Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday October 1st 2014

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The Buzz 6/5/14

Deadbeat Cuba The Independent News shared a cup of coffee with Cuban human rights activist Rene Gomez Manzano and several of his fellow dissidents. Manzano, who is also an attorney, was in Pensacola to speak before the local Inns of Court, which is comprised of area judges and attorneys.

He shared that his message for the lawyers was that anyone would be mad to invest in Cuba as long as the communist government is in power.

“The only reason Cuba wants the United States to lift its embargo is so that it can get credit from the United States,” Manzano said. “Cuba is trading with American companies now, but it has to pay cash. They are shady characters.”

He and his friends explained that the Cuban government never fully repays its loans. In December 2013, Russia and Cuba announced an agreement to write off 90 percent of Cuba’s $32 billion debt, which dated back over 50 years to the Soviet era.

A month earlier, Cuba reached an agreement with Mexico to eliminate of 70 percent of its debt. In 2012, the communist country negotiated an 80 percent reduction of its debt with Japan.

When asked if he considered the Cuban government deadbeats, Manzano laughed, “Yes, the United States will never see any of its loans to Cuba repaid.”

Email Mystery Uncovered The News Service of Florida reported that just before a judge cleared the courtroom so a GOP operative could testify in secret, lawyers for groups challenging the Legislature’s 2012 congressional map revealed that a man associated with the plan denied he had anything to do with it.

Alex Posada said under oath in a deposition that he did not draw the congressional map, did not submit it to the Legislature and did not authorize anyone else to do so on his behalf, a lawyer for a coalition of voting rights groups told The News Service of Florida.

Posada, a former Florida State University student who appeared at one of the Legislature’s public hearings on redistricting in 2012, also swore that he had no knowledge of the alexposada22@gmail.com email account used to deliver the map to the Legislature’s public portal, according to lawyer Vince Falcone, who took Posada’s deposition over the telephone.

Lawmakers including Senate President Don Gaetz, who in 2012 was in charge of the committee handling the redistricting process, publicly praised the “Posada” map as the footprint for their congressional plan.

Become City’s Instagrammer In our May 1 issue, we mentioned in “The Buzz” that Pensacola newcomer Drew Buchanan had been given control of the city of Pensacola’s Instagram account for a weekend. Buchanan contacted that the newspaper and said the honor of guest moderator was not linked to his praise of Mayor Ashton Hayward or his interest in the mayor’s digital town hall meeting.

Buchanan wrote the Independent News that the “Guest Instagrammer” series on the City’s official social media platforms was his idea, which he presented to the mayor’s office. Prior to our Buzz article, the IN did make a public record request for any emails regarding Buchanan taking over the city site. There were none.

“This was a concept born out of casual discussion to help tell Pensacola’s story that the City quickly adopted—nothing more,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan said that anyone could apply to be a “Guest Instagrammer” for the city of Pensacola via its official Facebook page, facebook.com/cityofpensacola.

“I can assure you, praise for any elected official is not a prerequisite,” he added.

As of publication deadline, no one else had been named a “Guest Instagrammer,” since late April. According to Buchanan, the city suspended the program because of the flooding but he had been told it would start up again in June.