Thursday, April 8, 2010

LPP News Frist Draft...

US Funding of Cuba Democracy Work Draws Scrutiny

Lawmakers want State Department to rethink Cuba aid program's shift to private contractors


During the waning months of 2008, the Bush administration quietly pushed through two major contracts to international development companies in an effort to spend a record $45 million to support regime change in Cuba.
It was the first time Cuba funds went to private contractors, marking an effort to professionalize U.S. aid to the island's independent media and people opposing the communist government.
Two years later, as the Obama administration is poised to reauthorize the Cuba democracy funding, it's tough to see where that money has gone or whether contractors have fared any better than the foundations, universities and nonprofits that were once solely responsible for the aid.
Members of Congress are starting to demand more answers. In late March, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, temporarily held up funding.
"We are asking hard questions about fraud, waste and what actually works to benefit the Cuban people," said Berman, who has also long been opposed to the U.S. embargo of Cuba.
Neither the State Department nor the U.S. Agency for International Development, which oversees most of the funds, responded to an Associated Press request for a copy of the original contracts or proposals. The State Department's notification to Congress for renewing both contracts includes one paragraph for each proposal. The contractors have been equally tightlipped about how they are using U.S. tax dollars in Cuba.
"In the recent past, our committee's oversight of these programs has uncovered outrageous abuses from personal shopping trips to hundreds of thousands of U.S. taxpayer dollars simply pocketed outright," said Berman, referring to previous investigations into Cuba funding.
Unlike USAID programs in war-torn countries like Afghanistan or even in other communist countries like China, U.S. aid to Cuba is particularly tricky because it has often gone directly to those who oppose the Cuban government. Supporters of the aid say those who oppose U.S. policy scrutinize the aid program far more closely than they do U.S. initiatives in other countries.
As a result, the program has become "an odd hybrid of overt and covert activity," said Philip Peters, a Cuba Expert at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va.
Washington-based Creative Associates International was awarded the largest contract of $6.5 million in 2008 and is now up for another $2.5 million. It has 13 field offices worldwide and experience in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it had none in Cuba when it won the first contract. And it still doesn't list Cuba on its Web site.
It does have Caleb McCarry. Under the Bush administration, the State Department described his job as the "senior official responsible for U.S. government planning in support of a transition to democracy in Cuba." McCarry went to Creative Associates in November of 2008, two months after the company won its first contract.
Creative Associates said McCarry recused himself from assignments related to the company beginning in March 2008. McCarry referred questions about his hiring to the State Department, which declined to comment on the details. USAID said McCarry had no involvement in selecting grantees or contractors.
Even so, McCarry's move to Creative Associates raises questions, said Carlos Saladrigas of the Cuba Study Group, a nonprofit that supports U.S.-Cuba exchanges involving nongovernment groups, though he conceded he did not know the details of McCarry's hiring.
Bethesda, Md.-based Development Associates International, which received a $4.5 million contract, didn't mention its Cuba program publicly either — until one of its employees, Alan P. Gross was arrested by the Cuban government and accused of spying in December. The company has said Gross was handing out cell phones and laptops that allowed users to circumvent the island's government controlled Internet.
Officials with Development Associates told the AP that Gross was providing the equipment to nonpolitical groups, but they declined to discuss their efforts on the island in greater detail. The group is now up for another $2.6 million.
The Obama administration has made it a priority to improve Cubans' access to the Internet and other forms of outside communication, and there have been gains. More independent Cuban bloggers are posting their thoughts. When a political prisoner died on hunger strike last month, his mother's outraged reaction hit the Internet almost immediately. And recent footage of harassment of the Ladies in White — many of them mothers and wives of imprisoned dissidents — prompted tens of thousands of Cuban-Americans and their supporters to march in solidarity in Miami and Los Angeles.
But it's unclear how much of that the contractors are responsible for. Obama has loosened travel restrictions on Cuban-Americans, who can now take cell phones and other technology to relatives. And the Cuban government has eased restrictions on buying cell phones, though they are still prohibitively expensive for most Cubans.
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican who is one of the most outspoken opponents of the Cuban government in Washington, said he hopes Obama will reconsider the Bush administration's move toward contractors.
"(Nonprofits) have historically been the most experienced and effective in providing democracy assistance in Cuba," he said.
For years, they were among the few doing the work. Compared to contractors, nonprofits generally have lower overhead and are often subcontracted by the for-profit companies.
In the case of Cuba, they built networks for delivering aid, often going through third countries to avoid U.S. travel restrictions and Cuban government surveillance and continue to send aid.
But several scathing congressional reports released in the last decade cited waste and questioned USAID grant-making practices to several of the nonprofits. Until at least 2004, many of the contracts were renewed without a competitive bidding process, and in 2008, a former employee at one Washington-based exile nonprofit was convicted of stealing $600,000 from the group.
USAID said the contracts give the agency greater input and oversight than doling out money through grants.
Many Cuban-Americans say government aid is necessary, especially to support those who don't have relatives and friends abroad who can help them. They simply want more oversight to ensure the aid gets to the island.
The Lexington Institute's Peters, who opposes the embargo, said allowing more academic and cultural exchanges between Americans and Cubans could help move Cuba toward democracy — at no cost to the American taxpayers.
"There's nothing cloak-and-dagger about it, nothing secret about it," he said, "but it could work."
                                                                                                                          
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We need your help!
April 7 - There is a new site that is helping with the translation of Cuban bloggers.
They need volunteer translators that can help bring the reality of Cuba to people all over the world.
If you think that you can help, I urge you to contact Hemos Oido and help this wonderful group of friends of the Cuban people.
They are doing a wonderful job and by helping them you'll be helping 11 million Cubans living under a brutal totalitarian regime.
Many people who write to me ask "What can we do?" Here is something that anyone with a little of free time can do.
Thanks!

Technology is the biggest enemy of totalitarian dictators like the Castro brothers
April 7 - Technology is boosting connectivity, engaging and enrolling the masses to push against repression faced by the people of Cuba, but it's going to take unlimited, uncensored access for technology to truly affect change. Creating a way for Cubans to securely communicate with the rest of the world, to freely express their reality and organize for change, is essential. Likewise, those off the island need to be able to easily respond with support and solutions. Free communication is the key that will empower them to use technology to organize and launch a legitimate movement. Movements are significantly powered online to expose the depth of an issue on a grand scale and rally those both affected and not to seek on-the-ground solutions. More

Pernod is told once again: "Only the real Havana Club can be sold here"
April 7 - Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. today applauded a federal court decision in favor of its packaging, marketing and ownership of HAVANA CLUB rum in the United States. For years, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. has vigorously defended its position in the wake of ongoing and inaccurate allegations by Pernod Ricard USA surrounding the re-launch of Havana Club rum in the United States.
On April 6, the Wilmington, Delaware, district court ruled that the origin of Bacardi’s Havana Club rum is geographically accurate as the bottle clearly states Puerto Rican Rum and that it is based on the original Cuban recipe as created by the family of Jose Arechabala
“We commend the favorable decision of the court as we believe this decision is important in that it protects our ability to accurately portray the Cuban heritage and geographic origin of our rums. It confirms that our Havana Club rum has been clearly and truthfully labeled. This is yet another Court decision supporting Bacardi’s legitimate and rightful usage of the Havana Club rum trademark and brand,” said John Esposito, president and chief executive officer of Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. “As we have stated all along, consumers are very discerning and savvy and want premium spirits with authenticity and heritage. The name and packaging of Bacardi’s Havana Club conjures an image of a historical period of time, an era, a state of mind based on an elegant and vibrant night life transporting consumers back to the time it was created.” More

Eyewitness report about life in Cuba today (UPDATED)
April 7 - Read how Cubans have to carry the coffins of their deceased relatives, to prevent the bottom from falling off.
April 6 - Read and see what a family found when they went to visit a sick relative in Cuba last month.

Thanks to Janet Reno, Eric Holder and Bill Clinton, Elian is now a full slave of the Castro brothers
  April 5 - Ten years after his kidnapping and forced return to Cuba, Elian González is now a member of the army that keeps in place the military dictatorship from which his own mother tried to escape.
Elian's mother gave her life to make sure that Elian was able to grow in a free country, where he was free to study, express his opinions without going to jail, work for whoever he wanted, start his own business if he chose to do that, in other words, live like a free man.
But her sacrifice was in vain.
False religious leaders, high paid lawyers and coward politicians conspired to force Elian to go back to Cuba and become another slave of a regime that the United States labels as "terrorist."
And 10 years after his kidnapping, he is shown here attending a meeting of Cuba's Communist Youths this weekend and wearing the uniform of the army that supports the dictatorship that caused his mother's death.
Shame on all those who contributed to the enslavement of Elian González.

Mike Cuellar, one of the greatest Cuban pitchers of all times, has died
April 3 - Mike Cuellar, one of the greatest players in Baltimore Orioles history, passed away Friday afternoon at Orlando Regional Medical Center. He was 72.
Cuellar suffered a steady decline of health since mid-January: A brain aneurism, followed by the removal of his gall bladder, which preceded the death blow  - cancer in the stomach.
A left-handed master of the screwball, Cuellar emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, He won 20 or more games four times between 1969 and 1974. Cuellar aka “Crazy Horse” captured the Cy Young award in 1969, and was selected to the All-Star Game four times in his career. 
Originally from Santa Clara, Cuba, Cuellar finished with 185 big league victories. OrlandoSentinel

Teaching Twitter in Havana
April 2 - As an educational institution, Cuba’s Blogger Academy suffers from a few notable deficiencies. Its six-month course doesn’t grant an accredited degree, and its single, cramped classroom — the living room of founder Yoani Sanchez — isn’t even hooked up to the internet. 
Then there’s the possibility that the next knock on the door might be the police. They haven’t shut down the Blogger Academy yet, but on this web-starved island — the least-connected country in the hemisphere — this classroom is a place where the digital revolution really feels like one.
At least the 30-odd students squeezed onto benches and chairs in Sanchez’s 14th-floor Havana apartment see it that way. They’re taking a risk to come here twice a week to learn how to use Twitter, or write code in Wordpress for their own blogs. That’s not because those software programs are illegal in Cuba, but because Sanchez, 34, is considered dangerous company. GlobalPost

Cuban writer signed the petition to free political prisoners and is ready for "whatever comes"
April 1 - Ena Lucia Portela, considered one of the most remarkable young writers in Cuba and winner of the Juan Rulfo Prize in 1999 for her book El Viejo, El Asesino Y Yo (The Old Man The Assassin And I), added her name to the more than 42,000 people from around the world who have signed a document asking the Castro regime to free all political prisoners.
Portela, who lives in Havana, becomes the first member of UNEAC (National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba) to sign the petition.
The UNEAC, which is controlled by the Cuban regime, published an article about 2 weeks ago in Granma rejecting the document "I denounce the Cuban Government,"  and saying it was a "maneuver that was part of a media campaign against Cuba organized by amoral persons."
In a message to OZT, who organized the gathering of signatures, Portela said "I am a member of UNEAC, but I reject the declaration made public several days ago by the Board of that organization. Add my name, please, and whatever comes it comes."
"I, like many Cuban artists and intellectuals who live in the island, do not have complete access to the Internet and only have this electronic mail that has an international connection," she said in her message to OZT.
"Because of that, I was not aware of the text of this document which so accurately express what many of us think here, there and everywhere. Among the names of the Cuban signers, I do not see the name of any artist or writer living in Cuba. I am not surprised, since I am aware of the high cost  to be paid for expressing an opinion in our country. But enough is enough. I do not have any way to link to that document through the Internet, so I am asking to please do it for me," ends the letter from this courageous young writer.
If you still haven't signed the petition, please Click here and add your name to the more than 42,000 who have told the Cuban regime: Enough is enough!

Raul Castro meets with "religious leaders" at Havana's airport; next meeting will take place in Hell
March 31 - According to Cuba's official press, Raúl Castro met with a group of fascists, disguised as "religious leaders," at Havana's José Martí airport on Tuesday.
According to the official reports, the meeting was a "political and cultural ceremony held on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Fidel’s meeting with religious leaders."
Among those present to lick Raúl Castro's boots were the "reverend" Marcial Miguel Hernández, President of the National Council of Churches and Frei Betto, the renegade Dominican friar who wrote the book "Fidel and Religion." 
Another "reverend," Raul Suarez, director of Cuba's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center, was "overcome by emotion," according to the Cuban press.
This piece of cow manure told the Cuban dictator that “you, the Cuban Revolution, and its socialist project, can count on us.”
The next meeting between Raúl Castro and this group of "religious leaders" will probably take place when all of them are frying in Hell.
If you have the stomach, you can read the whole thing here and see the photos of Raúl and his ass kissers here

Silvio Rodríguez, the new rat jumping off Castro's Titanic
March 31 - Las week it was Pablo Milanés. Now it is Silvio Rodríguez the one that has "discovered" that Cuba needs a change.
For decades, these two have supported the brutal regime in Cuba and in the process both of them have become very rich.
Now they finally "discovered" what millions of Cubans have known for more than 50 years: Cuba needs a change.
Read what Yoani Sanchez had to say in her blog.

Are Cuba's true martyrs a portent of a new 1989?
March 31 - Nowadays, most of those who die for a cause either perish for the wrong cause or bring death to innocent people. Islamist and nationalist terrorists have turned the noble concept of martyrdom into the opposite of what we were taught it meant. We have gone from Socrates drinking hemlock in the name of philosophical inquiry o the female bombers who massacred dozens of Russians at two Moscow subway stations. 
But in a godforsaken corner of the Western Hemisphere, as if taking it on themselves to restore the olV tradition of martyrdom, a group of people have decided to die for a cause and harm no one else in the process. For weeks, the world has followed the drama of the Cuban prisoners of conscience, many of them black, who have started a chain of hunger strikes demanding the liberation of their fellow prisoners. Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a mason who was one of the 75 activists and journalists incarcerated in what is known as the Black Spring of 2003, died in February after a hunger strike that lasted more than 80 days. He was succeeded by psychologist Guillermo Farinas, who has now refused to eat for more than a month. Engineer Felix Bonne Carcasses has said that, if Mr. Farinas dies, he will replace him. 
While these men give up their existence for a principle, a group of women symbolically dressed in white are also putting their lives on the line by taking to the streets against the Castro brothers. The Ladies in White – mothers, wives and sisters of the Cuban political prisoners jailed in the 2003 crackdown – have been kicked, punched, dragged through the streets and arrested by government thugs. And they have not flinched. Alvaro Vargas Llosa

María Conchita Alonso to Sean Penn: Shut up already!
March 29 - If Maria Conchita Alonso isn't careful, Sean Penn will be sending her to jail along with all those free-speaking journalists.
Born in Cuba but raised in Venezuela, the actress has penned an open letter to Hugo Chavez's self-appointed BFF, countering his claims that the de facto dictator is the best thing to happen to South America since...well, judging by his gushing effusiveness, ever.
Alonso's opinion of the self-installed leader, however, aligns a little more closely with the rest of the world, and she schools the actor turned sometime revolutionary on how it really is: "Dear Sean," she begins. "WHY? Even though I have great respect for your artistic talent, I was appalled by a recent television interview where you vigorously showed support for the regime of Hugo Chavez. Therefore, I've decided to set the record straight for you regarding the Chavez regime, supporting my case based not only on my political ideologies, but on proven facts you choose to ignore. Otherwise, I believe your position would be different." 
Alonso went on to challenge Penn on all manner of issues, including the supposed transparency of the country's elections, violations by Chavez of Venezuela's constitution, his 92 percent control of media communications, his reputed anti-Semitism, the country's growing poverty rate and various other instances of corruption. More

Yoani Sánchez: DHL helps the Cuban regime apply its censorship
March 26 - A couple of years ago I went to the DHL office in Miramar to send some family videos to friends in Spain. The clerk looked at me as if I were trying to send a molecule of oxygen to another galaxy. Without even touching the Mini DV cassette, she told me that the Havana branch only accepted VHS. I thought it was a question of size, but the explanation she gave was even more surprising, “It’s just that our machines to view the content only read the large cassettes.” When I tried to insist, the woman suspected that instead of the smiling face of my son, I wanted to send “enemy propaganda” abroad.
Frustrated, I returned home – where I have never received a piece of regular mail – and some time passed before I again had need of the services of this German company. Faced with the impossibility of traveling to Chile to present my book, Cuba Libre, a few days ago the publisher sent me ten copies, in a single package marked “express.” Neither my numerous telephone calls to the office at the corner of 1st and Calle 26, nor my physical presence there, managed to make them deliver what is mine. “Your package has been confiscated,” they told me this morning, even though in reality they should have been more honest and confessed, “Your package has been stolen.” Although these are the same texts that, without descending into verbal violence, have been published on the web for three years, the customs censors have handled it as if it were a manual about how to make Molotov cocktails. 
Now, when headlines around the world are announcing the end of Google’s collusion with Chinese censorship, foreign companies located in Cuba continue to obey ideological filters imposed by the government. With its airs of efficiency, its tradition of immediacy, and its phrases such as, “We keep an eye on your package,” DHL has agreed to apply a political filter to its customers. To refuse to do so would earn them expulsion from the country with the consequent economic losses, and so they ignore the sanctity of the mail and look the other way when someone demands what belongs to them. The red and yellow colors of their corporate identity never seemed to strident to me. Looking at them today I feel that instead of speed and efficiency they represent a warning: “Not even with us is your correspondence safe!”

Dr. Darsi Ferrer honored with the State Department Freedom Defenders Award, Honorable Mention
March 24 - During yesterday's State Department Daily Press Briefing, Assistant Secretary Philip J. Crowley announced that Cuban prisoner of conscience Dr. Darsi Ferrer, has received the State Department Freedom Defenders Award, Honorable Mention.
Here is what Mr. Crowley said in the press briefing:
"Dr. Darsi Ferrer received the 2009 State Department Freedom Defenders Award, Honorable Mention.
This award recognized Dr. Ferrer’s work and bravery in the defense of human rights in Cuba. He was the only Honorable Mention recipient in the Western Hemisphere.
Dr. Ferrer has been imprisoned without charge in a Cuban jail since July 2009. Yesterday, Assistant Secretary Mike Posner had the opportunity to conduct a video teleconference with Dr. Ferrer’s wife, Mrs. Yusnaymi Jorge Soca, and the rest of Dr. Ferrer’s family to talk about his case. And at the same time, he had the opportunity to speak directly with members of the Damas de Blanco group that has been conducting peaceful protests within Cuba, seeking expanded human rights and freedom of expression."

Visit our Videos page with many new and old videos, including the latest attacks against the Ladies in White

The Ladies in White, by Armando Tejuca

Castro's fascist thugs yelled racist insults at the mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo
March 17 - Reina Luisa Tamayo, mother of Cuban martyr Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died on February 24 after 85 days in a hunger strike, said that the fascist thugs who attacked a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday by The Ladies in White, yelled racial insults at her when they were trying to force her to get inside a bus of the Interior Ministry, to be taken away from the demonstration.
"They kept yelling at me 'Negra de mierda, móntate en la guagua,'" (Shitty nigger, get in the bus) she said.
The audio was played during the program A Mano Limpia, with Oscar Haza, on Channel 41 in Miami.
Reina Luisa said that she was pushed and hit several times by those who were forcing her to get inside the bus.
She accused the Castro brothers of the attack against unarmed women who were simply carrying flowers in a peaceful protest and said that they will be out on the streets tomorrow again.
Don't expect any reaction against the racist regime in Cuba by any of those Afro-American leaders who have been in bed with the Castro brothers for 51 years, while these criminals continue to exploit and oppress the Cuban people.
It seems that for them, racism is OK, as long as it comes from the Castro brothers.

Spanish daily El Pais has more photos of the brutal attack against The Ladies in White
March 18 - A Cuban policeman, wearing civilian clothes, dragging a member of the Ladies in White by her hair, in this photo by Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Will the Black Caucus, Danny Glover, Jessie Jackson, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte and all the other so called "Afro-American leaders," have anything to say about this photo? Don't count on it.
Click here to see many more photos of today's brutal attack against the Ladies in White El Pais
 
A regime has to feel really weak, to be so scared of innocent women carrying flowers, not guns
March 17 - Why would a regime that boast to have the second largest and best equipped army in this Hemisphere, be so afraid of a group of women conducting a peaceful protest and carrying only flowers, not guns?
Because that regime, that claims that its leaders are elected by 99.99% of the votes, knows that the people hates them and the only reason why they can remain in power is by sheer terror.
They know that any protest, no matter how small, could produce the spark that would light the torch of freedom from one end of Cuba to the other.
And once people lose their fear, a regime like the one in Cuba cannot last.
That is why the Stalinist regime in Cuba will continue to defy the international community and keep using brutal tactics to repress those who ask for a change in the island.
The Castro brothers know that if they allow a small opening, their brutal regime would collapse, like it happened with those in Eastern Europe and with other totalitarian regimes.
The Cuban people is losing their fear and that has the Castro brothers scared to death.
They will continue their brutal repression, because their regime survival depends on it, but I don't have any doubt: Cuba will be free from the brutal tyrants that has been oppressing it for 51 years! ¡VIVA CUBA LIBRE!
 S: The Real Cuba

Cuba opens online store with cultural twist

Cuba opens online store with cultural twist AFP/File – A Cuban teenager enters her e-mail account at her house in Havana in January 2010. Communist Cuba unveiled …
HAVANA (AFP) – Communist Cuba unveiled an online store with a cultural twist Wednesday offering everything from books by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara T-shirts to designer shower curtains and music downloads. "It is really the biggest online selection of (Cuban) culture, and all the areas of the arts are represented," manager Teresita Espino was quoted as saying in Rebel Youth newspaper. The new site, www.mallcubano.com, even features a clothing line from the Compay Segundo brand, named after the late star of the Buena Vista Social Club who died in 2003. The government clearly has targeted the massive expat Cuban community -- more than 1.25 million people of Cuban origin and descent live in the United States alone -- offering specials for Mother's Day and delivery in Cuba. The prices -- 32 dollars for a pair of men's jeans or 41 dollars for a linen guayabera shirt -- are not terribly inexpensive but still out of the reach of the vast majority of Cuba's 11 million people. Items can be bought in euros and dollars, but not in Cuban pesos. Cubans make an average of less than 20 dollars a month.

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Tensions Increasing in Castro’s Cuba as Dissidents Fight for Freedom


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The Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata. Zapata's death marked the first time in nearly 40 years a Cuban activist starved himself to death to protest government abuses.

Cuba’s regime defiantly pledged not to cede to pressure from dissident hunger strikers, calling the actions “blackmail” organized by Europe and the United States.
“We will never cede to blackmail, from any country or group of countries, no matter how powerful they may be, whatever happens. We have the right to defend ourselves.” Raúl Castro told a congress of Communist youth, referring to a prominent hunger-striking dissident’s call for the release of all political prisoners.
Castro was referring to the uproar over the case of dissident Guillermo Fariñas, 48, who has been on hunger strike for the past month.
He decided to go on a full hunger strike when he learned of the death on February 23 of Orlando Zapata, 85 days into a hunger strike, to protest prison conditions.
Last week Fariñas rejected the Spanish government’s latest offer to take him to Spain to head off another dissident death that could worsen Cuba’s relations with the international community.
Some of his fellow Cuban dissidents have asked the European Union and Latin American countries to beseech Fariñas, 48, to end his protest, but he says he is prepared to die if the Cuban government does not meet his demand to release 26 ailing political prisoners.
Zapata’s death marked the first time in nearly 40 years a Cuban activist starved himself to death to protest government abuses.
Zapata’s mother charged in video carried on a non-government blog that her son’s death was “premeditated murder,” an allegation official Cuban media took the unusual step of denying and refuting at length.
The United States and some European nations are increasing pressure on Cuba. President Obama has said Zapata Tamayo’s death was tragic, and he called for the release of all political prisoners in Cuba.
U.S. officials also are concerned about a group called “Las Damas de Blanco”, “The Ladies in White”, made up of wives and relatives of jailed dissidents.
Gordon Duguid is acting deputy spokesman at the State Department:
“We’re concerned about the welfare of the Damas de Blanco and dismayed that a peaceful march was disrupted by the Cuban government authorities who interfered with the right of Cuban citizens to peacefully assemble and express their support for their family members who are prisoners of conscience,” said Duguid.
Last month, Cuban-Americans and other Miami residents held a march in support of the Ladies in White. At the same time, in Havana, the Ladies in White tried to march but police intervened.
Pro-democracy groups say anti-government sentiment is spreading, partly because of the death of Zapata Tamayo. Recent protests have been reported in areas outside Havana.
Hours after Raúl Castro said his government would not accede to “blackmail” by its enemies, Guillermo Farinas vowed to continue his protest until he dies, if necessary.
Fariñas, who is seeking the release of 26 ailing political prisoners, said his death would be “a murder by the state” despite Castro’s contention in his Sunday speech that Farinas and his backers would have only themselves to blame.
“I think it was expected, but now it comes from (Castro) that they are going to let me die,” he told several news agencies on the 41st day of a hunger strike that he said would continue until the “ultimate consequences.”
F: The Americano / Agencies