Monday, November 29, 2021

On International Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) Day recognizing some Cuban women that risked all for human rights in Cuba.


Sissi Abascal Zamora sentenced to six years in prison for 11J protest

On International Women Human Rights Defenders Day it is important to recall the role Cuban women played in the resistance to the dictatorship in Cuba, and the high price paid.

 During the 11J protests it is known that at least 195 Cuban women were arbitrarily detained, of which at least 67 remain jailed in Cuba today, according to Cubalex. Women have led during these and prior protests and paid a terrible price for their dissent.

Lady in White Sissi Abascal Zamora was sentenced to six years in prison for participating in the 11J protests in the town of Carlos Rojas, in the municipality of Jovellanos, in the province of Matanzas. The 23-year-old activist and member of the Party for Democracy Pedro Luis Boitel has ten business days to appeal. Reports are that a bus full of women dressed as civilians arrived where Sissi was peacefully demonstrating with others on July 11, 2021, and proceeded to beat her and others up, and a bottle was broken over Ms. Abascal Zamora's head requiring that she receive stitches
Lady in White Sissi Abascal Zamora

Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, a former prisoner of conscience, nonviolence practitioner, and human rights defender, published an OpEd in The Washington Times  that is a must read. In it he also described the price that Cuban women are paying for standing up for freedom and their loved ones.

I met a woman who, after learning that her son had been jailed for participating in the protests, walked to the police station to demand his release. She was immediately interrogated and strip-searched, exposing a shirt with the pro-freedom slogan “no more hunger.” The police tore off her shirt, handcuffed and beat her, then forced her to walk almost naked in front of the other officers. “They beat me mercilessly,” she told me. “So many blows that I wet myself.”

Women have paid a high price for defending human rights in Cuba over several decades. Here is a sampling of some cases over the past 30 years.
Sirley Ávila León

Sirley Ávila León was a delegate to the Municipal Assembly of People’s Power in Cuba from June 2005, for the rural area of Limones until 2012 when the regime gerrymandered her district out of existence. The Castro regime removed her from her position because she had fought to reopen a school in her district, but was ignored by official channels and had reached out to international media. Her son, Yoerlis Peña Ávila, who had an 18 year distinguished career in the Cuban military was forced out when he refused to declare his mother insane and have her committed to a psychiatric facility.
Sirley joined the ranks of the democratic opposition, and repression against her increased dramatically. On May 24, 2015 she was the victim of a brutal 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.

Following the attack she did not receive adequate medical care and was told quietly by medical doctors in Cuba that if she wanted to get better that she would need to leave the country. 

Injuries suffered by Sirley Ávila León.

On March 8, 2016 she arrived in Miami and began a course of treatments over the next six months during which she was able to walk once again although still limited due to her injuries. She returned to Cuba on September 7, 2016 only to find her home occupied by strangers and her attacker 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. The Victims of Communism interviewed her and produced the video above.  
Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera
On September 20, 2013 human rights defender Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera briefly described the abuse she had been subjected to by agents of Cuban state security earlier that same year to the 24th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva:
I have been the victim of several acts of aggression on the part of the Cuban authorities, especially by the agents Yuniel Monteagudo Reina and Eric Aquino Yera. They have beaten me into unconsciousness on the pavement, as took place most recently this past March 7 in Santa Clara. The hits to the head, neck, and back have caused me serious health problems that I have not been able to recover from. In addition to beating me, they have threatened me with death on various occasions, these agents have told me that they are going to rape me, and have shown their genitals during arbitrary arrests.
Yris Pérez Aguilera shows cyst, result of state security beatings. (Photo: Yoani Sanchez).
Cuban attorneys Yaremis Flores and Laritza Diversent in their 2013 report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) touched on the institutional nature of the violence upon women in Cuba by the Castro regime:
"The brutality of the police and state security agents, including women members of these bodies, against women dissidents, is supported by the state, which exemplifies the institutionalized violence as a means to repress women opposition activists. Arbitrary detention is one of the methods to prevent them from exercising their rights to speak, associate and demonstrate. In detention centers agents use violence, sexual assault and insults as means of repression. The cells enclosed in unsanitary and sometimes sanitary services have no privacy or are not appropriate for women, even having them share prison cells with men. In some cases, they forced to strip naked or forcibly stripped, obliging them to squat to see if they have items in their genitals and claims that have been reported that they have introduced a pen into the vagina, under the justification of seeking recording objects."
Due to increasing repression, human rights lawyer, Laritza Diversent was granted political asylum and went into exile on  May 4, 2017. She continues to receive threats to the present day from the Cuban government.

Yaremis Flores and Laritza Diversent
Laura Inés Pollán Toledo, one of the founders of the Ladies in White in March of 2003 and its chief spokesperson, was widely admired inside of Cuba and internationally
Laura Pollán, a courageous woman spoke truth to power and protested in the streets of Cuba demanding an amnesty for Cuban political prisoners. She had been a school teacher, before her husband was jailed for his independent journalism in 2003 along with more than 75 other civil society members.
Laura Pollán

Following brutal repression, in an effort to prevent them from marching through the streets of Havana, Laura Pollán directly and nonviolently challenged the regime declaring, "we will never give up our protest. The authorities have three options — free our husbands, imprison us or kill us."

She fell suddenly ill and died within a week on October 14, 2011 under suspicious circumstances that a Cuban medical doctor described as "painful, tragic and unnecessary." This took place within days of the Ladies in White declaring themselves a human rights organization dedicated to the freedom of all political prisoners, not just their loved ones. 

Mariela Elena Cruz Varela

On November 19, 1991 the Cuban poet Mariela Elena Cruz Varela, who peacefully dissented asking for nonviolent change, was assaulted by a mob organized by the dictatorship who tried to force feed the poet her own words. She wrote about the assault in her book, Dios en las cárceles cubanas (God in the Cuban jails):
"They broke my mouth trying to make me swallow the leaflets that members of my group had distributed throughout Havana. Afterwards I spent three days brutally besieged, imprisoned in my own home with my two children, with no water, no electricity, no food, no cigarettes. We heard what the huge speakers never stopped amplifying, allegorical songs to the country, the necessary punishment of traitors, and anyone who wanted to could shout at me, organized, of course, the slogans they pleased: Comrade worm, we are going to execute you by firing squad!"
Cuban women continue to lead the struggle for human rights and freedom in Cuba and on  International Women Human Rights Defenders Day we honor them.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

The San Isidro Movement and 27N: 15 days that shook the Castro dictatorship in November 2020

"It could be that they put me in the cell because of the force of my voice, but I needed the courage to tell the truth." - Denis Solís González, Sociedad Condenada." (Fuente: Movimiento Isidro)* 

San Isidro Movement logo

On April 5, 2018, Cuban rapper Denis Solís González posted the music video Sociedad Condenada (Condemned Society) where he sang about repression in Cuba and predicted his future with the lyrics "it could be that they put me in the cell because of the force of my voice, but I needed the courage to tell the truth." 

On September 12, 2018 the San Isidro Movement came into existence to protest Decree 349, a new law that further tightened the dictatorship's grip over the arts in Cuba. The name San Isidro was taken after the poor neighborhood where the artists lived in Havana. 

San Isidro Movement members protest Decree 349

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara is one of the leaders of this movement, and his home in the San Isidro neighborhood is the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement. Over the past three years, Amnesty International has on several occasions recognized Luis Manuel a prisoner of conscience, and he is recognized as one today.

T @yanelysnu This was on September 12, 2018. From that date until now there have been exiles, deportations, arrests but also a #11M & #11J. We are an increasingly strengthened civil society & we do not have to thank #Fidel for anything! #FreeLuisMa #SOSCuba

On May 11, 2019, despite the Castro regime having declared that there would not be a Gay Pride march that year, the march took place. Political police disrupted it, beat up, and detained march participants, but the march nevertheless took place.

Gay Pride march repressed by police in Cuba on May 11, 2019

This movement would carry out a number of campaigns such as #NoAlDecreto349 (#NoToDecree349) #LaBanderaEsDeTodos, (#TheFlagBelongsToAll), and members would suffer repression in varied forms, but a particular set of events elevated its impact.

Denis Solís González is a member of the San Isidro Movement.

He was arrested on November 9, 2020 after sharing a November 7, 2020 video of a Cuban police officer entering his home without a warrant, and Denis calling him “a coward wrapped in a uniform.” 

Denis Solís González jailed for eight months for disrespecting political police

In a summary trial, without a defense attorney, on November 11, 2020 the Cuban singer was sentenced "for contempt to eight months deprivation of liberty," according to Amnesty International. He was  jailed at the maximum-security prison, Valle Grande, located just  outside Havana.”

This sparked a cycle of protests that in the short term culminated in the mass protest outside the Ministry of Culture in Havana on November 27, 2020.

"On 12 November, several members of the San Isidro Movement protested outside of Cuba y Chacón police station, demanding freedom for Denis Solís. Among them were Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Iliana Hernández, who requested information on the whereabouts of Solís, but were detained while trying to do so," reported FreeMuse, adding that "other members from San Isidro Movement that were detained, though released later in the day, include Anamely Ramos, Maykel Castillo "Osorbo", Oscar Casanella, Jorge Luis Brian, Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho, Esber Rafael, Braulio Hastié and Juan Antonio Madrazo Luna." 

On the following night violence escalated, Cuban university professor and cancer patient Omara Ruiz Urquiola was brutally beaten by a police motorcycle patrolman on November 13th. Video of the attack was broadcast by Telemundo 51, and reached a broader audience.

Due to escalating violence by regime officials, decision was made to take their protests indoors on November 15, 2020 to the San Isidro Movement headquarters with the objective of developing a program of cultural activities in pursuit of the freedom of Denis Solís González. 

Oscar Casanella analyzes the liquid thrown into the headquarters. (Movimiento San Isidro)

Regime response was to send political police to lay siege, limit their right to movement, and poisoning their water supply in the cistern.  Officials threatened neighbors, restricted access to the block, detained family and friends of gathered activists. On November 18, 2020 they blocked neighbors from bringing them food and cleaning supplies. This led to the start of hunger and hunger and thirst strikes at 3:00 pm.

The hunger and thirst strike was imposed upon them. According to University professor Anamely Ramos González, the "decision was also a survival measure for Omara Ruiz Urquiola, because when we counted the food that was left, we realized that it was not enough for everyone." 

Activists under siege at the Isidro Movement headquarters in Havana, Cuba

Initiating the hunger and thirst strike were Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Esteban Rodríguez, Maykel Castillo and Humberto Mena, and starting the hunger strike were Iliana Hernández, Yasser Castellanos, Adrián Rubio, Oscar Casanella and Osmani Pardo.

Officials responded with a violent escalation. On November 22, 2020 at 12:17am the San Isidro Movement tweeted that their headquarters had been attacked: "An unidentified man broke the door of the headquarters and injured Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara in the face with a hammer. State security and uniformed police who were present did nothing to prevent the attack."

The Washington Post's editorial board on November 28, 2020 addressed what happened on November 26, 2020 at approximately at 8:00pm:

CUBA’S POLICE broke down the door of an artists’ collective in Old Havana on Thursday night and detained about 14 people, several of whom were on a hunger strike. Most were later released, but the raid showed just how uneasy the Cuban government is with even a hint of protest or whisper of dissent. Art must run free, but in Cuba it must obey.

The raid was directed at the San Isidro Movement, a loose collection of creative types made up of “ghetto rappers, design professors, dissident poets, art specialists, scientists and regular citizens,” as writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez, a contributor to The Post, described it.

 On November 27, 2020 the independent publication Diario de Cuba pieced together different videos surrounding government raid on the San Isidro headquarters the day before and posted them edited together into one video

Regime officials claimed that the raid was due to concerns over COVID-19, but the individuals dressed like doctors did not behave like doctors, and the crowd gathered outside to shout revolutionary slogans, did not wear mask coverings, did not accord with pandemic protocols. Nor did returning the bulk of the San Isidro activists to their homes within hours of their detention. The last of the San Isidro hunger strikers, Maykel Castillo, ended his strike on November 30, 2020.  

The Castro regime ended up with a much larger problem than 14 protesters in a small space in the San Isidro neighborhood in Havana. Young people, mostly artists and academics, began gathering throughout the day of November 27th outside the Ministry of Culture. 

Outside the Ministry of Culture on 27N

Their numbers continued growing into the evening demanding the Minister meet with protesters to negotiate terms for a dialogue. 
Thirty representatives, elected by the hundreds gathered, went in and met with officials. 

They emerged with a commitment to dialogue and to consider the points raised by the protesters. Meanwhile the dictatorship sent truckloads of plainclothes security to surround the demonstrators, and to intimidate them. They also closed off the path to the Ministry of Culture, and began using tear gas and physical force to prevent others from continuing to join the protesters. Instead of following through with a dialogue to resolve the differences that had generated the protests the regime launched a media assault against the San Isidro Movement against the protesters. The autocracy in Havana has reason to be concerned. International media coverage has reported on the protest, and their demands raised on November 27th. 

Young Cubans gathered outside the Ministry of Culture on November 27, 2020

The Wall Street Journal on November 30, 2020 in the article "Cuban Leadership Confronts a Rare Dissident Movement" shared protesters demands. “We demand the right to have rights…The right of free expression, of free creation, the right to dissent,” said Katherine Bisquet, a young poet, reading the activists’ manifesto by the light of cellphones outside of the ministry where streetlights were turned off. Videos posted on social media showed Ms. Bisquet saying that she spoke for all Cuban citizens."

Officials were prepared for a major crackdown, but opted for a negotiated solution to avoid the spectacle, but then reneged. Reuters reported that "[t]he protest ended before dawn on Saturday only after officials met with 30 of the demonstrators and agreed to continue talking and to urgently review the case of a detained member of the San Isidro crew and a rapper sentenced this month to eight months in jail on charges of contempt. It also agreed to ensure independent artists in the future were not harassed."

This marked the formation of a new movement, 27N to complement the San Isidro Movement and they are observing their one year anniversary with a series of activities

This sustained, spontaneous, nonviolent, hours long protest, one year ago today, in response to the crackdown on the San Isidro Movement, and the preceding 14 days of protest by San Isidro artivists would have long term ramifications for Cuba.

*Original text: "Puede ser que me metan a la celda por el peso de mi voz, pero necesité el valor para decir la verdad"- Denis Solís González, Sociedad Condenada." (Fuente: Movimiento Isidro) 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro is still dead. Ten reasons why this is a good thing.

 With apologies to Chevy Chase and Saturday Night Live

Fidel Castro's gone but when will the dictatorship he created follow him?
Five years ago the dictatorship in Cuba announced that Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro had died. Today one can say with full confidence that Fidel Castro is still dead. 
This blog entry will list ten reasons why this is a good thing.

1. Lied his way into power.
Fidel Castro, secretly a communist since at least 1950, lied to Cubans and the world that he would restore the 1940 Constitution and democracy in Cuba. Castro arrived in Havana in January of 1959 and immediately set upon consolidating power and erecting a totalitarian, communist dictatorship. On December 2, 1961  Castro explained the reason for the lie: "If we had paused to tell the people that we were Marxist-Leninists while we were on Pico Turquino and not yet strong, it is possible that we would never have been able to descend to the plains."  Communism and the communist party were deeply unpopular in Cuba because of its links to the Batista regime.

Matos and Chanes fought with Castro but jailed for questioning communist infiltration

2. Used terror and killed thousands to stay in power. While Fidel Castro talked democracy in 1959 the firing squads were filmed and broadcast and the terror began to consolidate control. Those who had fought by his side in good faith believing the Revolution was a struggle to restore democracy became uneasy with the course of the new regime. Some, like Huber Matos, Julio Ruiz Pitaluga, and Mario Chanes de Armas who spoke out spent decades in prison. Many returned to the hills of the Escambray to carry on the struggle for the democratic restoration. This resistance was crushed in 1966 after five years of assistance from 400 Soviet counterinsurgency advisors.

Executed by firing squad in Santiago de Cuba by the Castro regime in 1959
3. Killed tens of thousands. The Black Book of Communism states that in Cuba between 1959 thru the late 1990s between 15,000 and 17,000 Cubans were shot. Rudolph Joseph Rummel, a political science professor at the University of Hawaii and an expert in Democide (murder by government) also takes into account the Cuban boat people who have died fleeing the dictatorship and estimates 73,000 dead Cubans between 1959 and 1987. Without opening up archives on the island and an exhaustive search the full number of victims may never be known.

Raul Castro preparing one of his victims for execution
4. Twice tried to start WWIII. Fidel Castro twice called on the Soviet Union to launch a nuclear first strike on the United States and plunge the world into a nuclear holocaust. The first time was during the October 1962 Missile Crisis in a letter to Nikita Khrushchev and the second time in the early 1980s were Castro pressed the Soviets hard for a nuclear strike against the United States. This revelation became public knowledge on September 21, 2009 and The New York Times quotes the source:
Andrian A. Danilevich, a Soviet general staff officer from 1964 to ’90 and director of the staff officers who wrote the Soviet Union’s final reference guide on strategic and nuclear planning is quoted in the early 1980s, saying that Mr. Castro “pressed hard for a tougher Soviet line against the U.S. up to and including possible nuclear strikes.” The general staff, General Danilevich continued, “had to actively disabuse him of this view by spelling out the ecological consequences for Cuba of a Soviet strike against the U.S.”

Castro encouraged East German border guards in their deadly work
5. Celebrated border guards killing fleeing migrants. Fidel Castro visited Berlin in 1972 and addressed the border guards that policed the Berlin Wall to prevent East Germans from escaping to the West. At Brandenburg gate on June 14, 1972 in the afternoon (pictured above) he addressed the men charged with shooting East Germans fleeing to West Germany as "the courageous and self-denying border guards of the GDR People's Army who stand guard in the front line of the entire-socialist community." Later in the evening Premier Castro addressed the Nikolay Bezarin Barracks in East Berlin:
It is very important to know that the people of the GDR have great confidence in you, that they are truly proud of you. The comrades of the party and the citizens of socialist Berlin have told us with great satisfaction about the activity of the border troops, speaking with great admiration for you and for your services.
Fidel Castro with ally and war criminal Mengistu Haile Mariam in Ethiopia 1977
6. Backed genocide in Ethiopia. Fidel Castro on April 3, 1977 met in East Berlin with Erich Honecker about the need to help the revolution in Ethiopia and talked up Mengistu Haile Mariam, a then emerging new Marxist-Leninist leader. Fidel Castro celebrated the initiation of the Red Terror on February 3, 1977 in Ethiopia: 
"Mengistu strikes me as a quiet, serious, and sincere leader who is aware of the power of the masses. He is an intellectual personality who showed his wisdom on February 3. [] The prelude to this was an exuberant speech by the Ethiopian president in favor of nationalism. Mengistu preempted this coup. He called the meeting of the Revolutionary Council one hour early and had the rightist leaders arrested and shot. A very consequential decision was taken on February 3 in Ethiopia. []Before it was only possible to support the leftist forces indirectly, now we can do so without any constraints."
7. Sent troops take part in genocide. Fidel Castro took part in mass murder in Eastern Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. Between 1977-78, a conservative estimate of over 30,000 Africans perished as a result of a Red Terror unleashed in Ethiopia by the Mengistu and his Cuban allies. Amnesty International concluded that "this campaign resulted in several thousand to perhaps tens of thousands of men, women, and children killed, tortured, and imprisoned." Sweden's Save the Children Fund lodged a formal protest in early 1978 denouncing the execution of 1,000 children, many below the age of thirteen, whom the communist government had labeled "liaison agents of the counter revolutionaries."
Raul Castro and Fidel Castro with ally Mengistu Haile Mariam
Both Fidel and Raul Castro were deeply involved in sending 17,000 Cuban troops to East Africa in assisting Mengistu in consolidating his rule and eliminating actual and potential opposition. The last Cuban troops did not leave Ethiopia until 1989 and were present and complicit in the engineered famine that took place there in the 1980s. Donald R. Katz in the September 21, 1978 Rolling Stone article "Ethiopia After the Revolution: Vultures Return to the Land of Sheba" gave the following description of the wave of terror and repression unleashed by Mengistu.
"Toward the middle of last year [1977], Mengistu pulled out all the stops. "It is an historical obligation," he said then, "to clean up vigilantly using the revolutionary sword." He announced that the shooting was about to start and that anyone in the middle would be caught in the cross fire. In what came to be known as the "Red Terror," he proceeded to round up all those who opposed the military regime. According to Amnesty International, the Dergue killed over 10,000 people by the end of the year. One anti-government party, mostly made up of students and teachers, was singled out as 'the opposition.'"
 Human Rights Watch in their 2008 report on Ethiopia titled outlined "Collective Punishment War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in the Ogaden area of Ethiopia’s Somali Region" some of the practices carried out by Cuban troops sent there by Fidel and Raul Castro excerpted below
Africa Watch (the precursor to Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division) analyzed Ethiopian counter-insurgency operations in this period and found that they followed a four-pronged approach: i) the forced displacement of much of the civilian population into shelters and protected villages; ii) military offensives against people and economic assets outside the shelters; iii) the sponsoring of insurgent groups against the WSLF and Somali government; and iv) attempts to promote the repatriation of refugees. In December 1979, a new Ethiopian military offensive, this time including Soviet advisors and Cuban troops, “was more specifically directed against the population’s means of survival, including poisoning and bombing waterholes and machine gunning herds of cattle.”
Manuel Noriega and Fidel Castro: Partners in drug trafficking
 8. Fidel Castro linked to international drug traffickingThe U.S. State Department on March 1, 1982 declared Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism whose government was was using a narcotics ring to funnel both arms and cash to the Colombian M19 terrorist group then battling to overthrow Colombia’s democratic government. During General Manuel Noriega's 1992 trial information emerged publicly implicating the Castro brothers as the Sun Sentinel reported at the time:
"Federal prosecutors say Noriega traveled to Havana to ask [Fidel] Castro to mediate a potentially deadly dispute with top members of Colombia`s Medellin cocaine cartel. They say the cartel chiefs were upset because a major drug lab had been seized in Panama despite payment of millions of dollars in protection money to Noriega.
According to the Noriega indictment, Castro negotiated a peace accord between the cartel and Noriega at the 1984 meeting. The allegation forms a cornerstone of the racketeering and drug trafficking charges against Noriega."
 At the same time convicted cartel leader Carlos Lehder directly implicated Raul Castro and U.S. fugitive Robert Vesco "to route cocaine flights through Cuba." Capitol Hill Cubans blogged how two years later, a federal indictment listed General Raul Castro as part of a conspiracy that smuggled seven and a half tons of cocaine into the United States over a 10-year period but the Clinton administration overruled prosecutors. Regime continues to engage in such practices in the present.

Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Raul Castro
9. Fidel Castro spent decades trying to overthrow democracy in Venezuela before succeeding with Hugo Chavez and then sought to consolidate a totalitarian regime in the South American country. The Castro regime's interest in Venezuela began from the earliest days of the dictatorship. Venezuelans understood the threat poised by the Cubans by 1960 when Ernesto "Che" Guevara was giving unsolicited advice to Rómulo Betancourt, the democratically elected president of Venezuela. Guevara called for Betancourt to use the firing squad against his "rightist opponents." In 1963 Congressional Quarterly reported on how:
"Riots led by Communists and other pro-Castro elements in Caracas [in the autumn of 1960] took the lives of 13 persons and injured 100. Venezuela recalled its ambassador to Cuba, and Betancourt ordered out the army to end the rioting, which he termed an attempt to “install a regime similar to that in Cuba.”
Cuban Communist leader Blas Roca, told a Havana rally on January 23, 1963 that when the communists gained full control and “make themselves owners of the great riches in oil, aluminum and everything their earth imprisons, then all of America shall burn.”  A cache of three tons of weapons was found on a Venezuelan beach in November 1963 that was to be used to disrupt the democratic elections there. 
Fidel Castro would continue to agitate for revolution in Venezuela. A well documented incident occurred on May 8, 1967 and was reported by Francisco Toro in The Washington Post who described how: "two small boats carrying a dozen heavily armed fighters made landfall near Machurucuto, a tiny fishing village 100 miles east of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. Their plan was to march inland and recruit Venezuelan peasants to the cause of socialist revolution." An all night gun battle with the Venezuelan military led to nine guerrillas dead, two captured, and one who had escaped.
The Castro regime's efforts would not begin to bear fruit until December 1994 with the arrival of Hugo Chavez in Havana to a hero's welcome following two years in prison for a coup attempt in Venezuela. Four years later Chavez had won the presidency of Venezuela and the Castro regime finally had its entry to Venezuela.  By 2007, Chávez had declared that Cuba and Venezuela were a single nation. “Deep down,” he said, “we are one single government.”  When Hugo Chavez died in 2013 the succession to Nicolas Maduro was planned in Havana.
The name of this "single nation" is Cubazuela and is a term that has been used by mainstream press publications such as The Wall Street Journal. The consequences to the people of Venezuela are well known. Violence has escalated during the Chavez-Maduro era to levels never seen before. There is widespread hunger now in Venezuela. Civil liberties and the rule of law are rapidly disappearing.
NY Daily News Photo By Harry Hamburg 1975 Fraunces Tavern bombing committed by Cuban backed FALN
10. Fidel Castro has a long and shameful history of sponsoring and taking part in terrorism including utilizing the tactic in the struggle against dictator Fulgencio Batista. On New Year’s Eve in 1956 members of Castro's 26th of July movement set off bombs in the Tropicana nightclub, blowing off the arm of a seventeen-year-old girl. From bombings, killings, and arson in 1957 to a botched hijacking to smuggle weapons to the Cuban guerrillas that led to 14 dead and the night of the 100 bombs in 1958 . The organizer of the bombing campaign Sergio González López nicknamed “El Curita” and the terrorist action itself are remembered fondly by the dictatorship that named a park in his honor along with a plaque pictured below. Regime apologists now deny that anyone was wounded or killed but the memories of those who lived through this say otherwise. González López was captured, tortured, and killed by agents of the Batista dictatorship on March 18, 1958. A pro-Cuban dictatorship website recalls some of El Curita's actions:
“He actively participated in the actions of the burning of Standard Oil; the bombing of Bejucal Railway Station cable, the cable from the Bus Station, the explosion of Vento, in the action of the Tunnel and the explosion of 120 coordinated bombings in Havana, which in a telephone phone call on this occasion to the chief of police, he told him “Coward, prepare your ear tonight ... we are going to explode 100 bombs under your own noses.
The Castro regime has practiced, trained, and even published manuals with chapters on how to engage in terrorism and to never renounce it, and on more than one occasion targeted the United States.
Plaque erected by Castro regime to honor bomber Sergio González López “El Curita”
The Castro regime organized a 1966 gathering called the Tricontinental Conference where Fidel Castro insisted that "conditions exist for an armed revolutionary struggle." The aim of the Tricontinental, according to Georges Fauriol in the book Cuba:the international dimension, was to promote violent revolution in Africa and Asia as well as Latin America: “At this conference, Cuba and Latin American Marxist Leninist terrorist groups began their collaboration with black militant groups in the United States, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and other radical Arab groups in the training and arming of terrorists."

Gerardo Jorge Schamís in his book
War and terrorism in international affairs describes how in the summer of 1975 the disappearance of “Carlos” who killed his assistant and two members of the French secret service led to the expulsion of three Cuban diplomats from Paris and greater surveillance of the activities of Cuban agents in Europe. According to Jorge Schamís the terrorists had concealed their “modus operandi” since 1976 in Paris in offices of the Revolutionary Coordination Board (JCR) which on the surface sought to obtain solidarity from European democracies to condemn authoritarian regimes in Latin America but in reality it was a documentation center producing forged passports; raise money for clandestine operations and were connected to terrorist training camps in Cuba: 
“opened in 1966 by the Dirección General de Inteligencia (DGI) , the Cuban regime's main intelligence agency, under the supervision of the Soviet KGB after the Tricontinental Conference in Havana, to "organize anti-imperialist forces.”
There are links between the Cuban dictatorship and international terrorists such as Uruguayan Tupamaros, the Argentinian Montoneros and ERP , the Chilean MIR, the M19, a Colombian guerilla group that captured the Dominican embassy and Justice building in Bogota assasinating several prominent judges, FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) in 2003, the FARC conducted a February car-bombing of a Bogota nightclub that killed more than 30 persons and wounded more than 160, the Basque terrorist/separatist organization ETA, and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) which has its Latin American headquarters in Havana and has been linked with the FARC.

The Castro dictatorship a few years later had Cuban agents assisting the Macheteros (FALN) who committed terrorist attacks and bank robberies in the United States including bombings; among them the 1975 bombing of Fraunces Tavern in New York which killed four instantly and injured 63.
On December 31, 1982, New York City was the scene of a wave of bombings by the Macheteros (FALN): Federal Courthouse at 26 Federal Plaza; a Police Officer at One Police Plaza lost part of his leg when another bomb went off there; a bomb tore into the Federal Courthouse at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn; two other devices were discovered in St. Andrew's Plaza beside the Federal Courthouse at Foley Square, the NYPD Bomb Squad sealed off the area and was preparing to disarm the device when it exploded severely injuring two officers were. In 1983 the Cuban government provided financial and logistical support for the Wells Fargo armored car robbery which netted the Macheteros $7.1 million dollars of which $2 million made its way back to Cuba via a diplomatic pouch. The whole story is detailed in a Hartford Courant investigative piece published in 1999.
Oscar López Rivera, one of the leaders of the Macheteros, granted clemency by President Obama on January 17, 2017 was honored in Cuba with the Order of Solidarity in November of 2017 and he called on the world to emulate Fidel Castro.
These are ten reasons and there are many more that have been documented in this blog among them: massacres of fleeing refugees (1993, 1994); the extrajudicial killings of four members of Brothers to the Rescue in the shoot down (1996); and the extrajudicial killings of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero(2012). Fidel Castro is dead, but the regime he built continues to cause harm, and Mr. López Rivera is wrong the world should reject the harmful example of Fidel Castro and his terrible legacy of lies, terror, murder and complicity in genocide.