Membership Card or Passport?

Photo: Silvia Corbelle

The whole neighborhood called him by the peculiar last name he’d inherited from his Basque grandfather. Vertical for ideological reasons, he always made it clear that he was “a man of the cause.” Meeting after meeting, report after report, complaint after complaint, few exceeded him in offering proofs of faith in the system. He was also characterized by his severe face against the protestors and the hugs he gave to those who shared his ideology. And so it was, until a week ago.

The family tree bore fruit and the combative man just managed to get his Spanish passport.* In his Communist Party nucleus they told him to choose: foreign nationality or continuing to be a member of that organization. Faithful, but not stupid, he chose the first. As of a few days ago he premiered his new life without red card or statutes. He has already started to wink at some of the dissidents in the neighborhood. “You know you can always count on me,” he blurted out at someone who, until recently, he’d always kept a watch over.

It’s a curious party organization that brags about exercising internationalist solidarity, but doesn’t want dual nationality communists in its ranks. At least such narrow-mindedness is helping to convert certain extremists into “meek foreigners.” Given the speed with which they change, one wonders if they previously believed in what they were doing, or were simply opportunists. Perhaps in preferring an EU passport they are just choosing a different mask, a new tone for their chameleon skins.

*Translator’s note: Spain’s Law of Historical Memory set a limited period during which Cubans who could prove a Spanish grandparent qualified for Spanish citizenship.


130 thoughts on “Membership Card or Passport?

  1. Omar,

    Are you kidding or do you live in Cuba?

    Planet Earth calling Omar.

    I’ve read hundreds of pro-Castro anti-US editorials in the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Toronto Star, etc.

    For years one of the BBC’s star Castro sycophants in Cuba, Fernando Ravsberg, repeated every lie fed to him by Castro and made up hundreds of his own to please his master.

    I won’t even mention all the Stalinist pro-Castro “journalists” who write for rags like The Guardian.

    Every day, reporters from AP and other agencies repeat the lies of Castro as part of their deal with the dictatorship.

    All this is your mainstream corporate media, Omar.

    When can I write a pro-Bush anti-Castro article in a Cuban newspaper like Granma?

  2. neutral observer: I bet Castro would let you print a “pro-Bush” ( you got to be kitting) and pro-embargo (most Americans are against the embargo of Cuba)….you know when….when a Pro-communist commentary is part of NBC, WGN, ABC, Fox News, etc…daily news….they don’t even have a pro American worker daily commentary or pro average and poor American daily edition in any U.S. newspaper….it is all about the 28% that live well… the mass communication that is generated in the U.S., in particular, is pro-privilege, pro-business and to project American Power and persuasion to American citizens and the World. The mass news media that are dedicated to publishing dissent in the US are in comparison as small as blogs like this are in Cuba…why…because Americans are afraid to support them …they might loose their jobs if the Rich employers finds out they like reading about Unions, like the idea of Universal Health Insurance…hell the Rich and Right Wingers want to suppress Obama Care….a charity program that is helping 7 millions Americans that don’t have Health Insurance Programs to pay for Medical bills because their Rich employers don’t want to provide it as a benefit because they want too keep most of the profit of the business for themselves and leave their employees out in the cold.

  3. Omar,

    How do you feel about supporting the oppression of Cubans who try to exercise the same freedom of speech that you take for granted?

  4. Omar,

    Since our media is all controlled by evil corporations, how do you get to write here?

    You keep quoting pro-Castro and pro-Maduro articles published by the US corporate media.

    You get to post them on a Cuban dissident blog.

    Something in your fantasy world doesn’t make sense.

    Please send this message to Castro. I would like to write a pro-Bush pro-embargo article in a Cuban newspaper.

    Fair is fair.

  5. Germans lead major European countries in the % of people that read the newspaper. How about Cubans…how many Cubans read the newspaper regularly…flash drives in Cuba will have to do for now….

    France Telecom is testing a new electronic newspaper with the French newspaper industry called Read & Go.

    Seven French publications have joined France Télécom for the test, which is intended to provide a convincing facsimile of its traditional counterpart. 120 people in France are testing the device, which allows them to download the participating newspapers contents over France Télécom’s wireless network.

    France Télécom is not the first company to experiment with electronic “paper” versions of newspapers. The Kindle, sold by, already allows customers to subscribe to e-paper versions of 19 newspapers. However, Read & Go is different as it can run adverts.

    If successful, France Télécom plans to introduce the product in other markets, like Britain, where the company has mobile networks.

    This product is being watched closely in the French market, as there are hopes that it could aid the flagging industry. Only 42 percent of adults regularly read newspapers in France, compared with 48 percent in the United States and 73 percent in Germany, according to the World Association of Newspapers.

    The seven French publications participating in Read & Go include: Le Monde, Le Figaro, Le Parisien and Libération, which is being added to the test this month; a sports daily, L’Équipe; a business newspaper, Les Échos; and a weekly entertainment and culture magazine called Télérama.

    Pascal Laroche, director of digital editions at Libération, said his paper viewed the project as a supplement for its existing products.

  6. Humberto: I didn’t read anything in your article that I don’t know already. The difference between government control media and private corporations control of Media is not really much different. Think about it for a minute….you know about Fox News bias to the Right, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal. Large Media outlet disseminate mass information that is bias to the interests of the favorite party of the major investors and contributors to political parties or single party if there is only one. In Venezuela, for example, SOS Venezuela is a Right Wing propaganda Media outlet, the Venezuelan government has its own. News Media today, all over the World, not only in Cuba or the U.S. are bias and have become tools necessary for power and governance. It is not like the old days when you could depend on un-bias reporting and the Media acted as a tool for the Masses to deter corruption and oppression. Today, Power and Oppression is projected through the propaganda disseminated by the Media…the truth is between the lines and by looking at the same story as it is told by different Media outlet around the World. Lack of access to international media is a handicap in Cuba. The Cuban People actually live in a bubble, unfortunately and are very easily misled by propaganda from the U.S., the sworn enemy of Cuba or from the Cuban government. Cubans need to understand that they need to gain access to more than U.S. funded sources or Cuban government outlets to find out what is the truth. The Cuban government need to take the plunge some day and let Cubans access to the Global Net. But, as long as the U.S. wants regime change in Cuba, there is no way in Hell that this can remotely be possible…

  7. Omar Fundora said: “The absence of corporate control and advertisements in Cuban media, while making funding more difficult, allows for a media which does not have to prostitute itself to big businesses in order to survive. In a recent speech, Castro even cited the lack of ads on TV as an important success for the revolution. This would be an amazing achievement if there wasn’t a plentiful amount of nationalist propaganda ready to fill that space. However, the lack of ads and corporate influence does allow for a greater focus on constructive local news, often presenting educative information about the country, its industries and institutions”


    STATE MONOPOLY OF THE MEDIA: The media is a key arena in which the right to freedom of expression is exercised. It plays a critical role in any society, for example raising awareness of human rights and exposing human rights violations. The media has the potential to help shape public opinion and to monitor and assess the performance of those holding public office at all levels; it is an important tool for scrutinizing government practices in all societies no matter their political ideology. The absence of an independent media is a serious obstacle to the enjoyment of freedom of expression and the adequate review of corrupt and abusive official practices. Restrictions on the Cuban media are stringent and pervasive and clearly stop those in the country from enjoying their right to freedom of opinion and expression, including freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.8 The state maintains a total monopoly on television, radio, the press, internet service providers, and other electronic means of communication.9 According to official figures, there are currently 723 publications (406 print and 317 digital), 88 radio stations, four national TV channels (two devoted to educational programming), 16 regional TV stations and an international TV channel. All are financed and controlled by the government.10 Three newspapers provide national coverage: Granma, which is the organ of the Cuban Communist Party, Juventud Rebelde and Trabajadores.

    In Cuba, access to the internet remains under state control. It is regulated by the Law of Security of Information, which prohibits access to internet services from private homes. Therefore, the internet in Cuba has a social vocation and remains accessible at education centres, work-places and other public institutions. Internet can also be accessed in hotels but at a high cost. In October 2009, the government adopted a new law allowing the Cuban Postal Services to establish cyber-cafés in its premises and offer internet access to the public. However, home connections are not yet allowed for the vast majority of Cubans and only those favoured by the government are able to access the internet from their own homes.
    However, many blogs are not accessible from within Cuba because the Cuban authorities have put in place filters restricting access. The blogs affected are mainly those that openly criticize the Cuban government and its restrictions on freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and movement. For example, Generation Y is one of the dozens of blogs that are filtered or intermittently blocked by the government and are not accessible inside Cuba.

  8. Here is a dated article making a comparison between Cuban and U.S. Press….(2004)

    The absence of corporate control and advertisements in Cuban media, while making funding more difficult, allows for a media which does not have to prostitute itself to big businesses in order to survive. In a recent speech, Castro even cited the lack of ads on TV as an important success for the revolution. This would be an amazing achievement if there wasn’t a plentiful amount of nationalist propaganda ready to fill that space. However, the lack of ads and corporate influence does allow for a greater focus on constructive local news, often presenting educative information about the country, its industries and institutions.

    The anti-US slant and humanistic coverage of international news in the Cuban press is often comparable to the perspectives of alternative media in the U.S.. Articles on Hugo Chavez’s achievements as the president of Venezuela and updates on the Zapatistas in Mexico are common in Cuban media. Since the beginning of the war in Iraq, Cuban media has been ceaselessly critical and anti-war and coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is consistently pro-Palestinian.

    Still, nothing can be considered to be “alternative” if it is the only option. Right or left, no one point of view is sufficient to satisfy an intelligent public. In this light, inadequate news sources are not the biggest problem in Cuban media. Weak and narrow minded newspapers, television and radio news programs exist all over the world. What Cuba lacks is variety in media, partly due to a shortage of internet access and partly because of state control, which results in a lack of competition for quality in reporting or in-depth information.

    In nearly every country in the world the media is primarily controlled by those in power. While U.S. media is largely controlled by corporations and businesses, in Cuba, the government takes on that role. News sources are controlled in each country depending on how much of a threat they pose to those in power. There is an enormous amount of critical, intelligent, and alternative journalism in the U.S., but often it doesn’t pose a serious threat to the objectives of the mainstream media, and so is not censored. In Cuba, because of the history of tensions with the U.S., any form of dissent, including opposition publications are immediately accused of being U.S. conspiracies against the Cuban government.

    However, as Rafael Hernandez, the editor of the cultural magazine Temas, explains: “You cannot write anything against the revolution, but within the revolution you can be a critic. The interpretation of where this line is has always been an object of discussion. The artists and intellectuals of Cuba continue to win spaces of expression for themselves. We have not been given this liberty, we have won this liberty.”

    Media Crusades: Reading Between Regimes

    For years, the greatest threat to the U.S. Empire was the “bad” example of communism. Now it is supposedly terrorism. In Cuba, the threat, or enemy, has always been imperialism, and the personification of that enemy has and will be Uncle Sam. As one of the last socialist countries in the world, the diminutive island of Cuba is fighting with its teeth and fingernails against its closest and most radically different neighbor to maintain its sovereignty. Control of the media is only one of the manifestations of this struggle.

    Recently, patriotism in the U.S. has reached a fevered pitch, at times comparable to the extreme nationalism of places like Cuba. Overuse of the word “Terrorism” in the US has come to be as hollow as the word “Imperialism” in Cuba. The “War on Terrorism” has given the Bush administration an excuse to clamp down on civil liberties due to the “threat” these terrorists pose to U.S. society. The U.S. trade embargo and the five Cuban prisoners in the U.S. give Castro an excuse to clamp down on civil liberties and control of freedoms of expression. Cuba detains possible dissenters in their jails and the U.S. detains possible terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Though the political perspectives of these two countries are opposite, their ways of demonizing “the enemy” are the same. Both governments depend upon their respective vague and omnipresent enemies in order to create fear, solidarity and remain in power. Media is the fundamental tool for these objectives. Though the manipulation of Cuban media is less subtle, media crusades in both countries glorify and over simplify, making news mean what those in power want it to mean, and leaving the discerning citizen trying to read between the lines.

    Benjamin Dangl and April Howard are journalists working in Latin America. Their website is

  9. omar fundora said: “you go where the grass is greener and if it suits you…pretend to defend it, but if the grass dries up…both of you will pick up your belongings and go elsewhere and cheer for the home team, who ever that may be.”


    YOUTUBE: Enfrentamiento GNB en fundalara-bqto #4A

  11. Hank & Neutral observer: you folks fall in the category of opportunistic individuals…you go where the grass is greener and if it suits you…pretend to defend it, but if the grass dries up…both of you will pick up your belongings and go elsewhere and cheer for the home team, who ever that may be.

  12. Unconvincing, Omar.

    I know exactly what free speech is and have no desire to debate a stooge like you about what that means.

    Do you get paid overtime rates for working on a Saturday?

    This is a blog about Cuba.

    Cuba today is ruled by a family, just like a mafia clan. The Cuban “government” if you can call it that, is an organized crime syndicate.

    Castro and his murdering cohorts have destroyed that place and killed countless Cuban citizens in order to consolidate their power.

    That’s what they do every day.

    If you choose to align yourself with murderers and an illegitimate dictatorship, that’s fine with me.

    If you have a problem with U.S. foreign policy, visit the “I hate the USA” blog.

  13. Neutral observer: in the name of not being bias: The U.S. has killed more people in the 20th Century than Mao or Stalin. Two nuclear bombs in Japan, radioactive ammunition in Iraq. World War I and World War II, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq-two wars, Mexico with CIA operatives doing the heavy lifting…all in the name of Freedom…don’t you think if our model of governance was so great, people would simply embrace it when it is proposed to them, but, instead they fight it to the last drop of blood….maybe the People of the World that resist our model of governance know something that you don’t know about our Model of governance…..we are an Empire disguised as a Democratic Republic….the evidence is all around the World….why does a Free People need an army of covert operatives that is as big in number as our conventional armed forces….

  14. Hank,

    You are entirely right. Despots in waiting and misguided fools at their best.

    Although I suspect some are just Castro employees doing their job.

    Chavez’s supporters have murdered hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, with the enthusiastic support of obsessed anti-Americans around the world.

    If they kill 10 million, Omar and Nick will still sleep well at night.

    Mao killing over 50 million never bothered their sleep.

    Just don’t report any of it, because that disturbs their sleep, so they will have to shut you down and lock you up.

    As long as Maduro keeps accusing the CIA of stealing all of Venezuela’s toilet paper, he can do no wrong.

  15. Overcoming the conflict in Venezuela….Human Rights Council of Venezuela…

    The capacity of Venezuelan society to resolve its differences and overcome the crisis of this moment has been demonstrated, just as was recognised by the resolutions of the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). In this context, we consider that the invocation to foreign intervention that is found in the discourse of a sector of the opposition, and that has been enunciated by some international actors, is unacceptable and doesn’t contribute to ending the conflict within the parameters of the constitution.

    On the other hand, mutual recognition between the political forces of the government and opposition is a necessary prerequisite of a dialogue-based solution to the conflict. Violent protests and media manipulation don’t create solutions to the legitimate problems cited by the opposition leadership. What is required to confront these problems is the development and application of agreed-upon policies through the institutional channels offered by the constitution. The resorting to [violent] tactics as a strategy to force the resignation of a legitimately elected government; the demand that characterises the rallies and slogans of the protesters, means putting yourself outside the constitution and international law, which in no moment validates violence as a legitimate way of achieving political objectives. Moreover, the refusal of the leaders of the opposition and protesters to participate in dialogue, and the lack of condemnation by opposition leaders of these forms of protest add [to these problems].

    Open and transparent national dialogue in the framework of respect for human rights is the only legitimate and harmonious way to end the escalation of violence. If the opposition continues as it has, this violence could have irreversible ramifications. As such, the initiatives undertaken by the government and the recent convoking of a National Peace Conference should be the platform that makes this dialogue possible. Due to this, we highlight with concern the refusal of the Democratic Unity Table (MUD) to participate [in the conference], despite the attendance of various sectors of national life such as business groups, religious organisations, political party leaders, students, social and cultural movements, regional and national governmental authorities, and representatives of public powers. So far the conference has advanced in the production of a set of proposals to tackle urgent issues in the national agenda which have been brandished as a banner in the protests.

    Our demands

    In our role as human rights activists and facing the situation described, we express ourselves in the following terms:

    – We repudiate the persistence of practices that constitute violations of human rights and we firmly demand their exhaustive investigation, the punishment of those responsible, and above all, the eradication of the conditions that facilitates them.

    – We show solidarity with the victims and their families, who we urge to go to the relevant judicial bodies.

    – We exhort national authorities to push forward measures that strengthen the process of police reform and the consolidation of a new police model in the short term, that should be extended to security bodies such as the SEBIN, GNB and CICPC (investigative police).

    – We entirely condemn the violent protests exercised by minority sectors of the population and we warn of the possible appearance of new patterns of violence characterised by selective killings with firearms.

    – We reject the continued use of human rights for purposes other than to promote their full protection and respect, just as is happening at the current moment.

    – We request human rights organisations and national and international media to undertake a weighted, balanced and verified monitoring of the situation that Venezuela is going through. Further, that they abstain from manipulating the facts with the aim of defending the positions of those who encourage violent protests to advance toward unconstitutional goals that are contrary to democratic principles.

    – We exhort the opposition leadership to firmly condemn the violence and echo the request of Amnesty International, who urges them to “call to followers not to commit violent acts, including attacks against people because of their political preference”. Likewise we convoke them to actively and purposefully join the dialogue initiatives organised by the government.

    – We exhort all citizens independent of their political sympathies to abstain from resorting to violent methods to express discontent.

    – We exhort all the country’s political forces and actors to respect the mechanisms and terms established in the constitution to settle their differences.

    Caracas, 21 March 2014

  16. YOUTUBE: S.O.S. VENEZUELA – Here an anti-government protester is stripped naked by his pro-establishment peers standing over him with bats as riot police struggled to gain control This student was stripped naked by a violent group of Nicolas Maduro’s supporters and left to fight his way through the bitter conflict

  17. The opposition in Venezuela have no clear position to sit with Maduro’s government for negotiations. Lopez in jail and Machado thrown out of government for violating the law. M.U.D. leadership hoping and gasping for air because the protests are not applying any pressure on the government. Maduro’s government is the only one with an economic plan for the Nation which is being executed. After the identification of the three Generals traitors, the rest of the military leadership is behind Maduro. Protests continue, but, no new ground is being gained by the opposition and they do not have unity to negotiate. Commerce between Colombia and Venezuela continues as well as other trading partners with the exception of Panama. Auto parts are being shipped to Venezuela’s auto makers along with other imports. People who lost businesses because of nationalization are getting paid, slowly, but, getting paid. The Socialist Model continues to build…


    DAILY MAIL NEWS (FOTOS INCLUDED): Masked militia storm Venezuelan university and batter students with sticks and fireworks as tensions mount over crippled economy – By Mia De Graaf

    Pro-government students battered anti-establishment peers with bats in Central University of Venezuela
    Hundreds of riot police deployed tear gas, grenades and high pressure hoses to corner demonstrators
    Violent supporters of President Nicolas Maduro stripped random students naked in the street
    Journalists attacked to prevent them from photographing ‘gravely injured’ student lying on the ground
    Latest in two months of unrest over rocketing inflation rate, which was 56.2 per cent last year

    Masked militia stormed a university in Caracas hurling stones and fireworks as tensions mount over Venezuela’s crippled economy.

    Pro-government students at the Central University of Venezuela battered their anti-establishment peers with sticks, hospitalising three.

    Hundreds of riot police deployed tear gas and grenades to bring the hours-long conflict under control.

  19. opinions that are at variance with those previously, commonly, or officially expressed is being criminalized in Venezuela….(sound familiar…)

    Bishops say regime seeks totalitarian rule, Vatican still awaits invitation to mediate

    Venezuela’s organization of Roman Catholic bishops is accusing the government of seeking totalitarian-style rule, comments that potentially could complicate the Vatican’s offer to facilitate talks between the socialist government and its opposition. The Conference of Venezuelan Bishops is calling on President Nicolas Maduro to halt his crackdown on critics who have been protesting in the streets for seven weeks. The conference president is Bishop Diego Padron accused Maduro of attempting to criminalize dissent. The statement comes a few days after the Vatican said it was willing to facilitate talks between the two sides. Maduro indicated he would accept such talks, but the position of the various groups that constitute the opposition remains unclear. The Vatican is still waiting for a formal invitation to serve as mediator or as a third of good faith in the dialogue between the regime and the opposition, according to Monsignor Padrón.

  20. Hank: I was blocked here …but, you can see my comments to you elsewhere in Translating Cuba… you need to know what Free Speech is first if you want to debate me on the issue…your bias position without base …I don’t waste my time with noise…..

  21. THE TELEGRAPH UK: Caracas chaos: Venezuelan general on the run – Death in the streets, rationing by fingerprints and a general on the run: how oil-rich Venezuela has descended into chaos – by Philip Sherwell,

    The new passenger was Antonio Rivero, a former general who went into hiding in February to avoid arrest for his role in the protests that have rocked the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

    Moving into Spanish, he apologised for the subterfuge involved in our rendezvous.

    “These are bad times for our country and we are having to take extraordinary measures,” he said in his first interview since going underground.

    Outside, the sounds and smells of a deeply fractured land were inescapable.

    The student-led unrest began in San Cristobal in Venezuela’s “wild west” near the Colombia border two months ago and has quickly spiralled into a nationwide movement during which at least 39 people have been killed.

    The country is mired in a dangerous cycle of economic crisis and violent chaos, polarised between government loyalists in areas heavily dependent on state support and protestors who have taken to the streets over soaring crime rates, surging inflation and shortages of basic goods.

    With the world’s largest known oil reserves, Venezuela should be reaping windfall gains. Yet in another sign of its parlous economics, the government has just announced a new rationing system using fingerprint registration to track purchases of subsidised but scarce foodstuffs milk, flour and rice.

    Mr Maduro called the programme a “system of secure supply” to foil profiteers in the “economic war” with his foes, but critics said that it was the latest sign that the oil-rich economy is headed toward collapse.

    The rancour over “Cubanisation” of Venezuela is a growing theme of the protests. Indeed, what drove Gen Rivero’s rift with his former comrade-in-arms of Hugo Chavez, the late socialist autocrat who even in death still dominates life here, was the import of Cuban officers into the highest echelons of the the military and security services.


  22. YAHOO NEWS: ‘Cuban Twitter’ a new hurdle for bloggers, exiles – By CHRISTINE ARMARIO
    MIAMI (AP) — The revelation that a U.S. government-funded program set up a cellphone-based social network in Cuba is likely to pose new challenges for independent bloggers and exile groups that work to increase access to technology.

    Yoani Sanchez, the island’s most prominent dissident, began her activism with a blog and now has nearly 600,000 followers on Twitter. She also is on the verge of starting a digital news project.

    In recent years, exile groups in Miami have tried to help Cubans break through the technology divide by sending computers, laptops and flash drives to store and share information.

    Sanchez and others have gone to pains to say they are not supported by the U.S. government. Yet even without any connection, analysts say findings by The Associated Press that the U.S. Agency for International Development oversaw the financing and creation of a mobile phone network used by more than 40,000 people could be damaging.

    “It’s going to be much more difficult for Yoani Sanchez to do the things she wanted to do,” said Andy Gomez, a retired Cuba scholar from the University of Miami and senior policy adviser with the law firm Poblete Tamargo. “I think the Cuban government is going to say, ‘You see, this is probably funded by some of the U.S. AID funding.'”

    Ted Henken, a professor at Baruch College who helped organize part of Sanchez’s tour to the United States last year, said he felt Sanchez would not be affected in the long term.

    “In the short-term, however, it will complicate her project,” he said.

    U.S. officials have defended the program, a “Cuban Twitter” that operated from 2010 until 2012.

    The AP investigation found the U.S. government set up the network to undermine the island’s communist government. Tens of thousands of Cubans signed up for the service known as ZunZuneo, which is slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s tweet. The network allowed users to send and receive text messages, mostly news, sports and entertainment clips.


    For many weeks now, tens of thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets in protest. These students were standing for basic human freedoms and engaging in the right to protest, which is a sacred right whether in Boston, Belarus, or Venezuela. The government of Venezuela responded with heavy-handed repression. Within two weeks Leopoldo Lopez, the leader of the opposition party, Voluntad Popular, called for nationwide peaceful demonstrations to address the problems facing the country. These problems include chronic food shortages, the highest inflation in the world and ongoing censorship of the media. Even the Oscars were not allowed to be broadcast – for the first time in Venezuelan history.
    More than 1,400 students were arrested, there are more than 40 confirmed cases of torture and Leopoldo Lopez still sits in a Venezuelan military prison. He has urged the students to exercise their legal rights to peaceful protest and free speech and he repeatedly emphasized they must do so without violence. President Maduro has blamed Lopez for the violence that has beset the country and ordered his arrest on charges of murder, arson and terrorism. To date, the government has presented no evidence of the charges against him and their legal case is falling apart.
    Amnesty International said the charges against Lopez recall “politically motivated attempts to silence dissent.” Human Rights Watch says “the Venezuelan government has openly embraced the classic tactics of an authoritarian regime: jailing its opponents, muzzling the media and intimidating civil society.”
    I support all of the Venezuelans who peacefully and non-violently claim their right to self-determination and protest. I hope you will join me in asking them not to give up and to not become numb to the violations and abuses committed against them. We who are fortunate enough to live in freedom must stand up to oppression and injustice and remind the Venezuelan people that they are on the right side of history.
    Please show your support in whatever way you can: ‪#‎SOSVenezuela‬


    CNN: Spain suspends sale of riot gear to Venezuela in light of turmoil, officials say – by Al Goodman

    Madrid, Spain — Spain has suspended the sale of police riot-control equipment to Venezuela due to instability there, two Spanish government officials said Friday.

    Weeks of protests against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have left more than 30 people dead, more than 500 injured and more than 2,000 people detained, Amnesty International said in a report released this week.

    Spain’s provisional suspension of the riot-control gear sales was quietly agreed to last month by a government commission that includes the ministries of foreign affairs, defense, interior and commerce, said the officials, who declined to be named because they are not authorized to publicly speak about the decision.

    The suspension was first reported by Spain’s El Pais newspaper.

    Spain authorized the sale of $2.6 million euros ($3.5 million) in riot-control equipment to Venezuela last year, the Economy ministry reported.

    Spain’s inter-ministerial government commission routinely reviews sales of military weapons and other sensitive material like police riot-control equipment, and takes into consideration “the internal stability of the nation destined” to receive the equipment, said one of the government officials.

    The other official said it’s not the first time Spain has suspended the sale of riot control gear to Venezuela. It was also done when long-serving Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — Maduro’s predecessor — was in power.

    Among those killed in the protests was a dual Spanish-Venezuelan citizen, Wilder Carballo Amayo, who died last February from a gunshot wound to the head, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

  25. Omar,

    You are a misguided fool and a despot in waiting.

    I am not the government of the U.S. and neither are the people of Cuba. So don’t try to lay the blame for prohibiting free speech in Cuba on the U.S.

    Free speech is a human right precisely for the reasons you point out for restricting it.

    If the people in Cuba want to say something in favor of changing their situation, in favor of improving their lot in life, in favor of whatever they want, What right does the Cuban dictatorship have to prevent its subjugated masses from expressing what they think?

    I’ll tell you the answer. The Cuban dictatorship has that right because it took it away from the people a long time ago by force, by murder, and by intimidation. The Cuban dictatorship kills people for dissenting.

  26. Hank: There is Free Speech in Cuba….as long as you criticize performance issues and lack of meeting goals because the organizations and institutions do not do their due diligence. I get the feeling that being critical of organizations and institutions in Cuba when the reason they are not meeting their Mission and Objectives is because they do not have the resources to accomplish them is not a good idea. I get the feeling that these organizations and institutions try hard to do the right thing for the Cuban People. If activists insist on being critical of this situation, I can see why they would bring on themselves the rath of the law. They are not being patriots, they are being counter-revolutionary. They want to bring about regime change outside of the Constitution and the Democratic Process. In the U.S. is the same thing…no organize group is tolerated in the U.S. that have an agenda to bring about regime change outside of the Constitution, Bill of Rights or the Democratic Process.

  27. hank: I warn Yoani because I have been around the block a few times (sort of speak)…and I have seen people with good intentions being used by opportunistic individuals with their own agenda…

  28. Hank: I don’t condemn it because I understand why the law is so restrictive. The U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba of regime change, threatens the National Security of Cuba and facilitates, out of necessity, for the Cuban government to restrict Human Rights for the Cuban People as a preventive measure to maintain the integrity of Cuba. I am sure you read about the Twitter CIA/Cuban extremists attempt to forment insurrection in Cuba with the electronic media. If I was the government in Cuba, I would do exactly the same thing the Cuban government has done regarding laws for the mass dissemination of Free Speech …..

Comments are closed.