A Cuban Democracy Leader’s Ultimate Sacrifice to Win the Streets #juntoacoco

Friday, August 26, 2016
By Vicente Morin Aguado in The Havana Times:

A Cuban’s Ultimate Battle to Win the Streets

By declaring a hunger strike on July 20th, to the same rhythm of a beating undertaken with the precision of a karate expert, repressors on guard warned Guillermo Farinas that “I was becoming a dangerous person, that they didn’t want me out on the street, that this disciplinary measure – beatings, torture – was given to me so that I dedicate myself to the magazine and the newspaper, but not the streets.”

The third Cuban to be awarded the EU’s Sakharov human rights prize, has brought up a dilemma of Cuban society in extreme conditions: FREEDOM. In this case, we’re not talking about the abstract concepts which politicians used throughout history and across the world, but about concrete human rights: being able to express yourself publicly, meet without being interfered, have access to information.

The anti-Castro leader demands that an end is put to repressing his fellow peaceful opponents to a political system which resorts to violence as a last resort when their arguments fall through. Fidel Castro’s heirs know that popular support, which praised them for decades, is dying down day after day.

This is what Carlos Amel Oliva certifies, a prisoner who also declared a hunger strike, before Farinas. He denounces Police actions:

They break into your house holding rifles and wearing bulletproof vests, as if they were dealing with a large operation, so as to intimidate us, not only the government’s opponents but those who sympathize with us too.”

The history of hunger strikes carried out by Cubans as a way of political protest began with the communist Julio Antonio Mella, who stood up to General-President Gerardo Machado in 1926. In spite of his renowned iron fist and insensitivity towards those who opposed him, the “Tropical Mussolini” (as he was labeled) gave in 18 days after the student leader began this unusual form of protest.

Four decades later, in the midst of the revolution baptized Socialist, freedom fighters who were the complete opposite to Mella, offered their lives, desperate when they were unable to find other more effective ways to protest, standing up against an authoritarian system which didn’t even give them the chance to publicly discuss their issues.

The respectable list features 17 cases; the first was Francisco Aguirre Vidaurreta in 1967, going through to Orlando Zapata Tapayo, who voluntarily fasted for 86 days in 2010. It was precisely then that the eternal supporting “Coco” Farinas embarked on his 135 days hunger strike, which was interrupted when Raul Castro’s government announced that they would release 100 prisoners of conscience.

History has shown us that in the face of political hunger strikes, our government’s deafness continues to prevail.

On May 5th 1981, the Irish independence fighter, an MP of British Parliament, Bobby Sands, died in the Maze prison, Northern Ireland, after having held a hunger strike for 66 days. The then Leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, criticized British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher’s inclemency, comparing Sands and his fellow six strikers’ undeniable heroism to – according to his own words on the TV – Christ’s few hours on the cross of Calvary.

The fact that these Irish hunger strikers were Catholic takes into account Fidel Castro’s preference for numbers: Zapata and Farinas were put up on the cross of Calvary a hundred times and didn’t receive the slightest bit of compassion from those who rule the country with the same shame-faced arrogance of the Roman Church.

Cuban hunger strikers today put their lives at risk without the slightest opportunity to strike up national turmoil with respect to the political nature of their actions, because the government has monopolized almost all of the access Cubans have to information.

Even so, anticipating that there may be cracks in a world where media democracy seems to be unstoppable, they try to isolate them from popular sensitivity, assigning them the stigma of “mercenaries working for Imperialism”.

The Sakharov human rights prize winner himself warned on July 20th, minutes before he began his extreme form of protest:

Those who fight for freedom and democracy cannot be considered mercenaries.” -And he went on to comment – “Marti against Spain, Fidel up against Batista, they both received financial aid from abroad, especially from the United States. The Granma Yacht was bought with money from overthrown former president Carlos Prio. We fight in Cuba, we are Cubans, we don’t fight for foreign armies, and we are lovers of non-violence.”

Before entering his first bout of unconsciousness, Guillermo Farinas reiterated the magnitude of the problem: “It’s time to unite, to take to the streets and protest against all of the atrocities committed by this government.”

Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet – Could He Be Cuba’s Next President?

By Rick Sanchez in Fox News Latino:

 A chat with Oscar Biscet – could he be Cuba’s next president?

The man that many argue is destined to become Cuba’s next president has been fighting his government with a sense of old world defiance, which by today’s standards seems as rare as the '48 Chevys still parading along Havana’s Malecon.

Oscar Elias Biscet is a doctor who is described by his fans around the world as fearless, ballsy, and tough as nails.

He has repeatedly given Fidel and Raul Castro the finger with acts of outward rebellion and provocation — displaying Cuba’s flag upside down in his yard, criticizing his own country’s much talked about health care system, defending the rights of the unborn.

Along the way, he has been sent to jail on several occasions.

Biscet has been arrested, re-arrested and placed in solitary confinement, yet he doesn’t seem to be bothered or threatened by it. He has spent much of the past eight years serving a prison sentence, which was originally set at 25 years.

Most recently, Biscet arrived in the United States and quickly held audiences with editorial boards, politicos and fans alike. When I approached him during a rally in Miami, he seemed to be basking in the outright adoration of the Cuban exile old-guard fandom, where he is revered —almost as a vestige of what they once represented during their glory days of the Reagan v. Castro Cold War standoff.

As I approached Biscet, I could immediately see why he attracts so many followers. He seems sure-footed, confident and yet quiet. He is handsome — almost a better-looking Barack Obama, but in no way taken by his own presence.

He knew me as I approached him from apparently following my career on Miami and cable TV, but he was surrounded by at least 20 microphones and a crush of reporters and devotes.

I wanted to pull him away, but didn’t want to make it obvious and cause a scene so I signaled him to follow me behind a curtain and there we got to talk about the presidency of Cuba, relations with Cuba and President Obama.

Rick Sanchez: Many are convinced you should be the next president of Cuba...

Oscar Biscet: It is something I haven’t thought about, but if people think that, it means that I must be doing something right. I consider myself a doctor and that is my objective in life, but if it comes time to defend democracy in Cuba that is what I will do.

Sanchez: Many people in the U.S., especially outside Miami, do not understand why we are still enemies with Cuba. In fact, the majority of Americans want improved relations with Cuba. What do you think we should do?

Biscet: There are a lot of people who don’t understand it, but this is a dictatorship and we have to maintain Cuba as an enemy; because they violate the dignity of human beings. I am sure that any American citizen who was told they are going to have their children taken away from them would understand why we should not have relations with a country that does that. We want to have a bill of rights just like Americans, we want liberty, human rights, and democracy.

Sanchez: Why do you think you’re so revered here among this group of Cuban exiles and how do you see these exiles' role in the shaping of future U.S.-Cuba relations?

Biscet: Most of the people here today in this audience have families that have been tortured or put before firing squads or imprisoned. Many have had things taken away from them and have had their country destroyed. Despite the fact that they have lived in the same tyranny that was represented by Hitler and by Stalin, they still keep fighting for their rights here in Miami.

Sanchez: You’re here in the U.S. now, why don’t you stay? Why do you want to continue living in Cuba when you could be right here in Miami?

Biscet: I live in Cuba because that’s where I need to say the things I need to say, not here. Anything you hear me say to you here, I also say in Cuba. Yes, I am always afraid of what they will do to me, but that does not stop me from doing what I must, which is to fight against the tyranny that exists in Cuba today.

Captive Nations Presentation: Cuba, Human Rights and U.S. Policy

Last month, in commemoration of Captive Nations Week, The Victims of Communism Foundation in Washington, D.C., hosted a forum on human rights and U.S. policy towards Cuba.

It included remarks by CHC Editor, Mauricio Claver-Carone, and Cuban democracy leader, Sirley Avila Leon, who had her hand severed in a machete attack by the Castro regime.

Click below (or here) to watch:

Cuba Conspicuously Missing From 2016 Basel Bank Transparency Index

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Last month, the Basel Institute on Governance released its 2016 Basel AML Index.

The Basel AML Index is the most renowned, annual ranking assessing country risk regarding money laundering/terrorism financing. It focuses on anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) frameworks and other related factors such as financial/public transparency and judicial strength.

The Index measured 149 countries, including such troubling actors as Iran, Venezuela, Myanmar, Sudan, China, Vietnam, Russia and Zimbabwe.

Yet, Cuba is conspicuously missing from its report. 

The other two nations notably missing are Syria and North Korea.

Perhaps the reason for their absence is the lack of publicly available data sources for Cuba, along with Syria and North Korea.

But that -- in itself -- doesn't bode well for transparency.

Yet, the Obama Administration is encouraging banking transactions with Cuba's wholly state-owned, non-transparent banking system?

The Obama Administration is authorizing dollar transactions abroad (U-turn) by Cuba's secretive banks?

The Obama Administration recruited a small, local, real-estate bank with no international experience, South Florida's Stonegate Bank, to open a correspondent account and handle transactions with Cuba's shady banks?

Would Obama do the same for Syria and North Korea? Well, actually, never mind...

Just recently, we had noted how Cuba's Banco Financiero Internacional was now directly taken over (overnight) by Castro's military conglomerate, GAESA. This state-owned bank is solely empowered by the Castro regime to conduct commercial banking operations in convertible currencies. Virtually every foreign company and person engaged in business on the island must open an account in this bank.

These are not "positive steps" as The White House's "echo chamber" likes to propagate.

Obama may be willing to sacrifice transparency and security for his "legacy," but regulators and other career officials that will outlast his presidency definitely should not.

Tweet of the Day: On Obama, Cuba and Iran

Is There Any Dictator That Hasn't Fooled (Manipulated) Obama?

Two very troubling reports today.

In short, not only did Syria's Assad and Iran's Mullahs completely fool and manipulate Obama -- as has Cuba's Castro dictatorship -- but tens of thousands of innocent lives were (and continue to be) sacrificed for Obama's "legacy."

From Foreign Policy:

U.S. and Europe Say Assad May Have Kept Some Chemical Weapons

Damascus promised to destroy its entire arsenal, but the world’s chemical weapons watchdog suggests Assad may have squirreled some away.

The world’s chemical weapons watchdog has repeatedly found traces of deadly nerve agents in laboratories that Syria insisted were never part of its chemical weapons program, raising new questions about whether Damascus has abided by its commitments to destroy all of its armaments, according to a highly confidential new report.

The discoveries of precursors for chemical warfare agents like soman and VX at several undeclared facilities, including two on the outskirts of Damascus, underscored what a 75-page report by the director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) describes as a troubling pattern of incomplete and inaccurate Syrian disclosures over the past three years about the scope of the country’s chemical weapons program.

From The Business Insider:

Obama reportedly declined to enforce red line in Syria after Iran threatened to back out of nuclear deal

President Barack Obama infamously drew a "red line" with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria only to back away from it, and we now know why.

Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon, who recently wrote a book called "The Iran Wars," told MSNBC on Monday that the Obama administration's determination to close the Iran nuclear deal is to blame for the failure to act on its own red line in Syria.

"When the president announced his plans to attack [the Assad regime] and then pulled back, it was exactly the period in time when American negotiators were meeting with Iranian negotiators secretly in Oman to get the nuclear agreement," Solomon said.

"US and Iranian officials have both told me that they were basically communicating that if the US starts hitting President Assad's forces, Iran's closest Arab ally ... these talks cannot conclude."

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful military arm in Iran, reportedly "would not accept a continued engagement with the US if its closest ally was being hit," Solomon said.

Obama's Cuba Policy Opens Doors -- For Iran

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
During a radio interview this week, Democrat vice-presidential nominee, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, stated that Obama's Cuba policy "has already opened doors in the Americas with other countries."

Opened doors for Iran, perhaps.

Senator Kaine's statement seems particularly out-of-touch as Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is currently in Cuba for the kickoff of a Latin America tour.

It's also out-of-touch as Cuba's puppet-regime in Venezuela further radicalizes and Nicaragua transitions from democracy to dictatorship.

A word of advice for Senator Kaine: Be weary of Ben Rhodes' talking points.

From AFP:

Iran seeks closer Cuba ties, ‘praises resistance’

Iran wants to forge a “new path” in its relations with Cuba by tightening ties, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday at the start of a Latin American tour.

“It’s a very opportune moment to extend our relations,” he told journalists at the start of a meeting with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

“We have always been on the side of the great Cuban people in the face of the atrocities and unjust sanctions they have faced, and vice versa,” he said, in an apparent reference to Cuba’s long history of enmity with the United States.

“We are going to forge a new path in our bilateral relations with Cuba,” he said, mentioning the energy, industrial and technology sectors as possible areas for cooperation.

Rodriguez for his part reiterated Cuba’s support for Iran in its dispute with the United States and other world powers over its nuclear program.

Iran sealed a deal last year with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US to limit the program in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

But although the deal took effect in January, Iran says it is still largely cut off from the international financial system.

“We continue to oppose all sanctions and unilateral coercive measures, especially in the financial domain,” said Rodriguez.

Zarif, who is traveling with a large delegation of officials and business executives, will also visit Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela on his trip, according to Cuban state media.

Must-Read: Do Cuban Lives Matter to Obama?

By Guillermo I. Martinez in The Sun-Sentinel:

Do Cuban lives matter to Obama?

Cuban lives don't matter all that much to President Obama

Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas has met with President Barack Obama at least twice. Together they discussed the lack of personal freedom in Cuba.

That was before President Obama went on a well-deserved golfing vacation while Fariñas was in the fourth week of a hunger strike in Cuba. By the time this column is printed, Obama will be visiting the destruction caused by the floods in Louisiana —and Fariñas may be dead.

In December 2014, Obama decided he wanted his legacy to show he had improved relations between Cuba and the United States. Since then, the United States has given many benefits to the Cuban government.

American tourists are traveling to Cuba in ever-growing numbers. Cubans escape the island and come to seek refuge in the United States, only to return to the island after a year and a day. Some go to see relatives while others go to enjoy a break from the tough life they have endured in the United States.

They all take money to Cuba. This money does not end up in the pockets of ordinary Cubans. All the money American tourists and Cubans who come and go freely to the island bring ends up in the hands of the Cuban Armed Forces – charged by the Castro regime with the responsibility of collecting and spending, as they see fit, all the dollars that flow to the island.

Since Obama opened the doors to more exchanges with Cuba, the Cuban government has repaid the American president by making life harder for all those on the island who dare oppose the regime.

Dissidents are beaten, repressed and jailed with increasing frequency.

Nobody knows precisely how many are beaten or jailed, but most international human rights organizations say the number has more than doubled in the nearly two years since Obama decided to improve relations with the Castro regime.

In Cuba, Fidel Castro turned 90 years old this past week, and his brother Raul rules in much the same ruthless manner as his brother. He has made it clear he will not respond to American acts of rapprochement with any acts of kindness or making things easier for the people of Cuba.

It is an uneven deal the one Obama and the younger Castro brother agreed to in 2014. In it, the Americans give and Cuba takes all it can while at the same time it increases internal repression.

That is the legacy of President Obama in Cuba.

To be precise, his legacy is best seen in the month-long hunger strike by Fariñas. He has said his condition for ending his hunger strike is for the Cuban government to stop beating dissidents who peacefully demonstrate for human rights.

News from the 54-year-old Cuban comes from his mother, and is circulated on the internet by those who really care about him. News of his giving up the hunger strike or dying as a result of it will make it to the main news media. But for his day-to-day condition, there is little interest in the American media.

Obama, the first African-American president, is concerned about the lives of African-Americans killed in American cities. But he cares little for the life of that brave, black Cuban man who is willing to die so others on the island will not be repressed by the lack of interest from the White House in those who dare protest peacefully in Cuba.

Yes, in the United States and to President Obama, "Black Lives Matter" as long as they are American lives. He cares little for the life of a Black Cuban.

If Fariñas dies, that will be the true legacy of President Obama's new Cuban policy.


Tweet of the Day: From Daughter of Dying Cuban Democracy Leader

Tweet from the daughter of Cuban democracy leader, Guillermo Fariñas, who is on the 32nd day of his hunger strike:

I don't understand. Where is the humanity of Pope Francis when in Cuba Guillermo Fariñas is slowly dying for the sake of human rights?  

Cuban Democracy Activists Ask Obama to Support Fariñas #juntoacoco

Monday, August 22, 2016
From 14ymedio (via Translating Cuba):

FANTU Activists Ask Obama to “Save the Life” of Guillermo Fariñas

A group of activists from the Anti-Totalitarian Forum (FANTU) have sent an open letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to “save the life of Guillermo Fariñas Hernández” who, as of Sunday, has been on a hunger strike for 32 days. The missive is addressed to the leader as “president of the country which is a beacon of human rights in the world.”

Seven members of the opposition organization which is led by Fariñas, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, are asking Obama to “use his political wisdom to take any action” that would avoid the death of the dissident. However, they clarify that the letter is not asking the US president to do “something tied to politics.”

The opponents explain that “Fariñas Hernández’s strike is against violence, he has not called for the overthrow of the government.” Instead, with his prolonged fasting, the activist from Santa Clara is demanding “the end to the oppression by some against others because of the way they think or how they choose to honestly obtain their income.”

Which, according to the signers, “is not to risk a life on a hunger strike, because it is the very essence of the democratic governments of all countries in the world.”

Guillermo Fariñas has been very critical of the process of normalization of relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States that began during the administration of Barack Obama.

Since December 17, 2014, when the diplomatic thaw was publicly announced, Fariñas has labeled the actions of the US president as a betrayal of Cuban dissidents.

Iranian Foreign Minister Arrives in Cuba

Remember when the Obama Administration argued its new Cuba policy would help promote U.S. interests in the region?

Yeah, that was funny.

From Iranian state media:

Zarif arrives in Cuba

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, heading a 120-member politico-economic delegation, arrived here on Sunday night at the first leg of his Latin American tour.

The exclusive aircraft carrying Iranian delegation arrived in Havana International Airport after a 16-hour flight.

Heading a political and economic delegation, Zarif will travel to Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela, respectively after wrapping his visit to Cuba and during his week-long Latin American tour.

Zarif visit is aimed at fostering Iran’s political and economic relations with Latin American countries after the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and removal of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

An economic delegation consisting of 60 businesspersons and directors of the companies active in different arenas, technical and engineering service in particular, accompany Zarif during his visit.

Iranian foreign minister would stay in one country each day and hold talks with senior officials of Latin American countries.

Iran attaches great importance to expansion of all-out cooperation with the Latin American countries.

Will Obama (Further) Screw Over U.S. Victims of Castro's Regime?

By former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Todd Moss, in The Miami Herald:

Cuba stole Americans’ property; will the U.S. sell them out?

As Cuba “celebrated” Fidel Castro’s birthday this weekend, what was the wish he wanted? Despite an historic agreement a year ago, progress is stymied. The Cuban government owes American citizens $8 billion. The Cubans insist the United States owes them $300 billion. This Miami Herald headline “Cuba denies it’s negotiating with U.S. on compensation claims” shows just how far apart we are on the issue of restitution for property seized by Castro’s regime: The two sides can’t even agree if the negotiations have begun or not.

As officials from both sides begin to address the thorny issue of claims and counterclaims that go back more than half a century, will the little guys get sold out?

After the 1959 Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro seized private property, first for political retribution and later as part of the communist economic system. Tens of thousands of people lost their homes, their farms and their businesses. The U.S Department of Justice has certified nearly 6,000 claims by U.S. citizens and corporations against Cuba totaling $1.9 billion, or about $8 billion with interest. (The law does not cover thousands of Cuban Americans who received U.S. citizenship post-confiscation, but they also hope for some kind of restitution.)

With the U.S.-Cuba thaw and the restoration of diplomatic relations, claimants saw a ray of hope. American and Cuban officials have now met twice to discuss property claims. Both sides are keen to find a resolution, both because of the legal implications and to remove a major psychological hurdle between the two nations.

About 900 of the claims are by corporations, representing about 90 percent of the total value. The largest claimant is, in a strange twist of history, retailer Office Depot, which holds the rights to a nationalized electricity company. Starwood Hotels is another sizable claimant, yet this did not stop the company from recently signing a joint venture with the Cuban military to refurbish and operate two hotels.

The Starwood deal may first appear like good news that companies are not letting past claims stand in the way of investing today. Yet it also suggests that some of the bigger firms can negotiate directly with the Cubans. So where will this leave the 5,000 individual claimants with no such leverage?

This leaves the fate of claimants in the hands of the State Department negotiators and what deal they can reach with the Cubans.

The simplest way of resolving claims, an agreed lump-sum payment, is probably off the table. Cuba doesn’t have $8 billion. It’s in a financial crisis, facing both cash and fuel shortages because its Venezuelan benefactor is imploding. Neither does Cuba show any intention of returning property, a process that is greatly complicated by the many decades that have passed.

More important, Cuba does not yet appear to even accept the notion that it should pay for seized property. To many in the ruling communist party, paying the yanquis is revolutionary surrender.

After waiting more than half a century for their property back, American claimants in Cuba will have to wait a little while longer to see what, if anything, their government can — or will — extract on their behalf.

Free Cubans Outshine Castro's Slaves at Olympics

From Breitbart:

Sour Grapes in Havana as Exiles Outshine Cuba’s Olympic Team

As the Olympics fortnight comes to a close, Cuban government propagandists are beginning to cope with the outstanding success of Cuban exile athletes competing under another flag, and often actively disassociating from the communist regime.

Cuban-born athletes and members of the Cuban diaspora born abroad have begun to vex the communist Castro government, as primetime television smears the athletes as less worthy of their ethnic identity. Most notably is the derisive commentary of Randy Alonso Falcón, host of the primetime commentary show Mesa Redonda, who dismissed Cuban-Spanish runner Orlando Ortega Echeverría as an “ex-Cuban” for winning his silver media for Spain.

“The case of ex-Cuban Orlando Ortega and other cases of athletes have added to the controversy [at the Olympics],” Alonso claims, adding that “the growing influence of money” has clearly “damaged” the sports world. He does not elaborate on what it means to be an “ex-Cuban,” or who with Cuban roots living abroad qualifies, but a lack of loyalty to the Cuban Communist Party may qualify someone to be stripped of their ethnic identity by the television host.

Cuban athletes have surfaced to represent almost every corner of the globe during this year’s Olympics, and many are openly hostile to Cuba. Ortega was among them, apparently stroking the ire of propagandist Alonso after rejecting a Cuban flag after winning a silver medal in the Men’s 110M hurdles event. “They gave me a Cuban flag, but I wanted the Spanish one,” he told reporters. “When I get home I’m going to eat a paella.”

Speaking to reporters following his victory, which broke a long drought in track and field medals for the European nation, he repeatedly emphasized the value of his victory for Spain. “I want to thank Spain for trusting in me,” he said. “There will be many more victories for Spain, for my family, for everyone who trusted in me,” he added, notably leaving out the country of his birth.

Joining him in rejecting the potential that his victory would be used to bolster the image of the Cuban government was Yasmani Copello, a runner who secured the bronze medal in the 400M hurdles event. “This medal is for me and my new country,” the young Cuban-Turk told reporters. “I am very grateful to be Turkish…. I don’t think about Cuba.”

In an interview, Lorenzo Sotomayor, a newly-minted Azeri, echoed this sentiment. “If I were still in Cuba, I would not have come to the Olympic Games. I would be in the streets ‘struggling’ to earn a livelihood and feed my two children.” Sotomayor at press time has guaranteed Azerbaijan a place in the boxing superlightweight division semi-finals after defeating Yasnier Toledo, representing the Cuban government.

The list of Cubans representing nations far from home goes on. On team Italy, Osmany Juantorena will play in the men’s volleyball semifinals against the United States. The Italian women’s relay race will feature Cuban-born Libania Grenot. And even Qatar boasts a Cuban athlete: Rafael Da Costa Capote, a member of their handball team.

The Cuban government has not openly referred to any of these athletes with hostility, only openly attacking Ortega — who rejected the Cuban flag — and Cuban-American athletes. Ciber Cuba put together a list of Cuban athletes competing abroad, but left out all Cubans competing for the United States.

The list of Cuban-American athletes competing in Olympic history is a long one, and this year’s includes big names like gymnast Danell Leyva, judoka Angelica Delgado, and arguably the most talked-about athlete of the Games, swimming champion Ryan Lochte.

The Cuban state newspaper Granma has as of press time not weighed in on Lochte’s ongoing saga in Rio de Janeiro, which has culminated in Brazilian police forcing his teammate to hand over $11,000 after four American swimmers were corralled at gunpoint at a gas station following a drunken exchange with employees there. It has referred to the Cárdenas-born Leyva, however, implying that his silver medal in the men’s parallel bars event was unmerited.

A column on the state-run site Ciber Cuba titled “Judge’s Blindness Hurts Cuban Gymnast Manrique Larduet” argues Leyva’s parallel bars routine “showed a light imbalance in the stand above the bar” and featured “a dismount with no height and barely any complexity.” Larduet, the Cuban gymnast, placed fifth, but Cuba’s state media claims his routine “flew high like no one else.”

“The judges saw nothing,” the column laments, “they saw what they wanted to see.”