Voice of freedom from Cuba’s gulag

As we prepare to commemorate the brave men and women who perished in defense of our freedom, please remember our Cuban brothers and sisters who also made the ultimate sacrifice for that great cause, and for those who remain imprisoned and defiant against their oppressor.

“I am of the opinion that as long as a Castro-communist dictatorship exists in Cuba, we, Cubans, will not be able to live in freedom and democracy and that the violations of human rights will continue. I ask the democratic governments of the world and the individuals who love justice and freedom to support the Cuban people and not the government of the island which usurped power, betrayed the people, by sullying them. The conquest of liberty for Cuba is the present priority and will require a struggle that is detailed in its organization and persevering. My steps are headed towards the conquest of that priority. Hear, oh God, my cry, listen to my prayer fulfilling my vows day by day. Free me and free the Cuban people.” ~ Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet ~

Learn more about Dr. Biscet and his struggle for a free Cuba at his official site, The Lawton Foundation, by clicking here.

Senator Bob Menendez holding firm on Cuba

Senator Menendez said he would continue to use every available tool to preserve U.S. sanctions until political conditions change in Cuba, although he attributed much of his earlier ire to the fact that the provision had been inserted with no notice into an unrelated bill.

“If you want to change Cuba policy, fine, let’s duke it out.” “Let’s duke it out on the floor and let’s have our debate and let’s have our amendments. Let’s know who’s for democracy and human rights and who wants to sell their stuff no matter how many people are in prison. That’s fine. At least it will be an honest discussion.”

Read the article here, and please lend the good Senator your support. Click here.

Amnesty International: Demonstrations disrupted in Cuba

Amnesty International, normally silent when it comes to human rights abuses in Cuba released the following statement in response to Cuban authority’s harassment of  Damas de Blanco members marking the sixth anniversary of the Black Spring crackdown.

The Cuban authorities took action on Tuesday to suppress peaceful demonstrations marking the 6th anniversary of a crackdown against dissidents. Several members of the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) were prevented from travelling to Havana for activities marking the anniversary.

Some were blocked from leaving their homes and one of them was forced to get off the bus that was taking her to Havana and was driven back to her home.

“The Cuban authorities must stop this continuing harassment of activists who are peacefully attempting to exercise their freedom of expression and association,” said Gerardo Ducos, Cuba researcher at Amnesty International.

Two members of the Damas de Blanco were previously detained for several hours on 8 March and several others prevented from leaving their homes, in an apparent attempt to prevent them from participating in events to commemorate International Women’ Day.

The Damas de Blanco is an unofficial group formed by women who are relatives and friends of those imprisoned in the March 2003 crackdown. The Cuban authorities arrested 75 men and women for their peaceful expression of opinions critical of the government in 2003.

The 75 were subjected to summary trials and were sentenced to long prison terms of up to 28 years. Amnesty International declared them to be prisoners of conscience. Fifty-four remain in prison.

The Damas de Blanco organizes peaceful marches where they distribute flowers and call for the release of their relatives and friends who are still in prison. In 2005, Damas de Blanco was awarded The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament.

The five representatives nominated by the group to collect the award in Strasbourg were unable to travel from Cuba, because they did not receive the necessary travel documents from the Cuban authorities.

Photos from the NYC protest

Early photos are in, a sampling: 

protesta_en_ny41

 My favorite is this one of the inimitable Paqutio D’ Rivera playing the Cuban Hymn:

protesta_en_ny

 And  here, flashing a t-shirt that makes a statement: 

protesta_en_ny10

 

See these and more at:

 

The Real Cuba

Cuba Independiente

Cuba Companioni

 

Listen to live coverage via Blog Talk Radio here; I was privileged to be invited on the show, and a good part of the time, I could barely keep my emotions in check.  Hearing the chants of libertad, libertad, drowning out the yelling of the counter protesters  from across the street  is spine-chilling.  I hope the Interest Section thugs were on site, and listening.

 

Special thanks goes to Jose Reyes at Cubanology for keeping me up to date on the event’s happenings.

 

Remembering Cuba’s True Heroes

Myriam Marquez hits another one out of the park with this column.

A historical snippet from a Cuban government website on anti-communist guajiros, God-loving country folks fighting Fidel Castro’s men in the Escambray mountains:

March 28, 1964 — Thanks to [the] effective work of Cuban State Security Agent Alberto Delgado, bandits Julio Emilio Carretero and Zoila Aguila ”La Niña de Placetas” (the Placetas girl) were both captured.

Bandits?

The victorious get to rewrite history, turning truth to lie.

Zoila Aguila Almeida was no bandit. But the regime took from her a husband — killed by firing squad — and two baby daughters. The girls are believed to have died hungry and thirsty in the hills where their parents valiantly tried to restore the democratic dream denied their generation.

Aguila was a dreamer in a violent place and time.

She took up arms against dictator Fulgencio Batista in the 1950s. She had to do it all over again when Fidel Castro’s revolution proved to be a communist sham that would quash all creativity and initiative as evil bourgeois excesses.

Read the rest here.

Oscar’s Cuba

Jordan Allot, a man with a passion for a free Cuba, recently visited the island.  Not to vacation, but to film dissident testimony for a very powerful documentary, “Oscars Cuba.”  

The films premise:

“Oscar’s Cuba is a feature-length documentary video that will help spread the message and story of Dr. Oscar Biscet, a prisoner of conscience currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in Cuba for his promotion of human rights. Oscar’s Cuba will highlight the courage, faith and hope of Dr. Biscet and others working for democracy on the island. The goals of Oscar’s Cuba include raising public awareness about the plight of the Cuban people, helping individuals to stand and work in solidarity with those unjustly imprisoned and, ultimately, helping to secure the release of Dr. Biscet and all of Cuba’s prisoners of conscience.”

The film maker on what drives the passion for his work:

“My focus, through the documentary project I am working on, as well as the writing projects I am involved with, is to help engage those individuals not of Cuban background to understand the plight of Cubans, the courage of the many political prisoners there and the fight for freedom and democracy that is far from over. I stand in solidarity with all those Cuban-Americans and others fighting for justice. I truly believe that once people hear the truth about the situation in Cuba they will understand the responsibility they have to help bring about a free and democratic Cuba.”

We know the kinds of Cuba themed films Hollywood produces, so it goes without saying that no studio is funding Jordan’s work.  Follow the link below, and watch the 13-minute sneak peek of the documentary and see for yourself the powerful artistry of Oscar’s Cuba.  I’m confident that you’ll agree that this documentary is important, and that you will want to join the effort to see the film completed.

Watch the video and read more about the project by clicking here.