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Dissident

The Cuban Regime Survives by Fear / Iván García

Iván García, 21 March 2017 — In the slum of Lawton, south of Havana, the
need for housing has converted an old collective residence with narrow
passageways into a bunkhouse. With dividers made from cardboard or
bricks recovered from demolished buildings, "apartments" have appeared
where a dozen families reside, living on the razor's edge.

Among the blasting Reggaeton music and illegal businesses, cane alcohol,
stolen the night before from a state distillery, is sold and later used
in the preparation of home-made rum; or clothing with pirated labels,
bought in bulk from stalls in Colón, a stone's throw from the Panama
Canal. A while back, when cattle were slaughtered in the Lawton or
Virgen del Camino slaughterhouses, you could get beef at the wholesale
price.

These overpopulated townships in the capital are cradles of
prostitution, drugs and illegal gambling. Lawton, like no other
neighborhood in Havana, is the "model" for marginalization and crime.
People live from robbing state institutions, selling junk or whatever
falls from a truck.

But don't talk to them about political reforms, ask them to endorse a
dissident party or protest about the brutal beatings that the political
police give a few blocks away to the Ladies in White, who every Sunday
speak about political prisoners and democracy in Cuba.

Let's call him Miguel, a guy who earns money selling marijuana,
psychotropic substances or cambolo, a lethal mix of cocaine with a small
dose of bicarbonate. He's been in prison almost a third of his life. He
had plans to emigrate to the United States but interrupted them after
Obama's repeal of the "wet foot-dry foot" policy.

Miguel has few topics of conversation. Women, sports, under-the-table
businesses. His life is a fixed portrait: alcohol, sex and "flying,"
with reddened eyes from smoking marijuana.

When you ask his opinion about the dissident movement and the continued
repression against the Ladies in White, he coughs slightly, scratches
his chin, and says: "Man, get off that channel. Those women are crazy.
This government of sons of bitches that we have, you aren't going to
bring it down with marches or speeches. If they don't grab a gun, the
security forces will always kick them down. They're brave, but it's not
going to change this shitty country."

Most of the neighbors in the converted bunkhouse think the same way.
They're capable of jumping the fence of a State factory to rob two
gallons of alcohol, but don't talk to them about politics, human rights
or freedom of expression.

"Mi amor, who wants to get into trouble? The police have gone nuts with
the businesses and prostitution. But when you go down the path of human
rights, you're in trouble for life," comments Denia, a matron.

She prefers to speak about her business. From a black bag she brings out
her Huawei telephone and shows several photos of half-nude girls while
chanting out the price. "Look how much money. Over there, whoever wants
can beat them up," says Denia, referring to the Ladies in White.

Generally, with a few exceptions, the citizens of the Republic of Cuba
have become immune or prefer to opt for amnesia when the subjects of
dissidence, freedom and democracy are brought up.

"There are several reasons. Pathological fear, which certainly infuses
authoritarian societies like the Cuban one. You must add to that the
fact that the Government media has known very well how to sell the story
of an opposition that is minimal, divided and corrupt, interested only
in American dollars," affirms Carlos, a sociologist.

Also, the dissidence is operating on an uneven playing field. It doesn't
have hours of radio or television coverage to spread its political
programs. The repression has obligated hundreds of political opponents
to leave the country. And State Security has infiltrated moles in almost
all the dissident groups.

"The special services efficiently short-circuit the relation of the
neighbors of the barrio and the people who support the dissidence. How
do you overcome that abyss? By expanding bridges to the interior of the
Island. I believe the opposition is more focused on political crusades
toward the exterior. The other is to amplify what the majority of Cubans
want to hear: There isn't food; to buy a change of clothing costs a
three months' salary; the terrible transport service; the water
shortage….There is a long list of subjects the dissidents can exploit,"
says Enrique.

I perceive that around 80 percent of the population has important common
ground with the local opposition. The timid economic openings and
repeals of absurd regulations were always claimed by the dissidence,
from greater autonomy for private work, foreign travel or being tourists
in their own country.

According to some dissidents, many neighbors approach them to say hello
and delve into the motives for their detentions after a brutal verbal
lynching or a beating. But there aren't enough.

Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina, the leader of the Alianza Democrática
Oriental (Eastern Democratic Alliance) and director of Palenque Visión
(Palenque Vision), felt frustrated when street protests demanding rights
for everybody were taking place, and people were only watching from the
curb of a sidewalk.

"One night I was in the hospital's emergency room, since my son had a
high fever, and I initiated a protest because of the poor medical
attention. Several patients were in the same situation. But no one
raised their voice when the patrols arrived and the political police
detained me by force. That night I realized that I had to change my
method to reach ordinary Cubans. Perhaps the independent press is a more
effective way," Lobaina told me several months ago in Guantánamo.

Although independent journalists reflect that other Cuba that the
autocracy pretends to ignore, their notes, reports or complaints have a
limited reach because of the lack of Internet service and the
precariousness of their daily lives.

For the majority of citizens, democracy, human rights and freedom of
expression are not synonymous with a plate of food, but with repression.
How to awaken a Cuban from indifference is a good question for a debate.

Translated by Regina Anavy

Source: The Cuban Regime Survives by Fear / Iván García – Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-cuban-regime-survives-by-fear-ivn-garca/ Continue reading
Iván García, 21 March 2017 — In the slum of Lawton, south of Havana, the need for housing has converted an old collective residence with narrow passageways into a bunkhouse. With dividers made from cardboard or bricks recovered from demolished buildings, “apartments” have appeared where a dozen families reside, living on the razor’s edge. Among … Continue reading "The Cuban Regime Survives by Fear / Iván García" Continue reading
The Government Prohibits Berta Soler From Leaving Cuba / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 21 March 2017 – This Tuesday, the Cuban government
prevented Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White movement, from
traveling outside the country because of an unpaid fine for for an
alleged infraction "against public adornment." Meanwhile, the
authorities accuse her of having thrown "papers in the street," which
the regime opponent clarified to 14ymedio were "leaflets."

Soler took advantage of the action to denounce the disappearance, this
Tuesday, of her husband, the activist Angel Moya. "We consider that he
is 'disappeared' because when he left the house he was being followed,"
she detailed. "Today I am calling him and his phone is shut off or
outside the coverage area."

"This morning I was supposed to travel to the United States, first to
Miami and then to California," said Soler. However, after passing
through the immigration booth and security controls at Jose Marti
International Airport in Havana, she was intercepted by an immigration
official who asked her to accompany him to an office.

The official told Soler that they would not let her board the plane
because she had not paid a fine for "throwing papers into the street."
According to Decree 272, whoever "throws into the public street waste
such as papers, wrappings, food waste, packaging and the like," will
have a fine of 50 pesos and must "pick them up immediately."

"Here, the person who owes the Cuban people freedom is Raul Castro,"
Soler replied to the accusation. She claims that it was sheets with
political slogans. "The fine is from last September, after that I went
to Panama and the United States, so I don't understand this now," the
dissident complains.

Last year, when the Aguilera Police Station informed Soler about the
fine, she signed a document informing her of the contravention with an
ironic "Down you-know-who," and threw it in the agents' faces, telling
them: "I do not accept any inappropriate fines."

Subsequently, Soler was informed that the unpaid fine could be doubled,
and it was suggested that the police could exchange each Cuba peso
(approximately 4 cents US) of the fine for one day in jail or instead
not let her travel on Tuesday.

The activist was planning to meet in California with David Kaye, United
Nations rapporteur for freedom of expression. Instead of Soler, Lady in
White Leticia Ramos will attend the meeting.

"In the report we list all those fines that they assign to us
inappropriately," reflects Soler. "They are illegal and violate the
Republic's penal code," a situation that is complemented by "the
harassment, the threat and violence that is unleashed against our
families, against our children and our husbands to try to get us to stop
our activism."

This month marks a year since the Lady in White was prevented from
attending mass at Santa Rita parish, and also blocked from attending the
Sunday marches on 5th Avenue, a traditional route that goes back to the
origins of the movement after the repressive wave of 2003, known as the
Black Spring.

Source: The Government Prohibits Berta Soler From Leaving Cuba /
14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
https://translatingcuba.com/the-government-prohibits-berta-soler-from-leaving-cuba-14ymedio/ Continue reading
Cuban dissident leader to Trump: 'Treat Cuba like a dictatorship'
BY NORA GÁMEZ TORRES
ngameztorres@elnuevoherald.com

Frustrated by what they see as "indolence" from the previous
administration, some Cuban government opponents are urging President
Donald Trump to backtrack current Cuba policy and speak out about
increased government repression on the island.

Antonio G. Rodiles and his partner Ailer González — both members of the
Forum for Rights and Freedoms — are calling on the new administration to
reset U.S.-Cuba relations and "recognize that they are dealing with a
dictatorship."

"The main thing would be for those of us who are legitimate actors on
the Cuban scene — inside and outside the island — to be part of the
policy design and part of that political process toward the island"
unlike what former President Barack Obama did, Rodiles said during a
recent meeting with el Nuevo Herald.

The couple also denounced an increase in repression since Obama
announced his policy of engagement and the restoration of diplomatic
ties with Cuba in December 2014. The situation, they said, has become
worse since the death of former leader Cuban Fidel Castro in November
with a "millimetric monitoring" of opponents' actions and harassment of
their families.

"It is important for the new administration to start taking action on
the issue and make some statement, because silence is being very well
used by the regime to try to crush the opposition," Rodiles said.

The Cuban government opponent criticized the "indolence" of the Obama
administration toward the human rights situation on the island.

"We have direct experience, including talking to President Obama, and
the direct experience was that there was a lot of indolence in what
happened with Cuba ... There was a moment when we understood that the
administration was not an ally [in the struggle for] for democratic
changes in Cuba, that they had a vision that Cuba was going to change in
the long term and that we would have to accept neo-Castroism," he said.

Although he was careful not to mention what measures taken by the
previous administration should be eliminated — such as sending
remittances or authorizing U.S. airline travel to the island, which are
popular in Cuba and within a large portion of the Cuban American
community — Rodiles said he supports returning to the previous longtime
policy of applying economic pressure against the Raúl Castro government,
a practice Obama has referred to as a "failed policy."

"If the regime is taking advantage of some of these measures, I'd cut
that economic income," Rodiles said. "Everything that is giving benefits
to the regime and not to the people must be reversed."

The frustration expressed by the activist couple has become increasingly
evident. A video published by the Forum for Rights and Liberties and in
which González exclaims, "Obama, you are finally leaving!" unleashed a
whirlwind of controversy within social media networks.

According to Rodiles, Obama asked dissidents and activists during a
meeting in Havana on March 22, 2016, to have patience with his policy of
rapprochement.

"I told him that you can't be patient when they are kicking citizens and
women with impunity," Rodiles said. The couple was among several
activists arrested during a widely reported act of repudiation against
dissidents on the same Sunday that Obama arrived in Havana for an
historic visit.

Rodiles and González dismissed criticism by those who question their
support for President Trump and claim their agenda is dictated by groups
within the Cuban exile community. They said their interest is in
readdressing Cuba issues not taking a position on U.S. domestic issues.

"Those same people who say that we are being radical and
confrontational, are extremely unsupportive. They do not report any
violation of human rights. These are hypocritical positions," González said.

As for other strategies being carried out by other opposition groups on
the island in an effort to incite change, the couple acknowledged that
there are many different ideologies and approaches, which they said was
a healthy element in the struggle for democracy.

"The most important thing," Rodiles said, "is that the regime has to
understand that 60 years is more than enough, and that it's over."

Follow Nora Gámez Torres on Twitter: @ngameztorres

Source: Cuban dissident Antonio Rodiles calls on Trump to get tough on
Cuba | Miami Herald -
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article139927853.html Continue reading
HAVANA: Cuban dissident Eduardo Cardet was sentenced … the case of Cuban dissidents. Dissent is considered by Cuban authorities to … condemned in politically motivated procedures. HAVANA: Cuban dissident Eduardo Cardet was sentenced … Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 21 March 2017 – This Tuesday, the Cuban government prevented Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White movement, from traveling outside the country because of an unpaid fine for for an alleged infraction “against public adornment.” Meanwhile, the authorities accuse her of having thrown “papers in the street,” which the regime opponent … Continue reading "The Government Prohibits Berta Soler From Leaving Cuba / 14ymedio" Continue reading
Frustrated by what they see as “indolence” from the previous administration, some Cuban government opponents are urging President Donald Trump to backtrack current Cuba policy and speak out about increased … Click to Continue » Continue reading
The wife of a Cuban dissident described by Amnesty International … called on the Cuban government to release him. Cuba's government … Continue reading
… Jorge Martin presents a gay, Cuban dissident writer drinking poison to … his childhood home in Holguin, Cuba. The rumba beat continues as … keys of his typewriter in Havana. Later, while evading the state … hint at a beach outside Havana. The opera is mostly melodic … Continue reading
Cuba capitalism blinds tourists from Communist reality
George Diaz
Orlando Sentinel
"So when are you going to Cuba?"

I get that a lot, maybe once a week. It's understandable, since I am a
home-grown Cubano, at least until I was almost 5 years old. That's when
my parents, in an act of ultimate sacrifice, left everything behind
except their dignity and a sense of purpose to escape Fidel Castro's thumb.

It's the Cuban-American narrative. We'll fast-forward through all the
tears and pain and hardships to get to 2017, when we are dancing on
Fidel's grave and Cuba is now an alluring tropical paradise. Grab some
sunscreen, book a flight or cruise, and order a mojito with a side of
platanitos.

Everybody is Havana Daydreamin'!

Not I. I don't begrudge anyone who wants to go. It is a beautiful place,
with a time-machine vibe. Hop on a '57 Chevy and feel the ocean breeze
as you cruise down el Malecón.

Cuba still stands still in so many ways. The "normalization" of Cuba
under the Obama administration has unlocked the keys to free commerce,
but not the chains that bind dissidents and others under Cuba's
dictatorial rule.

People still rot and die in prisons. Members of the dissident group
Ladies in White still get pummeled by cops and arrested.

Just last month, Cuban dissident Hamell Santiago Mas Hernandez died in
prison. Cuban officials called it a "heart attack," a euphemism for when
a prisoner develops kidney failure, loses 35 pounds and rots away in a cell.

The U.S. does business with a number of unsavory nations, including
China, but the difference with Cuba is that there are a lot of
Cuban-Americans taking notes. They are passionate hall monitors who
don't understand why the Obama administration didn't squeeze Cuba on the
human-rights issue in return for the perks of tourism and groovy
American pesos.

Will things change under the Trump administration? Check your Twitter
feed for updates from 45. I suspect there will be more pushback, given
this snippet from the confirmation hearings for Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson:

"Our recent engagement with the government of Cuba was not accompanied
by any significant concessions on human rights," he said. "We have not
held them accountable for their conduct. Their leaders received much
while their people received little. That serves neither the interest of
Cubans or Americans."

He has a point. The purpose of negotiating is to get something in
return, not just give away stuff.

But there's another dynamic in play here, too, that does not bode well
for Cuban tourism. The novelty is wearing off.

Silver Airways recently announced that it will scrap its service to Cuba
next month, citing low demand and competition from other airlines.
Frontier Airlines will cease its daily flight to Havana from Miami in
June. American Airlines and JetBlue have also scaled back their number
of flights.

Raúl Castro and his compadres are finding out that capitalism is driven
by market factors, and Cuba is still running the con trying to lure all
those Americanos.

The infrastructure is a little shaky, given the impact of the embargo
and other economic factors. Hotel reviews on TripAdvisor include handy
tips like "Don't forget to bring and 'USE' bug repellent!!" and "I guess
you get what you pay for."

Restrictions abound: There are 12 "authorized types" of travel to Cuba,
including educational, religious and journalistic purposes. And here's
another fun fact from the U.S. embassy in Havana:

"The Government of Cuba does not recognize the U.S. nationality of U.S.
citizens who are Cuban-born or are the children of Cuban parents."

That would be somebody like me. Cuba keeps meticulous notes on
journalists writing about the regime, and I probably would fill all the
checkmarks as an "enemy of the state." Without any rights as a
naturalized American citizen.

I'm afraid there will be no Havana Daydreamin' for me.

I prefer to visit my homeland one day free of restrictions. I want to
take in the ocean breeze from el Malecón without a cop asking for my
Cuban passport. I want to walk freely along the streets, without fear of
somebody monitoring my footsteps.

You don't have to be in prison to wear shackles. You just can't see them
when you disembark the cruise ship or an airplane.


gdiaz@orlandosentinel.com Read George Diaz's blog at
OrlandoSentinel.com/enfuego

Source: Cuba capitalism blinds tourists from Communist reality -
Baltimore Sun -
http://www.baltimoresun.com/os-ed-cuba-human-rights-not-improving-george-diaz-20170317-story.html Continue reading
… boat crammed with 18 other Cubans. These passengers, to Caballero, seemed … and the muse of dissident Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, in Florida … , Arenas spent several years in Cuban prisons, notably the infamous El … much hope left in Cuba, anymore. The real Cubans I speak to … Continue reading
José Daniel Ferrer: "This Type Of Assault Does Not Discourage Us" / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 9 March 2017 — The leader of the Patriotic Union of
Cuba, José Daniel Ferrer, was released Thursday after being detained for
more than 24 hours. The opponent denounced an "increase in
the repression" against the activists of his movement, in a phone call
to 14ymedio a few minutes after his release.

"The search of the homes began at six in the morning," explains Ferrer,
who was taken out of his home at eight o'clock in the morning this
Wednesday and taken to the First Police Unit of Santiago de Cuba, known
as Micro 9.

The former prisoner of the Black Spring explains that the police raided
six properties of UNPACU members. They seized "food, a hard disc,
several USB memories, two laptops, five cellphones, seven wireless
devices, a stereo, a large refrigerator, an electric typewriter and a
camera."

"I spent more than six hours in an office with a guard," Ferrer recalls.
"Then they put me in a cell where you could have filmed a horror movie
for the amount of blood on the walls of someone who had been cut."

The dissident was interrogated by an official who identified himself as
Captain Quiñones, who threatened to send him to prison for "incitement
to violence," in a recent video posted on Twitter. Ferrer flatly denies
the accusation.

During the operation they also confiscated medications such as aspirin,
duralgine, acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

"Most of our activists are in high spirits," says Ferrer. "This type of
assault does not discourage us," he adds. He says that "from November
2015 to date, there have been more than 140" raids of houses of members
of the organization.

On 18 December, at least nine houses of members of the opposition
movement were searched and numerous personal belongings seized by
members of the Ministry of Interior.

Among those who still have not been released are the activists Jorge
Cervantes, coordinator of UNPACU in Las Tunas, and Juan Salgado, both of
whom are being held in the third police unit in that eastern city. The
whereabouts of opponent Esquizander Benítez remain unknown. In addition,
about 50 of UNPACU's militants are being held in several prisons in the
country, which makes the it the opposition organization with the most
political prisoners in the country.

Source: José Daniel Ferrer: "This Type Of Assault Does Not Discourage
Us" / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/jose-daniel-ferrer-this-type-of-assault-does-not-discourage-us-14ymedio/ Continue reading
Police Forces Assault UNPACU Headquarters, Activists Arrested / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 8 March 2017 — The headquarters of the Patriotic Union
of Cuba (UNPACU) were assaulted by police forces in the early hours of
Wednesday. The troops forcibly entered five homes located in the
Altamira and José María Heredia areas in Santiago de Cuba, where they
arrested a dozen opponents, according to opposition sources.

Two buildings that operate as UNPACU headquarters and three belonging to
members of the movement were the object of a wave of searches carried
out by agents of the political police and brigades of the National
Revolutionary Police (PNR).

The homes were "looted" simultaneously according to activist Ernesto
Oliva Torres, who reported that at the main headquarters the troops
confiscated "a refrigerator, a television, two laptops, six cordless
phones, among other items."

The searches were accompanied by arbitrary arrests and the interruption
of the telephone communications of most of the UNPACU activists.

Among those arrested on Wednesday morning were Liettys Rachel Reyes,
Carlos Amel Oliva and his father Carlos Oliva, Alexei Martínez, Ernesto
Morán, Juan Salgado, Roilán Zamora, Yriade Hernández, Jorge Cervantes
and his wife Gretchen, David Fernández, Miraida Martín, and the national
coordinator of the movement, José Daniel Ferrer.

14ymedio was able to confirm that Carlos Amel Oliva was released on
Wednesday night, but several of the dissidents remain incommunicado.
Oliva's telephone line had serious problems that prevented the dissident
from communicating with the press.

Liettys Rachel Reyes, 30 weeks pregnant, was under arrest for about
three hours and then released. The whereabouts of the rest of the
detainees remain unknown.

Source: Police Forces Assault UNPACU Headquarters, Activists Arrested /
14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/policeassaultunpacu14ymedio/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 9 March 2017 — The leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, José Daniel Ferrer, was released Thursday after being detained for more than 24 hours. The opponent denounced an “increase in the repression” against the activists of his movement, in a phone call to 14ymedio a few minutes after his release. “The search of … Continue reading "José Daniel Ferrer: “This Type Of Assault Does Not Discourage Us” / 14ymedio" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 8 March 2017 — The headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) were assaulted by police forces in the early hours of Wednesday. The troops forcibly entered five homes located in the Altamira and José María Heredia areas in Santiago de Cuba, where they arrested a dozen opponents, according to opposition sources. Two … Continue reading "Police Forces Assault UNPACU Headquarters, Activists Arrested / 14ymedio" Continue reading
14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, 8 March 2017 – Lying in bed, with the light off, feeling each one of her vertebrae howling. After coming home from work she spent four hours in the kitchen, bathed her invalid mother, helped the children with their homework, went shopping and prepared an administrative report. On TV the … Continue reading "The Day of the Woman in Cuba, More Honored in the Breach / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez" Continue reading
Raúl Castro slams Trump – and I'm forced to agree with the dictator. How
sick is that?
BY FABIOLA SANTIAGO
fsantiago@miamiherald.com

Cuban dictator Raúl Castro has no moral authority to condemn any
democratically elected world leader.

Not when the most distinguishing trait of his and his late brother's
legacy is death, prison and exile for millions of his critics and
opponents. Not when, as if the Castros didn't already have enough blood
on their hands, there's another dissident who has died amid questionable
circumstances.

Hamell Santiago Mas Hernández, 45, walked into one of Cuba's most brutal
prisons as a healthy man after being arrested in June for a catch-all
offense dubbed desacato — disrespect — widely used as an excuse to pick
up dissidents. Eight months later, he died awaiting trial, supposedly of
a heart attack. He had developed a kidney infection and had lost 35
pounds in three weeks. His wife has denounced conditions at the
Combinado del Este prison, where not even the water is fit to drink. The
Castros have for decades refused to let independent monitors inspect
prisons where political prisoners are kept in inhumane conditions.

So I repeat: Cuban dictator Raúl Castro has no moral authority to
condemn any U.S. president.

But President Donald Trump is an easy target — and Castro is no fool.

He smells the weakness — and opportunity — handed to him on a silver
platter by Trump acting like the hemisphere's new bully on the block.

In a regional summit with leftist leaders in Caracas on Sunday, Castro
lashed out at Trump's immigration and trade policies, calling his plan
to build a wall along the Mexican border "irrational."

"The new agenda of the U.S. government threatens to unleash an extreme
and egotistical trade policy that will impact the competitiveness of our
foreign trade, violate environmental agreements to favor the profits of
transnational [companies], hunt down and deport migrants," Castro said.

And here I am, critic and exile, being forced to agree with the dictator
— a first.

How sick is that?

It's repulsive, but Trump rose to power on an agenda that puts this
country at odds with the rest of the Americas, including our allies. His
first 1 ½ months in office have been like nothing Americans have ever
seen, with Draconian executive orders being signed amid a growing
scandal about Russia's tampering with the U.S. election to benefit him,
and the lingering questions: How much did Trump know? Did he participate?

It's especially notable that Castro has chosen to break his silence on
Trump at a time when the Trump administration is in the middle of "a
full review" of President Obama's U.S.-Cuba policy — and before any
changes are announced. Castro's only comment after Trump took office was
cordial (and, as always, pompous) indicating Cuba's willingness to
"continue negotiating bilateral issues with the United States on a basis
of equality and respect of our country's sovereignty and independence."
Cuba's ambassador attended Trump's inauguration and tweeted from it. At
least two of Trump's White House advisors have been to Cuba and were
ecstatic about doing business there during the Obama years.

But Cuban Americans in Congress have been pressuring Trump to get tough
on Castro and return to the isolation polices of the late 1990s and
early 2000s. That didn't yield much change, and certainly no end to the
58-year-old dictatorship. But during Obama's tenure — and under
unrelenting internal pressure from dissidents, independent journalists,
and a population that simply can't stand the oppression anymore — Raúl
Castro began some reforms, even if the quashing of opponents seldom
relented.

It would be a regrettable turn of events if, at this critical juncture,
Trump's protective nationalist policies gave new combative fodder to
Castro — who has promised to finally leave his post in 2018 — or to
those waiting in the wings to take over Cuba.

I'll say it again: Raúl Castro — head of one of the longest-lasting
dictatorships in the world — is no one to talk.

Yet, here I am, to quote Blue Oyster Cult, giving the devil his due.

Fabiola Santiago: fsantiago@miamiherald.com, @fabiolasantiago

Source: Cuban dictator Raul Castro slams Trump's immigration and trade
policy | Miami Herald -
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fabiola-santiago/article137006518.html Continue reading
Score another kill for the Cuban military dictatorship: Last month it … Continue reading
Cuban Double Agent Fears for His Life after Revealing His True Identity
/ Juan Juan Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 27 February 2017 — Luis Enrique Cepero García was an
opponent of the Cuban regime serving a sentence in the Combinado del
Este prison when he decided to infect himself with a disease rather than
continue being subjected to mistreatment in prison.

Given his state of health, Luis Enrique was transferred and imprisoned
at the Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK) in Havana where,
on orders from a doctor, his life ended abruptly one day in 1995.

"I remember that before he died in the IPK, my brother Luis Enrique told
me that a doctor told another doctor he would not be there the next day.
My brother began to have some tremors. Then in the afternoon a nurse
came into the room and began putting cotton in his nose, mouth and anus.
My brother died and I was left with that image in my head.

"Then I did something I should never have done. To take revenge I joined
the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) and pretended to
be a revolutionary in order to get inside State Security and take my
revenge for the death of my brother," says William Cepero García, who
today is a former spy living on Santa Maria del Rosario Road, kilometer
4.5, Cubicle #106, Cambúte, San Miguel del Padrón, a district located in
the east of the Cuban capital.

When Luis Enrique died, William was living in Old Havana, buying and
selling antiques. He started pretending to be a revolutionary. He says
that, with his money and growing popularity, it was not difficult to
attract the attention of the Cuban secret services.

"I started at the CDR… Well, you know how that works. In 2005 I was
approached by officers from DTI (Technical Investigations Department)
who wanted to recruit me. But I told them that, if I was going to do
something for the Revolution, it had to be something big. It was then
that I met an officer by the name of Yosbani, a young man from a
Domestic Counterintelligence unit in Old Havana. He was the one who
recruited me."

I met the spy

"It's all a surprise to me," says Luz María Piloto Romero, a Cuban
dissident who now lives in exile in Miami. "I met William Cepero García
because he was living in Old Havana around the corner from my house. His
brother, the one who died from HIV, was a good friend of mine. I always
saw William at non-violent opposition events in support of human rights."

Cepero García says that, after several exams and countless meetings at
the Municipal Identity Card Directorate's offices, he was instructed to
collect information on people in the area who sympathized with opponents
of the government.

"At first I was very frightened," he admits. "I realized that the people
I knew were innocent but, after a few months working as a spy, I
determined that the information I was giving to my official contacts had
already been given to them by other agents I did not know."

Cepero García remembers being sent in 2005 to Cambute in San Miguel del
Padrón, where there as an active opposition movement. He says that there
he was part of a group under the direction of the local Domestic
Counterintelligence office. He began trying to penetrate the Cuban Human
Rights Foundation, an opposition organization then headed by Juan
Antonio Bermúdez Toranza.

"I very cautiously tried to warn Juan. I didn't know whether or not he
was also a State Security agent and did not want to get burned.
Everything here has been infiltrated," he says.

But Bermúdez Toranza, who currently lives in exile in Spain, says,
"William came out from the shadows. It was Juan Carlos who introduced
him to me."

He is referring to Juan Carlos González Leiva, a blind attorney,
activist and founder of the Independent Blind Fraternity of Cuba and the
Cuban Human Rights Foundation.

"William approached me offering to help. He was interested in my needs,"
adds Bermúdez Toranza. "His help was economic. He was a guy who moved
money around, dealing in antiques, jewelry and those sorts of things.
But he was asking a lot of questions; he wanted to know everything. He
never disagreed with any of my decisions and it isn't normal to agree
with everything. I never trusted him. I always compartmentalized with
him because I suspected he was working for State Security."

Two years later Bermúdez Toranzo was arrested and charged with
counter-revolutionary activities. William left the area but returned in
2009 with a new mission. "Juan (Bermúdez Toranzo) was in jail and his
then wife, Neris Castillo, was one of the Ladies in White, and my new
mission was to insert myself in her life, get information on the Ladies
in White, blackmail her and sleep with her… You know how these things
go," he says.

A female spy's testimony

"He told me he had come to carry out a task but he didn't have the
courage for it. He told me about his brother. I saw him trying to help
young men who had decided to set out to sea and other people I can't
remember right now. That's why I took him to what was then the US
Interests Section in Cuba, to the human rights office, so he could
provide information and decide whether to switch from one side to the
other," explains the former Lady in White, Neris Castillo Moreno, who is
now Cepero García's partner.

"He helped a lot of people. When my brother was taken prisoner, William
helped him. After being in a jail myself for a week, there was nothing
to eat at my house and he said to me, 'Let's go, Luz. I'll fix you a
sweet roll.' And he did. I hope that all the people he once helped might
now help him. Actually, I was surprised by the news," says Luz María, a
Cuban dissident who now lives in exile in Miami and says she knows
Cepero Garcia.

According to Cepero García, his work as a double agent earned him enough
credit with the regime's intelligence agencies that they ended up giving
him the mission to become the leader of the Republican Party of Cuba and
later the secretary general of the November 30th Frank País Democratic
Party after the death of the previous office holder.

However, after receiving a new mission from officials at Cuban State
Security, which Cepero García had allegedly infiltrated years earlier,
the self-described "double agent" decided to reveal his true identity
and expose himself to the risks inherent in such a decision.

"I fear for my life but I am aware of what I have done. I have to face
whatever comes." And here his story ends.

Meanwhile, the exiled Cuban dissident living in Spain, who is familar
with the spy's performance in San Miguel del Padrón, insists that Cepero
García's true intention in making this revelation is to leave Cuba.

"What William wants is a visa to the United States. I know he is a spy
and that he has regrets and that he helped people. But, look, if William
is saying that, he is not doing it because he is in charge or because he
wants to say it. He is saying it because someone is ordering him to do
so. And I assure you it is someone in Section XXI (of G2, the
Intelligence Directorate)," concludes Juan Antonio Bermúdez Toranzo
categorically.

Source: Cuban Double Agent Fears for His Life after Revealing His True
Identity / Juan Juan Almeida – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuban-double-agent-fears-for-his-life-after-revealing-his-true-identity-juan-juan-almeida/ Continue reading
Juan Juan Almeida, 27 February 2017 — Luis Enrique Cepero García was an opponent of the Cuban regime serving a sentence in the Combinado del Este prison when he decided to infect himself with a disease rather than continue being subjected to mistreatment in prison. Given his state of health, Luis Enrique was transferred and imprisoned … Continue reading "Cuban Double Agent Fears for His Life after Revealing His True Identity / Juan Juan Almeida" Continue reading
The Countdown Begins For Raul Castro's Departure From Power / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 24 February 2017 — On February 24 of next year Raul
Castro must leave the presidency of Cuba if he is to fulfill the
promise he has made several times. His announced departure from power is
looked on with suspicion by some and seen as an inescapable fact by
others, but hardly anyone argues that his departure will put an end to
six decades of the so-called historical generation.

For the first time, the political process begun in January 1959 will
have a leader who did not participate in the struggle against the
dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Nevertheless, Raul Castro can
maintain the control of the Communist Party until 2021, a position with
powers higher than the executive's and enshrined in the Constitution of
the Republic.

In the 365 days that remain in his position as president of the Councils
of State and of Ministers, the 85-year-old ruler is expected to push
several measures forward. Among them is the Electoral Law, which he
announced two years ago and that will determine the political landscape
he leaves behind after his retirement.

In the coming months the relations between Havana and Washington will be
defined in the context of the new presidency of Donald Trump and, in
internal terms, by the economy. Low wages, the dual currency system,
housing shortages and shortages of products are some of the most
pressing problems for which Cubans expects solutions.

Raul Castro formally assumed the presidency in February of 2008,
although in mid-2006 he took over Fidel Castro's responsibilities on a
provisional basis due to a health crisis affecting his older brother
that forced him from public life. And now, given the proximity of the
date he set for himself to leave the presidency, the leader is obliged
to accelerate the progress of his decisions and define the succession.

In 2013 Castro was confirmed as president for a second term. At that
time he limited the political positions to a maximum of ten years and
emphasized the need to give space to younger figures. One of those faces
was Miguel Díaz-Canel, a 56-year-old politician who climbed through the
party structure and now holds the vice presidency.

In the second tier of power in the Party is Jose Ramon Machado Ventura,
an octogenarian with a reputation as an orthodox who in recent months
has featured prominently in the national media. A division of power
between Díaz-Canel and Machado Ventura (one as president of the Councils
of State and of Ministers and the other as secretary general of the
Party) would be an unprecedented situation for millions of Cubans who
only know the authority being concentrated in a single man.

However, many suspect that behind the faces that hold public office, the
family clan will continue to manipulate through pulling the strings
of Alejandro Castro Espín. But the president's son, promoted to national
security adviser, is not yet a member of the Party Central Committee,
the Council of State or even a Member of Parliament.

For Dagoberto Valdés, director of the Center for Coexistence Studies,
Raúl Castro leaves without doing his work. "There were many promises,
many pauses and little haste," he summarizes. He said that many hoped
that the "much-announced reforms would move from the superficial to the
depth of the model, the only way to update the Cuban economy, politics
and society."

Raul Castro should "at least, push until the National Assembly passes an
Electoral Law" that allows "plural participation of citizens," says
Valdés. He also believes that he should give "legal status to private
companies" and "also give legal status to other organizations of civil
society."

The American academic Ted Henken does not believe that the current
president will leave his position at the head of the Party. For Henken,a
professor of sociology and Latin American studies at Baruch College in
New York, Castro's management has been successful in "maintaining the
power of historic [generation] of the Revolution under the authoritarian
and vertical model installed more than half a century ago" and "having
established a potentially more beneficial new relationship with the US
and embarking on some significant economic reforms. "

However, Henken sees as "a great irony that the government has been more
willing to sit down and talk with the supposed enemy than with its own
people" and points out "the lack of fundamental political rights and
basic civil liberties" as "a black stain on the legacy of the Castro
brothers."

Blogger Regina Coyula, who worked from 1972 to 1989 for the
Counterintelligence Directorate of the Interior Ministry, predicts that
Raul Castro will be remembered as someone "who could and did not
dare." At first she saw him as "a man more sensible than the brother and
much more pragmatic" but over time "by not doing what he had to do,
nothing turned out as it should have turned out."

Perhaps "he came with certain ideas and when it came to reality he
realized that introducing certain changes would inevitably bring a
transformation of the country's political system," says Coyula. That is
something he "is not willing to assume. He does not want to be the one
who goes down in history with that note in his biography."

Independent journalist Miriam Celaya recalls that "the glass of milk he
promised is still pending" and also "all the impetus he wanted to give
to the self-employment sector." She says that in the last year there has
been "a step back, a retreat, an excess of control" for the private sector.

With the death of Fidel Castro, his brother "has his hands untied to be
to total reformist that some believed he was going to be," Celaya
reflects. "In this last year he should release a little what the
Marxists call the productive forces," although she is "convinced… he
won't do it."

As for a successor, Celaya believes that the Cuban system is "very
cryptic and everything arrives in a sign language, we must be focusing
on every important public act to see who is who and who is not."

"The worst thing in the whole panorama is the uncertainty, the worst
legacy that Raul Castro leaves us is the magnification of the
uncertainty," she points out. "There is no direction, there is no
horizon, there is nothing." He will be remembered as "the man who lost
the opportunity to amend the course of the Revolution."

"He will not be seen as the man who knew, in the midst of turbulence,
how to redirect the nation," laments Manuel Cuesta Morua. Cuesta Morua,
a regime opponent, who belongs to the Democratic Action Roundtable
(MUAD) and to the citizen platform #Otro18 (Another 2018), reproaches
Raúl Castro for not having made the "political reforms that the country
needs to advance economically: he neither opens or closes [the country]
to capital and is unable to articulate another response to the autonomy
of society other than flight or repression."

Iliana Hernández, director of the independent Cuban Lens,
acknowledges that in recent years Raúl Castro has returned to Cubans
"some rights" such as "buying and selling houses, cars, increasing
private business and the right to travel." The activist believes that
this year the president should "call a free election, legalize
[multiple] parties and stop repressing the population."

As for the opposition, Hernandez believes that he is "doing things that
were not done before and were unthinkable to do."

Dissident Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello is very critical of Raul Castro's
management and says she did not even fulfill his promise of ending the
dual currency system. "He spoke of a new Constitution, a new economic
system, which aren't even mentioned in the Party Guidelines," he says.

"To try to make up for the bad they've done, in the first place he
should release all those who are imprisoned simply for thinking
differently under different types of sanctions," reflects Roque
Cabello. She also suggests that he sit down and talk to the opposition
so that it can tell him "how to run the country's economy, which is
distorted."

Although she sees differences between Fidel's and Raul Castro's styles
of government, "he is as dictator like his brother," she said. The
dissident, convicted during the Black Spring of 2003, does not consider
Diaz-Canel as the successor. "He is a person who has been used, I do not
think he's the relief," and points to Alejandro Castro Espín or Raul
Castro's former son-in-law, Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas, as
possible substitutes.

This newspaper tried to contact people close to the ruling party to
obtain their opinion about Raúl Castro's legacy, his succession and the
challenges he faces for the future, but all refused to respond. Rafael
Hernández, director of the magazine Temas, told the Diario de las
Américas in an interview: "There must be a renewal that includes all
those who have spent time like that [10 years]." However, not all
members of the Council of State have been there 10 years, not even all
the ministers have been there 10 years."

This is the most that the supporters of the Government dare to say.

Source: The Countdown Begins For Raul Castro's Departure From Power /
14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-countdown-begins-for-raul-castros-departure-from-power-14ymedio/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 24 February 2017 — On February 24 of next year Raul Castro must leave the presidency of Cuba if he is to fulfill the promise he has made several times. His announced departure from power is looked on with suspicion by some and seen as an inescapable fact by others, but hardly anyone argues that … Continue reading "The Countdown Begins For Raul Castro’s Departure From Power / 14ymedio" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 23 February 2017 — An editorial piece published February 14th on the Havana Times website under the title “Official Journalism in Cuba: Empty Nutshells,” revisits a recurring issue that has been going around in the Castro media and is threatening to become fashionable: to be or not to be a dissident. In … Continue reading "The Subtle Dissent of Revolutionaries / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Havana: A CUBAN dissident group awarded a prize … accept it in person. The Cuban authorities denied visas to Almagro … and diplomats, crowded into the Havana home of the dissident’s … were blocked from traveling to Cuba for the event.   Continue reading
Cuba says it foiled plot to destabilize country, slams dissidents and OAS
By Sarah Marsh and Nelson Acosta | HAVANA

Communist-ruled Cuba on Wednesday said it had foiled a serious plot
aiming to destabilize the country by preventing the chief of the
Organization of American States traveling to the island to attend an
award ceremony organized by dissidents.

The opposition group, which the government called "anti-Cuban and
illegal," had invited OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro to Havana to
honor him for shining a light on violations of human rights in the Americas.

Cuba, which views the Washington-based OAS as an imperialist instrument
of the United States despite its fledgling detente with its Cold War
foe, denied Almagro and other international invitees visas and issued a
blistering statement.

The incident comes at an awkward time as U.S. President Donald Trump
considers whether to continue normalizing relations with the Caribbean
island.

"The plan ... consisted of mounting in Havana an open and serious
provocation against the Cuban government, generating internal
instability, damaging the country's international reputation," the
statement by the foreign ministry read.

The ministry accused Almagro of "an ambition agenda of auto promotion
with attacks against progressive governments like those of Venezuela,
Bolivia and Ecuador."

In a letter to the dissidents, Almagro said he had assured the Cuban
authorities he did not have an anti-Cuban agenda.

The OAS's only interest was to "help move Cuba closer to the values and
principles upheld by the organization in relation to democracy and human
rights," he said.

Cuba had earlier prevented other international invitees, including a
former Chilean minister and an ex-president of Mexico, from traveling to
Cuba to attend the award ceremony, stoking tensions across Latin America.

Chile said it was recalling its ambassador to Cuba for consultation
while Mexico's foreign ministry said on its Twitter account that it
"regretted" Cuba's decision.

The Cuban foreign ministry defended its move as "impeccable act of
transparency," saying it had contacted the countries from which invitees
were traveling to inform them of the plot, hoping they could be
dissuaded from traveling.

"There was no lack of declarations by defenders of the false persecuted,
allies of past dictatorships and unemployed politicians willing to ally
themselves with vulgar mercenaries in the service of foreign interests,"
the ministry said.

The dissident group that had organized the award ceremony is led by the
daughter of late democracy activist Oswaldo Paya, who died in a 2012 car
accident. Rosa Maria Paya accuses the Cuban government of causing the
crash, a charge it denies.

Paya went ahead with the ceremony on Wednesday in the Paya family home
in Havana as planned, although she said she would keep his prize until
he could pick it up in person.

That looks unlikely to happen soon. In its statement on the events, Cuba
denounced a recent neo-liberal, imperialist offensive against certain
Latin American countries that had plunged millions back into poverty.

"Where has the OAS been, that has always kept a complicit silence facing
these realities?" the ministry asked, reiterating that Cuba would never
rejoin the organization.

Fidel Castro, a leading Cold War figure who built a communist state on
the doorstep of the United States and defied U.S. attempts to topple
him, died in November at the age of 90, eight years after handing the
presidency over to his younger brother, Raul.

(Additional Reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Editing by Nick
Macfie)

Source: Cuba says it foiled plot to destabilize country, slams
dissidents and OAS | Reuters -
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-dissidents-idUSKBN1620A6 Continue reading
Cuba Blocks Chilean Student from Entry for Award Ceremony Honoring Dissident
BY: SABRINA MARTÍN - @SABRINAMARTINR - FEB 22, 2017, 12:21 PM

Cuba removed a Chilean student leader from Cuba hoping to attend an
award ceremony dedicated to Cuban political activist Oswaldo Payá.

Juan Carlos Vargas, a former student at the Central University of Chile
and member of the executive board of the Latin American Youth and
Democracy Network that was hosting the ceremony, was removed from the
island not long after the daughter of former Chilean President Patricio
Aylwin, Matiana Aylwin, was also prevented from flying there this week
for the same event.

Vargas was reportedly arrested in Cuba once he arrived on the island.
Authorities held him with no access to a phone call or other communication.

Read More: Meet Guillermo Lasso, Ecuador's Best Hope to End a Decade of
Socialist Rule
Read More: Uncertainty in Ecuador as Votes Trickle in, Opposition
Confident in Second Round
A similar incident took place to former Mexican President Felipe
Calderón, who Cuban authorities did not allow to enter the island.
He had planned to attend the award ceremony organized by the Latin
American Youth and Democracy Network.

Local media reported that Vargas was received by the Cuban Police as
well as a group of cameramen who appeared to be part of state-approved
press.

Authorities took away his passport and boarded him on a plane to Panama,
where he expects to return to Chile soon. However, he reportedly has not
yet recovered his identification.

Vargas was supposed to place the Oswaldo Payá award in Matiana Aylwin's
hands, but now the ceremony will have to be rescheduled and relocated.

Source: El Demócrata

Source: Cuba Blocks Chilean Student from Entry for Award Ceremony
Honoring Dissident -
https://panampost.com/sabrina-martin/2017/02/22/cuba-blocks-chilean-student-from-entry-for-award-ceremony-honoring-dissident/ Continue reading
Oswaldo Payá Award Ceremony Is Absent The Winners / 14ymedio, EFE

14ymedio/EFE, Havana, 22 February 2017 — The presentation of the Oswaldo
Payá "Freedom and Life" Prize has led to a diplomatic conflict, after
the Cuban government vetoed the entry into the country of three of the
guests: OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, Former Mexican President
Felipe Calderón, and Mariana Aylwin.

Almagro, Calderón and Chilean delegate Mariana Aylwin were unable to
travel to the Caribbean country on Tuesday to participate in the event
called by the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy, chaired by
Rosa Maria Payá, daughter of the late Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá,
which the Cuban government Cuban has labeled a "provocation."

Around Payá's house, in the Havana municipality of Cerro, a police
operation deployed in the early hours of the day prevented activists
from reaching the home. From Manila Park, near the house, State Security
agents dressed in civilian clothes demanded documentation from any
dissident or independent journalists who approached.

Payá told this newspaper that her phone had been "out of service" in the
afternoon although "in the morning it worked." The ceremony was attended
by seven activists who had spent the night in the house "plus another 20
people who where able to reach it," said the dissident. Among them was
the head of the political-economic section of the US Embassy in Cuba,
Dana Brown, as well as diplomatic representatives from Sweden and the
Czech Republic.

Payá said that the award ceremony had been surrounded by a lot of
repression on the part of the regime, Cuban State Security and the
Foreign Ministry." She condemned the reprisals "suffered by civil
society members who wanted to participate in the ceremony, resulting in
many of them being arrested and others prevented from leaving their homes."

All of the leaders of the opposition groups on the island "were
invited," Payá told this newspaper. "There are some with whom we have
lost communication over the last few days because of everything that is
happening, and others who are not in the country and others who couldn't
get here."

"We hope that this aggression, this rudeness, will find a response and a
reaction in all the governments belonging to the Organization of
American States (OAS), in all the governments of our region and also in
the European Union," said Rosa María Payá.

Luis Almargo tweeted: Our interest: To facilitate #Cuba's approach to
Interamerican values/principles and to expand the country's achievements
in science, health and education.

The Chilean and Mexican Chancelleries regretted the decision of
Cuba, and Chile announced that it will call its ambassador on the island
for consultations.

Meanwhile, the only official response from Cuba has come from the
Cuban embassy in Chile, which issued a communication referring to the
matter as "a grave international provocation against the Cuban
government," with the aim of "generating internal instability" and
affecting Cuba's diplomatic relations with other countries.

According to this note, the act was created "by an illegal anti-Cuban
group that acts against constitutional order and that arouses the
repudiation of the people, with the collusion and financing of
politicians and foreign institutions."

The ceremony finally took place without the presence of the
international guests. "The chairs will remain empty" until the awardees
"can land in Havana" to pick them up in person, assured Rosa María
Payá. Other Cuban guests were prevented from leaving their homes or
arrested on the road.

Independent journalists Henry Constantin Ferreiro and Sol García Basulto
were detained in the airport of Camagüey at the moment that they tried
to board a flight towards the capital.

Constantín Ferreiro is vice-president of the Inter-American Press
Association for Cuba and remains in custody without his parents being
able to see him or provide him with personal hygiene supplies, according
to his father.

Havana's decision not to authorize the arrival of the head of the OAS
was known after a night of uncertainty in which it was not clear whether
Almagro had traveled to the Cuban capital, where he initially planned to
fly from Paris, where he had participated in institutional activities
yesterday. Rosa María Paya today called on the OAS to support the right
of the Cuban people to decide on their destiny.

"To the point that Cuba is democratizing, all democracies in Latin
America will also gain stability," said the opposition leader, who hoped
that "today is the beginning of an OAS commitment to the cause of rights
and freedom in Cuba."

She pointed out that they do not expect the OAS to "speak out against
anyone," but instead to put itself "on the side of all Cuban citizens in
their right to begin a transition process."

Source: Oswaldo Payá Award Ceremony Is Absent The Winners / 14ymedio,
EFE – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/oswaldo-paya-award-ceremony-is-absent-the-winners-14ymedio-efe/ Continue reading
Felipe Calderón: "I Ask The Cuban Government To Rectify This Absurdity"
/ 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 22 February 2017 — Just five years ago, Mexican
President Felipe Calderón was greeted warmly in Havana during an
official visit. However, this week the now former president was denied
entry to the island to participate in the Oswaldo Payá "Freedom and
Life" awards to be held this Wednesday.

"I deeply regret not being able to be with them at this tribute" to the
deceased opponent, the politician conservative National Action Party
(PAN). "The Cuban immigration authorities asked Aeromexico" not to seat
me on the flight, telling them I was an "inadmissible passenger" on Tuesday.

Prior to the trip, the former president alerted the Mexican Foreign
Ministry of his intention, because he did not want to "arrive as if he
were a tourist." He reported on his departure to Cuba's ambassador to
Mexico, Pedro Núñez, and his country's representative in Havana, Enrique
Martínez.

This is the first time that the Plaza of the Revolution has prevented a
former Mexican president from entering the country, an event that has
raised a diplomatic dust storm, including a tweet from the Mexican
Foreign Ministry in which he "regrets the decision of the Government of
Cuba not to authorize the visit to Havana of former President Felipe
Calderón."

Calderón recalls that he supported "Oswaldo Payá many years ago without
having met him, by spreading the Varela Project and collecting
signatures in Mexico for him." In those years he saw "with great sadness
how the Cubans involved in the project were persecuted."

The politician evokes with special aggravation the Black Spring of 2003
and his indignation to learn that 75 dissidents had been arrested and
sentenced to long prison terms under the so-called Gag Law.

In one of his previous visits to the island, Calderón asked President
Raúl Castro to let him speak with Oswaldo Payá, leader of the Christian
Liberation Movement (MCL). However, "the Cuban government always
resisted," he recalls. He believes that the "diplomatic complications
obstructed" this longed-for encounter.

"I ask the Cuban government to rectify this absurdity," said the former
president, who maintains his idea of ​​meeting "with Oswaldo's family"
whom he admired for being "an example of congruence, civility and love
of neighbor."

The former Chilean foreign minister Mariana Aylwin experienced a similar
situation on Wednesday when she was prevented from boarding a flight
from her country to participate in the ceremony where a posthumous
recognition will be made to her father, Patricio Aylwin, the first
president under democracy in Chile after the dictatorship of Augusto
Pinochet.

The Chilean Foreign Ministry said that the government "will make the
Cuban authorities aware of their displeasure at this action" because the
purpose of Mariana Aylwin's trip "was to receive from a civic
organization the testimony of recognition of her father… The exercise of
this right should not be impeded, especially when in Chile there have
been various acknowledgments of Cuban historical and political figures."

According to Rosa María Payá, Uruguayan Luis Almagro, Secretary General
of the Organization of American States (OAS), has confirmed his presence
at the event today to receive the Freedom and Life Award for his
"outstanding performance in defense of democracy," although he has not
made a statement on the matter.

The award ceremony, which is due to be held on Wednesday, is being led
by the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy, an organization
headed by Rosa María Payá, daughter of the late dissident.

Nationally, the government also prevented independent journalists Sol
García Basulto and Henry Constantin from Camagüey from traveling to
Havana, where they planned to fly to attend the award ceremony. The
Inter American Press Association (IAPA), of which Constantin is regional
vice president for Cuba, issued a protest statement demanding the
release of the reporter, who until yesterday remained detained.

Source: Felipe Calderón: "I Ask The Cuban Government To Rectify This
Absurdity" / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/felipe-calderon-i-ask-the-cuban-government-to-rectify-this-absurdity-14ymedio/ Continue reading
14ymedio/EFE, Havana, 22 February 2017 — The presentation of the Oswaldo Payá “Freedom and Life” Prize has led to a diplomatic conflict, after the Cuban government vetoed the entry into the country of three of the guests: OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, Former Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and Mariana Aylwin. Almagro, Calderón and Chilean delegate Mariana … Continue reading "Oswaldo Payá Award Ceremony Is Absent The Winners / 14ymedio, EFE" Continue reading
… from a dissident group in Havana. The socialist government also denied … mount in Havana an open and serious provocation against the Cuban government … nation's sovereignty, the Cuban government decided to deny foreign … and attacked Cuba since the 1959 revolution that brought the Cuban Communist … Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 22 February 2017 — Just five years ago, Mexican President Felipe Calderón was greeted warmly in Havana during an official visit. However, this week the now former president was denied entry to the island to participate in the Oswaldo Payá “Freedom and Life” awards to be held this Wednesday. “I deeply regret not being able … Continue reading "Felipe Calderón: “I Ask The Cuban Government To Rectify This Absurdity” / 14ymedio" Continue reading
… and diplomats, crowded into the Havana home of the dissident… Venezuela's leftist government, Cuba's closest ally. play … Maria Paya, daughter of late Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, who organized … , offers a press conference in Havana on February 22, 2017 (AFP … Continue reading
… and diplomats, crowded into the Havana home of the dissident… Cuba for the event. Almagro said earlier in Washington that the Cuban … , Cuba's closest ally. Rosa Maria Paya, daughter of late Cuban … , offers a press conference in Havana on February 22, 2017 Yamil … Continue reading
OAS chief denied visa to visit Cuba
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | 10:38 AM

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Cuban authorities have denied a visa
to the head of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, to
travel to the communist-ruled island to receive a prize from a dissident
organisation, he said Wednesday.

Almagro had been invited to receive a prize named for dissident Oswaldo
Paya, who died in 2012 in a car crash under mysterious circumstances.

"My request for a visa for the official OAS passport was denied by the
Cuban consulate in Washington," Almagro said in a letter to Paya's
daughter Rosa Maria, who organised the ceremony to confer the prize.

Almagro said he was informed by Cuban consular authorities that he would
be denied a visa even if he travelled on his Uruguayan diplomatic passport.

The Cubans conveyed to a representative of Almagro that they regarded
the motive of his visit an "unacceptable provocation," and expressed
"astonishment" at the OAS's involvement in what they deemed anti-Cuban
activities, he said.

Almagro said he asked that the decision be reversed, arguing that his
trip to Cuba was no different from events he had participated in other
countries of the region.

Two other political figures who wanted to travel to Cuba for the award
ceremony — Mexico's former president Felipe Calderon and former Chilean
education minister Mariana Aylwin — said they also had been denied visas.

Cuba was suspended from the OAS in 1962 at the height of the Cold War,
and has declined to return despite having been readmitted in 2009.

Since Cuba's suspension, the only OAS secretary general to visit the
island was Jose Miguel Insulza, a Chilean who attended a Latin American
summit in Havana in 2014.

Source: OAS chief denied visa to visit Cuba - News - JamaicaObserver.com
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/OAS-chief-denied-visa-to-visit-Cuba Continue reading
Cuba blocks Chilean, Mexican former officials from entry

Cuba stoked tensions across Latin America on Tuesday by blocking a
former Chilean minister and one of Mexico's ex-presidents from traveling
to the island to attend an award ceremony hosted by political dissidents.

Chile said it was recalling its ambassador to Cuba for consultation and
asking the Cuban government why Mariana Aylwin, a former education
minister and daughter of an ex-president, was blocked from entering Cuba
on Monday night.

Aylwin was traveling to the island to receive a prize on behalf of her
father. The event, planned for Wednesday, was organized by the Latin
American Network of Youth for Democracy, a group opposed to the
Communist government.

Cuba opposes anything that legitimizes dissidents, which it claims are
funded by U.S. interests. The government is bracing for a tougher U.S.
approach to the island under President Donald Trump.

"Exercising the right (to travel between nations) should not be
interfered with, especially given that Chile has recognized the feats of
various figures in Cuban history and politics," Chile's Foreign
Relations Ministry said in a statement.

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon tweeted on Tuesday that Cuban
immigration prevented him from boarding a flight from Mexico City to
Havana to attend the same meeting.

Aylwin was prevented from checking in to her flight in Chile's capital,
Santiago, apparently at the request of the Cuban authorities, she told
journalists on Tuesday.

Calderon, from Mexico's conservative National Action Party, ruled Mexico
from 2006 to 2012 and improved relations with Cuba, which had been
severely tested by his predecessor.

Mexico's foreign ministry said on its Twitter account that it
"regretted" Cuba's decision to block Calderon's entry.

The group, known as JuventudLAC, has also invited Luis Almagro, the head
of the Organization of American States, which suspended Cuba in 1962 for
being Communist. It agreed in 2009 to lift the ruling, but Cuba declined
to rejoin the Washington-based group, which it deems an instrument of
its former Cold War foe the United States.

"The behavior of the Cuban government is deeply gross, vulgar and rude,"
Rosa Maria Paya, the group's leader and daughter of dissident Oswaldo
Paya, who died in 2012, told Chilean media.

"We have all received information that (invited guests) are receiving
pressure from the Cuban government."

Mariana Aylwin is seen as an ideological leader of the most conservative
segment of Chile's center-left ruling coalition. Her father was Chile's
first democratically elected president after the 1973 to 1990
dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

(Reporting by Gram Slattery in Santiago; Additional reporting by Sarah
Marsh in Havana; Editing by James Dalgleish and Richard Chang)

Source: Cuba blocks Chilean, Mexican former officials from entry |
Reuters - http://www.reuters.com/article/us-chile-cuba-idUSKBN1602IB Continue reading
Cuba's Ladies In White Report 50 Arrests This Sunday / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 19 February 2017 — Some fifty Ladies in White were
detained this Sunday on the Island, according to members of that
dissident organization.

Former political prisoner and regime opponent Angel Moya told 14ymedio
by phone that Berta Soler had been arrested by members of a State
Security operation and the police surrounding her Lawton house. The
incident happened shortly after three in the afternoon on Sunday, when
Soler left the movement's site in the company of the Lady in White
Danaysi Munoz.

Moya added that in Havana the Ladies in White Yordanka Santana and Norma
Cruz were "abandoned to their fate*" on the ExpoCuba and Cotorro
highways respectively, after being released. According to the same
source, as of 6:00 in the evening 23 Ladies in White had been arrested
in the capital, although that number could be increased by some "who
still haven't called in."

Moya also reported on a Lady in White detained in Bayamo and eight in
Palma Soriano, while in Matanzas there were 22. In that locality Leticia
Ramos and Marisol Fernandez were arrested twice in a single day and he
said that the whereabouts of both women was still unknown.

The opponent also reported that from the province of Ciego te Avila
Lucia Lopez complained that she was "beaten at the time of her arrest"
by State Security agents and "stripped of her blouse and bra before
being released," in a "clear act of indignity," said Moya.

Meanwhile, Iván Hernández Carrillo reported from his Twitter account of
the arrest in the city of Cárdenas of Odalis Hernandez, Hortensia
Alfonso, Cira de la Vega and Mercedes de la Guardia. Likewise, from
Columbus the activist denounced the arrest of his mother Asunción
Carrillo and Caridad Burunate when they were on their way to the church.

At two o'clock on Sunday afternoon, minutes before being detained, the
leader of the Ladies in White women's movement, Berta Soler, informed
the media that there were already more than twenty detained in Havana to
"prevent them from reaching the site." She mentioned that two of them
were "released on the road to Pinar del Rio*," despite living in the
capital. "Since last Wednesday morning there has been a constant [State
Security and Police] operation outside," the organization's headquarters.

She also mentioned the particular case of Berta Lucrecia Martínez, who
was detained at noon hours after a solo protest in Calabazar
Park. According to the information that Soler has received, the activist
stood for "more than 35 minutes" with a poster regarding Human Rights
and shouting anti-government slogans.

Lucrecia Martinez is one of the Ladies in White who has repeatedly been
prevented from attending Sunday Mass or reaching the headquarters of his
organization. Until the moment of not knowing the place to where it was
led by the police patrol that stopped it.

Calabazar park is a very busy wifi area. As reported to this newspaper
by the activist Agustín López Canino, many people "filmed and
photographed the moment of protest."

Last year, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National
Reconciliation (CCDHRN) documented a total of 9,940 arbitrary
detentions, a figure that "places the Government of Cuba in first place
in all of Latin America" ​​at the head of such arrests, according to a
report by the independent organization.

*Translator's note: Cuban police/State Security often arrest dissidents
and drive them a long way outside the city where they are arrested and
then put them out of the car in the "middle of nowhere," to find their
own way home.

Source: Cuba's Ladies In White Report 50 Arrests This Sunday / 14ymedio
– Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cubas-ladies-in-white-report-50-arrests-this-sunday-14ymedio/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 19 February 2017 — Some fifty Ladies in White were detained this Sunday on the Island, according to members of that dissident organization. Former political prisoner and regime opponent Angel Moya told 14ymedio by phone that Berta Soler had been arrested by members of a State Security operation and the police surrounding her Lawton … Continue reading "Cuba’s Ladies In White Report 50 Arrests This Sunday / 14ymedio" Continue reading
Official Journalism in Cuba: Empty Nutshells
February 14, 2017
By Vicente Morin Aguado

HAVANA TIMES — On February 7th, the Cuban Communist Party's (PCC) press
published several articles about the reporting behavior of young people
belonging to the government's journalism sector. Before that, on January
20th, a comment made by Yeilen Delgado Calvo in Juventud Rebelde under
the heading "I declare myself a dissident" caught a lot of attention.
It's clear why the aged leadership is concerned with the behavior of
their inevitable successors.

Basically, the cited journalist is referring to a friend, annoyed
because after criticizing problems which were never specified in a
direct and clear manner, he was called a dissident. His response, always
using the same lingo and characteristic allegories of the Cuban
"communist" press, can be summarized as the following:

"I know he is a dissident of many things: of wrong-doings, sloppiness,
conformity, people who talk a lot about the Homeland but don't hold this
within their hearts."

"The question isn't about being a dissident, but in what being a
dissident means."

"We have let ourselves get carried away with the word "dissident" by
those who know very little about principles and patriotism. A dissident
is somebody who dissents, to dissent is to separate yourself from the
mainstream doctrine, belief or behavior."

"I am a dissident of stagnation, of demagogy, of complacent people, as
well as of hypocrites, of those who hide information, of empty speeches,
of a lack of effort, of scarce commitment, of inertia…"

What do you make of that sentence? It's hard not to be in favor of this
in theory, but as Marx and Lenin hammered home hard, the issue has to be
resolved in practice, the criterion of truth.

That's why Jesus Arencibia Lorenzo's review about an intervention made
before February 7th, where renowned reporters from Latin America's
left-wing press attended, Stella Calloni and Alberto Salcedo Ramos, was
surprising. The former was an Argentinian, too closely linked to the
Cuban government to say anything interesting. That wasn't the case with
the Colombian though who ended up moving away from what Yeilen labeled
"common doctrine, belief or behavior", talking about his and our country."

Among other things, repeated by Arencibia Lorenzo in Juventud Rebelde on
February 7th, Salcedo said:

"I'm a journalist because I like to listen and tell stories. Because I
like to know what is going on beyond my nose. Because it's extremely
hard for me to keep quiet. Because I like to leave memories behind, a
testimony which can help us understand what we're like, where we come
from, why we are the way we are."

"I believe that this profession has been wasting a lot of time trying to
make affirmations. It's always seemed very suspicious to me that
philosophers doubt and journalists affirm."

"I like journalists who go out looking for the truth, but I don't trust
those who believe they have found it."

"It's about writing stories, chronicles, articles, to place the news
within a context, within a reason of why it's happening, that goes
beyond the basic facts."

Dealing with the country's current reality, it can be concluded: no
philosophical truths which have been placed in doubt for some time now,
zero phrasing and a lot of concrete, raw reality, just like we are
living it.

The Colombian journalist, used to risking his life in an extreme
country, ended by saying: "And I believe that no tricks, from any
ideology, are good."

It seems that there is a call for dissidence within the PCC press, but
those who really practice this aren't rubbing their hands together just
yet because in Cuba, from time to time, a lot of noise is made but
that's all it is, noise.

It is simply needed to cool the pressure cooker because real dissidents
within the world of Cuban information are increasing everyday, including
irreverent young people who are working for government media, some of
whom are made an example of and punished for their daring behavior.

For now, signing off this present article, I will also take what was
written in Juventud Rebelde as my own: I also declare myself a dissident.

Vicente Morin Aguado: ememultiplicada@nauta.cu

Source: Official Journalism in Cuba: Empty Nutshells - Havana Times.org
- http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=123647 Continue reading
Amnesty International Calls For Release Of Cuban Opponent Eduardo Cardet
/ EFE, 14ymedio

EFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 1 Februday 2017 — The global
organization Amnesty International on Tuesday called for the "immediate
and unconditional" release of Cuban dissident Eduardo Cardet, who has
been detained for two months accused of the crime of assault.

Amnesty International believes that Cardet, the national coordinator of
the illegal Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), is a prisoner of
conscience who is imprisoned "solely for the peaceful exercise of his
right to freedom of expression," according to a statement EFE had access to.

He also says that Cardet was violently arrested when he returned from
visiting his mother on November 30, five days after Fidel Castro's
death, and since then has been held in a prison in the eastern province
of Holguin.

Cardet, according to his wife, Yaimaris Vecino, cited by Amnesty
International, is accused of attacking an agent of the authority, so
that the prosecution could seek a three-year prison sentence.

In the middle of this month, Amnesty International also called for the
release of Cuban dissident graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, known as El
Sexto (The Sixth), also considered a prisoner of conscience who was
imprisoned without trial in the high security Combinado del Este in Havana.

El Sexto was released without charge on January 21 after spending nearly
two months in prison for having written the phrase "He's gone" on a wall
of the Habana Libre hotel in the capital on November 26, 2016, after the
death of Fidel Castro.

Source: Amnesty International Calls For Release Of Cuban Opponent
Eduardo Cardet / EFE, 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/amnesty-international-calls-for-release-of-cuban-opponent-eduardo-cardet-efe-14ymedio/ Continue reading
EFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 1 Februday 2017 — The global organization Amnesty International on Tuesday called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of Cuban dissident Eduardo Cardet, who has been detained for two months accused of the crime of assault. Amnesty International believes that Cardet, the national coordinator of the illegal Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), is a prisoner of … Continue reading "Amnesty International Calls For Release Of Cuban Opponent Eduardo Cardet / EFE, 14ymedio" Continue reading
URGENT ACTION
DEMAND RELEASE OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER

Five days after Fidel Castro's death, human rights defender Eduardo
Cardet was detained and has since been held in provisional detention in
Holguín, south-east Cuba.
He is a prisoner of conscience who must be released immediately and
unconditionally.

Dr. Eduardo Cardet Concepción, leader of the Christian Liberation
Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación,
MCL) since 2014 was arrested in Holguín on 30 November 2016, five days
after the death of the former leader of
Cuba, Fidel Castro. Eduardo Cardet has spent two months in the
provisional prison (prisión provisional) of Holguín.
He has been refused bail on three occasions, according to his wife.
According to five witnesses who spoke to Amnesty International by
telephone on the condition of anonymity,
Eduardo Cardet was pushed off his bicycle and violently detained in the
early evening of 30 November by at least
four plain clothed and one uniformed police officer as he returned home
after visiting his mother. It is not clear on
what grounds Eduardo Cardet was initially detained. According to his
wife, who witnessed her husband's detention
with their two children, Eduardo Cardet is charged with attacking an
official of the state (atentado). This offence is
covered under Article 142.1 of the Criminal Code. One officer is
alleging that Eduardo Cardet pushed him during
his arrest. All witnesses who spoke with Amnesty International counter
this allegation, and state that Eduardo
Cardet was quickly and violently restrained by plain clothed officials,
placed in handcuffs, and beaten, and had no
opportunity for self-defence. The witnesses believe that Eduardo Cardet
was arrested for his beliefs and ideas.
Prior to his arrest, Eduardo Cardet had given interviews published in
international media in which he had been
critical of the Cuban government. In an interview with Madrid-based
radio station esRadio, aired two days before
his arrest, he described the mourning in Cuba following the death of
Fidel Castro as imposed, and said: "Castro
was a very controversial man, very much hated and rejected by our
people". According to the MCL's website,
Eduardo Cardet's lawyer informed the family on 27 January that the
Public Prosecutor is seeking three years of
prison.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
- Calling on the authorities to release Dr. Eduardo Cardet immediately
and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of
conscience, imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to
freedom of expression;
- Calling on them to guarantee the peaceful right to freedom of
expression, assembly and association including
for dissident, opponent or activist voices and to repeal all legislation
which unduly limits these rights;
- Urging them to ensure that, pending his release, he is provided with
any medical care he may require; that he is
not tortured or otherwise ill-treated; and that he is granted regular
access to family and lawyers of his choosing.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 14 MARCH 2017 TO:
President of the Republic
Raúl Castro Ruz
Presidente de la República de Cuba
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: +41 22 758 9431 (Cuba Office in
Geneva); +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban
Mission to UN)
Email: cuba@un.int (c/o Cuban Mission
to UN)
Salutation: Your Excellency
Attorney General
Dr. Darío Delgado Cura
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General de la República
Amistad 552, e/Monte y Estrella
Centro Habana, La Habana, Cuba
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/
Señor Fiscal General
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr25/5601/2017/en/ Continue reading
Jose Marti's Birthday Is Marked By House Arrests / 14ymedio

14ymedio, 28 January 2017 – On the 164th anniversary of the birth of
José Martí, the day was marked by house arrests of several activists and
the arrest of the regime opponent Manuel Cuesta Morúa. The most intense
operation has been against those involved in a global action to demand
the release of political prisoners and demand access to the internet.

The initiative is promoted with the slogan "Occupy Your WiFi Point,"
urging Cubans to use the wireless internet connection areas as spaces to
claim greater freedoms. One of the main promoters of the campaign,
scientist Oscar Casanella, was warned by the police early in the day
that they would not let him leave his house.

Opposition leader Manuel Cuesta Morúa, a member of the Democratic Action
Roundtable (MUAD), was arrested on Saturday afternoon outside the home
of an activist from the organization at Neptuno and San Francisco, in
Central Havana, as reported to this newspaper by Ileana Hernandez
program director Lens Cubano .

Hernandez said that the arrest occurred around 4:30 in the afternoon
when Cuesta Morúa interceded for her before two men in civilian clothes
who were preventing her from accessing the house of dissident Aída
Valdés Santana, a member of MUAD.

"They threw him on the ground and called a police patrol to take him
away," Hernandez says.

"It was not political at all what was going to happen here, we were just
going to eat," says the activist.

A witness later spotted Cuesta Morúa when he was transferred to the
police car on San Lázaro Avenue. This newspaper called the official
telephone number where Cubans can inquire about people arrested, but was
told that Cuesta Morua is not registered.

The leader of the Somos+ (We Are More) Movement, Eliécer Ávila,
denounced that fact that as of Saturday morning three members of State
Security had warned him that they would not allow him to leave his
house. "They have been been in the hallway to the outside to prevent us
from going to the street," the activist said.

"They told me that although they had no confirmation that there was
going to be a public event, they were here for safety," Ávila
explains. Officers told him that this January 28 was "a very important
day for the Revolution" and they would not allow "provocations."

A similar situation was experienced by Luis Alberto Mariño, known as
Tito, a member of the initiative Cuba Decides and one of the most
visible faces of the call for civic action this January 28.

"Yesterday an officer came to warn me that I could not go out, and he is
now out there and says if I go out he will arrest me," he told 14ymedio.

Activist Lia Villares also reported that "two state security agents on a
motorcycle" visited her to threaten her and they remained "on guard" to
prevent her from leaving her home in Vedado.

From Matanzas the ex-prisioner of the Black Spring, Iván Hernández
Carrillo, reported the arrest of regime opponents Sayli Navarro, Félix
Navarro and Francisco Rangel, who also participated in the campaign.

In Palmarito del Cauto the coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba
(Unpacu), Jorge Cervantes García, was arrested according to a report in
the Twitter account of the dissident Carlos Amel Oliva.

Last year, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National
Reconciliation (CCDHRN) documented a total of 9,940 arbitrary arrests
throughout the country. A figure that "puts the Government of Cuba in
first place in all of Latin America," said the report of the independent
organization.

Source: Jose Marti's Birthday Is Marked By House Arrests / 14ymedio –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/jose-martis-birthday-is-marked-by-house-arrests-14ymedio/ Continue reading
14ymedio, 28 January 2017 – On the 164th anniversary of the birth of José Martí, the day was marked by house arrests of several activists and the arrest of the regime opponent Manuel Cuesta Morúa. The most intense operation has been against those involved in a global action to demand the release of political prisoners and … Continue reading "Jose Marti’s Birthday Is Marked By House Arrests / 14ymedio" Continue reading
Former Political Prisoner Arturo Pérez De Alejo Dies / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Miami, 25 January 2017 — The former political prisoner Arturo
Perez de Alejo, who was part of the Group of 75, died Wednesday in Miami
at 66, as reported by MartíNoticias .

Pérez Alejo was born in Manicaragua, in the then province of Las Villas,
on 23 May 1951 to a peasant family.

During the nineties, in the middle of the Special Period, he began his
dissident activity. He participated actively in the Democratic Action
Movement, the Nationalist Action Party and the Independent Democratic Front.

In addition, he founded the Escambray Independent Organization For The
Defense Of Human Rights, of which he held the presidency, and he was
noted for his dissemination of the Varela Project, a civic initiative
promoted by the late Oswaldo Payá to demand more liberties in the island.

In 2003 he was imprisoned in the 2003 repressive wave known as the Black
Spring. He was imprisoned for five years, and the conditions of his
imprisonment greatly undermined his health.

During his imprisonment he was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by
Amnesty International. In June 2010, through the efforts of the Catholic
Church, he was released and exiled to Spain.

He later moved to Miami, where he resided until his death. He spent his
last years closely linked to the work of organizations of the Cuban exile.

Source: Former Political Prisoner Arturo Pérez De Alejo Dies / 14ymedio
– Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/former-political-prisoner-arturo-perez-de-alejo-dies-14ymedio/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Miami, 25 January 2017 — The former political prisoner Arturo Perez de Alejo, who was part of the Group of 75, died Wednesday in Miami at 66, as reported by MartíNoticias . Pérez Alejo was born in Manicaragua, in the then province of Las Villas, on 23 May 1951 to a peasant family. During the nineties, … Continue reading "Former Political Prisoner Arturo Pérez De Alejo Dies / 14ymedio" Continue reading