The Young Negro and the Pope

From the incomparable Paquito D’Rivera:

The Young Negro and the Pope

A few days ago, a young and brave black Cuban named Andres Carrión Alvarez, –the only member of the Union Patriotica de Cuba (UNPACU) who evaded detention from the Cuban political police–,screamed “Down with Communism!” just in front of the Pope Benedict XVI’s podium, during his mass in Santiago de Cuba.  Almost immediately, secret agents in plain clothes mixed with the crowd, violently arrested Carrion in front of the Pope and his entourage.  Several cameras followed him while a gang of policemen and even members of the Cuban Red Cross brutally beat the young man with his hands securely tied to his back.

In (almost) any other nation around the world, such a deplorable action would be absolutely unacceptable.  Up to this day, Carrión remains in custody and incommunicado, so we’re still waiting for some leaders of the African-American community to express some kind of commentary about such an arbitrary and repressive–yet common– behavior by the Cuban authorities.  I wonder what would be the reaction of said community in case this black youngster would be of some other nationality.  We’d also love to know where the Obamas, Glovers, Sharptons, Reverend Jacksons and the members of the Congressional Black Caucus are when Afro-Cubans need them?

Paquito D’Rivera

Thanks to Paquito and  La Voz de Cuba Libre.

Open letter to the directors of all accredited media in La Habana

Dear Sir or Madam:

We write to you worried about the police and paramilitary harassment denounced from Banes, a small town in the Cuban province of Holguín, by Reina Luisa Tamayo. She is the mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo the prisoner of conscience who died on 23 February after a prolonged hunger strike that up to its tragic and fatal outcome had little coverage in the international press.

Every Sunday, we receive, mostly through phone interviews broadcast by the US-based Radio Martí, the same report from Reina Luisa describing how she is beaten, insulted and how [the government directed mob] prevents her from going to the town’s church to pray for her son and the health of all Cuban political prisoners still in jail. The repressive organs of the Cuban regime also impede her to visit her son’s tomb.

It is surprising to us that despite the wide coverage dedicated to Cuban topics, your organization has not reported on this. We know of the limitations to movement within Cuba, but we also understand that any foreign reporter has the means and resources to travel to the Eastern part of the island and give an eyewitness report of what happens there, in front of Reina Luisa Tamayo’s home.

We do not wish to tell the media what they should do, but to share with you our concern for the life of a woman who has lost her son in unjust circumstances and is clamoring for the world’s help to avoid more deaths.

We, the promoters of the #OZT: I accuse the Cuban government Campaign that demands the unconditional and immediate release of all peaceful political prisoners in Cuba and the respect of all Cubans’ human rights; write to you because we know that the international press in Cuba not only bears witness to what happens there, but can also help prevent and stop harassment incidents like those suffered by the Ladies in White in March of this year.

We would also like to know if there is any kind of legal hindrance or of any other sort that prevents your reporter in La Habana from traveling to other regions of Cuba.

We thank you in advance for your reply.


#OZT: I accuse the Cuban government Campaign

DIRECCIONES DE MEDIOS DE ESPAÑA: ( en “asunto” poner “mensaje para BBC Mundo)

Esteban Beltrán- Director Amnistía Internacional – Sección Española
Dirección Secretariado Estatal
Fernando VI, 8, 1º izda.28004 Madrid España
+ 34 902 119 133
+ 34 91 310 12 77 (información general)
+ 34 91 319 53 34
Correo- e info@es.;
Para Asociarte a Amnistia Internacional:;

En español abajo/In Spanish below

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Fariñas clarifies position: Liberate all of them

Guillermo Fariñas is one hell of a warrior, a modern day David armed with a will of steel and his very brave heart.

From #OZT:

Cuban independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas clarified that he will continue his already three month long hunger strike if the government of Raul Castro does not free “all” the political prisoners because his protest “is not just to achieve transfers” of prisoners to other penitentiaries [closer to their homes] but to “achieve the liberation of all of them.”