Famous Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez Released

I’m happy to report that Yoani was released.  Here, in here own words via Twitter:

En español:

Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez Arrested – Updated

I just woke up out here on the left coast, checked Twitter, to see this:

Cubanet @CubanetNoticias HablemosPress: Yoani Sanchez, Reinaldo Escobar y Agustin Diaz presos en Dpto Instruccion de #BayamoCuba desde ayer 6pm.

Capitol Hill Cubans:

Yoani Sanchez Has Been Arrested

Prominent Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez has been arrested by the Castro regime, along along with her husband Reinaldo Escobar and other pro-democracy activists.

Yoani was arrested today in the city of Bayamo, where she traveled to attend the sham “trial” of Spanish politician Angel Caromero, who the Castro regime has accused of vehicular manslaughter in the crash that killed Cuban pro-democracy leader Oswaldo Paya.

More “reform” you can’t believe in.

Update:  There’s more at Reuters, AFP, and Bloomberg Business Week,   but so far no mention of Yoani’s arrest at Huffington.

Yoani’s most recent updates on Twitter:

@yoanisanchez 4 #Cuba Y siguen kilometros y kilometros de #Marabu http://twitpic.com/b10xdu 12:22 PM – 4 Oct 12

@yoanisanchez #Cuba Otra vez tenemos que parar para fumigar el auto. Le pregunto al policia si es por el #Dengue y guarda silencio 11:35 AM – 4 Oct 12

@yoanisanchez #Cuba Hacia el este situacion epidemiologica se deteriora. Policias nos detiene el auto en #Camaguey para fumigar el interior del vehiculo 9:17 AM – 4 Oct 12

Update #2: No doubt Yoani’s arrest is about Today’s Sham Trial on Paya’s Death, which she was covering for Spain’s largest newspaper, El Pais.

I removed Update #3, there is no verification of Yoani’s release.

Yoani Sánchez walks us through her “peculiar” passport (English subtitles)

A few days ago I came across this recent video of Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez giving a camera a tour of her passport. It’s about the best illustration you could possibly ask for of the regime’s deliberate measures to keep the Cuban people from being exposed to life outside the communist bubble. Her passport is full of visas. Literally. There is nowhere to put a new stamp. And yet she hasn’t been able to use a single one of them to board a flight out of Cuba.

I downloaded the video and added it to my own YouTube channel for the sake of being able to add English subtitles. SO… here it is. If you don’t hve closed captions enabled, just click the “CC” icon in the YouTube player and select the English track. Subtitles should appear.

Cuban blogger Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo detained, tweets Yoani Sanchez

Yoani Sanchez tweeted earlier today that Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo has been detained by Cuban authorities. Apparently, as he was being arrested, he had the good sense to dial her number and leave his cell phone in his pocket so she could listen in.

Yoani is now in the process of tracking Orlando down, going from police station to police station (and getting the run-around).

Follow Yoani on Twitter here (for her original Spanish tweets) or here (for tweets translated into English).

Follow Orlando here.

DELET AFTER USE YOANI ORLANDO DELETE AFTER USE

UPDATE:  Orlando and Silvia, his girlfriend who was also detained, were released at 11 p.m. last night, according to Yoani.

Yoani Sanchez tweets that Orland Pardo is freed

The weekend in Cuba news

Cuban Reforms Take on ‘Free’ Health Care
Cuba’s system of free medical care, long considered a birthright by its citizens and trumpeted as one of the communist government’s great successes, is not immune to cutbacks under Raúl Castro’s drive for efficiency.
The health sector has already endured millions of dollars in budget cuts and tens of thousands of layoffs, and it became clear this month that Castro is looking for more ways to save when the newspaper voice of the Communist Party, Granma, published daily details for two weeks on how much the government spends on everything from anesthetics and acupuncture to orthodontics and organ transplants.
It’s part of a wider media campaign that seems geared to discourage frivolous use of medical services, to explain or blunt fears of a drop-off in care and to remind Cubans to be grateful that health care is still free despite persistent economic woes. But it’s also raising the eyebrows of outside analysts, who predict further cuts or significant changes to what has been a pillar of the socialist system implanted after the 1959 revolutioCuban Reforms Take on ‘Free’ Health Care

Cuban Reforms Take on ‘Free’ Health Care

Cuba’s system of free medical care, long considered a birthright by its citizens and trumpeted as one of the communist government’s great successes, is not immune to cutbacks under Raúl Castro’s drive for efficiency.

The health sector has already endured millions of dollars in budget cuts and tens of thousands of layoffs, and it became clear this month that Castro is looking for more ways to save when the newspaper voice of the Communist Party, Granma, published daily details for two weeks on how much the government spends on everything from anesthetics and acupuncture to orthodontics and organ transplants.

It’s part of a wider media campaign that seems geared to discourage frivolous use of medical services, to explain or blunt fears of a drop-off in care and to remind Cubans to be grateful that health care is still free despite persistent economic woes. But it’s also raising the eyebrows of outside analysts, who predict further cuts or significant changes to what has been a pillar of the socialist system implanted after the 1959 revolution.

Cuban dissident Fariñas released after 48 hours in custody

The psychologist and independent journalist said he was held at a police station in Santa Clara, the city where he lives some 270 kilometers (168 miles) east of Havana, from Thursday afternoon until Saturday morning, adding that this was the fourth time he was detained in one week.

State security agents arrested him on Thursday, he said, along with other members of the opposition, for mounting a street protest against the supposed removal of a computer from the home of dissident Jorge Luis Artiles, something they blame the authorities of doing.

Reflections on Pope Benedict’s Visit to Cuba from Yoani Sanchez

If the hosts feared that Benedict XVI might emit criticisms about the management of the Communist Party on Cuban soil, real life calmed them. His public speeches were centered on pastoral themes and the boldest phrase that came out of his mouth was to assure us that “Cuba is looking to the future.” Beyond that, there was incense in abundance while social and political references were scarce.

Dissidents report a crackdown in Cuba

Cuban dissidents Friday reported a crackdown across the island, with more than 30 activists detained to keep them from marking the monthly “Day of Resistance” and the one-year anniversary of one of the most active opposition groups.

Fourteen members of the Cuban Patriotic Union were detained in Havana as they gathered for the anniversary of the group, according to Pedro Arguelles, another member of the Union.

Five other dissidents were reported detained in the central city of Santa Clara during a vigil demanding the release of all political prisoners. Another four were arrested in the eastern town of San Luis and three more in the central town of Placetas.

Police told a dozen dissidents in eastern Camaguey province they would be arrested if they left their homes to attend an opposition gathering, and told seven others gathered in a Placetas home that they would be arrested if they did not leave.

Today in Cuba news: Alan Gross wants ribs, a Cuban wrestler becomes a legend, Yoani remembers el maleconazo

NEWS

Olympic triathlete Manny Huerta lives immigrant’s dream

He was born in Havana and speaks with a Cuban accent, but he is an American at heart and was proud to march with the U.S. team in in the opening ceremony.

American man in prison in Cuba dreams of freedom, going to Cuban baseball game, eating ribs

Bonnie Rubinstein, the sister of Cuban prisoner Alan Gross, was in Washington Monday for a weekly demonstration in front of Cuba’s equivalent of an embassy.

In an interview afterward, she said her 63-year-old brother is a Washington Redskins football fan who has grown interested in Cuban baseball because his jailors watch games.

Cuba’s Mijain Lopez repeats as Olympic champion

Lopez is the third wrestler to win multiple golds at 120 kilograms, joining Russian legend Alexandre Karelin and Alexander Koltschinkski of the former Soviet Union.

Opinion

Heartbreak in Havana

The Suspicious Death of Catholic Lay Leader Oswaldo Paya and a Vibrant Young Colleague

Cuba: 18 Years After a Short-Lived Uprising (by Yoani Sanchez)

But on the morning of August 5 of that year, the Malecón became a battlefield. Around the ferry dock to Regla people were gathering, encouraged by the hijackings of several boats throughout the summer. An extended sensation of the end, of chaos, of “zero hour” was palpable in the atmosphere.

RELEASES

From Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: As A Dozen Former U.S. Foreign Policy Makers Endorse Document Rejecting Commercial Ties With Cuba While Castros Remain In Power, Ros-Lehtinen Congratulates Them For Putting Freedom First

(see the release below the fold)

Read more

Yoani Sánchez on the Cuban Communist Party’s new game plan

An excellent post from Yoani Sánchez on the PCC’s latest release:

proyectos_de_lineamientos

En español:

Cuando se crece descifrando cada línea aparecida en los periódicos, se logra encontrar en medio de la retórica el grano de información que la motiva y la pizca de novedad que ésta oculta. De ahí que los cubanos seamos sabuesos de lo no expresado, peritos en descartar la palabrería y hallar –muy en el fondo– las reales razones que la mueven. El Proyecto de lineamientos para el VI Congreso del Partido Comunista es un buen ejercicio con el que afinar nuestros sentidos, un ejemplo paradigmático para evaluar la práctica de decir sin decir, que se ha constituido aquí en discurso de estado.

Haz click aquí para leer el post entero en Generación Y

In English:

When you grow up decoding each line that appears in the newspapers, you manage to find, among the rhetoric, the nugget of information that motivates, the hidden shreds of the news. We Cubans have become detectives of the unexpressed, experts in discarding the chatter and discovering — deep down — what is really driving things. The Draft Guidelines for the Communist Party’s VI Congress is a good exercise to sharpen our senses, a model example to evaluate the practice of speaking without speaking, which is what state discourse is here.

Click here to read the whole thing on Generación Y’s English site.

Human Rights Watch denounces attack on Yoani

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

November 7, 2009
(Washington, DC) – Cuban authorities should cease all attacks on human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers and civic activists, Human Rights Watch said today. The international community should condemn attacks on those who peacefully exercise their basic rights to freedom of expression, opinion, and assembly in the strongest terms.

On November 6, Cuba’s most prominent blogger, Yoani Sánchez, together with blogger Orlando Luís Pardo Lazo, were abducted by three men. Sánchez and Pardo were forced into an unmarked vehicle, beaten, and threatened by their captors before being released onto the street.

“The Cuban authorities are using brute force to try to silence Yoani Sánchez’s only weapon: her ideas,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director of Human Rights Watch. “The international community must send a firm message to Raul Castro that such attacks on independent voices are completely unacceptable.”

Sánchez and Pardo had been walking to attend a “march against violence” in Havana when they were abducted. When Sánchez called for help and bystanders started to intervene, one of the captors warned the other civilians, “Don’t get involved, these people are counterrevolutionaries.”

Sánchez wrote that, while in the car, “one man put his knee on my chest and the other, from the seat next to me, was punching me in the face.” The captors told Sanchez that her “clowning around” was finished.

Cuba is the only country in the region that continues to repress virtually all forms of political dissent.

“This brazen attack makes clear that no one in Cuba who voices dissent is safe from violent reprisals,” said Vivanco.

Uncomfortable Questions

By Yoani Sanchez

carniceria-copy

I skirt the edge of my building, avoiding walking under the balconies, because the kids throw condoms filled with urine to kill the boredom. A man with his daughter is carrying a bag that’s dripping a mix of grease, water and blood. They’re coming from the butcher’s, where the line announces that some rationed product came in this morning. The two climb the stairs happily carrying their trophy meat. The wife is probably already cutting the onions, while breathing a sigh of relief that the protein is back, after several days’ absence.

I’m behind them and I manage to hear the little girl ask, “Papi, how many chickens have you eaten in your life?” I see the bewildered face of the father, who’s made it to the sixth floor, sweating from every pore. His answer is a little brusque. “How would I know that? I don’t keep a count of the food.” But the young girl insists. Evidently she’s learning to multiply and divide, so she wants to take apart the world and explain it—completely—with pure numbers. “Papi, if you’re 53 and every month you get one pound of chicken at the butcher’s, you just have to know how many months you’ve lived. When you have that number you divide it by four pounds, which is more or less what a chicken usually weighs.”

I follow the mathematical formula she’s developed and I figure I’ve eaten 99 chickens in my 33 years. The man interrupts my calculations, telling her, “Sweetie, when I was born chickens weren’t rationed.” I start thinking about how I grew up with the shackles of rationing attached to both ankles but, thanks to the black market, the diversion of resources from State enterprises, the shops that sell only in convertible pesos, the trading of clothes for food, and a ton of parallel tracks, I don’t know the exact amount I’ve digested. I hurry past them and hear the doubting phrase from the little Pythagoras: “Oh, Papi, do you expect me to believe that before, in the butcher shops, they sold you all the chicken you wanted…”

This was originally written and published in Spanish by Yoani Sanchez and translated and posted in her English version blog. Since the castro regime continues to curtail her internet access and continues to block access to her blog and other internet sites in and out of Cuba, we are posting Yoani’s work in its entirety in solidarity and to help promote and distribute same.

Hourglass

By Yoani Sanchez

arena

Every day I run into someone who’s been disillusioned and has withdrawn their support for the Cuban process. There are those who turn in their Communist Party cards and emigrate to their married daughters in Italy, or those who concentrate on the peaceful work of caring for their grandchildren and waiting in line for bread. They shift from betraying to conspiring, from monitoring to corruption, and even change their listening tastes from Radio Rebelde to Radio Martí. All this conversion—slow in some, dizzyingly fast in others—I sense it all around me, as if under the island sun thousands have shed their skin. However, this process of metamorphosis only happens in one direction. I haven’t run into anyone—and I know a lot of people—who has gone from disbelief to loyalty, who has begun to trust in the speeches after years of criticizing them.

Mathematics confronts us with certain infallible truths: the number of those dissatisfied grows, but the group of those who applaud gains no new “souls.” As in an hourglass, every day hundreds of the small particles of the disillusioned come to a stop just opposite the place where they once were. They slide down to the mound formed by us: the skeptics, the excluded and the immense chorus of the indifferent. Now there is no return to the side of confidence, because no hand will be able to turn the hourglass, raising up that which today is definitely down. The time to multiply and add passed a short while ago, now the abacuses operate always by subtracting, marking the interminable flight in a single direction.

This was originally written and published in Spanish by Yoani Sanchez and translated and posted in her English version blog. Since the castro regime continues to curtail her internet access and continues to block access to her blog and other internet sites in and out of Cuba, we are posting Yoani’s work in its entirety in solidarity and to help promote and distribute same.