On Castro's Latest Prisoner "Pardon"

Friday, September 11, 2015
Late last night, Castro's puppet regime in Venezuela handed renowned democracy leader, Leopoldo Lopez, a 13-year prison sentence.

Then, early this morning, the Castro regime announced it will "pardon" 3,500 prisoners.

This was not a coincidence. It's a well-coordinated diversionary tactic, which both regimes know the media will eat up.

And surely, as expected, the media and the regime's charlatans in the United States have been hyping Castro's pardon, while -- wittingly or unwittingly -- misinforming about the facts.

First, there's little reporting about how Castro's "pardon" excludes any political prisoners or those who have stolen meat -- for those are apparently the most serious crimes in Cuba.

Then, the media has misinformed that it's the largest release of prisoners since 1959. That's a statement of historical ignorance.

In 1978, Fidel Castro released nearly 3,800 political prisoners to President Carter. And those were actually political prisoners. But soon thereafter, the cells were refilled.

Moreover, the pre-Papal "pardon" is a familiar ruse of the Castro brothers.

In 1998, Fidel released 300 prisoners ahead of Pope John Paul II's visit. And in 2012, Raul released nearly 3,100 ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's visit.

Again, the cells were quickly refilled, including during Pope Benedict XVI's trip itself, where a crackdown on democracy activists resulted in some spending up to three years in prison, without trial or charges. Such was the case of The Ladies on White's Sonia Garro.

Finally, today's "pardon" of 3,500 non-political prisoners stands in contrast to the over 4,000 political arrests the Castro regime has undertaken since December 17th, 2014.

A vivid reminder of how Castro uses the revolving-door of his prisons for political purposes.

That includes the 2009 hostage-taking and imprisonment of American hostage Alan Gross, which led to the successful coercion of the Obama Administration, and to the one-sided concessions in the December 17th deal.

Pope Francis Should Embrace Cuba's True Heroes

Thursday, September 10, 2015
By George Phillips in The Washington Times:

Advancing human rights in Cuba

The pope might start with embracing Cuba’s true heroes

In the 1980s when Lech Walesa boldly stood up to his oppressive Communist government in Poland, he was embraced by Pope John Paul II, the news media and opponents of communism everywhere. Mr. Walesa was named Time Man of the Year in 1981 and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 as he went about building the movement that began in Poland and ended up leading to the downfall of the entire Soviet Communist system in Eastern Europe.

Nelson Mandela became the face of the opposition to apartheid as he suffered decades in prison in South Africa. He went on to win the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and end his nation’s evil, inhumane, racist system.

Aung San Suu Kyi is somewhat less known by the general American public, but her heroic efforts against the brutal military regime in Burma have also been praised and she has been embraced by the west. Suu Kyi, who has spent approximately 15 years under house arrest, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2012. Her mission to free the Burmese people continues.

In Cuba, the Castro regime — which has tortured, imprisoned and killed thousands of dissidents in its 56 year reign — is now being embraced by many leaders in the west who seem willing to ignore the Cuban heroes struggling to brinjg freedom to the island nation off our shores. And the regime shows no sign of loosening up since President Obama reopened our embasy there and announced his intention to normalize relations with Havana; in July alone, it was reported that nearly 700 dissidents were arrested by the Castro regime.

The most likely outcome of a Cuba regime opened to U.S. business, investment and tourism is a repeat of what has happened in China and Vietnam. There is greater economic prosperity due to business investments in these two “communist” countries but the regimes have used this prosperity to tighten their grip on power and continued to crush freedom and dissent. In each case and now in Cuba we are told that a normalization of relations and trade will change everything, but thus far that hasn’t happened.

There are Cubans today speaking out and working to bring freedom and real democracy to their country. They deserve our support. They include:

Berta Soler, an Afro-Cuban, the leader of the “Ladies in White,” the heroic Cuban women — many of whom are mothers, wives, and daughters who have family in prison for speaking out against the Castro regime — who peacefully protest and are often beaten and arrested. Their protests have continued for 21 straight Sundays.

Antonio Rodiles, a Cuban intellectual dissident who has started a movement called “Estado de Sats” — designed to encourage debates on social and political issues which are often posted on YouTube.

Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, known as “Antunez,” an Afro-Cuban who fellow dissidents refer to as Cuba’s Nelson Mandela. Mr. Antunez has spent 17 years in Castro’s prisons — from 1990 to 2007. Pope John Paul II called for his release during his visit to Cuba in 1998. Mr. Antunez continues to boldly speak out against the regime today.

Dr. Oscar Biscet — a medical doctor — is another of Cuba’s heroes. He has been imprisoned and tortured numerous times for speaking out for human rights in Cuba and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 from President George W. Bush. “Oscar’s Cuba,” an inspirational documentary on Dr. Biscet’s struggle can be seen on YouTube.

The courage and determination of these Cuban patriots continues. Ms. Soler, Mr. Rodiles and Mr. Antunez have formed the Forum for Rights and Freedoms which has called for the release of political prisoners, adoption of internationally recognized human rights, and free elections.

When Pope Francis visits Cuba later this month the world will be watching. The media will be focusing on his interactions with Raul Castro, but the Pope should speak out boldly against the continued abuses of the Castro regime and embrace the Ladies in White and other voices of freedom. He should embrace Ms. Soler, Mr. Rodiles, Mr. Antunez and Dr. Biscet and demand to meet with them. He should do what his predecessors did in recognizing those who have fought for freedom for their people. He should publicly and unashamedly embrace the Forum for Rights and Freedoms in Cuba as Pope John Paul embraced Mr. Walesa’s Solidarity movement in Poland.

Few in the early ‘80s dreamed that Solidarity would succeed or that the Soviet empire would crumble or that Mr. Walesa and Mr. Mandela would ever rise to the presidencies of their countries, but all this happened because leaders like John Paul II stood with them. By embracing Ms. Soler, Mr. Rodiles, Mr. Antunez and Dr. Biscet, Pope Francis could help put in motion a similar course of events in Cuba.

George Phillips served as an aide to Rep. Chris Smith New Jersey Republican, working on human rights issues.

Obama's Short-Sighted Cuba Policy Has Regional Consequences

As Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro and Ecuador's Rafael Correa intensify their assault on human rights and democracy this week, here are two warnings we've previously given about the short-sightedness of the U.S. embracing Castro's regime.

First, on February 10, 2014 (in The Hill), before Obama's new Cuba policy announcement:

"It's precisely the authoritarian underbelly of these Latin American leaders that makes them such zealous lobbyists for the end of U.S. sanctions on Cuba.  It's for this reason that they want to see the Castro regime embraced and "fully integrated" into inter-American system despite its blatant disregard for representative democracy. Such a U.S. policy change would allow them to accelerate their own authoritarian tendencies and free their zeal for absolute power.

If U.S. sanctions toward Cuba are lifted and Castro's dictatorship is "fully integrated" -- what's to keep a return to the Latin American dictatorships of the 20th Century?

The people of the Americas can’t afford a return to the dictatorships -- whether leftist or rightist -- that once ruled Latin America. Some of those governments may have seemed to be 'good' for business at their time, but would be severely damaging to the national interests of the United States and the Western Hemisphere in the 21st century.

For the United States to 'normalize' relations with Cuba's dictatorship without political reforms or a rule of law opens a Pandora's Box that can lead to history repeating itself.  Sadly there are plenty of Latin American 'leaders' who would gladly seize the opportunity to permanently close the door on democracy.  Let’s not hand them the opportunity."

Then, on January 11, 2015 (in The Huffington Post), after Obama's new Cuba policy announcement:

"Advocates for lifting sanctions would happily sacrifice our national interest in regional democracy to advance their narrow agenda. Not only is this dangerous and irresponsible, it also begs the serious question: What do they consider to be a 'successful' policy alternative?

Is it the 'China model,' whereby U.S. business helps to build the most lucrative dictatorship in human history?

A 'Vietnam model' of state capitalism under an iron-fisted rule?

A 'Burma model,' whereby reforms achieved through pressure are rolled back as soon as sanctions are lifted?

Raul Castro, Nicolas Maduro and their puppets revel in such models. But none should have a place -- geographically or politically -- in the Western Hemisphere. In this hemisphere, every nation (except Cuba) made a commitment to representative democracy in 2001. It was a historic commitment that, backed by the United States, has blocked the authoritarian ambitions of wannabe dictators in Latin America and generated continued support for democracy and civil society. It was a commitment that Obama's December 17 announcement has now placed on the chopping block."

An Emboldened Maduro Hands Venezuelan Democracy Leader a 13-Year Sentence

Pursuant to months of coddling by the Obama Administration, including a photo-op of senior State Department official Tom Shannon with National Assembly President (and drug kingpin) Diosdado Cabello and outreach by John Kerry himself, Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro handed pro-democracy leader Leopoldo Lopez a 13-year prison sentence.

Maduro has learned from his Cuban masters that there are no repercussions from the United States for such misbehavior.

Similarly, we shouldn't be surprised that Ecuador's Rafael Correa has moved shutdown that country's only press freedom group, Fundamedios.

After all, if the Western Hemisphere's worst violator of human rights (and only totalitarian dictatorship) is getting concession-after-concession from the Obama Administration without having to adjust its behavior one iota, then Castro's puppets (and wanna-be authoritarians) in the region have nothing to worry about.

And, sadly, it's going to get worse.

From BBC:

Venezuela opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez sentenced

Prominent Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has been sentenced to 13 years and nine months in prison.

He was found guilty of inciting violence during protests in 2014 in which 43 people - from both sides of the political divide - were killed.

The 44-year-old had been held in a military prison since February 2014.

While the court verdict was being awaited, fighting broke out between his supporters and pro-government activists outside the courthouse in Caracas.

Lopez's supporters said one of their number had suffered a heart-attack during the disturbances.

'Rights violated'

The court ruling was revealed by Lopez's Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) political party and later confirmed by his lawyers.

His defence team earlier said there had been serious irregularities in the trial, with the judge hearing 138 witnesses for the prosecution but only one of the 50 witnesses and pieces of evidence submitted by the defence.

His family says he has been in solitary confinement for most of his 19 months in prison and that his human rights have been violated.

Trade With Cuba Literally Means Trade With Castro

The Obama Administration, along with some Members of Congress, agri-business interests and their lobbyists, want Americans to believe that increased trade with Cuba will somehow benefit the Cuban people.

Except that all trade with Cuba must be funneled through Castro's monopolies.

Read the following statements carefully from three Obama Administration officials, who testified yesterday during a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on agricultural trade with Cuba.

Basically, those advocating for increased trade with Cuba want us to believe that the Cuban people will somehow benefit based solely on some purported "good-will" by the Castro regime -- or on some absurd notion of "dictator-down-economics."

Moreover, the following statements prove how when opponents of lifting sanctions argue that it will only benefit the Castro regime, it's not a rhetorical talking point -- but quite literally what happens:

"U.S. exporters, however, continue to face barriers, including that all U.S. agricultural goods are imported via ALIMPORT (Empresa Cubana Importadora de Alimentos), a Cuban state-run entity."

John Smith
Acting Director
Office of Foreign Assets Control
U.S. Department of the Treasury

"Another impediment to trade is Cuba’s tightly controlled import policy requiring that all. U.S. agricultural import be channeled through one state corporation, called Alimport. Many of our competitors have additional options of trading with other Cuban agencies, but Alimport is the exclusive agent for the Cuban government on buying decisions and negotiating agricultural purchases from U.S. firms. Alimport not only negotiates contracts for purchase with U.S. firms, but it arranges for payment, takes control of the imports at the Cuban port, and manages the distribution process within Cuba."

Phil Karsting
Foreign Agricultural Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

"In Cuba, only state-run companies are authorized to engage in foreign trade transactions, and often a whole category of commodities imported from the United States is channeled through specific companies, depending on the sector. Shipments of agricultural commodities (specifically food) made under License Exception AGR are consigned to ALIMPORT (Empresa Cubana Importadora de Alimentos), a state-run company with the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Trade as its largest shareholder."

Matt Borman
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Industry and Security
U.S. Department of Commerce

Caught on Tape: Catholic Priest Expels Female Cuban Dissident From Church

Click below (or here) to watch a Catholic priest oust Niurvis de la Rosa, a member of Cuba's Ladies in White, from the Church of Aguada de los Pasajeros.

The priest also called her a "mercenary."

Such behavior -- along with the arrest of hundreds of dissidents -- doesn't bode well for Pope Francis' upcoming visit to Cuba.

Quote of the Day: Evidence Proves Trade With Castro Hasn't Helped Cuban People

It's hard to believe the increased trade will help the Cuban people. The evidence is clear: The Castro regime had 30 years of subsidized trade with the Soviet Union and billions of dollars in European investment, yet none of the profits made its way to the Cuban people. What makes us think that adding U.S. to the equation would be different except to prop up a corrupt dictatorship?
-- U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), during today's House hearing on agricultural trade with Cuba, Agri-Pulse, 9/9/15

What "Change Looks Like": Cubans Fleeing in Record Numbers

Clearly, the Cuban people aren't very hopeful about the Obama Administration's warm embrace of the Castro regime.

From AP:

Coast Guard: More Cuban migrants risking sea crossings

The number of Cuban migrants risking sea crossings to U.S. soil has surpassed last year's tally, even as Havana and Washington have restored diplomatic relations.

Coast Guard officials in Miami said Tuesday that roughly 3,910 Cubans have been caught or intercepted in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean since the fiscal year began Oct. 1.

In the previous fiscal year, authorities tallied 3,731 Cubans attempting to illegally migrate to the U.S. by sea.

From The Texas Tribune:

Record number of Cubans crossing the Texas-Mexico border seeking asylum

Call it another immigration surge of the United States’ own making. But unlike last summer’s crisis of children and families arriving from Central America, lawmakers aren’t quick to call on this current group of refugees to go home.

From October 2014 to June 2015, about 18,520 Cubans have sought entry to the United States through Texas’ Laredo field office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which includes ports from Del Rio to Brownsville. That’s compared to the 18,240 unaccompanied minors that were caught or surrendered to U.S. Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley from October 2014 through July of this year, according to CBP statistics.

If current trend holds, the number of Cubans seeking entry through Laredo will be about 24,700 this fiscal year. That's about 60 percent more than 2014’s 15,600 and nearly twice as many as 2013’s 12,445.

Cuban Regime Marks Feast Day With Over 140 Dissident Arrests

Wednesday, September 9, 2015
What "change looks like" in Cuba.

From EFE:

More than 140 dissidents arrested in Cuba while heading to Mass

About 140 Cuban dissidents were arrested Tuesday as they were going to attend a Mass at the Lady of Caridad del Cobre Church to celebrate the feast day of the island's patron saint, sources within the dissident movement told EFE.

"Most of the arrests occurred in the early morning hours (on Tuesday) some kilometers from the El Cobre Church, at a spot known as La Tanqueta" in eastern Santiago de Cuba province, said the general coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, or UNPACU, opposition group, Jose Daniel Ferrer.

In all, some 120 UNPACU members were arrested along with about 20 women affiliated with the Ladies in White dissident movement, according to Ferrer, who said that the Cuban authorities' motive was to "prevent them from attending the traditional Mass for the feast day of the patron saint of Cuba."

Ferrer, a former political prisoner with the so-called "Group of 75" opposition figures sentenced to lengthy prison terms during the Black Spring of 2003, said that some of the dissidents were beaten when they were arrested.

Tweet of the Day: Sadistic Torture of a Cuban Dissident

This is how the Castro regime's thugs left the glutes of Geordanis Muñoz Guerrero, coordinator of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) in Palma Soriano.

Images: Cuba and North Korea Celebrate Close Ties, Mock Obama

The pictures (below) of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un's reception -- this week -- of senior Castro regime official Miguel Diaz-Canel speak for themselves.

They must be celebrating how both Cuba and North Korea mocked the Obama Administration and the international community, and got away completely unscathed after getting caught smuggling 240 tons of heavy weapons, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Quote of the Day: Cuban Regime Hasn't Shown Slightest Sign of Real Openings

I greatly doubt that we are facing a genuine change towards more opening from the regime. We are facing a government that in the rest of its actions has changed nothing; it is still conducting its internal dynamics as an authentic dictatorship. It still systematically represses, with the greatest impunity, dissent in ideas and other basic human rights. It has not shown the slightest sign, in the rest of its facets, that would give us reason to believe that these measures can engage a change of mentality leading to real openings.
-- Dr. Jeovany Jimenez Vega, young Cuban doctor and democracy activist, on the Castro regime's announcement that health care workers who have defected will purportedly be allowed to return to the island, 14yMedio, 9/7/15

Bank Stumbles on Appeal to Shield Cuban Assets

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
From Courthouse News Service:

Bank Stumbles on Appeal to Shield Cuban Assets

A Spanish bank fighting subpoenas from the son of a Cuban dissident murdered under mysterious circumstances lost a key legal battle today in the Second Circuit.

The dispute stems from the 1976 murder in Puerto Rico of Aldo Vera Sr., who had been chief of police in Havana.

Before he was shot twice in the back on Oct. 25, 1976, Vera had been attending a political meeting in San Juan.

The man's son, Aldo Vera Jr., claimed in a 2001 lawsuit that his father had left Cuba in the 1960s out of disillusionment with the Communist dictatorship, and had been participating "in counter-revolutionary activities" in Puerto Rico.

Citing the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act's terrorism exception, Vera Jr. claimed in a 2001 lawsuit that Cuban agents killed his father.

With Cuba not appearing in Florida court to defend itself regarding the alleged extrajudicial assassination, a judge awarded Vera Jr. nearly $96 million in default judgment.

Vera Jr. filed another suit in 2012, this time in Manhattan, to enter the judgment.

Cuba again failed to appear in court, and a federal judge in Manhattan granted Vera Jr. a $49 million judgment, ignoring the $50 million in punitive damages awarded.

Vera Jr. then issued subpoenas to various bank branches in New York, seeking Cuban assets that could be appropriated for the $49 million judgment.

Several banks, including Banco Bilbao, fought back, refusing to disclose Cuban assets they held in branches abroad. The Spanish bank, which had admitted Cuban assets in its New York City branch, then attempted to quash the subpoena, saying its other branches were not subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

After some legal wrangling, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected Banco Bilbao's jurisdictional opposition to the subpoena and ordered it to provide Vera Jr. with "full and complete answers with respect to the Republic of Cuba's assets."

 A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit dismissed the bank's appeals Tuesday, finding that the court lacks jurisdiction because the ruling against the bank's motion to quash is not "a final judgment."

"The Southern District order compelling [Banco Bilbao's] compliance with the challenged subpoena was in furtherance of collection proceedings against Cuba that were, and remain, pending in that court, not in some other tribunal," Judge Reena Raggi wrote for the court.

Whether Cuban assets that Banco Bilbao holds would theoretically need to be collected abroad is immaterial, since it remains unclear whether the bank has any such assets in its foreign branches, according to the ruling.

"Until the District Court actually reviews such compliance, it cannot determine what authority it may have ... to take actions to collect additional identified assets in satisfaction of the entered judgment," Raggi wrote.

U.S. Lawmakers Should Learn From Kast's Solidarity With Cuban Democracy Leaders

Monday, September 7, 2015
On Sunday, Chilean legislator Felipe Kast was beaten and arrested by the Castro regime for peacefully demonstrating alongside The Ladies in White and other Cuban democracy activists.

What an admirable show of solidarity.

As Kast explained, "The Ladies in White have spent a long time suffering violent arrests simply for demonstrating peacefully for the respect of human rights in Cuba. In my visit to Cuba, the least I could do was accompany them in their Sunday walk."

In contrast, the Associated Press recently reported how more than 20 U.S. lawmakers have traveled to Cuba since February without meeting with dissident groups.

What a sad testament of Obama's Cuba policy.

Many of these U.S. lawmakers' trips have been sponsored by Castro-friendly groups, such as the so-called Center for Democracy in the Americas, which take them on "dog-and-pony shows" that have the blessing of the dictatorship.

Others, such as U.S. Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), have willfully chosen to relegate Cuba's courageous democracy leaders, in order not to lose access to Castro regime officials.

In other words, they have chosen to submit to Castro's coercion.

And, there's the Obama Administration itself, which even refused to invite Cuban democracy leaders to the flag-raising ceremony at the U.S. Embassy -- then lied about it to the American people.

After all, it's easy to kowtow to the Castro regime, in exchange for access, visas, profits and superficially friendly relations.

But Kast embodies what Cuban poet and independence hero Jose Marti once wrote: "When there are many men without decorum, there are always others who themselves possess the decorum of many men."

There are those without decorum:

And others with the decorum of many:

Venezuelan Defense Minister Taking Notes (Orders) From Castro

Rumors have been swirling about the health of Venezuelan Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, whose whereabouts had been unknown over the last couple of weeks.

General Padrino Lopez, who is responsible for the use of lethal force against Venezuelan student protesters, suddenly reappeared over the weekend on Twitter.

He was in Cuba taking orders from his "Comandante" Fidel Castro, where he is believed to have undergone surgery for prostate cancer.

His tweet reads: Thank you, Comandante! We will hold fast to the ideas and the most nobles causes of humanity. Onward towards victory!  

North Korea's Kim Receives Cuba's Diaz-Canel

Perhaps a little weapons trafficking was also on the menu.

From EFE:

North Korea's Kim receives Cuban V.P.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met with Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who is visiting Pyongyang for the celebration of the 55th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, Cuba's official media said Monday.

During the meeting, Kim sent "affectionate greetings" to the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and to President Raul Castro, according to a front-page article in the Communist Party daily Granma.

The two also spoke of "the excellent state of bilateral ties, characterized by close cooperation and mutual support in multiple spheres, as well as about the current situation in Asia and Latin America."

Diaz-Canel was accompanied at the meeting by Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra and the Cuban ambassador to Pyongyang, German Ferras.

In recent months, representatives of the North Korean government have visited Cuba, as in the case of Foreign Minister Ri Su-Yong, and the ruling party's International Relations Secretary Kang Sok-su, who were received by President Raul Castro.

Cuba and North Korea signed in October 2014 new accords on trade and payments to strengthen economic relations, which now include pacts in such areas as education, oil and agriculture.

Cuba and Iran Seek to Jointly Counter "U.S. Hegemony"

From Iranian state media:

Cuban ambassador: Havana willing to expand trade ties with Iran

Cuban Ambassador to Tehran, Vladimir Andres Gonzalez Quesada, on Sunday said that Havana wants to bolster cooperation with Iran in the political, industrial, cultural, economic and trade domains, after termination of sanctions.

Quesada made the remark in an exclusive interview with IRNA on the sidelines of the seminar of the Latin American and Caribbean States, held at the Venezuelan Embassy in Tehran, marking the 200th anniversary of the Charter of Jamaica.

He said Iran and Cuba have had good cooperation, example of which being Cuba giving Iran vaccines and having cooperation in the area of health.

He said, 'We have to counter hegemony of the US and other superpowers.'

He said cooperation not only between Latin American states, Cuba, a member, and Iran but also the ALBA states and the Middle East states should counter the US hegemony.

Chilean Legislator (and Former Minister) Arrested in Cuba, Along With Over 60 Dissidents

For the 21st Sunday in a row, over 60 Cuban democracy activists were arrested yesterday, pursuant to attending Mass in Havana.

Among those arrested were 49 members of The Ladies in White, the renowned organization composed of the mothers, wives, daughters and other relatives of Cuban political prisoners, along with 15 other activists.

Also arrested was Felipe Kast, a young Chilean legislator and former Minister of Planning under the government of former President Sebastian Piñera.

Kast was violently beaten and detained with the group of Cuban democracy activists.

After being held incommunicado for several hours, he was expelled from the island by the Castro regime.

In the images below, taken prior to his arrest, Kast can be seen (with blonde hair and glasses), peacefully marching alongside Cuban democracy leader Antonio Rodiles.

Kast: It's Very Hard to Watch a State Beat Its Own Women

As a society, I hope we can see beyond the single event that I unfortunately had to experience yesterday, and reflect upon what these women have to go through every day for simply wanting to walk in peace. To watch a State beat its own women is very hard. In Chile, in the past, we experienced human rights violations. I wish this wouldn't still be happening anywhere in the world. Perhaps if I wouldn't have been with them, today many wouldn't know about the repression taking place in Havana.
-- Felipe Kast, Chilean legislator and former Minister of Planning, who was arrested yesterday in Cuba for peacefully demonstrating with democracy activists, Diario de Cuba, 9/7/15

Under Obama Deal, Arrests of Female Cuban Democracy Activists Septuple

The Obama-Castro deal is clearly not helping courageous female democracy activists in Cuba.

The table below shows the dramatic increase in the arrests of The Ladies in White, the renowned pro-democracy group composed of the wives, mothers and daughters of Cuban political prisoners.

From January to August 2015, the monthly arrests of these peaceful women have increased sevenfold (septupled).

It's "what change looks like" in Cuba.