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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Assembly of the Cuban Resistance issues new statement on ICCAS scandal at UM

"Keeping ICCAS at the University of Miami and maintaining the tradition of critical inquiry established by Dr. Suchlicki in 1999 is sorely needed in today's academic environment where academic freedom is under assault." - John Suarez, FCF co-founder, August 15, 2017

Press conference today at Brigade 2506 Museum and Library

August 17, 2017

Throughout the years, the University of Miami has been an important part of our Cuban-American community and the Cuban American community has greatly supported the University of Miami. Many generations of Cuban-Americans whose families made Miami their home have pursued their higher education studies at the University of Miami. As our community grew, so did the University. We are as much a part of the University of Miami as the University is a part of us. Our community has made significant contributions to the University’s growth and current reputation throughout the world for its educational excellence. The Institute of Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS) has been a key component of this relationship, and it has objectively and factually reflected the truth about Cuba and our community since it was founded almost twenty years ago.

At a time when freedom of speech and academic freedom are challenged by the influence of both authoritarian and totalitarian regimes on campuses across the country, we must all remain vigilant about the Castro regime’s efforts to influence Cuban and Latin American studies at American universities. The issue of ICCAS has to do with our concern about hostile foreign government disinformation, and as the FBI has reported, the Castro regime’s recruitment efforts in the academic community in the United States.

A meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow by the President of the University of Miami with a limited number of members of our Cuban American community -as well as others- to discuss the controversy regarding ICCAS. Many prominent Cuban exile and Cuban American academics and intellectuals, as well as community leaders have been regrettably excluded from this meeting.  The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance as a plural, inclusive and democratic institution of this community, stands together as one to express our concerns and reiterate that in order to safeguard ICCAS’ future as a truthful, balanced and objective institute for Cuban and Cuban American studies within the University of Miami, we recommend the following:

  • That the University/Institute does not engage in any exchange with Cuban academic institutions because they are under the direct control of Cuba’s one-party totalitarian state.  As has been amply demonstrated, academia is seen as a tool of intelligence gathering and influence peddling by the Castro dictatorship.  We are steadfastly opposed to opening up the University of Miami to this poisonous exchange.
  • That the University/Institute rescinds the appointment of Dr. Andy Gomez as ICCAS interim director. Dr. Gomez has been publicly recognized for promoting ventures with commercial enterprises that do business with Cuba under its totalitarian regime. Dr. Gomez’ as interim director will further divide the Cuban American community from the University of Miami, rather than bridging the divide that has been created.
  •  That the University/Institute formally include the Cuban American community in the search committee for the new interim director and the permanent director of ICCAS.

It is our sincere hope that our fellow Cuban Americans attending tomorrow’s meeting make the above recommendations their own.  Institutional engagement between our beloved University of Miami and the murderous Castro Regime, and safeguarding the objectivity and integrity of ICCAS are essential concerns of our community.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Miami United for Liberty in Venezuela at the Torch of Friendship

Activists and community leaders gather in solidarity with free Venezuelans

Activists and community leaders praying for freedom in Venezuela
 Free Cuba Foundation members joined with dozens of activists and community leaders this morning at the Torch of Friendship to let Venezuelans know that they are not alone.  Young Venezuelan musicians, Los Wizzards, played the Venezuelan national anthem and rapped their criticisms of the Maduro regime and calls for freedom. Unlike their compatriot, Wuilly Moisés Arteaga today imprisoned in Caracas, they did not have their musical instruments destroyed, were not shot in the face and not jailed when refusing to be silenced. Prayers for Venezuela opened and ended the activity that was organized and hosted by Nicholas David, Jaime Figueras, Jessica Fernandez, and Armando Ibarra.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Miami Unites for Liberty in Venezuela at the Torch of Freedom

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

This Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 11:00am at the Torch of Friendship located on 401 Biscayne Boulevard members of the Miami community will join together in support of freedom in Venezuela. The event is being organized through a Facebook campaign by Nicholas David, Jaime Figueras, Jessica Fernandez, and Armando Ibarra.

 Regime snipers shot young demonstrators in the head while regime agents raided the homes of opposition politicians in the dead of night to take them away to parts unknown. Maduro regime snipers were spotted this past Sunday, August 30th on roof tops shooting peaceful protesters in the head. At 4:29pm Blanco tweeted: "Adrián Rodríguez (13) was assassinated in Capacho, Táchira. Army sniper shot him in the head from the roof of a school."  At 8:18pm he tweeted: "Ender Peña died (18), shot by bullet during protest in Táchira. Transferred to a polyclinic, he didn't survive the operation." A few minutes later at 8:36pm Blanco tweeted: "Conflict escalation is very obvious. Weeks ago military fired tear gas into the chest, now firing with rifles to the head." 

Venezuela is on the brink of turning into a totalitarian communist regime. It has been a dictatorship since at least October 20, 2016 when the decision of Venezuelan voters to hold a recall referendum was illegally blocked by Nicolas Maduro. However the vote this past Sunday (manipulated to inflate the number of participants by the dictatorship) was to do away with the National Assembly and opposition parties. If implemented this would turn Venezuela into another Cuba. 

Two weeks earlier on July 16, 2017 over seven million Venezuelans voted in a non-binding plebiscite rejecting the Constituent Assembly of the Maduro regime. A general strike was successfully carried out and despite regime violence and a prohibition to protest Venezuelans still took to the streets in anti-Maduro demonstrations.

The response of the Maduro regime and their Cuban advisors has been to escalate the violence and target nonviolent protesters. Consider the plight of Wuilly Moisés Arteaga, a young man playing the national anthem with his violin at a protest, was told to shut up and was shot in the face last Saturday. From his hospital bed he said that he would return to protest in the streets, and he did. He was arrested on Thursday, July 29th beaten up and tortured for protesting against the Maduro regime to the degree that he has lost hearing in his right ear and remains jailed. This is reminiscent of Cuba not a democracy. 

For Cubans, August 5th is a special date when 23 years ago across Havana mass protests occurred calling for freedom and an end to the Castro regime. The response was a brutal crackdown and a mass exodus, but the desire to be free remains. 

Now is the time to stand up and protest for freedom in Venezuela and to demonstrate our solidarity with Venezuelans. The folks organizing the protest at the Torch of Freedom put it succinctly:
Dictator Nicholas Maduro stripped Venezuelan citizens of their freedoms, jailed and murdered innocent people, impoverished his whole nation, exiled hundreds of thousands, and extinguished democracy and rule of law. This is an atrocity.

We are ONE community of Venezuelan and Cuban exiles, Latinos, and Americans united in the fight for freedom and against socialism. We share the historical tragedy of losing a nation to despotism.

Please join us and thousands of friends united in solidarity with the Venezuelan people. We will be joined by elected officials, civic leaders, and opposition figures to show the world that we stand for freedom.

Saturday, August 5th, 2017
11am - 2pm
Bayfront Park - The Torch of Friendship
301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132

For more information visit the Facebook event page.