Man's posting on YouTube makes him symbol of Cuban repression
Such is the case of Juan Carlos González Marcos, better known to Cuba-watchers as Pánfilo, a thin black man who in a video posted on YouTube shouted that he was hungry and what Cuba really needed was food.
Nobody knew who Pánfilo was when he first appeared on the Web. Soon he was famous. His raspy voice proclaiming that he was hungry was an indictment of a regime that after half a century in power and with some of the most fertile soil in the hemisphere cannot provide enough food to feed its people.
That accusation made by an unknown person with a personal video camera was as powerful as 100 speeches by prime ministers, presidents or advocates of human rights. He wasn't talking about people in the abstract — although he did add that what Cuba needed was more food — he was talking about himself.
Pánfilo was hungry and the world now knows about it.
But, so does the Cuban government.
Cuba will provide Pánfilo with the food he wanted. Only it will be given to him in prison, where he will serve two years for being a "danger to society." He was tried and convicted in two days. In Cuba, becoming a symbol is dangerous and proclaiming the country needs food to feed its people is a crime.
Ricardo Bofill, who for many years was a leading dissident inside Cuba and knows the island's prisons well, has taken up Pánfilo's cause. Bofill, who is now in Miami and presides over the Cuban Committee for Human Rights, or Comité Cubano Pro Derechos Humanos, said his organization has requested that several governments, human rights organizations and people all over the world demand that Pánfilo be released.
Another Cuban exile organization, this one made up of former political prisoners who refused to obey government directives while in jail, has declared Pánfilo a political prisoner. They also agreed to send Pánfilo's relatives $150 quarterly to see if that would help them buy food to feed Cuba's newest political prisoner.
Pánfilo's cry for food landed him in jail.
It is not a crime to say one is hungry.
Guillermo I. Martínez lives in South Florida. His e-mail is: Guimar123@gmail.com.
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Candles for Fidel in 82nd birthday
Jose Canseco to sue baseball
Thursday, June 18th 2009, 4:00 AM
He already has outed his baseball peers as steroid users in two books and testified before Congress four years ago about the sport's doping culture, but now Jose Canseco is ready to bash baseball itself.
According to a Sports Illustrated report, Canseco plans to file a class-action lawsuit against Major League Baseball for "lost wages" and "defamation of character" since he has gone public with his steroid revelations. The report says Canseco hopes to enlist the help of fellow tainted sluggers Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro in the suit.
Sosa tested positive for steroids in 2003, according to a report this week, and is now being investigated by Congress for his 2005 testimony.
Canseco told SI that because he has been "blackballed" from baseball due to his admitted steroid use, he is losing out on job opportunities in the sport, not to mention being excluded from the Hall of Fame.
"Because I used steroids and came out with a book, I was kicked out of the game," Canseco told SI.
Canseco and his attorney, Dennis Holahan, could not be reached for comment.
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Cuba entre dientes...
By Ernesto Escudero
Seemingly the diplomatic actions of the Cuban regime, and I want to clarify when I mention "diplomatic actions" that for my judgement this government suffers from the dirtier, since they always seek to inject the hate instead of sowing the concord. And we have been witness, and you also kill innocents childrens of that "diplomacy" for fifty years. If overcome Us even the frist times of her mentioned Cuban revolution, a victory or a way of living good those that they usurped the power in 1959, removing them to the poor people the power develop freely, without having to be hiding their restlessness in exchange for a jail. Or we maybe could say the "fraud" of the re-vo-lu-ti-on. Because a so reluctant and depressing diplomacy, liar, has never existed and coward too. Remember the "diplomats" - of the Cuban regime are not more than taken out from the lines of the Communist Party, faithful copies of their leaders. And who they have been those leaders, those that have repeated what order take them from the frist head, today the second head, and I don't want to know about the "third head" in the future power - if has the same blood line from the frist one(...) Diplomats of the lie are they!
That class of diplomacy? ...Those Cuban diplomatics. Really I never heard them to offer his services for the poor politics men and women in jail. Off course, this kind of "diplomatic" smile and give a pat in the shoulder of the opponent , but if we looked for in their calendars they are elaborated already by the parliament of the Communist Party the resolutions - before descending of the airplane to the UN or to the UE.
Could I believe in them?...Will they put in freedom to the political prisoners?...I could hope the same Communist Party to make an ordinance of Amnesty for the Cubans of inside like outside?...Could I relyon the Cuban diplomacy upon finishing the period of the Blockade, and does the Communist Party from Cuba, not China, be placed to a side and let in passing to the other democratic movements in the Island with their several parties and resolutions?...