For a Major League Dream

Saturday, May 22, 2010
For helping Cuban baseball players fulfill their dreams of playing in the Major Leagues, a scout spent 13 years in Castro's gulag.

NPR has his story:

Thanks For Nothing

The visual oxymoron below shows a Cuban ration store with its empty shelves.

On the counter is written:

"Gracias Fidel por todo lo que nos das..."


"Thank you Fidel for everything you give us..."

In other words -- nothing.

Daniel Pearl's Legacy

From the Editorial Board of Jacksonville's Florida-Times Union:

Freedom: Daniel Pearl's Legacy

It's tough to have much freedom of the press when the government monitors Internet use, controls content, restricts information, blocks access to sites, encourages self-censorship and punishes those who dare to express themselves.

That's the situation in China.

It's tough to have much freedom when the government denies peaceful assemblies of more than three persons, including those for private religious services in homes.

That's the situation in Cuba.

The U.S. State Department has been compiling an annual report on human rights for 34 years. It's an effort to keep the nation sensitive and engaged on the basic value of all human lives.

China and Cuba are two of the worst offenders.

This Human Rights Report was beefed up this week when President Barack Obama signed the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act into law. The bill will record how freedom of the press is handled in countries as part of the annual human rights report.

Pearl was The Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and killed in 2002 while reporting on alleged links between the "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and al-Qaida.

Pearl's family has continued the good fight for journalistic rights.

Journalists enter war zones with nothing but their reporting equipment. All too often in recent years, they are targets of harassment and even attacks.

"All around the world there are enormously courageous journalists and bloggers who, at great risk to themselves, are trying to shine a light on the critical issues that the people of their country face who are are the front-lines against tyranny and oppression," Obama said in a prepared statement on the White House website.

Citizens of the United States, especially those in Florida, are fortunate to have a presumption of freedom. When mistakes are made, public opinion generally favors openness. Outrages across the globe are numerous.

Praise to Congress, the president and the Pearl family for beefing up this nation's commitment to the eternal human right to be free.

Mike Pence Remarks on Cuba

Friday, May 21, 2010
Last night, House Republican Conference Chairman, Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN), received the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute's Leadership in Public Service Award.

Here's an excerpt of his remarks on Cuba:

"As many of you know, today (May 20th) marks what would have been the 108th anniversary of Cuba's independence from Spain. Unfortunately, the people of Cuba are still not free. Instead of focusing on the heroes who achieved Cuba's independence, we are drawn to the political prisoners who become Cuba's modern-day heroes.

Political prisoners in Cuba endure brutal conditions in the name of democracy, liberty and freedom. Some of these men spend decades in prison, without a trial, for simply owning a Martin Luther King book or for wearing a white band on their wrists that reads 'Change.'

One of the latest victims of the Castro regime was Orlando Zapata Tamayo. At age 42, he died in the custody of the Cuban regime while serving a 25 year prison sentence. He endured over two months without water and was tortured, beaten and humiliated for the color of his skin and because he believed in democracy.

Make no mistake; this is not an isolated case. It's one of thousands.

The 'Ladies in White' - wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of Cuban political prisoners - gather peacefully to pray for their loved ones. Yet they are harassed, insulted and beaten by Castro's state security.

Ladies in White have been punched, dragged and arrested simply because they walked down the street holding up pictures of their loved ones. These women, and the political prisoners they represent, are truly the courageous agents of democracy and freedom.

The tyranny in Cuba must end. On this Cuban Independence Day, Congress and the Administration should renew our solidarity with the Cuban dissident movement, denounce those who repress and obstruct freedom, and continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Cuba's prisoners of conscience."

Zapata Lives in D.C.

As Cuban Independence Day came to a close tonight, the image of Cuban political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died pursuant to an 85-day hunger strike, was projected for 30 minutes on to the Castro regime's diplomatic mission ("Interests Section") in Washington, D.C.

Thanks to the creative genius of Geandy Pavon.

On the Senate Floor

Thursday, May 20, 2010
Statement by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida in Honor of Cuban Independence Day

Mr. President, I rise to commemorate the 108th anniversary of Cuba's independence. On May 20, 1902, after a long and bitter struggle, the people of Cuba established a democratic republic. Today, the Cuban people are again fighting for democratic change and independence in their homeland.

On this day, we honor Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died this year after a prolonged hunger strike while protesting his inhumane treatment at the hands of the Cuban prison authorities. We stand in solidarity with the Ladies in White, including Zapata Tamayo's mother Reina Luisa Tamayo, who through their quiet dignity, continue to call the world's attention to the arrests of their fathers, husbands, and brothers for exercising free speech and daring to challenge the regime. We also recognize the contributions of Cuba's journalists, bloggers, and activists, who undertake great personal risk to tell the world about the realities of life in Cuba.

The legacy of Cuban independence endures with these heroes past and present, who fight against the forces of repression and totalitarianism for the promise of a free and democratic society. Now more than ever, the U.S. and the international community must press the Cuban regime to free all political prisoners. On behalf of the people of Florida and all Americans, we stand in solidarity with the Cuban people in their struggle, in the hope that one day, freedom of expression and basic liberty are possible in Cuba without the fear of persecution.

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

Like Caged Animals

More evidence of how the Castro regime treats the Cuban people like caged animals.

According to CNN:

Cuban migrants illegal in their own country

"I was caught because I was an illegal," explained a bicycle taxi driver as he gripped the rusted blue handle-bars of his vehicle in Havana's Central Park. "And because I'd been here several times before, I was deported back."

But the driver working his trade in the capital city did not arrive in Cuba from another country. Instead he is among the thousands who have come from rural provinces in search of work and a place to live -- but who have been deported back because of "Decree 217."

The 1997 law restricts rural migration to Havana, making this taxi driver an illegal resident in his own capital city. "If you're illegal you can't be here in Havana," said the driver, originally from Cuba's eastern Holguin province. "You don't have an address here in Havana."

This reminded us of the following impacting quote from a 2007 article in the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph:

"They watch us and we watch them," he said with a resigned laugh as the tourists turned their cameras to capture the image of a young boy optimistically fishing in the oily waters.

"It's a little like being in a zoo," sighed Carlos, a 24-year-old literature student. "But that is the reality of life here. We are caged while the world looks on."

So much for people-to-people travel.

Quote of the Week

"Surely it was due to my non-conformist character and my vocation to become a free citizen, something the Castro brothers don't like. The soldier that processed my petition told me there wasn't any concrete reason for the denial. I insisted on knowing why and was told that's how things are and that the orders came from above."

-- Claudia Cadelo, Cuban blogger, on being denied an exit visa by the Castro regime to attend an international conference of bloggers in Germany, Europa Press, May 14th, 2010.

Kendrick Meek on Cuban Independence

Kendrick Meek on Cuban Independence Day

U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, issued the following statement today in observance of Cuban Independence Day:

Today, we celebrate the independence of Cuba and remember all those who fought against Spanish rule over 100 years ago. Those freedom fighters could have never imagined that future generations would still be struggling for democracy in their homeland. We remember the brave men and women who resist the iron fist of the Castro regime and wish to see a free Cuba in their lifetimes.

We especially honor men like Cuban prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who passed away after an over 80 day hunger strike and an eight year prison detention, and women like the Ladies in White, who courageously march every week for the release of their imprisoned loved ones. These brave Cubans stood for freedom in the face of indignity, and their memory will not be forgotten, especially today.

On this Cuban Independence Day, we celebrate the rich cultural and historical heritage of Cuba, and continue the fight for the Cuban people to enjoy the same liberties that we often take for granted.

Senator LeMieux on Cuban Independence

Sen. LeMieux Statement on Cuba Independence Day

U.S. Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) today made the following statement in commemoration of Cuba Independence Day, Thursday, May 20th:

Today we are reminded of the sacrifices made by generations of Cubans, who fought for freedom from Spain and continue to fight for freedom from oppression. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans have demanded basic human rights for a half a century and their struggle continues. Today the regime continues to ignore the will of the Cuban people, who are seeking openness in their government and their right to free speech. Now more than ever, we must stand with the Cuban people by providing concrete assistance to bring about positive change in Cuba.

The White House must continue to help advance the goals of the Cuban people urging the leadership of the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees to swiftly approve $20 million in humanitarian assistance to the Cuban pro-democracy movement that have been seriously delayed in Congress. These funds were appropriated in 2009 and will offer humanitarian support for prisoners of conscience and their families, expand and strengthen civil society groups, and increase access to technology and new media in Cuba. We must also ensure the success of American efforts to help Cubans access uncensored information and break the information blockade of the Castro regime.

As long the human rights of the Cuban people is denied, we will continue to fight for their freedom.

On Cuban Independence Day

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
On May 20th, we are all Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

Courtesy of Penultimos Dias.

Protest in the Capitol

The Cuban Capitol, that is.

According to a tweet by Havana-based blogger Yoani Sanchez:

Yesterday at 1:00 p.m a group of people displayed signs reading Zapata Vive ("Zapata Lives") on the steps of Havana's Capitol building, they also screamed "Libertad" ("Freedom").

Mariela's "Revolutionary" Sexuality

The Castro regime's totalitarianism is a past and present enemy of diversity, whether political, economic, social, cultural or sexual.

However, with 21st century technology and communications, it can't control its facade as it did during the 20th.

So, in contrast to the regime's elderly, entrenched, military power elite, it has fallen upon Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela -- in her role as head of Cuba's CENESEX, National Sexual Education Center -- to become the (sole) face of intra-revolutionary tolerance.

As such, Mariela is sent around the world to explain her 21st century views on sexual tolerance.

And what exactly are her 21st century views?

She explains during a recent interview with Russia's RISA Novosti:

- What message would you offer the Russian people regarding homophobia and sexual rights?

- First, I'd recommend that the Russian people retake the Leninist path towards socialism and that once they resume that path to start fighting against the prejudices that prohibited them from advancing during their best days of socialism.

Isn't that modern and refreshing?

Of course, she'll stress that long-gone are the days when the Castro regime placed Cuban homosexuals in labor and re-education camps, or when they were arrested as "ideological deviants," and she'll point to her once-a-year, official, May 17th march on International Day Against Homophobia.

But she'll fail to mention that they are now instead charged with "social dangerousness" and that they are strictly prohibited from organizing events independent of Mariela and the regime.

In other words, only obedient, Leninist homosexuals need apply.

The Zapata Project

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Remember the Varela Project?

It's now time for the Zapata Project.

According to EFE:

Cuba Dissidents Launch Petition to Free Political Prisoners

HAVANA – A dissident group calling itself the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Committee announced a campaign to collect signatures to ask Cuba's National Assembly to free the island's political prisoners.

The group, created after the death of dissident prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo after an 85-day hunger strike, is appealing to the solidarity of Cubans to defend human rights on the communist-ruled island.

In addition, the group is expressing the urgency of "defending respect for the right to life of those valiant countrymen who believe that the hunger strike is the most efficacious resource to pressure the authorities regarding the dramatic and systematic violation of our rights."

Manuel Cuesta Morua, one of the leaders of the initiative, told EFE that the effort intends to "initiate the collection of signatures to deliver them" to parliament.

The campaign is aimed at securing an amnesty for political prisoners and the ratification of various U.N. rights conventions signed by the Cuban government in 2008.

In addition, it asks for the reform of articles in the Penal Code such as the so-called crime of "pre-criminal dangerousness," a charge often used against government opponents.

It also demands that the creation of the pro-government mobs, officially known as "Rapid Response Brigades," that harass dissidents, be declared "unconstitutional."

The Orlando Zapata Tamayo Committee bases its initiative on Article 63 of the Cuban Constitution, which says that "any citizen has the right to direct complaints and petitions to the authorities and to receive attention or appropriate responses."

Dissident organizations say the Cuban government is holding some 200 political prisoners. Around a quarter of those detainees have been designated by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience.

Steel Industry Supports Cuba Sanctions

Steel Industry Says Lack of Enforcement of Cuban Embargo Hurts U.S. Domestic Industry

In a written statement submitted to the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA) encouraged stricter enforcement of the U.S. regulations on trade with Cuba, particularly with respect to China. Over the past six years, China has invested heavily in Cuba's nickel development and, according to official trade data, China is now absorbing the overwhelming majority of Cuba's nickel production. Since the principal end use of nickel is the production of stainless steel and China is among the largest offshore suppliers of stainless steel to the United States, SSINA believes that stainless steel containing Cuban nickel has been imported into the U.S. from China, in violation of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

While Cuba is the largest nickel producing country in the world, the Cuban Assets Control Regulations prohibit U.S. manufacturers from sourcing nickel from Cuba. The embargo prohibits the importation of merchandise from third countries that is made or derived in whole or in part of any article which is the growth, produce or manufacture of Cuba. The embargo specifically covers the importation of nickel-bearing materials.

The U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), under the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, has the authority to require that importers of stainless steel certify the origin of the nickel in their products to confirm their compliance with the embargo. OFAC has utilized that authority on previous occasions when it suspected that imports of stainless steel might contain Cuban nickel.

Dr. Sunil Widge, SSINA's Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Emeritus of Carpenter Technology Corporation, says, "A failure to enforce the embargo not only undermines an important U.S. foreign policy objective, it also places the domestic specialty metals industry at a distinct competitive disadvantage by allowing one of its biggest foreign competitors an opportunity to avail itself of the world's largest nickel reserves, while simultaneously denying the U.S. industry the same access. As long as the embargo remains U.S. law, it must be enforced, otherwise U.S. stainless steel producers and producers of other nickel-bearing metals will remain disadvantaged by the failure to apply the embargo."

"The U.S. previously entered into bilateral agreements with respect to stainless steel producers in Japan, Italy and France to ensure that imports from those producers did not contain Cuban nickel," says David A. Hartquist, SSINA's general counsel. "Under the agreements, imports of stainless steel from those countries were permitted subject to the furnishing of certification documents required by Cuban Assets Control Regulations," he explains.

"Despite its power to enforce compliance with the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, to the best of our knowledge, and to the detriment of the domestic industry, no enforcement action has been taken," says Hartquist.

About Specialty Steel Industry of North America

Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA)
is a Washington, DC-based trade association representing virtually all continental specialty metals producers, which include high technology, high value stainless and other specialty alloy products.

SSINA member companies include: ATI Allegheny Ludlum, Pittsburgh, PA, and ATI Allvac, Monroe, NC (both Allegheny Technologies companies); Carpenter Technology Corporation, Reading, PA; Electralloy, Oil City, PA; Latrobe Specialty Steel Company, Latrobe, PA; North American Stainless, Ghent, KY; Outokumpu Stainless, Inc., Schaumburg, IL; Universal Stainless and Alloy Products, Bridgeville, PA; and Valbruna Slater Stainless Inc., Fort Wayne, IN.

Letter to Lula

Monday, May 17, 2010
By British Labour MP and former Minister for Latin America at the Foreign Office, Denis MacShane, in The Wall Street Journal:

Open Letter to the President of Brazil

Why is the Lula da Silva who once stood for human rights now standing with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Caro Lula,

You don't remember me but we met now and then nearly 30 years ago when you were an inspiration to labor movements around the world. Your struggle to create a strong, independent trade union in Brazil helped take your country to its democratic future. I wrote articles about the great workers' rights movement in the ABC region around Sao Paulo, where you organized strikes for fair pay and decent labor conditions [...]

That is why it is with the most profound sadness that I see you embracing the incarnation of everything that denies human rights, social justice and all the good that liberation trade unions stood for. The picture of you alongside the Iranian tyrant, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as if he was the best friend of democratic Brazil, has shocked all democrats around the world. This man presides over a regime that tortures, kills, imprisons and humiliates those of its citizens who dare to call for freedom and democracy. Teenagers are hanged from cranes. Street protesters are killed with impunity. Women are treated as second-class citizens and stoned to death. Writers and journalists are routinely imprisoned, their publications censured, and trade unions do not exist. Iranian gays live in terror that their sexuality will come to the notice of the fanatic, human-rights-hating clerics who rule the country with Ahmadinejad as their puppet [...]

What on earth happened to the Lula I supported and built solidarity for? I never had any illusions about Castro and the decadent, corrupt prison camp that is today's Cuba, where writers rot in prisons and pro-democracy oppositionists like Orlando Zapata are allowed to die in jail. I did once hope that Hugo Chavez would use his charisma to make Venezuela a democracy where social justice would have more say and play. But he's just another populist latter-day Perón. His opponents are often loathsome but his authoritarianism is not the answer.

Your global role as a champion of human rights, though, was admired everywhere. And yet, you stand with Ahmadinejad, who is the negation of everything you once stood for, and everything the democracies of Europe and the rest of the world have built. Why has it come to this?

I enjoy flying in Embraer jets and support better trade and contacts with Brazil. Your great country has much to contribute to a better world, just as you once contributed to its arrival as a full, modern democracy. So why take tea with tyranny and shame your own life story?

Iran's present leadership attacks every decent value you once represented. I still believe in those values that led me to support you against your dictators. I wish you would once again become the Lula who inspired the fighters for democracy and social justice around the world.

The Most Enviable Health Care

It seem the U.N.'s World Health Organization (WHO) is unable to decide whether Castro's Cuba or Kim's North Korea represents "the most enviable health care system in the world."

So much for credibility.

From The Toronto Sun:

In envy of North Korea?

Pyongyang receives unlikely praise for its health-care system

Hold on to your hats, folks, for a weird assessment of North Korea.

The Wall Street Journal warns that the item it published originated from the respected news agency Reuters and not the satirical publication The Onion; Blogger News compares it with Michael Moore's movie Sicko which extols the virtues of Cuba's health care system.

Central to the story is Hong Kong-born Dr. Margaret Chan (Chan Fu-chun), who got her medical degree at the University of Western Ontario (1973-77) and served some 25 years with the Hong Kong department of health before becoming, in 2006, director-general of the UN's World Health Organization (WHO).

Being a citizen of China may or may not have coloured Dr. Chan's view of North Korea, which she recently visited for 2½-days (Monday to Wednesday) at the invitation of the Pyongyang regime.

As a society, North Korea makes the dark side of the moon seem an open book. While acknowledging her visit was tightly controlled, Dr. Chan declared that North Korea's health care system was "something most other developing countries would envy." Wow!

She said North Korea "has no lack of doctors and nurses, as we have seen in other developing countries where most of their doctors have migrated to other places." On average, a "household doctor" attends to 130 families who "do not have to worry about lack of financial resources to access care."

Dr. Chan said North Korea has problems with "malnutrition," but on the positive side, she saw no evidence of "obesity."

It's doubtful Dr. Chan is as naive as her remarks might suggest. One hopes she is not endorsing North Korea's sealed borders, with citizens forbidden to emigrate, as a health care benefit that means lots of doctors and no wait time.

Another "positive" of sealed borders might be that North Korea has no problem with illegal immigrants, like the citizens of Arizona must endure.

Nor is there concern about kids wasting time on the Internet or TV games. In general, no one is allowed to travel or allowed access to outside radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, etc.

If Dr. Chan had thought of it, she might have given credit to Kim Jong Il for reducing obesity by implementing policies that lead to starvation — no fat couch potatoes or overweight kids, as in the U.S. and some Asian countries.

By praising North Korea for being "receptive to engagement with international partners" when if comes to health matters, Dr. Chan is saying that the regime is willing to accept contributions and aid, so long as no strings are attached.

Turn a blind eye to politics; see only what they want you to see.

Perhaps they are chuckling in Pyongyang. Others in WHO should be blushing.

Child Prostitution in Castro's Resorts

The Castro regime's state security can find a UBS memory stick in the most remote dissident's home; it can effectively exclude Cubans from hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and other tourist-only facilities; it can censure all communications, wiretap the population, scramble radio and television transmissions, and even arrest an elderly American for helping connect the Jewish community to the Internet.

Yet, it can't control the overt peddling of child prostitutes within its own state-owned, apartheid, tourist resorts?

Or does is it turn a blind-eye for profit?

Spain's El Mundo newspaper reports on this repulsive practice in Cuba's tourism industry:

Blonds, brunettes, mulatas [mixed-race] and black. "They are very young, my dear, but if you want 12 or 13-year olds, you'll have to pay more," says Ileana in a maternal tone. The madame then recites in a lower voice, "one night, 20 convertible pesos, two lesbians, 20 per head. What I have is first-rate, modest girls that aren't full time whores, some students," she clarifies as she describes the quality of her merchandise.

Courtesy of Castro's totalitarian package.

Fighting Racism in Cuba

Sunday, May 16, 2010
The African-American news portal, The Grio, ran this must-read article on the reality of race relations in Cuba:

The fight against racism in Cuba goes viral

Rosa Parks refused to stand. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. Barack Obama won the presidential election. America' s plight for racial equality has had its struggles, its heroes and its progress. But on the nearby island of Cuba, some say modern-day racism against blacks is blatant, and fighting it isn't as simple as public protest.

According to Afro-Cuban activists, racism against blacks in Cuba is systemic and institutional. They say, to this day, blacks are excluded from tourism related jobs, relegated to poor housing, have poor access to health care, are excluded from managerial positions and are more likely to be imprisoned.

Carlos Moore is an Afro-Cuban activist who has spent his life writing about racial injustice in Cuba and says race is the country's most pressing issue. In 2008, he sent a scathing letter to Cuban leader Raul Castro demanding racial reform. In it, he states: "You are a descendant of Europeans born in Spain; I am a descendant of Africans born in the Caribbean. We are both Cubans. However, being Cuban confers no specific privilege on either of us as human beings".

It was a luxury of civil protest he could only afford to write while exiled in Brazil. According to Moore, "There is an unstated threat. Blacks in Cuba know that whenever you raise race in Cuba, you go to jail. Therefore, the struggle in Cuba is different. There cannot be a civil rights movement. You will have instantly 10,000 black people dead." He says a new generation of Cubans are looking at politics in another way.

Click here for more.

Is China Colluding With Castro's Repression?

From Havana-based independent journalist Juan Carlos Linares in Cubanet:

Cuba Imports More Control and Repression: The Chinese in Villa Marista

Residents of Havana have noticed the comings and goings of Chinese people to and from Villa Marista, the main headquarters of Cuba's political police.

"Chinese from China!" shouted an observer.

Villa Marista inspires fear, not only because it is the most infamous of the Ministry of the Interior's buildings -- more specifically the political police -- or because of the interrogation precincts that await visitors and underground cells; it's that once inside, the judicial system evaporates for those detained. Lawyers, laws and judicial procedures can exert very little influence inside this mansion with a deceptively peaceful facade that swallows its "guests."

In democratic countries, the government guarantees and defends its citizens' safety, even against abuses committed by official institutions. There are laws that defend the individual and commissions formed by parliamentarians, jurists and social activists, that protect the citizen. In Cuba, nothing of the sort exists, and any citizen that enters the building at Villa Marista is completely at the mercy of the sinister political police.

However, the Chinese that enter and exit Villa Marista do not seem to be "guests." Their presence there could be related -- more than to the physical repression of dissidents -- to the technical advice that the Chinese give the Cuban dictatorship on wiretapping, controlling information on the internet, and scrambling foreign radio and TV stations.

It is curious that this past February 24th, several banks and other agencies in the city of Havana, lost their intranet connection. Coincidentally, that day was the 142nd anniversary of the final insurrection against Spain, the 14th anniversary of the shutdown of two civilian airplanes by Cuban military jets in which four crew members were killed and the day before political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo died.

As Raúl Castro's government deteriorates, the regime's international image crumbles.

Once again, we shall mention the name of Adrián Leiva, an independent journalist who recently died in Villa Marista after attempting to return to Cuba by sea, after the authorities denied him permission to return to his homeland. This incident has not yet been clarified by the Ministry of the Interior.