Cuban Authorities Block Seven Activists From Traveling to Mexico for Democracy Action Meeting

Regina Coyula was not able to board her flight this Monday, like six other activists, to go to Cancun to a Forum on Democracy in Cuba. (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 27 June 2017 – Cuban authorities blocked at least seven activists from traveling to Cancun, Mexico this Monday, to participate in the 4th Forum on Roads to a Democratic Cuba, a meeting of the United Democratic Action Roundtable (MUAD) organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), according to blogger Regina Coyula speaking to 14ymedio.

“When I arrived at the immigration window in Terminal 3 of Jose Marti International Airport, they told me to step back and wait a minute” said the activist. Then she was approached by an immigration official who, after asking for her documents, informed her that there was “a ban on travel abroad” in effect against her.

Coyula demanded explanations for the reasons she was prevented from leaving, but the agent would only say that she “had nothing to do with this” and told her if she wanted more information to visit the Office of Attention to the Population near the Plaza of the Revolution. continue reading

The other activists who were not allowed to board the plane are Rafael León Rodríguez, general coordinator of the Cuban Democratic Project; Hildebrando Chaviano, director of the Center for Analysis of Public Policies of Freedom and Development; Wilfredo Vallín and Amado Calixto Gammalame, members of the Legal Association of Cuba; Erick Álvarez, promoter of the CubaDecide initiative; and Alexei Gámez, activist of the Somos+ (We Are More) Movement.

The practice of preventing dissidents from leaving the country has become a repressive method of State Security in increasing use in recent months.

The practice of preventing dissidents from leaving the country has become a repressive method of State Security in increasing use in recent months.

In early 2013 a Migration Reform measure came into effect which eliminated the “exit permit” required for travel abroad. In the first ten months after the approval of the new measures, Cubans made more than 250,000 trips abroad. The opposition also benefited from this relaxation of controls.

However, any time it likes the Government may invoke certain subsections of article 25 of the new immigration regulations that prohibit departure “for reasons of public interest or national security.”

Travel bans are put into practice in a number of ways, including preventing opponents from leaving their home, intercepting the vehicles taking them to the airport, or notifying them at the immigration window at the airport that they are forbidden to leave, as happened on Monday.

Two Cuban Activists From #Otro18 Arrested

Lawyers Amado Calixto, Wilfredo Vallín and Rolando Ferrer during the press conference of the # Otro18 campaign. (14ymediate)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 26 April 2017 — Activists Arturo Rojas Rodríguez and Aida Valdés Santana were arrested at noon on Tuesday as they tried to reach the Justice Ministry in Havana. The dissidents planned to enter into the associations register the Citizen Observers of Electoral Processes (Cope) initiative, one of the branches of the #Otro18 (Another 2018) platform, which pushes for multi-party and democratic elections in Cuba in 2018.

Rojas, 51, was taken to the Santiago de las Vegas police station and Valdés, 78, was taken to the Zapata and C Station and then to Aguilera, where police threatened to prosecute her legally.

The woman was released on Tuesday at about 10 at night, but there is still no information on the whereabouts of Rojas Rodriguez whose telephone continues to be out of service. continue reading

Manuel Cuesta Morúa, speaking on behalf of #Otro 18, told 14ymedio that “actions of this nature make clear the government’s intention to prevent the free participation of citizens in the next electoral process, thus opening the way to delegitimizing it.”

“The narrative of the government consists in classifying what we do as counterrevolutionary activities, but we have to assume that the law is not only for revolutionaries, but for all citizens and precisely because of this we are within the law,” he added.

The #Other18 initiative collects citizen proposals for new electoral laws, associations and political parties. In addition, at the moment it is focused on obtaining the nomination of independent candidates for the next elections for the People’s Power.

Much Remains to be Done / Amado Calixto Gammalame, Cuban Law Association

By Amado Calixto Gammalame

Although racism in Cuba began to decline during the wars of independence, by the obvious presence of blacks and mulattoes among the mambises (Cuban guerrillas), that was only a beginning. Much remains to be done, after more than twelve years into the 21st Century.

The idea of a characteristic or distinctiveness of a particular social group in relation to its ethnic origin has been the core factor for the onset of prejudices and attitudes that prevent a more just and comprehensive understanding of the problem from a historical, economic, and social point of view.

On the subject much has been said, but in practice little has been done, the most commendable in my view being what is endorsed by Articles 41 and 42 of the Constitution of the Republic: “(41) All citizens have equal rights and are subject to the same duties. (42) Discrimination based on race, skin color, sex, national origin, religious beliefs or any other offense against human dignity is forbidden and is punishable by law.

But from there to everyday life is a long stretch, as is often found in the judgments of inferiority and marginality lurking in the minds of many people in relation to blacks, including the judgment of those who make the major decisions in the country, even though from time to time to they recognize it.

Just look, for example, at the contrast between the ethnic composition of the representatives of the Cuban diplomatic corps, either to represent us in Burundi, Burkina Faso and Togo, and the students of the Institute of International Relations (future diplomats), or between the current leadership of the so-called top-tier management, and the mass of black intellectuals, formed by the system itself, with the same qualifications, displaying the first condition that one must have to occupy such positions: being a member of the only party allowed in Cuba.

It is not my style to compare our small country with others, but since there is already talk of a generational shift, I ask two questions that relate to the topic: Will there be a black president in Cuba like there is in the United States? Will it be a black woman? Nobody panic, I’m just fantasizing.

11 September 2013

Stigmatized Youth / Amado Calixto Gammalame #Cuba

Atty. Amado Calixto Gammalame


One of the problems that often confronts young people, although not exclusive to this segment of the population, is the social rejection to which men and women who have been sentenced for some crime are subjected.

It becomes evident in different ways, more commonly in the absence of job opportunities, a current problem for young people on a global scale. A requirement of the employment application is a certificate from the Central Registrar of Sentencing, which contains the criminal record of each individual, along with the police profile that Cuba keeps for every individual in the system, regardless of the resolution of a case. If it indicates that the applicant has been tried or sentenced for anything illicit, no matter how minor the crime, he is denied the job and forced to apply for “another job.” The economic crisis and the current social climate make this already critical problem worse.

I am of the opinion that, while the profiles used by authorities are necessary from a legal standpoint — as in criminal profiling, when even honesty forces one to acknowledge the technical and scientific backwardness from which we suffer in this area — “profiling” with respect to employment is an unacceptable practice, an affront and a lifelong label.

A letter sent to AJC by Maria Emilia provides an example. In it she asks for assistance to help her son re-enter society since, as she says in her own words, he has been subject to detentions and citations to explain his conduct in being involved with other delinquent youths, and I quote … “My son is 28 years old and went to prison when he was 17, not knowing other people I turn to young people who went through the long stay in prison with him, which I suppose are seen in the communal services where he worked when he got out of prison, there are no doctors working there or others of that type, if my son at only 17 was given such a severe sentence, it’s impossible that he would know other people without the Cuban state itself enabling him.”

A separate item requires the social recognition or lack of recognition young offenders coming out of prison receive when they arrive in the neighborhood, referring to the stigma they face, a product of the devaluation of the social aspects with which they are not welcomed and recognized with such defects or social attitudes.

These efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of isolation are laudable, but the remedy is always in our hands, mainly in the hands of young people themselves. Nobody will do for them what they do not want or can not do for themselves.

There are young people eager to move forward. Children and young people are the most precious treasure of our society. You have to give them a great deal of credit, whether they have been prosecuted, punished or not. The day the country eliminates this type of injustice, so bravely, creating, proposing and doing, the harmful consequences that this type of iniquity to this important sector of society will be eliminated

 Boston College CASA and RST

September 16 2012