Tribute To Orlando Zapata Leads To Dozens Of Arrests / 14ymedio

Activists of the Patriotic Union of Cuba marched this Sunday despite the arrests. (UNPACU)
Activists of the Patriotic Union of Cuba marched this Sunday despite the arrests. (UNPACU)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 21 February 2016 — The events organized on Sunday to remember the late activist Orlando Zapata Tamayo resulted in dozens of opposition members arrested throughout the country. Several civil society organizations had also called for a tribute to honor the four Brothers to the Rescue pilots on the twentieth anniversary of their death at the hands of the Cuban Air Force.

Zapata Tamayo died on 23 February 2010 after a prolonged hunger strike to protest his prison conditions. The death of the dissident led to a wave of indignation in Cuban civil society and strong pronouncements from international bodies devoted to respect for human rights. Continue reading “Tribute To Orlando Zapata Leads To Dozens Of Arrests / 14ymedio”

Estado De Sats Holds Workshop On Rights And Freedoms / Cubanet, Arturo Rojas Rodriguez

Participants in the first Rights and Freedoms Workshop at Estado de Sats (photo by the author)
Participants in the first Rights and Freedoms Workshop at Estado de Sats (photo by the author)

cubanet square logoCubanet, Arturo Rojas Rodriguez, Havana, 12 February 2016 – On Thursday, members of several opposition groups participated in the first “Rights and Freedoms” workshop. The event brought together twenty participants and took place at Havana’s Miramar neighborhood.

Sponsored by Estado de Sats (State of Sats), those present included Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White. In his presentation, Antonio Rodiles, director of Estado de Sats, called for an analysis of the Roadmap for the Forum for Rights and Freedom, taking as a point of departure the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Rodiles emphasized, especially, the rights of workers in the private sector. Continue reading “Estado De Sats Holds Workshop On Rights And Freedoms / Cubanet, Arturo Rojas Rodriguez”

Orlando Zapata Tamayo Civic Resistance Front Holds Congress in Havana / Cubanet, Arturo Rojas Rodriguez

Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez and Egberto Escobedo (photo by the author)
Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez (r) and Egberto Escobedo (l) (photo by the author)

cubanet square logoCubanet, Arturo Rojas Rodriguez, 3 December 2015 – This morning, in the Havana municipality of Boyeros, 53 members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Civic Resistance Front, representing several regions of the country, held their first congress and launched the campaign “No, No and No to Dictatorship.”

The event, which discussed among other issues the need to diversify the scenario of peaceful struggle and develop a set of strategies to promote it, was presided over by the human rights activist Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez,” and was attended by, among others, Agustin Lopez Canino, director of the digital portal Cubanos de Adentro y de Abajo, and Raul Borges Alvarez, President of the Party for Christian Democratic Unity of Cuba. Continue reading “Orlando Zapata Tamayo Civic Resistance Front Holds Congress in Havana / Cubanet, Arturo Rojas Rodriguez”

The Ladies In White Face Another Sunday Of Repression In Havana / 14ymedio

Ladies in White during the pilgrimage this Sunday. (Angel Moya)
Ladies in White during the pilgrimage this Sunday. (Angel Moya)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 4 October, 2015 – Fifty-nine Ladies in White and 20 activists gathered this Sunday in Gandhi Park in Havana’s Playa district, despite the arrests previous to their traditional Sunday peregrination. After a summary of their weekly activities, the dissidents were detained, according to a report from witnesses at the scene.

From the early hours, the regime opponent Martha Beatriz Roque denounced the arrests of 12 human rights activists who had traveled to Santa Rita parish. Among those arrested with the mother and siblings of Zaqueo Baez Guerrero, one of the members of the of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) who had approached Pope Francis in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution.

Others arrested on Sunday included the regime opponents Antonio Gonzalez Rodiles, Ailer Gonzalez and Felix Navarro. The latter lives in the town of Perico, Matanzas, and traveled to the capital to show his support to the human rights movement.

Blogger Agustín López Canino denounced his arrest and reported that he was handcuffed at the corner of 5th and 30th streets, in the Playa district, together with two other colleagues. The activists detailed that he was “taken to the outskirts of Havana” to prevent his accompanying the Ladies in White during their Sunday march.

Meanwhile, in Colón, Matanzas, independent journalist Ivan Hernandez Carrillo reported ten Ladies in White marched in Colón, Matanzas, for the release of the political prisoners.

The leader of the Ladies in White movement, Berta Soler said that Yaquelín Boni, an activist detained since Thursday during a protest outside Combinado del Este prison and accused of “disobedience,” has now been released.

Ladies in White Denounce Arrests That Began Early Sunday Morning / 14ymedio

Ladies in White in front of the church of Santa Rita, on 5th Avenue in Havana this last June (14ymedio / File)
Ladies in White in front of the church of Santa Rita, on 5th Avenue in Havana this last June (14ymedio / File)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 30 August 2015 — The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, reported several arrests of opponents and independent journalists beginning early today. Those detained were prevented from attending Mass at Santa Rita Church and from participating in the traditional Sunday march along Fifth Avenue. Despite the strong police operation deployed around the parish, at least 40 Ladies in White and 15 activists managed to arrive at the site.

The blogger and activist Agustín López Canino was prevented from leaving his house by the police car with the number 632 and reporter Juan Gonzalez Febles was arrested before reaching the location of the march, according to sources from the dissidence. This newspaper was able verify the existence of a strong police operation on several streets around the meeting site of the Ladies in White at Gandhi park starting before ten o’clock in the morning.

For her part, the dissident Martha Beatriz Roque reported via Twitter the “troubling proximity between the forces of repression” and the Ladies in White who were able to reach the park. In particular, a rapid response brigade gathered at the corner of 3rd avenue and 24th, as reported by the regime opponent Juan Angel Moya.

As they left the place, the police proceeded to violently arrest the assembled activists. To date their whereabouts are unknown, but in the past the women have been transferred to a processing center in Tarara, east of Havana and men to the place known as Vivac in Calabazar.

Dozens of Activists Detained in Havana Following the Ladies in White March / Diario de Cuba, Angel Moya

Ladies in White marching this past Sunday, 26 July*, in Havana (Ángel Moya)
Ladies in White marching this past Sunday, 26 July*, in Havana (Ángel Moya)

diariodecubalogoDiario de Cuba, Angel Moya, Havana, 26 July 2015 – Some 60 activists were arrested this past Sunday in Havana following the customary Sunday march of the Ladies in White, reported government opponents on social media. The arrests took place within the context of an act of repudiation described by the opponents as “violent,” and were carried out by “civilian mobs,” tweeted Ailer María González Mena.

The Ladies’ Sunday march was preceded by the arrests of several of the women, along with independent journalists, dissident sources were reporting as of midday. Continue reading “Dozens of Activists Detained in Havana Following the Ladies in White March / Diario de Cuba, Angel Moya”

Arrests This Sunday Of More Than A Hundred Activists Across The Island / 14ymedio

Activists supporting the Ladies in White on Sunday June 21 on 5th Avenue. (14ymedio)
Activists supporting the Ladies in White on Sunday June 21 on 5th Avenue. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 28 June 2015 — Jose Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), reported early Sunday the arrest of 48 members of that opposition organization to prevent them from reaching the Sanctuary of Cobre in the east of the country. In Havana, fifty Ladies in White were also arrested at the end of their pilgrimage near the Church of Santa Rita, with over a hundred arrested across the country.

The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, and her husband, Angel Moya, were intercepted leaving the headquarters of the movement in the Lawton neighborhood and prevented from going to Mass, according to the dissident Martha Beatriz Roque. Both were taken to a detention site located in Tarará, east of the capital, where presumably they found the other detained Ladies in White.

The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, and her husband, Angel Moya, were taken to a detention site located in Tarará

Other activists reported that their homes were surrounded, as was the case with the independent reporter Agustín López Canino. The home of this activist, in the village of El Globo on the outskirts of Havan, was surrounded by a wide operation that he managed to evade, although later the police intercepted him in the vicinity of 5th Avenue in Playa municipality.

So far, the complete list of those arrested is unknown. It was planned that around five in the afternoon, the Ladies in White of Aguada de Pasajeros in Cienfuegos would try to attend Mass at the Jesus of Nazareth Catholic Church, where they were prevented from attending on 21 June by the church’s priest, Padre Tarciso.

Two activists from the United Anti-totalitarian Front (FANTU) are still on a hunger strike to demand that the priest reverse his decision and allow the women to enter the temple.

Cuban Police Arrest More Than 220 Dissidents, According To Activists / Hablemos Press, Roberto de Jesús Guerra

The most arrests took place on Sunday in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba
The most arrests took place on Sunday in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba

Hablemos Press, Roberto de Jesús Guerra Peréz, Havana, 29 June 2015 — Offices of the National Police, the Department of State Security, and other members of the Interior Ministry arrested at least 226 Cuban activists and dissidents this past Sunday, 28 June, 2015.

Police operations were carried out in various provinces of the country to keep activists and opposition members from attending Mass.

Among those arrested in Havana were Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White Movement, Antonio G. Rodiles, director of Estado de SATS; José Díaz, of Opponents for a New Republic Movement; photographer Claudio Fuentes; and several of the former political prisoners who were released in January 2015. Continue reading “Cuban Police Arrest More Than 220 Dissidents, According To Activists / Hablemos Press, Roberto de Jesús Guerra”

Cuba’s Ladies in White Repressed on Their Sunday March Today / 14ymedio

Ladies in White walking down 5th Avenue in Miramar. (14ymedio)
Ladies in White walking down 5th Avenue in Miramar. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 14 June 2015 — Security forces have lashed out against the Ladies in White this Sunday, as they have on the previous ten Sundays. This time they carried out several preventive arrests among the activists who often accompany the Ladies in White in their march on 5th Avenue, at the end of the Mass at Santa Rita Church in Miramar.

According to information provided by a 14ymedio reporter present at the site, 61 Ladies in White and 18 men, among them activists and independent journalists, attended the Mass.

Arrested before arriving were photographer Claudio Fuentes, independent journalist Juan González Febles and activists Agustín López Canino and Hugo Damian. Also reported, at 11:30 am, were the arrest of four Ladies in White and 8 men to prevent them from arriving at the church. Continue reading “Cuba’s Ladies in White Repressed on Their Sunday March Today / 14ymedio”

The Caravan Of Terror Expands Its Impunity / Agustin Lopez

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Dekaisone, Agustin Lopez, Havana, 8 June 2015 – It is 8:30 in the morning on Sunday, 7 June. I am at my sister’s house and go down to the street with the intention of buying bread for breakfast. A People’s Revolutionary Police (PNR) patrol car with two uniformed police officers and a henchman from Castro’s Gestapo, are waiting for me a few yards from the exit and don’t allow me to realize the action. During the previous days I had been warned to stop attending Sundays at Gandhi Park.

I engage in a conversation with the dictatorship’s assassin, who after using various dirty and perverse methods of persuasion to keep me from attending Mass at Santa Rita Church, including subtle threats, orders me to accompany him. I am put into the patrol car under the express orders of senior commanders and after riding around various places on the outskirts of Havana I am abandoned on a central highway some 12 miles from the city with threats not to go to Santa Rita next Sunday. Continue reading “The Caravan Of Terror Expands Its Impunity / Agustin Lopez”

Fearful Debates at “Topics” Magazine / Agustin Lopez

“Last Thursday”

Don’t talk about politics because they’ll hang you, but I hung myself first and talked about politics afterwards.

In front of me there are four panelists, I imagine that they’re people who are knowledgeable about the matter, prominent scholars on the subject of Cuba and its miseries, but full of demagoguery and revolutionary utopias, they were born, grew up, and came of age within the political fanaticism of socialism, submissive and obedient to the directives of the Party and the whims and the ego of the Maximum Leader, so they substituted their needs and looked for sustenance, listening to and making what was bad, and they didn’t deal with looking for what was good.  I’m not judging, I am trying to be just and find reason.

The debate presented today is: Bread winning: incomes and standards of living.
Maria del Carmen psychologist and scholar on the subject, presents the moderator.  Jose Luis Rodriguez prestigious professor.  Betty Anaya Cruz also an expert on the subject and the pompous reporter Yasley Carrero Chavez.

Between them they make a detailed presentation of income, salaries and standards of living.  At no time do they explain how to obtain a salary that covers the necessities, incomes that raise us to a dignified standard of living and earn us our bread in an honest, honored form.  Of course, the means don’t exist in a socialist system and even less in this mutation implanted in Cuba.  They concur that salaries only cover 50% of the necessities and the other 50% comes from other sources of income.  They don’t dare say that it comes from corruption or from selling or exchanging dignity and decorum for leftovers from the State.  If they make direct political critiques they’ll hang.

A leading official representing the State in matters of commerce states that: “Not even if they raise the salary several times will it cover basic necessities and resolve the problem.”  Fuck, I say to myself, why is this mediocre person here if he already committed suicide, he is more dead than socialism, I hope he goes home and runs his errands to the corner store, and to think that he represents society and has a prominent post.

The panelist Jose Luis Rodriguez uses data to show that people’s savings in banks have grown.  Wow! Damn! Now I believe that shame has a price in the stock market.
So I wrote my first question on a scrap of paper that was on the seats.

If the system implanted in Cuba is socialist, based in Marxism and Leninism, and I read in one of Lenin’s books that the salary earned by the worker in a socialist system serves to satisfy his basic material and spiritual needs within the society and still have a little left over for other enjoyment:  What has happened that this hasn’t come true, does the system work?  Could we reverse the situation without political changes?

I didn’t believe they would give me the floor for my question but they gave me three minutes in front of the microphone and so I repeated what I had written and I added these words about the increase in savings: Was it the honest and honored worked who had saved his salary?  The worker can’t save anything.  Therefore it’s not saving but robbing, embezzlement, corruption and other undignified forms of raising income.  

I understood that all this problem of salary and everything else has been engendered by a socialist system and we are going to solve it with more socialism; that’s like a doctor faced with a bacterial infection wanting to heal it with more bacteria.  Thank you I’m done.  

They finished by giving a social and economic tint to the debate, supporting the new reformist model, as always avoiding the subject of necessary political change.  Terror and demagoguery.  If they directly confront politics they hang.

TOPIC: What is the income? What is the standard of living? What is the relationship between them?

19 July 2013

Another Fateful May 1st / Agustin Lopez

Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Once again it is the first of May, once again the Plaza is filled, slogans that will never be accomplished, unattainable challenges, huge flags carried as if over coffins, people raising their fists and shouting against the ghosts of fear, and above, on the tribunal the tribunes, the Caligulas of this empire waving their arms like Caesars, hands up, hands down. Like petrified mummies. Perversity in those above and perversity in those below, and over the city the black wings of opprobrium.

Many eyes reflect indifference, others fright and confusion. There are those threatened at their workplaces with the loss of their little bag of goodies handed out at the end of each month with some toiletries, or with the loss of a few dollars added to their salary as a prize for fulfilling their monthly slavery, as well as those looking for the opportunity to leave on international missions where they could earn in a few years what would take their entire working life on the island, those who attend universities and others who have started working for themselves and who prosper thanks to corruption, also the heads of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution who, on every block, applaud the Revolution. All threatened with the loss of something they need. They have never thought that this lie of their existence denies their identity and blocks their salvation making them live in the most absurd and miserable way.

It hurts to see a nation whose modesty is accumulated in landfills and whose honor is in the sewers. Tomorrow they will return all to the same things, stealing, lying, cheating, corrupted to the core, humiliating themselves to beg for a modicum of freedom and a crumb of rights.

If the José Martí of the Plaza, in front of whom they parade, weren’t made out of stone he would have fled the city in terror of a Cuba so shameless and vile. I hope there aren’t many of these May Days left in storage for the future.

3 May 2013

Seeing Berta Soler off at the airport / Agustin Lopez





Between hugs, handshakes and some tears we said goodbye at the Havana aiport last night, Sunday, 10 March, to the leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler.

She was accompanied more than fifty of these brave women and about thirty friends and admirers (including the political police brigade that never misses these events) but not along the the usual route of the Ladies in White through the streets of Cuba to demand freedom for political prisoners. Rather she is taking advantage of a part of Law No. 13, embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, violated for 53 years by the authorities of the Cuban government led by Fidel Castro Ruz, before, and now by his brother Raul Castro the leader of the Communist party, the only party allowed to exist under the constitution created by them and approved by fear. A violation that had motivated thousands of Cubans to make an out-of-control exodus in which many lost their lives trying to escape the dictatorship. For 53 years Cubans could only leave the island to work in international missions (serving as doctors and other positions), in sports delegations, or on cultural tours, all well-controlled by government authorities, but still many members risked desertion under the strict eyes of State Security. Thus numerous talents in all branches of learning and doing fled the island.

A few minutes before leaving this reporter asked Berta Soler two questions:

What will make you return to Cuba?

Berta: My commitment to my people, to political prisoners who remain in prison, to freedom. To demand the rights that are still violated by the dictatorship. I go out into the world only to bear witness to the truth of Cuba and to fight for our rights. We are not mercenaries as we are painted by the dictatorship but patriots, people of any social class who lose the fear of repression and hold to citizenship in search of democracy.

Are you afraid to return home?

Berta: No, not at all. Fear of the tyrant has plunged this country into misery, has made this people mediocre and isolated from the rest of the world, not knowing how to relate to their own brothers. Even the government itself has confessed that it has failed to create a generation within the Party capable of replacing the old and worn out satraps who govern. God willing, I will return to new streets, that do not belong to the Party, to a government or to a dynasty, but to all Cubans, those here and our brothers who have been banished into exile, because for me we have all been banished, expelled from out country, the land that by right belongs to us.

Now on the point of crossing over the high wall of the Revolution, her husband, Angel Moya Acosto, a political prisoner from the Black Spring Group of 75, hugs her and says, “Do the right thing, not one step back. Our best weapon is the truth. Give the world this message. We are here, waiting for you.”
Laughter, applause, excitement, and the cameras clicking, until the Afro-Cubana leader is lost behind the curtains of customs.

11 March 2013

Interminable Poetry / Lilianne Ruiz #Cuba #FreeSantiesteban

Luis Eligio d'Omni reading his poetry at Yoani's and Reinaldo's house
Luis Eligio d’Omni reading his poetry at Yoani’s and Reinaldo’s house

Last Friday a group of  us friends met at the “Y Scares Vultures,” as Agustín calls Reinaldo Escobar and Yoani Sánchez’s house, for the penultimate round of the Endless Poetry festival. The poetry reading started this time with Luis Eligio d’Omni reading a poem of his to Celia Cruz in slam style, as attractive as The Letter of the Year which opened the festival with the slogan “Love your rhythm, rhyme your actions. Poetry is you.”

Agustin Valentin Lopez reading his poetry at Yoani and Reinaldo's house
Agustin Valentin Lopez reading his poetry at Yoani and Reinaldo’s house

Agustín waited 20 years, isolated and rebellious, to read Mi Tengo to be published in the next issue of the magazine Curacao 24. Reinaldo Escobar, usually Magister Ludi, chose a very beautiful one titled Motivos del Lobo (Reasons of the Wolf), that I am going to ask him to repeat here. And El Sexto believing in Things Unseen, as tender and unforgettable as his graffiti.

Reinaldo Escobar flanked by Yoani Sanchez and Luis Elegio d'Omni
Reinaldo Escobar flanked by Yoani Sanchez and Luis Elegio d’Omni

It was the time of fellowship, because we are all joined a similar fate in many ways. As I remember Munch’s The Dance of Life, so I felt that night, because I can reproduce every hour in my memory from the influence left on me by the conversation with the swell of sympathy.

Liliane Ruiz + Angel Santiestaban at Yoani and Reinaldo's house
Liliane Ruiz + Angel Santiestaban at Yoani and Reinaldo’s house

The tide threw me up on Ángel Santiesteban’s beach. All we Cubans have to defend ourselves with against the system power of the dictatorship of the State is our solidarity. Angel faces a fate* that threatens to swallow him alive. Everything that the prosecution charges him with to remove him him from public life, which is the true final objective of end file prepared by State Security, has been manufactured against him by the system itself. I ask again the solidarity of many people and I hope to write about the case a later post.

*Translator’s note: Recent posts about the prison sentence Angel faces are here, here, here and here.


Liliane Ruiz

January 4 2013

Update on Arrest of Yoani Sanchez, Reinaldo Escobar, Agustin Lopez (and others?) in Bayamo

Police blockades outside the court. Source: EFE

Site manager’s note: The following excerpts are translated from an article in Cubaencuentro.  In addition, an official government blogger reported that Yoani traveled to Bayamo intending to disrupt and put on a “media show” at the trial of Angel Carromero, who was driving the car in which Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero were killed.

For those who are unaware, Yoani is a correspondent for the Spanish newspaper El Pais, and was intending to cover the trial. Oswaldo Paya’s children also traveled to Bayamo, and according to tweets from Rosa Paya, his daughter, they have been prevented from attending the trial. Also note, Agustin Lopez has been reported in some tweets to be Agustin “Diaz.” Finally, the Paya and the Cepero families have specifically stated that they do not hold Angel Carromero responsible for the car crash.

From Cubaencuentro:

The well-known Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez and her husband, thejournalist Reinaldo Escobar, among other activitists, have been arrested this Thursday in Bayama, reported the official journalist Garcia Ginarte and it has been confirmed in Twitter by several sources on the Island.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo on his account on the social network, who says he received the information from Teo, Sanchez and Escobar’s son. According to what Teo Escobar told the blogger, the activists were detained at 6:00 in the afternoon and were not permitted to make telephone calls until 3:00 in the morning, the time when his parents called him to report their arrest.

5 October 2012