Biologist Ruiz Urquiola Arrested for Demanding Medicine for His Sister / 14ymedio

Biologist Ariel Ruiz Urquiola on hunger strike to demand medical treatment for his sister. (CubaNet)
Biologist Ariel Ruiz Urquiola on hunger strike to demand medical treatment for his sister. (CubaNet)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 6 November 2016 – On Sunday morning, the police arrested for the third time this week the researcher and marine biologist Ariel Urquiola, who has been holding a peaceful protest in front the National Oncology and Radiology Institute (INOR) since Thursday. He is demanding medical treatment for his sister, Omara Isabel Ruiz Urquiola, who is suffering from cancer.

According to what this newspaper was able to confirm, the specialist remained under arrest until five in the afternoon.

Shortly before his arrest he was received at the Oncological Hospital by its director, Dr. Luis Alfonso Curbelo, who notified him that the drug for his sister had arrived and would be administered this coming Tuesday. Continue reading “Biologist Ruiz Urquiola Arrested for Demanding Medicine for His Sister / 14ymedio”

Urquiola was dissatisfied and incredulous with this response and believes that, given that all this time the patient has been injecting herself, the only thing they had to do was to give her the drug this Sunday or Monday, and so he decided to continue his protest until the matter is truly resolved.

As reported to this newspaper by Oscar Casanella, at three in the afternoon on Sunday, after an interrogation at the police station located in Zapata and C, Urquiola was taken to the emergency room at Fajardo Hospital where he was given a physical examination to determine that he had no injuries.

In communication with 14ymedio, Urquiola’s sister explained that so far he has not been allowed to see his family for the duration of the arrest. “The officer in charge of this case is named Raul with a badge number 03734. I have told them I have nothing to talk to them about until they permit me to see him,” she said, shortly before he was released.

Urquiola’s sister suffers from invasive ductal carcinoma which is treated with two monoclonal antibodies every 21 days. For the completion of this immunotherapy she has lacked Trastuzumab (Herceptin).

The drug, which has been supplied for more than 20 years by the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP), is manufactured by Roche pharmaceuticals. According to the family of the patient the absence of this drug is attributable to the Ministry of Public Health and the representation of the Swiss firm in Cuba.

Since Thursday, Ariel Urquiola has not taken food or drink and has been accompanied days by several civil society activists in solidarity with his demands. Among them are Gorki Águila, Eliecer Avila, Rudy Cabrera, Oscar Casanella, Claudio Fuentes, Antonio González Rodiles, Ailer González, Boris Gonzalez and Yanelis Nunez.

Biologist Ariel Urquiola, D.Sc., was expelled from the University of Havana after being deprived by the administration of his scientific project, arguing that he was not “trustworthy” because of his political leanings.

In the afternoon, the biologist was released, but vowed to continue his hunger strike until the reasons why he initiated it are resolved. However he agreed to withdraw from the site he had occupied in front of the hospital.

Gorki Águila: “The Castro Regime Wants To Mutate Into A Perfect Tyranny” / EFE – 14ymedio

The musician Gorki Águila, leader of Porno para Ricardo. (EFE)
The musician Gorki Águila, leader of Porno para Ricardo. (EFE)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), 29 September 2016 — The dissident and leader of the Cuban punk-rock band Porno para Ricardo, Gorki Águila, said in Miami on Thursday that the “plan” of the Cuban regime is “to mutate into a perfect tyranny” with an “image much more whitewashed before the world. ”

The government of “the Castros needs a lot of money, and they are taking good advantage of this situation,” Águila told EFE, speaking in reference to an economic opening to foreign investment on the island, at the end of a news conference at the Institute of Cuban Studies and Cuban Americans, at the University of Miami (UM). Continue reading “Gorki Águila: “The Castro Regime Wants To Mutate Into A Perfect Tyranny” / EFE – 14ymedio”

The event was attended by Cuban dissidents, activists from exile and leaders and legislators of the Cuban-American community in Miami who expressed their commitment to the Todos por Cuba Libre/All for Free Cuba campaign, an initiative that will be presented this coming October 11 in Miami to demand “real change… toward freedom”

Águila, like other participants, bluntly criticized the widespread view in the United States that encouraging commercial investment on the island will support openings toward freedom and the restoration of the rights of Cubans.

“The Castro regime is a Mafioso regime and to place real confidence in them is impossible. Their whole lives they have lied and betrayed,” said the activist and musician who asked, skeptically, “How are you going to do business with the Castros and think that freedom is going to be possible at some point?”

He said that the current worsening of repression on the island is not only against dissidents, but also against the self-employed who have shown their discontent with the stifling of and restrictions on their activities by the authorities.

Referring to his own case as a musician and composer, Águila said he is “deeply censored” and watch by a coercive power that bans him from performing in Cuba. “To me, they say it very clearly: you are not going to play in this country,” he denounced.

“I can’t play or even practice in my own home. There is a surveillance camera on an electric pole aimed at my balcony. They have me under total surveillance and I don’t even remember my last attempt to play in Cuba,” he said indignantly.

Despite all these calamities, Águila was “optimistic” about the crucial historical change being pushed by Cubans, what the musician called a “Cuba with two shores.”

For his part, the regime opponent Antonio Gonzalez-Rodiles, director of the critical forum Estado de Sats (State of Sats) stressed the importance of galvanizing the fact that all Cubans are “fed up” with the system at a time when, he warned, the “regime is trying to effect a transfer of power.”

A “transfer” that, according to the press conference remarks of the ex-political prisoner Jorge Luis García Pérez – known as “Antúnez” – should be called “an intended dynastic succession” of a regime that has imposed a “single, criminal and genocidal blockade for sixty years” on Cuban society.

Antúnez, who is also national secretary of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, was very confident that the Todos por Cuba Libre/All for Free Cuba campaign will be a “great success and give fuel to those fighting for freedom.”

Claudio Fuentes, a dissident photographer from the Forum for Rights and Freedoms, expressed disappointment at the “voices” who express their enthusiasm for opening Cuba to foreign investment, as long as it is obvious that “without freedom there is no prosperity.”

Gorki Aguila Detained and Interrogated Returning To Cuba From US / 14ymedio

Musician Gorki Aguila (Photo EFE)
Musician Gorki Aguila (Photo EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 11 March 2016 — Gorki Águila, a musician with the band Porno Para Ricardo, has denounced that he was detained and questioned Thursday at Jose Marti airport in Havana, on his arrival from the United States.

Speaking to 14ymedio, Aguila said that the State Security agents who interrogated him initially presented themselves as immigration officers, and were even wearing those uniforms, but when he told them they were from the political police they put him in a room where he was threatened, telling him, “If you up the ante, we’re going to raise it higher still.” Continue reading “Gorki Aguila Detained and Interrogated Returning To Cuba From US / 14ymedio”

Aguila said that, after the interrogation, on collecting his suitcases, he found that his luggage had been searched. “They read it item by item, inspecting every piece and they really concentrated on anything with writing, like T-shirts with the group’s logo. They took photos of everything, placing a sign with a number next to every item.”

“They detained me and threatened me in every way they know how. They did an exhaustive search, very exhaustive at Customs,” said the musician, in a phone interview with Radio Marti News.

Aguila, a regime opponent as well as an artist, was held for 4 or 5 hours and T-shirts were messages such as “Todos Marchamos” (We All March) and “Boitel and Zapata Tamayo, assassinated by Castro” were confiscated.

“State Security asked me if I had plans to go and see the Rolling Stones,” Gorki added. The rocker accused the authorities of having threatened his daughter and with not being allowed to travel any more.

When the musician was asked why he thought this situation happened, he replied, “They are very concerned with President Obama’s visit to Cuba. They want to try to show a peaceful country, they want to put on a show, a circus with happy and contented people.”

The activist Lia Villares, who arrived on a later flight, also was detained for nearly three hours at airport customs, her luggage and carefully checked and several CDs of the group Porno Para Ricardo were confiscated, along with T-shirts with slogans such as “Down with you know who.”

Martí News reports that several opponents claim Villares is continuing to be held.

Gorki Aguila Released After Several Hours of Detention / Diario de Cuba

diariodecubalogoDiario de Cuba, Havana, 8 November 2015 — The musician Gorki Águila was released on Saturday after being held for a few hours in the 5th police station in Playa municipality in Havana. Águila was arrested with two French journalists who were also released.

As he explained in statements to Radio Marti, the reason for the arrest was his wearing a shirt with the phrase “Down with you-know-you” while he was being interviewed on the street by journalists.

“People (agents) follow me and one of the minions spoke with State Security, so that was why we were stopped,” said Águila.

After two hours in the cells, the musician had an interview with a member of the State Security, according to the artist, and threatened him, “in the form of advice” to stop any kind of activism. “Same as always,” said Águila.

Musician Gorki Aguila Arrested Along With Two Foreign Journalists / 14ymedio

Musician Gorki Aguila (Photo EFE)
Musician Gorki Aguila (Photo EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 7 November 2015 — The musician Gorki Águila was arrested this afternoon in Havana, as he was traveling in a car with two journalists from the television channel France24. The composer and singer managed to call this newspaper from the Fifth Police Station in the Playa municipality, where he was taken with the two reporters.

Águila, leader of the punk rock band Porno para Ricardo, does not know why he has been arrested and when talking with 14ymedio the police still had not informed him whether he would remain in a cell in the station, or be fined or prosecuted. Last August the musician was detained for several hours in the same station, where he was warned that if continue his activism “those who invite you to visit another country will have to come to looking for you in a boat.”

In May, a similar incident occurred when Águila was forcibly detained outside the Museum of Fine Arts in Havana for carrying a poster with the image of the graffiti artist El Sexto along with the word “Freedom.

Mick Jagger Meets with Gorki From Porno Para Ricardo in Havana (NOT) / Fake News

2015-10-07_05.52.54Arsenio Rodríguez Quintana, Barcelona — On Sunday, October 4, after visiting the Cuban Art Factory in Havana, the Rolling Stones singer was walking with the rocker and Cuban government critic Gorki Aguila Carrasco along 5th Avenue, where the Ladies in White meet every Sunday and march in support of human rights in Cuba. Cuban State Security blocks Gorki from going to meet them, but last Sunday, the day of Orula, an orisha venerated in Cuba, the miracle happened. Gorki was wearing an El Sexto T-shirt that interested Jagger, who asked about El Sexto’s state of health after his hunger strike, and offered to buy some of his artworks to support him.

They also spoke about the possibility of Gorki opening for the Rolling Stones should the conversations with the Ministry of Culture for the Stones to play in the Karl Marx Theater bear fruit.

Now that so many American rock, pop and jazz musicians are coming to Havana, it is worth remembering that this city where I was born had home grown impresarios (from 1910 to 1959) that brought the best American or European musicians of their times to Cuba: Enrico Caruso, Nat King Cole or Lola Flores, for example.

The person who cut this ebb and flow between Havana and the world was Fidel Castro. For more than 50 years – except in 1978, another USA-Cuba political rapprochement, and in 1999. The Castro regime not only censored jazz and rock so that it would not come into Cuba, but also censored and imprisoned those who played it.

Jagger, regrettably was in Havana but he didn’t meet with Gorki, the news is false, but my dear friends Ailer and Lia Villares will perhaps smile at my autumn dreams from Barcelona.

“If You March this Sunday, You Won’t Leave the Country Again” / Cubanet, Camilo Ernesto Olivera

Gorki during a prior arrest in August 2008
Gorki during a prior arrest in August 2008

Ultimatum from the political police to musician Goki Aguila, participant in the peaceful marches of the Ladies in White.

cubanet square logoCubanet.org, Camilo Ernesto Olivera Peidro, Havana, 6 August 2015 – Tuesday, August 4, Gorki Aguila, leader of the punk band Porno for Ricardo, was visited at his home by an official from the PNR Sector (Revolutionary National Police). She tried, without success, to get Aguila to accept a badly drafted and irregular summons.

After that visit, on Wednesday at about midday, Gorki heard a knock on his apartment door. On opening, he found two police officers who were bringing orders to arrest him:

“I barely had time to make a couple of calls,” says the musician and host of the offline radio program Gear Shift. “Then, while I was being taken to the patrol car, I asked the agents the reason for the arrest. They did not know how to answer me.” Continue reading ““If You March this Sunday, You Won’t Leave the Country Again” / Cubanet, Camilo Ernesto Olivera”

The patrol car took the route towards the well known Fifth Station in Playa township.

Kafka, in STASI version, according to State Security

“On arriving and being taken to the jail, I insisted that they explain why I was there. Then, the guard in charge of that area found out and told me: ‘You are here for an interview with CI (Counter-Intelligence).’ The other guards looked at me as if I were the most sought after criminal in Cuba. They said: ‘If CI summoned you, it is because they have something heavy against you.’ No one wanted to accept that I could be a prisoner just for thinking or acting politically differently.”

After more than two hours, Gorki was taken to an office inside the station itself. There he had a meeting with an officer from State Security who did not identify himself. This one, in a hectoring tone, threatened the musician:

“The agent told me: ‘If you go this next Sunday to the Ladies in White, you will never leave this country again. Those who have invited you to play in the United States are going to have to get you on a raft. I am personally going to make sure you are not able to leave from the airport.’”

Gorki thinks that “these officers are sick with impunity. They really believe that this system is going to last forever. Their bosses make them think that. We are all buried in a blend of the films ‘The Lives of Others’ and Kafka’s story ‘The Process,’” added the musician.

Gorki in his studio. (Photo by author)
Gorki in his studio. (Photo by author)

Porno Para Ricardo, the Ladies in White, Kerry and the Pope

The band Porno Para Ricardo is scheduled to travel to the US to join a tour. On prior occasions, the group’s musicians were held on the island by express order of Cuban security. Gorki has had to travel via Mexico and turn to session musicians hired by the sponsors in order to be able to perform.

“There are two important visits coming up which have these repressors very nervous. One of these is the American Secretary of State John Kerry. The other is Pope Francis in September. I don’t doubt that they are gearing up for a flash wave of repression. They will do it, as soon as they have the American flag waving at the embassy across from the Malecon,” he says.

At the beginning of July, Gorki Aguila debuted his theme entitled “Ladies in White” in Gandhi Park, near the Santa Rita Church. He did it surrounded by the respect and emotion of these brave women and the activist members of the Forum for Rights and Freedoms. A little latter, everyone marched in defiance of repression. They have continued to do so. They will do it again next Sunday.

About the Author: Camilo Ernesto Olivera Peidro

Translated by Mary Lou Keel

Police Warn Gorki Aguila He Will Not Leave Cuba If He Continues His Activism / 14ymedio

The musician Gorki Águila, leader of Porno para Ricardo. (EFE)
The musician Gorki Águila, leader of Porno para Ricardo. (EFE)

14ymedio, Havana, 5 August 2015 – After several hours of being detained by the police, the musician Gorki Águila was released at around four in the afternoon on Wednesday. During his arrest he was taken to the Fifth Station in the Havana municipality of Playa where an official warned him that he would not leave Cuba again if he continued attending the Sunday marches of the Ladies in White, according to what Gorki told 14ymedio in a telephone conversation.

The rocker and leader of the band Porno para Ricardo detailed that they warned him that his arrest would be brief, but if he continued to pursue his activism, “Those who invite you to visit other countries will have to come looking for you in boat.”

Hours earlier, his daughter Gabriele had denounced that, “Yesterday at noon they brought a police citation, which he received but he refused to sign it because he didn’t know the reason behind it.” The police agents were looking for the rocker for a couple of hours today at noon; a call to the phone number 18806 — through which one can ask for information about any citizen detained — which did not reveal his whereabouts nor the reason for his arrest.

The last time the musician Gorki Águila slept in a cell was at the end of May, when he was arrested outside Havana’s Museum of Fine Arts for carrying a sign with the image of the graffiti artist El Sexto, with the word “freedom.” This Wednesday history was about to repeat itself.

 

They Arrest Gorki Aguila, Leader of the Rock Band Porno Para Ricardo / Cubanet, Camilo Ernesto Olivera

Gorki Aguila, file photo
Gorki Aguila, file photo
Cubanet.org, Camilo Ernesto Olivera Peidro, Havana, 5 August 2015 – Around noon Wednesday, musician Gorki Aguila was arrested, and his whereabouts are unknown.

The vocalist for the rock band Porno para Ricardo managed to communicate via telephone with this reporter just when two police officers presented themselves at the door of his home in order to take him. They did not explain the reason for his arrest or identify the place where they would take him.

Days earlier, law enforcement officers had approached Gorki Aguila’s house in order to bring him a police summons. Given apparent irregularities in the preparation of the document, the artist refused to sign it.

This arrest occurs within a few days of the arrival of the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, to Havana for the inauguration of the American Embassy.

Translated by MLK

About 70 Ladies in White and Activists Arrested Sunday / 14ymedio

The Ladies in White in Gandhi Park on a previous Sunday
The Ladies in White in Gandhi Park on a previous Sunday (Americateve)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 19 July 2015 — This Sunday has led to the arrest of forty Ladies in White and thirty activists, at the conclusion of their usual march on 5th Avenue in the Havana neighborhood of Miramar.

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.

More than 70 Ladies in White and Activists Arrested / Diario de Cuba

Ladies in White in front of Santa Rita Church on a previous Sunday (fhrcuba)
Ladies in White in front of Santa Rita Church on a previous Sunday (fhrcuba)

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.

Gorki Aguila Arrested in Front of the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana / Diario de Cuba

"This too shall pass"
“This too shall pass” (Danilo’s artwork from prison)

diariodecubalogoDiario de Cuba, Havana, 24 May 2015 – The musician Gorki Águila, leader of the band Porno para Ricardo, was arrested by State Security agents on Saturday night in front of the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana.

Gorki Aguila
Gorki Aguila

Águila went to hold up a sign on the outside wall of the museum with the word “Libertad” (Freedom) and the image of the graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto, imprisoned since last 25 December, when he allegedly went to Havana’s Central Park with two piglets named “Fidel” and “Raúl,” to stage a performance.

After Águila’s action, recognized repressors from State Security’s Section 21, posted in the area, approached the musician and forced him into a car. Meanwhile, Águila shouted demands for “Freedom for Danilo!”

The repressors were in the area because of the inauguration of a show that presumably was going to be attended by the artist Tania Bruguera, now retained on the Island without her passport because of an attempt to stage her performance Tatlin’s Whisper in the Plaza of the Revolution last 30 December.

This coming Wednesday, 27 May, the Oslo Freedom Forum, a principal world event dedicated to human rights, awarded El Sexto the Prize for Creative Dissidence.

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.