Structure of Class and Power / Mackandal – Manuel Aguirre Lavarrere

In the early years of the Revolution, the state shook the tree, as they used to say back then, but it left some rotten fruits that have germinated and that today defecate on its face.

In the last two decades, there has been a mind set shift in a negative way. Profit, individualism, selfishness, along with racism are social illnesses that even when they were apparently dormant caused damage. Today, these social illnesses are free, with plenty of space within the social fabric and a significant power. They have succeeded and will bring, in a short period of time, the absolute exclusion of blacks and mestizos.

This is happening as a result of the many intellectuals that stare at these issues, without daring to speak up about them with clarity.  This shows the high levels of self-censorship and fear that exist within the top ranked Cuban intellectuals.

In Cuba, the Revolution betrayed itself, and it turned into a frustrated phenomenon of social transformation. The hopes and the democratic desires were betrayed by the triumphalism that took the ideals of José Martí and Maceo regarding their vision of a Nation and turned them into dust. Ideology must not be imposed and all races must be fully engaged in the political and social life of the nation.

The Revolution is a traitor to itself. By displacing the previous oligarchy and racist class, it formed the socialism’s bourgeois elite. The acceptance required to fully engage in the political and social life of the nation is given by the individual’s level of ideological and political commitment to the current government and by the color of the skin. There are three key sectors which are the high ruling class and its ramifications like the repressive bodies and the military bureaucracy, formed by managers and other economically powerful positions.

They live in the living spaces that they expropriated from the bourgeois who were displaced by force. Today, according to their ranks, they reside in exclusive neighborhoods where, in many cases, pedestrian access is prohibited to citizens. What has changed? The answer is obvious: everything has changed so that nothing can be changed.

Even more important than those changes in the structural framework are the impacts that they have had within society and on the collective mentality. That’s what the regime fears, because the changes that took place in Cuba were brought by force and imposition. They took advantage of the circumstances and populist character of the moment, and the high degree of illiteracy in the population, to hold their ideas above all others, forgetting their commitment to equality and freedom, with the people and with their companions in the struggle. This, in turn, left out many of those rebels from the struggle who clearly saw the betrayal to the Cuban people and to all the promises, and ended up in prison or in the hands of the firing squads.

The regime fears the psychological rearrangement of a nation that has lived the ebb and flow of a regime that ruled unilaterally for more than 15 years by decrees, until it could design a constitution according to its convenience, a regime in which today, as always, the new class with its sadistic lust for power, promotes structures of entrenchment over the true will of the people.

Published by Primavera Digital, 2012/05/10, No.219

Translated by Chabeli

The True Face of Cuban History / Mackandal – Manuel Aguirre Lavarrere

An old photo of “Independents of Color”

One hundred years after the massacre of the Independents of Color, the most horrifying crime that has been committed in Cuba, against blacks and mestizos, who were only seeking the recognition of their rights after having fought for Cuba’s independence from Spain for over three decades, they were left with nothing and were massacred by their brothers from struggle. We need to bring to light some of the events that historians hide or distort, adding up to the misinterpretation and muddying of national history.

Any study carried out on whether or not there was a request from the Independents of Color for Americans to intervene in the conflict that broke out between them and the government of José Miguel Gómez, as well as Martín Morúa Delgado — representing the interests of the Liberal Party — must be based on solid facts if it is intended to be serious.

In the first place, we have to ask ourselves about the role of the United States and its relationship with Cuba at that moment. The U.S. was the paradigm of freedom and representative democracy.

Secondly, we have to ask ourselves: where was Cuba back then? Cuba had just come out of the Independence War, becoming a Republic in 1902; it continued to be a country that depended on outsiders. Cuba spent centuries under Spanish rule without having the least autonomous power. All the conflicts that emerged on the island were resolved by Spain. Cubans did not have a sense of belonging yet. Anything that came from the outside seemed good to them.

Therefore, it was neither a mistake nor a betrayal for the Independents of Color to ask for the intervention of the United States, as confirmed by Rolando Rodríguez, author of “La Conspiración de los Iguales”, the most racist and anti-black text that has been edited in Cuba since 1959.

It was logical that they requested assistance from the United States. The aspiration was to become like the U.S. when it came to development and civil liberties. Throughout the struggle for independence, the most patriotic men like Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, Ignacio Agramonte, and other heroes, who today are true icons of Cuban History, saw the United States as a role model in terms of development and civil liberties. Neither these patriots nor the Independents of Color can be judged as traitors. The epithet of traitor is for others.

Domingo Del Monte, who regretted so much that slavery disappeared with the efforts of England and France, was a notorious racist and the tattletale of the Metropolis (Spain). The Memorial that he sent to the Spanish government proves his shameful submissiveness. This distinguished humanist and organizer of literature workshops, who felt threatened by blacks and feared them, contributed to the instability and panic that caused the massacre of the, still nebulous Ladder Conspiracy in 1844.

Narciso López, a recalcitrant slave owner, who made his slaves work to the limit of human endurance, under the whip of his plantation overseers, was perhaps the most fervent annexationist of all of those who, with their way of thinking, made up the icing of the Cuban bourgeois cake.

The uprisings and massacres of blacks continued to take place throughout the history of Cuba. There was an uprising and a massacre for the emancipation of centuries of slavery and forced exploitation. There was an uprising and a massacre because of the betrayal of many of the major white colonels from the wars for independence, like Gaspar Betancourt Cisneros, Manuel Sanguily, and more than a hundred of them, who used the negro as cannon fodder and then got rid of him, leaving him empty handed and with no rights to make any claims. There was an uprising and a massacre to stop the negro from being recognized as a human being and to stop him from overcoming, with his own effort, the abysmal gap of inequality and civil annihilation.

Published by Primavera Digital, 2012/05/03

Translated by Chabeli

Who is the Mercenary? / Oscar Espinosa Chepe

Oscar Espinosa Chepe

“I do not agree with giving mercenaries the same rights as intellectuals,” claimed the writer Miguel Barnet, president of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and member of the Communist Party Central Committee, at the 30th Conference of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) held in San Francisco, California, this May.

Barnet’s aggressiveness was in response to a statement from sociologist Ted Henken, professor at Baruch College, University of New York (CUNY), who demanded the same rights for all Cubans to participate in the event of LASA, citing the cases of blogger Yoani Sanchez and Oscar Espinosa Chepe, to whom the Cuban government has denied their participation in previous conferences held by LASA.

This happened during the meeting of the Cuba Session of LASA, which focused on creating a resolution condemning the U.S. government for denying visas to 10 academics and intellectuals from Cuba, ignoring the fact that 65 of the participants received visas, including Dr. Mariela Castro Espin (Raul Castro’s daughter) and Eusebio Leal, Historian of Havana.

Professor Henken had stated: “If we, as an organization that exists to promote scientific and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and Cuba, have taken a public stand in favor of these bilateral academic exchanges and against the political manipulation of these programs, then this must be applied for both sides and for all the people.”

It is extravagant that Mr. Barnet accused peaceful people of being “mercenaries,” people who, throughout the years, have been committed to analyzing — despite the repression — the situation on the island at the national level and with strong arguments, based on information and official statistics, people who have warned us and demonstrated that Cuba has been dragged to “the edge of the abyss,” as President Raul Castro himself has recognized.

But, what can you expect from a person who, on April 19, 2003, signed a message directed to world figures which legitimized the brutal repression carried out in March of that year against 75 peaceful Cuban dissidents and human right activists, who were then sentenced to up to 28 years in prison, as well as the execution of three young men who mistakenly tried to hijack a boat to flee the island, without causing bloodshed?

The writer, as well as all of those who signed that message, will never be freed of the thoughts of the injustices committed, the assassinations, and the suffering of all the families. This document received responses from well-known intellectuals and artists with “Dear friends (from within and outside of Cuba)”, on April 28, highlighting the evilness and hypocrisy of the Cuban government’s henchmen, with a scathing definition: “Stop using as shield the atrocities of the enemy to commit your own in impunity. The injustices and the crimes against humanity will be denounced by all citizens, without regard to where the perpetrators come from or who they are.”

Throughout many years, we have supported a system that seemed to have brought hope to the Cuban people. But with the same determination, after we understood that road had taken a wrong turn and turned Cuba into a living hell, we have been making an effort to help forge a path of opportunities for all Cubans and prosperity for our country. We have always defended its independence and sovereignty, and rejected any foreign intervention.

Barnet, and unfortunately, other Cuban intellectuals and artists, became servants of a repressive regime headed by people exclusively interested in remaining in power, under any consequences and at all costs, under the fake banner of an apocryphal socialism. Barnet is of the same nature as the servants of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Batista, who rose to their positions through flattery, being submissive, and selling their talents to those in power, ignoring the suffering of their people.

We all know how totalitarianism pays for these “valuable services.” These unpatriotic behaviors are rewarded with a special status, they suffer none of the scarcities, they have cars, privileges and trips abroad, while the Cuban people are being deprived of their fundamental rights and continue to sink deeper in misery.

When for workers the equivalent of $ 18.00 US dollars is the average of monthly salary and those who are retired don’t even get $ 12.00 US dollars, and, on top of that, they are paid in a currency that the State does not accept in most of its stores, this is a scenario where the economic, political, social, environmental, demographic and spiritual situations are increasingly becoming more chaotic and threatening the foundations of the nation.

Of course, the President of the UNEAC does not write or talk about these basic issues. He is only interested in maintaining his privileges, protecting his framework, at a time of persecution of the true artistic and intellectual glories of Cuba. So then, who is the mercenary?


Translated by Chabeli

5 June 2012

Constant Shame / Mackandal – Manuel Aguirre Lavarrere

These are the forces that keep us alive: dignity, freedom, and courage.
– José Martí

I confess that if something causes me pain is to feel helpless, as a black citizen, every time I see the statue of José Miguel Gómez, located in area of El Vedado, in Havana.

The statue is right on the Avenue of the Presidents, a street with a constant flow of citizens and brothers in the struggle.

In a way, I share the opinion of those who see this statue as an insult to black Cubans and mulattoes because José Miguel Gómez, as President, was the main perpetrator of the racist massacre that took place in 1912.

However, pushing for the demolition of this statue goes against its historical truth, and this would create a negative precedent for the nation and for those who aspire to live in a free Cuba someday, with freedom and democracy.

You cannot swim against the current. José Miguel Gómez, like it or not, was the second president of Cuba. He served from 1909 to 1913, immediately after the U.S. intervention, protected by the Platt Amendment, after the riots caused by the fraudulent reelection of Estrada Palma, period in which Charles Magoon served as military governor, from 1906 to 1909.

Removing the statue of José Miguel Gómez would be like erasing him from the annals of History. It is like playing the very same game of the Cuban regime when every time that a well known athlete or a popular artist decide to change course and flee the country, they are removed from all lists, banned on radio and TV, and turned into non people, as if they never had existed.

So, what’s the game being played? I think this opportunity could not be more propitious to get to know, in case that anyone does not know already, the caliber that our leaders are made of, and the degree of responsibility they have for the permanence of racism and the exclusion of blacks and mestizos in Cuban society.

The statue is where it belongs, as is that of José Francisco Martí, the son of the Apostle, who was second in command, under General Monteagudo in the racist massacre of 1912, which was solemnly inaugurated by the Historian of the City, Eusebio Leal, at the Martí Studies Center, but without his saying that José Francisco cut off black’s and mestizo’s heads too.

The historical perspective given by the regime, for blacks and mestizos in Cuba, is distorted with the objective of planting within this part of the population, hatred from the past, doubts, and a terrible fear for what may happen to them when the current system disappears.

You can criticize and question the improper conducts of José Miguel Gómez and José Francisco Martí, but you can never deny their existence.

The History of the nation would be incomplete if they were not included, even though it is painful to us, and we understand it as unjust.

However, keeping the statue of José Miguel Gómez, which I definitely agree with, as well as the statue of José Francisco Martí, without raising a few statues for the men and women of black skin, who, with more than enough merit, must be taken out of the historic insult, clearly shows how this regime, just like all the previous ones, has always denied: its racist nature and the classist commitment to ensuring that Cuban blacks and mestizos remain in the bottom.

These are constant symbols of impudence and fear for blacks, who are not the ones who should be embarrassed. There are titles that must cause embarrassment to those who carry them, as well as to those who create them.

Translated by Chabeli

12 June 2012

Portrait of a Revolutionary Old Man / Iván García

When Leandro was born, back in 1930, there was no television. Of course, there was no Internet, computers or mobile phones either. The radio and the movies were no longer silent, and newspapers used to have many pages.

Leandro still remembers when at age 13 in San Antonio de los Baños, he saw two planes flying in perfect combat readiness. “Those iron birds have surpassed God’s imagination”, he said to his father, a mechanic at a military base on the outskirts of Havana.

Leandro was 27 when he joined a cell of Action and Sabotage, from the 26th of July Movement, which one night in 1958 paralyzed the city placing 100 homemade bombs and Molotov explosives everywhere.

Back then Leandro thought that the man’s imagination had reached its limit.

“Everything has been invented. Phones, cars, trains, planes, ships and even atomic bombs, so stop being a pussy,” he told a friend, fan of U.S. magazines on science and technology, after he commented that one day men would fly to the moon and robots would control the production of steel and automobiles.

Since then, Leandro became agnostic to science. Science was too difficult for him. He would rather read the subversive pamphlets. His Bible was Fidel Castro’s tract, “History Will Absolve Me”.

When on January 8, 1959 Fidel Castro came into Havana riding a Sherman tank, bearded and young, Leandro and his colleagues from Action and Sabotage occupied several police stations and looted the homes of Batista’s henchmen.

They also robbed some the empty homes that seemed to be too elegant. This is how Leandro acquired his first Frigidaire fridge and a record player, whose brand he does not remember.

A little later, they took some baseball bats and meat axes, and tore up the casinos, roulette tables, poker tables and slot machines. He was a man cut out for fighting and brawling.

Leandro recalls a hot night in 1960 when his superior, from the emerging revolutionary police, gave him with the task of organizing small groups of civilians who would be responsible for destroying the offices and workshop places of several national newspapers.

A small talk with his battalion chief remained recorded in his mind forever : “Here, what counts is what Fidel says. If the Comandante says that this is Communism, we are following him. Loyalty is what matters. Questioning is for pussies.”

That was the high point in his life, and still is. Devotion to a leader. He fought in at the Bay of Pigs, and was trained in techniques of sabotage in a secret military base, and under a cold drizzle, in October 1962, he swore he would rather die in a nuclear holocaust than yielding before the political pressure from the Yankees or the Soviets.
Leandro was in several battles and civil wars in Africa. He did not care who he shoot to. He did not care if they were blacks from the UNITA, white South Africans or Somali soldiers who were on his very same side in the previous years.

His thing always was to follow the orders of Fidel Castro, the “Commander in Chief. “Count on me for anything Fidel, for anything.” Nothing else mattered.

In 1980, Leandro was an angry demonstrator, in charge of bringing together people from the neighborhood to shout insults and throw eggs at “the degenerates, sons of the bitch,” who decided to leave the island through the port of Mariel.

Repudiation Act against the Ladies in White by Castro paramilitary forces (AP, Havana, 2012)

Leandro did not feel comfortable with a civilian life. It took him seconds to charge and discharge an AKM (a Russian rifle). It was boring for him to lead “that bunch of lazy asses and drunk  people who worked in that ceramics factory.”

The “lovely moments” of the revolutionary violence were over. The Berlin Wall had already been swept away by history. And the fraternal Soviet comrades quickly packed up  and departed back to their republics, which turned into independent and sovereign nations, as fast as the eye can see.

“Nobody can understand the world. These mother-fuckers and soulless Yankees cleaned our clocks in this war of ideologies,” says Leandro sitting on his balcony.

In the 90s our mission was to resist. And watch over “the mercenaries and counterrevolutionaries”. There were a few in his neighborhood. When the Combatant Association ordered it, “we organized a repudiation act for those bastards.”

At age 81, Leandro continues to hold firmly onto his same ideals. He confesses he would give his life for Castro. Although he hesitates about it when it comes to Raúl: “He is doing things that I don’t agree with. Giving space to faggots and transvestites is a time bomb. And it is dangerous to give so much space to the self-employed. When they start making a lot of  money, they’re going to stab him in the back, I assure you.”

Despite the questioning, when his cell phone rings, which was given to him  by the Association for urgent mobilization, and the call is about responding to regime opponents with a barricade, Leandro continues to attend.

“Orders are fulfilled. Not discussed. It’s that simple. It’s either them (the opposition), or us. If those bastards ever take power, they are going to do the same. Luckily, I am old,” he says.

And he asks his grandson to check the cell phone for him to see if he got any messages.” I don’t know how this thing works.” When I was born there were no cellphones or Internet.

From Diario de Cuba.

12 June 2012

And her 15th birthday arrived! / Iván García

Yesterday’s afternoon, Yusaimi spent four hours in the studio of a professional photographer.Surrounded by lamps, umbrellas, a mirror in the background, she spent all the time changing clothes and posing like an international model.

She ended up exhausted. After getting home, she quickly ate a light snack and went back to pose again.This time it was for a video with her parents, her boyfriend and friends. Around 12 o’clock at night, before crashing in bed, she went over the details of the preparation of the party with her parents.The next day was worse.

Starting at 9:00 in the morning, her home began to be invaded by relatives, friends, a makeup artist, and a popular hairdresser. She felt like an outsider, but happy. Some of her relatives from Miami had traveled to Havana to celebrate Yusaimi’s 15th.

It cost a lot of money. Since the girl was 5 years old, her parents started saving. So, the day of her 15th, the money-box had about 1,100 CUC (convertible pesos).It was only enough money (just under a thousand dollars) to start organizing the party.

If you asked them about the cost of the party, including the photo shoots, the clothes, and the well-staged choreography for the opening of the party, they would respond with a smile: “we’d rather not talk about that. She is our only child, and money would be never enough. She deserves it for all the effort she puts into school. And because you only turn 15 once in life, what the heck”, says the father excited, holding a glass of Santiago rum.

The Yusaimi’s quinceañera party was an event in the neighborhood. It cost an arm and a leg.They rented a room in a five-star hotel, and hired a well-known television announcer.They took dozens of pictures and videos. Makeup and hairdressing was carried out by experts. The buffet and the cake were a luxury. And such was the amount of alcohol, that almost all the guests left the party reeling.

And even, the relatives from Miami paid for an all-inclusive hotel in Varadero for the young woman, her boyfriend and parents, 5 days and 4 nights. When the years go by, Yusaimi will go through the pictures and videos of that memorable day, sitting on a vinyl sofa, with her husband and children.

Yet, this quinceañera is still distant from the time she will have to deal with the daily hardships from this unfinished and extravagant socialism designed by the Castros.It is possible that by then many things will have changed.

What seems certain, that despite living ruled by autocrats or their descendants, under the feet of military corporations, in a State-run corporate capitalism, or in a free society with elections every 6 years and as many political parties the number of cards in a card game, is that the Quinceañera parties will still exist in Cuba.

Although it may seem corny, crazy, and a waste of money, this custom will remain within Cuban society.

Traditions are traditions. In the Spanish city of Pamplona, on July 13th, Day of San Fermin,people go out in the street to run in front of bulls; it is almost authorized suicide. In other countries, when young people turn fifteen, their relatives release from the top of a steeple a goat in a sack.

In the United States, the President releases a turkey on Thanksgiving Day. And on Halloween, children dress up in costumes and knock on their neighbors doors asking for sweets and candies.

In some of Australia’s remote places, once a year, the feast is dwarf tossing, the farther the better. And in Africa and Middle East regions, a man can have up to 6 wives.

Traditions are identity stamps. And quinceañera parties have become a Cuban ritual, whether we like them or not.

Photo: Painting by Arsenio Cícero, published on the web Myths of Latin America.

June 17 2012

The Cuban League Against AIDS Report of Human Rights Violations to the LGBT Community in Cuba / Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

Havana Cuba, Thursday, February 16, 2012.

General Report of the Cuban League Against AIDS on Human Rights violations to the community of Lesbians, Gays,Bisexuals and Transgenders.

It has been five decades from that fatal triumph led by people wearing olive green clothes coming down from the mountains, and proclaiming a society of equality for all, without discrimination by race, religion, political and sexual orientations.

Not many years went on before the first exclusions of all Cubans who had a sexual behavior — defined by the emerging government as embarrassing and as a way of life that endangered the socialist morality of the Cuban nation — started to be seen in workplaces, educational and state institutions.

Our people lived through years of confinement, forced labor camps, repudiation acts, and as if that was not enough, in many cases, some were stoned and forced to go into exile, separating them from their families and friends.

Cuban history contains the anecdotes and the suffering of Reinaldo Arena, Virgilio P., Lezama, and those others whose names remain forgotten and whose bodies are found in the waters between the Florida straits and the Cuban shores.

Fifty years later history repeats itself, and the violations of human rights continue targeting the LGBT community in Cuba. The rulers have been changing the ways in which they commit   these violations, but when you start analyzing the situation that the LGBT community faces, you see that it is the same.

The lack of public spaces, freedom of expression, freedom of association, the right to have a relationship and marry in equality of rights, and the right to decide the appropriate moment to tell their families about their sexual orientation are some of the violations that the LGBT community in Cuba is constantly facing.

While the State institutions like the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX) run by Mrs. Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of the current ruler of the nation, speak to the world about the certain openings that guarantee human rights for the LGBT community, the reality of the island is completely different; one that she would not hesitate to silence because of her fear of losing the large amounts of money collected for ghost projects that only respond to the interests of the Cuban State and not to those of the LGBT Cuban community.

There are daily reports on the island of the arrests of LGBT people, accompanied by heavy fines, deportations for homosexuals that are not from Havana, extortion and blackmailing by the police authorities or the law enforcement officers who want to benefit from the suffering of those who fall into their hands. There are also beatings, temporary detentions, searches in public places, among other actions of arbitrary nature.

There is evidence, from 2010, of layoffs based on the employee’s sexual orientation, layoffs of members of the LGBT community because they are following the government’s political ideology or simply because they are friends with someone who was a LGBT rights activist.

Violence caused the death of six homosexuals who died under an unknown situation. The death of a young transvestite from negligence and inattention in a police station was denounced, as well as the layoff of a transsexual woman, Wendy Iriepa Díaz, for marrying a human rights activist, and the arrests of homosexuals in public places and the removal of homosexual from the streets for supposedly harassing tourists.

We must continue denouncing the unjust prison sentences, from two to four years and the forced labor fields, for homosexuals because they are wandering around at night in the streets of Cuba, or drinking alcohol, or have decided no to work for the Cuba State because their families support them from abroad.

“Cuba is a country where the authorities are not prepared to confront radical changes like same sex marriage, adoption, and coexistence.” While the government gives this explanations, we Cubans wonder: how did they come up with this criteria? When we go out into the street, people smile at us and compliment us, not because of our sexual orientation, but because of what we stand for.

The true guilty people for the constant violations that the Cuban LGBT community faces are the State and its institutions, the real homophobic and discriminatory weapons. There is no power or people more discriminatory in this nation than its rulers.

The rise of male prostitution, within the community of men who have sex with other men, has resulted in 8 out of 10 of those infected with HIV being men, which is the largest number ever reached in the history of this community.

Despite totalitarianism, despite the fierce power of the State, the Cuban LGBT community now rises and emerges from the ashes, like a phoenix, showing a beautiful plumage and the colors of our unique flag demanding and recovering all the places usurped by the State power and the lies.

Today we demand our rights, we want to walk as a nation, as an independent community, as a community that advocates for the rights of all and not the rights of the minority in power.

The reason for our existence is to fight for the civil, political, economic and cultural rights of the LGBT community in Cuba. Our voice today demands to be heard and we want shout out that we exist and we are working to find a solution and looking forward to the future.

Ignacio Estrada Cepero
Executive Director
Cuban League Against AIDS

Posted originally on: February 17, 2012

When the Law is Respected / Wilfredo Vallin Almeida

A journalist from abroad asked me about the content and the implementation of something known in Law as Right of Appeal, which in Cuba turns out to be problematic.

In our case, the first problem is that our multi-awarded compatriot Yoani Sanchez brought this action against the Minister of Interior, General Abelardo Colome Ibarra.
The reason why Yoani did such a thing is that she has been invited, on nearly twenty occasions, to receive her awards abroad, but has never been given a “White card” — the permission to leave the country — so she can receive her awards in person.

The second problem is that in the XXI century the world has evolved enough, so that in any country its citizens are the most important thing. And that means we must treat these people with the human dignity that José Martí claimed for the Cubans and that is now found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The third problem is that “according to the law” the actions of the government and the state must have legal foundations and legal procedures that are clearly established, known, and within reach of citizens, enabling them to defend their rights in any given situation.

The fourth problem is that when we act ignoring the laws and legal procedures that exist, we fall in the arbitrariness of the authorities, something not very well regarded in these times.

The fifth problem is that the people will never tolerate this arbitrariness indefinitely, and they will begin, as the well-known blogger has, to use the resources that the national law gives… to the protesters.

The sixth problem is that the problem now created (and forgive the redundancy) could have been avoided by respecting Article 63 of the Constitution of the Republic:

Every citizen has the right to make complaints and petitions to the authorities and to receive the attention or the appropriate responses on time, according to the law.

Perhaps we can find a moral in all this: Problems can be avoided … when rights are respected.

Translated by Chabeli

8 June 2012

Video Testimonies of Repression During Pope Benedict’s Visit to Cuba

In this video people who were threatened, arrested, and imprisoned during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba in April 2012, speak of their experiences. Father Jose Conrado says that he is going to ask the Nuncio to share these testimonies with the Pope, “Because we have the obligation to inform him and he has the obligation to know what goes on in Cuba.”

Father Conrado goes on to add: “But we won’t leave Cuba because this is our homeland. When so many people are so afraid, we are no longer afraid, it’s very important that in some way we have already started walking and we won’t stop.”

Here is a link to a letter from Father Conrado to Raul Castro.

Thanks to Chabeli Castillo for preparing the transcript for this video.

April 2012

Dr. Jeovany Jimenez Vega Explains Why He Is Now on Hunger Strike / Jeovany J. Vega

Video 1 of 3 – Describes being barred from practicing medicine for circulating and submitting a petition signed by 300 healthcare workers requesting an increase in wages.

Video 2 of 3 – Describes his attempts to have his case heard by government institutions.

Video 3 of 3 – Describes the actions the authorities took against him.

6 March 2012