Opinion

Going old school with Fidel and Raul

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Rick Robinson
Author, Writ of Mandamus
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      Rick Robinson

      Rick Robinson has spent thirty years in politics and law, including a stint on Capitol Hill as Legislative Director/Chief Counsel to then-Congressman Jim Bunning (R-KY). He has been active in all levels of politics, from advising candidates on the national level to walking door-to-door in city council races. He ran for the United States Congress in 1998.

      Rick’s first book, The Maximum Contribution, was named a “Finalist” in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Books Awards in the genre of political fiction. It also won an Honorable Mention at the 2008 Hollywood Book Festival. Sniper Bid, was released on Election Day 2009 and opened on Amazon’s Top Seller list at #46 of political fiction. Sniper Bid earned 5 national awards: Finalist USA Book News Best Books of 2009; Finalist Best Indie Novel Next Generation Indie Books Awards; Runner-up at the 2009 Nashville Book Festival; Honorable Mentions at the 2008 New England Book Festival and the 2009 Hollywood Book Festival. Throughout 2009 both books appeared on Amazon’s Top Seller List on the same day.

      Rick’s third offering, Manifest Destiny, was released in the spring of 2010. It was named Best Fiction at the Paris Book Festival, a Finalist for Best Fiction in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Best Fiction at the New York Book Festival, a Finalist as Best Thriller in the Indie Excellence Awards, and won Honorable mention in the Beach Book Festival, the Hollywood Book Festival and the San Francisco Book Festival.

      A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Rick currently practices law in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky with the law firm of Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP. Rick, and his wife Linda, live in Ft. Mitchell with their three children, Josh, Zach and MacKenzie.

Where do totalitarian leaders go for state visits these days?

That was the question recently faced by Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And who could blame Ahmadinejad for wanting to get away from Tehran for a while? Sometimes after a tough week of developing nuclear weapons, planning the blockage of international shipping channels and condemning American tourists to death, a tyrannical leader just needs some time to be alone with his thoughts.

But where can despots go to get away from the daily grind of oppression and just hang out with like-minded kooks?

Why, Cuba, of course.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent his Latin American “solidarity” tour to Havana this week shortly after the United States toughened sanctions on his government. It was a whirlwind stop for the president. He dropped by the University of Havana and, after giving a speech denouncing capitalism and America, received an honorary doctorate.

Following his rousing address, “Dr.” Ahmadinejad visited with Fidel Castro for several hours and reportedly said, “It was a great motive of joy for me to find [Castro] sane and healthy” — a statement that makes you wonder who Ahmadinejad hangs out with back home in Tehran.

Imagine the two human rights abusers, lighting up cigars and knocking it back dictator-to-dictator, old-school style. Ahmadinejad probably started with a joke about how he denied the Holocaust. Castro responding by denying the number of Cubans he has killed since coming to power.

Those crazy authoritarians.

Sanctioned soul brothers

It is no coincidence that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showed up in Havana days after being slapped with additional sanctions by the Obama administration. He went to Cuba for a reason.

Cuba has been dealing with American sanctions since the early 1960s. If you want to laugh in the face of American leaders, head to Cuba. Fidel Castro and his little brother Raul have been thumbing their collective nose at American leaders for a half-century.

Despite 50 years of American sanctions, the Castro boys have killed upwards of 18,000 political opponents. Another 7,000 dissidents have died in Cuban jails. As many as 50,000 Cubans have lost their lives trying to escape. Gay Cuban males have been routinely sent to concentration camps.

An American, Alan Gross, was held in jail for over a year without charges. His eventual conviction in a Cuban kangaroo court would be considered a miscarriage of justice in any country with even nominal respect for the rule of law. In Cuba, the Gross sham was simply business as usual.