Monday, January 22, 2018

Cuba: Further information: Prisoner of conscience attacked in prison: Dr Eduardo Cardet Concepción

Late last night posted information on the plight of Eduardo Cardet, including a brief statement by the spokesman of his organization, the Christian Liberation Movement. Saw good news today that Amnesty International had updated his case. Reproducing it below.


URGENT ACTION: PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE ATTACKED IN PRISON


On 19 December 2017, after being transferred from the Provisional Prison of Holguín to Cuba SI prison, three other prisoners attacked Eduardo Cardet, according to his wife. He is a prisoner of conscience who must be released immediately and unconditionally. 

On 19 December 2017, the afternoon after authorities transferred Dr Eduardo Cardet Concepción from the Provisional Prison of Holguín to Cuba SI prison in the same province, three other prisoners allegedly attacked him, according to his wife, Yaimaris Vecino. Prison authorities only informed his wife and family that same day that they would be transferring Eduardo Cardet to a different prison. They only permitted his family to see him for several minutes and did not provide the family with reasons for the transfer.

Yaimaris Vecino told Amnesty International that prison officials did not permit her to visit her husband after the attack until 15 January 2018, when she observed two circular scars to Eduardo Cardet’s abdomen. She stated that her husband told her that he had not received medical attention since the attack and was experiencing headaches and dizziness.

On 9 January, Eduardo Cardet’s sister lodged a complaint regarding the alleged attack with the Public Prosecutor in Havana, the capital. As of 19 January the family had not received a response, according to Yaimaris Vecino.

Eduardo Cardet is the leader of the pro-democracy movement Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación, MCL). He has been imprisoned in Holguín since his arrest on 30 November 2016, five days after the death of the former leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro. Prior to his arrest, Eduardo Cardet gave a number of interviews published in international media in which he was critical of the Cuban government.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
 
  • Calling on the authorities to release human rights defender Dr Eduardo Cardet immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;
  • Urging them to ensure that, pending his release, he is provided with any medical care of his choosing; that he is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated; and that he is granted regular access to family and lawyers of his choosing;
  • Calling on them to investigate the alleged attack of Eduardo Cardet and to ensure that effective measures are put in place to ensure his safety and the security of prisoners at all times.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 5 MARCH 2018 TO:

President of the Republic
Raúl Castro Ruz    
Presidente de la República de Cuba
La Habana, Cuba  
Fax: +41 22 758 9431 (Cuba Office in Geneva); +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)
Email: cuba_onu@cubamission.com (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)
Twitter: @RaulCastroR
Salutation: Your Excellency

Attorney General  
Dr. Darío Delgado Cura       
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General de la República        
Amistad 552, e/Monte y Estrella          
Centro Habana, La Habana, Cuba
Email: relaciones@fgr.cu    
Twitter: @FGR_Cuba
Salutation: Dear Attorney General

Minister of Justice
María Esther Reus
Ministerio de Justicia
Calle O # 216 E/ 23 y 25 Vdo. Plaza de la Revolución
La Habana, Cuba
Twitter: @CubaMinjus
Salutation: Dear Minister


Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the third update of UA 32/17. Further information: www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr25/6363/2017/en/

URGENT ACTION
prisoner of conscience attacked in prison

Additional Information

According to five witnesses who spoke to Amnesty International by telephone on the condition of anonymity, Eduardo Cardet was pushed off his bicycle and violently detained in the early evening of 30 November 2016 by at least four plain clothed and one uniformed police officer as he returned home after visiting his mother. According to his wife, who witnessed her husband’s detention with their two children, Eduardo Cardet is charged with attacking an official of the state (atentado). This offence is covered under Article 142.1 of the Criminal Code. One officer is alleging that Eduardo Cardet pushed him during his arrest. All witnesses who spoke with Amnesty International counter this allegation, and state that Eduardo Cardet was quickly and violently restrained by plain clothed officials, placed in handcuffs, and beaten, and had no opportunity for self-defence. The witnesses believe that Eduardo Cardet was arrested for his beliefs and ideas. Amnesty International was able to review a copy of the sentence at appeal emitted by the provincial court of Holguin. The sentence makes no mention of the original grounds for the arrest, suggesting the arrest was arbitrary. On 17 May, the Popular Provincial Court of Holguín (Tribunal Provincial Popular de Holguín) ratified in appeal the judgement handed down on 20 March sentencing Dr Eduardo Cardet Concepción to three years in prison.

The Christian Liberation Movement (Movimento Cristiano Liberación, MCL) is a prominent actor in the pro-democracy movement in Cuba. According to its website, it is a movement for peaceful and democratic change and respect for human dignity. It was founded in 1988 by Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, who became a visible figure of the Cuban political opposition, and four other activists. Amnesty International has documented harassment and intimidation of members of the MCL for decades. In 1991, after Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas presented a petition calling for a national referendum relating to constitutional reform, he had his home destroyed by over 200 people, said to be members of a Rapid Response Brigade. After Oswaldo Payá announced his intention to put himself forward as a candidate for deputy to the National Assembly for the municipality of Cerro, Havana, members of his organization were reportedly subjected to frequent questioning and short-term detention.

In an interview published on 16 September 2016 by ABC International, Eduardo Cardet stated: “Political activities are passed off as criminal offences such as inciting public scandal, contempt of or offences against the authorities, and the political police use these classifications to lock up dissidents" (Se disfraza la actividad política con hechos delictivos comunes, por ejemplo, escándalo público, desacato, atentado, figuras que utiliza la policía política para encarcelar a los disidentes).
 
Cuba is closed to Amnesty International and nearly all independent international human rights monitors.

Name: Dr Eduardo Cardet Concepción
Gender m/f: m

Further information on UA: 32/17 Index: AMR 25/7759/2018 Issue Date: 22 January 2018




Update: Cuban prisoner of conscience Eduardo Cardet badly beaten, stabbed and unjustly imprisoned

Regis Iglesias Ramirez, a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, is currently the spokesman of the Christian Liberation Movement. This past Sunday, January 21, 2018 he sat down and gave a brief interview on the plight of  Eduardo Cardet Concepción, the national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement. The interview is in Spanish but a summary of the information provided is reproduced below in English.

Eduardo Cardet of MCL badly beaten, stabbed, and unjustly imprisoned.
Eduardo Cardet Concepción, successor to martyred founding leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, and unjustly jailed since November 30, 2016 was badly beaten and stabbed twice by three prisoners on December 19, 2017. This attack was most probably engineered by Castro's State Security in order to permanently silence him.

The seriousness of the attack was only learned on January 15, 2018 when his wife was finally able to visit him in prison and see the extent of his injuries.

Eduardo Cardet Concepción is a Cuban physician, human rights defender, and national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL). He joined the MCL then headed by Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas in the early 2000s.  Eduardo was an active participant in various MCL initiatives aimed at achieving a nonviolent transition to democracy in Cuba. He was a manager of the Varela Project, the Heredia Project, The Peoples Path and  One Cuban, One Vote. Cardet held various responsibilities within the organization and was a member of the movement's coordinating council.

Following the extrajudicial killing of Oswaldo Payá  and Harold Cepero on July 22, 2012, the Christian Liberation Movement restructured its leadership and Eduardo Cardet was appointed national coordinator of the movement in November of 2014.

 
Due to his opposition activity Eduardo Cardet has been arbitrarily detained on several occasions. The last time he was taken prisoner by the Cuban political police was on November 30, 2016, shortly after the death of Fidel Castro. The MCL has denounced that on that occasion he was also badly beaten by Castro's state security agents. The beatings continued following his arrest in the detention center. 


On January 31, 2017 Amnesty International issued an urgent action and recognized Eduardo Cardet as a prisoner of conscience. Despite this status and the call for his immediate release, Cardet was sentenced to three years in prison on March 20, 2017 following a show trial in Cuba.  


Yaimaris Vecino, Cardet's wife:They badly beat up Eduardo in prison while he was handcuffed.
Eduardo Cardet Concepción was born in Holguin, Cuba on October 25, 1968. He is married to Yaimaris Vecino with two children, worked as a family doctor at the health center in the town of Velasco in Holguín province, where he lived.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

U.S. foreign policy in China for the past generation is a dangerous failure that threatens world peace.

"The cause of human rights is a single cause, just as the people of the world are a single people. The talk today is of globalization, but we must state that unless there is global solidarity, not only human rights but also the right to remain human will be jeopardized." - Oswaldo Paya, December 17, 2002

 Presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter meet with Deng Xiaoping in 1979
Yesterday at the Dorothea Green Lecture Series event, State of the World 2018 at Florida International University yesterday on the first panel, Challenges to U.S. Foreign Policy, Anne-Marie Slaughter, president of New America made the claim that "globalization isn't a choice but a reality." Others have made that claim, but it downplays that choices were made and are being made that define this global order.

 One of those decisions was for the United States to engage and legitimize Communist China's leadership, and assist in its economic modernization and growth, despite a horrid human rights record, over the past forty six years. The rest of Western countries followed the lead of the super power. Was that a good idea?

State of the World 2018 panel at Florida International University
Anne-Marie Slaughter, president of New America responded that US assisting the economic rise of China, lifting 400 million out of poverty, was a good thing on the whole.

Realpolitik could justify engaging China in 1971, in the midst of the bloody Cultural Revolution, to exploit divisions with the Soviet Union, but once the USSR imploded in 1991 that engagement, especially economic should have ended but instead it intensified.

Richard Nixon shaking hands with China's mass murderer Mao Ze Dong
Consider that 10 years after President Jimmy Carter normalized relations with China in 1979 at least 10,000 Chinese demonstrators, who demanded democratic reforms, were butchered in Beijing's 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Western nations, including the United States during the Bush Administration, continued and intensified their economic engagement with this murderous regime. 
 
The Clinton Administration continued and intensified this relationship with China and completely de-linked it from human rights considerations. This decision had consequences for the American middle class. Corruption appears to have also played a role. Clinton confidante Webster Hubbell was forced to resign to face a criminal investigation in 1994, the former associate attorney general received more than $400,000 from about a dozen enterprises, including the organizers of a multibillion-dollar development in mainland China that received the endorsement of the Clinton administration. Jane White, the author of America, welcome to the poorhouse, have called Bill Clinton, the outsourcer in chief. What did this translate into in concrete economic terms? According to Jane White quite a lot:
"Manufacturers never emerged from the 2001 recession, which coincided with China's entry into the World Trade Organization. Between 2001 and 2009 the U.S. lost 42,400 factories and manufacturing employment dropped to 11.7 million, a loss of 32 percent of all manufacturing jobs. The last time fewer than 12 million people worked in the manufacturing sector was in 1941."
Chinese nationals have been subjected to new totalitarian controls over there lives with the help of American companies such as Google and Yahoo. Google,to be able to operate in China, censored its search engines and Yahoo went further and actively tracked down dissidents who had been sending out e-mails critical of the government, leading to their imprisonment and torture. American corporations today are complicit with a murderous totalitarian regime.

Chinese Dictator Jiang Zemin and U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1997
Economically empowering Communist China also means that the regime has modernized and grown its military, projecting power regionally and flexing its economic muscle in Africa and Latin America. It also means that it could buy influence in Washington, and academia to the detriment of U.S. national interests.

The Peoples Republic of China during the 1990s was having set backs getting its rockets to launch successfully but American corporations came to the rescue with the assistance of presidential waivers signed by President Bill Clinton in exchange for substantial campaign donations.

China goes ballistic, tests nuclear-capable missiles able to reach U.S.
John Mintz in The Washington Post on January 1, 2003 reported that The State Department had charged that two of the country's largest aerospace companies, Hughes Electronics Corp. and Boeing Satellite Systems (Loral), illegally transferred sensitive U.S. space technology to China in the 1990s that could have helped Beijing's military develop intercontinental missiles. In the end the Loral Space and Communications Corporation paid out $20 million in fines to settle the Federal investigation which is relatively small potatoes when compared to $250 million telecommunications deal for Loral to launch satellites on Chinese rockets.

DF-31A mobile missile
Bill Gertz in The Washington Times reported on October 2, 2014 that "China’s military has conducted the first flight test of a new variant of one of its road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles in a sign that Beijing is increasing its strategic strike capability against the United States. The test of a new DF-31B missile was conducted Sept. 25 from a missile test range in central China."

Disagree with Anne-Marie Slaughter because the disengagement from human rights in China while pushing economic engagement with the same regime that killed 45 million of its own people was and is a terrible idea. It is part of the reason for freedom's decline globally over the past 12 years and the rising threat to peace in the world.

History has demonstrated that appeasing tyrants, rather than confront them early on, has terrible and bloody consequences. This isn't a choice but a historical reality. Paying lip service to human rights, while abandoning them in practice, shaped the process of globalization that is leading to an emerging world order that is the stuff of dystopian nightmares.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Remembering some of the victims of Cuban communism: two Catholic Cubans martyrs

"Whoever destroys a single life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed the whole world, and whoever saves a single life is considered by Scripture to have saved the whole world." - Mishnah  (1135-1204)
 
Some psychologists argue that as the number of victims increase into the hundreds, and thousands that compassion collapses out of the human fear of being overwhelmed. Soviet dictator Josef Stalin put it more succinctly: "When one man dies it's a tragedy. When thousands die it's statistics." In the case of Cuba the communist regime has killed tens of thousands, and many have become numb in the face of this horror. Therefore on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first communist regime in Russia, that caused so much harm around the world, will focus on an infinitesimal sampling of some of the victims of Cuban communism.

The thirteenth entry remembers two young martyrs: one was 22 years old and the other 23 years old, both Catholic youths, who ended up before a firing squad along with six of their friends.
  
Previous entries in this series were about Cubans trying to change the system nonviolently, Cubans who tried to leave the island, a student shot to death for walking down the wrong sidewalk in Havana, a young Ethiopian woman murdered in a red terror in her homeland for unknown reasons in 1978, and the eleventh entry three young black men executed by firing squad in 2003 for having hijacked a ferry in an effort to reach the United States. The twelfth entry remembered two men shot in La Cabaña on October 1, 1982. They had been arrested on August 23, 1980 for propaganda and sabotage. 

In this entry one explores how religious repression turned a significant number of young Cubans against the regime. One of them was Virgilio Campanería Angel, who was born on August 5, 1938, studied at Belén and Baldor, and graduating high school he started studying Law and Journalism at the University of La Salle and the University of Havana. He had aspired to be a member of the University Catholic Association [Agrupacion Católica Universitaria].  Another was Alberto Tapia Ruano, who was born on August 7, 1937, attended high school at La Salle and graduated in 1955. He was a member of the University Catholic Association [Agrupacion Católica Universitaria].

The revolutionaries in Cuba came down from the hills in 1959 wearing rosaries, and the leadership used this image to reject the charge that they were communists. Fidel Castro claimed throughout the 1950s and in the early days of the revolution that their aim was to restore democracy, but the reality was that they had always planned to consolidate their rule and establish a communist regime.

The Catholic Church, like many others in Cuba took them at their word, and initially supported the revolution against the dictator Fulgencio Batista but by 1960 it was clear that a new and worse dictatorship was taking shape. Show trials and arbitrary executions in 1959 that generated fear in the populace and the regime's takeover of student, labor and professional organizations, along with the placement of communists in key government and military positions, and the elimination of the free press. In August of 1960 the Church, in a pastoral letter, alerted Cubans to the evils that would come if the island towards Communism.

Virgilio Campanería Angel, founded the movement "Salvar a Cuba" [To Save Cuba]. Alberto Tapia Ruano joined To Save Cuba and both later joined the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil [Revolutionary Student Directorate] in an effort to bring an end to the emerging communist tyranny in Cuba.

Virgilio's brother, Néstor Campanería Angel, in an online essay, tells what happened.  Virgilio was arrested along with Tomas Fernandez Travieso and Alberto Tapia Ruano on March 27, 1961. The Cuban secret police [G2] found them with weapons. 

In the span of 23 days they are subjected to a political show trial and condemned to death along with six others.  Tomas Fernandez Travieso, who was under age, had his death sentence commuted to 30 years in prison.  In the early morning of April 18, 1961, while the Bay of Pigs invasion was underway, Virgilio, and Alberto were executed along with six others. Tomas Fernandez Travieso survived and is a living witness of how these young men faced death. Their last words were "¡Viva Cristo Rey!" [Long Live Christ King!] as they faced the volley from the firing squad.

The Castro regime continued intensifying its anti-religious actions. In May of 1961 the regime confiscated private schools and most seminaries in an effort to eliminate religion. In September of 1961, the Castro regime at gun point collected 131 priests, brothers and a bishop, Boza Masvidal, placing them on board the Spanish ship Covadonga and deported them from Cuba.

Néstor Campanería had to go underground for many months, until he was received by the Colombian embassy as a political refugee and fled Cuba in October of 1961 for Colombia. His brother dead, and his country to suffer a communist dictatorship for more than a half century. Sadly there have been many Catholic martyrs in Cuba.

Below are the final letters left by Virgilio Campanería Angel, and Alberto Tapia Ruano written on the eve of their executions and translated to English. The Spanish text follows below.


Virgilio Campanería Angel
La Cabaña, April 17, 1961
 
To my student compatriots and to the people of Cuba in general:In these moments I am waiting for the judgment of the court that tried me.Death does not worry me, because I have faith in God and in the destinies of my Homeland. My death will be another step backward for those who believe that they can drown with blood the longing for freedom of the Cuban people.
 I do not fear it, let death come; I am happy because I see my Fatherland free, I see how my brothers joyfully climb the glorious Hill, there will be no more hatred between brothers, there will no longer be voices calling for the firing squad. All will be love among Cubans, the love of brothers, the love of Christians.
 Poor Cuba, how much you have suffered, but the new Cuba arises out of the hatred to sow love, from injustice to sow justice, social justice, not demagogic deception of the people; a Cuba matures because it already knows all the deceits and all the frauds; a Cuba for Cubans and "with everyone and for the good of all".
 To you, student, you have this glory of liberating the Homeland and of raising up that new Cuba.
 LONG LIVE CHRIST THE KING! LONG LIVE FREE CUBA!
 
LONG LIVE THE STUDENT REVOLUTIONARY DIRECTORATE!
 
Alberto Tapia Ruano


La Cabaña, April 17
Dear mom and dad:
 
I just received a few moments ago the ratification of the Death Penalty and that is why, now that I am in the end, I am writing these lines to you. You will not believe me,  but I can assure you that I have never had so much spiritual tranquility as at this moment: I feel sincerely very happy, feeling that soon I will be with God, waiting and praying for you.
 
Today at the trial I saw my brothers and godparents crying And what for? No and a thousand times No. I know that today is painful for you, but I want you to overcome yourselves and think that God in his infinite kindness has given me this grace to get right with him, and everyone should thank him.

Goodbye old folks, have a lot of faith in the Eternal Life that I will intercede for all of you.
 
Long live Christ the King

Kisses and hugs, not tears, everyone.
Goodbye brothers, godparents and family. Faith in God.
Alberto 
Spanish text: 
La Cabaña, abril 17 de 1961
 
A mis compaňeros estudiantes y al pueblo de Cuba en general:

En estos momentos me encuentro esperando la sentencia del tribunal que me juzgó.
La muerte no me preocupa, porque tengo fe en Dios y en los destinos de mi Patria. Mi muerte será otro paso atrás de los que creen que pueden ahogar con sangre las ansias de libertad del pueblo cubano.
 
No le temo, que venga la muerte; yo voy feliz porque ya veo libre a mi Patria, ya veo cómo suben jubilosos mis hermanos la gloriosa Colina, ya no habrá más odio entre hermanos, ya no habrá gargantas que pidan paredón. Todo será amor entre cubanos, amor de hermanos, amor de cristianos.
 
Pobre Cuba, cuánto has sufrido, pero la Cuba nueva surge del odio para sembrar el amor, de la injusticia para sembrar la justicia, justicia social, no demagogia engaňadora de pueblo; una Cuba madura porque ya conoce todos los engaňos y a todos los farsantes; una Cuba para los cubanos y “con todos y para el bien de todos”.
 
A ti, estudiante, te cabe esta gloria de liberar a la Patria y de levantar esa Cuba nueva.
 
¡VIVA CRISTO REY!      ¡VIVA CUBA LIBRE!
 
¡VIVA EL DIRECTORIO REVOLUCIONARIO ESTUDIANTIL!
 
Virgilio Campanería Angel


La Cabaña, 17 de abril
 
Queridos viejos:

Acabo de recibir hace unos momentos la ratificación de la Pena de Muerte y es por eso, ahora que estoy en el final, que les escribo estas líneas. No me creerán pero puedo asegurarles que nunca he tenido tanta tranquilidad espiritual como en ese momento: me siento con sinceridad muy contento presintiendo que dentro de poco estaré con Dios , esperando y rezando por Uds.

Hoy en el juicio vi a mis hermanos y padrinos llorando Y eso por que? No y mil veces No. Se que lo de hoy es doloroso para Uds., pero quiero que se sobrepongan y piensen que Dios en su infinita bondad me ha dado esta gracia de ponerme a bien con El, y todos deben de agradecérselo.

Adiós viejucos, tengan mucha fe en la Vida Eterna que yo intercederé por todos Uds.
 
Viva Cristo Rey

Besos y abrazos, no lágrimas, a todos.
Adiós hermanos, padrinos y familia. Fe en Dios


Alberto