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Sunday, June 28, 2015

On July 13th how will we remember the victims of the Castro regime's repression?

"In Cuba there are missing and it is known who has disappeared them, the latter are heroes for the government."..."There are more than 20 murdered children waiting to be claimed and mothers and grandmothers who were not allowed to look for them when they were killed off the coast of Havana " - Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, El Nuevo Herald, March 18, 2005*

Ever since the July 13, 1994 massacre the Free Cuba Foundation has organized actions to remember what took place on that day. This year will also mark on July 22nd three years since the killings of two nonviolent human rights defenders, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante.

Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas from his home in Havana, Cuba spoke clearly and courageously about the events that took place on July 13, 1994 six miles off the Cuban coastline. It was that kind of speaking truth to power in Cuba, and the courage to nonviolently organize others in support of a democratic transition that led to his being a hated target of the regime. Oswaldo knew what the stakes were: "They have told me that they will kill me before this regime ends, but I will not flee." On July 22, 2012 the Castro dictatorship carried out its promise killing him and Harold.

July 13 also marks 20 years since a 13 boat flotilla entered Cuban waters in an attempt to hold religious services 6 miles off the Cuban coast where the remains of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat victims still reside only to see its lead boat Democracia's hull crushed and people hurt by Cuban regime gunboats.

Free Cuba Foundation members are discussing various ideas to remember these injustices in a creative matter. What would you suggest? How do you plan to remember the 37 men, women and children massacred by Cuban government agents on July 13, 1994? How do you plan to remember Oswaldo and Harold and what happened on July 22, 2012?


*Original quote: "En Cuba sí hay desaparecidos y se sabe quiénes los desaparecieron, estos últimos son héroes para el gobierno" ... "Hay más de 20 niños asesinados que esperan ser reivindicados y madres y abuelas a las que no se les permitió buscarlos cuando los asesinaron en las costas de La Habana." - Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, MENSAJE DE PAYÁ DESTACA QUE EN LA ISLA HAY DESAPARECIDOS  El Nuevo Herald, March 18, 2005 - PAGE: 23A SECTION: Panorama

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Freedom Caravan Supports Cuba's Democratic Resistance, Denounces New U.S.- Cuba Policy

The Drive for Freedom

This morning at ten in the morning hundreds of Cuban exiles and friends of freedom gathered at the Cuban Memorial in Tamiami Park next to Florida International University in their cars and a little after 10:30am began the drive through the streets of Miami in a Freedom Caravan.

Today's Freedom Caravan was initiated by the Cuban Resistance Assembly and sought to demonstrate the community's support for Cuba's democratic resistance and its opposition to President Obama's new Cuba policy that has coincided with rising repression and violence against activists on the island.

 More than 160 cars took part in today's caravan sending a strong message to passersby as they traveled along Coral Way to 67th Avenue turning right heading to Bird Road and again turning right on 112th Avenue and returning to Tamiami Park at 12 noon.

At the end of the event the Freedom Caravan returned to the Cuban Memorial and gave thanks and laid a wreath at the monument for the fallen.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

26th Anniversary of June 4th: Never forget. Never give up

Candlelight vigil for the 26th anniversary of June 4 starts at 5:00am EST today

Remember the Ghosts of June 4th and demand justice
What happened?
Twenty six 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.

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.

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 26 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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Stand up for Cuban Freedom on Saturday, June 6th

Time to stand up for freedom in Cuba and to oppose the unprincipled and dangerous policy of the Obama administration on Cuba that has created a smokescreen obscuring both the repressive and terrorist nature of the Castro regime. Join us this Saturday at 10am at the Cuban Memorial Monument at Florida International University in the Caravan for the Freedom of Cuba. Details below.

Cuban Memorial Monument at Tamiami Park next to FIU


The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance calls on the Cuban exile community and all those who love liberty in South Florida to the Caravan for the Freedom of Cuba, organized to demonstrate the support of our community for the struggle for a democratic Cuba, and in opposition to the policy of normalizing relations with the Castro dictatorship undertaken by the Obama administration.

When: Saturday, June 6, 2015

Hour: 10:00AM

Where: Departing from the Cuban Memorial, monument to all the fallen in the struggle to free Cuba from the Castro dictatorship. The Cuba Memorial is located at Tamiami Park (24 St. and SW 112 Ave. Miami, FL) next to Florida International University opposite the entrance to the Youth Fair.

The best entrance to the Cuban Memorial is located on Coral Way and 112 Avenue.