Wednesday, June 30, 2021

#OTD in 1961 Castro declared to artists and intellectuals 'Within the revolution, everything; outside of it, nothing,' and the regime continues to jail free thinkers today.

Totalitarianism continues in Cuba under Raul Castro.

On June 30, 1961 Fidel Castro gave his speech to [Cuba's] intellectuals where he summed up the limits of artistic expression: 'Within the revolution, everything; outside of it, nothing,' he told intellectuals and artists. Nearly a decade later on April 27, 1971 the case of Heberto Padilla underscored the limits of artistic expression in Cuba.

Index on Censorship described the aftermath of Padilla's interrogation and self-criticism stating, "whatever the reason for his confession, it served as a harbinger of what was to follow: a period known as the Grey Five Years in which dozens of Cuban artists and writers were banished from public life." This was how intellectuals and artists would be dealt with who strayed out of the prescribed limits imposed by the Castro regime. 

The war on artistic freedom is not unique to the Castro regime, or a mistake, but a feature of communist and fascist systems. Totalitarians have had a hostile relationship with the arts, and with artists seeking to control them. In the Soviet Union modern art was declared subversive by Josef Stalin, and socialist realism with an optimistic tone the politically correct style. Artists destroyed or hid their work that did not accord with the new aesthetic. In Nazi Germany, modern art was declared degenerate and a style that mirrored in appearance their Soviet counterparts, and repression was visited upon artists that did not adhere to the official style.

Sixty years after Castro's infamous speech and Cuban artists and intellectuals are persecuted and jailed for advocating for greater political and artistic freedom on the island.
Cuban artist Hamlet Lavastida jailed by secret police in Villa Marista.
Cuban artist Hamlet Lavastida, "a member of Cuba’s 27N movement of artists, journalists, and activists who advocate for greater political and artistic freedom on the island, was arrested on 26 June after returning to the island from an artist’s residency in Germany, according to 27N members", reported The Art Newspaper on June 28, 2021. "PEN America and PEN International [on June 28, 2021] condemned the detention of Cuban visual artist and activist Hamlet Lavastida, calling his abrupt imprisonment following a residency abroad an unjust, disturbing representation of the alarming government culture of hostility toward dissenting artists in Cuba," declared the organizations that defend free expression in a joint statement.

On May 18, 2021 Cuban authorities arrested and detained rapper and activist Maykel Castillo. On June 18th, the one month mark of this arbitrary detention, "PEN America, along with CADAL, the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America, condemned the Cuban authorities for their arbitrary detention of Castillo and called for his immediate release." Julie Trebault, director of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) at PEN America stated, “the fact that Castillo has been kept in prison for more than a month—and that his family, friends, and supporters have been kept in the dark as to his condition and the reasons for his arbitrary detention—is simply unacceptable.”  Today, June 30th marks 36 days disappeared and jailed for saying what he thinks.

37 years ago the 1984 documentary Improper Conduct outlined how Cuban artists that did not conform, or were deemed to be engaged in “extravagant behavior” were sent to work camps or forced into exile by the Castro regime. The repressive nature of the dictatorship has not changed.

Amnesty International is circulating a petition in Spanish for signatures calling on Havana to end its harassment of artists, and today at 7:00pm the San Isidro Movement is calling to Tweet out to free those arrested on Obispo Street with the hashtag #LiberenALosDeObispo with the following statement over Twitter on June 28, 2021 with the attached image.

"No one should be deprived of liberty for defending their rights and expressing themselves in the face of injustice. Let us demand this Wednesday # 30Jun that #LiberenALosDeObispo and all those who have been unjustly detained for defending the rights that the Cuban dictatorship constantly violates."


Sunday, June 27, 2021

#OTD in 1993 guards on patrol boats lobbed grenades on Cuban swimmers in the waters near the Guantanamo Naval Base. Providing some context.

Murdering fleeing refugees is a recurring practice of the Castro regime. 

Cuban gunboat patrolling waters near Guantanamo, Cuba
This is the second entry within a week remembering the extrajudicial killing of fleeing refugees by the Castro regime's border guard. The world has paid little notice to this pattern of extrajudicial killings.

* On June 26, 1993 at 11 a.m., three patrol boats surrounded a group of swimmers, lobbing grenades and spraying them with automatic weapons fire. At least three corpses were lifted out of the water with gaffs.
* On June 27, 1993 at 11:30 a.m., guards aboard patrol boats lobbed two grenades into the water.
* The same day, just before 3 p.m., a patrol boat opened automatic fire on a group of swimmers, who were later seen being pulled from the water. The swimmers' status was unknown.

U.S. soldiers patrolling the Guantanamo Naval Base perimeter were horrified by what they observed. It led to a formal diplomatic note to the Castro regime by the Clinton Administration. 

Guantanamo Naval Base coastline

This in turn led to a front page story in The Miami Herald on July 7, 1993 that described what had been witnessed:

Cuban marine patrols, determined to stop refugees from reaching the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, have repeatedly tossed grenades and shot at fleeing swimmers and recovered some bodies with gaff hooks, U.S. officials charged Tuesday. At least three Cubans have been killed in the past month as Cuban patrol boats attacked swimmers within sight of U.S. Navy personnel at Guantanamo.

Human rights defenders in Cuba who attempt to quantify the numbers of dead or missing refugees are targeted by state security and made a cautionary example to others. 

Francisco Chaviano González, a former mathematics teacher, and human rights defender was the president of the National Council for Civil Rights in Cuba (Consejo Nacional por los Derechos Civiles en Cuba - CNDCC), an organization whose work included "documenting the cases of Cubans who have been lost at sea trying to leave the country."

Chaviano was trying to investigate the cases of a number of Cubans who had gone missing. He was  warned by state security to stop his human rights work or he would be arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He refused to leave and was detained on May 7, 1994, drugged and subjected to a military trial and sentenced to 15 years in prison of which he served over 13 years in terrible conditions suffering numerous beatings and the denial of healthcare which led to a wholesale decline in his health. Amnesty International recognized Chaviano as a prisoner of conscience. Chaviano was released on August 10, 2007. He was forced into exile in 2012.

On July 13, 1994 the tugboat "13 de marzo" was surrounded, attacked and sunk by regime agents in a massacre that killed 37 Cuban refugees, the majority women and children.

On December 16, 2014 the Cuban coastguard rammed and sank a boat with 32 Cuban refugees on board. On this occasion one refugee,  Liosbel Díaz Beoto (age 32), went missing and is presumed dead, while the others were repatriated to Cuba.

Liosbel Díaz Beoto (age 32)

On April 9, 2015 a group of men in their 20s and 30s were building a small boat to escape Cuba when they were shot at by the head of state security, Miguel Angel Río Seco Rodríguez, in the municipality of Martí in the province of Matanzas in Cuba. Shot in the back and left for two days in a lagoon, before being found by his brother, was 28 year old Yuriniesky Martínez Reina. Unlike the families of many other victims who are intimidated into silence, Yuriniesky's family spoke out, identified his killer and demanded justice in a video published on April 27, 2015 by Libertad Press.

Yuriniesky Martínez Reina, in orange, with dad and son. Shot in the back (R)

 This is not an  exhaustive accounting by any means, and efforts to document these incidents, as was seen in the Chaviano case, invites retaliation by Castro regime officials.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

#OTD in 2020 a 27 year old unarmed black Cuban was shot in the back and killed by police. A year later and no one has been held accountable.

Do Black Cuban lives matter in Cuba?

Hansel E. Hernández Galiano shot in the back by PNR police.

On June 24, 2020 in Guanabacoa, Cuba 27 year old unarmed black Cuban, Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano was shot in the back and killed by the police. The official version claims that he was stealing pieces and accessories from a bus stop when he was spotted by two Revolutionary National Police (PNR in Spanish). Upon seeing the police Hansel ran away and the officers pursued him nearly two kilometers. PNR claimed that during the pursuit Hansel threw rocks at the officers. Police fired two warning shots and a third in his back killing him. Hansel's body was quickly cremated. 

This prevented an independent autopsy to verify official claims, or a proper funeral. 

Photo posted by Hansel's aunt on Facebook demanding justice.

On June 25, 2020 a woman, identifying as the young man's aunt, posted on Facebook a photo of the dead youth who, she said, had been the victim of the national revolutionary police a day earlier.

"I feel deep pain for the murder of my nephew Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano committed yesterday morning in La Lima, Guanabacoa (in eastern Havana), by two patrolmen (police)," she wrote. "We, the family members, ask for mercy that this cruel act at the hands of our supposed national security does not go unpunished in any way. Because a police officer, a uniform, does not give the right to murder anyone in such a way. If we know very well that they are trained with personal defense, they must carry spray, tonfas, etc. Why then did they have to resort to their firearm and take a son from a mother, a father, a nephew from their aunt, a brother from their younger sister ... Noting that he was NEVER armed, please, justice."

On June 28, 2020 independent journalist Jorge Enrique Rodríguez was arrested and charged with "Fake news" for reporting on this police killing. The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for Jorge Enrique's immediate release.

Independent journalist Jorge Enrique Rodríguez arrested for reporting on the killing

Over social media demonstrations were announced for June 30 to protest the killing of Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano. Other journalists in the lead up to the June 30th planned protests were detained or their homes laid siege to in order to stop them reporting on Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano's killing and reactions to his extrajudicial execution.

Secret police began shutting off internet connections, cell phones and arbitrarily detaining those they suspected would take part in peaceful protests. Activists recorded or expressed on social media their intention to take part in protest actions. Some were able to message out when they were grabbed by the police, or their homes surrounded and laid siege by state security and placed under house arrest. Over seventy Cubans were successfully targeted "preventing" the non-violent action.

Heroes of the Blue campaign organized by Cuban government

Meanwhile, the Castro regime launched the equivalent of a #BlueLivesMatter campaign that it called Heroes of the Blue ( #HeroesDeAzul ), but instead of something spontaneous from civil society or a police association this was a systematic campaign of the dictatorship at the national level in Cuba. 

Over a year has passed since the murder of George Floyd in the United States, and the officer responsible for his death was arrested and found guilty of murder in a court of law, and will be sentenced on Friday. Meanwhile the young woman who filmed the killing that implicated the police won an honorary Pulitzer Prize.

However, in Cuba no one has to answer for the life of  Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano, and those trying to report what happened face years in prison, not an honorary Pulitzer Prize.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

#OTD in 1941 the Stalin - Hitler Alliance ended when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union

 "Fascism was the shadow or ugly child of communism… As Fascism sprang from Communism, so Nazism developed from Fascism. Thus were set on foot those kindred movements which were destined soon to plunge the world into more hideous strife, which none can say has ended with their destruction." - Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Volume 1, The Gathering Storm (1948)

Soviet and Nazi soldiers fraternize in Poland. Their alliance ended 80 years ago today

On August 23, 1939 the world was shocked to learn that Communist Russia and Nazi Germany had signed a non-aggression pact, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. It was named after their respective foreign ministers, Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop. Observers would have been even more horrified had they known of the secret protocols that divided Eastern Europe between the two totalitarian powers. What they called a "peace treaty" in reality was a war treaty.

On September 22, 1939 the German Nazi army joined with the Soviet Communist army in a military parade in Brest-Litovsk (Poland) and celebrated together.  

On March 5, 1940 Joseph Stalin ordered his secret police to execute 22,000 Polish army officers and civilians in 1940, and the order was carried out. 

Stalin deported hundreds of refugees to Nazi authorities. Most of them were German anti-fascists, communists, and Jews who were seeking asylum in the Soviet Union. 

Secret protocols of the Hitler-Stalin Pact not only partitioned Poland but also divided up Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland & Romania into Nazi and Soviet "spheres of influence."

This alliance ended on June 22, 1941 when Hitler double crossed Josef Stalin and launched Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.     

"Stalin was shocked; he had received a plethora of warnings of an imminent invasion – notably from Winston Churchill, informed by British intelligence briefings. The communist dictator had refused to believe them," reported Agence France Press. Stalin refused to listen to Churchill, and had relied on Hitler's assurances. 

It is important to recall that for the first 18 months of WW2 that the Soviet Union was allied with Nazi Germany.  Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov in a October 31, 1939  speech spoke candidly about this alliance, and ridiculed its victims.

"The ruling circles of Poland boasted quite a lot about the ‘stability’ of their state and the ‘might’ of their army. However, one swift blow to Poland, first by the German Army and then by the Red Army, and nothing was left of this ugly offspring of the Versailles Treaty which had existed by oppressing non-Polish nationalities." 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

#OTD troops drop grenades in paths of Cuban swimmers seeking refuge at GITMO and strafe water with machine-gun fire

We remember

Guantanamo Naval Base U.S. Navy photo by Chief Bill Mesta.

Nine years before the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp was established and there were no detainees from the war on terror being held on the base atrocities were being committed, and the world paid little notice.

 * On June 19, 1993 at 2 p.m., U.S. guards, startled by the sounds of detonations, saw Cuban troops aboard patrol boats dropping grenades in the paths of several swimmers headed for the U.S. base.

* On June 20, 1993 at 1:30 p.m., Cuban troops repeated the action, then strafed the water with machine-gun fire.

U.S. soldiers patrolling the perimeter of the Guantanamo Naval Base were horrified by what they observed. This led to a formal diplomatic note to the Cuban government by the Clinton Administration. This in turn led to a front page story in The Miami Herald on July 7, 1993 which described what had been witnessed:

Cuban marine patrols, determined to stop refugees from reaching the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, have repeatedly tossed grenades and shot at fleeing swimmers and recovered some bodies with gaff hooks, U.S. officials charged Tuesday. At least three Cubans have been killed in the past month as Cuban patrol boats attacked swimmers within sight of U.S. Navy personnel at Guantanamo.

Human rights defenders in Cuba who attempt to quantify the numbers of dead or missing refugees are targeted by state security and made a cautionary example. 

Francisco Chaviano González, a former mathematics teacher, and human rights defender was the president of the National Council for Civil Rights in Cuba (Consejo Nacional por los Derechos Civiles en Cuba - CNDCC), an organization whose work included "documenting the cases of Cubans who have been lost at sea trying to leave the country."

Chaviano was trying to investigate the cases of a number of Cubans who had gone missing. He was  warned by state security to stop his human rights work or he would be arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He refused to leave and was detained on May 7, 1994, drugged and subjected to a military trial and sentenced to 15 years in prison of which he served over 13 years in terrible conditions suffering numerous beatings and the denial of healthcare which led to a wholesale decline in his health. Amnesty International recognized Chaviano as a prisoner of conscience. Chaviano was released on August 10, 2007. He was forced into exile in 2012.

Francisco Chaviano: 13 years in prison for investigating missing Cubans

Monday, June 14, 2021

Ernesto "Che" Guevara born on this day in 1928. Nothing to celebrate.

A mass murdering racist, who dined with Mao as millions died of hunger is not someone to celebrate.

"All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." - Matthew 26, 26:52

Some wish to celebrate Ernesto Guevara's birthday today. If he and his comrades had their way the world would have been subjected to a nuclear holocaust in October 1962, and they were bitterly disappointed that it did not happen.

Thankfully, John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev reached a peaceful outcome to the Cuban Missile Crisis, but the Castro regime protested it and was unhappy with their Soviet allies not launching their nuclear missiles. 

Ernesto "Che" Guevara's essay "Tactics and strategy of the Latin American Revolution (October - November 1962)" was posthumously published by the official publication Verde Olivo on October 9, 1968, and even at this date was not only Guevara's view in 1962 but the official view in 1968: 

"Here is the electrifying example of a people prepared to suffer nuclear immolation so that its ashes may serve as a foundation for new societies. When an agreement was reached by which the atomic missiles were removed, without asking our people, we were not relieved or thankful for the truce; instead we denounced the move with our own voice."

In the same essay, the dead Argentine served as a mouthpiece for Fidel Castro declaring: "We do assert, however, that we must follow the road of liberation even though it may cost millions of nuclear war victims." Castro and Che were so outraged that the regime reached out to Nazis to purchase arms and train the regime's security services.

Castro and Che were not alone in their criticism. Mao Zedong also criticized Khrushchev for backing down in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and this was the last straw in a series of slights between the two communist powers that set the stage for the Sino-Soviet split. 

However Castro eventually backed off and returned to the Soviet camp whereas Che Guevara embraced the Maoists

This should not have been a surprise.

Mao Zedong had already been in power in China for a decade when the Castro regime took power in Cuba in 1959.  In September 1960 Havana diplomatically recognized the Peoples Republic of China. Between 1960 and 1964 the two communist dictatorships would collaborate closely together.

Mao's regime in 1958 embarked on the Great Leap Forward, a campaign to reorganize the Chinese populace to improve its agricultural and industrial production along communist ideological lines. The campaign was a disaster that led to mass famine and a death toll of at least 45 million.

In the midst of the famine Ernesto "Che" Guevara with a Cuban delegation visited Mainland China and met with Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and other high ranking Chinese officials in 1960 to discuss conditions in Cuba and in Latin America, and the prospects for communist revolution in the Western Hemisphere. As millions starved in China the two revolutionaries dined through several courses of traditional Chinese food.


Che and Mao dine in 1960 while millions starved in China.

Finally, on the question of race and sexuality the Argentine revolutionary had retrograde views that the woke today somehow continue to ignore or excuse.

Unlike Mohandas Gandhi, who truly evolved in his views on race as a young man but is still attacked for them, Che Guevara seems to get a pass despite not showing an equivalent evolution. Politifact on April 17, 2013 quoted from The Motorcycle Diaries, a book based on diaries the Argentine kept while traveling through Latin America in the early 1950s.

"The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing, have seen their territory invaded by a new kind of slave: the Portuguese. And the two ancient races have now begun a hard life together, fraught with bickering and squabbles. Discrimination and poverty unite them in the daily fight for survival but their different ways of approaching life separate them completely: The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations."

 "The Establishment" writing in the publication AfroPunk cited the above quote but dismissed it as something  Guevara wrote when "he was around 24 years old." He then goes on to say that he " went so far as to fight with an all black army," but failed to cite his critical quotes against the Africans he fought alongside.

Politifact in 2013 quoted this comment from Guevara’s writing on his time fighting with black revolutionaries in the Congo that included this line: "Given the prevailing lack of discipline, it would have been impossible to use Congolese machine-gunners to defend the base from air attack: they did not know how to handle their weapons and did not want to learn."

It wasn't the Congolese, but Che's failure to train them that led to defeat. The other side that defeated Guevara's forces were also Congolese, but he tried to pass off his own incompetence with a racist excuse. 

However in another area Mr. Guevara has even more to answer for. In the same diary he refers to homosexuality in a negative context:

"The episode upset us a little because the poor man, apart from being homosexual and a first-rate bore, had been very nice to us, giving us 10 soles each, bringing our total to 479 for me and 163 1/2 to Alberto."
Fidel Castro in a March 13, 1963 speech was clear in his distaste for the "effeminate" were he openly attacked “long-haired layabouts, the children of bourgeois families,” roaming the streets wearing “trousers that are too tight,” carrying guitars to look like Elvis Presley, who took “their licentious behavior to the extreme” of organizing “effeminate shows” in public places.  The Cuban dictator, and Guevara's comrade, warned: “They should not confuse the Revolution’s serenity and tranquility with weaknesses in the Revolution. Our society cannot accept these degenerates.”

Two years later in 1965, Fidel Castro spoke explicitly about the Cuban Revolution's views on homosexuals:

“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.” 

In 1964 the Cuban revolutionaries began rounding up Gays and sending them to 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

Ernesto "Che" Guevara was in the revolutionary leadership in Castro's Cuba throughout this process and did not leave Cuba until 1965.

Castro put him in charge of La Cabaña prison and in the first half of 1959 presided over the executions of hundreds of Cubans, reported Andres Vargas Llosa in 2005.

Che Guevara addressing the United Nations on December 11, 1964 did not mince words: "We must say here something that is a well-known truth and that we have always asserted before the whole world: executions? Yes, we have executed people; we are executing people and shall continue to execute people as long as it is necessary.

Guevara bragged of the executions being carried out in Cuba.

Between 1959 and 1964 the numbers of Cubans executed was in the thousands. This is nothing to celebrate.  However the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) disagrees with this assessment and celebrated the above speech with an excerpt that ends with "Fatherland or Death!" This is why I protested the U.S. rejoining UNESCO in 2003, and celebrated leaving it again in 2017.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Cuba's victory at the European Parliament on June 10th and Castroism's double defeat

“If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. " - T.S. Eliot

Original source: CubaBrief 

Cuba won a victory at the European Parliament (EP) on June 10, 2021, and the Castro dictatorship, together with its allies, suffered a double defeat when the EP resolution on the human rights and political situation in Cuba (2021/2745(RSP)) passed with 386 voting for the resolution, 236 against the resolution, and 59 abstaining.

This was a victory for Cuba because the European Parliament acknowledged "the right of the Cuban people to demand the democratisation of their country through a dialogue with civil society and the political opposition in order to establish a roadmap towards democratic multi-party elections." This elected body recognized that the sovereignty of Cuba exists among all Cubans, not the dictatorship that has ruled them with force for 62 years. Furthermore this deliberative body outlined the present situation in the island nation, and the systematic absence of human rights.

The resolution also demanded action on the part of EU officials recognizing where true sovereignty lies. It "calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to acknowledge the existence of political opposition to the Cuban Government, and therefore to include it in the institutionalized, formal, open and public political dialogues between the EU and Cuba, upholding the pillars of the EU Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA)." Something that they have refused to do under this agreement.

The EP resolution passed on June 10th strongly condemns the jailing of Cuban dissidents, the existence of political prisoners, and recognizes that the PDCA with Cuba has not led to "any substantial and tangible positive result for the Cuban people."

The resolution demands an "immediate repeal of Decrees 349 and 370 and other Cuban laws that violate freedom of expression;" and condemns "the systemic labor and human rights violations committed by the Cuban state against its healthcare personnel assigned to work abroad on the medical missions.”

The resolution also recognizes that "the imprisonment of Denis Solís González, Luis Robles Elizástegui, Maykel Castillo Pérez (‘Osorbo’)," ... "and more than 120 political prisoners and convicts of conscience, and all the arbitrary and repressive actions registered in April and June 2021, constitute a breach" of the agreement and a case of special urgency, as established in Article 85 (3b) of the PDCA; calls for the EU to convene an urgent meeting in this regard accordingly."

Rosa María Payá blasted EEAS's normalization of the Castro regime

This places the EU bureaucracy in the spotlight, and repudiates claims made in official documents that have drawn the ire of Cuban dissidents. Rosa María Payá and Cuba Decide in their January 2020 letter to the European Union cited the "EEAS’s 2016 Annual Human Rights and Democracy in the World report, which describes the island’s government regime with the following absurdity: 'Cuba is a one-party democracy, with elections that are held at the municipal, provincial, and national level.'

The European Parliament voiced its displeasure with the "current EU Ambassador in Havana [who] has publicly made statements affirming that ‘Cuba is not a dictatorship.’"

Three political groups, spanning from the center left to the right, sponsored the resolution and below are the Members who signed on representing their respective parties.

Leopoldo López Gil, Michael Gahler, Isabel Wiseler-Lima, Gabriel Mato, Antonio López-Istúriz White in name of the EPP Group

Javier Nart, Malik Azmani, Olivier Chastel, Dita Charanzová, Vlad Gheorghe, Klemen Grošelj, Karin Karlsbro, Moritz Körner, Karen Melchior, Urmas Paet, Frédérique Ries, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Hilde Vautmans in name of the Renew Group.

Anna Fotyga, Hermann Tertsch, Ryszard Czarnecki, Witold Jan Waszczykowski, Bogdan Rzońca, Assita Kanko, Charlie Weimers, Valdemar Tomaševski, Adam Bielan, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Carlo Fidanza, Elżbieta Kruk, Raffaele Fitto, Elżbieta Rafalska, Ruža Tomašić in name of the ECR Group.

Missing where the Socialists & Democrats Group, and this is where the Castro dictatorship, together with its allies, suffered their second defeat.

Pilar Ruiz Huélamo, a member of the Socialists & Democrats Groups and Spain's PSOE Party in an e-mail communicated:

"PPE and RENEW have asked for a point in the next plenary session on the situation in Cuba, Borrell's statement with resolution. One of the points they want to denounce is the one described in this manifesto that 5 deputies have already signed. As you know, it will be difficult to stop it, we do not have a majority. I wonder if you want to notify the Cuban Embassy or that I notify Heidy. Borrell's cabinet is already aware. I take the email to make an appointment with Javier next week to discuss this issue and others if possible."

The response by Isabel Garcia Tamara, from Javier Moreno Sánchez's office, confirmed the collusion with the Castro regime when she instantly answers yes, that they will carry out the communication with Havana and the appointment with "JM", president of the PSOE in the European Parliament and president of the Friendship Group with Cuba. Mr. Moreno Sanchez is an avid defender of dictator Raúl Castro.

Below is the excerpt of the above mentioned e-mail that had circulated among members of the Socialists & Democrats Group that appeared in the Spanish Daily, ABC.

This led José Ramón Bauzá, a member of the Spanish centrist party Ciudadanos [Citizens] to write a letter to Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union asking if his staff had been involved in trying to shut down debate on human rights in Cuba at the European Parliament.  

As time passes, the decision of Lithuania not to ratify the PDCA with Havana, is now viewed both as a historic act of solidarity with Cubans, and looking out for European interests. 

Free Cubans owe Lithuanians a debt of gratitude. When the rest of the European Union embraced the Castro regime in a EU-Cuba agreement that gutted human rights concerns it was the Lithuanian Parliament that stood alone in 2020 refusing to ratify it with leaders saying it would betray "Cuban political prisoners" and demanding a commitment to human rights and democracy for the Cuban people. 

On May 5, 2021 Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) led her colleagues House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Michael McCaul (TX-10), Congressman Carlos Gimenez (FL-26), and Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27) introduced H.Res.440, commending Lithuania for refusing to ratify the European Union's (EU) Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) with Cuba.

Other EU states who ratified the PDCA with the best of intentions ended up providing millions in Euros to the Castro dictatorship, making the EU complicit in the repression of Cuban dissidents, the exploitation of Cuban workers, and the destabilization of democracy in Latin America. 

We hope that Lithuania will no longer be standing alone, and that other EU member states will join Vilnius in defending both the interests of Europe and the well being of 11 million Cubans, and to not confuse them with the dictatorship oppressing them. The June 10th resolution is a good start, but there is more to do in order to cut off funding to the dictatorship while finding avenues to help Cubans directly. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Virtual Victims of Communism Roll Call of Nations Ceremony on June 11 at 9:00am

14th Annual Roll Call of Nations Ceremony and Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom Presentation

Join the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) virtually on June 11 at 9:00 AM EDT for our Roll Call of Nations Wreath Laying Ceremony to honor the memory of the more than 100 million victims of communism, and to boldly remind the world that over 1 billion of our fellow humans are still under the yoke of this evil and inhuman ideology.

This year, we are proud to present our Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom to Jimmy Lai, Hong Kong entrepreneur and pro-democracy activist, who was a leader of Hong Kong’s 2014 Umbrella Movement and is being accused and tried for his involvement in the 2019-2020 pro-democracy movement.

The brutal crushing of dissent in Hong Kong tells the world all it needs to know about the capacity of communist governments to tolerate even the smallest concessions to freedom. The bravery of Jimmy Lai and many other citizens of Hong Kong tell us the human thirst for freedom will never die.

We hope you can join us on June 11 at 9:00 AM EDT via live stream on VOC’s YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter pages.

Below is 2020's Roll Call of Nations Ceremony.

Monday, June 7, 2021

#GenevaSummit2021: The Shadow Human Rights Summit that is a Voice for the Voiceless

 The 13th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – June 6 - 7, 2021

The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy is underway right now for the 13th time, and needs your help. Never heard of the Summit? Here is what this gathering is about:

On the eve of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s main annual session, the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy assembles each year hundreds of courageous dissidents and human rights victims, activists, diplomats, journalists and student leaders to shine a spotlight on urgent human rights situations that require global attention.

The Geneva Summit is sponsored by a coalition of 25 human rights NGOs from around the world. This annual conference builds on the success and momentum of the previous gatherings, which have been widely acclaimed in the international human rights community.

Human rights heroes, activists and former political prisoners from China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Venezuela and other countries testify about their personal struggles for human rights, democracy and freedom, and join hands to plan action strategies.

Register for the Summit, participate virtually in this gathering, add your views, and share them over your social media platforms with the hashtag #GenevaSummit2021.

On January 5, 1967, then California Governor Ronald Reagan warned that we should not take freedom and democracy for granted.   

"Freedom is a fragile thing and it's never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people."


The future American President was right and the #GenevaSummit2021 is correctly calling attention to complacency in democracies, and the fragility of both freedom and democratic institutions.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

San Isidro Movement Protest at Meridian Hill Park and Cuban Embassy in Washington DC

Meridian Hill Park protest site in Washington DC on June 5, 2021

GardaWorld, Montreal, Canada based privately owned security services company, reported on the June 5th protest at Meridian Hill Park and outside Embassy of Cuba in Washington, DC and warned of possible "localized disruptions" by "activists affiliated with the San Isidro Movement (Movimiento San Isidro) and other civil society groups."

Activists and artists preparing for march to the Cuban Embassy

Thankfully, GardaWorld's concerns did not materialize and the protest as advertised remained nonviolent and orderly

Between 3pm and 7pm artists, activists and friends from Miami, New Jersey, New York, and the Washington DC area gathered around a stage. 

Photo: ADN Cuba

Stations were set up to make protest posters, banners, and taking pictures behind a mock up of a Cuban prison that said that "I am also a political prisoner."

The protest that began at Meridian Hill Park continued down the street to the Cuban Embassy at 7:00pm and continued through 9:00pm.

Photo: ADN Cuba

Activists gathered across the street from the Cuban embassy with banners of political prisoners, and played Cuban songs of freedom.

Cubanos frente a la embajada castrista en Washington. Foto: Captura

Images of political prisoners were projected on the side of the Embassy along with short videos of Cuban artists. One of them, Paquito D'Rivera said: "I cannot be there physically, but my heart is next to you. Supporting those people who are fighting hard because one day we can finally achieve freedom for our country."

Saturday, June 5, 2021

To Remember is to Resist: #TiananmenSquareMassacre32

"We believe that the truth can be made public by first releasing the names of the dead and then going step by step until the true history of the killing is eventually restored."-  Tiananmen Mothers, June 1, 2021

Tank men face off on June 5, 1989 on Changán Avenue in Beijing, China

Human Rights in China (HRIC) is right when it observes that "to remember is to resist." 32 years have passed and we continue to remember, despite the efforts of the Chinese Communist Party, and their allies to erase this crime against humanity.

We remember the thousands of students and workers murdered by the People's Liberation Army and the more than 800 imprisoned. 

The Pro-Democracy Movement that had taken to the streets in April of 1989 was violently crushed by the Chinese communist dictatorship beginning on the evening of June 3, 1989. By dawn on June 4, 1989 scores of demonstrators had been shot and killed or run over and crushed by tanks of the so-called People's Liberation Army.

Between June 3 and June 5, 1989 other tank drivers ran over protester

On June 5, 1989 in Beijing, following the massive and bloody crackdown after six weeks of protests that began in Tiananmen Square and spread across 400 cities in China, a man risked all to protest what had taken place. Wearing a white t-shirt, black trouses, and carrying what appeared to be a shopping bag he walked out on the north edge of Tiananmen Square, along Chang'an Avenue and faced down a column of Type-59 tanks.

The lead tank tried two drive around him, but the man repeatedly ran in front of the tank to prevent its passing. The tank driver turned off his engine and the rest of the column of tanks followed suit. The protester climbed on top of the tank and began to talk with them. Eventually he climbed back down and the tank driver turned the engines on but the protester once again blocked the tank column.

Wider perspective of the Tank Man protest with the full column of tanks

Thousands more would be rounded up, arrested and sentenced to prison in show trials. As many as a thousand received death sentences that were carried out. This time two men, dressed in blue, approach the protester and escort him off the main avenue and disappeared into the crowd.

At least seven spent over two decades behind bars, and there names are Zhu Gengsheng, Li Yujun, Jiang Yaqun, Chang Jinqiang, Miao Deshun, Shi Xuezhi, and Yang Pu.  The last to be freed, that we know about, Miao Deshun, was freed on October 15, 2016. He was jailed for 27 years. They were living ghosts.

Below we share the 2021 statement of the Tiananmen Mothers and their continuing demands for truth, memory and justice.

Our Faith and Perseverance Will Never Change: On the 32nd Anniversary of the June Fourth Massacre

June 1, 2021

[Translation by Human Rights in China]

On June 4, 1989, in a time of peace, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, under the leadership and command of the ruling authorities, sent tanks, armored vehicles, and soldiers with live ammunition onto the ten-mile Chang’an Avenue in Beijing. Without restraint or scruples, they shot and crushed unarmed students and citizens, and even destroyed the bodies to cover up their crimes. As a result, some of the victims’ families have heard nothing about their loved ones after they left home, not knowing if they were dead or alive, as if they had vanished from the face of the earth.

This massacre—devoid of humanity and sending shockwaves around the world—was stupefying and unconscionable. On that sleepless night, residents huddled in the streets and alleyways to discuss the escalating situation. Despite hearing gunshots, those good-hearted people still thought the army was merely shooting rubber bullets to scare the people. The students and residents at the scene were equally naive in clutching to their illusions about the government, until people around them started to collapse, their bright-red blood staining the ground. Only then did the crowds start to panic, flounder, weep, and take cover. Still more residents risked their own lives to rescue those who had fallen around them, using all means of transportation available to them—such as flatbed tricycles, carts, and vans—to rush the injured to nearby hospitals as fast as they could.

In the spirit of saving lives and healing wounds, hospital staff poured all they had in them into rescuing those injured. Many hospitals took in more people than they could possibly operate on and were forced to triage the patients for surgeries. Due to the overwhelming number of wounded people, many waited for hours without treatment. Because of the delay, some lost their limbs in otherwise preventable amputations and others their lives. In the face of tragedy, the selflessness and sacrifice of the ordinary residents of Beijing who rushed to rescue others despite their own risks was both laudable and gut-wrenching. Preserving life is the instinct of humanity. In stark contrast was the viciousness and brutality of the authorities who violated the constitution and sent in the army to crack down on the unarmed students and residents.

As to how many people were killed and injured in the end—the government has not uttered a single word for the past 32 years. All Chinese people have been stripped of the right to learn about the tragedy and even forbidden to openly commemorate the dead or hold the ruling Communist Party of China and the government responsible for the bloodbath. The government’s immorality and use of silent contempt to deprive each individual’s right to life have led to the blocking of all information related to the June Fourth massacre. Having grown up in a false sense of prosperous jubilance and enforced glorification of the government, many young people nowadays have no idea of or refuse to believe what happened on June 4, 1989, in the nation’s capital.

Back in 1949, Beijing, a city with a history of more than 3,000 years and had served as the capital of three dynasties, was peacefully liberated by the army without a single shot or cannon fired. Sadly, 40 years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the passionately patriotic people of Beijing were slaughtered by the martial law troops, who called themselves the “people’s army,” in a human tragedy of blood and tears.

We, relatives and families of the victims, have experienced the most painful agony in life, and our hearts have known no joy ever since. The middle-aged bereaved parents back then are now gray-haired seniors. They hope to see the law bring fairness and justice in their lifetime—a wish that, once fulfilled, will console their shattered hearts and allow the spirits of their children to rest in peace. And as for the children who lost their fathers or mothers in June Fourth, and traumatized by growing up in incomplete families, allowing the public to learn about the massacre will also bring them solace. However, almost 32 years later, we still don’t see any official attempt at unsealing and disclosing information about the bloodshed, and the killing in June 1989 remains a taboo for the government.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, and a great deal of preparation and propagandistic efforts have been put into the celebration. In mid-April, the government also published a high-profile speech delivered on July 1, 2016 by Chinese President Xi Jinping—who also serves as the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Military Commission—at a commemoration of the CPC’S 95th founding anniversary. In his speech, Xi demanded that “all Party members shall put the people in the most prominent place in their hearts and adhere to the fundamental purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly, effectively realizing, protecting, and developing the people’s broadest interests. The people’s support, approval, satisfaction, and affirmation should be regarded as the fundamental standard for the success or failure of all of our work so that the Party may enjoy an inexhaustible source of strength.” “Our greatest threat as the ruling party is corruption. . . . [We must] be in fearful reverence of the people, the Party, and the law and discipline, and use our power with fairness, in accordance with the law, to the benefit of the people, and with integrity, to maintain the unsullied political nature of the incorruptible CPC members.”

In 1989, the social incident that was triggered by the student movement in Beijing and involving the participation of people from all walks of life in many major cities across the country—who used peaceful and rational demonstrations to voice their opposition to bureaucratic profiteering, embezzlement, and corruption to the government—was the most quintessential manifestation of a healthy society. When the public spotted embezzlement and corruption in the CPC’s powerful elite during the Reform and Opening Up, what the government should have done was to assess its performance based on the people’s demands and resolve social conflicts in accordance with the law, rather than seeing protests as turmoil and using the state’s military force to indiscriminately murder innocent people in broad daylight on the streets of Beijing.

We believe it is the unavoidable responsibility of the CPC and the Chinese government to resolve the June Fourth massacre, and redressing the tragedy is the first step to governing the country by law, respecting the people’s own agency, and ensuring their position as the masters of the country. Doing this would let the people CPC members have nothing to hide and seek no personal gain, and that the Party’s conduct is also subject to the supervision of the law. We look forward to the day when the CPC and the Chinese government can sincerely and courageously set the record straight and take up their due responsibility for the anti-human 1989 massacre in accordance with the law and the facts.

We have been calling for a peaceful dialogue with the government since the late 1990s to discuss the June Fourth tragedy and ways to resolve it in accordance with the law. To this end, we have publicly put forward the three demands of “truth, compensation, and accountability” and established a dialogue group. We believe that the truth can be made public by first releasing the names of the dead and then going step by step until the true history of the killing is eventually restored. Compensation should be paid to the relatives of the victims, and those responsible for ordering the shooting should be held legally accountable. We look forward to seeing the CPC and the Chinese government bow down and apologize to the entire nation for this atrocity!

Our group lost two more mothers of victims to illness in 2020, and we have lost 62 bereaved family members thus far. As the years go by, the parents in our group are getting older by the day, and some of the elderly have left us forever. However, our faith and perseverance will never change!

 [ Signers 122]

For more information visit:

Standoff At Tiananmen
How Chinese Students Shocked the World with a Magnificent Movement for Democracy and Liberty that Ended in the Tragic Tiananmen Massacre in 1989

Virtual Museum of China '89

Screams for help at China's secret 'black jails' - 27 Apr 09 AlJazeera

Seeking Justice, Chinese Land in Secret Jails / NY Times

A piece of red cloth by Cui Jian (music video - song sang by him in the Square)

Frontline Documentary Tankman