Normando Hernandez: “We Must Shatter the Chains”

Here’s another excellent article written by Normando Hernandez in which he describes the Castro-government repression and the methods they employ to enslave an entire nation:  fear, torture (as is seen in the recent case of Angel Moya), and assassinations (as was the tragic case of Juan Soto Garcia).

We Must Shatter the Chains
by Normando Hernandez, ex prisoner of conscience

Dictatorships are not the only ones that throw chains around freedom.  Those who remain silent before the crimes these dictatorships commit are also responsible for enslaving freedom.  The hypocrisy exercised by democratic governments and international organizations, such as the UN to name just one of the many, provide a green light to dictatorships when they pretend to be deaf when those who attack freedom asphyxiate an entire people.  Let us not forget the phrase we Cubans frequently use:  “He who holds the cows leg when it is being slaughtered is just as guilty as he who kills it”.

Until when are democratic governments going to continue playing along with the horrors of the Cuban misgovernment?  They can’t talk to me about the free will of people because we all know that Cubans do not have the right to rights.  I would also like for someone to explain to me how we can solve a conflict if we do not interfere in it.

I am not ashamed to say that the main culprits of Cuba’s situation are Cubans themselves.  It’s true.  But it is also true that the government of the Castro brothers has always had an opposition against them ever since day one on January 1st of 1959.  And that opposition has been vilified, massacred, executed, jailed, and exiled before the passive stares of the world and the horrified eyes of the Cuban people who see their reflections on the mirror State terrorism which has existed on the island for 52 years.  Why can’t efforts be unified to support that opposition so that Cuba can achieve the freedom its people have long awaited?

We know that modern so-called revolutions consist of an organized opposition within the country and support from abroad.  In Cuba, the opposition is organized but it does not have the sufficient support to carry out its goals.  A perfect example is the sleepiness with which democratic governments have responded towards the State-sponsored assassination of Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia, the 46 year old dissident who died on May 8th 2011 after Castro policemen beat him and burst his pancreas just for wanting to be a free man and for sitting on a park bench talking about baseball.

And just like that, those international organizations, those governments, and those democrats remain silent while Castro henchmen beat and torture peaceful people simply because they do not agree with the ideology of those who rule in Cuba.

One of the most recent examples of torture was the one the ex-prisoner of conscience from the group of the 75, Angel Moya, was subjected to this past Thursday May 12th.  A State Security official who goes by the name of Camilo tortured Moya by pressuring a pillow down on his face, as he tried to asphyxiate him.  This method of torture is the same as the one we know as “the submarine” which consists of shoving the prisoners face into a bucket of water to produce a sensation of asphyxiation.  The “crime” which Moya committed was that he was trying to meet with a group of dissidents which were going to pay homage to political prisoners which had been assassinated by the Cuban government.  Moya was also beat by the political police- those officers which enjoy complete impunity, like the ones who killed Soto Garcia.

Angel Moya, after being beat and tortured

We would not be surprised if tomorrow we receive a new notice that other individuals or groups of dissidents have been detained, beaten, tortured, and/or assassinated because, unfortunately, that’s how things are in Cuba.  And I am not playing the role of a prophet here.  The problem is that totalitarian governments gain strength from the silence and hypocrisy of those who tolerate them.

We’ve had enough.  We must unite our forces and deposit our grains of sand just as was done in favor of the Libyan people. We must shatter the chains which tie down freedom in the most beautiful land which humans have laid eyes upon.

Normando Hernandez: “We Must Shatter the Chains”

New Article by Normando Hernandez Gonzalez: “Raul is just as murderous as Fidel”.

A new article written by Normando Hernandez Gonzalez in which he affirms that Raul Castro is just as murderous and despotic as his brother Fidel:

Against the government of Raul Castro, in Favor of the Cuban People
by Normando Hernandez Gonzalez, Cuban ex political prisoner of conscience

Each passing day I am horrified to hear people say that Raul Castro is different from his brother Fidel.  These naive people affirm that the slave master of Cuba is more sentimental.  They base their argument, among other things, on the fact that they saw him cry in the funeral of his wife, Vilma Espin.  Because of  that display of sensibility, some believe that it is possible to negotiate with the youngest of the Castro brothers so that he can lead the country to a democracy.  I am also horrified each time I hear of democratic governments throughout the world which seek to engage with the Cuban oligarchy and do all in their possession to negotiate with them at the expense of the Cuban people. Those who think that with Raul in power things will be different are extremely wrong!

One of the gravest issues which mankind faces is their scarce passive memory.  They have already forgotten the more than 500 executions which Raul Castro ordered in Eastern Cuba during the beginning of the Revolution, most of which were done without having held trials.  They have also forgotten about all the Cubans who have tried to escape his claws and have been massacred by the Frontier Guard Troops (under his command)  in the attempt.  Lost in their memories is also the fact that the current President of the State Council and Ministries, chief of Cuba’s government, and First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) authorized the use of chemical weapons in the 80’s in Angola which left thousands dead.  We must not lie to ourselves.  Raul is just as murderous as Fidel, and the only thing he cares for is to win some time to die while still in power.

One example of the morbidness of the 4-Star General is the positive image he is trying to spread throughout the world- that facade of spearheading changes in the largest island of the Antilles, when reality is completely the opposite.  If we compare the arbitrary arrests and human rights abuses which have occurred during the first four months of 2011 (January-April: 1166) with the same exact period of time during last year (579) then we can clearly see that it has practically duplicated.

Meanwhile, if we interpret the words he spoke during the Central Report of the VI Communist Party Congress, we can see the incitement to use violence against those who peacefully oppose the government in Cuba, “it is necessary that we make it clear that we will never deny the people their right to defend their Revolution, seeing as the defense of independence, the achievements of socialism, and of our plazas and streets will continue to be the primary duty of all Cuban patriots,” assured Raul Castro.

Those words already claimed their first victim.  The new Cuban martyr is called Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia.  The dissident and ex-political prisoner (jailed 3 times) died this Sunday, May 8th, as the consequence of a beating carried out by members of the repressive government forces.

“The Student” (as the martyr was nick-named) committed a horrific crime: he was sitting on a bench in the Vidal Park of Santa Clara province, while he was chatting about baseball.  They say that he was handcuffed and that various police officers beat him in a way that provoked his death in a matter of 72 hours in the Arnaldo Milan Hospital.

It can’t be described in any other way than saying that the henchmen of Castro’s regime defend the conquests which Raul Castro mentioned in his report.  If they continue operating in such a fashion, pretty soon Cuban dissidents will not even be able to live in their homes without fear of being lynched inside by the paid assassins of Raul-ism.

Now, we will hear the unjustified justifications of the Cuban Misgovernment.  And then we will see all the medical reports which assure that 46 year old Juan Wilfredo died as consequence of any sort of illness he suffered from, all except the kicks which led him to join the ranks of those who will always be remembered for defending the freedom and rights of an entire nation.

The truth is that the former member of the Central Opposition Coalition, and also of the United Anti-Totalitarian Forum is yet another deceased Cuban who yearns for justice in the face of passive democratic governments, like the European Union (EU) which seeks an improvement of ties with the regime of Havana.  It would be a good idea to exhort the EU’s High Representative for Exterior Issues and Security, Baroness Catherine Ashton, to take note of the most recent assassination carried out by the Cuban State, so that she could reflect this in the report she must present to the rest of the EU’s members.

It is also important to exhort the EU countries to implement mechanisms aimed at protecting Cubans so that, through their right to exercise their freedoms, they can work in favor of coexisting with all those who also desire freedom and democracy.

There is a certain question I ask myself, and also ask the readers:  if the Libyan government is condemned for all the barbaric crimes it commits against its people, then why can’t the government of Cuba be condemned for treacherously assassinating their dissidents?

Democratic governments, politicians, intellectuals, artists, and any person of goodwill in the world will have the final word:  Against the government of Raul Castro, in Favor of the Cuban People.

New Article by Normando Hernandez Gonzalez: “Raul is just as murderous as Fidel”.

Normando Hernandez on Jimmy Carter’s Cuba Report

The former political prisoner of conscience refers to the former US president’s report as “outrageous” and “offensive” due to his decision to only include very minor details about his visit with Cuban dissidents and opposition activists (66 words out of a 1,742 word report).

His (justified) reasons here:

Ignominious Report
by Normando Hernandez, ex-prisoner of conscience

Outrageous.  Offensive to the intelligence, value, and sacrifices of those who honorably oppose the tyrannical government of the Castro brothers.  That’s how I describe the report made by former US president Jimmy Carter upon concluding his visit to Cuba.

In the insulting one-thousand-seven-hundred-forty-two (1,742) word report, the most famous peanut vendor in the world only used sixty-six (66) of these words to mention the reunion he had with those who risk their lives to achieve freedom and democracy for the injured Cuban people.

He was not capable of even respecting, honoring the humility, decency, sincerity, modesty, and honesty of the peaceful dissidents and opposition members he met with.

The document, which many consider to be an accomplice of the Cuban military dictatorship, did not mention a single word on the declarations made by the blogger Yoani Sanchez about “the necessity for freedom of expression and free access to the internet for all Cubans”.

The Declaration of All Cubans, handed in by the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, was also ignored.  This declaration states that, “We (dissidents) are subjected to the heavy fire of repression, threats, slander, exclusion, and forced silence in media outlets within the country and even many stations outside of Cuba”.

In regards to the upcoming Cuban Communist Party Congress, the Declaration of Paya assures that, “The Congress of a party which condones mechanisms which rob the freedom of an entire nation which impose a culture of fear, condemns the poorest inhabitants to even deeper poverty, and removes their voice so that they can’t even denounce that they are poor…a Congress like that cannot represent an entire country.  The real Congress of the entire country will happen when there are free and democratic elections presided over by changes in the laws which would guarantee all rights for all Cubans in an atmosphere of reconciliation and transparency which would cultivate peace, fraternity, and justice in Cuba…”  Not a single one of these words were included in the ignominious report penned by Mr. Carter.

Why does Fidel Castro’s friend not mention the Declaration of All Cubans in his report?  Could it be that the Cuban government prohibited him from doing so, the same way that many others think they prohibited him from meeting with Guillermo Farinas, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez, and Reina Luisa Tamayo, mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the martyr who was assassinated in prison by representatives of the Castro brothers, in the same way that he was kept from meeting with many other dignified peaceful dissidents and opposition activists, who on a daily basis face the obstacles thrust in their way by those who rule Cuba the same way a warden would run his farm.

I am not going to mention other reports by honorable Cubans in regards to the reality of the largest of the Antilles, for if I resort to doing so this article will go on forever.

I will also not comment about what Mr. Carter refers in his report because, contrary to his actions, I am not a spokesperson for the government that has assassinated the most people in all of the Republican history of “the most beautiful land ever seen by human eyes“.  If anyone wants to read his statements they can find it on the internet.

I will only let myself say that Mr. Carter and his report have only proved correct those who have criticized him for many years due to his sympathetic attitude towards some of the cruelest regimes that have ever existed.  Some have said that Carter sickens them, while others suggest that he is an Agent of Influence for the Castro brothers.

I am only paraphrasing our apostle, Jose Marti, and am expressing that whoever remains silent in the face of the crime is just as criminal as he who perpetrates it, more so when that person is an accomplice of the criminal.

I assure Carter that the friend of the enemies of my country are not my friends.

And for those who wish to see Carter’s report, you can do so here.

The very short paragraph which proves Normando Hernandez’s point:

Wednesday morning we met with a group of active dissidents, bloggers, and others and then hosted 10 of the 12 recently released political prisoners and their wives, who reported that they were still insisting that those exiled to Spain be permitted to return to Cuba. They complained about their difficulty in getting renewed ID cards and drivers’ licenses.

Those were the only words in the entire report dedicated to the Cuban opposition…

The right for the exiles to return to Cuba? Difficulties renovating licenses and ID cards? Mr. Carter makes it seem as if those were the primary obstacles which Cubans face…apparently we are supposed to forget the dictatorship, the lack of freedom, the scarce (nearly nonexistent) internet access, the beatings against peaceful women, the unjust political imprisonment system, the extreme poverty, the indoctrination practiced on Cuban children, the painful family separation, and the endless list of people who have been assassinated just for courageously confronting the dictatorship ever since 1959…the thousands executed, the Boitels, the Zapatas, the Brothers to the Rescue, and the list continues…

Normando Hernandez on Jimmy Carter’s Cuba Report

Normando Hernandez on the EU’s Common Position

Once again, Normando Hernandez Gonzalez has written an article in regards to the position taken by the European Union towards Cuba and his meeting with the Mr. Christian Leffler, the General Director of the Iberian Sector of the EU’s Representative of Exterior and Political Security. While some European officials have lobbied for the “improvement” of relations with the island, Hernandez argues that, instead of approaching the totalitarian Castro government, the best option would be to assume a position which would “initiate an open and plural dialogue with the real Cuban civil society and with the peaceful opposition groups which fight for the freedom and democracy of Cuba, whether they do it from in or outside the island…”

In his own words:

Leffler, Hopefully his Words Will not Fall on Deaf Ears
by Normando Hernandez, Cuban ex-prisoner of conscience

In Cuba, the Castro-organized mobs were taking turns as if they were alternating work shifts. They outrageously shouted insults, harassed, and displayed a vicious hatred against the Ladies in White simply because these women wanted to exercise their inalienable rights to commemorate the repressive acts which took place during the Black Spring of 2003. The mob attack started on the 18th of March and concluded 48 hours later.

While they “exorcised” the dignified Ladies in White in the largest of the Antilles, in Spain 5 Cuban ex-prisoners of conscience and one Spanish official met at the offices of the European Union in Madrid. They were meeting with Mr. Christian Leffler, the General Director of the Iberian Sector of the European Union’s Representative of Exterior and Political Security.

The objective of the meeting was to inform Baroness Catherine Ashton that there are Cubans who have different points of view from that of the government in regards to the EU’s improvement of ties with the Castro regime. We turned in a 94 page report regarding this topic.

In the document we exhorted the Exterior and Political Security Representative of the European Union to “initiate an open and plural dialogue with the real Cuban civil society and with the peaceful opposition groups which fight for the freedom and democracy of Cuba, whether they do it from in or outside the island”.

In the report, titled Human Rights Situation in Cuba, we made it clear that the violations of the most elemental and basic rights of Cubans is institutionalized in the Penal Code and the Constitution of the Cuban Republic.

Among the 8 points of the document, we also attached the report made by Human Rights Watch in regards to Cuba. It states that, “Cuba continues to be the only country in Latin America which oppresses nearly all forms of political dissent”. We echoed the criticism of this NGO, which is consultative to the UN and which specializes on the subject that affects us, stating that “dictatorships cannot be handled with silk gloves”.

We could not leave out the reports made from within Cuba by the outlawed National Cuban Human Rights and Reconciliation Commission which has pointed out that repression in the largest of the Antilles has increased in comparison to last year.

We also included the three points which we feel are fundamental and must be immediately implemented by the Cuban government if they are really in a “process of change”:

1. The unconditional freedom of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and the repeal of all the sentenced imposed upon them, as well as the abolition of the laws which took them there in the first place.

2. Guarantee that the Cuban Constitution provides individual, collective, social, economic, political, and all other fundamental rights for all its citizens. Also, the Penal Code must be modified, Law 88 must be eliminated, as well as any other similar law which restricts Cubans from exercising their freedoms and their ability to work in favor of a coexistence among all those who seek freedom and democracy.

3. Making any necessary changes in the laws, such as ratifying and applying the International Human Rights Pacts and Covenants, which are:

*The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
*The International Covenant on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights.

The former prisoner of conscience and spokesperson for the Christian Liberation Movement Regis Iglesias turned in a letter to Mr. Leffler. Last year, that same letter was also sent to the Baroness. In his own right, Juan Carlos Herrera, who is also a former political prisoner of conscience, turned in another letter in which he carefully explained the situation of the political prisoner and leader of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy, Nestor Rodriguez Lobaina.

Representative Teofilo de Luis pointed out to the convoy of Catherine Ashton the 2nd point of the parliamentary initiative which was debated in the Commission of Exterior Relations of the Representative Congress of Spain (unanimously voted upon) which “pressures the government to support mechanisms which promote the exercise of fundamental freedoms for all people- especially the right to opinion, creation, and diffusion, as well as guaranteeing respect for all other human rights”.

Mr. Christian Leffler assured all of us who were present (which also included the former prisoners of conscience Fabio Preto, Marcelo Cano, and Normando Hernandez in representation of the 23 former prisoners who had signed the document being turned in) that the improvement of ties between the European Union and Cuba falls under the context of its Common Position. He also let us know that there is no legal chance for the 27 members of the EU to lift the previously mentioned position.

In the hallway, as we stretched out our hands to bid farewell, we continued insisting that Mr. Leffler go and meet with the peaceful dissidents which fight for the good of all from within Cuba. It was then that we heard these words: “Yes, we will go and meet with the Cuban dissidents. It will not be in the near future, but we will meet with them”.

God willingly, the words of Mr. Leffler will not fall on deaf ears and hopefully Baroness Catherine Ashton will draw up an impartial report which contains the opinions of those who fight to bring freedom and democracy to Cuba, that nation which has suffered under a Stalinist totalitarian regime for 52 years. Amen.

Normando Hernandez on the EU’s Common Position

“Deportation or Release from Prison is not Freedom”- Normando Hernandez Gonzalez

Here is another writing by Normando Hernandez Gonzalez, Cuban ex prisoner of conscience currently exiled in Spain.  In this essay, Normando makes it clear that exiling, deporting, or simply releasing from prison is not the same thing as being freed, which is a common misconception.  The civic Cuban fighter states that dissidents, anday to day Cubans, will not achieve real freedom until the cynical and totalitarian laws which took people like him to jail for demostrating peacefully are removed.

In his own words:

Deportation or Release from Prison is not Freedom
by Normando Hernandez, ex prisoner of conscience

For those who think that with the release of the last 2 prisoners of conscience from the group of the 75, the Cuban government has given freedom to all the peaceful dissidents from the Black Spring who were in prison, I hate to say that you are wrong.
Don’t fall for their lies.  Deportation or release from prison is not freedom.  Pushing people out of the prisons under Extra Penal Licenses is also not synonymous with granting freedom.  Freedom, among its many meanings, signifies having the “right to do and say anything as long as it does not violate any laws”.

And the Cuban laws are there, very active, constantly jailing, assassinating all sorts of freedoms, inalienable rights, and political dissent.
Those who were released under Extra Penal Licenses are still restricted by article 53 of the Constitution of the Cuban Republic (CRC) which prohibits them from expressing any words which go against the purposes of socialist society.  In addition, they are also prisoners of Article 39 of that same Constitution which does not permit creative freedom if it is contrary to the Revolution.

Released dissidents cannot legally and peacefully organize themselves because the Cuban government does not acknowledge the existence of other political, social, cultural, or economic organizations to which they (dissidents) belong.  This is all because such organizations do not agree with the “tasks of building, consolidating, and defending the ideals of a socialist society” as set forth by article 7 of the CRC.

In addition, these same dissidents are not granted the majority of the inalienable freedoms and rights protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for the sole reason that the rights defended by the Universal Declaration go against the establishments of the Cuban laws, which state in article 62 that “none of the freedoms granted to citizens can be exercised against the establishments of the constitution and the laws, the existence and goals of the socialist State, or against the decisions of constructing socialism and communism”.  And to top it off, this article concludes with a threat: “the violation of this principle is punishable”.

And for those who still doubt, there are the tribunals which, according to the CRC in article 121, “constitute a system of state organs which are hierarchical subordinates of the National Assembly of Popular Power and to the State Council”.  We cannot forget that the State in Cuba is a totalitarian one.

As one can clearly see, those who have been released from jail continue being prisoners as long as Cuban constitutional laws do not guarantee individual, collective, social, and political rights, as well as any other fundamental rights.  They will continue being prisoners as long as Law 88, best known as the Gag Law, is in practice.  They will continue being prisoners as long as there exist any judicial restrictive norms which impede people from practicing their freedoms, and from being able to work in favor of coexistence among all those who seek freedom and democracy.

We can’t forget that the sanctions of those who were condemned were never repealed, and the laws which led to our imprisonment have not been abolished.  However, we have all committed to continuing the peaceful struggle in search for Cuba’s freedom, “with all and for the good of all”, as our apostle, Jose Marti, would say.

Let us help him fulfill his promise.

“Deportation or Release from Prison is not Freedom”- Normando Hernandez Gonzalez