Friday, September 3, 2010

Read more at the Realcubablog ...

Court Upholds Florida Law That Put Sharp Limits on Academic Travel to Cuba
Sept. 2 - A federal appeals court has upheld a Florida law that restricts students, faculty members, and researchers at the state's public colleges and universities from traveling to Cuba and four other countries that the U.S. government considers terrorist states.
In a ruling issued on Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit said Florida could determine how to spend its own funds for education. "A state traditionally has had great control over its spending, especially for education: a local responsibility," the judges wrote. Read more at the realcubablog
A Statement and a Video Released by the Human Rights Foundation
Sept. 1 -  In order to provide an accurate backdrop with regard to the announcement of the Cuban government’s release and forced exile of 52 political prisoners, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) releases an exclusive video documentary short of the “Ladies in White,” a civil society group inside Cuba that organizes peaceful Sunday marches for freedom and human rights.
The world-renowned group is formed by the wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, and supporters of political prisoners who were arrested during the “Black Spring” government crackdown on Cuban dissidents. During the four-day period that occurred in March 2003, 75 independent journalists, librarians, and democracy and human rights advocates were arrested and ultimately convicted with sentences ranging from 6 to 28 years.
Currently, 26 of the prisoners have been released and exiled to Spain, while another prisoner was released to the United States for medical treatment. At least five of the prisoners have refused to accept exile, meaning they choose to remain in prison unless they are granted unconditional release and allowed to stay in Cuba.
"The release of these innocent individuals is a welcome development and cause for celebration, but we must remember that the mechanism of repression remains firmly entrenched in Cuba. None of these arrests should ever have been made in the first place,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF. “It should be made clear that their release does not indicate a reversal of conviction or pardon. These men are still considered treacherous criminals by the Cuban government. If they are allowed to stay in Cuba it shall be with the specter of certain and continuous political persecution and harassment,” he continued.
Read more at the realcubablog
Español actualizado en agosto 31

Is this the first step for a "ration card" in Venezuela?
Aug. 31 - Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez said on Tuesday that his government will announce a new ID card that citizens will have to use in order to buy products at government run stores and supermarkets.
Chávez said this will be a new ID card, different from the one that all Venezuelan citizens now carry.
Hugo called it the "Good Living Card," but many Venezuelan fear that it is just the first step to put in place a "libreta de racionamiento" or ration card, like the one the Castro brothers put in place in Cuba and have used for 51 years as another tool to control the population.
Chávez said that the new card is not to "promote consumerism, but to buy just what is needed."
Chávez didn't offer any more information about the card or the date when it will be available. Noticias24 (Spanish)

Yoani Sánchez: Inside the Neighborhood, Outside the Heart
Aug. 31 - “You must turn in your passport!” So they told him on arriving in Caracas, to prevent him from making it to the border and deserting. In the same airport they read him the rules: “You cannot say that you are Cuban, you can’t walk down the street in your medical clothes, and it’s best to avoid interacting with Venezuelans.” Days later he understood that his mission was a political one, because more than curing some heart problem or lung infection, he was supposed to examine consciences, probe voting intentions.
 Read more at the realcubablog

Franklin Brito, a Venezuelan farmer who was on a hunger strike protest died on Monday night UPDATED)
Aug. 31 - Translation of the statement by the family of Franklin Brito: "This does not mean, however, that Franklin Brito has died. Franklin lives in the struggle of the Venezuelan people for the right to property, access to justice, for life in freedom and respect by governments of all collective and individual human rights. Franklin Brito has now become a symbol and a flag for all who are suffering the arrogance of power, for those who are offended by the arrogance of the rulers, for those who believe that truth and justice are always above circumstances and conveniences ." Read more at the realcubablog
Aug. 30 - Franklin Brito, a farmer from the state of Bolívar in southeastern Venezuela who had been on a hunger strike protesting because the Chavez's government stole his land without compensation, died on Monday night at Caracas Military Hospital where he had been held against his will since last December.
The death of Brito, whose case had become a cause celebre for opposition parties and rights groups in Venezuela, has come at a sensitive time with political passions rising ahead of a Sept. 26 vote for Venezuela's parliament.
The news was confirmed by Brito's wife and son. Read more at the realcubablog

Castro's Gulag revolving door: Eight more dissidents arrested
Aug. 30 - While everyone is talking about the 26 dissidents who have been released from the Castro brothers' Gulag and forced to travel to Spain, another 8 dissidents have been arrested to fill the vacated space.
Three of the newly detained dissidents were being held in Havana, and five others in Guantánamo, in eastern Cuba.
Opposition leaders said the detainees in the Cuban capital were Luis Labrador, Eduardo Perez and Michel Rodriguez, all of whom were arrested on August 16 during a protest at the University of Havana. Read more at the realcubablog

Humberto Fontova: Engagement with Castro has clearly failed -- time to try an embargo
Aug. 29 - "Gosh, maybe if we were only nice to Castro," goes the liberal mantra on Cuba.
In fact, the U.S. elite's fetish for "engagement" with Fidel Castro began before he was even in "office."
"Me and my staff were all Fidelistas." (Robert Reynolds, the CIA's "Caribbean Desk's specialist on the Cuban Revolution" from 1957-1960.)
"Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State was pro-Castro, except [Republican] ambassador Earl Smith." (CIA operative in Santiago Cuba, Robert Weicha.) Read more at the realcubablog

"Zapata Vive" The Documentary
Aug. 29 -  On Saturday night, I attended the presentation of "Zapata Vive," a documentary by El Instituto de la Memoria Histórica Cubana Contra el Totalitarismo y Plantados Hasta la Libertad y la Democracia en Cuba.
The documentary, directed by Wenceslao Cruz, produced by Pedro Corzo and with original music by Miguel Ulíses, was shown at Belen Jesuit School's Teatro Roca.
Minutes before the documentary was scheduled to begin, everyone stood up and applauded for several minutes at the arrival of former Cuban prisoner of conscience Ariel Sigler Amaya, in a wheel chair being pushed by his brother Miguel Siegler.
It was a very emotional moment.
(Photo courtesy of Jesus Angulo)
The documentary provides a lot of information about Orlando Zapata Tamayo, from the time when he was a young man trying to become a boxer and later when he became very active in Cuba's opposition.
There are interviews with Zapata's mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo; with several Cuban dissidents including Marta Beatriz Roque, Jorge Luis García Pérez 'Antunez,' and several former political prisoners who were in Castro's Gulag at the same time that Zapata Tamayo was there.
In the interviews, made in Cuba by independent journalists exclusively for this documentary, the former political prisoners tell how Zapata was always on the front lines during all demonstrations against the regime.
They also told how Zapata kept yelling "Abajo Fidel" and "Vivan los Derechos Humanos" even while he was in prison, and how Cuban guards beat him on several occasions as a result of this.
Zapata's mother told her interviewers how important it is for people in and outside Cuba to see this documentary and know who her son really was and not to believe the lies that the Cuban dictatorship has said about him.
There are also videos and pictures of the house where Zapata was born in Santiago de Cuba, his family home in Banes and videos of several places where he met with Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet, who was jailed at the same time he was, and with several other dissidents.
The documentary also provides information about 13 other Cuban political prisoners who have died in hunger strikes in Castro's jails, including Pedro Luis Boitel.
If you are interested in acquiring this documentary, we have it available at The Real Cuba Store (At the present time, it is only available in Spanish)

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