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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
June 7, 2013Posted by on
The Cuban punk-rock band Porno Para Ricardo has announced the launch of their new album “Maleconazo Ahora” (‘Maleconazo Now’), on sale through the music downloads website “BandCamp”.
Gorki Luis Aguila, lead singer and guitarist of the group, has been promoting the new production through his Facebook page. In an interview with this blog in March of 2013, the rocker described the disc as being “very fluid, very fast…one song comes on and then an interview, and everything kind of gets mixed together and it makes you feel like you are at the place where it happened [The Maleconazo]“.
For Gorki, the Maleconazo of 1994, when countless Cuban citizens took to the streets of Havana to protest, was “a symbol of activism” and was also a necessary cry for “something fair“.
The first single from the new album has been “Este Año Si Se Cae”, where the musicians experiment with the sounds of reggaeton and collaborate with other independent artists such as Primario y Julito and David Omni Zona Franca. The lyrics of the mentioned song assure listeners that if Cubans really want the dictatorship to fall, then it will be possible.
Other songs in “Maleconazo Ahora” include “Yo Odio Mi CDR“, “Amor del G2“, “Yo No Trabajo Para los Castro” and “Mi Bandera“. It also includes an acoustic version of “Este Año Si Se Cae”, with the participation of rapper Raudel ‘Eskuadron Patriota‘.
Porno Para Ricardo, which are completely censured in Cuba but still have a large fan base among everyday people, recently announced a “mini-tour” in Barcelona and Madrid to promote the disc. They have turned to their fans and to the ‘CrowFunding’ network so that they receive at least 1 dollar donations per person to fund this trip to Europe:
To take a listen to the new CD and buy your copy today, click here. It’s only $7 USD.
June 6, 2013Posted by on
Members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance and Civil Disobedience Front in the city of Placetas, Villa Clara have been carrying out continuous public demonstrations since the beginning of June, in solidarity with the demands of hunger striker Luis Enrique Santos Caballero who has refused to intake food since May 24th, demanding a home after he was forcefully evicted by government forces.
Now, new images of these protests have arrived from the island. The demonstrations took place on the 1st, 2nd and 5th of June in the city of Placetas. The videos have been published on the YouTube channels of Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, leader of the OZT Front, and of Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello.
On June 1st, a group of activists demonstrated in a Placetas neighborhood, shouting slogans in favor of Santos Caballero and letting neighbors know about the situation. In this activity, once can see the face and body of the hunger striker, clearly deteriorated:
After the protest, various activists were violently arrested by the political police. Among the detainees was Yoel Bravo. We can see the moment of his arrest here:
On June 2nd, Ramona Maday Garcia, wife of Luis Enrique Santos and member of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, marched down the streets of Placetas with a sign explaining the situation of her husband, asking for solidarity from neighbors and denouncing the indifference of the regime:
The most recent video, filmed on June 5th, shows a protest in the a popular spot of Placetas. According to Antunez and other dissidents, this activity ended in police violence when neighbors came out in defense of the demonstrators:
These audio-visuals show the desperation of a Cuban family which, after having been left without a home, have been demanding justice. Luis Enrique and Ramona spent a number of days protesting and sleeping in Vidal Park of Santa Clara and after arrests, acts of repudiation and the indifference of the authorities, the dissident decided to declare himself on hunger strike and take his protest to the home of Jorge Luis ‘Antunez’. Activists have alerted that Santos’ state of health is extremely weak and he is suffering from frequent faint spells. He also only has one kidney. A photo published on Twitter by Antunez (@antunezcuba) shows the deterioration of the dissident:
June 5, 2013Posted by on
Wearing flags with the image of the Virgin of Charity which were donated during her visit to the Ermita de la Caridad in Miami, Berta Soler led the march of the Ladies in White in Cuba’s capital, Havana, this past Sunday June 2nd. The women marched throughout the country, despite the presence of the political police.
A total of 68 women participated in Mass at the Santa Rita Church of Havana and marched down 5th Avenue afterward, according to a report by dissident leader Angel Moya Acosta. It was the first march in which Soler participated after returning to the island last week after an international trip denouncing the reality of Cuba.
More than 10 women participated in Mass and carried out marches in the province of Matanzas.
In the Eastern province of Guantanamo, 12 Ladies in White marched and made it to Mass, according to a message published by Sayli Navarro on her Twitter account (@SayliNavarro).
67 Ladies in White marched through the streets of Santiago de Cuba province and made it to Mass in the National Cobre Shrine, an emblematic temple within Cuban culture.
The website “Ya Cuba Twittea” reported that at least 3 Ladies in White from Santiago were taken down from a bus by force by the political police. The agents impeded them from arriving to Mass.
In the province of Holguin, various women were arrested.
Among the detainees were Rosa Maria Naranjo (Holguin), Danay Mendiola (Holguin), Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante (Antilla) and Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez (Banes). The latter- Ojeda Suarez- explained to this blog that the repression against her is constant. In fact, she recounts that when she was detained, a political police agent tried to handcuff her and physically harassed her.
Eleiny Villamonte, a young member of the female group in Holguin, confirmed that despite repression 5 women “were able to march and make it to Mass in the municipality of Cacocum and in the municipality of Holguin“.
Berta Soler also told “Marti Noticias” that she has plans of expanding the Ladies in White movement, creating delegations in all the provinces of the country.
June 5, 2013Posted by on
Angel Moya Acosta, former political prisoner of conscience and husband of Berta Soler, representative of the Ladies in White, has published a video on his YouTube channel of Soler’s return to the island after she had been traveling abroad for a couple of months for the first time ever, denouncing the Cuban reality.
In the emotional re-encounter, we can see how a number of Ladies in White welcome Soler. Many of these women, as well as activists from other pro-freedom groups, were arrested by the political police so that they wouldn’t arrive to the Jose Marti Airport in Havana for the encounter. However, Soler received a very warm welcome from relatives and friends.
In the video, Berta promises to expand the membership of the Ladies in White and reaffirms her compromise with the struggle in favor of human rights and freedom in Cuba.
June 3, 2013Posted by on
Authorities in the Eastern city of Baracoa suspended some soccer games in the Manuel Fuentes Borges Stadium after they found at least one sign with anti-regime messages, according to activist Francisco Luis Manzanet, president of the Juan Pablo II Dissident Movement and also member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance.
“Last week in Baracoa, when the municipalities’ soccer team was about to play a game, workers started removing the bases set up there for baseball matches when they found a sign under second base that said ‘Down with Fidel, Down with Raul and Down with Communism’“, said Manzanet.
The dissident explains that this led to the presence of various National Revolutionary Police (PNR) and State Security agents who entered the stadium in search of explanations.
“In addition, the Provincial Sports Director suspended the soccer game temporarily in that stadium“, he said. But this decision visibly bothered the soccer players as well as the locals who take a liking for the sport more each day.
“This has caused unconformity on behalf of the athletes and of the people in general“, explains Manzanet.
Meanwhile, the activist also confirmed that the political police has been investigating each and every one of the stadium employees and, as of now, they have not found the “culprit“.
Cases such as these, of the apparition of anti-regime signs in different public places of different regions of the island, are being reported with much more frequency according to activists and everyday Cuban citizens.
For more information form Cuba, contact:
Francisco Luis Manzanet – Cell Phone: +58-325-844
June 3, 2013Posted by on
Manuel Robles, young member of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) in Havana recently wrote on his Twitter account (@manue_rv) that he had received a call from inside of Cuba which he could not respond to at that moment. When he called back, an unknown voice asked if his number belonged “to the dead person”.
Robles said the number which called him was +72-053-912.
This Monday, June 3rd, Rosa Maria Paya, daughter of the fallen leader of MCL, Oswaldo Paya, denounced on her Twitter account (@RosaMariaPaya) the situation confronting Robles, explaining that they are calling “his cell phone with death threats”. Paya added that “State Security continues with their threats”.
These threats are common against members of the Movement. Ofelia Acevedo, widow of Oswaldo Paya, has received similar calls, while Rosa Maria and an aunt have also received them. Other dissidents from different pro-freedom groups face similar situations. Oswaldo would frequently receive them as well.
The Paya family has not stopped denouncing this reality, as they have also not stopped demanding an independent investigation of the events which led to the death of Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero.
This July will mark one year since their mysterious deaths in the Eastern Cuban city of Bayamo.
June 3, 2013Posted by on
The home of Damaris Moya Portieles and her family in Santa Clara, Villa Clara. Damaris is the president of the Central Opposition Coalition and a member of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. She is one of the most persecuted activists in that central area but also one of the most active. Her home has become a constant target of repression on behalf of the political police, but as one can see, it has also become one of the bastions of resistance.
This is how dissidents live in Cuba.
As a response to constant acts of repudiations, raids and attacks organized by the regime, Moya Portieles and her family decided to write pro-freedom messages on her walls. Some of them read:
“The Cuban people are hungry, but they are also afraid. When the fear ends, so too will the hunger”.
“Down with Raul and Fidel (Castro)”.
“Freedom for Sonia Garro Alfonso and her husband”.
“Fidel and Raul are corrupt thieves”.
“No more hunger and misery”.
This photo was published on Twitter by Cuban-American activist Cecilia Rojas (@CeciliaF_Rojas). Cecilia recently visited Cuba after her mother passed away. She was brave enough to meet with some dissidents, among them Damaris Moya and Antunez. Due to this display of solidarity she was detained for various hours by the political police.
June 1, 2013Posted by on
Three Cuban dissidents, members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and who are currently in prison for expressing themselves against the totalitarian government, have been carrying out lengthy hunger strikes, according to statements made to this blog by Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of the pro-democracy group and a former political prisoner himself.
The strikers are Enrique Figuerola Miranda, Wilber Parada and Roberto Hernandez.
Figuerola, being held in the Boniato Prison of Santiago de Cuba “has been on hunger strike for more than 30 days“, explained Ferrer Garcia. The activist adds that doctors have put an IV on him a couple of times but after this treatment “they have returned him to the prison cells, leaving him up to his own fate in inhumane conditions. He is very weak…his situation is very worrying for UNPACU and all of his family“.
Recently on the YouTube channel of UNPACU a video of an interview with Enrique’s wife, Mercedes Hechavarria Guevara, was published. She tells how her husband’s health has worsened and explains that during one of the visits allowed by the guards he told her that he would rather die for a just cause than to live under the dictatorship. Figuerola has been imprisoned for 9 months, without a trial.
In the cases of Wilber Parada and Roberto Hernandez, detained together in Havana, they are being kept in cells in the Valle Grande Prison, located in the capital, “all of this because of their activism out on the streets, in areas such as Central Havana and Old Havana“, assures Ferrer Garcia.
“Parada and Hernandez continue on hunger strike and are also under constant harassment…they have been victims of mistreatment, as have their wives. We are also very worried about them“.
Ferrer also made mention of the case of dissident rapper and UNPACU secretary for the city of Bayamo, Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico”, imprisoned for more than 2 months, also without a trial, due to the music he makes criticizing the regime and because of his activism out on the streets.
“Remon is in prison because the political police got scared of the growing sympathy he was receiving on behalf of his neighbors in Bayamo through the distinguished work this young man has been carrying out in favor of Cuba’s democratization“.
Yedisbel Roseyo Mojena, wife of Angel Yunier, took part in an interview with Ferrer. During the conversation, she detailed the situation of her husband and highlighed the constant police repression against him, before and during his imprisonment. (Check out the video here)
UNPACU has 10 activists in the Mar Verde Prison (Santiago de Cuba), among them 3 brothers- Alexei, Dianco and Diango Varga Martin. The last 2 are twins and just turned 18.
Miraida Martin Calderin, a member of the Ladies in White and mother of the brothers, was held in prison for approximately 2 months and was just recently released. She confirmed to Jose Daniel Ferrer that her sons “are being held in very difficult conditions…they frequently suspend our family visits, the guards physically assault them, and they are commonly confined to punishment cells“.
One of these political prisoners- Arcelio Noa- has also been victim of constant repression in the Mar Verde Prison. In fact, he has even inflicted injuries on himself in a moment of total desperation.
“Arcelio did this to himself because he was blinded by desperation. He is constantly harassed. They put him together with very dangerous criminals which the political police puts there and uses to attack him and all the other young political prisoners we have there”, denounced Ferrer.
The dissident organization UNPACU has more than 40 of its members behind bars due to the frequent and spontaneous civc demonstrations they carry out in centric places such as long lines, parks, terminals, street corners and other public locations.
Many other opposition groups also have numerous political prisoners. They are women, men, intellectuals, farmers, young, and old.
On another note, 5 activists of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance Front are still on hunger strike as well. Among the demonstrators is Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, seriously affected in health terms, who demands to have a home after he was forcefully evicted in the province of Villa Clara. Reports coming straight from the island have only confirmed that his health has kept deteriorating.
May 30, 2013Posted by on
A new video published by the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) on the YouTube channel of Ana Belkis Ferrer shows the repressive methods utilized by the Cuban regime against currently jailed dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, “El Critico”, in Bayamo.
Friends and family of Remon have been denouncing the situation the young activist has been going through since last March after various detentions and a House raid. Now, these denouncements are proven in the new video which document the events which preceded his arrest. The video has been subtitled in English (my translation):
Remon’s home was attacked multiple times by police officials with tar and other materials. The results of such actions can be seen in the first half of the video. His response was to paint the phrase “I do not commit any crimes, that is why I am free. Down with the rob-alution”. Eventually, after another attack, the rapper writes “Down with the dictatorship” in large and visible letters right on the Street in front of his House. The police then says agents to cover the message while they also convoke an act of repudiation against the dissident.
However, the vast majority of neighbors do not take part in shouting offensive slogans at Remon and he proceeds to talk to them about their rights, the repression of the dictatorship and calls of them to not feel fear because he knows that they do not support the regime. He invites the onlookers to pass by his House to pick up “pro-freedom literature” which is banned on the island.
Remon also offers a moving and brave discourse about Cuba’s “beautiful history” which was “destroyed by the Castro dictatorship” and urges citizens to wake up from the lethargy imposed by the system.
These are the reasons why a young Cuban rapper is currently behind bars in the Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo.
#PassItOn for Angel Yunier Remon.
May 29, 2013Posted by on
Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, member of the Central Opposition Coalition, has been on hunger strike in the Vidal Park of Santa Clara, Villa Clara, along with his wife Ramona Maday Garcia, for more than a week, demanding that the regime give him a home after he was forcefully evicted during the month of April.
Santos, a former dissident prisoner, came out of jail to find that his father had passed away and that he had no home. He spent various months staying at the homes of friends and fellow activists until he decided to occupy an abandoned establishment in the city of Santa Clara. Police forces violently evicted him and his wife from the place, and the activist took shelter in the house of another dissident. Eventually, he decided to demand the regime to give him the opportunity to have a house where he could establish himself and establish a family.
This Wednesday, May 29th, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, former political prisoner and general secretary of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, published an audio in his YouTube account detailing that another 4 activists had joined Luis Enrique’s hunger strike. The striker shifted his protest to the home of Antunez, where the other dissidents also reside. They are Arnaldo Perez, Fernando Vazquez, Yunier Santana, and most recently, Damaris Moya Portieles. The latter is the president of the Central Opposition Coalition.
Although the life of each of these hunger-strikers is in danger, Antunez explains that the most worrying situation is that of Luis Enrique Santos Caballero who only has one kidney. He lost his other kidney in prison after he was severely beat by a number of guards. Santos Caballero has also seen his health affected in the last couple of days after sleeping under rain and wind in a public park for more than a week.
“Luis Enrique Santos is on the verge of losing his life for demanding something so basic, so elementary, which is having a home”, declares Antunez in the audio, “he is a man who truly looks like a cadaver…he is suffering the effects of a weakened physical state, and the lack of one kidney. At any given moment, a fatal outcome may take place”.
Antunez called on the international community, especially people who have Twitter accounts and who run blogs about Cuba, to keep informing about the situation of Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, an activist who is willing to give his life so that at least his wife could have a decent home.
Para más información desde Cuba, contactar a:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’ – Móvil: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba