Caracastan Connection: Two Maduro nephews confess to drug trafficking

Thus far no connection to the Castro Kingdom has emerged from this investigation into drug trafficking from Colombia via Venezuela.

Given the deep involvement of Castro, Inc. in all aspects of Venezuela’s economy, can their involvement be kept a secret for very long?

This story has Castro written all over it, but for now, the writing is invisible.  Only those with Cuban exile glasses can read it.

From Breitbart:

Venezuela: President’s Nephews Were Trafficking FARC Cocaine into New York

Two of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s nephews have confessed to attempting to traffic 800 kilograms of cocaine into New York from Venezuela, identifying the owners of the drugs as the Marxist terrorist group FARC.

According to documents, newly introduced in the trial of Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas – related to Maduro through his wife, first lady and legislator Cilia Flores – the two men admitted they had planned to make multiple cocaine deliveries from Venezuela through Honduras to the United States on behalf of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a half-century-old guerrilla terrorist group. Many of the revelations come from conversations Campo Flores and Flores de Freitas had with undercover DEA agents before their arrests flying into the United States from Haiti in November 2015. The DEA agents were posing as Mexican drug traffickers seeking to aid the transport of the merchandise in exchange for a cut of the profits.;

According to documents, newly introduced in the trial of Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas – related to Maduro through his wife, first lady and legislator Cilia Flores – the two men admitted they had planned to make multiple cocaine deliveries from Venezuela through Honduras to the United States on behalf of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a half-century-old guerrilla terrorist group. Many of the revelations come from conversations Campo Flores and Flores de Freitas had with undercover DEA agents before their arrests flying into the United States from Haiti in November 2015. The DEA agents were posing as Mexican drug traffickers seeking to aid the transport of the merchandise in exchange for a cut of the profits.

whole story HERE

Former president of Costa Rica warns Fariñas: his hunger strike will make no difference

Oscar Arias

Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias has spoken the truth:  The Castro regime will let Guillermo Fariñas die and his death will bring no change to his nation.

The ruthlessness of the Castro Kingdom is unstoppable.  The death of one loudmouth dissident will change nothing.

From 14yMedio via Translating Cuba

Oscar Arias Asks Fariñas To Suspend His Hunger Strike

In a letter published Saturday by the former president of Costa Rica and 1987 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Oscar Arias Sanchez asks his “friend” Guillermo Fariñas to “lift his hunger and thirst strike.”

Arias Sanchez explains that the hunger strike will not succeed as a recourse to persuade the government of the island “that you cannot pursue noble ends with ignoble means.” He also says that Cuba “is not a different democracy” but rather is “a dictatorship.”

The former Costa Rican president (1986-1990 and 2006-2010) recalled the case of regime opponent Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died after an 86-day hunger strike. He did not manage “to convince the Cuban regime that it was necessary to preserve the life of this person, regardless of any ideological differences” and nor did he move “the compassion of the Cuban dictatorship.”

Continue reading HERE

British tourists experience the full horror of being treated like Cubans in Cuba

Ray and Sheila Dumbledon

A retired couple from Birmingham booked a de luxe vacation in paradise.  Or so they thought.

The paradise was Cuba.

When the wife became ill she was taken to one of those wonderful Cuban hospitals everyone praises so much, but when the hospital staff discovered that she couldn’t pay, things began to get ugly.

The unpaid bill amounted to 20,000 pounds (26,240 US dollars)

The woman died alone because her husband was not allowed to see her as long as they had unpaid bills.  He claims that the hospital ceased treatment of his wife and allowed her to die.

Now, the Castronoids have kept the corpse and won’t release it until her family forks over an additional 7,000 pounds (9.184 US dollars).

Oh, those damn savages…how dare they treat us as if we were one of them!  We came here to paradise to have a dream holiday!

Imagine, savages making a British tourist feel powerless!  Imagine, savages who don’t care about human dignity!

The headline below is straight out of the British newspaper The Birmingham Mail.  We kid you not.

Cuban hospital

Widower talks for first time of ‘hell’ at losing Sheila Dumbleton during dream holiday on paradise isle

A grief-stricken pensioner said his wife was “left to die” in a Cuban hospital – because they could not pay a £20,000 medical bill.

Ray Dumbleton said he was even banned from saying a last goodbye to his beloved Sheila, his soulmate of 34 years, as her body lay alone .

The 67-year-old, from Frankley , said his ordeal was like “hell on Earth”.

He said: “If you think of a World War Two scene, then that might just start to come close.”

Sheila died in hospital in Holguin, Cuba, after falling ill on the sixth day of what had been planned as the couple’s ‘dream holiday’. Despite taking out ‘gold cover’ travel insurance, she was unable to claim for her medical treatment and was left with a £20,000 medical bill.

The 57-year-old, who suffered a stroke, a bleed on the brain and other complications, died while she was receiving treatment in hospital.

Now, her distraught family have been ordered to settle her medical bill to pay and must also find an extra £7,000 to bring Sheila’s body home.

“It felt that, as soon as the hospital knew we couldn’t pay, they left her to deteriorate,” Ray said. “All the doctors kept saying to us was ‘payment, payment’ but we didn’t have the money to give them.

“The conditions in that hospital were horrendous – something I find hard to put into words.

“There were dead bodies left uncovered.  “It was as if they didn’t care about people’s dignity.

“They wouldn’t even allow me to see my wife’s body and pay my last respects to her. They just kept saying it was Cuban law.”“

I will never get that chance again. They have broken my heart, “I kept saying: ‘Forget Cuban law, I want to see my wife’. “But they would not allow me that last moment with her.

I felt powerless over there.”

“At one point they even threatened to put me into prison if I carried on demanding to see her.

Continue reading HERE.

Most unusual: Castro Kingdom used as example of the evils of “progressive” liberal ideology

Socialist paradise

Every now and then some non-Cuban proclaims the truth about the Castro Kingdom.

It’s highly unusual.

And it’s even more unusual when the author of the piece is an American politician.

From The Hayride

The Siren Song of Socialism

by Louisiana State Senator Conrad Appel

A great example of the tragedy of state sponsored socialism is very near to us and, just as did the Sirens, it resides in an island. Cuba before it’s revolution had the second strongest middle class in the Western hemisphere. Havana then was the Paris of the West, filled with fabulous wealth and magnificent architecture. But something happened; misguidedly the people responded to the Sirens’ call of socialism, the same call that our own modern democrats are rushing toward as they embark upon their political convention.

The result in Cuba after 60 years of state socialism is amazing. On average, every day in Havana three buildings, those very symbols of the past wealth of the middle class, collapse into rubble. The average income for Cuban citizens today is less than $20 per month. That is no typo, it is $20 per month!

There is no middle class; socialism has eliminated all family wealth and everyone is what in the US we would call the very poor. There is no paint, no windows, no air conditioning, few TVs, cars held together with twist wire. The government has instituted rolling blackouts because there is a lack of fuel for energy generation. The highest paid people in Cuba are taxi drivers who get tips; not engineers, doctors, or all the other professionals valued by the prosperous West.

Socialism has destroyed almost all investment and entrepreneurship. For all practical purposes the state owns all and controls all. To invest in Cuba the investor must give 51% to the government and is subject to overwhelming taxes, rules, and regulations imposed by the government.

And what have the Cuban people traded their freedom and prosperity for? They have traded all for the Siren call of big government promises, the same promises that today’s democrats are trying to outdo themselves over. According to socialist policies, Cubans needn’t worry about hard work, about creativity, about pushing their society forward. The government takes care of all that; all citizens are equal no matter of their talents, hard work, or education and therefore all are treated the same.

Sound familiar? It should, the programs proposed by the democrats in the run up to their convention are the first steps toward the very socialistic state that they want us to trade our incredibly prosperous economic system for. Sadly, the promises of big government and faux equality has driven the once prosperous Cubans to an incredibly low standard of living; a standard that is lower than almost all who live in our country.

Read the whole essay HERE

Black lives that don’t matter: Castro regime continues abuse of dissidents for 63rd consecutive Sunday

From CubaNet:

This Sunday July 24 was not much different from the previous 62 Sundays in the Castro Kingdom.

Thanks to the Normalization Circus set in motion by the current occupant of the White House, the Castro regime now feels totally empowered to arrest, abuse, torture, and imprison anyone who dares to challenge it.

Paradoxically, at the White House and in the editorial offices of the New York Times, these repressive measures are interpreted as signs of the “empowerment” of the Cuban people.

Go figure.

This Sunday, the Castro regime hung a huge banner covered with pro-government slogans in front of the headquarters of the Ladies in White in the humble, shabby neighborhood of Lawton in Havana.

The banner was strategically placed in order to prevent the Ladies or any dissidents from filming the arrests and beatings that took place.

The brave Ladies and a few other dissidents were pounced upon as soon as they walked out the front door.  All of them were savagely beaten and arrested.

Thus far, we have no news of what abuse was endured by the Ladies in White elsewhere on the island slave plantation.

Here are the names of those arrested at the Havana headquarters of the Ladies in White.

Berta Soler, Aliuska Gómez García, Maribel García Hernández, Ada María Lopez Canino, Bertha Martínez Herrera, Zenaida Hidalgo Cedeño, Yamilet Naranjo Figueredo, Joisi Jaramillo Sánchez, Daysi Coello Basulto, Virgen Coello Basulto, María Cristina Labrada Varona, Yamila Lamonth Domínguez, Ivoiny Moralobo Melo, María Josefa Acon Sardiñas, Nieves C. Matamoros González, Gladis Capote Roque, Deysi Artiles del Sol, Cecilia Guerra Alfonso, Micaela Roll Golbert, Marlen González González, and Danaisy Muñoz López.

Some of the other dissidents arrested along with the Ladies were Ángel Moya Acosta, Servelio Villegas Marrero, and Félix Juan Cabrera Cabrera.

Let’s see if anyone mentions them at the Democratic National Convention today or on any of the following days.  Most of those arrested and beaten are black.  And — as we are all constantly reminded — black lives matter.

Yes, they sure do.  Yes, sir; yes, ma’m.  Yes, Mildred! But only as long as they’re not Cuban.

Black lives that don’t matter

 

 

Video of the Day – Recent crimes of Cuba’s Castro dictatorship: Sirley’s Story

sirley avila leon voc video

Via the organization Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, here is video testimony by Sirley Ávila León, a former Cuban National Assembly delegate who became a dissident and in retaliation for her betrayal, she lost a limb in a vicious machete attack by a Castro regime thug sent by Cuban State Security to kill her.

You can read Sirley’s testimony before the U.S. Congress HERE.

H/T Capitol Hill Cubans

Reports from Cuba: The future of Cuba according to the regime

By Ivan Garcia in Translating Cuba:

The Future of Cuba, According to the Regime

 

hay que echar piedras
“Here we have to pave the way without worrying about what is ahead of us.”

“Twenty minutes. Neither more nor less,” says Emilio, a civil engineer. This was the time he took at work to “analyze” a document replete with jargon, approved by the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, celebrated this past April in Havana.

“Imagine: The boss had authorized us to carry out a ‘motivation’ for Father’s Day. We took up a collection and bought three bottles of rum and two cartons of beer. But at noon, a guy from the union showed up for a meeting with ‘the agents of the municipality,’ to discuss the economic model and the future of Cuba,” comments the engineer.

With this mechanical way of functioning that the much-extolled participative democracy trumpeted by the olive-green Regime has, two Party functionaries from the municipality of Cerro, together with the secretary of the union from the business, quickly read the introduction of the new Castro evangelism. “Then it was put to a vote,” says Emilio.

As usual, all the workers of the business voted unanimously in favor of everything in the tome, without knowing or analyzing its contents. Then the party continued, listening to Reggaeton at full blast and drinking alcohol like pirates.

On June 14, in the editorial, “A debate for the future,” published that day in the newspaper, Granma, the organ of the Communist Party of Cuba, the process of consultation for the “construction of a prosperous and sustainable socialism” was kick-started. The debate will extend up to September 20.

It deals with — and here the jargon starts — the “Conceptualization of the Cuban Economic and Social Model of Socialist Development” and the “National Plan of Economic and Social Development up to 2030: Proposal of the nation’s vision, ideas and strategic sectors.”

In the editorial it’s argued that the texts, of “transcendental importance (…) are not the fruit of improvisation but are the result of a collective elaboration, under the direction of the Party, in which university professors, academics, researchers from the economic and social sciences and officials of the Government and the Party participated.” And it underscores that “they [the texts] were debated in meetings of the Political Bureau, in two plenary sessions of the Central Committee, submitted for consult to all the deputies of the National Assembly of People Power, to several thousand more people, and then exhaustively examined in the Congress.”

According to Granma, after the Communist conference “approves in principle both documents,” it will “order the Central Committee to carry out a consultation process, with the clearly defined proposal to enrich and perfect them.” And it stresses that “they are comprehensive documents of great complexity that will mark the course of the Cuban revolutionary process, the Party and society,” looking to the future.

The main Cuban State medium clarifies that “680,000 copies of a 32-page tabloid were printed,” destined for “the organizations of base and the collectives where they will be debated.” Another 200,000 copies were sold to the population and also are available on the Party’s digital sites, in the newspaper, Granma, and the portal, Cubadebate, so they can be “studied in a society that is more and more computerized.”

As if that weren’t enough, the first Vice President of the Council of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel, announced a “novel application created by professors and students of the faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Computation, belonging to the Marta Abreu Central University of Las Villas.” The application was qualified as an “instrument of extraordinary value,” since it would facilitate discussions about the documents in question.

Read more

Message to Hillary from Miami Cuban-Americans: Stop the beatings of Cuban women by Cuba’s dictatorship

John Suarez has the report in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Cuban-Americans at FIU Ask Hillary Clinton to Stop Beatings of Cuban Women by Raul Castro’s Police

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bPNH83jalUI/V5PbDd-5RNI/AAAAAAAANLU/gJ_zTuieizsH3WLO8PX8oOEtogVtzhT7ACLcB/s1600/fiutodayhillary.jpg
Over FIU : HILLARY, STOP BEATINGS OF CUBAN WOMEN BY RAUL CASTRO

Cuban-Americans Ask Hillary Clinton to Stop Beatings of Cuban Women by Raul Castro’s Police

– Text taken and adapted from Center for a Free Cuba press release –

Today, Saturday, July 23, 2016, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic Party candidate for president visited Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, FL in her first joint public address with her vice-presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine. The Center for a Free Cuba distributed fliers asking Mrs. Clinton to bring an end to the systematic beatings of Cuban mothers, wives, and sisters of political prisoners that continue to take place on the island.

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-r_S4xX7ADeE/V5PkHcscvyI/AAAAAAAANLk/gWEbmRzH3pIDf-x27PkpOF5VRzmSMTVqQCLcB/s1600/cubanlivesmatter.jpg

The Center for a Free Cuba is a non-partisan human rights organization dedicated to the promotion of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Cuba. The Center’s president is Ambassador James C. Cason, former Chief of the American Mission in Havana. The Center’s Board of Directors and Research Counsel brings together several former American ambassadors, professors, business and community leaders. The Center repeats its call on President Barack Obama to condition any concessions to Raul Castro’s government on stopping the beatings of the Ladies in White, the abuse of political prisoners, and to allow Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Cuban jails.

The Ladies in White is a group of peaceful women dissidents who were honored in 2005 by the European Parliament with the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The founder of the group Laura Pollan died under mysterious circumstances in a Cuban hospital in 2011, at a time when Raul Castro and Barack Obama where Heads of State.

Four years ago today, one of the most prominent opposition leaders, Christian- democrat Oswaldo Paya was murdered on a Cuban highway when Cuban political police forced his car off the road. Together with Paya, human rights activist Harold Cepero was also murdered. The regime has not provided a timeline from the moment that they were forced off the road, when they allegedly were taken to the hospital, when they were given medical attention, what type of attention, and when they died. Oswaldo Paya’s family continues to request the release of the autopsy report.

There are more human rights activists that have been killed by Raul Castro’s regime, and to date, while other issues have been dealt with, the United States has not made these murders a high priority in its relations with Havana.

Continue reading HERE.

Shocking! NYT blames Republicans for halting progress and increasing repression in Castro Kingdom

Best possible of all worlds for Cubans

Holy smokes!  Thanks be to God for the New York Times and its editorials.

They really know how to shed light on those agents of evil who oppose the Castro regime. So, thank God for today’s editorial, which sets the record straight.

Those damn Republicans, they’re so evil!  Their opposition to the lifting of the “embargo” has cast a dark cloud over an otherwise very rosy environment of  miniscule change in Cuba — which is the only kind of change that Cubans can handle and also the only kind they deserve.

While the White House promotes engagement as the most promising approach to enable positive change, a stubborn coalition of lawmakers insists that the United States remains morally obligated to keep sanctions in place until —in the words of the Republican Party platform — the island’s “corrupt rulers are forced from power and brought to account for their crimes against humanity.” The result is a conflicted, indeed incoherent, policy that prevents the two countries from making the most of their shared agenda.

Did you know that the Normalization Circus is curing the “the most poisonous relationship in the hemisphere”?

Yeah… and you know who poisoned it, right?  It was all the fault of the U.S., really.

Aaaah… but the Normalization Circus is draining away the poison, so beautifully.

Did you know that the Castro regime is now allowing more dissent, more internet access, and more private enterprise?

Did you know that the only way to stop the Castro regime from being repressive is to lift the “embargo”?   Wow!

Economic changes are moving very slowly, but this could change if the embargo were lifted. Popular pressure for more sweeping reforms would grow, and the government would find it harder to justify its crackdowns on dissidents by claiming they are agents of a foreign conspiracy.

And did you know that the U.S. and the Castro regime have struck deals on colossally significant issues?  Take a look at this list, it’s simply amazing:

“Washington and Havana have agreed to cooperate on health care challenges, maritime issues, agriculture, climate change and environmental initiatives.”

Good golly Miss Molly!

Ooooooh… those Republican cretins and their Batista-loving Cuban exile friends… they deserve to be shipped back to Cuba and jailed…. how dare they spoil all the fun of the Normalization Circus!

Just look at these mind-blowing changes!

“Cubans have grown bolder in pressing for reforms to Cuba’s centrally planned economy, as well as for broader access to the internet.”

The government has taken modest steps on both fronts,establishing dozens of Wi-Fi areas where ordinary Cubans can connect online and signaling its willingness to create a regulatory framework for small and midsize private enterprises.”

Dissident groups, meanwhile, report that their ranks have grown steadily, as more Cubans are sold on their vision of representative democracy with strong safeguards for civil liberties. Opposition groups are preparing to field candidates next year for the lowest rung of Cuba’s election system — the only one the Communist Party does not fully control — hoping to transform the system gradually from the bottom up.

Yeah, this bottom-up change is really going to work.  Thank God for President Obama and his infinite wisdom.

And may the devil claim those Republican and Cuban exile souls that are already his and drag them all to hell, where they belong.

As for those troublesome “dissidents” who get beaten up and arrested by the thousands, may the devil drag them all to hell too.

Who do they think they are?  Don’t they realize that Cubans are inferior savages who cannot handle democracy?  Don’t they realize that the Normalization Circus is the best thing that has ever happened to them?

Don’t they realize that getting rid of the Castro regime will actually make things much WORSE for them?  Idiots, those “dissidents,” as evil as they are stupid.

Why do they clamor for changes that would make them poorer and more miserable than they have ever been?

Some congressional proponents of continuing the embargo might see Cuba’s difficulties as an opportunity to squeeze the octogenarian Castro brothers during their last years in power. That would be a mistake. Cuba’s shoddy infrastructure would continue to deteriorate, foreign investors would recoil, already marginal communities would become even poorer and the exodus of desperate Cubans to the United States would accelerate. It seems highly unlikely that this scenario would usher in an era of greater freedoms. But it certainly would sow misery.

Paradise for Cubans

A conversation with Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Cuban dissident and writer

Regina Anavy travels to Reykjavic, Iceland and speaks with Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.

Via Translating Cuba:

A Conversation with Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

olpl-and-el-clarin
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo with his most recent book.

Regina Anavy, Reykjavic, June 27, 2016 — Crossing paths with Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo in Reykjavic, Iceland, on June 27, 2016, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with him.

Iceland And Future Plans

Regina Anavy: I understand you are here on a special two-year grant from ICORN [International Cities of Refuge Network].

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo: Yes. ICORN is an NGO based in Norway. They make contact with city governments. They believe that working with cities is better than working with countries. Maybe there is a conflictive immigration policy, but the cities are happy to have you. So in Europe they have dozens of cities, and I think in America now Pittsburgh is becoming an ICORN city and maybe Las Vegas. But after a year [in Iceland], I will be going back to the U.S., to enter a Ph.D. program in comparative literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

RA: Are you going to be teaching or doing research?

OLPL: Mainly I will be a teaching assistant in the second year.

RA: Will you be teaching comparative literature in Spanish?

OLPL: I don’t know yet. I guess in both English and Spanish.

RA: Is that a five-year commitment?

OLPL: It could be up to five years to get a Ph.D. in comparative literature. It’s a special track, like a pilot program. It’s called “International Writers Track,” and writers are invited to the department. They know that we are not academics; maybe we don’t work or think as an academic, but somehow the purpose is to give us tools to understand the codes of literary criticism or academic essay. I write literary criticism, but it’s not with literary rigor; it’s my impressions. So it could be very interesting.

RA: So that will give you a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature?

OLPL: If I manage to get through to the end. There are several universities there; this is the one they call “Wash U” because it’s Washington University. I was there for a conference in January 2015. It was like a marathon. I went to an event for human rights in Chicago. There was a lady there, a professor from Poland, who had been following Cuban affairs, so when she found me on Facebook, she told me, “You need to come here. It’s a one-hour flight, and we will pay for you to go back to Brown University” [in 2015, OLPD was an Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing at Brown University]. I went there for a couple of talks, and she asked me about my future, and somehow she had the impression that my future was lost because I was not an American, and she said, “Maybe we can help you here. There is a new initiative going on.”

Finally they nominated me. I didn’t apply for this Ph.D. I mean I sent the documentation but only after I was nominated. Other universities had shown interest, but always you need to start by the phone consult, then the GRI test for mathematics, and maybe somebody assesses you there. But this process circumvented all that, and they were very kind.

They understood that I was here [in Iceland], so there is already one year deferred [for the Ph.D. program]. This is why I cannot defer any longer. So everything came together for Reykjavic and St. Louis, and I was “lost” but then suddenly had two options. I was able to manage, talking openly, to both parties. “I have this option, can I do this? Maybe not for two years, maybe for one; now’s the time to go there [Wash U.] and be a good student after being a bad boy.” I think I will be able to keep on with creative ideas for both these options and at the same time add some discipline, and the writing will be good.

The Future Of Cuba

OLPL: You know I was in Arizona, in April, at the Sedona Forum, with John McCain and the Director of National Security. I saw that they were mainly politicians, people with different positions regarding Cuba, people who have been traveling to Cuba. Usually you talk in front of human rights people who agree with you in a way, but these were people who can really change things.

I was happy to talk there on a panel with plenty of dissidents, and there were Russian dissidents and the realities were terrible, really terrible, and I was somehow trying to put some ideas into this “new cake” about Cuba and how it is not about the embargo but to make sure that we are moving into freedoms in one way or another, not just trying to make money, or like China – the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Are we moving into that or are we making sure from the beginning ….?

RA: Well, that’s what it should be, the human rights situation.

OLPL: Sometimes I become really skeptical and sometimes I push very hard.

Continue reading HERE.

Cuba’s puppet dictatorship in Venezuela censors hundreds of internet sites

Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship continues the Cubanification of its colony, Venezuela.

Pedro Garcia Otero in PanAm Post:

Censorship in Venezuela: Over 370 Internet Addresses Blocked

New Study Finds Major News Networks and Social Media Impeded by Government Censorship

Censorship_banner_Venezuela_2014

In Venezuela, at least 372 web portals have been blocked by main Internet service providers (ISP). Also, 43 Internet domains have been blocked by these same providers, both public and private.

Of those, 44 percent are web pages related to black market dollars. An additional 19 percent of the pages are news media and an additional 12 percent feature blogs critical of Nicolás Maduro’s administration.

These findings are the product of a new study called “Navegar con Libertad” (or, Browsing with Freedom) conducted by the Institute for Press and Society (IPYS) of Venezuela. The study evaluated web behavior in the country between November 2015 and January 2016. The study included evaluations of access speed tests, blocking tests and of fundamental guarantees over freedom of speech on the Internet.

The most famous of the blocked web pages is that of NTN 24, a Colombian news channel. The page was blocked by Cantv, the main, government-controlled ISP. The page is also blocked by Movistar, Digitel, Inter and Supercable.

The study states Cantv and Digitel have similar blocks placed on them, in that they both block exactly the same web pages. However, Movistar censors sites that Cantv hasn’t blocked.

In general blocks are imposed by an oversight agency, the National Council for Telecommunications. They have done this using the Statute of Social Responsibility in Radio, Television and Electronic Media. This law has been considered, since its approval in 2004 (and its extension to Internet in 2009) as a censorship mechanism. Forty-two pages are being simultaneously blocked by all large Venezuelan Internet Service Providers, due to demands of Nicolas Maduro’s administration.

“Criteria for blocking websites seem to correspond to Venezuelan political specificity,” an IPYS official said. However, the study made clear it didn’t observe “any other Internet censorship mechanisms (besides DNS blocking). There have been no IP-based blocks, content based or key words blocks, nor any other content alteration.

Continue reading HERE.

Reports from Cuba: ‘It has sparked harsh repression’

14yMedio reports via Translating Cuba:

“It Has Sparked Harsh Repression”

Patio-Palma-Soriano-Unpacu-Twitter_CYMIMA20151206_0009_13
A few months ago police stormed a children’s party being hosted by UNPACU.

The harassment against the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) intensifies. Several activists of the opposition organization have denounced the up to five raids that took place in the early morning hours this Thursday.

Ovidio Martin Castellanos, a member of UNPACU’s Coordination Council in Santiago de Cuba, confirmed to 14ymedio that antiriot troops entered the home of Jose Maria Heredia, on 8th Street in the Mariano de la Torre neighborhood. “They mixed antiriot troops with the political police. At the front was a Major from counterintelligence who calls himself Bruno. Once inside the house, they seized and stole his possessions.

Carlos Amel Oliva, on hunger strike since last July 13 “to protest the arbitrary confiscations” experienced similar interventions to those of last night, also explained in detail the raid on the house where the Heredia cell is organized and where the father of the youth leader Carlose Oliva lives.

“The operation was led by three State Security officers known as Charles, Bruno and Julio Fonseca. The troops were assault troops, officers fully clothed in bullet-proof vests with long shotguns. They entered my house, tearing down the first door, and taking a video camera and some documents. They also went into the house of some neighbors who have shown a lot of solidarity with me in previous days and took a laptop and hard disk from them,” he said.

The operation was even extended to a kindergarten managed by UNPACU that serves 20 children, children of sympathizers of the movement. There they confiscated a laptop and “frightened the coordinator who cares for the children,” according to the activists, who were relieved that the raid occurred at dawn and that there were no children in the house.

“It has sparked a harsh repression,” says Ovidio Martin, who adds that at Yasmani Magaña’s house, in Palmarito de Cauto, various slogans were painted on the walls, including “Viva Fidel.” According to the opponent, eleven people were detained in this operation, driven approximately 10 miles away and beaten before being released far from town.

“This wave of repression comes because the regime knows the situation that is looming. They are preparing the population for a new Special Period, because people don’t want to live through that again. To us, we are determined to take to the streets and we have attracted their sympathy, and they have intensified harassment because they are afraid that people are joining and becoming activists,” he says.

Carlos Amel has taken advantage of the new wave of attacks against the organization he belongs to, to detail the reasons for his hunger strike. Despite being determined not to eat until they return his belongings, he clarifies the meaning of his words. “It is not [for] a laptop and a computer, they are things that are not worth the life of any human being, but because they arrest us when we go out. Or come into our homes and take whatever they want. This is a constant violation of our rights,” he denounces.

Oliva has shown his appreciation for the support he has received from his organization and other opposition groups such as Somos+ (We Are More) and FANTU (Anti-Totalitarian Forum), and in real solidarity with Guillermo ‘Coco’ Fariñas, on hunger strike as of this Wednesday.

“I am a little weak physically, but firm in my position,” says Oliva. “I have received many calls from abroad, from friends, from media… it is very comforting, for someone on a hunger strike this is the only source of strength.”

Cuban dissidents assess effectiveness of Obama’s Cuba policy: More repression and more cash for apartheid regime

Being that they are all Cuban dissidents and live on the island, no one in the White House gives much credence to their assessments. President Obama prefers to get his information about Cuba directly from the apartheid regime and the bevy of yes-men that surround him.

Nevertheless, if you want to know just how effective the president’s Cuba policy has been through the eyes of an actual Cuban, here you go.

Via Diario de Cuba:

Revenue for the regime, a crackdown on society, and the repression of dissidents

raul sly look at obama

Antonio Rodiles, Coordinator of the Forum for Rights and Freedoms (ForoDyL):

A year ago relations were restored but, if one counts the 18 months of the confidential political process leading up to that achievement, it has been some 3 years of rapprochement between Washington and Havana. During this period what has been most evident is an increase in repression and violence on the Island.

This is a trend that has affected not only the opposition and human rights activists, but also the population at large, ordinary Cubans who do not get involved in politics because they are afraid to; the self-employed, for example, with fines, controls, and the whole issue of abusive and excessive taxes.

What we are seeing is a regime that, though it has opened up in the international sphere, at home is doubling down on its repressive policies. A sign of this is the relentless flight of Cubans abroad we have been recently been witnessing.

The Obama Administration had stated that this was best way to bring about positive change in Cuba, but I think it is high time that it at least begin to publicly recognize that things are not going as they expected, because what we are experiencing is a process curtailing all the freedoms and rights of Cubans.

From the outset the Forum for Rights and Freedoms identified the need for a real political process in which the regime also had to take steps. This is not what has happened. The people behind this agenda of continuing to grant concessions, without requiring anything from the regime in return, are proving to be somewhat obstinate.

It is very worrisome that in recent weeks we have seen a wave of imprisonments, not only temporary arrests, while Washington remains utterly silent about the situation. Moreover, the famous empowerment that the self-employed were going to enjoy has yet to materialize.

The regime’s response to the Obama Administration’s measures has been its traditional backwardness, and it is surprising that there have been no statements released, by any institution, including human rights groups, with respect to the current situation.

Laritza Diversent, Director of Cubalex

The rapprochement between the two governments has been positive, although we have not seen any steps forward by the Cuban Government in terms of greater respect for human rights on the Island.

It is up to Cuban civil society to expand strategies to achieve the recognition of its rights.

The repression against dissidents is getting even harsher, but I think this is more due the regime’s fear than its privileged position.

Eduardo Cardet, National Coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement

For the people of Cuba this has been a very tough, difficult year, characterized by a worsening economic and social crisis, and an alarming increase in the exodus of Cubans who are heading abroad, by any means possible, especially to the United States, as almost the only opportunity to improve their lives.

The political regime has exhibited no changes of the kind we have been striving for, as dissidents. The repressive control has only increased, and we’re not the only ones saying it. There is a palpable level of violence being perpetrated against the Ladies in White, and against all opponents of the regime in general, and any manifestation of independent participation.

Unfortunately, there has been no democratic opening-up, at all. At the public relations level, however, the Government of Cuba has managed to project a fraudulent mirage of change. Many democratic countries around the world, such as in the European Union, have sought to rethink their relationships with the Government of Cuba, as if almost everything was resolved.

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