Estado de SATS 3rd Birthday
Happy Birthday Estado de SATS.
HAVANA, Cuba, July 29, 2013, David Canela / www.cubanet.org.-The civic project Estado de SATS this Saturday celebrated its three years of existence with a children’s party. About 10:30 in the morning Rodiles’ house was full. At the party two clowns performed, exciting the children with games, dances, songs and puppets. Children’s music videos were also projected.
Estado de SATS was born as an event of dialog between the actors of civil society, who attended in many voices and independent groups (artistic, religious, legal, community) to talk about the the future of Cuba. It was held in Gaia House in Old Havana, between 23rd and 25th on 25 July 2010. As the meeting led to open debate, outside an established script, the project was censored, and no other State institution was permitted (or risked) to host it again.
For this reason, Antonio González-Rodiles, one of the principal coordinators, decided to resume it in his own house, in the municipality of Playa. The original idea of the project, of being a marketplace of social diversity, and a public space for alternative ideas–beyond the narrow limits of official discourse ideological–crystallized again on March 5, 2011, when Raudel Collazo and Adrián Monzón were invited to speak about their artistic projects. Since then (and with the exception of Festival Click), the sessions are no longer structured as a “mini-conference” but as a meeting for a specific topic.
Since then, in March 2011, it adopted the slogan Where art and thought converge. In its three years of work, they have held panels, interviews, screened documentaries and films–which had not been shown before in Cuba–poetry recitals and one of short stories (with the writer Ángel Santiesteban), parties, presentations and music concerts, independent project fairs, exhibitions of photographs, art, cartoons and publicity spots.
Over time they have created some spaces or specialized programs, such as Analysis Forum (FORA), for political, social and legal debate, Cinema at All Costs, for the display of audiovisuals, and recently CafeSatso, devoted to literature.
Other independent projects have collaborated with Estado de SATS: Omni-Zona Franca, the Endless Poetry Festival, Voces Cubanas, the Cuban Law Association, Cubalex, EBE (of Spain), Talento Cubano, among others. Many people in the diaspora and Cubans in exile, through speeches and videotaped interviews, media outreach, or the donation of works (for example, the exposition of CoCodriloSmile graphic humor). In addition, Radio and TV Marti and Cubanet have helped to broadcast some of their programs.
From March 2011 to June of the current year, there have been around 66 meetings (one of them when Antonio Rodiles was imprisoned in November of last year). Of these programs, 30 were held with the public and 35 with no audience. One had to be suspended due to police repression; those who could were able to get there recorded his testimony.
Estado de SATS is also the civil society project that promotes the Citizen Demand For Another Cuba, which calls on the Cuban government to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Monday, 29 July 2013, from CubaNet
29 July 2013
HAVANA, Cuba, July 29, 2013: The political landscape of the island has been energized recently. In the international arena the event with the greatest impact is undoubtedly the death of Hugo Chavez and his succession embodied in Nicolas Maduro, a man with few political tools who, despite many odds, has managed, for now, to maintain a certain equilibrium. However, given the difficult economic situation being experienced by Cuba and the uncertain scenario facing the Chavistas in Venezuela, Cuban totalitarianism is forced to avoid placing all its bets on Venezuela.
For the elite in power, time, as a part of the political equation, becomes the most important variable. The relaunch of their position in the international arena has become one part of their priorities, and it shows that a new moment in relations with Europe and the United States is vital in the search for new economic and political partners who will provide them stability and legitimacy.
In the interior of the island, the transformations in the economic sector are not generating a new impression given the years of accumulated statism, decapitalization and the precarious situation in multiple sectors. A genuine process of reforms would involve much deeper actions that would stir up a reality already admitted to be a social disaster, as acknowledged even by Raul Castro in his latest speech. But the fear of losing control has become an obsession and the principal obstacle.
The ability of some regime opponents to travel represents, in this sense, the boldest step taken by the elite in power, a clear commitment to improve its image abroad and to rid itself of the stigma of lack of freedom of movement. It is highly likely that this move was taken under the assumption that some bitter pills would be no more than that, that reality would remain stuck in its usual straitjacket, because we opponents would not penetrate the media and, on our return to Cuba, State Security’s absolute control and lack of social expression would keep everything in its place.
Given this scenario, we have to ask ourselves certain questions: Is Cuban society in a position to push for greater freedom and independence? Can the opposition capitalize politically on these trips? And by capitalize we mean our capacity to articulate and project ourselves inside and outside the island as pro-democratic forces with civic or political weight in both venues; a projection that also allows us to end the nefarious cat and mouse game with which State Security, as the arm of the system, has kept us inefficiently occupied. It then becomes imperative to mature as an opposition and as civil society, to be able to widen the cracks in an exhausted system that holds onto control and exercises State violence as elements of social containment.
The experience of multiple transitions shows the importance of understanding the moment of change as a step in the process of national reconstruction and to see it not as a discontinuous turning point. In an extreme scenario like the one facing us, a successful transition will necessarily involve the active participation of skilled human capital with a strong social commitment and a clear vision of the nation that it wants to build.
Without a social fabric that represents least a micro-cosmos, of the mid- and macro-cosmos we visualize, it will be very difficult to build a functioning democracy. Unsuccessful examples are plentiful and it is irresponsible to omit them. The famous Arab Spring-become-Winter is the most recent case, and shows that the establishment of a political system requires a process of maturation and articulation of civil society. To imagine the change and reconstruction of a broken, fragmented country, not only in the physical sense but also in its social and individual dynamics, is an essential exercise if we aspire to construct a democracy that contains the ingredients of every modern nation
As the opposition we must break with paradigms that imply regression and a copying of what has been experienced, in which glorious symbols, epics and personalities play a significant role. An imagined future that places too many hopes on an expansive “spark,” and that often postpones effective work with visions of the medium and long term.
It would also be healthy to readjust the idea that has dominated our minds for more than half of a post-republican century: the desired unity of the opposition as the only path to effective pressure to promote change. We believe that the main role of the transition should fall on civil society, while the opposition, as a political actor, must push with discourse and coherent action so that civil society has the necessary reach and penetration.
Hegel was right in saying that “everything that was once revolutionary becomes conservative.” The words lose their original sense and are redefined to change the context that nurtured and sustained them, so much so that the logic itself of revolutions backfires.
The truly revolutionary act is an abrupt gesture, a moment of rupture that disrupts the established order. All revolutions, including scientific, are designed to transform, to subvert, the bases of the model or previous paradigm and, in this way, to bring it down.
Thus, what is new in our time is to understand the possible abruptness as a moment in a process, which must be permeated with the ingredients that shape modern societies: knowledge, information, thought, art, technology. The revolution is a time of evolution, but not the inverse.
In the second decade of the present century we can not think of any social processes without taking into account the transnational nature of them. In our case it would be impossible to analyze a transition to democracy and a process of reconstruction without involving the diaspora and exile with its political actors. While they are not anchored in the everyday life of the island they are living elements of the nation and as such gravitate to her. About this, the ordinary Cuban is not wrong. In the Cuban imagination part of the solution to our problems is in Miami (as the diaspora is generically defined). The modern vision of contemporary societies must come from and consist largely through constant reinforcement between the island and its diaspora. The opposition and exile should be precisely the hinge that makes such articulation possible.
And this, in our view, is the other element that would end up framing the Cuban scenario: how, looking forward, the opposition overlaps with a transnational civil society so that the binary logic of the internal and external, of the figures of the “Cuban insider” and “Cuban outsider,” come to an end. For this to happen it is not enough to recognize, on the level of discourse (as the regime does as well), that there are no differences between us, that we are equal, etc. It is something more: we are one and indivisible and this single Cuban has to have the right to exercise the vote and to influence the political present and future of his country, regardless of where on the planet he finds himself or lives; this is, for the opposition and the exile itself, not only a political problem, but a conceptual one.
As political actors we must show that we are an option for governance, presenting the human capital at our disposal, the capacity we possess to generate a political and legal framework capable of filling the possible void that would be left by the one-party nomenklatura. To prove that we could ensure security not only for the country but for the whole region, and last, but no less important, the ability to overtake at the polls the campaigns of the Castro supporters in any eventual free elections.
This would be, perhaps, the most desirable scenario in terms of expansion of the transnational civil society and the corresponding constraint of the totalitarian State. Let us, then, be careful not to confuse succession with transition; let us learn to see ourselves as ordinary Cubans and to demand our full civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as reflected in the two United Nations Covenants. Let us admit that for the transition the human capital dispersed through the State institutions is needed as badly as the skills, knowledge and financial capital of those who have had to grow up far from — but not out of — their country.
The problem of the Cuban nation today is the problem of the democratic transition and reconstruction, a process that will be possible only if it involves the largest number of Cubans, wherever they may live. We do not say that the country belongs to everyone, which is a de jure declaration; we say that all of us, together, make up the Cuban nation, which is already a de facto declaration.
Antonio G. Rodiles and Alexis Jardines
Monday, 29 July 2013
29 July 2013
The renowned activist and Castro regime opponent Antonio G. Rodiles, director of the Estado de SATS movement (an independent and intellectual group that encourages the exchange of ideas) will visit the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) at Casa Bacardi, 1531 Brescia Avenue at the University of Miami, Tuesday, 30 July 11:00 am to give a press conference.
Acompanying Rodiles at this press conference will be the attorneys Veizant Boloy González, member of the Organizing Committee of the Citizens’ Demand For Another Cuba and correspondent for Cubanet and Primavera de Cuba, and Amelia M. Rodriguez Cala, who has defended many political opponents.
This event is open to the public. If you wish to attend please call the Institute at 305-284-CUBA (2822).
Someone sitting at the table behind spoke in French, while in chairs at the side two Brazilians exchanged ideas. Two steps further on some activists from Belarus were talking with some Spaniards who had also come to the Stockholm Internet Forum. An event that began on May 21 in the Swedish capital bringing together people interested in digital tools, social networks and cyberspace. A real Tower of Babel where we communicate in the lengua franca of technology. The global and virtual village is now contained in an old factory on the edge of the sea. And in the midst of this back and forth of analysis and anecdotes, are six Cubans, also willing to contribute their labor as cyber activists.
This is without a doubt the most enjoyable stage of my long journey and not because other places haven’t been filled with beautiful impressions and lots of hugs, but because here I have met up with several colleagues from the Island. Some of the people who, in our country have grabbed hold of new technologies to narrate and to try to change our reality, today are gathered here. The young attorney Laritza Diversent, the director of Estado de SATS, Antonio Rodiles, the keen blogger Miriam Celaya, the information engineer Eliecer Avila, and joining us for one day as well, the independent reporter Roberto Guerra. Here in Stockholm it has felt rather like Cuba, though certainly not because of the weather.
The Internet Forum has allowed us to feel like citizens of the world, to share experiences with those who live in different situations but, in essence, surprisingly similar ones. It’s enough to chat with another attendee for a little while, or to listen to a talk, to realize that in every word spoken here is the eternal human quest for knowledge, information… freedom. Expressed on this occasion through circuits, screens and kilobytes. This meeting has left us with the sensation that we are universal and that technologies have made us into people capable of transcending our geography and our time.
The Estado de SATS project and the Campaign For Another Cuba invite all Cuban designers and visual artists to participate in the exhibition: Posters For Another Cuba, which will open in the city of Miami on May 4, 2013.
The artistic proposals will bring visions from different aspects (economic, political, cultural, humorous, social and spiritual) to shape the design of a new Cuba.
The works must be inserted into a template to later be printed as 17” x 22” posters. The template that provides a framework for art can be downloaded from the following link http://www.estadodesats.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/poster-template.pdf
Artwork must have a resolution of 300 dpi and be in CMYK mode.
It can be full color.
There must be a margin of at least 1” on all sides.
The works will be donated to (become the property of) the Campaign For Another Cuba and will be a part of the Campaign’s promotion and advertising.
The slogan of the campaign is “Cuba changes if you want it to.”
The logo and the name of the campaign should not be covered by art.
The artwork should be sent to the following email firstname.lastname@example.org before April 30, 2013.
The exhibition will be inaugurated on May 4, 2013, in the city of Miami and later be opened in Havana at the Estado de SATS project headquarters.
For more information about project status go to: www.estadodesats.com
For more information about the Campaign For Another Cuba go to: www.porotracuba.org
23 April 2013
The writer Ángel Santiesteban has been transferred to Prison 1580, and the attorney for his case Amelia Rodriguez Cala could not see him today, despite having made a formal request and this right being guaranteed under the law. The officials denied the visit and told her that Angel was in “voluntary starvation” and a ”cell with special restrictions” (read hunger strike and punishment cell).
Days earlier while in La Lima Prison, Angel refused to accept a pass to leave and asked to be present at a visit planned by national and foreign journalists accredited in Cuba to that penitentiary; this information was received through anonymous calls that informed us of his being transferred to Prison 1580 on Sunday afternoon, and that a violent situation arose because of this.
The attorney Rodriguez Cala tells us that during the long years of her career, even in political cases, she had never been denied an inmate visit. It is extremely troubling that she has not been allowed to see Angel and she issues an alert on the possible conditions in which he is being held. We make an urgent call to national and international public opinion about the violations being committed in this case. We ask for your solidarity and justice.
11 April 2013
Five years ago expectations were high with regards to the selection of the new government elite. Many people speculated about who would be the next first vice president. Bets focused on two candidates: Carlos Lage Davila and Jose Ramon Ventura. Whoever was chosen, observers theorized, would suggest Raul Castro’s orientation over the next five years. Speculations centered on two conflicting approaches: Raulista, or reformist; and Fidelista, or conservative. Apparently, one of them would mark the pace and type of reforms.
The result is not only confirmed in the act of selection, but was signalled when Carlos Lage and his friend Felipe Perez Roque were ousted along with other senior officials. The accusations were known: they betrayed the confidence of the maximum leaders through the improper conduct of “cadres” under their control. It later emerged that on several occasions they had mocked their long-time bosses and that they wanted a greater share of power.
In 2008 the international context was different. Raul Castro attempted to launch a renewed image with the signing the United Nations human rights covenants in New York, along with shallow but widely publicized and promoted reforms. Hugo Chavez had become an inexhaustible source of resources and support for the disastrous economy bequeathed by Fidel Castro. Barack Obama was emerging as the probable next president of the United States, one who would, according to his calculations, widen the chances of ending, or at least relaxing, bilateral differences without his having to give up too much in return. That same year three hurricanes lashed the Island, the precarious economy fell even further, and the dependence on Venezuela deepened. Continue reading
Zone of Silence
Presentation and lecture by Ángel Santiesteban
Wednesday 27 February at 6:00pm.
You can send text messages of support to the writer at:
You can follow the presentation live via Twitter @estadodesats
@AGRodiles @ailermaria @aimaraperez28 @solucioncuba
Place: Estado de Sats headquarters
Address: Ave 1ra % 46 y 60 #4606 . Miramar. Playa
Santiesteban by Pulido
The writer Ángel Santiesteban-Prats must report to prison on Thursday, according to his reports on Twitter.
The author, winner of the Casa de las Americas prize and keeper of the blog The Children Nobody Wanted, was sentenced to five years in prison for the alleged crimes of “housebreaking and injuries.”
More information can be found here.
By Pablo Pascual Méndez Piña
HAVANA, Cuba, February 23, 2013 (Pablo Pascual Méndez / www.cubanet.org).
Coinciding with the fourth anniversary of the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the first meeting of Estado de Sats in 2013 was held on Saturday at its headquarters on 1st Street between 46 and 60, in the Havana neighborhood of Miramar. The meeting was attended by about a hundred people.
The issue addressed by the panelists focused on the Citizens’ Demand for Another Cuba, which demands the ratification of the United Nations covenants signed by Cuba’s then Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, four years ago, and which, as explained at the meeting today, should be discussed in the Council of Ministers, approved by the National Assembly and included in the laws of the Nation.
At a break in the panel, the meeting honored the memory of all those who have died defending the cause of human rights, the democratization of Cuba, and the downing in international waters of the two Brothers to the Rescue planes, a crime which occurred 17 years ago tomorrow. Also remembered was Antonio Rodiles’ father, recently deceased, who in life was a fervent attendee at Estado de Sats debates.
On this occasion, the panel consisted of the Sakharov-prize-winning psychologist Guillermo Fariñas, the Baptist pastor Mario Felix Lleonart, the attorney Laritza Diversent, the historian Manuel Cuesta Morúa, and the president of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) Jose Daniel Ferrer; as always, the host was Antonio Rodiles, who served as moderator.
Presentations were made on civil society and on the collection of signature for the Citizens’ Demand for Another Cuba. A documentary by the intellectual Juan Antonio Blanco was screened, and several questions were asked of the panel by those present, as well as from abroad via text message.
Five years after Cuba’s representative signed the United Nations Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the situation with regards to fundamental rights in Cuba remains precarious. The violation of fundamental rights is not only a part of the repressive apparatus of the State, but our national legislation itself imposes restrictions on these freedoms enshrined in international law.
The Cuban Constitution formally recognizes the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression, but immediately establishes limitations that barely allow the exercise of them. The practice of these rights can always be considered contrary to the interests “of the Cuban people to build socialism and communism,” and therefore swept away with great violence and impunity. In short, none of the fundamental rights are legally guaranteed.
To punish these “contrary interests” the Criminal Code provides for sentences of 10 to 20 years in prison or the death penalty for anyone “who, in the interests of a foreign State, commits an act with the intent of undermining the independence of the Cuban State or the integrity of its territory.” Continue reading
By Ivette Leyva Martínez
CaféFuerte.com offers for the consideration of its readers a selection of 12 events that affected Cuba and Cubans during the past year.
The selection was made considering the impact of these events on the political, economic and cultural life of the country. They were organized chronologically, not according to relevance.
It is, therefore, a list open to the critiques of its readers, who might agree or disagree with the selection criteria. Other significant stories, clearly, are excluded, but that’s a risk of any effort to select and rank the news.
1. Pope Benedict XVI visits Cuba: From March 26 to 28, Pope Benedict XVI made a pastoral visit to Cuba and met with Raul Castro and Fidel Castro, The Pontiff was received in Santiago de Cuba, where he presided over the celebration of a mass in the “Antonio Maceo” Plaza of the Revolution and visited the National Shrine of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, Patroness of Cuba. The visit coincided with the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the Virgin of Charity. The image of the Patroness of Cuba traveled on a pilgrimage of some 18,000 miles the length and breadth of the island, the first since 1959, consolidating a new era of relations between the Catholic Church and the Cuban government. It was the second visit of a Pope to Cuba since 1998. Continue reading