Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Independent International Experts: Maduro regime has committed crimes against humanity in Venezuela

Venezuela's slide into totalitarianism

Remember that the Castro regime has a big role in what is taking place today in Venezuela.  Cuban soldiers and intelligence operatives are assisting in the destruction of Venezuelan democracy and building the totalitarian cage to enslave Venezuelans.  

Oslo Freedom Forum 10 Years Rising: A Chorus for Human Rights


 Oslo Freedom Forum (May 28 - May 30) is observing ten years of gathering together human rights activists, entrepreneurs, reporters, technologists, policymakers, philanthropists, and artists to focus on human rights challenges and the aim of a freer and more just world.

Over the years Cuban dissidents have been a presence at the Oslo Freedom Forums:.Armando Valladares, Berta Soler, Yoani Sanchez, Rosa María Payá Acevedo, and Danilo Maldonado "El Sexto" have addressed the prestigious gathering since 2009. Unfortunately this year Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia was barred by regime authorities in Cuba from attending the event. Human Rights Foundation, the organizer of the Oslo Freedom Forum, denounced the Castro regime's arbitrary measure.
Nevertheless, Cuba was represented during this gathering with a presentation of the Victims of Communism documentary on Rosa María Payá that also documents the circumstances surrounding the 2012 extrajudicial killings of her had Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.

At the Oslo Freedom Forum Rosa spoke of how "communist regimes mutilate the human soul. It's hard to imagine the level of repression." She also issued a call for international solidarity: "Societies that live under communism suffer. To get out of that place, we need a collective effort ... we need the support of the international community."

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Cuban prisoner of conscience denied visits for six months

Visits to Eduardo Cardet are suspended for 6 months.

Yaimaris Vecino and Eduardo Cardet

The Cuban regime has suspended visits to prisoner of conscience Eduardo Cardet, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement who has been in prison since November 30, 2016. Yaimaris Vecino, the wife of Eduardo Cardet protested:

"Today, May 26, we went to the prison in Cuba Si, it was the visit that Eduardo's mother, his sister, my children and I scheduled, and they prevented us from seeing him,
the prison authorities alleging  that Eduardo has given "false information" that according to them, the family is spreading and in retaliation suspended visits for six months." Yaimaris went on to say that "this is a new arbitrariness against Eduardo and I seriously fear for his physical integrity."

Eduardo Cardet Concepción, successor to martyred founding leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, and unjustly jailed since November 30, 2016 was badly beaten, subjected to a political show trial, sentenced to three years in prison on March 20, 2017, and stabbed twice by three prisoners on December 19, 2017. This attack was most probably engineered by Castro's State Security in order to permanently silence him. The seriousness of the attack was only learned on January 15, 2018 when his wife was finally able to visit him in prison and see the extent of his injuries.  His health has been worsening and he has been refused religious assistance.
It is feared that an injury on Eduardo Cardet's nose may require surgery because it could be cancer.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Venezuela: Fake elections in a dictatorship

Venezuela's night grows darker

Voting booth in Venezuela
Sunday's fake election in Venezuela brings the South American nation another step closer to Cuban-style totalitarianism. The outcome of the fraud was preordained, another "victory" for Nicolas Maduro. However the actual victor was the Castro regime that remains firmly in control of the South American country.

Ration cards have been issued for food in a country were mass hunger is an ever present reality and it is understood by many that following regime instructions, such as going to vote in a sham election, is necessary to be eligible for rations. The Maduro regime has continued, the process started under Hugo Chavez, of taking over sectors of the economy.

Venezuela has been a dictatorship for sometime. Back in October of 2012 following another fake election in that South American country the following observation was made in this blog:
"Venezuela is not a democracy. Power has been concentrated for more than a decade into the hands of Hugo Chavez, his political party and Cuban handlers. The judiciary and the Congress were subordinated to Hugo Chavez. What you have had in Venezuela today is a contested election in a non-democratic country." 
Six years later the same can be said with the exception that this election was not contested. Major opposition parties were outlawed and the most popular opposition leaders banned from running. The opposition called for a boycott of the presidential elections. In addition to that the electoral process itself is one of irregularities and illegalities carried out by the Maduro regime. Venezuela is on its way to completing the transition from an authoritarian dictatorship to a totalitarian one. It is no longer a case of not opposing the regime, but actively supporting it or risk being punished.

Nicolas Maduro's timeline in power

Nevertheless, millions of Venezuelans refused to take part in the farce and boycotted the elections and the international community is refusing to accept the "results." Night maybe deepening in Venezuela, but Venezuelans are not going silently into the totalitarian abyss.  Anti-government protests took place across Venezuela and internationally.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Venezuela: Cuba's colonial possession in South America implodes

Dark days ahead in Venezuela.
Dictator Raul Castro with his Venezuelan and Cuban puppets
In Venezuela the electoral system is rigged, the regime of Nicolas Maduro is a narco-state managed and controlled by the Castro regime's military and intelligence services. The Cuban presence has been called an "occupation army" by OAS General Secretary Luis Almagro.

Venezuela today is a territory subject to a foreign state it has become a colony of the Castro family. As Venezuelans starve in the streets and children die because of a lack of medical supplies, the Maduro regime purchased $440 million worth of foreign oil and shipped it directly to Cuba.

Venezuela is a communist regime were nurses complaining about the lack of medicine or medical equipment are arbitrarily detained. It is a country were citizens are driven to vote out of fear.

Those of us living in freedom have a duty to protest what is going on in Venezuela.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Universal Periodic Review: A review of the Castro dictatorship's desperate actions to cover up its dismal record

“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

Castro regime delegation undergoes the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva
Today the third Universal Periodic Review of Cuba took place at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.  It was a circus.

The Castro regime cannot debate the facts. Instead it tries to flood the process with propaganda to drive out serious reports presented by non-governmental organizations, block dissidents from traveling to attend the review, and limit the time that democratic member states have to raise questions with cheer-leading by repressive regimes that take up time and limited interventions to 50 seconds.

Hillel Neuer of UN Watch exposed the rampant cheating of the Cuban government to avoid being evaluated during the Universal Periodic Review.
When that fails and serious issues are raised the representatives of the dictatorship engaged in ad hominem attacks such as guilt by association to generate confusion in order to not have to answer the tough questions on its systematic violation of human rights.

According to the representatives of the Castro regime the only Cubans that can be called human rights defenders are those who fight for the revolution, i.e. the 59 year old communist dictatorship that has turned Cuba into an Orwellian nightmare. 

But when Sirley Avila Leon, who believed the promises of the revolution, sought to see them fulfilled and went through the official channels to open a school for Cuban children she was shunned, marginalized, harassed, and was nearly killed in a machete attack in 2015. Following the attack state security let doctors know that she was not to be treated.

When Dr. Eduardo Cardet, a medical doctor, followed the existing constitution to effect changes to improve the human rights situation in the island, restoring sovereignty to Cubans, and expressed his views he was beaten up, jailed and sentenced to three years in prison.

The claim by the Castro regime that it is committed to human rights is false. The dictatorship in Cuba has spent decades undermining international human rights standards. They even defended right-wing military dictatorships from being condemned at the UN Human Rights Commission and in the 1960s recruited former Nazis to train their officials.

Gabriel Salvia of the Center for Opening and Development of Latin America ( CADAL in Spanish) tweeted about the complicity of the Castro regime with the Argentine military junta and I translated it to English.
The Castro regime runs roughshod over human rights in Cuba, and spends an exorbitant amount of money to cover up its repressive nature. In the current worsening international human rights climate
there may not be much that can be done, but one must speak truth to power and protest. Let the world know the cynical  nature of this exercise.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Human Rights in Cuba: Shadow UPR and three Cubans killed during the span of the current review

 “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” - Flannery O'Connor

Over the past few days this blog highlighted three cases from the past four years that highlight the cruelty of the Castro regime: in 2014 a blind attorney beaten down by state security agents; in 2015 a human rights defender and mother lost her hand and the use of her knees in a machete attack ordered by regime agents in reprisal for trying to keep a school open; and in 2016 a Cuban doctor was beaten down in front of his wife and children and taken to prison where he remains today suffering assaults and ill treatment for giving his honest opinion of the legacy of Fidel Castro.

Today in Geneva, Switzerland just steps away from where the Universal Periodic Review will be held on May 16th there was a self-described "Shadow UPR" that highlighted more recent cases, and the steps taken by the dictatorship in Cuba to avoid being held accountable. Below are the videos of the entire event and are worth watching.

Sadly there are those who will be unable to do so because they were victims of extrajudicial killings carried out by agents of the Castro over the past four years. Below are three cases, but sadly there are more.

Yunisledy Lopez Rodriguez: Brutally murdered at age 23 in 2014
Yunisledy Lopez Rodriguez was 23 years old, the mother of two small children and she lived in Vista Alegre, in the Municipality of Majabiquoa in Las Tunas, Cuba. She had suffered harassment from state security agents, who had wanted to evict her and her children from their home for her activism in the Civics and Truth movement.

Yunisledy found out that her then boyfriend "Ruber" had been given the order to kill Cuban dissident Sirley Avila Leon by state security. Yunisledy immediately told Sirley Avila Leon of the danger and on May 21,  2014 when Sirley's home was set on fire formally complained to the police. She reported that her partner had told her that he would murder Sirley and that through the above action had attempted to carry it out. The police never made a pronouncement on the matter and did nothing. 

Afterwards "Ruber" warned Yunisledy and told her that if she did not want to be killed that she should join him in Camaguey where he had been given the possibility to work as a "cuenta propista"  as a reward for carrying out his arson attack against Sirley Avila Leon and to give the impression that he was in a prison elsewhere. [This is an aspect of the job sector opportunities that Amnesty missed in their report.]

She  denounced the new threat to the police but no action was taken against him and he went away. After two months approximately September 20-21, 2014, another man,  the father of her young son appears at her home and tells her that he'll kill her. But instead rapes her in front of her children and leaves.

Immediately she went to the police and made a complaint because he was supposedly a prison escapee, but the police took no action. They told her not to worry that he was already back in prison. Yunisledy called Sirley on September 24, 2014 and told her that they both knew why he was being sent to kill her. Yunisledy asked Sirley to care for her children because she had no police protection.

On September 26, 2014 while preparing food for her children the individual known as "El Tejon" entered the house and stabbed her 18 times in front of her two kids. This was done to give the appearance of a crime of passion.

Diosbel Díaz Bioto killed on December 16, 2014
 On December 16, 2014 the Cuban coastguard ram and sank a boat with 32 refugees, one of them, Diosbel Díaz Bioto, was killed. Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." This is completely and systematically violated in Cuba. 

Yuriniesky Martínez with his dad, son, and on (right) how he was found in 2015
Yuriniesky Martínez Reina (age 28) was killed by state security chief Miguel Angel Río Seco Rodríguez in the Martí municipality of Matanzas, Cuba on April 9, 2015 for trying to leave Cuba. He was part of a group of young men who were building a boat near Menéndez beach to flee the island, when they were spotted trying to leave and were shot at by state security. Yuriniesky was shot in the back and left to die.  He was found face down in some brush.

Cuba's UPR record is a shameful indictment: A regime that beats and imprisons doctors who dissent

"Facts are difficult things."  - John Adams

Prisoner of conscience Dr. Eduardo Cardet
Cuba will undergo its third Universal Periodic Review from 2:30pm to 6:00pm on May 16, 2018 Geneva time. The propaganda machine has already started up, but facts are difficult things.

The regime in Cuba calls itself a medical superpower and boasts of its medical doctors, but these health care professionals are not free, and not entitled to their opinion. Take a moment and review the case of Eduardo Cardet MD.

Medical doctor, beloved by his community, husband, and father of two. Today his life hangs in the balance in Cuba. On November 30, 2016 in front of his wife and kids he was beaten up by Castro's political police and taken away.  Amnesty International recognized him as a prisoner of conscience. He was sentenced to three years in prison on March 20, 2017 in a political show trial that violated international norms. He was badly beaten and stabbed twice by three prisoners on December 19, 2017 most likely on orders of regime agents. Family fears that he has a carcinoma on his nose that is not being treated. 

Eduardo Cardet continues to suffer this injustice in Cuba today. He is the national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, a Cuban opposition movement that mobilized tens of thousands of Cubans to peacefully petition the Castro regime for democratic change. When members of his movement, on April 5, 2018, attempted to turn in a petition signed by 10,000 Cubans they were detained for 24 hours and the signatures seized by the political police. There are fears that those who signed will be persecuted.

This is the reality that the Castro regime is trying to hide behind an avalanche of propaganda. Dr. Eduardo Cardet should never have been jailed. He is a prisoner of conscience and should be free. 

He is not the first doctor imprisoned for what he thought. Decades earlier Dr. Armando Valladares would spend many years in prison for his dissenting opinion. Dr. Desi Mendoza imprisoned because he spoke out about a dengue epidemic. There have been others whose names we do not know.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Cuba is a dictatorship that brutalizes blind dissenters: Time to hold it accountable

Note to UPR 30 and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights: Cuba is a dictatorship.

Blind Rights Defender Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva
The dictatorship in Cuba systematically violates all human rights both in law and in action. Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the right of all persons to to travel into and out of their own country. The regime in Cuba does not recognize that right and treats it as a priviledge to be granted or taken away at the whim of the dictatorship. The concerns raised by the Office of the High Commissioner calls attention to the problem but with diplomatic language that minimizes the true extent of the problem.

Will the Office of the High Commissioner speak out against the physical assault of Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, a blind human rights defender, on January 9, 2014 at 10:30am?  Together with his wife, Tania Maceda Guerra, and six other activists in Ciego de Avila, his home town, he was distributing "Voz Avileña", a dissident publication. Juan Carlos described what happened next.
I carried in my hand a copy of the newsletter "The Avileña Voice." There was a very large state security operation and they demanded that we give them the newsletter. When I refused and we eight activists sat on the ground, and began to shout, " Freedom", "Long live human rights" and "Down with Fidel" military troops reinforcements arrived and they beat us up. We were taken by car to the First police headquarters. During the trip a police officer pulled my wife's hair and bit her hands. I responded to the police officer biting him and then the official gave me a savage beating to the point that it made ​​me lose consciousness. They hit me so many times that I have both the right foot and index finger of the left hand broken. I have aches and bruises throughout my entire body . To all the activists who were with me Junior Ortega Rivero, Daniel Camacho Marchena, Daniel Martínez, Alberto Pla Risco, Quintana Sarría and others that were with me, all were violently beaten and dragged away and were also detained. Without any explanation we were all released around 3:00pm in the afternoon.
Ignorance is not an excuse for the Human Rights Council. On September 16, 2014 Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva spoke before the Council and denounced the brutal beating he and the other activists suffered placing it in the larger context. Seven months later another Cuban human rights defender, Sirley Avila Leon, was the victim of a machete attack that cost her a hand and the use of both knees.

Allowing the Castro regime to operate with impunity is unacceptable and there needs to be a cost for the criminal actions taken.  Time to indict Raul Castro.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Project Varela: Looking back at the nonviolent campaign 16 years later

The nonviolent campaign that shook up the dictatorship in Cuba, changed the Cuban Communist Constitution and continues to haunt the Castro regime.

Oswaldo Payá, Tony Diaz Sanchez, and Regis Iglesias 16 years ago.
16 years ago today, carrying 11,020 signed petitions in support of the Varela Project, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, Antonio Diaz Sanchez, and  Regis Iglesias Ramírez walked with the bulky card board boxes labeled Project Varela turning them into the Cuban National Assembly. The New York Times reported on this historic event:

"Two days before a historic visit to Cuba by the former President Jimmy Carter, human rights activists today delivered an extraordinary challenge to the Communist government of President Fidel Castro in the form of petitions signed by more than 11,000 people seeking greater freedom. The petition drive, known as the Varela Project, calls for a referendum under the terms of the Cuban Constitution on whether there should be more freedom of expression, an amnesty for political prisoners and a chance for ordinary citizens to own small businesses. The signed petitions were delivered this morning to the National Assembly, after supporters painstakingly verified each signature, in the most significant peaceful effort to bring reform to Cuba in four decades. ''All of these Cubans, who with great courage and sacrifice have signed Project Varela, are the social vanguard for peaceful change in Cuba,'' said Oswaldo Paya, who led the drive. He said changes in the rights of Cubans could only be achieved peacefully.
The three activists, members of the Christian Liberation Movement, would pay a high price, along with dozens of others, for advocating human rights reforms within the existing legal frame work in Cuba. In March of 2003 both Antonio Diaz Sanchez, and Regis Iglesias were arrested and subjected to political show trials and sentenced to long prison sentences. They would spend years in prison followed by forced exile. Oswaldo Payá was killed, together with Harold Cepero, on July 22, 2012 under circumstances that point to a state security orchestrated extrajudicial execution.

Tony Diaz Sanchez and Regis Iglesias, two of the three in the photograph when the signatures were turned in, reflected today on the significance of what took place sixteen years ago.

Regis Iglesias on the 16th anniversary of turning in 11,020 signatures for a democratic change reflected on the importance of the Varela Project in AlgoritmoMag.
It was the first time that Cubans voted or demanded to do so after almost half a century of dictatorship that May 10, 2002, when Oswaldo Paya, Tony Diaz and I crossed the threshold of the offices of the National Assembly of People's Power and presented their officials the signatures that legitimized our demand for a referendum.Eleven thousand twenty Cubans with the right to vote, protected by among other articles 1, 3, and fundamentally 88, paragraph g of the draconian socialist constitution in force, took the step and with their personal data supported the demand for a referendum on the Varela Project, so that the law will guarantee the right to "political freedom", "popular sovereignty", the freedom of political prisoners and the economic freedoms of Cubans.More than a civic and legal exercise the initiative of the Christian Liberation Movement and its founder Oswaldo Paya, finally found a methodology to create the minimum social base in the middle of a totalitarian and repressive state in which the opposition is not recognized and dissidence is considered treason. 
Father Felix Varela
 Regis concludes his essay observing that the work is unfinished. 
Sixteen years later we continue with many Cubans demanding these rights, only when they are recognized and guaranteed can we rest, then we can kneel faceing the tombs of Orlando Zapata, Oswaldo Paya, Harold Cepero, Arturo Pérez de Alejo and many of our brothers who are no longer and tell them, "Friends, we've made it!"
Tony Díaz Sánchez Secretary General of the Christian Liberaton Movement (MCL) over twitter continues the call to free Eduardo Cardet and to promote MCL's proposal over twitter.
"At 16 years from Project Varela, honoring the memory of Oswaldo & Harold, we demand freedom of Eduardo Cardet and reiterate, that the transition begins when the law changes and guarantees free elections. "One Cuban one vote" that is our proposal." 
 A couple of days before the signatures were turned over on May 8, 2002 Oswaldo Payá, coordinator of referendum petition was video recorded by the Associated Press:
"Nobody speaks any longer for the Cubans. The Cuban people should be consulted via a referendum and be given a voice because now we want our rights and the Varela Project is not just a test, or an intellectual exercise. It is not a rehearsal to gain experience. It is an initial step in our determination to acquire these rights. Because four decades is enough and a new generation is being born that has been born without rights".

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Universal Periodic Review of Cuba and Sirley Avila Leon: The case the Castro regime would like to disappear

All eyes on the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Sirley Avila Leon
Next week on May 16, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland the UPR Working Group which consists of the 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council will gather in the afternoon for four hours to examine the situation of human rights in Cuba. This is the third time such a gathering has taken place. The first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) took place on February 6, 2009 and the second was held on May 1, 2013.

On the two previous occasions and all indications are that they will be repeated next week, the Castro regime has sought to flood UPR submissions and the debate with a carefully orchestrated and obvious effort to drown out the voices of the victims, and of serious human rights analysis in a din of pro-regime propaganda.

There is one case that the Castro regime and their apologists would especially like to be forgotten, and discarded. This is the case of Sirley Avila Leon.  Sirley was a true believer who grew up in the revolution and was a member of a local municipal assembly. She believed the claims that freed education was a right for all Cubans. This belief left her an invalid and nearly led to a violent death.
She lobbied and agitated for a school to be opened in her municipality so that the children there would not have to trek 5.6 miles to go to class and then trek the same distance back to get home.

Others were not so lucky. Yunisledy Lopez Rodriguez was just 23 years old, the mother of two small children and she lived in Vista Alegre, in the Municipality of Majabiquoa in Las Tunas, Cuba. She was murdered on September 26, 2014 after having warned the delegate to the municipal assembly that regime agents were plotting to murder her for speaking out on the short comings of Cuban education.

On May 24, 2015, Sirley Ávila León was the victim of a brutal machete attack that cost her her left hand and also left her right upper arm nearly severed and knees slashed, leaving her crippled. She was denied adequate medical care and was told quietly by medical doctors that if she wanted to get better she would need to leave Cuba. The regime had been embarrassed by a campaign she organized to keep a school open. She arrived in Miami on March 8, 2016, and thanks to the Cuban exile community, a team of medical doctors attended to her, and by September of 2016 Sirley was able to return home to Cuba. She found her home occupied by strangers and went to her mother’s house. A short time later a camera was set up outside to spy on her. By mid-October 2016, Sirley was getting death threats from state security and feared for her life. She fled back to the United States a couple of weeks later and sought asylum.

Healthcare is rhetorically universal but in practice can be withdrawn or refused on the orders of the Castro regime and its secret police. This was case of Cuban dissident Sirley Avila Leon. She was not only denied adequate medical care but was prescribed treatment worsening her condition. This practice goes back decades and has cost the life of more than one human rights defender.

This terrible crime was documented and submitted by the Center for a Free Cuba (CFFC) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to the stakeholder's information page for the Universal Periodic Review that will be taking place next week. 

Below is the excerpt from the IACHR:
"On September 2, 2015, the Commission requested the adoption of precautionary measures for Sirley Ávila León. According to the application, submitted to the Commission by the Cuban Democratic Directorate, Ávila has been the object of harassment and threats that materialized in May of 2015, when the proposed beneficiary was the victim of a machete attack because of her work as a defender of human rights. After analyzing the allegations of fact and law submitted by the applicant, the Commission considers that the information reveals that Sirley Ávila León is in a serious and urgent situation, since her life and physical integrity are at risk. Therefore, according to Article 25 of the Regulations of the IACHR, the Commission asked Cuba to take the necessary measures to guarantee the life and physical integrity of the beneficiary and that she be able to carry out her activities as a human rights defender without being a target of acts of violence and harassment. It also requests the State to arrange with the beneficiary and her representatives on the measures taken and to report actions to take to investigate the alleged events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure and thus to avoid its repetition." Read the resolution.
Below is the excerpt from CFFC:
Extrajudicial violence: The case of Sirley Avila Leon
8. Sirley Ávila León was a delegate to the Municipal Assembly of People’s Power in Cuba since June 2005 for the rural area of Limones, in the province of Cienfuegos. The authorities removed her from that position in 2012 because she had fought to reopen a school in her district. Her efforts were ignored by official channels, and responding to her constituents complaints, she reached out to international media. Her son, Yoerlis Peña Ávila, who had an 18 year career in the Cuban military, was forced out when he refused to declare Sirley insane and commit his mother to a psychiatric facility. This is not the first case in which the government uses internment in psychiatric institutions and the misuse of psychotropic drugs against dissidents.

9. Ms Ávila León joined UNPACU, a human rights organization which is denied the required registration and repression against her increased. On May 24, 2015 she was the victim of a machete attack carried out by Osmany Carriòn, with the complicit assistance of his wife, that led to the loss of her left hand, right upper arm nearly severed, and knees slashed into leaving her crippled. She did not receive adequate medical care and was told quietly by doctors that if she wanted to get better that she would need to leave the country.

10. On March 8, 2016 she arrived in Miami and began medical treatments over the next six months during which she was able to walk again, although still limited due to her injuries. She returned to Cuba on September 7, 2016 to find her home occupied by strangers and her attacker, Osmany Carriòn, free and bragging that he “would finish the job.” She moved in with her mother and within a short time a camera and microphone were set up across from her mother's home on a post by the authorities. Threats against her life intensified leading her to flee to the United States and request asylum on October 28, 2016.

11. Sirley’s son, Yoerlis Peña Ávila on March 15, 2017 was working when a man he did not know told him “that it was better that the legal demand not be continued because you did not know the risk in which you were exposing me and my grandmother.” The threat is in response to Sirley Avila Leon’s legal demand presented to recover 126,000 Cuban pesos ($4754) in damages resulting from the May 24, 2015 machete attack.
What was done to Sirley Avila Leon exposed the brutal nature of the regime and the terrible truth that the Castro dictatorship in Cuba does not belong on the UN Human Rights Council as a member but rather its members should be in the Hague answering for their crimes against humanity.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

#KarlMarx200 Ideas have consequences: Rather than celebrate perhaps Marxists should apologize.

"They must work to ensure that the immediate revolutionary excitement is not suddenly suppressed after the victory. On the contrary, it must be sustained as long as possible. Far from opposing the so-called excesses—instances of popular vengeance against hated individuals or against public buildings with which hateful memories are associated—the workers’ party must not only tolerate these actions but must even give them direction." - Karl Marx, 1850

Child victims of the communist Khmer Rouge regime genocide in Cambodia 1975-79
Communist China is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx and commissioned a statue of the German philosopher that is now on display in Marx's German home town. It should not be surprising that the Chinese regime would push for this because Karl Marx is the intellectual author of the communist revolution led by Mao Zedong. What is shocking is that democrats in Germany accepted the statue and that Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission would attend an event there to honor the German communist and declare "Marx isn't responsible for all the atrocity his alleged heirs have to answer for."

Alleged heirs?  Karl Marx advocated revolutionary terror, moral relativism, and an end justifies the means approach in a toxic mix that produced a century of mass murder and totalitarianism. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. understood this and rejected communism and the Marxist Leninist vision which is why the KGB targeted him with an active measures program.

Communist China honors Karl Marx, but does it truthfully look at its own history as other nations have? Have any other communist regimes or communist parties?

Has the communist regime in China apologized for the tens of million killed creating and consolidating their regime? Has the Castro regime in Cuba apologized for the tens of thousands of Cubans it killed, or the tens of thousands of Ethiopians it killed, or Nicaraguans it killed or Venezuelans it is killing today?
An apology without making amends is not enough but it is something. It is at least a recognition of past wrongs and the need to do better. The Australian government apologized in 2008 for the policies that did great harm to the Aboriginal people during the colonization of Australia.The U.S. House of Representatives issued a formal apology for slavery and Jim Crow in 2008. In 2010 the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed a resolution apologizing for treatment of indigenous people in the U.S. and the President signed it.

The fact that the Putin regime has refused to apologize for the crimes of Soviet Russia in the Baltics s worrisome. Have any existing communist regimes apologized for past crimes? Have any communist parties recognized their past crimes? Instead of rewriting history perhaps recognize the past, apologize and make amends?

Perhaps communists could apologize for how communist regimes have treated children?
Communists advocate and carry out policies to end families and replace the role of parent with the communist state. This means that the extrajudicial killings of children in communism are acts of state filicide. Filicide is the act of killing one's own son or daughter. Across the world from Europe, to Asia, to Africa, and the Americas there is a pattern that transcends race and ethnicity but have one commonality: all are communist regimes and they murder their own innocent children.

China could also consider their legacy in Cambodia, a regime they backed and that was Marxist-Leninist and Maoist.

Spanish poster for S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine and Enemies of the People
There are two documentary films that you must see to gain an understanding of how a true and pure communist regime operates. They both focus on events in Cambodia following the rise to power of the communist regime there. One of them Enemies of the People was released in 2010. The other S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (French: S-21, la machine de mort Khmère rouge) is available online and was released in 2003. Both are works of art that transcend the confines of documentary film making to serve an important role in truth telling and national reconciliation. Members of the Khmer Rouge were placed on trial, but the verdict on their ideological project is still the subject of fierce dialogue and debate among communists of what took place between 1975 and 1979. Both these films can serve to not only inform but provide context into understanding revolution. 

The films compliment each other. Enemies of the People offers the perspective of the revolutionary leadership, their ideological vision, and how they applied it as government policy. While the S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine documentary allows the viewer to see how that policy was implemented in day by day accounts by the prison guards and surviving prisoners. Enemies of the People offers the perspective of the documentary's director Thet Sambath, a senior reporter for the Phnom Penh Post, and he is regarded as one of Cambodia’s best investigative journalists. On the other hand in S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine the director, Rithy Panh, is a lifelong filmmaker and a survivor of the Khmer Rouge camps who lost his parents, sister, and many other relatives to the genocide. 

Both films offer something I have never seen before in a documentary the voice of the individuals who committed the atrocities. In Enemies of the People the party’s ideological leader, Nuon Chea aka Brother Number Two – break a 30-year silence to give testimony never before heard or seen laying out what and why they did it, and in S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine it is the guards themselves walking through S-21 prison with one of their former captives describing in detail what was done there. 

Instead of building new statues to the intellectual author of these horrors perhaps they should be torn down or placed in museums that provide the proper historical context. Meanwhile the European Union, whose countries gave birth to the two great totalitarian nightmares of the 20th century: Nazism and Communism, should reflect more deeply on what they seek to honor, to avoid repeating past mistakes.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Karl Marx in his own words at 200: Nothing to celebrate, much to remember and condemn

Anti-Semite, racist, advocate of terrorism, and genocide honored in Germany.

Bronze statue of Karl Marx given to German town by Communist regime in China.
On April 13, 2018 an 18-foot bronze statue of Karl Marx was erected in his hometown of Trier, Germany. The statue was a gift from the Communist dictatorship in China to honor the 200th anniversary of the birth of German communist theoretician on May 5th. Communist China has the largest death toll in absolute numbers of any communist regime.

Karl Marx's writings demonstrate that the German philosopher is the father of the Communist ideology that has cost over a 100 million lives, and other endemic problems found in Marxist regimes.  Marx's early formulation of communism is antisemitic and offers a "solution" to the "Jewish Problem."

"Money is the Jealous God of Israel, beside which no other God may exist. Money abases all the gods of mankind and changes them into commodities.  The god of the Jews has been secularized and has become the god of the world. In emancipating itself from hucksterism and money, and thus from real and practical Judaism, our age would emancipate itself...by destroying the empirical essence of Judaism, the Jew will become impossible." Source Karl Marx-Engels Collected Works (London 1975ff),vol. iii,pp146-74
His early defense of using terror, one of the key elements of Totalitarianism is also problematic.
"We are ruthless and ask no quarter from you.  When our turn comes we shall not disguise our terrorism." Marx-Engels Gesamt-Ausgabe, vol. vi pp 503-5
"Far from opposing the so-called excesses, those examples of popular vengeance against hated individuals or public buildings which have acquired hateful memories, we must not only condone these examples but lend them a helping hand." Marx-Engels Gesamt-Ausgabe, vol. vii p 239
Karl Marx in the essay “Forced Emigration,” in the New York Daily Tribune, 22 March 1853 seems to view the elimination of classes and races as a necessary part of revolution:
Society is undergoing a silent revolution, which must be submitted to, and which takes no more notice of the human existences it breaks down than an earthquake regards the houses it subverts. The classes and the races, too weak to master the new conditions of life, must give way. 
In a July 30, 1862 letter to Frederick Engels, his chief benefactor, Marx described nineteenth-century German socialist, Ferdinand Lassalle, in a racist manner:
The Jewish Nigger Lassalle . . .fortunately departs at the end of this week . . . It is now absolutely clear to me that, as both the shape of his head and his hair texture shows – he descends from the Negros who joined Moses’ flight from Egypt (unless his mother or grandmother on the paternal side hybridized with a nigger). Now this combination of Germanness and Jewishness with a primarily Negro substance creates a strange product. The pushiness of the fellow is also nigger-like.
This may explain why the Soviet Union, the first communist regime, allied with Nazi, Germany in 1939 to divide Poland and plunge the world into World War II. It also might explain why 23 years later Fidel Castro would contract former Nazi SS Waffen members to train Cuban troops in 1962.

There is much to remember and condemn on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx. There is nothing to celebrate.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Improper Conduct: Fidel Castro, and the communist persecution of homosexuals in Cuba, Russia, and China

“We would never come to believe that a homosexual could embody the conditions and requirements of conduct that would enable us to consider him a true revolutionary, a true communist militant.” ... A deviation of that nature clashes with the concept we have of what a militant communist should be.” - Fidel Castro, 1965

Film poster for the 1984 film Improper Conduct
Thirty four years ago on March 21, 1984 in France the film "Mauvaise Conduite" was released. The film was directed by two Cuban exiles,  Néstor Almendros and Orlando Jiménez Leal.  The title of the film in English is Improper Conduct and it examines the "moral purges" of the Castro regime that began in 1964 with Military Units to Aid Production or UMAPs (Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción). These forced labor camps were for those suspected of or found guilty of "improper conduct."  Persons with effeminate mannerisms: what the Cuban government called "extravagant behavior" were taken to these camps.  Apologists of the Castro regime would like to forget this shameful chapter of the communist revolution in Cuba.

It is important to underscore that the systematic repression of homosexuals had an ideological component that also impacted policies in Communist China and the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union homosexuality was criminalized in 1933, "punishable by prison and hard labor, and Stalinist anti-gay policies persisted throughout the 1960s and 1970s." In 1949 upon taking power in Mainland China the communists declared homosexuality a symptom of "bourgeois decadence" and set out to eliminate it.

Below is an online version of the entire documentary that is also available on Amazon.com.