Monday, September 1, 2014

Cuban rapper jailed for 17 months and counting for saying what others won't

"I did not invent the acts of repudiation / I did not sink the 13 de Marzo tug / I was not the one who killed Boitel / I am not guilty for Mariel / I do not repress those who think differently / I did not lock up 75 innocent people / Look how many offenses you have kept hidden under lock and key/ Yes this is my crime /To talk about what you have not." - El Critico, member of Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso

 Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga "El Critico"
Marc Masferrer of the blog Uncommon Sense offers an update on the imprisoned activist and rapper known as  "El Critico."

The tortures continue for imprisoned Cuban activist/rap singer El Critico

Every day he is held in a Cuban prison without getting his day in court -- even if it is a Castro court -- is a day of torture for political prisoner Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, the activist and rap singer known as "El Critico."  It's just that some days are worse than others.

For example, in a recent telephone call to the Hablemos Press news agency Remon described how 10 guards grabbed him from his cell, splashed his eyes with pepper spray, bound his arms and then forcibly shaved his face and cut his hair.

Remon has been imprisoned for more than 17 months without trial since his arrest on March 26, 2013, during a police raid on his home. Prosecutors have charged him with "assault" and asked for an 8-year prison

Sunday, August 31, 2014

European NGO calls for EU to pressure Cuba on human rights

The EU must put pressure on Cuba to respect human rights

The EU and Cuba held subsequent negotiations concerning the possibility of future political dialogue and assistance between the two sides. To ensure that the agreement will lead to human rights improvements in Cuba, Civil Rights Defenders, together with the Cuban Campaign, Por Otra Cuba, have developed a platform on how these negotiations should be conducted and what should be included in the agreement.

Negotiations between the EU and Cuba, to achieve a bilateral agreement on the subjects of political dialogue and assistance, began in early 2014. Cuba is currently the only country in Latin America the EU has no bilateral agreement with, the reason being the total lack of respect for human rights in the country.

When the Cuban government signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in 2008 it represented a first step towards change. But since then, no real improvements have followed as far as human rights is concerned.

Civil Rights Defenders calls on the EU to put pressure on Cuba to ratify and implement human rights conventions – before any discussion on an agreement can continue. Prior to any final agreement it is essential that the EU includes civil society in Cuba and the political opposition in the dialogue in order for it to have legitimacy amongst the population.

During the negotiations, it has also emerged, that the EU, in addition to the agreement on political dialogue and assistance, intends to initiate a trade agreement with Cuba. The platform states that no trade agreement should be entered into before Cuba ratifies and implements the two human rights conventions.

Read the full platform here

Visit Por Otra Cubas website: in english / in spanish

Categories: News.

Tags: CESCR, EU, ICCPR, and Por Otra Cuba.
Regions: Cuba.

Friday, August 29, 2014

VOC holds special screening of “Messenger of the Truth,” a documentary about Father Jerzy Popieluszko,

"A man who tells the Truth is a free man despite external slavery, imprisonment or custody." -  Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko, Sermon,  October 31, 1982

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation will be holding a special screening of the award winning documentary "Messenger of the Truth about the life of Father Jerzy Popieluszko also known as the "Solidarity Priest" on September 16 at 7pm at the E Street Cinema in Washington, DC. Please share the news with your friends who live in the area.  Below is their announcement:
Join us for an exclusive screening of the award-winning documentary “Messenger of the Truth,” which tells the story of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, the Roman Catholic priest martyred by the Polish Communists for advocating freedom of religion and political reform. By serving as chaplain to the fledging Solidarity Movement, Fr. Jerzy helped to crystalize the anti-communist sentiment in his native Poland. His death sparked a national nonviolent reform movement that eventually dealt a mortal blow to communism’s rule of terror.

Fr. Jerzy’s life stands as a testament to the strength of conviction and the courage of conscience. The film’s Executive Producer, Gary Chartrand, will speak about the film and its importance. Mr. Maciej Pisarski, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Polish Embassy in Washington, will also attend and offer brief remarks.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the building of the International Museum on Communism. To learn more about the documentary, visit the Messenger of the Truth website.
When: September 16, 2014 7:00pm — 9:00pm
Where: E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW, Washington, DC

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) is located on 300 New Jersey Avenue, NW # 900, Washington, DC 20001. It is a non-profit educational and human rights organization devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes.

 "Our Fatherland and respect of human dignity must be the common objective for reconciliation. You must unite in reconciliation in the spirit of love, but also in the spirit of justice. As the Holy Father said five years ago, no love exists without justice. Love is greater than justice and at the same time finds reassurance in justice." -Father Jerzy Popieluszko

Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera returns to Cuba tomorrow and leaves a message of concern

Stay vigilant and watch over activists in Cuba.
Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera concerned about her husband
Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera is worried about her husband's life and safety. Yris is a human rights defender and president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. She has spoken before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland and returned to Cuba to continue her activism. 

She recently traveled outside of the island again to attend meetings in Spain and in the United States to denounce what is taking place in Cuba while at the same time recognizing that within the Cuban populace there is an awakening underway in which many Cubans are demanding their freedom and calling for the end of the rule of the Castro brothers.

Tomorrow she returns to Cuba not knowing what awaits her. 

Her husband,   Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez" has written an open letter to Raul Castro denouncing the dictatorship while describing with great detail how it operates.  Yris fears for his life and the reprisals for writing his defiant letter.

In the short video below she expresses her concerns regarding Jorge Luis's health following an injection during his June 2014 detention with an unknown substance. Antúnez described the episode where he recieved the injection:
It begins and he says: "Something to Declare?" and I said, "Yes, I will not shut up, and I will not leave." The people of the Special Brigade appear and they say "bring him" and I think they are bringing someone as a witness, and a man appears in a white coat who wordlessly jumps me and places me in a choke hold. My hands are in handcuffs behind my back. “And what did you tell me?[ and he responds ] I will not shut up, and I am not leaving! ... When I came to, I was in an open air prison cell exposed to the sun, thrown on the floor, and they had given an injection "for me to be revived." That session they did to me twice. The second time they threw me against the doors of the offices, and they told me: No more magic for you!"
He has been suffering intermittent bouts of fever shortly afterwards that have persisted to the present day. Their home was attacked by state security again on August 28, 2014 in the early morning hours.

Friends of freedom and human rights please keep an eye on the plight of Yris and Jorge Luis. Their lives just might depend on it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Christian Liberation Movement statement on ongoing EU negotiations with regime in Cuba

Real changes are rights based.

 Statement of the Christian Liberation Movement

The common position maintained by the European Union in its relations with the Cuban government is under review. Tomorrow Wednesday August 27th the second round of these negotiations will be held. The most important condition has been the requirement of respect for human rights on the island, where little or nothing has changed for the good of the people in recent years. Continuing repression, arrests, lack of opportunities, and impoverishment, in other words, no real changes. Only transformations that seek to conceal a false continuity of oppression and privilege by a small group in power.

The Christian Liberation Movement does not intend to isolate Cuba and understands that the interests of organizations, businesses and citizens of the European Community be defended, but we are convinced that EU cooperation should be focused as a priority on achieving in our country a democratization process to ensure both in law and in practice the full respect of human rights for all.

We therefore hope that the representatives of the European Union are consistent and coherent with the democratic tradition of their own nations and demand a true process of change that our people want and need.

Changes are rights!

Eduardo Cardet Concepción
Coordinating Council of the MCL
August 26, 2014.

Eduardo Cardet Concepción
Original Spanish text below taken from the Christian Liberation Movement website . If you see room for improvement in the translation please comment below and will take under advisement.

Declaración del Movimiento Cristiano Liberación 

La Posición Común mantenida por la Unión Europea en las relaciones con el gobierno cubano está en proceso de revisión. Mañana miércoles 27 de agosto se efectuara el segundo encuentro de estas negociaciones. El condicionamiento más importante ha sido la exigencia del respeto a los derechos humanos en la isla, donde poco o nada ha cambiado para el bien del pueblo en los últimos años. Continua la represión, las detenciones, la falta de oportunidades el empobrecimiento. En fin, nada de verdaderos cambios. Solo falsas transformaciones que persiguen encubrir la continuidad de la opresión y los privilegios de un pequeño grupo en el poder. 

El Movimiento Cristiano Liberación no pretende el aislamiento de Cuba y entiende que se defienda los intereses de las organizaciones, empresas y ciudadanos de la Comunidad Europea, pero estamos convencidos que la cooperación de la Unión debe estar enfocada de forma prioritaria en lograr en nuestro país un proceso de democratización que garantice en la ley y en la practica el respeto pleno a los derechos humanos de todos. 

Por eso esperamos que los representantes de la Unión Europea sean consecuentes y coherentes con la tradición democrática de sus propias naciones y demanden un verdadero proceso de cambios que nuestro pueblo quiere y necesita. 

¡Cambios son derechos! 

Eduardo Cardet Concepción 
Consejo Coordinador del MCL 
26 de Agosto de 2014.