Monday, April 26, 2010

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An Imprisoned Lady

Two days ago, Dania Virgen García, a Cuban independent journalist and member of a group of women that march in solidarity with the Ladies in White, was detained for her pro-democracy advocacy.

The Ladies in White are the wives, mothers, daughters and siblings of Cuban political prisoners.

Women who march and attend church services with the Ladies in White, but have no imprisoned relatives, such as Dania, are referred to as the Ladies in Solidarity.

Ironically, today, Dania has become a political prisoner herself.

The Castro regime has arbitrarily sentenced her -- in less than 48 hours -- to one year and eight months in prison.

Dania is pictured below, in the middle.

Shining a Spotlight on the Oppressors

Saturday, April 24, 2010
According to Reuters:

Four Cuban American lawyers and a Miami-based television station have launched a campaign to identify and publicly name Cuban state security agents and pro-government militants who attack dissidents on the island.

Called "Cuba, Repression ID," the project that began this week solicits public support from the Cuban exile community in the United States and also from people inside Cuba to identify, through photographs and film footage, individuals seen beating or harassing unarmed critics of Cuba's communist government.

In recent weeks, TV footage of Cuban state security agents and mobs of pro-government supporters heckling, harassing and forcibly breaking up dissident rallies and marches has drawn widespread international criticism of Cuba's rulers and renewed calls for them to free political prisoners on the island [...]

"We're hoping to provide a bit of protection and support to those who are suffering. We also want to make it known to those who abuse defenseless people in Cuba that they can't act with impunity," one of the Cuban American lawyers involved in the project, Wilfredo Allen, told Miami's Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald in comments published on Saturday.

Here are some of those oppressors:
The first picture features State Security Col. Ernesto Samper, who is responsible for organizing operations against the Ladies in White.

The official in the second picture has yet to be identified.



Generation Y is a Blog inspired by people like me, with names that start with or contain a "Y". Born in Cuba in the '70s and '80s, marked by schools in the countryside, Russian cartoons, illegal emigration and frustration. So I invite, especially, Yanisleidi, Yoandri, Yusimí, Yuniesky and others who carry their "Y's" to read me and to write to me.

By Yoani Sanchez

“Elections? What for?”*

pioneritaeng2What a long road it was that led me from little Pioneer guarding the ballot boxes, to the adult with several years of abstentions on her record. In our school uniforms, my sister and I went on suffrage Sundays to perform our martial salutes every time someone put their ballot in the slot. I remember at least three reasons for participating in those elections: we still believed in the power of the people; It was impossible to say “no” when the teacher – with all her authority – summoned us; and, in addition, in those days they distributed very tasty bread and cheese. No wait, to be honest I forgot one, because they also gave us fruit juice, in wax containers, which was otherwise impossible to get in the midst of so much rationing.
With the coming of the nineties, many of those children who had been guardians of the elections evolved into young people who annulled their ballots with statements in between exclamation marks. I remember the first time I entered the wooden booth and I was ready to deface the piece of paper where they had put a “vote for all.” A neighbor warned me not to even think about writing a slogan in place of the docile X next to the names, because each ballot had an identification number. “They will know it was you,” he warned me, and related stories of people reprimanded for having done something similar. But there are certain moments in life when any scolding or punishment doesn’t matter.
Later, on reviewing the number of friends and family who had invalidated their ballots, it didn’t correspond proportionally to the figures given on TV. Either those who claimed to have marked graffiti instead of giving consent lied, or it was the official statistic that didn’t match reality. Thus, I went from the second phase, boredom, to the position of those who have completely lost confidence in the process of selecting a candidate for the People’s Power. So now I stay home every election Sunday. I don’t know if they still distribute bread and cheese to the children who guard the ballot boxes, but they are still sending them to knock on the doors of the defaulters, to ask them to go to the polling station. Perhaps, all things being equal, some of them will turn 16 and take the red pen to scribble on their ballot, or adopt – as I have – abstention as a form of protest.
* Slogan expressed by Fidel Castro during the first year of the Revolution in response to those calling for presidential elections in the country.
Abril 24th, 2010 | Category: Generation Y | 91 comments |
S:Generation Y
Via Xinhua:
Gen. Bingde
Gen. Lopez Miera
Senior Chinese and Cuban military officials held talks here on Sunday, pledging to work together to promote relations between the two armed forces.
China was ready to deepen exchanges and cooperation with Cuba’s armed forces, said Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army.
During the talks with [Army Corps General] Alvaro Lopez Miera, vice minister and chief of the General Staff of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces, Chen hailed the sound communication and exchange of visits between military leaders of the two countries, saying it guaranteed a smooth development of Sino-Cuban military exchanges and cooperation.
“We always value the China-Cuba traditional friendship, and attach great importance to the development of bilateral ties,” he said.
[ACG] Lopez said Cuba was ready to make joint efforts with China to maintain the development of the relations between the two countries and militaries.
Starting the China tour on Saturday, Lopez is scheduled to conclude the official goodwill on April 29.
Cuba is regressing technologically as results from tomorrow’s Communist single-party municipal elections will be transmitted via carrier pigeons to the most remote parts of the island.
The Rough Riders by Mort Kunstler. (Kettle Hill, Santiago, Cuba. July 1, 1898)
The Economist’s book review of The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898., by Evan Thomas:
WHAT he calls “eerie parallels” are drawn by Evan Thomas between America’s invasion of Cuba in 1898 and its invasion of Iraq in 2003. Both, he says, were “wars of choice”, neither of them vital to the national interest but ostensibly waged for broader, sometimes humanitarian, reasons. Just as the threat of weapons of mass destruction proved illusory in Iraq, so the sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Havana harbour, the pretext for intervention in Cuba, was not a Spanish plot but, he insists, almost certainly a shipboard accident. The publishers even suggest that a reader could mistake part of the book for the memoirs of Dick Cheney and that the Americans acquired the cruel technique of water-boarding in Cuba.
[...]
The book provides an excellent account of how America’s declaration of war after the blowing up of the Maine hastened the demise of the once mighty Spanish empire, and of how within a year Spain had lost the Philippines as well as Puerto Rico and Guam. Unfortunately, however, “The War Lovers” is the sort of popular history that misleads as much as it entertains. The comparison between Cuba and Iraq is fanciful, and not only because it is preposterous to equate Roosevelt with either George Bush or Mr Cheney. The Spanish-American war enjoyed deep and broad public support, far greater than the support given to the invasion of Iraq.
The influence of men more moderate than Mr Thomas’s cast of five central characters is much underestimated. William McKinley, president at the time, is an important case in point. He was infamously and unfairly traduced in Samuel Eliot Morison’s magisterial “The Oxford History of the American People” as a kindly soul in a spineless body. In fact, McKinley shared the public’s horror of Spanish tyranny in Cuba but his memory was scarred by the slaughter he had witnessed during the civil war at Antietam, the bloodiest day in America’s military history. He tried hard and long to persuade Spain to relinquish its hold on Cuba and so avoid war.
Another moderate, Senator Redfield Proctor, was perhaps as influential. He went on a fact-finding mission to Cuba, convinced the horrors were exaggerated, and returned to report that they were worse than he could ever have imagined. The sinking of the Maine did not matter nearly so much to him as the native Cubans, “struggling for freedom and deliverance from the worst misgovernment of which I ever had knowledge”. Since Proctor was renowned for his scepticism, his words carried weight with the McKinley administration and Congress. But not with Mr Thomas. Thoughtful, influential voices are sacrificed in his book in the interests of a much racier tale.
S:CUBAPOLIDATA

April 25, 2010

Chávez rejects allegation of 'Cubanization', announces hike in wages of all servicemen

(fot2) President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela on Sunday rejected allegations from a retired general that the Venezuelan Army has been "Cubanized." (To read the Associated Press story "Ex-general: Cubans involved in Chávez's military," click here)
"It's sad," Chávez said of the accusation made by former Gen. Antonio Rivero on Thursday. "He could have ended his career well, gone into a dignified retirement," but he made "the usual enemy speech about the Cubanization of the [Venezuelan] armed forces," the president said, according to Radio Nacional.
Chávez spoke during his weekly TV program "Hello, President."
"What Cubanization? The Cubans are helping us," not as in the past, when "the yanquis were in charge here and handled secrets that we ourselves didn't have."
American military advisers in the past "had officers and academic chiefs" in Venezuela, Chávez said. "All that was missing was for them to be named field officers."
(fot1) As to Rivero, "he spent his time meeting with opposition mayors," Chávez said. "He was in bad company and turned squalid," he said, using his derogatory term for the opposition.
"Well, let the dogs bark; we'll continue our work," the president said.
Chávez took the opportunity to announce that "we are going to increase the wages for [servicemen of] all ranks, by 40 percent, retroactively to April."
Thus, "a newly graduated lieutenant will make almost 2,500 bolívares a month [US$580]; a captain, 4,000 bolívares [US$930]," he said.
–Renato Pérez Pizarro.
Posted by Renato Perez at 08:07 PM in Venezuela
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Military delegation arrives in China after a two-week tour of NKorea, Russia, Vietnam

A Cuban military delegation headed by Gen. Álvaro López Miera arrived (fot) Saturday in Beijing from North Korea, continuing a tour that has taken it to Russia and Vietnam. The group will remain in China until Thursday, said Cuba's National Information Agency.
The purpose of the visit, as stated in the three other countries on the group's itinerary, is "to strengthen the links between the armed forces of both countries."
According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, López Miera, Vice Minister of the Armed Forces and chief of its General Staff, met with his Chinese counterpart, Chen Bingde.
"Chen hailed the sound communication and exchange of visits between military leaders of the two countries, saying it guaranteed a smooth development of Sino-Cuban military exchanges and cooperation," Xinhua reported.
Last week, López Miera met in Pyongyang with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho, who described the Cuban official's visit as "a milestone in developing the friendly and cooperative ties between the armies of the two countries and the overall bilateral relations."
–Renato Pérez Pizarro. Posted by Renato Perez at 09:04 AM in The World
S: Cuban Colada

CSI Havana


Thinking of the experience of USAID detainee Alan Gross in the Havana airport, a reader sent me this video of a Cuban television program that depicts some of the screening and surveillance at Jose Marti International. You can draw your own conclusions.
The program, Tras la Huella (“Following the Footprints”), is a crimestoppers show, each episode showing uniformed and plainclothes personnel of the police and Interior Ministry solving one crime. It’s easy to find episodes on YouTube by searching the program’s name, or “tras la hueya” as some posters have spelled it.
Chavez said that Cuba "help" in Armed Forces Venezuelan and does not interfere
April 25, 2010, 5:34 pm ET CARACAS, 25 Apr 2010 (AFP) -
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez on Sunday stressed that Cuba "Help" to the Armed Forces of Venezuela, rejecting allegations of a retired Venezuelan general on the "military interference Cubans "in strategic areas and security.
"It's unfortunate. Has failed to finish in her career, moving to a worthy retirement, (but) paying little speech (...) with the same enemy, that  Cubanization of the Armed Forces, "Chavez said during his program Sunday "Hello President" broadcast on state television VTV.
"What Cubanization? Cubans are helping us," he concluded.
Surrounded by generals and military officials, Venezuelan President noted that in the past "here sent the Yankees (Americans) and handled that we had no secrets. "
Retired Gen. Antonio Rivero, Venezuela reported last Thursday's "Cuban military interference" in the organization of Venezuela's armed forces, in education and training, and the "Doctrinaire elements imparting military command levels Staff "
"The inclusion of Cuban military is beyond what should be allowed. They are in strategic areas, security of the State " added.
According to Rivero, the Cubans also have a presence in communication, weapons and intelligence, "among other vital areas of high State security. "
rsr / dk
S: Univision

Criminals...and Hot Dogs...

Challenges U.S. to lift Cuba embargo


El líder parlamentario cubano Ricardo Alarcón reta a la secretaria
 de Estado norteamicana Hillary Clinton a que Washington levante el 
embargo a la isla, poco después de votar en los comicios municipales. La
 Habana, domingo 25 de abril de 2010.
The Cuban parliamentary leader Ricardo Alarcon challenges the Secretary of State norteamicana Hillary Clinton that Washington lift the embargo  Island, shortly after voting in municipal elections. Havana Sunday April 25, 2010.
Franklin Reyes / AP photo

The Associated Press

The parliamentary leader Ricardo Alarcon on Sunday challenged U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to "lift the But "that Washington has maintained against the island.
"Mrs. Clinton is a very intelligent woman, do not want to be rude to her, but if you really believe that continuing the ban is for the benefit  of our government, it's easy for her to ask Congress (U.S.) to lift the embargo, "said Alarcon.
Alarcon spoke AP after voting for elections to be held Sunday on the island.
Clinton said in early April that the Cuban authorities  want an end to sanctions to "excuses" for their inaction policy during a speech at the University of Louisville, Kentucky.
Economic sanctions, trade and Financial were imposed by the U.S. government to start the 60 to press a change in the communist political system  the island. Since then Washington sometimes flared, and measures Other times eased, but never dismantled.
The government  island for its part ensures that some of its most serious problems as eg lack of access to the internet or shortcomings are due to  U.S. sanctions.
According to Cuban figures, losses by the embargo since 1962 reached approximately mid-November  96 000 million dollars, but in real terms and the actual cost the amount would rise to 236 000 million.
Some 3,000 million over the last reported between 2008 and 2009.
S: El Nuevo Herald

SOCIETY-HEALTH-RIGHTS SOLIDARITY...

Fariñas used his ballot vote to demand the release of political prisoners

"Cancelling the ballot because I had called to citizens to attend (the vote), but canceled their ballots, "EFE Farinas said by telephone from the hospital where he is hospitalized for more than a month in Santa Clara (Central Cuba), about 300 kilometers east of Havana.
As explained by the dissident psychologist, a member of the Electoral Commission took him to his bed in the wards intensive the ballot, in which he also wrote "Down Castro dynasty "and" Zapata lives after death, "the signed and then read the sentences aloud.
"I think the elections in Cuba are" pseudo-elections "and a farce, "he reiterated Fariñas, who noted as" first great defect of process that "there is a free application" of the candidates because "a citizen has to go through an open process freehand neighborhood. "
It also criticized the Electoral Commission has the "power of Who has the conditions that a candidate "that the elections "have no international supervision" and denounced "the social pressure from the state on people to go to vote. "
"So, are the high attendance (participation) of Cuban citizenship to vote, "he said.
The psychologist and journalist for 48 years began the strike at home hunger and thirst to claim the government of General Raúl Castro release of 26 opposition ill on 24 February, a days after the death of prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo opponent after fasting for 85 days.
In the elections this Sunday Cubans over 16 years more than 15,000 elected representatives (Councillors) of the Assemblies Municipal People's Power of the island, in a process held every two years. EFE
S: ABC.es

Cubans vote in elections marked by rejection of U.S. and opposition

25 April, 2010
LA HABANA. - Cubans elected their municipal authorities in a day marked by the rejection of government to the U.S. criticism on the situation of rights  harassment of human and seven hours against the Ladies in White.
La participación de los cubanos en las elecciones celebradas para 
renovar los gobiernos locales de la isla superó el 93 por ciento.
The participation of Cubans in the elections to renew governments Island Local exceeded 93 percent.

The revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, who for 83 years and disease ceded power to his brother Raul in 2006, gave the vote his residence and sent it to a polling station in a sealed envelope local television reported.
Just polling stations opened at 07:00 local time, the  President Raul Castro, 78, voted at a polling of Vedado neighborhood, where he talked with residents, without giving statements to the press.
After the polls closed at 18:00 local time, the Electoral authorities reported a preliminary vote of 93% of the 8.5 million summoned.
Cubans elected 15,000 delegates (council) of the 169 municipalities of this island of 11.2 million people, ruled from over half a century ago by the Castro brothers, and the Party Communist (CCP) as the sole legal.
The municipal elections, held every two years and a half branded as "trick" by the opposition, took place amid a intense political mobilization against what the government and its supporters  considered a "campaign" international orchestrated by Washington to  discredit and destabilize the revolution.
By voting, the head of Parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, challenged States United to lift the "blockade" in the first official response to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who on April 9 said Castro "did not want the end of the embargo" or normalize relations because "Lost all his excuses."
"If she really believes that the blockade on the Cuban government benefits -That she wants to undermine "the solution is simple, be picked up even for a year to test if indeed it was in our interest or interest them, "he said.
Alarcon said the United States in its "campaign" has "achieved bribe and buy a few mercenaries and rent peddlers ", referring to the dissidents.
Havana Cuban electoral system stands as the most democratic world without proselytizing campaign millions. The candidates for council, responsible for dealing with everyday problems people, are nominated in neighborhood meetings freehand.
The general elections are every five years and include, in addition to municipal-the provincial governors, deputies and all 31 Member of the State Council, chaired by Raul.
From Caracas, President Hugo Chavez, Cuba's main ally, called for "respect" the Cuban system, which does not work with "methods Western. " (AFP) S:LaTribuna.hn
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Cuba: Damas de Blanco harass

Supporters of government Cuba on Sunday blocked a march that the "Ladies in White" held every weekend by dissidents in prison pushing them into a park while the insult.
Damas de Blanco rodeadas
Las Damas de Blanco reacted by standing up and silent.
The angry mob surrounded for several hours the group of women, mothers and wives of prisoners.
Women have been carrying out marches weekly, every Sunday at the start of Mass, in the Cuban capital,  Havana, for many years.
The government supporters began alter the protests earlier this month.
click Read: Cuban vote, no changes are expected

Damage to reputation

The marches are followed closely by Western diplomats, and women have received support from word by United States and the European Union.
Laura Pollan, líder de las Damas de Blanco, con anteojos
In Cuba, there is still little  sympathy for the cause of the Damas de Blanco.
Despite "insults" from "the grossness of sexual content "and" pre revolutionary hymns, "says the The BBC's Michael Voss in Havana, "Ladies in White responded by standing up, watching in silence, his face opponents. "
Voss noted that until a while ago, very few  people in Cuba knew of the existence of the "Ladies in White", and yet there is very little sympathy for their cause.
"But this kind of intimidation and violence will is causing serious damage Cuba's reputation abroad " indicates the correspondent.
S: BBCMundo

(CUBA), POLITICS, ELECTIONS

U.S. urges Alarcón  to lift the economic embargo on Cuba

Alarcón told correspondents in Havana that if U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, "real believes that blocking the Cuban government benefits, the solution is very simple: it lifted even for a year to test if Truth was in our interest or in the interest of them. "
The president of the National Assembly of Popular Power in Cuba was speaking after casting your ballot on Election Day which celebrates the island today to renew their municipal assemblies (Local governments)     On which the ruling Cuban calls "media campaign international "against Cuba, Alarcon said he started 50 years ago from the United States to create opposition within Cuba and organize a "powerful propaganda offensive."
"With this, they have managed to bribe, buy, create a few mercenaries and have managed to rent some frauds and hucksters posing badly by politicians or journalists, but these people could not buy it because this town is not (...) for sale, or sell or give in, "he said.
Regarding today's elections, Ricardo Alarcon, said in Cuba has been voted "many more times" in North America or Europe and besides, he added, "without fraud, without lies and without demagogy."
"Since the emergence of the Popular Power in Cuba, the Cubans have voted much more often than in the entire history of Cuba before Jan. 59. And forgive the other correspondents parts, Cubans have voted far more often that people from North America or Europe, "he said.
More than 8.4 million Cubans (of a population of 11.2) are summoned to the polls today to elect delegates 15 093 (Council) of the 169 municipal assemblies of the island, which renewed in elections every two years.
The candidates have been elected by more than 50,000 meetings previously held throughout the island, ruled by the Party Communist, the only permitted in Cuba.
The president of the National Assembly of People's Power said that in Cuba today's vote, without pretending to be "model for anyone, "defends" real democracy. "
"Not only the Cubans have voted far more often than those considerably by owners of democracy, but also what have done without fraud, without lies, without demagoguery, not a sham and makes compromises in many places, as we know, what work is to be corruption and theft, "he added.
Alarcon also encouraged delegates to local assemblies is elected in municipal elections today to fight against "corruption, the diversion of resources and inefficiency."
With this vote, he noted, does the will of the Cuban to "continue to persevere, to continue to refine and improve a system which, as we all know, also contains errors limitations, shortcomings. "EFE
S: ABC.es