My ‘Persons of the Year’ march in Hong Kong

We just learned who the Time person of the year is and it’s a teenager talking about climate change. I’m not going to take shots at a young girl, but she is the wrong person for such a recognition. 

Over in Hong Kong, people are literally standing up for freedom.  I agree with Ben Domenech:  

In defiance of the most powerful authoritarian regime in the modern world, the protester in Hong Kong has stood against the authority of Red China with courage and dedication. 

They have not bowed to the brutality of the police, who have murdered, raped, and abused them.

They have not run from the tear gas or the hoses.

They have refused to back down.

And because of that, their message has been heard. 

It is a protest that cuts across the lines of age and class.

While the protesters are younger, they are supported by their parents’ generation, which feels guilt over not asserting themselves earlier. So their mantra is: Be water. 

Hong Kong has enjoyed freedoms never present in mainland China. They see those freedoms slipping away.

And rather than bow to that inexorable betrayal, the thuggish assertion of the murderous state, they stood, and they fight. 

There is no bigger fight. And so, the Hong Kong protester is the Person of the Year.   

It takes a lot of courage to march against a totalitarian government.   

Cheers for the people doing so in Hong Kong. I would also mention the people of Bolivia who rose against a corrupt leftist thug who tried to steal an election and Mexican journalists killed covering the news south of the border. 

Of course, let’s not forget Las Damas De Blanco down in Cuba.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

“Oye compay, que semana”: We talk Cuba with Jorge Ponce!

Jorge Ponce and I looked back at this big “semana” of Cuba news.

It started with the handshake, talk of Dr Gross, calls for lifting the embargo, to more of Alberto’s posts about human rights violations in the island.

Even Elian made the news this week.  Wonder if someone told Elian that his mother died to bring him to the US?

It was quite a week!  We spoke with Jorge Ponce about it.

Listen here:


CANTO TALK goes Babalu this weekend

We had a great time this weekend talking to some of our Babalu friends.

On Friday, it was Fernando Hernandez, (“The Cubans“) Regina Anavy (“Out of Cuba“) and Jorge Ponce.  We discussed their books and Jorge’s article about Hispanic Heritage month and the Obama administration;

On Saturday, Jorge Ponce came back and we discussed his post today about the term “hispanic”:

Enjoy them over the weekend!

Las Damas De Blanco letter to Raúl Castro

damas de blanco cuba acoso
In a letter to Raúl Castro dated September 15, 2012 the Las Damas de Blanco demand an end to the unconstitutional violent repressive acts against Las Damas members and their families, including children, committed by the rapid response brigades,  sponsored by the Cuban State Asamblea Naciónal de Poder Polular of the Communist Party of Cuba and Raúl Castro. 

 Hundred of activist’s homes have been raided, looted, and damaged.  Members and their families, including minor children have been subjected to terrifying attacks where they were stoned, sprayed with water hoses, been beaten, dragged and had personal items damaged and stolen.  Minor children have had their clothes torn and been threatened with juvenile detention. 

 As Cuban citizens, they ask for an end to the ferocious repressive acts unleashed against human rights defenders and especially the woman in their group, and remind that the Las Damas de Blanco is a peaceful movement and their activities are within the existing constitutional framework.  They ask for energetic measures against the brutality of the repressive forces in his services.

Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba:

Ciudad de La Habana, 15 de septiembre de 2012.

A: General Raul Castro, Presidente de la Republica de Cuba y del Consejo de Estado.
c.c General Abelardo Colome Ibarra
Ministerio del Interior.

De: Movimiento Dama de Blanco

Senor Presidente:

Las integrantes del Movimiento Damas de Blanco Laura Pollan, como ciudadanas cubanas , reclamamos a usted , que ponga freno a la ferocidad desatada por las fuerzas represivas contra los defensores de derechos humanos y especialmente contra las mujeres de nuestro grupo ..

Las Brigadas de Respuesta Rapida , organizadas y dirigidas por la Seguridad de Estado , sin otro propOsito que el de linchar a los crlticos al gobierno , han allanado , saqueado y daiiado cientos de casas de activistas.

Para ser breves, Ie mencionaremos dos sucesos ocurridos en el transcurso de menos de un mes:

EI jueves 6 de septiembre del ano en curso , una muchedumbre enfurecida , comandada por la delegada de la circunscripcion al Poder Popular y militantes del partido comunista , derribo a golpes de mandarria la casa de la Dama de Blanco ,Vivian Pena Hernandez y su esposo Misael Valdes Dlaz en la ciudad de Palma Soriano, rompieron y robaron sus articulos personales.

En Holguin, el pasado 18 de agosto, efectivos de la polida regular, de la Seguridad del Estado , y paramilitares allanaron la vivienda donde 14 Damas de Blanco realizaban una reunion a la que lIamamos Te litera rio.

Durante el allanamiento de la vivienda , las turbas golpearon, arrastraron y lazaron piedras y chorros de agua contra las mujeres, confiscaron libros y DVD; agredieron y arrancaron la ropa a la nina de una de las Damas de Blanco y aterrorizaron a otros menor, amenazandolo con internarlo en un centro de reclusion de menores.

Ante el riesgo de otros actos de esta naturaleza nos vemos en la obligation de responsabilizar a la direccion del Estado cubano , de 10 que pueda ocurrir contra nuestra integridad flsica y mental.

A pesar de que usted , en mas de una ocasi6n , ha recalcado su disposici6n a favorecer el dialogo y no temer a las discrepancias , la proliferaci6n de la violencia autorizada a 10 largo y ancho de la isla, demuestran el incremento de fa intolerancia polftica de los que detentan el poder en nuestra patria.

Considerando que las Damas de Blanco, somos un movimiento pacifico y nuestras actividades estan dentro del marco constitucional vigente , Ie pedimos que tome medidas energicas contra la brutalidad de los cuerpos represivos a su servicio y que cese de alentar en alocuciones publicas el odio entre cubanos.

Sin orto particular,
Movimiento Damas de Blanco Laura Pollan.

I believe this should stand as evidence against the criminal Castro regime when in the future justice is served.

“Defecating on Fidel Castro’s Mother”

Capitol Hill Cubans:

Cuban pro-democracy activists Gertrudis Ojeda Suárez and Yoandris Ricardo Mir are each facing two-year prison sentences.

Their crime?

Defecating on Fidel Castro’s mother.”

No joke. That’s what the official documents stated at a judicial proceeding against them in the eastern town of Banes.

The truth is that the couple hung anti-Castro signs outside their home.

This resulted in a harassment campaign against them and their three children, with tar thrown at their home, and now a two-year prison sentence.

Ojeda is a member of the Ladies in White.

Protest in Havana for Laura Pollan

This was taken November 24, 2011 around 10:30 am, on the corner of 23 and L in La Habana.

By marisolmarquez1:

“Protesters were trying to express their ideas and support the “Damas de Blanco” and Laura Pollan. Everyone was supportive except for one lady who decided to rip the sign apart. The police also saw the protesters and left them alone.”

What do you make of this?

H/T: Fernando

Remembering Laura Pollán

I will forever hold in my heart the image of Laura Pollán, dressed in white, carrying gladiolus, leading the column of  Las Damas de Blanco. How many of us waited every Sunday for news of their weekly act of brave resistance, their peaceful, dignified walk down Havana’s 5th Avenue, as we prayed for their safety, the release of their husbands and all political prisoners, and inspired by their bravery and dignity, dared to hope for more, so much more for Cuba.

Laura Pollán´s dissidence is reminiscent of China’s Tank Man.  She dared to stand down the might of an oppressive state, and sadly has suffered the same fate as that unknown rebel, but with one significant difference; unlike China’s invisible rebel, Laura Pollán is not going to disappear. Just as the weak and cowardly Castro dictators were rendered helpless to stop Laura from marching in life, her cause, Libertad, Libertad, Libertad, will prevail. They will be unable to stop Cuba’s inevitable passage out of bondage to freedom.

In the days ahead the Cuban diaspora and friends will be holding memorial tributes for Laura Pollán; we will wear white, carry gladiolus, and in her honor, we will raise our fists in solidarity with Las Damas de Blanco and all of Cuba’s dissidents.   They will continue their fight for freedom with her name added to the list of heroes and martyrs who inspire them and whose legacy they carry.  We will continue to support, as the MSM reminds us, those “tiny” number of dissidents.  The same tiny dissident movement always present during the 52 years of the Castro dictatorship, the same tiny dissident movement that Castro’s firing squads, concentration camps, forced re-locations, exile, actos de repudios, the 200 plus prisons—a gulag, has not silenced.  May God Bless and keep always, Laura Pollán.

Ladies in White attacked again; demand change for Cuba


Photo by Orlando Luis Pardo @OLPM

Week after week the Las Damas de Blanco, the Ladies in White peacefully march in Cuba, and week after week, the criminal Castro dictatorship sends violent state sponsored mobs to terrorize them.  With impunity the Castro dictatorship is beating innocent women on the streets of Cuba.  Berta Antunez provided graphic, heartbreaking details of how the Castro’s torture and terrorize women in Cuba before the recent NGO Summit in New York. Watch the video of her presentation here.

As Marc writes, we are watching, but we need to do more, we need to demand of our politicians and those in office throughout the free world do whatever is necessary to stop this murderous dictator from committing any more atrocities.  Mubarek had to go after  30 years in power.  The Castro’s have been in power for 52 years!  Now is the time for change in Cuba.

Castro dictatorship again attacks Cuba Ladies In White

As promised by one of its mouthpieces, the Castro regime on Saturday physically attacked one of Cuba’s most effective opposition groups by unleashing its goons to besiege the Damas De Blanco (“Ladies In White”).

About 200 police officers and other thugs surrounded the Havana home of Laura Pollan, where about 30 Damas, including many from other parts of the country, had gathered before a planned march to a church to honor Our Lady of Charity on her feast day.

The goons, who apparently were brought in from outside the neighborhood, shouted insults, threats, etc. designed to intimidate the Damas, according to the Associated Press.

But there was more to the story.

Several of the Damas, including Pollan, were beaten by State Security officers when they tried to start their march, according to Pollan.

For more on today’s events, which may signal a new wave of repression in Cuba, follow the Damas on Twitter @DamasDBlanco.