Forum for Rights and Freedoms, 23 November 2015 — In recent weeks we have observed, with deep concern, the development of a new migration crisis. The human drama that thousands of Cubans are experiencing already affects the entire Central American region, the Caribbean, and especially Costa Rica, a nation that has received migrants with great solidarity, in contrast to the complicity of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.
The Castro regime has decided, once again – we recall the Camarioca exodus in 1965, the Mariel Boatlift in the 1980s, the Rafter Crisis in 1994 – to use Cubans as pieces in their political game, putting at risk their lives and safety. Denunciations of abuse, assaults and every kind of crime against Cuban emigrants has elicited the solidarity of all people of goodwill.
Since coming the Castro dictatorship’s coming to power, the regime has used migratory crises to win concessions from the United States. Continue reading “Declaration on the Cuban Migrant Crisis / Forum for Rights and Freedoms”
In this case, the regime is pressuring the United States, and involving third parties, in the midst of a process of normalization between the Obama administration and the dictatorship, to win additional concessions from president Obama, without having to take steps to improve the appalling situation of human rights in Cuba.
We condemn the profound contempt, and the indolent and inhumane attitude of the dictatorship towards Cubans. Only a transition to democracy and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms can reverse the misery that exists on the island.
We appeal to international organizations and those involved to be in solidarity with the Cuban people and their right to be free, in the face of his scenario that becomes more complex every day.
Foro por los Derechos y Libertades / Forum for Rights and Freedoms
Ailer González, Estado de Sats
Ángel Moya, Movimiento Libertad Democrática por Cuba
Ángel Santiesteban, Estado de Sats
Antonio G. Rodiles, Estado de Sats
Berta Soler, Dama de Blanco
Claudio Fuentes, Estado de Sats
Egberto Escobedo, Asociación de presos y expresos políticos en Cuba
María Cristina Labrada, Dama de Blanco
Raul Borges, Partido por la Unidad Democrática Cristiana
After Mass in the church of Santa Rita, the Ladies in White gathered together with several activists in Gandhi park. There, from the speakers of a car, was heard a composition by the rocker Gorki Aguila, that pays tribute to these women and their human rights movement.
Gorki Aguila told 14ymedio the song that just premiered, was produced in the studios of La Paja Records, managed by the group Porno for Ricardo. In addition to the melody of a cello, the musical theme includes strings, guitar, bass, drums and a solo by Aguila himself.
According to the artist “the intention was to give to the Ladies another song, to encourage other artists to make artworks to them, they deserve it.”
The renowned musician was taken to the so-called Vivac de Calabazar prison with Jorge Moya, Jorge Luis Antunez, Claudio Fuentes, Egberto Escobedo and Antonio Gonzalez Rodiles, among others. The women may have been transferred to a detention center in Tarara, east of Havana, where they are routinely detained.
14ymedio, 13 July 2015 – A group of 120 activists and Ladies in White was arrested on Sunday during the traditional weekly march. Among those arrested were the opposition leader Jorge Luis Garcia Perez (known as Antunez), who in the days before had called for support for the Ladies in White, the artist Tania Bruguera, and the photographer Claudio Fuentes, who has now been released.
Most of the arrests were concentrated in Havana, near the Church of Santa Rita. In the town of Aguada de Pasajeros, in the province of Cienfuegos, arrests and acts of repudiation were also reported.
During the morning, at least 20 activists and Ladies in White were prevented from reaching the Mass in the parish in the Miramar neighborhood. Others, such as Berta Soler, managed to reach the site and subsequently fell victim to an act of repudiation with posters and shouting.
The independent journalist Ivan Hernandez Carrillo reported on “mobs stationed on two blocks” of the Aguada de Pasajeros parrish, where on June 21 eight Ladies in White were expelled from Mass by the priest.
From the town of Cienfueguero, the activist Tania Echeverria reported “severe beatings of the Ladies in White Olga Ravelo Vega and Diurbis de La Rosa Hernandez.”
14ymedio, Havana, 6 July 2015 — The project director of the independent Estado of Sats project, Antonio Rodiles, underwent emergency surgery Sunday for a nasal bone fracture after being detained and beaten by security forces in Havana while participating in the weekly march of the Ladies in White. Opposition sources reported that about 80 members of that organization and human rights activists were arrested, sometimes violently.
The regime opponent Martha Beatriz Roque reported through her Twitter account of the arrest of Rodiles on 42nd street and 3rd Avenue in Miramar, adding that he was, “Beaten until his nasal septum, forehead, finger and foot were all broken,” and taken to the hospital Calixto García for emergency surgery. He was then transferred to the prison known as Vivac, where he remained until 6.30 pm. Continue reading “Another Sunday of Beatings for the Ladies in White /14ymedio”
At least 20 people were arrested before reaching Santa Rita Church, including Rodiles, photographer Claudio Fuentes and dissident Jose Diaz Silva.
About 60 Ladies in White managed to reach the church and march down Fifth Avenue, before being arrested with their leader, Berta Soler. A reporter for this paper, Boris Gonzalez Arenas, was also arrested later, as were former political prisoners Egberto Escobedo and Angel Moya, according to activist Ailer González’s Twitter account.
Security agents also conducted operations in Aguada de Pasajeros in Cienfuegos, where the pastor restricted the Ladies in White from attending Sunday Mass.
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”
In Havana, the arrests of various members of the Ladies in White and others of the opposition took place as these individuals were departing their residences early in the morning, and they remained surrounded by police officers throughout the day.
Besides Soler, Ladies in White executive committee members María Cristina Labrada Barona and Lismeri Quintana Ávila were among these detainees, along with eight other women.
Another 39 arrests of women activists took place in the area around Santa Rita Church, after the women completed their customary march along 5th Avenue in the Miramar district of Playa municipality, and gathered in Gandhi Park (adjacent to the church) to review the week’s activities. In addition, approximately another 41 activists and opponents–men who accompany the Ladies on their march–were arrested in the capital.
The Lady in White Aidé Gallardo Salazar was struck and dragged by female officers. “They hit me on the head and face, and they tried to asphyxiate me,” Gallardo averred.
Other arrests of Ladies in White occurred in these provinces: Holguín (4); Bayamo-Granma (2); and Aguada de Pasajero in Cienfuegos (9). In the last province, additionally, “17 men who accompanied the Ladies were arrested,” according to activist and former political prisoner Iván Hernández Carrillo.
The independent reporter Agustín López Canino also was arrested upon exiting his home in the El Globo district, located on the outskirts of Havana.
“I will continue going there to St. Rita for as long as they’ll let me,” said López Canino when interviewed. “What I do is take down the facts and forward them to various media.”
He adds that, “The repression against the opposition movement has increased extraordinarily within the last six months and cannot be allowed to go on without attention focused on it.”
The former political prisoners Ramón Alejandro Muñoz, Eugenio Hernández Hernández, Ángel Figueredo Castellón, Mario Alberto Hernández, and Rolando Reyes Rabanal were also arrested in Havana.
The Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), headquartered in Santiago de Cuba, reported the arrests of 103 of its members when they attempted to travel to the village of El Cobre to attend Mass.
The agents used violence to detain the opponents, who were transported to police stations and military bases, according to activist sources.
Ladies in White affirm that, “The regime wants to destroy the opposition, but we are prepared to give our lives for the freedom of the political prisoners,” stated Ibón Lemos y Mayelín Peña.
Soler attests that the repression increased 11 Sundays ago, ever since the Ladies in White initiated a new campaign to demand the release of political prisoners, among them: the writer Ángel Santiesteban Prats, the artist Danilo Maldonado Machado (“El Sexto”); and the dissidents Santiago Roberto Montes de Oca, René Rouco Machín, Osvaldo Rodríguez Acosta, Yosvani Melchor Rodríguez, Rolando Joaquín Guerra Pérez, Eugenio Ariel Arzuaga Peña, Yoelkis Rosabal–in total, more than 50 individuals.
The reports received at Hablemos Press included figures totaling 226 opponents arrested across the Island on Sunday, although the actual number may be greater.
Translated By: Alicia Barraqué Ellison
14ymedio, 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”
After the conclusion of the Mass, at the corner of 5th and 30th, a police patrol made up of uniformed men and woman violently arrested Jacqueline Boni as she tried to join the march. Meanwhile, Agustin Lopez was released about two in the afternoon and wrote in his Twitter account, “I was just released, incredibly they neither handcuffed me nor beat me but they violated my rights.” This newspaper was able to confirm that the security forces arrested a total of 68 people, including Ladies in White and other activists.
Today marks the 640th Sunday of marches by the Ladies in White along a stretch of 5th Avenue in Miramar, at the end of Mass at Santa Rita Church, which is located at 5th and 24th in the Miramar neighborhood. The first march occurred on 30 March 2003, when the arrests of the 75 opposition figures of the so-called “Black Spring” — carried out earlier that same month — were still recent.
On the previous nine Sundays, after “allowing” the walk along the avenue’s boulevard, there have been acts of repudiation and arrests, some of them with notable violence.
Arrests for political reasons nationwide nearly doubled in May as compared to April. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation counted a total of 641 arrests for political reasons, the highest monthly figure in the last ten months.
Diario de Cuba, Havana, 7 June 2015 – Over 40 Ladies in White and some 27 activists were arrested this Sunday, the ninth of repressive operations in Havana, according to dissidents.
Among those arrested were the musician Gorki Aguila, the director of Estado de Sats, Antonio Rodiles, photographer Claudio Fuentes and artist Tania Bruguera, who has already been released, according to the activist Ailer Gonzalez.
Other Ladies in White and opponents were arrested on leaving their homes, or forced to remain in them, according to the dissident Martha Beatriz Roque. Continue reading “More than 70 Ladies in White and Activists Arrested / Diario de Cuba”
Gonzalez, artistic director of State of Sats, said she was able to talk with Antonio Rodiles when he was led into a State Security “paddy wagon,”, along with nine other men, and taken to the criminal prosecution center known as “Vivac.”
“He told me that his arrest had been violent and that they had put him in a chokehold,” she told Diario de Cuba.
Given the continued repression against the Ladies in White and the activists who support them when they attend Sunday Mass at Havana’s Santa Rita Church and undertake their walks down Quinta Avenue, supporters inside and outside the island carried out a campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #TodosMarchamos (We All March).
The initiative seeks to break the silence on the current repression in Cuba despite the regime’s negotiations with the United States and the European Union.
“This is a resistance,” said Ailer Gonzalez about the activities of the Ladies in White and dissidents every Sunday. “Many believe it is exhausting, but it seems to me that it is about the right to demonstrate, not only for the release of political prisoners,” she added.
“With this resistance every Sunday we are demanding the right to peaceful demonstration in Cuba, which is something that they (the government) are terrified of. Therefore they are engaged in this sustained repression, because the day they let us walk more than 10 blocks, they know how many people are going to join in,” she said.
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.
UPDATE: Ailer Gonzalez has been released.
The director of this newspaper, Yoani Sánchez, is under house arrest
14ymedio, Havana, 30 December 2014 – Contacted by phone at her home, the director of 14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, explained the circumstances of the arrest of her husband, Reinaldo Escobar, and of several other people this Tuesday in Havana. She is under house arrest. Patrol car No. 507 is stationed in front of the building where she lives, while four plainclothes offices are controlling the building entrances. Continue reading “Several activists and Reinaldo Escobar, editor-in-chief of ’14ymedio’, arrested / 14ymedio”
Reinaldo Escobar was arrested when he left the building where he lives in the company of the activist Eliécer Ávila, founder of the group “Somos Más” (We are More). Both were handcuffed and put in a patrol car waiting in front of the building in the Havana neighborhood of Neuvo Vedado. Reinaldo’s daughter, Luz, who was with her father, has not been arrested, but a State Security agency told her, “We are not going to let you leave.” The same official visited Luz Escobar’s home yesterday to warn her not to go near the Plaza of the Revolution today, where the artist Tania Bruguera has scheduled a performance titled “Tatlin’s Whisper #6” for 3:00 in the afternoon, to demand freedom of expression for Cuban’s citizens.
Also arrested were photographer Claudio Fuentes and his companion Eva, while the activists Antonio Rodiles and Ailer González were not answering the phone. Social networks also inform us of the arrests of José Díaz Silva, Raúl Borges, Lady in White Lourdes Esquivel, and of the 14ymedio reporter Víctor Ariel González.
Members of the #YOTAMBIENEXIJO [I also demand] platform issued a press release denouncing their inability to contact Bruguera. The organization explained that the artist’s telephone number is blocked and expressed their fear, given the arrests of the leaders of civic organizations currently underway.
CUBARAW: A Photography Project for the Support and Dissemination of Alternative Cultural Activities in Today’s Cuba
Created by Claudio Fuentes Madan and Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo in 2009, now continued by Claudio, Silvia Corbelle and Lia Villares, 2013.
The alternative photographic agency CUBARAW is an attempt to launch a database of images (as well as custom images), starting from the work of each photographer involved, but as a collective endeavor to revolutionize both Cuban independent journalism as well as activism in favor of human rights in our nation.
CUBARAW refers to the format “.raw” of maximum digital quality, but also the idea of Cuba “in the raw” without distortion or censorship.
It is a platform for all members of the emerging Cuban civil society interested in developing their photographic abilities, whether professional or otherwise, and whether active or otherwise as communicators tied to agencies, libraries, discussion groups, opposition parties, etc.
Continue reading “CubaRaw2013 – The Project / Lia Villares, Silvia Corbelle, Claudio Fuentes, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo”
These photos circulate from computer to computer through discs or flash drives, and often are published on the internet. However, beyond their experiential value, most of these snapshot waste most of their discursive potential–aesthetic and political–with the result that, without notable exceptions, the visualization coming from the dissidence, opposition and Cuban independent press is poor.
This lack of visualization is hard to grasp from within the island, where internet connectivity is almost zero beyond the capital, especially in the case of civil society actors who never have the privileged connectivity of the State. This is so normal that it’s not considered a difficulty that should be solved immediately and permanently for the future.
An independent photo agency, which also functions as a shared database at the national level (free of charge to national citizens but compensated for interested correspondents) would be a proposal capable of meeting this deficiency in Cuban visual discourse.
CUBARAW will offer the creation, classification and development of a database of images taken of the day to day reality of contemporary Cuba, photos–(and to the extent possible, videos–valuable for their expressive power in any field of interest: repression, activism, the economy and jobs, education, health and hygiene, manners and folklore, sports, religion, migration, art, concerts, theater, communications and transportation, etc.
CUBARAW will disseminate freely and massively (via DVDs and flash memory), at the national level, the updated image database of the CUBARAW agency, especially among independent social communicators independent official Cuban institutions, preferably if they are in active contact with the emerging civil society, and through promotional postcards with attractive and non-politicized designs.
CUBARAW will make available–physically and virtually–to interested parties, an emerging model photographic course with textual and audiovisual materials, of a theoretical and practical nature, for developing technical and artistic photographic expression among independent Cuban journalists, which in turn could become image partners for CUBARAW, as well distribute this methodological information.
The workshops will be taught by Claudio Fuentes Madan with the objective of providing bloggers and independent journalists a better understanding of photography as a language and a greater autonomy in their work.
Photos in body of text by Lia Villares