Declaration of Cuban Civil Society Activists Joining Forces in Madrid

Cuban activists meeting in Spain

Madrid, February 26, 2014

For recognition of the legitimacy of Cuba’s independent civil society

We, activists of independent civil society, have agreed to promote a representative group to act as a channel of dialogue with international institutions and other potential partners.

Since the ratification of our commitment to peaceful methods to achieve the Rule of Law, we demand from the government of Cuba and before the international community:

1.  The unconditional release of all political prisoners , including those under extra-penal license (on parole).
2.  The end of political repression, often violent, against the peaceful movement  for human rights and pro- democracy.
3.  Respect for the international commitments already entered into by the government of Cuba, the ratification – without reservations – of the International Covenants on Human Rights and compliance with ILO conventions on labor and trade union rights.
4.  Recognition of the legitimacy of independent Cuban civil society.


Yoani Sánchez – Blogger

Berta Soler – Spokesperson of the Ladies in White

Elizardo Sanchez – President of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and Cuban National Reconciliation

Juan Felipe Diaz Medina – Christian Liberation Movement (MCL )

Guillermo Fariñas – UNPACU

Manuel Cuesta Morúa – Progressive Arc

Reinaldo Escobar – Journalist

Antonio Guedes – President of Ibero American Association for Freedom (AIL)

Guillermo Gortázar – President of the Cuban Hispanic Foundation

Javier Larrondo – UNPACU Representative in Spain and EU

Virgilio Toledo – President of Coexistence Spain

Frisia Batista – President of Roots of Hope Spain

Elena Larrinaga – FECU

Alejandro González Raga – Cuban Observatory for Human Rights

Blanca Reyes – Ladies in White

Eduardo Pérez Bengoechea – Coordinator of International Human Rights Platform of Cuba

Tomás Muñoz and Oribe – Cuban Liberal Union

Opponents Urge Obama Not to Negotiate with the Cuban government / Guillermo Farinas, BertaSoler

obamaThe U.S. president , Barack Obama, on a visit to Miami to raise money for the Democratic Party, met Friday for the first time with Guillermo Fariñas and the leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, both winners of the Sakharov Prize, who asked him not to negotiate with the Cuban government “regardless of exile and the people of the island.”

At a press conference after concluding the meeting with Obama, Fariñas said the president assured him that in his next three years in office that was not going to happen. It is very important that “the world’s largest democracy recognize the Cuban dissidence,”  said Fariñas.

The opponent reiterated that the President was waiting, via email, for a series of proposals to change the Cuban reality.

Fariñas said his meeting with the president established that there is a commitment from the United States to recognize the peaceful struggle in Cuba.

The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, for her part, said that in less than ten days she had met with the President and the Vice President of the United States whom she called on for moral and spiritual support for freedom in Cuba.

“We want Cuba have the same freedom that the United States has,” Soler said adding that everything the Cuban government tells the United States “is a big lie.”

The Lady in White reiterated the lack of freedoms in Cuba, but despite this, “I am a free woman,” she said.

Cubanet, 9 November 2013

Campaign for Another Cuba: Video #Cuba

This video is less than 4 minutes long.

Repression at Paya’s Funeral / Mario Lleonart

Regrettably, I did not have the honor of being part of the repression that was not lacking this time, either.  I long suspected that the time to depart for the cemetery would be the most propitious for the flock of buzzards to throw themselves over the innumerable prisoners.  And it was precisely this that saved me this time: the enormous quantity of potential victims. I was surprised that before arriving at Necropolis I was already receiving on my cell phone reports about detentions of individuals who minutes before had been very near me. The Reverend Ricardo Santiago Medina Salabarria, for example, was barely a few people away from me trying to board the same bus as I, but he could not and remained available to the violence.

During the burial, and even during the return trip on the highway to Santa Clara, among tweets that I sent and received with names of dozens of people that had been subject to detention and that included friends like Antonio Rodiles of Estado de Sats and his wife Ailer.  They even dared to attack the Sakharov 2011 Prize winner, Guillermo Farinas, without taking into account or maybe precisely because of having done so, that in October they had cast off Laura Pollan and that now they were considering getting rid of Paya, the other two prizes awarded by the European Parliament.

Knowing that I left behind so many detained people, and being home now and knowing that including around forty people found themselves asking for the liberation of Rodiles at the police station of Infanta and Manglar, they provided me the sensation that it has stayed very low of the duties that in those moments Cuba demanded, but like always, we are prisoners of time and space, as the absent sense reminds us now forever of a man in our human trial should still be here, as happened to us already in the past with famous citizens like Cespedes, Marti or Chivas.

November 13 2012

Detention of Antonio Rodiles: Guilty of the Free "Estado de Sats" / Ángel Santiesteban

When the funeral cortege left the chapel in Cerro with the body of the political leader Oswaldo Payá, having barely advanced a few yards, it was stopped for some twenty minutes. Something happened at the beginning of the caravan. Several people got out of the car to find out what; we feared the worse although we hoped that nothing was happening and we wanted to give a Christian burial to our dead.

While celebrating the Mass officiated by Cardinal Jaime Ortega, outside, the authorities were planning the engagement. I looked out of the door of the church, looked down the street and I could recognize the faces of the State Security agents, but there, at the end, where the Calzada del Cerro terminates, I saw an officer talking to a large group of civilians.

I remembered that it seemed very much like the operation they had every time the Ladies in White met at their headquarters: the house of their spiritual leaders, the feisty Laura Pollán. I recorded some footage of what was happening and approached as far as the camera lens would let me. In any event, I couldn’t imagine they planned something similar in the midst of that pain, that they would disrespect the family of the deceased, the Cardinal and the entire delegation of the Catholic Church, as well as the broadcasters and the international journalists covering the event.

But despite the constant proofs of the governmental abuse, we still insist on being naive, as if this attitude would save us from contagion by the all the evil that always surrounds us.

What I do know is that the partner of Antonio Rodiles, Ailer Gonzalez, with the intention of finding out what was going on, got out of the car, and, coming to the crowd, witnessed how they preyed on Fariñas and another group of opponents. She demanded their release and the police pushed her also, and forced her with beatings onto a Chinese-made Yutong bus that they’d prepared by way of a rolling jail cell. And inside there, they continued beating her.

Antonio, impatient on seeing that his partner didn’t return, went to look for her. While he was walking he heard a State Security Agent shout to another who was nearby, “Look, there goes Aleaga, let’s grab him.”Rodiles observed that Aleaga wasn’t even taking photos, just walking on the sidewalk, and he said to the “securities” to leave him alone. They looked at him and responded, “Come on, you too, you’re going.” He refuses, meanwhile seeing that Aleaga is being put in a car handcuffed. Rodiles resists their putting him into a car, finally they lay him on the backseat and two burly agents climb on top of him to immobilize him with the weight of their bodies.

Fariñas returns slap

The lawyer Vallín is in the car with me, and deducing that something happened at the beginning, we get out, and when we’re about to go to the place the procession resumed its march and we got back in the car. In the Calzado de Cerro they’ve already armed an operation of the repressive forces, we managed to see a woman with the rank of colonel waving for the caravan to continue.

They had two Yutong buses on each direction of the street that were blocking traffic. Without distinguishing the faces I could also see that there were several people inside the buses that they were hitting. Later I learned that they were Fariñas, whom they hit at that moment, which he returned with the same energy.

Ailer was in that bus; and she said the struggle was maintained for a while, that the driver took the route toward the beaches to the east of Havana. That there was a moment when they thought the bus would turn over, it looked like a swing and gave the impression that the driver lost his way, that they would be killed and she began to plead with Fariñas to stop, because he was continuing to brawl with the agents who were trying to hit him.

Fariñas looked at her and understood her fear and appeased them to please her and calm them down. It was a humane act and one of chivalry that made the difference with the government’s henchmen, who continues their insults and provocations.

Ailer handcuffed

They take her to a place that looked like a shelter or abandoned classroom, and told her to hand over the memory card of the camera. She had already secured it, taking it out of the camera and putting it in her purse. And she refuses to surrender it, warning that they themselves are violating the laws, she has been kidnapped on a public street, and they are violating her civil rights that she knows well.

But two women and a man come and push her and throw her on the floor to demobilize her and take the bag. She yells at them one day have to answer for their abuses and repressive attitudes that tarnish the name of all their families. She warns them that she has heart problems and has arrhythmia. They show their fear. Soon they take her to the outside of the Naval military hospital and tell her to exit the car. And leave her there abandoned.

Rodiles refuses to enter the cell

When they take Rodiles to the police station, Aleaga has just arrived. The “securities” continue provoking, they want him to enter a cell but they can’t make him do it despite the shoving, they have given him a lot of punches, scrapes and torn his clothes. I’m not a criminal, Rodiles tells them, I haven’t committed any crime and I am not going in any cell.

A lieutenant colonel in the police intervenes and tells the “securities” that they will allow him to talk, look, he said, I give you my word I will not let them take you to the cell, but first you have to give me your shoelaces and belt, it is mandatory; they put in the waiting room. And what about Aleaga, asks Rodiles. The officer keeps looking at him and understands it will have to be that way or he will continue his protests. Fine, he stays with you at him and know that you will have to be so or continue their protest. Okay, it stays with you, he responds. The “securities,” against their will, accept keeping them out of the cell.

The bells in the cemetery receive us

We arrived at the cemetery worried, we didn’t understand clearly what had happened. Someone said they had arrested Rodiles, Aleaga, Ailer, Fariñas, among many other dissidents. Singing, accompanied the remains of Oswaldo Payá, from the entrance to the chapel, then to his grave. That death had changed us, the living. Taught us, once again, the lack of scruples of the Cuban government. Nevertheless, we agree that Payá received the funeral honors worthy of a President. That last space I toured hugging the great Cuban poet Rafael Alcides, who, recovering from a recent hospitalization for his diabetes, had not wanted to fail to pay his respects and say a final goodbye to the brother in the struggle.

He told me that of course all of us who are fighters like Payá are aware of the risk that faces us when we defy a totalitarian government. But we know that despite risking our lives, it’s impossible to avoid our protest.

Demanding freedom in front of the police station

We were told that Aleaga and Antonio remained in detention at the 4th Police Station in Infanta. In half an hour we were there, along with a group of young fighters, Yoani Sanchez, Reinaldo Escobar and Santana (the writer), to accompany the families of those arrested who were waiting outside the station. There I found a lawyer Vallín who went inside, from time to time, to demand that at least they present the arrest warrants, which they had not yet done; he warned that they were detained there as hostages, in open violation of applicable laws.

Soon a Major of the police came to ask Vallín speak with us and to tell us to go home. By that time we were over twenty people. Vallin told us the desire of the officer after he had retired. We were laughing that the officer thought, just ask, we would retreat. At the time the Major came out again and warned us that we could not be there (we stayed right across the street from the police station). He said that in twenty minutes they would release those arrested.

So we decided to go to the facing sidewalk. The Major returned and told us we could not be there either. To facilitate the release of Antonio, we decided to retreat about fifty feet, our position was no longer right in front of the station. But those twenty minutes passed when they promised to release him; and we waited an hour. Then it occurred to someone to make “a small geographical pressure,” and we returned to the place where we were earlier, on the sidewalk right across from the station.

From there we could observe every movement. The Major returned and told us he was the Chief of the Municipality, and that it we continued there he would have to send the “forces of order” to remove us. We were already over thirty people demanding the release of our brothers. The writer Orlando Luis Pardo had come, with his girlfriend and another girl.

We told the official they we felt for him for all that he’d gone through, given that he had been patient and at all times, had turned to us with respect, but we urged him to keep his word. Reinaldo Escobar told him to put himself in our position, would he be able to abandon a comrade in these circumstances, and we didn’t even know under what condition Antonio was in, if he was beaten.

The officer tried to deny our suspicions, saying they didn’t hit him, but when we showed the wounds that had some had recently received from the repressive forces, among the other detainees Ailer, who had just joined us, the soldier chose to remain silent and, nevertheless, seemed to understand, or maybe it was our decency and sympathetic stance. Finally we told him that if he felt that he should pressure us, we were determined to accompany Antonio in the cell. They we had no objection to his doing his duty.

Then he left and never came back. After a while they released Aleaga and we applauded as he walked out in front of all their captors. But if they thought we would settle for one of two taken, they were wrong; they were left waiting to see what we would do and when they saw we would continue stationed there, they formed the idea to devise other action against us.

Half an hour later a truck of the Special Branch appeared, full of guards. Also two ambulances arrived. In one corner State Security agents in plain clothes began to meet. Ailer saw one of the ones who had beaten her and took advantage of it to tell her abusers to their faces that one day they would have to pay for such abuses. The men did not answer. They turned away and we saw them climb the stairs to shelter in the police station.

Someone phoned to say that Fariñas had been taken to his province in a police car. Soon we were approached by a “security”: a black guy six feet tall who, in order to provoke us, stationed himself very close to us. But his presumed bravery was just a show for his comrades who were watching, because Reinaldo Escobar also went to meet him, and when he passed behind him, I saw the “security’s” cowardly eyes, his six-foot body shrank, he turned to follow Reinaldo with his eyes as if he was afraid of being attacked, something Reinaldo would never do, quite the contrary, because what he did was fake a call for him to overhear, as if he were telling someone that everything was fine.

After that the provocateur also pulled out his phone and informed us we were clowns. I took mine and he heard me and I said there were no problems, that the provocation was sheer monkey business. Then the black guy quickly left, frustrated at not having received the order to beat us and take us by force, which is what he wanted.

After one o’clock in the morning, Vallín and Reinaldo spoke to the Colonel, who said he was the Head of the Station. Vallín said he had twenty-four hours to make the decision to charge the person or not, and to define the offense for which he’d be tried. The official acknowledged that was true, by law, and confirmed that ten o’clock marked the term, and then he would report back what they would do in that case, which they were now studying the decision to make. Vallín and Reinaldo made it clear that it was an agreement, and the Colonel agreed.

The elderly parents of Antonio said as long as we were there they would not leave. Then we got them to agree to let us take them home and come back and meet at ten o’clock. The couple agreed. And so we all went.

At ten o’clock the future of Antonio was decided

When I reached the police station with the attorney Vallín, already there were Antonio’s parents, his partner and some other opponents. Forced to sit in the sun on the sidewalk in front of the station, they would not let us approach, in fact no pedestrians could pass through the place. The whole street was blocked by police cars and policemen. We had to wait twenty yards from the station.

When Yoani and Reinaldo arrived, they hurried their steps to join Antonio’s parents, and police tried to stop them, but they, like experienced athletes of the opposition, managed to dodge them and sit on the wall where the elderly parents were. A police captain said they could not stay there, and Yoani and Reinaldo told them about laws and rights and the police were astonished.

All they could do was exert force, but their order was to avoid confrontation at all times. They were very close to the fateful date of celebration for the defeat of the 26th of July, and they didn’t want to tarnish it, it was bad enough with the mysterious death of Oswaldo Payá.

Immediately the Colonel came out, it was 10:10 in the morning and he should comply with the agreement. He spoke with the parents and then with Vallín, the decision was he would be released, and then we saw Antonio could out in a patrol car and greet us. The Colonel said that the prisoner would be brought to his house.

When we got to Antonio’s house he already was there and told us the abuses they committed, all the horror that his oppressors made him suffer to force him to give up; we saw his ripped clothes ragged, the bruises and scratches on his body.

We all returned to our homes knowing that Antonio, Ailer, Aleaga, Fariñas and the rest of the group were already in theirs, wanting rest, until a new warning alerts us that another injustice has been committed, and we have to once again be present for the freedom of Cuba and our brothers.

Those hours helped us to push the wall of the dictatorship that oppresses us a few inches. We know that the worst part of this difficult struggle is yet to come, that to achieve democracy we will make many sacrifices. But the good thing is that these days we confirm that, despite all the repression of the Castro regime, we worthy Cubans are ready to give ourselves for the ideals that Oswaldo Payá died for.

August 8 2012

Request from Guillermo Fariñas Hernández to the Newspaper Granma

Request from Guillermo Fariñas Hernández with regards to the interview by Deisy Francis Mexidor, of the newspaper Granma, Saturday, July 3, 2010, with the Chief of Intensive Care at the University of Arnaldo Milián Castro Hospital.

The request was dictated by phone by Guillermo Fariñas to Licet Zamora Carrandi

The journalist Deisy Francis Mexidor intentionally omitted to detail the entire medical team attending Guillermo Fariñas Hernández. It includes: Dr. Armando Caballero López head of Intensive Care and Specialist in the Second Degree, Dr. Elias Becker Garcia, Second Degree Specialist in Nutrition Parenteral, Dr. Luis Alberto Pérez Santos, Second Degree Specialist in Intensive Care, Dr. Mauro López Ortega, Second Degree Specialist in Intensive Care, Dr. Mario Rodríguez Domínguez, Second Degree Specialist in Intensive Care, Dr. Rodolfo Delgado Martínez, Dr. Israel Serra Machado, Dr. Ernesto Fernandez Aspiolea, First Degree Specialist in Intensive Care, Dr. Marcos Castro Alonso, First Degree Specialist in Intensive Care, Dr. Yoniel Rivero Lóbrega, Third Year Resident in Critical Care and Dr . Cartaya Carlos Herrera, who is not part of the medical team because he is fulfilling a mission to Venezuela but on a visit to Cuba he has attended, every morning, the discussions of the medical team with respect to the progress of Guillermo Fariñas, because of his years of experience with the various strikes previously carried out.

Professor Armando Caballero made a slight error because I entered weighing 53 kilograms on March 11, and on occasion have been as high as 69.75 kilograms. All this has been thanks to the nutritionist Dr. Elias Becker, which makes us certain that Orlando Zapata Tamayo was assassinated because had he been given the medical attention that the newspaper Granma reports that I have been given, at this time he would not be deceased.

She omitted explaining the reason for my fast and suggested in the newspaper that it is a suicide and it was not explained to the readers that Guillermo Fariñas has been on a hunger strike since last February 24, demanding parole for 25 of the political prisoners in Cuban prisons as prisoners of conscience because they are in poor health.

I believe that because of my serious condition they have used the humanitarianism of the doctors to prepare the international media for my future death. I am aware of my upcoming death and consider it an honor to try to save the lived of the 25 political prisoners of conscience which our country needs as leaders. The only ones responsible for my future death are the brothers Fidel and Raul Castro. I trust in the medical and paramedic team treating me. That is why I have rejected the various offers that have been made to me to go to other countries. I want to die in my country under the noses of the dictators with their guns, rifles, canons and bombs. I have only the moral standing of a member of the ordinary people, misled and subjugated for 51 years by those who have weapons, violence, totalitarian laws and misgovernment from above.

Guillermo Fariñas Hernández