Post Summit Debate / 14ymedio

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14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 17 April 2105 – This Friday morning, the Forum for Rights and Freedoms convened a group of activists to a meeting under the title After the Summit in Panama, what next?  The event took place at the home of Antonio González Rodiles, director of the opposition group Estado de Sats.

About 70 attendees heard testimony from Berta Soler, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez, Gorki Águila, Roberto de Jesús Guerra and other activists who participated in the Civil Society Forum during the recently concluded Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama.

The discussions addressed issues related to the restoration of relations between Cuba and the United States and on the actions taken by the representatives of civil society sent to Panama by the Cuban government.

Antonio Rodiles interview: “Truth is on the side of the opposition” / Cubanet, Ernesto Perez Chang

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cubanet square logoCubanet, Ernesto Perez Chang, Havana, 9 April 2015 – The discussion parallel to the Panama Summit (Summit of the Americas) lacks the presence of Antonio G. Rodiles, because the Cuban government, very “opportunistically,” has retained his passport.

A recognized opposition activist and director of the Estado de Sats (State of Sats) civic project, this talkative, jovial, controversial man who was young athlete, doctor of science and professor at prestigious universities in the United States, one day decided to leave the comfort of academic life to return to Cuba and challenge the regime, building, in his own home, a space for public debate as an alternative to the stagnation that affects Cuban society. Continue reading

Forum for Rights and Freedoms, Declaration, VII Summit of the Americas

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Forum for Rights and Freedoms: Declaration

VII Summit of the Americas

April 2015

Violations of fundamental rights in Cuba are enshrined in the current legal system. The full exercise of these fundamental rights is considered directly opposed to the interests “of the Cuban people in building socialism and communism.”

The so-called constitution establishes the ownership and control of the State and the Communist Party over the communication media and mass distribution. The Law of Protection of National Independence and the Economy of Cuba, known as the Gag Law, sets sentences of up to 20 years for those who attempt to violate this provision.

Trade unions, civic, professional and human rights associations that do not profess the official ideology are not recognized. Those who attempt to organize meetings or found independent associations can suffer imprisonment, dismissal, harassment or intimidation. Thousands of Cubans have paid, even with their lives, for trying to exercise their freedoms. Continue reading

Raul Castro, you fear being unmasked / Antonio Rodiles

Your speech at the extraordinary ALBA summit reconfirms that you and your group are going to try to hold onto power at all costs. It doesn’t matter if the Cuban people are sunk in misery and desperation, it doesn’t matter if your children continue to escape this disaster, you people intend to remain and to demolish everything.

Your speech said that Cuban “civil society” will unmask the mercenaries and their bosses, I again remind you, your brother and your group are the greatest traitors and anti-Cubans and your spokespeople and repressors are the real mercenaries.

You have imprisoned, executed, expelled, punished, harassed and humiliated great Cubans, you and your brother will go down in history as the worst sons of this land.

If you are so sure of your pathetic spokespeople, why do you block an important group of Cubans who want Continue reading

Notes About a Polemic / 14ymedio, Antonio Rodiles

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Antonio G. Rodiles, Havana, 6 February 2015 – My article published this Wednesday on the site Diario de Cuba has provoked a criticism from blogger Miriam Celaya that motivates me to touch on various points I consider important. In order to mainly refer to the political themes, I will avoid personal attacks; yet without failing to mention that the blogger has, in other instances, published high flown articles riddled with offenses and ill intent against highly respectable people like ex-political prisoner, journalist, and writer Jorge Olivera, among others. If she intends to really take part in a political debate, she should cast this habit aside and concentrate on the points that are fundamental.

The polarization that exists today within the ranks of country’s opposition regarding the United States’ new policy toward Cuba does not necessarily imply a confrontation but does Continue reading

Speaking with one voice / Antonio Rodiles

ANTONIO G. RODILES, Havana, 4 February 2015 – Days ago the attorney Rene Gomez Manzano wrote an article about the similarities of the Roadmap formulated by the Forum for Rights and Freedoms and the four points of the Civil Society Open Forum. Upon hearing yesterday of the regime opponent Manuel Cuesta Morua’s remarks at the US Senate hearing on Cuba, it seems appropriate to me to point out as clearly as possible what are the points on which the two predominant positions within the Cuban opposition agree and differ.

The announcement by President Barack Obama last December 17 polarized the opposition into two trends. The essential differences between the two groups are not only about whether or not they support the measures launched by Obama, but the focus on how we conceive the transition and the kind of country we see in the future.

Both positions show our commitment to democracy, human rights and the end of totalitarianism. But are we giving the exact same same connotation to these terms? Continue reading

Do Obama’s measures promote democratic change on the Island? / Antonio Rodiles

diariodecubalogoDiario de Cuba, Antonio G. Rodiles, Havana, 28 January 2015 — The recent visits to Havana by American legislators and by Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, have reawakened controversy over the transparency in the process of political dialogue between the Obama administration and the Castro regime. So far, the aim of furthering a previously determined plan has been evident, as well as raising the profile of those political actors who support and conform to this policy.

Indispensable voices from the opposition movement have been conspicuously absent from the meetings held. Equally apparent was the reluctance to have a balance of opinions in these contacts.

On multiple occasions, in support of the new policy, the Obama administration has posited the premise that the Cuban people should be the ones who guide the process of change on the Island. This pronouncement implicitly seeks approval for the new measures and opens the door to strong criticisms of those of us who reject the unconditionality — and the notable lack of transparency and consensus — that have characterized the start of this process. Continue reading

US Congressional delegation meets with Cuban activists and independent journalists /14ymedio

Patrick Leahy, Debbie Stabenow, Chris Van Hollen and Sheldon Whitehouse entering their hotel in Havana. (EFE / Ernesto Mastrascusa)

Patrick Leahy, Debbie Stabenow, Chris Van Hollen and Sheldon Whitehouse entering their hotel in Havana. (EFE / Ernesto Mastrascusa)

14ymedio, Havana, 19 January 2015 — On Sunday afternoon a dozen activists and representatives of Cuban civil society met with the American congressional delegation visiting Cuba. Chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy, the group was able hear diverse opinions in response to the announcement of the reestablishment of relations between the two countries.

A member of the delegation confirmed that the Cuban authorities were aware of the meeting with the activists and had made known to the American side their displeasure with the meeting.

In a relaxed atmosphere, several of those present expressed the conviction that “this opens a new era” and demanded greater transparency in negotiations, according to what they themselves reported after the meeting. Elizardo Sanchez, president of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, gave lawmakers a list with the names of 24 prisoners who, on humanitarian grounds, should be included in an upcoming release process. Continue reading

The opponent Antonio Rodiles is not allowed to leave Cuba / Cubanet

RodilesCubanet, 13 January 2015 – The director of the opposition group Estado de SATS, Antonio G. Rodiles, reported Tuesday that the regime has refused to allow him to leave the country, as stated in his account on the social network Twitter.

cubanet square logoThe opponent was arrested the day of Tania Bruguera’s performance, with his wife, Ailer Gonzalez, whose passport was also withdrawn. Bruguera, currently in Havana, has also been denied permission to leave the country.

Cubanet spoke with Rodiles by telephone. He told how he had gone to the office of the Ministry of the Interior where passports are processed to renew his passport (the Cuban passport is valid for six years, but must be “renewed” every two to maintain its “validity”) and the official attending him, after searching for his name on the computer, simply informed him that his passport could not be renewed and, consequently, he could not travel abroad “for reasons of public interest.”

Days earlier, during the arrests that Rodiles and his wife, the artist Ailer González, were subjected to during the performance that Bruguera attempted in the Plaza of the Revolution, one agent of the Ministry of Interior had told Gonzalez to hand over both passports, which she did not do.

It is significant is that, so far, Rodiles and Ailer González, who had no direct involvement in organizing Bruguera‘s performance, are the only opponents against whom the government has taken this step.

Tania Bruguera Under Arrest at Acosta Police Station in Diez de Octubre, Havana / 14ymedio

Tania Bruguera (photo from her blog)

Tania Bruguera (photo from her blog)

14ymedio, Havana, 30 december 2014 — Contacted by phone at her home, the director of 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, said that Tania Bruguera was under arrest at the Acosta Police Station in the Diez de Octubre municipality in Havana.

Reinaldo Escobar was released from the same station Tuesday night at 10:00 pm. Escobar affirmed that he saw Tania “wearing the gray uniform of a convict,” It is still unknown when Bruguera will be released.

The two police cars surrounding Yoani Sanchez’s building have been removed and the director of this digital daily is no longer under house arrest.

The 14ymedio reporter Victor Ariel Gonzalez is still being detained, in Guanabacoa. Still unknown are the whereabouts of the activists Antonio Rodiles, Ailer Gonzalez and Eliecer Avila, along with the photographer Claudio Fuentes and his partner, Eva Baquero.

Developing news.

UPDATE: Ailer Gonzalez has been released.