Committee on the Rights of the Child Queries the Government of Cuba Regarding the Sale of Children and Child Pornography

 

Committee on the Rights of the Child70th Session – 2015, Draft Program

Review of States Parties’ Reports

List of questions relative to the briefing presented by Cuba by virtue of Article 8, Paragraph 1, of the Optional Protocol of the Convention for the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

It is requested of the State Party that it present in writing additional and updated information (maximum 15 pages), if possible, prior to 20 August, 2015.

In the dialogue with the State Party, the Committee can address all aspects of the rights of the child referred to in the Optional Protocol.

1. Please provide recent statistical data for children and adolescents up to the age of 18 years (disaggregated by sex, age, ethnic origin, and rural or urban areas), regarding the number of: Continue reading

Antonio G. Rodiles of Estado de Sats Arrested and Beaten / Hablemos Press, Arian Guerra Perez

Hablemos Press, Arian Guerra Pérez, Havana, 6 July, 2015 – Political activist Antonio G. Rodiles, director of Estado de SATS, was beaten this Sunday by Cuban State Security agents, according to activist sources.

Rodiles had to have surgery at General Calixto García University Hospital in Havana because of the fracture, said Ailer María González Mena, his wife. Continue reading

Cuban Police Arrest More Than 220 Dissidents, According To Activists / Hablemos Press, Roberto de Jesús Guerra

The most arrests took place on Sunday in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba

The most arrests took place on Sunday in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba

Hablemos Press, Roberto de Jesús Guerra Peréz, Havana, 29 June 2015 — Offices of the National Police, the Department of State Security, and other members of the Interior Ministry arrested at least 226 Cuban activists and dissidents this past Sunday, 28 June, 2015.

Police operations were carried out in various provinces of the country to keep activists and opposition members from attending Mass.

Among those arrested in Havana were Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White Movement, Antonio G. Rodiles, director of Estado de SATS; José Díaz, of Opponents for a New Republic Movement; photographer Claudio Fuentes; and several of the former political prisoners who were released in January 2015. Continue reading

Profile of a Father / Mario Lleonart

Right about now, on this Father’s Day, Raúl Borges Álvarez is surely living something similar to what he has been suffering for 17 years, petitioning the prison where one of his two sons is held which will not even concede the possibility of letting him out on parole, to which he is entitled by law — all because of blasted politics!

At Havana’s Santa Rita Church — as at various other churches across the country — mothers, sisters, daughters and friends of many other political prisoners penalized for political differences attempt to gather each Sunday to attend Mass and later march, each holding a gladiolus. According to the latest statistics from the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), there are around 71 prisoners on the known list. The women who march for them are known as the Ladies in White. Continue reading

The Secret To Good Frijoles Negros / Regina Coyula

Regina Coyula, 19 June 2015 — Indispensable to any feast, everyone adds his or her own secret ingredient to the basic recipe for tomato-less sofrito*: the proportion of cumin, the cooking time over a low flame to congeal the bean, the sprinkle of dry wine, the pinch of sugar–in short, there are as many secrets as there are recipes.

I love black beans but, when in Barcelona I was invited to lunch at the Frijoles Negros Restaurant, I was alarmed: It didn’t seem proper to travel so far to eat what is routine fare here. However, Jorge, my nice host, managed set my mind at ease.

A semi-hidden location at No. 146 Carrer de Bruc street, almost at the corner with the busy Avenue Diagonal, houses this exquisitely designed spot that in no way recalls the accompanying themes of Cuban cuisine. White is the predominant color, with black/gray and red touches here and there, reproductions of Xavier Cugat posters, and that’s it. Continue reading

The Reestablishment of Civil Society: An Unavoidable Necessity / Dimas Castellanos

Dimas Castellanos, 10 April 2015 — If by “civil society” we mean a group of autonomous associations, public spaces, rights, and liberties by which citizens exchange opinions, make decisions and participate in political, economic and social matters that interest them–with no more authorization than what emanates from the laws of the land–then we need to agree that this institution existed in Cuba since colonial times, developed during the Republic, disappeared after 1959, and is now in a process of resurgence.

Early Existence

Starting in the first half of the 19th century, illustrious figures such as Father Félix Varela, who called the constitutional studies program at the San Carlos seminary a “curriculum of liberty and the rights of man” and strove to provide an education in virtues; José Antonio Saco, who from the Revista Bimestre Cubana (Cuban Bimonthly Magazine) generated debates that fostered civic consciousness; Domingo Delmonte who, when this medium and other spaces were closed down, found in conversational gatherings a way of continuing the debates without official authorization; and José de la Luz y Caballero, who devoted himself to civic education as a premise of social change, with their labors forged the field for citizen participation. Continue reading

Access to International Banks: Cuba’s True Objective in These Negotiations / Juan Juan Almeida

Josefina Vidal, Cuban negotiator

Josefina Vidal, Cuban negotiator

Juan Juan Almeida, 25 May 2015– For many, it was a surprise that the United States and Cuba should conclude its new round of negotiations without achieving the expected agreement, the reopening of new embassies–more so when both delegations described the recently concluded meeting as “respectful, professional, and highly productive.”

Thus does the Island’s government operate; it maneuvers with painstaking craftiness any process that entails sociopolitical transcendence for the country.

I hope (although at times I doubt it) that the US State Department and US authorities involved in these proceedings clearly understand that not Josefina Vidal–member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and director for the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations director for relations with the United States–nor José Ramón Cabañas, chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, nor any other member of the Cuban delegation, have decision-making authority. They are simply employees who have been given precise instructions: explore the actions and reactions of their counterparts, buy time, maximize media coverage (which they easily do because all media around the world are covering the big story), and show toughness. Continue reading

Why The Beatings? / Mario Lleonart

Mario Lleonart, 5 June 2015 — Beatings of peaceful demonstrators in Havana have been in the news for eight consecutive Sundays. In one of the first rounds, the son of the labor leader Jesús Menéndez was dragged for several yards along the ground with no concern for his advanced age.

On the seventh Sunday, between beatings and more beatings, it was obvious that another attempt was made to kill Raúl Borges Alvarez, this time with a sure blow to the chest–no matter (or, actually, because of) his having undergone heart surgery. Continue reading

Ground Turkey / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 21 June 2015 — When a country’s Minister of Finance and Pricing devotes part of his time to setting the value of ground turkey according to the percentage of fat it contains, and to reducing by 10 cents per Convertible Peso (CUC) the price of imported rugs–besides having to publish this in the Official Gazette and get a journalist to write an article about it–it makes me feel like I am living in Macondo, the hallucinatory town in One Hundred Years of Solitude, the novel by Gabriel García Márquez, where the most absurd things would occur.

Despite its questionable record, I thought that this governmental agency was a bit more serious, and that it occupied itself with more important matters. Besides, in this adjustment of the price of ground turkey, the consumer loses: what used to cost 1.10 CUC for the meat with less fat, now costs 1.70 CUC. That is, within this adjustment there was what we call a bola escondida [i.e. a “hidden ball,” which means to succeed through subterfuge], which, as was to be expected, the journalist does not mention in his article.

There is no doubt: our official press, generally dense, tiresome and repetitive political rants, at times, with help from governmental agencies, can turn out to be even humorous.

Best Wishes to All Fathers on Their Day!

Translator: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

 

Enemies Of Their People / Hablemos Press, Eduardo Herrera Duran

Dr. Eduardo Enrique Herrera

Dr. Eduardo Enrique Herrera

Hablemos Press, Eduardo Herrera Duran, Havana, 19 June 2015 — While conversing with a friend, he tells me that his friend told him, “You are speaking with an enemy of the Revolution.” My friend confessed to me that he really does not know who the true enemy is, if it is I, or those who label me that way.

Labels such as these — counterrevolutionary, worm, salaried employee of the empire — and others, are used contemptuously about anyone who expresses a view contrary to the Cuban government. A regime that has been in power for more than 56 years without rule of law and with only one party, controls everything!

Since 1959, the so-called Revolutionary government took power and began fomenting hatred against anyone who was not in favor of it. This divisiveness took over everyone, even affecting families in which some members were not sympathizers of the regime.

Thus did hatred grow, and the rejection of other Cubans who criticize the government and its followers. These Cubans have the right to differing thoughts and opinions, without having their patriotism called into question. Citizens throughout the world, even if they think differently, have the same right.

I see how mistreated are people on the Island who oppose the regime. We have as an example the beatings inflicted on the Ladies in White, and other opposition members, who have their own opinions and express them with courage.

Individuals like them, who demand the reestablishment of true democracy in Cuba — despite the abuse and indifference they endure from many other Cubans — wage an open struggle.

There needs to be a true evaluation of who are the so-called enemies.

Those who join with the government and defend its continuation in power do not consider the miserable salaries and poor living conditions of the great majority of the population.

Despite the propaganda machine claiming that education and health care are “free,” we pay a high cost for them.

Those who call us enemies should stop and think: Who, really, are the enemies?

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Forty-Seven Opposition Members Meet In Havana, No Arrests Reported / Hablemos Press, Lisbán Hernández Sánchez

The purpose of the meeting was to show audiovisuals of various struggles

The purpose of the meeting was to show audiovisuals of various struggles

Hablemos Press, Lisbán Hernández Sánchez, Havana, 19 June 2015 — Despite a show of force, Cuban police did not arrest activists of four different opposition groups who on June 15 took part in an audiovisual workshop.

For the activists, it was strange that there were no reported detentions, as has occurred on other occasions with a smaller number of participants.

The activists attending the meeting were from the Opposition Movement for a New Republic (MONR), the Democracy Movement (MD), the National Resistance Front (FNR), and the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). Continue reading

Computerization The Old-Fashioned Way / Dimas Castellanos

The Information Society (IS) is an effect of a process of convergence among technological advances, the democratization of information, and communications, which erupted in the 1980s with such force that it caused the United Nations to call a world summit on information, which took place in the Swiss city of Geneva in 2003. At this summit, a Declaration of Principles and a Plan of Action were adopted, whose principal beneficiaries are individual persons who have the training for intelligent and creative use of modern technologies, without which social and cultural progress would be impossible.

Among the demands of the new information technologies, arising from their transformative character, is the need for immediacy when introducing them. One peculiarity that distinguished Cuba since the colonial period: the steam engine, patented in 1769, was introduced into Cuban sugar production almost immediately. The railroad, inaugurated in 1825, linked together the towns of Havana and Bejucal in 1837. The telegraph, which sent the first long-distance message in 1844, initiated its first line in Cuba nine years later.

Continue reading