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Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello

Site manager’s note: The Cuban opposition frequently posts photos of their repressors — in plainclothes as well as in uniform — sometimes naming them as well. Translation: Angel Juan Moya: Department of State Security (DSE) and National Revolutionary Police (PNR) repressive operation at the national headquarters of the Ladies in White. Martha Beatriz Roque: None … Continue reading "“None of these women have anything better to do at home” / Martha Beatriz Roque" Continue reading
Cubanet, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Havana, 14 February 2017 – The story I want to relate has two parts, one is true and the other is fiction. The real one is an event I was involved in at the Carlos III market while in line to buy yogurt, one of the products in shortest supply in … Continue reading "The Two Marielas / Cubanet, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello" Continue reading
14ymedio, Mario Penton, Havana/Miami, 11 January 2017 — While in the United States Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, made it clear that human rights will be an important part of Washington’s policy toward Cuba, the island’s police forces carried out repressive actions in different parts of the country. “The increase in … Continue reading "Cuba’s New Minister of the Interior Inaugurates His Tenure With a Repressive Wave Across the Country / 14ymedio, Mario Penton" Continue reading
Cubanet, Ernesto Perez Chang, Havana, 9 November 2016 – The elections in the United States, with the victory of the Republican Donald Trump and the defeat of the Democrat Hillary Clinton, contrary to the predictions of most polls, has captured the attention of the world’s public opinion in recent hours due to the decisive nature … Continue reading "Opponents of the Cuban Regime React to the Election of Trump / Cubanet, Ernesto Perez Chang" Continue reading
Ivan Garcia, 5 November 2016 — When I began writing in 1996 as an independent journalist for Cuba Press, Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique was no longer working as an economist for Cuba’s Central Planning Agency (JUCEPLAN ) and had already become an opponent of the Castro regime. In 1991, together with another economist, friend and colleague, … Continue reading "Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique: Farewell to an Exemplary Dissident / Iván García" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 6 September 2016 — Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas, after 47 days on a hunger and thirst strike, was transferred on Monday afternoon to Arnaldo Milian Castro Provincial Hospital. The dissident was discharged hours later because doctors felt that he did not meet the “entry criteria for intensive care,” he told 14ymedio activist Jorge Luis Artiles Montiel. … Continue reading "Guillermo Fariñas Returns Home After Hospital Visit For Fainting / 14ymedio" Continue reading
14ymedio, Lilianne Ruiz, Havana, 28 April 2016 —  Martha Beatriz Roque has returned from Miami after receiving a permit from the Cuban government in late February, which authorized her to leave the country one time. The activist was one of the seven former prisoners of the Black Spring of 2003 who benefited from this permit. She returns … Continue reading "“The opposition has not matured,” Laments Martha Beatriz Roque / 14ymedio, Lilianne Ruiz" Continue reading
[1] [2]Cubanet, Martha Beatriz Roque, Havana, 2 April 2015 -- Whenever the topic of democracy and the Cuban regime comes up, the top leaders say that this is the most democratic country in the world. The latest version is that “‘democracy’ is subject to interpretation, and every country understands it in its own way.” This also occurs with citizen participation, which assumes a receptivity on the part of government officials to listen to what the citizens want to communicate to them, to help improve the politics and management of public concerns. It means that all who want to get involved in matters that affect the people will be heard, and they will be allowed to contribute their points of view, concerns and possible solutions. Even so, although the regime talks a good game, the totalitarian power looms over the practically null power of the people, which makes citizen involvement quite difficult in Cuba, thus preventing the growth of participatory democracy. Today, in the modern democratic society, another way in which citizen participation takes place is through Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which, in most cases, push for certain social and humanitarian causes. The regime in general pays very little attention to the participation of the citizens, however through “opinion surveys,” which it conducts constantly, it knows perfectly well what they are thinking, but there is no interactivity in the process. And the issue, according to the Constitution of the Republic in its Article 62, is that none of the recognized liberties of the citizens can be exercised against what is established in the Constitution and the laws of the land, nor against the existence and ends of the Socialist State, nor against the decision of the Cuban people to construct socialism and communism. It is for this reason that to maintain a majority control of citizen participation, there are those inappropriately named NGOs – the ones which the regime wants to be recognized as members of the civil society, and which in the official context are called “mass organizations.” Notable among these are the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs). This organization was founded by Fidel Castro on September 28, 1960, in a public ceremony in front of what is today the Museum of the Revolution, with the objective of carrying out acts of collective vigilance against foreign meddling and acts of destabilization committed against the Cuban political system. The CDRs have a structure controlled by the State which, besides their social labors, performs the principal mission of monitoring and controlling the public and private lives of individuals and all the neighbors, on a very close level. [caption id="attachment_39612" align="aligncenter" width="533"] [3] Automobile of the National Leadership of the CDR, with a State license plate (author photo)[/caption] Despite their being considered an NGO, it can be publicly seen that the CDR supplies come from the government, even though they collect a monthly per-member fee of 25 cents in national currency for financing their operations. For example, the cars driven by the nomenklatura of the CDR—at all levels—bear the organization’s logo and a State license plate. They have a considerable number of buildings to maintain the provincial, municipal and zone structures. If only one of these organizational levels were eliminated, housing could be provided to some of the families in the country who have no roof over their heads. One of the official arguments for considering the CDRs as promoters of citizen participation in the common good, is its intervention in elections. According to Article 68 of Law # 72 (the Electoral Law), the CDR includes the Candidacy Commission, along with other supposed NGOs, such as the Cuban Workers Center (which the CDR presides over), the Federation of Cuban Women, the National Association of Small Farmers, the Federation of Secondary Students, and the Federation of University Students. The CDRs are in charge of keeping current the Registry Book of Addresses, which is the official roll in which all citizens must register when they move from one location to another. In most cases the official in charge of the registry is the president or the person responsible for neighborhood monitoring. It is difficult to comprehend that an official document that serves, among other things, to keep lists of voters, is in the hands of a non-governmental agency. Even less understandable is that the Law stipulates that those responsible for these registries must produce, within fifteen days following the publication of the call to vote in the Official Gazette of the Republic, a list of citizens who reside in their areas of purview who have, in their judgment, the right to vote, according to established law. In addition, the CDRs are the font of primary information for the “verification” done of individuals by their workplaces, the police, State Security, etc. – which implies, by the same token, an obligation to the state, and an official linkage. Among other duties they perform: blood donation, street sweeping on designated dates, collection of raw materials, participation in repudiation rallies against those who dissent from the regime, and the constant monitoring of the neighbors in their block. In some coastal areas they support the fight and vigilance against possible drug importations via the seas that surround the Island. They have quotas to achieve in the mobilizing campaigns to recruit participants for the parades and demonstrations in the Plazas of the various provinces. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a television program of official accounting, from the Interior Ministry, titled, “On the Trail of….,” in which they publicly show that their main source of information are the CDRs. [caption id="attachment_39611" align="aligncenter" width="533"] [4] Site of the National Headquarters of the CDR (author photo)[/caption] It is possible that they also consider it citizen participation to nominate those persons, during neighborhood meetings, who should be sold television sets or be assigned telephones. They have been so involved in State matters that, even during the Mariel Boatlift, they were ordered to give away the houses that were left vacant. The CDRs violate human rights, because they have been involved in “acts of repudiation,” which have included abuse, intimidation, and, on occasion, physical mistreatment, against those who have been deemed “counterrevolutionaries,” or enemies of the Revolution. Still today, in the minds of two of the generations that have lived through the dictatorship, memories persist of the events of Mariel, in which the CDRs actively participated, harassing entire families, physically and verbally mistreating them, simply because they wanted to emigrate. Although throughout the entire existence of this organization, numerous reasons can be identified which support the contention that the CDR is indeed an “official” entity, one would have to particularly name the fact that its National Coordinators have been members of the Council of State in the eight legislatures conducted to date: Jorge Lezcano Pérez, Armando Acosta Cordero, Sixto Batista Santana, Juan Contino Aslán, and Juan José Rabilero Fonseca. They were all representing this “NGO” until 2013. By the same token they were all at some point members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba. This is the citizen participation of which the Castro dictatorship will boast, through its official spokespersons, at the Seventh Summit of the Americas. Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison [1] [2] [3] [4] Continue reading
14YMEDIO, Havana, 18 July 2013 — The Cuban economist Martha Beatriz Roque has just been named president of the Hispano-Cuban Foundation (FHC). The institution has tried to “promote the presence and relevance of the FHC in the island.” 14ymedio was … Continue reading Continue reading
Juliet Michelena Díaz, José Antonio Sieres Ramallo and Billy Joe Landa Linares, were stopped on San José between Belascoaín and Manrique, talking with me, on the balcony, which they’ve dubbed “The Ferns,” an allusion to the Cuban telenovela, when Patrol … Continue reading Continue reading
15 February 2014 Continue reading
Urgent Alert List email from Cuba, from Martha Beatriz Roque, 2/13/2014, 2:15 PM (translated from Spanish): “Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez just called to tell me that his house was invaded for the third time, his wife was arrested, and … Continue reading Continue reading
HAVANA, Cuba — There is not a single time that the phone rings for good news; these days every conversation is based on arrests, beatings and demonstrations, an eloquent way to carry out the Summit of CELAC (Community of Latin-American and … Continue reading Continue reading
Rosario Alvarez, 96, who died in the collapse, had repeatedly complained to the authorities that her home was in the process of falling down. HAVANA, Cuba. – At 6:30 in the evening on February 7, the partial collapse of a … Continue reading Continue reading
HAVANA, CUBA — This last Wednesday, I was walking quickly through Belascoain, disgusted by the odor of urine from the doorways. Every once in a while a peddler called his wares. On arriving at Zanja, crossing the street, the area … Continue reading Continue reading
Pro-democracy activist Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello went to the Provincial Court of Havana today in order to have the state of siege she is subjected to daily lifted, but got no response from the authorities and was placed under arrest … Continue reading Continue reading
HAVANA, Cuba, January – The building where I live has 42 apartments and three floors. Most of the time did not see anyone in the hallways. However, on January 13, at 9 pm, for the second time since the … Continue reading Continue reading
HAVANA, Cuba, December 2013, . It’s frightening the number of housing collapses that has occurred in Havana, up to the end of November and in the first days of December. Officially, there have been 227 collapses, including 26 which … Continue reading Continue reading
The siege situation against political opposition leader Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello has reached extreme tension.  Today her apartment continues cordoned off by the State Security (political police) and supposed neighbors insult her through a megaphone, calling her “traitor” among other … Continue reading Continue reading
Havana, Cuba, October, – This coming November 1st the legislation published in the Official Gazette regarding the Mariel Special Development Zone will go into effect. As usual with the regime, the Council of State and of Ministers, and the … Continue reading Continue reading
HAVANA, Cuba, October, — Raul Castro has repeated constantly that errors are the greatest enemy of the Revolution, those that have been committed and new ones that may be committed.  Nevertheless, he does not speak of the political changes … Continue reading Continue reading
HAVANA, Cuba, October 8, 2013, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello / On Thursday September 26, Barbara Fernandez Barrera was the victim of an act of repudiation in her home, located at Avenida 47, #7403, between 74th and 76th, in the … Continue reading Continue reading
Members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance and Civil Disobedience Front in the city of Placetas, Villa Clara have been carrying out continuous public demonstrations since the beginning of June, in solidarity with the demands of  hunger striker Luis Enrique Santos Caballero who has refused to intake food since May 24th, demanding a […] Continue reading
This Sunday 14th of October, the year anniversary of the death of Laura Pollan, leader of the Ladies in White, operations unleashed by the police forces of the Cuban regime produced numerous arrests throughout the island, but such actions were not able to impede the activities carried out in honor of Pollan. A wide range [...] Continue reading
Vía Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU): This march took place in Altamira, Santiago de Cuba, and was in solidarity with the more then 25 hunger strikers in all of Cuba who are risking their lives to demand freedom for political prisoner Jorge Vazquez Chaviano and calling on an end to repression against the internal opposition.  Among [...] Continue reading