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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Remembering and Honoring an American Hero

Relaunching the Thomas P. Ray Lecture Series

The Thomas "Pete" Ray Lecture Series

Thomas "Pete" Ray

This lecture series will address the long silent voice of Cuba's democratic opposition in American academia. Miami is the logical location for such a lecture series to originate from. It is home to a large number of Cuban exiles and Cuban Americans. They have seen and experienced firsthand the suffering and oppression perpetrated by the Castro government against the Cuban people. 

The fact that pro-Castro voices have had a greater voice on American campuses than the voices of those who speak for democracy and human rights in Cuba is a sign that American universities are out of touch with the reality of the Orwellian nightmare that is Cuba. The Thomas P. Ray Lecture Series is an important step in combatting Castro's campaign of misinformation.

The lecture series is named in honor of Thomas "Pete" Ray, an American pilot who was summarily executed trying to liberate Cuba during the Bay of Pigs. He was a member of the Alabama National Guard. Captured and wounded he was taken to a Cuban hospital. While in the hospital a communist militia member shot and killed him in his hospital bed. During the next 18 years his family searched for his remains. Upon ascertaining were his remains were located, they had been kept frozen by the regime, the Castro government told the family that they would have to pay $36,000 in "storage fees." The University of Alabama Honors College produced a documentary, La Batalla de Playa GirĂ³n: The Alabama Air National Guard's Role in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, that provides a historical overview of the Bay of Pigs and the events surrounding the death of Thomas "Pete" Ray.

Thomas "Pete" Ray lost his life seeking to save members of the Brigade 2506 who had been abandoned when the U.S. government wanted to maintain "plausible deniability" with the "Bay of Pigs" action in 1961. 

The Free Cuba Foundation believes that by spreading the message about the Cuban reality we honor the memory of those who gave their lives in the cause of a free Cuba. One of these heroes is Thomas "Pete" Ray.

Janet Ray Weininger with a picture of her father Thomas "Pete"Ray 
 Janet Ray spent decades trying to find out what had happened to her father Thomas "Pete" Ray. Janet Ray Weininger took part in the July 13, 1995 flotilla that entered Cuban waters to pay their respects to the 37 men, women, and children massacred in the "13 de Marzo" tugboat by agents of the Cuban government on one year earlier on July 13, 1994. She had an exchange with Clinton Administration officials explaining why she would participate in the flotilla and put it in writing:

August 25, 1995 Richard Nuccio
Special Advisor to the President
and the Department of State for Cuba
The White House
OEOB Room 469
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. Nuccio:

Last week in Miami at the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy Conference, I had the opportunity to have a brief conversation with you concerning the Democracia Flotilla to Cuba.  It is important to the struggle for the freedom of Cuba that our words be put in a hard copy form.

It is best to begin by reintroducing myself to you, for if you met me on the street you would describe me as one who represented the typical American wife and mother, carpooling the children to school, ball games, dance and music lessons with the dog in the back for companionship. I like to describe myself as Pure Vanilla with a lot of Tobasco. The Tobasco part I inherited from my father an American pilot who gave his life for the freedom of Cuba.

On the July the 13th Flotilla of which I was a participant, I couldn't go on the Democracia because I wasn't Cuban, but this time Ramon Saul Sanchez said, "Janet this time we need your flag." You forewarned me to be careful because as you said, "Cuba dosen't need another hero." I responded ,"Yes, Cuba doesn't need another hero. They just need to know the way home."

When my father made the decision to fly his final mission, he knew the highest levels of the United States government had betrayed the Brigade 2506 and Cuba under the facade of the best national interest of the United States. He made the right decision, a decision of conscience, not a selfish decision.

It is time to make decisions of conscience. It is time for Cuba to be free.


Janet Ray Weininger

Lectures and Conferences:

I Contemporary opposition to the Castro Regime

a. Exile opposition
b. Internal opposition
c. Future of the opposition movement

II Human Rights Violations in Cuba

a. Violations of the articles of the Universal Rights of Man
b. Psychiatry and repression in Cuba
c.Treatment of Political Prisoners
d.Relevant cases today

III Analysis of the Cuban Revolution

e.Current Issues
f.Future of the revolution
g.Q&A period

IV Video Presentation

a. Nobody Listened - Documentary about political prisoners
b. Improper conduct- Documentary about the treatment of "social undesirables" by the communist government.
c. The Last Communist - Frontline Documentary chronicles Castro's rise to power.
d. Last Days of the Revolution- Chronicles Cuba's reaction to the post-Cold War world.
e. Cuba and Cocaine - Frontline Documentary offers proof of the Castro regime's conspiration with International drug cartels. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Where were you the day Orlando Zapata Tamayo died?

Orlando Zapata Tamayo was unjustly imprisoned and tortured into an early grave by agents of the Castro regime, dying at the age of 42.  He would have been 45 years old this upcoming May 15. Lets not forget him or the many other victims of this regime.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the death by brutal beating of Cuban human rights defender Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia.

At the same time let us be vigilant and do all we can to stop the dictatorship from claiming new victims. Let us speak out for all the political prisoners and dissidents risking their lives for freedom in Cuba. At this moment a special mention should be made for Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia who was taken early this morning while on his way to a meeting in Havana, Cuba.