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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Assembly of the Cuban Resistance issues new statement on ICCAS scandal at UM

"Keeping ICCAS at the University of Miami and maintaining the tradition of critical inquiry established by Dr. Suchlicki in 1999 is sorely needed in today's academic environment where academic freedom is under assault." - John Suarez, FCF co-founder, August 15, 2017

Press conference today at Brigade 2506 Museum and Library
STATEMENT OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE CUBAN RESISTANCE ON UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI’S INSTITUTE OF CUBAN AND CUBAN AMERICAN STUDIES (ICCAS)

August 17, 2017

Throughout the years, the University of Miami has been an important part of our Cuban-American community and the Cuban American community has greatly supported the University of Miami. Many generations of Cuban-Americans whose families made Miami their home have pursued their higher education studies at the University of Miami. As our community grew, so did the University. We are as much a part of the University of Miami as the University is a part of us. Our community has made significant contributions to the University’s growth and current reputation throughout the world for its educational excellence. The Institute of Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS) has been a key component of this relationship, and it has objectively and factually reflected the truth about Cuba and our community since it was founded almost twenty years ago.

At a time when freedom of speech and academic freedom are challenged by the influence of both authoritarian and totalitarian regimes on campuses across the country, we must all remain vigilant about the Castro regime’s efforts to influence Cuban and Latin American studies at American universities. The issue of ICCAS has to do with our concern about hostile foreign government disinformation, and as the FBI has reported, the Castro regime’s recruitment efforts in the academic community in the United States.

A meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow by the President of the University of Miami with a limited number of members of our Cuban American community -as well as others- to discuss the controversy regarding ICCAS. Many prominent Cuban exile and Cuban American academics and intellectuals, as well as community leaders have been regrettably excluded from this meeting.  The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance as a plural, inclusive and democratic institution of this community, stands together as one to express our concerns and reiterate that in order to safeguard ICCAS’ future as a truthful, balanced and objective institute for Cuban and Cuban American studies within the University of Miami, we recommend the following:

  • That the University/Institute does not engage in any exchange with Cuban academic institutions because they are under the direct control of Cuba’s one-party totalitarian state.  As has been amply demonstrated, academia is seen as a tool of intelligence gathering and influence peddling by the Castro dictatorship.  We are steadfastly opposed to opening up the University of Miami to this poisonous exchange.
  • That the University/Institute rescinds the appointment of Dr. Andy Gomez as ICCAS interim director. Dr. Gomez has been publicly recognized for promoting ventures with commercial enterprises that do business with Cuba under its totalitarian regime. Dr. Gomez’ as interim director will further divide the Cuban American community from the University of Miami, rather than bridging the divide that has been created.
  •  That the University/Institute formally include the Cuban American community in the search committee for the new interim director and the permanent director of ICCAS.

It is our sincere hope that our fellow Cuban Americans attending tomorrow’s meeting make the above recommendations their own.  Institutional engagement between our beloved University of Miami and the murderous Castro Regime, and safeguarding the objectivity and integrity of ICCAS are essential concerns of our community.

ASSEMBLY OF THE CUBAN RESISTANCE

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Miami United for Liberty in Venezuela at the Torch of Friendship

Activists and community leaders gather in solidarity with free Venezuelans

Activists and community leaders praying for freedom in Venezuela
 Free Cuba Foundation members joined with dozens of activists and community leaders this morning at the Torch of Friendship to let Venezuelans know that they are not alone.  Young Venezuelan musicians, Los Wizzards, played the Venezuelan national anthem and rapped their criticisms of the Maduro regime and calls for freedom. Unlike their compatriot, Wuilly Moisés Arteaga today imprisoned in Caracas, they did not have their musical instruments destroyed, were not shot in the face and not jailed when refusing to be silenced. Prayers for Venezuela opened and ended the activity that was organized and hosted by Nicholas David, Jaime Figueras, Jessica Fernandez, and Armando Ibarra.




Thursday, August 3, 2017

Miami Unites for Liberty in Venezuela at the Torch of Freedom

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." - Elie Wiesel, Nobel Lecture 1986


This Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 11:00am at the Torch of Friendship located on 401 Biscayne Boulevard members of the Miami community will join together in support of freedom in Venezuela. The event is being organized through a Facebook campaign by Nicholas David, Jaime Figueras, Jessica Fernandez, and Armando Ibarra.

 Regime snipers shot young demonstrators in the head while regime agents raided the homes of opposition politicians in the dead of night to take them away to parts unknown. Maduro regime snipers were spotted this past Sunday, August 30th on roof tops shooting peaceful protesters in the head. At 4:29pm Blanco tweeted: "Adrián Rodríguez (13) was assassinated in Capacho, Táchira. Army sniper shot him in the head from the roof of a school."  At 8:18pm he tweeted: "Ender Peña died (18), shot by bullet during protest in Táchira. Transferred to a polyclinic, he didn't survive the operation." A few minutes later at 8:36pm Blanco tweeted: "Conflict escalation is very obvious. Weeks ago military fired tear gas into the chest, now firing with rifles to the head." 

Venezuela is on the brink of turning into a totalitarian communist regime. It has been a dictatorship since at least October 20, 2016 when the decision of Venezuelan voters to hold a recall referendum was illegally blocked by Nicolas Maduro. However the vote this past Sunday (manipulated to inflate the number of participants by the dictatorship) was to do away with the National Assembly and opposition parties. If implemented this would turn Venezuela into another Cuba. 

Two weeks earlier on July 16, 2017 over seven million Venezuelans voted in a non-binding plebiscite rejecting the Constituent Assembly of the Maduro regime. A general strike was successfully carried out and despite regime violence and a prohibition to protest Venezuelans still took to the streets in anti-Maduro demonstrations.

The response of the Maduro regime and their Cuban advisors has been to escalate the violence and target nonviolent protesters. Consider the plight of Wuilly Moisés Arteaga, a young man playing the national anthem with his violin at a protest, was told to shut up and was shot in the face last Saturday. From his hospital bed he said that he would return to protest in the streets, and he did. He was arrested on Thursday, July 29th beaten up and tortured for protesting against the Maduro regime to the degree that he has lost hearing in his right ear and remains jailed. This is reminiscent of Cuba not a democracy. 

For Cubans, August 5th is a special date when 23 years ago across Havana mass protests occurred calling for freedom and an end to the Castro regime. The response was a brutal crackdown and a mass exodus, but the desire to be free remains. 


 
Now is the time to stand up and protest for freedom in Venezuela and to demonstrate our solidarity with Venezuelans. The folks organizing the protest at the Torch of Freedom put it succinctly:
Dictator Nicholas Maduro stripped Venezuelan citizens of their freedoms, jailed and murdered innocent people, impoverished his whole nation, exiled hundreds of thousands, and extinguished democracy and rule of law. This is an atrocity.

We are ONE community of Venezuelan and Cuban exiles, Latinos, and Americans united in the fight for freedom and against socialism. We share the historical tragedy of losing a nation to despotism.

Please join us and thousands of friends united in solidarity with the Venezuelan people. We will be joined by elected officials, civic leaders, and opposition figures to show the world that we stand for freedom.

Saturday, August 5th, 2017
11am - 2pm
Bayfront Park - The Torch of Friendship
301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132
 

For more information visit the Facebook event page.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Did Google censor Rosa Maria Payá and Cuba Decide in Cuba to satisfy their partners in the dictatorship?

Google's evil collaboration with the Castro regime

Free Cuba Foundation has been warning that Google's engagement with the Castro regime would run afoul of their "Don't Be Evil" code of conduct. On September 13, 2016 we explained that the internet is not a panacea and that Google was making choices that would not help Cuban democrats. On December 12, 2016 Google signed an internet deal with the Castro regime placing the company's technology in the hands of the dictatorship's telecommunications monopoly ETECSA. Rosa Maria Payá tweeted on July 22, 2017 that CubaDecide was banned in Cuba, describing it as "the error with which google joins censorship in Cuba." 




This led to a flurry of tweets about the question of censorship and Google in Cuba. Mary O'Grady tweeted the following the same day.

Michael Weissenstein of the Associated Press replied that it wasn't Cuba but U.S. regulations.
 BrettPerlmutter of Google quoted the Weissenstein tweet and doubled down.
Former Bush Administration official Jose Cardenas contested Weissenstein's claim.
 Marta Dhanis, a news correspondent, who visited Cuba in January of 2017 to see first hand if there has been an improvement in internet access found that it continues to be "extremely limited."  She  talked to Cubans inside the island and in the article titled "Google entering Cuba is 'Trojan Horse' that could reinforce regime, residents say" quoted an academic who pointed out some of the drawbacks:
“We call the internet a ‘Trojan Horse.’ The success of this government has been possible thanks to the people’s lack of information,” said a 57-year-old retired professor who requested anonymity for fear of retribution by the communist regime. “I would have a patrol car at my door tomorrow to monitor my life,” he said. On the other hand, he and others contend, this Trojan Horse is also providing the communist regime with technology that will empower the secret police with detailed reports of the users’ searches and profiles, right down to their location.
Google in Cuba has collaborated with the Cuban intelligence services and the Castro regime's tech monopoly ETESCA is blocking the e-mails of the Ladies in White. This led a coalition of Cubans to condemn Google at a gathering in Puerto Rico in 2016, But what is feared with this deepening of relations between Google and the Cuban dictatorship is a scenario that has already been played out in China where dissidents were rounded up, some jailed, and some tortured with the aid of American technology companies like Yahoo.

In 2006 Amnesty International released a report exposing the practices of American tech companies including Google titled "UNDERMINING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN CHINA. THE ROLE OF YAHOO!, MICROSOFT AND GOOGLE."  In the report Amnesty International stated that  "Google has come closest to acknowledging publicly that its practices are at odds with its principles."

FCF is also concerned that like in the case of China which hacked and stole Google user data the same could happen to Cubans that speak out against the regime. Having servers in Cuban territory gives intelligence agencies unfettered access to servers, methods and technology they can now steal, making this bad for shareholders and U.S. interests.
 
Sadly eleven years later history may be repeating itself. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

13 minute silent vigil for July's Cuban martyrs on July 13 at FIU's main fountain at 12 noon

Remembering two terrible days in July in Cuba

Free Cuba Foundation members together with Sirley Avila Leon hold vigil at FIU

 2017 marks 23 years since the massacre of 37 Cubans on July 13, 1994 when they tried to flee the island on board the Cuban tugboat "13 de marzo" by agents of the Castro regime. The crime was well documented by international human rights organizations and institutions.

July also marks five years since Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, and Harold Cepero were killed by Cuban state security agents on July 22, 2012.  

We gathered in silent protest for 13 minutes at the main fountain at Florida International University demanding justice for the victims of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre and for martyrs Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.

The event concluded with reading out the names of Oswaldo and Harold killed on July 22, 2012 and the 37 victims of the July 13, 1994 attack.

Flier held up by demonstrators during the protest





July 22, 2012 Extrajudicial Killings

Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas. Age: 60
Harold Cepero Escalante. Age: 32

July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" Tugboat Massacre Victims

Hellen Martínez Enriquez. Age: 5 Months
Xicdy Rodríguez Fernández. Age: 2
Angel René Abreu Ruíz. Age: 3
José Carlos Niclas Anaya. Age: 3
Giselle Borges Alvarez. Age: 4
Caridad Leyva Tacoronte. Age: 5
Juan Mario Gutiérrez García. Age: 10
Yousell Eugenio Pérez Tacoronte. Age: 11
Yasser Perodín Almanza. Age: 11
Eliécer Suárez Plasencia. Age: 12
Mayulis Méndez Tacoronte. Age: 17
Miladys Sanabria Leal. Age: 19
Joel García Suárez. Age: 20
Odalys Muñoz García. Age: 21
Yalta Mila Anaya Carrasco. Age: 22
Luliana Enríquez Carrazana. Age: 22
Jorge Gregorio Balmaseda Castillo. Age: 24
Lissett María Alvarez Guerra. Age: 24
Ernesto Alfonso Loureiro. Age: 25
María Miralis Fernández Rodríguez. Age: 27
Leonardo Notario Góngora. Age: 28
Jorge Arquímedes Levrígido Flores. Age: 28
Pilar Almanza Romero. Age: 31
Rigoberto Feu González. Age: 31
Omar Rodríguez Suárez. Age: 33
Lázaro Enrique Borges Briel. Age: 34
Julia Caridad Ruíz Blanco. Age: 35
Martha Caridad Tacoronte Vega. Age: 35
Eduardo Suárez Esquivel. Age: 38
Martha Mirella Carrasco Sanabria. Age: 45
Augusto Guillermo Guerra Martínez. Age: 45
Rosa María Alcalde Puig. Age: 47
Estrella Suárez Esquivel. Age: 48
Reynaldo Joaquín Marrero Alamo. Age: 48
Amado González Raices. Age: 50
Fidencio Ramel Prieto Hernández. Age: 51
Manuel Cayol. Age: 56 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Free Cardet poster flashed on to giant screens at Metallica concert in Miami

 Shout out for Cuban dissidents during Metallica concert

Poster that was flashed up on the big screen during the Metallica concert in Miami
 Metallica's World Wired Tour stopped in Miami this past Friday opening with Hardwired, the song of their new album Hardwired ... to Self Destruct. The band posted their setlist for the night on Twitter.
On several occasions images flashed up on the giant screen that left heavy metal fans scratching their heads. FREE CARDET was seen several times on the giant screen broadcast to tens of thousands of fans during the concert in the Hard Rock Stadium. Who is Cardet? many fans asked.  He is a medical doctor, husband and father of two imprisoned since November 30, 2016 following a brutal beating in front of his family for criticizing the legacy of Fidel Castro.

 This is what the human rights organization Amnesty International has to say about Eduardo Cardet:
Dr. Eduardo Cardet Concepción, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación, MCL) since 2014 was sentenced to three years in prison on 20 March. He was arrested in Holguín on 30 November 2016, five days after the death of the former leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro. He has since been held in the provisional prison (prisión provisional) of Holguín and will remain there while he carries out the appeals.
Below is a picture of Eduardo Cardet and an excerpt of the statement he made following the death of the Cuban dictator that led to his unjust prison sentence and his status as an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience.


The concert was amazing and the band ended the night with a video thank you to Miami.

Friday, July 7, 2017

13 minute silent vigil for July's Cuban martyrs on July 13 at FIU's main fountain at 12 noon

Remembering two terrible days in July in Cuba

2017 marks 23 years since the massacre of 37 Cubans on July 13, 1994 when they tried to flee the island on board the Cuban tugboat "13 de marzo" by agents of the Castro regime. The crime was well documented by international human rights organizations and institutions.July will mark five years since Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, and Harold Cepero were killed by Cuban state security agents on July 22, 2012.

We will gather in silent protest at the main fountain at Florida International University and demand justice for the victims of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre and for martyrs Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.

Free Cuba Foundation members together with Rosa Maria Payá hold vigil at FIU
Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo, Oswaldo's daughter, protesting in front of the Cuban Interests Section on July 10, 2014 observed a profound truth: "State crimes are never an issue exclusive to the families of the victims." In 2016 she accompanied Free Cuba Foundation members at Florida International University in a 13 minute moment of silence for July's Cuban martyrs.

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel explained in his 1986 Nobel Lecture why it is important to remember:  "To forget the victims means to kill them a second time. So I couldn't prevent the first death. I surely must be capable of saving them from a second death." ... "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." This is why we protest.

What:   13 Minute Silent Vigil
When:  Thursday, July 13 at 12 noon
Where: Main Fountain at Florida International University
             [Between Library, and Charles Perry (PC) building]
Why:    Remember and Demand Justice for the Dead

July 22, 2012 Extrajudicial Killings

Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas. Age: 60
Harold Cepero Escalante. Age: 32

July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" Tugboat Massacre Victims

Hellen Martínez Enriquez. Age: 5 Months
Xicdy Rodríguez Fernández. Age: 2
Angel René Abreu Ruíz. Age: 3
José Carlos Niclas Anaya. Age: 3
Giselle Borges Alvarez. Age: 4
Caridad Leyva Tacoronte. Age: 5
Juan Mario Gutiérrez García. Age: 10
Yousell Eugenio Pérez Tacoronte. Age: 11
Yasser Perodín Almanza. Age: 11
Eliécer Suárez Plasencia. Age: 12
Mayulis Méndez Tacoronte. Age: 17
Miladys Sanabria Leal. Age: 19
Joel García Suárez. Age: 20
Odalys Muñoz García. Age: 21
Yalta Mila Anaya Carrasco. Age: 22
Luliana Enríquez Carrazana. Age: 22
Jorge Gregorio Balmaseda Castillo. Age: 24
Lissett María Alvarez Guerra. Age: 24
Ernesto Alfonso Loureiro. Age: 25
María Miralis Fernández Rodríguez. Age: 27
Leonardo Notario Góngora. Age: 28
Jorge Arquímedes Levrígido Flores. Age: 28
Pilar Almanza Romero. Age: 31
Rigoberto Feu González. Age: 31
Omar Rodríguez Suárez. Age: 33
Lázaro Enrique Borges Briel. Age: 34
Julia Caridad Ruíz Blanco. Age: 35
Martha Caridad Tacoronte Vega. Age: 35
Eduardo Suárez Esquivel. Age: 38
Martha Mirella Carrasco Sanabria. Age: 45
Augusto Guillermo Guerra Martínez. Age: 45
Rosa María Alcalde Puig. Age: 47
Estrella Suárez Esquivel. Age: 48
Reynaldo Joaquín Marrero Alamo. Age: 48
Amado González Raices. Age: 50
Fidencio Ramel Prieto Hernández. Age: 51
Manuel Cayol. Age: 56  


These crimes are not isolated but part of a pattern of extreme cruelty by the Castro regime. For those who advocate forgiveness and reconciliation in Cuba, the Free Cuba Foundation agrees with you, but we leave an important caveat first stated by Lewis B. Smedes, a theologian: When you give up vengeance, make sure you are not giving up on justice. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

You could learn a lot about indoctrination and misrepresentation from the Castro regime in Cuba

What they don't tell you about "education"in Cuba

Clockwise: Harold Cepero, Sayli Navarro, David Mauri, Fếlix Yuniel, Karla Pérez
Pete Mandrapa, a teacher in Eugene-area schools, a member of the Eugene Education Association and the Community Alliance for Public Education has written an opinion piece for The Register Guard on education in Cuba concluding that the "treatment of its youth and the focus on education is exemplary." Mr. Mandrapa also added that "We have a lot to learn from Cuba and its people."

First we would advise him and other prospective visitors to Cuba to read Paul Hollander's Political Pilgrims: Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society that studies and catalogs the strategies and tactics that totalitarian governments such as the Castro regime in Cuba use to misrepresent themselves. What Mr. Mandrapa experienced on his visit to Cuba was a Potemkin Village that has demonstrated its effectiveness in controlling the narrative with visiting groups. However with a few facts this fictional construct can crumble.

There is no right to education in Cuba if you dissent from the official line. Fếlix Yuniel Llerena López, a 20 year-old religious freedom defender, was expelled from the Enrique José Varona Pedagogical University in Havana on May 8, 2017 following a visit to the United States. 18-year-old journalism student, Karla Pérez González, was expelled from Marta Abreu University of Santa Clara for “political reasons” on April 12, 2017 and her expulsion ratified three days later on April 15th. 24 year old David Mauri Cardoso was expelled from the University of Cienfuegos in February of 2017 after he honestly answered politically loaded questions in what was supposed to be a Spanish literature exam.

This is not a new tactic. Expelling students and denying them an education for their political orientation has a long and shameful history, too often ignored. Sayli Navarro was expelled from her university in Matanzas for her political views in 2009. On  November 13, 2002 Harold Cepero Escalante and Yoan Columbié Rodriguez,  students in their fourth year of Veterinary Medicine, were expelled from the University of Camagüey and subjected to an act of repudiation after having signed a legal petition for human rights reforms called the Varela Project. This practice is not new. Fidel Castro declared in June of 1961 that outside of the revolution there are no rights. The regime also declared that universities are for revolutionaries.

However the persecution does not end with an individual, but family can also be targeted.  For example if you have a relative who is a dissident, although you are not, you can still be fired from your job. Professor Dalila Rodriguez from the University of Las Villas was expelled from her job on May 9, 2017 because her father, Leonardo Rodriguez is a dissident. 

Nevertheless, some still buy into the Castro regime narrative repeating the same old cliches on the Cuban education system that are not backed up by the historical record. First, according to the 1953 Cuba census, out of 4,376,529 inhabitants 10 years of age or older 23.6% were illiterate, a percentage lower than all other Latin American countries except Argentina (13.6%), Chile (19.6%), and Costa Rica (20.6%). Factoring only the population 15 years of age or older, the rate is lowered to 22.1%”  Other countries in Latin America were able to achieve similar literacy rates to those claimed by the Castro regime without sacrificing civil liberties. (1)

The Slovak-based People in Peril conducted a study between 2005 and 2006 that generated a 77 page analysis, "What is the future of education in Cuba?", and its conclusions were grim. According to Eliska Slavikova in an interview with El Nuevo Herald on October 23, 2007 observed ''Cuban education is destroyed, with grave problems like the deterioration of the schools, the predominance of ideology over teaching  and the bad preparation of teachers.'' The study made the following findings:

• There's been a ''pronounced'' departure of teachers to other jobs because of low salaries and the lack of social recognition.
• Many teachers also left their jobs because of the government's growing ideological pressures. The primary objective of education is the formation of future revolutionary communists.
• The great majority of schools lack the equipment and installations needed to provide a good education.
• High school graduates have been put to teach after only an eight-month special course. But much of the teaching now is done through educational TV channels.
More recent analyses of the Cuban educational system in 2014 and 2015 arrive at the same conclusions on lack of quality, resources and continued politicization of the curriculum.  The idea that some American educators view Cuba as an example that needs to be replicated in the United States should be grounds for malpractice. Cuba does not have an education system but a politically conditioned indoctrination system, that although deteriorated and not serving most young Cubans adequately, still manages to treat those who dissent even worse, often barring them from higher education on the island. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Students and Activists Declare Their Commitment to Struggle for a Free Cuba on the 40th Anniversary of the 13 de Marzo

 20 years later a look back to a youth gathering at Florida International University on March 13, 1997. Over the next twenty years the Free Cuba Foundation would host and members of the Cuban Democratic Directorate would gather on February 24th to remember the victims of the Brothers to the Rescue shootdown and on July 13th to remember the victims of the "13 de marzo" tugboat massacre at Florida International University in a nonviolent call to justice.
Ana Carbonell of Alliance of Young Cubans recalls student activism
On March 13, 1997 at Florida International University student activists who have been fighting for the cause of Cuba's freedom since 1968 came together to declare once again their commitment for a free Cuba. Members of Abdala, Cuban Committee for Human Rights, Directorio Revolucionario Democratico Cubano, Generation 90, and the FREE CUBA Foundation spoke of their experiences through the years and addressed current problems.
The event began with Janisset Rivero of the Directrorio Revolucionario Democratico Cubano introducing an 11 minute video produced by Dr. Juan Clark which described the rafter crisis and the events leading up to the shootdown of the two Brothers to the Rescue planes on February 24, 1996 between 3:20 and 3:28pm. Mario De La Peña was a member of the Directorio Revolucionario Democratico Cubano, and Armando Alejandre Jr was an FIU alumnus.

John Suarez of the FREE CUBA Foundation introduced the speakers and explained the purpose of this event. According to Mr. Suarez, "March 13, 1957, July 13, 1994, and February 24, 1996 are three tragic dates in Cuban history tied together for two reasons: on all three dates youth were brutally murdered, and each date, in a cause and effect fashion, leads to the next. The massacre of Cuba's young democratic leadership on March 13 opened a vacuum filled by Fidel Castro. Fidel Castro made Cuba a living hell which has driven millions of Cubans to leave the island, and the regime has sought with violence to stop this flight to freedom. The July 13 massacre of men, women and children aboard the 13 de Marzo tugboat is just another barbaric example. The outrage of the July 13 massacre touched the Cuban nation profoundly. It led to the overflights of Havana one year later on July 13, 1995 which so outraged the Castro regime that they shot down the planes over international waters on February 24, 1996. This is why the 40th anniversary of the Assault on the Presidential Palace on March 13, 1957 should be a time to reflect on what is happened, and what is left to be done."

Lorenzo De Toro III of G-90 spoke of the internal opposition and their need for support from the exile. Citing the examples of the dissidents in Poland and Czechoslovakia he predicted that the future leaders of Cuba are in Cuba and need our active support. De Toro played a recording of support for this reunion by one of the internal opposition groups.

Sebastian Arcos Cazabon of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights spoke of the present plight of the political prisoners and their families inside of Cuba. He called on the community to support the families of these political prisoners. When you are arrested for opposing the regime you go to prison, your relatives are blackballed, and your immediate family is unemployable. Without outside assistance there is no internal opposition.

Juan Jose De Castro of the DRDC made the argument for the necessity of using non-violence as a tool to struggle against the Castro tyranny. He observed that the opposition to Castro does not have an army, and therefore making a war is impossible. Furthermore, that one of our main flaws as Cubans has been our embracing of a culture of violence.

Ana M. Carbonell of the Alliance of Young Cubans spoke of their battle to raise awareness in Canada. The Alliance had raised funds and bought billboards which read: Your Paradise...Their Hell. The billboards contrast the tourists paradise with the Hell the Cuban people are suffering under an oppressive tyranny.

Pedro Solares of Abdala spoke of the necessity to integrate the current generation into the struggle against tyranny and injustice. He spoke of the days when many believed that socialism was the future, and how Abdala stood up to this tide of popular belief, and said No! He spoke of chaining themselves to the Statue of Liberty and shutting it down when Pedro Luis Boitel, a student leader, died on hunger strike in a Cuban dungeon.

At the end of the presentations, and the questions and answers that followed a declaration was signed by the various organizations. The FIU Declaration declared it support for the principles set out by Concilio Cubano, and pledges to support the leadership of the internal opposition, increase awareness of the plight of the political prisoners, embrace the principle of non-violent resistance, and call on the exile community to educate the present generation on the ongoing tragedy in Cuba.

The event ended with Janisset Rivero reading a list of the fallen brothers from the 13 de Marzo, and February 24 massacres. After each name the audience cried out "Presente." The last four names read out were: Armando Alejandre Jr. , Carlos Costa, Mario De La Peña, and Pablo Morales. After each of their names was read the audience cried out the loudest "Presentes" of the evening.

Free Cuba Foundation and G-90 Freedom Movement

Monday, March 13, 2017

The FIU Declaration 20 Years Later: A call to nonviolent action on 13 de Marzo palace assault anniversary

Twenty years ago on March 13, 1997 forty years to the day after students assaulted the Presidential Palace in Havana and perished trying to assassinate Fulgencio Batista leaving Castro in a better position later to seize power. Every free Cuba organization in FIU's history sat down for an evening and analyzed the consequences of their actions. We also explored what were our responsibilities as students and activists. At the end of the evening the following document was signed. 20 years later we remember this important and tragic anniversary and renew our call to action.

Gathering at FIU on March 13, 1997

Florida International University Declaration

We the Students of Florida International University recognizing that Cuban students have played a leading role in the history of Cuba, do hereby declare our support for the principles, and purposes enshrined in Concilio Cubano's founding statement in Havana, on October 10, 1995:

FIRST: The determination to work for a non-violent transition toward a democratic society under the rule of law, devoid of any vindictiveness, and equally comprising all Cubans.

SECOND: Obtaining unconditional amnesty for all political prisoners.

THIRD: Launching a series of legal transformations that will provide the necessary framework, within the law, to secure absolute respect for all universally recognized human rights, as well as equal participation by all Cubans in an opening process that will lead to economic independence.

FOURTH: The belief that, in order to harmonize the peaceful transition we are advocating the principle that Cuba is the fatherland and the home of each and every Cuban, it is essential to provide such conditions as will guarantee participation for all Cubans, with no exclusions whatsoever.

Concilio Cubano was designed to be a permanent forum where all participating organizations could fashion joint proposals while maintaining their own identity. We the students believe that the systematic denial of human rights and human dignity in Cuba cannot be tolerated. We believe that the moral and pragmatic solution is non-violent resistance to the intolerable situation in Cuba. To this end we pledge our lives and our freedom.

March 13, 1997 marks the 40th anniversary of the assault on the Presidential Palace. On that day the blood of Cuba's university students was spilled in the cause of freedom. On February 24, 1996 our generation of Cuban youth had its first four losses in this struggle. Mario De La  Peña, Armando Alejandre, an FIU alumnus, Carlos Costa and Pablo Morales where of our generation.

Forty years after the 13 of March. One year after the massacre of February 24. We the students who live in exile, wish to join with our brothers and sisters inside of Cuba for the liberation of our nation and the re- establishment of democracy and the rule of law in Cuba.

To this end we seek to follow the lead of the internal opposition, embrace the principles of non-violent resistance, speak out on behalf of Cuba's political prisoners, and issue a call to educate the children of the Cuban exile about the history and reality of the ongoing tragedy in Cuba.

Signed on March 13, 1997

Sebastian Arcos Cazabon
Comite Cubano Pro Derechos Humanos

Pedro Solares
Abdala

Ana M. Carbonell
Alianza de Jovenes Cubanos

Lorenzo de Toro III
Generacion 90

John Suarez
FREE CUBA Foundation

Juan Jose de Castro
Directorio Revolucionario Democratico Cubano


Gathering at FIU on March 13, 1997

En castellano:

  Declaración De La Universidad Internacional De La Florida

Nosotros, estudiantes universitarios y activistas de la causa de la libertad de Cuba reunidos esta noche reconocemos que los jóvenes cubanos han tenido un papel protagónico en la historia de Cuba, y por tanto declaramos nuestro apoyo a los principios y propósitos de Concilio Cubano, asentados en la Declaración de Principios de Concilio Cubano realizada en La Habana el 10 de octubre de 1995.
PRIMERO: La determinación de trabajar por una transición hacia la democracia a través de la noviolencia, sin venganzas, en igualdad y con la participación de todos los cubanos.

SEGUNDO: Obtención de la Amnistí a para todos los prisioneros politicos.

TERCERO: Llevar adelante una serie de transformaciones legales que provean del marco necesario, para que dentro de la ley se respeten los derechos humanos y la participación de todos los cubanos en un proceso de apertura que nos lleve a la independencia económica.

CUARTO: Creemos que para armonizar una transición pacífica debemos basarnos en el principio de que Cuba es la patria de cada cubano, pues es importante que no existan exclusiones en este proceso.

Concilio Cubano fue diseñado para convertirse en un foro permanente de la oposición interna donde, con la participación de todas las organizaciones de oposició n interna que lo conforman, se realicen proyectos conjuntos sin perder la identidad de cada una de las organizaciones.

Nosotros creemos, que la violación sistemática de los derechos humanos en Cuba es intolerable. Creemos que la solución moral y práctica a esta crisis es la estrategia de la resistencia cívica noviolenta. A este propósito dedicamos nuestras vidas y nuestra libertad

El 13 de marzo de 1997 marca el 40 aniversario del Asalto al Palacio Presidencial. Este dí a la sangre de jóvenes cubanos, estudiantes universitarios, empresarios y trabajadores fue derramada en nombre de la libertad.

El 24 de febrero de 1996 nuestra generación de jóvenes cubanos crecidos en el exilio dio las primeras cuatro vidas a la causa de la libertad: Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña, Carlos Costa, y Armando Alejandre, hijo, este último graduado de esta Universidad Internacional de la Florida. Cuarenta años después del 13 de marzo de 1957, un año después del 24 de febrero de 1996, nosotros, cubanos nacidos o crecidos en exilio, deseamos unirnos a nuestras hermanas y hermanos dentro de la isla para lograr la liberación de nuestra patria y el restablecimiento de la democracia, los derechos y la ley en Cuba.

Por ese ideal apoyamos la oposición interna, abrazamos los principios de la resistencia cívica noviolenta, respaldamos y damos a conocer la realidad de nuestros presos políticos y hacemos por este medio un llamado a todos los exiliados para educar a los nuevos cubanos en el exilio de su historia, sus tradiciones y también la tragedia que vive hoy nuestro pueblo.

Firmado el 13 de marzo de 1997

Sebastian Arcos Cazabon
Comite Cubano Pro Derechos Humanos

Pedro Solares
Abdala

Ana M. Carbonell
Alianza de Jovenes Cubanos

Lorenzo de Toro III
Generacion 90

John Suarez
FREE CUBA Foundation

Juan Jose de Castro
Directorio Revolucionario Democratico Cubano

Saturday, March 11, 2017

#FreeCardet: Campaign to free Cuban prisoner of conscience Eduardo Cardet

Update: Dr. Eduardo Cardet Concepción suffering from flu and asthma



Eduardo Cardet Concepción was visited in prison on Friday, March 10, 2017 by his wife Yaimaris Vecino. She found that her husband was sick with bronchitis and asthma. Cardet is in good spirits but convinced he's going to be sentenced to three years in prison on March 20, 2017 following a political show trial on March 3, 2017. Cardet has been jailed following a brutal beating by Castro's political police in front of his family on November 30, 2017. Cardet's "crime"? Speaking critically of Fidel Castro and being the national coordinator of Cuba's Christian Liberation Movement. Amnesty International recognized him as a prisoner of conscience on January 31, 2017.


Between now and March 20th let us spread the word on this wrongly imprisoned human rights defender using the hashtags: #FreeCardet and #LiberenCardet over social media. Write your elected officials, publish a blog entry, write a letter to the editor and do what you can using nonviolent and ethical means to free him.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Silent vigil for justice today at FIU for Brothers to the Rescue martyrs

Carlos, Pablo, Mario, and Armando remembered today.
Silent vigil at Florida International University on February 24, 2017
Vigil was hosted by the Free Cuba Foundation today at the main fountain at Florida International University (FIU) between 3:21pm and 3:27pm the times that two Brothers to the Rescue planes were destroyed by air-to-air missiles fired by Cuban MiGs as three small civilian planes flew through international airspace searching for rafters.  Three U.S. citizens and a resident were killed. The third plane made it back and bore witness for those who did not return.


Family members and friends of Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña and Armando Alejandre Jr. where in attendance today along with members of the university community. This event is a tradition that started at FIU one week after the February 24,1996 shoot down.
The purpose of the vigil is to continue the demand for justice while remembering and sharing the facts with new generations of students at Florida International University. A fact sheet was distributed after the vigil to passersby to explain the purpose behind the demonstration.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Please Share: Amnesty International urgent action for Cuban prisoner of conscience Eduardo Cardet

On  January 31, 2017 Amnesty International issued an urgent action for Eduardo Cardet. This blog has been following his plight since last November and welcome the news that Eduardo's case is receiving greater international attention and scrutiny by a well respected international human rights organization.



URGENT ACTION
demand release of human rights defender

Five days after Fidel Castro’s death, human rights defender Eduardo Cardet was detained and has since been held in provisional detention in Holguín, south-east Cuba. He is a prisoner of conscience who must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Dr. Eduardo Cardet Concepción, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación, MCL) since 2014 was arrested in Holguín on 30 November 2016, five days after the death of the former leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro. Eduardo Cardet has spent two months in the provisional prison (prisión provisional) of Holguín. He has been refused bail on three occasions, according to his wife. 

According to five witnesses who spoke to Amnesty International by telephone on the condition of anonymity, Eduardo Cardet was pushed off his bicycle and violently detained in the early evening of 30 November by at least four plain clothed and one uniformed police officer as he returned home after visiting his mother. It is not clear on what grounds Eduardo Cardet was initially detained. According to his wife, who witnessed her husband’s detention with their two children, Eduardo Cardet is charged with attacking an official of the state (atentado). This offence is covered under Article 142.1 of the Criminal Code. One officer is alleging that Eduardo Cardet pushed him during his arrest. 

All witnesses who spoke with Amnesty International counter this allegation, and state that Eduardo Cardet was quickly and violently restrained by plain clothed officials, placed in handcuffs, and beaten, and had no opportunity for self-defence. The witnesses believe that Eduardo Cardet was arrested for his beliefs and ideas.

Prior to his arrest, Eduardo Cardet had given interviews published in international media in which he had been critical of the Cuban government. In an interview with Madrid-based radio station esRadio, aired two days before his arrest, he described the mourning in Cuba following the death of Fidel Castro as imposed, and said: “Castro was a very controversial man, very much hated and rejected by our people”. According to the MCL’s website, Eduardo Cardet’s lawyer informed the family on 27 January that the Public Prosecutor is seeking three years of prison.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
  •  Calling on the authorities to release Dr. Eduardo Cardet immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;
  •  Calling on them to guarantee the peaceful right to freedom of expression, assembly and association including for dissident, opponent or activist voices and to repeal all legislation which unduly limits these rights;
  •  Urging them to ensure that, pending his release, he is provided with any medical care he may require; that he is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated; and that he is granted regular access to family and lawyers of his choosing.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 14 MARCH 2017 TO:


President of the Republic
Raúl Castro Ruz    
Presidente de la República de Cuba
La Habana, Cuba  
Fax: +41 22 758 9431 (Cuba Office in Geneva); +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)
Email: cuba@un.int (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Attorney General  
Dr. Darío Delgado Cura       
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General de la República        
Amistad 552, e/Monte y Estrella          
Centro Habana, La Habana, Cuba       
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/ Señor Fiscal General


Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation          

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

demand release of human rights defender 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Christian Liberation Movement (Movimento Cristiano Liberación, MCL) is a prominent actor in the pro-democracy movement in Cuba. According to its website, it is a movement for peaceful and democratic change and respect for human dignity. It was founded in 1988 by Oswaldo Payá Sardiñaswho became a visible figure of the Cuban political opposition, and four other activists. 

In March 2016, according to news reports, the MCL presented 10,000 signatures to the Cuban parliament in support of Project Varela – a long-standing proposal which advocates constitutional reform within Cuba and promotes freedom of association and speech, free elections, freedom of religion, and amnesty for political prisoners, among other things. According to Article 88 of the Cuban Constitution, laws can be proposed by citizens if a proposal is made by at least 10,000 citizens who are eligible to vote. In July, the MCL submitted a proposal to the Cuban parliament entitled “One Cuban, One Vote” (Un cubano, un voto) which makes a series of recommendations for reforms to the electoral law. 

Amnesty International has documented harassment and intimidation of members of the MCL for decades. In 1991, after Osvaldo Payá Sardiñas presented a petition calling for a national referendum relating to constitutional reform, he had his home destroyed by over 200 people, said to be members of a Rapid Response Brigade. After Osvaldo Payá announced his intention to put himself forward as a candidate for deputy to the National Assembly for the municipality of Cerro, Havana, members of his organization were reportedly subjected to frequent questioning and short-term detention.

[...]

Provisions of the Cuban Criminal Code, such as contempt of a public official (desacato), resistance to public officials carrying out their duties (resistencia) and public disorder (desórdenes públicos) are frequently used to stifle free speech, assembly and association in Cuba.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, a Cuban-based human rights NGO not recognized by the state, documented a monthly average of 827 politically motivated detentions in 2016. In an interview published on 16 September 2016 by ABC International, Eduardo Cardet stated: “Political activities are passed off as criminal offences such as inciting public scandal, contempt of or offences against the authorities, and the political police use these classifications to lock up dissidents" (Se disfraza la actividad política con hechos delictivos comunes, por ejemplo, escándalo público, desacato, atentado, figuras que utiliza la policía política para encarcelar a los disidentes).
Cuba is closed to Amnesty International and nearly all independent international human rights monitors.

Name: Dr Eduardo Cardet Concepción
Gender m/f: male




UA: 32/17 Index: AMR 25/5601/2017 Issue Date: 31 January 2017