Human Rights in Cuba

Time To Change

Waiting for help
Waiting for help

Daily Archives: April 15, 2013

Internet for the Cuban Opposition is Possible / Yusnaby Perez
Posted on April 15, 2013

phone googleMany wonder and don't understand: How can I have internet on
my Smartphone? Others don't even believe I'm in Cuba. But hey, in the
last two months I've been researching an effective method to provide
internet to the opposition within the island with funding from abroad.
And I found it! I proved it! It works!

Cubacel has the technology necessary to provide internet services. They
don't have 4G, nor even 3G, but the GPRS works perfectly. For those who
aren't familiar with it, GPRS is the service that provides internet to
cellphones with a data plan. Of course, in Cuba it's blocked for
national customers and only works on cellphones with service through
foreign companies using "roaming" in Cuba. Normally, the data plans
abroad are very expensive: But they work in Cuba!

At present, many of the opponents get their cellphones recharged so they
can tweet "blindly," which costs 1 CUC (roughly $1 U.S.) for every
tweet. Here I recommend to them this alternative.

All someone needs to do is get a contract in Spain with the company
Movistar and active the data plan for abroad. There are two options. The
most economical costs 50 € a month for 150Mb. Then someone sends the SIM
card to the opponent on the island and they will have up to 150Mb to
interact with the network for a whole month, live, anywhere there is
coverage by the Cuban phone company ETECSA. 150 megabytes isn't much,
but it's enough to have instant communications with Twitter and to
report, with images, what is happening in the country.

For more information here is the link to movistar:

This connection path is undetectable and cannot be blocked by the Cuban
government, as the service comes through Movistar. There are other plans
of 500Mb a month that would be great, but the cost is higher: 140 € / month.

So here I leave you this open door that today allows me, thanks to my
brother in Spain, to tweet #EnVivo — Live — from the Island.

13 April 2013 Continue reading
Posted on Monday, 04.15.13

Cuba relieved as Chavez heir wins in Venezuela
The Associated Press

HAVANA -- Cubans are relieved that the late Venezuelan leader Hugo
Chavez's hand-picked successor has been elected president.

The island nation has benefitted from billions of dollars in subsidized
oil under Chavez. New President Nicolas Maduro is seen as an ideological
ally who will want to continue the countries' special relationship.

But Maduro's razor-thin victory margin has his rival demanding a
recount, and experts warn that Cuba's relief could be short-lived.

Cuban President Raul Castro was among the first to congratulate Maduro
in a note that was published Monday in Communist Party newspaper Granma.

Read more here: Continue reading
Posted on Sunday, 04.14.13

Castro wants money, not a dialogue

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died, and Raúl Castro is searching for
"investors" in Cuba. Chávez spent billions of Venezuela's petro-dollars
shoring up Cuba's economy but Venezuela's new leaders may not be as
beneficent. Venezuela may cut off its Cuban subsidy, just as new Russian
leaders did after the Soviet Union's demise.

American taxpayers are at the top of Castro's list, but can the Cuban
communist government cash in on its years of political theater
proclaiming itself the victim of American economic aggression while
running its own economy into the ground and training and financing
anti-American insurgencies around the world?

Perhaps it can, given that the collective U.S. memory is rather short if
not wholly forgiving.

Earlier this year, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy visited the Cuban dictator
and returned home saying this is the time "to overcome continuing
obstacles" and " to improve relations" because that would be in the
"best interests of both countries." The senator means well, but his
statements cry out for a more detailed appraisal of U.S.-Cuban relations.

The real questions are: Improve relations for what purpose? And under
what conditions? It might be in America's best interests to improve
relations with North Korea, Syria and Iran too, but the obstacles
standing in the way are similar to those in Cuba. There is no quid pro
quo their leaders are willing to offer.

Granted that while in Cuba, Sen. Leahy managed to wrangle permission
from Gen. Castro to visit Alan Gross, a subcontractor with the
U.S.Agency for International Development, who is serving a 15-year
prison sentence. Gross after-the-fact "crime" was giving a laptop
computer and satellite telephone to a Jewish organization seeking access
to the Internet.

Gross is innocent and also quite ill. Amnesty International reports he's
lost more than 100 pounds in prison, and he has developed a growth that
may be cancerous. Havana won't allow an American physician chosen by his
family to see him.

There are others. Amnesty International says that Calixto Martinez, a
Cuban independent journalist — a reporter not working for state-run
media — was jailed when he went to Havana's international airport to ask
about a shipment of cholera medication sent by the World Health
Organization. He has not been charged nor had a trial. Havana does not
want tourists to hear about a cholera outbreak.

But, back to the benefits of lifting what remains of the U.S. embargo
against the Castros' dynasty: Cuba is broke and has suspended payments
to many creditors.

There is no ban on American companies selling foodstuffs or medicines to
Cuba, which they do on a "cash-and-carry" basis. But Washington won't
provide credit to Cuba, i.e., absorb the loss if the regime fails to pay
its suppliers. Thus American companies selling to Cuba get paid and
American taxpayers aren't on the hook when the regime fails to pay what
it owes.

Individually, Cubans have no "purchasing power" to speak of. The
government is the island's only "employer" and pays workers the
equivalent of $20 a month. Except for cigars, Cuba now has very little
to sell to anyone. For 200 years, the engine of Cuba's economy was its
sugar industry. It is now in shambles due to "state planning."

Lastly, the United States lists Cuba as a state-sponsor of international
terrorism. It does so, despite the best efforts of Ana Belen Montes, a
high-ranking Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, who presented Havana
as peace-loving and no threat to anyone. Montes was a spy for Cuba. She
pleaded guilty and is now in a federal penitentiary. Her "reports" are
still used by Castro's advocates.

It is difficult to improve relations with dictatorships that deny human
rights, ban labor unions and abuse and jail peaceful dissidents for
talking about democracy. Visiting members of European parliaments have
been arbitrarily arrested in Cuba.

President Obama tried unilaterally to extend a "hand of friendship"
without success. Today Havana wants money, not a meaningful dialogue
that might lead to a "transition."

Like Sen. Leahy, I wish things could be different, but that requires a
demonstrable Castro initiative to change the nature of his rule in Cuba.

Frank Calzon is executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba in
Washington. Continue reading
Report Following Visit to Angel Santiesteban-Prats in Prison
Posted on April 14, 2013

After a week of anxious uncertainty about the destination and the
conditions in which Angel was then being transferred illegally, against
his will and violently from La Lima prison so that he could not talk to
the commission of journalists who visited the center April 9, finally
yesterday, April 13, two relatives were able to see him.

He agreed, during the visit, to drink two cups of broth, but reaffirmed
that his hunger strike will not end until he is returned to the prison
where he was and all his rights were respected. He has lost some weight
but remains steadfast in his ideals and is acting according to the
dictates of his conscience.

Has informed us that the prison authorities left him with no option but
to declare a hunger strike in protest, because he was treated as a
terrorist and they tried to dress in clothes of a prisoner, which under
no circumstances will he allow.

After his refusal to wear the uniform of a common prisoner and having
declared a hunger strike, he was transferred to a punishment cell where
there no light or sun. We note that the first cell where they locked him
previously had no bathroom, the latter does have something called a

Since Monday he had not washed, not even his mouth; he only did so in
the presence of family and will continue thus until he is returned to La
Lima Prison — from where he never should have been removed — in the
same conditions in which he was before.

In the punishment cell has only a "bed" of cast concrete and they did
not allow him to keep his glasses. He has only his clothes, a toothbrush
and toothpaste.

Monday morning he will be visited by his lawyer, Ms. Amelia Rodriguez Cala.

In view of what happened, and aware of and concerned about the integrity
of our beloved Angel, we reiterate what was stated in the previous

We hold Raul Castro Ruz absolutely responsible for what might happen to
Angel Santiesteban Prats and remind the Cuban dictator that Angel is not
a criminal, he did not commit any of the crimes that were invented to
keep him locked up and to make him remain silent. He is innocent, he did
not invade the home of the mother of his son, which was also the home of
his son, nor did he assault her.

He has proved repeatedly and conclusively that he is innocent of all
charges against him. But justice, responding to the dictates of State
security, not only dismissed the evidence but also did not allow the
testimony of the defense witnesses. If any doubts remain, we suggest to
Mr. Raul Castro Ruz who is personally interested in knowing the court
records, that he view the evidence with which Anger proved his
innocence, listen to the witnesses and view the video hosted on Youtube
in which a false witness, fabricated by the accusers, tells how Mrs.
Rodriguez Kenya personally offered him payments and benefits in exchange
for testifying against the father of her child.

To top it off, the false witness claims he does not know Angel, and had
never seen him. We urge Mr. Raul Castro Ruz to demonstrate to the world
the much publicized "humanism and democratic character of the Cuban
Revolution" holding in his own hands the hoax of the State Security
against Angel, shamefully violating the separation of powers that need
to exist for any society to be truly democratic.

Given this state of affairs, not only do we demand that Raul Castro Ruz
ensure the integrity of Angel but also that he be immediately
transferred back La Lima, in the same condition in which he was removed,
despite continuing to be unjustly imprisoned, so he can at least
continue to work tirelessly as he had done: writing, which is his job,
his passion and his reason for being.

You can imagine what the Lieutenant Colonel and handwriting expert would
say now of the script Angel is writing in the dark and without glasses
as he is doing in the punishment cell. If before he dared to send him to
prison for the size and slant of his handwriting, now he would do
nothing less than suggest that they ask for the death penalty …

The international media, human rights organizations, family and friends
are very attentive to what happens to Angel and we repeat that we hold
the entire Havana regime and its leaders responsible for him.

And hopefully, without losing a minute, they will do the right thing.
Truth and justice are the way.

Embarrassingly, the case of our brother and friend is not unique.
Therefore, we talso demand that Raúl Castro Ruz release of all political
prisoners flooding the Cuban prisons. We demand for all of them as well
as for our beloved Angel: justice and truth.

On behalf of his family and friends,

The Editor

(Note from Translating Cuba's editor: A poem by Angel attached to this
post will be posted later… as soon as the "experts" finish translating it.) Continue reading
Pitbull Raps About Jay-Z's Trip To Cuba In "Open Letter"
by Andres Vasquez
posted April 14, 2013 at 10:44PM GMT+0200

Pitbull Raps About Jay-Z's Trip To Cuba In "Open Letter"

Mr. 305, Pitbull, talks about Jay-Z's trip to Cuba with Beyonce and
shares his take on Cuban-American relations with his own "Open Letter."

Jay-Z unveiled his "Open Letter" recently and now Pitbull has released
his own version of the track.

As a Cuban-American, Pitbull used the "Open Letter" instrumental to
speak about political issues surrounding the relationship between Cuba
and America. He also sent a message to Jay and Beyonce.

"Question of the night, would they have messed with Mr. Carter if he was
white?" Pitbull asks on the track. "Happy fifth year anniversary, Jay
and Bey. Don't worry, it's on me."

The song comes in response to criticism Jay-Z faced while visiting Cuba
with Beyonce. Senator Marco Rubio demanded the president's explanation
for the trip. The trip was reportedly licensed through the U.S. Treasury

Pitbull announced the track via his Twitter account and posted a message
to fans.

"I'm cuban american i was born politically incorrect here is my open
letter daleee
4:14 PM - 14 Apr 13" Continue reading
Posted on Sunday, 04.14.13

Rubio: Beyonce trip to Cuba 'hypocritical'
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Marco Rubio says entertainers Beyonce and Jay-Z
missed a chance while in Cuba to see firsthand the effects of political

The Republican lawmaker from Florida calls their recent trip
"hypocritical" and he takes issue with the U.S. government's approval of
the visit as a cultural mission.

Beyonce and Jay-Z marked their wedding anniversary in Havana last week.

U.S. citizens aren't allowed to travel to Cuba for mere tourism, though
they can obtain licenses for academic, religious, journalistic or
cultural exchange trips. These people-to-people licenses were reinstated
under the Obama administration.

Rubio, a Cuban-American, says such trips provide money to the Castro
government to oppress the Cuban people.

Rubio discussed the trip during interviews Sunday on CNN's "State of the
Union," ABC's "This Week" and NBC's "Meet the Press.

Read more here: Continue reading
Venezuela: The Hope of Maybe… / Yoani Sanchez
Posted on April 14, 2013

The plane had touched down in Panama and through the windows I saw the
harsh sun shining on the pavement. I walked the halls of the airport
looking for a bathroom and a place to wait until my next flight. Some
young people waiting in the main hall beckoned me and begin shouting my
name. They were Venezuelans. They were there, like me, in transit to
another destination. So we started to talk in the midst of the crowds,
the suitcases, the comings and goings, while the loudspeakers announced
arrivals and departures. They told me they read my blog and understood
very well what we are living through on the Island. At one point I asked
to take a photo with them. They responded with long faces and begged me,
"Please, don't put it up on Facebook or Twitter, because it'll make
problems for us in our country." I was shocked. Suddenly the Venezuelans
reminded me tremendously of Cubans: fearful, speaking in whispers,
hiding anything that could compromise them in front of Power.

That encounter made me reflect on the issue of ideological control,
surveillance and the excessive interference of the state in every detail
of daily life. However, despite the similarities I found between those
young people and my compatriots, I felt that there were still spaces
open to them that have been long closed to us. Among those open spaces,
are elections. The fact that today, Sunday, Venezuelans can go to the
polls and decide with their votes — along with all the official tricks —
the immediate future of their nation, is something that was taken from
Cubans a long time ago. The Communist Party in our county cleverly cut
all the paths that would allow us to choose among several political
options. Knowing that he could not compete in a fair fight, Fidel Castro
preferred to run on the track alone and chose as his only relief in the
relay someone who, what's more, carries his own name. Comparing our
situations, Venezuelans are left with the hope of maybe… Cubans, the
frustrations of never.

So, knowing the cage from the inside, I venture to recommend to
Venezuelans that they themselves not end up being the ones who close the
only exit door they can count on. I hope that those young people I met
in the Panama airport are right now exercising their right to vote. I
wish for them, that after this day they will never again fear reprisals
for a photo taken with someone, for speaking out about an idea, for
signing their names to a criticism. I wish for them, in short, that they
will achieve what we failed to do.

14 April 2013 Continue reading
Zapata lives
Zapata lives
No place to live
No place to live