August 30, 2015: International Day to remember victims of Enforced Disappearances

John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

August 30, 2015: International Day to remember victims of Enforced Disappearances

Remembering those who have gone missing

Today marks the fourth observance of the International Day of Enforced Disappearances by the United Nations and presents an opportunity to highlight some cases from years gone by that are not as well known as the case of the 43 Mexican students from Ayotzinapa for example.
Cuba: Claudia von Weiss de Venegas

On November 20, 1999 Claudia von Weiss de Venegas, disappeared while on holiday in Cuba. She left the hotel on a bicycle with $500 and was never heard from again. Her husband, Miguel de Venegas, circulated fliers about his missing wife in Cuba and for his troubles was expelled from the country. Ten years later in a Hamburg news publication, Claudia’s case resurfaced and her fate remains unknown but Miguel hopes one day to find out what had happened to his wife, but he has given up on finding her alive.
Cuba: Omar Darío Pérez Hernández

Omar Darío Pérez Hernández is an independent journalist who went missing in Cuba more than ten years ago and who had received threats from state security. His family following his disappearance in December 2003 was intimidated into silence. Omar can be seen briefly in a video conducting an interview with students expelled from university for signing the Varela Project in 2002.

Continue reading HERE.

Announcement: Operation Pedro Pan panel discussion at History Miami, Saturday Sept. 19, at 2 p.m.

Florida City Pedro Pan camp, 1962
Florida City Pedro Pan camp, 1962


September 19, 2:00pm


101 West Flagler Street

Miami, FL 33130

Join us for an emotional look into the lives of the former unaccompanied Cuban children of Operation Pedro Pan as they share personal stories of this historic mass exodus. Hear from those who experienced it.

Pedro Pan


Dr. José Azel, senior scholar at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami and the author of the book Mañana in Cuba. Arrived to the United States in 1961; age 13.

Elena Muller Garcia, director of Parish Social Ministry in Catholic Charities, Diocese of Palm Beach.  Arrived to the United States in 1962; age 13.

Dr. Carlos Eire, T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University and author of the award winning books Waiting for Snow in Havana and Learning to Die in Miami. Arrived to the United States in 1962; age 11.

Antonio “Tony” Argiz, chairman and CEO of MBAF, one of the top 40 accounting firms in the nation, and immediate past chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Arrived to the United States in 1961; age 9.

Moderator: Dr. Victor A. Triay, Cuban American historian and author of Fleeing Castro: Operation Pedro Pan and the Cuban Children’s Program and Bay of Pigs: An Oral History of Brigade 2506.

Register online or call 305-375-1492 for more information.



Reports from Cuba: Ladies in White denounce arrests that began early Sunday morning

14yMedio via Translating Cuba:

Ladies in White Denounce Arrests That Began Early Sunday Morning
Ladies in White in front of the church of Santa Rita, on 5th Avenue in Havana this last June

14ymedio, 30 August 2015 — The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, reported several arrests of opponents and independent journalists beginning early today. Those detained were prevented from attending Mass at Santa Rita Church and from participating in the traditional Sunday march along Fifth Avenue. Despite the strong police operation deployed around the parish, at least 40 Ladies in White and 15 activists managed to arrive at the site.

The blogger and activist Agustín López Canino was prevented from leaving his house by the police car with the number 632 and reporter Juan Gonzalez Febles was arrested before reaching the location of the march, according to sources from the dissidence. This newspaper was able verify the existence of a strong police operation on several streets around the meeting site of the Ladies in White at Gandhi park starting before ten o’clock in the morning.

For her part, the dissident Martha Beatriz Roque reported via Twitter the “troubling proximity between the forces of repression” and the Ladies in White who were able to reach the park. In particular, a rapid response brigade gathered at the corner of 3rd avenue and 24th, as reported by the regime opponent Juan Angel Moya.

As they left the place, the police proceeded to violently arrest the assembled activists. To date their whereabouts are unknown, but in the past the women have been transferred to a processing center in Tarara, east of Havana and men to the place known as Vivac in Calabazar.

A letter to Pope Francis from a Cuban political prisoner


Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Archbishop of Havana, has repeatedly declared that there are no political prisoners in Castrogonia.

As the pope’s visit approaches, one very real political prisoner has somehow managed to pass on to the outside world a letter addressed to Pope Francis.

Will this letter ever make it to the pope’s hands?  And, if it does, will it make any difference?

Unfortunately, its brutal simplicity is bound to be ignored at the Vatican.

This letter is like a drop of rain that evaporates before reaching a parched earth.

Nothing will be allowed to stand in the way of another “very cordial” smile-filled  tête-à-tête between the Vicar of Christ and the demonic tyrants who enslave the Cuban people.

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 10: President of Cuba Raul Castro and Pope Francis meet at the Paul VI Hall private studio during a private audience on May 10, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. This is the first visit of the Cuban leader to the Vatican, twenty years ago his brother Fidel Castro had met John Paul II prior to his visit to Cuba. (Photo by Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

My translation

To His Holiness Pope Francis

First of all I would like to convey my highest respect and admiration and to wish you God’s blessings throughout your whole tenure as pontiff.

My name is Osvaldo Rodríguez Acosta and the purpose of this letter is to let you know that there are indeed political prisoners in Cuba, and that I am one of them, and am confined in Quivicán Prison.

I will begin by informing you that on September 23, 2012, I and my family were victims of an illegal pólice attack in our own home.  This attack was led by Alberto Álvarez Rivero, a lieutenant colonel of the political police known as State Security, who destroyed the door to my house and entered it, in violation of the law, including article 56 of the Constitution of our Republic, which declares everyone’s home inviolable.

Alberto Álvarez Rivero was assisted by several policemen who immediately began to attack all of us who were there: me and my wife Juana Castillo Acosta and my two sons, Osvaldo, who is twenty-five years old, and Christian, who is twelve.   While they were carrying out this arbitrary attack, Alberto Álvarez Rivero launched into a rabidly aggressive assault on my wife and my youngest son, who were beaten without mercy and left unconscious on the floor, along with me and my oldest son.

Afterwards, we were taken by other military personnel to the municipality of San José de las Lajas, where three of us were imprisoned for more tan three months without any contact with the outside world.  My youngest son was placed in the care of my mother after the assault on our house.

In March 2013, at the provincial Popular Tribunal of Mayabeque, in a trial manipulated by the political pólice, we were unjustly condemned.  My wife was sentenced to five years of correctional labor.  My oldest son was sentenced to seven years in prison, and I was sentenced to nine.  We were all found guilty of violent behavior, an ironically reversed charge the Castro regime levels routinely against those dissidents who are the victims of its violence.

Osvaldo Rodríguez Acostaand his wife, Juana Castillo
Osvaldo Rodríguez Acosta and his wife, Juana Castillo

I have been tortured four times in prison.  The torturing has been carried out with impunity by Norge Biscet, Aroidi Lores Rodríguez, Silva y Giovanni, all of them military personnel, but the Military Prosecutor refuses to bring them to trial, despite the fact that there is ample evidence to condemn them, including documents that describe the wounds inflicted on me.

My youngest son Christian has been psychologically traumatized to such an extent by this experience that he has not been able to attend school since 2012.  He lives in constant fear of being attacked again and is in desperate need of being reunited with his family and of overcoming his trauma.

Your Excellency, may Our Lord allow you to expose the injustices to which we are subjected and to demand that we be freed immediately, especially because we have not committed any crime.  I and my family thank you in advance for any effort you may make toward freeing us.

Osvaldo Rodríguez Acosta



Cuba purchases Air-to-Air missiles, same type used in shoot down and murder of American pilots over international waters

With President Obama’s promise of financial support to the tune of hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars, the now U.S.-backed apartheid dictatorship of the Castro brothers in Cuba is going on a military arms spending spree. This should turn out well.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Cuba Purchases Latest Russian ‘Air-to-Air’ Missiles

The Cuban Air Force (“DAAFAR”) will receive the newest version of Russian R-73 short range “air-to-air” missiles by the end of 2015, according to RIA Novosti.

The R-73 is a highly maneuverable “air-to-air” missile capable of striking targets at a height of 5 meters to 20 kilometers, moving at a speed of up to 2,500 kilometers per hour. It’s equipped with optical laser and radio controlled fuses.

The R-73 was the missile used by the Castro regime to shoot-down two civilian aircraft over international waters in 1996, resulting in the death of three American citizens and a permanent resident of the United States.

In 2003, a U.S. federal court indicted then-head of the Cuban Air Force, Gen. Ruben Martínez Puente, and two MiG pilots, Lorenzo Alberto Perez-Perez and Francisco Perez-Perez, for the murder of these four Americans.

No similar indictment has been issued against any military officials of other nations (currently or previously) deemed to be sponsors of terrorism.

So why would the Castro regime need the latest “air-to-air” missiles?

Didn’t the Obama Administration and its lobbyists tell us that doing business with Castro’s monopolies would result in “dictator-down-economics” that will somehow benefit the Cuban people — rather than in nefarious activities and power plays?

Perhaps the Obama Administration should prioritize American interests and bring these indicted Cuban Air Force officials to justice.

#FreeElSexto: ‘El Sexto’ in the clutches of the Castro beast

Luis Felipe Rojas in Translating Cuba:

“El Sexto” in the Clutches of the Castro Beast

Danilo Maldonado is a Cuban political prisoner who just embarked on the terrible path of committing to a hunger strike. This was confirmed by his family members from Havana late on August 25th.

“El Sexto” (as in “The Sixth [hero]”, referring to the 5 Castro spies who were imprisoned in the United States, and in open mockery of the 6th Congress of the Communist Party) is a restless youth who for months ran Cuban Intelligence ragged in Havana, painting his graffiti art around as he pleased.

The following is a short and intense note posted by Lia Villares today on her blog. She has accompanied him during the months of travail since his apprehension for painting the names “Fidel” and “Raul” on two pigs that he was going to release in a Havana park, as performance art:

From Lia Villares

In a telephone conversation a few minutes ago with Danilo’s lawyer Mercy, she told me that—because she has only been licensed for two and a half months, and is in the midst of family problems—she has “turned over” Danilo’s case to another lawyer.

This Monday when she started work, the first thing she did when she got to the office (at 23rd and G) was to pick up Danilo’s file.

She said she had done everything possible for Danilo, including filing with the prosecutor more than 4 petitions to modify the conditions of release; all were rejected. The last time she went to apply for modification of conditions of release at the Municipal Prosecutor’s office, a prosecutor named Viviana told her that she couldn’t do anything because the file was at the Attorney General’s Office (at 1st and 18th).

She insists she wants to take on Danilo’s defense, because she sees no “crime” in the case, and although Danilo had told her during their last visit (some months back) that he did not want any defense, she still wants to defend him because she also sees no “dangerousness in the act,” which is what they are arguing in denying the modifications she has requested.

“I didn’t want to let go,” she told me in an anguished voice, “and everyone who has come to see me knows that I haven’t stopped doing everything available to me.”

Continue reading HERE.

Finally, someone admits that Castrogonia is an “Afro-Latin” nation and a rip-off for tourists!

Typical Cuban "Afro-Latins" enjoying their status as noble savages
Typical Cuban “Afro-Latins” enjoying their status as noble savages

Such happy people!  Gotta love those Afro-Latins and the human zoo they inhabit!

Never mind some of the woeful ignorance displayed by the authors of this tourist-oriented piece.  They do have several valid points to make.

Yeah.  So what if they don’t know that “jinetero/jinetera” is a euphemism for “prostitute,” and who cares that they don’t know how to spell the word?

And so what if they don’t seem to care at all about the way in which Cubans are oppressed by their government?

A bit of "Afro Latin" repression
A tiny bit of “Afro-Latin” repression in tourist paradise

They point out the corruption that passes for normalcy in the Castro Kingdom, and the chief ways in which that corruption affects tourists.

And… they also dare to describe present-day Cuba correctly, as an “Afro-Latin” nation.

Too bad they fail to mention that all those “Afro-Latins” are ruled and oppressed by old white guys in totally undeserved military uniforms.

Rulers of all Afro-Latin Cubans
Rulers of all Afro-Latin Cubans

Aaaaah…. you’ve got to admit,  noble savages do exist for real, in the island of Cuba.

Noble Afro-Latin savages at play in Havana
Noble Afro-Latin savages on parade in Havana

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, eat your heart out, wherever you are in the Great Beyond.  All tourists in the Castro Kingdom get to rub shoulders with your mythical beasts.

And, you journalists here in the U.S., please stop referring to Cubans as “Hispanics” or “Lateen-ohs”.  Get it right: Cubans are “Afro Latins.”  This includes the mixed progeny of Cuban exiles too, such as Cameron Diaz and Ted Cruz.

So, watch your language and your micro-aggressions.  Remember: black lives matter, and all Cubans are really black.

Afro-Lateeen-ah of Cuban descent
Afro-Lateeen-ah of Cuban descent

From Travel Pulse:

5 Downsides of Traveling in Cuba

If you’ve read our recent articles about traveling independently in Cuba, you’ll know that we absolutely loved exploring this unique Afro-Latin nation. But it wasn’t all mojitos, monuments, museums and Merengue music. Some aspects of traveling Cuba were difficult and frustrating, but none of them could possibly ruin the extraordinary experience of our visit. For sure, the pros far outweighed the cons, but we’d like to share some of the less enjoyable aspects of Cuba so that you can better prepare yourself for a trip here.

Little Scams

In our experience, we didn’t feel like the Cuban people were out to take us for all of our money, but during our time spent in Havana, it was obvious that there were a few jinteros (street hustlers) that were hoping to get a buck or two from tourists….

"Afro-Latin" Cuban "jintera" (hustler) at work
Afro Latin Cuban “jintera” (hustler) at work

Tourist Pricing

You may think that Cuba’s Dual Currency is a method of tourist pricing in itself, but you’d be incorrect. The Cubans also have to deal with this frustrating and often confusing reality. Generally, if you pay 5 CUC for a meal in a restaurant, a local citizen would be charged 5 CUC as well…..

Street Touts

These guys are usually a little different from your average jintero because they’re actually providing a legitimate service, like horse rides, taxis, walking tours etc. The problem is in some cities (particularly Trinidad and Havana’s old town), they can be relentless. On every corner you’ll hear “taxi, moto, coco-taxi, horse ride, walking tour, guide?” They’ll interrupt you while you’re in the middle of a conversation and they’ll invade your dining experience to try to sell you their tour….

"Afro-Latin" coco taxi
Anthropologist’s delight:  Afro-Latin coco taxi

Poor Service

When you head into a restaurant in Cuba, don’t expect speedy service with a smile. The truth is, after a short period of time traveling here you may start to feel like the concept of smiling doesn’t exist during Cuban working hours….

The Dual Currency

Having to deal with two types of currency is frustrating and confusing. We have no idea how the locals manage to do this on a day-to-day basis, but if you want to get over this annoyance in Cuba, then you better start studying the bills and practicing your divisions by 25 before your trip. There are two currencies here, CUC and CUP. CUC is what you’ll likely use for the duration of your trip and it’s pegged equal to the USD, while one CUP is the equivalent to just 4 cents U.S. Sound confusing? It is. For more, check out this article

For the entire depressing story, go HERE.

What real Cubans look like
Afro-Latin noble savages: What “real” Cubans look like


Why do Cuba “experts” Ann Louise Bardach and Wayne Smith so often and so lovingly source Cuban “defector” Domingo Amachustegui?

On left with friend: “Cuba expert” Ann Louise Bardach–On right with friend: “Cuba expert” Wayne Smith.

“There has been a sibling tug of war between Raúl and Fidel since childhood,” Domingo Amuchastegui, a former Cuban intelligence officer, tells me over lunch this summer at Versailles…Domingo and I had originally met not long after his defection in the 1990s, and I’ve learned over more than two decades of covering Cuba that he has uncommon insights into the Caribbean island that has bedeviled every American president since Dwight Eisenhower. Indeed, he is that rare breed of defector who somehow manages to regularly visit his homeland.” (Ana Louise Bardach in Politico)

“A thoughtful Cuban defector,”(says Wayne Smith of Domingo Amuchastegui.)

Cuban “intelligence defector” Domingo Amuchastegui ( who somehow retains all the professional positions to his left–in Stalinist Cuba, from where he travels back and forth at leisure!)

But wait a minute? Don’t defectors from KGB founded and mentored regimes usually hide?…after defecting for fear of getting whacked?…or live in the shadows under some kind of FBI protection?…like Jesus Perez Mendez who blew the whistle on Marifeli Perez-Stable among many others?


How could a genuine defector–from a Stalinist intelligence service no less!–just travel back and forth from the totalitarian country from which he defected? And be a guest lecturer at their spy-training institute?!

Your humble and hard-working servant here posed this very question to a retired U.S. government official very knowledegable in these very matters who responded: “at a minimum, he (Domingo Amuchastegui) is an intelligence collaborator. At worst, he is a provocation.”


Reports from Cuba: Same hatred, different collar

By Rosa Maria Rodriguez in Translating Cuba:

Same Hatred, Different Collar

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
– Lord Acton

Hate crimes are violent acts induced by prejudices against a person or group considered “different,” owing to their social class, race, ethnicity, nationality, political affiliation, ideology, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. Modernity has driven the legislative powers of many countries to establish judicial standards to combat those types of crimes and to prosecute the perpetrators. This has entailed a reduction of such abuses, which are provoked also by the social context of the persons or groups, and by the stereotypes created by societies.

In Cuba, the official and propaganda media of the regime inform us about hate crimes that are committed “in capitalist countries,” of course. Thus, the Cuban population knows of those violent behaviors that occur in places where there are no military conflicts and which are miles away from their security and wellbeing — rather than those that could be occurring at that moment in their own environment, just inches from their own backside, or at just a hair of separation from their own head.

The reports don’t reach Cubans directly or unadulterated, but rather strained through the proselytizing sieve of the state analysts. It is the same hatred, its collar placed by the official discursive demagoguery and the rulers of some countries, who because of rampant special interests — often personal, partisan or group-based — are aligned with the Cuban dictatorship.

Ever since the Castros rose to power in 1959, they have relied greatly on incentivizing, for their own benefit, this type of conduct classified as a crime in the penal codes, and even in the constitutions, of some countries. The Castros utilize this criminal behavior as propaganda, and as political confrontation and victory.

Years of repeating the same modus operandi with total impunity confirm this. While they deny one part of the society the exercise of its freedom of expression, they reward pro-government gangs when these behave in a criminal fashion that favors the authorities.

In my country, where strikes are prohibited de facto, where almost everything is directed by the authorities and nobody dares to perform that type of discriminatory violence without the consent of the government, the historic Cuban leader — retired since 2006 — has on more than one occasion called upon the citizenry to “take control of the streets,” which they allege repeatedly and coercively, belong to the revolutionaries.

Numerical advantage notwithstanding, they represent the lion and the victims represent the bound monkey. However, there is even more vileness in hiding under the civic skirt while throwing people into the bullring of that cowardly and vulgar misdeed.

Tattooed onto the history of the first two decades of this system is the humiliation, repeated and sustained for years, of ordering those who were filing their exit papers to labor in the fields.

Read more

Obama’s ‘Sunshine Policy’ towards Cuba

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Obama’s ‘Sunshine Policy’ Towards Cuba

In 2010, we ominously warned the Obama Administration about the dangers of a “sunshine policy” towards the Castro dictatorship, akin to South Korea’s failed approached to relations with its northern neighbor.

In light of recent events in inter-Korean relations — and now that the Obama Administration has chosen to walk down this counter-productive path — this warning remains more pertinent than ever.

In short, here’s what the South Korea’s “sunshine policy” entailed — as per Max Fischer in Vox:

The idea was that decades of hostility with the North hadn’t worked, but maybe that taking a softer line would ease tensions. That included lots of political summits and official rhetoric about Korean unity, but it also meant opening up some trade with the North. But it turned out that North Korea was just exploiting the Sunshine Policy as a con. The greatest symbol of this was the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a big production center just on the North Korean side of the border, where South Korean companies and managers contract with North Korean workers. The idea was that this daily contact would ease cultural tension and that the shared commercial interests would give the countries a reason to cooperate. In practice, though, the North Korean government stole most of the workers’ wages, big South Korean corporations exploited the ultra-cheap labor to increase profits, and North Korea didn’t ease its hostility one iota.

Sound familiar?

That’s precisely what we warned as regards Cuba:

(Note the op-ed below was written three years before Cuba’s regime got caught red-handed smuggling 240 tons of weapons to North Korea — the most egregious violation of U.N. sanctions to date — which the Obama Administration chose to basically ignore.)

By Mauricio Claver-Carone in The Washington Times:

June 28, 2010

‘Sunshine policy’ toward Cuba?

Similar wishful thinking failed to bring together the two Koreas

North and South Korea are facing their gravest crisis since the end of the Korean War as South Korea threatens to retaliate against North Korea for sinking one of its warships. Forty-six sailors died in the torpedo attack by a North Korean submarine.

Yet only a decade ago, South Korean politicians and pundits were saying that five decades of political containment and economic isolation had “failed” and should be replaced with a new policy of engagement and reconciliation toward the totalitarian regime of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il. The rest of the world had moved on past the Cold War, they argued, while the Koreas were still trapped in a state of conflict and mistrust.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because opponents of U.S. sanctions policy use the same argument regarding Cuba.

Continue reading HERE.

#FreeElSexto: Imprisoned dissident artist in Cuba declared a ‘high social danger’ by Castro regime

Via Uncommon Sense:

Imprisoned Cuban artist El Sexto remains on hunger strike as regime declares him ‘a high social danger’

El Sexto

Cuban graffitti artist Danilo Maldonado — better known as “El Sexto”remains on hunger strike to protest his continued unjust imprisonment by the Castro dictatorship, according to his mother.

El Sexto has been held without trial since December, when he was arrested just before he was about to release two pigs with the names “Fidel” and “Raul” painted on their . He faces a charge of “disrespecting” the Castros — as if they deserve anything more — but lawyers on El Sexto’s behalf have argued that no crime was committed because he never released the pigs and he did not identify the animals by their last name.

These and other legal appeals have been ignored or otherwise rejected by Castro officials.

El Sexto with Fidel the pig.

El Sexto’s mother, María Victoria Machado, said she suspects Cuban State Security is pressuring judicial officials to not release her son. Earlier this summer a prison official had told El Sexto he would be released Aug. 24.

He wasn’t.

Court documents, according to a report by Diario de Cuba, label El Sexto as a “high social danger” who does “nothing socially useful.”

“Artists are not useful to society?” Machado asked. “How dangerous can my son be with a brush and a spray?”

Apparently to the Castro dictatorship, very dangerous.


Hope and Change in Obama’s Cuba: Peaceful human rights activists suffer 20th consecutive Sunday of beatings and violent arrests

Almost fifty peaceful human rights and democracy activists in Cuba suffered vicious beatings and violent arrests yesterday at the hands of the Obama-backed apartheid Castro dictatorship. The Ladies in White endured the brunt of this wave of repression with 30 of them arrested, including their leader, Berta Soler. Cuban State Security agents also prevented other members of the Ladies in White from attending church services.

This latest brutality marks the 20th consecutive Sunday of violent repression against peaceful dissidents standing up for freedom and human rights on the island. President Obama’s Hope and Change policy of backing the Cuban dictatorship over pro-democracy dissidents has given the regime a new lease on life and the green light to violently quash any dissent.

Capitol Hill Cubans has the coverage of this latest iteration of Hope and Change in Cuba:

20th Straight Sunday of Political Arrests in Cuba, Ladies in White Barred From Mass

For the 20th Sunday in a row, nearly 50 Cuban dissidents were violently arrested in Havana today, as they peacefully demonstrated for human rights and the release of all political prisoners.

Among those arrested were over 30 members of The Ladies in White, including its leader, Berta Soler.

The Ladies in White is the renowned pro-democracy group composed of the wives, mothers, daughters and other relatives of Cuba political prisoners.

Reports indicate several of The Ladies in White were brutally beaten, including Danaysi Muñoz, who was taken to the military detention facility at Tarara.

Also beaten was Yaquelin Boni, who witnessed her son, Yasser Rivero Boni, being beaten and rearrested. He had just been released last month after serving four years in prison.

(Below is an image of Yaqulin Boni pursuant to another recent beating she received at the hands of Castro’s secret police.)

Others arrested include independent journalists, Juan Gonzalez Febles and Lazaro Yuri Valle Roca, and Raul Borges, who is the father of political prisoner, Ernesto Borges.

Meanwhile, in the town of Aguada de Pasajeros (Cienfuegos), two members of The Ladies in White, Milaidis Espino Diaz and Niurvis de La Rosa Hernandez, were prohibited from attending Mass by the parish priest.

This behavior, akin to the Obama Administration’s during the U.S. Embassy flag-raising ceremony, doesn’t bode well for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis.

This is “what change looks like” in Cuba.

Uncommon Sense has more coverage direct from the island HERE.

Reports from Cuba: U.S. government snubs the independent Cuban press

By Ivan Garcia:

U.S. Government Snubs the Independent Cuban Press

Havana, 10 August 2015 — The U.S. Embassy in Havana, the State Department, and the administration of Barack Obama, have intentionally mapped out a strategy to prevent independent Cuban journalists from covering the visit of John Kerry and the official reopening of the diplomatic headquarters on Friday, August 14.

For the the four-day historic event, no independent journalist, dissident, or human rights activist has been invited to participate in the ceremony, or the press conference by Kerry.

Since July 22nd I have made a dozen calls to the U.S. Public Affairs Office in Havana to request a press pass that would allow me to cover the event for Diario las Americas, El Periodico de Catalunya, and Webstringers LCC, a Washington-based media communications company, and I have not received a response from any official.

According to a diplomatic source, effective July 20th, the process changed for obtaining a credential to cover events or press conferences of politicians, business organizations, or Americans visiting the island.

Before that date, when Lynn W. Roche was head of the Public Affairs Section, I could get credentials in record time. I was able to cover the visit of Roberta Jacobson, congressmen, senators, businessmen, and officials from the State Department, among others.

Now, according to this source, accreditation must be obtained at the International Press Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, located at 23rd and O, in Vedado. A rather crude strategy designed to get rid of independent journalists.

The worst part is not the disrespect or indifference. The U.S. government has the sovereign right to invite to its events those people it deems appropriate.

But out of respect, at least have the courtesy to speak face-to-face with independent journalists and inform them of the new policy. Don’t beat around the bush.

The U.S. government, which is not stupid, knows that for 54 years Cuba has been ruled by a military autocracy that prohibits political opposition and independent journalism.

Leaving press accreditation to the Cuban regime for events that the United States puts on in Cuba is like putting a child molester in charge of a Boy Scout camp.

Armed with a letter from Maria Gomez Torres, director of content for Webstringers, I personally went to the International Press Center. The official who vetted me, after reading the letter, looked through her papers and said with mock surprise, “Mr. García, you do not appear as an accredited journalist in Cuba.”

“And how can I be accredited?” I asked her.

“You must have an operating license and a permit from the Center,” she replied.

“Fine. Can you handle that for me?”

“No, because you do not qualify,” she replied with a tone of mystery.

“Why don’t I qualify, since I’ve collaborated with newspapers in Spain and the United States since 2009?” I inquired.

“Our Center reserves the right to give permission to reporters as we see fit,” snapped the bureaucrat.

Read more