53 Ladies in White Arrested in Havana /14ymedio

Ladies in White in front of Santa Rita church in Havana. (File Photo / Agustin Lopez Canino)

Ladies in White in front of Santa Rita church in Havana. (File Photo / Agustin Lopez Canino)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 31 May 2015 – This Sunday the Ladies in White Movement experienced its eighth consecutive Sunday of repression in Havana, resulting in the rest of 53 of them. Some of the 25 activists who participated with the women in their traditional Sunday pilgrimage were arrested near the Church of Santa Rita in the capital municipality of Playa.

According to several witnesses, 53 Ladies in White and 25 activists were arrested at the exit of the parish and taken to a destination still unknown. At least seven women had been prevented from arriving to the place and several dissidents reported threats by State Security since Saturday, warning them not to attend the pilgrimage.

Among the activists arrested was Juan Angel Moya, a former prisoner of the Black Spring of 2003, and Antonio Gonzalez Rodiles, leader of the opposition group Estado de Sats.

Iriades Hernández Aguilera of the Patriotic Union of Cuba informed 14ymedio that no arrests of activists of the organization were reported in the province of Santiago de Cuba, although a heavy guard was seen around the headquarters of the organization. Our correspondent in Pinar del Río, Juan Carlos Fernandez, reported that three Ladies in White were able to attend Sunday mass.

In the province of Matanzas, the activist Sayli Navarro confirmed that at least 38 Ladies in White across the province made it to their respective parishes without difficulties.

The Harvest of the Sowing of Violence / Cubanet, Rafael Alcides

Repression Against the Ladies in White (Internet photo)

Repression Against the Ladies in White (Internet photo)

cubanet square logoCubanet, Rafael Alcides, Havana, 13 May 2015 – Extremely worried, doctoral candidate in physics Antonio Rodiles and his wife the actress and political activist Ailer Gonzalez, in their home, related to me two events that I have prayed over, that those events that started with the blood of Moncada wouldn’t end up being a circular story. Ailer and Antonio spoke of the increased police repression after December 17, most particularly of the brutality with which the oppressors are being dispatched.

On Sunday the 26th of last month, with their trucks crammed with martial arts experts at the end of the usual parade of the Ladies in White, Carlitos, the son of Jesus Menendez, an elderly diabetic with heart problems, was grabbed, dragged and thrown in the back of the truck like a sack of potatoes. Yury, Blas Roca’s grandson, was put in plastic handcuffs so tightly that his hands turned black and they didn’t cut them off. Up Calabazar, the truck with the prisoners inside was left in the sun to bake them a little. They grabbed Antonio among the many present and pushed him with blows to the back before throwing him headfirst into the truck. An endless number of books could be written about the mistreatment and repression of the Ladies in White, apparently excluded from government’s media campaign to end violence against women. Continue reading

Mass in Cuba for Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero / Cubanet, Ignacio Gonzalez and Osmel Almaguer

cubanet square logoCubanet, Ignacio Gonzalez and Osmel Almaguer, Havana, 13 May 2015 – A Mass for the deceased Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, opposition leader, and Harold Cepero, activist, was held this afternoon at the Church of Los Pasionistas in Havana, with Rosa María Payá in attendance. Rosa María, daughter of the Cuban human rights activist and recipient of the European Union’s Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, arrived from the Miami Airport to Cuba on the morning of May 11, to reunite with her family and friends and to honor the memory of her father.

The Mass was attended by activists of the Estado de Sats project, Antonio Rodiles and Ailer González, and by Manuel Cuesta Morua, leader of Progressive Arc, among others.

Alarming Repression Against the Ladies in White in Cuba / Forum for Rights and Freedoms

Cuba_031-300x168The repression against the Ladies in White, opposition activists and human rights defenders in Cuba, that we have seen during the last couple of weeks is alarming. The increase of violence from the authorities has come as a result from the exercise of the right to public protests and from the public exposure of the faces of political prisoners. Beatings, physical abuse and various types of torture have become routine. In only a few weeks, the numbers of arrests have skyrocketed and they now exceed several hundred.

The Forum for Rights and Freedoms and Civil Rights Defenders raise a warning regarding the deteriorating situation for human rights defenders in Cuba, and we note with great concern the indifference of the international community, especially from the US government, the EU and the Vatican, of which the latter played an active role in the talks between the Cuban government and the US administration.

The current actions by the Cuban government are a response to the silence of the international community. Continue reading

Estado de Sats… for our Spanish-speaking viewers

Unfortunately we do not have the resources to translate and subtitle all the wonderful videos coming out of Estado de Sats and the Forum for Rights and Freedom, but for our many readers who do understand spoken Spanish, we just wanted to remind you they are there.

This particular video is a discussion of the Americas Summit in Panama.

The Estado de Sats YouTube channel is here.

29 April 2015

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