Mexico Will Send Cuba Two Ships With Medical Supplies and Food

SEMAR [Secretariat of the Navy] personnel ready the boats with aid to be sent to Cuba. (Video Capture)
14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico, 23 July 2021 — This Sunday, Mexico will send two vessels of the Secretariat of the Navy to Cuba with health aid such as syringes, T-type oxygen tanks with 9,500 liters and mouth coverings, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) said in a statement.

The shipment also includes foodstuffs — powdered milk, beans, wheat flour, cans of tuna, cooking oil — and diesel. The agency said that the assistance sent is “in line with the Mexican Government’s policy of international solidarity.”

The SRE’s announcement came on the same day that the U.S. government toughened its measures towards the island by sanctioning the Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (FAR), Alvaro Lopez-Miera, and the elite military unit known as the boinas negras [Black Berets], who it held responsible for the repression of the continue reading

anti-government protests of July 11 in Cuba.

In them, thousands of people shouted “freedom,” “down with the dictatorship,” and “homeland and life,” in the midst of an unprecedented economic and health crisis, and hundreds of people, including some minors, were arrested.

The government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has expressed its opposition to the U.S. sanctions and has called for them to be lifted.

Regarding the embargo on Cuba, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, after participating in a meeting of the United Nations (UN) Security Council in mid-July, said: “The blockade on Cuba and other countries where extreme sanctions are applied are causing serious impacts in terms of suffering and humanitarian conditions that we should all respect.”

With the dispatch of the two vessels, the Mexican Foreign Minister pledged to send more oxygen and Mexican-made respirators, used during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, if needed.

Translated by: Hombre de Paz

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Cuba’s Foreign Minister Blames U.S. for ‘Terrorist Act’ Against Cuban Embassy in Paris

When Paris firefighters arrived at the embassy, the fire had been put out. (Embassy of Cuba)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, July 27, 2021 — The Cuban Embassy in Paris was the target last night of an attack with several incendiary devices that left minor damage, according to the French capital’s fire department. The Cuban Government, which has described the act as a “terrorist attack,” holds the U.S. Administration responsible for its “campaigns against” the Island.

“Terrorist acts like this are incited by the campaigns of the United States Government against our country, instigating actions and resorting to violence,” the Cuban Embassy in France said in a statement.

The attack took place at the Cuban diplomatic headquarters, located in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, shortly before midnight on July 26-27.

Foreign Ministry sources indicated that three Molotov cocktails were thrown: two struck the outside of the embassy and one penetrated it, causing a fire that was put out by mission officials. continue reading

Firefighters and police subsequently went to the scene and reported that “the two devices, which caused minor damage, were extinguished before their arrival.”

Diplomatic staff at the Embassy were not injured.

“We denounce the terrorist attack with Molotov cocktails against our Embassy in Paris. I hold the US Government responsible for its continuous campaigns against our country,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez also said on Twitter.

No one has so far acknowledged responsibility for the attack.

Translated by Tomás A.

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Social Media Rallies for the Release of Cuban Who Shared First Live Video Of July 11th Protests

Yoan de la Cruz shared the first live video of the July 11th protests. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, July 26th, 2021 — Yoan de la Cruz, who shared the live broadcast of the first protests in San Antonio de los Baños that sparked the demonstrations all over the island, was arrested last Friday, according to reports from his family and friends on social media.

“He is my nephew, a really good kid, whose only crime to record from his house the protest that took place July 11th in San Antonio de los Baños. He has been in prison for two days. My sister and we all are having a really hard time jut thinking in what they must be doing to him,” wrote Ivis Cruz, the aunt of the Cuban young man, on Twitter this past Sunday.

Several friends had already started to share the same message, barely a few hours after the arrest, demanding his release on social media, and vindicating his role in the unprecedented protests that have shaken the island in the past two weeks.

“Yoan de la Cruz, Cuban from Ariguanabo, but even more, the courageous young man whom with a cell phone and a few megas, showed the entire world that San Antonio de los Baños might be a small town, but it is full of brave people like him, that are fed up with continue reading

living imprisoned and took on the streets screaming for ’FREEDOM’. Release him now, cowards! You think you’re all so powerful and a young man with a phone on his hands shakes the house of cards where you live.”

Another friend, a transgender known as Vida Bohemia, has also demanded De la Cruz’s release, and considers it a great injustice that a peaceful individual that has not committed any violent crime is in prison. “He didn’t throw a stone, he didn’t break glass, he didn’t assault anyone, he didn’t yelled ’Down with anything’. Please, release him now. He has a mother, a grandmother, a family and thousands of friends that are suffering.”

Jhans Oscar, a youtuber from the LGBTI+ community, echoed the demands of Yoan de la Cruz friends and family, and this past Sunday what was a mere whisper on social media became breaking news in a matter of hours. “The guy who shared the first live video from the protests in San Anthonio de los Baños that went viral has been arrested. Right now he is wrongfully imprisoned by the dictatorship,” denounced Oscar on Twitter.

“We can’t allow anything to happen to him,” added the content creator.

Alejandro Díaz Jerez, a member of the San Antonio de los Baños Facebook group, also posted about De la Cruz non-violent behavior last Sunday, when the wave of protests started in Cuba. “He is not a criminal, he is not a terrorist, let alone a mercenary paid by another country or organization, as the Cuban dictatorship has labeled him. We demand the immediate release of Yoan de la Cruz, and all those unjustly arrested.”

“The thousands of Cubans who marched on the streets last July 11th, and those who continue to protest in Cuba and in more than 45 cities all over the world, are demanding freedom despite the repression unleashed by the cowards in the armed forces. (De la Cruz) is not a discontented homosexual coming from a broken family nor a problematic traitor as the authorities on this island are trying to make you believe. (People protesting) are good people, with families and trying to make a living, tired of the archaic and obsolete, illogical and utterly failed communist system that has only brought us famine, misery, backwardness and major shortcomings. Its been the maximum expression of indoctrination for more than 60 years. Thank God the theater crashed down, and today the entire world knows the true reality of Cuban communism,” he added.

Fifteen days after the protests erupted, the government has not yet released an official list of the people arrested. The news about arrests or people released are just trickling down informally thanks to the amplifying power of social media.

Up until July 26th, the most updated list compiled from Cubalex included 689 people reported involved as detained or missing: 263 with confirmed arrests, 238 under verification process, 152 were detained and released and 36 reported as still forcibly missing.

Translated by: Mailyn Salabarria

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Spanish Ambassador to Cuba Attributes Popular Discontent to the ‘US Blockade’ and the Pandemic

Ángel Martín Peccis, Spain’s ambassador to Cuba. (EFE/Archivo)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, July 26, 2021 —  Ángel Martín Peccis, the Spanish ambassador to Cuba, attributed the protests in Cuba to the discontent that exists because of problems in finding medicine and food, a scarcity he chalks up to the pandemic and the “blockade” of the United States that “has lasted 62 years.” The diplomat didn’t want to strictly assess the demonstrations, following the words of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to what the Spanish newspaper Heraldo published this Monday.

Peccis, who arrived in Havana in November 2020 to replace Juan Fernández Trigo, explained that the island’s authorities have prioritized health over the economy, with very early closures when there were hardly cases of coronavirus, which has dealt a blow to the situation for the country and its families.

“Everything has been closed: restaurants, stores, tourism. After nine months of this, added to the blockade from the United States and the new measures taken by Trump, everything comes to a very difficult situation, which we believe will pass when the economy begins to reactivate,” said the ambassador, who believes that all of Latin America is experiencing a very difficult situation because of the pandemic. continue reading

In his statements, which he made during a recent visit to Zaragoza (capital of the Spanish region of Aragon, which he comes from), Peccis asked for prudence from his country’s politicians with the goal of maintaining good relations with the authorities on the island, where Spain has large commercial interests. He believes that the important thing is that the protests be peaceful, “the government can meet with its people and there will be no difficulties.”

In his judgment, “things have already calmed down a lot” and everything “will pass and continue to improve as the economy opens and people are vaccinated.” However, the opening of the economy and vaccination have coincided precisely with the opposite, an increase in infections and discontent in a society that grows more and more tired.

Yes, Peccis wanted to comment on the economic and business perspectives on the island, where, he recalled, Spanish hotels like Iberostar, Globalia, NH, and Meliá continue to invest. “There are going to be new projects that are estimated to begin as soon as Covid is controlled, at the end of the year or beginning of 2022,” he said. In his opinion, the Cuban government is convinced of economic openness and what was before a combination of state businesses with foreign ones will now join a private sector that will generate development.

“I think that it is going to be beneficial for the Cuban population, like is happening in Spain, to be able to have small and medium businesses and be autonomous, which will generate a lot of employment,” he said.

The ambassador insisted that good relations with the Cuban government are strategic and that they have been maintained throughout the years independent of what party was at the head of the Spanish government, as well as the position against the embargo, which is identical and in line with the European Union. Cuba, he maintained, must reform “without interference from anyone to be able to enjoy rights and freedoms.”

The diplomat participated in the forum organized by the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE) in Aragon, where the importance of the tourism sector for Cuba and Spain was discussed. Peccis defended the necessity of supplying food to the hotel sector on the island and how this is another business niche for his country. “Just now an Aragonese businessman can put an egg factory in Cuba and sell directly to the hotel sector,” he stated.

Although repercussions of the approval of the Helms-Burton law have in a certain manner frightened Spanish entrepreneurs, the ambassador maintained that there is a “real and legally secure opportunity” to invest in Cuba.

Other business owners participated in the event, including the directors of the company Pastas Romero, which has been exporting to Cuba for 24 years, who explained the manner in which they trade with the Island. Ignacio Santisteve, director of the international department, explained that it’s necessary to be very patient because there are no payment guarantees and consumption is irregular: “You can be waiting for months for government contracts, currency availability, and very regulated administrative procedures to be tendered,” he emphasized.

Nevertheless, their business has doubled since they began operations in the country and for that reason the background of the July 11 protests doesn’t matter to him much, he only hopes that they won’t be an obstacle. “With ongoing orders, we don’t expect to have problems. It’s true that there is a situation of uncertainty. However, we will try to continue taking advantage of the opportunities that this marvelous country continues to offer us,” he added.

Eduardo Monge, commercial director of Pagola Poliuretanos, which sells foam for chairs and mattresses to Cuba and which now seeks to enter the hospitality and construction sectors, also expressed his opinion on the repercussions of the wave of demonstrations this month on the island and believes that changes will come sooner or later. “The protests are an explosion of frustration over the dramatic situation that they have experienced. They have the political system that they have. But that will change. It’s almost inevitable.”

Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera

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Bad Streak for Cuban Generals: Four Have Died in a Week

Manuel Eduardo Lastres Pacheco was a native of Yara, in the province of Granma. (Government of Granma)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, July 26, 2021 – Reserve Brigadier General Manuel Eduardo Lastres Pacheco died this past Monday, according to a brief informational note released by the Ministry of the Armed Forces. He is the fourth high-ranking military officer to die in recent days in Cuba; the cause of death was not specified in any of the cases.

The statement with the information, read during the Midday News program on Cuban Television, recounted that Lastres was a native of Yara, in the province of Granma, joined Fidel Castro guerrillas in 1957, and was also under the command of Camilo Cienfuegos in Column Two, which carried out the invasion of western Cuba.

After Castro’s rise to power in 1959, Lastres served as a battalion chief in the fighting against the rebels in the Escambray region, also as an infantry division brigade chief of the Territorial Militia Troops (MTT). He was one of the senior officers who commanded Cuban troops in Angola. continue reading

The body of the general “was cremated and his ashes will be displayed for a family tribute on a date that will be announced in due course,” the note added.

This Saturday the official press also reported the death of Reserve Major General Rubén Martínez Puente, who died at the age of 79. Martínez had been indicted in the United States for the murder, on February 24, 1996, of four members of the Brothers to the Rescue organization, created to help rafters who escaped from the island.

The general was accused of having transmitted Raúl Castro’s order to fire missiles from Mig fighter planes of the Cuban Air Force, to shoot down the planes in which the exiles were traveling. The attack occurred over international waters, though the Cuban government claimed that the planes had entered the island’s airspace.

Last Tuesday, the official media reported the death of Reserve Brigadier General Marcelo Verdecia Perdomo, who was Fidel Castro’s bodyguard in the Sierra Maestra. And On Saturday, July 18, the death of another general was announced, the head of the Eastern Cuban Army, Agustín Peña (b. 1963) from undisclosed causes, but knowledgeable sources indicated that Covid-19 was the cause of his death.

Translated by Tomás A.

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Biden Opposes Cuban Communism

US President Joe Biden during a meeting at the White House on July 12th. (EFE/Sarah Silbiger/Pool)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 24 July 2021 — Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was tortured and killed by the Russian political police in 2009. He had denounced tax fraud for more than 200 million dollars in his native country. They killed him or left him to die in his cell. It’s the same thing.

In 2012, Democrat Senator Ben Cardin, with the support of Republican John McCain, presented a bill to the United States Congress that he entitled “Sergei Magnitsky’s Rule of Law Accountability Act.” It was signed by President Obama. As there is an American tendency to abbreviate the language, they have applied the “Global Magnitsky Act” to the Cuban state and have sanctioned General Álvaro López Miera, Minister of Defense, in charge of the armed forces and the feared Black Berets.

The Russians, led by Putin, have vigorously opposed the globalization of justice, but the trend continues. The idea that “we are the only ones who should judge our own crimes” does not work at all. It generates impunity. England, Canada and the Baltic countries are on board with the “Global Magnitsky Act.” Pretoria is studying it, along with France and Germany.

In any case, the first demand of the Cuban exiles to President Joe Biden was that he restore the internet to the Island of Cuba. It is known that, technologically, the United States continue reading

can do it.

But the second demand, according to María Werlau, the soul of “Archivo Cuba,” was that he implement the Global Magnitsky Act, and it seems that they have listened to her or have concurred. (I don’t know if the people who oppose globalization know that they are playing a game of cards shamelessly marked by Vladimir Putin.)

Many years ago, I received a message from Gustavo Arcos about General Álvaro López Miera. There were the names of other generals in the letter that I won’t reveal. Gustavo was a hero in the fight against Batista and later opposed his former friend Fidel Castro and ended up in jail.

Gustavo asked me to closely follow the figure of López Miera. I did so. He is from Santiago, although born in Havana, the son of Spanish Republicans, who had been semi-adopted by Vilma Espín and Raúl Castro. His father was a professor at the Universidad de Oriente. Supposedly, Alvaro was 14 years old (he was born in December 1943) when he rose up in arms, and then he pursued a military career in the USSR. “Vilma loved him like a son,” those who knew the ties between the two families told me.

I don’t know why Gustavo mentioned this name, but I find him once again accused as a repressor of the human rights of Cubans. For now, I remember Venezuelan General Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, former head of SEBIN. He went over to the enemy and the sanctions were lifted. There are two epigraphs that justify that wonderful Jordan. One is “genuine repentance” and the other, because, at the request of the President of the United States, it is convenient for National Security. I don’t know which of the two criteria were applied to the Venezuelan general. Perhaps both. Anyway, there is no doubt that the sanctions exist to be eventually lifted.

There won’t be an American invasion against Cuba, despite the wishes of the Cubans inside and outside the island, unless the resistance inside Cuba provokes a generalized massacre, abundantly filmed. Faced with these facts, for humanitarian reasons, American society can be dragged into combat, but it’s very difficult for it to happen. Not even Donald Trump ordered an intervention against Nicolás Maduro, despite having flirted with “all options are on the table.” Trump was playing to scare Maduro, but he didn’t talk seriously with his generals about the possibility of destroying the Venezuelan armed forces from the air, something that would have been very easy.

This outcome is only possible if the US takes seriously what is happening in Latin America and creates an organization like NATO in its hemisphere, but I don’t see the slightest intention of implementing political decisions with full force. Nor is there, in this part of the world, a will to defend democracy like the one observed in Europe, where the United States is forced to bomb the Serbs or Libyans from the air. We are used to living with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia and soon we will get used to Mr. Pedro Castillo in Peru.

That doesn’t mean that the Cuban regime is getting away with it. Despite what AMLO in Mexico or Mrs. Cristina in Argentina shout, the protests on July 11 and 12 have served to deny the dictatorship any significant support. The obscene images of young policemen and communist militants dressed in civilian clothes, arriving in buses and equipped with bats and sticks to silence the opposition, are unforgettable. That happened throughout the island.

Although the protests were drowned in blood, the few investments that will flow will be, for the most part, unholy money. No serious and law-abiding person will want to mix with that small world of criminals.

We are very close to the end. How will it come? In the same way that the revolt of mid-July began. Unexpectedly. But it will come.

Note: This translation is from Montaner’s own blog.
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Cuban Political Police Claim the Power to Vaccinate

The first few minutes with the young medical student were very uncomfortable. She was looking at her cell phone and I was looking at mine. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 23 July 2021 — Last night I was thinking over and over again that when morning dawned I would have to go to the doctor’s office to receive the third dose of the Abdala candidate vaccine. It would not be a problem for anyone to walk a hundred meters and receive an injection, but for the past 13 days I have had a State Security officer guarding the entrance of my house and preventing me from leaving.

This morning, at 9:40, I tried to leave my house but, when I reached the ground floor of the building, the policeman got up from his chair and repeated, mechanically: “You can’t go out.”

“Today I have to receive my third dose of Abdala so I must and will go out,” I replied. But the agent does not understand explanations. It was like trying to convince a wall. “If you have to go to the office, wait for me to call the patrol right now to take you,” he said.

“There’s no way I’m getting into a police car as if I were a criminal,” I replied. “Then I will go with you,” he answered.

The doctor’s is one block away, I opened the door of the building and went out. The man walked beside me, commented on the weather, and at fifty meters he told me that we had “different ideals.” I didn’t continue reading

answer him.

At 9:45 a.m. I arrived at the doctor’s office, a small room with several chairs and, in the same entrance, a table where a young second-year medical student had the task of taking the blood pressure and temperature of all those who arrive, before registering the name on a spreadsheet.

I asked who was the end of the line, a man answered me and I sat down. The young student told me that it was also necessary to wait at least ten minutes for the person to recover from the exertion of the walk. As I sat down, the officer approached the girl and said something in her ear, she got up and looked for the doctor. The upshot of that conversation was that I was told to walk past the dozen or so people who were waiting.

Annoyed, almost ashamed of having to skip the line, mostly elderly, I went to the doctor who asked for my identity card and vaccination card. After a few brief questions, he jabbed my shoulder with a syringe while I was still dumbfounded and annoyed. Then I was left to wait in another room for an hour to monitor any adverse reactions.

But State Security has its own protocols that do not obey medical or scientific logic. A few minutes after being there, the policeman burst into the room and said: “No, let’s go to your house now.”

The doctor ended up giving in to his pressure, gave me back the documents and again I walked the short distance that separated me from my house, with that impertinent shadow to one side.

Before entering the elevator, the police officer had the nerve to try to make amends for the violation of my privacy and the disrespect he had committed toward the health regulations: “Sorry for the bad time I put you through,” he said, while I was just thinking about my two daughters, trusting that their mother had only gone to “get a jab” and that I would return as soon as possible.

No sooner had I entered my apartment and without being able to process all that, they knocked on my door. On the other side were the State Security officer, the nurse, and the young medical student who had received me at the vaccination center. They asked me if it was possible to “monitor” my physical situation at home. The two women came in.

The nurse left and the first minutes with the young woman were very uncomfortable. She was looking at her cell phone and I was looking at mine. I offered her coffee but she declined, she says she doesn’t like it and she brought her thermos with water. We don’t talk much, we barely exchange a few words, cordial, routine. At 10:45 am the nurse came to pick her up and they left.

The State Security officer is still on the ground floor of the building, and I don’t know how many more days he will stay. Outside at the corner there is a patrol car ready in case I break out in an attack of rebellion and try to leave, despite the warnings. This is the context that surrounds me since July 11 when thousands of Cubans took to the streets to ask for just what I need now: Freedom.

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Open Letter From a Swedish Citizen to Miguel Diaz-Canel

The Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, in his television appearance on July 11. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Hans Lunell (Letters from Readers), Stockholm, 26 July 2021 — I am writing this letter from Sweden, one of the most developed countries in the world as it is free, democratic and capitalist. You live in one of the poorest and most unsuccessful countries in the world since there is no freedom, it is totalitarian and communist.

I do not write “president” because you were not elected but appointed, so you do not have any legitimacy as president. Nor do I write “doctor,” as I have not seen your thesis and I cannot judge if you deserve that title; I fear not. But “sir,” yes, this I can write, at least to identify your sex.

I am writing to you as a lover of Cuba for its climate, its nature, its architecture (what remains), its traditions, its music and its friendly people. But not  for its government, a government that has not been elected and therefore has the same lack of legitimacy as you. Everyone knows that the so-called elections in Cuba are just a sham.

You were named in 2018 as the crown prince of a country already bankrupt and torn to pieces by more than half a century of bad government. Since you took office, you have not been able to do more than increase poverty and misery in your country. However, the time has come to choose the future path. You have two options and the one you choose will decide how you will be remembered by your children, your grandchildren, your family, the Cuban people and the whole world. It is not a decision, then, to be taken lightly.

You can follow the same path as until today and you will be remembered as a puppet, a coward, a simple messenger carrying out the orders of those above. In other words, a buffoon who is becoming continue reading

more ridiculous and less dignified every day. This path is the path of repression, that of a totalitarian and tyrannical system that has already proven futile for many years, a system that brings misery to the people and fills the pockets of people who are already dying.

The other path, on the contrary, is that of a Bolívar, a Martí, a Gorbachev, with whom you can be remembered as a liberator, a hero, the man who opened the doors to a better future for his country and his people. It is the path to freedom, democracy, the market economy. It was the way of Cuba before the Revolution, when the Island was one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America.

To embark on this path, here are some tips:

First, review and change the Constitution, especially all the articles that refer to communism, Marxism, socialism and other similar denominations, including the idea of ​​the one party.

Second, call a fair referendum to set the new Constitution.

Third, allow the formation of different political parties and let them establish themselves with leaders and free programs.

Fourth, allow a campaign open to all parties on equal terms.

Fifth, allow elections with all parties and allow international organizations to monitor them.

Sixth, accept the result and let the winners form a new government.

It may be that there are some elderly generals and other hierarchs who do not agree with these measures. Then take them prisoner. There is always some Cuban law that can be applied. And if there is no room in the prisons, release all political prisoners. You will have a lot of space.

Do you have the courage to undertake this path?

Think ahead, not only for your country, but also for yourself. How do you want to be remembered by your children, your grandchildren, your family, the Cuban people and the whole world? With contempt and shame or with admiration and pride? The time to choose has come and it will not be repeated.

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Social Protests, the Embargo, and the Cuban Communist Regime

The Cuban dictatorship has militarized the streets of the island to prevent the protests from multiplying. (Twitter)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Elías Amor Bravo, Economist, July 26, 2021 – It’s easier to blame the US embargo or ’blockade’ for all the ills of the Cuban economy. And also to believe it. But this is nothing more than an irresponsible attitude, which has reached its end.

The Cubans who came out to protest on July 11, and who will do so again at another time, know that the problems in the economy are due to poor management by their leaders. they are through with excuses, and blaming others.

The propaganda of the regime through its media, sometimes suffocating, doesn’t get through to Cubans, who are ready to demand accountability as soon as the right moment arrives. People turn off the television when the “Roundtable” comes on. A program lacking in credibility.

The demand for holding the rulers responsible begins to take shape. Responsibility for having created an economic system that restrains existing productive potentials, that just seeks to appropriate the latest hard currency entering the country in order to spend it on the objectives of that system.

Responsibility for having frustrated for 63 years the aspirations of several generations of Cubans to continue reading

have their own private assets, to be owners of the means of production, and to use them according to criteria of profitability.

Responsibility for installing a distribution mechanism based on rationing and scarcity, eliminating the efficient action of the market in driving the economy.

The list of responsibilities is so extensive that we could occupy a good part of this blog space, and all of them could be summarized in one: the communist social model does not work.

It has not worked, nor can it be expected to do so in the future. Its days have come to an end, and Cuban society wants change. This can be done in one of two ways: either through a rupture that puts and end to a stage that can be classified as permanently lost; or through government negotiation and dialogue with society to promote an orderly transition.

Of course there are numerous intermediate positions between these two, and nothing is yet to be written about the future of Cuba, but there is no doubt that the people spoke very clearly on July 11, and the regime should take note.

Clearly a change is coming, and a profound one. Even within the regime there is no room for inflexible positions, since many leaders have become aware that things are really very bad, so that there is no place for superficial changes or cosmetic patches, but rather more profound changes and changes must be made, and quickly, with positive expectations for the future. There are many leaders who know that this chimera of a “prosperous and sustainable socialism” will never be achieved because the model itself prevents it.

Despite this perception of reality, the Cuban communists continue to delay any structural change that modifies the fundamental aspects that prevent the economy from improving. In the current situation, they rely on the effects of the pandemic and the loss of income from tourism, among others, but in reality they are fleeing from assuming responsibilities, and that behavior is not the most appropriate.

Cubans increasingly disbelieve the story of the sanctions against Cuba and that the interference of the United States complicates the process from within, and they see it as a permanent excuse, aimed at avoiding necessary changes that, moreover, are urgent.

Perhaps for this reason the recent sanctions against members of the regime have not provoked a reaction similar to previous times, largely because many Cubans know that these measures have a limited duration and appear more as symbolic reprimands than anything else.

The authorities look askance at the neighbor to the north because what really worries them is that there will be a final cut in remittances. Much more than a denunciation of members of State Security (known as black berets) or a high-ranking military officer, as has happened. The serious thing about the situation is that while this was happening, hundreds of very summary trials were being conducted against the participants in the social protests on the island without procedural guarantees, sending people to prison.

The time has come to speak accurately. Cuba is neither blockaded nor embargoed by thousands of ships that surround the island. That image is absurd and really only existed for a few days when the Soviets tried to turn the island into a base to launch their nuclear missiles at cities in the United States.

The blockade does not exist; Cuba trades with, and receives investments, tourists, and capital from 192 countries of the world, with absolute freedom. As long as there are analysts and observers who entertain themselves in codifying something that does not exist, it is not helpful.

The debate must be about the problems and solutions that are within Cuba, and which have to be resolved among Cubans. Thinking about Obama, Trump, or Biden, believing that they are worried about losing votes, and that therefore they act in one way or another because of  electoral pressure, is a misconception.

Relations between the United States and Cuba are well defined by a partisan consensus that has much to do with the inability of the Cuban authorities to resolve a dispute that, moreover, was originally caused by Cuba, and not by the United States.

The Havana regime holds the key to resolving this dispute between the two countries. The Cuban people during their peaceful protests on July 11 said this very clearly.

But the regime’s wanting to do it or being interested in doing it is another thing altogether. To conduct a debate about concessions by the United States to soften these measures is to waste time.

The hunger and desire for democracy in Cuba have less and less to do with the alleged embargo/blockade, no matter how much the regime pretends otherwise. The solution to end it all is in the hands of the regime. It is past time to get to work.

 Translated by Tomás A.

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Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and the United States, Among More Than 20 Countries That Condemn Mass Arrests in Cuba

The signatories urged the Cuban Government to respect “the rights and freedoms of the Cuban people, guaranteed by law, without fear of arrest or detention.” (EFE)

14ymedio biggerEFE / 14ymedio, Washington, July 26, 2021 — The governments of 21 countries, including the United States and five Latin American nations, condemned on Monday the “mass arrests and detentions” of protesters in Cuba and demanded respect for human rights on the island.

The declaration was signed by the foreign ministers of Austria, Brazil, Colombia, South Korea, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Ecuador, the United States, Estonia, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland and Ukraine.

The statement recounts that on July 11, “tens of thousands of Cuban citizens participated in demonstrations throughout the country in protest against the deterioration of living conditions and to demand changes,” and denounces that in the face of these marches “the Government responded with violence.”

The ministers of the countries named above also stressed continue reading

that the protesters “exercised the fundamental freedoms of expression and assembly enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights, the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and the European Convention on Human Rights.”

That is why they exhorted the Government of Cuba to respect “the rights and freedoms of the Cuban people, guaranteed by law, without fear of arrest or detention.”

“We urge the Cuban government to release those detained for exercising their rights to peaceful protest,” the statement added. “We ask for freedom of the press and the full restoration of internet access.”

The largest protests in more than six decades occurred with the country mired in a serious economic and health crisis, with the pandemic out of control, and severe shortages of food, medicine, and other basic products, in addition to long power outages, which drove Cubans to take to the streets to criticize their government.

Cuban authorities insist on blaming the United States for both the demonstrations and the extreme shortages that the country suffers.

Translated by Tomás A.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

They March in Madrid for Freedom in Cuba and Spain’s People’s Party Joins the Demand

Of course Cuba is a dictatorship, said the president of the PP (Partido Popular / People’s Party) Pablo Casado Blanco. (@pablocasado_)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Madrid, July 25, 2021 — With the slogan “The hour of freedom has arrived. If Cuba is in the street, we are too”, the March for Cuba was held this Sunday from the Plaza de Cibeles to the Plaza de Callao Madrid.

Among the participants were the Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Gauidó and the president of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, who through his Twitter account declared: “Of course Cuba is a dictatorship” and made it clear that his attendance was to “support #SOSCuba and Yotuel,” one of the composers and performers of ’Patria y Vida,’ the soundtrack of social protests in Cuba.” We are here, he said, “to seek democracy and freedom for the Cuban people.”

As a show of support, the People’s Party will present in the municipalities of the autonomous community motions of support to the Cuban people to demand that the Cuban government end the “repression” of its population.

While the regional secretary of the party, María José González Revuelta, in statements to the Europa Press agency expressed her concern about the human rights situation on the island and continue reading

rejected Miguel Díaz-Canel’s “call to combat,” she also asked for the cessation of “unjustified” violence and “arbitrary” detentions; She also joined the “call” of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) to guarantee human rights, in particular the right to protest.

Also, the actor Yotuel had organized another subsequent march in a nearby area, also in the center of Madrid; but through a video he communicated that it was disbanded. He encouraged both the Spanish “freedom lovers” and the Cubans in Spain to join the earlier march to “defend the rights of the young people who are being massacred in Cuba.”

The singer, front man of the group Orishas, has supported from Miami, where a good part of the Cuban exile is concentrated, the social protests that broke out in Cuba on July 11, shouting “freedom.”

Different organizations have denounced the repression of the protests by the Cuban authorities, with hundreds of detained and disappeared, while Justicia de Cuba [a government organ] has claimed that so far there have only been 19 judicial proceedings involving 59 people and has denied that there have been summary trials.

Translated by Tomás A.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Flotilla Brings Cuba a Noble Message of Support

On Friday 7/23/2021, Havana residents opted for climbing on rooftops to watch the fireworks from the flotilla. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 July 2021 – A strong police-military operation prevented hundred of Cubans from trying to approach the Malecón in Havana last Friday, where they tried to watch, from the seawall, the fireworks from the flotilla that a group of Cubans from Miami displayed from the ocean. The flotilla was an initiative to support people on the island, following the protests that started July 11th. The regime’s forces started cordoning off the Malecón early in the afternoon, and they patrolled an extensive area along the neighborhoods of Centro Habana, El Vedado and Habana Vieja.

The flotilla included five vessels and left in the early morning hours of Friday, heading to the international marine limits between the United States and Cuba. The boats left the bridge from Key Biscayne after 8 am, headed to Key West, where the US Coat Guard inspected them, and sailed another 15 miles towards the international limits with the Cuban shorelines.

In response to the police operation along the Malecón, residents from the shoreline neighborhoods climbed to the rooftops of their multifamily buildings to be able to watch the flotilla of Cuban exiles approaching the horizon and their fireworks display. Despite the strong police presence on the streets, Cubans sought refuge on the rooftops, where it became harder for the police to identify who continue reading

was watching the fireworks or not.

According to several Havana residents, the day was cloudy and overcast since the morning, with a heavy fog that blocked the view of the horizon. Even during the night, while the fireworks were going off, they could see the light flashes but they needed to be really close to the coastline to see better.

The 14ymedio newsroom received reports that on the shoreline of the eastern side of Havana, in the Alamar neighborhood, several people where able to get close to the shores and were able to watch, video and photograph the fireworks.

Not only the Malecón was heavily patrolled by police, though. In the coastal neighborhood of Santa Fe, in Playa, the situation was the same. “There were patrol cars, police officers and military all over the coastline. If you would try to get closer, they’d tell you could not be there due to Covid-19 restrictions. Nobody believed that excuse, I walked around that area every single day without any problem,” said a resident from the area.

Meanwhile in Miami, the flotilla was considered a noble gesture to support the Cuban people who has been protesting on the streets since July 11th, and also, as some sort of generational relay from the Cuban exile community.

Ramón Saúl Sánchez, a known leader in the exile community and one of the flotilla organizers, went out Friday to say good-bye and provide advice to those on the vessels heading to international waters. He told EFE News Agency that, in a certain way, it meant they were passing the torch to a new generation of activists.

Sánchez, who is also the president of the Movimiento Democracia, initially advised against the idea due to lack of timely planning, but later supported the flotilla and said he was relieved to see there were a few boats and that the vessels were big enough, which, he said, “reduces the changes of problems with the wind and waves.”

The activists, who in 23 years has organized around 27 flotillas to the island to condemn the dictatorship, and has had vessels confiscated and been tried for entering Cuban territorial waters, was expecting the Cuban regime would try to prevent people on the island from approaching the Malecón to watch the fireworks display, organized by Cuban American Osdany Veloz.

For Sánchez, the flotillas represent “some sort of spiritual bridge between the two parts of the Cuban people that are divided by the dictatorship.”

The vessels departed the United States waving Cuban and American flags. Veloz told the press gathered that they were bringing a message of freedom and support to people on the island, “so they can keep fighting” for a free Cuba.

The US Coast Guard already issued several warnings, through the local media, that the vessels did not have any authorization to cross into Cuba’s territorial waters and reminded the flotilla that doing so would be illegal.

Cuba’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Bruno Rodríguez, asked the US government to get “serious” about the flotilla and considered the recently announced sanctions of the Biden administration against the Cuban military to be “irrelevant.”

On Friday, Sánchez also reminded the group that their previous flotillas would sail up to 12.5 nautical miles from Cuba’s shorelines, which he said makes the perfect distance for the “lights of liberty” to be seen.

On Veloz’s Instagram account, several comments of support were gathered, some of them from users in Cuba.

Once their demonstration concluded, the flotilla sailed back to the United States without any incident.

Translated by: Mailyn Salabarria

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In Cuba ‘They Have Taken Away Even Our Freedom to Think’

Robles was arrested on December 4 for protesting on Boulevard San Rafael, in Havana. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, July 24, 2021 — Luis Robles, known as the young man with the sign, has been in prison for eight months and, as his brother Landy told 14ymedio, they have again denied the defense request for a change in the precautionary measure of provisional confinement. His trial was scheduled for July 16, but was finally suspended as a result of the massive protests that occurred in the country a few days earlier.

Robles was arrested on December 4 for protesting on Boulevard San Rafael, in Havana. He demonstrated peacefully, by displaying with his arms raised a placard on which he asked for freedom, an end to the repression, and the release of the contrarian rapper Denis Solís.

This Friday, a Facebook page created with the activist’s name to demand his freedom, published a video in which Robles talks about his thoughts, wishes, and also the reasons that led him to be a protestor. The material was recorded on December 1, “a day before his birthday,” it reads. Three days later he was arrested and the regime accuses him of “enemy propaganda” and “resistance”.

We transcribe the full text of this declaration that, more than seven months in advance, reflects the terrible frustrations of the young people who continue reading

took to the streets across the country on July 11.

“Good evening my Facebook people. First of all I’m going to introduce myself. My name is Luis Robles Elizastigui, I’m 27 years old and I’m concerned about everything that is currently happening on social media. I tried to post directly but I don’t know why it wasn’t possible. Many young people like me don’t agree with what’s happening here in Cuba.

“We wholeheartedly desire a change, a change in the system, a change in the country, because really communism has turned this country into a true hell, a hell where it is practically impossible to breathe, not only to breathe air, but also to breathe peace, to breathe tranquility. Like me, many times I say, this is a demolition of people, of souls.

“This dictatorship has converted us . . . we are no longer human beings because we have no rights; we don’t have the right to express ourselves freely, we don’t have the right to be heard. When we say what we think anywhere, the police beat us down. This is for the people of the world to see: this is the reality that ordinary Cubans live in, those of us who have nothing, not even dreams, because here in this country you can’t even have dreams because they have clipped our wings. One thing they will never be able to cut off is dreaming of freedom, because a human being without freedom is nothing.

“Freedom is the greatest thing that one can have in life, and since these shameless communists arrived they have cut us off from all kinds of freedoms — freedoms to a free religion, freedoms to a free ideology, freedoms to elect who you want to win, not the one they impose on you. They have taken away even our freedom to think, they want to dictate even what we think about.

“I’m going to tell you a brief anecdote. I demonstrated in the Plaza de la Revolucion for an injustice that had been committed against someone I loved very much. I thought it was unfair and I went to Citizen Services; I went to court; i went to I don’t know how many places; and no one, no one took me seriously. So the last thing I did, when I saw myself with no way out, was to go to the Plaza de la Revolucion and there I made my film. I took off my sweater and I screamed. I shouted that in this country rights are not respected. I only told the truth.The police didn’t touch me, they looked to pass me off to State Security. They handcuffed me, put me in a patrol car and took me to a unit near the Plaza de la Revolucion. They put me in a cell with a pile of people, and took away my belongings.

“Then they told me that a State Security agent was going to see me. When the guy arrived, he was a young captain and they put me in a room alone with him. The guy asked me why I did it; I told him my reasons. He pretended to listen to me and said: ’Kid, how old are you?’ I told him my age and he said this: ’You’re a young kid, you have no priors. Because you’re a young person we don’t want to encumber your life. We’re going to let you go, but don’t let this happen again. They gave me a warning letter. I currently have a warning letter on my criminal record.

“That day I understood one thing, that if you demonstrate here, even if you’re right, they encumber your life if they want to, they encumber your life and you’re no longer a person. That’s the mechanism at work here on this island, and it’s what I want many people in the world and here in Cuba to open their eyes to. It is time to end this dictatorship.

This generation is not willing to continue holding out. No. This is our time  and we have to take advantage of it. That is why I ask everyone who listens to me to join the fight. I have joined. Yes, I recognize that I may be afraid. I’m afraid that they will “disappear” me, that my life will be destroyed. But what I’m more afraid of, and what scares me the most, is to continue being afraid. No, I cannot continue to allow myself to feel afraid in my own country, where I have to feel free. I have to feel fulfilled and not destroyed as a person.

“I have a son here and I desire with all my heart for him to grow up in a free country, to grow up in a country where he can have dreams, expectations of progressing. And we don’t have that in this country today, where three old men decide what you can and cannot do. No, that is not the country I want for my children. I don’t know if many will have this feeling, but if I would give my life for my son, maybe others would give their lives for their own. Then, if I join the fight I’m not doing it just for myself, I’m doing it for my children and I’m doing it for all of ours.

“Many people who live in Cuba today are going through the same thing that I’ve gone through, having to do twenty thousand miracles to be able to support my son. I’ve even had to do things that nobody could imagine. The salary here is a joke. The only thing this system has is slaves. You kill yourself working for a month and they pay you a pittance of a salary, which they even deduct from. I worked for the State and they even deducted for numerous things. So brother, this isn’t the country that i want for my son, no.

“I have also thought about opting for the alternative that many have taken, and that is to flee. Yes, fleeing is an option. But people have a feeling for their land, and always want to return to their land. And, my brother, if there is a possibility, only one, to see my land free, I’ll take it. That is why I ask that if you want to join as well, if we unite and we are one, Cuba can be free. If you think about it, Cuba can be free.

“So brother, the struggle begins. The San Isidro Movement has lit a flame of freedom in the hearts of many Cubans. That is why I hereby ask that this flame not go out, that this flame continue to burn and grow even more and become a devastating fire and put an end to the scum that has destroyed our country, that has destroyed dreams, that has turned us into machines, merely surviving.

Translated by Tomás A.

See Also: “I Am Not Afraid, I Will Not Stop Asking for My Brother’s Freedom”

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Weapons of Mass Disinformation

Police arresting demonstrators during protests on July 11, 2021 in Havana. (Marcos Evora)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 24 July 2021 — Debate is ongoing as to whether the 2003 war in Iraq was caused by faulty intelligence that confirmed the existence of weapons of mass destruction or whether those reports were inflated by George W. Bush to justify the invasion. What is not in question is that the lack of transparency senior government officials often employ when dealing with spies and their sources can have devastating consequences.

The distance between Washington and Baghdad is over 6,000 miles, which allowed the American president to claim he had been mislead.

The travel time from Havana and the town of San Antonio de los Baños, where protests on July 11 began, is less half an hour by car, such that President Miguel Diaz-Canel could easily figure out — based on all the booing — that what the protesters were really unhappy about was the way he has been managing the country.

Blaming the disturbances on the imperialist machinations and naively denying continue reading

widespread popular disgust arises from a need to come up with a pretext for unleashing ruthless repression. This leads to a kind of of reverse engineering in which State Security has to prove that all causes are external.

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez was the first to present to foreign press reporters in Cuba the results of a study allegedly showing that the hashtag #SOSCuba had originated abroad. Then the smoke cleared and official news media outlets claimed that the protests had been instigated from the United States, later claiming they had been organized by the US government itself.

This was not about finding arms of mass destruction to attack another country but “arms of disinformation” supposedly launched from overseas. It was an attempt to shift blame and justify the incarceration of anyone repeating this alleged disinformation, thus building a bridge of complicity for anyone who might be confused.

It may seem twisted that, in order to maintain the privileges that come from its institutional stature, State Security agencies would exaggerate the alleged threat posed by political adversaries. But what is even more perverse is that the upper echelons of political power would require State Security agents to plant evidence of a crime not committed.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

In Cuba ‘Young People Must Be and Will Be the Engine of Change’ says Pablo Milanes after July 11

The 78-year-old singer made it clear that he will continue to express his opinions as long as his health allows. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, July 25, 2021 — This Saturday Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanés described as “irresponsible and absurd” the use of repression by the Cuban government against the people, “who have sacrificed and given everything for decades to sustain a regime that in the end imprisons them.”

Milanés’ statement comes in the heat of the 11J (11 July) protests and the wave of repression and violence unleashed by the Government against the protesters. International organizations and civil society, relatives of the detainees and independent media have denounced hundreds of arrests, mainly young people, and also minors have been charged.

“For a long time, I have been speaking about the injustices and errors in the politics and government of my country,” the singer continued, emphasizing that in 1992 he reached “the conviction that the Cuban system had definitely failed” and he denounced it. continue reading

“Now I reiterate my pronouncements and I trust the Cuban people to seek the best possible system of coexistence and prosperity, with full freedoms, without repression and without hunger,” added the 78-year-old singer, who made it clear that he will continue to express his opinions as long as his health permits.

“I believe in young people, who with the help of all Cubans, must and will be the engine of change,” he concluded.

Added to the arrests of hundreds of people for participating in the marches are the house arrests of activists, artists, and independent journalists who didn’t even set foot on the streets on Sunday, July 11.

The mass arrests have drawn criticism from the international community, including that of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who called for the urgent release of the detainees and an investigation.

The protests, in which citizens asked for freedom, took place with the country mired in a serious economic and health crisis, with the pandemic out of control and a severe shortage of food, medicine and other basic products, in addition to long power cuts.

The authorities, for their part, insist on blaming the United States for both the protests and the extreme shortages that the country is suffering.

In addition, this Saturday the Cuban government denied that it is proceeding with summary trials against detainees for the protests, but confirmed that there are minors under investigation who, if convicted, will receive sanctions with “differentiated treatment.”

Almost two weeks after the massive demonstrations, the authorities have not released the official number of those detained or prosecuted, so the only reference is the lists that activist groups and independent organizations are collecting and circulating on social media.

Translated by Tomás A.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.