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.

‘We keep searching for you, Homeland’* / Antonio Rodiles

December 17 is a watershed in the recent history of our country. It is the break point between those who are betting on neo-Castroism or who are willing to participate in its moves, and those of us who argue that our nation should rebuild itself around the basic premises of freedoms and fundamental rights.

No nation has to assume our burdens and resolve our conflicts, but undoubtedly the measures taken by President Barack Obama will provide great benefits to those who intend to mutate to this new authoritarianism. It has been a grave error to set aside the many voices and stories that have so much to say about Cuba, and to listen only to the Castros and to a handful who pretend to know how to transition to democracy.

In parallel, they have tried to show that those who advocate an unbending position with regards to full respect for fundamental human rights are retrograde and extremist people, obsoletes who revel in pain and lack a vision of the future. What a naïve and dangerous game they propose as an exit strategy from totalitarianism. Can they ignore so much history and fail to understand that in a transition there are actors who cannot be omitted?

The longest dictatorship in the hemisphere has destroyed our country materially and profoundly damaged the Cuban soul. The reconstruction of the nation requires more than investment, cellphones and flash memories. Cuba is not a computer on which new software can be installed to make it become socially functional.

We need a consciousness and memory of what has happened to us, our frustrations and pains, what we do not want to repeat or never again perpetuate. Without this recognition we will continue to be a dispersed and broken nation, without the spirit to be reborn. Cuba needs to be re-founded with a fresh impulse, full of strength and a sense of freedom. Starting from clear demands to return the dignity, the pride, and to allow the design of a future without the burden of the Castro regime.

There is a great deal for us to rethink: projection, messages, strategies and even aesthetics. But the hope of shaking off an elite that has shown the most profound contempt for Cubans is a genuine sentiment that steers us. A political solution is only possible if it is based on full respect for the human being.

The current United States administration has to change course if it wants to be an agent of credible change, and it must pay attention to the demand of thousands of Cuban citizens who from within and outside the Island insist on a solid and firm commitment to human rights. The ratification and above all the implementation of the United Nations Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights should be a key tool as a precondition to move us forward in the Cuban dilemma. The European Union has already paid attention to this demand, adding the International Labor Organization (ILO) standards. A clear and firm repositioning is the only way to give credibility to a process that began with profound mistakes.

What is needed is a strong push to infect with desires of freedom Cubans who, in the face of survival and evasion, have lost faith. To find a solution to our long conflict, it is a premise that all political actors, from within and outside the island, must participate.

It is no longer about the Castro regime, the Castro regime is dying. The conflict is between accepting a neo-Castro authoritarianism, or moving to a true democracy.

The phrase that is the title of this article is a quote from Reinaldo Arenas.

We Shall Fight to the End for the Liberty of Cuba / Cubanet, Ernesto Garcia Diaz

From left to right, Guillermo Fariñas, Antonio G. Rodiles, Félix Navarro and  Ángel Moya (Photo: Ernesto García Díaz)

From left to right, Guillermo Fariñas, Antonio G. Rodiles, Felix Navarro and Á”ngel Moya (photo by author)

  • Leaders of the opposition call Obama’s reconciliation with the Cuban government a “betrayal” during a press conference in Havana

Cubanet, Ernesto García Díaz, Havana, 18 December 2014 — From the headquarters of the Estado de SATS project in Miramar, on Wednesday afternoon (12/17/14), Cuban opposition leaders held a press conference for national and international media, to make known their positions regarding the new political stance of the United States towards Cuba.

Guillermo Fariñas Hernández, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for the Freedom of Thought and Coordinator General of the United Antitotalitarian Front (FANTU), referring to the steps taken by the governments of Cuba and the United States, stated the following:

“We can applaud the release of Alan Gross, who really was used by the Island’s government to blackmail the American administration. But Obama has been inconsiderate with the civil society that is challenging Cuba’s tyrannical government In Miami, back in November of 2013, Barack Obama promised Bertha Soler and me that any action he would take with respect to Cuba would be consulted with the civil society and nonviolent opposition. Obviously this did not occur. These actions are now accomplished facts, they are reality, and Cuban democrats were not taken into account. Continue reading

Campaign for Another Cuba Delivers Request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Antonio Rodiles delivers Campaign for Another Cuba documents to Ban Ki-moon

Antonio Rodiles delivers Campaign for Another Cuba documents to Ban Ki-moon

The director of the independent project Estado de Sats, Antonio Rodiles, delivered documents for the Campaña por Otra Cuba (Campaign for Another Cuba) to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this Wednesday in Costa Rica. The Campaign demands that the Cuban regime ratify and implement the Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights signed by the regime at the United Nations in 2008.

The meeting between Rodiles and Ban took place at the National Theater, where the UN Secretary-General was attending a dinner with the with the president of Costa Rica Luis Guillermo Solís and his wife Mercedes Peñas, according to activists of the Campaña por Otra Cuba.

They added that Ban received the documents “with interest.”

During his visit to the Island last January, during the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Ban called on Raul Castro to ratify the Covenants.

Complaint and Petition

The activists of campaign, on the other hand, have asked that the implementation of the human rights covenants to be included in the current negotiations between the European Union and Havana for a bilateral agreement.

Campaña por Otra also promotes the use of legal action of complaint and petition on the part of Cuban citizens, as a way of demanding a response from their government

“Cuban citizens can file the complaint and petition the State Council, either personally or by certified mail. Those who reside outside the Island can also participate in the campaign by directing their complaint to the nearest Cuban Consulate,” activists explained in a note sent to Diario de Cuba.

Interested parties can use a model complaint and petition posted online by the campaign in PDF format.

Activists who have submitted a demand to the regime can also send a copy to info@porotracuba.org.

Mailing address for the campaign:
Por otra Cuba
www.estadodesats.org
Estado de SATS
La Habana 11300
Cuba

31 July 2104

Judge or Divide? / Antonio Rodiles

HAVANA, Cuba – The debate set off by the letter from more than 40 personalities asking for the relaxation of restrictions towards the Havana regime letter from more than 40 personalities asking for the relaxation of restrictions towards the Havana regime has been copious. Those who support, as a premise, that Cubans must regain their fundamental rights and freedoms have responded with intensity and been very explicit in declaring that it would be members of the regime who would have the most to gain from these measures. Meanwhile, the silence from the Island of those who support this document is striking. I haven’t read a single article defending it.

Amid the controversy, today I came across an interview on the new site of Yoani Sanchez, who in the past has expressed support for the agenda of Carlos Saladrigas, one of the principle promoters of the anti-embargo missive. The interview refers to the debate and its headline caught my attention. I quote:

“The proposal has unleashed passions and speculation, also fueled by the imminent arrival in Havana of representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Cuban society, however, seems to remain out of the headlines, the hot articles, the replies — or support — like the so-called “letter of the 40” already circulating on the networks and in emails. Thinking about this uninformed population submerged in the big problems of everyday life, I did this interview with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who received me in Washington a few weeks before the launch of 14ymedio.”

Cuban society has not remained “outside,” and more and more one hears the opinions of citizens of “this uninformed population submerged in the big problems of everyday life,” who openly  acknowledge that it is not the embargo that is responsible for so much hardship, but a dictatorship willing to continue preying on the country. Continue reading