Tuesday, October 27, 2015

In Memory of Jorge Valls: Remembering the Christian mystic and Cuban human rights defender

Requiem for a good man

Jorge Manuel Valls Arango (1933 - 2015) Photo: The Miami Herald
Cuban exiles in Miami have been blessed with the presence of at least two saints. One was a man of the cloth forcibly exiled at gun point, who inspired a community to build Our Lady of Charity with individual small donations and have it become a national shrine for the Cuban exile community. His name is Bishop Agustín Román and he was called home on April 11, 2012. The other was a Catholic layman who had a leading position in a student movement resisting the Batista dictatorship that led prison in Cuba and exile in Mexico. He returned to Cuba only to be jailed in 1964 for supporting a friend in a show trial, disguised as a judicial proceeding, to 20 years in prison. Jorge Valls would complete the 20 year sentence and then be forced to serve another 40 days in prison. He was released in 1984 and two years later published his prison memoir, Twenty Years and Forty Days: Life in a Cuban Prison. In 1987 the former prisoner of conscience gave his testimony in the documentary, Nobody Listened that is available online. In a December 12, 1992 article in the Sun Sentinel, Jorge gave the following description of prison life:
"Prison is a very spiritual place. You`re always dealing with good and evil, right and wrong. Every night there were five or six executions. That was the reality of Christ. Because everyone goes to the cross; everyone dies. Christ suffered with us, and afterward he resurrected. That`s important. It means you don`t accept injustice as the only thing."
In 2009 the former prisoner of conscience and poet sat down with a member of the Free Cuba Foundation and spoke about his life, human rights and Cuba. Below is the first part of the interview.

Jorge Valls was called home on October 22, 2015. Today, family and friends gathered to pray for him in a Holy Mass at St. Kevin's Church and said "until we meet again." Below are two poems from Jorge Valls` award-winning 1983 book Where I am There is No Light and It is Barred. He is greatly missed.

I am up to my neck in rising blood.
It`s a black and sour blood.
I am tied up with a rope of blood.
I`m speaking with a voice
made of bubbles of blood.
I`m being heard by five ears of blood.
I`m  traveling in a blood-smeared car.
I`m disintegrating into worms of blood.
The worms grow and multiply
(it is the destiny of blood).
They are invading everything.
They are sputtering like clay rattles:
... Abel ... Abel ... Abel ...
A hundred skulls are served up in blood
upon a bare table.
I`m talking, unwittingly, with the creator of the blood,
with the bestower of the blood.
The blood reaches my nostrils.
The whole world is sinking in a vomit of blood.
... Abel ... Abel ... Abel ...

-- Where I am there is no light
and it is barred.
Just beyond
there lies a lighted space.
Therefore light must exist.
further on, there is an even deeper gloom.
There are no hanged men now:
all of them are on fire.
Could they be made of kerosene inside?
They go on talking,
moving from here to there,
from there to here,
Some are sleeping.
Someone is outside.
Somewhere there is sunshine.
Inevitably, the sun exists.
I can no longer leave:
I`ll go and sleep.
Inevitably, I`ll wake up again.
And so on, and on and on.
The kerosene burns inexhaustibly.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cuban Espionage in the US: The WASP network

The murderous effectiveness of the Castro spy apparatus among us

 On Thursday, October 15 lecture on “Cuban Espionage in the U.S.: The W.A.S.P. network” was held in FIU’s Rafael Diaz-Balart College of Law building (Hall Room #1009) and started at 12 noon with Sebastian Arcos Cazabon, of the Cuban Research Institute; Hector M. Pesquera, FBI agent, Miami Field Office who investigated the WASP network; and David M. Buckner, who prosecuted them in U.S. v. Gerardo Hernandez, et al. Below are excerpts from the presentations and provide new insights into this deadly Cuban spy network that conspired to murder American citizens o U.S. soil and international airspace. The plan to terrorize and mail bomb an alleged CIA agent in Florida did not materialize. However the shoot down of two civilian planes in international airspace on February 24, 1996 did claim four innocent lives. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of the men responsible for this setting them free on December 17, 2014.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Activist shouts down Raul Castro's motorcade as it arrived at the Cuban Mission in NYC

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." - Elie Wiesel, Nobel Lecture 1986

Rolando Pulido (Left) Augusto Monge (Center) Rosa Maria Payá (Right)

The reasons to protest the Castro regime are numerous and well documented. On September 28, 2015 Cuban exiles from around the country gathered in New York City in front of the United Nations and  in front of the Cuban Mission to the United Nations to protest against Raul Castro and his dictatorship. 

Towards the end of the day, when most of the protesters had left, FCF founder Augusto Monge on his way back from lunch happened upon Raul Castro and his motorcade returning to the Cuban Mission. In the video below, you can hear Augusto Monge denouncing Raul Castro, the dictatorship's delegation and calling for the freedom of jailed artist and prisoner of conscience Danilo Maldonado known as "El Sexto."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Freedom Fast and Mass at La Ermita on September 20th

A complete fast is a complete and literal denial of self. It is the truest prayer. - Mohandas Gandhi

The Cuban exile community's spiritual battle for a free Cuba is carried out with prayer and fasting. Join us in fasting and prayer for the nonviolent democratic resistance in Cuba, that their demand for a general amnesty for all political prisoners be granted, that the systematic violation of human rights be ended, that a democratic transition and an authentic national reconciliation take place.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fasting for a free Cuba during Pope Francis's visit to the island.

Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. - Psalm 146:3

 The Free Cuba Foundation is calling on people of good will to join us in fasting and prayer during the visit of Pope Francis to Cuba beginning with his arrival on September 19, 2015 at 4:00pm and ending on September 22, 2015 at 12:30pm.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski asked the South Florida community at the end of the Solemn Mass on the Feast Day for Our Lady of Charity on September 8, 2015 to prepare for Pope Francis’s visit to Cuba with a novena(nine days of prayer) to the Mother of God under her title of “Desatanudos” (Undoer of Knots). Inspired by this call to prayer and reflection we will also be praying and fasting for a free Cuba and for Pope Francis to have a successful visit to the island. The following is a prayer to aid in fasting taken from Catholic Online:
 Hanging as a vine upon the Wood,
O Christ our Saviour,
Thou hast made the ends of the earth
to drink from the wine of incorruption.
Therefore do I cry aloud:
I am darkened always by the hateful drunkenness of sin;
Give me to drink from the sweet wine of true compunction,
and grant me now the strength, O Saviour,
to fast from sensual pleasures,
for Thou art good and lovest mankind.
- St. Joseph Studite, Lenten Triodion
This fast is being done to pray for the nonviolent democratic resistance in Cuba, that their demand for a general amnesty for all political prisoners be granted, that the systematic violation of human rights be ended, that a democratic transition and an authentic national reconciliation take place. Please join us by saying the following prayers to prepare ourselves spiritually and to pray for Cuba's prisoners of conscience. To further prepare ourselves spiritually we will pray the prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Presently there are at least 71 political prisoners that we know of in Cuba and no doubt countless more whose names remain unknown. The following prayer taken from St. Peter's Church, Fairwater is for them:

Prayers for Prisoners of Conscience

Let us pray for the tortured, 
for prisoners of conscience,
people imprisoned without a just trial,
for the innocent who have been swept away
from family and community in raids at dead of night. 
Surely we, who take the gift of freedom for granted, 
Should often hold them up before God the all-merciful.

Christ calls them blessed
but their aching limbs
their sense of isolation and abandonment 
the psychological torture of uncertainty -
will they live to see another day ? – 
does all this give them a sense of blessedness -
or forsakenness ?

Our attempts to contact them
or their families or their church
may seem a ‘long shot’ – a drop in the ocean;
that costs us very little.
But small gestures can be full of meaning,
can help to keep the fragile Body of Christ whole.
May they feel part of us – as we seek to remember them.

Our prayer that their captors
Whether unjust judges 
or warders just carrying out their jobs, 
may show some compassion – 
awareness of their shared humanity.
May the families and communities of the victims
Know that they are not ‘the forgotten ones’.

As we rejoice in the freedom we enjoy
through the saving word of Christ,
so we pray that those who dwell in a valley of darkness
may yet experience the light of Christ.
For it is always better to light a candle 
than curse the darkness.
May our prayer be a reflection of that light
that no one can put out – 
even the most awful dictator – 
because it comes from God.

We also ask you to pray for those who have suffered the violence of the Castro regime such as Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, Harold Cepero, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the 37 victims of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre, and the four members of Brothers to the Rescue, and many more.

A Prayer for Victims of Violence
Almighty and Ever-Loving God,
in you we place our trust and hope.

You guide everything with wisdom and love.
Hear the prayers we offer
for those who have been hurt or lost their lives.
May your love gently wipe the tears from our eyes
and remove the fear from our heart.

Look also with favor upon the families
and friends who mourn the victims
and comfort those who are in grief and despair.
We ask this in your name. Amen.

We ask all those who will be participating individually or in a group to use the hashtags #FastForFreedom and #AyunoPorLaLibertad along with posting photos and videos of fasting and prayer actions taken.

Three actions will be carried out between September 19 and September 22 if you would like to join us then e-mail frcbfndtn@gmail.com for more information. More information will be forthcoming.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Cubazuela: Free Leopoldo López Mendoza Now!

"I'd rather explain to my children why I am a prisoner, than to explain to them why they have NO COUNTRY." - Leopoldo López Mendoza on June 2, 2014

Yesterday over twitter Leopoldo López managed to get a message out calling for help in making the facts known surrounding the show trial that the Maduro regime with their Cuban advisors have subjected this Venezuelan democrat to while keeping him arbitrarily detained since February 18, 2014. The message is straight and to the point, unlike the Cubazuelan regime: "Here is the evidence of who is truly guilty of the crimes of which I'm accused. Please retweet." and linked to the following video:

Venezuela is no longer a free country. Not only has it transitioned into a totalitarian regime that systematically violates the rights of Venezuelans, but the regime itself is controlled and directed by the oldest dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere, the regime of the Castro brothers. It is for this reason that we call on Cubazuela to free Leopoldo López. He has committed no crime and a fair and impartial judicial process would have demonstrated that months ago. Unfortunately the free nation of Venezuela has been absorbed into the totalitarian monstrosity that is Cubazuela and an impartial judiciary no longer exists. Therefore free Venezuelans like their Cuban counterparts must address their countrymen and the international community to place pressure on a lawless regime to free an innocent man.

Free Cuba Foundation declares its solidarity with free Venezuelans and demands that the Maduro regime free Leopoldo López Mendoza now!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Founding member of Free Cuba Foundation signatory to San Juan Declaration

One of the founders of the Free Cuba Foundation, Augusto Monge attended the first Cuban National Gathering and was one of the signers of the Declaration of San Juan. Below is an English translation of the document originally drafted in Spanish.


Between the 13th and 15th of August 2015, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the first Cuban National Gathering was in session. 23 organizations participated of the archipelago and 32 from exile, duly represented by more than one hundred of its leaders. The event was organized by Cubans United of Puerto Rico.

We were animated by the purpose of seeking ways to reconcile the work of the pro-democratic forces with the commitment to restore sovereignty to Cuban citizens and all their fundamental rights. To this end, we affirm that to achieve the full freedom of the Cuban people and a genuine rule of law, none of the following principles are negotiable:
  • The unconditional release of all political prisoners and repeal of all laws that violate fundamental freedoms; 
  • Freedom of expression, of the press, of association, of assembly, of peaceful protest, of profession and religion; and 
  • The participation of the people in any decision of the nation, the legalization of all political parties and free and multiparty elections.

The Cuban National Gathering also agreed:
  1. Working in the campaign for a binding plebiscite in favor of free, fair and pluralistic elections under democratic conditions that guarantee the sovereignty of citizens. 
  2. To support and sign the Agreement for Democracy in Cuba, of 1998. 
  3. To promote the strategy of non-violent struggle, facilitating the training of pro-democracy activists in the methodologies of civil disobedience. 
  4. Work to demolish the cybernetic fire wall in Cuba and strive so that the internal opposition has the technological resources to continue citizen mobilization. 
Several works focused on the material and spiritual progress of the New Cuba work were presented, which will be defined in a second Cuban National Gathering.

A Coordinating Liaison Committee was established for a period of six months, whose main task will be to follow up the agreed points here and communicate them to all organizations, in the spirit of uniting the internal and external opposition.

For us today the phrase of Marti that we intend to observe is more relevant than ever: "Joining together is the watchword." 

San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 15, 2015

Signed on behalf of their organizations:
  • Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina: Alianza Democrática Oriental
  • Wilfredo Vallin: Asociación de Abogados Independientes
  • Roberto Pizano: Asociación de Expresos Políticos Cubanos de Tampa
  • Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo: Center for a Free Cuba
  • Laritza Diversent: Centro Cubalex
  • Pedro M. Peñaranda: Círculos Democráticos Municipalistas de Cuba
  • Damarys Moya Portieles: Coalición Central Opositora
  • Elizardo Sánchez Santa-Cruz: Comisión de Derechos Humanos y Reconciliación Nacional
  • Josefa López: Comité Apoyo a las Damas de Blanco Laura Pollán
  • Ricardo Roque: Comité Cubano Pro Derechos Humanos
  • Luis Israel Abreu Villarreal: Comité de Ayuda a los Activistas por los Derechos Humanos
  • Juan Carlos González Leiva: Consejo de Relatores de Derechos Humanos
  • Diego Suárez: Consejo para la Libertad de Cuba
  • Pedro J. Fuentes Cid: Consejo Presidio Político Cubano
  • René Gómez Manzano: Corriente Agramontista de Abogados Independientes
  • Luis Fernández Moreno: Cuba Corps
  • Diddier Santos: Cuba Decide
  • Rogelio Matos Araluce: Cuba Independiente y Democrática
  • Andrés Candelario: Cubanos Unidos de Puerto Rico
  • Marta Menor: Cultivo una Rosa Blanca
  • Leticia Ramos Herrería: Damas de Blanco
  • Germán Miret: Directorio Democrático Cubano
  • Magdelivia Hidalgo: Federación Lationamericana de Mujeres Rurales
  • Eugenio Llamera: Federación Mundial de Expresos Políticos Cubanos
  • Roberto D. Ruiz Casas: Foro Promoción Continental Democrática
  • Augusto Monge: Free Cuba Foundation
  • Guillermo Fariñas: Frente Antitotalitario Unido
  • Yris Perez Aguilera: Frente de Resistencia Orlando Zapata
  • Francisco Hernández: Fundación Nacional Cubanoamericana
  • Faisel Iglesias: Fundación Nuevo Pensamiento Cubano
  • Omar Vento: Fundación para la Democracia Panamericana
  • Mariana Hernández: Fundación para los Derechos Humanos en Cuba
  • Pastor Herrera: Global Community Action
  • Raúl Luis Risco Pérez: Instituto Cubano por la Libertad de Expresión y Prensa
  • Ana Carbonell: Instituto de la Rosa Blanca
  • Mario Félix Lleonard: Instituto PATMOS
  • Sylvia Iriondo: M.A.R. por Cuba
  • Rolando Infante: Movimiento 30 de noviembre
  • Magaly Broche: Movimiento Cubano Reflexión
  • Ramón Saúl Sánchez: Movimiento Democracia
  • René Hernández Bequet: Partido Demócrata Cristiano de Cuba
  • Saylí Navarro Alvarez: Partido por la Democracia Pedro Luis Boitel
  • Adel Ramón López Napoles: Partido Republicano de Cuba
  • Vladimiro Roca: Partido Social Demócrata Cubano
  • Fernando Palacio Molgar: Partido Solidaridad Liberal Cubano
  • Rafael León Rodríguez: Proyecto Demócrata Cubano
  • Eliecer Ávila Cecilia: Somos Mas
  • Angel Alfonso Alemán: Unión de Expresos Políticos Cubanos Zona Noreste
  • María C. Werlau: Unión Liberal Cubana
  • Ernesto García Díaz: Unión Social Comunitaria Cubana
Conference participants signing as individuals
  • Guillermo Toledo Casasús (Moderador) Coordinador del Encuentro Nacional Cubano
  • Edgardo Ronda (Observador) Asociación Iberoamericana por la Libertad
  • Vanesa Colmegna (Observadora)  Asociación Iberoamericana por la Libertad
  • Alexis Jardines
  • Alicia Hernández Cabeza
  • Ana María Socarrás
  • Andres Barbeito
  • Andrés Pichs
  • Ariel Gutiérrez
  • Arturo Sánchez Antón
  • Asunción Carrillo Hernández
  • Camilo Ernesto Olivera Peidro
  • Caridad María Burunate
  • Catalina Mayoral
  • Conrado Ferrer
  • Domitila Valls
  • Emilio Guede
  • Federico Delgado
  • Francisco Talavera
  • Gerardo Morera del Campo
  • Guillermo González Alcázar
  • Isis Longo
  • Jerónimo Esteve Abril
  • Jorge Bringuier
  • José Conrado Rodríguez Alegre
  • José García Pino
  • José Vilasuso
  • Lianelis Villares Plasencia
  • Luis Alberto Martínez
  • Maitá Carbonell Acosta
  • Manuel Acosta
  • Manuel Fernández
  • Marcelino Miyares
  • Mari-Vahn de Vicens
  • María Isabel García de Toledo
  • Marisela Rodriguez
  • Michael Acevedo Reinoso
  • Nieves Gonzalez Abreu
  • Osvaldo Bencomo
  • Patricia Toledo García
  • Raoul Vicens
  • Rosa María Payá
  • Rosalina Colón Gómez
  • Sergio Ramos Suárez
  • Severiano López Sicre
  • Vaclav Maly
  • Vicente Echerri
  • Vilma del Prado
  • Wenceslao Fernández
  • Xiomara Ledón