Where Are the Critics of "Regime Change"?

Saturday, September 29, 2012
Where are the critics of U.S. government programs that support pro-democracy and other civil society groups in repressive societies?

Where are the charges that these programs promote "regime change"?

Apparently, such complaints are exclusive to the defenders of the Castro regime in Cuba.

Kudos to Secretary Clinton for standing by the Syrian opposition.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Clinton Pledges $45 Million to Syrian Opposition

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. would give more aid to Syrian opposition groups and reiterated Washington's demands that "as the bodies keep piling up in morgues…the Syrian regime must end."

Opening a session of the pro-opposition Friends of Syria group on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, Mrs. Clinton said the U.S. was releasing an additional $30 million for food and medical services for Syrian civilians "suffering under the relentless assaults" of President Bashar al-Assad's military forces.

The U.S. would also provide another $15 million to unarmed opposition groups in satellite phones, cameras and other equipment to help them "strengthen their networks and document human-rights abuses," Mrs. Clinton said.

Four Italian Journalists Detained in Cuba

From AP:

Italian Foreign Ministry says 4 journalists detained while on assignment in Cuba

The Italian Foreign Ministry says four journalists have been detained in Cuba.

The journalists work for the Mediaset TV network, the Messaggero Veneto daily and two for the Milan daily Corriere della Sera.

The Messagero Veneto said the journalists had traveled to Cuba to follow up on a double murder, seeking interviews with a Cuban who had been living in Italy and whose sister has been detained in the case. He denied in an interview with the daily any involvement by himself or his sister.

The Messaggero Veneto said on its website Saturday that its correspondent faced a hearing later Saturday.

Italy's AGI has more on the security operation to arrest them:

The four journalists were interrogated for 12 hours in Camaguey, Cuba's third largest city, situated 500 kilometers south-east of Havana, and then returned to their respective hotels while awaiting the hearing. The four, besides Cavicchi, Mediaset reporter Ilaria Cavo, her technician Fabio Tricarico and Messaggero Veneto journalist Domenico Pecile, were picked up by six persons who broke into the house of Reiver Laborde Rico, the 24 year old brother and presumed accomplice of Lisandra, the young woman who has confessed to the August 19th murders of Paolo Burgato and Rosetta Sostero.

Yoani Files Case Against Castro in Regional Forum

Friday, September 28, 2012

Yoani Sanchez Files Human Rights Case Against Cuban Government

World renowned blogger takes her case to Inter-American Commission of Human Rights

Washington, D.C.Yoani Sánchez petitions precautionary measures to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (CIDH), to immediately protect and uphold her rights. Represented by international law firm Aparicio, Arp, Schamis & Associates, the case requests protection by the CIDH.

Ms. Sánchez has been the victim of harassment, coercion, curtailment of her freedom of movement, speech, and information by Cuban authorities. “She has been subjected to arbitrary detention and physical violence,” says lawyer Bjorn Arp. Ms. Sanchez’s phone conversations have been intercepted, she is prohibited from accessing public places, and her blog is censored by the government.

“Her integrity and safety are in danger,” adds lawyer and former president of the Inter-American Juridical Committee Jaime Aparicio.

These actions by the Cuban government are in violation of the Charter of the Organization of American States (April 30, 1948), and in violation of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (May 2, 1948), both documents signed and ratified by the Republic of Cuba.

Internationally acclaimed for her blog Generation Y, launched in 2007, which portrays daily life in Cuba, Sánchez has received numerous awards and distinctions, by Time magazine, CNN, Foreign Policy magazine, and El País newspaper from Spain, among others.

President Barack Obama wrote to Yoani Sánchez in November 2009: “It is telling that the Internet has provided you and other courageous Cuban bloggers with an outlet to express yourself so freely, and I applaud your collective efforts to empower fellow Cubans to express themselves through the use of technology. The government and people of the United States join all of you in looking forward to the day all Cubans can freely express themselves in public without fear and without reprisals.”

“We urge the Commission to act quickly to protect the rights, safety and life of Ms. Sánchez,” states Dr. Hector Schamis of Aparicio, Arp, Schamis & Associates.

In Yoani Sánchez’s own words: “Internet was the only possibility of expression in a country where, I know, will never give me a couple of minutes in the press... and then this has also been subject to censorship and punishment, including several detentions, kidnappings, and verbal and physical intimidation.”

Prima Facie Case Against "People-to-People" Travel

There was a debate this week in HuffPost Live on the Obama Administration's "people-to-people" travel category.

We've long argued that this category of travel amounts to nothing more than "people-to-Castro" travel, as these trips are pre-approved and hosted by the Castro regime and involve more interactions with government officials than with regular Cubans.

Case and point was one of the panelists -- Sandra Levinson, Executive Director of the Center for Cuban Studies.

Last Fall, we highlighted some of this group's itineraries:

"The trips hosted by the Center for Cuban Studies almost all include meetings with the daughter of current dictator Raul Castro, the Ministry of Culture, the official cultural censors (UNEAC), the Ministry of Public Health, the repressive neighborhood watch committees (CDR), and of course, visits to Varadero beach to learn 'how tourism affects the community'."

As if this weren't enough, it was fascinating listening to Ms. Levinson, who during the HuffPost Live debate admitted that her trips are not meant to advance freedom and democracy (3:15 and 30:22 mark), refused to recognize that Cuba is ruled by a repressive dictatorship (7:20 mark) and even accused one of the young panelist (who happens to be a Democrat and Obama supporter) of inciting "terrorism" by criticizing the Castro regime  (32:50 mark).

That's who is hosting these "people-to-people" tours to Cuba!

Their license should be altogether revoked.

One final note -- it was also asserted during the debate that these "people-to-people" tours have helped some dissidents, including Harold Cepero of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), who was recently killed in a car crash along with MCL leader Oswaldo Paya.

That is blatantly false. 

Cepero's interaction with U.S. visitors stems from the "support for the Cuban people" travel, a wholly different (and long-existing) category aimed at helping Cuban civil society, which is supposedly the focus of U.S. policy and is the type of travel we should be reinforcing.

Yet another reason why the new "people-to-people" category amounts to little more than a tourism facade, which is against U.S. law.

Who Works in Castro's Tourism Sector?

As we all know, the tourism sector in Cuba is owned and operated by the Castro regime's military.

In a series of tweets today, blogger Yoani Sanchez reminds us of the realities of this sector.

We've compiled her tweets below.

She begins by asking rhetorically, "why do jobs in the tourism sector appear so attractive if the salaries are so low?"

After all, as an example, "a foreign company pays the Cuban government $600 per month for one hotel cook, but the cook gets 400 pesos (1 USD = 26 pesos)."

The answer is "because in a hotel, one can divert resources, steal products and obtain tips."

"That's why so many engineers, professors, jurists and even doctors abandon their professions and look for spots in tourism."

However, "to be a cook in a hotel you need to pass an ideological filter because the employment agency is a government monopoly."

Thus, the Castro regime's "employment agency 'verifies' the background of those seeking a position in their neighborhood and in their prior workplace."

"If the neighborhood watch committee (Committee for Defense of the Revolution, CDR) says the person 'is not very militant' he will not get a cook position in a hotel."

And, of course, "a government critic or dissident would NEVER be able to get a job in tourism."

"That's why so many ex-military, their sons, Communist Party militants and the 'politically correct' work in the tourism sector."

Why the Castro Regime is Illegitimate

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A great point by Joel D. Hirst in the Bush Institute's Freedom Collection:

A Hunger Strike in Cuba Exposes the Regime

From September 7 to 19 Jorge Luís García Pérez Antúnez led a hunger strike of Cuban freedom advocates to demand that the Castro regime free political prisoner Jorge Vázquez Chaviano.  Chaviano, who is an outspoken critic of the regime, was sentenced in March 2011 to 18 months of “correctional work without internment” for engaging in “unlawful economic activities.” The hunger strikers were also showing solidarity with Misahel Valdés Díaz, the Santiago representative of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance Front which Jorge Antúnez leads.  Díaz was arbitrarily arrested on September 6 and returned to his home to find it in ruins.

The real reason for Chaviano’s imprisonment was to assure that he would not attend the mass offered by Pope Benedict in Havana during his visit to Cuba in March 2012.

I recently called Bertha Antúnez, Jorge Antúnez’s sister and herself a former political prisoner now living in Miami, to check on her brother.  (Bertha is also featured in the Bush Institute’s Freedom Collection.) For the regime, says Bertha, “this type of pressure is not convenient.” “The government is at a disadvantage” because “they are so weak that they cannot handle the reproach.”  Translation: the Cuban regime requires darkness and secrecy to survive.

Jorge Antúnez lifted his hunger strike on September 19th at the behest of Chaviano after Cuban security said he would soon be released (his release is still pending).  The hunger strike had received international attention from human rights advocates and the State Department, embarrassing the Cuban Government.

While dangerous, hunger campaigns like this one are effective because they wrest legitimacy from the Cuban dictatorship, laying bare the true nature of the totalitarian state.  The government hungers for a legitimacy that will bring economic and other benefits to the island and increase the longevity of Cuba’s moribund regime.  When the regime is delegitimized, it affects its ability to sell its actions as “business as usual” and elicits negative attention, which is bad for business.

Campaigns like this also highlight the fickle and sometimes hapless nature of the international community.  Where was the international outcry when Chaviano was imprisoned last year? Why didn’t Pope Benedict make an issue of the political prisoners during his visit?  Why after 18 months of illegitimate confinement for Chaviano did the international community decide the time was finally right for pressure?  Where was the outcry for Díaz, who was not only arbitrarily detained but whose entire house, according to Bertha Antúnez, was completely destroyed by Cuban security (including the theft of medicine for his two year old daughter)?  This inconsistent attention is harmful because it allows the Castro regime to constantly push the envelope to see what it can get away with and does not seriously alter the perceived legitimacy of the regime.

According to the dictionary, the definition of legitimacy is “lawfulness by virtue of being authorized or in accordance with law.”  By any standards, the Castro regime does not abide by natural rights – the only source of laws – and is therefore illegitimate.  It’s high time the international community, with one voice, communicates this clearly.

As Bertha Antúnez eloquently put it, “When people unite for a just cause, there is not a dictatorship that can resist.”

Cuban Journalist Remains Imprisoned

From The Guardian:

Cuban journalist arrested for his investigative reporting

The Paris-based press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), is concerned that the detention of Cuban reporter Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias is a return to darker days.

Martínez, who works for the independent Hablemos Press agency, was arrested on 16 September on a charge of insulting the president, which carries a three-year prison sentence. But RSF says:

"It is hard to see how the investigation into a spoiled consignment of medicines that Martínez was carrying out at the time of his arrest, or his earlier revelations about cholera and dengue, which the authorities confirmed, could result in a charge of insulting the president.

This charge is totally absurd… Information of public interest should be disseminated, discussed and debated… We call for Martínez's immediate release."

The editor of Hablemos Press, Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez, tried without success on 21 September to obtain permission to visit Martínez. He is the third Hablemos journalist to be detained this month.

Two Cuban journalists have recently defected. Mairelys Cuevas Gómez, an editor with the communist party newspaper Granma, took advantage of a working visit to Mexico to go the US border and request asylum.

And Luis López Viera, sports editor of Juventud Rebelde, another official newspaper, requested asylum in Britain during the London Olympics.

Must-See: Images of Beaten Dissidents

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
On September 22nd, the Castro regime's security agents stormed the home of Cuban pro-democracy activist Osvaldo Rodríguez Acosta and his family.

Click here for a full video of the events (courtesy of Hablemos Press).

Below are the bloody images of Osvaldo and his son after the attack.

More "reform" you can't believe in.

Caught on Tape: Agents Assault Female Activists

The video below captures images of the Castro regime's agents assaulting the leader of the Ladies in White movement, Berta Soler.

Why is there so much mainstream silence surrounding this outright abuse of peaceful women?

Courtesy of Hablemos Press:

Amnesty Urges Action for Ladies in White

From Amnesty International:


Dozens of Cuban Opposition Activists Detained

Members of the Ladies in White have been detained in Havana and several other places in Cuba. Some remain in detention and the authorities have failed to provide reasons for their detention or information on their whereabouts.

From 21 to 24 September the Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) held several activities, including masses and marches in Havana, to celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy (Virgen de las Mercedes) and in memory of former political activists. Since 20 September, various members of the Ladies in White have received intimidating notes aimed at preventing them from taking part in activities. Reports from the group state that the headquarters in Neptuno Street, Havana have been surrounded by police officers.

Around 50 members of the group, who traveled from different provinces of Cuba to attend the activities, were arrested on their way to Havana. The majority of them were released and deported back to their provinces, however 19 remain detained and their whereabouts are unknown. On 24 September as the Ladies in White planned to attend mass, an act of repudiation (acto de repudio) took place at their headquarters. Government supporters and state agents gathered in the street chanting pro-government slogans and intimidating the women. In the early morning of 25 September 18 members of the Ladies in White were arrested at the headquarters.

Amnesty International believes that the repeated use of short term detentions of members of the Ladies in White and other activists in Cuba is a tactic used to silence dissident voices in the country and prevent peaceful activities. Furthermore the systematic arrest of activists travelling from the provinces to Havana represents an excessive limitation to freedom of movement and represents excessive control and harassment of dissidents.

Cuban Hunger Strikes Deserve Our Attention

By Carlos Estevez in NYU's Washington Square News:

Cuban hunger strikes deserve our attention

While dozens of activists flocked to Washington Square Park for last weekend’s Folk Festival, a couple dozen Cuban dissidents conducted hunger strikes throughout Cuba. The protesters in the park consisted mainly of fringe groups opposed to capitalism — socialists and remnants of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The Cuban dissidents sought the release of Jorge Vázquez Chaviano, a man who remained incarcerated even after fully serving his prison sentence. The Cuban government failed to provide a reason for prolonging his captivity — imposing a judgment without trial, as per usual.

The OWS activists sang tunes about protest while the anti-capitalists held up banners denouncing greed and debt. They presented an array of serious issues coupled with dubious solutions. The socialists in particular advocated an alternative form of government able to circumvent most of the ills faced by the United States. Their methods were far tamer than a hunger strike, and yet they garnered far more media attention.

Those demonstrating in favor of socialism packed their belongings at nightfall and simply returned to enjoying the full benefits of the capitalist society in which we live. For those demonstrating against the self-declared socialist government in Cuba, nightfall only meant the inevitable continuation of hunger and exhaustion. In recent years, these hunger strikes have ended in death simply because of the Cuban government’s adversity to negotiation.

Surprisingly, such a blatant abuse of human rights did not receive widespread media attention in the United States. Within our campus, even among those immersed in activism and politics, few could speak of the Cuban dissident movement with authority. This creates a paradoxical situation in which a society deeply concerned with freedom and human rights ignores the plight of a country located only ninety miles away from our coast.

Two major factors account for the lack of mainstream debates on Cuba: national security and public opinion. Cuba does not pose a liability to U.S. security nor does it possess significant economic assets. As a result, Cuba’s opposition movements have seldom garnered the media attention given to many countries of the Arab Spring. Yet Cuba’s democratic spring has dragged on for the past 20 years. Dissident movements against the authoritarian government have been met with imprisonment, torture and even execution.

Many believe Cuba boasts exemplary education and health care systems — even though the country is poor. These myths form part of the official government propaganda, which advertises Cuba as a country oppressed by U.S. influence. For example, the socialists at Washington Square Park advertised their message through the iconic image of Che Guevara. A prima facie, his image evokes an exalted notion of revolution, hope and the struggle for the working classes. The less glamorous truth regarding Guevara involves the routine execution of prisoners without trials and his role in creating Cuba’s current government. This duality helps us understand a country that some decry for its human rights records while others laud for its apparent progress.

Back in Cuba, dissidents halted their hunger strike after the government announced Chaviano’s ensuing release. The courage of thirty citizens prevailed against a 50-year-old dictatorship. This episode highlights a continuous struggle for freedom within Cuba that will gain momentum as more people learn the truth. Unfortunately, this attention has yet to gain a foothold in the United States.

Today on "From Washington al Mundo"

Tune in today to "From Washington al Mundo" for a conversation with Harry Wu, one of the most renowned Chinese pro-democracy leaders and former political prisoner.  Wu spent 19 years in a Chinese labor camp and is the founder of the Laogai Research Foundation.

And The Heritage Foundation's Dr. Ray Walser will discuss his recent policy paper, "The Chávez Plan to Steal Venezuela's Presidential Election: What Obama Should Do."

You can now listen to "From Washington al Mundo" seven-days a week on Sirius-XM's Cristina Radio (Channel 146) from 4-5 p.m. (EST) and again at midnight (EST).

18-Year Old Political Prisoner Sews His Mouth

Gerardo Terrero Sarrion is considered the youngest political prisoner in Cuba.

He is 18-years old and was arrested over two months ago pursuant to a verbal argument with a Castro regime official in the Holguin province.

According to CIHPRESS, Terrero Sarrion, who is being held without trial at the Cuba Si prison, has sewn his mouth in protest over his unjust imprisonment.

His mother is Anny Sarrion, a member of the Ladies in White.

New Documentary on The Ladies in White

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
As the Castro regime targets The Ladies in White in a violent crackdown, a timely new documentary sheds further light on the courageous pro-democracy movement.

Along the Malecon's Tracey Eaton has released a new documentary entitled, "La Damas and Their Fight for the Streets of Cuba."

The footage is quite extraordinary.

Click below to watch.

Las Damas and their fight for the streets of Cuba from Tracey Eaton on Vimeo.

Urgent Plea From The Ladies in White

The Ladies in White make an urgent appeal to all international organizations, democratic governments and people around the world who love freedom, democracy and human rights.

From September 21 – 24, the Ladies in White have been the victims of violence by the Cuban government and its repressive forces.

More than 64 Ladies in White have been arrested, deported, beaten and even disappeared, to prevent their participation in a monthly “Literary Tea” and in other activities, including some of a religious nature.

Below is a list of the Ladies in White who have been arrested.

September 22nd, 2012

1. Lourdes Esquivel Vieto
2. María de los Angeles Roja Pereira
3. Melkis Faure Hechavarria
4. Migdalia Sara González Desdin
5. Maite Alfonso Beitia
6. Zulema Lay Sangrone
7. Tatiana López
8. Karina Quintana Hernández
9. Tahimi Vega Biscet
10. Glicedys Pina González
11. Romelia Pina González
12. Marlenis Almaguer Abreu
13. Martha Diaz Rondon
14. Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez
15. Miladis Pinales la Rosa
16. Danay Mendiola Duquesne
17. Rosaida Rodríguez Matao
18. YusmariChacón Lamot
19. Yadira Rodríguez Rodríguez
20. Lisandra Farray Rodríguez
21. Aimee Moya Montes de Oca
22. Sandra Rodríguez Gatorno
23. Marbelis González Reyes
24. Leticia Ramos Herrería
25. Noralis Martínez
26. Janis Piloto
27. Olga Torres
28. Ana Luisa Santana

September 23rd, 2012

1. Belkis Felicia Jorrin Morfa
2. Aimeé Cabrales Aguliar
3. Yanelis Cabrera
4. Sara Martha Fonseca Quevedo
5. Mercedes Fresneda Castillo
6. Magaly Norvis Otero Suarez
7. Leydis Coca Quesada
8. Sahira Castro Casal
9. Nayllibi de la Caridad Corrales Jiménez
10. Lidia Esther Romeu Rojas
11. Aniuska Fuentes Arceo
12. Aimeé Garcés Leiva
13. Belkis Cantillo Ramírez
14. Yelena Garcés Nápoles
15. Martha Beatriz Ferrer Cantillo
16. Eduvige Issac Rodríguez
17. Alina Fonseca Guevara
18. Adriana Nuñez Pascual
19. Madelaine Santos Grillo
20. Yasnay Ferrer Santos
21. Denia Fernández
22. Martha Martínez
23. Omaglis González Leyva
24. Miraida Martin Calderón
25. Arelis Rodríguez Chacón
26. Ana Celia Rodríguez
27. Denia Fernández Rey
28. Martha Martínez Labrada
29. Bertha Guerrero Segura
30. ElaineVillamonte Cardosa
31. Nelda Molina Leiva
32. Mildre Noemí Sánchez Infante
33. Rosa Felixco
34. Mercedes de la Guardia

September 24th 2012

1. Tania Maceda Guerra
2. Belkis Núñez Fajardo
3. Aniuska Fuentes Arceo
4. Odalis De la Caridad Sanabria Rodríguez.
5. Blanca Hernández Moya
6. Yanelis Cabrera
7. Inés Quesada Lemus
8. Yaquelin Boni
9. Mercedes Fresneda Castillo
10. Mayra Morejón Hernández

Document in Spanish sent via internet from Cuba by Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White.  Translation courtesy of the Coalition of Cuban-American Women.

Today on "From Washington al Mundo"

Tune in today to "From Washington al Mundo" for an exclusive interview with former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

The interview can also be heard in its entirety below.

And Melanie Kirkpatrick, former deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, discusses her new book, "Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad."

You can now listen to "From Washington al Mundo" seven-days a week on Sirius-XM's Cristina Radio (Channel 146) from 4-5 p.m. (EST) and again at midnight (EST).

Over 40 Senators Send Letter Urging Alan Gross's Release

Over 40 U.S. Senators have sent a letter to Cuban dictator Raul Castro urging the immediate release of American development worker Alan Gross.

Gross has been held hostage in Cuba by the Castro regime since December 2009 for helping the island's Jewish community with their Internet connectivity.

Most of the signatories have supported efforts to unilaterally ease sanctions in the past.

See the original letter below.

FINAL - Senate Letter for Release of Alan Gross 9-24-12 -

Cuba Ranks Next-to-Last in Internet Freedom

Monday, September 24, 2012
From Freedom House:

New Report: Governments Grow Increasingly Repressive Online, Activists Fight Back

Brutal attacks against bloggers, politically motivated surveillance, proactive manipulation of web content, and restrictive laws regulating speech online are among the diverse threats to internet freedom emerging over the past two years, according to a new study released today by Freedom House. Despite these threats, Freedom on the Net 2012: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media found that increased push-back by civil society, technology companies, and independent courts resulted in several notable victories.

The battle over internet freedom comes at a time when nearly one third of the world’s population has used the internet. Governments are responding to the increased influence of the new medium by seeking to control online activity, restricting the free flow of information, and otherwise infringing on the rights of users. The methods of control are becoming more sophisticated, and tactics previously evident in only the most repressive environments—such as governments instigating deliberate connection disruptions or hiring armies of paid commentators to manipulate online discussions—are appearing in a wider set of countries.

Freedom on the Net 2012, which identifies key trends in internet freedom in 47 countries, evaluates each country based on barriers to access, limits on content, and violations of user rights.

Syria, China, Cuba and Iran (in descending order) received the lowest scores in the analysis. 

See the full report here.

Setting the Record Straight (Again)

Whether the focus is a Republican or a Democrat, we will always set the record straight from any false accusation regarding Cuba policy.

In a column in The Tampa Bay Times, Daniel Ruth writes the following:

"So [Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Paul] Ryan has served in Congress with Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balarts for years, while voting to oppose the embargo, and only just recently concluded he was really against it before he was for it? Where have we heard that before? And his "I've seen the light!" moment occurred at about the same time he was invited to join the Romney ticket?"

This is simply not true.

Paul Ryan changed his voting position on Cuba in 2007, when he opposed an amendment to the Farm Bill seeking to ease travel and financing restrictions towards the Castro regime.

Ryan voted NO.

That was when Barack Obama was just starting to run for President, so a Vice Presidential bid 5-years later was unlikely to be on Paul Ryan's mind.

Ruth should correct his column.

FWAM: Exclusive Interview With Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe

Exclusive Interview With Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on NLB's "From Washington al Mundo"

Uribe Strongly Criticizes Current Negotiations With FARC Terrorists and Urges Next U.S. President Not to Ignore Castro-Chavez Threat in the Region

Click here to listen to the interview in its entirety.

WASHINGTON D.C. – In an exclusive 30-minute interview, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe criticizes current President Juan Manuel Santos's handling of negotiations with the FARC narco-terrorist guerrillas, which he fears are weakening security, will embolden the criminal group and provide impunity for its terrorist acts.
"Imagine if the United States said it was going to negotiate with Al Qaeda... What is the difference between the FARC and Al Qaeda?," President Uribe told Mauricio Claver-Carone, host of "From Washington al Mundo".

President Uribe explained how the current negotiations are currently being used as a ploy by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to cleanse his image in light of Venezuela's upcoming elections.

"It presents Chavez as the great promoter of peace in Colombia, when in reality Chavez has been the the great protector of the narco-guerrillas in Colombia," said Uribe.

As regards the upcoming U.S. elections, President Uribe urges the next U.S. President -- whether current President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney -- not to ignore the Castro-Chavez threat in the region and accuses Chavez of being Iran's envoy in the Western Hemisphere.

It will broadcast today on "From Washington al Mundo" at 4:00 p.m. ET on National Latino Broadcasting's (NLB) Cristina Radio, Sirius-XM Channel 146.

IAPA: Release Imprisoned Cuban Journalist

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Contempt charge against Cuban journalist protested by IAPA

A  charge of criminal contempt brought against Cuban independent journalist Calixto Martínez Arias for warning about cases of cholera and dengue in his country was today protested by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA). If found guilty he could face three years in prison.

The hemisphere organization called for the immediate release of Martínez Arias, a reporter with the independent news agency Hablemos Press, who was arrested on Sunday (September 16) near Havana’s international airport as he was investigating another piece of information regarding a shipment of medicines and medical equipment donated by the World Health Organization understood to have been damaged due to negligence and poor warehousing conditions.

In June this year Martínez Arias had disclosed the existence of an outbreak of cholera and in August he warned of the appearance of cases of dengue on the island – information that was known by local residents before the government publicly admitted it.

The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gustavo Mohme, expressed condemnation of the arrest and detention. He declared, “It is a contradiction that a journalist faces the possibility of gong to jail for reporting on matters of public interest, while on the contrary the information should be taken as an alert to correct a problem affecting the population.” He added that “as we have been denouncing on repeated occasions control of information that is disseminated in Cuba continues unchangeably in the hands of the government.”

Roberto de Jesús Guerra, the director of Hablemos Press, and Veizant Boloy, a lawyer and collaborator of the agency, said that Martínez Arias is being held at a police station in Havana, where they were able to visit him and confirm that he had been beaten. Shortly afterwards Guerra and Boloy were themselves detained and later released.

Martínez Arias, the victim of repeated arrests so far this year, is accused of contempt of Fidel and Raúl Castro, a criminal offense under Article 144.1 of the Penal Code referring to threats and various offenses uttered by word of mouth or in writing against authorities, which is punishable by up to three years in prison.

Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, announced that as part of its twice-yearly review of the state of press freedom in the Americas the IAPA will take an in-depth look at the case of Cuba during its General Assembly to be held October 12-16 in São Paulo, Brazil.

Take Action: Over 35 Ladies in White Arrested

The Castro regime has arrested over 35 Ladies in White over the weekend for trying to attend a gathering of the pro-democracy group in Havana.

According to former political prisoner Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, 12 of those known to be arrested are from Santiago de Cuba, 7 from Holguin, 2 from Granma, 2 from Guantanamo, 4 from Santa Clara and one from Matanzas.  Seven are from Havana.

We plead with women's rights groups throughout to world to raise their voices for these courageous women, who simply seek the freedom to assemble and speak freely  -- the most basic of all human rights.

And for this, they are confronted with unspeakable violence and abuse.

A Quote to Remember

For those who ingeniously believe in negotiating with the Castro regime, here's a reminder of its absolute lack of trustworthiness.

Excerpt from Fidel Castro's 1958 speech, "Why We Fight":

"Apart from political misconceptions about my ambitions and those of our movement--we have been often accused of plotting to replace military dictatorship with revolutionary dictatorship--nothing has been so frequently misunderstood as our economic program.

Let me say for the record that we have no plans for the expropriation or nationalization of foreign investments here. I personally have come to feel that nationalization is, at best, a cumbersome instrument. It does not seem to make the state any stronger, yet it enfeebles private enterprise."

H/T Emilio Ichikawa