Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Associated Press claims debit card controlled by company run by Castro's military is "popular." Not exactly true.

Company card, with fees, for a store that marks up prices is not popular but a bitter necessity pushed on Cubans by the Castro regime to take more of their hard currency.  

The Associated Press (AP) long ago jumped the shark on its Cuba coverage, but it still continues to surprise. On September 28th Andrea Rodriguez of the AP made the claim that "a debit card backed by remittances" had "recently became popular in Cuba because people can use it to buy home appliances, food and replacement parts." When other options are chocked off by the communist bureaucracy does not make what remains popular, but the only alternative.

American International Service (AIS) cards are produced by AIS, a company registered in Panama,  but controlled by Fincimex, one of the companies in the Grupo de Administración Empresarial, S.A., or better known by its acronym GAESA.  

They receive transfer fees through AIS and FINCIMEX and keep the hard currency while dispensing local currency that has no value outside Cuba, or issues debit cards loaded with international currency for accounts it alone controls. For example if you transfer 100 Euros then you pay a "transfer fee" of 7.50 Euros.  GAESA is a conglomerate of the Castro regime's military that is able to funnel those funds into maintaining the repressive apparatus on the island, or also use it for repressive forces in Venezuela that have been training Maduro's military and security forces in psychological and physical torture techniques.

This reality is left out of the AP's reporting, but also everyday Cubans are also getting a raw deal.

Like a company store, the state owned, or more often and accurately termed "military owned stores" mark up prices on badly needed products, but have no competition. In the Miami Herald  Emilio Morales, president of The Havana Consulting Group, reports that "the Cuban military, which controls remittances, the tourism industry, and several chain stores, has benefited from remittances to the island, appropriating nearly 74 percent of every dollar sent by the Cuban exiles. Morales, who has been tracking the money sent to Cuba over the years, estimates that since 1993, Cuba has received around $46.8 billion in remittances. Almost $20 billion passed through the hands of the Cuban military."

The AIS cards are the latest manifestation of the Castro dictatorship's desire to vacuum up hard currency in Cuba, and leave Cubans with worthless paper and products that they have had to purchase at an exorbitant price.

U.S. sanctions placed on FINCIMEX to restrict hard currency to the Castro regime's repressive apparatus is a positive step, and at a time when the dictatorship is in need of hard currency, it has proven to be more flexible in its policies due to external pressure. It is a nonviolent tactic and can fit within an overall strategic nonviolent approach.

The AP has ignored this pattern of government behavior that stretches back decades that demonstrates when pressured, despite the hostile rhetoric, the dictatorship seeks accommodation to relieve pressure and survive.

It has also ignored how appeasing Havana time and time again cost lives, not only in Cuba, but also the United States.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Communist China and Cuba celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations

A long relationship that began while Cuba had normal diplomatic relations with the United States.

Chinese Premier Li Peng and Fidel Castro in Havana in 1995

President Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, exchanged congratulatory messages with Raul Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, and Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two communist dictatorships.

In September 1960 the Cuban government diplomatically recognized the Peoples Republic of China. Between 1960 and 1964 the two regimes would collaborate closely together. 

Ernesto "Che" Guevara with a Cuban delegation visited Mainland China and met with Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and other high ranking Chinese officials in November 1960 to discuss conditions in Cuba and in Latin America, and the prospects for communist revolution in the Western Hemisphere.

Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and Chairman Mao Zedong dining in 1960

This was at a time that Havana still had normal diplomatic relations with the United States. Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States were severed on January 3, 1961.

Relations between China and Cuba cooled in 1964 when the Castro regime sided with the Soviet Union in the Sino-Soviet  split, but warmed again in 1989 following the Tiananmen Massacre. The Castro regime was one of the few governments to support the massacre, and the Castro regime had distanced itself from the Soviet Union viewing Perestroika and Glasnost  as existential threats to their rule.

Cuba's relationship with the Soviet Union provided Havana with expertise in biological warfare and biotech that had been denied the Chinese due to the above mentioned split. The Castro regime beginning in the late 1980s began offering that knowledge to their counterparts in Beijing and signed a  formal agreement to produce monoclonal antibodies in 2002.

The two regimes have been working closely together during the COVID-19 pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019.  Above is a video presentation given in April 2020 on this relationship.

At the United Nations Human Rights Council on July 1, 2020 the Castro regime took the lead in backing the new security law in Hong Kong that effectively ends autonomy there.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel and his wife with President Xi Jinping and his wife in Beijing,  Nov. 8, 2018.



Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Oslo Freedom Forum 2020: "We Are Resilient"

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”― Confucius

Twelve  years of Oslo Freedom Forums and this year the organizers are demonstrating their resilience and the resilience of the global human rights movement with a free and virtual forum. Register and share with others.

What you need to know
These talks will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT on September 24 and 25. You can watch live at oslofreedomforum.com and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #OsloFF.

September 24, 2020

Session I (9:00 – 9:45 a.m. EDT)

  • Gulchehra Hoja, Uyghur journalist
  • Mohamed Nagi Alassam, Sudanese doctor and pro-democracy activist
  • Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Thai opposition leader
  • Musical performance by the Uyghur Ensemble Orchestra

Session II (10:10 – 11:20 a.m. EDT)

  • Masih Alinejad, Iranian journalist and human rights activist
  • Christopher Balding, “Who Owns Huawei?” author and professor
  • Ariel Ruiz Urquiola, Cuban environmentalist and LGBTQ+ rights activist
  • Comedy performance by Ahmed Albasheer, Iraqi comedian and political satirist
  • Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s Digital Minister

September 25, 2020

Session III (9:00 – 10:25 a.m. EDT)

  • Fatou Toufah Jallow, Gambian anti-rape activist and survivor 
  • Bryan Fogel, Oscar-winning film director 
  • Lyudmila Savchuk, Russian investigative journalist 
  • Nathan Law, Exiled Hong Kong pro-democracy activist 
  • Musical performance by the Uyghur Ensemble Orchestra 

Session IV (10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT)

  • Jack Dorsey, Twitter and Square CEO
  • Eunhee Park, North Korean defector
  • Featured Speaker from Belarus
  • Comedy performance by Shabana Rehman, Pakistani comedian

Havel Prize Ceremony (12:00 – 12:30 p.m. EDT)

  • Garry Kasparov, Chess grandmaster and HRF Chairman
  • Musical performance by 2019 Havel Laureate Ramy Essam

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Belarus and Cuba: Castro regime backs the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko at the UN Human Rights Council

Translating the rhetoric of the Castro regime at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Raul Castro's presidential puppet and dictator Lukashenko
Prensa Latina is an official press agency of the Castro dictatorship, but is in reality part of its propaganda apparatus. Below is a story they published on September 18 that needs to be translated for the sake of accuracy. 

First, Cuba did not ratify anything, it was an un-elected dictatorship run by the Castro family, that on September 18, 2020 at the United Nations Human Rights Council ratified its support for the dictator of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko.

Second the Castro regime fails to mention that it is Alexander Lukashenko who is requesting and getting the foreign interference from Vladimir Putin. Mr. Lukashenko also wants Russian police, to terrorize the people of Belarus who have spent weeks protesting the attempted theft of their presidential election by the above mentioned dictator.

This should not be a surprise considering that the Castro regime defended the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 by the Warsaw Pact led by Russia, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980.

Third, what the Castro regime actually fears is that the Human Rights Council will hold it accountable for its crimes against humanity against Cubans and Venezuelans. This is why in the past they ignored ideological considerations and backed the military junta in Argentina, that disappeared over 30,000 Leftists, against an inquiry by the prior UN Human Rights Commission.

There is a danger both for the Castro regime and Vladimir Putin to confuse the dictator, with the aspirations of the people of Belarus. We have not and will not. We stand with Belarus and in solidarity with the people seeking their freedom and sovereignty.

 Prensa Latina, September 18, 2020

Cuba expresses support for Belarus at the Human Rights Council

Geneva, Sep 18 (Prensa Latina) Cuba ratified on Friday its support for the people and government of Belarus and its legitimate President Alexander Lukashenko in a session of the UN Human Rights Council convened to attack that country.

'We energetically reject foreign interference against the sovereignty and self-determination of that sister nation,' assured Cuban diplomat Lisandra Astiasaran during an urgent debate on the human rights situation in Belarus, where the West is committed to destabilization.

According to Astiasaran, Cuba repudiates the imposition of this type of selective initiatives, directed against sovereign governments and with clear political motivations.

'We are facing an obvious attempt to use the Human Rights Council to legitimize a coup in a sovereign nation, and to advance the interventionist agenda of the United States and some of its allies,' she denounced.

In this regard, she warned that on Friday's debate and the resolution that accompanied it represent new signs of politicization and double standards that prevail in handling the issue of human rights.

Such a stance will only ensure that the Council's credibility continues, she noted.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Call for Help: Canadian prisoner in Cuba denied medical care for months despite begging Cuban prison officials to let him see a doctor

 Sister asks "what is the Canadian government waiting for? body bags?"

Canadian born citizen Benjamin Tomlin not receiving adequate care.

Canadian born citizen Benjamin Tomlin jailed in Cuba was able to make a call out of prison begging for medical care denied him by Cuban prison officials.  His sister Caroline Simpson who has been campaigning for his release made it available and in the e-mail with the audio declared: "This is appalling,  my brother has been begging to see a doctor for months,  why isn’t the Canadian government doing anything to bring the prisoners home while they will be safe. What are they waiting for? Body bags?"

Ms. Simpson added that "this has become a humanitarian cause now, these Canadians need to be returned home before it is too late. We can no longer wait for political niceties and formalities we need to save these men’s lives NOW because they are in serious danger." 


"The Cuban government is not respecting the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) that under rule 24 states:"The provision of health care for prisoners is a State responsibility. Prisoners should enjoy the same standards of health care that are available in the community, and should have access to necessary health-care services free of charge without discrimination on the grounds of their legal status," in the case of Benjamin Tomlin, who is suffering great pain, cysts, and deteriorating health. Friends and family are concerned about his health and fear for his life, because he has not been provided adequate medical care for months.

Benjamin Tomlin has been detained in Cuba since August 2018 when he was charged with sexual misconduct. On March 29, 2019, following a trial which stripped the defendant of his basic human right – the right to fair and equitable hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal – he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

On August 28th, 2019, the Supreme Court of Cuba rejected his appeal, the same day that various Canadian newspapers and media, including CBC News, published articles about Mr. Tomlin’s incarceration in Cuba.

Beginning with his arrest through to his trial and sentencing, Benjamin Tomlin’s case has been plagued with judicial irregularities. Tomlin's rights have been consistently violated since his arrest: he was prevented from speaking to his lawyer; refused consular assistance; and was forced to sign documents, under duress, that he did not understand.  Benjamin Tomlin continues to maintain his innocence and claims to be the victim of people who robbed him.

Benjamin Tomlin’s Chronic Pain and Lack of Proper Health care in a Cuban Prison

In 2005, Benjamin was in an accident from which he was expected to be a quadriplegic. To the surprise of his doctors, he was able to regain movement in his limbs but continues to this day to experience severe chronic pain and transient paralysis for which he had stayed medicated following the accident. In addition, Mr. Tomlin was also diagnosed with poly cystic kidney disease in his mid-twenties.

Mr. Tomlin is presently in excruciating pain as the required medication is not being provided to him. His physical health is deteriorating, not to mention his mental health. Although friends and family do what is in their power to ensure that the medication gets to his Cuban prison, it is being stolen by the prison guards thus it rarely gets to him.

Most recently friends and family have been informed that in addition to chronic pain from his accident and his worsening mental health, Benjamin Tomlin is now experiencing symptoms of his poly cystic kidney disease. He has been extremely ill and was unable to move from his bed for several days due to excruciating pain. He requested medical attention but was told it was unavailable due to the current fuel crisis in Cuba.

Furthermore, he was subject to a disciplinary hearing before the prison colonel for “disrespect” for having insisted that he receive medical attention.

Video of audio received on September 15, 2020: https://youtu.be/8xTAkQjUs_Y


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Will you take the pledge? I did.

The U.S. National Archives are presenting citizens with the opportunity to sign the founding documents of the United States.

September 17, 1787 was a great day for ordered liberty when the U.S. Constitution was signed and 233 years later it is a great day to reflect on this important document and to celebrate the civilization it gave rise to. 

Today some will revere the Constitution as a sacred text, while others will condemn it, but how did one of the actual signers view it at the time? Benjamin Franklin, during a speech in the Constitutional Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (September 17, 1787); reported in James Madison, Journal of the Federal Convention, ed. E. H. Scott (1893), p. 742:

In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults, — if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people, if well administered; and I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other. 
 The author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, observed in a fair copy of the drafts of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798:
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

Today is also a good day to re-read the Constitution and remind ourselves as citizens that we must hold the politicians accountable in order to preserve liberty and avoid despotism. Furthermore that over time amendments have been necessary to cautiously improve on the original document.

However, now that the revolutionaries are out attempting to discard this legacy of liberty it is time to stand up and be counted. Sign the document and upload it for others to see. Let me be clear,  my loyalty is to the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law and I pledged my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to the cause of freedom.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Gaslighting Cuban Americans on Obama's Cuba policy hurting Vice President Biden with Cuban American voters

“We are going to have diplomatic relations with the United States without having ceded one iota.”- Gerardo Hernandez, Cuban spy sentenced to life in prison for murder conspiracy freed by Obama as part of his deal with Raul Castro.

Raul Castro, First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama in March 2016

On September 3, 2020 Vice President Joe Biden  in an interview with Jackie Nespral of NBC6 said he'd "try to reverse the failed Trump policies, it inflicted harm on Cubans and their families. It’s done nothing to advance democracy and human rights, on the contrary, the crackdown on Cubans by the regime has gotten worse under Trump, not better.” What the Vice President is stating is that he would return to the Obama Cuba policy.  However human rights worsened under the Obama Cuba policy.

Consider the following during and after negotiations:

Machete attacks

The United States and Cuba held secret negotiations for 18 months beginning in 2013. Coinciding with the start of these negotiations were a series of machete attacks against opposition activists. On June 8, 2013 in Holguin, Cuba Werlando Leiva Batista of the Christian Liberation Movement was attacked with a machete on a public street. Later that same month on June 21, 2013 in Camaguey, Orlando Lazaro Gomez Hernandez, a member of the Pro Human Rights Party of Cuba stepped out of his home with a sign supporting hunger striker Luis Enrique Santos Caballero. Seeing this protest the president of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR),  ran out of his home with a machete and attacked Orlando Lazaro with it, cutting part of his right hand and also striking him on the back. Others came out as the activist fell to the ground and began to kick him.

Freeing spy convicted of murder conspiracy of three Cuban Americans and a Cuban resident

The December 17, 2014 announcement by the President broke new ground in only one area releasing Gerardo Hernandez, a Cuban spy and terrorist, convicted of murder conspiracy of three U.S. citizens and a resident. Not only did President Obama commute the sentence but tried to rewrite history calling an act of international terrorism, the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down, a tragedy.  Freeing unrepentant killers is not a good policy for promoting human rights.

Brothers to the Rescue shoot down victims.

Small number of political prisoners released
Obama administration attempt to claim that the release of 53 political prisoners in early January 2014 was a human rights improvement. But once the names were released it was revealed that 17 of the 53 had been released prior to the agreement and had nothing to do with it. This meant that a total of 38 political prisoners were freed at the time.  Some context is needed to understand how small this number is. The Swedish NGO, Civil Rights Defenders, on January 13, 2020 reported that " approximately 8,400 Cubans currently serve time for ”pre-criminal social dangerousness”.

According to a report in The New York Times on January 13, 2020 documents were examined that "showed that approximately 92 percent of those accused in the more than 32,000 cases that go to trial in Cuba every year are found guilty. Nearly 4,000 people every year are accused of being “antisocial” or “dangerous,” terms the Cuban government uses to jail people who pose a risk to the status quo, without having committed a crime." Furthermore, the article says that "records show that Cuba’s prison system holds more than 90,000 prisoners. The Cuban government has only publicly released the figure once, in 2012, when it claimed that 57,000 people were jailed."

Regime behavior worsened in the immediate aftermath of the normalization announcement.


Skyrocketing arbitrary detentions

The number of politically motivated arbitrary detentions documented by the Havana based, Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation since 2008 demonstrates a dramatic rise in repression between 2008 and 2016, that spiked dramatically in the year of the Obama Administration's new Cuba policy announcement in 2014 from 6,424 arbitrary detentions in 2013 to 8,899 in 2014. This also occurred with troubling incidents of violence by regime agents.

During President Obama's last year in office the number of arbitrary detentions reached their highest number since 2010 with 9,940 arbitrary detentions. Despite this, on his way out of office in January 2017, President Obama closed the door on Cuban refugees

During 2017 there were 5,155 Cubans arbitrarily detained, and although still far too high, it is a dramatic improvement over 2016. There are still prisoners of conscience enduring horrid and dangerous conditions in Cuban prisons and dissenters sent to psychiatric institutions for punishment.

Sirley Avila Leon: Before and after May 2015 machete attack

More extreme machete attack in 2015

Six months after the announcement of normalizing relations 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 unable to bend her legs, or use her remaining had.Thanks to a team of medical doctors treating her, by September 2016 Sirley had regained the use of her hand, and was able to walk short distances.

Negative international trends for human rights in Cuba under Obama Cuba policy.

Human rights worsened in Cuba as the dictatorship was legitimized internationally by the Obama Administration's Cuba policy, and March 2016 state visit that led to Cuban dissidents and human rights defenders becoming more isolated. 

EU's High Representative Federica Mogherini with Raul Castro

The Obama Administration's Cuba policy had a negative impact internationally on human rights in Cuba internally. The decision of the European Union to "open a new chapter" on relations with Cuba that dropped human rights as a condition for normalization and ended a European Common Position adopted in 1996. This arrangement was formalized in a signing ceremony on December 12, 2016. Twenty  years of linking improved relations between the EU and Cuba to improvements in human rights ended.

Gaslighting the Cuban American community with the claim that the Obama Cuba policy was good on human rights in Cuba is leading to Biden's poll numbers tanking among that demographic. 

Former Secretary of State John Kerry recognizing this reality began to change the campaign's triumphalist message in order to bring it closer in line with the facts on the ground outlined above when told journalist Andres Oppenheimer earlier this month: “It’s fair to say that everybody shares a little bit of disappointment about the direction that the government in Cuba chose to go” after the normalization of U.S.-Cuba ties. Cuba seemed to harden down after the initial steps were taken.”

No kidding.

Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/andres-oppenheimer/article245597340.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, September 11, 2020

Guevara's and Castro's drive to overthrow existing governments in Latin America led to the rise of Augusto Pinochet

 "Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of the enemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy." - Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Message to the Tricontinental (1967)

Fidel Castro and Augusto Pinochet meet in Chile

Ernesto "Che" Guevara's drive to overthrow existing governments in Latin America, combined with Fidel Castro's support for terrorist groups in Chile led to unease in Chile that resulted in Augusto Pinochet's successful coup against Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973.

Che Guevara was an admirer of Mao Zedong and his formulation of guerilla warfare is adapted from the Chinese leader. Che published influential manuals Guerrilla Warfare (1961) and Guerrilla Warfare: A Method (1963), which were based on his own experiences and partly chairman Mao Zedong's writings. Guevara stated that revolution in Latin America must come through insurgent forces developed in rural areas with peasant support. His international legacy of glorifying violence through an erroneous analysis of guerilla warfare, based on his experiences with the Batista army, which was too incompetent and corrupt to fight, and applying Zedong’s writings on the subject led to bloodbaths in Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chiapas, Congo, Angola and decades of military dictatorship and political violence. 

Ernesto "Che" Guevara meets Mao Zedong in China in 1960

Guevara in his 1967 Message to the Tricontinental, an international gathering of guerilla and terrorist groups from Asia, Europe, and Latin America, described the kind of struggle  to be expanded and carried out in Latin America to overthrow the existing governments:

"We must carry the war into every corner the enemy happens to carry it: to his home, to his centers of entertainment; a total war. It is necessary to prevent him from having a moment of peace, a quiet moment outside his barracks or even inside; we must attack him wherever he may be; make him feel like a cornered beast wherever he may move." 

Guevara’s call to total war led to the rise of new military juntas in countries that had not known them before in their history: Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, and Uruguay all had their first military juntas after the Castro regime began to export guerillas and Guevara's ideology. Other countries such as Chile, who had known a military junta between 1924 and 1931, in reaction to communist threats in 1973 embraced Augusto Pinochet who remained in power for seventeen years thanks to the continued terrorism carried out by agents and groups funded and backed by Fidel Castro

With the exception of Nicaragua Che Guevara’s prescription for revolution in Latin America led to a generation of right wing military dictatorships and harsh repression. In Nicaragua it led to a Marxist dictatorship, civil war and harsh repression. 

In Ireland the Irish Republican Army holds up Guevara as a hero and exemplar. No one should be surprised when some of his admirers in Ireland planted a 600 pound bomb to advance their revolutionary agenda. They were just following the Argentine revolutionary's instructions.

Guevara and Chairman Mao dining together in 1960

Gandhi and the importance of September 11th for nonviolence

"Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak." - Mohandas K. Gandhi

Gandhi in South Africa

114 years ago today on September 11, in South Africa Mohandas Gandhi coined the term Satyagraha which brought together truth and firmness into one word defining the essence of nonviolent resistance.

Nineteen years ago today, the United States was attacked and 2,977 men, women, and children were murdered and over 6,000 wounded in terrorist attacks planned by Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network.

September 11, 2001 victims

The date September 11 was picked by the terrorists because it marks the September 11, 1683 defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Vienna. It turned the tide of Islamic conquest in Europe. 318 years later the Islamist began their offensive in revenge for the defeat of their armies in the heart of Europe.

Michael Nagler, a long time peace scholar, presents the theorem as follows: Nonviolence sometimes “works” and always works, while by contrast, Violence sometimes “works” and never works.  Nagler offers a more detailed explanation.

The exercise of violence always has a destructive effect on human relationships even when, as sometimes happens, it accomplishes some short-term goal. The exercise of nonviolence, or Satyagraha, always brings people closer. This explains why Gandhi, after fifty years of experimentation in every walk of life, could declare that he “knew of no single case in which it had failed.” Where it seemed to fail he concluded that he or the other satyagrahis had in some way failed to live up to its steep challenge.  Taking the long view, he was able to declare that “There is no such thing as defeat in non-violence. The end of violence is surest defeat.”

The young Mohandas Gandhi

Humanity faces a stark choice defined and marked by the chasm between the strong and courageous Satyagraha of Mohandas Gandhi and weak and frustrated terrorists. Will hope or terror triumph? In the article linked to below Gandhi describes the meeting where the word Satyagraha came into existence and with the life he lived gave the answer to the question.

Gandhi, M.K., Satyagraha in South Africa (Ahmedabad, 1928, revised 2nd edition, 1950) pp. 95-102)

Mohandas Gandhi was a critic of terrorism, as the quote on the top of the page indicates, but below are two more epigrams by the Indian independence leader.

"I do not regard killing or assassination or terrorism as good in any circumstances whatsoever."

"The spirit of democracy cannot be established in the midst of terrorism, whether governmental or popular."  

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Christian Liberation Movement statement on 32nd anniversary since its founding

1988-2020 XXXII Anniversary of the Christian Liberation Movement.


Today marks 32 years since the founding of the Christian Liberation Movement, our thanks and admiration to its founding fathers, and many congratulations to all the brothers who during these years have remained firm and consistent with the principles and values ​​of Liberation.

These years have been hard: persecution, repression, jail, exile, isolation, murder of our leaders; but also fruitful, there are the Varela Project, The Peoples Path (El Camino del Pueblo), the Heredia Project, Once Cuban one Vote (Un Cubano un Voto), among others; formidable expressions of citizen mobilization in order to demand the rights that the regime denies to the Cuban people.

We use nonviolence as a method of struggle to subvert oppression, and as a rational and civilized response to intolerance and hatred.

For the people a message of faith and hope, with the certainty that change is possible if all Cubans of good will work for that purpose.

Freedom for Cuba, enough of injustices and oppression!
Freedom for all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience!

Long live Oswaldo and Harold!

Long live the MCL!

Original text in Spanish below:

1988-2020 XXXII Aniversario del Movimiento Cristiano Liberación.

Hoy cumple 32 años de fundado el Movimiento Cristiano Liberación, nuestro agradecimiento y admiración a sus padres fundadores, y muchas felicidades a todos los hermanos que durante estos años se han mantenido firmes y coherentes a los principios y valores de Liberación.

Estos años han sido duros: persecución, represión, cárcel, destierro, aislamiento, asesinato de nuestros lideres; pero también fecundos, ahí están el Proyecto Varela , El Camino del Pueblo, el Proyecto Heredia, Un Cubano un Voto entre otros; formidables expresiones de movilización ciudadana en aras de exigir los derechos que el régimen niega al pueblo cubano.

Empleamos la no violencia como método de lucha para subvertir la opresión, y como respuesta racional y civilizada a la intolerancia y el odio.

Para el pueblo  un mensaje de fe y esperanza, con la certeza que el cambio es posible si todos los cubanos de buena voluntad trabajamos por dicho propósito.

¡Libertad para Cuba, basta ya de injusticias y opresión!
Libertad para todos los presos políticos y de ¡conciencia!
¡Vivan Oswaldo y Harold!
¡Viva  el MCL!

 Eduardo Cardet.
Coordinador  Nacional  del MCL

Sunflower Uprising?: Cuban dissidents announce call for nonviolent protests on Lady of Charity feast day

"Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it." - Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Stockholm, Sweden, 1964

 September 8th is the feast day for Our Lady of Charity, known affectionately as "Cachita", and she unites Cubans together both inside and outside of the island. This year it falls on a Tuesday. She is also a touch stone of Cuban identity. Catholics take sunflowers to the shrine to Our Lady of Charity which is located in Santiago de Cuba. 

September 8th is also the 32nd anniversary of the founding of the Christian Liberation Movement, whose leader Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, and youth leader Harold Cepero Escalante, were extrajudicially executed by Castro's secret police on July 22, 2012.

 Like Oswaldo and Harold, the founding leader of this movement, Laura Inés Pollán Toledo , died under suspicious circumstances in 2011.

Cuban dissident Yosvany Arostegui Armenteros died on August 7, 2020 in Cuba while in police custody following a 40 day hunger strike. He had been jailed on false charges in the Kilo 8 prison of Camagüey. His body was quickly cremated by the dictatorship without his families consent.  

Yosvany Arostegui Armenteros

Prisoner of conscience Silverio Portal Contreras, former activist with the Ladies in White, is serving a 4-year sentence for "contempt" and "public disorder." He was arrested on the June 20, 2016 in Havana after shouting “Down Fidel Castro, down Raúl...” Regime agents were upset because according to them, "the behavior of the accused is particularly offensive because it took place in a touristic area."  

Prisoner of conscience Silverio Portal Contreras

According to Silverio’s wife, before his arrest he had campaigned against the collapse of dilapidated buildings in Havana. Silverio was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International on August 26, 2019. He was beaten by prison officials in mid-May 2020 and lost sight in one eye. Since then his health has worsened and he has lost sight in the second eye. Activists are circulating a petition for his freedom.

The initiative solidarity between brothers continues to demand that the shipment of humanitarian assistance detained by the dictatorship be released, and call for participants in the sunflower uprising to join in this demand.

These are some of the reasons why on September 8th brave souls will be protesting in Cuba to reject repression and to demonstrate their solidarity with the Ladies in White, who are regularly assaulted for nonviolently gathering on Sundays.

 It is also why the secret police are working over time to shutdown the protests before they start with preemptive arrests and sunflowers have disappeared in Havana.

It is all the more reason why people of good will should denounce the oldest and most ruthless dictatorship in the Western hemisphere and go to the street on September 8th with a sunflower in hand and love for liberty in their hearts. 

In Washington DC activists will be gathering in front of the Cuban Embassy at 11:00am.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Cuban journalist Roberto de Jesús Quiñones released from prison today looking emaciated.

Roberto de Jesús Quiñones, an independent Cuban  journalist and attorney, jailed since September 11, 2019 for having covered the political show trial of two parents who were evangelical pastors for homeschooling their children was freed today. Cubanet broke the good news

Below is a photo of Roberto before entering prison and a photograph today after he was released with the journalist extremely emaciated.