Rafters Prosecuted After Tragedy at Sea / Yaremis Flores

Yaima Nach Remedios
Yaima Nach Remedios

HAVANA, Cuba , September 25, 2013 , www.cubanet.org.- On September 4 , the Mayabeque Provincial Prosecutor accused Yaíma Nach Remedios and her stepson, Yasmany Torres Hernández, for allegedly convincing other people to illegally leave the country, in exchange for money and help to build a boat.

Yaíma (with no criminal record) and Yasmany, a young man only 23 and with no criminal record, face charges of 4 and 5 years in prison, respectively. Cuban courts impose penalties of up to eight years in prison on those enter, try to leave or leave the country, “without completing legal formalities.”

Nach Remedios — who does not belong to any opposition organization –claimed Wednesday that only false witnesses could suggest it was only she and her stepson who organized the departure. “We and 14 other people, by mutual agreement, tried to reach the United States,” she confessed.

They have used us as guinea pigs, as the other crew members are free and without charges,” she lamented.

Among the four witnesses that the prosecution called to testify, there is a coastguard and a first lieutenant instructor from the Unit of Crimes against State Security.

Tragedy on the high seas

On March 7, 2013, Yaíma and a group of 15 people threw a boarded a makeshift boat with an engine, with the dream of reaching the coast of the United States. According to what they said, they were sailing for three days and three nights, but during the voyage they were surprised by a storm.

“We try to return to find land, and wait for the calm, but all the shores had dog-teeth (sharp rocks) At 9:00 at night, the board turned around Yaima said, in a loud voice and with watery eyes, without starting to cry.

“Everyone tried to get out of the water to go their own way,” Yasmany continued. One of us never appeared. It was almost dawn when we found Yaima with her ankle cut up and bleeding. Given that, we decided to give ourselves up to save her.”
Today Yaima walks with a prosthesis on her left leg. Her husband, who had nothing to do with the events, was detained for four months, before being released for lack of proof against him.

Currently, the penalties are suspended by the migration agreements between Cuba and the United States, with respect to emigrating Cubans intercepted on the high seas by the American authorities, or who illegally enter the Guantanamo Naval Base.

The U.S. Government promised to return them to Cuba and on the Cuban side the promised not to take legal reprisals against them, on their return to their place of residence on the Island.

From Cubanet

25 September 2013

Thousands of Cuban Doctors to Brazil: And For Us, What? / Yaremis Flores

HAVANA, Cuba, September, www.cubanet.org – Since Cuba announced on August 24th the medical cooperation agreement with Brazil, Granma, the Communist Party newspaper, has reported on the front page the arrival of groups of physicians in that country.

All the stories omitted the fact that the offering of “solidarity and love” will pay about $4,200 per month per doctor, according to disclosures by Brazilian authorities.

The National Federation of Physicians of the South American country said the Cuban professionals “will receive a fraction of that.” Some Brazilian organizations have characterized the Cuban collaboration as slave labor.

“Typically the monthly payment received by Cuban doctors is less than $100,” said Yasser Rojas, a Cuban doctor who works with civil society organizations.

Nevertheless, physicians are competing to be selected to go on international missions. Every year thousands of them are posted outside Cuba to provide services, in order to give their families a slightly more prosperous life.

The source said that a general practitioner practicing on the island earns a monthly salary of 480 to 535 pesos in national currency (about $20).

“The doctor’s thinking is: I will sacrifice myself for a while, I will get my usual salary, I will save the payment for the collaboration and the food allowance, together with the gifts that patients offer, for a phone or even a plasma TV,” he said.

Analysts believe that the export of professionals, mainly doctors, provides the principal income of the country, about six billion dollars annually. As the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Public Health said, “Cuba does not export doctors, Cuba exports health services.”

Brazil is one of the nearly 30 countries that receive Cuban medical services for a fee, out of a total of 58.

More doctors in Brazil, fewer doctors in Cuba

“A contingent of 4,000 professionals will arrive in Brazil through the end of 2013,” according to a press release from the Ministry of Public Health of the island. Meanwhile the quality of health services on the island continues to deteriorate, although according to the World Health Organization, Cuba has the highest number of doctors per capita in the world: one per 148 inhabitants.

Government officials recently informed the United Nations, “The National Health System in Cuba, through the governmental and social character of medicine, and universal free access to health services, has been instrumental in raising the health indicators of the entire population, particularly those of women and children.”

There are no polls or surveys to give an idea of popular discontent with medical care. Complaints can be heard daily in any hospital waiting room in the country.

Regla Ríos suffered the negligence of the medical staff at Children’s Hospital of Havana. His minor grandson was admitted for an infected insect bite on his foot. “They prescribed a drug that is for vision, his condition deteriorated, and we waited for him to get better, otherwise they had to operate,” he lamented.

Another elderly woman, who declined to be identified, said that she went to the Mario Escalona Polyclinic in Alamar to make an appointment with a specialist and they gave her one for almost two months later. The lady, in her seventies, said “I could die by then!”

Dr. Rojas asserted that, “Every day it’s harder for the ordinary citizen to find a good specialist, because they have an excess of daily consults, or have emigrated, or are abroad for the collaboration programs.”

“In the end, it’s the people who suffer the worse of it,” Regla commented pessimistically. “With the missions, the doctors at least excel professionally and strengthen the economy. For it’s part, the Government receives economic benefits and international respect.”

And for us, what?

From Cubanet

4 September 2013

Federation of Cuban Women: Reasons to Celebrate? / Yaremis Flores

HAVANA, Cuba, August, 2013 www.cubanet.org – At age 16, every girl who is part of an “integrated” and “revolutionary” family, automatically becomes a “federated” woman. Perhaps, like me, the only memory they retain of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) is when a neighbor came by the house to collect the dues.

On August 23rd, the only state organization that “defends” the human rights of women celebrated its 53rd anniversary. At the time, extensive articles in the official press accentuated stories about Heroines of Labor, including a female crane operator, among others.

They stuck to those cases of women who were able to overcome the barriers of sexism, but as usual this is a government strategy to hide those Cuban women who are victims of discrimination and of domestic and institutional violence.

Recently, Cuba was examined by the Committee against Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, for its acronym in English) and the FMC was challenged about the absence of complaints on this issue.

As noted by one of the experts, “the absence of complaints does not always mean the absence of problems; sometimes it’s because of fear and various other reasons that women do not get around to making the complaint.”

In fact, Cuban women do not recognize the House of Guidance to Woman and the Family, nor the FMC, as potential organizations to resolve their problems. This is demonstrated by the low numbers provided by the State regarding assistance to members of the Federation in cases of violence between 2006 to 2008.

Eloísa Ricardo, after a history of mistreatment and abuse by her former husband, a government official, looked in vain to the FMC. On the other hand, Mrs. Regla Bárbara complained to the Federation, and received a response letter sending the case to the Prosecutor’s office, which is standard practice.

The FMC reached this anniversary under the disappointed and concerned gaze of international bodies such as CEDAW, for failing for, so many years, in getting the  Parliament to pass a specific law protecting women.

By Yaremis Flores

August, 27, 2013

From Cubanet

Translated by: Tomás A.

UN Experts Concerned About the Situation of Violence Against Women on the Island / Yaremis Flores

HAVANA, Cuba, August 1, 2013, www.cubanet.org.- The members of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) bluntly expressed their concern “with the persistence of violence against women, including domestic violence in Cuba,” says a report published last July 25 on its official web page.

They said that the phenomenon remains underreported, “due to the prevalence of discriminatory socio-cultural norms and denial by the Cuban State of the existence of different types of violence.” Later in their report, they stated that Cuba does not recognize the exploitation of prostitution. This particular issue, was fully addressed in an article from the Spanish newspaper ABC published last Tuesday.

The critiques were reported following an examination of Cuba by the Committee, in a version edited and published not only in English.

The Committee was concerned by the lack of knowledge about the human rights of women in the national population and proposed firmly establishing a legal culture based on non-discrimination and equality of women.

CEDAW noted that although Cuban law prohibits discrimination based on gender and stipulates that all citizens have equal rights, they remain worried that Cuba “has failed to include in its legislation a definition of discrimination against women” nor is there a law specifically against domestic violence.

One of their suggestions was to ensure effective access to justice, including the provision of free legal aid programs and protection for victims of violence. They also recommended that the Cuban establish an effective and independent mechanism of monitoring for women detainees, which they can access without fear of reprisals. continue reading

Thus, they considered it important that Cuba provide mandatory training for prosecuting judges, police, doctors, journalists and teachers to ensure a raise in awareness of all forms of violence against women and girls.

The CEDAW Committee drew attention to the lack of a complaints mechanism for reporting cases of discrimination and violation of the human rights of women and the absence of a national human rights institution.

Although the report referred to the Federation of Cuban Women and the Houses of Orientation to the Woman and Family receiving complaints, the numbers of complaints received were limited and outdated. Actually, not all Cuban women identify these spaces as a possible solution to their problems and in some cases they simply transfer the case to another government institution.

With respect to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Committee noted that not all organizations could participate fully in the process. They urged the State to improve cooperation with NGOs.

In this last review only three aspects received positive mentions. Among them, the adoption of laws such as social security, the ratification of some international standards such as the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and the high representation of women in the National Assembly.

The number of recommendations and key concerns were almost double those from the previous periodic review. However, in a press conference given by the Cuban Minister of Justice, Ms. Maria Esther Reus González, to the media NOTIMEX and Prensa Latina, describing the CEDAW committee’s presentation as useful to Cuba.

Ms. Reus González said that this exercise “has allowed us to showcase the achievements and empowerment that Cuban women have achieved, while it has served to hear the suggestions, views and opinions of experts and the Committee experts, who will always assist in the improvement of the economic model and legislation that is developing in our country.”

After a thorough reading of the CEDAW report one understands their deep sense of concern about the situation of the island. On the other hand, the denial of some of the problems by the official Cuban delegation does not allow relieving the context of women.

According to the Committee, Cuba will have to inform in writing, within two years, the steps taken to implement the recommendations and they invited the State to submit to the next examination to be held in July 2017.

1 August 2013

Cuba’s Civil Society Is Transnational Says Rodiles / David Canela

From left to right: Antonio Rodiles, Roberto de Jesús Guerra, Yaremis Flores, Jorge Olivera, and Manuel Cuesta. Photo by the author.

HAVANA, Cuba, July 22, 2013, David Canela/www.cubanet.org — Last Saturday the independent Estado de SATS project sponsored a panel discussion among Cuban civil society activists. The participants included attorney Yaremis Flores, journalist Jorge Olivera (one of seventy-five dissidents imprisoned during the 2003 Black Spring crackdown), Roberto de Jesús Guerra, director of the news agency Hablemos Press, and Manuel Cuesta Morúa, a political analyst. The topic of the event was the current situation on the island following the latest political reforms and especially after recent trips overseas by many independent activists.

In regards to the experience of trying to be part of a globalized world, Flores emphasized that “the issue for Cubans is the lack of information.” Referring to his work representing those involved in legal cases, whose rights have often been at risk, he said, “If you cannot travel (to Geneva), they can send you information.”

Guerra and Olivera emphasized the need to strengthen the intellectual and organizational capabilities of the peaceful opposition. We must “continue organizing and empowering opposition groups,” said Guerra. For his part Olivera pointed out that the government “tries to manipulate international public opinion and buy time, which means we must adopt a more articulate and professional approach.”

According Cuesta Morúa, “the government has moved the battle of ideas abroad, and in Cuba tries to present a friendly dissent or a loyal opposition.”

The trend to a more balanced and dynamic migration flow would be a catalyst in the modernization of the country, as there is now a “transnational Cuban civil society,” as Rodiles called it.

As for the present, not all agreed with the idea that we are in a political transition, — as the journalist Julio Aleaga said — although this has not been officially declared. He explained that the reforms in China had begun in 1979, although its results were visible a decade later, with the Tienanmen protests, and that the Soviet Union no one imagined, in 1985, that Perestroika would be the dismantling of socialism.

Olivera believes that in the future “there will be a negotiation between the government and the opposition, because the country is in ruins.” In this regard, the journalist José Fornaris enunciated that “we have to prepare a program of government,” and not be ashamed to admit that we want to be part of the new government.

When the panel was asked what recommendations would that give to those traveling abroad, the lawyer Yaremis Flores suggested bringing evidence and documents on specific cases that demonstrate the problems of Cuban society that are not exposed in international forums, and so give a new face to the society, that humanizes it, and belies the manipulated figures from official groups of the government.

Cuesta Morúa added to avoid saying “I speak on behalf of …”, “I am the voice of …” He said there are receptive people abroad, who don’t want to hear protests, but rather proposals. And with regards to his experience at the last meeting of the Latin American Study Association (LASA), he noted that for the first time they broke the monopoly and the image (official) of Cuba at these academic meetings, due to the actions of independent sectors of the Island

This coming Saturday will be the three-year anniversary of the Estado de SATS project.

22 July 2013

From Cubanet

Deputy Attorney General of Cuba Questions the Conviction of Inmate Michel Martinez Perez / Yaremis Flores / Laritza Diversent

07 SEPT 2012

Young man sentenced to 10 years for “illegal slaughter of cattle” based solely on evidence from a dog, granted new trial.

By Yaremis Flores

Carlos Raul Concepcion Rangel, Deputy Attorney General of the Republic of Cuba, asked the Supreme Court to review the penalty of 10 years imprisonment imposed on Michel Martinez Perez. The common prisoner has gone on hunger strike over 3 times, insisting on his innocence.

“There have been breaches and inaccuracies in the criminal proceedings,” Conception Rangel acknowledged in writing, in his request which was granted by the highest court on the island.

The Provincial Court of Matanzas, in March 2012 found Martínez Pérez, along with other defendants, responsible for the illegal slaughter of cattle, theft and robbery with force. The only evidence against him was an “odor print” taken at one of the crime scenes. continue reading

This type of test only indicates his presence in the place, but not necessarily participation in the crime. Its level of certainty does not resemble that of a DNA test. It is debatable how the trace is collected, which relies on the canine technique, because a dog is the one who determines if the smell matches the suspect.

Regarding the smell test, “Irregularities appear in the proceedings that cast doubt on the quality of it,” said the Deputy Prosecutor, adding that there is a “logical contradiction” between testing and inspections of the scene.

The deputy prosecutor said Michel denied involvement in the events at all times, but it his co-defendants identified his as involved at the start of the investigation. This was placed into doubt when, after the investigative phase, the co-defendants recanted during the trial, but the judges only considered the incriminating statements.

The law of criminal procedure requires a court to rule on the basis of the evidence presented at trial. But Cuban judges, given the authority to freely assess the evidence, often violate that mandate.

“Since his arrest in August 2011, Michel tried to draw the attention of the authorities to the process,” said Iván Hernández Carrillo, a former prisoner of conscience who has supported and followed Michel’s case.

Pérez Martínez was reported under the care of physicians when, in June 2012, he began a hunger strike that would extend to almost 50 days. His last voluntary starvation was undertaken from October 19, after the results of the judgment on appeal of the Supreme Court.

The same court that agreed today to review the decision of the Matanzas judges, maintained the same sentence against Michel when it re-examined the record in 2012.

As a consequence, the prisoner refused to eat for 48 days. He then spent almost two months in hospital. “My son has lost weight and his health deteriorated, everything that happened is an injustice,” said Jesus Lázara de Jesus, his mother, by telephone.

Within 10 days, as of January 28, Michel should hire a lawyer for the holding of the new trial. In acceding to the request of deputy prosecutor, the conclusion that he committed the crime should be set aside and another reached, conforming to the guarantees of due process.

According to a source that will not be revealed for security reasons, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights allegedly requested information from the Cuban government about the legal status of Michel Martinez Perez.

February 12 2013

Academic Exchange on Law and Human Rights in Cuba / Estado de Sats

With the independent Cuban attorneys Yaremis Flores and Laritza Diversent (Cubalex), René Gómez Manzano (Agramontista Current), Antonio G. Rodiles (Mathematical Physicist) and students from the New York University Law School.

This video is 44 minutes long. There is a live interpreter translating the session into English in real time.

22 January 2013

Campaign for Another Cuba: Video #Cuba

This video is less than 4 minutes long.

Amnesty International Calls for the Release of Antonio Rodiles — Letter Campaign, YOU CAN HELP RIGHT NOW

Antonio and his friends and family in support. His parents are seated in the chairs.



Government critic Antonio Rodiles has been charged with “resisting authority”. It is believed the charges may be used to punish and prevent his peaceful criticism of Cuban government policies.

A coordinator of a civil society initiative calling on the government to ratify international human rights treaties, Antonio Rodiles, has been charged with “resisting authority” (resistencia). He has been placed in pre-trial detention (prisión provisional), but no date has been set for his trial.

Shortly after the arrest of the independent lawyer and journalist Yaremis Flores on 7 November, Antonio Rodiles, his wife and several other government critics went to the Department of State Security headquarters, know as Section 21 (i) in the neighbourhood of Marianao in Havana, to enquire after her whereabouts. Before they could reach the building they were approached by 20 people, all plain-clothed, as two officials from the Ministry of the Interior looked on. Antonio Rodiles was reportedly knocked to the ground and pinned down by four men. Several of the other activists were also manhandled and were forced into a police vehicle and sent to various police stations around Havana. All were released by 11 November, except Antonio Rodiles.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office (fiscalía) informed Antonio Rodiles’ wife on 14 November that he was being charged with “resisting authority” but a formal charge document has yet to be issued.

Antonio Rodiles is one of the coordinators of Citizen Demand for Another Cuba (Demanda Ciudadana Por Otra Cuba), an initiative calling for Cuba to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the country signed in 2008. Amnesty International believes the charges against him may be being used to punish and prevent his peaceful activities as a government critic and is gathering further information on his case and treatment.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

  • Calling on the Cuban authorities to release Antonio Rodiles immediately and unconditionally if they are unable to substantiate the charges against him, and to investigate reports that he was ill-treated during his arrest;
  • Calling on them to immediately cease the harassment of all other citizens who peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association.Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
  • Calling on the Cuban authorities to release Antonio Rodiles immediately and unconditionally if they are unable to substantiate the charges against him, and to investigate reports that he was ill-treated during his arrest;
  • Calling on them to immediately cease the harassment of all other citizens who peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association.


Head of State and Government
Raúl Castro Ruz
Presidente de la República de Cuba
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: +41 22 758 9431 (Cuba office in
Geneva); +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban
Mission to UN)
Email: cuba@un.int (c/o Cuban Mission
to UN)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Attorney General
Dr. Darío Delgado Cura
Fiscal General de la República,
Fiscalía General de la República,
Amistad 552, e/Monte y Estrella,
Centro Habana,
La Habana, Cuba
Salutation: Dear Attorney General

And copies to:
Interior Minister
General Abelardo Coloma Ibarra
Ministro del Interior y Prisiones
Ministerio del Interior,
Plaza de la Revolución,
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban
Mission to UN)
Email: correominint@mn.mn.co.cu
Salutation: Your Excellency

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.


Journalist Yaremis Flores was held for 48 hours before being released without charge. During her detention she and was threatened with charges of “disseminating false information against international peace” (difusión de noticias falsas contra la paz internacional), which carries a prison sentence of one to four years, if she continued her work as a journalist.

Antonio Rodiles has been charged under Article 143 of the Cuban Criminal Code. This covers the offence of resistencia, which refers to resistance to public officials carrying out their duties and is often used to deal with alleged cases of resisting arrest.

Article 143 is broad enough to encompass non-violent forms of resistance; it is sometimes used in ways that unlawfully restrict freedom of expression.

On 20 June, Citizen Demand for Another Cuba handed in a petition with 500 signatures to the National Assembly of People’s Power (Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular) – Cuba’s legislative body located in Havana – calling on the government to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Along with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these covenants constitute the International Bill of Rights and are the key international human rights instruments. Since Cuba’s signing of both covenants in 2008, Amnesty International has called on the authorities to ratify them in order to bring them into force and begin their implementation.

Antonio Rodiles is also the coordinator of State of SATS (Estado de SATS), a forum which emerged in July 2010 to encourage debate on social, cultural and political issues.

Name: Antonio Rodiles
Gender : m
UA: 333/12 Index: AMR 25/026/2012 Issue Date: 15 November 2012


Reasoning with Antonio Rodiles / Reinaldo Escobar

Translator’s note: Our apologies for not having a subtitled version…

As of this afternoon the latest chapter of Citizens’ Reasons will be available, dedicated to discussing a topic that is abstract but essential: Legitimacy. Participating on this occasion are Dagoberto Valdés, Miriam Celaya, Antonio Rodiles and, as moderator, this humble servant who is pleased to announce the program.

Of particular interest is the presence of the animator of the space Estado de Sats — Antonio Rodiles — who was arrested just as we were finishing editing the chapter.

As its title indicates, this edition of Citizens’ Reasons tries to respond to the question of to what extent we citizens should recognize the legitimacy of the “current” Cuban government and what we must do from civil society to achieve our own legitimacy.

The arbitrary arrest of Antonio Rodiles occurred confronting a department of State Security while participating in a civic and peaceful action to inquire about the situation of the attorney Yaremis Flores. There he was brutally beaten, but it was not his attackers who had to answer to the law, but rather the victim, accused of “resisting arrest.” At the time of this writing the courts have not ruled on the matter.

This has been the reality that gives the context to what is discussed in the most recent chapter of Citizens’ Reasons. I recommend that you watch it.

16 November 2012

Hablemos Press Correspondent Calixto R. Martnez Will Be Charged for “Contempt for Authority” / Yaremes Flores, Cuban Legal Advisor

By Yaremis Flores

Independent journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias continues to be jailed in the Santiago de las Vegas police station, and “will be charged with the crime of aggravated contempt for authority,” according to precinct captain Marisela.

On September 19 the captain referred to Hablemos Press Information Center correspondent as having “disrespected Fidel and Raúl Castro and said that the investigator in charge of the case was sub-Lieutenant Rosmerty.”

For 72 hours after the detention, the police kept the details about Martínez Arias’ arrest secret, after he was detained last Sunday night for investigating an event that took place at the International Airport José Martí. Presumably, the event holds the Cuban government responsible for the deterioration of medicines sent by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez, director of Hablemos Press, he and a group of friends showed up in the police station located at Avenidad Independencia and Calzada de Managua in the town of Santiago de las Vegas.

“The officer on duty at the station communicated to us that Calixto had been transferred to another station. We received no further details,” said Roberto. Nevertheless, according to the law, the police have the obligation to allow communication with the detainee.

For this reason, this Wednesday at one o’clock in the afternoon, at the Santiago de las Vegas police station, Roberto de Jesús and independent lawyer Veizant Boloy, demanded that information about Martínez Arias’ legal situation be given. “Last Monday they lied to us, because Calixto was in the station,” stated Roberto de Jesús.

“We asked the captain, Marisela, if we could see him and give him some toiletries, when a State Security agent named Yuri showed up, accompanied by another police officer. They asked us for identification and sent us to the cell,” explained Boloy after they were released that same day around midnight.

“As we walked down into the dungeons we yelled Calixto’s name, who was surprised to hear us and replied to us. We saw the wounds on his face, caused by the beatings inflicted by the police,” said both Guerra and Boloy.

“Our detention and everything that happened at the station took place under Major Arnaldo Espinoza’s watch, Unit Chief at the Santiago de las Vegas police station. His badge number was 00182. Although the ones that really give the orders are the State Security agents,” added Boloy.

According to information given this past Friday by Roberto de Jesús Guerra, Calixto R. Martínez was given medical attention at the National Hospital for a swollen left eye, and was transferred to a prison located to the West of the capital and known as “El Vivac.”

The Prosecution has not given notification as to when Calixto will be able to hire one of the lawyers from the National Organization of Lawyers’ Practice, who are the only ones authorized by the law to defend Cuban citizens in a Cuban court of law.

Calixto Ramón has been jailed on several occasions for his journalistic work, and has also been deported at least 12 times for remaining in Havana with an identity card that has an address from Camagey.

This time, the correspondent of Hablemos Press, who assured us his mission was “to break the wall of silence imposed by the island’s government and to denounce human rights violations,” could serve a sentence of 1 to 3 years in prison.

Translated by Eduardo Alemán

October 1 2012

Military Service and Religion in Cuba / Cuban Legal Advisor, Yaremis Flores

If you want to learn how Cuban laws discriminate on religious grounds, read the last post published by Cubalex:

Yaremis Flores, Attorney at Law

According to Cuban law, religious belief is not a justification for avoiding Military Service. Specifically, Circular No. 129 of the Governing Council of the People’s Supreme Court states that “young members of the Jehovah’s Witness sect who are called to active military service and refuse to perform this duty would be committing a criminal offense under the existing Criminal Code.”

The circular also stated:

1. The policy of sanctions to be applied in these cases should be the highest possible within the punishment guidelines.

2. Because the accused’s membership in this particular religious sect is not an element of the crime, the judgment should make no reference to that fact.

3. In cases where the penalty imposed is imprisonment, or correctional labor with internment, the acronym “JW” should be recorded in the upper margin of the commitment order that is delivered, in order that the agencies of the Interior Ministry responsible for carrying out the punishment will know the status of the punished accused.

According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights all people are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. Accordingly, the law should prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, economic status, birthplace, or any other social condition.

But the distinction made in the previous circular is discriminatory, and severely punishes people solely because of their religious beliefs.

September 8 2012

The Assemblies to Nominate Candidates Begin / Cuban Legal Advisor, Yaremis Flores

By Yaremis Flores

The summons for the citizens to attend the nomination of candidates assemblies are already spreading around the neighborhoods. Some are attending like robots, simply to make an appearance and so as not to be “branded” in the zone.

After the candidate election process, on October 21 they will elect the delegates, who are committed to communicate the community’s opinions and difficulties to the local Assembly and Administration. They must also inform their constituents about the resolutions adopted to solve those problems or the obstacles to doing so.

In practice, the only form of communication between the delegate and his electors is the Accountability Assembly. A bitter pill that the delegate swallows -in a two and a half year term- in an accumulated series of moans and complaints. The solutions are postponed, period after period, by each predecessor in the job.

The delegate cannot count on resources to directly fulfill the voters demands. He is only a mediator, who must endure -not infrequently- the insults of the population, due to the inefficiency of his management.

Local power is almost existent. At that level, there are no verifiable results of his management. Far from solving the local problems, he does the work of monitoring, like a Police sector chief.

In this sense, the delegate is compelled by the law to inform about illegal constructions and confront legal violations in entities of his district, especially against every corruption manifestation, improper use of resources and other felonies.

He is also entitled to control and supervise the activities of the entities of his jurisdiction, regardless the level of subordination; bound to contribute to the socialist legality and the internal order.

Translated by @Hachhe

September 7 2012

Accessing the Internet in Cuban Churches / Cuban Legal Advisor, Yaremis Flores

By Lic. Yarmis Flores

Liu, reader of this blog, asked the Office if Cuban churches one can have access to the internet. Since 1996, the Cuban government, has been clear about its policy with respect to full access to internet services, in Decree 209 of the Council of Ministers, “Access from the Republic of Cuba to Information Networks of Global Reach.”

The island’s government established its proposal to guarantee full access to the Internet, but in a regulated form and acting in the national interests, giving priority to the connection of people in the judiciary and the institutions of the most relevance to the life and development of the country.

All the users with access to the internet on the island, be they Cubans or foreign residents in Cuba, need authorization from the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC).

In addition, the IP address has to be registered (the only addressing protocol of the Internet, assigned to each machine or device found on the network) and they are controlled by the Agency of Control and Supervision of the MIC. Penalties are imposed on those who don’t comply with this requirement, like the removal of the license to be an Internet user.

It is not recommended to access the Internetsecretly, because if the authorities suspect some irregularity in a church or religious group, an order is not required to carry out a search, because Article 217 of the Law of Legal Procedure establishes that “To enter and search a temple or other place intended for a religious group, handing a messageto the attention of theperson in charge is all that is required.”

Translated by: BW

August 28 2012