María Matienzo Puerto of Cubanet interviews El Sexto immediately after his release from prison
Here is a loose translation:
Tell us about your ordeal…
“This time the repression was more brutal. They spent the whole time beating me, humiliating me. They were always provoking me, trying to get me to react, trying to make me lose control. Then they took me and the guy in the lower bunk to unit 47, which is a place into which people are taken before they’re executed by firing squad. Then they started to bring everyone from del Valle prison into Combinado del Este. I was placed in unit 3, which is high security, with men who were murderers.
“I was imprisoned for a long time, imprisoned for poking fun at the death of a murderer [Fidel Castro]. I have to laugh because some day in the future our children will believe that killing people is a joke. The Castros are murderers and it should have been the brother [Raul] who got tossed into El Combinado de Este, not me.
But no one has been executed by firing squad since 2003. Those condemned to death have had their sentence commuted…
“Those people don’t care about any of that. Those people attacked a military barracks [Moncada, 1953] and have forced their countrymen into exile, they killed Oswaldo Payá… Do you believe that they really care about killing one more man, without any justification?
“On Saturday, when I heard some shots, they told me that a minister had arrived to approve my death sentence. It seemed to me that they were really getting ready to execute me, given how they were treating me, telling me that the documents related to my case were super-confidential. It was as if they were saying “we’re going to teach these dissidents a lesson for crossing the line.”
“The legal brief they showed me was enormous, and they tried to convince me that I had a very long record of counter-revolutionary behavior. And they asked me if they had ever tried me in court for crimes against the security of the state. They threatened me by telling me that my trial could be televised. And I thought, ‘candela (wow), they’re going to deal with me just like they dealt with Ochoa. (Former Castro associate accused of corruption who was tried on TV and executed in 1989).
They removed and disappeared the guy who was trying to “re-educate” me because he told me that I would be released soon.”
It seems to your friends that this ordeal brought the best out of Danilo, but what did Danilo get out of this imprisonment?…
“This is an illness I want to get rid of, but each time I come down with it, the sicker I get. What I can’t allow to happen is for me to be quiet about it, whether I’m at death’s door or not. This time around I understood I couldn’t risk my life the way I did before, with a hunger strike. I realized that what they wanted was something nefarious and I was careful the whole time. I sought out the dark corners and I told myself, ‘ná, tú estás loco, para matarme a mí hay que ‘echarla’ (esmerarse)” no, you’re crazy, to kill me will require serious effort from them.”
“I will be going to Miami as soon as possible. I hope to go tomorrow, for a news conference, and then I will return, to keep working on my stuff and to take care of my daughter’s situtation.”
“I want to thank everyone who worked on my behalf with the U.N., The Human Rights Foundation, and the news media. Thanks to all of you for your support.”
Read the whole interview in Spanish HERE
Prison drawing by El Sexto below, dated 17 December 2016:
Doctors enslaved abroad while Cuba deprived of them
Two of the most important revenue sources for Castroism’s economic survival are family remittances and the export of medical personnel. Cuban doctors abroad work and live on a basis that is tantamount to slavery, only having access to a fraction of their wages, their freedom of movement restricted, and forced to get involved in political campaigns with local populations, with which they are not even allowed to interact in a private way. They are hostages of the Government, enlisting in these programs towards the sole goal of saving some minimal amounts allowing them to subsist after their return to Cuba.
The export of the country’s doctors also helps the regime to garner international recognition. But this is acknowledgment that entails a smokescreen covering up their violations of the health workers’ labor and human rights. Until now, many of them had found a way out of their dilemma by emigrating to the U.S.A. through other countries, allowing them to reinvent their lives and obtain the kind of compensation to which every professional aspires.
But by ending the parole program for Cuban doctors Obama has eliminated this possibility for them. The president’s statement argues that favoring the emigration of doctors to the US could affect the Cuban people: “By providing preferential treatment to Cuban medical personnel, the medical parole program […] risks harming the Cuban people.” But this reasoning is based on a failure to acknowledge how Raúl Castro’s regime operates; the fact that Cuban doctors cannot emigrate to the USA does not mean that they will decide to serve patients on the Island.
The economic outlook leaves the Cuban authorities so few options that they will have to resort, increasingly, to exporting medical staff. In the wake of the lifting of the “dry feet/wet feet” policy, as the total amounts received from familiar remittances diminish, the numbers from the export of doctors could become even greater.
Due to the Government’s programs for the export of specialists, the number of doctors per inhabitant in Cuba has already noticeably diminished. Medical facilities lack professionals in some specialized areas, and this situation is only going to get worse, regardless of what Barack Obama has ordered. In spite of his good intentions, Obama is not going to be able to improve the situation of Cuban patients, but he will worsen that of many doctors.
In light of all this, Cuban American Senator Marco Rubio and House Representative Carlos Curbelo are right to ask Donald Trump to restore the program that favored Cuban health professionals.
I came across this article in Q Costa Rica this morning and expected to read about how wonderful apartheid Cuba is for tourists. Like many articles on the topic of vacationing in Cuba, I assumed this piece would gush about how unspoiled and quaint Havana is with its crumbling buildings, 1950s era American cars, and how well behaved the enslaved natives are and how they all love to play music and dance for the tourists.
For the first part of the article, my suspicions were confirmed:
Things You Should or Want Know About Cuba
TODAY CUBA / Cuba is the Caribbean island nation under communist rule. It has sugar-white beaches and is dotted with tobacco fields, which play a part in the production of the country’s legendary cigars. The capital, Havana (La Habana), is lined with pastel houses, 1950s era cars and Spanish-colonial architecture in the 16th-century core, Old Havana (Habana Vieja).
Culturally, Cuba is considered part of Latin America. It is a multiethnic country whose people, culture and customs derive from diverse origins, including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves, and a close relationship with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
Salsa music plays in the dance clubs and cabaret shows are performed at the famed Tropicana.
But then, they share a list of bullet points on Cuba that put the island in a realistic perspective:
- Cuba is the largest island in the area with 11 million inhabitants.
- Cuba has been living under a communist dictatorship for 58 years
- Cuba went from the third developed country of the Americas (beating countries like Spain, France, Belgium in indicators) to a third world country with a destroyed economy and agriculture.
- Cuba is a “food deficient country” that has to import 80% of the food it consumes and that lives with rationing for over 50 years.
- Cuba has an “apartheid” medical and tourist system (tourist part now relaxed) with separate facilities for tourist (and the elite) and the Cuban people.
- Cuba has a “two currency” system with one the CUP for the Cuban people’s daily transactions which is “non convertible” (can’t be exchanged for other currencies) and the CUC (convertible). 1 CUC is worth 25 CUP at current exchange rates.
- Average monthly pensions is Cuba are (in US dollar) $10 – $12 and average salary is about $25.
- Rationed goods are cheap but last only 10 days to feed people and lots of other goods have to be bought at high prices (relative compared to income) with CUP or at exorbitant prices in CUC. This results in widespread food problems.
- 62% of Cubans depend on remittances (money sent from abroad) to make ends meet.
- Education and health in Cuba, once praised, have declined now facing crumbling infrastructure, teacher shortages and a lack of medical personnel and equipment in the Cuban system.
It is hard to tell if Q Costa Rica was attempting to give their readers a realistic assessment of vacationing in apartheid Cuba or they were just being lazy and copied and pasted a list of bullet points they found on the internet.
Either way, a true assessment of apartheid Cuba is out there on the internet and once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever.
It is no surprise that dissident artist Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado was arrested and imprisoned for nearly two months simply for celebrating the death of Cuba’s apartheid dictator, Fidel Castro. These are the types of human rights violations Cuba’s brutally repressive dictatorship has been committing for more than half a century. Unfortunately, it is also no surprise that despite the fact that Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship continues to be an oppressive regime, Barack Obama had no issues making additional major unilateral concessions to them while “El Sexto” rotted in a Castro gulag.
Artist ‘El Sexto’ walks out of prison in Cuba
Artist spends 2 months in prison after celebrating Fidel Castro’s death
HAVANA – Cuban authorities freed artist Danilo Maldonado on Saturday. The Cuban government had been holding the artist known as “El Sexto” since Nov. 26.
International human rights U.S. human rights lawyer Kimberley Motley took up his case and was later detained for hours in Havana.
Maldonado’s family said they were grateful to Motley and international civil rights attorney Centa B. Rek Chajtur from the Human Rights Foundation.
“It was the growing awareness about his case that has led the Cuban government to liberate him,” a statement on the artist’s Facebook page said. They added that Maldonado plans to “continue doing meaningful art towards a free and democratic Cuba.”The artist was released after the Geneva-based United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention started to review a legal petition filed in his behalf.
The graffiti writer had been in prison before. Cubans held him for about 10 months after he attempted to release two pigs he had spray painted with the names of Raul and Fidel Castro.
Maldonado’s latest arrest happened before an exhibit he was supposed to host in Miami during Art Basel. Cuban authorities showed up to his apartment after he celebrated the death of Fidel Castro with graffiti.
See more HERE.
“Yes! I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House!” (Madonna at Washington Women’s March, 1/21/2017)
Rock-star Madonna (surrounded at the “Washington Women’s March” by women, blacks –and especially–black women) has often expressed her affection for Che Guevara--the co-founder of a totalitarian regime that outlawed rock music while jailing and torturing the most blacks and women in the modern history of the Western Hemisphere!
In fact, Madonna recently tweeted the racist, misogynistic, mass-murderer a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (unsurprisingly, she got the date wrong. Che Guevara’s birthday is actually on June, 15. (NOT May 15th like the imbecilic pop-star thought. )
Gentleman on the top left: “If the missiles had remained in Cuba we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S.-including New York City. The victory of socialism is worth millions of atomic victims!”
Lady on top right:“Yes! I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House!”
“I read Humberto Fontova’s book in two sittings. I couldn’t put it down!” ( Mark Levin on Exposing the Real Che Guevara.)“Humberto’s a pretty cool guy!” (Dennis Miller)
“Humberto’s book is a very valuable book-a book badly needed around the world.” (Former Chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Relations Ileana Ros-Lehtinen R. Fl)
Si dejo de publicar en Twitter hoy, es que fui arrestada arbitrariamente por los agentes de esta tiranía cubana que ningún cubano eligió.
— Rosa María Payá A. (@RosaMariaPaya) January 21, 2017
Cuba’s ForoDyL (Forum for Rights and Liberty) is reporting on their Facebook page that imprisoned dissident artist, Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado has finally been released from prison.
When she got home, she kissed her mother and took a long, intense shower, like the one she dreamed during the six days she was detained. Karina Galvez let the water run to take away her weariness and the hopelessness that the imprisonment had caused her. Outside her home, neighbors welcomed her with hugs on Tuesday, after she was released on a 2,000 Cuban peso bond, still facing charges of alleged tax evasion, linked to the purchase of a home.
During his first hours out of the cell, Galvez knew that the Cuba he had left a week before had changed. She learned, only then, of the end of the United States’ Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy and she knew that the international solidarity around him had been much greater than she could have imagined. Surrounded by her friends and trying to recover every missing minute, the economist answered some questions for 14ymedio via telephone.
Yoani Sanchez: What is your current legal situation? Is there a date for a hearing?
Karina Gálvez: They haven’t told me a date for the trial. The only thing I have is the document known as the “auto” that describes the case, so I can name a lawyer.
Yoani Sanchez: What were the main emotional supports you had in your days of confinement?
Karina Gálvez: I confess I had moments when I felt emotionally broken. I had never slept in a cell before. The anguish of being unaware of what was happening outside, of being cut off, was quite strong.
At one point I asked God to give me a sign that he was there with me and a few minutes later Major Odalys came in and brought me a bible that my sister had brought me. I was very shocked by that moment.
It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced, although I felt sure of solidarity. I knew a lot of people were watching over me and that my family was not alone.
Yoani Sanchez: And on leaving did you confirm that impression?
Karina Gálvez: I fell a little short in my calculations… last night when I left I found out that the solidarity had been immense. Support has gone beyond friends. I have to thank all those who supported me and tell them that all the energy of knowing that people were with me helped me a lot in there.
Victims of Communism — a human rights organization routinely ignored by the news media — has called on President Donald Trump to press for the immediate release of five prominent dissidents, including El Sexto.
VOC has posted its appeal to Trump on their website.
Linking El Sexto to the other four dissidents — some of whom have received much more attention, including one who is a Nobel laureate — could increase his visibility at the White House.
Since the news media prefers to pretend that VOC is invisible and inconsequential, one can’r really hope that this plea will affect public opinion.
Let’s see if anything happens.
As Donald J. Trump is inaugurated President of the United States and begins his first day in office, we have a message for him. This message comes not just from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, but from harassed dissidents, persecuted activists, and prisoners of conscience across the world: Mr. President, please defend human rights in the face of communist oppression.
Read about these five dissidents who exemplify this struggle for freedom and liberty.
Danilo Maldonado Machado, also known as El Sexto, is famous throughout the world for his provocative art and acerbic commentary on Cuba’s communist dictatorship. He was seized by Cuban security forces in the wake of Fidel Castro’s death in November for spraypainting “He Is Gone” on a wall.
Liu Xiaobo is a renowned Chinese professor, activist, social critic, and dissident. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in absentia for his work.
Otto Warmbier is an American citizen now languishing in a North Korean labor camp.
Father Nguy?n V?n Lý is a Vietnamese Roman Catholic priest and advocate for religious freedom in communist Vietnam.
Sombath Somphone is a community development worker and civil society leader in Laos.
Please help us amplify the messages of these oppressed dissidents and join us in calling on the new administration to protect activists and the freedoms for which they fight.
Read the entire plea HERE.
Here’s Why Rosa María Payá Is Risking Her Life
If your father was murdered by a totalitarian regime, would you go back to the place of the crime? That’s what Rosa María Payá is doing. Payá is a young Cuban democracy and human rights activist. Her father, Oswaldo Payá, the head of the Christian Liberation Movement and founder of the Varela Project, which sought to gather support for democratic transition in Cuba, died in 2012 under mysterious circumstances. Rosa María took up his work. In 2013 she denounced the Cuban government before the United Nations, contradicting the official account of her father’s “accidental” death and calling for an independent investigation into what she believed was a deliberate murder. She returned to Cuba briefly and spoke at the UN again later that year.
In 2015, Payá launched a citizens’ initiative called Cuba Decide (Cuba Decides), calling for a binding plebiscite to start the process of democratization in Cuba. Over the last two years, she was also elected the president of the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy and addressed the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy and the Oslo Freedom Forum, and visited the island twice in order to visit her father’s grave and attend a mass in his memory, despite the fact that her family and fellow activists continually receive threats and suffer harassment at the hands of state security forces.
Now she is going back. Why? “I’m returning to my country,” she wrote on Facebook on Thursday, January 18. “Over the last days an escalation of violence against the entire Cuban opposition has become evident, among them various promoters of the citizens’ initiative Cuba Decide. Many friends have been jailed, beaten, or threatened, have feared for their lives. This is what happened two weeks ago to the trade union leader Iván Hernández Carrillo and to Mrs. Caridad Burunate in Matanzas and two days ago to the artist Danilo Maldonado [El Sexto], detained in the El Combinado prison and living among rumors of a possible execution. They also fear for the safety of their children and relatives, mentioned again and again during the interrogations, as state security agents Osvaldo and Maikel clarified to the musician and composer Luis Alberto Mariño. They’re intercepted and detained when they try to aid other Cubans, which is what happened to the artist-activist Tania Bruguera so that she couldn’t help those affected by Hurricane Matthew on its path towards Baracoa. Various opposition organizations and members of independent civil society throughout the nation suffer constant persecution and arrests without charges. This is what has happened to the Ladies in White, UNPACU, Dr. Eduardo Cardet, and the economist Karina Gálvez, among others. The year is beginning amid a wave of repression that reminds me intensely of the prelude to the Spring of 2003, before the jailing of the leaders of the Varela Project during the trial of the 75. I’m going home, I will be with my friends.”
At 3:02 p.m. the same day she tweeted, “In the Havana airport they have just retained my (valid) Cuban passport and they’re ordering me to wait without giving any explanation.” Six minutes later, “They’ve informed me that on this occasion I can enter Cuba, our country.”
We’ll be following Rosa María’s trip and providing any updates we receive here. Rosa María, we wish you safety and success on your mission to bring democracy and human rights to your homeland!
From our Believe it or Not department. Créalo o no lo crea.
Castro, Inc., one of the world’s largest slave owners, is seeking to increase its labor force from 11.2 million to 20 million by the year 2050.
The news can be found in an article about Castro, Inc.’s search for condoms in India. Yes, condoms.
Condoms are seldom connected to plans for population growth, but Castro, Inc. has always been a land of paradoxes.
Currently, Castro, Inc. also provides free abortions and has one of the highest abortion rates on earth.
It also has a very, very high suicide rate.
Another paradox: How will the increased number of slaves will be fed, or what kind of labor will be required of them in a slave plantation totally committed to changing NOTHING in an economic system that produces nothing, has let more than 50% of its arable land lay fallow, and has to import food to keep its slaves from starving to death?
Some experts at the rabidly-anti Castro blog Babalu think the answer to this last question is simple: Castro, Inc. wants to outdo Las Vegas. The increase in slaves is required for the development of the island of Cuba into the world’s most popular sex-gambling-and drugs tourist spot.
One of those experts also thinks its highly likely that Cuban slaves working at tourist facilities will be required to wear condom hats, so they can be easily identified by the foreigners who visit the Caribbean slave plantation.
From IndUS Business Journal:
Cuba to import more condoms from India
Cuba will be importing more condoms from Thiruvananthapuram-headquartered HLL Lifecare Ltd, said a company spokesperson on Friday.
The HLL spokesperson told the media that it was from 2012 that Cuba began importing condoms, blood bags and intra-uterine devices from the company.
“In the previous calendar year, the total exports of HLL products to Cuba was Rs 11 crore and this calendar year we have set a target of Rs 20 crore,” said the HLL spokesperson.
Interestingly, the announcement comes even as the average number of children in Cuban families have touched as low as 1.4 per family and planning to increase their population to 20 million by 2050 up from the present 11.2 million.
Ambassador of Cuba to India Oscar I. Martinex Cordoves visited the condom manufacturing facility of the HLL factory in the capital city on Friday and watched presentations, besides holding discussions with key company officials.
“India is a key country as far as Cuba is considered when it comes to imports. There are several things that we are dependent for and import,” Cordoves told the media.
He also pointed out that the country is offering lots of stimulus packages to women and their target population in 2050 is fixed at 20 million.
Stalinist Angela Davis will be among the honored keynote speakers at the “Washington Women’s March.”
Stalinist Angela Davis–who has not been “disavowed” (recall the media brou-hah-hah about Trump disavowing David Duke?) by a single “women’s rights leader”– is a major fan of the Castro regime– the Stalinist regime that jailed and tortured the most women political prisoners in the modern history of the Western hemisphere.
No women in recent history (except probably many in North Korean prisons) suffered longer or more horrible political incarceration and torture than Castro’s female political prisoners. They were beaten and tortured and starved for years in KGB-designed prison cells beyond the reach of any international Human Rights organization. For refusing to snitch on their band of brothers and sisters even under ghastly KGB-tutored physical and mental torture many of these women suffered much worse and much longer terms and tortures in Cuban jails than the celebrated Elena Bonner suffered in Soviet jails.
Most of these heroic Cuban women are physically and/or mentally scarred for life from their ordeal in KGB-designed cells by KGB-tutored torturers.
“The national media has never shown the slightest interest in any of our stories,” former Cuban political priosner Caridad Roque confided to your humble servant. Ms Roque was arrested by Castro’s KGB- trained police at the age of 19 and suffered 16 years of prison and torture in Cuba.
“Humberto Fontova’s book teaches us truths about Castro’s island that are very discomfiting for many intellectuals.” Ana Botella (Spain’s former First Lady while giving a book reading in Madrid, upon “Fidel; HFT” release in Spain)
Humberto Fontova has performed a great service for the cause of decency and human freedom. Every American should read this book. (David Horowitz on Fidel; Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant)
Even though he is no longer president, Barack Obama’s policy of endless unilateral concessions to the apartheid Castro dictatorship continues to claim victims.
Stranded: A Cuban doctor ponders life stuck between policies and politics
When Elisabet Casero, a 26-year-old Cuban dentist, decided to abandon her assignment in Venezuela earlier this month, she knew the stakes. She would have to cross a crime-infested border to get to Colombia, forfeit her life savings in Cuba and be considered a pariah on the island.
But the risks seemed worth it. She planned to apply for a U.S. visa under the Cuban Medical Professional Parole program, tailor-made for the island’s health professionals.
But just hours after she was smuggled into Colombia on Jan. 12, on the back of a motorcycle, she heard the news: the Obama administration had canceled the parole program.
“I got so depressed,” Casero said. “But I have no choice but to move forward. I can’t go back to Cuba and much less Venezuela.”
Now Casero finds herself in a precarious situation: unable to continue to the United States, unable to work in Colombia and unwilling to return home.
Hundreds of Cubans are stranded in the Americas after the Obama administration ended the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” policy as well as the parole program for medical professionals earlier this month.
The administration has said it will continue processing parole applications submitted before the program was canceled, but it hasn’t said what might happen to people like Casero. And while it’s not clear how many people might be in her situation, Cuban doctors in Bogotá said they knew of at least two more cases of people who had already abandoned their jobs but hadn’t been able to apply for the program.
In Cuba, being chosen to work in an international medical mission is considered prestigious. But the reality can be stark. Casero said she was paid 27,000 bolivares a month — less than $10 — while she worked in the northern Venezuelan state of Valencia. To pay for her escape, she had to save as much as possible.
“I couldn’t even pay for the transportation to the office. Our Cuban bosses also did not give us money for water and cooking gas,” she said. “They told us we had to rely on the ‘solidarity’ of friends.”
She said her supervisors also encouraged the doctors to get their Venezuelan patients to pay for a portion of the care, even though it’s supposed to be free.
Her decision to join the Cuban government’s “medical mission” to Venezuela was not free of pressure either, Casero said.
“We were told that we should go on the mission. If you refuse, you can even lose your career because they brand you as a counterrevolutionary,” the dentist said.
In Venezuela she says she was required to work long hours and was closely monitored to make sure she met her quota of patients. (Venezuela pays Cuba for the service with oil.)
Continue reading HERE.