One of a collection of posters in support of FOR ANOTHER CUBA. Artist: Rolando Pulido.
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4 May 2013
Presentation of the Demand For Another Cuba. Friday, 4 May 2013, 4-8 pm. Free.
Location: Cubaocho, 1465 SW 8th St. #106, Miami, Florida 33135
Poster Exhibition: Alcides, Annelys, Aristides, Garrincha, Gugulandia, Lauzan, Lavastida, Lia, Ley Tejuca, Manuel Bu, Olema, Pong, Pulido, Regueral, Santana, Villazan.
Panelists: Carlos Alberto Montaner, Darsi Ferrer, Luis Felipe Rojas, Antonio G. Rodiles, Alexis Romay, Mauel Cuesta Morua, Omar Lopez Montenegro.
Concert: Amaury Guitierreez, David de Omni, Raudel-Patriot Squadron, Luis Bofill
1 May 2013
The Estado de SATS project and the Campaign For Another Cuba invite all Cuban designers and visual artists to participate in the exhibition: Posters For Another Cuba, which will open in the city of Miami on May 4, 2013.
The artistic proposals will bring visions from different aspects (economic, political, cultural, humorous, social and spiritual) to shape the design of a new Cuba.
The works must be inserted into a template to later be printed as 17” x 22” posters. The template that provides a framework for art can be downloaded from the following link http://www.estadodesats.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/poster-template.pdf
Artwork must have a resolution of 300 dpi and be in CMYK mode.
It can be full color.
There must be a margin of at least 1” on all sides.
The works will be donated to (become the property of) the Campaign For Another Cuba and will be a part of the Campaign’s promotion and advertising.
The slogan of the campaign is “Cuba changes if you want it to.”
The logo and the name of the campaign should not be covered by art.
The artwork should be sent to the following email firstname.lastname@example.org before April 30, 2013.
The exhibition will be inaugurated on May 4, 2013, in the city of Miami and later be opened in Havana at the Estado de SATS project headquarters.
For more information about project status go to: www.estadodesats.com
For more information about the Campaign For Another Cuba go to: www.porotracuba.org
23 April 2013
Orlando, Lia, and For Another Cuba are all asking for help to recharge the cellphone of Anger Antonio Blanco, activist and correspondent with the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), in Santiago de Cuba.
You can recharge this phone and those of other bloggers and human rights activists by following the directions here: Direct Help to the Bloggers
Blanco’s numbers are: 58 14 66 06 and 53 84 29 29
20 April 2013
Five years ago expectations were high with regards to the selection of the new government elite. Many people speculated about who would be the next first vice president. Bets focused on two candidates: Carlos Lage Davila and Jose Ramon Ventura. Whoever was chosen, observers theorized, would suggest Raul Castro’s orientation over the next five years. Speculations centered on two conflicting approaches: Raulista, or reformist; and Fidelista, or conservative. Apparently, one of them would mark the pace and type of reforms.
The result is not only confirmed in the act of selection, but was signalled when Carlos Lage and his friend Felipe Perez Roque were ousted along with other senior officials. The accusations were known: they betrayed the confidence of the maximum leaders through the improper conduct of “cadres” under their control. It later emerged that on several occasions they had mocked their long-time bosses and that they wanted a greater share of power.
In 2008 the international context was different. Raul Castro attempted to launch a renewed image with the signing the United Nations human rights covenants in New York, along with shallow but widely publicized and promoted reforms. Hugo Chavez had become an inexhaustible source of resources and support for the disastrous economy bequeathed by Fidel Castro. Barack Obama was emerging as the probable next president of the United States, one who would, according to his calculations, widen the chances of ending, or at least relaxing, bilateral differences without his having to give up too much in return. That same year three hurricanes lashed the Island, the precarious economy fell even further, and the dependence on Venezuela deepened.
Despite the measures taken by the new U.S. administration, the Cuban government offered very timid signs that it wanted to created a new dynamic. Clinging to a society totally controlled by State Security and a huge army of informers, the Cuban government preferred to send a signal of loyalty to those in its pay. In November of 2009 the contractor Alan Gross was arrested to turn him into a bargaining chip for the five spies involved in the hysterical attack that pulverized four Brothers to the Rescue pilots in the air.
The year 2010 brought an outbreak of greater activism from the opposition. The Guillermo Fariñas’ hunger strike, the Ladies in White activism, the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s after a prolonged hunger strike, unleashed strong internal and external pressure around the issue of political prisoners, which ultimately proved unsupportable. The need to put an end to a situation, which by all lights was becoming dangerous, brought about the intervention of the Catholic Church, which served as a liaison between the government and the pro-democracy forces.
Showing signs of political folly, the Government maintained its expectations of achieving favors from the Obama administration at very little cost. According to the counselors of tolitarianism, the “reforms” of the “economic model,” supported by Venezuelan subsidies, would bring about neo-Castroism at an “adequate” pace and without too many tensions.
However, the much-vaunted transformations have not taken off. Foreign investors have not approached, unlike in the ‘90s. The economic dependence on the “brother from the Bolivarian country” – Hugo Chavez – and the death of that Venezuelan president, have shaken the planned scenario.
The Venezuela situation has now become more complicated with its own economy is reeling with soaring inflation and shortages. Chavez’s chosen candidate, Nicolas Madura, is unable to project a sense of confidence in a situation that clearly exceeds his political arsenal.
For the Cuban government, the need for a Plan B is urgent, and all eyes immediately turn to the United States.
The Cuban Government’s Plan B
The Cuban government would need, at the very least, a relaxation of economic sanctions. Only now is the government aware of the magnitude of the mistake it made in imprisoning Alan Gross. The release of the contractor would send the worst possible message to all Cuban secret agents, but would at least guarantee the start of a more fluid process of exchanges, with the final objective of relaxing the embargo. Everything seems to indicate that the old tantrums don’t have the same impact.
Within Cuba, great expectations created by Raul Castro are fading and the government needs to take steps so that Cubans can breathe a little more freedom. Relaxing the controls of the iron-fisted travel and migration policy, in hopes of easing the growing shortages suffered by Cubans, is one of the more “audacious” steps taken by the totalitarians.
The naming of new figures to fill the senior government posts occurred within this scenario. Esteban Lazo, named president of the National Assembly, symbolizes everything about the system that is old and unworkable. He will take the reins of an assembly that has never had a divided vote, not even on the very trivial issues which they discuss. Lazo represents a retaining wall to block any initiative that might arise or come to this governing body.
Substituting Miguel Diaz-Canel for José Ramón Machado Ventura – as first vice president, and presumptive heir – is an attempt to provide a needed succession. Diaz-Canel, younger, obedient, uncharismatic, lacking his own popularity, got the call. A person who will depend entirely on the willing consent of a military apparatus that has strengthened its influence in recent years, indicating that this is the social design intended to be perpetuated. I do not think that these designations generate new dynamics. The elite only intends for these people to execute the plan designed to their and their heirs’ specifications.
The opposition, then, begins to play an interesting role. The collaboration among different groups is ever more articulated. Work in recent months has been woven around the campaign “For Another Cuba,” which demands the ratification and implemention of the United Nations covenants on human rights as a road map for a process of transition, thus signalling that it is possible, here and now, to find a viable path. Civil society is prepared to take bolder steps and we hope this will be the case for all actors.
What can we expect in the short and medium term?
The Government will continue to assign key positions to its most reliable cadres, people who will guarantee that “neo-Castroism” is set in stone. They will also gather a set of bodies who will be allowed to show a certain “renewed” face to the world, and so try to relaunch and normalize their international relations.
This new design requires an economy that can afford it, this is the critical point How can a completely disjointed and broken economy be made viable? This can be achieved only with an injection of capital, an injection that today could come only from our northern neighbor. Nobody wants to invest in a country that doesn’t pay its debts.
The U.S. embargo and the European Community Common Position are key pieces in this political chess game. If the government receives an infusion of resources in the current, unchanged, situation, it would enable it to keep its hyperatrophied repressive apparatus intact and we could say goodbye to our democratic dreams for the next 20 to 30 years. When I hear several pro-democracy actors advocate for the immediate and unconditional end to the embargo, I perceive a lack foresight with regards to the possible political scenarios. Are they unaware of previous experiences in other regions? Are they unaware of the famous phrase, “economic opening with political opening”? Is the massive debt we have already left to our children and grandchildren not enough?
If the democratic community signals the totalitarian government that ratification and implementation of the fundamental rights set out in the UN Covenants is the only path to a solution to the Cuban dilemma, and if it conditions any measure relaxing the economic sanctions to the fulfillment of those international agreements, it will not take long for us to see results.
The Cuban government has not been and is not reckless, still less so in the current context. It is illogical that the elite would want to pass on a time bomb to their family and close associates. The opposition, for its part, in its vast majority, is promoting peaceful change. Changes that transition us to a true democracy with the full and absolute respect of individual liberties, and not the typical totalitarian monstrosity of failed nations. A monster that in the medium term, totally secure, would be burdened with more corruption, more insecurity and more social conflicts.
It is extremely understandable that the Cuban people desire the opportunity to live in peace, to be prosperous, to enjoy their families and their land. We need to leave behind this whole nightmare of warnings of combat, wars of the entire people, territorial militias, socialism or death, and impregnable bastions. We need to overcome crazy ideas like the Havana cordons, microjet bananas, “open airwaves,” battles of ideas, guidelines, and this string of stupidities and mediocrities. Things that have plunged us into this disaster which today we all, absolutely all of us, have the inescapable obligation to overcome. We urge another Cuba.
By Pablo Pascual Méndez Piña
HAVANA, Cuba, February 23, 2013 (Pablo Pascual Méndez / www.cubanet.org).
Coinciding with the fourth anniversary of the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the first meeting of Estado de Sats in 2013 was held on Saturday at its headquarters on 1st Street between 46 and 60, in the Havana neighborhood of Miramar. The meeting was attended by about a hundred people.
The issue addressed by the panelists focused on the Citizens’ Demand for Another Cuba, which demands the ratification of the United Nations covenants signed by Cuba’s then Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, four years ago, and which, as explained at the meeting today, should be discussed in the Council of Ministers, approved by the National Assembly and included in the laws of the Nation.
At a break in the panel, the meeting honored the memory of all those who have died defending the cause of human rights, the democratization of Cuba, and the downing in international waters of the two Brothers to the Rescue planes, a crime which occurred 17 years ago tomorrow. Also remembered was Antonio Rodiles’ father, recently deceased, who in life was a fervent attendee at Estado de Sats debates.
On this occasion, the panel consisted of the Sakharov-prize-winning psychologist Guillermo Fariñas, the Baptist pastor Mario Felix Lleonart, the attorney Laritza Diversent, the historian Manuel Cuesta Morúa, and the president of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) Jose Daniel Ferrer; as always, the host was Antonio Rodiles, who served as moderator.
Presentations were made on civil society and on the collection of signature for the Citizens’ Demand for Another Cuba. A documentary by the intellectual Juan Antonio Blanco was screened, and several questions were asked of the panel by those present, as well as from abroad via text message.
Five years after Cuba’s representative signed the United Nations Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the situation with regards to fundamental rights in Cuba remains precarious. The violation of fundamental rights is not only a part of the repressive apparatus of the State, but our national legislation itself imposes restrictions on these freedoms enshrined in international law.
The Cuban Constitution formally recognizes the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression, but immediately establishes limitations that barely allow the exercise of them. The practice of these rights can always be considered contrary to the interests “of the Cuban people to build socialism and communism,” and therefore swept away with great violence and impunity. In short, none of the fundamental rights are legally guaranteed.
To punish these “contrary interests” the Criminal Code provides for sentences of 10 to 20 years in prison or the death penalty for anyone “who, in the interests of a foreign State, commits an act with the intent of undermining the independence of the Cuban State or the integrity of its territory.”
Another of the offenses widely used to limit the exercise of these rights is the charge of a “propensity” to commit crimes demonstrated by conduct that is in manifest contradiction with the norms of the “socialist morality.” Any police officer may issue an “official warning” against an individual if the officer perceives them to be “dangerous” or to have ties to “potentially dangerous people.” Anyone who has received one or more official warnings may be charged with “dangerousness” and sentenced to up to four years in prison.
Currently still in force is the Law of Protection of National Independence and the Economy of Cuba (Law No. 88) enacted in 1999 by the National Assembly. Law No. 88 provides penalties of 7-15 years in prison for supplying the “enemy” with information that could be useful for strengthening measures against the government of Cuba. The deprivation of liberty may be up to 20 years in the case of information obtained surreptitiously. This law also prohibits the possession, distribution and reproduction of “subversive material,” and establishes prison sentences of up to five years for collaborating with radio stations, television stations or publications deemed to be in the service of foreign powers. The law also imposes unacceptable limits on freedom of association and assembly.
The Cuban State has ratified more than forty international treaties on human rights; however, none of these norms are directly applied to the legal system, principally by the courts. This means that the rights protected by these international norms are, in practice, a “dead letter.”
Total control over all communication media, as provided in the Constitution, includes the written press, radio broadcasts, television or any other means of communication, such that the right to freedom of expression is restricted. Official recognition and registration is denied to unions, civil, professional and human rights associations not belonging to the apparatus of the State or to mass organizations controlled by the government.
Those who try to express their opinions, organize meetings or form associations that contradict the policies of the government or the objectives of the State, are in danger of being subjected to punitive measures such as imprisonment, dismissal, harassment or intimidation.
The arrests and beatings of defenders of human rights, dissidents and political opponents, and independent journalists are common. In some cases they are detained for hours, in others they have been held without charges for months and, on occasion, without trial, on suspicion of participation in activities considered to be counterrevolutionary or for equally vague accusations. In some cases, opponents are summarily tried and sentenced in the space of a few days. Harassment and intimidation of critics and political dissidents and their families at the hands of official groups in so-called “acts of repudiation” constitutes psychological torture, given the tension it can generate for the victims and their families.
Independent local and international human rights NGOs have a great difficulty reporting on human rights violations. The latter are not allowed to visit the island, which contributes to hindering the observation of the human rights situation.
It is incomprehensible that democratic governments embrace a totalitarian system that bears the main responsibility for the disaster befalling our nation. The Cuban people have the right to life, to live and feel pride in their land. Why not listen to us? Why allow us to be covered with a mantle of rhetoric, full of absurd and outdated terms, repression and national ruin?
A true transformation for our people implies, above all, changing laws, regulations and administrative practices that relate to all fundamental freedoms in accordance with international obligations contracted by the Cuban state, as well as the provision of full legal guarantees.
The defense of fundamental rights entails not only an ethical commitment. No society can be viable while ignoring human beings, never before has the nexus between respect for the individual and the development of nations been so clear.
How long should the Cuban people endure the misery associated with the disrespect of our fundamental rights and the imposed material misery that has caused so much pain and damage to our nation? Our country languishes in a calamitous economy with its collapsed infrastructure and an asphyxiating decapitalization. How many more Cubans will have to escape from our country to seek a dignified life in other lands?
For all this, the Campaign for Another Cuba was launched in August 2012, a campaign arising from civil society to demand that the Cuban government immediately ratify and implement the United Nations Covenants.
This effort has been coordinated by hundreds of activists and dissimilar groups the length and breadth of the island, who are working towards regaining our fundamental rights, rights that never should have been severed for any reason. Undoubtedly, this requires the efforts of many pushing from civil society to change a reality that has shown itself to be deeply impervious to change. However we are confident that we will succeed.
We also hope for the just support of the entire regional and international community to exert pressure towards the democratization of our land.
Organizing Committee of the Campaign For Another Cuba:
- Ailer Gonzalez Mena (Artist, State of SATS)
- Alejandro González Raga (former prisoner of conscience, Cuban Observatory of Human Rights)
- Alexis Jardines (Philosophy Professor, State of SATS)
- Angel Moya (former prisoner of conscience, Coordinator Democratic Freedom Movement for Cuba)
- Antonio G. Rodiles (SATS State Coordinator)
- Eduardo Díaz Fleitas (former prisoner of conscience, Pinar del Rio Democratic Alliance)
- Felix Navarro (former prisoner of conscience, Pedro Luis Boitel Democracy Party, Executive Secretary FANTU)
- Guillermo Fariñas (former prisoner of conscience, Spokesman FANTU)
- Iván Hernández Carrillo (former prisoner of conscience, Confederation of Independent Workers of Cuba)
- Jose Daniel Ferrer (former prisoner of conscience, UNPACU Coordinator)
- Jose Diaz Silva (former political prisoner, Opposition Movement for a New Republic)
- Laritza Diversent (CUBALEX)
- Librado Linares (former prisoner of conscience, Cuban Reflection Movement)
- Luis Felipe Rojas (Writer)
- Manuel Cuesta Morua (Progressive Arch, New Country)
- Raul Risco (Pinar del Rio Democratic Alliance)
- Veizant Boloy (Independent Lawyer)
- Yaremis Flores (Lawyer, CUBALEX)
- Rene Gomez Manzano (former political prisoner, Lawyer, Corriente Agramontista Association of Independent Lawyers)
(Originally published in MartíNoticias)
Activists from the United Antitotalitarian Forum and the Reflection Movement distributed in Rodas Cienfuegos, more than two hundred copies of citizen demand For Another Cuba.
You can listen to former political prisoner and president of the Cuban Reflection Movement, Librado Linares here.
29 January 2013
Next VETO UNITED*
in alternative space ARRIBA VIVO YO
Led by Boris Glez., Luis Trapaga, Gorki Aguila y Claudio Fuentes
Tomorrow 2 Feb. 2012 at 5 pm in Emilio Nuñez 229 esq. 20 de mayo. Cerro, Havana
*Translator’s note: A play on words; the official vote is called “Vote United”
1 February 2013