Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cuba : New Year, Old Injustices

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” - Elie Wiesel

Today marks 52 years of the establishment of a new dictatorship that replaced an old one. No one could've imagined when Fulgencio Batista fled into exile on December 31, 1958 that more than a half century later the Castro brothers would still be running Cuba into the ground.

At the same time they probably did not imagine that the ideology they championed as the wave of the future would implode and be discredited nor that generation after generation of Cuban men and women would stand up and resist communist rule in Cuba.

Their efforts to smear Cuba's democratic opposition have failed miserably as have their efforts to force the opposition into exile. The agreement reached back in July with the Ladies in White and the Catholic Church as mediators was not conditioned on prisoners of conscience agreeing to go into exile. Nevertheless, save one, all the prisoners released were sent into exile.

Eleven Cuban prisoners of conscience from the 2003 Black Cuban Spring remain imprisoned today that were supposed to be released on November 7, 2010. There names and faces are listed below:

Pedro Argüelles Morán

Oscar Biscet González

Eduardo Díaz Fleitas

José Daniel Ferrer García

Diosdado González Marrero

Iván Hernández Carrillo

Librado Linares García

Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez

Angel Moya Acosta

Félix Navarro Rodríguez

Guido Sigler Amaya

It is up to people of good will with access to the internet to remind the world that there are Cuban prisoners of conscience unjustly imprisoned that were supposed to have been freed on November 7, 2010. This is a time for quick and concrete action that requires a minimum of effort but will make an impact. Here are three suggestions:

1) Operation Cubans have a Right to their Rights focusing on Article XIX of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states:Article 19.
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The human rights defenders imprisoned since 2003 were imprisoned for seeking, receiving and imparting information and ideas to other Cubans and the international community. Name each one of the 11 imprisoned activists. All have been recognized by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience. They can be listed together or separately. Post their names on facebook, twitter, in blogs and any other social media that is appropriate.

2) Organize flash mobs beginning on December 10 to generate awareness outside of cyberspace and in the real world. By definition its quick and can be organized quickly through social media tools. Go out and gather signatures petitioning the Cuban regime for their release. Norwegian students in November 2010 gathered over 400 signatures calling for the release of Cuban prisoner of conscience Librado Linares and made the newspapers raising awareness.

3) Record and post video messages of solidarity on youtube directed at these prisoners of conscience and their families by name demanding their freedom along with what human rights mean to you. Make a poster with a photo of the prisoner and their name. For example the image at the top of the page with the phrase: "I Stand with Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet." Take your picture holding up the poster or a message of solidarity and e-mail it to us at

These are just three concrete ideas for action. They've been tried in other places where prisoners of conscience have been imprisoned and have worked.

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