Today in Cuba news: Cubans going the Central America route; CubaDebate highlights Carromero’s driving record; Amnesty calls for end to cat-and-mouse games

NEWS

US-bound Cubans pour into Panama through Colombia

Led by smugglers armed with knives and machetes, Mayra Reyes and 14 other Cubans sloshed through swamps and rivers and suffered hordes of mosquitoes as they struggled across the notorious Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia, the only north-south stretch of the Americas to defy road-builders.

Cuban wins shooting gold with record-setting final

Cuba’s Leuris Pupo won gold in the men’s 25-meter rapid fire pistol event Friday and set an Olympic shooting record in the process.

Pupo tied a world record and set an Olympic mark with a score of 34 in the final round to beat India’s Vijay Kumar by four shots. Ding Feng of China won bronze with a score of 27. All three of the countries on the podium had never medaled in this event before.

Cuba says Spaniard has lead foot, highlights history of speeding before crash that killed Paya

Cuban officials are highlighting earlier traffic violations by a Spaniard involved in a car crash that killed prominent dissident Oswaldo Paya, saying he was notified recently that his driver’s license was being revoked.

Cuban dissident’s family insists another car was involved in fatal crash

The family of the late Oswaldo Payá says a mysterious red Lada was at the site of the crash and refuses to accept the government’s finding the dissident was killed in a one-car crash

OPINION

A Diversified GOP Hammers the Big Lie

Liberal Democrat Hispanics and their polling colleagues at Latino Decisions say Rubio doesn’t help Romney among Hispanic registered voters, but there is a better answer to that question. It was provided by Hispanic Republicans in Texas on run-off day, Tuesday the 30th.

Not only did Ted Cruz receive a mountain of votes in his 56.8% to 43.2% defeat of the Texas’ Lt. Governor but he received a mountain of Hispanic Republican votes as well.

NEWS RELEASES

Amnesty International: Cuba must stop ‘cat-and-mouse game’ with political activists

The Cuban authorities must end their ongoing harassment of political and human rights activists, Amnesty International said today after a former prisoner of conscience was released following his latest arrest and detention in a police station for 36 hours.

José Daniel Ferrer García, coordinator of the organization Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unión Patriótica de Cuba, UNPACU), was set free on Wednesday, two days after police arrested him in the eastern province of Holguín.

And, finally, here is the full text of a release from Cuba Archive. This is dated July 31, but I only came across it now.

Investigate the deaths of Cuba’s Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero
Miami, July 31, 2012. The circumstances surrounding the death in a car crash last July 22nd of Oswaldo Payá,  Cuba´s foremost opposition leader, and Harold Cepero, a young member of his movement, are shrouded in suspicion and countless unanswered questions. Angel Carromero, from Spain and Aron Modig, from Sweden, both 27, survived the crash. While in detention they separately issued self-incriminating public statements validating Cuba’s official version of the crash (Carromero´s was filmed, Modig´s was in the presence of journalists from news organizations authorized in Cuba). They each faced long years of prison, apparently now “forgiven,” for violations to Cuba’s despotic national security and immigration laws disallowing “unconstitutional political activities.” Both are members of youth group of political parties from their respective countries that promote the peaceful democratization of Cuba. While Modig was released and able to leave the country, his account is compromised by his friend’s continued detention and facing charges of involuntary homicide entailing up to 20 years of prison.
The international community must investigate if these deaths resulted from state-sponsored operations or involved state agents. If suspicions prove well founded, Cuba should be held accountable at all levels –bilaterally, multilaterally, and at all appropriate international instances and bodies.
Urgent action is required to demand:
the safety and wellbeing as well as procedural fairness for Angel Carromero;
unrestricted access to Carromero by the Payá and Cepero families, trusted third parties, and the media at a safe location –outside of Cuba­ or at a trusted embassy in Havana– with no pressure from Cuban authorities and after toxicology tests have ruled out the presence of drugs;
transparency from the families and colleagues of Cepero and Modig as well as from the governments of Spain and Sweden regarding events surrounding the crash, including release to the public of records of all calls made and text messages sent by Carromero or Modig the day of the incident;
comprehensive investigations of the deaths of Payá and Cepero conducted by reliable independent international experts granted free and full access to all witnesses and material evidence;
autopsies of the bodies of Payá and Cepero by a trusted pathology team in a facility outside of Cuba.
That the Cuban regime employs terror and violence to silence its detractors is well established. Torture of prisoners —including with psychotropic drugs— is commonplace. Thus, there are no guarantees that self-incriminating testimony was not made under duress and/or in exchange for leniency in the severity of the penalties. If the government has nothing to hide, it should have no problem allowing the above.
The official newspaper of Cuba´s Communist Party, Granma, has repeated its absurd claim that the revolution has never been responsible for even one extrajudicial killing, disappearance, torture, or kidnapping. Yet, the dictatorship’s disregard for the sanctity of life and universally held norms of conduct is illustrated in its own laws as well as in first-hand accounts of its citizens and decades of reports by international human rights’ organizations and entities. Our Truth and Memory project has to date documented 27 forced disappearances and 4,652 lives lost to Cuba´s firing squads and in extrajudicial killings, including of many persons in detention or prison. This excludes many more deaths of detainees from lack of medical care and in reported suicides, for which Cuba is also held responsible. This information challenges the Cuban regime to disprove each and every one of these cases.
Furthermore, Cuba Archive has received reports of a considerable number of deaths from “accidents” of detractors of the Cuban regime —in Cuba and in several countries— surrounded by mysterious circumstances and strongly pointing to state-sponsored killings. Examples are summarized in our Report Cuba: Strange accidents and other unexplained deaths; those resulting in death appear in our electronic database of documented cases (see www.CubaArchive.orgfor both).  The sudden illness and death of Laura Pollán, leader of Cuba´s Ladies in White, deserves to be highlighted and calls for an independent investigation. (See our release of 10/25/2011.)
That the international community has not held Cuba’s government accountable for even its more evident and egregious human rights’ violations has only emboldened it further. As long as it enjoys sustained impunity and is legitimized by the civilized world, it will continue to employ terror and violence to silence its detractors.
Cuba Archive Truth and Memory Project -Free Society Project/www.CubaArchive.org

Investigate the deaths of Cuba’s Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero

Miami, July 31, 2012. The circumstances surrounding the death in a car crash last July 22nd of Oswaldo Payá,  Cuba´s foremost opposition leader, and Harold Cepero, a young member of his movement, are shrouded in suspicion and countless unanswered questions. Angel Carromero, from Spain and Aron Modig, from Sweden, both 27, survived the crash. While in detention they separately issued self-incriminating public statements validating Cuba’s official version of the crash (Carromero´s was filmed, Modig´s was in the presence of journalists from news organizations authorized in Cuba). They each faced long years of prison, apparently now “forgiven,” for violations to Cuba’s despotic national security and immigration laws disallowing “unconstitutional political activities.” Both are members of youth group of political parties from their respective countries that promote the peaceful democratization of Cuba. While Modig was released and able to leave the country, his account is compromised by his friend’s continued detention and facing charges of involuntary homicide entailing up to 20 years of prison.

Read more

Today in Cuba news: the Carromero family hires a lawyer, a cubiche wins bronze, and opinions on Oswaldo Payá

CUBA. DESPUÉS DEL ASESINATO DE OSWALDO PAYÁ: ¿QUIÉN SERÁ EL PRÓXIMO OPOSITOR ASESINADO POR LOS HERMANOS CASTRO. VIDEO CON TESTAMENTO POLÍTICO DE JUAN FRANCISCO SIGLER AMAYA EN CASO DE SU EXTRAÑA MUERTE
http://baracuteycubano.blogspot.com/2012/08/cuba-despues-del-asesinato-de-oswaldo.html
Cuban opera singer challenges “jealous” bureaucrats over closed theater
http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/01/cuba-theater-reform-idINL2E8IU8AZ20120801
Opinion: What Really Happened to Cuban Dissident Oswaldo Payá?
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/08/01/opinionthe-legacy-oswaldo-paya/
Spaniard held in Cuba after deadly crash hires a lawyer
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/08/01/spaniard-held-in-cuba-after-deadly-crash-hires-lawyer/
Cuban-Americans’ Political Success
While Cuban-Americans represent only a tiny fraction of the Hispanic population of the United States, three of them have been elected to the United States Senate and another may soon join them, with Ted Cruz’s victory in the Republican Senate primary in Texas on Tuesday.
Why have Cuban-Americans been more successful than other Hispanic candidates, even in states with few Cuban-Americans?
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/08/01/cuban-americans-political-success
Cuban-American Leyva captures bronze in London
First-time Olympian brings home all-around medal
http://www.local10.com/sports/Cuban-American-Leyva-captures-bronze-in-London/-/1717082/15923946/-/1o95acz/-/index.html
Leyva wins bronze, Orozco finishes eighth for U.S. in individual all-around gymnastics
http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/olympics/leyva_wins_bronze_orozco_finishes_kv8InEEb9ZKIJ09yOtSLYN
Payá’s dream of a free Cuba will come true
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/01/2926108/payas-dream-of-a-free-cuba-will.html
New Air Route between Havana and Tokyo
http://technorati.com/lifestyle/travel/article/new-air-route-between-havana-and/
US Senate urges Cuba dissident death probe

http://www.portalangop.co.ao/motix/en_us/noticias/internacional/2012/7/31/Senate-urges-Cuba-dissident-death-probe,734caaca-3dc6-4b85-b572-

8287d0f56b98.html

News & Reporting

Cuban opera singer challenges “jealous” bureaucrats over closed theater

(Note: Another story on the same cabaret was posted yesterday. This Reuters piece, however, offers a bit more detail — however accurate it might be — on the ludicrous legal issues that the club’s owner faces in Cuba.)

Spaniard held in Cuba after deadly crash hires a lawyer

The family of the visiting Spaniard who was behind the wheel for the car crash that killed prominent Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya has hired a Havana-based attorney to represent him, Spanish diplomats told EFE here Wednesday.

Cuban-American Leyva captures bronze in London

Born in Cuba but raised in the United States, Leyva put up incredible scores on the parallel bars and horizontal bars to rally late for a third place finish.

New Air Route between Havana and Tokyo

The first flight is scheduled for Wednesday August 1st

US Senate urges Cuba dissident death probe

The resolution also “condemns the government of Cuba for the detention of nearly 50 pro-democracy activists” following a memorial service for Paya.

Opinions & Editorials

Opinion: What Really Happened to Cuban Dissident Oswaldo Payá? (by Roger Noriega)

So what does Raul Castro have to say in the wake of the untimely death of Oswaldo Payá?  This weekend he offered a dialogue with the United States – “a conversation between equals.”  Setting aside the staggering delusion that Castro considers his regime equal to any decent democracy, such a dialogue must be among the Cuban people about the future they deserve.

Cuban-Americans’ Political Success (a collection of five opinion pieces)

While Cuban-Americans represent only a tiny fraction of the Hispanic population of the United States, three of them have been elected to the United States Senate and another may soon join them, with Ted Cruz’s victory in the Republican Senate primary in Texas on Tuesday.

Payá’s dream of a free Cuba will come true (by Czech journalist Eduard Freisler)

Oswaldo never yelled back; he never even used curse words while describing his enemies to me. Maybe Oswaldo Payá was a little too naive and sometimes too meticulous, but above all he was a brave, noble man who cared about Cuban democracy and freedom. It’s more than unfortunate that both he and Havel died before they could toast to freedom in Havana together.