuba trafficking patterns by other North Korean ships in the recent past.
Here are some notable excerpts from the report:
- The Panel concluded in its incident report submitted to the Committee that both the shipment itself and the transaction between Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were sanctions violations.
- The Panel found that the hidden cargo amounted to six trailers associated with surface-to-air missile systems and 25 shipping containers loaded with two disassembled MiG-21 aircraft, 15 engines for MiG-21 aircraft, components for surface-to-air missile systems, ammunition and miscellaneous arms-related materiel. This constituted the largest amount of arms and related materiel interdicted to or from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since the adoption of resolution 1718 (2006).
- No records show the ship stopping at any countries other than Cuba between exiting the Panama Canal on 1 June and its return passage on 11 July.
- On 20 June, the ship docked in the port of Mariel, where it took onboard the arms and related materiel.
- Cuba argued that “maintenance”, as set out in paragraph 8 (c) of resolution 1718, was distinct from “repair”, which Cuba claimed was the basis of its contract with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea... The Panel is unconvinced by Cuba’s rationale to distinguish “maintenance” and “repair.”
- The transportation of undeclared weapons and explosives in this manner posed a significant danger to all persons and facilities in proximity to the ship and should be a cause of concern among shippers, port authorities, the international maritime community and insurers.
- Evidence found on the ship (see annexes XX and XXI) pointed to involvement of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea embassy staff in Cuba. Contact phone numbers and records found in the captain’s notes led the Panel to conclude that embassy officials in Havana were engaged in making arrangements for the shipment of the consignment of arms and related materiel, including the payment methods.
- In its consultations with the Panel, Cuba confirmed the parties involved in the sugar and said that the arms shipment was part of a governmental agreement. It declined,however, to give the Panel copies of these agreements, citing confidentiality clauses in the contracts.
- The incident involving the Chong Chon Gang revealed a comprehensive, planned strategy to conceal the existence and nature of the cargo.
- All identification markings and insignia of the Cuban Revolutionary Air Force had been removed from both MiG-21 aircraft; the Panel observed signs of overspray and scratch marks in places dedicated to original insignia.
- While the age of the items found in the shipment varied greatly, most appeared to have been well maintained. Records accompanying a great deal of the equipment indicated or certified the equipment functioned in accordance with specification or had been calibrated just prior to packing.
- It is the Panel’s view that examining individually the items and their handling suggest that some, if not all, of the consignment was not expected to be returned to Cuba.
- [The Panel] notes that the voyage of another Democratic People’s Republic of Korea-flagged and -owned vessel to Cuba presents a very similar pattern to the recent voyage of the Chong Chon Gang.
- On April 2012, the general cargo vessel O Un Chong Nyon Ho (IMO 8330815) operated by OMM,11 sailed directly from Nampo to Cuba and back without any further calls in the region. After having stopped in Havana and Puerto Padre, the O Un Chong Nyon Ho drifted for several weeks off northern Cuba before returning for three weeks to Havana. Its Automatic Identification System was switched off (in violation of IMO requirements) during these three weeks, however, effectively preventing determination of further ports’ calls,as in the case of the Chong Chon Gang.
Raul Castro greeting General Kim Kyok-sik in Havana in July 2013
North Korea's Army Chief General Kim Kyok-sik, involve in the North Korean ship weapons smuggling, was purged from his post and killed by the North Korea tyrant Kim Jong Un.
The behavior of the Castroit regime is a threat to the international community and shall be punished for its involvement in the weapons smuggling by the North Korea tyrannical regime, in violation of the UN Security Council’s arms embargo. But probably very little will be done by the UN. This behavior certainly would not improve its relations with other countries.UN Cuba would not ID those responsible for North Korea arms shipment
UN: Cuba would not ID those responsible for North Korea arms shipment - Cuba - MiamiHerald.com
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
Cuba’s government refused to identify the people or entities involved in a weapons shipment to North Korea last year that violated a U.N. arms embargo, and might have violated the embargo twice more in 2012, according to a U.N. report made public Tuesday.
Some of the weapons and equipment that Cuba described as “obsolete” had been calibrated just before they were put aboard the freighter Chong Chon Gang, the document added, and Cuban insignias on two MiG21 warplanes were painted over.
The report also declared that the shipment intercepted in Panama violated the U.N. embargo on the Asian nation, and that despite Havana’s denials there were indications Cuba intended to turn over the weapons to the Pyongyang government.
Cuba’s 240-ton shipment was “the largest amount of arms and related materiel” interdicted going to or from North Korea since the Asian nation was hit with an arms embargo in 2006 because of its nuclear weapons program, the document added.
The public part of the 127-page report makes no recommendations on sanctions for Cuban or North Korean entities involved in the violations. But it mentions a secret annex submitted to the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) committee in charge of banking and travel sanctions on violators.
The U.S. State Department said it will “pursue appropriate action” based on the report but added, “We do not view this as a bilateral issue between the United States and Cuba. This is about a potential violation of U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea.”
Anti-Castro activist Mauricio Claver Carone urged the Obama administration to adopt “tangible repercussions that would make it unequivocally clear to the Castro regime that such behavior isn't inconsequential. Otherwise, it will continue to feel emboldened.”
Cuba declared in July that it sent the weapons to North Korea to be repaired and returned. It later argued to U.N. investigators who visited Havana that they did not violate the U.N. ban on the “supply, sale or transfer” of weapons to Pyongyang because Cuba retained ownership and the embargo covers “maintenance” but not “repairs.”
Those arguments were rejected in the document Tuesday, the annual report by the panel of U.N. experts that investigates all violations of the North Korea sanctions. It was submitted last month to the UNSC committee that enforces the embargo, and parts of it had leaked to the news media.
“The Panel is unconvinced by Cuba’s rationale to distinguish ‘maintenance’ and ‘repair,’” the report said, adding flatly that the shipment “violated the sanctions.”
Although Cuba told the U.N. investigators that the state-run Cubazucar had shipped the 200,018 sacks of sugar that covered and hid the weapons on the Chong Chon Gang, it refused to identify the Cubans involved in the weapons shipment and contract with Pyongyang.
The report said the weapons were loaded aboard the freighter at the port of Mariel west of Havana that’s being expanded by a consortium of Almacenes Universal S.A., run by the Cuban military and Brazilian enterprises.
Packed in 25 metal shipping containers and six trailers were two anti-aircraft missile systems, two MiG-21UM jet trainers, 15 engines and afterburners for the MiG21s, artillery shells and other munitions and materiel – most of it from the Soviet era.
While Cuba claims the weaponry was to be returned to the island, the report said it was the “panel’s view that examining individually the items and their (packaging) … suggest that some, if not all, of the consignment was not expected to be returned to Cuba.”
And although Cuba claims the weapons were “obsolete,” the report added, “records accompanying a great deal of the equipment indicated or certified the equipment functioned in accordance with specification or had been calibrated just prior to packing. Further, some of the equipment was unused or still in its original packaging.”
What’s more, the report said, Cuba had confirmed that North Korean military officers visited the island in 2012 to assess the weapons that were shipped in 2013. If the visit was “to provide services or assistance … they would also have been a violation.”
The report added that another North Korean freighter docked in April 2012 at some of the same Cuban ports as the Chong Chon Gang. Havana claimed it made only one weapons shipment last summer, but the experts could not confirm that claim.
The report also detailed the efforts to hide the Cuban weapons under the sugar and the freighter’s failure to report its true cargo as it prepared to cross the Panama Canal westbound to North Korea. Panama intercepted the ship on a tip it was carrying drugs.
The document included the text of a message, marked “secret,” notifying the captain of the freighter that he would be taking on some unscheduled cargo in Cuba and telling him to inform only his deputy captain and the political and security commissars aboard.
“After unloading in Havana … load the containers first and load the 10,000 tons of sugar (at the next Port) over them so that the containers cannot be seen,” added the message, found aboard the ship.
“The extraordinary and extensive efforts to conceal the cargo of arms” and the freighter’s failure to include the weapons in its cargo manifest “point to a clear and conscious intention to circumvent” the arms embargo, the report said.