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Friday, February 24, 2017

Silent vigil for justice today at FIU for Brothers to the Rescue martyrs

Carlos, Pablo, Mario, and Armando remembered today.
Silent vigil at Florida International University on February 24, 2017
Vigil was hosted by the Free Cuba Foundation today at the main fountain at Florida International University (FIU) between 3:21pm and 3:27pm the times that two Brothers to the Rescue planes were destroyed by air-to-air missiles fired by Cuban MiGs as three small civilian planes flew through international airspace searching for rafters.  Three U.S. citizens and a resident were killed. The third plane made it back and bore witness for those who did not return.

Family members and friends of Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña and Armando Alejandre Jr. where in attendance today along with members of the university community. This event is a tradition that started at FIU one week after the February 24,1996 shoot down.
The purpose of the vigil is to continue the demand for justice while remembering and sharing the facts with new generations of students at Florida International University. A fact sheet was distributed after the vigil to passersby to explain the purpose behind the demonstration.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Please Share: Amnesty International urgent action for Cuban prisoner of conscience Eduardo Cardet

On  January 31, 2017 Amnesty International issued an urgent action for Eduardo Cardet. This blog has been following his plight since last November and welcome the news that Eduardo's case is receiving greater international attention and scrutiny by a well respected international human rights organization.

demand release of human rights defender

Five days after Fidel Castro’s death, human rights defender Eduardo Cardet was detained and has since been held in provisional detention in Holguín, south-east Cuba. He is a prisoner of conscience who must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Dr. Eduardo Cardet Concepción, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación, MCL) since 2014 was arrested in Holguín on 30 November 2016, five days after the death of the former leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro. Eduardo Cardet has spent two months in the provisional prison (prisión provisional) of Holguín. He has been refused bail on three occasions, according to his wife. 

According to five witnesses who spoke to Amnesty International by telephone on the condition of anonymity, Eduardo Cardet was pushed off his bicycle and violently detained in the early evening of 30 November by at least four plain clothed and one uniformed police officer as he returned home after visiting his mother. It is not clear on what grounds Eduardo Cardet was initially detained. According to his wife, who witnessed her husband’s detention with their two children, Eduardo Cardet is charged with attacking an official of the state (atentado). This offence is covered under Article 142.1 of the Criminal Code. One officer is alleging that Eduardo Cardet pushed him during his arrest. 

All witnesses who spoke with Amnesty International counter this allegation, and state that Eduardo Cardet was quickly and violently restrained by plain clothed officials, placed in handcuffs, and beaten, and had no opportunity for self-defence. The witnesses believe that Eduardo Cardet was arrested for his beliefs and ideas.

Prior to his arrest, Eduardo Cardet had given interviews published in international media in which he had been critical of the Cuban government. In an interview with Madrid-based radio station esRadio, aired two days before his arrest, he described the mourning in Cuba following the death of Fidel Castro as imposed, and said: “Castro was a very controversial man, very much hated and rejected by our people”. According to the MCL’s website, Eduardo Cardet’s lawyer informed the family on 27 January that the Public Prosecutor is seeking three years of prison.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
  •  Calling on the authorities to release Dr. Eduardo Cardet immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;
  •  Calling on them to guarantee the peaceful right to freedom of expression, assembly and association including for dissident, opponent or activist voices and to repeal all legislation which unduly limits these rights;
  •  Urging them to ensure that, pending his release, he is provided with any medical care he may require; that he is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated; and that he is granted regular access to family and lawyers of his choosing.


President of the Republic
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: (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/ Señor Fiscal General

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation          

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.


demand release of human rights defender 


The Christian Liberation Movement (Movimento Cristiano Liberación, MCL) is a prominent actor in the pro-democracy movement in Cuba. According to its website, it is a movement for peaceful and democratic change and respect for human dignity. It was founded in 1988 by Oswaldo Payá Sardiñaswho became a visible figure of the Cuban political opposition, and four other activists. 

In March 2016, according to news reports, the MCL presented 10,000 signatures to the Cuban parliament in support of Project Varela – a long-standing proposal which advocates constitutional reform within Cuba and promotes freedom of association and speech, free elections, freedom of religion, and amnesty for political prisoners, among other things. According to Article 88 of the Cuban Constitution, laws can be proposed by citizens if a proposal is made by at least 10,000 citizens who are eligible to vote. In July, the MCL submitted a proposal to the Cuban parliament entitled “One Cuban, One Vote” (Un cubano, un voto) which makes a series of recommendations for reforms to the electoral law. 

Amnesty International has documented harassment and intimidation of members of the MCL for decades. In 1991, after Osvaldo Payá Sardiñas presented a petition calling for a national referendum relating to constitutional reform, he had his home destroyed by over 200 people, said to be members of a Rapid Response Brigade. After Osvaldo Payá announced his intention to put himself forward as a candidate for deputy to the National Assembly for the municipality of Cerro, Havana, members of his organization were reportedly subjected to frequent questioning and short-term detention.


Provisions of the Cuban Criminal Code, such as contempt of a public official (desacato), resistance to public officials carrying out their duties (resistencia) and public disorder (desórdenes públicos) are frequently used to stifle free speech, assembly and association in Cuba.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, a Cuban-based human rights NGO not recognized by the state, documented a monthly average of 827 politically motivated detentions in 2016. In an interview published on 16 September 2016 by ABC International, Eduardo Cardet stated: “Political activities are passed off as criminal offences such as inciting public scandal, contempt of or offences against the authorities, and the political police use these classifications to lock up dissidents" (Se disfraza la actividad política con hechos delictivos comunes, por ejemplo, escándalo público, desacato, atentado, figuras que utiliza la policía política para encarcelar a los disidentes).
Cuba is closed to Amnesty International and nearly all independent international human rights monitors.

Name: Dr Eduardo Cardet Concepción
Gender m/f: male

UA: 32/17 Index: AMR 25/5601/2017 Issue Date: 31 January 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Silent Vigil for Justice at FIU on February 24th for Brothers to the Rescue shootdown martyrs

"To forget the victims means to kill them a second time. So I couldn't prevent the first death. I surely must be capable of saving them from a second death." -  Elie Wiesel

What:   Vigil for BTTR shoot down victims 
When:  Gather Friday, February 24, 2017 @ 3pm Vigil starts 3:21pm
Where: Main Fountain
             Florida International University 
             11200 South West 8th Street Miami, FL 

Vigil hosted by the Free Cuba Foundation at the main fountain at Florida International University between 3:21pm and 3:27pm the times that two Brothers to the Rescue planes were destroyed by air-to-air missiles fired by Cuban MiGs as they flew through international airspace searching for rafters. 

Family members and friends of Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña and Armando Alejandre Jr. will be in attendance. This event is for FIU students and members of the FIU Community and has been held annually since 1996. 

Fact Sheet on Brothers to the Rescue Shootdown

February 24, 1996 shoot down was an act of state terrorism that blew two civilian aircraft out of the sky with air to air missiles while in international airspace after regime planned the act months beforehand with its espionage network in the United States.

 FACT 1: By definition: Terrorism is the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear)  

FACT 2: Cuba is responsible for violating the right to life (Article I of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man) to the detriment of Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña, and Armando Alejandre, who died as a result of the direct actions of its agents on the afternoon of 24 February 1996 while flying through international airspace.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights September 29, 1999 Report on the Merits 

FACT 3: Cuba is responsible for violating the right to a fair trial (Article XVIII of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man) to the detriment of the relatives of Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña, and Armando Alejandre, in that to date the Cuban authorities have not conducted an exhaustive investigation with a view toward prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators and have not indemnified those same relatives for the damage they suffered as a result of those illicit acts.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights September 29, 1999 Report on the Merits 

FACT 4: In Alejandre v. Republic of Cuba, 996 F.Supp. 1239 (S.D.Fla. 1997), a federal district court awarded the families of three of the four occupants of the “ Brothers to the Rescue” planes shot down by Cuba in 1996 a total of $187.7 million in damages against Cuba.

Lawsuits Against State Supporters of Terrorism: An Overview by Jennifer K. Elsea 

FACT 5: WASP spy network was involved. One of the “illegal officers” (Gerardo Hernandez) was convicted of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder based on his role in the February 24, 1996, shoot-down of two unarmed civilian aircraft in international airspace by Cuban Air Force jet fighters, which resulted in the deaths of four people, three of them U.S. citizens.

Department of Justice on Obama Commutations 

FACT 6: Brothers to the Rescue had spotted and saved thousands of rafters in the Florida Straits and was engaged in such a mission on that day. The one plane that skirted the boundary briefly was the only one to return. The other two were shotdown miles away from Cuba’s boundary having never entered or touched it on that day and the planes had been in contact with the Cuban tower throughout the flight.

ICAO Resolution on February 24 shootdown,,UNSC,,CUB,4562d94e2,3b00f1522b,0.html 

FACT 7: On July 26, 1996 the United Nations Security Council: "Noting that the unlawful downing of two civil aircraft on 24 February by the Cuban Air Force violated the principle that States must refrain from using weapons against airborne civil aircraft, the Security Council this afternoon condemned such use as being incompatible with the rules of customary international law "

ICAO Resolution on February 24 shootdown,,UNSC,,CUB,4562d94e2,3b00f1522b,0.html

FACT 8: Ana Belen Montes, the US intelligence community's top analyst on Cuban affairs had throughout a sixteen-year career at the Defense Intelligence Agency sent the Cuba intelligence service sensitive and secret information and helped to shape US opinion on Cuba. Investigation against her was triggered by her odd behavior before and after the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down. On September 21 2001 Ana Belen Montes was arrested and subsequently charged with Conspiracy to Commit Espionage for the government of Cuba. Montes eventually pleaded guilty to spying, and in October, 2002, she was sentenced to a 25-year prison term followed by 5 years of probation.

True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba's Master Spy 

FACT 9: On December 27, 2010 and again in a January 19, 2011 clarification the defense of Cuban spy-master Gerardo Hernandez acknowledged that "there was overwhelming evidence that the 1996 shoot-down of two Brothers to the Rescue planes occurred in international airspace, not Cuban territory."

The Miami Herald: Cuban spymaster now claims Brothers to the Rescue shooting was outside Cuban airspace by Jay Weaver December 27, 2010

FACT 10: On December 17, 2014 President Barack Obama commuted Gerardo Hernandez’s two life sentences and returned him along with two other spies jailed for crimes in the United States to Cuba where they were received with a hero’s welcome in what is an immense propaganda victory for the Castro regime.

Department of Justice on Obama Commutations