A Direct Line to Delphi

Saturday, May 1, 2010
Since 12:15 a.m. this morning, the Castro regime's state media, Granma, posted a picture of its mass (compulsory) rally for "International Worker's Day."

The problem is that it wasn't scheduled to begin until 9 hours later.

Either the Castro's have a direct line to Delphi, or they blew some dust off the archives.

Joking aside, it's a just another example of the totalitarian (and increasingly desperate) manipulation of this regime.

Picture courtesy of Secretos de Cuba.

Amnesty: Repression of Journalists Intensifies

Statement by Amnesty International:

Cuba urged to respect press freedom as repression of journalists intensifies

Amnesty International today called on the Cuban authorities to end harassment of independent journalists following a month in which several reporters were arbitrarily detained and intimidated for criticizing the government.

Journalists who try to work independently of the state-owned media outlets in Cuba are being targeted with repressive tactics and spurious criminal charges - and this clampdown on freedom of expression appears to be intensifying, said Susan Lee, Amnesty International's Americas Director, ahead of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.

Journalist Calixto Ramon Martinez Arias remains in detention after being arrested on 23 April by security officials who broke into the house where he was covering a memorial service for a prisoner of conscience. Orlando Zapata Tamayo had died two months earlier after several weeks on hunger strike in protest against the plight of prisoners of conscience in Cuba.

Another journalist described the campaign of intimidation waged against him as psychological torture. Yosvani Anzardo Hernandez, the director of an online independent newspaper, was detained on 24 April and questioned for over six hours over anti-government graffiti found in the city of Holguin.

Meanwhile, news agency director Carlos Serpa Maceira was subjected to intimidation and harassment by the Cuban authorities when he tried to cover the weekly march by the activist group Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) on three consecutive weekends in April.

Members of the Damas de Blanco have been repeatedly harassed and intimidated by government supporters, and their weekly demonstrations were forcibly broken by police on at least two occasions.

"Criminal charges, or other forms of harassment and intimidation, must not be brought against independent journalists, human rights advocates or political dissidents as a result of their legitimate exercise of freedom of expression," said Susan Lee.

There are currently 55 prisoners of conscience detained in Cuba, most of them serving long sentences for criticizing the Cuban government and advocating basic human rights. Among them are several independent journalists.

Several articles of the Cuban Constitution and Penal Code are so vague that the authorities have been able to use them in a way that infringes freedom of expression. The Cuban State also maintains a total control of broadcast media and the press, while access to the internet is heavily restricted.

"As a result of these restrictions on freedom of expression, Cubans are unable to share independent information without facing direct repression from the authorities," said Susan Lee.

"Restrictions on access to the internet should be lifted and censorship of websites containing information and views contrary to government policies must be eliminated."

Amnesty International has urged the Cuban authorities to review all legal provisions that unlawfully limit freedom of expression and to release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally.

Welcome to Havana Airport

Friday, April 30, 2010
Or the island prison. There's so much symbolism in this picture.

Rapping Truth to Power

According to AFP:

Cuba's underground rappers test free speech

HAVANACuba's underground hip hop duo "Los Aldeanos" are boldly grooving where no Cuban has gone in five decades: criticizing the communist government loud and proud for the first time to a sell-out crowd.

"They tell the truth, say the things we feel, the things that a lot of Cubans cannot say. The freedom that we do not have," explained Yoelvis Fonseca, a 27-year-old construction worker, as he sweated and swayed to the beat of the rhyming twosome that recently packed the Acapulco movie theater with more than 2,000 rabid fans.

True, this event was not advertised in state-controlled media.

And even the sign in lights outside the Acapulco disjointedly read "Today, Sherlock Holmes."

But the word was on the street, and the under-30s were in the house for the first major show by the dissident duo who have been around -- stealthy and not wealthy -- for seven years.

They called the show "Seven years with the village," and maybe because the venue was huge, they held off singing their underground hits most critical of life in Cuba.

Los Aldeanos -- which means villagers, but is a riff on one member's name -- have come a long way, baby.

In the only communist country in the Americas, where confronting the government can be a ticket to prison, they have hit it big taking on the government, corruption and giving voice to Cubans' everyday frustrations.

Their rhymes -- they sing in Spanish -- are direct and pull no punches, with lines like: "I can't stand one more lie," and "All of this/one day will change/for the good of the people."

And it gets hotter in this country with a one-party regime and a leadership dominated by officials well over 70: "I'm from a chilling society/that listens with piety/to the same people who have gagged it/with a bag of fake freedom," one Los Aldeanos line goes.

Another classic for fans: "So many are dead/or in jail/people would rather die for the American dream/than live through this Cuban nightmare."

Tattooed friends Bian Rodriguez (El B) and Aldo Rodriguez (El Aldeano) first got their act together back in 2003, playing mainly in Havana's dingy underground rap halls as well as parks and the odd cultural event.

But the Acapulco theater gig was a landmark, as the group and its fans pushed the envelope. For now, the government did not push back.

"This concert is breaking the silence," the duo's representative Melisa Riviere told AFP.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In the picture below, the word Aldo is spray-painting on the wall is "Libertad," which means "Freedom."

Shouldn't the Cardinal Protect His Flock?

On Sunday, we posted news of the arrest of Cuban independent journalist, Dania Virgen Garcia.

Below is a picture of Dania receiving holy sacrament from Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega in Havana. Dania marched and attended church services on multiple occasions in support of the Ladies in White.

So will Cardinal Ortega intervene on her behalf?

After all, isn't it the Cardinal's duty to protect his flock?

Why is the Cardinal so timid?

The Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer recently asked that same question to Cuban pro-democracy leader and hunger striker Guillermo Farinas in a great column entitled, "Cuba Cardinal Says Too Little Too Late":

Why do you think Ortega is so timid? [Oppenheimer] asked.

"Because the Church hierarchy does not want to lose the handful of benefits that it has gotten from the government, such as permission to do seminars, some spaces on the radio and occasional appearances on television. I'm talking about the Church hierarchy because we can't say the same of the priests in the countryside."

While Cardinal Ortega timidly protects his "benefits," the Castro regime adds another victim to his prison repertoire.

Before and During Imprisonment

Thursday, April 29, 2010
According to EFE:

Cuban Political Prisoner in Failing Health

A paraplegic political prisoner is suffering a serious health crisis, the unofficial Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, or CCDHRN, said Thursday.

Ariel Sigler Amaya, 47, is being treated at a hospital in Havana, CCDHRN chairman Elizardo Sanchez told Efe.

"The government is aware that he is very ill and they don't release him for political reasons," Sanchez said of Sigler, designated by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience.

Brothers Ariel and Guido Sigler were among the 75 dissidents arrested in the "Black Spring" crackdown of 2003. The Siglers, who belonged to the Alternative Option movement, were sentenced to long prison terms on charges of undermining Cuban independence.

Ariel Sigler became sick behind bars and ended up in a wheelchair due to a neurological problem linked to inadequate nutrition, according to the CCDHRN.

Sanchez said Sigler's is not the only case of political prisoners falling ill because of insufficient or substandard food.

The CCDHRN last month issued a list of 25 severely ill prisoners to refute claims by the communist government that Cuban prisons did not hold any inmates with serious health problems.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ariel Sigler Amaya was an amateur boxer in excellent physical condition prior to being imprisoned for his political dissent.

Here's Ariel before his imprisonment:

Here's Ariel during his imprisonment:

Must See Statement

Statement by U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes of California at today's Ways and Means' Trade Subcommittee hearing on U.S.-Cuba Policy:

Don't Extend Castro's Ponzi

Keep the Cuba Travel Ban in Place
by Mauricio Claver-Carone

Special to AOL News

At a congressional hearing today, lawmakers will hear about why the U.S. should relax travel and trade sanctions against Cuba. It would, the argument goes, be good for the travel industry, good for farmers and even good for the Cuban people.

Scott Fritz of the American Soybean Association recently put it this way: "If the travel ban is eliminated, the number of U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba annually would increase to between 500,000 and 1 million. This growth in travel would bring in more hard currency, enabling the Cuban state-trading agency to buy more U.S. agricultural products."

Last year, President Barack Obama also thought easing limits on Cuban-American travel and remittances would help create a more tolerant and democratic Cuban government.

It all sounds compelling, until you understand how the Cuban government actually works.

The first -- probably the only -- beneficiary of a new flow of U.S. dollars into Cuba's state-run economy would be the Grupo de Administracion Empresarial S.A. (Enterprise Management Group), or GAESA.

Founded by Gen. Raul Castro in the 1990s, GAESA controls a wide array of companies, ranging from the very profitable Gaviota S.A., which runs the island's tourist hotels, restaurants, car rentals and nightclubs, to TRD Caribe S.A., which runs all retail operations. In plain words: GAESA controls virtually every economic transaction in Cuba, making it -- by far -- the most powerful company in Cuba's totalitarian-command economy.

The problem is that GAESA is not a benign "development corporation." It is well armed, is trained in repression techniques and acts with total impunity.

A recent article in the U.S. Army's Military Review describes Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces as having "transformed itself from one of the most competent combat forces in the region to one of the most entrepreneurial, corporate conglomerates in the Americas" through GAESA.

And as is common with organized-crime enterprises, Raul appointed several of his close confidants and relatives to positions within GAESA. The first chairman of GAESA was Gen. Julio Casas Regueiro. He was named minister of defense after Fidel Castro fell ill in August 2006 and Raul was designated as the country's new dictator. Regueiro's successor at GAESA is Maj. Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas, who is married to Deborah Castro Espin, Raul's oldest daughter. These soldiers make sure the Cuban "business" enterprise remains in trusted hands.

So the idea that all of this tourist money would find its way into the hands of average Cubans is, at best, naive.

More likely, it would extend the Castro brothers' recurring Ponzi scheme.

Even before seizing power in 1959, the Castros financed themselves and their revolution by luring investors with promises of democratic reform and prosperity. They returned neither, delivering instead a repressive, totalitarian dictatorship. As one set of investors discovers the fraud and cuts off funds, the Castros find new investors with tranches of money to lure. They do so with impunity, never paying off old debts.

The Castros' first "investors" were Cuba's own middle class, which financed the anti-Batista struggle; the Soviet Union provided the Cuban government with billions in annual subsidies and preferential prices between the 1960s and the 1980s; European and Canadian tourists and business interests tried "partnering" with the Cuban government trough the 1990s, pouring capital into mines and developing "all-inclusive" hotels; and in the 21st century, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has provided billions in oil subsidies.

What return did these investors get for their money? Nothing.

Domestically, Cuba's middle-class investors not only lost their money but their property, liberties and dreams. Underestimating Fidel Castro's pathological hatred of the U.S., the Soviets were nearly drawn into a nuclear war. The Europeans and other foreign financial investors are stuck holding $50 billion in uncollectible IOUs; and with the decline of the international economy, Chavez has had to cut his subsidies to Cuba to deal with economic crises in Venezuela.

So the Castros have set their eyes on a new supply of capital: American tourists. And to get to that money, they are mobilizing an unlikely alliance between Cuba's military and the U.S. farm lobby.

Hence a bill to increase U.S. agricultural sales to the Castro regime, introduced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., that -- sure enough -- includes a provision authorizing American tourist travel to Cuba.

Meanwhile, democracy advocates in Cuba are waging hunger strikes -- literally starving themselves to death -- in an effort to call world attention to political repression in Cuba. Video clips of the arrests and beatings of Havana's Ladies in White have been broadcast worldwide.

These women -- mothers, wives and daughters of the Castros' political prisoners -- dress in white and on Sundays march through the streets of Havana urging the release of their loved ones.

This is not the time for Congress and American "investors" to finance GAESA and the Cuban regime. It's time to hold the Castros accountable for their fraud.

Mauricio Claver-Carone is a director of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC and founding editor of CapitolHillCubans.com in Washington, D.C.

Castro Provided Refuge to Pablo Escobar

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
In an interview today with RCN Radio, retired Col. Victor Boitano, a former high raking Sandinista military officer, described the links between Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, Cuba's Fidel Castro and Medellin Cartel drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Boitano revealed how Ortega and Castro even provided refuge to Escobar, when he didn't feel safe in his native Colombia.

Escobar, who was killed in 1993, would "appreciate" such protection with a $300 million donation, plus another $50 million in necessary expenses to avoid detection by the U.S. authorities.

The Cuban People Are Not Morons

Havana-based blogger Ivan Garcia has written a great analysis on the poor state of the Castro regime's centralized, command-economy.

In it, Garcia notes:

"To justify their failures, the Castros have their favorite weapon: the Yankee embargo. But no one but a fanatic or a moron could seriously blame only the U.S. embargo for the poor performance of the local economy. It doesn't take a think-tank, or an expert in economic matters, to point out those responsible for sending the Cuban economy back to the stone age."

Unfortunately, many Washington-based think tanks and self-described Cuba policy experts seem to believe the Cuban people are fanatics or morons, for this is their favorite talking point in favor of unconditionally lifting sanctions.

Read the whole analysis here.

Leave It to Duluth

To tell the truth.

Earlier this month, an article in Minnesota's Duluth Tribune makes it very clear that recent legislative efforts to unconditionally lift sanctions -- by combining agriculture and tourist travel -- are not about U.S. producers missing out on the Cuban "market," they are about American tourists first creating a Cuban "market":

Coincidentally, while the group was in Cuba, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson was introducing a bill in Congress to ease the 50-year-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and end the travel ban, though it has eased up under President Obama.

If the embargo is relaxed — Alcorn hoped to discover — what could Minnesota export to Cuba that's in short supply there?

He saw several opportunities. He saw a need for more cooking oil, which is rationed out to the population.

But Alcorn saw the greatest opportunity in food that goes to Cuba's finer hotels and restaurants, including beef. Although killing cows in Cuba is illegal, beef is imported to serve to foreign visitors.

"In hotels, access to good beef is limited, so there would be opportunity there," Alcorn said. "They have a taste for cheese already, but it's expensive. And Minnesota is a good producer of cheese."

That's anachronistic, at best.

Chavez Arrests Military Critic

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Last week, former Venezuelan Brigadier General Antonio Rivero publicly denounced "the presence and meddling of Cuban soldiers" in Venezuela's armed forces.

Rivero retired from the military last month due to this concern.

On Sunday, the AP reported that Hugo Chavez dismissed the retired general's warnings, accusing the officer of helping opponents portray his government as a pawn of Fidel Castro.

Yesterday, General Rivero was arrested.

Looks like Chavez doubts his own credibility.

Governor Fortuño Supports Ladies in White

From Internews-Gov:

[Governor Luis] Fortuño [of Puerto Rico] expressed his solidarity with the Cuban people during a mass Sunday in honor of the so-called "Ladies in White," who are fighting to free their relatives who have been jailed by the Cuban government for allegedly collaborating with foreign enemies.

Fortuño, from the New Progressive Party which supports Puerto Rico's total integration with the United States, said that after having spoken over the phone with sociologist Guillermo Fariñas, who is on a hunger strike in Cuba calling for the liberation of 26 prisoners, "I am convinced that we should support them and give them the help they need."

"They are suffering from the injustices of the Cuban government," Fortuño said. "Contrary to Puerto Rico, Cuba does not enjoy a democracy in which citizens can freely express themselves and denounce injustices and human rights violations."

"Let us raise our prayers so that in the near future Cuba can enjoy freedom and dissident prisoners can be with their families," Fortuño said.

"Accompanied by a group of our Cuban brothers, we show our solidarity, not only with the Ladies in White and with Fariñas, but also with all those who have in some manner have made sacrifices towards freedom and democracy, to which all nation's have a right," Fortuño said.

Fortuño spoke last week with Fariñas to express his "support and solidarity with his call for democracy for the Cuban people."

"It is of the utmost importance that we demonstrate the historic links that Cuba and Puerto Rico have always shared. As our Lola Rodríguez de Tió said, Cuba and Puerto Rico are the two wings of one bird," Fortuño said.

During a press conference, Fortuño said that one could not compare "the situation of full freedom we enjoy here with the situations that many people in the world are undergoing, including that of the Cuban people."

Quote(s) of the Week

"The investment climate in Cuba is not attractive. A foreign investor in Cuba has to first become a partner of the State and has no control over the hiring of its labor force."

-- Joaquin Monserrate, Political and Economic Affairs Officer at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, during a conference of the Puerto Rican Institute for Assistance to a Democratic Cuba, EFE, April 21, 2010.

And on a similar note,

"[Cuba is] the sand trap from hell."

-- John Kavulich, senior policy analyst at the U.S. Economic Trade Council in New York, on the Castro regime's efforts to build foreign-financed golf courses in Cuba, AP, April 24th, 2010.

The Winners of Yesterday's "Elections"

Who were the winners of yesterday's "elections" in Cuba?

According to the AP:

Dissidents steal headlines from Cuban election

Nearly every eligible Cuban cast ballots in a vote the communist government proclaims is proof of the island's democracy. But if headlines were made, it was by six elderly women standing under an ancient ficus tree, enduring seven hours of insults and obscenities for demanding political prisoners be freed.

Cuba complains the foreign media makes way too much of a small, divided dissident movement that has little sway with ordinary people. But the government has helped draw attention to the women - known as the Damas de Blanco, or Ladies in White - by choosing, with no explanation, to start blocking their small weekly protests after seven years of tolerating them.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If they had "little sway with ordinary [Cubans]," the Castro regime wouldn't be so obsessed with silencing them.

"Desperate courage makes One a majority."

-- Andrew Jackson, the 7th U.S. President, 1767-1845

Women Who Brave Mobs

From the Wall Street Journal's Editorial Board:

Women Who Brave Mobs

Cuba's Ladies in White are getting leaned on by Havana's thugs

For more than a month, Cuba's Ladies in White have been getting leaned on. Castro's goons have taken to surrounding them after the women go to Mass in Havana and march for their loved ones in prison. Now Dania Virgen García is in prison.

She didn't have a loved-one in a Cuban jail when she began processing through the streets of Havana with the Ladies in White on Sundays. But she decided to join them in solidarity against the unjust imprisonment of husbands, fathers and brothers rounded up during the Black Spring of March 2003 and handed harsh sentences for speaking their consciences.

She was one of a growing number of women there who call themselves "Ladies in Support."

On April 22 state security arrested the young blogger, and less than 48 hours later she received a prison sentence of one year and eight months. She has been sent to the country's largest maximum security prison for women, known commonly by Cubans as "the black veil." It's easy to guess why they call it that.

The regime's assaults on independent thinkers date back 51 years. But Ms. García's arrest is not without significance. It is the clearest sign to date of the regime's desperation in the face of popular discontent.

Ms. García is what Cubans call an independent journalist. Carmen Ferreiro, director of information and press for Human Rights Cuba based in Miami, says she met Ms. García online "toward the end of 2009" and helped her get her blog up and running. The two women exchanged emails.

"This is how in a short time I came to know that Dania was very devoted to her Catholic faith, that she spoke affectionately about her family, that she enjoyed photography and struggled despite limited resources for human rights in Cuba."

Ms. Ferreiro reports that Ms. García knew she was under surveillance and explained the threat in an email: "Things in Cuba are not well at all, but I am going to continue this struggle to the death or until whatever they want happens; I will continue to support the Ladies in White, even if they continue to beat us, because what they want is for us to be afraid and we are not going to allow that to happen."

Though without Dania now, the Ladies in White surely will be walking in the face of an increasingly dangerous mob again this Sunday. The world might want to take notice.

Free Dania Virgen Garcia

Monday, April 26, 2010
Please click on the poster below to learn about the arrest, trial and sentencing -- all within 48 hours -- of Cuban independent journalist and Ladies in White supporter, Dania Virgen Garcia.

Castro Trails Kim and Saddam by 5 Points

Yesterday, was "election" day in Castro's Cuba.

According to Reuters:

Cubans voted on Sunday in municipal elections touted as proof of democracy on the communist-led island, but at the same time the dissident "Ladies in White" were manhandled by government supporters as they tried to march for the freedom of political prisoners.

The simultaneous events showed the difficulties the Cuban government faces as it tries to counter an authoritarian image abroad while controlling opposition at home.

At least 95 percent of the country's 8.4 million eligible voters were expected to cast a vote for delegates to local assemblies across the country that deal with nuts-and-bolts issues of municipal government.

The Communist Party is the only legal party in Cuba and the nation's top leaders are not directly elected by the people.

But Cuban officials say the local elections are an enviable example of democracy for the rest of the world because of the high turnout and the populist purity of the process.

"In no other part of the world do as many participate in elections as in Cuba," said Cuban vice president Esteban Lazo.

Unless, of course, you fail to take into account last year's "election" results in North Korea, where according to The New York Times:

Kim Jong Il was unanimously re-elected to North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament, state media said Monday, in elections closely watched for signs of a political shift or hints the autocratic leader is grooming a successor.

Turnout Sunday was 99.98 percent, with all voters backing the sole candidate running in their constituency, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

Not to mention, Saddam Hussein's "election" results in 2002, where according to Reuters:

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein won 100 percent of votes in a referendum for a new term in office, official results showed on Wednesday.

Saddam's top deputy Izzat Ibrahim, reading official results at a news conference in Baghdad, said turnout was also 100 percent in Tuesday's referendum.

Looks like Fidel and Raul still have some work to do.

A Minnesotan Contradiction

Sunday, April 25, 2010
Minnesota's Morris Sun Tribune ran an article last week about another agriculture delegation to Cuba (unfortunately, human rights delegations, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture and the International Committee of the Red Cross are still not allowed on the island).

It contained the usual dicta about economic opportunities with the Castro regime if sanctions were unconditionally lifted. However, this article stood out for some noteworthy contradictions.

For example, it states:

"People rely on the [small farmer's] markets and community gardens to supplement their monthly rations of rice, sugar, coffee, bread and dairy for children.

'There was clearly a free enterprise system going on there,' said [Minnesota dairy farmer Roger] Imdieke.

But make no mistake: The government controls economic activities.

So which is it?

But here's the kicker:

"No matter where they went, the American visitors were welcomed by the Cubans, who made the distinction that their anger is with the U.S. government and the embargo it has enforced since 1961 [...]

Their fellow passengers on the plane ride back to Miami were Cubans leaving the communist country behind them. They broke into applause as the plane landed, said the Minnesota Agriculture Rural Leadership participants.

Apparently their "anger" quickly faded.

Any bets on who their Cuban hosts were?

They weren't regular or random Cubans.

Twitter's Protective Armor

Generation Y's Yoani Sanchez on the protective effect of Twitter for Cuba's pro-democracy movement:

Tweeting from Cuba frightens regime

Last night I was visited by a friend who lives in Las Villas, who, to reach the capital, must overcome the transportation problems as well as the circle of vigilance that surrounds him. He told me that a few weeks ago he was detained, and they confiscated his mobile phone for a couple of hours, until an officer appeared, annoyed, with the small Nokia in his hands.

"Now you're in trouble," said the State Security officer holding him at the station, over and over. The reason for such alarm was that his phone's address book included an entry for Twitter, accompanied by a number in the United Kingdom.

"No one can save you from 15 years," threatened the officer, while asserting that sending a Short Message Service item to someone with such a strange name who lived so far away was a crime of enormous proportions. He didn't know that our tweets travel to cyberspace through the rough sending of text-only messages by way of cellphones. Nor could he imagine that instead of ending up in the hands of a member of the British intelligence services, our brief texts go to this blue bird that makes them fly through cyberspace.

It is true that we broadcast blindly and that we cannot read our readers' replies or references, but at least we are reporting on the island in 140 character fragments. Always thinking in terms of conspiracies, agents and plots, they haven't noticed that the technologies have turned every citizen into his or her own mass media. It is no longer foreign correspondents who validate a given story in the eyes of the world, but rather, increasingly, it is our own forays on Twitter that are turned into informative references.

My friend recounted it in his own way, "Yoani, when we were coming to Havana we had a big operation behind us. I drafted a text message in advance to alert people if they stopped us." Maybe it was the brightness of the Nokia display or the conviction that something new would intervene between pursued and pursuer that stopped them from putting him in a patrol car. If they had intercepted him, a brief click of a key would have sent his shout across the Web, telling what the international press would have taken hours to find out.

As I saw him off at the door he had his cellphone in his hand, like a dimly lit lantern. In the folder marked "drafts" an already prepared text would protect him from the shadows that awaited him below.

An Imprisoned Lady

Two days ago, Dania Virgen García, a Cuban independent journalist and member of a group of women that march in solidarity with the Ladies in White, was detained for her pro-democracy advocacy.

The Ladies in White are the wives, mothers, daughters and siblings of Cuban political prisoners.

Women who march and attend church services with the Ladies in White, but have no imprisoned relatives, such as Dania, are referred to as the Ladies in Solidarity.

Ironically, today, Dania has become a political prisoner herself.

The Castro regime has arbitrarily sentenced her -- in less than 48 hours -- to one year and eight months in prison.

Dania is pictured below, in the middle.