#FreeGorki – The Gorki Aguila Case / Lia Villares

Gorki Águila. (CLAUDIO FUENTES)

The trial schedules for this Tuesday against Gorki Águila, leader of the punk rock band Porno para Ricardo, was postponed because of the health problems of his defense attorney, according to the musician himself on his Facebook page. Gorki spoke about the background of his case with Diario de Cuba.

 Gorki, what are they accusing you of?

The formal citation they gave me said the crimes of pre-criminal social dangerousness and illegal drug possession, with many points suspended.

Were you carrying drugs?

When they stopped me on the street and searched me and found two Tradea pills — methylphenidate — for which I have the appropriate prescription, signed and sealed, which are strong proof that they were bought legally. The police investigation has no evidence beyond those two pills.

Why are they accusing you?

The classic recourse of the government is to tie the “uncomfortable” individual to some prefabricated crime. In my case they didn’t ahve much more and I thought it unlikely that they’d convict me, if it was a free trial, for the (completely legal) possession of two tables of a medication that I need, according to a doctor’s prescription.

What’s your impression of this new trial and now the suspension of it?

It has the same characteristics of the 2008 trial, the same intentions, because a despotic government like ours never renounces the idea of silencing protestors like me by constant threats of prison, whether we are artists, activists, journalists or simply citizens. Continue reading

“The psychological torture was intense, permanent. They wanted to erase his mind.” / Lilianne Ruiz

HAVANA, Cuba, December, www.cubanet.org-It was raining heavily in Havana. It was the first day of December and Miriam Leiva had come to Cuba carrying the ashes of her husband and the memories of their almost 40 years together. Oscar Espinosa Chepe had died after a long illness that they shared together like so many things in their lives: work, civic activism and love.

Surrounded by the books and periodicals that he treasured, he was now in the metal urn in the small apartment from which he’d left last March to seek medical treatment in Spain. For those who knew this couple it’s hard to imagine one without the other.

Cubanet- Did he want his ashes returned?

Miriam Leivan- When we arrived at the La Fuenfria Hospital, he was very ill.  He told me, “When the time comes, I want you to cremate me and take me to Cienfuegos.” The doctor came by several times the same day and on one of the visits he told her, forcefully and with tremendous clarity, “Doctor, I want to return to Cuba.” She and I looked at each other, because given the condition he was in this was impossible. And he said again, “It’s hard to say… When it happens, I want to return to Cuba. Because I have always wanted to be in Cuba.” And then she told him, “Don’t worry, your wife already has everything arranged.”

We went there in March and he died at the end of September. September 23. Continue reading

Photos and Video of Human Rights Day Repression Against the Ladies in White and Estado de SATS

Schoolchildren being used in an act of repudiation against Estado de SATS. Photo: Lia Villares

Schoolchildren being used in an act of repudiation against Estado de SATS. Photo: Lia Villares


Police in front of Estado de SATS. Photo: Lia Villares

Police in front of Estado de SATS. Photo: Lia Villares


Estado de Sats, before the violence. Photo: Lia Villares

Estado de Sats, before the violence. Photo: Lia Villares

The following video shows the violent arrests of Ladies in White and the scene in front of Estado de SATS, with a short interview of Antonio Rodiles inside the conference.

11 December 2013

Antonio Rodiles Arrested With Extreme Violence / Estado de SATS

Plainclothes State Security before the violence. Photo from Lia Villares

Plainclothes State Security before the violence. Photo from Lia Villares

From www.cubanet.org.- Agents of the State Security (the political police) just kidnapped Antonio Rodiles, leader of the independent social-cultural group Estado de SATS, using extreme violence, according to what could be learned from the activist and journalist Camilo Ernesto Olivera. Rodiles stepped a few yards off his property to ask some schoolchildren to stop painting signs on the street against the attendees of the Human Rights Conference being held at house beginning yesterday.

There was an altercation with the police and State Security rapidly stepped in. As Rodiles was being detained his wife and his mother, Ailer Gonzalez and Gladys Fernandez respectively, protested and were surrounded by the government demonstrators, children and adults.

Then began a typical act of repudiation (insults and expletives) like those held in the early 80s against those leaving the country. At the time of this writing the two women remain under siege.

On the closing day of the First International Conference on Human Rights being held in Rodiles’ home, the house remained surrounded and the use of children as political mediators, with songs, music and government banners, continued. Camilo Ernesto Olivera underscored how unfortunate it is that the State gets involved in this situation to block the Conference.

The Washington Post carried an editorial in support of the Rodiles: Antonio Rodiles boldly confronts the Castro regime

11 December 2013

Update on Angel Santiesteban / Lia Villares

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Photo from Aimara Pérez

For his friends, colleagues, and all who are interested in continuing, in some way, to help: Right now Angel Santiesteban is better [after having been admitted to the hospital for dengue fever], and is no longer in the hospital. They took him back to the military facility, where is he very weak from the time he was without good food.

From Lia Villares’ Facebook

23 September 2013

Dis Tortue, Dors-Tu Nue? / Lia Villares

Fog in the mornings, hunger for clarity,
coffee and bread with sour plum jam.
Numbness of soul in placid neighborhoods.
Lives ticking on as if.

Adrienne Rich

B gets up and goes to the shower. Doesn’t close doors or draw curtains. The water runs vaporously, terrifyingly. Bends to open the blinds, the gown open.

—Dis-moi, what is the best?

—The best and the worst, like the Bukowski poem?

—For him, it was the whores, the beer. The worst: The work, the police stations, the terminals.

—Let’s see, the best is to bathe together. And your mother’s rice pudding.

—For me, the best is the light. Your skin, the hues, what I can’t manage to see, what I see too much of. Before and after, the nights at the Cinemateque, with Helmut Kautner. The photography course only-for-aficionados. The watery and hot cappuccinos on the little table beneath the fly trap: Electric trap for bugs, shaking us with each capture, zapping sound included. Without changing places, reading the tired, almost-never-happy faces of the regulars. We’re dying with disgust. More. The couples stopped by the window pane, faces of hand-holders looking for a place, some empty table for two. The estrangement always evoked by the discredit or that childish surprise over everything that at some point was drawn on its own face. Youthful exhibitors of daily stupidity, an expanded emptiness. The crazy guy with his Walkman moving his head, or paying attention in the dark hall to the fleeting hand that slides along the peeled walls of the stairways of Wong Kar-Wai. The waitresses vomiting their boredom into cups. A vomit of sorrow. Of lack of desire and insignificance.

—And what else?

—The alcohol burner and the saltpeter, one guitar-playing friend used to say. Linen clothes, sans doute. To read Bukowski on the toilet. To write dirty poems.

—Bob Dylan in halves: Midnight and half a bottle of whisky for two.

—Tim Burton poems in the Inbox.

—The best, j’insiste, does not include me?

—Let me see… What’s missing are new books, to hibernate under the blankets, the slippers from Quito…

—Count Basie. Your bedroom at three in the afternoon, if it was possible to isolate it from the telephone-streets-buses.

—Black tea, chocolate with cinnamon. Milord at the accordion, Edith on the speakers.

—Now you’re starting to include me.

After and before on the night buses, fuller than the moon and the bellies. The windows open, stained with collective sweat. To linger, watching a fat woman leaning on a grey, dirty wall. A tiny dress the color of skin, the bare skin coming out of the scanty, tight silk. The girl(s) of thirteen, the downy hair behind the neck, the back, the bony shoulders. Straps fallen from a blouse that holds in the hint of all-too noticeable areolas. (Just looking at her you get goose bumps. When a seat is free you take it, and fast, to be direct: Come, don’t you want to sit on me? And she does not hesitate: She leans back, her lightness taking your breath away.) The loose hairs the color of chamomile, or our braided knots. Both of our hairs messing up with the wind on our faces at the speed of the night. Her glances, lost inside the walls that remained, from rubble to rubble, searching for some color that does not exist, for some hue alive in appearance.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY AT SAMPSONIA WAY, HERE.

Translated by Juan O. Tamayo

The publication of this story is part of Sampsonia Way Magazine’s “CUBAN NEWRRATIVE: e-MERGING LITERATURE FROM GENERATION ZERO” project, in collaboration with Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, and a collection of authors writing from Cuba. You can read this story in Spanish here, and other stories from the project, here.

17 September 2013

“Catch and Release”: El Sexto (Danilo Maldonado) Arrested on Saturday, Released on Sunday, His Work Confiscated / Lia Villares, Danilo Maldonado

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 1.52.26 PMSaturday [18 May 2013]

El Sexto is raided at his home this afternoon at 1:15 pm, according to Alexandra his wife and owner of the apartment, who learned of it through an email from her dad who lives downstairs and saw men and women in uniform and in plainclothes, accompanied by 2 neighbors from the CDR [Committee for the Defense of the Revolution], and a major from MININT [Ministry of the Interior], in all about 5 people, they showed him a search warrent and confiscated his laptop, spray paints and all the works they found and took him away in a patrol car. As of now with destination unknown.

Translator’s note: This post and the following ones (now with earlier time stamps) together form a report on El Sexto’s (“the Sixth” — Danilo Maldonado) arrest, the search of his home and the confiscation of his belongings.

18 May 2013

Internet Access in Cuba / Lia Villares

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See a detail of Internet charges below.

[Note: The following is translated from the ETECSA (the Cuban telephone company) website. 1 CUC, with currency exchange costs, is less than $1 US.  Monthly salaries in Cuba for the most part do not exceed $20/month and may be well below that.]

Who can apply for service to access the Internet?

Service to access the Internet is offered to legal persons and foreign natural persons with temporary or permanent residence in Cuba. For now, the service is not offered to Cuban natural persons or foreigners resident in the exeterior who come as tourists to the island (they should access it through the navigation rooms), nor to the Cuban residental sector.

Who can access the Internet in the navigation rooms?

Public Internet access is offered in our country to foreign natural persons (tourists or residents on the island) in the navigation rooms located in airports, hotels and tourist installations, as well as in the [Centers...] belonging to ETECAS’s point of sale network. [A prepaid card is required.]

Who can access the Internet via WiFi?

WiFi Internet access is exclusively for foreign natural persons, residents or tourists…

What are the charges for Wifi in hotels with wireless coverage?

1 hour: 8.00 CUC [more than $8 US]
5 hours: 35.00 CUC
100 hours: 250.00 CUC

Monthly rates for commercial clients (CUC)

PACKET-SWITCHED
integrated services through digital web
Through
Analog-switched network
rate additional hour  rate additional hour
full internet navigation
Máximo 10 horas
20.00
5.00
15.00
5.00
Máximo 30 hrs
35.00
4.00
30.00
4.00
Máximo 40 hrs
40.00
3.00
Máximo 60 hrs
50.00
3.00
Máximo 80 hrs
70.00
2.00
60.00
2.00
Only 8.00 p.m. to 7.00 a.m.
(night plan)
70.00
70.00
International email and national navigation   
Máximo 15 hrs
15.00
3.00
15.00
3.00
Máximo 25 hrs
20.00
2.00
20.00
2.00
Máximo 60 hrs
35.00
1.00
35.00
1.00
National email and national navigation   
Máximo 20 hrs
10.00
1.00
10.00

1.00

Additional mailbox
10.00
10.00
International Corporate Email    
Máximo 20 hrs
25.00
4.00
15.00
5.00
Máximo 40 hrs
30.00
3.00
25.00
4.00
Máximo 100 hrs
55.00
2.00
45.00
3.00
National Corporate Email   
Máximo 20 hrs
15.00
3.00
10.00
3.00
Máximo 40 hrs
20.00
2.00
20.00
2.00
Máximo 100 hrs
40.00
1.00
40.00
1.00

Rates for Commercial Clients (CUC)

[Translator's note: These rates only apply to distances of 4 km. See below for the "add-on" charges for service over longer distances.]

SPEED
(Kbps)
CONTRACT
(IN YEARS)
Cost OF
instalLaTiOn
MONTHLY
COST
 64 1 año 1.500,00 9.000,00
3 años 1.500,00 8.500,00
5 años 1.500,00 8.250,00
10 años 1.500,00 8.000,00
 128 1 año 1.500,00 13.000,00
3 años 1.500,00 12.500,00
5 años 1.500,00 12.250,00
10 años 1.500,00 12.000,00
 256 1 año 1.500,00 22.500,00
3 años 1.500,00 22.000,00
5 años 1.500,00 21.750,00
10 años 1.500,00 21.500,00
 512 1 año 1.500,00 30.500,00
3 años 1.500,00 30.000,00
5 años 1.500,00 29.750,00
10 años 1.500,00 29.500,00
 1024 1 año 2.500,00 46.500,00
3 años 2.500,00 46.000,00
5 años 2.500,00 45.750,00
10 años 2.500,00 45.500,00
 2048 1 año 2.500,00 72.000,00
3 años 2.500,00 71.500,00
5 años 2.500,00 71.250,00
10 años 2.500,00 71.000,00

The local urban distance refers to a local perimeter (up to 4km). If the distance to the International Center is farther than 4 km, corresponding sums are added to this rate corresponding to the distance of the interconnection, defined in the rates of the national link.

For example, a Point-to-Point international circuit of 2 Mbps for one year, between Cuba and Canada, would have a monthly rate of:

72,000.00 CUC + 27,000.00 CUC = 99,000.00 CUC
(Cuba stretch)     (Canada stretch)     (Total)