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Thursday, July 11, 2019

25 minute silent vigil to protest 25 years of justice denied for 37 Cuban victims of the "13 de Marzo" massacre

To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.” - Elie WieselNight


On Wednesday, July 10th at 8:00pm Cuban dissidents Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo, Sirley Ávila León together with former political prisoners Basilio Guzmán, Raudel Bringas and Cuban exiles Frank CalzonMario Felix Lleonart, Yoaxis Marcheco and their daughter, and several other civil society activists carried out a 25 minute silent vigil to protest 25 years of justice denied for 37 Cuban victims of the "13 de Marzo" massacre.


The vigil commenced with Reverend Mario Feliz Lleonart leading the vigil participants in a prayer for justice and concluded 25 minutes later with another prayer.


We gathered at 8:00pm and were joined by others until 8:30pm and a short time later began the 25 minute silent vigil. While we waited to start passersby asked us about the posters we carried and why we were in front of the Cuban embassy.
We explained to them that on July 13, 1994, a group of 72 Cubans, including children and women, tried to escape from the Island of Cuba aboard an old tugboat. State Security Forces, and four Cuban State boats of the Havana regime intercepted the boat 7 miles off the coast of Cuba, with water jets from pressure hoses pulled people off the deck, tore the children from the arms of their mothers and sank the tugboat. 37 people were murdered, 11 of them children.

In this spirit of sharing knowledge and spreading the word we share the link to the 1996 IACHR report that investigated this event.  We also list below the names and ages of the 37 victims.

Hellen Martínez Enriquez. Age: 5 Months
Xicdy Rodríguez Fernández. Age: 2
Angel René Abreu Ruíz. Age: 3
José Carlos Niclas Anaya. Age: 3
Giselle Borges Alvarez. Age: 4
Caridad Leyva Tacoronte. Age: 5
Juan Mario Gutiérrez García. Age: 10
Yousell Eugenio Pérez Tacoronte. Age: 11
Yasser Perodín Almanza. Age: 11
Eliécer Suárez Plasencia. Age: 12
Mayulis Méndez Tacoronte. Age: 17
Miladys Sanabria Leal. Age: 19
Joel García Suárez. Age: 20
Odalys Muñoz García. Age: 21
Yalta Mila Anaya Carrasco. Age: 22
Luliana Enríquez Carrazana. Age: 22
Jorge Gregorio Balmaseda Castillo. Age: 24
Lissett María Alvarez Guerra. Age: 24
Ernesto Alfonso Loureiro. Age: 25
María Miralis Fernández Rodríguez. Age: 27
Leonardo Notario Góngora. Age: 28
Jorge Arquímedes Levrígido Flores. Age: 28
Pilar Almanza Romero. Age: 31
Rigoberto Feu González. Age: 31
Omar Rodríguez Suárez. Age: 33
Lázaro Enrique Borges Briel. Age: 34
Julia Caridad Ruíz Blanco. Age: 35
Martha Caridad Tacoronte Vega. Age: 35
Eduardo Suárez Esquivel. Age: 38
Martha Mirella Carrasco Sanabria. Age: 45
Augusto Guillermo Guerra Martínez. Age: 45
Rosa María Alcalde Puig. Age: 47
Estrella Suárez Esquivel. Age: 48
Reynaldo Joaquín Marrero Alamo. Age: 48
Amado González Raices. Age: 50
Fidencio Ramel Prieto Hernández. Age: 51
Manuel Cayol. Age: 56 


Finally, we invite those in the South Florida area on Saturday, July 13, 2019 to the Museum of the Cuban Diaspora located at 1200 Coral Way where Jorge Garcia, who lost 14 family members in the "13 de marzo" tugboat massacre will give a presentation of an edition of his book on the subject that has now been translated to English.  Ramon Saul Sanchez and Marcel Felipe are co-hosting the event. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

CUBA: Twenty five minutes of silence for twenty five years of impunity

Justice for the victims of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre.

Human rights and civil society organizations are calling for a silent demonstration in remembrance of the victims of the "13 de Marzo"Tugboat, who were murdered by the Castro regime on July 13, 1994.

Human rights activists, members of international civil society and Cuban exiles will gather in front of the Embassy of Cuba located at 2630 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 to hold a 25 minute vigil  of silence for the 25 years that the crime has remained unpunished.

WHAT: Vigil to remember "13 de Marzo" Tugboat
victims killed 25 years ago by the Castro regime.

WHEN:
July 10, 2019 at 8 PM

WHO:  
Human rights organizations and international civil society.

WHERE:
Embassy of Cuba
                 2630 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

The facts:


On July 13, 1994, a group of 72 Cubans, including children and women, tried to escape from the Island of Cuba aboard an old tugboat. State Security Forces, and four Cuban State boats of the Havana regime intercepted the boat 7 miles off the coast of Cuba, with water jets from pressure hoses pulled people off the deck, tore the children from the arms of their mothers and sank the tugboat. 37 people were murdered, 11 of them children.

Despite the fact that the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and other international organizations issued reports documenting the crime, despite the fact that the survivors and relatives of the victims requested an independent investigation of the facts, and that the bodies of the deceased be recovered from the sea, nothing happened. Those who gave the order of the sinking and those who carried it out still remain without being held accountable. The crime remains unpunished.



July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" Tugboat Massacre Victims

Hellen Martínez Enriquez. Age: 5 Months
Xicdy Rodríguez Fernández. Age: 2
Angel René Abreu Ruíz. Age: 3
José Carlos Niclas Anaya. Age: 3
Giselle Borges Alvarez. Age: 4
Caridad Leyva Tacoronte. Age: 5
Juan Mario Gutiérrez García. Age: 10
Yousell Eugenio Pérez Tacoronte. Age: 11
Yasser Perodín Almanza. Age: 11
Eliécer Suárez Plasencia. Age: 12
Mayulis Méndez Tacoronte. Age: 17
Miladys Sanabria Leal. Age: 19
Joel García Suárez. Age: 20
Odalys Muñoz García. Age: 21
Yalta Mila Anaya Carrasco. Age: 22
Luliana Enríquez Carrazana. Age: 22
Jorge Gregorio Balmaseda Castillo. Age: 24
Lissett María Alvarez Guerra. Age: 24
Ernesto Alfonso Loureiro. Age: 25
María Miralis Fernández Rodríguez. Age: 27
Leonardo Notario Góngora. Age: 28
Jorge Arquímedes Levrígido Flores. Age: 28
Pilar Almanza Romero. Age: 31
Rigoberto Feu González. Age: 31
Omar Rodríguez Suárez. Age: 33
Lázaro Enrique Borges Briel. Age: 34
Julia Caridad Ruíz Blanco. Age: 35
Martha Caridad Tacoronte Vega. Age: 35
Eduardo Suárez Esquivel. Age: 38
Martha Mirella Carrasco Sanabria. Age: 45
Augusto Guillermo Guerra Martínez. Age: 45
Rosa María Alcalde Puig. Age: 47
Estrella Suárez Esquivel. Age: 48
Reynaldo Joaquín Marrero Alamo. Age: 48
Amado González Raices. Age: 50
Fidencio Ramel Prieto Hernández. Age: 51
Manuel Cayol. Age: 56 

Friday, June 28, 2019

CUBA: Veinte cinco minutos de silencio por veinte cinco años de impunidad

Justicia para las víctimas del Remolcador 13 de Marzo 

Organizaciones de derechos humanos y de la sociedad civil convocan a una demostración silente en recordación de las víctimas del Remolcador 13 de Marzo, quienes fueron asesinadas por el régimen de La Habana el 13 de julio de 1994.

Activistas de derechos humanos, miembros de la sociedad civil internacional y del destierro cubano se darán cita frente a la Embajada de Cuba ubicada en 2630 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 para llevar a cabo una velada simbólica de 25 minutos de silencio por los 25 años que el crimen ha permanecido impune.


QUE:              Actividad simbólica para recordar las victimas del Remolcador 13 de Marzo 
                        hundido hace 25 años por el régimen de La Habana.

CUANDO:     10 de julio de 2019 a las 8 PM

QUIEN:          Organizaciones de derechos humanos y de la sociedad civil internacional.

DONDE:         Embajada de Cuba
                        2630 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Los hechos:

El 13 de julio de 1994, un grupo de 72 cubanos, entre ellos niños y mujeres trataron de escapar de la Isla de Cuba a bordo de un viejo remolcador. Fuerzas de la Seguridad del Estado, y cuatro lanchas guardacostas del régimen de La Habana interceptaron la embarcación a 7 millas de la costa de Cuba, con chorros de agua de mangueras a presión sacaron a las personas de la cubierta, arrancaron a los niños de los brazos de sus madres y hundieron el remolcador. Fueron asesinadas 37 personas de las cuales 11 eran niños. 

A pesar de que la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la ONU, la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, y otras organizaciones internacionales realizaron reportes condenatorios del crimen, a pesar de que los sobrevivientes y familiares de las victimas pidieron una investigación independiente de los hechos, y que los cuerpos de los fallecidos fueran rescatados del mar, nada ha ocurrido. Los que dieron la orden del hundimiento y los que la llevaron a cabo aún permanecen sin ser llevados ante la justicia. El crimen sigue impune.


Monday, June 3, 2019

30th Anniversary of June 4th: Never forget. Never give up

 “This is for the lost souls of June 4th.” - Liu Xiaobo, 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture


Remember the Ghosts of June 4th and demand justice
What happened?
Thirty years ago today the Communist leadership of China opened fire on the Chinese people. The Pro-Democracy Movement that had taken to the streets in April of 1989 was violently crushed by the Chinese communist dictatorship beginning on the evening of June 3, 1989.


How many were killed?
By dawn on June 4, 1989 scores of demonstrators had been shot and killed or run over and crushed by tanks of the so-called People's Liberation Army. and the blood of students and workers splattered and flowed in the streets of Beijing.

The Chinese Red Cross had initially counted 2,600 dead when they were pressured to stop by Chinese officials and silenced on this matter. Following the massacre an additional 1,000 were sentenced to death and executed. Scores of Chinese who participated in the Tiananmen protests would spend years and decades in prison.

A 2017 declassified British diplomatic cable revealed that "at least 10,000 people were killed in the Chinese army's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in June 1989."


Imprisoned Nobel laureate's connection to Tiananmen
Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace laureate, who is also a prisoner of conscience currently imprisoned for his continued non-violent activism had already served a prison sentence for his participation in the Tiananmen student protest in 1989. He was again jailed in 2008 for his human rights activism and sentenced to 11 years in prison on December 25, 2009 and died in custody on July 13, 2017.


How Henry Kissinger's downplayed the Beijing Massacre in the United States
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger persuaded the Bush Administration in the immediate aftermath to downplay the human rights considerations surrounding the Beijing Massacre and to focus on the economic and strategic relationship.  Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) published a October 1, 1989 article revealing Kissinger's direct business ties to Communist China and his defense of the regime and justification of the massacre. FAIR reported how on August 1, 1989 this business consultant who also heads "China Ventures" [that engages China's state bank in joint ventures] wrote a column that appeared in a Washington Post/L.A. Times ("The Caricature of Deng as a Tyrant Is Unfair", 8/1/89). In it Kissinger argued against sanctions:
"China remains too important for America's national security to risk the relationship on the emotions of the moment." He asserted: "No government in the world would have tolerated having the main square of its capital occupied for eight weeks by tens of thousands of demonstrators."  
Kissinger's reputation according to Umair Khan who reviewed his 2011 book, On China, describes him as a man whose "reputation is based on his career as a diplomat turned business consultant." This business relationship was not mentioned back in 1989 by those publishing the former Secretary of State's case against sanctions on China.


 

Kissinger proved wrong by events in Eastern Europe
 Incidentally over the course of six weeks in 1989 beginning on November 17, the one-party government of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia although engaging in acts of repression did not commit a huge massacre against tens of thousands of demonstrators in the main square of its capital. The demonstrations grew to Tiananmen Square levels of 200,000 and 500,000 demonstrators in Prague.  The end result was the Velvet Revolution and 25 years of peace and prosperity. Kissinger's argument did not hold up under the light of events.

Consequences of looking the other way

 Unfortunately, the downplaying of the human rights situation in China has had consequences over the long term. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dictum "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" has special resonance. In 2011 Muammar Gaddafi believed that he could get away with mass murder because the world looked the other way in June of 1989 in Beijing and said it plainly: 
"The unity of China was more important than those people on Tiananmen Square."
Its not the first time impunity in one bloody deed has encouraged another. Between 1915 and 1917 the Ottoman Turks murdered more than 1.5 million Armenians and like the Chinese communists in 1989 got away with it. This inspired Adolph Hitler to carry out his own holocaust stating in 1939
"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
Holocaust survivor and writer Elie Wiesel has denounced indifference and silence before injustice stating that: "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."

For the next 24 hours will be sharing information over social media provided by Chinese pro-democracy activists on the events that took place 30 years ago in Beijing.


The Free Cuba Foundation since its founding recognized that being "victims of totalitarianism we share a bond with other captive peoples past and present who are our brothers and sisters in this struggle for freedom."

Please share videos of documentaries on the  Tiananmen Square protests, the crackdown and massacre, and the aftermath. For example, Tiananmen Mothers, a group of family members of those killed during the violent crackdown on the 1989 Democracy Movement produced a short documentary: "Portraits of Loss and the Quest for Justice"in which the stories of six victims are told by their family members, and two survivors provide their own testimony. It can be viewed online here.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Free Cuba Foundation joins observance of 60th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising

In Solidarity


 
Both Cubans and Tibetans looked to 1959 as an opportunity for democratic restoration and liberation. Instead tyranny entrenched itself. The Cuban nightmare began amidst the hope on January 1, 1959 that the departure of Fulgencio Batista into exile would mean a democratic restoration and an end to authoritarian tyranny instead it was the beginning of a new totalitarian communist tyranny headed by Fidel Castro.

 
Free Tibet!
Tibetan's hoped that a national uprising that erupted in Lhasa on March 10, 1959 would drive the Chinese occupiers out of their homeland. Instead His Holiness the Dalai Lama had to flee to India to avoid imprisonment or assassination as the Chinese communists crushed the uprising.

Six decades later we share something in common with the year 1959: a year of dashed hopes. A terrible year, when communism came to our countries, and even worse for Tibet - it is the year Communist China's occupation was consolidated and His Holiness the Dalai Lama went into exile.
We Free Cubans remain in solidarity with Tibetans and the cause of a Free Tibet. We will stand with you. For China to get out of Tibet and for human rights and liberty to return to Tibet.

60th Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising

In Solidarity


Today my thoughts and prayers are with the brave people of Tibet who have spent decades resisting the occupation of Communist China over their homeland. While at the same time showing their solidarity with other captive peoples, including Cubans and for that I will be eternally grateful and in solidarity with their freedom struggle. Today I also joined with Free Tibetans in protest to demand an end to the occupation of their homeland.  

60 years ago today a rebellion began in Tibet against the Chinese communist occupation of their homeland. Tens of thousands were slaughtered and this tragic episode is now recognized as Tibetan National Uprising Day. Below is today's statement by Tibet's President.

Statement of the President of the Central Tibetan Administration on the 60th Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

When the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China first marched into Tibet, they promised to build “One Road” which would bring “peace and prosperity” for the Tibetan people. However, once the Road was completed, the PLA’s tanks, guns and more soldiers came and occupied the entire Tibetan Plateau.

Sixty years ago, on this very day in 1959, the Tibetan people rose up against the occupying Chinese army. With their fists raised in the air, our brothers and sisters marched together to make it clear that the Land of Snow is a Tibetan territory. “Tibet belongs to Tibetans,” they shouted. Standing steadfast in unity, they protected and ensured the safety of our root guru, our tsawai lama, His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama.

Over the last six decades, the government in Beijing has brutally repressed the Tibetan people, denied us our basic rights and has consistently pursued systematic policies to crackdown on Tibetan language, culture, unique identity, and spiritual practices. In essence, China has deliberately aimed to eradicate Tibet’s civilization from the face of this earth.

In this year’s annual report, Human Rights Watch states that the Chinese authorities have used a “nationwide anti-crime campaign to encourage people to denounce members of their communities on the slightest suspicion of sympathy” for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Furthermore, crackdown on human rights defenders has intensified in recent years. Language advocate Tashi Wangchuk is currently serving an arbitrary five-year jail sentence. His only crime was advocating for the Tibetan people’s cultural and linguistic rights as enshrined in the PRC’s own Constitution. Recently, China has also banned Tibetan children from attending informal language classes held at their local monasteries.

As a prelude to its ambition to control the global surveillance network, China uses Tibet as a testing ground for high-tech surveillance methods. Using a “grid system of social management,” the Communist Party strengthens its Orwellian control over both the electronic and physical surveillance of Tibet. Additionally, since 2008, road blocks and check points have increasingly dotted all major roads in urban areas as well as in remote areas of the Tibetan Plateau. Chinese authorities have assigned at least one officer for every 20 Tibetans in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). In a dystopian world it has created, often a son is pitted against his father, a daughter against her mother, and sibling against sibling.

Commonly known as the “Third Pole”, the Tibetan Plateau holds the world’s largest reservoir of glaciers apart from the two poles. Tibet, therefore, is the source of some of the largest rivers in Asia with over one billion people depending on these waters. Consequently, rising temperatures on the high plateau endangers the livelihood of hundreds of millions of people in Asia and also negatively amplifies global climate change. China’s deeply flawed environmental policies have already turned the Tibetan Plateau into destructive mining hubs, and the unbridled damming of rivers makes the situation even more dangerous.

The assaults on Tibet and her people have always been multi-pronged. Over two million Tibetans, particularly nomads, have been forcibly removed from their ancestral land and relocated into large-scale ghettos without any alternative opportunities to lead a dignified and traditional life.

As a resentment to these harsh and repressive policies, 153 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009 with the most recent one committed by a 23-year-old man named Dopo on November 4, 2018. While committing self-immolation, the protestors have called to restore freedom for Tibetans and the return of His Holiness to Tibet.

Freedom House has listed Tibet as the world’s second least free region for the last four consecutive years. Likewise, Reporters Without Borders expressed “outrage over the systematic violation of press freedom” and has stated that it is harder for journalists to get access to Tibet than to North Korea.

My Tibetan brothers and sisters around the world, in spite of living through the darkest period in our history, we have stood together in unity and achieved a great many things against all odds. Our journey over the past six decades has also been that of hope, resilience, and resistance.

Beginning in the early 1950s in Eastern Tibet, each of China’s tyrannical policy has been met with resolute defiance. The Tibetan National Uprising in March 1959; brave resistance in prisons and concentration camps in the 1960s and 1970s; and the large-scale demonstrations in the 1980s have all shown that the Tibetan people have consistently and collectively fought for their rights, freedom, and justice. 

In 2008, the whole world witnessed a new generation of Tibetans in a nationwide uprising against the Chinese occupation and ignited a spark of unwavering courage to assert for their identity and dignity. They declared: “Our voices will not be suppressed; our commitment will not falter.” This resolute resistance continues.

Similarly, in exile, we have not only rebuilt ourselves but also become a successful and thriving community. When our grandfathers and grandmothers first arrived in India 60 years ago, their fate was uncertain and their future unknown. But under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, they re-established themselves. Shovel by shovel and brick by brick, they built schools, monasteries, nunneries, and settlements. Families formed communities to sow seeds of hope in their corn fields. Men and women renewed their skills to weave carpets and pave a better future for their children.

Through these institutions and communities, we have managed to restore and revive our language, culture and most importantly, our identity. The depth of our history, traditions, spirituality and determination enabled us to transform our narrative from that of victims to survivors. The strength of our cause and our ability to efficiently implement development programmes over the decades have won us continued support and admiration from our friends, supporters, and aid groups around the globe.  

Under His Holiness’ leadership, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has evolved into a robust democracy in exile based on the rule of law, gender equality and universal suffrage. In 2011, His Holiness devolved his political authority to a democratically-elected leader. The CTA today represents the aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet and Tibetans-in-exile scattered over 40 countries around the world. It oversees 71 Tibetan settlements; 276 monasteries and nunneries, 68 schools – having a literacy rate higher than many countries in South-and Southeast Asia – hospitals, clinics, and old age homes. All of these institutions and centres cater to the needs of Tibetan refugees in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Our thirteen Offices of Tibet serve as official liaison channels in as many countries.

However, our success is not confined to our communities alone. The Tibetan freedom movement has garnered insurmountable international support with Tibet Support Groups (TSGs) in 54 different countries and 40 countries hosting Parliamentary Support Groups. Today, Japan hosts the largest All-Party Parliamentary TSG comprising of 90 members. Similarly, the Czech Parliamentary Group for Tibet is the largest in Europe with over 50 representatives from both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

In 2018, some of the most powerful Member States at the UN Human Rights Council called upon China to stop the gross human rights violations in Tibet. We are both inspired and encouraged by support for Tibet from countries like Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States at China’s Third Cycle of Universal Periodic Review.

Just as importantly, in December last year the United States took an unprecedented step by passing the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. This bi-partisan law denies entry to America to Chinese officials deemed responsible for restricting American officials’ and journalists’ access to Tibet. The President of the United States further strengthened support for Tibet with the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which secures special economic support to promote and preserve Tibetan culture, education, and environmental conservation as well as sustainable development.

We are aware that the Chinese government pays only lip service to words like “co-operation” and “dialogue”. If indeed it earnestly believes that “co-operation can bring world peace,” it should renew its dialogues with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As we have stated repeatedly, the envoys are ready to talk and peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet through the Middle Way Approach.

Instead of looking to end the 60 years of repression in Tibet, the Chinese government has come out with a “Zero and 100 strategy.” Under this new strategy, zero news from international media and exile Tibetans will be allowed into Tibet and projects 100 percent official propaganda about Tibet to the outside world and the Tibetan community in exile. Hence, we must remain vigilant.

The Chinese government assumes that the issue of Tibet will fade with time. But our experience of over half-a-century makes us believe otherwise. The young Tibetans in Tibet experience repression and resistance, whereas, young Tibetans live in exile and learn about freedom and democracy. 

Together, the young generation in Tibet and in exile are determined in seeking truth and justice. This new generation of Tibetans is committed to preserving their unique identity and pursuing their dignity. They are prepared to carry forward the baton of the struggle until the Tibet issue is resolved. 

Ultimately, it is for the Tibetan people to decide their own destiny and that of Tibet.

To honour and offer our deep gratitude for the support we have received for the last 60 years, the Kashag dedicated 2018 as the “Year of Gratitude.” Accordingly, we began with “Thank You, India” and ended with “Thank You, America” with programmes in many other countries in between to express our profound appreciation to old and new friends of Tibet. I once again want to convey our sincere thank you to our dear friends in India and all around the world.

My friends, the tragic case of Tibet is a stark reminder of how much work is left to be done. Sixty years of the occupation of Tibet and the repression of Tibetans is far too long.

To ensure that Tibet’s freedom struggle marches forward, the Kashag today officially declares 2019 as the “Year of Commitment.” I want to call upon freedom-loving people of the world to commit to end oppression in Tibet and to commit to fight against impunity. To Tibetan people everywhere, let us continue our commitment to struggle for justice. Let us continue to strengthen our resilience so we can be united with our brothers and sisters in Tibet in freedom. Let us commit to the return of His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama to the Potala Palace in Lhasa – where he rightfully belongs.

Long Live His Holiness!

Long Live Tibet!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Trump, Obama, Tyrants and Double Standards: Otto Warmbier and Brothers to the Rescue

Where was the outrage when President Obama whitewashed the murder of Americans?

Obama went farther to whitewash the murder of three Americans and a US resident by the Castro brothers
There is justifiable outrage today in the media over how President Donald Trump gave a pass to the North Korean dictator for the murder of Otto Warmbier, an American citizen. According to Trump, Kim Jong Un "felt badly about it,” and he continued: “In those prisons and camps, you have a lot of people, and some really bad things happened to Otto.” ... “Some really, really bad things. But [Kim] tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.” Otto's parents pushed back and the media gave broad coverage to their statement.

Otto Warmbier was systematically tortured by the North Korean dictatorship, and was released brain damaged, howling in pain and died days later from his injuries.

Otto Warmbier during his show trial in North Korea
Where was the outrage in 2014 when President Obama not only gave a pass to the murder of three American citizens and a U.S. resident by Fidel and Raul Castro, but took it a step further by misrepresenting a premeditated and well documented act of state terrorism? President Barack Obama on December 19, 2014 during a year end press conference said:
"So, with respect to sabotage, I mean, my understanding of the history, for example, of the plane being shot down, it’s not clear that that was the Cuban government purposely trying to undermine overtures by the Clinton administration.  It was a tragic circumstance that ended up collapsing talks that had begun to take place.  I haven't seen a historical record that suggests that they shot the plane down specifically in order to undermine overtures by the Clinton government."
Worse yet he commuted the sentence of the Cuban spy who was serving a double life sentence for murder conspiracy in the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down and espionage who also planned terrorist acts on U.S. soil.

The events surrounding the February 24, 1996 shoot down began weeks in advance with the Cuban dictatorship planning the shoot down and using their spy network to obtain information to advance the conspiracy.

Four victims of the Brothers to the Rescue shootdown
It is true that the shoot down was not meant to undermine overtures by the Clinton administration and although it paused the process by the end of 2000 President Clinton had shaken Fidel Castro's hand and a few months later opened cash and carry trade with the dictatorship.

However it was not a "tragic circumstance" but a conspiracy to destroy Brothers to the Rescue while at the same time taking attention away from a crack down on a national gathering of the democratic opposition:
1) Radio communications between the MiG29 and the military base clearly show that the fighter planes were sent out before the Brothers to the Rescue aircraft arrived at the 24th parallel level, that they were searching for a specific target, and that they even decided not to attempt any warning maneuvers to make the shoot down easier for the Cuban MiG pilots.

2) The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concluded the following:
From the circumstances surrounding the events of 24 February 1996, from the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of lethal force applied to the civilian aircraft, from the intensity of that force, and from the way in which the authorities at the Havana military control tower congratulated the MiG-29 pilots after they had carried out their orders, the Commission finds sufficient evidence that Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña, and Armando Alejandre were arbitrarily or extrajudicially executed at the hands of agents of the Cuban State. [34] Consequently, the Cuban State is responsible for violating the right to life, as enshrined in Article I of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.
3) U.S. courts have also found the Castro regime guilty of premeditation in this shoot down.
  1. U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King found Cuba guilty in civil court of planning the shoot down before the actual attack, and noted that there had been ample time to issue warnings to the Brothers to the Rescue aircraft if these had been needed. 
  2.  A jury in criminal court presided by U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard found Miami-based Cuban spy Gerardo Hernandez guilty of conspiracy to commit murder because of his role in providing information to the Cuban government on the flight plans of Brothers to the Rescue. 
  3. On August 21, 2003 a U.S. grand jury indicted the two fighter pilots and their commanding general on murder charges for the 1996 shoot down.
4) A Cuban pilot saw Cuban MiGs rehearsing the shoot down six days before the attack.
5)  The FBI intercepted coded communications between the spies and the Castro regime. The portion of the coded intercept that attracted the most attention was written by Eduardo Delgado Rodriguez, a.k.a."MX," a Cuban general who headed the Interior Ministry's Directorate of Intelligence (DI).He had urgent instructions for Miami-based agents who had infiltrated Brothers to the Rescue not to fly on Brothers planes between Feb. 24 and Feb. 27 as they carried out "Operation Scorpion":
"MX instructs that under no circumstances should German nor Castor fly with Brothers to the Rescue or another organization on days 24, 25, 26 and 27, coinciding with celebration of Concilio Cubano [a planned national conference of dissident groups in Havana], in order to avoid any incident of provocation that they may carry out and our response to it."
6) Fidel Castro took responsibility for giving the order for the planes to be shot down. Raul Castro was in the chain of command that executed the order. This is the individual President Barack Obama went to a baseball game with in Cuba and did the wave with.
Miriam de la Peña made a video where she challenged President Obama to explain why he freed her son's murderer.