Globe Trot: U.S. obsession with the trappings of Cuba's oppression

by Mindy Belz
Posted 4/01/16, 12:24 pm

CUBA is not your photo op, writes Cuban-American actress, writer, and filmmaker Natalie Morales.

“The old cars are not kitschy; they are not a choice. It’s all they have. The old buildings are not preserved; their balconies are falling and killing people all the time. The very, very young girls prostituting themselves are not doing it because they can’t get enough of old Canadian men, but because it pays more than being a doctor does.”

YEMEN: All week there have been conflicting reports on Thomas Uzhunnalil, the Catholic priest abducted during an ISIS attack in Yemen and—according to some reports—crucified on Good Friday. Closest to the scene, Bishop Paul Hinder of Southern Arabia announced earlier this week that he has “strong indications that Fr. Tom is still alive in the hands of the kidnappers.”

NIGERIA: A female suicide bomber, believed to be one of the Nigerian girls kidnapped from Chibok by Boko Haram in 2014, was detained in Cameroon. She appeared ready to undertake a massive bombing on Good Friday but was intercepted. The attack in Brussels was originally set for Easter Monday—suggesting terrorists planned a massive weekend of bombing Western and Christian targets, from Europe to Asia to Pakistan. That raises important questions about how closely ISIS, Boko Haram, and others are coordinating across borders.

PAKISTAN: The Easter Sunday blast in Lahore that killed 74 people, mostly Christians, didn’t dent Muslim extremist demands of the government. Members of a radical splinter group staged a sit-in, demanding assurances that blasphemy laws will not be amended and the unconditional release of all Sunni leaders. 

The protesters also demanded the execution of Asia Bibi—the Christian mother of five on death row for blasphemy since 2010. Those demands follow the execution of the man who gunned down former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, a Muslim statesman who publicly defended Bibi.

IRAQ: The Christian population of Iraq has fallen from 1.4 million in 2003 to 275,000 today, according to the latest and thoroughgoing genocide report. The story of how that’s happened is the subject of my new book, They Say We Are Infidels, which is now shipping from Amazon and is scheduled to be on sale in bookstores April 19. Here’s a profile from the book, featured in the latest issue of WORLD. I can’t say enough about the support of my colleagues during this long project.

CHINA: If you’ve ever tried to get across town in Beijing, you’ll relate to our reporter’s three-hour commute through the clogged city.

LIBERIA: World health officials have confirmed one new case of Ebola, just two days  after they declared Ebola transmission in West Africa “no longer constitutes an extraordinary event.”

I’M READING a wonderful new memoir by the surgeon for Africa’s disabled, Richard Bransford (WORLD’s 2010 Daniel of the Year), titled Take Two Hearts.

Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.

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  • Sawgunner's picture
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    The great biography AGAINST ALL HOPE by Armando Valladares should be handed out to ea and every American tourist headed to Fidelistan.