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Archive for July, 2010


State Security Agents threaten Reina Tamayo in Banes

State Security Agents threaten Reina Tamayo in Banes

 

Spanish Post 

 For the first time in a half-century of totalitarian oppression, the Castro regime in Cuba has given in to pressure from its victims. For the first time a release of political prisoners was achieved by actors from within, the internal resistance, even though the church hierarchy wants to minimize the strength of an opposition which, across the length and breadth of the country, has said and has demonstrated that “Yes we can.” 

It is no secret to anyone with average information and power of analysis that the martyrdom of Orlando Zapata was the trigger that caused internal popular anger and the unprecedented international pressure for the Castro dynasty, as well as the important and high-profile protests by Guillermo Fariñas with his heroic hunger strike, and the Ladies in White, which even forced a break in the way official censorship is out. The writings condemning Zapata, Fariñas, and the Ladies in White, although they outraged us, contributed significantly to domestic public opinion being informed by the knowledge that there are political prisoners in Cuba and especially that the resistance is alive. 

Despite all this, we believe that this process of releases from prison – read forced exile – is a ploy to get rid of pressure on the regime. Domestic opposition has just won an important battle that encourages us to not cease until the last of our compatriots is released. Yet there is something that many do not understand, which seems absurd or fanciful: while many prisoners leave prison, while ombudsmen of the church, the Spanish Foreign Ministry, and the dictatorship talk about political prisoners and the human rights situation in Cuba, back in Banes, Holguín, Reina Luisa Tamayo Danger is the victim of constant persecution, repression and harassment, including death threats from the repressive Castro regime, to keep her away from family and other activists who visit the grave of her fallen son. And there in the easternmost part of Cuba, members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance are brutally repressed, cruelly and systematically arrested in brutal retaliation for their courageous pro-democracy optimism. 

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Spanish Post

Placetas, July 19th 2010.

When, in April 2007, I was released after 17 very long and difficult years of captivity, I did not know that I was to face a much more difficult battle than the one I was in before.  Assimilating into civil protest would mean dealing with numerous different personalities, temperaments, points of views, and political views.

In that context, my experience was similar to that of the commander Huber Matos, who (through his book entitled “How Night Fell“) described that he reached the Sierra Maestra mountains with an incorrect notion about Fidel Castro, nearly placing him on the same level as the Father of the Nation and other past figures who fought for our independence.  To me he seemed to be just like some of those who, here, they call historic leaders of the internal opposition; I had been enamored of more than a few, and I saw them, or more to the point I heard them, as integrity and pluralism personified.

From the beginning, I could not understand the suggestions of living from tales or from having a well-recognized name.  Upon leaving prison I could have become a decorative figure behind a desk, spent all my time in meetings, or could have spent my time drawing up and signing documents.

I could have lost my own independence, giving up my points of view and political and ideological ideas, because, one way or another, that was what was going through my head.

I would have had to be a really big hypocrite to then turn my struggle against my brothers in exile, to support politics that consisted of dialogue and close approaches with the tyranny of Havana — this is something I have never supported.  Or to be an accomplice of attacks and criticisms against true patriots, in and out of the island, who give the best of themselves for the freedom of the country.  Or to contribute to minimizing the importance of that tool of the media which my country depends on, Radio Marti.

It would have been very disloyal of me to not continue promoting the strategy of community work through regional projects, for such programs put one in contact with the true potential for change: the ordinary Cuban.  Projects and initiatives are for the people, not for public opinion, they are for the sake of results, not glory or names.  True opposition leadership derives from convocation, from sympathies, respect, and admiration from the community one lives in, not from the media, nor from international organizations, despite how much prestige or credibility they may have.  In speaking about all of this, I cannot forget to point out the important leadership roles of Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello, together with the Assembly to Promote Civil Society and, more recently, the Network of Social Communicators, Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva and the Council of Rapporteurs, and Osvaldo Paya Sardinas (although I disagree with him about the Varela Project on a subject as sensitive as that of the political prisoners),  I do not let that stop me from acknowledging that the Varela initiative had an unprecedented impact on the population.  It is as if the message of freedom and the invitation to defend rights was knocking on the door of every Cuban home for the first time.

But standing sharply against those, and other noble efforts, are the same people as always. Now they sharpen their attacks towards the Central Opposition Coalition, the same way they once did against the Eastern Democratic Alliance and against the Committee of Rapporteurs of Human Rights in Cuba.  They are the ones who feed off individuals of few scruples, information, and especially, who desire to be among big names, in order to attack the indisputable leader of the opposition in the center of the country, Idania Yanez Contreras, one of the most pure people with the greatest integrity which the cause of freedom in Cuba relies on. They also try to create a public confrontation between yours truly and the independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas Hernández.

I believe that the Castro-ite sectors of intelligence and counter-intelligence should distance themselves from their current methods because they are already worn out and each day that passes they are less and less effective, and to top it off, they perform such methods always with the same people and with identical methods.

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On Olga Guillot’s Death

Spanish Post

Olga Guillot has just left us. Another matchless Cuban patriot is gone without having returned to a free Cuba. In Cuba and in exile there is the same feeling, pain and nostalgia. When I received the news of her death, I remembered Celia Cruz, and like those of my generation here in Cuba, I could not nor will I ever see her. I will have to be content with listening to her music and taking pride in her having been born in Cuba.

Her dying without seeing her homeland free, and her artistic life linked to her patriotism, give us one more reason not to falter in this noble effort.

Those of us who continue living and fighting, are depended on by many others, like Olga, in order for them to be able to return to this beautiful and unique Cuban land of their birth. It’s no wonder that our apostle said, “There is no ground more firm than the ground on which one was born.”

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Spanish Post

Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez

In view of certain statements appearing in the media and on the Internet saying that, together with the dissident Juan Juan Almeida Garcia, I had accepted political asylum in the Republic of Chile through the efforts of that country’s Foreign Minister, I think it an opportune moment to clarify that at least in my case, I have not undertaken the slightest effort to leave my country, although I sincerely appreciate any efforts made on my behalf, and I once again reaffirm my position that I will not leave. I remain consistent with my watchword: I will not shut up, I will not leave Cuba. Any statement, affirmation or insinuation to the contrary should be considered erroneous and unfounded, though I am infinitely grateful for any gesture or concern for my person and for my compatriots.

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Agents of State Security in Placetas
Agents of State Security in Placetas

Spanish Post

In the early morning hours they arrested Adriano Castaneda Meneses while aboard the Yuton bus on its way back from Sancti Spiritus.  He was detained at the entrance of Placetas by a national political police unit.  Officer Idel Gonzalez Morfi, aka “Railroad Spike”, did not notice Yordanis and only charged Adriano.  When Yordanis got to his house, the dissidents Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, Jose Cano Fuentes, Isael Poveda Silva, and Idalmis Nuñez Reinoso were all there.  I told Yordanis and the others that “they are going to arrest you for sure.”  Since the night before last the chief of the political police has been prowling around my house, and the presence of these titans had them (the police) terrorized.  The meeting called by Yris, along with the situation of Coco Fariñas, was more than enough to alarm them.

“He has the message of an arrest on the tip of his tongue,” I insisted to Lobaina, “although Blas would go with you all to the terminal to let me know what happens.” In fact, about ten minutes later my cell phone rang with the message of the arrest.  Upon his return, Blas told us that they were waiting for them at the Marti house, they arrested them, and that Idalmis was beaten just for screaming slogans in favor of human rights.  That all happened at around 11 AM, but at around 2 PM I got the same text message on my cell, this time from Yordanis’ phone.  He said that he was arrested along with them.  Rolando, Jose, and Isael were transferred to their Guantanamo province.  The next morning Yordani called me to tell me that he had been released along with Adriano.  Now, these dissidents from Camagüey, Virgilio Mantilla Arango and Belkis Barbara Portal Prado, are honoring me with their visit.  They will most likely be arrested when it is time for them to return.  All that can be said is that, as opposed to repression, the solidarity is increasing and becoming stronger.

Translated by Raul G.

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Spanish Post

Placetas, July 5, 2010

I confess that I am one of those who feel justly scorned by the servile and complicit posture of the Spanish Foreign Minister.  I commented sincerely while I was reading the official newspaper, Granma, which took up the task of misinforming us about the situation of our brother hunger striker.  That article, I thought, was a ratification of his death sentence.  In this very moment, there is one person who can save the life of Coco, and that is Moratinos, when he arrives here on Monday.  But today, we Cubans heard on the news on Radio Marti that the Spanish chancellor, Miguel Angel Moratinos, will not be visiting Guillermo Farinas Hernandez.  Once again, the feeling of human sensibility and the hope that there would be miracles faded, while this chancellor and his government ratify the conspiracy and also, in my opinion, are complicit in the possible death of this peaceful and courageous Cuban who continues on his mission of giving his life for the freedom of his jailed brothers.

Translated by Raul G.

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Spanish Post

This year, as usual, the United States Interests Section in Havana held a well-deserved celebration of the independence of the United States and, as always, invited members of Cuban civil society. I think that Cuba is one of the few countries in the world that has outlawed this celebration, and far from honoring it, it discredits it with already tired epithets. Since I left prison in 2007, every July I receive with satisfaction and gratitude an invitation for myself and my wife,  Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera.

But this year I could not be there for various reasons, all of a repressive nature.

First, my wife Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera was suffering the pain of intercostal neuritis brought on by the cowardly agents of the political police in two brutal beatings and arrests in less than a week, for the simple and sole reason of trying to exercise two rights: to deliver a letter in the diocese of Santa Clara bound for Cardinal Ortega so that he might intercede before the tyranny of Havana in order to save the lives of both his brother, Mario Alberto Pérez Aguilera, as well as that of our beloved compatriot Ernesto Mederos Arrozarena, both on hunger strike in prison in Agüica.

Second, although the opportunity would have been conducive to telling those present to lend aid in the case of Mario Alberto and Ernesto, it was precisely the concern over their lives that has turned me into a sort of spokesman for the desperate and constant efforts Yris to that effect.

Third, if in other less complicated circumstances they have arrested me while trying to reach the capital, and at times after managing to do so, it appears that the hunting dogs are after my person, I don’t believe that with the bullying and harassment of which I’m a victim at this time in my own house, I would have been able to make it even as far as the bus or train station.

Congratulations to this great and hospitable nation in this patriotic day. I am convinced that sooner or later, we Cubans may also celebrate on May 20, in a free and democratic Cuba, where you and we can attend with reciprocity and without these absurd prohibitions of the repressive Castro regime, as it was in the times of the Republic, as it is in the free and civilized world.

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