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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.