Monday, January 23, 2017

El Sexto freed but there are still many political prisoners in Cuba

"El Sexto free. Others yet to be freed. Let us not forget them." - Jorge Olivera, former Cuban prisoner of conscience, January 21, 2017 over twitter.
One freed but two highlighted before remain jailed and there are others
Danilo Maldonado, also known as El Sexto was held in a Cuban prison without charges from November 26, 2016 until January 21, 2017 when he was suddenly freed. What happened on November 26th? The Cuban totalitarian dictatorship announced that Fidel Castro had died and El Sexto broadcast himself writing "Se fue" [He's gone] over social media. A short time later state security rounded him up and imprisoned him.  The good news is that he is free now, although not allowed to travel outside of Cuba.

However others were badly beaten and/or are still imprisoned for refusing to mourn the death of Fidel Castro or criticizing the legacy of the dead dictator.

Not as lucky as El Sexto was Carlos Alberto González Rodríguez, age 48, who painted "Down with Castro" graffiti in Las Tunas and was sentenced to two years in prison under the charge of "Peligrosidad Social Pre-Delictiva” (Pre-Crime Social Dangerousness).

Eduardo Cardet, national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement imprisoned since returning to Cuba on November 30, 2016 after criticizing the legacy of Fidel Castro and his regime over mass media. Cardet was initially threatened with a 15 year prison sentence but is now being threatened with three years in prison and has been badly beaten on more than one occasion.

One need not be a political dissident to get into trouble. Darío Pérez Rodríguez, age 49, resident in the Eastern city of Holguín on January 4, 2017 was sentenced by the municipal tribunal to a year in prison for "defaming the martyrs of the Homeland", a crime found in Article 204 of the Penal Code. What did he do? He refused the order issued at his workplace to watch Fidel Castro's funeral on television.

There are many others who like Julio Alfredo Ferrer Tamayo were arrested before the death of Fidel Castro who remain jailed for their dissent.  Julio Alfredo is a human rights activist, attorney and he has been arbitrarily detained since September 23, 2016 for demanding that authorities respect national legislation and the right to associate of nongovernmental organizations of independent Cuban civil society.

This is but a small piece of the overall human rights situation in Cuba where dissidents have also been the targets of brutal physical attacks and extrajudicial killings. Unfortunately the international community has given the Castro regime a pass.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Rosa María Payá warns if she goes silent on twitter that she has been arrested

Please keep an eye on this young Cuban activist on her twitter account.

Rosa María Payá Acevedo followed by state security vehicles in Cuba

Rosa María Payá Acevedo who returned home to Cuba on January 18, 2017 to meet with Cuban dissidents and promote the Cuba Decide campaign has tweeted several messages today that should raise the concern of people of good will especially her last one:

3:16pm: Today I'm followed by two blue cars: Hyundai and Peugeot. At least three men in each. Are they the same ones who killed my father?

Rosa María Payá at her dad's tomb
3:20pm: Unknown men filmed me from a Hyundai and a Peugeot. Abusers as people. Abuser as a regime. This is Castroism's legacy.

The Hyundai that has been following Rosa María in Cuba

3:22pm: A government like Cuba's that harasses its citizens has no future. Although it lasts as long as it lasts, we Cubans will live in freedom.

3:24pm: If I stop posting on Twitter today, its that I was arbitrarily arrested by agents of this Cuban tyranny that no Cuban chose.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

President Obama's commuting Oscar López Rivera: Freeing another terrorist backed by the Castro regime

"I am an enemy of the United States government." - Oscar López Rivera to federal judge Thomas McMillen (1983)
1975 Fraunces Tavern bombing committed by Cuban backed FALN. 
NY Daily News Photo By Harry Hamburg  
Yesterday President Barack Obama granted clemency to Oscar López Rivera, a founder of the Armed Forces of National Liberation Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), who has been portrayed by leftists as a political prisoner while downplaying his violent past, but the facts demonstrate otherwise. The New York Daily News on January 17, 2017 offered the following summary:
FALN placed more than 130 bombs in American cities — including one in New York on Jan. 24, 1975. The explosive went off in busy Fraunces Tavern during lunch hour. Four people died, including Frank Connor, a 33-year-old father. “I faced Lopez six years ago at his parole hearing ... If he had expressed any atonement, any sympathy or empathy ... we’d have recommended he be released. But he didn’t,” said Joe Connor, who was a 9-year-old when his father was killed. López got 10 years tacked onto his sentence when he and a fellow FALN member were caught plotting a prison break that included killing their guards. 
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Counterterrorism Division: "Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” By this definition Mr. López Rivera is a terrorist.

Oscar Lopez Rivera, convicted FALN terrorist, taken to jail July 2, 1981 after Chicago trial. (AP)

The New York Daily News on January 16, 2017 described another bombing attack that claimed a young life, injured six and caused the evacuation of a 100,000 workers from Manhattan offices:
On Aug. 3, 1977, the FALN struck again in a coordinated attack in Midtown. An alert office worker at 342 Madison Ave., near 43rd St., noticed a suspicious package and evacuated the building. No one was hurt in the subsequent blast.Workers at the Mobil Building at 150 East 42nd St. weren't so lucky. An FALN bomb planted there killed 26-year-old Charles Steinberg. The building's ground-floor windows blew out and several New Yorkers were critically injured by a shower of glass. It was a bloody and chaotic mid-morning scene in the heart of the city. An NYPD cop described the sidewalk in front of the Mobil Building to a Daily News reporter as a "human mess." The FALN called in a dozen other bomb threats, forcing evacuations around the city. Mayor Abe Beame called the day's violent chaos an "outrageous act of terrorism." When López Rivera was arrested in 1981, the FBI found six pounds of dynamite and four blasting caps in his Chicago apartment along with numerous fake IDs.
In 1999 by the Committee on Government Reform conducted an investigation into President Clinton’s decision to offer clemency to sixteen FALN and Macheteros terrorists and offered the following report on Oscar Lopez-Rivera who while in prison planned a bloody escape that would have caused further loss of life:
An individual so "non-violent" that he wouldn’t renounce violence to get out of prison. In addition to crimes committed in furtherance of FALN goals, he plotted two escapes from federal prison. One was from Leavenworth Penitentiary and, according to a Victim Impact Statement, he "planned to blow up Fort Leavenworth with the most powerful plastic explosives known to the military, riddle guard towers with rounds from automatic weapons, and throw grenades in the path of those who pursued them. To achieve their goals, Lopez and Brown considered killing the inmates who threatened Richard Cobb, killing George Lebosky after they became suspicious of him, and killing firearms dealer Michael Neece to gain his weapons." 
There is a moral chasm between an individual advocating the violent overthrow of a government and using the force of arms to lash out against civilians in order to generate fear to effect change and individuals exercising their fundamental human rights to achieve nonviolent change. 


Frank Connor, a 33-year-old dad killed by FALN with his son Joe
Both are political prisoners but the first is a also a terrorist  while the second is the antithesis of a terrorist and a prisoner of conscience.  The terrorist uses terror to dominate by fear, murdering innocent civilians, while the person of conscience seeks to empower others by their example, ideas and arguments in a celebration of life.



The Castro regime has been linked to the FALN terrorist organization by a Cuban defector that alleges the group had received funding from Havana.  An initiative held in Havana, Cuba in 1966 called the Tricontinental Conference where Fidel Castro insisted that "conditions exist for an armed revolutionary struggle" aimed, according to Georges Fauriol in 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 the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and other radical Arab groups in the training and arming of terrorists." 
The Cuban dictatorship set about promoting terrorism as a legitimate tactic of revolutionary violence and published manuals on how to be more effective terrorists that still circulate today. In 1970 the Havana published the "Mini Manual for Revolutionaries" in the official Latin American Solidarity Organization (LASO) publication Tricontinental, written by Brazilian urban terrorist Carlos Marighella, which gives precise instructions in terror tactics, kidnappings, etc. and was translated into numerous languages  and distributed worldwide by the Cuban dictatorship. There is a chapter on terrorism: 
"Terrorism is an action, usually involving the placement of an explosive or fire bomb of great destructive power, which is capable of effecting irreparable loss against the enemy. Terrorism requires that the urban guerrilla should have adequate theoretical and practical knowledge of how to make explosives. The terrorist act, apart from the apparent ease with which it can be carried out, is no different from other guerrilla acts and actions whose success depends on planning and determination. It is an action which the urban guerrilla must execute with the greatest calmness and determination." ... "Terrorism is a weapon the revolutionary can never relinquish."
It should not be a surprise to anyone that President Obama would commute the sentence of an unrepentant terrorist because he has done it before. On December 15, 2014 he commuted the sentences of three of Castro's secret police who had planned terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and had been sentenced to life in prison. One of them, Gerardo Hernandez was sentenced to a double life sentence for his role in a murder conspiracy that cost the lives of three U.S. citizens and one resident on  February 24, 1996 in  the Brothers to the Rescue shootdown. Worse yet President Obama tried to downplay the crime as a "tragic circumstance" four days later on December 18, 2014.

Despite the Castro dictatorship's celebration of American terrorists who have attacked the U.S. Capitol and ample reason to keep Cuba on the list of state terror sponsors the regime was removed from it on May 29, 2015 by the Obama State Department.

Edmund Mahoney of the Hartford Courant interviewed a son who lost his father in New York City on January 24, 1975 in a bombing by the FALN, a terrorist organization with links to the Castro regime:
“In the midst of our global war on terrorism, simply put, how can Obama and this administration remove a state that sponsors terrorists from the State Sponsor of Terror list?” said Joseph Connor, whose father died in a 1975 bomb attack at Fraunces Tavern in New York by a Puerto Rican nationalist group supported by Cuba. “This action shows Obama’s utter disregard for Americans like my father, who was murdered by Castro’s clients and it tells the world we condone terrorism.” 
This is a shameful legacy not only for President Obama but for all those blinded by their political agendas and ideological prejudices into campaigning for the release of an unrepentant terrorist.

Campaign that succeeded in freeing a Puerto Rican terrorist

Never forget this was  a typical FALN operation of which Oscar López Rivera is a member:

:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Presentación de Libro: “El Hundimiento del Remolcador 13 de Marzo” por Jorge A. García

This event is in Spanish, but if you want to learn more about this topic in English then visit here for information on the sinking of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre of July 13, 1994 off the coast of Havana by agents of the Castro regime. This is not an isolated incident but part of the Castro regime's pattern of repression which also includes an act of international state terrorism in which three U.S. citizens and one resident were extrajudicially executed on the Castro brothers' orders. Below is the invite to event and an interview with the author from 2009 and excerpts from the event on January 19, 2017.


El Instituto de Estudios Cubanos y Cubanos-Americanos
Anuncia la presentación del libro

“EL HUNDIMIENTO DEL REMOLCADOR 13 DE MARZO”
por
Jorge A. García
                                   
El 13 de julio de 1994, García Más Jorge Andrés (nombre en Cuba) pierde 14 familiares en el hundimiento del remolcador 13 de marzo. Hecho criminal cometido por el régimen cubano, a siete millas del litoral habanero, donde mueren infinidad de niños, madres y personas inocentes, ahogados en el mar. Desde entonces, García comienza a investigar el hecho por su cuenta y logra en unión de sus colaboradores, hacer entrevistas y obtener fotos que evidencian la naturaleza criminal del suceso. El fruto de este trabajo de terreno por las calles de La Habana, queda atrapado en las páginas de lo que en principio se bautiza bajo el nombre de “SOS a siete millas del litoral”, más tarde denominado “El hundimiento del remolcador 13 de marzo”.




PRESENTACIÓN:   Carlos Alberto Montaner, periodista y escritor, autor de numerosos libros.  Su columna periodística aparece semanalmente en docenas de publicaciones de Europa, América Latina y Estados Unidos.  Carlos Alberto es investigador asociado a ICCAS.
                   



AUTOR:   Jorge A. Garcia, es autor de numerosos libros, entre ellos “Un grito de amor” poemario románticoganador del Premio Nacional de Cuento con la obra Operación Secuestro, La Habana 1997; Premio de Ensayo con la obra, Un jubileo por los Derechos, esbozo y reflexiones y Convocatoria por el 50 aniversario de la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos, 1er lugar Cuba 1998.  Ya en Miami trabaja en la radio “La Voz de la Fundación” como locutor y guionista de programas especiales en el área digital; en “La Poderosa” programa Medicina, Arte y Cultura junto al Dr. Omar Vento; y en Radio Paz programa “Así es mi Cuba”. Actualmente, García conduce su programa “Íntimamente” en un espacio radial, de 24 horas en Online, de la emisora global Ivoox.com..  También colabora con instituciones literarias y participa de Concursos en distintos países donde gana algunas menciones.   


FECHA: Jueves 19 de enero, 2017
                6:30 Recepción
                7:00 p.m. Presentación


LUGAR:
Casa Bacardi
                 Instituto de Estudios Cubanos  y Cubano-Americanos
                 Universidad de Miami,
                 1531 Brescia Avenida,
                 Coral Gables, FL  33146

RSVP:     Para reservar llamar al Instituto al
                 (305) 284-CUBA (2822).
                 Capacidad limitada.




Amnesty International Urgent Action Update on Danilo Maldonado Machado (‘El Sexto’)

Imprisoned since November 26, 2016 for writing "He's gone" on a wall in Havana

URGENT ACTION
graffiti artist still in maximum-security prison


Cuban graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado Machado (‘El Sexto’) continues to be detained in a maximum-security prison, a month and a half after his arrest. He is a prisoner of conscience who must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Danilo Maldonado Machado (also known as ‘El Sexto’) continues to be detained in El Combinado del Este, a maximum-security prison on the outskirts of Havana, the capital, and has now been detained for a month and half.  Amnesty International has not had access to Cuban jails since 1988. According to news reports, El Combinado del Este is a high-security prison, where convicted murderers and political prisoners being punished for their political views are traditionally held.

Danilo Maldonado was arrested at his home in Havana the morning of 26 November 2016, hours after the announcement of Fidel Castro’s death. That same day, Cuba-based newspaper 14 y medio reported that he had graffitied the words “He’s gone” (Se fue) on a wall in Havana.

According to his relatives who last visited him on 10 January 2017, Danilo Maldonado is suffering from frequent asthma attacks due to the damp in the prison. His family had difficulties getting an asthma preventer inhaler through security. When Danilo Maldonado sought medical attention he was given pills which made him feel worse and was forced to sign a document that he was not allowed to read, according to family. On 13 January, Danilo Maldonado called his relatives in a conversation that lasted around a minute, and said a rumour was going around in the prison that “they are going to shoot me” (me van a fusilar). His family say they do not know the source of the rumour, if Danilo Maldonado is having an emotional reaction to being detained, or if he has received a direct threat. According to his relatives, members of his family and friends have been questioned by the police since they filed for his immediate release on 29 December.

Danilo Maldonado’s family understand he has been accused of damage to state property but have not seen official documents specifying these charges. His lawyer filed for his immediate release on 29 December.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
  • Calling on the authorities to release Danilo Maldonado Machado (‘El Sexto’) immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;
  • Calling on them to guarantee the peaceful right to freedom of expression, assembly and association including for dissident, opponent or activist voices and to repeal all legislation which unduly limits these rights;
  • Urging them to ensure that, pending his release, he is provided with any medical care which he may require, in particular if he refrains to eat; that he is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated; and that he is granted regular access to family and lawyers of his choosing.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 27 FEBRUARY 2017 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@un.int (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)
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       
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/ Señor Fiscal General

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation          
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the third update of UA 273/16. Further information: www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr25/5301/2016/en/

URGENT ACTION
graffiti artist still in maximum-security prison

Additional Information

On 20 October 2015, Danilo Maldonado Machado was released after spending almost 10 months in prison without trial following accusations of “aggravated contempt”. Amnesty International considered him a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression (see: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr25/2710/2015/en/).
Danilo Maldonado Machado was accused of “aggravated contempt” after being arrested on 25 December 2014 for transporting two pigs with the names “Raúl” and “Fidel” painted on them, which he intended to release in an art show in Havana’s Central Park. He was never formally charged nor brought before a court during the almost 10 months he spent in detention.


Name: Danilo Maldonado Machado, also known as ‘El Sexto’ Gender m/f: m


Further information on UA: 273/16 Index: AMR 25/5509/2017 Issue Date: 16 January 2017