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Saturday, June 29, 2019

CUBA: Twenty five minutes of silence for twenty five years of impunity

Justice for the victims of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre.

Human rights and civil society organizations are calling for a silent demonstration in remembrance of the victims of the "13 de Marzo"Tugboat, who were murdered by the Castro regime on July 13, 1994.

Human rights activists, members of international civil society and Cuban exiles will gather in front of the Embassy of Cuba located at 2630 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 to hold a 25 minute vigil  of silence for the 25 years that the crime has remained unpunished.

WHAT: Vigil to remember "13 de Marzo" Tugboat
victims killed 25 years ago by the Castro regime.

July 10, 2019 at 8 PM

Human rights organizations and international civil society.

Embassy of Cuba
                 2630 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

The facts:

On July 13, 1994, a group of 72 Cubans, including children and women, tried to escape from the Island of Cuba aboard an old tugboat. State Security Forces, and four Cuban State boats of the Havana regime intercepted the boat 7 miles off the coast of Cuba, with water jets from pressure hoses pulled people off the deck, tore the children from the arms of their mothers and sank the tugboat. 37 people were murdered, 11 of them children.

Despite the fact that the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and other international organizations issued reports documenting the crime, despite the fact that the survivors and relatives of the victims requested an independent investigation of the facts, and that the bodies of the deceased be recovered from the sea, nothing happened. Those who gave the order of the sinking and those who carried it out still remain without being held accountable. The crime remains unpunished.

July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" Tugboat Massacre Victims

Hellen Martínez Enriquez. Age: 5 Months
Xicdy Rodríguez Fernández. Age: 2
Angel René Abreu Ruíz. Age: 3
José Carlos Niclas Anaya. Age: 3
Giselle Borges Alvarez. Age: 4
Caridad Leyva Tacoronte. Age: 5
Juan Mario Gutiérrez García. Age: 10
Yousell Eugenio Pérez Tacoronte. Age: 11
Yasser Perodín Almanza. Age: 11
Eliécer Suárez Plasencia. Age: 12
Mayulis Méndez Tacoronte. Age: 17
Miladys Sanabria Leal. Age: 19
Joel García Suárez. Age: 20
Odalys Muñoz García. Age: 21
Yalta Mila Anaya Carrasco. Age: 22
Luliana Enríquez Carrazana. Age: 22
Jorge Gregorio Balmaseda Castillo. Age: 24
Lissett María Alvarez Guerra. Age: 24
Ernesto Alfonso Loureiro. Age: 25
María Miralis Fernández Rodríguez. Age: 27
Leonardo Notario Góngora. Age: 28
Jorge Arquímedes Levrígido Flores. Age: 28
Pilar Almanza Romero. Age: 31
Rigoberto Feu González. Age: 31
Omar Rodríguez Suárez. Age: 33
Lázaro Enrique Borges Briel. Age: 34
Julia Caridad Ruíz Blanco. Age: 35
Martha Caridad Tacoronte Vega. Age: 35
Eduardo Suárez Esquivel. Age: 38
Martha Mirella Carrasco Sanabria. Age: 45
Augusto Guillermo Guerra Martínez. Age: 45
Rosa María Alcalde Puig. Age: 47
Estrella Suárez Esquivel. Age: 48
Reynaldo Joaquín Marrero Alamo. Age: 48
Amado González Raices. Age: 50
Fidencio Ramel Prieto Hernández. Age: 51
Manuel Cayol. Age: 56 

Friday, June 28, 2019

CUBA: Veinte cinco minutos de silencio por veinte cinco años de impunidad

Justicia para las víctimas del Remolcador 13 de Marzo 

Organizaciones de derechos humanos y de la sociedad civil convocan a una demostración silente en recordación de las víctimas del Remolcador 13 de Marzo, quienes fueron asesinadas por el régimen de La Habana el 13 de julio de 1994.

Activistas de derechos humanos, miembros de la sociedad civil internacional y del destierro cubano se darán cita frente a la Embajada de Cuba ubicada en 2630 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 para llevar a cabo una velada simbólica de 25 minutos de silencio por los 25 años que el crimen ha permanecido impune.

QUE:              Actividad simbólica para recordar las victimas del Remolcador 13 de Marzo 
                        hundido hace 25 años por el régimen de La Habana.

CUANDO:     10 de julio de 2019 a las 8 PM

QUIEN:          Organizaciones de derechos humanos y de la sociedad civil internacional.

DONDE:         Embajada de Cuba
                        2630 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Los hechos:

El 13 de julio de 1994, un grupo de 72 cubanos, entre ellos niños y mujeres trataron de escapar de la Isla de Cuba a bordo de un viejo remolcador. Fuerzas de la Seguridad del Estado, y cuatro lanchas guardacostas del régimen de La Habana interceptaron la embarcación a 7 millas de la costa de Cuba, con chorros de agua de mangueras a presión sacaron a las personas de la cubierta, arrancaron a los niños de los brazos de sus madres y hundieron el remolcador. Fueron asesinadas 37 personas de las cuales 11 eran niños. 

A pesar de que la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la ONU, la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, y otras organizaciones internacionales realizaron reportes condenatorios del crimen, a pesar de que los sobrevivientes y familiares de las victimas pidieron una investigación independiente de los hechos, y que los cuerpos de los fallecidos fueran rescatados del mar, nada ha ocurrido. Los que dieron la orden del hundimiento y los que la llevaron a cabo aún permanecen sin ser llevados ante la justicia. El crimen sigue impune.

Monday, June 3, 2019

30th Anniversary of June 4th: Never forget. Never give up

 “This is for the lost souls of June 4th.” - Liu Xiaobo, 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture

Remember the Ghosts of June 4th and demand justice
What happened?
Thirty years ago today the Communist leadership of China opened fire on the Chinese people. The Pro-Democracy Movement that had taken to the streets in April of 1989 was violently crushed by the Chinese communist dictatorship beginning on the evening of June 3, 1989.

How many were killed?
By dawn on June 4, 1989 scores of demonstrators had been shot and killed or run over and crushed by tanks of the so-called People's Liberation Army. and the blood of students and workers splattered and flowed in the streets of Beijing.

The Chinese Red Cross had initially counted 2,600 dead when they were pressured to stop by Chinese officials and silenced on this matter. Following the massacre an additional 1,000 were sentenced to death and executed. Scores of Chinese who participated in the Tiananmen protests would spend years and decades in prison.

A 2017 declassified British diplomatic cable revealed that "at least 10,000 people were killed in the Chinese army's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in June 1989."

Imprisoned Nobel laureate's connection to Tiananmen
Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace laureate, who is also a prisoner of conscience currently imprisoned for his continued non-violent activism had already served a prison sentence for his participation in the Tiananmen student protest in 1989. He was again jailed in 2008 for his human rights activism and sentenced to 11 years in prison on December 25, 2009 and died in custody on July 13, 2017.

How Henry Kissinger's downplayed the Beijing Massacre in the United States
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger persuaded the Bush Administration in the immediate aftermath to downplay the human rights considerations surrounding the Beijing Massacre and to focus on the economic and strategic relationship.  Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) published a October 1, 1989 article revealing Kissinger's direct business ties to Communist China and his defense of the regime and justification of the massacre. FAIR reported how on August 1, 1989 this business consultant who also heads "China Ventures" [that engages China's state bank in joint ventures] wrote a column that appeared in a Washington Post/L.A. Times ("The Caricature of Deng as a Tyrant Is Unfair", 8/1/89). In it Kissinger argued against sanctions:
"China remains too important for America's national security to risk the relationship on the emotions of the moment." He asserted: "No government in the world would have tolerated having the main square of its capital occupied for eight weeks by tens of thousands of demonstrators."  
Kissinger's reputation according to Umair Khan who reviewed his 2011 book, On China, describes him as a man whose "reputation is based on his career as a diplomat turned business consultant." This business relationship was not mentioned back in 1989 by those publishing the former Secretary of State's case against sanctions on China.


Kissinger proved wrong by events in Eastern Europe
 Incidentally over the course of six weeks in 1989 beginning on November 17, the one-party government of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia although engaging in acts of repression did not commit a huge massacre against tens of thousands of demonstrators in the main square of its capital. The demonstrations grew to Tiananmen Square levels of 200,000 and 500,000 demonstrators in Prague.  The end result was the Velvet Revolution and 25 years of peace and prosperity. Kissinger's argument did not hold up under the light of events.

Consequences of looking the other way

 Unfortunately, the downplaying of the human rights situation in China has had consequences over the long term. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dictum "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" has special resonance. In 2011 Muammar Gaddafi believed that he could get away with mass murder because the world looked the other way in June of 1989 in Beijing and said it plainly: 
"The unity of China was more important than those people on Tiananmen Square."
Its not the first time impunity in one bloody deed has encouraged another. Between 1915 and 1917 the Ottoman Turks murdered more than 1.5 million Armenians and like the Chinese communists in 1989 got away with it. This inspired Adolph Hitler to carry out his own holocaust stating in 1939
"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
Holocaust survivor and writer Elie Wiesel has denounced indifference and silence before injustice stating that: "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."

For the next 24 hours will be sharing information over social media provided by Chinese pro-democracy activists on the events that took place 30 years ago in Beijing.

The Free Cuba Foundation since its founding recognized that being "victims of totalitarianism we share a bond with other captive peoples past and present who are our brothers and sisters in this struggle for freedom."

Please share videos of documentaries on the  Tiananmen Square protests, the crackdown and massacre, and the aftermath. For example, Tiananmen Mothers, a group of family members of those killed during the violent crackdown on the 1989 Democracy Movement produced a short documentary: "Portraits of Loss and the Quest for Justice"in which the stories of six victims are told by their family members, and two survivors provide their own testimony. It can be viewed online here.