Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Christian Liberation Movement's Hardline

Hardline: an uncompromising or unyielding stand, especially in politics. One of the earliest documents of the Christian Liberation Movement that Free Cuba Foundation translated and reproduced at the time demonstrates the movement's hardline against violence, terrorism and hatred while embracing principled nonviolence.

On June 11, 1991 Oswaldo's home is attacked and vandalized

July 24, 1997

Declaration From the Christian Liberation Movement.

CHRISTIAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT, Havana, July 22, 1997. DECLARATION: A few days ago, bombs exploded in two hotels in Havana. Neither the perpetrators nor the objectives of these terrorist acts have identified themselves. But in any case, such acts are reprehensible. We reject them and they should not serve to confuse Cubans. 

When defending their human rights, proclaiming the truth and proposing a peaceful transition to democracy, many of our fellow countrymen have endured threats, discrimination, acts of harassment, arbitrary incarcerations, beatings and cruel treatment by repressive agents, and political and judicial authorities. 

However, neither we nor any of our brothers have renounced a peaceful transition through civic means. 

Furthermore, those who in the prisons receive serious mistreatment have not voiced words of hatred against their abusers, because for us the peaceful approach is not a tactic but something that arises out of a spirit of reconciliation and liberation which has prompted us to begin our struggle. 

No one can justify terrorist violence and attacks on defenseless human beings with any kind of reasoning, and much less by pretending to defend freedom and justice. Anyone who hides cynically to make attempts against human life violates the dignity of the human being and conspires against freedom and justice. 

The end does not justify the means. Lies and terror lead to death and fear. Truth and love produce freedom and life. 

FREEDOM AND LIFE, a phrase first pronounced by the Christian Liberation Movement in its Proclamation Document, continues to be the essence of the path and the goal that we are determined to follow. 

We denounce such acts of terror and violence, whoever their perpetrators may be…. 

This Document was drafted and signed in the City of Havana by the following founders of the Christian Liberation Movement:

Oswaldo Paya Sardiñas

Antonio Ramón Díaz Sánchez

Ramón Antunez Gonzalez

Miguel Saludes García

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Light two candles and make the Liberation sign for Oswaldo and Harold

"They have told me that they will kill me before this regime ends, but I will not flee." - Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas

"Christians and non-Christians who have the courage and the freedom to consider the peaceful political option for their lives, know they are exposing themselves to slightly less than absolute solitude, to work exclusion, to persecution, to prison or death."  - Harold Cepero Escalante

Remembering two heroes across social media with 2 candles and the "L" sign
The Christian Liberation Movement is organizing a series of observances in Cuba, the United States and Spain to pay tribute to the lives of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante who died under suspicious circumstances on July 22, 2012.

They are also calling for all their friends in Cuba and around the world to take part in a social media campaign: "That their light never be extinguished in us. Hope is credited for every candle lit our HEROES." The campaign is already underway and they are posting pictures of those participating on their website.

Marc Masferrer of Uncommon Sense and John Suarez of Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter are also promoting the initiative:
The Christian Liberation Movement is calling for friends of the movement to remember the two martyred human rights defenders in an online campaign taking photos with two candles lit while making the sign of Liberation as in the picture above: "We ask all of our Cuban friends and friends of the world to join us in remembering Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero between now and next July 22 taking pictures with two candles and the sign of Liberation, the sign of the Freedom of Cuba, for which they generously gave their lives." - Regis Iglesias Ramirez, Christian Liberation Movement spokesperson in Europe, over Facebook
Please take five minutes of your time to pay homage to these two nonviolent human rights defenders and demonstrate your support for their values and cause, and if you are in Madrid, Miami, or Havana on July 22, 2014 consider joining in observing the two year anniversary of their physical passing. 

Social media campaign launched by Regis Iglesias of the Christian Liberation Movement

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"13 de Marzo" Tugboat Massacre 20 Years Later: Actions Taken in Memory of the 37 Victims


"State crimes are never an issue exclusive to the families of the victims." - Rosa Maria Payá over twitter, July 10, 2014 

Totalitarian regimes, such as the one in Cuba, depend on their survival by rewriting history and engaging in a society wide amnesia of their great crimes. In the case of the July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" tugboat sinking that claimed 37 lives the Castro regime has failed and the memory of this crime has endured as have the calls for justice. Below are just some of the actions carried out to remember and demand justice.

Twenty minutes of silence for 20 years without justice: Silent Vigil on July 13 at 3:00pm

.
The Free Cuba Foundation made a global call  for people of good will to hold a twenty minute moment of silence asking: "Please share and encourage friends wherever they are on July 13, 2014 at 3pm to join in a 20 minute moment of silence. Gather in a group or individually and take a photo at the end of the vigil holding up the above image calling for justice or whatever you have at hand. "  On Sunday at 3:00pm members of the Free Cuba Foundation gathered at the main fountain at Florida International University
[Facing the Library] 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL for a twenty minute silent vigil. For more information visit their facebook page.

"Lights of Liberty Flotilla in Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Massacre of the "13 de Marzo" Tugboat Sinking


In the Florida Straits and in Miami the Democracy Movement organized a flotilla on Saturday, July 12, 2014 called the "Lights of Liberty Flotilla in Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Massacre of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat sinking that left Key West from the Key West City Bight Marina and traveled to 12 miles off the coast of Cuba on Saturday, July 12, 2014 and held a ceremony in memory of the victims of the massacre and others murdered by Castroism and launched powerful lights of freedom, which were seen from Havana and other points of Cuba. Inside Cuba, members of the opposition and the Democracy Movement drew near to the Malecon and other points on the coast with candles and flowers throwing them into the sea and saw the "Lights of Freedom" launched by the flotilla. For more information visit their facebook page and official web site.

Mothers and Women Against Repression (MAR) will Remember Victims of the "13 de Marzo" Tugboat Massacre


On Sunday July 13, 2014- the twentieth anniversary of this crime against humanity. - MAR for Cuba held a rosary for the victims of the"13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre, on the grounds of the Cuban Memorial Monument, that is located on Coral Way & SW 112 Avenue, at 10 AM, after which a wreath of flowers was be deposited in their memory. For more information visit their website.

Collective Action "A light for mine" in tribute to victims of the "13 de Marzo"tugboat and all Cubans who've lost their lives at sea at dusk on July 12, 2014



Estado de Sats and For Another Cuba called for an international campaign. The collective action A light for mine” was a tribute to the victims of the tugboat “13 de Marzo” and all Cubans who have lost their lives at sea, trying to escape a suffocating reality during 54 years.  It is also a tribute to the Cuban family and a call to hope and spiritual rebuilding of our nation. On July 12 on the eve of the anniversary, at  dusk Cubans, everywhere in the world, lit candles in front of the ocean , bridges, lakes, rivers, on their doors, balconies or in the privacy of their homes (in this case for the repression that doubles in Cuba on this date).
For more information on the collective action visit their campaign page  or Por Otra Cuba

20th Anniversary of the abominable sinking of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat off the coast of Havana on July 13, 1994


Our Lady of Charity  (La Ermita) held a Special mass and vigil for the victims of the July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" massacre and their families and for Liberty and Justice to soon reach Cuba. After the Mass united with our brothers in the Island and in different parts of the world we held a candlelight vigil in their memory in the Sea wall of Our Lady of Charity. For more information on the Mass and vigil visit their facebook page or official website.





Human Rights Foundation and Cuban Democratic Directorate call for Twenty Minutes of Silence for Twenty Years of Impunity


The Cuban Democratic Directorate (CDD) and the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), called for a symbolic nonviolent protest action in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the murder of 37 Cuban passengers of the "13 de Marzo" Tugboat, who on July 13, 1994 were killed by agents of the Cuban government for trying to escape the island. The demonstration took place on July 10 at 12:00 noon outside the headquarters of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Cuba to the United Nations (UN), located at No. 315 Lexington Avenue in New York City. Human rights activists, members of international civil society and Cuban exiles gathered in front of the embassy in order to hold twenty minutes of silence for each of the twenty years that this crime has remained unpunished.

For more information on the silent vigil visit the official announcement in English or Spanish.


  
CUBA: Young Leaders Group, Center for a Free Cuba and the Cuban Democratic Directorate Call for Twenty Minutes of Silence for Twenty Years of Impunity

Human rights and civil society organizations called for a symbolic nonviolent protest action in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the murder of 37 Cuban passengers of the “13 de Marzo” Tugboat, who on July 13, 1994 were killed by agents of the Cuban government for trying to escape the island. The demonstration took place on July 10 at 12:00 noon outside of the Cuban Interests Section located on 2630 16th Street NW in Washington DC. Human rights activists, members of international civil society and activists gathered in front of the Interests Section in order to hold twenty minutes of silence for each of the twenty years that this crime has remained unpunished.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Mass of Thanksgiving for the lives of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante

"Liberation is a task for the Cuban people – now with greater hope because we are definitely on the verge, on the threshold of truth and liberation. That is our hope." - Oswaldo Paya, March 29, 2012

If you are in any one of these three cities and a person of good will then please join in honoring these two men. Otherwise please join in online acts of remembrance or organize a mass in your own community and let us know about it.
  

 Miami
On Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 6:45pm the lives of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante, will be celebrated first in the Varela Salon with the premiere of the report "Two years without Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas" and the audiovisual "Harold Cepero" followed at 8pm with a Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of Charity (Ermita de la Caridad).

Time: 6:45 pm.

Date: July 22, 2014
Location: Ermita de la Caridad 3609 South Miami Ave Miami, FL. 33133

Source: Christian Liberation Movement

Havana
Mass of Remembrance for Harold and Oswaldo in the Church of Los Pasionistas in Havana on July 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Date: July 22, 2014
Time: 4:00pm 
Location: Iglesia de los Padres Pasionistas, La Víbora, La Habana, Cuba

Source: Christian Liberation Movement




Madrid
Mass on 2nd Anniversary of the deaths of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero 

Date: July 22, 2014
Time: 19:00 (Madrid time)
Location: Parish of Navarre San Fermín
                Paseo de Eduardo Dato, 10, Madrid


Source: Christian Liberation Movement

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bearing Witness for the Victims of the July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" Tugboat Massacre

“For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.” - Elie Wiesel, Night


 In the early morning hours of July 13, 1994 37 men, women, and children were killed by government agents as they sought to travel to freedom on board of the “13 de Marzo” tugboat. Eleven of these Cubans were children ranging in age from Helen Martínez Enríquez, just five months old to Mayulis Méndez Tacaronte age seventeen.

International human rights bodies and organizations investigated the incident. The United Nations Human Rights Commission's special rapporteur on Cuba made the following observation on October 24, 1995 in his report on the human rights situation in Cuba to the UN General Assembly:
Although the Government maintains that the authorities bore no responsibility for what was considered to have been an accident, the Special Rapporteur received testimony from some of the survivors indicating that Government launches from the port of Havana tried to stop the 13 de Marzo with pressurized water jets and then deliberately rammed it, causing it to sink. Non-governmental sources informed the Special Rapporteur that the number of persons who died was not 32, as the Government had stated, but at least 37 and that the families have for a year now been asking for an investigation to be initiated.
On October 16, 1996 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released Report Nº 47/96 Case 11.436 Victims of the Tugboat “13 de Marzo” vs. Cuba. Among the conclusions reached in the investigation was that: The Cuban State is responsible for violating the right to life (Article 1 of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man) of the [37] people who were shipwrecked and perished as a result of the sinking of the tug "13 de Marzo", which events occurred seven miles off the Cuban coast on July 13, 1994.



Both  Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also reported on the events and aftermath of that day.  Twenty years have passed and still justice has been denied the victims and their families. 

The persons who died that morning are:

Helen Martínez Enríquez ( 6 months)
Cindy Rodríguez Fernández (age 2)
José Carlos Nicole Anaya (3)
Angel Rene Abreu Ruiz ( age 3)
Yisel Borges Alvarez (4) 
Caridad Leyva Tacoronte (age 5)
Juan Mario Gutiérrez García (age 10) 
Yousell E. Perez Tacoronte (age 11)
Yasser Perodin Almanza (age 11)
Eliecer Suarez Plasencia ( age 12)
Mayulis Mendez Tacoronte (age 17)
Miladys Sanabria Cabrera ( age 19 )
Odalys Muñoz García (age 21)
Yuliana Enríquez Carrazana (age 22)
Yaltamira Anaya Carrasco (age 22)
Lissett María Álvarez Guerra (age 24)
José Gregorio Balmaceda Castillo (24)
Joel García Suárez (age 24)
Ernesto Alfonso Loureiro (age 25)
María Miralis Fernández Rodríguez (age 27)
Pilar Almanza Romero (age 28)
Leonardo Notario Góngora ( age 28)
Jorge Arquímides Lebrijio Flores (age 28)   
Rigoberto Feut Gonzáles (age 31)
Omar Rodriguez Suarez (age 33)
Lázaro Enrique Borges Briel (age 34)
Julia Caridad Ruiz Blanco (age 35)
Martha Caridad Tacoronte Vega (age 36)
Eduardo Suárez Esquivel ( age 39)
Martha M.Carrasco Sanabria (age 45)  
Augusto Guillermo Guerra Martínez ( age 45)
Rosa María Alcalde Puig (age 47)    
Estrella Suárez Esquivel (age 48)
Reynaldo Joaquín Marrero (age 48)       
Manuel Cayol (age 50)           
Amado Gonzáles Raices (50)
Fidelio Ramel Prieto-Hernández (51)    

"13 de Marzo" Tugboat Massacre 20 Years Later: Still Demanding Justice


"State crimes are never an issue exclusive to the families of the victims." - Rosa Maria Payá over twitter, July 10, 2014

Twenty minutes of silence for 20 years without justice: Silent Vigil on July 13 at 3:00pm


.
The Free Cuba Foundation has made a global call  for people of good will to hold a twenty minute moment of silence asking: "Please share and encourage friends wherever they are on July 13, 2014 at 3pm to join in a 20 minute moment of silence. Gather in a group or individually and take a photo at the end of the vigil holding up the above image calling for justice or whatever you have at hand. "  On Sunday at 3:00pm members of the Free Cuba Foundation will be gathering at the main fountain at Florida International University
[Facing the Library] 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL (rain or shine) for a twenty minute silent vigil.


For more information on activities in your area visit their facebook page or e-mail them

 "Lights of Liberty Flotilla in Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Massacre of the "13 de Marzo" Tugboat Sinking



In the Florida Straits and in Miami the Democracy Movement is organizing a flotilla on Saturday, July 12, 2014 called the "Lights of Liberty Flotilla in Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Massacre of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat sinking that will leave Key West from the Key West City Bight Marina and go in front of Cuba on Saturday, July 12, 2014 to hold a ceremony in memory of the victims of the massacre and others murdered by Castroism and to launch powerful lights of freedom, which will be seen from Havana and other points of Cuba. Inside Cuba, members of the opposition and the Democracy Movement led in the island by  Jose Diaz Silva and the people in general will draw near to the Malecon and other points on the coast with candles and flowerr to throw them into the sea and to see the "Lights of Freedom" launched by the flotilla.

For more information visit their facebook page or call 305-264-7200.

Mothers and Women Against Repression (MAR) will Remember Victims of the "13 de Marzo" Tugboat Massacre


On Sunday July 13, 2014- the twentieth anniversary of this crime against humanity. - MAR for Cuba will hold a rosary for the victims of the"13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre, on the grounds of the Cuban Memorial Monument, that is located on Coral Way & SW 112 Avenue, at 10 AM, after which a wreath of flowers will be deposited in their memory.

For more information contact  Sylvia G. Iriondo at 305-934-7302 or visit their website.



Collective Action "A light for mine" in tribute to victims of the "13 de Marzo"tugboat and all Cubans who've lost their lives at sea at dusk on July 12, 2014



Estado de Sats and For Another Cuba have called for an international campaign. The collective action A light for mine” will be a tribute to the victims of the tugboat “13 de Marzo” and all Cubans who have lost their lives at sea, trying to escape a suffocating reality during 54 years.  It is also a tribute to the Cuban family and a call to hope and spiritual rebuilding of our nation.
 
This July 12 on the eve of the anniversary, at  dusk Cubans, anywhere in the world, will light a candle in front of the ocean , a bridge, a lake, a river, on your door, balcony or in the privacy of your home (in this case for the repression that doubles in Cuba on this date) For Cuba's disconnect with the world, Cubans living abroad can help promote this symbolic action inviting relatives and friends on the island to participate and share in turn photos and pictures of the same in the social networks.




Let's light a candle this July 12 to remember the friend, the family member who didn’t make it, the son who never appeared.

- See more at: http://www.estadodesats.com/2014/06/una-luz-por-los-mios.html#sthash.JZOcqy3a.dpuf

For more information on the collective action visit their campaign page  or Por Otra Cuba

20th Anniversary of the abominable sinking of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat off the coast of Havana on July 13, 1994


Our Lady of Charity  (La Ermita) is holding a Special mass and vigil: 

We will join together in prayer for the victims and their families and for Liberty and Justice to soon reach Cuba.

Mass: Saturday July 12, 2014
Location: 3609 South Miami Ave Miami, Fl. 33133
Time: 8:00pm

After the Mass united with our brothers in the Island and in different parts of the world we will have a candlelight vigil in their memory in the Sea wall of Our Lady of Charity. 

Don't miss it!

For more information on the Mass and vigil visit their facebook page or official website.





Human Rights Foundation and Cuban Democratic Directorate call for Twenty Minutes of Silence for Twenty Years of Impunity


The Cuban Democratic Directorate (CDD) and the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), have called for a symbolic nonviolent protest action in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the murder of 37 Cuban passengers of the "13 de Marzo" Tugboat, who on July 13, 1994 were killed by agents of the Cuban government for trying to escape the island. The demonstration will take place on July 10 at 12:00 noon outside the headquarters of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Cuba to the United Nations (UN), located at No. 315 Lexington Avenue in New York City. Human rights activists, members of international civil society and Cuban exiles will gather in front of the embassy in order to hold twenty minutes of silence for each of the twenty years that this crime has remained unpunished.

For more information on the silent vigil visit the official announcement in English or Spanish and for additional questions contact: Jamie Hancock, jamie@thehrf.org, 212-246-8486 or
Janisset Rivero, jrrivero1969@gmail.com
, 305-220-2713



  
CUBA: Young Leaders Group, Center for a Free Cuba and the Cuban Democratic Directorate Call for Twenty Minutes of Silence for Twenty Years of Impunity

Human rights and civil society organizations have called for a symbolic nonviolent protest action in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the murder of 37 Cuban passengers of the “13 de Marzo” Tugboat, who on July 13, 1994 were killed by agents of the Cuban government for trying to escape the island. The demonstration will take place on July 10 at 12:00 noon outside of the Cuban Interests Section located on 2630 16th Street NW in Washington DC. Human rights activists, members of international civil society and Cuban exiles will gather in front of the embassy in order to hold twenty minutes of silence for each of the twenty years that this crime has remained unpunished.


For more information contact:
Frank Calzon, Center for a Free Cuba 202- 427-3875
Jose Luis Garza, Cuban Democratic Directorate 305-220-2713
Rudy Mayor, U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC’s Young Leaders Group 786-393-9068

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ted Koppel's courageous reporting from Havana, Cuba in 1998

On the eve of the Pope's arrival in Cuba Nightline reported on the "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre. Below is the full transcript

Ted Kopppel in Cuba in 1998 reported on the  July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre.

 Nightline Transcript: July 13, 1994 Massacre - January 20, 1998


TED KOPPEL Three and a half years ago, in the summer of 1994, something
terrible happened out there, seven or eight miles out at sea, off the
northern coast of Cuba. it was an incident that went all but unnoticed in the
US media. The Cuban-American community protested but they protest a lot and
as I say, we in the mainstream media all but ignored it. The Vatican,
however, did not.

A letter of condolence speaking in the name of the Pope was sent by the
Vatican's secretary of state to Jaime Ortega, the Archbishop of Havana, who
passed it on to the survivors of the incident and to their families. And that
created a ripple which caused a ground swell, the full impact of which is
still building.

Liz Balmaseda is a columnist for "The Miami Herald" who specializes in Cuban
affairs.

LIZ BALMASEDA What the letter from the Pope did was it really gave strength to
the church in Cuba so the church, so that the archbishop could turn around and
denounce this act.

TED KOPPEL (VO) What happened occurred at night at sea in the middle of July
in 1994. The time is important because it wasn't all that long ago, not, in
other words, in the bad old days of mass arrests and widespread executions.
Seventy two Cubans, men, women and children, slipped out of this harbor
aboard a tug boat. They were bound for Florida. Their boat was followed out
to sea by three Cuban fire boats. What happened next we learned from some of
the survivors, two of whom ultimately made it to Miami, while the other two
risked arrest by talking to us here in Havana.

SERGlO PERODIN (Miami) (through translators) This boat came directly for us,
cut us off and attacked us without a word, without saying anything to us or
telling us to stop.

MARIA VICTORIA GARCIA (through translators) They told us stay here and show
them the children so that they don't shoot at us. One boat comes up behind us
and they started ramming the boat.

JANETTE HERNANDEZ (Miami) (through translators) As we were showing them the
children, they started spraying strong bursts of water at really high
pressure, right at us.

SERGlO PERODIN (through translators) With the pressure hoses, they blew apart
our boat's windows, its doors, they wrecked our radio and we knew then that
their intention was to sink our boat.

MARIA VICTORIA GARCIA (through translators) Our tugboat started taking on
water. We shouted to the crewmen on the boat, "Look at the children! You're
going to kill them!" And he said, "Let them die. Let them die."

JANETTE HERNANDEZ (through translators) I remember the banging and the noises
from inside as the boat was sinking. In the water, everything is louder. That
is what I heard. And I still hear it at night in nightmares.

MARIA VICTORIA GARCIA (through translators) I don't know how to swim but I
said I can't sink with this boat. I was holding onto a pipe and I had my son
right in front of me and I held him and then I went down. I sank. When I made
it to the surface again I found a body floating that I know was Rosa.

TED KOPPEL (VO) Maria and her son held onto the body of her friend. lt was the
only thing keeping them from sinking again.

REYNALDO CARRAZANA (Havana) (through translators) At the moment the boat
sank, the survival instinct is the strongest. At that moment, I just thought
of saving myself.

MARIA VICTORIA GARCIA (through translators) There was a boat just in front of
me and it's showing its light on me and I said, "pull us up." And it was the
same crewmen. And I said pull us up, pull up the boat because he's going to
drown. And he said, "If you want to be rescued, wait for the Coast Guard
boat." And he turned the boat around.

SERGIO PERODIN (through translators) They started going around us in a circle
fast creating a whirlpool that sucked the people down to get rid of everybody
because they didn't want to leave any witnesses to this tragedy.

REYNALDO CARRAZANA (through translators) I didn't know how to swim. I just
floated. It seems that the boat's freezer was nearby and I hung onto it. And a
number of people were there hanging onto it, too.

MARIA VICTORIA GARCIA (through translators)I tried to reach that group. When
I get there I hold onto the board because they were holding onto a piece of
wood. I tried to hold onto the piece of wood. It was the ice pot that had
come off the tugboat. But there were many people hanging onto it and when I
held onto it, it seems that my weight made the boat overturn and a lot of
people fell on me. And it was then that I let go of my son and I tried to
grab him again but I couldn't. It was so fast, he just went and I couldn't
grab him.

SERGlO PERODIN (through translators) We saw in the distance a boat with a
Greek flag that appeared to be what stopped them. lt looked like the boat was
watching what they were doing, the murder they were committing. So they
stopped and decided to pick us up.

JORGE GARCIA (Havana) (through translators) When I asked my daughter, "What
about Juan Mario?" "Papa, he's lost." "And Joel?" "Papa, he's lost." And
Ernesto? "Papa, he's lost." And then we knew that other members of the family
were all lost, 14 in all.

JANETTE HERNANDEZ (through translators) Fidel is the only one who could have
given the order to sink the boat. And soon after the boat sank, the captain of
one of the fire boats was decorated as a hero.

TED KOPPEL (VO) Jorge Garcia lost his son. In this picture, you can see a
chain around his son's neck. Against all odds, it was brought back to the
father.

JORGE GARCIA (through translators) This chain is a symbol for me. it
preserves the sweat of my son. This chain was around his neck. lt was brought
to me through the generosity of a survivor. I will keep it forever. My wife
gave this chain to my son. lt has the image of the Pope. lt has double
significance for me, the memory of my son and the image of the Pope, who very
soon will come to Cuba. (Commercial Break)

ANNOUNCER ABC News Nightline continues. Once again reporting from Havana,
Cuba, Ted Koppel.

TED KOPPEL The Castro government had dismissed the tugboat sinking as an
accident and insisted that no one in the government could have played any
role. But then the church cleared its throat.

LIZ BALMASEDA I think the letter that came from the Pope really showed that
there was an important international ring to this incident, that somebody at
least, somebody as important as the Pope knew what had happened.

TED KOPPEL (VO) The letter from the Vatican's secretary of state read, in
part, "It profoundly saddened the Holy Father to hear of the deplorable death
of the families on a boat," and then, "I ask that you extend to the families
the Holy Father's deepest sympathy and to express his concern and feelings of
closeness."

JANETTE HERNANDEZ (through translators) He sent us his condolences for what
had happened and when I received it, I said to myself, well, at least people
knew about what happened.

TED KOPPEL (VO) Janette Hernandez and her husband, who also survived the
sinking of the tugboat, went to sea again, this time on a raft, and made it
to Miami, where they have created a new life. Maria Garcia, who lost 14
members of her family, also lost her job. She says she is under constant
surveillance and risked arrest by talking to us.

MARIA VICTORIA GARCIA (through translators) I will be happy if the Pope, among
his many concerns, mentions the question about the tugboat. What has happened
about the incident with the tugboat? What has been done? I would like the
Pope to ask Fidel that question.

QUANA CARRAZANA (through translators) I see him as a messenger of God and
since God always wants the best for human beings, he's going to bring us that
happiness we need, at least spiritually, so that little by little this comes
to an end.

TED KOPPEL (VO) Quana Carrazana's husband, daughter and granddaughter were
among the dead. She lives with her son in poverty and says she is also
harassed by state security.

QUANA CARRAZANA (through translators) The jails are full of political
prisoners. As a result of this interview, I may be arrested. But I'm not
afraid if they arrest me, because I live for my son. If they kill me, I don't
mind, because I'm already dead. If they actually kill me, I don't mind.

REYNALDO CARRAZANA (through translators) He's going to say mass. People are
going to feel fine while he's here and then things will go back to normal.
People will go back to their daily grind, live their day to day difficult
life, sweat and toil and everything will be the same.

TED KOPPEL (VO) Reynaldo, Quana's son, had to leave school. He says he's
periodically picked up or threatened. He supports his mother by making
furniture by hand. His mother is afraid that Fidel Castro will warmly greet
the Pope.

QUANA CARRAZANA (through translators) I don't want that moment to come. I
would turn my face because it's as if God were embracing the Devil. God
cannot embrace the Devil ever. The Pope's visit will help Fidel because it
will look to the world as if Fidel has become more open. But for the Cuban
people, nothing will change.

TED KOPPEL (VO) The men who survived were thrown into prison for several
months. When they were released, Sergio Perodin made his way into exile in
Miami.

SERGlO PERODIN (through translators) I have always been against those who
travel to Cuba to attend one of the masses the Pope will say there. It has
never occurred to me the idea of returning to Cuba as long as this
dictatorship exists.

REYNALDO CARRAZANA (through translators) I'm planning to go. Let's see if
they let me. They can warn me. Here they can warn you. They see you around,
they can simply arrest you and that's it. They don't tell you don't go, but
they say if you go, there might be consequences.

JORGE GARCIA (through translators) I'm planning to go see the Pope, go to the
mass. Probably he will not know that I am there. I will just be one in the
crowd. But I will go there because I have a debt of gratitude to the Pope
that I want to pay.

TED KOPPEL I'll be back with a closing thought in a moment. (Commercial Break)

TED KOPPEL The Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, once mocked the power of the
Pope with his famous rhetorical question how many divisions does the Pope
command? Fidel Castro has a more subtle understanding of the Popes influence.

By welcoming John Paul to Havana tomorrow, Castro may believe that some of
the Pope's moral authority will rub off. But the newly revitalized Catholic
Church of Cuba has already made it clear that the vicar of Christ will be
here visiting the people of Cuba, not engaging in political dialogue with its
leaders.

A simple letter of condolence from the Pope has already showed that it could
make waves in this country. A Papal visit may yet stir up a storm.
That's our report for tonight. I'm Ted Koppel in Havana. For all of us here at
ABC News, good night.

Acknowledge: ABCNews.