EFE (14ymedio), Havana, 22 March 2016 – Several dissidents who met with President Barack Obama in Havana this Tuesday, assessed the meeting as “positive” and “frank,” and one of them delivered a list of 89 political prisoners recorded by the group he leads.
Elizardo Sanchez, spokesman for the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), said Obama was “very clear” and reiterated to the participants at the meeting “his commitment to the cause of human rights and democratic freedoms.”
EFE (14ymedio), Havana, 22 March 2016 — The president of the United States, Barack Obama, praised the “courage” of the dissidents and representatives of independent civil society Cuba at the beginning of the meeting held with them at the headquarters of the United States Embassy in Havana this Tuesday.
In brief remarks, Obama stressed that one of the objectives of normalization with Cuba is to be able to “hear directly” from the Cuban people and to ensure that they also “have a voice” in the new stage initiated between the two countries.
The meeting with president of the United States was attended by Berta Soler (Ladies in White), Miriam Celaya (activist and freelance journalist), Manuel Cuesta Morua (Progressive Arc), Miriam Leiva (freelance journalist), Guillermo Fariñas (former political prisoner and 2010 Sakharov Human Rights Prize recipient), Antonio G. Rodiles (State of SATS), Elizardo Sánchez (Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation), Nelson Matute (Afro-ACLU president, defense organization for black people discriminated against because of their sexual orientation), Laritza Diversent (Cubalex), Dagoberto Valdes (Coexistence ), Jose Daniel Ferrer (UNPACU), Yunier Angel Remon (rapper The Critic ) and Juana Mora Cedeño (Rainbow Project).
“It often requires great courage to be active in civil life here in Cuba,” Obama said, adding he said.
“There are people here who have been arrested. Some in the past and others very recently,” stressed the president.
On Monday, at least a dozen dissidents were arrested in Cuba, according to the dissident Cuban National Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), which also counts nearly 90 political prisoners on the island.
Participating in the meeting with Obama were government opponents who support the new US policy toward the island, as is the case of Cuesta Morua, and others who criticize it, as is the case with Berta Soler of the Ladies in White.
EFE/14ymedio, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 17 August 2015 — The dissident Guillermo Fariñas, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Human Rights, told EFE Monday, speaking from the Puerto Rican capital, that the arrests recorded last weekend in Cuba are a sign of insecurity of the regime in Havana.
Fariñas, who participated in the closing ceremony in San Juan of the first Cuban National Conference, said the regime in Havana “was left without enemies” after the rapprochement with the US Government.
“The battle is now with the Cuban citizen, because the enemy is the people,” said Fariñas, shortly after the issuance of the Declaration of San Juan, which contains the outcome of the meeting begun last Thursday in the Puerto Rican capital in which a hundred dissidents coming from Cuba and elsewhere participated. The declaration marks the steps to follow in the coming months. Continue reading “Farinas Says Latest Arrests Show The Cuban Regime’s Insecurity / 14ymedio”
14ymedio, Havana, 16 August 2015 – The Cuban National Conference – involving one hundred activists from 23 organizations from the Island and 32 from exile meeting for three days in Puerto Rico – concluded this Saturday with a document setting forth a common strategy. The Declaration of San Juan emphasizes the need to work “to achieve full freedom for the Cuban people and genuine Rule of Law.”
Among the points of agreement among the participants were the demand for the unconditional release of all political prisoners and the repeal of laws that violate fundamental freedoms. The declaration also established as a priority achieving “freedom of speech, press, association, assembly, peaceful demonstration, profession and religion.”
The signers of the Declaration of San Juan made a call to fight for “the participation of all the people in every decision of the nation, the legalization of all political parties, and free and multi-party elections.” During the meeting 30 papers, prepared over the last year, were presented addressing several of the topics that were later reflected in the final document.
The Cuban National Conference urged “work for a campaign for a binding plebiscite in favor of free, fair and plural elections, under democratic conditions, that guarantee the sovereignty of the citizens.” Support for the Agreement for Democracy in Cuba, a document put forward in 1998 by organizations in the diaspora and on the island, was another of the issues agreed to in the final document.
The promotion of the peaceful struggle and “training of pro-democracy activists in the methods of civil disobedience,” is included among the issues to strengthen.
The participants committed to working for the collapse of the “cyber-wall in Cuba and striving so that the internal opposition has the technological resources needed to continue mobilizing the citizenry.” Progress in both aspects will monitored over the coming six months.
The Cuban National Conference, enjoyed the participation of activists such as Guillermo Fariñas, Elizardo Sanchez, Mario Felix Lleonart, Eliecer Avila, Laritza Diversent and Rene Gomez Manzanos. Its realization coincided with the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Cuba.
EFE/14ymedio, San Juan, 14 August 2015 — Leaders of the Cuban dissidence arrived on the island and everyone met this Friday in Puerto Rico to work towards a common position with regards to the new scenario that is opening with the rapprochement between the United States and Cuba.
The Cuban National Conference brought together in San Juan one hundred dissidents who are trying to achieve a single strategy among all the groups who are fighting against the regime in Havana, with regards to the steps they should follow to bring democracy to the island, according to what regime opponent Guillermo Fariñas told EFE.
14ymedio, 20 June 2015 — The second edition of the event Roads for a Democratic Cuba is taking place in Mexico from 18 to 23 June 2015 under the auspices of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Christian Democrat Organization of America (ODCA). Participating in this meeting are dozens of political activists and civil society leaders of the Island and the Diaspora. The event will continue through the weekend and until next Tuesday.
Among the topics discussed on the first day is the impact on the Island of everything related to the talks between the governments of Cuba and the United States for the purpose of restoring diplomatic relations. Other areas to be discussed are the options of the opposition, various proposals before a new Cuban Electoral Law and ways to strengthen Cuban civil society. Continue reading “Roads to Democracy for Cuba / 14ymedio”
14ymedio, Jose Badue, Washignton DC, 13 June 2015 — Despite a temperature of 97º F (36º C), and unbearable humidity, about one hundred representatives of nations and peoples – including a Russian LGBT association – who have suffered the nefarious consequences of Communism, met at the corner of New Jersey and Massachusetts Avenues at 10:00 AM before the Victims of Communism Memorial. Continue reading “Fariñas Speaks Before the Victims of Communism / 14ymedio, Jose Badue”
14ymedio, Washington, DC, 12 June 2015 — In a ceremony that took place yesterday in Washington, DC, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation awarded the 2015 Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom to Cuban opposition figure Guillermo Fariñas. The dissident used the opportunity to dedicate the award to “all the (Cuban) political prisoners of the ’60’s and ’70’s, when nobody listened,” as he stated to 14ymedio. Continue reading “Fariñas Dedicates His Award To All Cuban Political Prisoners / 14ymedio”
14ymedio, Havana, 13 April 2015 — The Cuban activist Guillermo Fariñas has been selected to receive the 2015 Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, as he himself announced Monday via his Twitter account.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Washington DC, offers this award annually to individuals or institutions involved in the fight for freedom and democracy and opposed to communism and other forms of tyranny.
Since the first edition of the award, in 1999, those who have received this distinction include Pope John Paul II (in 2005), former Polish President Lech Walesa (in 2006) and former Secretary of US Defense Donald Rumsfeld (in 2012), among others.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation aims to honor the more than 100 million victims of communism worldwide and the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes.
“If the Cuban government aspires to be included among the democracies it must accept and respect the opposition.” Interview with Guillermo Farinas.
Cubanet.org, Jose Luis Leon Perez, Santa Clara, 7 April 2015 — Before leaving for Panama for the Civil Society Forum, Guillermo Farinas, Coordinator of the United Anti-totalitarian Forum (FANTU), who holds a critical view of the negotiations between Cuba and the United States, agreed to an interview with Cubanet.
What is your opinion about the Seventh Summit of the Americas, about the presidents of Cuba and the United States sitting for the first time at the same table?
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 “We Shall Fight to the End for the Liberty of Cuba / Cubanet, Ernesto Garcia Diaz”
For recognition of the legitimacy of Cuba’s independent civil society
We, activists of independent civil society, have agreed to promote a representative group to act as a channel of dialogue with international institutions and other potential partners.
Since the ratification of our commitment to peaceful methods to achieve the Rule of Law, we demand from the government of Cuba and before the international community:
1. The unconditional release of all political prisoners , including those under extra-penal license (on parole).
2. The end of political repression, often violent, against the peaceful movement for human rights and pro- democracy.
3. Respect for the international commitments already entered into by the government of Cuba, the ratification – without reservations – of the International Covenants on Human Rights and compliance with ILO conventions on labor and trade union rights.
4. Recognition of the legitimacy of independent Cuban civil society.
Yoani Sánchez – Blogger
Berta Soler – Spokesperson of the Ladies in White
Elizardo Sanchez – President of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and Cuban National Reconciliation
Juan Felipe Diaz Medina – Christian Liberation Movement (MCL )
Guillermo Fariñas – UNPACU
Manuel Cuesta Morúa – Progressive Arc
Reinaldo Escobar – Journalist
Antonio Guedes – President of Ibero American Association for Freedom (AIL)
Guillermo Gortázar – President of the Cuban Hispanic Foundation
Javier Larrondo – UNPACU Representative in Spain and EU
Virgilio Toledo – President of Coexistence Spain
Frisia Batista – President of Roots of Hope Spain
Elena Larrinaga – FECU
Alejandro González Raga – Cuban Observatory for Human Rights
Blanca Reyes – Ladies in White
Eduardo Pérez Bengoechea – Coordinator of International Human Rights Platform of Cuba
The U.S. president , Barack Obama, on a visit to Miami to raise money for the Democratic Party, met Friday for the first time with Guillermo Fariñas and the leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, both winners of the Sakharov Prize, who asked him not to negotiate with the Cuban government “regardless of exile and the people of the island.”
At a press conference after concluding the meeting with Obama, Fariñas said the president assured him that in his next three years in office that was not going to happen. It is very important that “the world’s largest democracy recognize the Cuban dissidence,” said Fariñas.
The opponent reiterated that the President was waiting, via email, for a series of proposals to change the Cuban reality.
Fariñas said his meeting with the president established that there is a commitment from the United States to recognize the peaceful struggle in Cuba.
The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, for her part, said that in less than ten days she had met with the President and the Vice President of the United States whom she called on for moral and spiritual support for freedom in Cuba.
“We want Cuba have the same freedom that the United States has,” Soler said adding that everything the Cuban government tells the United States “is a big lie.”
The Lady in White reiterated the lack of freedoms in Cuba, but despite this, “I am a free woman,” she said.
Regrettably, I did not have the honor of being part of the repression that was not lacking this time, either. I long suspected that the time to depart for the cemetery would be the most propitious for the flock of buzzards to throw themselves over the innumerable prisoners. And it was precisely this that saved me this time: the enormous quantity of potential victims. I was surprised that before arriving at Necropolis I was already receiving on my cell phone reports about detentions of individuals who minutes before had been very near me. The Reverend Ricardo Santiago Medina Salabarria, for example, was barely a few people away from me trying to board the same bus as I, but he could not and remained available to the violence.
During the burial, and even during the return trip on the highway to Santa Clara, among tweets that I sent and received with names of dozens of people that had been subject to detention and that included friends like Antonio Rodiles of Estado de Sats and his wife Ailer. They even dared to attack the Sakharov 2011 Prize winner, Guillermo Farinas, without taking into account or maybe precisely because of having done so, that in October they had cast off Laura Pollan and that now they were considering getting rid of Paya, the other two prizes awarded by the European Parliament.
Knowing that I left behind so many detained people, and being home now and knowing that including around forty people found themselves asking for the liberation of Rodiles at the police station of Infanta and Manglar, they provided me the sensation that it has stayed very low of the duties that in those moments Cuba demanded, but like always, we are prisoners of time and space, as the absent sense reminds us now forever of a man in our human trial should still be here, as happened to us already in the past with famous citizens like Cespedes, Marti or Chivas.