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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

In Memory of Jorge Valls: Remembering the Christian mystic and Cuban human rights defender

Requiem for a good man

Jorge Manuel Valls Arango (1933 - 2015) Photo: The Miami Herald
Cuban exiles in Miami have been blessed with the presence of at least two saints. One was a man of the cloth forcibly exiled at gun point, who inspired a community to build Our Lady of Charity with individual small donations and have it become a national shrine for the Cuban exile community. His name is Bishop Agustín Román and he was called home on April 11, 2012. The other was a Catholic layman who had a leading position in a student movement resisting the Batista dictatorship that led prison in Cuba and exile in Mexico. He returned to Cuba only to be jailed in 1964 for supporting a friend in a show trial, disguised as a judicial proceeding, to 20 years in prison. Jorge Valls would complete the 20 year sentence and then be forced to serve another 40 days in prison. He was released in 1984 and two years later published his prison memoir, Twenty Years and Forty Days: Life in a Cuban Prison. In 1987 the former prisoner of conscience gave his testimony in the documentary, Nobody Listened that is available online. In a December 12, 1992 article in the Sun Sentinel, Jorge gave the following description of prison life:
"Prison is a very spiritual place. You`re always dealing with good and evil, right and wrong. Every night there were five or six executions. That was the reality of Christ. Because everyone goes to the cross; everyone dies. Christ suffered with us, and afterward he resurrected. That`s important. It means you don`t accept injustice as the only thing."
In 2009 the former prisoner of conscience and poet sat down with a member of the Free Cuba Foundation and spoke about his life, human rights and Cuba. Below is the first part of the interview.

Jorge Valls was called home on October 22, 2015. Today, family and friends gathered to pray for him in a Holy Mass at St. Kevin's Church and said "until we meet again." Below are two poems from Jorge Valls` award-winning 1983 book Where I am There is No Light and It is Barred. He is greatly missed.

I am up to my neck in rising blood.
It`s a black and sour blood.
I am tied up with a rope of blood.
I`m speaking with a voice
made of bubbles of blood.
I`m being heard by five ears of blood.
I`m  traveling in a blood-smeared car.
I`m disintegrating into worms of blood.
The worms grow and multiply
(it is the destiny of blood).
They are invading everything.
They are sputtering like clay rattles:
... Abel ... Abel ... Abel ...
A hundred skulls are served up in blood
upon a bare table.
I`m talking, unwittingly, with the creator of the blood,
with the bestower of the blood.
The blood reaches my nostrils.
The whole world is sinking in a vomit of blood.
... Abel ... Abel ... Abel ...

-- Where I am there is no light
and it is barred.
Just beyond
there lies a lighted space.
Therefore light must exist.
further on, there is an even deeper gloom.
There are no hanged men now:
all of them are on fire.
Could they be made of kerosene inside?
They go on talking,
moving from here to there,
from there to here,
Some are sleeping.
Someone is outside.
Somewhere there is sunshine.
Inevitably, the sun exists.
I can no longer leave:
I`ll go and sleep.
Inevitably, I`ll wake up again.
And so on, and on and on.
The kerosene burns inexhaustibly.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cuban Espionage in the US: The WASP network

The murderous effectiveness of the Castro spy apparatus among us

 On Thursday, October 15 lecture on “Cuban Espionage in the U.S.: The W.A.S.P. network” was held in FIU’s Rafael Diaz-Balart College of Law building (Hall Room #1009) and started at 12 noon with Sebastian Arcos Cazabon, of the Cuban Research Institute; Hector M. Pesquera, FBI agent, Miami Field Office who investigated the WASP network; and David M. Buckner, who prosecuted them in U.S. v. Gerardo Hernandez, et al. Below are excerpts from the presentations and provide new insights into this deadly Cuban spy network that conspired to murder American citizens o U.S. soil and international airspace. The plan to terrorize and mail bomb an alleged CIA agent in Florida did not materialize. However the shoot down of two civilian planes in international airspace on February 24, 1996 did claim four innocent lives. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of the men responsible for this setting them free on December 17, 2014.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Activist shouts down Raul Castro's motorcade as it arrived at the Cuban Mission in NYC

"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

Rolando Pulido (Left) Augusto Monge (Center) Rosa Maria Payá (Right)

The reasons to protest the Castro regime are numerous and well documented. On September 28, 2015 Cuban exiles from around the country gathered in New York City in front of the United Nations and  in front of the Cuban Mission to the United Nations to protest against Raul Castro and his dictatorship. 

Towards the end of the day, when most of the protesters had left, FCF founder Augusto Monge on his way back from lunch happened upon Raul Castro and his motorcade returning to the Cuban Mission. In the video below, you can hear Augusto Monge denouncing Raul Castro, the dictatorship's delegation and calling for the freedom of jailed artist and prisoner of conscience Danilo Maldonado known as "El Sexto."