Friday, May 14, 2010

Spanish artists launch 'platform for democracy' in Cuba

MADRID (AFP) – Spanish artists and intellectuals, including Oscar-winning film-maker Pedro Almodovar, Wednesday launched an initiative to press for democracy in Cuba. "The Platform for Spaniards for the Democratisation of Cuba" aims to defend "the basic and essential human rights" of the people of the communist-ruled island and help them choose between "democracy and totalitarianism." "We Spaniards well know that nothing can justify lack of freedom," the manifesto said, referring to the 1939-75 dictatorship in Spain of Francisco Franco. The initiative came just days before an EU-Latin America summit in Madrid during which the question of Cuba will be discussed. Signatories to the platform called on the Spanish government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to drop its policy of rapprochement with Cuba, which they said had led to "no result." Spain, which holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU, has been at the forefront of efforts to boost relations with Cuba, a former Spanish colony. Spain's Socialist government wants the EU to modify its 1996 common position on Cuba, which links dialogue to freedoms and human rights on the island, arguing it has yielded few results. The EU suspended ties with Cuba after a major roundup of 75 dissidents in March 2003, but resumed aid cooperation in 2008. Spain and Cuba renewed ties in 2007. Besides Almodovar, other celebrities signing the manifesto were Spanish-Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa and Spanish actress Victoria Abril. The new platform "may seem like a small gesture but for those who resist the dictatorship in difficult, even heroic, conditions, it is something very important," Vargas Llosa told a news conference called to launch the initiative.

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U.S. Congress and activists denounced rights violations in Cuba
Washington, May 13 (EFE) .- Leaders of Congress and dissident Cuban Democratic Directorate, today reported continued violation of human rights in Cuba, in a report that further attacks OAS for initiating the process for their eventual reintegration into the body.
During a news conference on Capitol Hill both legislators Janisset Rivero, Deputy National Secretary  Board insisted that the brothers Fidel and Raul Castro should be brought to justice for "crimes against humanity."
"I think  This report is important ... that the public hears on these horrors that happen within the totalitarian Cuba, "said  Republican Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
The report recommends  a change in legal status of political prisoners in Cuba by that of  "Hostages for political reasons," according to the United Nations International Convention against the Taking of Hostages.
If  While the report released today, 312 pages, has no weight now legal, Rivero said his group will go to various organizations international human rights for change of designation  political prisoners.
"We're starting a process documentation, and come before the IACHR (Inter-American Commission Human Rights), Amnesty International, a United Nations proposal, "Rivero told Efe.
The Government of Havana immediately rejected the attacks of the Board, accusing him of being the U.S. Government Service
"This is an organization of many created and dedicated to receive USAID funds in its program subversion against Cuba are paid and are given funds American taxpayers with the aim to discredit the people Cuba, "Efe said Alberto Gonzalez, a spokesman for the Department of Cuba Interests Section in Washington.
Congressmen  U.S. and activists denounce rights violations in Cuba

"Cuba does not recognize any legal authority or political or moral to what we consider a group of cheats who travel the world and get rich at the expense of American taxpayer, "he said.
According to the Board, the situation of "hundreds" of political prisoners in Cuba meets the  criteria for the international community recognizes them as "Hostages of the Castro brothers, kidnapped for political reasons."
The  report provides a chronology of acts of repression against Orlando Zapata Tamayo activist, based on the testimony of his mother, between February 6, 2009 and February 25, 2010, when was buried.
Zapata Tamayo, Lincoln Diaz-Balart called "Hero" and "martyr", died in prison after a hunger strike of 86 days. The report said his death "is the responsibility of the system led by General Raul Castro Ruz. "
The document complains  "nullification shameful", the June 3, 2009, a resolution 1962 Cuba suspended from Organization of American States (OAS), which opened the door for possible return of that country regional forum.
For the Board, acts of "murder and torture "people and" hundreds of deaths in Cuban prisons as only in 2008 and 2009 "and the numerous reports of organizations international human rights did not prevent the cancellation of the measure.
The resolution, which lifted the suspension of Cuba, was adopted by consensus by the member countries of the OAS during its XXXIX  General Assembly last year in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula.
That resolution stipulates that the return of Cuba "will be result of a process of dialogue initiated at the request of the Government of Cuba and in accordance with the practices, purposes and principles of the OAS. "
Several Democratic leaders in Congress have said during years that the best way of promoting democratic change in Cuba would the relaxation of the embargo, and promoted, so far without success, measures to achieve it.
The legislature Albio Sires, the only Democratic press conference, said he does not share this opinion, and asked the international community to condemn the situation in Cuba.
The idea of relaxing the ban is supported by numerous civic organizations and renowned human rights, including Human Rights Watch, but has not found an echo among the most Republican congressmen.

Exiles claim that political prisoners in Cuba are in fact hostages

24:01 Washington .- The political prisoners in Cuba should be considered hostages, since his imprisonment took place under a regime that does not guarantee the minimum legal rights, suggested one of the opposition groups in the United States, the Cuban Democratic Directorate.

"In Cuba there are no political prisoners, but hostages for political reasons by the Castro brothers who have taken all legal and de facto power in Cuba", explains the Board in a report on human rights in Cuba, reiterated AFP.

"These legal elements form the legal status of hostages for political reasons, and there is an international United Nations who so qualify, a document that is also used by the Colombian government to fight the FARC guerrillas in that country" it added.

The Cuban regime denies there are political prisoners, and considers the imprisoned activists as "mercenaries" as the U.S. government.

In addition to denouncing the conditions in Cuban jails, the report recalls that the release of political prisoners is also determined in a non-legal.

"The legal concept of 'parole' created by the brothers Castro to release political prisoners violates due process because it does not extinguish the criminal liability and is used to pressure and threaten to former political prisoners, criticized the Board.

About 200 people remain imprisoned in Cuba for political reasons, according to internal dissent.

Cuba received international condemnation for death after a hunger strike prisoner Orlando Zapata, 23 February.

Cuba accuses the Spanish who signed the  show of trying to "harm the sovereignty" of the island

The organizers of the International Poetry Festival of La Havana attacked on Thursday against the artists and intellectuals Spanish who signed the manifesto against the "fierce and painful Cuban dictatorship "accusing them of trying to" harm the sovereignty "of the island.
A group of 62 Spanish artists and intellectuals, including filmmakers include Pedro Almodovar, Fernando and Fernando Colomo Trueba, actors Victoria Abril, Imanol Arias, Antonio Resines, Gabino Diego and Aitana Sanchez Gijon, singer Alaska, Professor Antonio Elorza, journalist and writer Rosa Montero Mario Vargas Llosa, this week signed a document in favor of "freedom and democracy "in Cuba.
The government of Raul Castro had not ruled on this new manifesto against the communist regime on the island for over 51 years. The answer came from the hand of poets and Cuban intellectuals who accused the Spanish signatory to "make game "to the supposed enemies of the island.
"Together with known spokesmen for the anti-Cuban propaganda, people honest, perhaps without the necessary information and knowledge, influenced by the 'fierce and painful' media campaign against Cuba, we accused, and in doing so, they assume a position that attempts to injure sovereignty of our country, "said a text released by the Government of  the island.
"They want to keep Cuba in the dock. The words democracy, freedom and human rights have been abducted "  the statement said. The Cubans have built a democracy own legitimate, supported by the vast majority of its people, "he says.
Cuba is not just a name on the finger, is a culture, an ethic, a history, a strong identity, a born mystic  poetry and imagination, "the document released by the Prensa Latina.
This document has been signed by the National Awards Literature Miguel Barnet, Pablo Armando Fernandez, Nancy Morejon, Carilda Oliver Labra, César López and Roberto Fernández Retamar, who regret sentences issued from the European continent.
"That Spain that some claim that attack us is not Spain we have always loved and admired, the Spain of the intellectual and contemporary artists always fraternal, that of countless friends  with us every day with their solidarity, "reads the text.
In this statement, which is considered an official response new manifesto Castro, artists and may join intellectuals from around the world through a virtual space open in the coming hours.