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Freedom

This year marks the 55th anniversary of Cuba's current government and July 26 commemorated the 61st anniversary of the revolution which swept it into power. After coming to power, the Castro government Continue reading
July 27 - Solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and self-determination has long been strong among Latin Americans. With many having lived decades under rightist regimes, Continue reading
Cuba: HRF asks U.N. to inquire into attack on journalist
[30-07-2014 11:13:48]
The Human Rights Foundation,

(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- NEW YORK. —The Human Rights Foundation
(HRF) has submitted a petition to the United Nations Special Rapporteur
on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and
expression (U.N. Special Rapporteur), requesting that he send an urgent
appeal to the government of Cuba regarding the brutal assault of Cuban
journalist Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez on June 11, 2014, and the
repeated threats on his life. Guerra, who is the founder and director of
the independent news agency Centro de Información Hablemos Press
(CIHPRESS) in Cuba, was attacked solely for exercising his right to
freedom of opinion and expression.
"In Cuba, there is a widespread pattern of repression, persecution, and
imprisonment of journalists who represent an alternative to the media
monopoly of the dictatorship, which is mainly devoted to government
propaganda. The case of Roberto Guerra is emblematic of these types of
systematic human rights violations," said Sarah Wasserman, COO of HRF.
"For years, Guerra and the journalists at Hablemos Press have bravely
reported on these abuses, either through their modest website or by
distributing press releases they manage to print in the most rudimentary
form," said Wasserman.

HRF's petition includes an account of the attack on Guerra, points to
strong indications that the attack was ordered by Cuban government
agents, and documents the latest threats against other journalists at
CIHPRESS, including Guerra's wife. The petition calls on the U.N.
Special Rapporteur to request that the government of Cuba "adopt
immediate measures to protect the right to life, security and physical
integrity of Roberto Guerra and that of his family." It also asks the
rapporteur to request the government of Cuba "to take all necessary
measures to ensure the cessation of physical and verbal attacks on
Guerra, as well as to offer assurances and guarantees of non-repetition
with regards to these attacks."

"These journalists have committed the ultimate offense in a totalitarian
state, which is to dare to report on facts that the Cuban dictatorship
has tried to hide for years. Those are, to name a few, the dreadful
state of public healthcare and education, the arbitrary arrests of
peaceful dissidents, malnutrition, lack of food safety, and the
continuous outbreaks of cholera and other diseases," said Wasserman.
"These reports are deadly blows for a Latin American dictatorship that
has historically excelled in its ability to sell myths, like the ones
that praise Cuba for its 'excellent' public healthcare," said Wasserman.

Retaliation against independent journalists is a common occurrence in a
country that ranks only "behind Iran and China as one of the world's
biggest prisons for the media." In 2012, in the infamous case of Calixto
Ramón Martínez Arias, the Cuban government arrested and imprisoned a
CIHPRESS journalist for seven months for reporting on the existence of a
cholera and dengue outbreak that the government attempted to conceal.

"The Cuban regime is required to comply with the rule of general
international law that establishes the obligation of 'cessation and
non-repetition' of acts or omissions that constitute internationally
wrongful acts. This means that Cuba must guarantee that attacks against
Guerra stop, and ensure that they never happen again," said Javier
El-Hage, HRF's general counsel. "Cuba may not be a state party to the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but as a member of
the U.N., it can be held accountable for violations to the right of
freedom of expression of its citizens. This right is enshrined in
article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a binding
instrument of customary international law signed by Cuba in 1948," said
El-Hage.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit
organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a
focus on closed societies. We believe that all human beings are entitled
to freedom of self-determination, freedom from tyranny, the rights to
speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and
enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded
equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity
to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF's ideals
likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have
the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from
interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support
nor condone violence. HRF's International Council includes human rights
advocates George Ayittey, Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Garry
Kasparov, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.

Contact: Jamie Hancock, (212) 246-8486, jamie@thehrf.org

Source: Cuba: HRF asks U.N. to inquire into attack on journalist -
Misceláneas de Cuba -
http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/Article/Index/53d8b74c3a682e0bfc5062ea#.U9kBgPmSwx4 Continue reading
The Latell Report
[30-07-2014 08:58:45]
Cuba Transition Project

(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- The Latell Report analyzes Cuba's
contemporary domestic and foreign policy, and is published periodically.
It is distributed by the electronic information service of the Cuba
Transition Project (CTP) at the University of Miami's Institute for
Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS).

More About Cuban Spy Ana Montes

For sixteen years Ana Belen Montes spied for Cuba from increasingly
responsible positions at the Defense Intelligence Agency. If Havana has
ever run a higher level or more valuable agent inside the American
defense establishment that has never been revealed.

When she was arrested in late September 2001, Montes was about the
equivalent in rank to a colonel. She had access to sensitive
compartmented intelligence. Strangely, for one so openly enamored of
Fidel Castro, her superiors considered her one of the best Cuba analysts
anywhere in government.

Despite the importance of her case, some of the most tantalizing
questions about her spying have never been publicly answered. Could the
calamity of her treason have been avoided? What was learned about Cuban
intelligence tradecraft? How was she discovered? And, of enduring
concern, did she work with other American spies thus far undetected or
not prosecuted?

Thanks to researcher Jeffrey Richelson and the National Security Archive
new light has finally been shed on the Montes case. Because of their
efforts, a 180 page study completed by the Department of Defense
Inspector General in 2005 has recently been declassified. It is heavily
redacted; many pages–including the CIA's extensive comments—blacked out.
Yet, a quantity of surprising new details are now on the public record.

Montes's decision to spy for Cuba was "coolly deliberate." Enticed by a
Cuban access agent in Washington, they traveled together to New York in
December 1984. Montes met with intelligence officers posted under cover
at the Cuban mission to the United Nations.

She "unhesitatingly agreed" to work with them and to travel to Cuba
clandestinely as soon as possible. The following March she went there
via Spain and Czechoslovakia. The Pentagon report does not state the
obvious: while there she must have received specialized training in
intelligence tradecraft.

Then, with Cuban encouragement, she applied for a job at DIA. A standard
background investigation was conducted, but we now know that serious
concerns about her suitability were raised. Without elaboration, the
Pentagon report indicates that they included "falsification of her
Master of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins (University) and her
trustworthiness." DIA did not require applicants to submit to a
pre-employment polygraph exam. So, a trained Cuban espionage agent with
a problematic past was cleared and hired. She began work in September 1985.

After her arrest Montes insisted that she did not work for Cuba, but
with Cuban officials she enormously respected. They felt "mutual respect
and understanding;" they "were comrades in the struggle." She believed
that the Castro government "does not hurt people" and that she had the
"moral right" to provide information to Cuba.

Her handlers apparently were skilled in manipulating and controlling
her. She said they were "thoughtful, sensitive to her needs, very good
to me." They went to "special lengths to assure her they had complete
confidence in her." They allowed her a long, loose leash, easier because
they were not paying for her extraordinary services.

Initially in New York, and later at her request in the Washington area,
she met with her handlers as often as once every two or three weeks,
usually on weekends. Everything about her second covert trip to Cuba is
redacted in the Pentagon report. Perhaps it was for training in
polygraph countermeasures, because, according to the report, she later
"encounters and beats the polygraph."

In 1991 Montes underwent a seemingly routine security reinvestigation.
She was asked about foreign travel, and lied. Questioned about
inaccuracies in her original application for employment, she confessed
that she had misrepresented an incident in her past. Feigning innocence,
Montes claimed that she "did not understand the seriousness of being
truthful and honest at the time."

Her questionable case was then reviewed at a higher level. The
adjudicator reported that "while Montes seemed to have a tendency 'to
twist the truth' to her own needs and her honesty was still a cause of
concern, adverse security action was unlikely." Again, she had slipped
through. Her high level clearances were recertified.

Brazenly, she submitted a freedom of information request for her own
government records. She must have been concerned that something adverse
had been discovered. Investigative material was released, going back to
her previous employment at the Department of Justice. She gave the
surprised Cubans copies of the released documents.

None of this seems to have contributed to her eventual unmasking. But
how was she discovered? Surprisingly revealing information seeps through
the Pentagon's report. "We got lucky," a counterintelligence official
observed. An entirely blacked-out section entitled "Serendipity"
suggests the same.

By April 1998 a coordinated search for a Cuban spy was underway,
according to the report. At first it was thought most likely the quarry
was a CIA employee. But soon investigators were following a crucial
clue: the unknown spy had apparently traveled to the Guantanamo naval base.

The breakthrough had seemingly come earlier, however. According to the
Pentagon report, Montes was informed shortly after her arrest that
investigators "had information from a senior official in the Cuban
intelligence service concerning a Cuban penetration agent that
implicated Montes." It seems that this information propelled the
investigation that resulted in Montes's arrest and incarceration.

Did she work with other American spies? The report is ambiguous; it
states that after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 pressure
rose to arrest Montes. The FBI preferred to wait, however, in order "to
monitor Montes's activities with the prospect that she may have
eventually led the FBI to others in the Cuban spy network."

Was this judgment the result of careless drafting and editing? Or did
government censors let a critical bit of information slip through? If
there was evidence of a larger Cuban spy apparatus operating at that
time it may be a long time before more is known.

It is clear now, however, that Montes's apprehension was not just the
result of excellent intelligence work. American prosecutors were lucky.
She told investigators after her arrest that a week earlier she had
learned that she was under surveillance. She could have decided then to
flee to Cuba, but said delphically that "she couldn't give up on the
people (she) was helping." She is serving a 25 year prison sentence.

_____________________________

Brian Latell is the author of Castro's Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, the
CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy (Palgrave Macmillan,
2013). A former National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, he is
now a senior research associate at the Institute for Cuban &
Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami.

Source: The Latell Report - Misceláneas de Cuba -
http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/Article/Index/53d8cfe53a682e11b09c79ea#.U9kBmPmSwx4 Continue reading
Photos by Karli Evans The Freedom Tower in downtown Miami deserves to become the global symbol of our fair city. Its history mirrors that of Miami itself: built during the real estate bubble of the 1920s, Continue reading
By Juan O. Tamayo el Nuevo Herald Cuban government restrictions on religion remain severe although they have been eased on several fronts over the past year, according to the U.S. State Department's annual Continue reading
A U.S. State Department report says religious leaders admit they censor themselves when they preach. Continue reading
Cuban government restrictions on religion remain severe although they have been eased on several fronts over the past year, according to the U.S. State Department's annual report on freedom of religion Continue reading
A 1964 Cuba passport. A pair of shoes a woman wore when she arrived at the Freedom Tower for processing fresh from her 1966 Freedom Flight from Cuba. An original ration card given to refugees at the tower Continue reading
New Measures by Cuban Customs Service Coming in September / Ivan Garcia
Posted on July 23, 2014

On September 1, 2014 the Customs Service of the Republic of Cuba will
begin enforcing new regulations intended to combat illegal trafficking
of merchandise by relatives, friends and "mules"* through airports and
port facilities.

It's one more turn of the screw. Every year since 2011 new regulations
have been put in place designed to halt the illegal importation of goods
destined for families and private businesses on the island.
In Spring 2012 the customs service began charging ten dollars for every
kilo above the twenty-kilo limit for personal baggage. For parcel post
the charge was ten dollars per kilo above the five-kilo limit.

According to Onelia, a customs official, "The new measures are intended
to halt the trade in goods brought in by mules."

The military regime quite often resorts to demagogic rhetoric. It
eschews the military uniform and takes on the role of victim when
talking about the economic and financial embargo that the United States
has imposed on Cuba since 1962.

But the embargo does not justify establishing a string of regulations
that affect family well-being, private businesses and the quality of
life for a wide segment of the population.

Simply put, they are applying a set of prohibitions and laws in order
increase sales in the chain of hard-currency stores operated as military
businesses. It is a disgrace.
It is monopoly in its purest form. The government would now find itself
hard pressed to explain how these measures are benefitting its citizens.
Its aberrant customs rules, prohibitions on retail sales of imported
clothing and high taxes on the self-employed are anti-populist edicts.

I asked twenty-eight people — friends, neighbors, taxi drivers, public
and private sector workers — if they approved of these regulations.
Regardless of their political beliefs, the verdict was unanimous: all
twenty-eight were opposed to the current measures as well as to those
scheduled to take effect on September 1.

Some 80% of Cubans have a relative or friend in the United States or
Europe. Some benefit from regular shipments of clothes, food,
appliances, video games, computer tablets or smart phones. Others
receive occasional shipments.

But it is black market commerce, driven scarcity and a system of
economic production that does not satisfy demand, the most important
provider of the things people need.

HP laptops, plasma-screen TVs, instant soups and even major league
baseball hats arrive on the island from Miami, as do Russian car parts
and cloned satellite TV cards, which are banned by the Cuban government.
What businessmen, politicians and exiles living in the United States do
not mention when expressing support for relaxing or repealing the
embargo is the regime's obsession with controlling our private lives.

We must navigate an internet packed with filters, watch TV channels that
the government authorizes, read books over which the mullahs of
censorship pass judgment and pay extortionist prices for cell phone service.

We should be talking more often about the internal blockade the
government imposes on its citizens.

Is it legal for a nation to stifle illegal commerce? Yes, it is. But
before punishing people, it should provide by offering range of products
and prices for the domestic market, living wages and efficient services.

This is not the case in Cuba. State workers earn around twenty dollars a
month. The "basic basket" of goods that a ration book covers barely
lasts ten days. Putting two meals a day on the table is a luxury in many
homes.

The State has become an insatiable overseer. It owns industries that
provide us with overpriced mayonnaise, canned tuna and queso blanco.

At no meeting of the boring and monotonous National Assembly did I hear
any delegate demand that the state set fair prices. Food prices in Cuban
hard currency stores are higher than those in New York.

The price of flat-screen TV or a computer is two and a half times what
it is in Miami. Tiles and bathroom fixtures are five times as expensive.
And a Peugeot 508 sells for an exorbitant price, comparable to that of a
Ferrari.

Thanks to mules, relatives in Florida send us everything from powdered
milk to sanitary pads because the state cannot satisfy the monthly
demand of women or offer such products for sale at affordable prices.

This is what it's about. The new measures attempting to stop trafficking
by mules are intended to benefit state enterprises and businesses, and
to increase their sales, though what becomes of the profits is never
revealed.

They are only hampering the transfer of small ticket items, however, not
of dollars. Greenbacks are still welcome. The more, the merrier.

Before the Obama administration relaxes that relic of the Cold War
called the embargo, those speaking on behalf of the Cuban people should
ask Raul Castro for greater freedom and economic independence for his
citizens.

And don't get me started on the denial of political rights. That's
another story.

Photo: From Univision Colorado.

*Translator's note: Slang term for couriers of goods from overseas.

18 July 2014

Source: New Measures by Cuban Customs Service Coming in September / Ivan
Garcia | Translating Cuba - http://translatingcuba.com/new-measures/ Continue reading
On September 1, 2014 the Customs Service of the Republic of Cuba will begin enforcing new regulations intended to combat illegal trafficking of merchandise by relatives, friends and “mules”* through airports and port facilities. It’s one more turn of the … Continue reading Continue reading
The Political Legacy of Oswaldo Paya / 14ymedio
Posted on July 22, 2014

14YMEDIO, 22 July 2014 – On 22 July 2014, the opposition leader Oswaldo
Payá and the activist Harld Cepero died. Payá led the Christian
Liberation Movement and promoted the Varela Project, which managed to
collect some 25,000 signatures to demand a national referendum. Freedom
of expression, of association, freedom of the press and of business, as
well as free elections, were some of the demands of that document signed
by thousands of Cubans.

Nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize, Payá was one of the most
visible and respected figures of the Cuban opposition. In 2002 the
European Parliament awarded him the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights by
and he was able to tour several countries to offer information about the
situation on the island. He was also an official candidate for the
Prince of Asturias Award and received honorary degrees from Columbia
University and the University of Miami.

Paya's death occurred in the vicinity of the city of Bayamo, while he
was traveling accompanied by the Spaniard Angel Carromero, the Swede
Aron Modig, and his colleague Harold Cepero. The Cuban government
explained the death as the result of a car accident, but his family and
many Cuban activists have maintained their doubts about that version. An
independent investigation into the events of that tragic July 22 has
been requested in various international forums, but Cuban authorities
have not responded to those requests.

On the second anniversary of the death of Oswaldo Payá, we asked
activists who shared his democratic ideals, "What is the greatest legacy
of the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement?"

Guillermo Fariñas, a psychologist and the winner of the European
Parliament's Sakharov Prize

The main legacy left by Oswaldo Payá Sardinas for the Cuban nation,
beyond its geographical boundaries, was that he showed his people and
the world that the Cuban government breaks its own laws. When the Varela
Project submitted almost 25,000 signatures to the People's Assembly on a
citizens' petition for a plebiscite, the Cuban government refused to
hold one and in a crude way changed the Constitution. That in my opinion
was his main contribution: demonstrating that the Cuban government is
beyond anything that could be construed as the Rule of Law and that it
does not even respect its own draconian laws that support Castro's
totalitarian state.

Manuel Cuesta Morúa, promoter of Constitutional Consensus

I see the legacy of Oswaldo Paya in his pioneering activity to
demonstrate that it was possible to generate civic trust towards
democratic change. Even he had many doubts that the public would respond
positively, would commit itself to a proposed change, especially at a
time like the 90s and early 2000s when it was even more difficult for
the civic movement. That's what he sowed, what he left as a legacy,
which demonstrated this as a future possibility for all pro-democracy
activists on the island.

Dagoberto Valdés, director of the digital magazine Convivencia

First we recall our brother Oswaldo Paya with much love and affection
and I would especially emphasize the future, in his legacy, the legacy
he has rendered to all Cubans and so I think of the three gifts he left
us. First, his posture, his civic attitude. He was a citizen who forged
this society and who knew how to awaken a consciousness to fight for
democracy in a peaceful way, and from there came his second
contribution. Oswaldo was a man who fought tirelessly throughout his
life with peaceful methods without being provoked or coming to violence.
Finally—I have to say it—as someone who is also a Christian: he was a
man who understood that religion could not be alienated or be divorced
from the reality in which he lived, and that was why he was deeply
committed as a Christian to work for democracy in Cuba.

Jose Conrado Rodriguez Alegre, Catholic priest

Oswaldo has left us a legacy full of sincerity and honesty; a love
sacrificed for his country and a genuine commitment to the gospel of
Jesus Christ, a gospel embodied in social life, in political life, in
the good of others, everything that has to do with society as such. His
was a radical commitment to the gospel, but at the same time, as it
should be, to every human being. In remembering him, we must pay tribute
to the man he was in every dimension, while we feel the pain of the
brother we lost and we ask God that there be many others like him, men
who can give their lives for others, in silence, in humility, in the
midst of the misunderstandings of men, but certainly with a total
commitment and a quality of life that today illuminates the existence of
those of us still here.

José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU)

There is no doubt that the late Oswaldo Payá left an everlasting
impression. We remember him as a determined and courageous Cuban who,
from an early date, assumed the method of nonviolent struggle with the
intention of bringing Cuba the rights and freedoms that we have lacked
for half a century. The work of the Christian Liberation Movement set a
tone in peaceful actions in favor of the fair, free, democratic and
prosperous Cuba that we all want, this was the side he was on.

The Varela Project, the citizen initiative launched by Oswaldo in which
so many of us became involved full-time, also set a tone in the actions
of the fighters for democracy. Initially, there were more than 11,000
people, in complex and difficult circumstances, circumstances that were
against those who collected signatures and against those who signed that
citizen petition. The fact that for the first time so many Cubans
defended a proposal, putting their names and identity data, supporting
the five points that made up the project, it was a real milestone.

Personally Oswaldo was a great friend with whom I shared both difficult
and happy moments. We are very mindful of that. The Cuba Democratic
Union (UNPACU) will render the homage he deserves on this second
anniversary of his tragic death.

***

Today, from 6:45 PM (Havana time) there will be the premiere of a
documentary about Oswaldo Paya of the Varela Hall of Ermita de la
Caridad in Miami, Florida. The video can also be viewed simultaneously
on www.vocesdecuba.com.

Source: The Political Legacy of Oswaldo Paya / 14ymedio | Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-political-legacy-of-oswaldo-paya-14ymedio/ Continue reading
Posted on Tuesday, 07.22.14

Payá family launches new effort for plebiscite in Cuba
BY NORA GÁMEZ TORRES
NGAMEZTORRES@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM

On the second anniversary of the death of Cuban opposition leader
Oswaldo Payá, his daughter, Rosa María Payá, announced Tuesday that the
Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) he founded is preparing a campaign
to demand a plebiscite on the island's future.

Rosa Maria Payá said that the plebiscite, based on her father's Varela
Project, would include "one single question: Do you want to participate
in free and multi-party elections?"

The Varela Project gathered more than 10,000 signatures on a petition
seeking a new electoral law and demanding the right to freedom of
expression, freedom of the press and freedom of association, among other
measures.

The signatures were rejected by the legislative National Assembly in
2002 but later that year Payá won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of
Conscience, the most prestigious prize awarded by the European Union.

His daughter told El Nuevo Herald on Tuesday that since the Varela
Project remains alive, "it is not necessary to collect more signatures.
More than double the number required already have been handed in, even
though the National Assembly has not responded to the demand.

"But the Varela Project is a citizens' effort. Our intention with this
(new) campaign is to mobilize citizens to demand their rights," she
added. "There can be no transition in Cuba unless first there's a
recognition of civil rights, of freedom of expression, of freedom of
association to carry out the change we want."

The activist added that her family, which now lives in South Florida, is
also preparing a new request to the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights, a branch of the Organization of American States, for an
independent investigation of her father's controversial death.

According to the official version of the Cuban government, Payá and MCL
activist Harold Cepero died when the driver of their vehicle, Angel
Carromero, lost control near the eastern city of Bayamo and crashed into
a tree on July 22, 2012.

Carromero, a member of the youth wing of Spain's Popular Party, was
tried in Cuba and sentenced to four years in prison for vehicular
homicide and is now serving his sentence in Spain, free but under
probation. The other passenger in the car, Jens Aaron Modig, a member of
the youth wing of Sweden's Christian Democratic Party, was allowed to
leave Cuba shortly after the crash.

The Payá family and Carromero have repeatedly insisted that the car
carrying the two Cubans and two Europeans was rammed from behind and
forced off the road by another vehicle that had been following them.

Source: Payá family launches new effort for plebiscite in Cuba - Cuba -
MiamiHerald.com -
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/22/4249586/paya-family-launches-new-effort.html Continue reading
14YMEDIO, 22 July 2014 – On 22 July 2014, the opposition leader Oswaldo Payá and the activist Harld Cepero died. Payá led the Christian Liberation Movement and promoted the Varela Project, which managed to collect some 25,000 signatures to demand … Continue reading Continue reading
How would you feel if you were innocent but still thrown in jail each
Sunday?

As a result of the Ladies in White movement continuing to be a target of
Cuban state authorities, the Czech NGO People in Need would like to
bring greater public attention to two cases of Ladies in White members
who have been forced to contend with constant repression over the last
two years.

Keila Ramos Suarez is 28 years old. She has been detained and assaulted
15 times between March 2013 and April 2014.

Due to the fact that her family doesn't agree with the political
opinions she holds, she has been repressed to an even greater extent.
She has been thrown out of her house and left to live on the street.
Furthermore, her son has been taken away from her by state authorities
on account of her dissident activities. She has regularly been arrested
before the weekly Ladies in White marches held on Sundays or been given
orders that prevent her from participating in the Mass.

Maria Teresa Gracias Rojas is 48 years old. She has been detained and
assaulted 39 times between January 2013 and March 2014.

The state police organized a so called search of her house during which
all of her belongings were destroyed; she was assaulted, and subjected
to acts of repudiation and intimidation. She has been under constant
surveillance, including having a police patrol car permanently parked in
front of her house. She has been prevented from participating in the
Ladies in White marches almost every Sunday during this time span. The
police usually arrest her either just outside of her residence or in
front of the local church. We would like to stress the gravity of the
fact that she happened to be assaulted directly by the priest as well.
Her situation has been made all the more difficult due to her daughter's
health problems for which she hasn't been receiving any help.

The scripts and tactics the authorities use are almost always the same:

One of them is to detain members of the Ladies in White before the
Sunday Mass, so that they cannot participate in their weekly protest by
taking part in their common walk to the church. They are brought to the
local police station for several hours where they are placed under
constant psychological and physical distress: the police agents have
been beating, humiliating and threatening to jail them for years, while
also openly threatening to harm their families if they don't stop their
dissident activities. The Ladies in White protest every Sunday dressed
in white, as a symbol of peace, in order to demand freedom for the their
relatives who are jailed dissidents, as well as on behalf of all other
political prisoners.

The other tactic is to organize public acts of repudiation against them
in order to cause them distress, while also intimidating and frightening
them. Usually small groups of people are brought to the dissidents'
residence who then shout insults at them, throw stones at their houses
and threaten them.

Why have these brave women kept on fighting their battle despite the
pressure they find themselves under? Their answer is simple and clear:
they want change and freedom for their loved ones and the people of Cuba.

The NGO People in Need condemns the repression that the Cuban
authorities have directed towards Keila and Maria Teresa, as well as
towards all the Ladies in White, and ask for them to comply with the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Cuba is a signatory.

The regular weekly march was harshly repressed in Havana, as well as in
the provinces, following the announcement of celebrations in memory of
the victims of "13th of March" Tugboat that was sunk in 1994. A total of
89 Ladies in White, among which the leader of the movement, Berta Soler,
and 9 men who participated in the march were arrested.

The Ladies in White Movement was initiated in the aftermath of the Black
Spring in 2003, when the Cuban government arrested and summarily tried
and sentenced 75 human rights defenders, independent journalists, and
independent librarians to terms of up to 28 years in prison. The
initiator was Laura Pollan, the wife of one of the jailed activists,
Hector Maseda. Each member of the march carries a picture of her jailed
relative and the number of years to which he has been sentenced.

Sincerely,

Cuban Team / Equipo de Cuba

People in Need - Human Rights and Democracy
Facebook.com/peopleCuba | @PeopleCuba
Cubalog.eu - rewriting Cuba, EyeOnCuba.org Continue reading
The Battered Press / 14ymedio, Fernando Damaso
Posted on July 22, 2014

14YMEDIO, Fernando Damáso, Havana, 21 July 2014 – It is no secret that
the editorial policy of a newspaper responds to the interests of its
owners. In countries where freedom of the press exists and is respected,
newspapers abound, reflecting many different interests. In countries
where freedom of the press is clearly absent, one, two or three
newspapers are sufficient, more than enough to cover the form, because
they all say the same thing and defend the same principles.

The case of Cuba is a good "bad example"; Granma, Juventud Rebelde
(Rebel Youth), and Trabajadores (Workers), each in its area of
influence, serve a single objective: to defend at all cost the
established political economic system.

In Republican-era Cuba, with a population half as large as today, there
were 14 national newspapers: Diario de la Marina, El Mundo, Información,
El País, Excelsior, Prensa Libre, Mañana, Alerta, El Crisol, Ataja,
Tiempo en Cuba, La Calle, Diario Nacional and Noticias de Hoy. There
were also two newspapers in English and three in Chinese, as well as
newspapers in each one of the six provinces.

Some came out in the morning and others in the afternoon. Some included
comic strips and were printed in color with photographs, and some had
weekend supplements. In their Sunday additions the newspapers multiplied
the number of pages and had a great number of advertisements. They sold
for five cents during the week and 10 cents on Sunday.

This variety of daily papers covered the entire Cuban social spectrum,
from the most conservative positions represented by Diario de la Marina,
to the most radical represented by Noticias de Hoy, the newspaper of the
communist. Between one or another there appeared the whole gamut of
political, economic and social concepts. Some prioritized political
news, and others events. All of them dedicated space to culture and
sports, where qualified journalists had regular columns.

In their Sunday editions Diario de la Marina, El Mundo and Información
devoted ample space to literature, visual arts, theater, music, film,
science, among other topics, with articles written by prestigious
intellectuals who were not forced to toe the editorial line.

Leafing through old copies, articles appear from important personalities
and journalists such as Enrique José Varona, Juan Gualberto Gómez, Rubén
Martínez Villena, Raúl Roa, Carlos Márquez Sterling, Sergio Carbó, Jorge
Mañach, Anita Arroyo, Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, Gastón Baquero,
Felipe Pazos, Mirta Aguirre, Eladio Secades, Edith García Buchaca, Alejo
Carpentier, Agustín Tamargo, Enrique de la Osa and many others who make
up the endless list and demonstrate the multiplicity of views.

Every citizen could freely choose the one most corresponding to their
own, without dogmatic impositions of any kind.

There were dailies that exploited sensationalism and yellow journalism
to sell their copies quickly, and those that offered more serious news
in a measured way, which were most of them. Newspapers were hawked on
the streets by vendors, using as promotional hook the main news on the
front page, always leaving up in the air a question that forced you to
buy it, if you wanted to know everything.

Some famous hooks, often repeated, were: See how they caught him! He
struck her and fled! He stole and jumped from the second floor! Get the
scandal! Here is all the evidence! The cyclone is coming tomorrow! and
others.

The main points of sale were the bus stops, where they were offered to
the passengers through the windows in quick sales transactions. In
addition, there was home delivery by subscription or, more leisurely, by
distributors that roamed the neighborhoods. They were characterized by
punctuality, thus ensuring that the papers arrived daily before
breakfast or before dinner, depending on whether it was a morning or
evening edition.

After 1959, the Republican-era press had a sad ending, first with the
invention by the government of "tag lines"—short texts, supposedly
written by "revolutionary" workers, were added at the ends of articles
and reports to reject the opinions expressed—and finally, with the
intervention and closure of the newspapers.

The Republican-era Cuban press was dismissed during the last half
century by the spokespeople of the ruling party, forgetting that it
provided an important service in the defense of citizens' interests and
in critiquing the different governments in every era, a source of pride
and an example to imitate in these times, where free opinions are only
possible in the few independent newspapers that exist against all odds,
persecuted and suppressed by the authorities, and whose circulation is
hindered.

Source: The Battered Press / 14ymedio, Fernando Damaso | Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-battered-press-14ymedio-fernando-damaso/ Continue reading
Oswaldo Payá's death in Cuba two years ago still awaits a proper
investigation.
By Editorial Board July 21 at 6:40 PM

TWO YEARS ago Tuesday, a blue rental car was wrecked off a deserted road
in eastern Cuba. In the back seat was Oswaldo Payá, one of Cuba's
best-known dissidents, who had championed the idea of a democratic
referendum on the nation's future. Mr. Payá's voice was not the loudest
against the Castro dictatorship, but it was one of the most committed
and determined. On the day of the car crash, he had been trying for more
than a decade to bring about a peaceful revolution, one that would
empower Cubans to decide their own fate and end the half-century of
misrule by Fidel and Raúl Castro.

Mr. Payá endured harassment and intimidation for his efforts. Many of
his friends and allies were jailed. He received threats by phone and
other warnings, some violent. But he did not give up. On the day of the
crash, Mr. Payá was traveling with a young associate, Harold Cepero,
across the island to meet with supporters of the Christian Liberation
Movement. In the front of the rental car was a visitor from Spain, Ángel
Carromero, a leader of the youth wing of that country's ruling party,
and one from Sweden.

The car spun out of control after being rammed from behind by a vehicle
bearing state license plates, according to Mr. Carromero. While he and
the associate from Sweden survived, Mr. Payá and Mr. Cepero were killed.
Mr. Carromero says he was then coerced to confess and subjected to a
rigged trial in order to cover up what really happened. Mr. Carromero's
videotaped "confession," broadcast on television, was forced upon him;
he was told to read from cards written by the state security officers.
He was sentenced to four years in prison for vehicular homicide and
later released to return to Spain to serve out his term.

Since then, there has been no serious, credible investigation of the
deaths. Cuba has brushed aside all demands for an international probe
that would reveal the truth. Mr. Payá held dual Cuban and Spanish
citizenship, but Spain has been shamefully uninterested in getting to
the bottom of the story. The truth matters — to show the Castro brothers
that they cannot snuff out a voice of freedom with such absolute impunity.

On May 14, Pope Francis received Mr. Payá's family at his private
residence. We don't know what the pope said, but Mr. Payá's daughter,
Rosa Maria, delivered a letter carrying an impassioned appeal for the
cause of democracy and human dignity in Cuba. Hopefully, the pope will
keep listening to the voices demanding change in Cuba and speak out for
democracy and freedom there. The values that Mr. Payá fought for in Cuba
must not be forgotten. Other dissidents are still struggling, despite
crackdowns, beatings, jailings and persecution, and they must not be
forsaken.

Source: Oswaldo Payá's death in Cuba two years ago still awaits a proper
investigation. - The Washington Post -
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/oswaldo-payas-death-in-cuba-two-years-ago-still-awaits-a-proper-investigation/2014/07/21/b0ac9612-0bb8-11e4-8c9a-923ecc0c7d23_story.html Continue reading
14YMEDIO, Fernando Damáso, Havana, 21 July 2014 – It is no secret that the editorial policy of a newspaper responds to the interests of its owners. In countries where freedom of the press exists and is respected, newspapers abound, reflecting many different … Continue reading Continue reading
Protestors in the streets of Vienna (Luz Escobar) A friend sent me photos of a demonstration in the streets of Vienna in support of the Palestinians. I also received—from all over the world—images with signs of solidarity or rejection of … Continue reading Continue reading
Charlie da Dog es un perro raza beagle que lleva dos años en las redes sociales, desde que sus dueños decidieron crearle una página en Youtube, con el objetivo de que todo el mundo conociese sus hazañas a través de vídeos y conseguir fondos para perros de raza beagle a través de la Fundación 'Beagle Freedom Project' (Proyecto Liberar al Beagle). Continue reading
Miami's historic Freedom Tower is unveiling a Cuban exile experience exhibit in September and it is asking the community to help them locate memorabilia to tell the story of the building and the refugees Continue reading
Miami's historic Freedom Tower is unveiling a Cuban exile experience exhibit in September and it is asking the community to help them locate memorabilia to tell the story of the building and the refugees Continue reading
"I owe to my father the hatred of authoritarianism that he embodied" /
14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Mario Varga Llosa
Posted on July 16, 2014

The writer Mario Vargas Llosa discusses literature, democracy and Latin
America in the second part of an interview with 14ymedio. First part of
the interview: "The myth of Cuba has been cut to shreds"

Yoani Sánchez, Madrid, 15 July 2014 – During my conversation with the
writer and Nobel Prize Winner in Literature Mario Vargas Llosa in his
home in Madrid, we spoke about his passion for Cuba and his
disappointment with the revolutionary myth, as we reflected yesterday in
the first part of this interview. Today I share with our readers the
rest of this dialogue, centered on democracy, literature and Latin America.

Question: How do you see the health of the democratic model and civil
liberties in Latin America?

Answer: If we compare it to the ideal, of course we get depressed. But
if we compare Latin America from a democratic point of view looking at
the last few years, there has been considerable progress.

When I was young, Latin America was a set of dictatorships and the
democracies, such as Chile and Costa Rica, were really the exception to
the rule. That has changed radically today, there are virtually no
military dictatorships. There is one dictatorship, which is Cuba, one
quasi-dictatorship, which is Venezuela, and beyond that some democracies
that are far from perfect. There are varying degrees of quality and
there are some Latin American democracies that are very basic and others
that are more advanced. However, the democratic trend predominates over
the authoritarian tradition that was so strong in our peoples.

My impression is that this is not coincidental, it's because there is a
much much wider consensus about democracy than in the past. There is a
rightwing that has accepted that democracy is preferable to
dictatorship, that offers more institutional guarantees for property and
for business. We also have a leftwing that wasn't democratic either,
that has accepted—or resigned itself—to democracy. Which explains cases
like Uruguay, where a very extreme left took power, and yet, the
democratic way works, freedom of expression works, and the economy and
the market work.

This also explains the phenomenon of the Concertación (Concentration) in
Chile, which respected the precepts of democracy and didn't change the
political economy of the dictatorship, because it gave good results. The
Concertación respected this model but expanded economic freedom and
political freedom, which brought Chileans an extraordinary period of
prosperity and calm.

This trend toward democracy will continue, with ups and downs, but it's
difficult to imagine there will be a reversal that reestablishes the
authoritarian tradition that was so catastrophic for Latin America.

Question: How do you see the case of Peru?

Answer: Peruvians have had many dictatorships throughout our history. If
I weigh it from my birth to today, we've probably experienced more
dictatorships than democratic governments. Perhaps the greatest
difference is that the last dictatorships we've had, from General
Velasco Alvarado's to Alberto Fukimori's, had such catastrophic
consequences that a part of the population has somehow been vaccinated
against the idea that a dictatorship is more efficient for bringing
economic prosperity or for achieving social justice.

We have experienced dictatorships of the right and left that have
brought widespread corruption or an atrocious impoverishment of the
country, like during the Velasco era, which was a leftist military
dictatorship, or during the first term of Alan Garcia, which wasn't a
dictatorship but it was a populist government which, with its
nationalizations and its defiance of all the international organizations
brutally impoverished the country. Finally, Fujimori's dictatorship was
probably the one that was most thieving. An investigation by the
Ombudsman calculated that more or less six billion dollars was stolen
and sent abroad by the Fujimoro regime. For a poor country like Peru,
that's significant.

All this was so disconcerting; as of 2000 there hadn't been a consensus
in Peru for political democracy and economic freedom. There had been a
consensus for democracy at some times, but there had never been one for
economic freedom. Today, for the first time, there is. That consensus
has brought 15 years that are so good, so prosperous, that my hope is
that it lasts until its irreversible. Although the truth is that nothing
is irreversible, as modern history has demonstrated.

"Literature was an indirect way of resisting the authority of my father
doing something he hated and that he wanted to eliminate from my life"

Question: In the foreword to a book of poems for children written by
José Martí, he said "Son, scared of everything, I take refuge in you."
In your case, were you so scared of reality you looked for refuge in
literature?

Answer: Yes, literature was my refuge when I was a kid, when I met my
father with whom I had a very difficult relationship. I met him when I
was 11 and he was a very authoritarian person who practically isolated
me from my maternal family, with whom I'd lived in a virtual "paradise."
My father was very hostile to my literary ambition. As soon as he
discovered it, he thought it was a terrible failure in my life. I owe
him many things: discovering the fear and discovering the hatred of
authoritarianism that he embodied. My father's hostility to my literary
vocation made me cling to this vocation and I found a refuge in
literature, a different way of living that life of fear I had in my
parents' house, because of my father.

I see that now, at that time I didn't see it. Literature was an indirect
way of resisting the authority of my father doing something he hated and
that he wanted to eliminate from my life. Writing became something more
important, more transcendent, more intimate than it had been. Until
then, it was a kind of game that my mother's family celebrated in me.
With my father it was a risk to write poems and "little stories," but at
the same time it was a way of defending the freedom and the autonomy
that I lost when faced with him.

Yes, in my youth literature was a refuge, but in my life literature has
been much more than this. In literature we can live what we can't
experience in our own lives. We are beings endowed with imagination and
desires, those eternal dissatisfactions because life never gives anyone
everything they desire. We want lives more diverse, rich and intense
than those we have. That is why we have invented literature, why we have
fiction, to compensate for how limited our lives are.

So literature is a refuge, but it also has the ability to complete those
incomplete lives we are obliged to have. However, literature is much
more than that, because while it appeases that appetite for different
experiences, it sparks, sparks the need, which results in greater
dissatisfaction. If we read a lot it turns us into beings deeply
dissatisfied with the world as it is. Nothing is better than good
literature to make us discover, in such a vivid, persuasive way, that
the world works badly and that it's not enough to satisfy human aspirations/

"That is why we have invented literature, why we have fiction, to
compensate for how limited our lives are."

When you finish reading a great novel, like The Kingdom of this World,
by Alejo Carpentier, or One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García
Márquez, or a story by Jorge Luis Borges, what do you discover? That
reality is very poor compared with that wonderful reality you've
experienced with this fantasy, this language. This makes us dissatisfied
and rebellious people, who want the world to be better than it is, and
this is the engine of progress.

The world has been evolving, we have come out of the caves and we've
reached the stars. Literature is an extraordinary stimulus for
dissatisfaction and rebellion, and also a permanent critique of what
exists. If this criticism and dissatisfaction didn't exist, literature
wouldn't exist.

Question: So literature is to blame for so much dissatisfaction?

Answer: I think so, and the best proof of that is that all the regimes
that have tried to control life from the cradle to the grave, the first
thing they've done is to try to control literary creation. They try to
subjugate fiction, because they have seen the danger in the free
creativity that fiction signifies. Religious dictatorships, ideological
dictatorships, military dictatorships… the first thing they do is
establish systems of censorship. I don't think they're wrong, because in
some ways literature is a source of sedition, discrete and indirect, but
a source of sedition.

Question: You chair the Fundación Internacional para la Libertad (FIL)
[International Foundation for Freedom]. How do you evaluate the work of
the foundation? Do you think you've wasted your time?

Answer: I don't know if it's had the effect we wanted it to have. The
fact that it exists, it's been twelve years, we've had a lot of
conferences, seminars, spreading liberal ideas. We defend democracy, but
within democracy we defend the liberal doctrine, against which there are
many prejudices. Even the word liberal has been demonized and that is a
great victory for the more dogmatic left, having turned the word
"liberal" into a bad word, associating it with exploitation, injustice,
dictatorship.

The task of the International Foundation for Freedom is to combat this
demonization of the liberal doctrine and to spread the culture that has
brought these major reforms and changes to society since the creation of
democracy, of the idea of Human Rights, of the idea of the individual as
the pillar of society, endowed with rights and duties that must be
respected and exercised freely. Those are the kind of ideas that we want
to spread and to what extent we have succeeded? We have done something
and I think it would be worse if we hadn't done the things we've done,
even if they are insufficient.

Source: "I owe to my father the hatred of authoritarianism that he
embodied" / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Mario Varga Llosa | Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/i-owe-to-my-father-the-hatred-of-authoritarianism-that-he-embodied-14ymedio-yoani-sanchez-mario-varga-llosa/ Continue reading
“The myth of Cuba has been cut to shreds for the most part” / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Mario Varga Llosa
Posted on July 15, 2014
The writer and Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, talks about Cuba in the first part of an interview with 14ymedio

Yoani Sánchez, Madrid, 14 July 2014 — Mario Vargas Llosa, writer, politician, excellent analyst and even better conversationalist, received me at his home in Madrid for this interview. The minutes flew by with his proverbial grace for dialogue as he offered me his reflections about democracy, freedom, literature, Latin America and Cuba. Today I share these with the readers of 14ymedio who in some way were there, without being in that room lit by the light of summer and the lucidity of the writer.

Question: I know that Cuba has been an important part of your passions, to say nothing of your great obsessions…

Answer: Absolutely. The Cuban Revolution was for me, as it was for many young people, the appearance of a possibility many of us had dreamed about but that had seemed unattainable. A socialist revolution, which was both socialist and free, socialist and democratic.

Today that may seem like an act of blindness, but it wasn’t at that time. At that time, that’s what the Cuban Revolution seemed to us, accomplished not for, but outside, the Communist Party, a Revolution that was backed up by every heroic exploit. In the first days of the Cuban Revolution, we saw in it what we wanted to see.

A Revolution that would make great social reforms, that would end injustice and at the same time would allow freedom, diversity, creativity, that wouldn’t adopt the Soviet line of strict control of all creative and artistic activities.

We believed it was going to allow criticism and this is what we wanted to see in the Cuban Revolution and for a good number of years that is what I saw in it, despite going to Cuba, despite being linked very directly to the Casa de las Americas, in which I came to sit on the committee. That was what we saw because the Cuban Revolution had the ability to feed that illusion.

Question: At what point did you start having doubts?

Answer: Of the five times I went to Cuba in the sixties, the fourth time coincided with the Military Units to Aid Production (UMAP) and it was a shock to know that they had opened what were almost concentration camps where they took dissidents, thieves, homosexuals, religious people. I was very impressed especially by the case of a group I expect you know, El Puente (The Bridge). I knew many of the girls and the boys who made up the group, among them were lesbians and gays, but all were revolutionaries, absolutely identified with the Revolution. A good number of them went to the concentration camps, where there were even suicides.

That affected me a great deal, because it seemed impossible that something like this was happening in Cuba. So I wrote a private letter to Fidel Castro, where I said, “Comandante, I really don’t understand, this doesn’t fit with my vision of Cuba.” Then they invited me to visit Cuba and have a meeting with Fidel Castro. We were about ten or twelve and somehow we demonstrated our surprise about what was happening.

It was the only time I’ve talked with Fidel Castro, it was all night, from eight at night to eight in the morning. It was very interesting and although he impressed me, I wasn’t convinced by his explanation. He told me what had happened to many very humble peasant families, whose sons were trainees, and they complained that their sons had been victims of “the sickos,” that’s what Fidel said. The gays and lesbians for him were “the sickos.” He told me something had to be done, that perhaps there were excesses, but they were going to correct it.

I remember Che Guevara had already left by then and no one knew where he was. Then Fidel Castro—during that conversation—made allusions to where Che might be and show up. He was also very histrionic, standing on the table, telling how they’d set up ambushes, he was a very overwhelming personality, but I realized then that he did not allow interlocutors, only listeners.

It was almost impossible to pose any questions, however brief. It was the first time and since then I was left with many doubts, much anguish that I didn’t dare to make public and I continued returning to Cuba until Fidel’s support for the interventions of the Warsaw Pact countries in Czechoslovakia.

Question: How did you experience the entry of Soviet tanks into Prague in 1968?

Answer: That made a tremendous impression on me, and it was the first time I made public a letter criticizing Cuba. I wrote an article titled Socialism and the Tanks, saying it wasn’t possible that if Fidel had always defended the autonomy, the sovereignty of small countries, now that a small country wanted its own version of socialism, for the Soviet tanks to invade and for Cuba to support this. How is it possible?

Despite this they continued to invite me, but when I returned to Cuba there was already a situation of panic among the intellectuals. My best friends wouldn’t talk to me or they lied to me. There was terror. It was a few weeks before the imprisonment of Heberto Padilla and the poet was totally beside himself, talking like a mad man, feeling the spaces close in on him and very soon he would no longer be able even to function.

The main problem with Cuba is not that it still awakens revolutionary fantasies and desires, rather the problem is the forgetting

I was with Jorge Edwards, just during the months that he was described as persona non grata. I remember that thanks to Jorge, who was diplomatic, we could bring Jose Lezama Lima to eat in one of those dining rooms where only diplomats could go. Poor Lezama, he ate with happiness, he loved to eat.

We talked about everything but politics, of course. But on leaving, on saying goodbye, I remember he squeezed my hand and said, “You understand the country in which I am living,” I responded yes, but he came back and squeezed my hand again and repeated, “But you understand the country in which I am living,” and I answered, “Yes, I understand.” That was the last time I saw him.

Soon came the capture of Padilla, the letter that several of us wrote and that meant the rupture with a number of important intellectuals who weren’t Communists but we had made the cause of the Cuban Revolution our own. For me that was very important, because I regained a freedom that had been lost during those years, because of this blackmail that was so effective, of “not giving arms to the enemy,” “you can’t attack the Cuban Revolution without yourself becoming an ally of colonialism, imperialism, fascism.”

Well, since then I was much more free and I was left forever, up to today, with the idea of having contributed in some way to this myth and to helping a system—already 55 years old—that had converted Cuba into a concentration camp and that has frustrated at least three generations of Cubans.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been so insistent in my criticisms of Cuba, it’s a way of exercising self-criticism. Because I believe that we contributed a lot, and the Cuban regime was highly skilled in this, getting the support of intellectuals, journalists, academics, that contributed so much to this myth, that still survives, although it seems like lies and happily the support is from ever smaller circles.

The main problem with Cuba is not that it still awakens revolutionary fantasies and desires, rather the problem is the forgetting, the disinterest. Many people are tired of the Cuba issue and then there is a great detachment. Many times when the topic of Cuba is on the agenda, there is such skepticism, as if it weren’t a social and human phenomenon. What can you do against an earthquake, a tsunami? Nothing, because Cuba is like an earthquake or a tsunami for many people.

Source: “The myth of Cuba has been cut to shreds for the most part” / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Mario Varga Llosa | Translating Cuba - http://translatingcuba.com/the-myth-of-cuba-has-been-cut-to-shreds-for-the-most-part-14ymedio-yoani-sanchez-mario-varga-llosa/ Continue reading
Raul Castro’s Not-So-Innocent Slip of the Tongue about Russia
July 15, 2014
Pedro Campos

HAVANA TIMES — “We support the current policy of firmness and the intelligent policies being pursued in the international arena by the Soviet Union – I mean Russia,” General Raul Castro declared during President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Havana.

This “slip of the tongue” is not as innocent as it could seem. It is common for Cuba’s official press and for many high officials of the Cuban government to refer to contemporary Russia in friendly terms, as though they were speaking of the former Soviet Union.

Referring to the collapse of the USSR and the “socialist bloc” in that same speech, Raul Castro said: “the world’s power balance was disrupted when the force that kept that balance disappeared.” “That force,” he added, “begins to recover and we’re already seeing the effects, first of all at the international level and, second of all, in Russia’s new bilateral relations.”

This means that, for the Cuban president, there is apparently no difference between that “socialist” force of old and this new “Russian” force: they are one and the same balancing factor.

The colonial mentality of dependence of many high Cuban officials continues to be marked by the role the Soviet Union played in maintaining the Cuban government and by the fact Putin comes from the old, “Soviet” bureaucratic apparatus. “Things continue like before,” our smart boys in uniform appear to be saying.

The Cuban bureaucracy’s objective need to secure foreign economic and political aid in order to sustain its centralized State system forces it to ignore or blinds it to the “nature” of the new international role played by Russia, or anyone willing to aid the “Cuban revolution” for that matter.

This is also related to the traditional view of imperialism that predominates within the Cuban government, which generally only makes mention of “US imperialism”, forgetting about Spanish, British, German and (increasingly) Chinese imperialism, to say nothing of Russia’s.

Another factor that keeps the high leadership from seeing the true nature of contemporary Russia is that many members of Cuba’s high and mid-level nomenklatura regard the changes that took place in the country of the Tsars as something akin to the transformation of “State socialism” into authoritarian State capitalism, as we can surmise from the policies of the so-called economic “reforms” impelled by Raul Castro and his military.

Little by little, the different decrees and laws passed as part of the “reform process” have slowly but surely revealed that the “changes” being implemented by the Raul Castro administration are principally aimed at strengthening the control of the top leadership over large State companies that exploit wage labor in the absence of worker control, a Cuban version of the appropriation of important State companies by the Soviet nomenklatura, in the context of a capitalist market economy.

In this “updated” model – yet another form of non-socialism – non-State forms of production (self-employment, small and midsized private companies and cooperatives) have no life of their own in terms of production and the market, but are rather subordinated and dependent on the State economy, which they are meant to support.



Incidentally, to characterize forms of production not on the basis of how they exploit the means of production and labor force (slavery, feudalism, wage labor, free or associated labor) but by whether they are part of the State or not is one of the “brilliant” contributions of our “reform” process to so-called Marxism-Leninism.

It is therefore no accident that, in Cuba, Russia should often be confused with the former Soviet Union, that the post-Perestroika government should be seen as a natural extension of the “Soviet” era, that the Cuban government-Party-State has never discussed the fall of “socialism” in the USSR and Eastern Europe in depth and that Cuba’s debts to Russia (or the former Soviet Union) should be wiped clean from the slate. Everything’s been forgotten here and there, so let’s move forward!

To give further weight to the ideas that sustain this “slip of the tongue,” the “main enemy” of the two governments continues to be the same one and, since both adhere to the pragmatic maxim to the effect that “the enemy of your enemy is your friend,” the two needn’t say much to reach an agreement and cooperate in financial, political and security issues.

The rapprochement between Russia and Cuba, in the absence of the relaxation or lifting of the US blockade/embargo, could be the lifebelt Raul Castro’s government needs to continue “selling the future” to the Cuban people and to hold the “anti-imperialist” flag high (as though Russia were not at all imperialist). It allows him not to “give in” to the “blackmail” of US imperialism with regards to the human, civil and political rights of the Cuban people. It’s a sweet deal.

The problem is that, as a military power, Russia will not likely be in a position to offer Cuba the economic subsidies the former Soviet Union did. This could make the Cuban government restrain itself in its cooperation with Russia on “security” matters in order to continue looking for an agreement with the United States and the West.

All the while, the restructuring of the Cuban government with regards to the people – in greater need of beans and freedom than cannons and violent, imposed measures – is nowhere to be seen, as revealed by the last regulations established by Cuban customs, aimed at restricting the number of products brought into the country by Cubans, products that help many families get by and to overcome many of the daily needs faced by Cubans (and which the State is unable to meet).

What worries the State the most is that such products nourish a market that is independent of the State, a market that competes with the chain of stores operated by the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) – something the military government cannot tolerate.

This clearly reveals that the similarities between Putin’s authoritarian government and Cuba’s governing military, more than casual, are causal.

—–
 pedrocampos313@yahoo.es

Source: Raul Castro’s Not-So-Innocent Slip of the Tongue about Russia - Havana Times.org - http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=104875 Continue reading
DOCUMENT - FURTHER INFORMATION: CUBA: SENTENCING OF THREE BROTHERS POSTPONED

Further information on UA: 201/13 Index: AMR 25/003/2014 Cuba Date: 15 July 2014
URGENT ACTION
sentencing of three brothers postponed

The sentencing of three prisoners of conscience originally scheduled for 1 July has been postponed with no further information. They are prisoners of conscience and should be released immediately and unconditionally.
Twenty-two-year-old Alexeis Vargas Martín and his two 18-year-old twin brothers, Vianco Vargas Martín and Django Vargas Martín, were tried on 13 June at the Provincial Court in Santiago de Cuba, south-eastern Cuba, under the charges of public disorder of a continuous nature (alteración del orden público de carácter continuado).
The sentencing was scheduled for 1 July but was postponed with no indication of a new date. The mother of the three brothers visited the Court on 1 July in order to collect the sentencing documents but they were not finalised. According to local activists the authorities may try to convince the three brothers to give up their activism and this could be the reason behind the postponement.
Amnesty International believes that their arrest and detention is in response to their peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and that it is intended to send a message of intimidation to other government critics, particularly other members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unión Patriótica de Cuba, UNPACU). The three brothers are prisoners of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Please write immediately in Spanish, English or your own language:
Calling on the authorities to release Alexeis Vargas Martín, Vianco Vargas Martín and Django Vargas Martín immediately and unconditionally, as they are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression;
Urging them to allow the free exercise of the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, without fear of reprisal.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 AUGUST 2014 TO:

Head of State and Government
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
And copies to:
UNPACU
Calle 9 no. 10, entre E y G
Altamira, Santiago de Cuba
Cuba C.P. 90200
Email: leonardoramirez1973@gmail.com

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the second update of UA 201/13. Further information: http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR25/002/2014/en
URGENT ACTION
sentencing of three brothers postponed
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to information received by Amnesty International, the Public Prosecutor has asked for Alexeis Vargas Martín to be sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and three years for Vianco and Django Vargas Martín, who were 16 at the time of arrest. They were reportedly subjected to a summary trial, with none of the witnesses for the defence being allowed to testify. In political trials such as these it is typical for the judge to pass the sentences requested by the public prosecutor.
The brothers, from the city of Santiago de Cuba, are all members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unión Patriótica de Cuba, UNPACU), a civil society organization which advocates for greater civil liberties in the country. Since their detention, Alexeis Vargas Martín is being held at Aguadores Prison in Santiago de Cuba province, while Vianco and Django Vargas Martín are held at the Mar Verde prison in the same province.
In the afternoon of 27 November 2012, Alexeis was returning to his house where a government-sanctioned demonstration (acto de repudio) was underway at the time. The house was surrounded by government supporters as his mother, Miraida Martín Calderín, a member of the Ladies in White protest group, was meeting with other members of the same organization. Alexeis was refused entry to his own home and was arrested by police and officials from the Department of State Security. On 2 December, Vianco and Django Vargas Martín – then only 16 years old – were also arrested when they went with friends to protest outside the Micro 9 police station in the city of Santiago de Cuba against the detention of their brother. In early July 2013, officials from the Department of State Security told the brothers’ family that they could be released on bail. The three brothers, however, have refused this as they reject the charges made by the police and insist on their innocence.
Miraida Martín Calderín was also arrested on 2 December 2012 as she protested outside the Tercera Unidad police station in the city of Santiago de Cuba and charged by police with public disorder (desorden público). She was held at the Mar Verde prison for women and released pending trial on 20 February 2013. Miraida Martín Calderín appeared in court alongside her sons on 13 June facing charges of public disorder and defaming institutions, heroes and martyrs (difamación de las instituciones, héroes y mártires). She may face a sentence of over two years to home arrests.
The right to a fair trial in Cuba is affected, especially in trials with political connotations, as courts and prosecutors are under government control. Cuba’s National Assembly elects the President, Vice-President and the other judges of the Peoples’ Supreme Court, as well as the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. In addition, all courts are subordinate to the National Assembly and the Council of State, raising concerns over internationally recognised standards for fair trial and the right to trial by an independent and impartial tribunal.
Acts of repudiation (actos de repudio) are government-coordinated demonstrations, usually carried out in front of the homes of government critics, attended by government supporters, state officials and law enforcement agencies, aimed at harassing and intimidating opponents of the government, and are often used to prevent them from travelling to take part in activities. During an act of repudiation, political opponents and human rights activists are subjected to verbal and physical abuse by groups of people chanting pro-government slogans. Police are usually present but do not intervene to stop the assaults. Such incidents frequently involve the Rapid Response Brigades (Brigadas de Respuesta Rápida), a structure set up in 1991 and composed of Communist Party volunteers whose task is to deal with any sign of "counter-revolution". Local human rights activists and others believe these incidents are orchestrated by Cuba's security services to intimidate any opposition. Miraida Martin Calderin has told Amnesty International that members of the Rapid Response Brigade threw stones at her house during the act of repudiation on 27 November 2012.
Names: Alexeis Vargas Martín, Vianco Vargas Martín and Django Vargas Martín
Gender (m/f): m
Further information on UA: 201/13 Index: AMR 25/003/2014 Issue Date: 15 July 2014

Source: Document - Further information: Cuba: Sentencing of three brothers postponed | Amnesty International - http://amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/003/2014/en/af538db9-db11-4abf-ada9-3938b092b75d/amr250032014en.html Continue reading
The writer Mario Vargas Llosa discusses literature, democracy and Latin America in the second part of an interview with 14ymedio. First part of the interview: “The myth of Cuba has been cut to shreds” Yoani Sánchez, Madrid, 15 July 2014 … Continue reading Continue reading
Amid the sound and fury that greeted the Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, many liberals had sharp words for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the federal law in which the court's decision Continue reading
The editors of the Catholic magazine Laity Space, a sociological debate organ of the Archdiocese of Havana, were removed from their posts. Roberto Veiga and Lenier Gonzalez announced it in a brief note that is circulating via email: “We want … Continue reading Continue reading
"Esta es la segunda vez en menos de un mes que las autoridades han detenido y encarcelado a cientos de mujeres pertenecientes a las Damas de Blanco por simplemente marchar de manera pacífica”, dijo Cynthia Romero. Continue reading
The writer and Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, talks about Cuba in the first part of an interview with 14ymedio Yoani Sánchez, Madrid, 14 July 2014 — Mario Vargas Llosa, writer, politician, excellent analyst and even better … Continue reading Continue reading
In response to the Cuban government's detention of more than 100 members of the women's group Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) on July 13, Freedom House issued the following statement: "Freedom House Continue reading
CHATHAM - A drummer who aims for abstraction, an improviser in love with form, Dafnis Prieto brought his unique quest to the Tracy Memorial Village Hall Saturday. The Cuban composer and bandleader, Continue reading
Members of the Ladies in White opposition movement are arrested in Havana on July 13, 2014 Shouting "Freedom! Freedom!," the women offered no resistance as they were put on buses by dozens of police Continue reading
Havana (AFP) - Cuban authorities arrested an unusually large group of about 100 dissident marchers Sunday, breaking up a march by the Ladies in White opposition activists. Shouting "Freedom! Freedom!," Continue reading
Cuban authorities arrested about a hundred women Sunday, breaking up a march by the opposition group Ladies in White. Shouting "Freedom! Freedom!," the women offered no resistance as they were boarded Continue reading
Roman Catholic magazine in Cuba might soften its political side
Franklin Reyes/Associated Press
Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014 11:28 am
Associated Press |

HAVANA — Launched as a bulletin for Catholic lay people, Espacio Laical
magazine became an unusually open and critical forum for debate in Cuba,
a rarity in a country where the state has controlled all media for five
decades.
Now, the sudden departure of its two longtime editors may have
endangered that status just as Cuba's Roman Catholic Church and the
Communist-run country embark on major changes.
First published in 2005, Espacio Laical's reflections on faith and daily
life were augmented by articles about politics, economics and society.
The magazine became a must-read for members of Cuba's academic and
intellectual elite — some of them the very architects of President Raul
Castro's ongoing reforms, such as allowing limited private enterprise
and decentralizing state-run businesses.
Espacio Laical "gave room to opinions from different points of view,"
said Cuban analyst and former diplomat Carlos Alzugaray, who has worked
with the magazine. "It is something that is very needed today in Cuba,
which is a public space for debate about the nation's problems."
But editors Roberto Veiga and Lenier Gonzalez resigned in early May,
later confirming they quit because the magazine's content was
controversial in the ecclesiastical community. The magazine's director,
Gustavo Andujar, said the editors left voluntarily.
Published four times a year with a press run of just 4,500, Espacio
Laical also has a website that is likely seen by few in a country where
Internet access is difficult and costly. Its footprint is much smaller
than a publications like the Communist Party newspaper Granma, published
daily and distributed to the masses across the island.
But its audience was influential, and its articles provoked debate.
In July 2013, Espacio Laical published a supplement titled "Cuba
Dreamed, Cuba Possible, Cuba Future," outlining what the country should
aspire to, including freedom of expression, political association and
private economic rights.
University of Havana religious historian Enrique Lopez Oliva said that
surely set off alarms both within the Catholic community, which is
divided over how much the church should involve itself in politics, and
for government and party officials, who say Raul Castro's reforms do not
contemplate change to Cuba's single-party system.
"These points constitute a platform for a political movement," Lopez
Oliva said. "They must have caused a certain amount of concern."
After the reforms began in earnest in 2010, Espacio Laical published
analyses by economists such as Omar Everleny Perez and Pavel Vidal, who
are associated with the government but have been relatively outspoken in
criticizing its programs. In one piece, they said there were not enough
approved free-market activities for half a million laid-off state
workers, and not enough white collar jobs for an educated population.
Other contributing writers have included academics, energy experts and
sociologists both inside and outside of Cuba. Espacio Laical also
organized gatherings with diverse participants including prominent Cuban
exile businessman Carlos Saladriegas.
Andujar told The Associated Press in an email interview that some
aspects of Espacio Laical won't change. But he also acknowledged there
will be more emphasis on topics like the arts, sciences and religious
ethics, rather than an overwhelming focus on economics and politics.
"It is not desirable that other, very broad and important aspects of the
cultural life of the country and the world find comparatively little
space," he said.
The changes at the magazine come as the church gets ready for a major
transition. Cardinal Jaime Ortega submitted his resignation in 2011 as
bishops customarily do upon turning 75. The Vatican has not yet accepted
it, but Ortega is widely assumed to be leaving soon.
Relations were hostile between the Catholic Church and the officially
atheist state for decades after Cuba's 1959 revolution. It was Ortega
that negotiated better ties, beginning the 1990s as Cuba removed
references to atheism in the constitution and Pope John Paul II visited
in 1998.
Ortega's successor will be named by Pope Francis, a Jesuit seen as a
reformer keen on social issues. Whoever takes his place as head of the
Havana Archdiocese will have to chart his own course between emphasizing
spiritual work and political involvement.
Catholic authorities want further concessions such as more access to
radio and TV airwaves, the return of more church property and permission
to begin some kind of religious education — causes that could be helped
by not antagonizing the government.
The changes at the magazine, Lopez Oliva said, "could be a shift toward
being more cautious in the political arena."
Gonzalez said neither he nor Veiga would comment on Espacio Laical
beyond their initial statement. But in a hint of their post-magazine
plans, he said Monday in a follow-up email to the AP that they are
launching a project called "Cuba Possible" — a clear echo of the
controversial 2013 supplement's title.
Gonzalez did not say whether it will be a new publication, entail more
seminars or even be affiliated with the church.
It involves a "platform that allows for the airing and channeling of
concerns and proposals from Cubans and foreigners that keep communion
with those principles," he wrote. "We hope that participants ...
interact with Cuban civil society, diaspora groups and other entities
abroad, always through open and pluralistic dialogue that seeks consensus."

Source: Roman Catholic magazine in Cuba might soften its political side
- trivalleycentral.com: World News -
http://www.trivalleycentral.com/casa_grande_dispatch/world_news/roman-catholic-magazine-in-cuba-might-soften-its-political-side/article_612e3ae0-09f2-11e4-9a91-001a4bcf887a.html Continue reading
Posted on Thursday, 07.10.14

Sentencing for hijacker who flew to Cuba hits snag
BY LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ
ASSOCIATED PRESS

MIAMI -- Attorneys for a man who pleaded guilty to hijacking a passenger
jet to Cuba requested a sentencing delay Thursday after federal
prosecutors filed last minute classified documents in the case.

New Jersey native William Potts Jr., 57, could face up to life in prison
for the 1984 hijacking of a Piedmont Airline flight en route from New
York to Miami. Potts voluntarily returned to the U.S. last fall and
agreed to a plea deal in May.

On Thursday, Potts' public defender Robert Berube told a federal judge
he needed more time in light of the latest filing, which even he is
prohibited from seeing.

The non-classified portion of the filing by Assistant U.S. Attorney
Maria Medetis is long on legal precedent but short on clues as to what
information the classified documents contained or why prosecutors felt
the need to submit it two days before sentencing.

Prosecutors did not discuss details during Thursday's hearing, and an AP
email requesting comment from the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami was
not immediately answered.

Potts' sentencing was rescheduled for next Thursday before U.S. District
Judge K. Michael Moore.

Federal prosecutors had charged Potts with kidnapping in lieu of a
previous charge of air piracy, which carried a mandatory prison sentence
of at least 20 years. The kidnapping charge has a maximum life sentence,
but it allows Moore greater flexibility in sentencing. Medetis has not
yet put forth a recommended sentence.

During the hearing, a frustrated Potts said he wanted to a new lawyer
because Berube was not negotiating hard enough to keep him out of prison.

"Are you saying you want to drop the guilty plea?" Moore demanded,
noting that in signing his plea agreement, Potts had acknowledged he
understood the maximum penalties he faced.

Potts conceded he wouldn't drop his plea.

According to the FBI, Potts claimed in his 1984 note to a flight
attendant that he had explosives, threatened to blow up the flight and
demanded $5 million in ransom.

At the time, Potts identified as "a soldier in the Black Liberation
Army," the FBI said. His note urged freedom for black Africans in South
Africa and criticized U.S. interference with Nicaragua's Sandinista
government.

Potts has said he expected to be welcomed when he landed the plane in
Cuba. Instead, Cubans tried him for the hijacking. He spent 13 years in
Cuban prison and two more years in government custody there before being
released and living in an apartment east of Havana.

Follow Laura Wides-Munoz on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lwmunoz

Source: MIAMI: Sentencing for hijacker who flew to Cuba hits snag -
Florida Wires - MiamiHerald.com -
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/10/4228158/judge-to-sentence-hijacker-who.html Continue reading
Are We In Transition? / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez
Posted on July 9, 2014

Yoani Sánchez, Madrid, 9 July 2014 – Right now I am taking part, along
with several Cuban activists, in a seminar on the Spanish transition
being held in Madrid. Organized by the Association of Ibero-Americans
for Freedom and the Spanish Transition Foundation at the Casa de
America, the event includes the participation of nine activists from
within the Island from many different sectors, such as law, citizenship,
human rights and journalism. An opportunity for us to meet with each
other without the police cordons or acts of repudiation.

While I listened to several speakers, I remembered when, in 2011, I
watched the series The Transition, with the voice of Victoria Prego.
Coincidentally, the morning I started to watch the excellent scenes of
that documentary and the analysis that accompanied it, a friend from
Madrid visited me. She looked at the TV screen and said to me, "I
experienced many of those events, but at that time I didn't know we were
in transition." Her phrase has stayed with me as solace and hope all
these years. Today, in the Casa de America, I remembered it.

Are we Cubans living in the transition? Just asking this question is
enough to annoy some people and excite others. A transition – the
experts and analysts tell me – needs more political, social and economic
evidence. A word of such magnitude requires real substance, not just
desires, others warn me, also with very good arguments. If it turns out
that an irreversible and defining change has occurred within Cubans,
could we see that as the transition? In this case, the micro look beats
out the macro analysis.

Every day I meet more people who are no longer collaborating, who no
longer believe, who no longer support the system. I also stumble upon
people who aren't interested in watching official TV, or taking part in
official events, or accepting official perks. What do we call that? May
the transition theorists forgive me, but if that is not a change, what
is it? "Pre-transition" perhaps?

Source: Are We In Transition? / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez | Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/are-we-in-transition-14ymedio-yoani-sanchez/ Continue reading
Yoani Sánchez, Madrid, 9 July 2014 – Right now I am taking part, along with several Cuban activists, in a seminar on the Spanish transition being held in Madrid. Organized by the Association of Ibero-Americans for Freedom and the Spanish … Continue reading Continue reading
- Right now I am taking part, along with several Cuban activists, in a seminar on the Spanish transition being held in Madrid. Organized by the Association of Ibero-Americans for Freedom and the Spanish Continue reading
CUBA: Young Leaders Group, Center for a Free Cuba and the Cuban Democratic Directorate Call for Twenty Minutes of Silence for Twenty Years of Impunity Washington DC. July 8, 2014. Human rights and civil society organizations have called for a … Continue reading Continue reading
Cuba is Going, But into Exile* / Juan Juan Almeida
Posted on July 8, 2014

According to the authorities, Cubans are now allowed to travel, they can
own businesses, and now Cuba is the world champion of freedom. However,
even so, desertions from the country continue apace. Within the span of
a few hours, ten dancers from the National Ballet of Cuba via Puerto
Rico, two tennis players who competed in the Davis Cup, and the members
of the women's Cuban field hockey team, all decide to cross the border
to the United States.

Raúl can say what he wants, but judging from events, things — meaning
Cuba — are going from bad to worse.

* Translator's Note: The first part of the title of this post, "Cuba
Va", is a play on the title of – and lyrics in – a song by Cuban folk
singer Silvio Rodriguez. In the sense that Rodriguez uses the phrase, it
can be interpreted as "Cuba will survive" or "Cuba will prevail". But
the phrase can also be read literally, as in "Cuba is Going" — which is
the sense in which the blogger is using it.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

13 June 2014

Source: Cuba is Going, But into Exile* / Juan Juan Almeida | Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuba-is-going-but-into-exile-juan-juan-almeida/ Continue reading
Cuba: Join HRF and DDC for "20 minutes of silence for 20 years of impunity"
[09-07-2014 00:01:00]
Human Rights Foundation

(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- NEW YORK (July 8, 2014)—Directorio
Democrático Cubano (DDC) and the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) invite
you to join in a symbolic act of peaceful protest in honor of the
20-year anniversary of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat killings. On July 13,
1994, the Cuban government murdered 37 Cuban citizens as they attempted
to escape the island aboard the tugboat 13 de Marzo. The gathering will
take place Thursday, July 10, at 12:00pm EST, outside the Permanent
Mission of the Republic of Cuba to the United Nations, located at 315
Lexington Avenue in New York. Human rights activists, civil society
representatives, and members of the Cuban exile community will gather in
front of the mission to observe 20 minutes of silence for the 20 years
that this crime has gone unpunished.
"The anniversary of the 13 de Marzo tragedy is a harsh reminder of the
cruel and ruthless nature of the military dictatorship that has ruled
Cuba for the last 55 years," said Janisset Rivero, national secretary
assistant of DDC. Likewise, Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF stated:
"The innocent victims of these barbaric acts, the men, women, and
children who were murdered by agents of the Cuban dictatorship, are a
vivid example that there is nothing—no matter how heinous, violent, or
immoral—that tyrants aren't willing to do to prevent people from
breaking free of their rule."

On July 13, 1994, Cuban coast guard vessels were deployed in pursuit of
the 13 de Marzo tugboat after state security forces learned of the
massive attempt to escape the island. Acting on direct orders from the
government, state agents chased and intercepted the boat, which carried
72 men, women, and children, seven miles from the Havana harbor. The
Cuban agents had no intention of returning the boat to land; instead,
they first used high-pressure water hoses to sweep the boat's occupants
off the deck, and then rammed the boat repeatedly until it collapsed and
sank. 37 Cuban citizens, mostly women and children, drowned as a result.
As the result of a decision made by the Cuban government, no attempt was
made to recover the bodies.

Twenty years after the 13 de Marzo tugboat killings, the perpetrators of
this heinous crime have yet to be brought to justice. Meanwhile, the 30
survivors of the attack have been denied any moral or financial
compensation, despite comprehensive and conclusive reports, issued by
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and other international
organizations, which find the Cuban government responsible for the
slaughter.

"The refusal to investigate, prosecute, and convict those responsible
for serious human rights violations in Latin American military
dictatorships, coupled with a lack of judicial independence, has led to
the establishment of a 'right to the truth' to which victims and their
relatives are entitled," said HRF legal associate Roberto González. "In
the case of the tugboat 13 de Marzo, the Cuban military dictatorship,
like the anticommunist dictatorships of the seventies, not only refused
to compensate the victims, but they publicly refused to perform any
investigative procedure aimed at uncovering the truth of what happened.
On the contrary, a few days after the 37 deaths, president Fidel Castro
actually praised the acts committed by the Cuban agents as 'truly
patriotic efforts,' stressing that their behavior was 'exemplary,'"
concluded González.

DDC and HRF invite all human rights activists, international civil
society members, and Cuban exiles in the New York area to honor the
victims of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat killings and express outrage for
the continued impunity enjoyed by the Cuban government. Please join us
on July 10 at 12 p.m. EST outside the Permanent Mission of the Republic
of Cuba to the United Nations, located at 315 Lexington Avenue in New York.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit
organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a
focus on closed societies. We believe that all human beings are entitled
to freedom of self-determination, freedom from tyranny, the rights to
speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and
enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded
equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity
to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF's ideals
likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have
the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from
interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support
nor condone violence. HRF's International Council includes human rights
advocates George Ayittey, Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Garry
Kasparov, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.

Source: Cuba: Join HRF and DDC for '20 minutes of silence for 20 years
of impunity' - Misceláneas de Cuba -
http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/Article/Index/53bc6a1c3a682e0ba4b1b4b0#.U70lavmSwx4 Continue reading
According to the authorities, Cubans are now allowed to travel, they can own businesses, and now Cuba is the world champion of freedom. However, even so, desertions from the country continue apace. Within the span of a few hours, ten … Continue reading Continue reading