Thursday, July 14, 2011

Represion en Cuba: Sara Martha Fonseca ...

Cuba independent journalist José Alberto Álvarez Bravo arrested...

JoseAlbertoAlvarezBravo José Alberto Álvarez Bravo

Cuban independent journalist José Alberto Álvarez Bravo, a prolific chronicler of human rights abuses in Cubaand his wife were arrested Tuesday morning after police raided their home in Havana and seized various items -- including a Cuban flag!
Police arrived at their home about 7 a.m. and forced their way inside, according to a report posted at Payo Libre. Besides the flag, items taken by police were a laptop computer, a box of audio cassettess, various books, papers and magazines, a printer, a digital camera and five flash memory cards.
The couple were then taken to a Havana police station.
Alvarez's wife, Lilia Hernandez Castañer, said she was released from custody about 1 p.m. Officials told her that her husband had been moved to another police station, and as of Wednesday had not been freed.
To learn more about Alvarez, an opposition activist for more than 20 years, read a recent interview with him here.

Uncommon Sense


'Juan of the Dead', Cuba's first horror film, to debut in 2011

Official trailer released 
With a mixture of social commentary and decaying flesh, writer and director Alejandro Brugues released an official trailer for Cuba’s first contribution to the zombie genre, which will premiere later this year.
The film follows hero Juan (portrayed by Cuban actor Alexis Diaz de Villegas) as he attempts to cash in on the zombie outbreak in Havana by killing the walking dead for money.
In the film, Cuba’s government officials initially attribute the zombie outbreak to U.S.-funded dissenters.
"It's a zombie film but it's about Cubans and how we react in the face of a crisis because we've had a lot of them here over the last 50 years," 34-year-old Brugues told BBC World Service's The Strand.
"It is a social comedy, it has a bit of everything. It has horror, it has action and it pretty much laughs in the face of problems," he continued.
Brugues' second film is the latest attempt to revive Cuba’s sparsely-funded independent cinema industry.

Dems, State Dept near resolution on Cuba money

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Senate Democrat is close to ending his hold on $20 million that the administration had ticketed for a program to promote democracy in communist Cuba, a monthslong challenge to President Barack Obama with possible ramifications for the 2012 election.
Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry said Thursday he was working with the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development on ensuring the effectiveness of the program to promote human rights and basic freedoms. Established in 1996, the Cuba Program has been beset with reports that some grantees misused funds and the government provided little oversight.
His goal, Kerry said in an interview, was to make sure the "money is well spent." He had blocked the distribution of the $20 million on April 1, arguing that the funds weren't helping the Cuban people and instead were provoking the Raul Castro regime. He was joined by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, who also had serious concerns about the program's mismanagement.
"Senator Kerry has been working with the State Department and USAID to make sure these programs represent an effective use of taxpayer funds and discussions remain focused on that objective," Kerry's office said in a statement.
One of the outstanding issues is how the State Department will complete a cost-analysis review of the spending in the program.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., a member of the Foreign Relations panel, said a resolution was imminent, likely within the week.
"There are some reporting requirements," Menendez said in an interview. "In my mind these programs are totally transparent. USAID has been very forthcoming, tons of information, probably more so than any other program of democracy promotion in the world. But we're happy to do it because we think the programs are both worthy and can stand on their own two feet."
The program and the dispute have exposed divisions within the Cuban-American community, pushed several private congressional spats into the public and stirred the political implications for Obama and Democrats facing re-election next year. It also has revived the debate over human rights in Cuba after more than a half century of control by Fidel and Raul Castro.
In blocking the money in April, Kerry said he hoped the Cuban people "achieve greater freedom and prosperity in the future consistent with their aspirations. There is no evidence, however, that the 'democracy promotion' programs, which have cost the U.S. taxpayer more than $150 million so far, are helping the Cuban people." He also cited the imprisonment of Alan Gross, who was working on a USAID-funded democracy-building program when he was arrested in December 2009.
On March 11, the Maryland man was sentenced to 15 years after being convicted of illegally importing communications equipment. Cuba contends he is a spy; the U.S. disputes that claim.
Kerry's action drew an unusual personal and public challenge from his House counterpart — Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Havana-born chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In June, she accused Kerry of failing to understand what she called "the brutal nature of the Havana tyranny."
Ros-Lehtinen held a news conference this past week with Reina Luisa Tamayo, whose son was a Cuban dissident who died after an 83-day hunger strike. Orlando Zapata Tamayo was 42 when he died on Feb. 23, 2010. He had been in prison on charges that included disrespecting authority.
In an interview, Ros-Lehtinen said Congress "should do everything we can to make sure the program and the aid get to the people. We can improve it. How not to improve it is by freezing the program."
Cuban-born Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J., a proponent of the program and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said he backed Kerry's bid for the president in 2004.
"To say I'm disappointed in Kerry is an understatement," said Sires, who added: "This is democracy building. We just gave Egypt $65 million for society building and so forth. Why can't we do it in Cuba."
Sires and Menendez face re-election next year in New Jersey, home to more than 80,000 Cuban-Americans.
Many of the democracy programs are based in Florida, which Obama won by a margin of 2.8 percentage points in 2008 over Republican John McCain. In prevailing in the state, the Democrat captured a solid 47 percent of the Cuban-American vote, and any erosion of support could impact the outcome in 2012.
In Florida, Carlos Saladrigas, co-chair of the business-backed Cuba Study Group, which does not receive U.S. funds, said the federal government should limit its program to helping support civil society, just as it has done in other countries. He said it should not be in the business of funding Cuban dissidents.
"Direct help to the dissident, that should come from the Cuban community, brother-to-brother," he said. "They don't need that much money."
Saladrigas argues that too often the money in support of dissidents has been spent outside of Cuba rather than to those on the island. He also said the money has been used to advance different political agendas of exile groups, sometimes sowing divisions among the very dissidents it was supposed to help.
Pepe Hernandez, head of the Miami-based Cuban American National Foundation, which has not taken U.S. funds in decades, said the democracy funds were often ill-spent in the past and need to be better monitored, but he opposed cutting the program altogether. He says improvements have been made, including requiring more of the money to be used inside the island.
Hernandez said his and other organizations have sought out dozens of international foundations dedicated to strengthening democracies, but very few want to work in Cuba.
"We can do some of this on our own, but you don't do this kind of work with (just) hundreds of thousands of dollars," he said. "That's very limiting. If you have a government program with $15 million, you can do much more."
Associated Press writer Laura Wides-Munoz in Miami contributed to this report.
Ros-Lehtinen Concerned with Possible Violation of U.S. Law by USINT in Cuba
July 13 - U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter today to Secretary Clinton regarding an online photography contest the U.S. Interests Section (USINT) in Havana, Cuba is sponsoring, which essentially promotes tourism to Cuba and therefore undermines and potentially violates U.S. law.
Click here to see the letter.
A young Cuban man was found dead in the undercarriage of an Iberia plane
July 13 - My translation of a report by Spanish news agency EFE: A young man about 23 years was found dead in the undercarriage of an Iberia aircraft that landed at Madrid's Barajas airport from Havana.
Airport sources told Spanish news agency Efe, that the young man was a Cuban whose first name was Adonis, and the initials of his last names were G. B.
The young man may have died when he was crushed by the airplane wheels, since his body presented several wounds to the chest and head.
Adonis' body, the sources said, was located in the rear landing gear of the aircraft, when Iberia flight 6620, from Havana, arrived at Barajas Airport at 13.50 local time.
A coroner moved to the airport to order the removal of the body, which was taken to Madrid's Instituto Anatómico Forense, to perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
The Judicial Police of the Guardia Civil has taken over the investigation. EFE (Spanish)
The suffering of the Cuban people continues, while everyone else is only concerned about going to Cuba as tourists!
17th. Anniversary of the "13 de marzo" tugboat massacre
On July 13, 1994, 72 Cubans tried to flee Cuba aboard a tugboat named "13 de marzo."
Just 45 minutes after leaving Havana harbor around 3 AM, Cuban Coast Guard boats intercepted the 13 de marzo to prevent it from leaving.
Several government boats began ramming the fleeing tugboat and high-pressured water hoses were used to try to make it stop.
The result was that the 13 de marzo overturned and 37 people, including 10 children drowned.
No one was ever charged for this heinous crime, just one more on the large list of crimes committed by the Castro regime during the last 52 and a half years.
More than 280 persons have registered in Cuban Search
More than 280 persons have registered in Cuban Search looking for friends and relatives.
Register today, it's free.
To visit Cuban Search  click here for the English Version  Y aqui para la versión en español.
WikiLeaks: Cuban doctors flee Venezuela
July 13 - Classified cables made public by WikiLeaks reveals that hundreds of Cuban doctors are trying to flee Venezuela and that Venezuelan military authorities are working closely with Cuban agents to prevent more doctors from defecting.
In one case, a Cuban couple attempted to board a flight from Barcelona (Venezuela) to Miami after the US Embassy issued YY visa foils for their onward travel. The couple paid over US$4,600 to "a contact" to assist them in clearing Venezuelan immigration. After their flight was delayed and a shift change occurred at the airport, the couple was questioned by Venezuelan immigration authorities who turned them over to the National Guard. The military later contacted Cuban officials. The couple was eventually moved to a hotel by Cuban "security" and told they would be deported to Cuba. The couple later escaped their captors and fled to the US Embassy, where a local contact picked them up and reportedly took them into hiding. The traumatized couple told US Consular officers the Cuban "police" who detained them were also "Barrio Adentro Mission officials". According to the female applicant, the "Cuban police" threatened to rape her and beat up her boyfriend.
To read the entire cable Click here and scroll down to page 7
Reina Luisa Tamayo tells US lawmakers about her son's death
July 12 - The mother of Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died after an 85-day hunger strike, gave emotional accounts Tuesday of her son's death in captivity to dismayed lawmakers.
A sober-faced Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, led Reina Luisa Tamayo to meetings with senators and House members who listened in rapt attention as she described Zapata's ordeal at notorious Kilo 7 prison in Camaguey province.
"I would go to every corner of the world to ask for justice for the cause of my son who was assassinated," Tamayo told reporters in Rubio's Capitol Hill office. "The Castro brothers (Fidel and Raul) are murderers and every door should be closed to them. We have to fight for liberty and justice for all Cubans. Our people are suffering." Her hands shaking, Tamayo held up a blood-stained white T-shirt she said her son gave her shortly before his death at 42 in February 2010.
Tamayo, 62, said the blood came from vicious beatings Zapata endured while refusing to eat during his 15-month imprisonment. She said his captors denied him water for 18 days toward the end of his life.
"They murdered Orlando Zapata in premeditated fashion," Tamayo said, her voice rising. "This mother would be incapable of making such a strong allegation against the government unless I held proof in my own hands." Tamayo read from writings her son had inscribed on the shirt.
"My blood is in service to liberty for all 11 million Cubans who don't express themselves because they fear joining the many who are already in prison," Tamayo read. "Long live the shirt of the prisoner of conscience!" The Miami Herald 

Havana and Moscow signed an agreement to counter the 'decline of trade'

San Salvador-Havana flight connected with direct

TACA will begin to operate the new frequency on Aug. 6, three times a week.

Written by Keny Lopez
Thursday, July 14, 2011 00:00


From August 6 near the Salvadorans will traveling on a direct flight to Havana, Cuba, through TACA. The airline will offer three weekly flights, departing on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturday at 9 a. m. San Salvador and came to Havana at 1:15 p. m. (Local time).
In the frequency Havana-San Salvador, the flight will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, starting  at 6 p. m. Cuba and arriving at El Salvador at 6:15 p. m. (Local time). The flight will be operated with A319 equipment with capacity for 120 passengers.
"This  new service will strengthen tourism and trade relations between these two countries and allows for other connection options markets important in the region, "said Danilo Correa, Regional Director Avianca-TACA sales for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
The flight will allow passengers traveling to El Salvador from Cuba have the facility to make connecting flights to more countries  the region. Correa explained, between 60% and 65% of packages sold in circuits, that is, the tourist chooses to visit several destinations in one trip. The trip to Cuba will  an introductory rate of $ 399 (taxes included). The airline projected that 60% of employment in the market is generated in flight El Salvador and 10% are European.

Occupancy in August

By  Moreover, TACA said that the August holiday season already have 85% occupancy of seats on its flights, especially  destinations like Roatan (Honduras), Cancun (Mexico) and Miami (United States). The airline has even enabled a charter flight Cancun.
Claudia Arenas, TACA's communications director, said the company plans to remain in El Salvador are solid, and added that the payroll has grown from 1.990 employees in 2010 to 2.341 this year, according to company figures.

Vista. Cuba es una isla del Caribe que  cuenta con más de 4,000 cayos y alrededor de 300 playas de arena blanca. PRESS PHOTO / Courtesy

Vista. Cuba is a Caribbean island with more than 4,000 cays and about 300 white sand beaches.
The route from San Salvador Havana often becomes the number 43 out TACA of El Salvador. Avianca-TACA serves more than 100 destinations in America and Europe.