126 FORMER CUBAN POLITICAL PRISONERS CALL ON PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA TO REVISIT HIS CUBA POLICY
Center for a Free Cuba sent an e-mail that in part reported the following: "The letter was given to the National Security Council at 9:38 this morning. The letter was given by Ernesto Diaz Rodríguez, former Cuban political prisoner and poet who served more than 22 years in Castro’s political prisons and forced labor camps. At 11 AM there will be a demonstration of political prisoners, families, and friends in front of the White House requesting that President Barack Obama ask Raul Castro to stop the attacks against the Ladies in White and to stop the beatings. The prisoners hope that if their request reaches the President, President Obama will call Raul Castro on the telephone to ask him to stop the beatings in Cuba."
December 17, 2015
Mr. Barack H. Obama
President of United States of America
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Based on our history and experience as political prisoners under Castro’s totalitarian regime, the new Cuba policy established by your Administration has been a regrettable mistake. This will prolong the life of the dictatorship, is worsening the human rights situation there, marginalizing the democratic opposition and compromising U.S. national security.
The normalization of relations is creating false expectations and granting benefits to the tyrannical regime in Cuba; it is also allowing the Paris Club to forgive billions in debt providing the regime hard currency which it funnels into its most repressive institutions: the military and intelligence services giving new life to what we’re dying institutions. Human rights violations in Cuba have a terrible history, but the current policy has taken a bad situation and made it worse. Violent beatings against activists peacefully assembling have escalated and worsened over 2015.
Politically motivated arbitrary detentions in Cuba as of the end of November 2015 are a documented total of 7,686 and are on track to break the previous record set in 2014 with 8,899 arrests. Over the course of this year the number of detentions have escalated: 178 in January; 492 in February; 610 in March; 338 in April; 641 in May; 563 in June; 674 in July; 768 in August; 882 in September; 1,093 in October; and 1,447 in November. Political prisoners continue to be a reality in Cuba.
Despite the claim that there would be continued support for improved human rights and democratic reforms in Cuba the past year has demonstrated otherwise. Inviting the Castro regime to the VII Summit of the Americas in Panama in April of 2015, violated the democratic ideals of the summit. The dictatorship’s anti-democratic and violent nature was made evident during the Summit with Cuban nationals and U.S. citizens beaten up by state security and requiring hospitalization and summit events interrupted by acts of repudiation organized by the Castro regime. The U.S. government responses were low level pro-forma protests while President Obama met with Raul Castro as an equal.
The Administration’s new Cuba policy over the past year has compromised U.S. national security. First, commuting Gerardo Hernandez’s two life sentences; he was convicted for among other things conspiracy to murder three U.S. citizens and one resident of the U.S., and returning him to Cuba where he received a hero’s welcome in what was an immense propaganda victory for the Castro regime, sending a dangerous signal to those who would harm Americans.
Secondly, removing Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list on May 29, 2015 despite: 1) the Castro regime being caught smuggling heavy weapons and ammunition through Colombia on February 28, 2015. 2) Being linked to international drug trafficking along with its client state Venezuela as reported on January 27, 2015. 3) Being in violation of UN international sanctions to North Korea on July 15, 2013 when caught smuggling tons of weapons and ammunition including ballistic missile technology. Ignoring this will get more Americans killed and undermine U.S. interests.
Finally, having the US Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas meet with the Castro regime’s Interior Minister Major General Carlos Fernandez Gondin in what was officially described as a visit of collaboration and engagement sends worrisome signals that should concern those who care about national security. Gondin has a history of engaging in the mistreatment of opposition activists and has an agenda to undermine U.S. interests, legitimizing him with an official visit sends a terrible message.
We the undersigned are political prisoners who collectively have served 1,945 years in prison for resisting the Castro dictatorship and fighting for democracy in our homeland of Cuba. We are writing this letter out of a deep conviction that this new U.S. Cuba policy will not only harm Cuban aspirations for a free and democratic Cuba while worsening human rights there but also endanger American lives.
NAME: YEARS IN PRISON:Orestes Abreu 5Israel Abreu Villarreal 14Dr. José Aguiar 15Nicolás Aguiar 15Ángel Alfonso Alemán 18Felipe Alonso 15Miguel Álvarez Cardentey 24Bernardo Álvares Perdomo 10Francisco Álvarez Rojas 13Jorge Arrastía 15Ángel Ávalos 17Gabriel Astengo 9José Bello 9Emilio Bringas 15Rodolfo Camps Verdecia 9Aurelio Candelaria Velázquez 18Héctor Carbonell 5Carlos Casanova 20Pedro Castillo 20Orlando Castro 10Joaquín Chanyín 18Georgina Cid 15Pedro Corzo 7Enrique Cosío 13René Cruz Cruz 17Ángel Cuadra Landrove 15Ignacio Cuesta 29Ileana Curra Luzón 3Pascual Ovidio Delgado 15Javier Denis 16Ángel F. De Fana 20José M. Del Pino Martínez 19Jesús Díaz Martínez 14Ernesto Díaz Rodríguez 22Vicente Echerri 2.5Cándido Elejalde 12Guillermo Estévez 19Mario Fajardo 17Jorge Fernández 6José L. Fernández 6Oneida Fernández 10Alberto Fibla González 26Osvaldo Figueroa 24José Luis Fornell 12Pedro Fuentes Cid 16Ángel García Martínez 10Hiran González 11 monthsTeodoro González Alvarado 21Luis González Infante 16Jesús González Martínez 15Rubén Gonzalo García 18Elias Gonzalo García 14Alberto Grau 25Manuel F. Guevara 29Jorge Gutiérrez Izaguirre 18José A. Gutiérrez Solana 10Basilio Guzmán Marrero 22Jorge Guzmán Chaple 13Ambrosio Guzmán 15Rafael Hernández 4Sergio Hernández 12Dasio René Hernández Peña 28Servando Infante 18Kemel Jamis Bernal 14José A. Jiménez 12Roberto Jiménez 17Tobías Junco 10Antonio Lamas 22Gloria Lassales 6Isidoro López 2Pedro López González 10Pedro Juan López Díaz (Vzla) 10Reinaldo López Lima 23Antonio López Muñoz 27Jesús Lucena 18Maritza Lugo 5Carlos Fausto Mariscal 28Ino Martel Casuso 6Domingo Martínez 9Leuterio Martínez 12Teodoro Martínez 16Emilio Martínez Venega 14Luis Massón 6Eduardo Ochoa 9Ángel Pardo Mazorra 24Ramón Méndez Pimentel 26Ricardo Montero Duque 25Eduardo Morales 6Alejandro Moreno Maya 18Olga Morgan 14Sixto Nicot 18Emelina Núñez 6Pablo Palmiere 18Roberto Martín Pérez 28Ildefonso Pérez 6Roberto Perdomo 28Roberto Pizano 18Carlos Pons 20Ramón (Rino) Puig 15Pablo Prieto Castillo 26José L. Pujals Mederos 27J. René Ramos 21Hernán Reyes 8Roger Reyes 20José del Río 15Agapito Rivera 25Agustín Robaina 15Ofelia Rodríguez 14Nelson Rodríguez Pérez 9Jesús Rodríguez Beruvides 16Tebelio Rodríguez San Román 15Aracely Rodríguez San Román 15Gerardo Rodríguez San Román 15Rodolfo Rodríguez San Román 15José O. Rodríguez Terreiro 23Lionel Rodríguez de la Torre 10Ana María Rojas 12Nellys Rojas Morales 9Caridad Roque 16Alvin Ros 6Enrique Ruano Gutiérrez 8Ariel Semanat 18Evaristo Sotolongo 16Arturo Suárez Ramos 23Luis M. Tapia 11Efraín Taquechel 10Ricardo Toledo 9Armando Yong 21