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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

El día de los derechos humanos en Cuba 2013

Brutal ofensiva represiva en Cuba


Voces y Imagenes Sobre El día de los derechos humanos en Cuba 2013 


Imagenes desde Cuba en la calle


Voces opositores

Protestas, golpes, arrestos, allanamientos de viviendas y otras medidas represivas durante actividades del
Día Internacional de los Derechos Humanos en Cuba
                                             

CUBA, 10 de diciembre del 2013. En el Día Internacional de los Derechos Humanos en Cuba,  activistas en la resistencia a lo largo y ancho de la Cuba han reportado al Directorio Democrático Cubano sobre la gran cantidad de golpizas, arrestos, allanamientos de casas, amenazas de que ha sido objeto desde el pasado fin de semana hasta la fecha,  por parte del régimen castrista, para acallar las protestas y actividades en conmemoración de esta fecha y que no pudieron silenciar a pesar de la brutal represión.

“Queremos decirle al mundo democrático que donde quiera que estuvo un activista de los derechos humanos, en toda mazmorra y calabozo que estos esbirros nos meten, nosotros celebramos el Día Internacional de los Derechos Humanos y lo celebramos con orgullo porque nuestras ideas, pensamiento y resistencia no se encarcelan”,dijo José Díaz Silva, Presidente del Movimiento Opositor por Una Nueva República y  Coordinador del Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica Orlando Zapata Tamayo desde Boyeros, La Habana.


A continuación una relación de los hechos hasta ahora reportados de actividades y represión:

Actividades y denuncias
Día Internacional de Derechos  Humanos en Cuba

10 de diciembre del 2013

Santa Clara, Villa Clara-Informa Carlos Michael Morales Rodríguez miembros de la Coalición Central Opositora Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica y Desobediencia Civil Orlando Zapata Tamayo que esta tarde Yoel Bravo López y Maikel Mena Rivalta activista de dicha coalición se presentaron frente a la vivienda de Damaris Moya Portieles y regaron propaganda antigubernamentales, fueron arrestados y golpeados por varios militares. http://youtu.be/yv-tOoXY5EU

La Habana- Convocatoria a plantón-Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo representante en función del Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica y Desobediencia Civil Orlando Zapata Tamayo acaba de convocar a un plantón nacional exigiendo la inmediata liberación de todos los detenidos. http://youtu.be/t4wVEcj7g2s

La Habana, detenidos y desaparecidos- Jose Diaz Silva Presidente del Movimiento Opositor por Una Nueva República y  Coordinador del Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica Orlando Zapata Tamayo denuncio la detencion y sin paradero conocido de los activistas:  Mario Alberto Hernandez Leiva de Santiago de las Vegas, Lazaro Perez Gonzalez, Luis Jesus Gutierres Campos y Jose Alberto Morera Lafita de Calabazar

Velazco, Holguin-Lanzan gases a  activistas- La activista Damaris García, del Frente Nacional de Resistencia OZT, ofrece su testimonio de un violento ataque policial a su vivienda en Velasco, Holguín este 10 de diciembre, Día de los Derechos Humanos. Efectivos lanzaron gases dentro de la vivienda donde estaban reunidos varios activistas, al igual que una anciana y el hijo menor de edad de Damaris quien tiene serios problemas de salud. El pequeño se asfixio y aun sigue con complicaciones. Escuchen a Damaris en este audio. http://youtu.be/5pHSXQdog24

Camajuani, Villa ClaraVarias actividades por el Dia de los Derechos Humanos -El líder del Movimiento Cubano Reflexión y ex preso político Librado Linares García ofrece un resumen de actividades realizadas por dicha agrupación como parte de la Jornada por los Derechos Humanos en Cuba. http://youtu.be/3pEQGgyKGpo

Camaguey- Actividades Santos Manuel Fernández, del Partido Pro Derechos Humanos y del del Frente Nacional de Resistencia OZT, detalla actividad siendo realizada en Camaguey por el Día de los Derechos Humanos. http://youtu.be/VAAPkbRQXBA

Cárdenas, Matanzas- Detenciones -Leticia Ramos, representante de las Damas de Blanco en la provincia de Matanzas, reporta varias detenciones de mujeres en dicha provincia este Día de los Derechos Humanos. http://youtu.be/vlFTssN_Hn4

Grúa Nueva, Ciego de Avila-Maday Franco, del Movimiento Rosa Parks y Frente Nacional de Resistencia OZT informa que activistas en Grúa Nueva, Ciego de Ávila están reunidos realizando actividades a favor de los derechos humanos. http://youtu.be/_PnO416jS4s

La Habana- Plantón por detenciones- Informa Barbara Recalde, del Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica Orlando Zapata Tamayo y Dama de Blanco informa que han hecho un planto frente al Vivac donde estan detenido su esposo Hugo Damian Prieto Blanco y  varios activistas por el conmemorar el Día Internacional de los  Derechos Humanos: Dayan Gomez, Hernandez, lazaro Mendoza Garcia, Enrique Diaz Rodriguez, Damaris Reves Rodriguez, Henry Frei Rodriguez, Francisco Sanz, Luis Andres Dominguez, Vladimir Paez, Maria Rosa Rodriguez, Rolando Reyes,Oilin Hernandez Rodriguez, Guillermo Feria, Andres Avelines, Aliuska Gomez, Mariol Rodriguez Miranda, Luis Manuel Fumero, Jose Antonio Pompa, Ana Nilda Molina, Arleti Prinet,

Velazco, Holguin- El opositor Ramón Zamora, del Frente OZT, denuncia actos violentos ocurridos este Día de Derechos Humanos contra activistas reunidos en Velazco, Holguín. http://youtu.be/0uDa-wv_teU

Santa Clara, Villa Clara- Donaida Perez, del Movimiento Rosa Parks y el Frente de Resistencia OZT, lee un comunicado desde Placetas, Villa Clara, reiterando el compromiso de dicha organización con la lucha por los derechos humanos en la isla. http://youtu.be/J2RPgcyVSEA

Bayamo, Granma-Arrestos Félix Rivero denuncia los arrestos de miembros del Movimiento Jóvenes de Bayamo, entre ellos el presidente del grupo Yoandri Montoya Aviles. Dia de los Derechos Humanos 2013. http://youtu.be/QlS6FA2NNq8

Santa ClaraMarcha por los Derechos Humanos -Integrantes de la Coalición Central Opositora y Frente Nacional de Resistencia OZT  salieron a la calle en Santa Clara, Villa Clara para realizar una protesta a favor de los derechos humanos cuando fueron interceptados por policías y arrestados con violencia. En este audio, Damaris Moya, presidenta de la CCO, narra la protesta hasta el momento de la detención. http://youtu.be/JvhLXNCG0gU

Pinar del Rio- Reunión Día de Derechos Humanos Armando Peraza, del Movimiento Cubano de Jóvenes por la Democracia, informa que activistas están reunidos celebrando el día de los Derechos Humanos en el poblado de López Peña, en Pinar del Río. http://youtu.be/ouUvf2zjFxk

Baracoa, Guantánamo-Arrestos- Francisco Luis Manzanet, del Movimiento Opositor Juan Pablo II, denuncia el arresto de varios activistas en Baracoa por repartir copias del Proyecto Emilia, iniciativa que busca cambio y libertad para Cuba. Además, Manzanet habla sobre los Derechos Humanos en Cuba en este audio. Enlace a audio: http://youtu.be/uuPS0Zuylvk

Camagüey- Reunión Día de Derechos Humanos-Yordan Marrero, del Partido Cubano Demócrata Cristiano, informa que varios activistas están reunidos en su vivienda en Camagüey para celebrar el Día de los Derechos Humanos, a pesar de operativos policiales. El opositor aprovecha y envía un mensaje al pueblo cubano. Enlace a audio: http://youtu.be/lvXlwb3Cqrk

Banes, Holguín- Actividad-Delvis Martínez, de la Alianza Democrática Oriental, informa que un grupo de activistas están reunidos en la vivienda de Rafael Meneses en Banes, Holguín realizando un debate sobre los derechos humanos en Cuba y en el mundo, a pesar de que el domicilio esta rodeado por la policía política quienes amenazan a los presentes. Los detalles en el audio: http://youtu.be/E5tywU3Nv18

La Habana –Actividad Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, del Partido Pro Derechos Humanos de Cuba y del Frente Nacional de Resistencia OZT, detalla actividad que varios opositores están llevando a cabo en Boyeros, La Habana exigiendo el respeto a los derechos humanos en la isla. Los detalles en el audio: http://youtu.be/Rix4mT9NtoA

Sancti Spiritus-Varios arrestos- Segundo Rey Cabrera González, líder del Comité Cubano pro Derechos Humanos de Cuba en Sancti Spiritus, denuncia que varios miembros de dicha organización han sido arrestados con violencia por la policía política por tratar de llegar a su vivienda para realizar un encuentro sobre los derechos humanos este 10 de diciembre. Los detalles en el audio: http://youtu.be/WskSljr69Qo

Banes, Holguín-Reunión  Día de Derechos Humanos- La opositora Gertrudis Ojeda Suárez, de la Alianza Democrática Oriental, informa que activistas están reunidos en su vivienda en Banes, Holguín a pesar de que el régimen ha organizado un acto de repudio en contra de los mismos. A pesar de las amenazas, los activistas presentes han continuado con su actividad celebrando el Día Internacional de los Derechos Humanos. Enlace audio: http://youtu.be/KmtDMaOSmpw

Buenaventura, Holguín- Marcha a favor de derechos humanos-Delmides Fidalgo López, de la Alianza Democrática Oriental, informa que miembros de dicha organización salieron en una marcha a favor de los Derechos Humanos en Buenaventura, Holguín, además exigiendo la liberación de todos los presos políticos. Los detalles en el audio.

Santiago de las Vegas, Arrestos-Denuncia la activista Lourdes Esquivel, del Movimiento Opositores por Una Nueva Republica, que su esposo José Díaz Silva y otros opositores han sido detenido y no se conoce el paradero de los mismos. Los arrestos ocurrieron para impedir que llegaran a un encuentro sobre los Derechos Humanos en la vivienda del activista Antonio Rodiles, organizador de Estado de Sats. Enlace: http://youtu.be/DYdLxrSl5Do

Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba- Misael Valdés Díaz, del Frente Nacional de Resistencia OZT en Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, reporta que activistas han repartido copias de la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos a ciudadanos, quienes las han recibido de forma positiva. Los detalles en el audio: http://youtu.be/32p06ryjM08

Caibarien, Villa Clara- Atacan vivienda de opositor- En horas de la madrugada del Día Mundial de los Derechos Humanos, paramilitares del régimen cubano atacaron la vivienda del opositor Javier Delgado Torna, integrante del Movimiento Cubano Reflexión, con substancias aparentemente toxicas y están impidiendo que este salga para realizar cualquier tipo de actividad cívica. Enlace a audio: http://youtu.be/sz6g1NOjzyw

9 de diciembre del 2013

Santa Clara, Villa Clara-Lanzan proclamas contra el régimen- Damaris Moya Portieles presidenta de la Coalición Central Opositora informa que cuatro miembros de la organización acaban de lanzar alrededor de 250 proclamas antigubernamentales en la calle prolongación de Marta Abreu, una de las calles más céntricas del reparto Virginia, en la ciudad de Santa Clara. Enlace a audio: http://youtu.be/Vrc7qiIVbhY

Boyeros, La Habana-Asedio- Fuerzas policiales han rodeado la vivienda de la opositora Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, del Partido Pro DDH de Cuba y del Frente OZT, en Boyeros, La Habana en la víspera del Día Mundial de los Derechos Humanos. A pesar de estos operativos, Fonseca Quevedo envía un mensaje directo a la dictadura de que el martes 10 de diciembre saldrán a las calles para reclamar derechos para todos los cubanos. Enlace a audio: http://youtu.be/aJEx_PGl3rk

Sagua la Grande, Villa Clara-Arrestos- El ex prisionero político Jorge Vázquez Chaviano, miembro del Frente Nacional de Resistencia OZT y de la Coalición Central Opositora, recuenta desde la ciudad de Sagua la Grande, Villa Clara, como fue arrestado violentamente este lunes junto a otros activistas, incluyendo a su esposa María del Carmen Hernández. Enlace a audio: http://youtu.be/cph7VBMc1mo

Sagua la Grande, Villa Clara- Arrestan a activista y aparecen por volantes y letreros antigubernamentales- María del Carmen  Martínez denuncia que detuvieron a su esposo Jorge Vázquez Chaviano para que no participe en el Día de los Derechos Humanos además del que régimen tiene miedo por la aparición de volantes y letreros antigubernamentales. Enlace a audio: http://youtu.be/0ZKPxDPefGA

Catalina de Guines, Mayabeque- Reportan  asedio y vigilancia -Ricardo Lázaro Fiallo delegado provincia Mayabeque Partido Pro Derechos Humanos de Cuba afiliado a la Fundación Andrei Sajarov y Frente de Resistencia Cívica Orlando Zapata Tamayo que el régimen inico un operativo para evitar la celebración del Día Internacional de los Derechos Humanos comenzando un despliegue de vigilancia dirigido por el agente de la Seguridad del Estado Aníbal conocido como “cabeza de toro” quien amenazó  a Julián Enrique Martínez Báez en San José de  las Lajas que no habría celebración de esta fecha. La policía se personó en el hogar de Ricardo Lázaro Fiallo en Catalina de Guines el mismo día y con las mismas amenazas incluyendo un acto de repudio, siendo la misma asediada por la policía política  y han establecido un puesto de mando a una cuadra de su casa en Avenida 27, e/ 8 y 10, Catalina de Guines, Provincia Mayabeque.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cuban exile and former CIA operative speaks out on Kennedy Assassination






Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Abandoned Battlefield: Still relevant after 12 years

Abandoned Battlefield

 
Eusebio de Jesús Peñalver Mazorra
John Suarez
June 2, 2001

The battle of ideas surrounding the Cuban revolution in the United States has not been fully joined. The Cuban freedom movement has lobbyists, congressmen, journalists, and a couple of foundations and centers focused on opinion makers and politicians in the United States. The Castro regime has all that and more. The pro-Castro lobby is outspending the freedom movement 10 to 1, and they have engaged with grassroots left-wing allies at the local level nationally and in the academia.

Last month, members of the Free Cuba Foundation joined together with California Young Americans for Freedom and Free Vietnam Youth and embarked on a lecture tour of the state of California. What we found was that representatives of the Castro regime had already been visiting colleges and community centers throughout the entire state for years. Even young Conservatives who are ideologically anti-communists knew little about Cuba other than they were against what the communists were advocating.

From Orange County in the south to San Francisco in the north of California revolutionary icons were everywhere to be seen. Che Guevara emblazoned on posters and t-shirts. Speaking at the University of California, Davis and translating for ex-political prisoner Eusebio de Jesús Peñalver Mazorra at the University of California, Santa Barbara we realized that in the battle of ideas in many parts of the United States the pro-Castro forces have a monologue even more one sided than Castro's in Cuba.

In Cuba the dissident movement although often imprisoned, driven into exile, tortured, and in some cases murdered by the regime is known and has an impact at the grassroots level, and via Radio Marti on a national level in Cuba. The difference between what takes place in Cuba and what is taking place here is the double tragedy. In Cuba the tragedy is that the regime in power systematically attempts to silence the pro-democracy movement using the power of the police state they have erected. In the United States the tragedy is that Cuban Americans have the right to challenge the regime throughout the country, but have largely confined ourselves to New Jersey and Miami.
The reasons for this abandonment of the United States grassroots campaign are two-fold:

First, pro-democracy groups have been working outside of the United States to gather support in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. The vote in Geneva condemning the Castro regime's human rights record is partly a result of this effort, and is of great importance and needs to be continued.
Secondly, the United States has at the level of the Federal government maintained a more or less steadfast policy maintaining sanctions, and denouncing the human rights violations in Cuba. Pro-democracy groups have maintained offices in Washington DC to lobby the US Congress and the Executive branch.

This was a suitable strategy while the Cold War was going on, and Castro was receiving his subsidy from the Soviet Union and exporting revolution throughout Latin America and Africa posing a strategic threat to the United States as an arm of the Soviet empire. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War changed that calculus. The regime since at least the early 1990s has sent young communists to speak on college campuses. They have engaged with elements of the New Left and in recent years have built coalitions with business interests that want to trade with nations like Cuba, Libya, Iraq, and Iran.The pro-Castro coalition in the United States spans the ideological divide, and has even more lobbyists, congressmen, journalists, foundations and politicians at their disposal than does the Cuban freedom movement. In addition, the pro-Castro coalition has been working the grassroots to expand their coalition into areas the freedom movement has not even tapped into on a sustained basis.

The pro-Cuban freedom movement needs to find its friends all across the ideological divide, and needs to break the monologue that the pro-Castro side has maintained in too many parts of the United States. The freedom movement needs to speak truth to power, and live by the very same liberties the movement wants to see in Cuba. The ends do not justify the means. The freedom movement inside of Cuba is based on a non-violent strategy consistent with its end goals. The freedom movement abroad must follow their lead. Violence and human rights violations are the tool of the Castro regime and his coalition.

We live in a world in which the most powerful countries are democracies: USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Taiwan, and South Korea just to name a few. The movement inside of Cuba following the path of Gandhi and King will gain the support of the world with an effective freedom movement abroad echoing their actions and statements while at the same time denouncing the human rights violations of the regime. Ricardo Bofill, one of the founders of the Cuban Committee for human Rights, has spoken and written often about the importance of engaging the regime in the battle of ideas.

Many thought that with the collapse of the Soviet empire that the idea of communism would've fallen onto the ash heap of history they were wrong. The name may have been changed, but the hatred of capitalism, and the defense of left-wing tyrannies continue unabated. We must engage in the battle of ideas to win Cuba's freedom.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

#FreeElCritico : Family issues a call for solidarity

 Cuban dissident and rapper Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, whose stage name is “el Critico del Arte” (the “Art Critic”) has been unjustly imprisoned since March 2013  and is at this moment dying on hunger strike demanding his freedom after being beaten and arbitrarily detained. His family is desperately seeking solidarity for their loved one.


Tomorrow at 7pm there will be a gathering for El Critico at Versailles located at 3555 SW 8th Street in Miami, FL.

Meanwhile let others know of his plight and spread the word over twitter using the hashtag #FreeElCritico

Learn more about his plight here, here and here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Amnesty International Urgent Action - Cuba: Activists receive death threats in Cuba

UA: 288/13 Index: AMR 25/009/2013 Cuba Date: 15 October 2013
 
URGENT ACTION

ACTIVISTS RECEIVE DEATH THREATS IN CUBA

Juan Carlos Gonzáles Leiva and Tania Maceda Guerra

The head of a Cuban human rights organization and his wife, also an activist, have received death threats from government supporters.
 
Juan Carlos González Leiva, the President of the Cuban Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs (Consejo de Relatores de Derechos Humanos de Cuba, CRDHC) and his wife Tania Maceda Guerra, received death threats during and after a government-sanctioned demonstration. Their house, which doubles as the headquarters of the CRDHC was the site of a demonstration known as an “act of repudiation” for more than 48 hours. This was done to prevent them from travelling from their home city of Ciego de Ávila in central Cuba to the capital, Havana, for events to commemorate the death of Laura Pollán, the former head of the Ladies in White.

At 4 am on 12 October Juan Carlos Gonzáles Leiva headed to the bus station to travel to Havana, but was turned back by a police officer who said his name was on a list of people who were not allowed to leave Ciego de Ávila. Juan Carlos González Leiva, who is blind, informed Amnesty International that at 8:30 am government supporters accompanied by officers from the Cuban Revolutionary Police and Department of State Security Officials began to gather in front of his house. Three other members of the CRDHC who live in the neighbourhood managed to get into the house, but all five of them were forced to stay there until midday on 14 October.

Music was played at extreme volume for eight hours on 12 October, and the crowd shouted insults calling CRDHC members “rats” and “worms” and one security official threatened to use tear gas against them. A group of government supporters shouted “we’re going to kill you, worms” (“les vamos a matar gusanos”) and one of them entered the house and assaulted Tania Maceda Guerra. Around an hour after the act of repudiation ended, Juan Carlos left his house with two other members of the CRDHC and was accosted by two of the government supporters. They repeated the death threats against Juan Carlos González Leiva and Tania Maceda Guerra.
 
Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

Urging the authorities to take immediate action to guarantee Juan Carlos González Leiva and Tania Maceda Guerra’s safety, in accordance with their wishes;

Calling on the authorities to cease the harassment, intimidation and persecution of human rights activists and political dissidents while exercising their right to freedom of expression, assembly and association;

Reminding the authorities to guarantee that human rights defenders can carry out their work without fear of reprisals, as established in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
 
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 NOVEMBER 2013 TO:

Head of State and Government
Raúl Castro Ruz
Presidente de la República de Cuba
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: +41 22 758 9431 (Cuba office in Geneva); +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)
Email: cuba@un.int HYPERLINK "mailto:cuba@un.int"  (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)
Salutation: Your Excellency
 
Attorney General
Dr. Darío Delgado Cura
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General de la República
Amistad 552, e/Monte y Estrella
Centro Habana
La Habana, Cuba
Salutation: Dear Attorney General
 
And copies to:
Interior Minister
General Abelardo Colomé Ibarra
Ministro del Interior y Prisiones
Ministerio del Interior,
Plaza de la Revolución
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)
Email: correominint@mn.mn.co.cu
Salutation: Your Excellency
 
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION
ACTIVISTS RECEIVE DEATH THREATS IN CUBA

Additional Information

Many members of Ladies in White and a number of other government critics across Cuba were prevented from traveling to Havana to attend events to mark the second anniversary of Laura Pollán’s death. The Ladies in White campaign for the release of political prisoners and for the lifting of restrictions on fundamental civil and political freedoms in Cuba.

The Cuban Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs was established in 2007. The authorities have denied it legal status, as they do to all organizations deemed to be critical of the government. It has several hundred rapporteurs based in every province of the island who monitor violations of freedoms of expression, assembly and association of human rights activists, political dissidents and independent journalists. The organization produces monthly reports which document cases of acts of repudiation, arbitrary short term detentions and sentencing following unfair trials.

Tania Maceda Guerra is an independent journalist and a member of the Ladies in White.

Acts of repudiation (actos de repudio) are government-coordinated demonstrations, usually carried out in front of the homes of government critics. They are attended by government supporters, state officials and law enforcement agencies, aimed at harassing and intimidating opponents of the government, and are often used to prevent them from travelling to take part in activities. During an act of repudiation, political opponents and human rights activists are subjected to verbal and physical abuse by groups of people chanting pro-government slogans. Police are usually present but do not intervene to stop the assaults. Such incidents frequently involve the Rapid Response Brigades (Brigadas de Respuesta Rápida), a structure set up in 1991 and composed of Communist Party volunteers whose task is to deal with any sign of "counter-revolution". Local human rights activists and others believe these incidents are orchestrated by Cuba's security services to intimidate any opposition.

Name: Juan Carlos González Leiva (m), Tania Maceda Guerra (f)

Gender m/f: both

UA: 288/13 Index: AMR 25/009/2013 Issue Date: 15 October 2013

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/009/2013/en/955bad6d-baab-4f0a-ade3-5926190ccfe2/amr250092013en.html

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas: The Christian Liberation Movement at 25

"It is September 8, 25 years ago my parents and a group of friends founded the Christian Liberation Movement. Happy Anniversary MCL Cuba." -  Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo



Cuban dissidents organized a movement 25 years ago today and have been resisting repression and working towards liberation for the past quarter century and continue in the struggle for freedom today.

Imagine for a moment, the year is 1988 and the Soviet Union is still in power and the Eastern Europe under their domination. Fidel Castro's dictatorship was already in its 29th year in power.  In the midst of all this a group of Cubans gathered together to defend human rights and proclaim that their goal was liberation of the Cuban people in a nonviolent process.

Despite death threats, violent repression, long imprisonment, machete attacks and the murder of prominent figures of their movement they continue in their struggle for freedom.

Let us honor them today and remember their words of freedom.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Remembering Eva Barbas and her struggle for justice

Eva Barbas mother of Pablo Morales murdered by agents of the Castro regime on February 24, 1996 and steadfastly called for justice for her son passed away yesterday. Requiescat in pace

Brothers to the Rescue remembered: Eva Barbas mother of Pablo Morales at bridge dedication in 2009:


 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Kristan Patton, FCF Chairman 2011 - 2013 looks back over his tenure


Remembering "13 de Marzo"Tugboat victims at FIU

As former president of the Free Cuba Foundation (FCF) it wasn't so much what happened on campus that affected me but rather off it. I had the opportunity to meet Polish diplomats, rebel-rousers from other countries, and the heads of the top human rights organizations in Miami that dealt specifically with Cuba.

  

The connections I made eventually led to me currently being in Frankfurt Germany working for the International Society for Human Rights. If I could go back and do things differently, really the only thing I would have changed was to get involved in FCF sooner rather than later.

 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Free Cuba Foundation at 20

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.” - Mohandas Gandhi

Twenty years ago tonight on August 26, 1993  two Cuban-American students from Florida International University organized a five-hour candlelight vigil that began at 6 p.m. in front of the Mexican Consulate that mobilized hundreds to protest Mexico's deportation to Cuba of eight Cuban refugees who survived when their boat sank off the Mexican coast the previous week. As we look back twenty years ago and look around today at Cuban refugees being mistreated in the Bahamas and being deported back to the dictatorship that is still in power in Cuba it is a reasonable question to ask: What have we accomplished? Aren't we in the same position that we were two decades ago?

The answer is found in Gandhi's epigram at the top of this blog entry and in the words of the great English poet T.S. Eliott: "If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors' victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that it will triumph."

The Free Cuba Foundation has been a steadfast and independent voice in favor nonviolent resistance to injustice and tyranny. We have consistently spoken up for victims of the dictatorship demanding justice while at the same time advocating both freedom and national reconciliation. We have remained true to our mission statement.

What the future may hold is uncertain because we are free to decide and nothing is written in stone.

However, the past 20 years have demonstrated that young Cubans, Cuban-Americans,Cuban-Spaniards, Peruvians, and other people of good will have not acquired the "amnesia of Coca Cola" as some on the island describe the forgetfulness of some who leave for freedom and forget their friends and family back home.

The student leaders moved on after graduating and were replaced by new ones.

Augusto Monge, FCF Chairman 1993 -1994

John Suarez, FCF Chairman 1995

Jose Raul Carro, FCF Chairman 1996

 Xavier Utset, FCF Chairman 1997-1998

Susana Mendiola, FCF Chairwoman 1998-1999

Helen Castro, FCF Chairwoman 1999-2000

Neri Ann Martinez, FCF Chairwoman 2001-2004

Michel Betancourt, FCF Chairman 2004 -2005

Pedro Ross, FCF Chairman 2006-2008

Susana Navajas, FCF Chairwoman 2008- 2009

Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr., FCF Co-Chair 2009-2010
Julio Menache, FCF Co-Chair 2009 - 2010

Kristan Patton, FCF Chairman 2011 - 2013

Their testimony is evidence that the struggle continues because new generations have sought to carry the torch for the cause of freedom in Cuba over the past half century and continue to do so today.

We will continue to denounce the crimes being committed by the dictatorship in Cuba while at the same time letting the world know of brave activists who have sacrificed everything in the cause of Cuba's freedom.We will make use of this milestone to reflect on what has been done well. What needs to be improved and what needs to be done in the future to achieve the goal of a free Cuba where human rights and dignity are both recognized and respected.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rosa Maria Payá se dirige a los Democratas Cristianos de las Americas

Discurso Rosa Maria Payá, delegada del MCL en Congreso de Organización Demócrata Cristiana de América (ODCA)
Señor presidente de ODCA, señores candidatos presidenciales, hermanos cubanos, queridos amigos todos.
Gracias a ODCA por la invitación y por el apoyo valiente que ha significado a la causa de la verdad y los derechos para Cuba. Gracias por el reconocimiento reciente a toda la delegación #cubana, son muchos los que en mi país han entregado sus vidas a la causa de la libertad que como el Sr. Ocejo nos recordaba es la causa de la felicidad.
“Estos son momentos de peligros y esperanzas para Cuba. La falta de libertad y derechos mantiene sumergido al pueblo en grandes desventajas. El Gobierno complica la situación porque se niega a la apertura democrática y mientras los cubanos quieren cambios verdaderos y transparencia, se les impone el fraude” alertó mi padre mientras recordaba que:
“Ahí permanecen los mecanismos represivos y de vigilancia de los ciudadanos, la dependencia total y obediencia de los tribunales al grupo de poder y a sus ordenanzas, la crueldad en las cárceles, los sistemas de control, las concepciones y prácticas de exclusión y señalamiento o fichaje, el cerco que las leyes antiderecho y antidemocráticas mantienen sobre el ciudadano, el despotismo, la falta de instrumento democráticos para que los ciudadanos decidan y finalmente el propio grupo de poder aún se sitúa por encima de sus propias leyes y con todos los privilegios más que señoriales.
Por otra parte la pobreza crece y se profundizan las diferencias, bajo el simulacro de apertura económica. También el culto a la personalidad y la concreción de sucesión dinástica se afirman con la negación de los derechos civiles y políticos a los cubanos. Estos factores son componentes del régimen totalitario que ha causado y sigue causando un severo daño a las personas, un daño antropológico. Permanece la contradicción antagónica entre el régimen y la libertad y los derechos de los ciudadanos. ¿Qué cambió entonces? ¿O que está cambiando en Cuba?: la gente”
Esa gente no quiere pasar del comunismo salvaje al capitalismo salvaje, ni quiere cambios a lo ruso o a lo chino, la gente de Cuba queremos participar en la construcción de nuestro futuro y ser felices.
Hace dos meses, después de 54 años, ante el fracaso evidente, el gobierno ha acusado al pueblo de no tener “honestidad, […] decencia, […] vergüenza, […] decoro, […] honradez y […] sensibilidad” y ha amenazado con tomar medidas coercitivas. Mas no se han referido a las torturas ni a la repatriación forzosa de emigrantes cubanos en un campo de concentración en las Bahamas. Ni se han expresado sobre los brotes epidémicos de dengue y cólera, como antes de polineuritis, ni a estadísticas serias sobre la expansión del VIH en Cuba, ni de la tasa de suicidio y crímenes domésticos, ni de los casos de negligencia médica, ni del aborto como método anticonceptivo, ni de las muchas otras expresiones de la “cultura de la muerte” en la Isla. Como tampoco han anunciado aun el contrabando de barcos mercantiles con municiones y armas en plena operatividad, transgrediendo la seguridad nacional de un país hermano como Panamá, violando varias resoluciones de Naciones Unidas sobre la dictadura de Corea del Norte, y poniendo en riesgo vidas humanas inocentes.
El gobierno cubano no es legítimo, como no lo es el gobierno venezolano y no lo serán porque los presidentes del mundo les den la mano a los impostores en el poder, y mucho menos lo serán porque encabecen organizaciones regionales como la CELAC, como es el caso del dictador cubano, para vergüenza de América Latina. La legitimidad la entrega el pueblo en las urnas, en elecciones libres, en un ambiente de respeto y seguridad. Todos sabemos que eso no fue lo que ocurrió en abril en Venezuela y todos sabemos que eso no ocurre en Cuba desde hace más de 60 años.
Por eso creo que nuestro desafío como familia demócrata cristiana reside en mirar a los pueblos antes que al poder, al ser humano que vive y que sufre del poder cuando este no está al servicio de la sociedad. Sino que fragmenta y enferma a la sociedad para perpetuarse. Lo estamos viendo en algunos de los países de nuestra américa que a la vuelta de una década se encuentran divididos en torno a populismos, cuya mayor coincidencia es la obstinación con que se aferran al poder. También coinciden en su abrazo con los dictadores de Cuba.
Los valores humanistas de defensa de la vida, la verdad, la libertad económica sostenible y solidaria, la equidad, el medio ambiente y la fraternidad, nos reúnen hoy. Los presupuestos que defendemos no responden a un fundamentalismo ideológico, mas sí son una propuesta radical que necesita de partidarios firmes. Requiere de espíritus fuertes y libres que no se acomplejen ante el poder o ante la moda o ante la tendencia o ante las aparentes mayorías. Otras fuerzas y lenguajes poco coherentes con la democracia han demostrado no tener reparos en mostrarse aliados. Entiendo que nuestra opción implica tomar parte por los pobres de la Tierra, que en nuestra región, son muchos y son también esos que ni tan siquiera pueden decir que son pobres, porque un gobierno ha secuestrado todos sus derechos.
Yo también creo en el proyecto humanista cristiano como una alternativa real y efectiva a la llamada crisis de desorientación que parecen sufrir nuestras sociedades. El mundo se confunde con epítetos que otros nos han puesto, esos que llenan de matices negativos el término conservador, o nos contraponen a las llamadas fuerzas progresistas. No me parece que tengamos que definirnos a partir de códigos que otros intereses han impuesto, el mensaje encarnado de la opción humanista cristiana es lo nuevo y renovador en un mundo que ha desplazado al ser humano del centro de sus prioridades. En palabras de mi padre: “ni el estado ni el mercado, pueden estar por encima de los derechos, la voluntad y las libertades de las personas”.
Por favor no abandonen, no abandonemos a quienes en América y fuera de ella, desde posiciones de peligro luchan por los mismos conceptos que hoy nos reúnen. No sin sufrimientos, soy testigo de lo que un tirano puede hacer cuando siente que han abandonado a quien se le opone, cuando siente que su oponente está solo. Mi padre, como Caldera, como Adenauer, pensaba que: “Los derechos no tienen color político, ni de raza, ni de cultura. Tampoco las dictaduras tienen color político. No son de derecha ni de izquierda, son sólo dictaduras” y también recordó que: “los cubanos no hemos escogido el camino pacífico como una táctica, sino porque es inseparable de la meta de nuestro pueblo. La experiencia nos dice que la violencia genera más violencia y, cuando los cambios políticos se realizan por esa vía, se llega a nuevas formas de opresión e injusticia”. Como dolorosamente ilustran los cientos de muertos de esta semana en Siria y Egipto.
La mayor parte de la oposición pacífica cubana coincide en defender la hoja de ruta del Camino del Pueblo, esperamos su solidaridad con las demandas de esta propuesta. En ese marco miles de ciudadanos cubanos solicitamos su apoyo en nuestro reclamo de plebiscito de la iniciativa legal del Proyecto Varela. No buscamos otro caudillo que sustituya a un dictador, tenemos una solución propositiva e inclusiva que espera su solidaridad. Necesitamos de su ayuda para detener la represión violenta de la seguridad del estado del gobierno cubano contra los miembros del movimiento democrático cubano, para poder seguir luchando por los cambios reales. El reconocimiento de toda la verdad es esencial para el proceso de reconciliación de la transición a la democracia que buscamos. Necesitamos de su ratificación de la exigencia de una investigación independiente que aclare las circunstancias del atentado contra mi padre y Harold Cepero, para ayudar a eliminar la sensación de impunidad que el gobierno cubano posee y con la que continúa reprimiendo cada vez con mayor violencia.
La transformación esencial es la que se está produciendo en las mentes y los corazones de los cubanos. Es hora de comenzar el proceso de reconciliación que todos anhelamos, porque lo que queremos es vivir en armonía y en libertad. Hace mucho tiempo que el pueblo dejó de confiar en el régimen y a pesar de la represión y la apatía cada vez menos cubanos se dejan dominar por el miedo.
El 5 de Diciembre de 2011 mi padre les recordaba en un mensaje a esta organización que: “ya han habido muchas conjeturas, postulados y ejercicios intelectuales. Ya se hicieron muchos. Ahora para ustedes debe ser el tiempo de la solidaridad con Cuba, con nuestras demandas:
¡Queremos todos los derechos. Esos son los cambios que queremos!
¡Ahora los cubanos vamos a exigir el cambio verdadero, ahora vamos a luchar por las elecciones libres”, a través del plebiscito!
Creo que los fenómenos autoritarios que se han generado en nuestra región demuestran que lo que ustedes hagan por la libertad del pueblo cubano será una apuesta por el bien de la América toda.

Dios nos ayude a todos

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Neri Ann Martinez, FCF Chairwoman 2001-2004 looks back over her tenure


My time as President of the Free Cuba Foundation from 2001 – 2004 was deeply transformative and held great influence over the course I took in my life post-FCF. During my college years, I had become interested in the topic of human rights due to some mission travel in other countries but was not particularly aware of the grave situation in Cuba. Even though I was a first generation Cuban by birth, my family had been exiled in the 1960’s and had never looked back. I was recruited to join the Free Cuba Foundation in 2000 in the halls of the Florida International University Graham Center and was the only extracurricular activity I pursued during my time.

Growing up in Miami, we had a lot of exposure to Cuban culture in our surroundings. We ate Cuban food, smoked cigars, drank rum, danced salsa, and spoke Spanglish frequently. Nostalgia over the “times that where” permeated nearly ever aspect of family gatherings and conversations among friends. Yet, very little was known or discussed on the topic of what the island looked like now, how the people lived, or what their culture was like at present day. What was most impactful to me during my tenure was becoming aware of the vastly different and often saddening conditions of the Cuba that was, the Cuba that is now and the Cuba that it is falsely portrayed to be.


The truth can sometimes be a burdensome thing. I believe that apathy in the human condition is prevalent because, the more we know, the more responsible we become with the information we’ve obtained. Within the island and outside of it, the realities of the plight of the Cuban people can become too much to bear, impossible to believe, and enormously in contrast with the propaganda fed to us. It is however, imperative, that within our own capacity to do so, we bring to light these aspects of darkness and expose the ugliness that controls such a beautiful place. My own perspective from outside the island humbly reminds me that while Cuba is not my home, and no longer my identity, this is not the case for 11 million Cubans.

During my tenure, we hosted, as we always have in the history of the organization, various regular awareness activities centered on the anniversaries of atrocious events. Every February, 24th it was remembering the Brothers to the Rescue Shootdown, every July 13 it was the sinking of the “13 de Marzo” tugboat and every December 10th we commemorated international human rights day. Press was always an essential component of the events and participants, both students and members of the community, often came from diverse backgrounds.


One of the most memorable events was on December 10th, 2003. It was the very first time we co-hosted with and the Cuban Committee for Human Rights led by Dr. Ricardo Bofill the visit of Chinese dissident, Harry Wu and Daisy Tong of the Vietnamese American Federation. Wu is widely known to be one the most prominent political prisoners of Communist China, who was imprisoned for 19 years, having made headlines with his courageous act of filming the conditions of Chinese prisons after his release, earning him another 15 year prison sentence in the gulags, but thanks to international pressure was deported to the United States. He is also the founder of the Laogai museum in Washington DC, the first museum of its kind, highlighting the history of Chinese human rights atrocities. This was the first time that Harry Wu came to Miami, to address members of the Cuban exile community and it was not without controversy.

Unbeknownst to us, the university was in the midst of talks with the Chinese government on the construction of a new hospitality suite in mainland China. We later published an expose on this transaction in the 10th anniversary of the Free Cuba Foundation’s founding in its publication iYARA!
Needless to say, this was not one of Beijing’s happiest days in Miami.

Regardless of the clear enemies the Cuban dissident movement has, they also have many friends here and abroad. FCF members had the opportunity to meet and connect with Matt Laar, the former Prime Minister of Estonia, Philip Dimitrov, the former prime minister of Bulgaria, the Taiwanese consulate, a couple Senators from Argentina, Miami-Dade county’s long-standing congressional leaders, and President George W. Bush. During the 100th anniversary of the freedom of Cuba from Spain, President Bush addressed a full stadium of exiles and Miami residents, prominently highlighting Cuban political exile leaders, members of the dissident movement, and the children of current prisoners, called Los Ismaelillos, with FCF leadership among this honorary crowd. It was a moment that made us all very proud.

Being American is a privilege that was given to me by my parents as a result of their exile and move to the United States. This is my country and I am very loyal to its founding principles. We must also recognize that it should be the privilege of everyone to have just as much faith in universal freedoms in their own country. In 1948, Cuba signed the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, but since 1959, the totalitarian regime of the Castro brothers has consistently violated these basic rights to their own people. The leaders of the non-violent civic dissident movements like Oswaldo Paya, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, Laura Pollan, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez “Antunez” and many others have been simple seeking the right to live freely in their own country. For this, Oswaldo Paya and Laura Pollan ultimately paid with their life.

I remember meeting Oswaldo Paya, the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement in 2003, when he came to visit Miami. He was a soft-spoken, humble, and intelligent man. He had arrived in Miami to discuss his now famous Varela Project, and attempt to use the government’s own constitution to enact reforms through the presentation of a petition requiring 10,000 signatures, of which he and other members of his organization initially diligently collected 11,020 of them. For this initiative, he received numerous human rights awards and recognitions, including Europe’s famed Sakharov award and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Last year on July 22, 2012, after many threats from Cuban State Security, he was brutally murdered in a car crash, along with Harold Cepero. According to the accounts of one of the two survivors of the car crash, Angel Carromero, both Paya and Cepero survived the crash caused by another vehicle with government plates and was murdered some time later by State Security in order to silence him. His daughter, Rosa Maria Paya, continues to fight for justice for her father’s death.

While I never had the privilege of meeting Laura Pollan, I have met and even marched with members of the Ladies in White movement. This group of peaceful and resilient women is comprised of the wives, mothers, daughters, and grandmothers of Cuba’s political prisoners. Every Sunday, they dress all in white and carry lilies through the streets of Havana, protesting the unjust incarceration of their loved ones. They have rightly gained international attention for their actions. While I was living in France, their demonstration was covered in Le Monde newspapers and when I moved to Washington, DC, I attended a bipartisan congressional memoriam in Laura Pollan’s honor. She was one of the founders of this movement and fell ill in October of 2011 after being mysteriously poked with a needle during a riot. She died a week later. This was another brutal and tragic murder by the oppressive Castro regime to silence the cries of their citizens.

Although it has been eight years since I led the Free Cuba Foundation and at least 3 since I have lived in Miami, where the organization is based, the issues of Cuba continue to haunt my consciousness.

What is most striking to me now is how often the topic of travel to Cuba is brought up in conversation. As a direct result of Cuba’s aggressive marketing campaigns and desperate propaganda, many foreigners dream of visiting this island prison and often to discover it “before it changes.” As appalling as that may seem to those who have met Cubans who fight daily for this inevitable change, the ignorance of well-meaning foreigners on the oppressive activities of the state is not the most shocking revelation. It is the fact that most Cubans do not even know about the political dissidents that sacrifice their lives for their freedom.

Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet is arguably one of the most famous and well-regarded leaders of the civic resistance movement. A medic, activist, and founder of the Lawton Foundation, he received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 and is a designated Amnesty International “Prisoner of Conscience”. He has been compared to Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela. When 3 Cubans, who infamously escaped to Miami in a rigged up Chevy, arrived in my father’s church on a Sunday morning, I wore a t-shirt with Dr. Biscet’s face and quotes emblazoned on the front in solidarity with their escape. My own ignorance was revealed when, to my surprise, the Cuban exiles had absolutely no idea who this man was or the existence of active civic resistance movements through the island.

In one of my favorite quotes by philosopher, poet, and Cuban freedom fighter, Jose Marti, he states, “It is a sin not to do what one is capable of doing.” Cuba’s political prisoners, civic resistance movements, dissident leaders, independent journalists, intellectuals, artists, and musicians who risk everything to speak the truth about their country and their countrymen firmly embody the spirit of Marti and others who seek freedom. We should all, in our own capacities, follow the lead of Marti and support the efforts of the brave men and women who simply desire to live without oppression, have their basic human rights respected and be represented by a free and democratic society. Their struggle should become ours until it is no longer.

Neri Ann Martinez
FCF Chairwoman 2001-2005
August 22, 2013








Monday, August 19, 2013

Opposition leader addresses exiles at FIU Law School and Youth in Coral Gables


 Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez" addressed the Assembly of the Resistance at a forum held at Florida International University Law School on August 10, 2013. In his address Antúnez described how the opposition movement is progressing towards a national stoppage and appealing for justice for the many fallen martyrs.



Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez" addressed the first U.S. - Cuba Democracy PAC Young Leaders Group Happy Hour on August 14, 2013. Below is a video excerpt of his remarks.



 "Antúnez" is part of the future of a free Cuba and is asking for our solidarity.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Helen Castro, FCF Chairwoman 1999-2000 looks back over her tenure


Helen Castro wearing black t-shirt "We will never forget"

It is a great privilege to have been president of the Free Cuba Foundation during 1999 through 2000.   The many successes during my time are owed to the collaborative effort of hardworking, self-sacrificing students who boldly stood up for what they believed in combating against impossible odds. 

It was a fierce year politically at the pinnacle was the highly publicized Elian Gonzalez case. 

Sadly, many mainstream media outlets distorted truths.  However, we worked diligently to rectify this misinformation that seemed insurmountable.  Critical events were portrayed incorrectly more so in the English broadcasting and rarely in the Spanish broadcasting.  This was never uncommon since it preceded us and is still goes o today, it is an arduous battle we must endure in ensuring the truth is known. 


In the year we conducted many massive marches and we organized one with over a thousand participants on South Beach on April 25, 2000.  We traveled to the capital, Washington D.C. to lobby, march, and denounce human rights violations.  We disseminated information about many inhumane activities conducted by the despotic Cuban government.  We worked on many rewarding charitable activities to help the suffering oppressed groups within Cuba who heroically strive for basic human rights that sometimes many take for granted in our free country.  


We also cooperated to help those who had fled the island to live here or overseas.  We published our first issue of İYARA! magazine. We contributed to the arts, a vital expressionistic vehicle to protest and release all bottled up frustrations and suffering due to the tyrannical oppression endured by the Cuban people.  Looking back no one expected and could not plan for the rate that we were growing.

Our growth was exponential with members enlisting many were not part of the university: In order to address this, we established a non-profit organization for non-University students under the state of Florida with the same goal.  There was so much nation-wide attention from politicians, international groups, artists, journalist, etc ; it was a revival of hope for freedom and change in Cuba.  It is not new that within our Free Cuba Foundation organization any member at any level will have the privilege to meet some great and powerful people.  However, the intensity that year was beyond what I could have expected. 



Nothing could have prepared me for that even with my previous experience as a prior Free Cuba Foundation member.  We put in so much hard work, sleepless nights, tears, sweat, and still Cuba is not free and there are so many vicious attacks on the native born Cuban that many individuals are still unaware of. 

There is nothing more heart breaking than to hear a person say that, “I’ve been to Cuba and I don’t see any oppression just poverty.”  This is just an indication that the truth has not reached them.  It is true there is poverty in Cuba but there is governmental terrorism woven into the daily Cuban native’s life that is rarely understood unless experienced. 

Consider the fact that in the USA so many crimes go unreported because victims are often afraid to report crimes and never talk even to close loved ones.  Some talk 20 or 30 years after the event and some never do.  Now imagine this is the behavior in this free country, how much more rare would it be that any Cuban native would openly report or denounce any oppression when the crimes committed against them are done by their own government? And those who are open, what do you think the Cuban government will do to them? 

The concept of free elections is a fraud, anyone who says Fidel Castro or Raul Castro or anyone associated to them is or has been president is ignorant.  There are no free elections in a country where for approximately 50 years it has been the same "president" and then the "newly elected president" is the previous one’s brother. 

It does not take much to recognize that many who speak about Cuba and their lack of human rights are truthful when all TV, internet and communications is state run and owned and carefully used as an added tool in their brainwashing techniques.

I applaud the courageous efforts of Cuban natives with undaunted courage.  They stand up and speak out; knowing that they and their loved ones will always become a target of the Cuban government anywhere in the world they travel. 

The Cuban government has been known to manipulate statistics, to coerce powerful personalities, to bribe, to incriminate innocent people, to circumvent laws, to stage public disorder, manipulate the press and deceive the public view by conducting their horrific activities under disguise.  Sadly, many activists have suffered extrajudicial killings, so called "accidents", "natural deaths, brainwashing (beyond the norm), suicides, insanity, sickness, etc. many of which were discovered to be acts committed by the Cuban regime. 

To ignore the problem in Cuba is unfortunate because dictatorships, like school yard bullies, are contagious. When there is one bully then a few others tend join in, where there is one dictatorship there are too many.  Look at our human history, take a global map, examine areas where dictatorships exist and notice how nearby countries sprung up dictatorships too. 

While dictators exist it is a threat to our own freedoms in our own free country.


 

Helen Castro
FCF Chairwoman 1999-2000  
August 18, 2013