|"Cuba is not free"|
Today marks 55 years since the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista abandoned Cuba on New Year’s Eve and left the island in the midst of revolutionary tumult that would consolidate into the Castro communist dictatorship. More than a half century later of mass executions, prisoners of conscience, exile and divided families and members of that generation are departing in great numbers. Meanwhile events that will impact Cuba in the future are unfolding. Below are some of the highlights of 2013 both the lights and shadows.
1. Regis Iglesias and Rosa Maria Payá at the Geneva Human Rights Summit and UN Human Rights
2. Transnational support for international investigation into Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero’s deaths grows
3. Machete attacks by regime agents against nonviolent opposition.
4. Escalating violence against women human rights defenders in Cuba.
5. After being denied the right to travel numerous times, Yoani Sanchez is able to travel outside of Cuba.
6. Berta Soler and other members of the Ladies in White travel outside of Cuba and attend Sakharov Ceremony in Strasbourg France and Human Rights Summit in Oslo. Meanwhile their international spokesperson Blanca Reyes is denied the right to return to Cuba to visit her dying father.
7. Castro regime provides North Korean dictator arms and ammunition in violation of international UN sanctions.
8. Death threats against Payá family lead them to request political asylum in the United States in June of 2013.
9. Ofelia Acevedo and Yris Perez Aguilera address the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Switzerland.
10. Polish parliamentary group condemns human rights violations in Cuba.
10. Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez “Antunez” , Yris Perez Aguilera, Janisset Rivero, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and Congresswoman Illeana Ros-Lehtinen address the IACHR.
11. MCL members elected to vice-presidencies of ODCA and JODCA.
12. More than 150 activists detained on International Human Rights Day in Cuba as Obama shakes hands with Raul Castro.
13. Cholera continues to claim lives in Cuba throughout 2013.