Generation Y Behind Bars

Men handcuffed(Luz Escobar/14ymedio)

Men handcuffed(Luz Escobar/14ymedio)

Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, 17 September 2015 — With the publication of the Official Gazette No. 31, there have been many published opinions about the pardons granted to 3,522 prisoners in anticipation of the visit of Pope Francis. Most of the criticism has focused on the fact that the beneficiaries include no one sentenced for political reasons. However, on reviewing the list of the released prisoners, another element jumps to mind.

At least 411 of those pardoned have names that begin with the letter “Y,” more than 11 percent of the total. It could indicate the we are talking about people between 20 and 45 years of age, because from the beginnings of the seventies to well into the nineties it was a fad in Cuba to give children names starting with the penultimate letter of the alphabet. Thus, we are in the presence of the “New Man,” born and raised in a society that felt itself part of “Utopia,” living under Soviet subsidies and excessive ideological indoctrination. How is it possible that so much of this human clay has ended up behind bars?

How is it possible that so much of this human clay has ended up behind bars?

Meat from the social laboratory and the skin of prison, Generation Y is far removed from what was projected for it. It has come to live in a different country from the one promised, and to survive in this jungle it has had to do the exact opposite of what it was taught. Although the list of released prisoners doesn’t include the crime for which each one was condemned, it is easy to adventure what led many of these Utopian men and women to end up in a cell.

Perhaps among them is Yoandis who killed a cow to feed his family, or a Yuniesqui who stole fuel from a company to resell on the black market to make up for his low wages. Who knows if some Yordanka was led down the road to marital revenge because of gender violence? Or a Yusimi, who learned from the time she was little in the tenement where she lived that it was better to strike first than to strike twice? From little Pioneers with their colored neckerchiefs, they passed to being inmates in gray uniforms; from the Cuba of Marxist manuals they fell into the real world.

A generation trapped by circumstances, forced many times to commit crimes, pushed at others to escape, and condemned to few opportunities. The 411 families of these children of the Cuban experiment will be relieved right now to see them return, as will the relatives of the rest of those pardoned. But, the society they will encounter on passing through the bars continues to belie that which was once explained in front of the blackboards and at the morning school assemblies. Prison has been a part of the social alchemy that has touched them.

45 thoughts on “Generation Y Behind Bars

  1. MR. PAPA AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WANT TO GET BACK THEIR PROPERTIES IN CUBA SO HE IS KEEPING HIS MOUTH SHUT WHILE THERE! SUCH A “CHRISTIAN” THING TO DO (Heavy Sarcasm)!

    THE WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL : Pope Francis appeases the Castros in repressive Cuba

    IN HIS visit to the United States beginning Tuesday, Pope Francis will meet not just President Obama and Congress but also those marginalized by our society: homeless people, immigrants, refugees and even the inmates of a jail. He’s expected to raise topics that many Americans will find challenging, such as his harsh critique of capitalism.
    How, then, to explain Pope Francis’s behavior in Cuba? The pope is spending four days in a country whose Communist dictatorship has remained unrelenting in its repression of free speech, political dissent and other human rights despite a warming of relations with the Vatican and the United States. Yet by the end of his third day, the pope had said or done absolutely nothing that might discomfit his official hosts.

    Pope Francis met with 89-year-old Fidel Castro, who holds no office in Cuba, but not with any members of the dissident community — in or outside of prison. According to the Web site 14ymedio.com, two opposition activists were invited to greet the pope at Havana’s cathedral Sunday but were arrested on the way. Dozens of other dissidents were detained when they attempted to attend an open air Mass. They needn’t have bothered: The pope said nothing in his homily about their cause, or even political freedom more generally. Those hunting for a message had to settle for a cryptic declaration that “service is never ideological.”

    Sadly, this appeasement of power is consistent with the Vatican’s approach to Cuba ever since Raúl Castro replaced his brother in 2006. Led by Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the church committed to a strategy of working with the regime in the hope of encouraging its gradual moderation. The results have been slight. Cardinal Ortega obtained Raúl Castro’s promise to release all political prisoners, but arrests have continued and dissident groups say the number of jailed is now above 70. One leading Christian dissident, Oswaldo Payá, was killed in a suspicious 2012 auto crash.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/deferring-to-the-castros/2015/09/21/30001198-6075-11e5-8e9e-dce8a2a2a679_story.html

  2. MR. PAPA KEPT HIS MOUTH SHUT IN CUBA BUT YOU CAN BET HE WILL POUNCE ON THE BAD OLD “CAPITALISTS” WHEN HE GET TO THE USA!
    Hypocrisy is the claim or pretense of holding beliefs, feelings, standards, qualities, opinions, behaviors, virtues, motivations, or other characteristics that some do not actually hold. Hypocrisy is not simply failing to practice those virtues that one preaches. Samuel Johnson made this point when he wrote about the misuse of the charge of “hypocrisy” in Rambler No. 14: acutely means you say don’t do that when you are doing it yourself.

  3. BBC NEWS: Cuba removes Ricardo Alarcon from top Communist body – 3 July 2013
    Cuban leader Raul Castro has removed several senior Communists from the party’s powerful Central Committee.
    They include former parliament speaker and foreign minister Ricardo Alarcon, a close ally of ex-leader Fidel Castro.
    Mr Castro said those leaving had not made any mistakes or committed any crimes. He said the changes marked a normal course of events.

    Mr Alarcon, 76, one of Cuba’s most visible politicians, had been a member of the committee since 1992.

    He stepped down as speaker in February.

    Among the four others removed were Jose Miguel Miyar Barruecos, 81, who was secretary of the Council of State for three decades, and Misael Enamorado, 60, the party chief in Santiago de Cuba.

    Mr Castro played down the significance of the move in comments broadcast on state television.

    “There’s a door you come in through; there’s a door you go out, without it meaning anything negative,” he said.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-23157254

  4. GOOD FOR THIS JOURNALIST COVERING MR. PAPA’S VISIT TO CUBA FOR ASKING SOME HARD QUESTIONS TO ONE OF THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY’S MAIN HENCHMEN! GUESS MR. Omar Fundora AND HIS FRIEND Mario DONT LIKE FOR ME TO PUT INFORMATION ON THE CUBAN REALITY HERE! THEY ARE TRYING TO CONVERT ME TO THEIR CASTRO OLIGARCHY RELIGION! HA HA HA!

    MUST WATCH VIDEO: Cuban ex-chancellor Ricardo Alarcón said that Pope Francis was “so busy to waste his time with not important persons and not important issues” when talking to Jackie Nespral about Cuban dissidents.

    RICARDO ALARCON DE QUESADA (born 21 May 1937) is a Cuban statesman. He served as Cuba’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) for nearly 30 years and later served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1992 to 1993. Subsequently Alarcón was President of the National Assembly of People’s Power from 1993 to 2013, and because of this post, was considered the third-most powerful figure in Cuba.[1] He also was a Member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba until 2013.[2]

    A graduate of the University of Havana with a doctorate in philosophy, he served in various diplomatic posts following the Cuban Revolution. His first post in connection with Cuba’s foreign policy was as Head of the Americas Division of Cuba’s Foreign Ministry. During his tenure as Permanent Representative to the UN Alarcón held several leading offices, such as Vice President of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

  5. The Castroit regime has been telling the Cuban people that the United States is a racist government. What are they going to tell them now? They were tricked 55 years ago, only to find out that all the promises of a better tomorrow were just that, promises, empty promises that it never intended to keep. The majority of casualties in foreign wars ware black Cubans, and 80% of prisoners are black Cubans. The Castroit regime will not be able to use the race card again.

  6. Mario:
    The answer you are looking for is in history. The Catholic Church has always being sort of a power broker in Latin America and in many other places in the World. Raul Castro is a Reformist who is bringing change to Cuba and what better way to do that with Peace than with the support of the Catholic Church. This Pope is not afraid to tell the World that Capitalism is not sustainable. This Pope is asking Corporatism in the World to change their way and stop making decision only based on Profit: they must include what is best for Life on the Planet and the worker. He is asking Corporatism in the World to give up profitable endeavors that destroy the environment and harm the working people of the World and the poor. Pope Francis is asking Corporatism to search for endeavors that are aligned with conservation, restoration and lifting people out of poverty instead of the egocentrism model of Capitalism and “Free Market” which creates Rich People and Poor People; inequality that threatens World Peace and the destruction of our planet.

    The different treat I think is because of the vote coming up in the United Nation regarding the embargo of Cuba. President Obama needs to take center stage. The Pope role in the relations that are being built between the United States and Cuba has to step down to let President Obama, the de facto leader of the World because the United States is the powerhouse that it is in economics, political power, education and social justice. President Obama has to show that he is the leader that everyone wants him to be and order a no vote position on the embargo against Cuba and the regime change law.

  7. Omar,
    You are certainly right saying that the Pope visit improved the relations between the Vatican and Cuba. But who is Vatican? That’s PR and BS.

    The beef if somewhere else: in the relations with Brazil, Russia, China. For some reason I don’t understand, the Cuban government did nor place huge posters of President Xi when he visited Cuba last year. Do you have any idea why the different treat?

  8. Sandokan: The Pope visit did have an impact on Cuban Society. It improves the relations between the Vatican and Cuba. Please, for your own edification, read the encyclical from the Pope and then look at the country reports from World Organizations so that you can see how well Cuba’s governance of the island matches with the World goals and those for Man in the encyclical of Pope Francis. Don’t let the fall of the Soviet Union or the Special Period in Cuba detract you from how well the Revolutionary Government of Cuba governs. Supporting a Right Wing regime change in Cuba is on the wrong side of history for Cuba.

  9. Humberto whining again because he is on the wrong side of history in his postings again…. :) :) :) …. Humberto open your mind and abandon the dark side of Humanity…

  10. OMG! DEAR Mario!!! YOU FOUND ME OUT! I WORK FOR THE C.I.A.!!! BUT I DONT KNOW THEIR ADDRESS SO MY CHECKS ARE NOT GETTING TO ME!! CAN YOU HELP ME DEAR!!! HA HA HA!!! ARE YOU A SANTERO???
    USA TODAY: Cuba’s santeros feel overlooked by pope’s visit – by Rick Jervis,
    HAVANA — Not long after Pope Francis finished his Sunday Mass, the santeros of Callejón de Hamel began to boogie.

    In a survey done on the island earlier this year by Spanish network Univision and Fusion, 13% of Cubans polled named Santería as their religion, second only to Catholicism at 27%. Of those polled, 44% said they practice no religion at all.

    But followers of African-based religions, which include Santería, say the number is much higher, probably closer to 70%, Aseff said. Often, the two are intertwined. “There are a lot of people who practice Santeria and practice Catholicism, as well,” he said.

    Fidel Castro abolished religion when he seized power in 1959 and Cuba became largely an atheist country. But in 1992, the Cuban Constitution was amended to remove official reference to atheism, paving the way for religion’s return. Today, Catholics share the island with Afro-Cuban practitioners, as well as Protestants, Jews and Buddhists.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/09/20/cubas-santeros-pope-francis-visit/72526166/

  11. Humberto, you happened to quote from US GOVERNMENT DATA. Did you notice that?
    Everyone knows they are liars. Please provide some stats from Cuban government.

    Even if they are liars they must have sniffed or smoked something because their “report” is incomplete.

    Where is the information about CUBE EXPORTS TO THE UNITED STATES?

  12. DEAR Mario! YOU REALLY NEED A DICTIONARY DEAR! DO YOU CASTRO BOSSES ALLOW YOU!?
    BLOCKADE is an effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally. A blockade should not be confused with an embargo or sanctions, which are legal barriers to trade, and is distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually directed at an entire country or region, rather than a fortress or city. Most blockades historically took place at sea,

    U.S.-CUBA TRADE AND ECONOMIC COUNCIL, INC.
    ECONOMIC EYE ON CUBA- February 2012 – Report For Calendar Year 2011
    2011-2001 U.S. EXPORT STATISTICS FOR CUBA

    The following is the data for exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba relating to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSRA) of 2000, which re-authorized the direct commercial (on a cash basis) export of food products (including branded food products) and agricultural products (commodities) from the United States to the Republic of Cuba, irrespective of purpose. The TSRA does not include healthcare products, which remain authorized by the Cuban Democracy Act (CDA) of 1992.

    The data represents the U.S. Dollar value of product exported from the United States to the Republic of Cuba under the auspice of TSRA. The data does not include transportation charges, bank charges, or other costs associated with exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba. The government of the Republic of Cuba reports data that, according to the government of the Republic of Cuba, includes transportation charges, bank charges, and other costs. However, the government of the Republic of Cuba has not provided verifiable data. The use of trade data reported by the government of the Republic of Cuba is suspect. The government of the Republic of Cuba has been asked to provide verifiable data, but has not.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT!

    http://www.cubatrade.org/CubaExportStats.pdf

  13. HMM! SO MR. PAPA TALKED ABOUT COLOMBIAN POLITICS BUT NOT CUBA POLITICS? HMM! I THOUGHT HE WAS NOT GOING TO CUBA AS A “POLITICAL” ENVOY! WHAT A PIECE OF HYPOCRITICAL POTATO YOU ARE MR. PAPA! BUT OF COURSE YOU ARE TAKING YOUR CUES FROM KING OBAMA WHO JUST LIKE YOU WANT TO BE FAMOUS FOR THAT BAD US-CUBA DEAL! DUH!!

    N.Y. TIMES: Pope Francis Careful in Navigating Cuban Politics By JIM YARDLEY and AZAM AHMED
    And Francis did speak about politics. Colombian politics. He encouraged that country’s peace talks. As for Cuban politics, Francis has so far spoken in what might be called pope code. At the plaza and other events on Sunday, as he did at the airport welcoming ceremony the day before, Francis refrained from any direct criticisms of the Cuban government but made the sort of oblique asides that could be interpreted as disapproval — or explained away as anything but.

    Some call this caution wise pragmatism, noting that the Cuban government has gradually loosened its grip. But critics contend that the Cuban church has been too timid — eager to maintain close ties with the government, at the expense of speaking out for greater political and religious freedom in Cuban society.

    “We could do more,” said the Rev. José Conrado, an outspoken Cuban priest based in the central city of Trinidad, speaking by telephone. “The church should not back off, even if doing so is difficult and problematic for the church itself.”

    “Oh, I think he will talk about human rights, religious freedom, allowing the church to play its role not only in worship, but in social services — the church as a partner in the development of the country,” said Ken Hackett, the United States ambassador to the Holy See.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/20/world/americas/pope-francis-cuba-influence.html?ribbon-ad-idx=4&rref=world/americas&module=ArrowsNav&contentCollection=Americas&action=click&region=FixedRight&pgtype=article

  14. The speculation by the news media about the impact of the Pope’s visit will have on Cuban society is over. Nothing has change, the Pope did not meet with the dissidents, and hundreds of them were arrested. The Pope did not addressed the human rights issues in his speech. The Castroit regime repression continuous unabated.

  15. Cuban Dissidents Arrested On Way to Apostolic Nunciature in Havana
    http://www.capitolhillcubans.com/2015/09/latest-cuban-dissidents-arrested-on-way.html

    at 12:24 AM Sunday, September 20, 2015
    Various Cuban dissidents were invited yesterday afternoon — at the last minute — to greet Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Havana.

    However, they were arrested by Castro’s secret police as they headed to the Nunciature.

    Among those arrested were Berta Soler, head of The Ladies in White, along with her husband, Angel Moya, a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience.

    Also arrested on her way to the Nunciature was renowned democracy leader, Marta Beatriz Roque.

    Earlier in the day, over 20 members of The Ladies in White and at least 30 activists from the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) were rounded up and arrested, in order to prevent them from attending Sunday’s Papal Mass.

    Other activists arrested include former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, Librado Linares, Agustin Lopez and Carlos Olivera, who was arrested along with his wife Yenisleydis Millo, a member of The Ladies in White.

    Meanwhile, the headquarters of The Ladies in White in the Lawton neighborhood of Havana remains besieged by Castro’s repressive brigades.

  16. MR. PAPA ESTA SUPER PODRIDO! POBRECITO! MENOS MAL QUE NO SOY CATOLICO! SORRY MR. PAPA I HAVE NO “RESPETO” FOR YOU!

    MR. PAPA (Pope) IS REALLY ROTTEN! POOR THING! THANK GOD THAT I AM NOT CATHOLIC! MR. PAPA (Pope) I HAVE NO RESPECT FOR YOU!

    VIDEO CLIP OF THE POPE’S SPEECH:

    “Y QUISERA PEDIRLE A USTED SR. PRESIDENTE QUE TRANSMITAS MIS SENTIMIENTOS DE ESPECIAL CONSIDERACION Y RESPETO A SU HERMANO FIDEL” – El Papa “Podrido” Francisco

    “I WOLD LIKE TO ASK YOU MR. PRESIDENT (Raul Castro) THAT YOU TRANSMIT MY SENTIMENTS AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATION AND RESPECT TO YOUR BROTHER FIDEL” – The Pope “Rotten Potato” Francisco

  17. Humberto: The Dirty War waged by Right Wingers against Leftists is another lesson learned for Cubans to consider from Latin American History. That few minority of Cubans who want to bring Right Wing Control in Cuba are on the wrong side of Cuban history. The ideology they champion: Freedom, Democracy, Liberty and Human Rights has been used before in Latin America over 200 years and 59 years in Cuba with the same results: Right Wing Dictatorships and rule by terror and oppression. A lot worse than acts of repudios, short term incarceration and deportation in a society that has been under attack since the Revolution took place.

  18. Humberto: the most successful government in the Western World is that of the Catholic Church….21 Centuries in existence…it is also not a Democracy….Conditional Freedom of Speech and not much tolerance for dissidents…..”Religion, opium of the masses” (but it is very effective in the Control of Man)…Freedom leads to inequality, civil war and unsustainable growth….Global Capitalism today and Democratization of the World has started World War III….slow, but it is in progress….growing inequality is the fuel of it….

    The Commandments
    Besides believing what God has revealed, we must keep His law.

    The Two Great Commandments

    that contain the whole law of God are:

    You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind, and with your whole strength; you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

    To love God, our neighbor, and ourselves, we must keep the commandments of God and of the Church, and perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

    The Ten Commandments of God
    I.I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.
    II.You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
    III.Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day
    IV.Honor your father and your mother.
    V.You shall not kill.
    VI.You shall not commit adultery.
    VII.You shall not steal.
    VIII.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    IX.You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
    X.You shall not covet you neighbor’s goods.

    The Chief Commandments or Laws, of the Church
    I.To assist at Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation.
    II.To fast and abstain on the days appointed.
    III.To confess our sins at least once a year.
    IV.To receive Holy Communion during the Easter time.
    V.To contribute to the support of the Church.
    VI.To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage

  19. An Object Of Desire: Hope And Yearning For The Internet In Cuba – By Robert Siegel • Mar 23, 2015 — Miracle, a work by Kcho that hangs in his studio, shows Jesus crucified on a cross made of oars.
    http://spokanepublicradio.org/post/object-desire-hope-and-yearning-internet-cuba

    GROUP GAVIOTA (owned by The Castro Oligarchy Mafia) RESTAURANT KIKE-KCHO

    The most exclusive Cuba Gourmet. Located at Marina Gaviota Varadero, this restaurant was built out over the ocean by designer Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho). It can seat 300.

    Location: Autopista Sur and Final. Punta Hicacos, Varadero, Cuba

  20. HMM! SO MR. PAPA GETS A GIFT FROM THE MURDERER Raul Castro WHICH IS A CROSS MADE UP OF OARS TO SYMBOLIZE THE ALMOST 80,000 LIVES LOST AT SEA BY “BALSEROS” (Rafters)! THOSE LIVES LOST AT SEA TRYING TO FLEE THE ALCATRAZ PRISON OF CUBA AND ITS DUE TO THEIR DICTATORSHIP! THIS PIECE IS BY THE CASTRO BOOTLICKER AND WAY OVERATED ARTISTS “KCHO” WHO ALSO HAS LOTS OF MONEY! SOME “COMMUNISTS” THEY ALL ARE!

  21. HMMM! SO WILL MR. PAPA MEET WITH THE FASCIST MURDERERS FROM ARGENTINA DIRTY WAR TOO? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT Mr. Omar Fundora AND Mr. Mario?? WAITING WITH BAITED BREATH FOR YOUR VALUABLE “INSIGHTS”!!

    THE DIRTY WAR (Spanish: Guerra Sucia), also known as Process of National Reorganization (Spanish: Proceso de Reorganización Nacional or El Proceso), was the name used by the Argentine Military Government for a period of state terrorism in Argentina[1] from roughly 1974[2][3] to 1983 (some sources date the beginning to 1969), during which military and security forces and right-wing death squads in the form of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (Triple A)[4][5] hunted down and killed left-wing guerrillas,[6][7] political dissidents, and anyone believed to be associated with socialism.[8][9][10][11] The victims of the violence were 7,158[1] [12][13][14]-30,000 left-wing activists and militants, including trade unionists, students, journalists and Marxists and Peronist guerrillas[15] and their support network in the Montoneros believed to be 150,000[16]-250,000-strong and 60,000-strong in the ERP,[17] as well as alleged sympathizers.[18] The official number of disappeared is reported to be 13,000.[19] Some 10,000 of the “disappeared” were admittedly guerrillas of the Montoneros (MPM) and the Marxist People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP).[20][21][22] The leftist guerrillas caused at least 6,000 casualties among the military, police forces and civilian population, according to a National Geographic Magazine article in the mid-1980s.[23] The “disappeared” included those thought to be a political or ideological threat to the military junta, even vaguely, and they were killed in an attempt by the junta to silence the opposition and break the determination of the guerrillas.[24]

    Declassified documents of the Chilean secret police cite an official estimate by the Batallón de Inteligencia 601 of 22,000 killed or “disappeared” between 1975 and mid-1978. During this period, it was later revealed that at least 12,000 “disappeared” were detainees held by PEN (Poder Ejecutivo Nacional, anglicized as “National Executive Power”), and kept in clandestine detention camps throughout Argentina before eventually being freed under diplomatic pressure.[25] The number of people believed to have been killed or “disappeared,” depending on the source, range from 7,158[12] to 30,000 in the period from 1976 to 1983, when the military was forced from power following Argentina’s defeat in the Falklands War.[26][27] In 2003, The National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons claimed the true number of disappeared to be around 13,000.[28]

    After democratic government was restored, Congress passed legislation to provide compensation to victims’ families. Some 11,000 Argentines as the next of kin have applied to the relevant authorities and received up to US $200,000 each as monetary compensation for the loss of loved ones during the military dictatorship.[29]

    The exact chronology of the repression is still debated, however, and some sectors claim the long political war started in 1969. Trade unionists were targeted for assassination by the Peronist and Marxist guerrillas as early as 1969,[30] and individual cases of state-sponsored terrorism against Peronism and the left can be traced back to the Bombing of Plaza de Mayo and Revolución Libertadora in 1955. The Trelew massacre of 1972, the actions of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance since 1973, and Isabel Martínez de Perón’s “annihilation decrees”[31] against left-wing guerrillas during Operativo Independencia (translates to Operation of Independence) in 1975,[31] have also been suggested as dates for the beginning of the Dirty War.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_War

  22. HA HA HA! DEAR Omar!! GUESS YOU DONT LIKE FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND PROTEST DEAR!! IT IS NOT “CUBA” WHO ARRESTS DISSIDENTS! ITS THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY!

    HUFFINGTON POST (Photos) : Cuba Arrests Dissidents Before Pope’s Havana Mass “Unfortunately, this morning’s actions by Cuba’s state security apparatus are only a glimpse into the constant and ongoing repression by the Cuban regime.” – by Lydia O’Connor

    Four dissidents opposed to Cuba’s communist regime were arrested when they tried approaching Pope Francis in Havana on Sunday, an activist group reported.

    The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba identified the dissidents as Patriotic Union of Cuba members Zaqueo Baéz, Boris Reni, Aymara Nieto Muñoz and Maria Josefa Acon Sardiña, who is also a member of the Ladies in White, a peaceful protest group founded by female relatives of Cuban political prisoners.

    Photos showed some of them being dragged away by security personnel at Havana’s Revolution Square, where they reportedly tried to approach the pope as his white popemobile carried him to the Mass he was giving.

    They were yelling “freedom!” and anti-government slogans, according to an Agence France-Presse photographer. Opposition groups have widely criticized the pope’s decision not to meet with them during his Cuba trip.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cuba-pope-arrests_55fef33ce4b00310edf76d24

  23. Humberto: Stop with the bias publications of exaggerations from the very, very small group of malcontent individuals disconnected with reality and the wishes of main stream people around the World. The Socialist Republic of Cuba is aligned with the Vatican on the issues facing Man in this World. It is the United States domestic and international policies and programs who are not aligned with the issues facing Man. The Latin American Democratic Organizations acting as proxies for the United States in Latin America are also on the wrong side of history.

  24. Pope visit to Cuba
    The Vatican described the 40-minute meeting at Castro’s residence as informal and familial, with an exchange of books and discussion about big issues facing humanity, including Francis’ recent encyclical on the environment and the global economic system.
    “This is very important for us,” said Mauren Gomez, 40, who traveled some 250 kilometers (155 miles) from Villa Clara to Havana by bus, spending her time reciting the Rosary.

    In his homily delivered under the gaze of a metal portrait of revolutionary fighter Che Guevara, Francis urged Cubans to care for one another out of a sense of service, not ideology. He encouraged them to refrain from judging each other by “looking to one side or the other to see what our neighbor is doing or not doing.”

    “Whoever wishes to be great must serve others, not be served by others,” he said. “Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people.”

    “Being a Christian entails promoting the dignity of our brothers and sisters, fighting for it, living for it,” Francis told the crowd. “That is why Christians are constantly called to set aside their own wishes and desires, their pursuit of power, and to look instead to those who are most vulnerable.”

    Maria Regla González, a 57-year-old teacher, said she appreciated Francis’ message of reconciliation and unity for all Cubans, and said Francis was particularly able to convey it given he is Latin American and speaks their language.

    “This is a crucial moment, and the pope’s support for us is very important,” she said. “He made a call for unity, and that’s what we want.”

    Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said Francis’ meeting with Castro was low-key and involved an exchange of views about big issues facing the world. He said that out of respect for Castro’s family, no photographs would be released.

  25. SAME THING HAPPENED ON THE LAST PAPAL VISIT OF Pope Benedict the XVI TO CUBA 2012! GUESS KING OBAMA’S US-CUBA POLICY IS MAKING REAL CHANGES IN THE ISLAND!

    ENGLISH: On March 26, 2012 Andres Carrion Alvarez was violently beaten and arrested during the mass held by Pope Benedict the XVI during his visit to CUBA. Cuban government thugs dressed in the RED CROSS logo uniform beat him with a stretcher over the head as he was dragged away for shouting “down with communism”, “Cubans are not FREE!” . This violating his human right to freedom of expression, which is has been Castro’s COMMUNIST REGIME’S # 1 VIOLATION THROUGH HIS 53 YEARS OF TOTALITARIAN DICTATORSHIP.

    We ask the help of all International and Human Rights Organizations in saving the physical integrity of this brave Cuban man. His is at risk of losing his life in a CUBAN PRISON, furthermore,he will be used by the Cuban Government as an example to promote fear and silence amidst the CUBAN population in order to prevent a national uprising.

    YOUTUBE:Andres Carrion Alvarez: “Abajo el comunismo!” #Cuba – Published on Mar 30, 2012

  26. BET THAT MR. POPE KEEPS HIS MOUTH SHUT ON THESE ARRESTS!

    ABC NEWS MIAMI: Cuban police keep dissidents away from Pope Francis Castro’s opposition: Cuban police targets Ladies in White group Author: Andrea Torres

    HAVANA – At least two dozen Cuban dissidents on their way to the Revolution Plaza couldn’t make it to Pope Francis’ Sunday morning Mass celebration. Cuban police arrested the group of “Ladies in White,” an opposition movement of relatives of jailed dissidents, both Saturday and Sunday, activists report on Twitter. Among them was Berta de los Angeles Soler Fernandez, 52, the leader of the group.

    Her last tweet was at 5:20 a.m.: “If we are not there by 7 a.m. at the entrance of the bus terminal that means we have disappeared.”

    Cuban dissidents report that there were arrests in Havana and Santa Clara early Sunday morning. Soler reported on Twitter that they were also arrested Saturday and added that some of the dissidents detained were supposed to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican’s diplomatic residence Saturday night.

    Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said there were 30 to 40 opposition activists detained in both cities.

    http://www.local10.com/news/cuban-police-keep-dissidents-away-from-pope-francis/35380068

  27. Fidel Castro declared to the world that he had abolished racism in Cuba. Those who said the contrary were simply denigrating the revolution and were labeled “agents of American imperialism.” By denying the existence of racism in Cuba for 56 years, the regime guaranteed a safe haven for the perpetuation and growth of a rampant racism in Cuba. Cuban society continues to be today a profoundly racist society.

  28. UNTIL THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY LEAVES CUBA, NO REAL CHANGES WILL HAPPEN! WITH POPE OR MORE POPES!

    THE ATLANTIC: What Happens the Day After Pope Francis Leaves Cuba? – by Miriam Celaya

    The pope is arriving in Cuba, and with him runaway speculation in the media about the impact his visit will have on Cuban society and politics—and particularly the push for greater democracy in the country. After Pope John Paul II traveled to Cuba in 1998, relations between the Cuban Catholic Church and the state improved significantly. Hopeful Cubans overwhelmed city squares to greet the clergyman. They took as a good omen the famous phrase with which the bishop of Rome bid us farewell from the steps of his plane: “May Cuba, with all its magnificent possibilities, open itself up to the world, and may the world open itself up to Cuba.”

    To date, only part of that blessing has been fulfilled: The world has opened itself up to a Cuba whose government refuses to open itself up to those it governs.

    Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Cuba in 2012 strengthened relations between the Church and the Castro government, while expanding and consolidating the Church’s presence in Cuban society. But it did not create openings for democracy or civil liberties, despite the flood of blessings, which—like his predecessor—Benedict poured equally over the wolves and the flock.

    And yet, many Cubans recognize that Francis’s visit will not make a difference in their daily lives and problems. The capital of hope awakened by John Paul II has drained away after almost two decades of no real improvements in the country’s socioeconomic and political situation, and in the spiral of poverty that stifles much of the population. Cubans today confront ever more entrenched poverty, an increasingly apathetic population, and a nation being emptied—particularly of its young people—by a growing and seemingly unstoppable emigration. Many people have discovered that the paradise they dream about is not in the infinity of the heavens, but a mere 90 miles across the sea from this hell of hardship that Cuba has become.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/pope-francis-visit-castro-cuba/406120/

  29. The best great power in the World that can take the place of the United States and the Soviet Union in Cuba is the Vatican.

  30. Pope Francis encyclical (2015)
    THE POPE IS VERY WELL AWARE THAT MAN HAS TO CHANGE THE WAY MAN MANAGES SCARCITY AND GOVERNS. CUBA CAN BE AN EXPERIMENT IN BOTH FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE WORLD
    18. The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification”. Although change is part of the working of complex systems, the speed with which human activity has developed contrasts with the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. Moreover, the goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development. Change is something desirable, yet it becomes a source of anxiety when it causes harm to the world and to the quality of life of much of humanity.

    II. THE ISSUE OF WATER (Cuba needs to do more)

    27. Other indicators of the present situation have to do with the depletion of natural resources. We all know that it is not possible to sustain the present level of consumption in developed countries and wealthier sectors of society, where the habit of wasting and discarding has reached unprecedented levels. The exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits and we still have not solved the problem of poverty.

    28. Fresh drinking water is an issue of primary importance, since it is indispensable for human life and for supporting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Sources of fresh water are necessary for health care, agriculture and industry. Water supplies used to be relatively constant, but now in many places demand exceeds the sustainable supply, with dramatic consequences in the short and long term. Large cities dependent on significant supplies of water have experienced periods of shortage, and at critical moments these have not always been administered with sufficient oversight and impartiality. Water poverty especially affects Africa where large sectors of the population have no access to safe drinking water or experience droughts which impede agricultural production. Some countries have areas rich in water while others endure drastic scarcity.
    45. In some places, rural and urban alike, the privatization of certain spaces has restricted people’s access to places of particular beauty. In others, “ecological” neighbourhoods have been created which are closed to outsiders in order to ensure an artificial tranquillity. Frequently, we find beautiful and carefully manicured green spaces in so-called “safer” areas of cities, but not in the more hidden areas where the disposable of society live.
    46. The social dimensions of global change include the effects of technological innovations on employment, social exclusion, an inequitable distribution and consumption of energy and other services, social breakdown, increased violence and a rise in new forms of social aggression, drug trafficking, growing drug use by young people, and the loss of identity. These are signs that the growth of the past two centuries has not always led to an integral development and an improvement in the quality of life. Some of these signs are also symptomatic of real social decline, the silent rupture of the bonds of integration and social cohesion.
    47. Furthermore, when media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. In this context, the great sages of the past run the risk of going unheard amid the noise and distractions of an information overload. Efforts need to be made to help these media become sources of new cultural progress for humanity and not a threat to our deepest riches. True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution. Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature. Today’s media do enable us to communicate and to share our knowledge and affections. Yet at times they also shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experiences. For this reason, we should be concerned that, alongside the exciting possibilities offered by these media, a deep and melancholic dissatisfaction with interpersonal relations, or a harmful sense of isolation, can also arise.
    29. One particularly serious problem is the quality of water available to the poor. Every day, unsafe water results in many deaths and the spread of water-related diseases, including those caused by microorganisms and chemical substances. Dysentery and cholera, linked to inadequate hygiene and water supplies, are a significant cause of suffering and of infant mortality. Underground water sources in many places are threatened by the pollution produced in certain mining, farming and industrial activities, especially in countries lacking adequate regulation or controls. It is not only a question of industrial waste. Detergents and chemical products, commonly used in many places of the world, continue to pour into our rivers, lakes and seas.
    30. Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market. Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity. This debt can be paid partly by an increase in funding to provide clean water and sanitary services among the poor. But water continues to be wasted, not only in the developed world but also in developing countries which possess it in abundance. This shows that the problem of water is partly an educational and cultural issue, since there is little awareness of the seriousness of such behaviour within a context of great inequality.
    31. Greater scarcity of water will lead to an increase in the cost of food and the various products which depend on its use. Some studies warn that an acute water shortage may occur within a few decades unless urgent action is taken. The environmental repercussions could affect billions of people; it is also conceivable that the control of water by large multinational businesses may become a major source of conflict in this century.[23]
    51. Inequity affects not only individuals but entire countries; it compels us to consider an ethics of international relations. A true “ecological debt” exists, particularly between the global north and south, connected to commercial imbalances with effects on the environment, and the disproportionate use of natural resources by certain countries over long periods of time. The export of raw materials to satisfy markets in the industrialized north has caused harm locally, as for example in mercury pollution in gold mining or sulphur dioxide pollution in copper mining. There is a pressing need to calculate the use of environmental space throughout the world for depositing gas residues which have been accumulating for two centuries and have created a situation which currently affects all the countries of the world. The warming caused by huge consumption on the part of some rich countries has repercussions on the poorest areas of the world

  31. Cuban blacks have many complaints about the existing racism and believe is it getting worse. Cuba’s rappers have made racial complains a major theme of their songs. Young Cubans blacks are detained and harassed by the police for no apparent reason other than their race. They are asked for identifications and interrogated. This is political profiling of black males, an abuse of power by the military regime.

  32. THE POPE AKA “EL PAPA” WILL GO TO A CUBA WITHOUT PAPAS (potatos) AS WELL AS LACK OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH, ASSOCIATION OR HUMAN RIGHTS! HOW IS THAT KING OBAMA US-CUBA DEAL WORKING OUT? IT AINT!

    REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS: Window-dressing for papal visit – Friday 18 September 2015

    “Official” media require the government’s authorization and any unauthorized media are deemed to be illegal and are censored. The independent press is still gagged and the equipment of several reporters working for the unauthorized Hablemos Press news agency was recently confiscated.

    The state security police have invited opposition journalists and bloggers to stay at work during the pope’s visit or risk imprisonment.

    Cuba is ranked 169th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://en.rsf.org/cuba-window-dressing-for-papal-visit-18-09-2015,48371.html

  33. WHAT A GREAT MR. PAPA THIS POPE IS! THANK GOD IM NOT CATHOLIC! FUNNY, HE GOT DOWN AND DIRTY WITH THE US-CUBA TALKS BUT HE DOES NOT WANT HIS VISIT TO BE “POLITICAL”!! IDIOTA! HYPOCRITE!

    YAHOO NEWS: Pope plans to duck dissidents in Cuba, spawning criticism – by ANDREA RODRIGUEZ and MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN

    HAVANA (AP) — Pope Francis plans to meet with Cuba’s president and its priests, its young and its sick, its churchgoers and its seminarians as he travels around the island starting Saturday. But not with its dissidents.

    The absence on Francis’ agenda of any meeting with the political opposition has sparked bitter critiques from dissidents who say they feel let down by an institution they believe should help push for greater freedom in Cuba.

    “He should exert more pressure,” said Antonio Rodiles, head of the hardline group Estado de SATS. “In many cases political systems have come under international pressure that has resulted in change, and that’s what needs to happen with Cuba.”

    Papal observers say it’s likely Francis will speak strongly to Cubans about the need for greater freedom in their country and may speak to President Raul Castro in private about the same topic. But in shying from meetings with dissidents, the pope is hewing largely to the Cuban Catholic Church’s strategy of advocating for change within bounds laid out by the communist state rather than pushing the system to change as John Paul II did in Eastern Europe. There is no one Cuban officials consider more out of bounds than the country’s dissidents, whom they call mercenaries paid by the U.S. government and Cuban-American interest groups in Miami.

    Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said this week that Francis had not accepted any invitations to meet with dissidents, and well-known opposition members told The Associated Press they have received no invitation to see him.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://news.yahoo.com/pope-plans-duck-dissidents-cuba-spawning-criticism-040432949.html

  34. WHAT THIS ARTICLE FAILS TO MENTION IS THAT THE AMERICAN COMPANIES WILL HAVE TO GO THRU THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA IN ORDER TO HIRE WORKERS. THE CASTRO CLAN WILL KEEP 80% OF THE WAGES BECAUSE THEY WILL PAY THE CUBAN WORKERS IN PESOS WHILE THEY GET DOLLARS. THE PESO IS WORTH 1/26th THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR! ITS TYPICAL MAFIA TACTIC!

    N.Y. TIMES: Restrictions on Cuba Travel and Business Lifted by U.S. – By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday announced wide-ranging changes to loosen travel, commerce and investment restrictions on Cuba, moving to fulfill President Obama’s goal of breaking down barriers between Washington and Havana even as the American embargo remains in place.

    The rules will allow American companies to open locations and hire workers in Cuba, facilitate financial transactions between the nations, and remove limits on the amount of money that can be brought to the island nation. They are to take effect on Monday on the eve of the visit to Washington by Pope Francis, a proponent of the reconciliation between the United States and Cuba who quietly helped broker the agreement last year between Mr. Obama and President Raùl Castro to forge it.

    Jacob J. Lew, the Treasury secretary, said the rules could lead to “constructive change for the Cuban people.”

    “A stronger, more open U.S.-Cuba relationship has the potential to create economic opportunities for both Americans and Cubans alike,” Mr. Lew said in a statement. “By further easing these sanctions, the United States is helping to support the Cuban people in their effort to achieve the political and economic freedom necessary to build a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba.”

    They also hold out the prospect of new business opportunities for American companies in Cuba, which some observers said were intended to increase pressure on Havana to take corresponding action to open its economy.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/19/world/americas/us-cuba-relations.html

  35. NBC NEWS (Videos): Dissidents Hope to Meet with Pope – by Tracey Eaton

    Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Cuba on Saturday to celebrate Mass in Havana and two other cities.

    Democracy activists have been scrambling to get his attention. They want him to know that Cuban authorities have been arresting peaceful protesters and violating basic human rights.

    “We are asking for a meeting, a few minutes with Pope Francis, so he can hear it from us, to show him that yes, there are political prisoners in Cuba,” said Laura Labrada Pollan, leader of a Havana group called Ladies in White.

    Berta Soler, leader of the second group, said Cuban authorities have stepped up the pressure on the political opposition in the weeks before the pope’s visit.

    On Sept. 13, Soler and more than 50 other activists marched along Havana’s Fifth Avenue and held up photos of political prisoners. Police detained the activists for several hours before releasing them.

    These are “flagrant violations of the rights and basic freedoms of the Cuban people,” dissident leader Jose Daniel Ferrer said in a statement on Thursday.

    He blames Cuban leaders.

    “What arguments are they leaving the Holy Father so that he can ask the American president to continue working toward the end of the embargo?” Ferrer asked. “What can they offer Barack Obama so that he can convince Congress that it’s worth ending economic sanctions against the only one-party regime in the hemisphere?”

    Cuban officials “always want too much in exchange for nothing or very little and they’re never to be trusted.”

    Cuban dissidents say they are simply demanding basic human rights. But they say police routinely disrupt meetings and peaceful demonstrations.

    “Especially at a time when the government has recently made amends with its ‘historic enemy,’ it is inconceivable that its citizens are still persecuted for thinking and speaking honestly,” the civic group SOMOS+ said in a statement.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/cuba-democracy-activists-dissidents-hope-meet-pope-n429641

  36. SO THIS POPE CRITICIZES CAPITALISM BUT KEEPS HIS MOUTH SHUT ON THE CUBAN DICTATORSHIP AND ALL THE POVERTY IT HAS PRODUCED IN THE PAST 56+ YEARS!

    THE ATLANTIC: How the Catholic Church Survived in Cuba – Pope Francis is visiting a country where the clergy found a way to coexist with godless communism. – by JASON BERRY

    HAVANA—More than five decades ago, Fidel Castro’s revolution triggered the sweeping seizure of Catholic Church properties in Cuba.

    Javier Arzuaga, a Franciscan priest from Spain, was an early proponent of the revolution. His Havana parish included a military prison that housed collaborators of Batista, who was overthrown in 1959. Che Guevara, who led the revolution alongside Fidel, permitted Arzuaga “at any time to attend to the prisoners,” according to an interview Arzuaga gave the historian Lillian Guerra in 2008 for a documentary (the producer, Glenn Gebhard, gave me a transcript of the interview, which did not make the final cut). Arzuaga witnessed a kangaroo-court system shuttling men toward execution on an assembly line. He offered to find confessors for the condemned and gave Communion to any man who asked.

    “Whether or not those executed were murderers,” said Arzuaga, “didn’t matter to me. … I was not there to decide who was good and who was bad but rather to say to them: ‘Look, do you believe in the next life?’” He wanted them to have “serenity, a sense of calm as they faced death.” He accompanied 55 men to the firing squad: “None of them had to be roped to a post. None of them had to be blindfolded. They all died looking out, straight ahead. Of course, I stood by each one, holding a cross.” Arzuaga was so traumatized by his role in the executions that he quit the priesthood and moved to Puerto Rico.

    He would not be the last priest to leave. In the spring of 1961, the Cuban government thwarted the Bay of Pigs invasion conducted by Cuban Americans with assistance from the CIA. Four priests had taken part in the operation, which helped catalyze Fidel’s plan, already underway, to crack down on the church. He ordered the closure of Catholic schools and Cuba deported 130 priests to Spain that fall. Over the next few years, 3,500 nuns and priests decamped from the island. Regime thugs invaded churches and disrupted religious processions, and priests and lay activists were put in prisons.

    Across the island, bishops, priests, nuns, and lay workers operate Cuba’s de-facto social safety net, which the cash-strapped government, whose revolution was founded on egalitarian principles, cannot deliver for all disabled, elderly, and impoverished Cubans. Pope Francis, who has criticized unregulated capitalism as fostering a “globalization of indifference,” has been credited with helping Cuba restore diplomatic ties with the United States. Caritas, the international Catholic aid group, and foreign dioceses are among those combating Cuba’s poverty. The Vatican’s strategy of engagement with Cuban communism is bearing fruit after more than half a century, and Cuba’s state-church dynamic will likely define the kind of economy that emerges in the country.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/catholic-church-cuba-pope-francis/406024/

  37. THIS WILL HAPPEN AGAIN ON POPE FRANCIS’S TRIP TO CUBA JUST LIKE IT DID WITH POPE BENEDICT! THAT KING OBAMA US-CUBA DEAL IS WORKING WONDERS!

    WALL STREET JOURNAL: Cuba After Benedict – Dissidents who asked to meet with the Pope are now being arrested.

    Pope Benedict XVI’s recent trip to Cuba was described by the Vatican as way to spread the gospel to a nation captured by an atheist state. And surely it was the Pope’s purpose to inspire as many Cubans as possible. The irony of the Pope’s visit is that it has provoked a crackdown on dissent. Agence France Press reports that in the last week at least 43 dissidents in the eastern province of Santiago, one of the stops during the Pope’s three-day Cuban sojourn, have been detained by the police. They include former political prisoner José Daniel Ferrer and his wife Belkis Cantillo.
    Mr. Ferrer was one of the 75 arrested in Cuba’s “Black Spring” in 2003, and he was among 12 who refused to accept exile as a condition of release in 2011. He is the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba. Ms. Cantillo is among 10 members of the Ladies in White—Catholic mothers, wives and sisters of political prisoners—who were arrested in the sweep.
    The Ladies in White had lobbied the Vatican through the papal nuncio in Havana for a meeting with the Pope. Cuba’s Jaime Cardinal Ortega told them that the Holy See’s schedule was too tight. This request was widely publicized before the visit. So it was hard not to miss the contrast of the Pope’s inevitable meetings with the Castro brothers, Raúl and Fidel, and even with the ailing Venezuelan strongman, Hugo Chávez, in the country for medical treatment.
    The unhappy truth is Benedict would have had to go into the Cuban jails to see many of the island’s Christian dissidents. Local activists provided the names of almost 300 who were detained in the week before the Pope arrived and held so that they couldn’t attend the papal Masses in Santiago and Havana.
    Thirty-eight-year-old Andres Carrión Alvarez, who did make it to the papal Mass in Santiago and chose the moment to shout “down with Communism” in front of the cameras, was beaten and led off by state security. He has not been heard from since.
    Some of those arrested ahead of the Pope’s visit have been released, including Ms. Cantillo. Others, like Sonia Garro, are in lock-down. Ms. Garro. a particularly courageous member of the Ladies in White who had her nose broken by Castro mobs last year, was taken away by Cuban security from her home on March 18. She has since been transferred to the Guatao women’s prison in Havana and is being charged with “disrespect.” She could get a sentence of up to four years.
    Fairly or not, her fate and that of many other Cuban dissidents caught up in this post-papal crackdown will always be linked to the visit of Benedict XVI. They deserved a hearing while he was there.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303299604577325641014688920.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

  38. N.Y. TIMES: Pope Francis Faces a Challenge in Opening Cuba to the Church – By JIM YARDLEY, AZAM AHMED and VICTORIA BURNETT

    From his own experiences in the 1970s, when Argentina was ruled by a military dictatorship, Francis knows the complexity, dangers and difficult compromises of coexisting with repressive authorities. For decades, the Cuban church has been wary of inciting the wrath of a Communist government that all but marginalized it after the 1959 revolution, when priests were cast out, religious schools were closed and the state was declared atheist.

    But the pope has already come under criticism for not making the issues more of a central focus of his trip. At a briefing this week, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said that the pope would not hold any public meetings in Cuba with dissidents. Antonio Rodiles, a prominent political activist, said that he was disappointed by the decision, but not surprised.

    Some call this caution wise pragmatism, noting that the Cuban government has gradually loosened its grip. But critics contend that the Cuban church has been too timid — eager to maintain close ties with the government, at the expense of speaking out for greater political and religious freedom in Cuban society.

    “We could do more,” said the Rev. José Conrado, an outspoken Cuban priest based in the central city of Trinidad, speaking by telephone. “The church should not back off, even if doing so is difficult and problematic for the church itself.”

    “It forms part of an established agenda,” he said, noting that dissidents were not invited to celebrations at the new United States Embassy in August and that they were often avoided by visiting delegations. Meanwhile, he said, the state had started cracking down ahead of the pope’s visit, detaining some dissidents and stationing police officers outside dissidents’ houses.

    “For Cuba to change, we need to start to speak the truth,” Mr. Rodiles added.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/19/world/americas/pope-francis-cuba.html

  39. N.Y. TIMES: The State of Cuba – by Azam Ahmed and Victoria Burnett – Photographs by Daniel Berehulak.
    Cuba’s inconsistencies are especially apparent now that relations with the United States have been restored after more than a half a century of hostility. Change is fighting with tradition. The public’s desire for openness is being met with the government’s resistance to letting go. Alongside the upscale bars where young Cubans spend small fortunes on imported whiskey are homes that have not received a fresh coat of paint in 50 years. Contradiction is more than just a sign of a changing Cuba — it is a fundamental characteristic of it.
    ECONOMIC GROWTH: Some economists doubt Cuba’s economic figures, but they display the same push-and-pull as the rest of the nation. Spending to repair hotels, restaurants and commercial property ranked among the fastest growing sectors of the economy in the past nine years, suggesting a more entrepreneurial Cuba. But some of the stalwarts of the communist system, like public health and social assistance, also grew quickly. Beyond tourism, experts say the future of Cuba’s economy will depend on the private sector breaking free of government control.
    TRADE WITH THE USA: Despite the United States trade embargo, not all trade with Cuba is off limits. Since 2001, the United States has exported some goods to Cuba, like frozen chicken, soybeans and corn, reaching more than $700 million in 2008. But exports have tapered off, most drastically this year, just when relations between the two nations began to warm. Part of the decline can be traced to Cuba’s cash crunch, but the drop may also be strategic: By buying less from American agricultural states, Cuba can apply pressure on American legislators from those states to lift the embargo.
    POLITICAL FREEDOM: Repression in Cuba has many guises. People whose criticism crosses an invisible line may lose their job, find that their child cannot attend college, or may be barred from performing in state-owned venues. Human Rights Watch says that it is “virtually impossible” to know the number of political prisoners because Cuba’s justice system is so opaque. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and Reconciliation in August put the number of political prisoners at 70, but that number includes Cubans who have tried to hijack planes or steal boats to escape the island. What is clear is that dissidents continue to be harassed and detained for short periods: 4,264 people were held in the first eight months of 2015, significantly fewer than in the same period of 2014, when arrests peaked, but roughly in line with recent years.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE AND PHOTOS!
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/09/18/world/americas/cuba-state.html?_r=0

  40. Human Rights Watch published an extensive report (LINK PROVIDED) on prison conditions in Cuba in 1999. In it it widely criticized most aspect of the Cuban judicial and prison system.

    In it criticized the lack of openness of the Cuban regime: “Cuba’s refusal to allow domestic or international human rights monitors to conduct regular visits to its prisons casts a veil of secrecy over its extensive prison system, reportedly one of the largest per capita in Latin America and the Caribbean. Cuba refuses to disseminate even the most basic prison statistics, such as prison population figures. Cuba’s Penitentiary Establishment Directorate, however, reportedly maintains a centralized, computerized system that would readily make available detailed information about all detainees in Cuba’s prisons.”
    According to an article in the Miami Herald (LINK PROVIDED) in September 2003 Cuba’s jails may hold over 100,000 inmates. The same article puts the last visit of any international organization to Cuba’s prisons in 1989 (International Red Cross). The UN estimated the number of prisoners in Cuba between 100,000 and 200,000 in its 1995 UNHCR Special Rapporteur’s (LINK PROVIDED) report. A figure of 100,000 or more makes Cuba the country with the most prisoners per capita in the world.

    International organizations have reported that inadequate food and medical assistance, sexual abuse, limits and restrictions on visits, beatings,… in Cuba’s prisons. Amnesty International (LINK PROVIDED) has often started letter letter writing operations to support suffering prisoners of conscience.

    http://www.cubaverdad.net/cuba_prison_system.htm

  41. THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO HAS ALL THE TEN VIDEOS OF THE CUBAN JAIL COMBINADO DEL ESTE TOGETHER!

    YOUTUBE: Las Prisiones mas Peligrosas del Mundo – Cárceles de Cuba/ The most dangerous prisons in the world- Cuban jails

    Ten videos smuggled out of Cuba’s biggest and reputedly worst prison, in an unusually daring operation by a dissident, show grotesquely dirty toilets, grimy walls, leaking sewage and food described as worse than “animal feed.”

    “Show this video to the international community, how this miserable dictatorship commits cruelties against humanity,” says the videos’ main narrator, an India citizen serving a 30-year sentence in Havana’s high security Combinado del Este prison.

    Havana dissident journalist Dania Virgen García, who writes the blog “Cuba por Dentro” — Inside Cuba — said the videos were shot in late January with a digital camera smuggled into the prison “so that everyone can see Cuba’s reality.”

    The videos — which also showed several inmates, including a U.S. citizen complaining about prison conditions — appeared to be the first ever smuggled out of Cuba’s 200-plus prisons. Their views of prison buildings matched those of the Combinado del Este prison.

  42. From my perspective. ..you can’t see the forest for the trees. You have no clue about the big picture. Sorry. I know you mean well. ..but……

  43. It is time for the world to know how blacks are treated in Cuba, how everyday their rights are violated. They are constantly followed and provoke by the police, who throw them in jail for any minor charge they can think off. Castroit totalitarian regime squelches all human rights in the island. Racism remains widespread under their regime.

  44. Cuban dissident says racism remains a grave problem
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/16/3399466/cuban-dissident-says-racism-remains.html#emlnl=The_Americas

    By Juan O. Tamayo
    jtamayo@ElNuevoHerald.com

    Cuban dissident Manuel Cuesta Morua on Wednesday called for “affirmative action” to redress what he called the “grave” problem of racism on the communist-ruled island.

    “As long as the race problem is not resolved, we don’t believe that the problems of the nation can be resolved,” Cuesta Morua, who is black, said during an appearance at the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies.

    He is the latest of nearly a dozen dissidents to visit South Florida since Cuba eased its restrictions on travel abroad in January. Also in Miami on Wednesday were Guillermo Fariñas, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov prize in 2010 and Eliezer Avila.

    Cuesta Morua, the 50-year-old leader of the unofficial Progressive Arc party, said there’s clear and broad agreement in Cuba that the island needs fundamental changes and not the reforms pushed by ruler Raúl Castro to improve the economy.

    Such changes can be achieved only with the input of all factions and interests on the island and abroad, Cuesta Morua added, because for too long Cuba has been ruled by elite groups, including revolutionaries for the past half century.

    As for racism, he said it was more than a problem for the island — a “grave problem” made worse because the Castro governments have tried to sweep it under the rug by arguing that the revolution outlawed racism.

    White Cubans generally have more access to cash remittances sent by friends and relatives abroad, Cuesta Morua said. And while whites generally live in better neighborhoods, blacks generally live on the edges on cities.

    To fix the problem of racism, he added, Cuba requires a broad debate on racism and “affirmative action” for blacks because “their point of departure is disadvantageous” when compared to white Cubans.

    The term “affirmative action” rankles officials of a government that boasts of trying to build an egalitarian society since 1959.

    Some black-rights activists on the island, where the census shows about 35 percent of the 11 million people describe themselves as black or mestizo, are complaining that Raúl Castro’s open-market economic reforms favor the already better-off whites.

    “Today, no one in Cuba can deny that we have a serious racial problem,” Cuesta Morua said.

    He also noted the case of Roberto Zurbano, a black writer demoted from a top job at the state-controlled Casa de las Americas book publishers in March after his scathing criticism of racism on the island was published in The New York Times.

    The case highlighted and advanced the debate on black rights in Cuba, Cuesta Morua added.
    A critic of the U.S. embargo, he also argued that Cuba is a “military dictatorship” because armed forces officers now hold most of the key jobs in all of the island’s key economic sectors.

    Cuesta Morua, a historian and social democrat, has been active in the opposition since 1991and is also a member of the Citizen’s Committee for Racial Integration, which has been speaking out on black-rights issues.

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