Tomorrow, July 10: 20 Minutes of Silence for 20 Years of Impunity

CUBA: Young Leaders Group, Center for a Free Cuba and the Cuban Democratic Directorate Call for Twenty Minutes of Silence for Twenty Years of Impunity

Washington DC. July 8, 2014. Human rights and civil society organizations have called for a symbolic nonviolent protest action in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the murder of 37 Cuban passengers of the “13 de Marzo” Tugboat, who on July 13, 1994 were killed by agents of the Cuban government for trying to escape the island.

The demonstration will take place on July 10 at 12:00 noon outside of the Cuban Interests Section located on 2630 16th Street NW in Washington DC.

Human rights activists, members of international civil society and Cuban exiles will gather in front of the embassy in order to hold twenty minutes of silence for each of the twenty years that this crime has remained unpunished. Continue reading

Cuban Architect Mario Coyula Cowley Dies

mcoyula070714In the early hours of Monday, architect Mario Coyula (16 June 1935 to 7 July 2014), winner of the National Architecture Award, died of cancer, according to the island’s official press.

Born in 1935, Coyula directed CUJAE’s School of Architecture, he was the Director of Architecture and Urbanism for Havana, for the Group for the Integral Development of the Capital, and first president of the Havana Monuments Commission.

Among the “most notorious” of the works he participated in was the Mausoleum of the March 13th Heroes, located in the Colón Cemetery, as well as the Martyrs Park at Infanta and San Lazaro, “considered the first major monument after te triumph of the Revolution.”

He also did the Duplex House in the Camilo Cienfuegos City School and the conversion of the of the former Caballero Funeral Home into a House of Culture. Continue reading

“Indiscipline” Unites* Us / Fernando Damaso

The Electric Union (UNE), considered a Socialist State Great Enterprise, offers citizens some really original services, regardless of whether or not they are requested. Among them are:

Programmed weekly defrosting of refrigeration equipment through power cuts of eight hours or more, to avoid their clients having to be concerned with and waste their precious time with such trivial matters.

Destruction of trees in streets and cities through indiscriminate and savage pruning, to avoid unscrupulous people undertaking this on their own account. Continue reading

Open Letter to President Obama on Cuba: Support Civil Society in Cuba

Editor’s note: As this letter is the source of much discussion and debate, we are providing an easily accessible copy (that you don’t have to download), for our readers’ convenience.

May 19, 2014

Dear Mr. President,

Your administration has taken several important steps to support the Cuban people by opening travel for Cuban-American families, expanding remittances, and enabling purposeful travel for more Americans. Those policies have fostered direct contacts between the United States and the Cuban people, provided a lifeline for average Cubans, and empowered Cuban civil society. As a result, Cuban society and U.S. society are sharing more information and are more connected today than in the past fifty years.

Now more than ever the United States can help the Cuban people determine their own destiny by building on the U.S. policy reforms that have already been started. Such efforts would seek to provide openings and opportunities to support the Cuban people in their day-to-day economic activities, and in their desire to connect openly with each other and the outside world and to support the broad spectrum of civil society, independent, non-state organizations created to further individual economic and social needs irrespective of political orientation. Doing so not only promises to deepen the contacts between the U.S. and Cuban society, it will also help Cubans increase their self-reliance and independence. Continue reading

The First Book of the End of Castroism / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Cuban dissident and opposition party leader Oswaldo Payá in an interview before his death. Photo: Tracey Eaton

Cuban dissident and opposition party leader Oswaldo Payá in an interview before his death. Photo: Tracey Eaton

The Madrid publisher Anaya has just released the first book of the end of Castroism—that is, of Castroism understood as a myth perpetuated by the intellectual left. From now on, one cannot sympathize with the Castro dynasty without also becoming a criminal collaborator.

The book is called Muerte bajo sospecha (Death Under Suspicion) and it contains the testimony of Ángel Carromero, the young Spanish politician who witnessed a double State assassination in Cuba on July 22, 2012. In the attach, both the human rights activist Harold Cepero and Oswaldo Payá, founder of the Christian Liberation Movement and winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2002, were killed.

Two years ago, on July 22, Carromero was driving a rental car from Havana towards Santiago de Cuba, accompanied by the Swedish politician Aron Modig and the Cubans, Cepero and Payá. A little after midday, they were rammed off the road by another car. Nobody was injured. A group of unidentified men in plain clothing descended on them immediately. The foreign men were taken in separate vans to Bayamo Hospital which was already occupied by army officers and the police. Hours later, Cepero and Payá were dead. The identities of the men who transported the two survivors has never been revealed by the Cuban government. A few months later, during the trial that sentenced Carromero to four years in jail for “negligent homicide,” there was no investigation into the unidentified men. Continue reading

Raul Castro’s Son-in-Law Rises to General

Luis Alberto Rodríguez López Calleja, Raúl Castro’s son-in-law

Cubanet, 19 March 2014 –A son-in-law of Cuban leader Raul Castro, in charge of the military businesses that dominate the economy on the island, has risen to general, according to a report today in the south Florida’s El Nuevo Herald.

Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas, barely over 50, who for a long time has been identified Colonel in the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), was identified as a brigadier general in a January 29th report on the website Cubadefense, a  publication of the FAR, according to the Herald.

Rodríguez directed the Business Administration Group S.A. (GAESA), the business branch of the FAR–the armed forces controls 80 percent o the Cuban economy, including hotels, factories, restaurants and airlines–and he belongs to the Communist Party Central Committee.

Rodríguez López-Callejasis also is in charge of the development project for some billion dollars of the Port of Mariel to the west of Havana, a strategic attempt by Cuba to reinsert itself in the global economy with the help of $800 million in Brazilian financing.

Rodríguez, married to Raul Castro’s eldest daughter, Deborah Castro Espín, is seen by many as one of the most powerful and ambitious men in all of Cuba.

19 March 2014

Gossip from Cyberspace / Juan Juan Almeida

Josué Colomé Vázquez

According to the blog “Cuba al Descubierto” (Cuba Uncovered), edited by Mr. Luis Dominguez and specializing in Cuban curiosities, recently arrived in Miami after crossing the Mexican border and asking the US authorities for refuge, is a young Havanan named Josué Colomé Vázquez, and the question many are asking is what’s so special about a Cuban crossing the border and asking for asylum in the United States.

Well, the first is that although entering the United States by this route is a common practice, it’s considered illegal. The second, and more interesting one, is that the so pompous Josué is the son of the Cuban vice-president and Minister of the Interior General Abelardo Colome Ibarra. So it’s all perfectly normal, exiled and emigrated will return to Havana; and the children of the elite will continue to increase in la Yuma (the US of A).

27 March 2014