Cuban Activist Guillermo Fariñas is Detained and Taken Against His Will to a Hospital

Guillermo Fariñas was taken against his will to Arnaldo Milián Hospital, denounced his daughter. (@haisa_fainas)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, December 9, 2021 — Minutes before he was to give a telephone interview to Actualidad Radio on Thursday, Cuban State Security detained Guillermo Fariñas, coordinator of the United Antitotalitarian Forum. “People from State Security came dressed as nurses,” denounced the activist’s mother, Alicia Hernández, before that same media outlet.

Fariñas’s detention occurred right after he and Berta Soler, both recognized with the European Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, delivered letters to the European Union’s (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, and to the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli. In these, they accused the EU of abandonment over the situation in Cuba and, furthermore, threatened to return their awards.

“The Sakharov Prize should be a commitment of all parties to never use diplomatic silence in the face of human rights violations and, even less so, in the face of crimes against humanity,” they detailed in their missives.

Thursday, after several hours without knowing the Cuban activist’s whereabouts, his daughter Haisa Fariñas located him at the “Pulmonology unit, bed 1 of Arnaldo Milián Hospital.” A place where, she stated, “he is being held against his will.”

The young lady used her social media to denounce that Fariñas has been “kidnapped” by State Security for “opposing the Castro regime.” The dissident was complying with continue reading

bed rest as recommended by doctors following his release from the hospital arrest to which he was subjected ahead of the march on 15N — organized by the online platform Archipiélago — which was thwarted.

Regarding Fariñas’s detention, the Cuban business owner and activist Manuel Milanés alerted that this method of detention is the same was used by the regime “on 15N, anticipating that tomorrow is December 10th, Human Rights Day.” He stated that the dissident ” is not sick.” The detention, he because, is because “it is no longer sufficient to have him under surveillance 24/7. They must kidnap him to prevent him from demonstrating.”

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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"Los Sin Derechos" [Those Without Rights], First-Person Testimonials from Cuban Dissidents

The documentary ’Los sin Derechos’ portrays numerous cases of repression and torture. (Screen capture)

14ymedio biggerEFE, via 14ymedio, Jorge I. Pérez, Miami, December 9, 2021 — The documentary “Los Sin Derechos” [Those Without Rights], “an irrefutable denouncement” against the Cuban regime told by about twenty dissidents, including an activist who was subjected to simulated execution, debuts in Miami for international Human Rights Day.

Directed and edited by filmmaker Daniel Urdanivia, Los sin derechos intertwines archival images, such as those of executions from the early years of the so-called Cuban Revolution, with testimonials from different time periods.

The first to appear is Ricardo Bofill, founder in 1976 of the Cuban Pro Human Rights Committee (CCPDH), who died in Miami in 2019.

“In many countries human rights are violated, the difference in Cuba is that (…) it is carried out from an institutional angle; it is part of the laws,” begins Bofill in the film.

Following Bofill, about twenty writers, journalists and former political prisoners offer their testimonials of why they were taken to prison and how they were treated by their jailers.

One of them is Annete Escandón, admitted to a psychiatric hospital where, as she tells it, they gave her electroshocks “in a very recent C-section wound.”

“It was necessary to collect, in a graphic manner, the testimonials of people who have suffered the violations of their rights as citizens,” Pedro Corzo, the documentary’s producer and founder in 1999 of the Institute of Cuban Historical Memory Against Totalitarianism, tells Efe.

“They represent different social strata and different generations, not biological as much as political,” expanded Corzo, also a journalist.

The showing of Los sin derechos, which lasts over an hour and includes some images filmed on mobile phones, will be shown on Thursday, the eve of Human Rights Day, during an event in memory of Ricardo Bofill. It is one of the 15 documentaries created by the institute.

For 78-year-old Corzo, who was “jailed for eight years for assault against State Security,” Bofill “provided context and concept to the reality of human rights violations in Cuba.”

“He was capable of synthesizing the idea and sharing it,” he said about the dissident who Amnesty International adopted as a prisoner of conscience in 1985.

In an open letter written in 1986, Bofill said: “We do not have anything to do with the CIA. We do not participate in violent acts. We have no weapons besides our word. And we will use it while we have a breath of life remaining.”

For Corzo, the toughest testimonial, for the cruelty it contained, is that of Gloria Argudín, “a very brave, older woman”, who suffered a simulated execution.

“I met a man who was subjected to simulated execution eight times, and he said it was one of the most cruel experiences one could have,” comments the producer.

“Near dawn they took me, barefoot. They placed me in front of the hole, with a machine gun they pointed at me and said, ’if you don’t talk we will kill you.’ I told them, ’kill me, it seems unreal you were born of a woman,’ narrates Argudín into the camera.

“She, who we expect will attend the showing, is one of the first women who took up arms against the Castro dictatorship in the Escambray,” says the producer.

José Ignacio (Pepín) Rivero, the director of Diario de la Marina, which was confiscated, narrates how the rebels “broke the copper cylinders that would be placed on the printing presses.”

“The first type of censorship was the media: to tell horrors to those whose opinion was against the revolution,” comments Rivero, who died in exile.

Rolando Cartaya, a former journalist for Juventud Rebelde, the daily created by Fidel Castro in 1965, told Efe that the documentary “bears a renewed validity these days.”

“The Cuban Government, discredited by the violent repression of July 11th, once again unleashed mobs organized by the political police against this generation of young people who laugh in its face,” comments Cartaya, who “paid” two years in prison for denouncing the “acts of repudiation” organized by the State in 1980.

“I wrote a letter denouncing the vestiges of fascism of that time. A traitor turned it in. I was summoned to the newspaper and from there they took me to Havana’s Central Park where colleagues and friends hung a sign and beat me,” recalled Cartaya, another interviewee in the documentary, from Miami.

According to a report by Prisoners Defenders shared this past Tuesday, 805 political prisoners and convicts in Cuba have made its list in the past 12 months. The NGO based in Spain has been able to confirm that 562 cases are related to the repression of July 11th in Cuba.

Corzo, who has produced other historical documentaries such as Zapata vive [Zapata Lives] and Boitel, muriendo a plazos [Boitel, Dying in Installments], insisted that “the historical memory does not involve working with relics nor with third-party accounts, but rather with the direct experiences of people.”

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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Cuba: Major Physical and Psychological Torture Against Jose Daniel Ferrer are Denounced

José Daniel Ferrer is not well physically and does not know how much longer he will be able to resist, according to his social media. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, December 5, 2021 —  Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu) coordinator, José Daniel Ferrer, is subjected to ever greater “torture, as much physical as psychological” in Mar Verde prison, Santiago de Cuba, where he is being held. As his sister Ana Belkis Ferrer, made known on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Cuban Prisoners Defenders (CPD) accused the Cuban regime of “slowly killing José Daniel Ferrer” with “sonic attacks, psycho-pharmaceuticals, preventing his family from bringing him food.” They stated that he does not receive “medical attention” and he is held “in inhumane confinement within four walls, without seeing the sun and in isolation.”

At the beginning of November, Cuban Prisoners Defenders requested the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, to intercede “immediately” in favor of opposition leader José Daniel Ferrer. They warned that Unpacu’s coordinator denounced “a constant noise in his head like crickets, sounding constantly in an unbearable manner,” which results in a constant headache.

Last Friday, Ferrer was allowed a visit from his wife, Nelva Ismarays Ortega Tamayo, with little Daniel José and his daughter Fátima Victoria Ferrer Cantillo. “The Raúl Castro and Díaz-Canel dictatorship allowed this second family visit to  José Daniel Ferrer García in almost five months of unjust, arbitrary and criminal confinement.”

In an extremely arbitrary measure, they prevented José Daniel Ferrer Cantillo from seeing his father. It was understood to be “punishment and vengeance” for the young man “for going out once again to the streets demanding freedom on November 15th,” the day Archipiélago called for a peaceful protest, which was ultimately thwarted by the harassment and repression on the part of State Security. continue reading

In August, the People’s Provincial Tribunal in Santiago de Cuba notified Ferrer that he must comply with a four-year prison sentence imposed by the tribunal in February 2020 for “injuries and imprisonment” against a third person. The opposition leader was detained since the protests on July 11th, until that moment he had enjoyed a modified sentence which allowed him to remain free.

The tribunal considered the Unpacu coordinator to have maintained “an attitude contrary to the requirements he must meet” because he did not have a job and “on various occasions has adopted behaviors that are incorrect and challenge authorities in the fulfillment of their functions.”

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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The Families of Four Cuban Political Prisoners in Santa Clara Demand to See Their Children

The family of Andy García Lorenzo, one of those detained on July 11th, with a sign asking for the release of the young man from Santa Clara. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, December 4, 2021 — The whereabouts of Andy García Lorenzo, José Miguel Gómez Monteja, Liván Hernández Salazar y Carlos Michael, detained in Santa Clara for participating in the peaceful protests on July 11th (11J), are unknown.

“They were transferred to an unknown location without providing information to their immediate family,” denounced Archipiélago in a statement on Friday, noting that this occurred “in the context of Miguel Díaz-Canel’s visit yesterday to Santa Clara.”

Andy García’s family placed, on the rooftop of their home in Santa Clara, a sign demanding freedom for the political prisoner. “We hold the State Security responsible for whatever physical or psychological harm my brother or any other prisoner suffers,” denounced Roxana García, Andy’s sister, this Friday in a brief video.

“They must tell us where he is, why they transferred him, what were the reasons,” demands the young lady, who along with other members of the family led a protest on November 15th (15N) outside their house, which was met with a prolonged, state-sponsored act of repudiation.

Andy García’s mother also demanded a response regarding the whereabouts of her son. “You took my emotional peace but you took my fear, you are rats, cowards, this sign will not be removed from this house,” she assured. “I demand to see my son, as a mother they cannot deny me that right, I will not be silenced.” continue reading

Recently, Roxana García and her husband, Jonatan López, launched an initiative to support families of the July 11th political prisoners in Santa Clara. The project, also supported by activist and Archipiélago member Saily González, seeks to help defray the cost of the food taken to jail at each visit.

“There are many prisoners who have never received a ’sack’ as it is referred to in the prison,” explained González in a Facebook video. “This is not just about the food they might receive, but also about the support from people outside, from their family and friends.”

For the young lady, it’s important to remember that “those people have been jailed since July 11th” because “they were the ones that went out to face the consequences.”

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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The Cuban Conflict Observatory Documented 79 protests on November 15th (15N)

November 15th was “the first time in 62 years that the Ministry of the Interior, its paramilitary forces and the Federal Armed Forces found themselves in need of a complete occupation of all urban and many rural areas.” (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, December 1, 2021 — Threats from State Security and the deployment of the military throughout main streets in Cuba gripped the population with fear and thwarted the massive protests planned for November 15th (15N), but that same day, there were 79 protests in the country.

These were logged by the Cuban Conflict Observatory (OCC) in its last report, published on Wednesday, which includes a video that provides proof of some of those protests, filmed in motion or shared as photographs on social media.

The Miami-based organization reports 353 protests on the Island in November, 75% (266) of which were motivated by demands for political and civil rights, the remainder (87), were related to economic and social rights, such as exploitation of labor, excessive fines, femicide, the poor conditions in prisons or high prices for the basic food basket.

“That the protests have continued is significant, if you consider the extraordinary repression exerted against the population, the exemplary trials with extreme sentences for alleged and inconsequential crimes committed on July 11th, the threats of terminating the parental authority of those who are jailed for political reasons, and the impunity with which paramilitary groups, in videos shared on social media, flaunted their willingness to exert violence against any protester using firearms and blunt objects,” stated OCC.

The slight increase in protests last month, compared with those that occurred in October (345), maintains the upward trend since the Observatory began monitoring them, in September of 2020, when they logged 42 protests.

“Especially since the Government believed they’d quashed the resistance from the cultural sector with the assault on the headquarters of Movimiento San Isidro on November 26, 2020,” noted OCC. Since then, they continued, several dates have marked the “growing ungovernability” in Cuba, among which are included, clearly, 11J, but also 15N. continue reading

The NGO asserts that day was “the first time in 62 years that the Ministry of the Interior, its paramilitary forces and the Federal Armed Forces found themselves in need of a complete occupation of all urban and many rural areas, through police operations, deployment of member of State Security dressed as civilians, acts of repudiation, messages containing threats and selective disabling of telephone lines.”

To dissuade people from going out, the document states, “the Government continues announcing arbitrary and excessive sentences (including those against dozens of minors) for the July 11th (11J) protesters, fascist beatings on the streets and in prisons, threats of terminating the parental authority of possible protesters, psychological torture of the detained and their family members, and also pressuring known dissidents to leave the country.”

As a result, it concludes that “the reference for deciding to whom the victory of 15N belongs is not the number of citizens that went out to the streets, but rather, the number of effective troops, police, paramilitaries and resources the Government deemed necessary to avoid a new July 11th,” due to the financial and political cost of that operation, which OCC described as “devastating, nationally and internationally.”

As an example, the NGO stated that the repression previously exercised by the Cuban Government resulted in November 15 being closely observed by the European Union and the UN Human Rights Council.

“The Cuban reality is not lost potential investors, and even tourists, whom the government wishes to attract,” they reason in the report. “Who is more credible and strong today? The government which can barely mobilize a few of the dissidents’ neighbors to carry out an act of repudiation? Or civil society, ever more alienated from the government and the current governing regime?” they ask, and follow with this assertion, “The government didn’t ensure its own future in November, it placed it at even greater peril.”

In the report, the OCC exalts the “successes” of Archipiélago since it was created, in August, among these, demonstrating that “the people were willing to join a civic call to action on 15N and that the Government had no response to the citizen unrest other than the most obscene repression.”

Nonetheless, despite the space dedicated to the opposition platform in the document, there was no mention of its most visible leader, playwright Yunior García Aguilera, who surprisingly left Cuba for Madrid on November 16th, two days after State Security deployed a strong operation and organized agg acts of repudiation at the artist’s own house, preventing him from marching alone, as he had announced.

The report also does not reference the regime’s evident strategy toward the most recent dissidents: forced exile. The most recent of these being controversial rapper Denis Solís, who traveled to Serbia via Moscow last Saturday.

In addition to García Aguilera and Solís, artist Hamlet Lavastida and poet Katherine Biquet also find themselves in the same situation, today in Europe, as are Tania Bruguera, Camila Lobón, Claudia Genlui, Alfredo Martínez and Eliexer Márquez El Funky, one of the performers of Patria y Vida.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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Under Military Presence, 11J Protesters are Processed in Artemisa / Cubalex

Sentencing requests for some of the Cubans who protested in 11 July. (Cubalex)

Cubalex, 22 November 2021 — On November 22nd and 23rd, the judicial proceedings against 13  of the July 11th (11J) protesters are being held at the Provincial Tribunal of Artemisa. According to our sources all of the areas surrounding the courtroom are militarized. The police, red berets, black berets and State Security have organized a large-scale surveillance operation. For its part, the tribunal, in violation of established national legislation and international standards, has restricted public access and has only allowed the presence of one family member per accused.

Family members are devastated and discriminated against. Alarmed and worried due to the lack of media attention that these trials have had. To Cuban civil society, to the independent press, those who have business to conduct today at the tribunal, those who in one form or another can share information, we ask for your support to raise the visibility of the situation of these protesters and sensitize the international community. Let’s accompany the family members of the 11J peaceful protesters in these very difficult moments. Let’s not leave them alone, they need us today, now. Share the situation on your social media, if you have close neighbors in areas surrounding the tribunal, ask them to share information about what they are able to observe, including photos.

Justicia 11 and Cubalex condemn this and demand complete and immediate dismissal of the charges currently being processed by the prosecutor’s office, as well as the cases that have already been presented by the prosecutor to the tribunal, without trials. We request human rights organizations and those that protect journalists and activists to ensure the security of those within and outside of Cuba; who for their clear position of denouncement can become the targets of violence, harassment and repression by Cuban state and government bodies.

These are the names of those detained who are being processed: Javier González Fernández, Alexander Díaz Rodríguez, Yurien Rodríguez Ramos, Eduard Bryan Luperon Vega, Eddy Gutiérrez Alonso, Víctor Alejandro Panceira Rodríguez, Yeremin Salcines Janes, José Alberto Pío Torres, Leandro David Morales Ricondo, Luis Giraldo Martínez Sierra, Iván Hernández Troya, Yoslén Domínguez Victores, Yoselín Hernández Rodríguez.

Recommendations:

We continue to urge family members to constantly denounce these cases, based on the proven fact that raising the visibility has provided significant protection. Our political prisoners are not alone. We demand justice.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

In Prison, Osorbo is Punished for Expressing Gratitude for the Grammys Awarded to ‘Patria y Vida’

One of the audios sent by Orsorbo from jail was to express his gratitude for the Latin Grammys for ’Patria y Vida’.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, November 27, 2021–Rapper Maykel Castillo Osorbo, jailed for the six months, had his phone calls suspended for three months as punishment. As art curator Anamely Ramos explained on Friday, the motive was the recorded messages the artist has been sending from jail.

One of them was the one he sent in regards to the Latin Grammy gala on November 18th, where the song Patria y Vida [Homeland and Life] on which Osorbo collaborated, won the two awards for which it was nominated.

Ramos stated that on Wednesday Castillo received a visit from his lawyer in the maximum-security prison of Kilo Cinco y Medio in Pinar del Río, after several days without news of the rapper. “This is how we confirmed that he is still there,” wrote the curator, a member, as is the rapper, of the Movimiento San Isidro (MSI).

“Maykel’s voice is unbearable for those in power, even though his body is imprisoned. With this, they only show their fear and how little authority they have left,” shared Ramos who stated that at first they punished Osorbo by denying him phone calls for one month, but when they called him to confirm the disciplinary measures that would be imposed, he wrote “Patria y Vida” below his name, for which the punishment increased to three months.

“A three word sentence is also unbearable to them,” denounced Ramos. “Three words have the power to leave an entire state without recourse, other than violence. Three words: each one a month of isolation for Maykel. They are shameful.” continue reading

Ramos insisted that Osorbo is “unjustly imprisoned” and sick. “Under these conditions, to keep him isolated is doubly grave. Now how will we know his state of health?” she asked.

“Taking away a prisoner’s phone calls for an audio expressing gratitude for a prize he won for his talent and his effort and which is a prize for all of Cuba (which does not belong to you), is a cruel act and an embarrassment in the 21st century,” she asserted, and then stated that the Cuban prison regulations violate “the Mandela Laws and are contemptuous of human dignity and life.”

Osorbo was detained on May 18th of this year and at the end of that same month was transferred to Kilo Cinco y Medio, a maximum-security prison. He is accused of “assault”, “public disorder” and “evasion” for what occurred on April 4th at a protest on Damas street in front of MSI’s headquarters, when police attempted to arbitrarily arrest him and he refused to get into the patrol car.

 Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 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.

Fabricated Charges and False Witnesses Against July 11th Protesters in Artemisa, Cuba

Photo of People’s Provincial Tribunal in Artemisa. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Natalia López Moya, Havana, November 28, 2021–“Prepared testimony” and contradictions predominated the three days of trials against 13 young protesters in the Criminal Court of the People’s Provincial Tribunal in Artemisa, according to family members. “There is an extraordinary contradiction among the prosecution’s witnesses,” Roberto Rodríguez, who attended the trial, assured 14ymedio.

The young people, who did not have prior criminal records, have endured finger pointing and comments for participating in the massive marches on July 11th in the province where the first popular protests began. During the trial, the fabricated accusations were evident as were the false witnesses with which the prosecutors sought long sentences. The sentencing is expected within 15 days.

In Yeremin Salsine Janés’s case, he could be sentenced to 14 years in prison. During his detention and his transfer to the maximum-security prison in the municipality of Guanajay, the 31-year-old man received beatings, which resulted in head injuries, according to sources close to the family.

“It has been tense, inhumane and cruel to see, on the first day, one of the young men hav a panic attack because he didn’t have his medication, seeing his brother with high blood pressure transferred to the hospital in a patrol car. And then he spent a long, torturous night waiting until dawn to continue the trial,” relayed Rodríguez, speaking about the arbitrary nature of the processes within the People’s Provincial Tribunal. continue reading

For Eduardo Gutiérrez Alonso, who remains in provisional custody at the Técnico y Guanajay and faces charges for the crimes of public disorder, contempt and assault, the prosecutor seeks 12 years in prison. The trial against him has been plagued with irregularities, denounced a family member. The witnesses confirmed that Eddy was wearing shorts and a red T-shirt. “That is not so,” refuted a source close to the accused. “In the videos and the evidence presented, he is dressed in black and wearing slacks.”

The streets of Artemisa’s Provincial Tribunal have been militarized, stated family members of the young men. (14ymedio)

The tension of the first day of the trial was followed by intimidation the following day when family members of those detained were received with “militarized streets,” which caused the first shock. The second occurred within the courtroom, when pepper spray carried by one of the policemen exploded.

“The sad thing is that in our affected state, to evacuate the prisoners they wanted to handcuff them, then they removed them from the courtroom, washed their faces and helped them,” and one man with asthma required oxygen. That day one of the accused with epilepsy “suffered a crises and had a seizure.” We learned this person had already experienced a similar situation in prison.

Last Wednesday, after the presentation of evidence, the defense felt confident that, “the prosecutor did not have a case.” The defense pointed out the lies told by the prosecutor and witnesses, in which “the manipulation was plain to see.”

Family members demanded “freedom and justice” for Javier González Fernández, Alexandre Díaz Rodríguez, Yurien Rodríguez Ramos, Eduard Bryan Luperon Vega, Eddy Gutiérrez Alonso, Victor Alejandro Painceira, Yeremi Salsine, José Alberto Pio Torres, Leandro David Morales, Luis Giraldo Martínez, Iván Hernández Troya, Yoslen Domínguez, and Yoselin Hernández. They also demanded that authorities cease “the citations and persecution.”

To date, several independent organizations have documented 1,283 detentions resulting from the protests on July 11th and 42 convictions in summary trials. Of this total, at least 540 remain in prison.

In one report, the Cubalex legal information center, expressed special concern for “the use of sedition to impose exemplary sanctions on at least 122 people” and reported that prior to July 11th, Cuban Prisoners Defenders had registered 152 political prisoners.

 Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 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.

Otero Alcantara Has Been Invited to Art Activities Outside Cuba

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of Movimiento San Isidro (Foto: EFE/Yander Zamora)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, November 19, 2021–Artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara reaffirmed that he “would not, under any circumstances, accept exile as an option” to leave Cuba, as he made known to art curator Claudia Genlui Hidalgo, following a visit from his family at the prison where he has been held since the July 11th nationwide protests.

However, the leader of Movimiento San Isidro (MSI), to which Genlui also belongs, continues expressing “his willingness to leave the country to participate in artistic and residence programs which had already been planned and in which he had committed to participate.”

Genlui’s clarification comes a few weeks after it became known that the Cuban Government intended to remove Otero Alcántara from the Island as part of the negotiations announced by Tania Bruguera, and which facilitated the exit of artists Hamlet Lavastida and Katherine Bisquet, who traveled to Poland after Lavastida was released from prison in exchange for exile.

“Yesterday, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara’s family was able to visit him in Guanajay, a maximum-security prison, where he remains since July 11th, accused of the alleged crimes of aggravated assault, public disorder, and instigation of a crime,” wrote Genlui on her Facebook page. “He is also charged with offending patriotic symbols, a charge imposed last year for his work Le drapeau,” she added.

His family also communicated to Genlui that “he is well, plays sports and is in good spirits, though he is very worried for Maykel Castillo’s continue reading

health, of which he was informed at that moment.”

Furthermore, she said the artist was well-informed of all that had occurred on the Island in the last few days and “reaffirmed his commitment to the Cuban people.” “Movimiento San Isidro continues to track him and all political prisoners,” she concludes.

One of the family members who visited him relayed to 14ymedio that Otero Alcántara maintains his same convictions. “Not for a moment did he appear to be lost or that the events he is experiencing have changed his view, not at all.” The source also noted that visits to the prison will occur every two weeks.

While Otero Alcántara has been jailed, he contracted COVID-19 and between September and October, was on a hunger and thirst strike for several days to demand his release and that of all political prisoners, according to a statement from MSI.

The activist has been detained on numerous occasions since 2018, though the repression against him escalated in November 2020 when he initiated a hunger and thirst strike along with several activists to demand the release of rapper Denis Solís. It ended when the police rushed Movimiento San Isidro’s headquarters in Old Havana on November 26th, where members of the group were entrenched, and arrested 14 activists who were inside the building.

Toward the end of April, Otero Alcántara declared once again a hunger and thirst strike to demand an end to the police siege at his home. State Security entered his home in the middle of the night and transported him to Calixto García Hospital, where he remained without explanation for a month in the custody of security forces. On that occasion, Amnesty International declared him a “prisoner of conscience”.

In mid-September, Time magazine named Otero Alcántara one of the 100 most influential people of the year.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 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.

Cuban Rapper Maykel Osorbo Distrusts Prison Doctors to Cure His Illness

Maykel Osorbo was detained on May 18 and is in a maximum-security prison in Pinar del Rio. (Proyecto EvolucionEnCuba/2013)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, November 18, 2021–Cuban activist and art curator Anamely Ramos on Wednesday denounced from Miami that the contrarian rapper, Maykel Castillo Osorbo is at risk in jail, where he has been held in isolation for six months.

Maykel Castillo “is sick”, denounced Ramos on her Facebook page, telling how after his six-day hunger and thirst strike, being in solitary confinement for over two weeks and at least four days in a punishment cell, Castillo called to say he had been taken to the doctor “to have his lymph nodes checked.”

In statements made to 14ymedio Ramos explained that today the singer “does not have a conclusive diagnosis” and he does not believe he will have one because “he will not allow any intervention and for that reason, it is important that he get out of there now.”

She notes that Castillo had been “complaining about his lymph nodes for more than two months” but that, although he told the doctor at the Kilo Cinco y Medio prison in Pinar del Río, she “did not pay it any attention” at that time.

Ramos clarified that she had not wanted to publish this news earlier because everyone was focused on the November 15th march and because she also needed to “hear the details in Maykel’s own voice.” She was finally able to speak with the rapper at the beginning of the week and he told her that “he has lumps all over–under his armpits, near his clavicle, behind his arm. He has been experiencing vomiting, fever, sweats, and extreme fatigue.”

Following a recent exam, “it appears to be a failure of continue reading

the lymphatic system, but the test was inconclusive and Maykel already told me that he will not allow them to perform any invasive medical procedures.” The activists also wrote that she does not trust any diagnosis or treatment that they might perform on Castillo. “If he is that way, it is precisely due to his unjust imprisonment and the mistreatment to which he has been subjected since long before he was in jail.”

Ramos reminded readers in her Facebook post that the rapper has been the victim of more than 120 acts of political violence in a little over a year, “He endured a year and a half in jail for opposing Decree 349. Maykel belongs to that segment of the Cuban population which is persistently discarded. The profound injustice the dictatorship represents includes this terrible asymmetry, where it is these people who always pay the highest price to be free.”

Similarly, she demanded the Cuban State free Castillo and not to deny him “the possibility of attending to his health in a trustworthy place,” if he so decides and “to put the brakes on the violence and the barbarity they have unleashed everywhere and which, in the end, will reach them too.”

Maykel Osorbo was detained on May 18th and on the 31st of that same month was transferred to Kilo Cinco y Medio, a maximum-security prison. He is accused of “assault”, “public disorder” and “evasion” for acts that occurred on April 4th, during a protest on Damas street, in front of the Movimiento San Isidro headquarters, when police attempted to arbitrarily arrest him and he refused to get in the patrol car.

Osorbo had denounced that he is imprisoned “for a song” which has become an anthem for freedom-loving Cubans and their struggle against the dictatorship, referring to Patria y Vida, which he sings with Yotuel Romero, Gente de Zona, and rapper Eliexer Márquez Duany, aka El Funky.

This Thursday, precisely the six-month anniversary of Osorbo’s arrest, Patria y Vida will be sung at the gala of the 22nd Latin Grammy Awards, a song that was nominated twice. El Funky’s participation in the event is confirmed; he traveled from Havana to Miami to attend the gala.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 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.

A Latin Grammy Award for ‘Patria y Vida’, the Anthem of the Protests in Cuba

“Patria y Vida” performers during a call with Maykel Osorbo. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, November 18, 2021–Thursday, the song Patria y Vida [Homeland and Life] won the award for Best Urban Song at the Latin Grammys, in Las Vegas, USA. Beatriz Luengo, singer and wife of Cuban Yotuel Romero, one of the songwriters, went up on stage to receive the award.

Sung by duo Gente de Zona, Yotuel and Descemer Bueno, who live outside of Cuba, and Maykel Castillo Osorbo and El Funky, inside the Island, the song is, primarily, an homage to Movimiento San Isidro (MSI) [San Isidro Movement] and has become an anthem for the protests of thousands of Cubans who went out into the streets on July 11th to demand “libertad” [freedom] for Cuba.

Patria y Vida will be heard during the main ceremony, from the mouths of its creators. Except for Maykel Osorbo, for whom today marks six months in prison, all of the song’s participants will be on stage. In the song’s video, appearing alongside Osorbo, hugging a Cuban flag, is artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, MSI leader, who has also been in prison since July 11. continue reading

Moments before the ceremony, El Funky shared on social media that they’d been able to speak with Osorbo and, from jail, he was able to share a few words. “We were able to speak with Maykel Osorbo and feel his voice in these very significant moments, he made it clear that the Grammy is for the Cuban people, whether we win or not, we’ve come so far.”

In statements to 14ymedio at the beginning of the year after the video came out, Otero Alcántara said the most important thing about that act was to “call attention to society, the Black people of San Isidro, the Black people of Cerro, those who stand in line.” In his opinion, the audiovisual “helps create that project of a country, one those people can identify with, feel included.”

Since its debut on YouTube this past February 16th, the song broke viewership records and it currently has more than nine million views on that platform.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 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.

How Repression Unfolded in Cuba on November 14th / Cubalex

 

Image representing José Martí with a white rose.

Cubalex, 15 November 2021 — Cubalex summarized the 48 acts of harassment against civil society we’ve monitored since yesterday, November 14th.

At the end of each day, we will be publishing similar reports. We request your help in sharing. Let’s show the repressive essence of the Cuban regime.

Havana

La Lisa

1. Yunior García Aguilera denounced that his home was surrounded by agents dressed as civilians who violently expelled a crew of journalists that arrived to try to interview him. The mob performed an act of repudiation in front of his house.

Habana del Este (East Havana)

2. Under siege in her house Yoani Licea Gómez, one of the signers of the application to the march on 15N [that was submitted to the authorities and rejected].

Marianao

3. The internet was cut off for Rafael Santos Regalado and his family members and his house is surrounded by patrol cars.

Playa

4. Yeniley Perdomo Sao received a police summons and state agents established a surveillance operation at the home of Abu Duyanah Tamayo. continue reading

5.María Esther Lemus  summoned to an interrogation and subjected to threats and degrading treatment.

Cotorro

6. Miryorly García denounced a surveillance operation at her home and later an attempted repudiation meeting.

Regla

7. Diosdado Verdecia denounced a surveillance operation.

San Miguel del Padrón

8. Ever Zamora Hernández received a San Miguel del Padrón police summons.

Havana

8. Under house arrest Maykel González.

Central Havana

9. Edel Carrero is under house arrest.

Boyeros

10. Detained José Díaz Silva and Lourdes Esquivel.

Revolution Plaza

11. Two young people were detained in Quijote Park.

12. State agents prevented the movement and established surveillance operations at the homes of Oscar Casanella, Boris González Arenas, Abraham Jiménez Enoa and Luz Escobar, who was threatened by a State Security agent when she filmed him.

Arroyo Naranjo

13. Yolanda Santana Ayala is assumed to be “disappeared”.

Cerro

14. Carolina Sansón denounced a surveillance operation.

La Lisa

15. Under surveillance in his home Pablo Enrique Delgado Hernández.

Other relevant information

16. All week Camila Acosta, Ileana Hernández and Carolina Barrero denounced surveillance operations at their residences.

17. Militarization: The presence of Rapid Response Brigades and military trucks are reported along the malecón.

18. The office of Religious Affairs of the Central Committee tells priests Rolando Montes de Oca, Castor Álvarez and Alberto Reyes that if they participate in tomorrow’s protests they will be detained.

Granma

Bayamo

19. Doctor Alexander Jesús Figueredo denounced surveillance operations in his usual places of residence.

20. Lieutenant Colonel Oriel verbally summoned Yunior Berges to an interrogation. He is under surveillance in his home.

Manzanillo

21. Yander Serra was summoned by police. As he was walking, they detained him and took him to the police station and fined him 3,000 pesos because supposedly two days before they saw him using his face mask incorrectly.

22. Yoendri Fornaris, one of the people who protested on July 11th, denounced a surveillance operation at her residence.

Jiguaní

23. Noeima Rodríguez was visited by the chief of State Security in the province to intimidate her and threaten her, incuding her children.

Guantanamo

Baracoa

24. Yoel Acosta Gámez was detained in his home and Emilio Almaguer de la Cruz denounced surveillance operations

Guantanamo

25. Niober García received a police summons and denounced the surveillance operation established at his home, in addition to Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina

Camagüey

26. Harrassment of the headquarters of Partido Libertario Cubano [Cuban Libertarian Party] José Martí

27. Surveillance at the home of Lady in White María Cristina Labrada Varona.

Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba

28. Eduardo Clavel Rizo received a police summons and as he returned from the interrogation they conducted an act of repudiation.

29. Eloy Calugna, Fernando Castro and Pastor René Machado were detained

30. We received reports of military presence in the streets of this municipality

31. Jorge Amado Robert denounced surveillance operations. Captain Ronaldo from State Security told him he could not leave his home.

Palma Soriano

32. Marioldis Delgado Romero received a police summons. Denia Fernández Rey and her husband were threatened by police to they would not leave their houses.

Sancti Spíritus

33. The military presence in Trinidad city was denounced.

Villa Clara

Santa Clara

34. Saily González, Raux Denis Rodríguez, Omar Mena and Leidy Laura Hernández denounced surveillance operations at their homes.

35. Persons dressed in civilian clothing harrassed Víctor Javier Ariaz Ruiz for putting a sign up at his house. An act of repudiation was conducted.

Camajuaní

36. Librado Linares was intercepted in the street by Security agent who told him he could not leave his house until the 16th.

Pinar del Río

Pinar del Río

37. Under house arrest Julio César Góngora Millo. Consolación del Sur.

38. An act of repudiation for Yahima Díaz. Minas de Matahambre.

39. Surveillance at the home of Pedro Víctor Serrano.

Mayabeque

40. Quivicán. Reports of harassment of detainees.

Artemisa

41. Alquízar. Diasniurka Salcedo is under house arrest.

Matanzas

42. Cárdenas. Surveillance at the home of Carlos Manuel Álvarez who is in New York.

Isla de la Juventud

43. Act of repudiation for David Gómez Sánchez.

Holguín

44. Víctor González, one of the signers of the application for the march on 15N, was detained.

45. Miguel Alejandro Montero Ochoa, moderator of Archipiélago, was reported missing 24 hours ago. He later published a video informing that he was detained under Criminal Instruction. He was later released.

Ciego de Avila

46. A military event was held in Martí Park.

Las Tunas

Las Tunas

47. A grand police deployment with sirens throughout the streets of the city.

Jobado

48. Pedro Lago Segura detained at work.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

Black Berets, Red Kerchiefs and Flags to Silence the Cries of Freedom in Cuba

Immense Cuban flags were unfurled to try to cover the windows of Yunior García Aguilera’s apartment. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 15 November 2021 — Several hours prior to November 15th, the date designated by the Cuban opposition to mobilize, the organizers, Archipiélago, denounced the “cruel blockade, illegal and inhumane” to which the Government subjects one of its leaders, Yunior García Aguilera.

The playwright, who had planned to go out and walk on Sunday, November 14th, dressed in white and with a white rose through Havana’s El Vedado, found himself under under siege in his home in Lisa on the outskirts of the capital, where he was once again visited by neighbors, who weeks back had knocked on his door to warn him that they would not allow him to conduct the Civic March for Change.

“You are at the service of the enemy of our people,” said the same woman who on November 1 led a similar act of repudiation at the gate of his home. “That is not true,” replied García Aguilera calmly. “It is true, you are at their service, and here in this community, this town, we will not allow any media show,” the neighbor continued calmly, but then suddenly exalted.

“I am defending my history, that of my children, the Revolution, my grandchildren,” she continued in an excited state. “And you are doing it in front of my house,” reproached the playwright gently. “Also. And I told you the other day when I came and I will repeat it today, we will not allow that activity. This neighborhood belongs to revolutionaries,” she concludes.

The video, filmed from outside and shared by the Government’s own operatives, shows the day García Aguilera experienced during the protest prior to November 15th, which he intended continue reading

would create an opening for other citizens.  Since September, all the regime’s might was focused on him, when he led the call for the Civic March for Change, which is scheduled for Monday in most of the Cuban provinces and over a hundred cities around the world–at least 120 have added their support, although in some the events took place on Sunday.

“The act of putting a citizen under siege to prevent him from walking a Havana street not only revealed itself as a repugnant act of ’the culture’ of repudiation and the practice of creating a perimeter of police in civilian dress, it also consisted of covering his window using the sacred national insignia as an embarrassing curtain of repression,” he also reproached on Archipiélago’s Facebook page, which underscored the twisted use of the national flag.

Some sympathizers of the opposition group had reminded people on social media that the use of the flag for political purposes had been considered a crime on some occasions, as an excuse to prosecute dissidents, such as San Isidro Movement member Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.

The focus placed on García Aguilera is possibly what allowed that, at least, he was not arrested, as occurred with other members of Archipiélago in provinces with fewer media eyes on them. That was the case of Víctor González from Holguín, signer of the letter requesting authorization for the march in that province. In that same city, Miguel Montero, his personal friend and coordinator of the group, headed to the street to find out for himself and was detained and taken to a criminal investigation in Holguín at around 5 in the evening, though hours later he confirmed he was already home. Nothing is known about Daniela Rojo, from Guanabacoa, who has been missing for over 48 hours, despite those close to her having looked for her at the police station.

At least two other people were arrested in Quijote Park after yelling, “Long live democracy!” From what can be seen on a video shared on social media, some 15N sympathizers initiated an exchange of words, initially calm, with Government supporters. At the end of the conversation, both parties separated while the first group yelled “Long live freedom,”, to which the second group responded, “Long live Cuba’s Communist Party.” Subsequently, a police car appeared and detained the dissidents amid cries of “Viva Fidel” and “Viva la Revolución.”

A short distance from there, in the Central Park, President Miguel Díaz-Canel, dressed in a red T-shirt with Che Guevara’s face printed in black, participated in a sit-in organized by the so-called “Red Kerchiefs” in support of the regime. The leader wrote on his Twitter, “Members of several groups and leaders of civil society led an anti-imperialist event in protest of the unconventional warfare practices employed against peace in Cuba.”

Tony Ávila performed during the event and rain forced the attendees, including the President, to sit on the floor under the portico of the Alicia Alonso Grand Havana Theater.

“First Secretary of the Party and President of the Republic, Cuban Miguel Díaz-Canel, sat on the floor, among those young men and women bound together by their simplicity and the same sense of anger at what is wrong and love for the Island,” described the state newspaper Granma. A bucolic scene for an event that occurred a few kilometers from where García Aguilar was forcefully being prevented from walking.

 Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 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.

European Union Diplomats Will Observe from the Ground the March in Cuba on 15N (15 November)

The High Representative for Foreign Policy has requested all European diplomats inform him from the ground what occurs on 15N. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, November 12, 2021–Chancellor Bruno Rodríguez’s harangue last Wednesday before the diplomatic corps has fallen on deaf ears in the European Union. Diplomats from EU member states will cover the Civic March for Change on November 15th and should inform the High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, of the events, as reported by Spanish daily El Mundo.

According to sources of the Madrid-based newspaper, the European Parliament’s delegation for Central America and Cuba Relations wrote a letter asking Borrell to have EU diplomats observe, from the ground, the events next Monday, protected by the Vienna Convention.

The European chancellor, following conversations with the responsible Members of the European Parliament — Javier Nart (Independent), Tilly Metz (Greens) and Jens Gieske (DemoChristian) — has approved it and asked representatives to monitor the events and convey what may happen.

One of the demands of Archipiélago is precisely this, international protection and, in particular, European protection. In a letter addressed to the international community on November 8th and translated to English and French that same day, the group noted that the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union signed in 2016 recognizes civil society as cooperation actors. continue reading

“Under the protection of the mentioned Cooperation Agreement, as Cuban civil society actors, we address citizens of member states of the European Union to invite them to be aware of the streets this coming November 15th.”

In addition, according to El Mundo, some diplomats will participate in the marches as observers, though they did not reveal any of their names and only mentioned Ángel Martín Peccis among those who will not do so.

The organizers of the march have also received additional support, this time from the United Nations. The office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on Thursday assured that it will conduct “remote monitoring” of what occurs Monday.

Of course, the support of the U.S. was a given, as it has on numerous occasions made declarations with regard to 15N. Yesterday, during the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), Secretary Anthony Blinken, requested that each country in the continent sent a clear message that everyone has “the right to assemble peacefully and express their opinions.”

Blinken reminded them that there continue to be many detained following the massive protests which occurred in July and that several people have been tried for crimes which carry sentences of dozens of years. “Including a 26 year old woman named Yolanda Cruz who faces an eight-year prison sentence for filming a protest,” he highlighted.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 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.

‘We’re Prepared to Confront Any Action’ Warns Cuban President Diaz Canel Ahead of 15N (15 November)

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez during his appearance this Friday. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, November 12, 2021–During a televised broadcast on Friday, announced only hours before, Miguel Díaz-Canel broached topics such as tourism and the pandemic, although the Civic March for Change scheduled for November 15th was the topic which generated the most interest during his long address in which he repeated on various occasions, the phrase “in peace” to define the current situation on the Island.

Upon learning of his appearance, speculations abounded: easing or tightening, said the betting pools, but Díaz-Canel opted to follow the official script. “We’re a Revolution that won’t survive the error of letting down our guard,” he underscored. “We’re a society closed to pressure,” although he did not repeat the questionable “combat order” he launched this past July 11th during the popular protests.

Without alluding to Archipiélago nor to playwright Yunior García Aguilera, principal organizer of the marches this Monday in several cities throughout the country, Díaz-Canel spoke of “an entire media intention, an imperial strategy to try to destroy the revolution,” something which “does not make us lose sleep” because “we’re prepared to defend the revolution.”

However, the greater part of this speech was directed at the difficult months of the pandemic and the possibility of economic recovery with the arrival of visitors upon the reopening of borders this coming Monday. continue reading

“We’ve been facing very hard situations and moments,” Díaz-Canel began saying in a broadcast which, despite having been announced as “live”, was pre-recorded, in which he spoke of “honoring and recognizing” the Cubans who lost their lives to the pandemic. “Cuba deserves a celebration,” the leader added.

“They tried to present us as a failed state,” he warned with regard to the critiques he received for the government’s handling of the worst moments of COVID-19. “We’re making a call to overcome it with our talent,” he underscored with regard to the U.S. embargo, the recurrent justification for the economic crisis the Island is experiencing.

“This is a time to harvest what we’ve sowed,” emphasized the 61-year-old engineer before taking a round of questions from the official press. “We cannot be sanguine,” stated the leader confronting the re-opening of borders although he emphasized that “we’ve controlled the disease.”

The reopening of borders is a topic that has generated mixed opinions. On the one hand, the economy on the Island urgently needs an influx of hard currency which will arrive with visitors; however, the unfortunate experience of the previous opening of flights at the end of last year and its negative epidemiological impact raises many suspicions.

“We are predicting that there will be an immediate increase in tourism but not an immediate recovery,” he recognized. “They will find a country at peace,” underscored Díaz-Canel in relation to travelers which, as of the middle of this month, will increase their presence in Cuban streets.

“Our economy will be recovering…in the midst of all these circumstances we’ve approved new economic actors. The approval of new ways of operating, both state and non-state, are flowing at a good pace…I’d say that framework sooner rather than later will result in a change in the services offered and goods available to our population.”

He maintained his optimism in that as of November 15th the flight sequence “will surpass 50.” In the remainder of the year, he estimated, “the number of tourists received will be almost 50% of those who have visited this year.”

And he did not fail to mention the repeated argument: “What we’ve faced has had an additional rigorous element, the cruel, criminal policy of Yankee imperialism against Cuba, which tried to take advantage of the moment where uncertainties also existed to tighten the screws of the blockade, to defame, to slander,” he repeated.

Regardless, in contrast to the speech he made on July 11th, a few hours after the first protests in which Díaz-Canel called on communists to take to the streets, on this occasion he avoided this type of call, although the reports point to increased repression against potential protesters in the last few days.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 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.