Monday, January 12, 2015

Cuba: Releasing with one hand while crushing with the other

In through one door and out through the other.
Ermis Carbonell protesting to be allowed to finish his studies
 Less than a month after President Obama's and Raul Castro's simultaneous speeches announcing the normalization of relations, the release of three Cuban spies ( one serving a life sentence for murder), and the further loosening of sanctions the results are unsurprising.

On the one hand there is the high profile release of 53 political prisoners along with the high profile coverage of the repression meted out against a daughter of the nomenklatura who dared to try to organize a free speech happening in the Plaza of the Revolution.

On the other hand dissidents have been arrested and brutally beaten down to the point that teeth have been knocked out and bones broken, but since they are not sons or daughters of the revolutionary elite their suffering doesn't make the news. For example today over twitter the Christian Liberation Movement highlighted the plight of one of their members who had engaged in a peaceful protest (video) to demand the right to return to university to complete his studies. Unfortunately in Cuba the the regime says that the "universities are for revolutionaries" and if one is a dissident one no longer has a right to an education. Ermis was expelled in 2013 with only three classes remaining to complete his studies. The expulsion was politically motivated.
"Ermis Carbonell of Christian Liberation Movement in Santiago de Cuba detained for protesting because they won't allow him to finish his studies. He received a beating, and is detained in a motorized unit in Santiago charged with contempt. According to Christian Liberation Movement spokesperson Regis Iglesias: "Ermis was beaten in the Palace and they fractured one arm.They transferred him to Motorized. Reported the MCL Provincial Coordinator Marcos Diaz."
On January 10, 2014 over twitter Rosa María Payá Acevedo tweeted: "As releases are announced Yosvani Melchor is transferred to a maximum security prison." This young man who is developmentally disabled has been jailed in order to blackmail his mom into becoming an informant for state security against the Christian Liberation Movement.

Mother and her unjustly imprisoned son Yosvani
Last Thursday night (January 8th) or Friday morning (January 9th) Alberto Romero, a Cuban American attorney visiting family in Cuba, was killed. Circumstances surrounding his death remain murky at this hour but is cause for concern.

Alberto Romero killed in Cuba
Prior to that on December 26, 2014 the dissident Marcelino Abreu was arrested for wearing a change bracelet and was repeatedly kicked by state security who in the process knocked out a tooth and broke his nose. He was released on January 6, 2014.

Marcelino Abreu beaten bloody for wearing a bracelet

 The laws that outlaw the basic exercise of fundamental human rights have not been changed one iota and the prisons will continue to be filled with those who dissent, and their will be new prisoners of conscience. The climate of fear continues in Cuba under the current regime that the United States will later this month pursue normal relations with.

Cuban dissident and rapper Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, who on October 15, 2014 was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment in a sham trial. Angel was tear gassed and arrested on March 21, 2013, for criticizing the Castro regime and held since that time in conditions that can only be described as inhumane. He was finally released on January 8, 2015 and gave the following message:
“…I’m not really free yet, because our country is not yet free, but I am now alongside my children and my wife. I am here again, confronting the situation that all us Cubans have to face.”

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