With More Travelers, Cuban Customs Heightens Control / 14ymedio

Havana's Airport (14ymedio)
Havana’s Airport (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 24 June 2016 – Cuba’s General Customs of the Republic has announced that it will strengthen the infrastructure of detection in air and sea terminals throughout this year to counter “phenomena such as drug trafficking, violations of the security of the country and smuggling of endemic species,” according to a report in the official press on Friday.

Moraima Rodríguez Nuviola, assistant director of Customs Control Systems, in a meeting with the press on Thursday, highlighted the need to strengthen “risk management, the preparation of forces, and the acquisition and mastery of modern technologies.” Continue reading “With More Travelers, Cuban Customs Heightens Control / 14ymedio”

Another Sunday Of Repression For The Ladies In White / 14ymedio

A group of Ladies in White march down Fifth Avenue in Havana. (Archive)
A group of Ladies in White march down Fifth Avenue in Havana. (Archive)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 12 June 2016 – This Sunday there was, again, a operation around the Ladies in White headquarters in the Lawton area of Havana, organized by the National Revolutionary Police (PNR), State Security agents and civilians called up for Rapid Response Brigades.

Lady in White Luisa Ramona Tuscany told 14ymedio via phone that “as they left the house” at 2:00 pm all of them were harassed by “mobs” and that they were arrested “while shouting slogans and carrying their banners.” Continue reading “Another Sunday Of Repression For The Ladies In White / 14ymedio”

Cuba Must End “Apartheid Against Its Citizens” / Oscar Arias, Laura Chinchilla

Oscar Arias and Laura Chinchilla, signed the appeal along with dozens of Latin Americans. (TicoVisión)
Oscar Arias and Laura Chinchilla, signed the appeal along with dozens of Latin Americans. (TicoVisión)

The undersigned, Latin Americans and diverse in our allegiances, professions and interests, but united by a common aspiration for freedom, democracy, equality and well-being throughout the hemisphere, address our fellow citizens and governments, especially those in Cuba, to express the following:

We celebrate the growing process of normalization in Cuban-American relations and the willingness of other democratic states to increase their interaction with the authorities in Havana. We see an opportunity in this process to encourage a greater inclusion of Cuba in the world and to improve the living conditions of its citizens. Continue reading “Cuba Must End “Apartheid Against Its Citizens” / Oscar Arias, Laura Chinchilla”

About the Racist Text That Appeared in the Havana Tribune/ Victor Fowler

Victor Fowler
Victor Fowler

Victor Fowler Calzada, Havana, 30 March 2016 – Contemporary journalism in Cuba will bear, for a long time, the shame of a commentary titled, “Negro, are you Swedish,” that appeared today in the online edition of the Havana Tribune under the signature of Elias Argudín, in the opinion section.

One is left almost paralyzed on realizing that someone thinks to make a joke by talking this way, and we awake in the land of hallucinations to discover that the “Negro” in question is none other than Barack Obama, the President of the United States who just visited us. Continue reading “About the Racist Text That Appeared in the Havana Tribune/ Victor Fowler”

Obama Drops in on a Game of Dominoes in Havana

Before Obama’s visit he appeared on Cuba’s most popular comedy show, “direct from the White House,” and while he was in Havana, he dropped in, in person.

Miriam Celaya had this to say about the earlier episode:

In fact, the talk in Havana is Barack Obama’s daring appearance in the comedy show with the greatest TV audience in the country, Deja que Yo te Cuente, with Epifanio Pánfilo as its main popular character, played by comedian Luis Silva. No doubt it is the most original way he has conceived to reach every household in Cuba, and Cubans are fascinated with that perspective. The natural and easy way Obama has chosen to mingle with Cubans contrasts stridently with the distant and hardbound historical leaders and their claque. It is known that autocrats not only remain isolated in a world that is unattainable for the ordinary Cuban, but that they also don’t know how to smile.

Here is the pre-trip episode:

Declaration from Cuba’s Independent Civil Society in Advance of Obama’s Visit to the Island

Declaration from Cuba’s Independent Civil Society
19 March 2018

The March 20 to 22 visit [to Cuba] of Mr. Barack Obama, president of the United States, in the company of his wife, Mrs. Michelle Obama, closes a cycle of political boldness and has led to and signifies a new era in the Americas.

This historic turning point with Cuba began 17 December 2014 and was greeted and supported by the majority of its citizens, while it generated a logical environment of controversies outside and inside the more than 45 independent activist organizations that were working in the Democratic Action Unity Roundtable (MUAD), among which are those leading the Citizen Platform #Otro18 (Another 2018) and the Civil Society Open Forum, along with other Continue reading “Declaration from Cuba’s Independent Civil Society in Advance of Obama’s Visit to the Island”

Mistaken Focus Hinders Cuban Dialogue / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos

Since 1959, the rebel group that capitalized on the triumph of the Revolution began to question anyone who disputed their decisions. (Historical Archives)
Since 1959, the rebel group that capitalized on the triumph of the Revolution began to question anyone who disputed their decisions. (Historical Archives)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 23 February 2016 – As of early 1959, the rebel group that capitalized on the democratic revolutionary win against the Batista dictatorship began labeling as counterrevolutionaries anyone who questioned their decrees, policies and decisions, without differentiating between those who did it through healthy dialog – including from their own ranks – and those who openly and violently confronted them.

The fight for the restoration of democratic institutions was what had united the Cuban people at that time. The trigger that divided the large anti-Batista coalition was the interest of the rebel leaders to prioritize social and economic transformations and to postpone, indefinitely, the holding of elections and the establishment of a democratically elected government based on the 1940 Constitution. Continue reading “Mistaken Focus Hinders Cuban Dialogue / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos”

Havana’s Beach 16 / 14ymedio

Playita 16 in Havana. (14ymedio)
Playita 16 in Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 2 February 2016 — There has never been a beach, but a piece of coast full of pieces of concrete. However, this part of the Havana coastline that everyone calls “Playita 16” (Little Beach 16) is a place filled with memories for several generations of Cubans. Free, ugly, and lacking food services and bathrooms, this conjunction of rock and sea has witnessed rockers, frikis, emos, the poverty-stricken and countless couples in love.

At a time when most of the social centers along the western coastline were for the military or people associated with institutions, this was a place for teenagers looking for a little piece of freedom they didn’t find at home or at school. There were frequent police raids and the vans “loaded with people” heading to the closest police stations. It was also a departure point for dozens of rafters during the Rafter Crisis of August 1994.

Today, despite competition from other meeting sites such as G Street and the emergence of a nice scene beyond the state establishments, Playita 16 has managed to preserve its status as a “place for everyone.” Nothing in it infrastructure has improved and at night, the regulars complain, “you can’t see your hand in front of your face.” But none of that discourages those who frequent it. Of course, to swim there you have to wear shoes, taking care at the edge of the reef, and keep a sharp eye on your towel because of the ever-present thieves.

Cuban Police Demolish The Roof Of An Evangelical Church In Camagüey / 14ymedio

Operativo-policial-afueras-Yiorvis-Bravo_CYMIMA20160108_0015_16

14ymedio, Camaguey, 8 January 2015 – The police, on Friday, demolished the roof of an evangelical church in Camagüey, according to Fernando Vázquez Guerra, coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in the province. The center of worship, at number 27 Fourth Street in the Versalles neighborhood, is led by pastor Bernardo de Quesada Salomon, founder of Apostolic Move, a Christian movement that separated from the Cuban Council of Churches in 2003.

Police agents stormed the pastor’s house at dawn, and violently arrested him and took him to the police station on Avellaneda Street, near the railroad station, according to the evangelical pastor Alexis Segundo Medina, who lives in Camaguey.

Several independent journalists and activists have reported police raids and cuts to their phone service to prevent them from approaching the Versalles neighborhood, according to Henry Constantin, a contributor to 14ymedio, who commented before he was arrested for trying to leave his house. Continue reading “Cuban Police Demolish The Roof Of An Evangelical Church In Camagüey / 14ymedio”

Obama Will Travel To Cuba In 2016 If He Can Meet With Dissidents / EFE-14ymedio

The US president, Barack Obama. (White House)
The US president, Barack Obama. (White House)

14ymedio biggerEFE, via 14ymedio, 14 December 2015 — The US President Barack Obama hopes to visit Cuba in 2016, his last year in office, but he only make the trip if he is assured he can meet with dissidents on the island, he said in an interview with Yahoo released Monday.

“If I go on a visit [to Cuba], then part of the deal is that I get to talk to everybody,” Obama said in the interview, conducted on the eve of the first anniversary of the announcement of the start of the process of normalization of relations between the United US and Cuba.

“I’ve made very clear in my conversations directly with President [Raul] Castro that we would continue to reach out to those who want to broaden the scope for, you know, free expression inside of Cuba,” he said. Continue reading “Obama Will Travel To Cuba In 2016 If He Can Meet With Dissidents / EFE-14ymedio”

Cuban Activists Celebrate The Victory Of The Venezuelan Opposition / 14ymedio

Venezula's Democratic Unity Roundtable opposition alliance won an absolute majority, according to official data (Fotograma)
Venezula’s Democratic Unity Roundtable opposition alliance won an absolute majority, according to official data (Fotograma)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 7 December 2015 – Satisfaction in the triumph of the opposition, words of encouragement to the great loser of the contest, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro: these, respectively, were the reactions in Cuba among democracy activists and the ruling party. While Cuban activists celebrated the absolute majority of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), Raul Castro took note of the results and limited himself to predicting “new victories of the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution.”

Cubans were able to listen live to the reading of the first election returns on the Telesur channel, after midnight, in the voice of the president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena.

Cuban Catholic activist Dagoberto Valdes believes that these results are “a great triumph of democracy, a sign of the political maturity of the Venezuelan people.” The director of the magazine Convivencia believes “it is clearly the beginning of a new stage in the life of these people and I wish them progress, freedom and democracy.”

Manuel Cuesta Morua, leader of the Progressive Arc, also refers to the vote on Sunday as a “magnificent exercise in democracy Continue reading “Cuban Activists Celebrate The Victory Of The Venezuelan Opposition / 14ymedio”

SOS: Angel Santiesteban Arrested

A few minutes ago I received a call from a relative of Angel Santiesteban-Prats to inform me that at noon Angel was arrested again. Upon contact with his family, they still did not know why he was arrested and what he is accused of.

He said he would call later in the afternoon and still they have no news of him.

We imagine that it is a reprisal from Castro’s regime for having denounced the life-threatening danger political prisoner Lamberto Hernández Planas is in, on hunger strike, for having been the victim of a new maneuver by the State Security to revoke his parole and prevent his work as an independent journalist.

Once again, as usual for almost three years now, we hold the dictator Raul Castro responsible for the life and integrity of Angel Santiesteban-Prats.

As soon I have news, I will keep updating.

Thanks for passing this on.

Angel’s Editor

Translated by: Rafael

4 November 2015