Goodbye to the Blog: The Digital Controversy

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To read a translation of this image click here.

When a friend leaves… says a song performed by Alberto Cortez, it gets the tears flowing in anyone. Well, that sorrow of goodbye referred to in the song occurs not only when someone very close leaves. It also hurts when we have to say goodbye to people we don’t know physically, but with whom we’ve shared the vast space of the Internet. People we have read and followed on the web and with whom we’ve even had opposing positions on many topics. This is the case with Elaine Diaz, who just announced the end of her blog, The Digital Controversy. After five years of publishing on that “most personal, subjective” site, the journalist has decided to close it and devote herself to teaching and research. A loss to the plurality of the blogosphere in Cuba.

Although she never responded to our invitations to exchange opinions with the bloggers of Cuban Voices, this does not diminish my sympathy for her. Nor did the snub of not accepting a special mention in the Virtual Island competition take its toll on the respect many of us profess for her writing. I didn’t even stop reading her, and I defended her against multiple detractors, when on more than one occasion she launched the hackneyed barrage of official accusations against me. Much less did I let her her dismal performance on State Security’s television program “Cuba’s Reasons” cloud my enjoyment of her sincere, brave, youthful posts. Because in Elaine Diaz I saw something of the twenty-something Yoani Sanchez I was, with the illusion that the system could be reformed from within. To approach her prose was to journey into my own past.

Sadly, the blog The Digital Controversy has said goodbye to its readers. And although the author’s explanation refers to new professional paths, it’s hard to believe it’s only about that. Elaine Diaz has transgressed the limits of criticism permissible to anyone working in the official media or in an academic center in Cuba. I remember, for example, her denouncing the corruption in the high schools in the countryside (parts I,  II, III, IV and V ),  where she touched on the strategic issue of educational quality and the loss of values among teachers and students. Also on this list is a magnificent report from her keyboard about the social and environmental damage caused by generators in her village (parts  I,  II, III and IV), where questions about the sacrosanct “Energy Revolution” are posed directly to Fidel Castro. The final blow was perhaps her Twitter call, under the hashtag #nolesvotes, to stop voters from endorsing the members of the National Assembly who don’t represent the interests of the people.

The outcome was as expected. We can only hope that some day this young woman will again have a virtual space, without limits, without fear of approaching anyone to debate an idea; without having to make any concessions to censorship. I think that to read Elaine Diaz at this time is, for me, like a journey into the future.

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45 thoughts on “Goodbye to the Blog: The Digital Controversy

  1. LOTS OF FOOTAGE OF OUR YOANI ON THIS PIECE BY SPANISH TELEVISION!

    YOUTUBE: The Cyber Dissidents of Cuba (2012 – Spanish only) – The Cuban opposition leader Yoani Sanchez is the most famous of all dissidents of the regime of the Castro brothers. In a country like Cuba where there is only one political party and where one cannot create an independent media critical of the government for these dissidents is a major challenge. From art and intellectual circles a group of young Cubans is challenging the Castro regime, mainly using the internet to spread their message. The question is whether someone can hear them? In Havana met some of these cyber dissidents. Consuelo Saavedra speaks with dissident of the Castro brother’s regime.

    Los ciberopositores de Cuba (2012) – La líder de la oposición cubana Yoani Sánchez es la figura emblemática de todos los disidentes al régimen que mantienen los hermanos Castro.
    En un país como Cuba donde existe un sólo partido político y no se pueden fundar medios de comunicación independientes ser opositor al gobierno es un desafío mayúsculo. Desde el arte y los círculos intelectuales un grupo de jóvenes está desafiando al castrismo usando principalmente la internet para difundir su mensaje. La pregunta es si alguien puede escucharlos? En La Habana conocimos a algunos de estos ciberopositores. Revisa la crónica de Consuelo Saavedra con los disidentes del régimen de los hermanos Castros.

  2. Simba Sez: Humberto, I believe you do a great service for the Cuban citizens locked behind the prison walls created by the waters surrounding the Island Nation. However, I also believe this is not the correct place for you to install your copied news articles from around the world. I said as long as two years ago you should have your own blog, and I yet believe that. This blog belongs to a Cuban locked in that very same prison I mentioned in the first sentence. You rarely, if ever, mention what she has written about. You merely use her popularity in an attempt to be some sort of hero in your own mind. You are as large a detraction from Yoani’s message as are the likes of Damir, Cuba Libre, and all those other names that have came and went. I also fully realize that there are many readers of this blog who disagree with what I am stating, and I am in full agreement they have that right to disagree. You certainly have that right too. I repeat myself in saying I think you do a wonderful job of keeping people informed. Maybe just not here.

  3. CONTROL TOWER TO YOANI SANCHEZ CHARTER/BLOG COMMENT SECTION, HUMBERTO CAPIRO HAS HIJACKED THE ENGLISH COMMENT SECTION OF HER BLOG! HE IS ARMED AND DANGEROUS WITH IMPORTANT CUBA RELATED INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND VIDEOS TO PUT TO REST THE CASTROFASCISTS LIES! OVER!! OPPS THAT CV RADIO TALK, VERY 1970′s!! JE JE JE! IM JUST MESSING WITH YOU Simba! BUT IT COULD BE WORSE, IT COULD HAVE BEEN HIJACKED BY Damir!! JE JE JE!

    MIAMI, Aug. 27, 2012 — MIAMI, Aug. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — This summer two major paintings by Cuban master Rafael Soriano were given to the Smithsonian American Art Museum for its permanent collection. These two works, Un Lugar Distante (A Distant Place) (1972) and Candor de la Alborada (Candor of Dawn) (1994), represent significant moments in Soriano’s artistic production.

    VIMEO VIDEO DOCUMENTARY: “La Profundidad del Silencio” (The Depth of Silence) Spanish with English subtitles – Un documental sobre la vida y obra del pintor cubano Rafael soriano. Un íntimo retrato a través de entrevistas con el pintor, su esposa Milagros y el historiador Ricardo Pau-Llosa. Este recuento sobre la historia de la tercera generación de pintores de vanguardia durante la década de los cincuenta, es también el recuento de un viaje metafórico lleno de imaginación y poesía, un viaje que nos permite acecarnos a contemplar el espíritu de la luz por medio de la obra de este singular artista. A documentary about the life and work of Cuban painter Rafael Soriano. An intimate portrait as told by the artist himself, his wife Milagros, and the historian and poet Ricardo Pau-Llosa. This tale about the history of the third generation of painters from the vanguard of the fifties in Cuba is also a personal journey full of imagination and poetry; a journey that allows us to contemplate the light and its spirit as seen through the work of this unique artist.

    http://vimeo.com/23978536

    VIA UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: Cuban Art: Rafael Soriano’s Work at the Lowe Art Museum

    November 09, 2010 — Coral Gables — Cuban-born painter Rafael Soriano is one of the major Latin American artists of his generation. Soriano broke with regional and folkloric themes which once dominated Cuban art in the mid-twenties. Soriano first mastered geometric abstraction as a style in the 1950′s, but by the late 1960′s had defined his signature approach to painting. His work embodies a style best described as ‘Oneiric Luminism’ combining a purely abstract form of light, form space and shadow with an interest in poetic and metaphysical impulses.

    Rafael Soriano: Other Worlds Within, a Sixty Year Retrospective will be on view at the University of Miami Lowe Art Museum from January 29 – March 27, 2011. A preview lecture and reception will be held on January 28 from 7-10 pm. The lecture will be given by Dr. Alejandro Anreus.

    Born in 1920 in the town of Cidra in the province of Matanzas, Rafael Soriano manifested an early inclination for painting. After completing seven years of study at Havana’s prestigious Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro, he graduated in 1943 as Professor of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture. He then returned to Matanzas where he taught visual arts for close to two decades. He was one of the founders, and later Director, of the Escuela de Bellas Artes de Matanzas, the most important art school in Cuba outside of Havana.

    In 1962 Soriano went into exile, settling in Miami with his wife Milagros and his daughter Hortensia. He worked as a graphic designer and occasionally taught, first at the Catholic Welfare Bureau, and later at the Cuban Cultural Program of the University of Miami.

    Soriano’s works are included in major public collections, among them: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes/Havana, Zimmerli Museum/Rutgers U, Denver Art Museum, Archer Huntington Gallery/U of Texas – Austin, Lowe Art Museum/ U of Miami, Museum of Art/Fort Lauderdale, Museum of the Americas/OASWashington DC, Galería Arte Moderno/Santo Domingo, Zea Museum of Art/Medellín.

  4. AWWW!! Simba!! YOU FLATTER ME! IM NOT A PILOT NOR DO I BELONG TO AL-QAEDA TO HIJACK ANYTHING!! BUT FEEL FREE TO ADD YOUR VOICE AND NOT JUST WHINE! TOO MUCH COPY AND PASTE UNDER THE YOANI SANCHEZ’ BLOG BRIDGE FOR ME TO TAKE YOUR ATTEMPTS AT PLANTING DOUBT OR CALUMNY MY WORK HERE OTHER THAN PURE FLATTERY! GRACIAS HERMANITO! BIG GUSANO HUGS AND KISSES TO YOU!

    DEFAMATION—also called calumny, vilification, traducement, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation a negative or inferior image. This can be also any disparaging statement made by one person about another, which is communicated or published, whether true or false, depending on legal state. In Common Law it is usually a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).[1]

    INNUENDO: is an insinuation or intimation about a person or thing, especially of a disparaging or a derogatory nature. It can also be a remark or question, typically disparaging (also called insinuation), that works obliquely by allusion. In the latter sense, the intention is often to insult or accuse someone in such a way that one’s words, taken literally, are innocent.

  5. Simba Sez: Cuba Libre, I seem to read between the lines that you like Humberto Capiro’s hijacking of Yoani Sanchez’s blog. Why wouldn’t you? It covers up the only method she has of being heard outside of her Havana prison. It surely makes your job easier doesn’t it?

  6. Cuba Libre !! ARE YOU SURE NO AUTOGRAPH?? I HAVE A REAL NAME SO ITS LEGIT!! JE JE JE!

  7. no autograph necessary, just keep commenting if we want the debate on this blog to go on.

  8. Cuba Libre !! IM SOOOOOOOOOOO GLAD THAT YOU ARE MY FAN!! DO YOU WANT MY AUTOGRAPH??

  9. wow 18 posts out of 32 are from you Humberto. And the only person that seems to be reading them is me, I`ll admit. I`ll also admit your posts are very instructive even thow I don`t agree with all of them. At least your comments, contrary to most of the others, make some sense and are well documented.

  10. SO YOU MEAN THAT CUBA IS HIDING TERRORISTS?? I CANT BELIEVE IT!

    CNN: Sources: Colombian rebels, government meet in Cuba – by Fernando Ramos

    Bogota, Colombia — Colombian rebels and the government met in Cuba to discuss the possibility of peace talks, current and former government sources said Monday.

    Present at the discussions, the sources said, were members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, and representatives of President Juan Manuel Santos.

    The sources asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with media.

    Previously on CNN.com: Indigenous groups clash with Colombian soldiers

    When asked about the possibility of talks, a spokeswoman for Santos declined to comment.

    “The government does not have an official announcement regarding that issue,” said Ana Maria Duran.

    The FARC has been at war with the Colombian government since the 1960s, making it Latin American’s oldest insurgency. Though severely weakened in recent years, the group continues to carry out kidnappings and attack security forces.

    The Venezuelan government was reportedly key to bringing the two sides together, the sources said.

    This spring, the FARC freed the last of 10 government hostages after holding them for more than a decade.

    In February, the rebel group said it would also stop kidnapping civilians for money. It did not address the fate of its civilian captives, nor did the group renounce kidnapping for political purposes.

    Hundreds of civilians remain prisoners of the guerrilla group throughout Colombia, according to the nonprofit Free Country Foundation.

    Peace talks between the government and the FARC last broke down in 2002. Then-President Andres Pastrana ended negotiations after rebels launched a series of attacks across the country, in an apparent bid to strengthen their position.

    The United States and European Union consider the FARC a terrorist organization.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/27/world/americas/colombia-farc-talks/index.html

  11. LATIN AMERICAN HERALD TRIBUNE: Attorney for Alan Gross Accuses Cuba of “Misrepresenting” the Facts

    WASHINGTON – The attorney for the family of Alan Gross on Monday accused the Cuban government of “misrepresenting” what the U.S. subcontractor was doing on the island when he was arrested two years ago, and he called Havana’s explanation for his imprisonment “preposterous.”

    In a statement sent to Efe, lawyer Peter J. Kahn said that the efforts of the Cuban government “to misrepresent what Alan P. Gross was doing in Cuba are an attempt to justify to the international community a 15-year prison sentence for helping Cuban Jews improve their access to the Internet.”

    Last Friday, the Cuban Interests Section in Washington told Efe that Gross was imprisoned not for helping the Jewish community improve its Internet access, but rather for getting under way a “clandestine program financed” by the U.S. government.

    Gross was put on trial in accordance with “all guarantees” and “because he violated Cuban laws by implementing a clandestine program financed by the U.S. government and aimed at disrupting the constitutional order in Cuba,” the interests section said.

    “During his visits to Cuba, Gross never communicated to the people he contacted that he was working for a U.S. government program. The undercover activities carried out by Alan Gross in Cuba constitute crimes in many countries of the world, including the United States,” it alleged.

    But on Monday, in response, Gross’s lawyer in the United States said that during his client’s trial in March in Havana, none of the Jews who gave testimony offered any information about “any action – or even a statement – by Alan that could constitute a threat to Cuba’s sovereign government.”

    “Without hesitation, they all responded ‘No,’” when the defense asked “whether they witnessed, heard or knew of any subversive activity by Alan,” Kahn said.

    Upon describing Gross’s activities, one of the witnesses, an elderly man, became visibly moved and said that the American showed them “the world” on the Internet and, in particular, the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Kahn said.

    The attorney said the suggestion by Cuban authorities was “simply preposterous” that Gross, a 62-year-old man who traveled alone, was involved in a clandestine program to disrupt “the constitutional order in Cuba.”

    Gross does not speak Spanish, presented a statement to Cuban customs and “spent his days showing his fellow Jews pictures of the world and setting up a community intranet to share recipes and prayers on the Internet,” said the lawyer.

    No matter what it says to the media, “the truth is that the Cuban government has refused to engage in any meaningful dialogue about a solution to Alan’s case, preferring instead to use one man and his family, who are all suffering greatly, as pawns in the continuation of more than 50 years of hostilities between Cuba and the United States,” Kahn argued.

    “The Gross family remains committed to a negotiated solution in an atmosphere of mutual respect. They are hopeful that, in the spirit of Hanukkah, President Raul Castro will find it in his heart to allow them to soon be reunited with Alan,” the attorney added.

    Last Saturday marked two years since Gross was imprisoned on charges of participating in subversive plans against the state for distributing communications technology among the Jewish community on the island.

    At the time of his arrest, Gross, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, was working for Development Alternatives, a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

    USAID’s Cuba program, financed with $20 million for fiscal 2012, focuses its efforts on “increasing the ability of Cubans to participate in civic affairs and improve human rights conditions on the island,” says the federal agency on its Web page.

    The State Department and the White House, as well as Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and representatives of civic groups have joined Gross’s family in its demand that he be released immediately for humanitarian reasons. EFE

    http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=449576&CategoryId=14510

  12. Cuba campaign takes on ‘free’ health care

    HAVANA — Cuba’s system of free medical care, long considered a birthright by its citizens and trumpeted as one of the communist government’s great successes, is not immune to cutbacks under Raul Castro’s drive for efficiency.
    The health sector has already endured millions of dollars in budget cuts and tens of thousands of layoffs, and it became clear this month that Castro is looking for more ways to save when the newspaper voice of the Communist Party, Granma, published daily details for two weeks on how much the government spends on everything from anesthetics and acupuncture to orthodontics and organ transplants.

    The Cuban medical system has been steadily cut back for a couple of decades now. It must really be getting bad if the state controlled media is mentioning it.

    This part is revealing:

    “Respect for doctors has entirely been lost,” he said. “Some will indulge a patient for fear of how they might react.”
    The physician spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss health care with a foreign journalist. Interview requests were not granted by the Health Ministry, though a spokeswoman said in a brief email response that the costs in Granma were the result of careful study.

    It is illegal for doctors to speak to foreign media. Medical statistics are state secrets. The regime provides the only data to support their claim they provide quality healthcare, but there is no way to confirm the accuracy of the information.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/25/2967624/cuba-campaign-takes-on-free-health.html

  13. uba campaign takes on ‘free’ health care,/b>

    HAVANA — Cuba’s system of free medical care, long considered a birthright by its citizens and trumpeted as one of the communist government’s great successes, is not immune to cutbacks under Raul Castro’s drive for efficiency.
    The health sector has already endured millions of dollars in budget cuts and tens of thousands of layoffs, and it became clear this month that Castro is looking for more ways to save when the newspaper voice of the Communist Party, Granma, published daily details for two weeks on how much the government spends on everything from anesthetics and acupuncture to orthodontics and organ transplants.

    The Cuban medical system has been steadily cut back for a couple of decades now. It must really be getting bad if the state controlled media is mentioning it.

    This part is revealing:

    “Respect for doctors has entirely been lost,” he said. “Some will indulge a patient for fear of how they might react.”
    The physician spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss health care with a foreign journalist. Interview requests were not granted by the Health Ministry, though a spokeswoman said in a brief email response that the costs in Granma were the result of careful study.

    It is illegal for doctors to speak to foreign media. Medical statistics are state secrets. The regime provides the only data to support their claim they provide quality healthcare, but there is no way to confirm the accuracy of the information.

  14. AUDIO DECLARATIONS CUBA: Jose Daniel Ferrer García habla luego de ser liberado y da detalles de la represión sufrida – Cuban dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia speaks after being released and gives details of the repression he and other suffered. For more information UNPACU and their activities for the freedom of the Cuban people call: Luis Enrique Ferrer, Rep. International +1 786 553 1666 (USA) of Jose Daniel Ferrer, general coordinator in Cuba +53-53 14 67 40 – UNPACU, or Patriotic Union of Cuba, is a civil organization born within the prevailing political repression in Cuba, we advocate peacefull but firmly fight against any repression of civil liberties on the island of Cuba.
    Para mayor información sobre la UNPACU (Unión Patriótica de Cuba) y sus actividades en favor de los derechos y libertades del pueblo cubano: Jose Daniel Ferrer, Coordinador general, +53-53 14 67 40 (Cuba) Luis Enrique Ferrer, Rep. internacional, +1 786 553 1666 (USA). Si desea hablar con algún otro coordinador o activista de la UNPACU llame a Luis Enrique para que le diga como hacerlo y a que numero llamar.

    https://www.google.com/voice/fm/16166385738979693582/AHwOX_BjyN538_jH6BIPjbs1e9KrWs2aJ8Ipjy-BXwUpna5SZXVpouDyaJCZ7ARBdc9vzd7seTuXioammc1HzgKfKY7yOf4yDAYD8SiqqilGSZgKYC-WQ3fBZ6ClSeN7eoFUsPq0GGA7LfOofKUUGZIXbU2jskp5eA

  15. DONT REALLY KNOW THIS CANADIAN Stephen Wicary BUT HE SOUNDS LIKE A CASTROFASCIST BOOT LICKER OF THE HIGHEST ORDER! PUN INTENDED!

    THE TORONTO SUN: Stephen Wicary : Cuban sellout – Former Globe online editor now reporting live from the Caribbean’s floating prison – BY EZRA LEVANT

    A lot of other journalists answered my questions to Wicary for him. They were acting as his lawyers. They said he didn’t really believe in Communism. They said he was just there to support his wife, who got a promotion to work there for an NGO. The suggestion was that Wicary didn’t really love Cuba, he just loved his wife, so it was an act of marital solidarity, not political solidarity.

    Wicary has been in Cuba for a few weeks. Miraculously, he has been able to get an Internet connection. No ordinary Cuban has that privilege — but Wicary somehow got Castro’s permission.

    It was weird right away. There he is in Cuba — a controversial, newsworthy place, with scandals and corruption and violence and repression, with a cholera outbreak right now, with a Spanish human rights activist held hostage — but all he kept writing about on Twitter was Canadian politics, publicizing left-wing political commentaries.

    But then Wicary wrote this from Cuba last week: “Have been reading up on Canada-Cuba relations and it seems Sun papers have a long tradition of asshattery with regard to the island … During the 1999 Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg, they published a how-to guide for athletes seeking to defect.”

    Wicary has never criticized Cuba or, aside from a couple retweets, even reported on its scandalous news.

    But he just comes right out and engages in Communist propaganda, denouncing Canada’s Sun newspaper — we’re asshats, he says — because in 1999 we wanted to help Cuban athletes come to Canada? Who would possibly object to that? Other than someone who is working under the restrictions of the Communist Party? Is he also working under its direction?

    All of a sudden, the excuses offered up by the Media Party — the best possible spin, the best possible light — for his Cuban move are washed away.

    Stephen Wicary, Cuban sellout, is now making anti-Canada, anti-defection tweets from Cuba, using his special government privileges.

    He’s condemning Cubans who want to flee to freedom — the freedom he himself will presumably exercise one day, probably when he needs free health care and doesn’t want to go to a filthy Cuban hospital.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/08/24/stephen-wicary-cuban-sellout

  16. HUFFINGTON POST: “Reflections on Pope Benedict’s Visit to Cuba” – by YOANI SANCHEZ

    The preparations for the papal visit had started months earlier, when it was announced that His Holiness would visit us for the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the image of the Virgin of the Caridad del Cobre. Our patron, popularly known as Cachita, was found in the Bay of Nipe in the early 17th century. Two men and a teenager, all three named Juan, found her floating in the water.

    Cachita was the first rafter, only did she not escape, she arrived, not wanting to reach other horizons but to stay with us forever. And in honor of this “traveler of the faith” Joseph Ratzinger also came to Cuba. To pray in a temple full of offerings, known as El Cobre, for its proximity to copper deposits. In the entrance hall of the busy church — the Chapel of Miracle — is a varied collection: locks of hair dedicated by girls planning to marry a foreigner alternate with booties from babies written off by doctors but who managed to survive. Bracelets from the 26th of July Movement left there by rebels who once wore scapulars, but ended up banning them. In one corner a card recalls the dissidents imprisoned during the Black Spring of 2003. Only under Cachita’s cloak can such plurality coexist.

    Fidel Castro’s mother herself offered this Virgin the silhouette of her son sculpted in gold so that he would survive the rigors of the Sierra Maestra. Ernest Hemingway’s Nobel Prize lies side-by-side with several military orders that belonged to the Fulgencio Batista’s soldiers and officials. All the elements of the national melting pot come together at the feet of Cachita, under the protection of the crown that adorns her head.

    Also missing were the Ladies in White, who every Sunday make a pilgrimage to the temple of our Patron Saint. They were there for several days before being warned by State Security to stay away. Several of them were subject to house arrest, while others fared worse, ending up in one of the area’s jail cells.

    Like someone who cleans the house to receive an important guest, the Cuban government had decided to sweep all the inconvenient citizens under the carpet. To achieve that, they triggered the strongest campaign of repression of recent years.

    There was no time on the papal agenda to meet with the outlawed voices of civil society. Well in advance, the Ladies in White had solicited at least one minute to tell His Holiness of this other Cuba that the official side never includes in its conversations. There is no one better than they to make such a demand.

    Every Sunday for the last nine years dozens of these women have attended mass at Santa Rita, patron of impossible causes, to pray for their imprisoned family members. The peaceful women’s movement they represent has spread to seven provinces and, although many of the Ladies have accompanied their husbands into exile, there are now more than one hundred members on the Island.

    Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega’s failure to include the Ladies in White in his negotiations with the Cuban authorities has been strongly criticized, as these women have — without question — the merit of having put their lives in danger in the streets, before a government that penalizes political opposition and free expression with long prison sentences. If the cardinal and the president had opened this space, there would have been faith that the pope would have met with them.

    But Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, already on Cuban soil, said that Benedict’s schedule was too tight for a meeting with the dissidence or other civic groups. But he could dedicate half an hour of his scarce time to the ex-president Fidel Castro, with whom he met at the Apostolic Nunciature in Havana.

    Despite the controls deployed, in the middle of the plaza of Santiago de Cuba a man named Andres Carrion shouted, “Down with communism!” His words echoed in the morning air above the psalms and prayers, even reaching the ears of those closest to the pope. Immediately two plainclothes police evacuated the daring activist who had made a mockery of all the fences.

    Once Carrion was beyond the area visible from altar, a man wearing the insignia of the Red Cross hit him in the face and brought a stretcher down on his head. Before the astonished eyes of the foreign press and the opportunistic lenses of several cameras, the scene explained very well how the circles of vigilance were set up around that gathered flock. With police camouflaged as the faithful, as nurses, as lighting technicians. If anyone expected to see a booted soldier with a gun on his belt repress the indignation, what happened would have confused and affected them even more.

    The image of that individual, supposedly there to provide first aid, slapping a handcuffed man and beating him with what should have been emergency equipment, provoked the most notorious scandal of the papal journey. The report of what happened reached the ears of the International Red Cross, which demanded an investigation of the facts. Their Cuban spokesperson, several days later, issued a note of apology without specifying the identity of the aggressor.

    The short video showing the beating has been seen by millions of Cubans, although the official press never referred to what happened. People must know that Andres Carrion will be charged with public disorder and it has also leaked out that the Vatican entourage intervened to avoid the the application of a very severe penalty.

    Transportation was virtually paralyzed hours before the Alitalia plane landed and Internet access was cut in schools and workplaces a week in advance. The mobile phone company, Cubacel, became an accomplice, cutting the lines of any potentially “dangerous” users. Even the black market experienced anxious moments with the excessive number of police in the streets. The country was under an undeclared state of emergency.

    Several weeks after Benedict XVI arrived on our Island, the phones still weren’t working and civic activists remained in detention. Like that prisoner in the boarded-up cell, many Cubans are still waiting to unravel the method, the mechanism, through which they can let the Supreme Pontiff know what happened behind the scenes of his visit.

    From this side of a closed shutter, within a guarded cell, or in a plaza occupied by State Security, there can always be a small hole through which to send a message. Do they hear it on the other side? Does the papal mantle reach, this time, to protect all of us?

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ESSAY!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yoani-sanchez/pope-visit-cuba_b_1830931.html

  17. Cuba Libre !! THE MOST IMPORTANT FANATIC IS YOU DEAR! GLAD YOU LIKE MY COPY AND PASTE WORK!

  18. If only Guillermo Farinas would continue one of his hunger strikes till the end for once, then we could move on to other things. Wonder how he manages to go on a hunger strike for 135 days and still be alive??

    “Elizardo Sanchez, head of the banned but tolerated Cuban Committee for Human Rights and National Reconciliation” ??
    How can a committee be both banned and tolerated?? Either it is banned, or it is tolerated, so stop with the hideous lies, you are only fooling the six or seven fanatics left in this blog.

  19. OSWALDO PAYA IS NOT THE LAST OF THE DEATHS UNDER MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES IN CUBA WHERE THE CASTROFASCISTS GOVERNMENT IS THE SOLE “INVESTIGATOR”!! I HOPE THIS CASE WILL OPEN THE WORLD’S EYES EVEN IF IT’S JUST THE CANADIAN ONES !

    TORONTO STAR: Mississauga man’s fatal fall in Cuba bewilders family – Laura Kane

    On top of their grief, there’s anger and bewilderment — that the Cuban authorities have done little to investigate the death.

    “I really don’t know what happened to him. I play through different scenarios in my head every night,” said Monique Lewis, Odaine’s half-sister.

    Lumley was last seen alive at around midnight Wednesday at the Barcelo Solymar Arenas Blancas Resort in Varadero Beach, where he was vacationing with friends.

    Kevin Dawson, who was a hotel room with his friend, left for a club while Lumley stayed behind, drinking with a young Toronto woman he had met at the resort.

    When Dawson returned at 4 a.m. to an empty room, he assumed Lumley was spending the night with the woman. Then at 9 a.m. his phone rang. It was the Cuban police.

    They told him his closest friend was dead — crumpled on the pavement outside the hotel — and he would have to identify the body.

    “I broke down right away, just crying,” he said. “That was my best friend there. I loved him.”

    Lumley had fallen 16 metres from a third-floor balcony linked to a set of stairs on the exterior of the building. Police told Dawson they believed Lumley had been trying to walk down to his room on the second floor and stumbled on the stairs.

    But Dawson, who flew back to Canada on Friday, said they could not explain why Lumley’s hat and flip-flops had been removed and carefully placed on the balcony.

    “If you are drunk and stumbling around, why would you take off your shoes and hat and lay them down like that?” he asked. “It doesn’t add up.”

    He said he never saw police interview the woman with whom Lumley was last seen. And when police returned Lumley’s cellphone, all of his contacts, text messages and photos had been deleted.

    Back in Canada, the family, too, is wondering why the Canadian Embassy in Cuba did not immediately contact them. They learned of their son’s death from Dawson, who called the manager at the store where he and Lumley worked.

    Family members said an autopsy carried out in Cuba has determined the fall was the cause of death. They have not yet been contacted about the body being released.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1247229–mississauga-man-s-fatal-fall-in-cuba-bewilders-family

  20. EXCELLENT ARTICLE ON THE ALTERNATIVE, NON-GOVERNMENT SPONSORED PUNK AND HIP HIP MOVEMENT IN CUBA!

    THE JOURNAL UK: Heaton author Tom Astley on his new Cuban music book -by Kate Proctor,

    His debut, Outside the Revolution: Everything, is a journey through contemporary Cuban music and will appeal to anyone interested in Latin America, the Cuban Revolution, alternative music and modern counter-cultural movements.

    “But, having spoken to a few of these alternative musicians, punk, hip hop and many other genres were, I felt, becoming as Cuban as son, rumba and cha-cha-cha.”

    The book introduces you to Porno Para Ricardo, a Cuban punk band founded in 1998 with a defiant lead singer named Gorki Aguila. Hip-hop musician Escuadron Patriota and political song-writer and guitarist Pedro Luis Ferrer also appear in the book, which makes you race to the internet to find out what music could be so inflammatory it’s been banned from the Cuban airwaves.

    An argument that the music’s political force is helping re-shape Cuba for a life after brothers Fidel and Raul Castro is also given clarity.

    And Tom believes that, in 20 years time, when Cuba will be in its post-Castro era, the role of music will be regarded as a key tool of political change.

    He says: “What the book is trying to say is that many of these musicians are trying to show that the Cuban Revolution – after nearly 60 years of absolute power – can’t really claim to be a socialist movement. And, by offering a new face to the left-wing in Cuba, these musicians are further trying to redefine Cuban music and Cuban identity.”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.journallive.co.uk/culture-newcastle/2012/08/25/charting-hidden-revolution-in-cuba-s-new-music-scene-61634-31692153/

  21. THE CASTROFASCISTS KNOW THAT NEWS IN AND OUT OF CUBA IS MOVING FASTER THAN THEY WOULD LIKE! WE NEED TO KEEP UP THE PRESSURE ON INFORMATION IN AND OUT OF THE ISLAND PRISON, THIS IS OUR BEST WEAPON!

    THE AUSTRALIAN: Cuba releases award-winning dissident

    LEADING Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas has said he has been released after being detained, following an argument with agents guarding his home.

    Mr Farinas said he was released at around 8.15am local time on Saturday, in a telephone interview from his home in the central city of Santa Clara.

    The police were “good, very professional”, added the activist, who has gone on hunger strike about two dozen times against the regime.

    The 50-year-old was detained along with two other dissidents after a meeting at his house.

    “He went to talk to the patrol… and then they had an argument and took him into custody,” his mother, Alicia Hernandez, said on Friday.

    Elizardo Sanchez, head of the banned but tolerated Cuban Committee for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said Mr Farinas wanted to speak to the agents because “the laptop of one of the members of his organisation had apparently gone missing”.

    He noted that dissidents are often arrested for several hours or days.

    Mr Farinas was last arrested on July 24 along with about 50 others at the funeral of fellow activist Oswaldo Paya, who was killed in a car accident.

    Mr Farinas won the Sakharov prize – the European parliament’s top human rights award – in 2010 after his 135-day hunger strike to press for the release of political prisoners.

    A former soldier and supporter of Fidel Castro’s revolution, Mr Farinas distanced himself from the regime in 1989 when he opposed the execution of general Arnaldo Ochoa, who was accused of drug trafficking.

    In July, 406 dissidents were arrested, according to Mr Sanchez’s group. All opposition is illegal in Cuba and the communist government considers dissidents to be “mercenaries” in the pay of its top foe, the United States.

    Cuba has been led by Raul Castro since 2006, when he assumed power from his ailing brother Fidel.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/cuba-releases-award-winning-dissident/story-fn3dxix6-1226458160935

  22. SOMEHOW THESE NUMBERS DONT ADD UP! THEY PAY DOCTORS $20, THEY DONT REPAIR HOSPITALS, PEOPLE HAVE TO FIND AND BUY THEIR OWN MEDICINES! SHOW ME THE MONEY CASTROFASCISTS, SHOW ME THE MONEY! HEY, THERE IT IS IN YOUR SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS!

    BLOOMBERG/BUSSINESSWEEK: Cuba campaign takes on ‘free’ health care – By Peter Orsi

    It’s part of a wider media campaign that seems geared to discourage frivolous use of medical services, to explain or blunt fears of a drop-off in care and to remind Cubans to be grateful that health care is still free despite persistent economic woes. But it’s also raising the eyebrows of outside analysts, who predict further cuts or significant changes to what has been a pillar of the socialist system implanted after the 1959 revolution.

    “Very often the media has been a leading indicator of where the economic reforms are going,” said Phil Peters, a longtime Cuba observer at the Lexington Institute think tank. “My guess is that there’s some kind of policy statement to follow, because that’s been the pattern.”

    The theme of the Granma pieces, posters in clinics and ads on state TV is the same: “Your health care is free, but how much does it cost?”

    The answer is, not much by outside standards, but quite a bit for Cuba, which spends $190 million a year paying for its citizens’ medical bills.

    Based on the official exchange rate, the government spends $2 each time a Cuban visits a family doctor, $4.14 for each X-ray and $6,827 for a heart transplant.

    It’s not a luxury service though. Scarcities now are common and sanitary conditions fall short of the ideal in decaying facilities where paint peels from the walls. Patients often bring their own bed sheets, electric fans, food and water for hospital stays.

    “Respect for doctors has entirely been lost,” he said. “Some will indulge a patient for fear of how they might react.”

    The physician spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss health care with a foreign journalist. Interview requests were not granted by the Health Ministry, though a spokeswoman said in a brief email response that the costs in Granma were the result of careful study.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-08-25/cuba-campaign-takes-on-free-health-care

  23. Pingback: Officiële weblog staakt kritische activiteiten | CUBA

  24. AFP: Award-winning Cuban dissident detained

    HAVANA — Leading Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas was arrested by police after an argument with agents guarding his home, his mother and activists said.

    Farinas, who has gone on hunger strike about two dozen times against the regime, was arrested late Thursday in front of his home in the central city of Santa Clara, his mother Alicia Hernandez told AFP.

    “He went to talk to the patrol… and then they had an argument and took him into custody,” she said.

    Elizardo Sanchez, head of the banned but tolerated Cuban Committee for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said Farinas wanted to speak to the agents because “the laptop of one of the members of his organization had apparently gone missing.”

    Farinas, 50, was last arrested on July 24 along with about 50 others at the funeral of fellow activist Oswaldo Paya, who was killed in a car accident.

    Hernandez said she was “worried” for her son due the poor sanitary conditions of police stations amid outbreaks of cholera and dengue on the communist island.

    Farinas won the Sakharov prize — the European parliament’s top human rights award — in 2010 after his 135-day hunger strike to press for the release of political prisoners.

    A former soldier and supporter of Fidel Castro’s revolution, Farinas distanced himself from the regime in 1989 when he opposed the execution of general Arnaldo Ochoa, who was accused of drug trafficking.

    Jose Daniel Ferrer, another dissident, was also arrested Thursday at his home in the southwestern town of Palmarito, Sanchez said.

    He noted that dissidents are usually arrested for several hours or several days by the government of Raul Castro, who took over in 2006 from his ailing brother Fidel.

    In July, 406 dissidents were arrested, according to Sanchez’s group. All opposition is illegal in Cuba and the communist government considers dissidents to be “mercenaries” in the pay of its top foe, the United States.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hvRoqxR94t3q5TITuEtjjcInHBTw?docId=CNG.c584f801a9bbca073bc20d83ddb3d490.11

  25. MIAMI HERALD: Dissidents report a crackdown in Cuba – By Juan O. Tamayo

    Cuban dissidents Friday reported a crackdown across the island, with more than 30 activists detained to keep them from marking the monthly “Day of Resistance” and the one-year anniversary of one of the most active opposition groups.

    Fourteen members of the Cuban Patriotic Union were detained in Havana as they gathered for the anniversary of the group, according to Pedro Arguelles, another member of the Union.

    Five other dissidents were reported detained in the central city of Santa Clara during a vigil demanding the release of all political prisoners. Another four were arrested in the eastern town of San Luis and three more in the central town of Placetas.

    Police told a dozen dissidents in eastern Camaguey province they would be arrested if they left their homes to attend an opposition gathering, and told seven others gathered in a Placetas home that they would be arrested if they did not leave.

    Another 11 Union members gathered in the eastern town of Palma Soriano reported late Friday that they were headed outside to demand the release of all the activists detained. There was no further word from them.

    Dissident Osmani Cespedes said more than 30 signs with anti-government slogans such as “Down with Raúl” and “Raúl Murderer” appeared Friday morning in several spots around the eastern town of Palma Soriano.

    The Cuban Patriotic Union was founded a year ago by a group of opposition activists that include Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, a peaceful dissident who served eight years in prison and was freed last year. Based in Palma Soriano, his hometown, the Union has been one of the most active opposition groups in recent months.

    Police detained Ferrer himself during a police raid of his home early Thursday morning, and seized several documents, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation noted Friday in an “urgent communiqué.”

    Dissidents also have been marking the “Day of Resistance” on the 24th of each month, recalling the Feb. 24, 2010 death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo after a lengthy hunger strike to demand an end to prison abuses.

    The dissident Ladies in White, meanwhile, urged democratic governments and human rights organizations to “take urgent and coordinated action to stop the violence unleashed by the Cuban regime” against the women and other peaceful opposition figures.

    Their statement alleged that the Raúl Castro government “has stepped up the intimidations, the arbitrary jailings and the cruelty against all those who fight to install a democratic system in our country.”

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/25/2966832/dissidents-report-a-crackdown.html

  26. NOW THAT A CANADIAN HAS DIED UNDER MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES WE WILL GET SOME REAL SCRUTINY UPON THE CASTROSFASCIST I HOPE! THE OSWALDO PAYA CASE SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN THIS MUCH ATTENTION, BUT HE IS JUST A CUBAN DISSIDENT, THEY ARE EXPENDABLE!

    THE TORONTO STAR: Mississauga man found dead in Cuba – Laura Kane and Jacques Gallant

    A Mississauga family is seeking answers after 22-year-old Horace “Odaine” Lumley was found dead this week at a Cuban hotel.

    Lumley’s half-sister, Monique Lewis, said her family first heard of the death from friends Wednesday.

    Lumley, who was born in Jamaica and moved to Mississauga as a preteen, left for Cuba on his “first real vacation” last Friday, Lewis said.

    He travelled with a group of coworkers to the Barcelo Solymar Arenas Blancas Resort on Varadero Beach.

    “He wanted to relax, because he was always working so hard,” Lewis said, her voice breaking. “I still can’t believe this happened.”

    His family is still trying to piece together what happened the night he died. The last time he was seen alive, his coworkers had left him behind at the hotel with a young woman he had met at the resort, Lewis said.

    When they returned, Lumley had fallen 16 metres to his death from the third-floor balcony, she said.

    “At first I thought it was an accident . . . we’re beginning to get more and more suspicious.”

    The Canadian embassy has been working with the Cuban police, Lewis said. But she still has unanswered questions, such as the whereabouts of the young woman and why Lumley’s cellphone SIM card had apparently been cleared when it was returned.

    Lumley, a graduate of The Woodlands secondary school, grew up with Lewis, her brother Gregory, and her mother and father in a small townhouse in the Erindale Woodlands neighbourhood of Mississauga.

    Lumley was the youngest of their father’s children, she said.

    He was well-known in the close-knit community. He often helped elderly neighbours with their groceries, Lewis said.

    “Everyone who knew him says he was fun-loving, charismatic, handsome and friendly,” she said. “But the biggest thing is that he was ambitious . . . That’s why my family moved here, to have opportunities and to give us a better life.”

    CLICK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1246905–mississauga-man-found-dead-in-cuba

  27. Damir !! I THINK YOU SHOULD GO TO OTHER MORE WONDERFUL AND IMPORTANT BLOG SITES SO THAT YOU CAN PLANT YOUR “WORDS OF WISDOM” THERE! WE’RE NOT WORTHY & WE WILL MISS YOU! YOU ARE LIKE OUR ALICE COOPER!!

    YOUTUBE: I WONT PUT THE TITLE BUT YOU HAVE A HINT ABOVE!! JE JE JE!

  28. Damir, you are such a loser and so paranoid. I DO NOT HAVE OTHER NAMES. And you’re nuts.

  29. Damir,

    Are you writing from North Korea? Your nonsensical rhetoric is reminiscent of the quirky, bizarre language they use.

  30. It’s only a matter of time. Other bloggers pos just as rarely nowadays.

    To be honest to them, they are mostly true representatnts of Cuban realities in some ways and are mostly independent. Self-financed, if you know what I mean, cia servants.

    So, for them the effort was truly personal and honest. Subjective? Certainly. But that IS the whole point of this short-lived phenomenon of “blogging”.

    Unlike this site, which has nothing personal, it is poorly designed, catastrophically written by foreign nazist agents from cia, and signed off by a group of people who too are as Cuban as I am.

    And I am not Cuban.

    The only Cuban element is a poor excuse for a human being, hiding behind a veil of “democracy”, a word whose meaning is clearly COMPLETELY unknown to the local traitor. The only goal visible on this site is making some money as fast as one can in order to buy that elderberry mobile and an audio system better than the neighbours’.

    Don’t believe me? Search no internet the videos and the photos of the traitor’s Yugosla-architecture type of apartment.

    The pin-up granny posted quite a few, showing off the “possessions” acquired

    IN CUBA

    by the money earned with this dirty terrorist work of selling own homeland to foreigners.

    Disgusting hypocrisy.

  31. Copy and paste “genius” to repeat your own question: why don’t you get yourself your own blog to spread your lies and propaganda?

    To answer my own question: because you are just another parasite (from the sewages of miami, filled to the brims by cuban traitors) who doesn’t have the decency to make his/her own and use somebody’s else.

    The team “yoani”, still no answers to my questions? Still just a bunch of hypocrites?

    Here’s another question, 34th now: so another “blogger” gone off line.

    When will you follow their steps and quit?

    This site has crumbled and fell in popularity in the past year very significantly.

    Take all those hints and follow the trends.

    No one believes you anyway. The one and a 1/2 loser who posts here under ten different nicks doesn’t count anyway.

    Right “friendly translator”?

    Or “bluey”, or “helpless”, “hankless” etc.

  32. VIA STATE OF S.A.T.S. CUBA: CIRCULATE INFORMATION PLEASE! The Cuban government is cracking down on U.N.P.A.C.U.! These are the names of the detained activists who have been given to us so far, we do not know the exact number of arrests!
    VIA ESTADO DE S.A.T.S. CUBA: POR FAVOR CIRCULAR!!! OLA REPRESIVA DEL GOBIERNO CUBANO CONTRA UNPACU!! Estos son los nombres de activistas detenidos que nos han hecho llegar hasta el momento desconocemos la cifra exacta de detenciones!

    EN HOLGUIN (in city of Holguin)
    Rolando López Martínez
    Jesús Aguilera Villaruela
    Antonio Caballero Pupo
    Luis Miguel Gómez Hernández
    Bernardo Torres Roldán
    Alberto García Silva
    Maidalis Guerrero Silva
    Yoandra Guerreo Silva
    Maris Rosa Rodriguez Silva
    Santiago Yordan Rio
    Angel Luis Téllez Aguilera
    Bárbara Bauza Dri

    EN LA HABANA (in city of Havana)
    Hugo Damián Prieto Blanco
    Yosbel Ramos
    Idalberto Acuña
    David Aguila

    EN SAN LUIS (Santiago de Cuba) – (in San Luis in Santiago de Cuba)
    Roberto González Feria
    Mauro Mir Espinosa
    Ricardo Guzmán Calzado
    Santiago de Cuba
    Walter Clavel Torres
    Anger Antonio Blanco
    http://www.facebook.com/estado.desats

  33. Humberto, here you have plenty of reasons why they leave Paradise Island (comment #4).

    The documentary “Electricity at the Service of Cuba”, filmed in 1956 (Carlos Franqui, director of Radio Rebelde in Sierra Maestra and editor of the newspaper Revolución, was the director), was uploaded into YouTube. This film is evidence of the prosperity of Cuba during the 1950’s, precisely during the Batista government. You can see the past wealth of the country and compare it with today ruins. On each of the videos Bert Corzo make comments about the subjects providing statistics and establishing comparison before and after the Castroit regime, demonstrating that it has been a failure of great proportion.

    The last article of this four part series “A Look Back at Pre-Castro Cuba”, and the three others, has been published in babalublog.com.This is the link for you to take a look at it, and comment about these series of articles.

    Link: http://babalublog.com/2012/07/a-look-back-at-pre-castro-cuba-part-4-of-4/#more-98484

    At the top of article, after the author name, if you click on (Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3), it give you access to part 1 through 3.

  34. When I try to post this is the message I get all the time
    Service Temporarily Unavailable
    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

  35. Cuba Liar

    I called you out in the last thread. You deliberately lied about what Yoani said and distorted what she wrote. But you are not honest or honorable enough to admit when you have been shown to be wrong. You haven’t responded to what I wrote because you know you it. You are caught in a lie, Cuba Liar. Admit it.

  36. Oh that big bad revolutionary government. They are so intollerant. So much so that they allowed Miss Diaz to keep her blog open for 5 years. Stop using everything and anything that happens in Cuba to help your defamatory cause Miss Sanchez. Miss Diaz probably got the payments from her US supporters cut off, explaining why she decided to close her blog. I am certain that as soon as your providers stop their monetary aid to you, you will also close your blog Miss Sanchez.

  37. FOCUS NEWS AGENCY: Cuba arrests leading dissident Ferrer – 23 August 2012- 23:45

    Havana. Cuban police on Thursday arrested Jose Daniel Ferrer, a leading opponent of the country’s Communist regime and former political prisoner, an activist told AFP.

    Ferrer was arrested at his home at 6:00 am (1000 GMT) “at a time that his family was still sleeping,” said Elizardo Sanchez, spokesman for the illegal but tolerated Cuban Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission.

    Sanchez said that police also confiscated “his work equipment, documents and other belongings.”
    Ferrer lives in the town of Palmarito, near Santiago de Cuba, some 900 kilometers (560 miles) southeast of Havana.

    Sanchez called for “urgent action to demand the release of this peaceful and respected Cuban opposition figure, whose home has been raided at least once in the past few months.”

    The 41-year-old Ferrer, who heads the illegal Patriotic Union of Cuba, was one of 75 prominent dissidents arrested in 2003 and sentenced to long prison terms.

    All of those dissidents were released by 2011 following mediation from the Catholic church, but most agreed to move to Spain with their families. Ferrer and a small group chose to stay in Cuba.
    Ferrer has been arrested three times this year — he was detained for 27 days in April, 24 hours in May, and three days earlier this month.

    In Cuba, all political opposition is illegal. The government considers political dissidents “mercenaries” working for its arch-enemy, the US government.

    In May, the state newspaper Granma said that in Cuba, which has a population of 11 million, there were 57,000 prisoners.

    Dissidents however believe there are really between 70,000 and 80,000 prisoners, including 50 political activists.

    Separately, the office of Cuba’s attorney general said Thursday that it found 46 security personnel criminally liable for mistreatment at prisons or detention centers between 2007 and 2011.
    The office however did not say what punishment the personnel received, if any.

    http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n285712

  38. WHY DO THEY DO IT?? THEY GET “FREE” EDUCATION, “FREE” HEALTHCARE!! WHY, WHY DO THEY LEAVE THE ISLAND PRISON, I MEAN PARADISE!! (Freudian slip there)!

    MIAMI HERALD: Female Cuban players defect – Four female baseball players from Cuba have defected from a team that competed in the V World Cup of Female Baseball in Edmonton, Alberta. – By Jorge Ebro

    The four female players abandoned the Cuban team that competed in the V World Cup of Female Baseball, where they hardly left an impact on the field after losing eight games and winning only one. Yet they turned into a subplot when three of the girls did not attend the closing ceremony at Telus Field.

    The first one to defect was Odreisleisis Pequero Del Sol, 21, who left on Aug. 14 and later contacted members of the team to notify them that she was with her boyfriend on the other side of the Canadian border, where she had arrived thanks to a transit visa that had been approved for a stop the team made in Chicago on its way up to Edmonton.

    Born in the Cuban city of Ciego de Avila, Pequero — considered one of the team leaders — played only on Aug. 12, when she was 1 for 2 in the humiliating 12-4 defeat against Australia.

    The daily newspaper Edmonton Journal later confirmed that three other players had abandoned the Cuban delegation.

    “We have always tried to encourage people not to defect, but we can’t control them,” Hayter told the newspaper. “We make it clear to all participating teams that we offer room and board and all other expenses, but we cannot individually control each person. As the [event] organizers, we would prefer that no one would stay. But we can’t be blamed when it happens.”

    When a couple of Cuban baseball players abandoned a juvenile team in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2008, a furious Fidel Castro called Ron Hayter from Havana to let him know how upset he was.

    Hayter, executive director of the International Baseball Federation in that Canadian city, said that the then-Cuban president really let him have it with a barrage of insults.

    This time, Castro, 86, did not know or simply did not care that four Cuban female players made history by being the first to defect from a female delegation in that sport as well as the largest group leaving a baseball tournament in that city.

    At least, this time Hayter did not receive any calls associating him with “the scum of the earth,” as he recalled being referred to in that previous call.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/22/2963932/female-cuban-players-defect.html

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