Tuesday, July 20, 2010

LPP NEWS First Draft...

The Congressional Debate

Monday, July 19, 2010
From The Hill:

Debate over travel to Cuba heats up

A congressional debate over whether all Americans should be able to travel freely to Cuba appears to be heating up.

congressional debate over whether all Americans should be able to travel freely to Cuba appears to be heating up.

The House Agriculture Committee last month approved a measure that allows travel to Cuba and eases restrictions on U.S. commodities sold there. The measure still needs approval from the Foreign Affairs Committee before it can come to the floor for a vote, but Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) has indicated that he supports lifting the ban.

"I have long believed that the nearly fifty year old travel ban to Cuba simply has not worked to help the Cuban people in any way," he said in prepared remarks. "It has not hurt the Castros as it was intended to do, but it has hurt U.S. citizens."

The legislation builds upon efforts by President Obama in 2009 to ease travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans and would allow virtually all Americans to visit the island. Proponents for ending the ban contend it will boost trade between the two countries.

But not everyone is on board with opening the travel door to Cuba.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on Friday reiterated his strong opposition to lifting the ban.

"I want to make it absolutely clear that I will oppose — and filibuster if need be — any effort to ease regulations that stand to enrich a regime that denies its own people basic human rights," he said.

"The fact is the big corporate interests behind this misguided attempt to weaken the travel ban could not care less whether the Cuban people are free," Menendez said. "They care only about opening a new market and increasing their bottom line. This is about the color of money, not the desire for freedom."

Like Menendez, opponents to the ban argue easing travel restrictions will funnel money to the Castro regime and essentially fund activities that will provide little benefit to the Cuban people.

"The very fact that a travel bill has moved through the House Agriculture Committee makes one wonder why American agriculture interests would even care about travel to Cuba," Menendez said. "One can only assume it's about generating increased tourism dollars for the Castro regime to buy more agricultural products."

Mauricio Claver-Carone, director of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, which supports the travel ban, told The Hill that lawmakers in favor of easing restrictions understand that the votes are not there and have resorted to hiding the provision in noncontroversial bills to get it passed.

"What they're trying to do is package it with an agricultural bill in order to get it through the back door," he said, adding, "They're basically trying to maneuver this any way they possibly can without addressing the travel issue specifically."

Last month, Claver-Carone's organization joined nearly 500 organizations that oppose lifting the ban and warned Congress that nothing good would come from allowing free travel between the two countries.

"[The] below signatories believe that the freedom of Cuba will not arrive by means of the pocketbook nor the lips of libidinous tourists, who are aseptic to the pain of the Cuban family," their letter states, adding, "For that reason we suggest that you maintain a firm and coherent policy of pressure and condemnation against the tyranny of Havana."

When, or if, the Foreign Affairs Committee will vote on the legislation remains to be seen. A Berman spokesman did not respond to a call about timing for the measure.

"That's where the current question is at," Claver-Carone said. "But it's pretty clear that they do not have the votes on the floor."

Political Prisoner Oped in NYT

By recently released -- and forcibly exiled -- political prisoner Ricardo Gonzalez Alfonso in today's New York Times:

Out of Prison, Still Not Free
I NEVER imagined I would be born at the age of 60, at an altitude of several thousand feet above the Atlantic. That isn't gibberish; it's what I felt when I was released from jail in Cuba and exiled to Spain last Monday.

My debut as a prisoner of conscience came early in 2003, a period subsequently characterized by the world's press as the Black Spring. I was just one of 75 Cubans imprisoned for our belief that freedom is an achievable miracle and not a crime against the state.

They say prison is a school, and it's true. I did my best to be a good student and kept back my tears. I succeeded so well that my prison companions still think me a brave man.

Within a few months I could find my way pretty well around the labyrinths of shipwrecked souls. I learned the secrets and legends of killers for hire, crimes of passion, traffickers in illicit powdery substances, would-be emigrants whose clandestine departures had been no secret to the state — even thieves who'd share their teaspoon of sugar on days of hunger.

Zoology was one class we had every day. I learned to live with rats, and even came, on certain nights of our tropical winter (which is winter, nevertheless) to stare at them with an urgency not unlike what people call appetite. I was a solitary friend to the deft spiders that sometimes freed me from the torturous buzzings and blood-shedding bites that accompanied my insomnia.

I became well versed in cosmic solitude and silence. I remember being in a cell no wider than a man with outstretched arms. I also grew familiar with fetid overcrowding and unceasing clamor. Months of unending darkness, months of eternal light.

I was only an auditor in certain courses, in which I learned that some prisoners were specializing in self-injury as a crude solution to their despair. I was witness to mutilated hands and other wounds as mortal or venial as sins. A man cut off his own penis and testicles in a desperate attempt to become a woman. Others, more radical and exhausted by perpetual existential tumult, turned to various methods of suicide, all of them extremely effective.

A large part of the program of study consisted in the defense of one's rights. There was no theoretical option, only the very Cuban practice of the hunger strike. I carried one out for 16 days, until part of my will felt satisfied with my victory. That long and voluntary fast vindicated the enforced daily fast of imprisonment.

As in any school, there were periods of leisure. Packs of cigarettes were wagered on the outcome of chess matches, card games or soccer contests. I knew sellers and buyers of recreational drugs who were very good at evading or bribing both prison guards and informer inmates.

There was no lack of expertise in armed aggression. Pitiful, decaying knives that were nevertheless sharp-edged and skillfully wielded left trails of blood and rage behind them. (But I never signed up for that class.)

I've always had an aptitude for subjects that have to do with dreams, and I dreamed of my wife and children with such fervor that I know they felt my caresses as they lay asleep.

I was almost an exemplary student, and received only one failing grade: in hatred. Despite certain zones of memory, I bear no rancor against my jailers.

And now, after this senescent birth of mine, I'm contemplating the future with all the hope of the newly unveiled. Ever the optimist, I even dream of returning to a Cuba where freedom is not an impossible illusion. I know that, in the next 60 years, I won't have to be reborn again.

Ricardo González Alfonso is a journalist. This article was translated by Esther Allen from the Spanish.

Political Prisoners Petition the EU

Petition From the Former Prisoners of Conscience Exiled by Cuba to Spain, to the Foreign Ministers of the European Union, About the "Common Position" Regarding Cuba

Madrid, 19 July 2010

Your Excellencies, the Foreign Ministers of the European Union

We, the Cuban prisoners of conscience exiled to Spain in recent days, aware of the manifest willingness of some European countries to modify the E.U.'s "Common Position" regarding Cuba, declare our disagreement with an approval of this measure, as we understand that the Cuban government has not taken steps that evidence a clear decision to advance toward the democratization of our country.
Our departure for Spain must not be considered a good-will gesture but a desperate action on the regime's part in its urgent quest for credits of every type.
It is for that reason that we ask the countries of the European Union not to again soften their exigencies intended to achieve changes toward democracy in Cuba and to secure for all Cubans the same rights that European citizens enjoy.


Ricardo González Alfonso
Mijail Bárzaga Lugo
Normando Hernández González
Antonio Augusto Villarreal Acosta
Omar Rodríguez Saludes
Luis Milán Fernández
Pablo Pacheco Ávila
José Luis García Paneque
Julio César Gálvez
Léster González Pentón

Courtesy of Zoe Valdes.

Ban Ki -moon urged Cuba to continue with the measures has initiated conciliatory...

The UN Secretary General has considered the recent encouraging release of political prisoners

Geneva ( Switzerland) .- The secretary general  UN was encouraged by the recent release of prisoners Cuba's political and urged the Cuban government to continue along this path reconciliation.

In Speaking to reporters in Geneva , Ban Ki -moon said he is very about what is happening in Haiti.

"We hope that more conciliatory measures by Cuban authorities establish the rule of law and respect  human rights. These are the fundamental principles of the Charter  UN ",  Ban said .

The general secretary said that during his meeting week spent in Madrid with the Foreign Minister of Spain Miguel Angel Moratinos discussed the situation in Cuba.

Photo: Ban and  Moratinos met on July 16 in Madrid (UN / Jean -Marc Ferre )
S: Chronicle of Aragon / translate LPPNEWS Front- Line 
20. July 2010 | By Drafting | Category: International
POLICE POLICY assaults a Castro dictatorship Paraplegic Man , SIGLER AMAYA

Written by Stated in the field   

Police officers assaulted on Monday by former political prisoner Ariel Sigler Amaya paraplegic after he protested in migration outside of a unit for the delay in permit departure, Europa Press reported .
" Ariel grabbed him by the neck, he is ill , and he put handcuffs on so strong that his arm was red. After  So we got on a bus , "complained his wife , Noelia Pedraza.
The dissident was accompanied by freelance journalist Leticia  Ramos and Rafael Pedraza , the Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs , who, before the " no response " from the authorities on the trip  Sigler , started a small protest outside the headquarters government .
Those present chanted slogans such as "Castro murderer "and" thugs " what prompted the intervention of security forces finally stopped " aggressively "to the four dissenters , Pedraza said .
The opposition and his wife were taken to his home in the Municipality of Pedro Betancourt while unaccounted for  the other two dissidents.
Sigler Amaya had gone to the immigration office in Matanzas  to inquire about the status of your application, but officials you saw him reported that " they have 30 working days give an answer and they say only 11 days have elapsed , something  which is not true , because that authorization was requested in June, " said Lady in White.
To his wife, this is part of a strategy of regime Castro, which seeks to "Ariel trip to Spain and the United States , but  he does not want because they prefer to go to Miami with his brother , there you are  waiting and that we have already said . "
In this situation, Sigler Amaya has expressed its desire  start a hunger strike to pressure the authorities , but their families are opposed because of his poor health .
"What is clear is that we do opposition, because Ariel I have to leave to travel to the United States is very serious, very wrong, " mourned his wife.
Monday, July 19, 2010 21:32
S : Cuba Libre Digital / simultaneous translation LPPNEWS Front- Line -Last updated on Monday, July 19, 2010 21:38

Ten exile called on the EU not to vary its position with Cuba...

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The Cuban exiles feel "betrayed" by the Government

July 20, 1910                        - Madrid                                   - Humberto Montero

" Deception , "" treason , "" distress " and as many adjectives used yesterday the eleven most Cuban exiles to refer to the treatment offered by the Spanish authorities since his arrival in Madrid last week.
Treason because , according to Julio César Gálvez, released all signed in the presence of an official of the Spanish Embassy in Havana commitments "two minutes before boarding the airplane " that jeopardized the Spanish Government to offer financial assistance to support their families and rent a home and legal cover if necessary.

This has led to a situation of helplessness that broke out yesterday while reading a statement signed by ten of the eleven former hostages to Castro in which they asked the European Union ( EU) does not change one iota the common position to the Cuban dictatorship .

The document , read by Galvez in a makeshift lectern comprising tables on the terrace of a bar attached to the hostel " Welcome " , which are " housed "by the Spanish authorities, the "prisoners of conscience Cuban exiles in Spain, aware of the obvious desire of some European countries to modify the "Common Position "of the EU towards Cuba , declare our disagreement with the passage of this measure on the grounds that the Cuban Government has taken steps that demonstrate a clear decision to move towards democratization "of the island.

The exiles remarked in the text that his release " should not be considered a gesture of goodwill, but as an act of desperation of the regime in the urgent search for credit of any kind ' due to the acute economic crisis that hit Cuba and which has led shortages of staples . " That's why we ask the countries of the EU- explain -not soften its demands aimed at achieving changes towards democracy and for all Cubans get the same rights enjoyed by European citizens. "

Also , this group of exiles reiterated its intention to request the European Parliament to be allowed to intervene in the European Parliament before any decision is taken on the common position

Gálvez show your passport to the media

Exit Permit ... "Definitive"
- After the reading of the statement against the intentions of the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos , Julio César Gálvez showed his passport to which it is found that has an " exit permit definitive " Cuba.
- Another of the signatories of the document, Ricardo González Alfonso , was also critical of the "dispersion "of exiles who might have a background policy at the request of the Castro regime .
- The exiles drew attention to political prisoners who do not accept exile and claimed that no "excuses " for Castro to keep them in detention, except " they want hostage to the brave , those heroes. "
S:larazon.es/ traduce LPPNEWS Front-Line
Delay the arrival in Spain of eight political prisoners
MADRID - The eight political prisoners who were to arrive in Spain on Tuesday will make between Wednesday and Friday for lack of seats on scheduled flights which need to travel, a source told AFP the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
These eight are Manuel Ubals , Ricardo Silva , Alfredo Pulido , Blas Giraldo Reyes, Jorge Luis González , José Ubaldo Izquierdo , Arturo Perez and Antonio Diaz , according to the ministry.
Everyone had to have traveled on Monday from Havana on a regular flight of the airline Iberia with a total of 36 families, and their arrival at Madrid was scheduled Tuesday at 14h00 (1200 GMT).
But not fly " as a matter of availability of flights, " the source said, adding that the eight will arrive on Wednesday , Thursday and Friday. One more will come at a later date , they added.
Last week came to Spain 11 former Cuban political prisoners and their families in several flights.
All are part of the 52 that the regime in Havana promised to release . These 52 were arrested in the "Black Spring "of 2003 .
Spain should in principle to host 20 of them .
Of the group of eight that should arrive this week, one of them, José Ubaldo Izquierdo, then would travel to Chile, which on Monday showed willingness to host it with your family.
Among those who have not traveled more than 10 could refuse to leave Cuba , or wanting to travel to the United States. On Tuesday, U.S. diplomats will meet with relatives of political prisoners who have declined to travel to Madrid.
Of the 11 arrived last week, one of them , Pablo Pacheco, flew to Malaga on Monday to settle with his family in a shelter , while the other 10 remain in a hostel in Madrid waiting for referrals to other centers .Traduce LPPNEWS Front-Line

Cuban dissident Ricardo González Alfonso on Monday in Madrid.

Morning arrives in Chile one released from Cuba

Havana .- U.S. diplomats will meet with relatives of Cuban political prisoners to be released in the coming months but do not want to leave the island to Madrid, as it did the 11 detainees who have already left .

Las Damas de Blanco reported that the meeting will take place in the U.S. Interest Section in Havana (SINA ) and representatives of the Catholic Church and the Embassy of Spain were also invited, AFP noted .

The Church has not yet confirmed their participation, while the leader of the Damas de Blanco , Laura Pollan , wife of political prisoner Hector Maseda , 67 and sentenced to 20 years , estimated that two dozen relatives of the inmates attend the SINA, although it is possible , depending on the version of the group, a change in the collective meeting individual and group interviews .

Meanwhile, the Chilean government said they were willing to receive the Cuban dissident José Izquierdo, one of nine political Cubans arrive in Spain today , as reported by the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, told Reuters.
S : El Universal / Caracas / translates the Front- Line LPPNEWS

Cracks threaten the Women 's movement White


Fewer and fewer . They have even called for the Ladies in White dismantle the organization now that the government has promised to release dissidents  whose freedom they require.
But the group's leaders promise to continue marching through the streets of Havana on Sunday to release all political prisoners and urged Cubans relatives of other prisoners to join this group.
" The way is to release all political prisoners peaceful . This is the way, and we must follow ,'' she said Berta Soler , who estimated remain in prison between 50 and 60 dissidents after the 52 they release demanded.
" We're calling the relatives of other prisoners come walk with us, and any other women who want walk us to demand the release of the men ,'' Soler said Monday.
"' Our voices , our protests , our legs , our voices will not stop while there is a single political prisoner peaceful '' he said Laura Pollan , another leader Ladies in White. El Nuevo Herald telephoned at The Havana.
The release so far , 19 political prisoners  the promise to liberate others 33 - all part of the group of 75 imprisoned in a crackdown on  2003 - has provoked questions about the future of the Ladies in White group created by women family of 75.
The differences between some members the group, which began to come to light in May appear to have deepened to the extent that Raul Castro , the Catholic Church and the Spanish government held negotiations that led to the promise of 52 free dissidents.
"After the release of our prisoners should be a statement dismantling the organization as such ,''said Oleivys García , wife  journalist Independent Pablo Pacheco, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, upon arrival  Madrid. "If want there emerge other movements, then they must change the  Ladies name black, blue or brown .''
Garcia is a White Lady template ,''said Soler. She lived in central Ciego de Avila province , he added, "and never or almost never came here [to Havana ] to fight for political prisoners ,''he said .
Since the march of the Ladies in White began in 2004 , officials Cuban women have threatened repeatedly that if they kept their  protest their family would remain in prison longer.
In May, Church authorities informed the women that the government wanted to distance themselves from the Women in Support if they wanted to make headway on the talks between the Catholic Church and Castro.
Thirty- five women relatives of the prisoners signed a letter dated 31 May they appreciated their work to the Women in Support but exhorted not to attend the marches Sunday for five weeks as a " signal flexibility and contribution to the ultimate objective of reaching Damas de Blanco freedom immediate and unconditional release ''of dissidents who were imprisoned since 2003.
Soler , chicken and other group leaders immediately rejected the request and continued their march along with the Damas de Apoyo. Shortly thereafter, government Force deactivated the government mobs that had haunted wildly during the marches .
"We were strong when the government asked  we took away from the Ladies Support and we will stand firm now ,''said Soler. " The Ladies White will not disappear .''
Meanwhile, it was reported that eight other dissidents would be released and reach Spain on Tuesday morning , increasing to 19 the number of political prisoners released by the government of Raul Castro as part of their promise 52 to release the over four months.
News reports from Spain identified the eight as Ubals Manuel Gonzalez Richard Enrique Silva Gual, Alfredo Manuel Pulido López, Blasgiraldo Reyes Rodriguez Jorge Luis González Tanquero, José Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández , Arturo Pérez de Alejo Rodriguez and Antonio Ramón Díaz Sánchez , who accompanied 38 family .
The Interests Section of the United States in Havana , meanwhile , invited relatives of dissidents who remain prisoners to visit the headquarters from diplomatic Tuesday to find out about the application process authorization go to the United States after the release .
Among the guests were relatives of prisoners who said they did not would leave to Spain if freed , and others who do not have asked if they go to Madrid. The offer does not seem to indicate any change in position  U.S. to support Cuban dissidents.
F: El Nuevo Herald/ Translation LPPNEWS Front- Line
El Nuevo Herald