Carlos Alberto Montaner, Tireless Fighter for Cuba’s Freedom

The writer and journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner during a conference in 2018. (Sergio Santillán Díaz / YouTube / Captura2)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 28 May 2023 — The first time I learned about Carlos Alberto Montaner was thanks to an article of his entitled Henry Kissinger in Havana, a work that I liked very much and that established my future interest in a compatriot who, when no one was listening and even less wanted to see, assumed the commitment to attack Castroism, without considering the damage that such a decision could bring about.

The clipping was sent to me in Cuba in the mid-1970s or late 1970s by former political prisoner Héctor Caraballo, who had managed to escape the island on a raft. Héctor, based in Puerto Rico, established a relationship with Montaner as a result of the interest they both shared in Cuba.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that those were decades in which rare voices cried out in the desert of anti-Castroism. Not a few, including governments, underestimated the Cuban dictator who dizzyingly set up a gigantic apparatus with the help of the former Soviet Union to subdue all of America.

Montaner is among the pioneers who confronted the nascent totalitarianism in Cuba and abroad, an honorable credit that not many can show. His management has been successful, to the extreme, that, in a few years, he became a benchmark for learning about the reality of the Island that the Castros and their henchmen had taken over.

On the other hand, Carlos Alberto is among the first to denounce the danger that Castroism represented for the entire continent. His works in this regard were many and I am sure they were among the most widely read by politicians and intellectuals in the hemisphere, including in the United States, which greatly contributed to the mission of combating totalitarian subversion. His farewell letter leaves a void that is difficult to fill.

It is true that I have commented on more than one occasion that one of the sayings of the writer José Antonio Albertini is “ink also kills,” but there are writers like Montaner and Albertini himself who, with the ink they use, have saved and protected those who require aid. continue reading

We must never forget those who, with their talent and dedication, have defended freedom, as well as others, with plenty of courage, who have fought the Fidelista subversion with arms in their hands in different parts of the world, such as Félix Rodríguez and Rigoberto Acosta, among others, as well as the Makasis, Cubans who fought in Africa, both on land, in the air and even in the legendary Lake Tanganyika, the Guevarist and Víctor Dreke armies.

Nor should the many patriots who languished in prisons in Cuba, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela be overlooked for confronting, in their own way and with their convictions, the Island’s totalitarianism.

Castroism has never stopped repressing, and nor have dignified Cubans asked for quarter, among them Carlos Alberto, who through the media, his political activism and international appearances did not stop attacking the dictatorship that overshadowed his homeland, turning him into one one of enemies most hated by Castroism.

There was no lack of patriots to wage war against totalitarianism in all its forms, with or without the consent of the United States. Nor have compatriots been absent who, like Montaner, José Ignacio Rasco, Juan Clark, Eduardo García Moure and Humberto Medrano, just to mention a few, put their talent to the task of spreading the truth about Cuba, achieving, modestly, that willful blindness would give way to some light.

Not all of us will agree with the work that Montaner has accomplished throughout his intellectual tenure, but we do recognize that his work has been exemplary. While the Castros sank Cuba as a nation and a Republic, his life’s work has profoundly contributed to demonstrating the catastrophe that was taking place in our country.

Carlos Alberto Montaner has been, in my opinion, one of the most productive promoters of democracy in Cuba and the rest of the continent. His indisputable talent for debating and his ability to communicate his ideas made him a giant whose work we should all be proud of. He is a great man and as such he deserves our respect and a prominent place in our present and in national memory.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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.

Cuba Will Be Free

Following a crackdown on those who participated in the July 11 protests of 2021, Cubans living abroad held several days of demonstrations in support of the detainees. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 13 May 2023 — Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, considered France’s most able politician by some historians, once told the emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, “Sir, you can do almost anything with bayonets except sit on them,” a reality that Cuban dictator Miguel Díaz-Canel and his entourage are living in the present like no other despot of his lineage.

Last Sunday’s protests, along with those of July 21, 2021 and numerous others which have take place in the interim, confirm better than any opinion poll that the Cubans have grown increasingly dissatisfied. Miguel Díaz-Canel, the Castros’ faithful servant, is capable of shredding his victims as cruelly as his predecessors did. What he does not do is inspire terror. People are simply fed up with all the wrongdoing and government inefficiency.

On January 1, 1959 — the day after their victory — the Castros and their henchmen sat on their bayonets. No one told me this; I experienced it firsthand. Even their supporters felt pressured to act without stopping to consider the reasons or the legality.

That was the period described by the unforgettable José Pepe Illan as a time of both fear and hope. The horrors of the moment did not matter — they were even considered justifiable — because there was the expectation of a bright future. At least that was the belief of the future servants of Fidel, Raúl and their many accomplices, who turned Cuba into their own giant ranch.

Fidel misgoverned the country with impunity for forty-nine years. And like other dictators such as Francisco Franco, Joseph Stalin and Augusto Pinochet, he died in his bed without being brought to justice by the people whose lives he devastated. It must be acknowledged, however, that, in addition to committing many crimes, he was a masterful liar. He not only managed to deceive many of his followers and a large segment of the island’s population, but also third parties such politicians and foreign governments, who allowed themselves to be manipulated, never stopping to call him out for his dirty tricks.

Thanks to his talent for lying, obfuscation and manipulation, he was able to turn his multiple failures into victories, an achievement made possible in no small part by his submissiveness to the now defunct Soviet Union. Castro was a consummate con artist who turned Cuba into a totalitarian state, brought about its material destruction and caused lasting damage to its civic values. continue reading

Though the hand-picked successor, his brother Raúl, never had the melodramatic flair of a Latin American strongman, he was no less criminal and no less able to guide the country in a direction that suited his interests. Having already acquired an extensive criminal record, he assumed the leadership at a time when the state was in full decline.

The public’s level of frustration was very high. Though people could no longer be fooled by promises of a better future, the strong-arm tactics were still effective. And the Castro surname still gave him some clout.

Raul, old and tired, was perhaps more convinced than Fidel, who once admitted and later denied, that the revolution was a failed proposition. Looking for a quick fix within the framework of the Cuban Communist Party, he decided to refresh the makeup of the top leadership, just as had been done with the Chinese Communist Party, which appeared to be in decline judging by a recent decision from Xi Jing Ping, the latest emperor of the Asian monolith.

Raúl held onto the presidency for ten years while at the same time directing the farce that is the Communist Party, whose real name should be the Party of the Castros. He left power to enjoy the remainder of his life, which had been dedicated to serving his brother in their common aim of destroying the republic and the nation.

The new comandante, as inmates who run certain areas of a prison called him, was sadly the all-too-well-known Miguel Díaz-Canel. Though he has demonstrated that he knows how to obey, this shadowless figure does not have the public’s respect. So far, he has not fallen on the bayonets on which he is sitting, a position that must be extremely uncomfortable.

I am certain that Cubans are fed up and willing to find freedom at whatever price the dictatorship demands. Onward!


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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.

Castrochavism and Its Accomplices

Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Cuba’s Raul Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, in a 2012 image. (Cubadebate)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 4 May 2023 — Castroism has been catastrophic for Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia, as well as a certain threat to the progress and stability of the rest of the countries in the hemisphere because of its vast, deep and different ways of operating against democracy, so many that, despite the accumulated failures, they are still poles of attraction for those who see power as spoils of war.

Decades after their emergence, these nations and those that have approached them — Ecuador is a valid example — present serious governance problems, exacerbated by chronic misery and a total absence of freedoms and rights, a situation that forces citizens aware of their prerogatives to fight disgrace with the tragic consequences of death, prison and exile.

However, it is a source of pride for all of us that, although the tragedy in these four countries is a painful reality, resistance has not been broken in any of them, since repression, however crude it may be, does not succeed in extinguishing free spirits.

However, it would be very helpful for these resistance fighters to have more concrete support from the international community, and to get beyond high-sounding declarations and sanctions that are seldom fully implemented.

A network of regimes of force such as the one built by the Castro-Chavistas cannot be destroyed or neutralized with superficial solutions and in isolation, because, in addition to having power, there is no lack of friends ready to serve them, as is the case of Brazil’s Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, among others. continue reading

It is true that the greatest responsibility lies with the people who put up with tyranny, but history has shown that transnational domination cannot be overthrown by unilateral actions. Common and decisive action on the part of those who challenge them is necessary. There is no country free of predators, there is no vaccine against little gods, as Anatole France would say, with the capacity to destroy what has been built, a warning that no time should be lost in what has to be done.

On the other hand, we should keep in mind that the commanders who impose the ignominy of a government of force are the people most responsible for that misfortune, but they are not the only ones. Their collaborators and followers share responsibility, because as José Martí wrote, “to calmly observe a crime is to commit it”, and those regimes are characterized by spreading their cruelty to achieve the desired social control, and in that way gaining numerous accomplices who join in the mischief.

These dictatorships have a vast clientele of servants who can mutate from victims to aggressors. The latter are transformed into abused slaves when they get a bad conscience about their complicity, or on a whim are punished by their masters.

There is no shortage of willing and talented autocrats, cruel and merciless people, but even so, they cannot build a regime in their own image and likeness by themselves. They have to find a team of executioners in the literal sense of the term, and people to carry out the dirty work.

The work of autocrats, be they Fidel and Raúl Castro, Hugo Chávez, Daniel Ortega, Miguel Díaz-Canel, Evo Morales or Rafael Correa, is assisted and complemented by ever-present opportunists, or by those who carry out their designs with blood and fire. They are the ones who give form with their actions to the official slogans and voluntarily give up their rights.

The work of these despots, including their march to power, is aided by the bad judgments, idleness and complicity of large numbers of their fellow countrymen. Of these, perhaps the majority, the most passionate supporters, come from the common people. Nevertheless, they have to count, at least in part, on the ruling class, intellectuals, businesspeople, social leaders, artists and professionals, to be able to build their empire, at least that is what happened in Cuba, and it was also seen in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Although as Cubans it is painful for us to see it, we must recognize that the Island´s regime has provided a wealth of experience and knowledge to its Latin American peers. The dictators of these countries, and those that the future may bring, have been able to impose their will thanks to the direct advice of Castro’s totalitarianism, which has sent many of its executioners to show how terror should be systematically and institutionally imposed.

Translated by GH


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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.

60th Anniversary of Cuba’s ‘Year of the Lash’

A group of rebels in Escambray. (Pedro Corzo)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 16 April 2023 — This is not an opinion article, but rather a chronicle that intends to offer a close account of the 60th anniversary of the bloodiest year in the fight against Castro’s totalitarianism. So fierce was the year of 1963 that everyone calls it the “year of the lash*.”

It was during the commemoration of the 56th anniversary of the closure of the Isle of Pines political prison, organized by the Institute of Cuban Historical Memory against Totalitarianism under the leadership of Ramiro Gómez, that it occurred to Enrique Ruano to remember the bloodiest year of our republican history.

Sixty years ago some of the bloodiest combats took place in our plains and mountains as well as several of the mass executions sponsored by Castroism.

On January 3, guerrilla captain Porfirio Guillen fell, along with ten other men, in the vicinity of the Manicaragua cemetery, one day after Enrique Ruano himself brought him supplies necessary for the war.

On February 23, a militiaman murdered four young men at the La Perla hotel in Sancti Spíritus. On March 1, the second chief of the Escambray, Tomas David San Gil, fell in combat at the Monte de las Cuarenta Caballerías [Mount of the 40 Cavalries ], also known as Las Llanadas de Gómez, along with twelve of his men; an exceptional young man who would have contributed a lot to Cuba.

That same month, on the 21st, in a place known as El Algarrobo, in Escambray, a confrontation took place between the guerrillas commanded by Captain Ramón del Sol with the militias and the Army; six insurgents died there. The next day, near the Limonares sugar mill, in Matanzas, the guerrilla captain Juan José (Pichi) Cátala was mortally wounded, along with a brother and four other guerrillas. In El Guayabo, Camagüey, the forces of the guerrilla chief Juan Alberto Martínez Andrade , were attacked resulting in the death of four of their men.

On May 18, the guerrilla leader, Pedro Perico Sánchez, who had already lost two of his sons in combat the previous month, fell. Eight days later, near Encrucijada, the guerrilla leader Domingo González García, Mingo Melena, died with a dozen of his men. According to information from eyewitnesses, the wounded were finished off by the militias. continue reading

On June 20, in a confrontation with the militias and the Army in Las Piedras, near Aguada de Pasajeros, guerrilla captain Esteban Morales was killed along with six of his men, four of whom have never been identified.

June 11 and 13, 21 men are massacred in Manacas Izaga, Trinidad, after spending almost two years in the Isla de Pinos prison without trial or sentence, 23 were to be shot; one of the survivors, Aldo Chaviano, is living testimony of that massacre.

On August 15, a guerrilla commanded by Maro Borges faced several militia battalions and the Lucha contra Bandidos / LCB (Struggle Against Bandits), in Guácima, Escambray; the guerrillas lost 11 men and several wounded, including Raúl García, El Quechole.

The regime continued to deploy thousands of fully armed troops and with the support of helicopters in all the areas where uprisings were operating, motivating bloody combats such as the one in Laguna de Taje, near Trinidad, Las Villas, where the guerrilla leader Pedro González, together with his brother and seven other men lost their lives. The mortal remains of Pedro González and his lieutenant, Guillermo Torres, were transported to the Trinidad park and thrown on the pavement, where they were vilely abused by the mob summoned by the LCB troops and State Security.

December 19, one of the bloodiest combats in the entire history of guerrilla struggles in republican Cuba takes place. In some sugar cane fields near the Portugalete sugar mill, in Palmira, south of Las Villas, the guerrilla leader Luis Molina died, and the guerrilla leader Antonio Otero, along with 6 other guerrillas.

That was the Year of the Lash, and here there are not the confrontations resulting in two or three deaths, nor the almost daily executions, nor the armed incursions that came from abroad. I paraphrase an expression of our director and friend, Pepe Bello: “Who says that the Cubans did not fight against totalitarianism?”

*Translator’s note: See here for the prior Year of the Lash in 1844


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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.

Cuba: Politics, Art and Sport

The Cuban baseball team said it felt under pressure in the Miami game, and, after its defeat, the regime blamed the audience and the opposition. (Jit)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 1 April 1, 2023 — They are three independent activities, but when the arts and sports, like any discipline, are developed under a dictatorial, even worse, totalitarian management, such as the Cuban State, the management, individual or collective, is subject to the will of the government.

There will be those who do not understand the protests, which, in other words, are not against the athletes, but against the regime they represent, although as citizens, they also have rights and duties within their community.

I confess that I remember with bitterness those days of death sentences that were carried out in 24 hours, and that many prominent athletes and artists, receiving awards abroad, in their first statements to the press dedicated their awards to Fidel Castro or simply said that he was their inspiration.

The distinctions that athletes receive under the regime are a product of their own efforts, but the Government capitalizes on them for propaganda purposes, and this contributes to disinformation and to the athlete’s dependence on the State. Something similar happens with any scientific advance that occurs in Cuba. They make believe, they disseminate the results, as a genuine progress of the system, not of the nation; even less, of the individuals who with their talent and dedication achieve success. continue reading

The totalitarian regime takes credit for any award or recognition to a Cuban who represents the Island. But some do not feel a triumph as something national or as a success that belongs to everyone.

I have participated in protests against the dictatorship at sporting events. I confess that it’s not easy. I have felt like the character of the book The Two Halves of the Viscount, by Italo Calvino, which describes an aristocrat physically divided in half by a cannonball, which results in the contradictory behavior of his two halves.

The situation presented by Calvino in his short novel is complex, similar to that suffered by those of us who face totalitarian regimes that are capable of appropriating the values of a nation. It is true that there are those who do not have problems with their halves; they are whole, and they act as a battering ram without suffering the consequences.

In the early 1980s, a sports competition was celebrated in a stadium in Valencia, Venezuela, attended by Cuban boxers.

It was an intense day. Together with Kemel Jamis, a former political prisoner, and two other compatriots, we appeared on the grounds with a couple of large signs that said, “Welcome Cuban sports brothers” and another, “We condemn Castro-Communist tyranny.” Fortunately, for our safety from the Cuban and Venezuelan henchmen, the National Guard intervened and took us into custody and out of the stadium.

Protesting is a right, especially when people are not assaulted and public and private property are not damaged.

Totalitarianism introduces the citizen to a perennial debate. Consciousness, feelings, interests, politics and ideology face off against each other in a constant discussion, which acutely complicates reaching conciliation. The regime that prevails in Cuba is so absorbing and inclusive that, no matter how hard the individual tries, he cannot escape the influence of the system, unless he absolutely breaks with his roots and what he derives from them.

This perception to some extent is also based on the fact that totalitarianism, beyond the will and doing of each citizen, instilled for decades the certainty that the homeland and Fidel Castro were a single entity, an absolutism that led to the belief that any contrary individual decision would have a negative impact on the values and commitments of the nation.

All this generates an irreconcilable confrontation between the two supposed halves, not only in sports but in similar aspects. It affects everything, even the help you can give to a family member, because the reality is that totalitarianism is like a gigantic funnel that swallows everything.

But what to do? Totalitarianism is a dirty trap that corrodes us. On the Island everything is kidnapped, even our loved ones, and can there be a homeland without a family?

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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.

The Electoral Farces of Castro and Chavez

Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 5 March 2023 — I have no doubt that those who participate in elections in the countries where castrochavismo prevails are wrong, regardless of the good faith they contribute to the effort. The oppressors do not allow elections where they do not have the victory assured. It is true that in 2015 they lost the Legislative Assembly in Venezuela by respecting the popular will, but, how many times before and after have they mocked it?

Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have resorted to electoral despotism as an ideal political formula to preserve power, dressing in the legitimacy that the vote confers, so that their allies inside and out continue to proclaim that democracy reigns in Caracas, La Paz and Managua, and so that alleged defenders of democracy have arguments to continue supplying police cars to the repressors.

It is valid to note that, although Cuba is the parent company of these despotisms, its electoral practice is more crude, since it simply exercises absolute control over the elections and leaves no space to dream. However, in the land of Martí, as in the three countries mentioned, there has been no shortage of bona fide people who have believed in the electoral proposals of these autocrats.

In Cuba there is no electoral campaign or farce of opposition candidates, as in its metastasis, although according to Juan José Estrada, the activities carried out by Miguel Díaz Canel, the dictator handpicked by the Castros in the province of Villa Clara, is the closest thing to a candidate’s campaign, which is perhaps a first step in a kind of facelift of the regime in search of international recognition and support, which for its continued failures is more than necessary.

On the other hand, if some appreciate that the Nicaraguan duo of Ortega-Murillo are flirting with real Castro socialism by increasing their insane cruelties against the population, perhaps Don Miguel considers that, to survive among the Castros and their henchmen, it is vital to approach the farce of 21st Century Socialism, the story that Hugo Chávez, Lula da Silva and Fidel Castro promoted with relative success. continue reading

These three regimes, although inspired by Cuban totalitarianism, have pretended to respect the division of powers of modern states. However, in their first administration, as happened in Cuba in 1959, they placed all the organs of justice under their control to be able to delegitimize any direction contrary to their interests.

We must not forget that the Supreme Court of Justice of Cuba, in the early morning of January 1 of the year in question, proclaimed that “the Revolution is the source of law,” conferring on the process a license that initiated the most aberrant impunity.

Unfortunately, the majority of citizens do not give the judiciary the importance it deserves, when in fact it is the balance of all public management. All public powers are relevant, but the control of Justice and its magistrates gives the despot the ability to act at will in an alleged legal framework, including the always diminished electoral authority, which we only remember when the elections are approaching.

In the twentieth century, when information technology was still in its infancy, the practice to pretend that the head of government was a democrat respectful of the laws went through the purchase of votes, the theft of ballot boxes or simply a fraudulent count that favored the candidate who protected the Government. At present, although the formula has not been completely eradicated, other more sophisticated methods have been added that allow a more efficient cover-up of the true ends of those who, while seeking absolute power, intend to perpetuate themselves in it.

Perhaps Hugo Chávez’s greatest contribution, parallel to the delivery of Venezuela’s vast resources to Castro, has been the control he had over the electoral authority once he assumed power — in fact he practically hijacked it — because most of the magistrates faithfully served his interests, although possibly none with the vileness of Jorge Rodríguez Gómez, who has occupied practically all government positions. A true faithful servant, with no fear of making mistakes.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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 Coyote Regimes

The former Cuban president, Raúl Castro, along with the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega and their Venezuelan partner, Nicolás Maduro. (Twitter)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 18 February 2023 — We often read about that particularly predatory human subspecies that we call “coyotes,” unscrupulous subjects who live from the despair of those who seek to have a better life for themselves and theirs.

These people have no mercy. They traffic people, making them face countless dangers, like being kidnapped, raped or killed. It’s a dirty international business of billions of dollars in which organized crime has a great participation, an entity present in more than one government in the hemisphere.

It is prudent to wonder if that activity was in principle an invention of criminal-minded governments or simple criminals who are always looking for a greater fortune. The question is a consequence of the recent decision of the Nicaraguan dictatorship to banish 222 political prisoners, an act that confirms that the tyrants of Castro-Chavismo do not even respect their own laws.

This release of political prisoners to obtain some political or economic benefit was a practice that Fidel Castro instituted in the 1960s, when he put a price on the head of each and every one of the prisoners of the 2506 Brigade*. Later, every time an influential U.S. senator traveled to Cuba and interceded for a prisoner, the dictator released some of his slaves. The same happened with the few Ibero-American political leaders who were interested in those who were in the Caribbean tyrant’s dungeons. Even the Nobel Gabriel García Márquez was rewarded by his friend Castro with a slave, the already disappeared political prisoner Reinol González.

Castro-Chavista regimes dictate particularly repressive laws whose direct results are death or imprisonment and, nevertheless, they break them extremely easily if there is any benefit involved, because all those dictators share the greed of coyotes. continue reading

Of course, these exiles, in addition to looking for economic benefits, have political gains in their sights. The Ortega-Murillo duo seeks, with the banishment of political prisoners, an approach to the government of President Joe Biden, who apparently, as former President Barack Obama did, is in favor of a rapprochement with the despots that prevail in the hemisphere, perhaps with the naive idea that the bad guys give in to good examples.

Political prisoners are a by-product of repression, the greatest hallmark of Castro-Chavism. To achieve absolute social control, punishment is essential. That’s why in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia there are political prisoners who in most cases have not committed any crime; they have been punished for the right to think and give their opinion without hypocrisy, a crime for the autocrats who govern those countries.

The worst thing is that they use repression as an instrument of punishment, in addition to simulating changes. These regimes condemn a large number of people for no reason with the aim of breaking them, sometimes releasing them en masse and banishing them, in order to receive benefits from the government that welcomes them or, at least, making “useful idiots” think that the dictatorship is changing by exiling prisoners who did not commit crimes, as the writer José Antonio Albertini said.

The best evidence of this statement dates back to the arrival in Spain of several prisoners of Cuba’s 2003 Black Spring, something similar to what Ortega-Murillo did. On that occasion, Member of the European Parliament María Muñiz, of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, told Deutsche Welle: “We must appreciate this gesture of Cuba,” adding, “this will allow the European Union’s Common Position towards Cuba to be changed in the near future,” ignoring that the prisoners were unjustly sanctioned, as is the case with the banished.

It is not fair that tyrants are rewarded for rectifying their crimes. The Iranian autocrat, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, pardoned prisoners for the protests that motivated the murder of the young Mahsa Amini and, according to some rumors, the Cuban regime will release some of the protestors arrested on July 11, 2021. These injustices should not be rewarded by democratic governments by declaring that there are changes and granting benefits, when the dictatorship is actually preparing the prisons to receive new innocents.

*Translator’s note: The 2506 Brigade was made up of Cuban exiles, and in 1961 they landed at the Bay of Pigs [known as Giron in Cuba] to overthrow Fidel Castro.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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.

Miguel Diaz-Canel, the Most Faithful Servant

Miguel Díaz-Canel and his Russian counterpart, Vladímir Putin, in front of the statue of Fidel Castro unveiled in November in Moscow (EFE/EPA/Sergei Savostyanov)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corvo, Miami, 13 February 2022 — In the late 1990s, times when spy Ana Belén Montes successfully insisted that Castroism was not dangerous for the United States — an assertion that resonated with some US officials who have always looked on the island dictatorship with fondness — a considerable number of Cubans rejected that assertion, arguing that the aggressive nature of the regime did not allow it to overlook any opportunity that would allow it to affect US interests.

However, everything seemed to indicate that after Fidel Castro’s death, the imperialist influence of the project he sponsored would lose momentum. This because, during Raúl Castro’s term of office, there was a notable decrease in Cuba’s participation in the international arena. This a situation that has been slowly changing since the hand-picked dictator, Miguel Díaz-Canel, “received,” at least apparently, “the baton,” as the head of government was identified by the compatriots of the beginning of the last century.

Island totalitarianism has taken at least two particularly intense initiatives. One towards the interior of the country, through which it controls power and the other towards the exterior, in order to gain political clients and associates, who have been particularly useful to it over the years. In addition, the Castro regime has masterfully used its real or supposed successes abroad, making them an essential part of its coliseum or circus with the aim of manipulating the population, aware of the chauvinistic vision that many Cubans suffer from. continue reading

Díaz-Canel’s first trip as head of Cuba’s failed state was to Venezuela, a visit that ensures the mutual dependence of both regimes. The island supplies repressive experience and social control and Caracas continues to provide vital oil. This was shown by an agency report that the Venezuelan government bought approximately 440 million dollars worth of crude oil abroad and shipped it to Cuban ports under very favorable payment conditions.

There is no doubt: it is increasingly easy to conclude that the ties between these countries are a kind of parody of the relations between Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, both autocrats of the same ilk.

It must be acknowledged that the hand-picked President is adapting to the times and, contrary to what his predecessors did, he travels with his wife, Lis Cuesta, who, it seems, enjoys the advantages of being the “First Combatant” as they say in our beloved Venezuela.

To this difference with the Castro brothers we must add a similarity, and that is that the despot travels with a bodyguard who, moreover, is his stepson, a situation that shows that nepotism is a constant in that old dictatorship.

The island’s press, always loyal to the boss, has highlighted Díaz-Canel’s numerous trips abroad since he was appointed dictator, describing him as “tireless president,” a title not as distinguished as those granted to Fidel Castro.

The international exposure of this most faithful servant, a label deserved because he took other distinguished vassals out of the game, such as Carlos Lage, Roberto Robaina and Felipe Pérez Roque, among others, has been constant, if we bear in mind that in his first eight months in office he made 11 trips abroad. He demonstrated on one of them, to Jamaica, that he is as much a liar as the Castro brothers, because he brazenly said that Cuba was “perfecting socialism” and building a “prosperous and sustainable” nation, while in his appearance at the United Nations he spoke cynically about his commitment to fight chronic hunger, a constant in his government, as in that of his benefactors.

One of his most recent trips was to Algeria, Russia, Turkey and China, countries he visited in search of vital aid for his regime, while reiterating to Colonel Vladimir Putin his unrestricted support for the invasion of Ukraine, a support that Kiev should evaluate, if it is true that “the friend of my enemy is my enemy”.

Díaz-Canel is irredeemably faithful to the Castroist route of being an ally of countries hostile to the United States, as evidenced by the Iranian Foreign Minister’s visit to the Cuban capital and Pyongyang’s vaunted and invincible friendship with Havana.

Translated by: Hombre de Paz


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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.

‘Bolos’ [Russians] and Yankees in Havana

Miguel Díaz-Canel receives a group of Russian businessmen on January 18, 2023 at the Palace of the Revolution, in Havana, Cuba. (Cuba Presidency/YouTube/Captura)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, February 4, 2023 — It’s evident that the Castro leadership, those whom they call moncadistas [the ones who took part in the attack on the Moncada barracks, celebrated every July 26], by their stubbornness in maintaining privileges and fortunes at all costs, don’t cease to reinvent themselves by resorting to any maneuver in order to preserve power, the only guarantee of their survival. Miguel Díaz-Canel has shown great talent in managing to genuflect before the Castros.

There is no denying that the Castros, the First Family on the Island, knew how to make their transition from power. They found the ideal person to run their errands, while they continue doing as they wish with the rights of Cubans, so much so that I dare to parody a song by Panchito Riset: “Fidel, the little room is the same as you left it, as you arranged it.”

Nothing has changed in Cuba, although there is no shortage of those who despair about finding developments that would indicate a new direction, or of those who continue demonizing the opponents of totalitarianism. The new governance acts under the instructions of the Castros. The nature of the regime is the same as 64 years ago. Those who sponsor a policy of coexistence are wrong, as are those who defend giving carrots to the dictatorship, which only strangles the people.

Also, those who assumed the Spanish transition as a model for the change in the Castro regime were wrong, just like those who said that when Fidel is gone, [the Revolution] “will crumble like a merengue [cake] at the door of a school” (a very Cuban expression). We have been mistaken in the predictions of how Cuban totalitarianism would end. However, I have no doubt that it will end as long as there are Cubans in prison demanding their rights, such as the young Angélica and María Cristina Garrido, Lizandra Góngora Espinosa, Félix Navarro, José Daniel Ferrer and a thousand other people, after 64 years of a doctrinal dictatorship. continue reading

A few weeks ago my friend and prison mate, Juan José Estrada, warned that the Russians, whom Cubans called bolos [from ’Bolsheviks’] in the sixties because they were crude, poorly dressed and smelled bad, would return to Cuba to the rhythm of capitalism and not in representation of a failed regime that victimized both Russians and Cubans. He suspects that this became a reality in past days.

The presence of Russian businessmen on the Island — most likely some were KGB leaders along with Vladimir Putin — should be an indication for the hitmen of Castroism, those who beat, imprisoned and condemned the young protestors of July 11, 2021, that the regime they defend is doomed to failure and that their crimes have a punishment, as Fyodor Dostoyevsky would write.

Estrada stated in his comment that the Russians would visit Cuba as predators more voracious than the mafia that they had displaced halfway around the world, not as officials ready to squander their goods, as Moscow did in the past for ideological reasons. These realities don’t worry the Island’s totalitarian leaders as long as they hold onto power.

The interesting thing was that the visit of Russian businessmen coincided with the trip of President Joe Biden’s government officials to Havana. A paradoxical truth: the Russians came to do business, while the Americans visited Cuba to “establish and increase channels for law enforcement cooperation to better address transnational threats, not at the expense of human rights.”

It’s difficult understand the stubborn desire of some politicians, businessmen and social leaders of different nationalities to negotiate with Castro totalitarianism, arguing that the precarious situation of Cubans has a solution with the supply of goods and migratory placebos. The violation of the rights of Cubans and the opportunities that are denied to them are decisions of their own Government, not of foreign powers.

The problem lies in the prevailing system and not in its environment. Cuba was not a failed state or sponsor of terrorism before the arrival of the Castros. It was far from being a paradise, but it was a viable country, just as Venezuela and Nicaragua were before the arrival of Chávez, Maduro and Ortega-Murillo.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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.

Jose Marti Versus Totalitarianism

Statue of Martí in the 13 de Marzo park, in Havana, this May 19. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Havana, 28 January 2023 — We are 170 years after the birth of José Martí, a citizen par excellence, a man who at the young age of 17 was sentenced to serve six years of forced labor for writing a critical letter to a young man who had enrolled in the volunteer security forces in favor of Spain to combat the Cuban insurgency. Absurd and unfair sentence, like most of those currently handed down by the Castro-Chavista regimes that prevail in Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia.

Martí was a man consistent with his convictions, without considering the risks that could arise from his decisions. He was also a notable intellectual.

Writer, poet, journalist, thinker, but more than any other condition, a lucid patriot, a notable organizer and a man fully identified with democracy, which is why, when he established the Cuban Revolutionary Party in 1892, the most precise commitment was to create the bases for the establishment of a democratic republic in Cuba, “a fair republic” “with all and for the good of all.”

The dedication to his patriotic convictions was absolute. He disembarked in Cuba in a precarious boat and on May 19, 1895, despite having no combat experience, he set out to face an enemy force only to die “facing the sun,” as he had predicted in one of his poems, “I am good and as good, I will die facing the sun.”

Castro’s totalitarianism has committed innumerable crimes, but one of the most horrendous was identifying José Martí with his revolutionary project. Intoxicating the new generations with the false propaganda that the Apostle* was the inspirer of the process that had begun in Cuba in 1959 was a lie that germinated in many people, to the point that there are many who fought totalitarianism thinking that Martí had been the promoter of that shameful regime. continue reading

Whoever studies Martí will easily realize that because of his life’s work he could not promote a dictatorship, let alone a totalitarian regime. The man who said: “Freedom is the right that people have to act freely, think and speak without hypocrisy,” would never have been able to defend a society of double standards like the one established in Cuba by the Castros.

Nor would he support a regime that instituted hatred between labor and capital, about which he wrote: “The worker’s right can never be hatred of capital; it is harmony, conciliation, the common approach of one and the other.”

The Apostle was never a sectarian, divisive man, the essence of the Castro dictatorship. Martí worked intensely for the unity of Cubans and for the respect that every human being deserves, even when he acts miserably. He always rejected hatred, a key instrument of totalitarianism and ideological populism, which he considered a nefarious sentiment. That is why he said: “There is no forgiveness for acts of hate. The dagger that is stuck in the name of freedom is stuck in the chest of freedom.”

The man who made the Necessary War was also capable of affirming that a republic is not governed like a barracks. He was a man of civil law, a republican, never a dictator. Totalitarianism is the extinction of the republic, the end of citizen rights.

Martí’s example must germinate among us. His perseverance, patriotic stubbornness, manifested with particular vehemence after the failure of La Fernandina, show a man who never gave up and who assumed his commitments regardless of what the results were going to be, a conduct that many honor today.    #José Martí is a rich source of knowledge. His vast work should be studied by those who aspire to be politicians because it is a reservoir of wise reflections on problems inherent to public affairs. He was an exceptional man for the fact that he defended his ideals to the last consequences, but he was also exceptional for the richness of his thought and the vastness of his teachings.

José Martí, for Cubans the greatest symbol of freedom, would be very alarmed by the situation that the geographical space he called Our America is currently facing, a crisis that is largely induced by the regime that has tried to plagiarize his teachings.

*Translator’s note: Cubans of all political persuasions refer to José Martí as “the Apostle.”


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Spy for Cuba: Belen Montes

The released prisoner acknowledged that she was spying for Fidel Castro, and after her release when she arrived in Puerto Rico, she said she was an irrelevant person who would lead a private existence. (Archive/FBI)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 14 January 2023 — If Ana Belén Montes had been arrested in Cuba for spying for the United States, I have no doubt that she would have been executed by a firing squad, as happened to so many Cubans who fought for freedom and democracy for their country; and if her life were miraculously saved, she would have been frightened, like so many political prisoners of the regime, of the Manto Negro prison, the favorite women’s dungeon of the government she still defends.

Montes’ crimes were many, apart from supporting the bloodiest dictatorship that the continent has suffered.

For 17 years she served the Island totalitarianism by sending Havana information that affected the management of several hundred American agents. She  spread influence in favor of the Castro dictatorship in the circles where it developed, as well as the belief that Castroism was not a threat to the United States. In addition, during her trial, she was associated with the shooting down of two Brothers to the Rescue planes, which resulted in the death of four young civilians who were carrying out humanitarian work.

U.S. military counterintelligence specialist Chris Simmons told Ricardo Quintana, a colleague of Radio Martí, that the spy should have been sentenced to life imprisonment because there was enough evidence that the Salvadoran guerrillas attacked the Fourth Brigade barracks five weeks after she visited that facility.

Simmons claims that Montes passed information to Cubans about when exactly the garrison would be almost defenseless, pointing out “that four-hour period that it was at that base, and this helped the guerrillas kill an American adviser and 70 Salvadoran soldiers. Yes, we know that the information, at the very least, went to Russia and China, and, of course, to several guerrilla groups.” continue reading

The released prisoner acknowledged that she was spying for Fidel Castro, and after her release when she arrived in Puerto Rico, she said she was an irrelevant person who would lead a private existence, while condemning the United States embargo on Cuba, demonstrating that her convictions have not changed, which is why, on the Island of her desires, instead of being free, she would have been reconvicted at least once.

I am convinced that if Montes had been imprisoned by the regime for which she spied, apart from remaining in prison after serving her sentence, she would have suffered other particularly painful experiences. Her confinement would have passed under the mantle of oblivion, as happened to Cary Roque and Ana Lázara Rodríguez, among many other women, of whom no one spoke or heard from during their long years of imprisonment.

Ana Belén Montes’ prison in Cuba would have been marked by hunger, overcrowding and lack of medical attention, without discounting the mistreatment and humiliation to which the henchmen of the regime are so prone. Better not to imagine what would have happened to her if she had declared in a Cuban prison a year after her sentence that she had obeyed her conscience and that the policy of the United States towards Cuba was cruel and unjust, adding, “I felt morally obliged to help the Island defend itself from our efforts to impose our values and our political system on it.”

There is no doubt that she is a woman of strong convictions, which will lead her to repeat the past, because everything seems to indicate that potential allies will not be lacking if, as Senator Marcos Rubio and Mr. Chris Simmons claim, the Cuban espionage network remains vigorous, with up to 300 agents active in the United States and two-thirds of them working in the Miami area.

Although there are those who doubt it out of naivety or by being useful idiots, saying it’s just stupidity is very generous. The Castro totalitarian system has two regular practices inherent in its scorpion nature: to repress the population as much as possible and to destroy the United States by any means within its reach and through espionage against this country, something that it has been carrying out since 1959.

I’m convinced that this confrontation will only end when one of the parties disappears. For my part, I will work for the end of Castroism.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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.

Castroism Destroys Everywhere It Goes

14ymedio biggerDecades after its appearance, the nations mentioned are submerged in misery and suffer from a total absence of freedoms and rights. (14ymedio)14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 30 December 2022 — It is a truth, one of those that leaves you breathless, that Castroism with all its variants — including those of the so-called “21st century socialism,” the route to impose real Castro-Soviet socialism as is happening in Nicaragua and Venezuela — although it continues governing several republics in the hemisphere, has been disastrous for the countries in which it has established itself.

The work of the Cuban regime has offered a wealth of experiences and knowledge for its Latin American counterparts. The dictators of these nations have found it easier to impose their will thanks to the direct advice of the island’s totalitarianism, which has sent many of its executioners to teach how terror must be imposed systematically and institutionally.

However, at least some of us believe that, its lousy management has discouraged many potential followers, although it has not seriously affected the thinking of certain academics, despite the fact that one of the most repeated statements by Castroism in the seventies was “the Responsibility for an event is directly proportional to knowledge.”

The Cuban model, as some describe it, was proposed and developed in the image and likeness of its creator, Fidel Castro. A man with a pharaonic mentality who believed in the fantasy that he was a redeemer who would save the world, when in fact he almost completely destroyed it, as happened in Cuba, due to his obstinacy during the Missile Crisis.

The Cuban, to the regret of those of us who share that designation, was simply a great manipulator, a seller of promises, capable of captivating many deluded people and, also, of seducing a large number of the most poisonous snakes in the human fauna, both Cuban as well as foreign. continue reading

At least in Cuba, partially in Venezuela, I know the responsibility of some of those who enthusiastically supported the Fidelista mandate and Hugo Chávez, including a part of the ruling class of both countries, although Cubans were much more delirious in their complicity with Castroism.

These populist dictatorships have had numerous accomplices. Their work has been favored by the bad judgements, negligence, and complicity of a broad sector of their populations, including intellectuals, businesspeople, social leaders, artists, and professionals. These people, at least on the Island, as of January 1, 1959, and after the end of the armed conflict, listened to the firing of rifles, the consequence of fraudulent trials, and could read newspaper headlines where the lists of those executed were published, but they chose not to see or to listen.

The control exercised by Fidel Castro over Cuban society can be classified as absolute. Owner of lives and estates, without obligation to render accounts to a higher authority. A subject who ordered the killing of his enemies, whom he exonerated and released if an influential politician from the United States visited him and asked for their release.

His doctrine and action was always oriented to the seizure of power and perpetuation in it. From his projects and performances, it is easy to conclude that he always considered himself enlightened, capable of breaking social molds and establishing new ones.

Castroism has been catastrophic for Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia and a certain threat to the progress and stability of the rest of the countries of the hemisphere. Decades after its appearance, the mentioned nations are submerged in misery and suffer from a total absence of freedoms and rights, a situation that forces their citizens to fight opprobrium with the tragic consequences of death, jail and exile.

However, although the tragedy continues, the resistance, started from the first day of despotism, has not been broken in any of these countries, which is why it is important to give those resisters and their contemporaries the information that enables them to know the past, because as Cicero is credited with saying, “peoples who forget their history are doomed to repeat it,” and it is very easy to forget it when by the force of official will silence hangs over it.

The warlords who impose ignominy are the ones most responsible for the misfortune, but not the only ones. Their collaborators and followers share responsibilities. José Martí wrote it: “To watch a crime calmly is to commit it,” which is why one must act against tyrannies.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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.

Cuba: The Shadows That Will Not Pass

Ángel Cuadra Landrove. (Archive)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 21 November 2022 — Recently, a public tribute was held for an exemplary citizen, poet and former Cuban political prisoner, Ángel Cuadra Landrove, an intellectual committed to freedom who never conceded to those who violate it.

In times when we see that creators in general, including artists, do not defend the oppressed so as to avoid becoming targets or simply to avoid losing their audience, it is more than necessary to render tribute to those who risk their lives and end up in prison for 15 years, as happened to Cuadra, who in 1981 was named “the world’s prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International. PEN Sweden made him an honorary member and he was named President of the II Congress of Intellectuals for the Freedom of Cuba.

Creators like him are examples we should publicize. They are pillars of any proposal that has freedom, democracy and respect for human dignity as its motto.

No nation lacks traitors, nor citizens willing to give their lives for liberty. José Martí said it, “Others have within them the decorum of many men. They are the ones who rebel with great force against those who rob the people of their freedom, which is to rob men of their decorum. Within those men go thousands of men, an entire people, human dignity.”

Compliments to those who live up to their country are in order. The life works of those who have sacrificed should never be forgotten. Contrary to the title of a book I read more than fifty years ago, Hartzell Spencer’s Vain Shadow, dedicated to Francisco de Orellana — the explorer who discovered the Amazon — I believe that those who sacrifice themselves in the name of progress and, more so, freedom, will never be shadows, but rather lights that guide and counsel, paradigms for those who share their goals. continue reading

Those who consecrate themselves to a cause cannot be dark, but rather a sure presence among those who love justice and liberty above all else.

Personalities such as Cubans Ángel Cuadra and Jorge Valls Arango, Nicaraguan Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal or the young Venezuelan assassinated by Castro-Chavism, Juan Pablo Pernalete, and many others, will always point the way toward the path of justice.

The event, which included the unveiling of a plaque to honor his memory, organized by PEN Club of Cuban Writers and other exile groups, took place at Human Rights Park on the grounds of the Westchester Library, with the support of Commissioner Javier Souto, whom as many know, was a member of the groups that clandestinely infiltrated Cuba in the 1960s.

The poet, as many of his friends referred to him, was a very sensitive man and was always among the first to sign up for any proposal in favor of freedom and democracy in Cuba, which is why he led organizations such as the Ex Club and was one of the founders of PEN Cubano.

Speakers Luis de la Paz, Ángel de Fana, José Antonio Albertini, Commissioner Souto  and he who types these lines focused on different aspects of his life. The honoree’s capacity to deliver was not unique, but it was singular. He was an intellectual who never betrayed his commitment to take on the type of struggle for freedom demanded by the circumstances.

I am among those who feel embarrassed when I hear of a compatriot with creative capacity who is incapable of sensitivity in the face of a 63-year tyranny. Cuadra was never among those intellectuals, he was so voluntarily tied to the struggle for freedom that he sacrificed his creative capacity, as writer José Antonio Albertini has pointed out many times.

Imagine the volume of work our well-remembered friend would have produced had he not struggled clandestinely against totalitarianism and been in prison, had he not been in exile and dedicated most of his time to activism against the dictatorship.

Cuadra, like most Cuban creators throughout the nation’s history, managed to work in exile, but we are convinced that his legacy, and that of others like him, will help rebuild our nation.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez 


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Aid to Cuba: Humanism or Collaboration?

History has shown that many recipients of aid have used these riches for their own benefit, selling the donations to the needy population itself. (Granma)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 4 November 2022 — Some of us don’t understand how a significant number of people who defend democracy and freedom can assist dictatorial regimes when they face some type of disaster, either because of natural disasters or because of terrible administrative management, even knowing that those regimes divert the aid to satisfy their governments’ needs.

Consider President Joe Biden, who gave two million dollars to Cuba. The Island dictatorship, in an unprecedented wink, accepted that the contribution be made through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the same entities that the Cuban government doesn’t allow to contact political prisoners.

Solidarity with those who endure and suffer is an extremely laudable decision; however, history has shown that many recipients of aid have used that wealth for their own benefit, selling the donations to the needy population itself, or depositing the money in their own accounts, then outdoing themselves in perfecting repression or in concluding some project that assures hegemony.

The best example of this reality is North Korea, which, due to the terrible economic management of its dynastic dictatorship, endures chronic food crises and even devastating famines, such as that of 1995 to 1997, to the extent that the dictatorship acknowledged continue reading

that more than 200,000 people died, although international media claimed that the deaths reached two million.

Despite its economic difficulties, Pyongyang has managed to mount a powerful army, 1,200,000 active soldiers and more than 600,000 in the reserves, in addition to having nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, plus submarines capable of launching them. It has one nuclear weapon, it says, and despite serious economic problems, is  building another.

The most appropriate question is, how is it possible for a country to achieve such advanced military development and not be able to produce food for its citizens? In these subsidized and indebted dictatorships — North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia — the limited food they offer to their population comes from foreign aid, while their development and military production is basically a consequence of their productive management. Have they discovered the solution to the alternative: “cannons or butter”?

North Korea and Cuba are two countries receiving large economic aid. Billions of dollars have been given from the Kremlin to Pyongyang and Havana for decades. The Koreans developed nuclear weapons, despite the fact that several U.S. governments sent them aid, fuel and other proceeds in exchange for paralyzing the construction of nuclear reactors and the production of plutonium.

For their part, the Castros spent the multi-billion Soviet subsidy and Western loans on the subversion of the democratic order in America and in its African imperial wars. The hunger and difficulties suffered by Cubans are due to the country’s bad government and not because of foreign measures against the dictatorship.

Cuba has swindled material aid from abroad for its benefit. I remember that, in 1963, the devastating cyclone Flora hit Cuba, and the dictatorship ordered that all the goods that were in Customs having been sent from abroad to relatives in need on the Island, be confiscated and sold to the population, a situation that has been repeated on numerous occasions with international donations. This was the case with clothing and Mexican contributions, basically rice and beans, sold in stores that require hard currency; or the extreme example of the sale of cooking oil donated by the World Food Program, which led the Minister of Interior Commerce to declare that “the decision to sell donated oil was an alternative to the shortage experienced on the Island.”

The call of the Assembly of Cuban Resistance to President Biden is timely: sending aid to the Cuban people through totalitarian authorities means nurturing repression and increasing poverty. I don’t doubt that this opinion allows the supporters of those repressive regimes to accuse those who state it of being official haters, but the truth must be told even if it can be distorted.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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Hate Crimes of the Castro Regime

Fidel Castro and Pope Juan Pablo II. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger

14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 1 October 2022 — Although the leadership of the Revolution tried to give the insurrectional triumph a certain religious and humanistic aspect, very soon the belief in another superior being became the most feared enemy of the triumphant insurrection, along with proclaimed humanism, as green as palms.

Fidel Castro attacked religions in Cuba with ferocity, just as he did with homosexuals. He anointed himself as the paradigm to follow, he could not allow another religion that was not embodied in his person because, after all, Castroism is a form of mystical fundamentalism.

Church attendance dropped dramatically, as did membership in fraternal associations like Freemasonry. In Cuba a new religion was installed in which Fidel Castro was its God and “castrolicism,” as Gerardo Fundora described it, was truth revealed.

The regime then imposed values and norms that were inspired by Fidel’s beliefs and Marxism, following the dogma that “religion was the opium of the people.” Ethical foundations of society were thoroughly attacked, one of its most important objectives being religions in general, and the Catholic Church was a key target to destroy, in order to build the promised new order.

It was an indelible experience for believers who, in defense of their faith, were discriminated against, persecuted, humiliated, imprisoned and shot, as happened, among many others, with Alberto Tapia Ruano and Virgilio Campanería, who shouted “Viva Cristo Rey”  before they died. continue reading

The regime-imposed values and norms that were inspired by Fidel’s thinking and Marxism, following the dogma that “religion was the opium of the people”

Verbal attacks against religions were very severe, among others, and Church-owned schools confiscated. Parishioners were systematically harassed, and those without deep faith buckled under pressure as a result.

Still, a significant number of the faithful, despite the fact that repression and discrimination became accentuated, maintained their religious commitment, as was the case of young Arnaldo Socorro, a native of Unión de Reyes, Matanzas, whose family moved to Havana during his adolescence.

Socorro had been awarded a scholarship to study at the Belén School, where he joined the Catholic Workers’ Youth. On September 10, 1961, he attended a procession with the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, Patron Saint of Cuba.

The procession was set to start from the Church of La Caridad, under the guidance of the then auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Havana, Monsignor Eduardo Boza Masvidal, one of the most courageous censors of the Castro regime, who was expelled from Cuba a week later with another 130 priests, by order of the hater by trade.

Arnaldo decided to participate in the religious procession that was undoubtedly an expression of rejection of the regime. When he arrived, he learned that the authorities had banned the procession, however, like thousands of people, he remained in front of the church to demand that his rights be respected.

The verbal attacks against religions were very severe, among others, confiscations of church-owned schools

Sheltered by an image of the Virgin, he marched at the head of hundreds of people who decided to follow him, shouting cheers to Christ the King, the Virgin and freedom, just as many of the young people shot by the dictatorship at that time shouted in front of the firing squad.

Socorro’s courage would not be respected by the regime and his henchmen. One of the enforcers, aware of his impunity, unloaded a machine gun into the young man, who fell mortally wounded.

He was 17 years old when he was assassinated, but, as journalist Julio Estorino sustains, “crime and outrage,” was added to the homicide by the regime, by proclaiming that the murdered young man was a revolutionary who had gone to the scene of the events to prevent an act of the “henchmen in cassocks,” as Castro identified Catholic priests.

The murder was blamed on Agnelio Blanco, a priest who was on the Isle of Pines at the time of the events, another cruel lie in Castro’s extensive defamation campaign against his critics. The evil did not end there. State Security officers went to Arnaldo Socorro’s house, threatened his family, buried him as a combatant killed by the counterrevolution and forged another martyr for the motherland.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 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.