Archive for January, 2011

Spanish post

January 15, 2011

The new recently-approved measures from the North unfortunately only point at—albeit with the best of intentions—oxygenating the dying tyranny of Havana, without providing any benefits to the democratic cause in Cuba.

The administration of Mr. Obama must understand that it is not the United States of America that needs to change their policies regarding their relationship to Cuba, but that it is the Castro regime that needs to implement changes and democratic openness, free its prisoners, respect human rights, and also introduce a market economy and allow free enterprise, without setbacks or cosmetic measures.

The Obama administration continues to act, in my opinion, in an erratic manner, avoiding the marrow of the issue. I would like to think that most of those who support these policies have not lost their faith in the main actors of change, that democratic opposition that—both inside and outside Cuba—never ceases in its attempts to accelerate the transition and the practical implementation of true openness.

I would also like it if some radio journalists who gather the opinions of people in Cuba did so in a more balanced way, not limiting to seek the opinions of only those in favor of Obama’s policies, but also of those of us who have a different view. Journalism, except—of course—for the official press, is supposed to inform with transparency and objectivity, and not to please or praise people or interests, no matter how influential or powerful they may seem.

Dear journalist: If you have any doubts, please ask Radio Martí journalists Juilo Machado and Jorge Jáuregui, and they will surely teach you how to remain friends while being fair, and without renouncing impartial journalism and without the slightest passion.

Translated by T



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Spanish post

A young mother, 25,  and her husband arrived at my house very late at night.  They brought their two small children, one 3 and the other 4.  At the moment I wasn’t home so my wife, Yris, tended to them. Their appearance caused quite an impression on my wife, and one of the children told her:

“Ma’am, please let me sit, for sleepiness and hunger are taking their toll on me…”

The next night, they repeated the visit.

They were a humble and young couple called Yirisleidis Hernandez Perez and Yasmany Castillo Gomez. Their little ones were named Enmanuel and Yandier.

“Tomorrow will be the deadline. They are going to throw us out into the streets and they are going to tear down our home.  We don’t know what to do, and this is why we have come to ask you all — the Human Rights people — for help.”

That night, they left knowing that they would not be alone, for the “Human Rights people” would be there supporting them.

Although I did not have enough time to inform all those I would have liked to (and surely they would have gone), activists started arriving to the scene at around 4 in the morning.  The first was Juan Ariel Rivero Diaz, followed by others from Placetas.  Adriano Castaneda from Sancti Spiritus was arrested upon arriving to the location and was later tossed out onto a side-road of the highway.  Soon therafter, a group of brothers from Santa Clara arrived.  At noon, we were already a group of 11.

From the very beginning, we were very impressed by the firm posture assumed by the young woman, which was completely the opposite of her husband who, as we say in good Cuban slang, “cracked when the time came.”  He was terrorized by the threats of the political police which took control over his home and surrounding areas.

“As long as the Human Rights people are here, they won’t even dare come.”

“They said they were coming at 4 pm.”

“They are going to postpone the eviction until Saturday.”

The number of neighbors and sympathizers who arrived on the scene to support this family was overwhelming.

Between the conversations, sips of coffee, declarations made on the radio by activists and neighbors, it finally was 4 pm.  The area continue to be watched.  The whole scene looked like the prelude of an invasion.

When we were informed that nothing was going to happen after all, and that the group from Santa Clara had to leave to go back home soon, we decided to provisionally leave the place. We left Juan Ariel and Diosiris Santana behind, and their role was to inform us if anything happened.

The peaceful march back home was violently interupted by an enormous State Security operation, along with the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), right in the entrance of the city.  The majority of the malice was carried out on Damaris Moya and myself.  Beaten and dragged, we were then taking to the police unit of Placetas, along with the remaining activists of the group.  We were kept the entire night in the unit in their filthy dungeons.

However, the eviction never took place. Thanks to the Human Rights people, according to what all the neighbors of the town have said. But we must add that it was also thanks to the bravery and decisions of the young people to not give in to so much intimidation and threats from those who wanted to leave this young mother out on the street with her two children, without a roof or bed.

Another important victory of the internal resistance.

Translated by Raul G.

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Spanish post

Official Stupidity from the G 21

When resorting to physical blows, this displays a degree of errors in intelligence and professionalism.  Many times, fear makes people lose their wits.

It seems as if this is what happened to officials of the political police.  That night, they went to go look for me at the cells of the Aguilera Unit, in the 10th of October municipality.  They had arrested me during the morning hours as I was leaving the home of the distinguished civil leader, Eriberto Liranza Romero, where we had just held an important meeting for the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance and Disobedience Front.  In that encounter, activists representing multiple organizations throughout the Western region of the country were present.

“Antunez,” they told me, after identifying themselves as high ranking officials from the popular Section 21, also known as the National Headquarters of the Confrontation Unit, “we are going to talk clearly to you.  That Front which you now lead will simply not be permitted in Havana.  And I’ll tell you more.  Due to activities like the ones you are carrying out, our Revolution has been losing allies that were slowly dropping their hostile positions against us,” and he continued, “And that will simply not be allowed.  You are scratching our limit, and at any given moment, the leaders of our Revolution will order your imprisonment.”

“Don’t think for a moment,” the stupid major named Ignacio continued, “that because we are releasing prisoners we will cease condemning counter-revolutionaries.”

I remembered the time when Colonel Tamayo told me, “Antunez, you should know that whenever we unleash another operation, which you all refer to as repressive waves, you will be one of the first to be imprisoned, and with the longest sentence.”

Although the interrogation was ingenuous, it still was very interesting, for it acknowledged that the struggle which irritates them the most is that which is carried out through public protests and actions.  They also let me know that the Front has kept them very nervous, and that they do not have the most minimal of desires to cease oppressing any dissenting voices.  And that is why we will continue in the streets, because the streets belong to the people, and the government has tried, and continues to try, to steal them from us.

Translated by Raul G.

January 3 2011

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