Thursday, March 18, 2010

CPJ URGES EU LEADER TO SEEK FREEDOM FOR CUBAN JOURNALISTS


(Vea el artículo en español abajo)

March 18, 2010

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
President of the Government of Spain
In charge of the presidency of the European Union
Palacio de La Moncloa
Madrid, Spain

Via facsímile: 34-913- 900-217

Dear President Rodríguez Zapatero:

On the seventh anniversary of the Cuban government’s massive crackdown on dissidents and the independent press, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on you as leader of the European Union to take the forefront in defending human rights by urging President Raúl Castro to immediately release 22 journalists now jailed in Cuba.

From March 18-20, 2003, Cuban state security agents arrested 75 dissidents, including 29 journalists, in a roundup known as the Black Spring. Within weeks, authorities held summary trials and sentenced these journalists to prison terms of up to 28 years on vague antistate charges connected to their reporting.

The EU imposed diplomatic sanctions against Cuba in response but lifted them in 2008 provided the Cuban government improve its human rights record. Havana has disregarded these conditions. Under the presidency of Raúl Castro, Cuba has continued to jail writers and editors and has failed to reform some the world’s most repressive laws on freedom of expression. In letters to European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel on June 25, 2008, and March 17, 2009, CPJ has detailed this unfortunate record and has urged the EU to hold Cuba accountable for press freedom abuses.

Over the past seven years, Cuba has freed a small number of journalists in exchange for international political concessions, but it has released none since February 2008, CPJ research shows. In fact, one additional independent journalist has been imprisoned since 2008. Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández, director of the Havana-based independent news agency Havana Press, was sentenced in May 2009 to three years in prison on charges of “disrespect” and distributing “enemy propaganda.”

With 22 reporters and editors in prison, Cuba is the third-worst jailer of journalists in the world after Iran and China. These imprisoned journalists are often warehoused in inhumane conditions, deprived of wholesome food and adequate medical care. Their health is worsening, and their families are harassed by authorities, CPJ research shows.

In our annual worldwide survey of press freedom conditions, Attacks on the Press, CPJ has detailed other, significant areas in which the Cuban government denies its citizens the fundamental right of free expression. In a country where the government has complete control of the media, independent journalists working for foreign-based news Web sites are routinely threatened and harassed by security police. Laws and regulations restricting Internet access continue to be among the most repressive in the world. In a 2009 report on online repression worldwide, CPJ ranked the island nation as the fourth-worst country in the world to be a blogger.

Despite these huge obstacles, Cuban citizens yearn to exercise their right to free expression. A new community of independent bloggers and online journalists has emerged in Cuba in recent years, a 2009 CPJ report found. These bloggers and online journalists face ongoing intimidation and threats.

Under your leadership, the Spanish government has played a key role in helping to secure the release of jailed Cuban dissidents, including a number of independent journalists. While we appreciate your efforts, it is important to note that progress has stalled. As you know, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on March 11 condemning the death in custody of jailed dissident Orlando Zapata, urging the Cuban government to release all political prisoners, and noting the lack of a significant Cuban government response to the EU’s calls for reform.

Spanish officials have indicated interest in revising the EU’s 1996 Common Position on Cuba. The common position, which was reaffirmed in June 2009, demands improvement in human rights and political liberties in Cuba. CPJ believes the EU’s common position must continue to seek demonstrable improvements in human rights. The EU should insist that improved economic and political ties depend on the release of all imprisoned journalists. Cuba must be held accountable for its human rights lapses; it must not be rewarded for pursuing a cynical strategy of releasing a small number of dissidents in exchange for improved international relations.

Cuban journalists have paid an enormous price for exercising the basic human right of free expression. We call on you as EU leader to work with the other European heads of state and government to urge Cuba to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, allow international humanitarian organizations access to Cuban prisons, implement international covenants on human rights signed by Cuba, and grant freedom of expression and access to information online, in print, and on the air.

Thank you for your attention.


Sincerely,


Joel Simon
Executive Director

CC
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Kristalina Georgieva , Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response
Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council
Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament
Gabriele Albertini, chair of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee
Heidi Hautala, Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights
Eva Joly, Chair of the European Parliament Development Committee
Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba
Bruno Rodríguez, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cuba
Jorge Bolaños, Chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington
Pedro Núñez Mosquera, Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations
Miguel Angel Moratinos, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs
Juan Pablo de Laiglesia, Secretary of State for Ibero America for Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom around the world.
___________________________________________

CPJ exhorta a líder de la UE a pedir por la libertad de periodistas cubanos presos

18 de marzo de 2010

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
Presidente del Gobierno de España
Presidente en turno de la Unión Europea
Palacio de La Moncloa
Madrid, España


Via facsímile: 34-913- 900-217

Estimado Sr. Presidente Rodríguez Zapatero:

En el séptimo aniversario de la masiva embestida del gobierno cubano contra la disidencia y la prensa independiente, el Comité para la Protección de los Periodistas (CPJ, por sus inglés) lo exhorta como líder de la Unión Europea (UE) a encabezar la defensa de los derechos humanos mediante un llamado enérgico al presidente Raúl Castro para que libere de inmediato a los 22 periodistas encarcelados hoy en Cuba.

Entre el 18 y el 20 de marzo de 2003, agentes de la seguridad del estado cubano arrestaron a 75 disidentes, incluyendo 29 periodistas, en una ofensiva conocida como la Primavera Negra. En cuestión de semanas, las autoridades realizaron juicios sumarios y sentenciaron a los periodistas con penas de hasta 28 años de prisión, con vagas acusaciones de traición por ejercer su tarea informativa.

En respuesta, la UE impuso sanciones diplomáticas contra Cuba, pero las dejó sin efecto en 2008 bajo la condición de que Cuba mejore efectivamente la situación de los derechos humanos. La Habana, por su parte, ha ignorado esas condiciones. Bajo la presidencia de Raúl Castro, Cuba ha continuado encarcelando a escritores y editores y ha evitado reformar uno de los sistemas legales más represivos del mundo en materia de libertad de expresión. En cartas enviadas al entonces Comisario Europeo del Desarrollo y Ayuda Humanitaria, Louis Michel, el 25 de junio de 2008 y el 17 de marzo de 2009, el CPJ ha detallado este desafortunado record y ha exhortado a la UE a que responsabilice a Cuba por los abusos contra la prensa.

En los últimos sietes años, Cuba ha liberado a una reducida cantidad de periodistas a cambio de concesiones en materia política exterior, pero no ha liberado a ninguno desde febrero de 2008, según una investigación del CPJ. En cambio, un periodista más fue encarcelado desde 2008. Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández, director de una agencia independiente de noticias con sede en La Habana, fue sentenciado en mayo de 2009 a tres años de prisión por “desacato” y distribución de “publicidad enemiga”.

Con 22 reporteros y editores en prisión, Cuba es el tercer país en el mundo con más periodistas encarcelados, solo detrás de China e Irán. Estos periodistas son generalmente mantenidos en condiciones inhumanas, privados de comida en buen estado y adecuado tratamiento médico. Además, su salud se está deteriorando y sus familias sufren continuos atropellos por parte de autoridades, según una investigación del CPJ.

En nuestro informe anual sobre el estado de la libertad de prensa en el mundo, Ataques a la Prensa, el CPJ ha detallado otras significativas áreas en las cuales el gobierno cubano deniega a sus ciudadanos el derecho fundamental a la libertad de expresión. En un país donde el gobierno tiene total control sobre los medios de comunicación, periodistas independientes que trabajan para sitios de la Internet de origen extranjero son constantemente amenazados y maltratados por las fuerzas de seguridad. Las leyes y regulaciones que restringen el acceso a Internet siguen estando entre las más restrictivas del mundo. En un informe de 2009 sobre represión en la Internet alrededor del mundo, CPJ situó a la nación isleña entre los cuatro peores países en el mundo para ser autor de un blog.

A pesar de los grandes obstáculos, los ciudadanos cubanos anhelan ejercer su derecho a la libre expresión. Una nueva comunidad de blogueros independientes y de periodistas en línea ha surgido en Cuba en los últimos años, según un informe de 2009 del CPJ. Esos blogueros y periodistas en línea enfrentan a su vez continuas intimidaciones y amenazas.

Bajo su liderazgo, el gobierno español ha jugado un rol importante en la ayuda prestada para la liberación de cubanos disidentes encarcelados, incluyendo algunos periodistas independientes. Mientras que apreciamos sus esfuerzos, es importante poner de manifiesto que aquel progreso se ha estancado. Como Usted debe conocer, el Parlamento Europeo adoptó una resolución el 11 de marzo, en la que condena la muerte en cautiverio del disidente Orlando Zapata, exhorta al gobierno cubano a que libere a todos los presos políticos, y manifiesta la falta de una significativa respuesta del gobierno cubano hacia los pedidos de reforma de la UE.

Funcionarios españoles han mostrado su interés en revisar la posición común de la UE hacia Cuba. La posición común, que fuera reafirmada en junio de 2009, demanda mejoras en materia de derechos humanos y libertades políticas en Cuba. El CPJ considera que la posición común de la UE debe continuar buscando mejoras tangibles en materia de derechos humanos. La UE debe insistir en que los progresos en las relaciones económicas y políticas dependerán de la liberación de todos los periodistas presos. Cuba debe ser considerada responsable por sus abusos en materia de derechos humanos en lugar de ser favorecida en su estrategia cínica de liberar un número reducido de disidentes a cambio de mejoras en sus relaciones diplomáticas.

Los periodistas cubanos han pagado un precio enorme por ejercer su derecho humano básico de la libertad de expresión. Le solicitamos a Usted, como líder de la UE, que trabaje con el resto de jefes de estado y gobiernos europeos para exigir a Cuba la liberación inmediata e incondicional de todos los presos políticos, permita el ingreso de organizaciones humanitarias internacionales a las cárceles cubanas, la efectiva puesta en práctica de tratados internacionales en materia de derechos humanos firmados por Cuba y la plena vigencia de la libertad de expresión y acceso a la información a través de la Internet, la prensa escrita o la radiodifusión.

Gracias por su atención.

Atentamente,

Joel Simon
Director Ejecutivo

CC
José Manuel Barroso, Presidente de la Comisión Europea
Catherine Ashton, Vicepresidenta Alta Representante de la Unión para Asuntos Exteriores y Política de Seguridad
Kristalina Georgieva , Comisaria para la Cooperación Internacional, Ayuda Humanitaria y Respuesta a las Crisis
Jerzy Buzek, Presidente del Parlamento Europeo
Gabriele Albertini, Presidente de la Comisión de Asuntos Exteriores del Parlamento Europeo
Heidi Hautala, Presidenta de Subcomisión de Derechos Humanos del Parlamento Europeo
Eva Joly, Presidenta de la Comisión de Desarrollo del Parlamento Europeo
Raúl Castro Ruz, Presidente de la República de Cuba
Bruno Rodríguez, Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba
Jorge Bolaños, Jefe de la Sección de Intereses de Cuba en Washington
Pedro Núñez Mosquera, Embajador Permanente de Cuba ante las Naciones Unidas
Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación de España
Juan Pablo de Laiglesia y González de Peredo, Secretario de Estado para Iberoamérica del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación de España

El CPJ es una organización independiente sin ánimo de lucro radicada en Nueva York, y se dedica a defender la libertad de prensa en todo el mundo.

EUROPE-CUBA NGO NETWORK CALLS FOR INCREASED FOCUS ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY BY EU INSTITUTIONS

(Source: http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/media/Word1/EUCuba.doc)

March 18, 2010.-

Today, on the seventh anniversary of Cuba’s „Black Spring” the Europe-Cuba NGO Network calls on all EU Institutions to increase their attention to issues of human rights and democracy on the island and to utilize all appropriate measures to support Cuban civil society efforts aimed at expanding the rights and freedoms of ordinary Cubans.

Seven years ago, on March 18, 2003, the Cuban government moved swiftly and ruthlessly to crush political dissent and activism on the island. The two-day crackdown that has become widely known as the Black Spring resulted in the imprisonment of 75 dissidents, among them journalists, labour activists, independent librarians, and writers. Those arrested received long prison sentences, some up to 28 years. Today, 52 of them remain imprisoned and in total over 200 people are in prison for political reasons, despite repeated calls for their release by the international community.

Cuba’s human rights situation has not improved in any discernable way since 2003. People are still harassed, persecuted, and often jailed for voicing their dissent and ordinary Cubans still do not enjoy even the limited freedoms accorded to them under their own Constitution. While Cuba signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) to great fanfare in 2008, both treaties are yet to be ratified by the Cuban parliament.

As a recent report by Human Rights Watch has noted: “Rather than dismantle the state’s repressive machinery, Raúl Castro has kept it firmly in place and fully active. Scores of political prisoners arrested under Fidel Castro continue to languish in Cuba’s prisons. And Raúl Castro’s government has used draconian laws and sham trials to incarcerate scores more who have dared to exercise their fundamental freedoms.”

Yet despite the unyielding repression of the regime, last year the EU decided to lift the measures that it imposed in the wake of the “Black Spring” crackdown, hoping that such a gesture of goodwill could pave the way for a constructive dialogue with the Cuban government. However, these hopes have been dashed: Cuba continues to show complete disregard for calls by the international community to improve its human rights record – and specifically to release all political prisoners – and has repeatedly refused to substantially address such concerns during discussions with EU representatives under the EU-Cuba political dialogue process.

Less than a year after the EU’s decision on June 23rd 2008 to lift the diplomatic sanctions adopted in 2003, well-known dissident Dársi Ferrer was arrested by Cuban police and has been held since without charges, despite repeated calls by diplomats for his release. Another lamentable example for the Cuban government’s brutal treatment of political dissidents is the recent death of Orlando Zapato Tamayo, one of the 75 political prisoners of the Black Cuban Spring. Orlando died after an 80-day hunger strike, protesting the inhumane conditions of his incarceration.

It is clear that the Cuban government doesn’t feel in any way obligated by the process of political dialogue with the EU to improve its treatment of political dissidents and civil society activists The hoped-for leverage from engagement advocated by some EU member states sadly has not materialized.

In 2010, under the Spanish EU presidency, it is likely that the EU’s relationship with Cuba will receive added attention. This should not lead to further appeasement of the Cuban government by the EU. Rather, it must be ensured that this attention adequately serves the interest of the Cuban people, not solely that of the regime, which is keen to improve its relationship with the EU without making any concession regarding its repressive tactics to muzzle opponents and activists.

Specifically, we strongly urge the European Union Delegation in Havana to upgrade its contacts with human rights defenders and to find practical ways to coordinate regular monitoring of political prisoners in critical health conditions, establish regular contacts with Damas de Blanco, and to provide humanitarian help to families of political prisoners outside of Havana
While engaging in dialogue with the Cuban government, the EU must remain true to its basic values and must do everything in its power to press for the release of political prisoners and to support independent civil society, both politically and materially.

In this respect, the European Parliament’s resolution on March 11 is a welcome sign of increased willingness to hold the Cuban regime to account on its systematic and grave violations of human and political rights. The Europe-Cuba NGO Network strongly supports the call by the European Parliament to the Council and the Commission to step up their actions to demand the release of political prisoners and safeguard the work of human rights defenders and to give their unconditional support and full encouragement to the launching of a peaceful process of political transition to multi-party democracy in Cuba.

The Europe-Cuba NGO network encourages the Parliament to continue to play a constructive and leading role in focusing attention on the plight of political activists and dissidents in Cuba. The Europe-Cuba NGO network also calls on the Parliament to actively press the European Commission to increase the amount of resources dedicated to support activists in their struggle to improve the state of human and political rights in Cuba.

More specifically, the network strongly supports the recent suggestion by Heidi Hautala, Chair of the European Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee, to establish an all-party working group on Cuba within the European Parliament. We are convinced that such a working group, consisting of MEPs from all parliamentary groups, should play a vital role in the future development of the EU – Cuba policy, ensuring that it is aligned with the basic values of democracy and human rights and that it delivers real and tangible benefits to ordinary Cubans.

The network would be keen to lend its resources to such a working group and assist its efforts to provide more accurate information on the current state of human rights and democracy on the island and to advise on ways that EU could become more effective in contributing to their improvement.

This statement has been endorsed by the following organisations:

People in Need, Czech Republic
Freedom House Europe, Hungary
Christian Solidarity Worldwide, United Kingdom and Belgium
Christian Democratic International Centre, Sweden
Nadacia Pontis/Pontis Foundation, Slovakia
Freedom and Democracy Foundation, Poland
Solidaridad Espanola Con Cuba, Spain
Fundación Hispano Cubana, Spain
Unitas Foundation, Estonia,
International Society for Human Rights, Germany
Cuba Futuro, Netherlands
Lech Walesa Institute, Poland

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MOVILIZACION EN CUBA EN FAVOR DE LOS PRESOS

MAURICIO VICENT - La Habana - 16/03/2010

Tres semanas después de la muerte del preso de conciencia Orlando Zapata, tras 85 días en huelga de hambre, el grupo de las Damas de Blanco inició ayer una movilización en favor de los presos políticos. Este colectivo, que aglutina a las esposas, madres y familiares de los disidentes detenidos del Grupo de los 75, llevará a cabo siete jornadas de movilización para exigir su liberación y recordar el séptimo aniversario del encarcelamiento de los opositores, en la primavera de 2003, acusados de conspirar con EE UU.

El primer día de movilizaciones fue dedicado a la memoria de Zapata. Las Damas de Blanco, incluida Reina Luisa Tamayo, madre del preso fallecido, se reunieron en casa de Laura Pollán, esposa de Héctor Maseda, condenado a 25 años, y de allí salieron hacia la iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús.

Pollán aseguró que, en ningún caso, los presos y sus familiares aceptan ser "canjeados" por cinco agentes cubanos presos en EE UU. "No somos animales ni objetos para ser utilizados como monedas de cambio", dijo.

Mientras, en Santa Clara, el disidente Guillermo Fariñas sigue con su ayuno, iniciado el 24 de febrero, pero se encuentra ingresado en una sala de terapia intensiva donde recibe atención médica y es alimentado por vía parenteral, de modo que su situación es "estable" y puede seguir así meses. Fariñas afirma que recibe un buen trato, pero advierte que seguirá sin comer ni beber. Su protesta, en demanda por la excarcelación de 26 presos políticos enfermos, no es "un suicidio", asegura.

El Gobierno cubano, por su parte, reitera que existe una campaña mediática "que pretende presentar a delincuentes y mercenarios al servicio de EE UU como héroes y mártires", según palabras del jefe del Departamento Ideológico del Partido Comunista, Rolando Alfonso Borges.
La prensa cubana dedica amplios espacios a criticar la reciente resolución de condena a Cuba en el Parlamento Europeo. El diario Granma acusa a la Eurocámara de parcialidad y asegura que "entre los crímenes silenciados" por los eurodiputados está el de "las ejecuciones extrajudiciales perpetradas en España por los GAL".

(Fuente:http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/Movilizacion/Cuba/favor/presos/elpepiint/20100316elpepiint_6/Tes?print=1)

ACTO DE REPUDIO CONTRA LAS DAMAS DE BLANCO EN CUBA

Unos 200 partidarios del Gobierno cubano se manifiestan en La Habana contra una treintena de mujeres que demandaban la puesta en libertad de 53 disidentes

MAURICIO VICENT - La Habana - 16/03/2010

La segunda jornada de protesta de las Damas de Blanco para conmemorar el séptimo aniversario del encarcelamiento de 75 opositores ha acabado en un acto de repudio en el centro de La Habana. Al grito de "La calle es de Fidel", "Cuba sí, yankis no" y "Gusanas", un grupo de unos 200 partidarios del Gobierno cubano ha interrumpido el desfile pacífico de una treintena de mujeres de este movimiento que demandaban la puesta en libertad de 53 disidentes del grupo que todavía permanecen en prisión.

No ha habido violencia física, pero sí insultos y gritos contra las Damas de Blanco, movimiento que aglutina a las esposas, madres y familiares de los 75 condenados en la primavera de 2003. "Pin-pon-fuera, abajo la gusanera", han repetido los contramanifestantes durante más de un kilómetro de recorrido, entre el céntrico barrio del Vedado y la casa de Laura Pollán, la portavoz de la agrupación, en la calle de Neptuno.

Las mujeres ha acudido por la mañana a una misa en la iglesia de San Juan de Letrán, en una céntrica avenida del barrio del Vedado, y al regresar han pedido a gritos libertad para sus familiares frente a la sede de la Unión de Periodistas de Cuba, reclamando que la prensa cubana se hiciera eco de su demanda. Ha sido después cuando le salió al paso el grupo progubernamental y ya no ha habido tregua verbal hasta el fin de la marcha, si bien agentes de civil han vigilado de cerca los sucesos para que no hubiera agresiones, han relatado los testigos.

Según Berta Soler, una de las líderes de las Damas de Blanco, la movilización en pro de la libertad de los presos políticos cubanos continuará toda la semana, con salidas diarias a diferentes iglesias de la capital. Ayer, las familiares de los opositores peregrinaron al templo del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y repartieron gladiolos a los transeúntes durante el recorrido, pero no hubo incidentes.

El Gobierno cubano no reconoce la existencia de presos políticos en la isla, y asegura que en estos momentos, a raíz de la muerte de Orlando Zapata después de una huelga de hambre de 85 días, existe una "campaña mediática" para convertir en "héroes" a "mercenarios" que trabajan al servicio de Estados Unidos.

El diario Granma criticó ayer con dureza a Washington por un informe sobre la situación de los Derechos Humanos en 194 países dado a conocer la semana pasada por el departamento de Estado. Según La Habana, Estados Unidos no puede dar lecciones a nadie por ser "el mayor violador de los derechos humanos en todo el planeta".

(Fuente:http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/Acto/repudio/Damas/Blanco/Cuba/elpepuint/20100316elpepuint_10/Tes

Sunday, March 14, 2010

TEXT OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RESOLUTION: RECOGNIZING THE LIFE OF ORLANDO ZAPATA TAMAYO

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Mar 11, 2010 - Introduced in House. This is the original text of the bill as it was written by its sponsor and submitted to the House for consideration. This is the latest version of the bill currently available on GovTrack.

HCON 251 IH

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. CON. RES. 251

Recognizing the life of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died on February 23, 2010, in the custody of the Government of Cuba, and calling for a continued focus on the promotion of internationally recognized human rights, listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Cuba.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 11, 2010

Mr. MCGOVERN (for himself and Mr. BERMAN) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Recognizing the life of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died on February 23, 2010, in the custody of the Government of Cuba, and calling for a continued focus on the promotion of internationally recognized human rights, listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Cuba.

Whereas Orlando Zapata Tamayo (referred to in this preamble as ‘Zapata’), a 42-year-old plumber and bricklayer and a member of the Alternative Republican Movement and the National Civic Resistance Committee, died on February 23, 2010, in the custody of the Government of Cuba after conducting a hunger strike for more than 80 days;

Whereas, on February 24, 2010, the Foreign Ministry of Cuba issued a rare statement on the death of Zapata, stating, ‘Raul Castro laments the death of Cuban prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died after conducting a hunger strike.’;

Whereas Reina Luisa Tamayo has asserted that her son Orlando Zapata Tamayo was tortured and denied water during his incarceration and has called ‘on the world to demand the freedom of the other prisoners and brothers unfairly sentenced so that what happened to my boy, my second child, who leaves behind no physical legacy, no child or wife, does not happen again’;

Whereas Zapata began a hunger strike on December 9, 2009, to demand respect for his personal safety and to protest his inhumane treatment by the prison authorities in Cuba;

Whereas according to his supporters, Zapata was denied water during stages of his hunger strike at Kilo 8 Prison in Camagu.AE4ey, was then transferred to Havana’s Combinado del Este prison, and was finally admitted to the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital on February 23, 2010, in critical condition, where he was administered fluids intravenously and died hours later;

Whereas, on February 25, 2010, Freedom House condemned the Government of Cuba for ‘the deplorable prison conditions, torture, and lack of medical attention that led to the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo’;

Whereas Zapata was arrested in 2003 on charges of contempt for authority, public disorder, and disobedience, and was initially sentenced to 3 years in prison;

Whereas Zapata was later convicted of additional ‘acts of defiance’ while in prison and was resentenced to a total of 36 years;

Whereas in 2003, Zapata and approximately 75 other dissidents and peaceful supporters of the Varela Project were arrested during the ‘Black Spring’ and were sentenced to harsh prison terms;

Whereas more than 25,000 Cubans have signed on to the Varela Project, which seeks a referendum on civil liberties, including freedom of speech, amnesty for political prisoners, support for private business, a new electoral law, and a general election;

Whereas in 2003, Amnesty International designated Zapata as a prisoner of conscience;

Whereas the Government of the United States raised the plight of Zapata during migration talks on February 19, 2010, and urged the Government of Cuba to provide all necessary medical care;

Whereas, on February 25, 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in response to the death of Zapata, ‘We send our condolences to his family and we also reiterate our strong objection to the actions of the Cuban government. This is a prisoner of conscience who was imprisoned for years for speaking his mind, for seeking democracy, for standing on the side of values that are universal, who engaged in a hunger strike.’;

Whereas following the death of Zapata, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported that at least 50 dissidents were detained or forced to remain in their houses to prevent them from attending the wake and funeral for Zapata;

Whereas the Department of State’s 2009 Country Report on Human Rights states that Cuba continues to deny its citizens basic human rights and continues to commit numerous serious human rights abuses;

Whereas Human Rights Watch states, ‘Cuba remains the one country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent. The government continues to enforce political conformity using criminal prosecutions, long- and short-term detention, harassment, denial of employment, and travel restrictions.’; and

Whereas in a 2008 annual report, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported that ‘restrictions on political rights, on freedom of expression, and on the dissemination of ideas, the failure to hold elections, and the absence of an independent judiciary in Cuba combine to create a permanent panorama of breached basic rights for the Cuban citizenry’: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress--

(1) recognizes the life of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, whose death on February 23, 2010, highlights the lack of democracy in Cuba and the injustice of the brutal treatment of more than 200 political prisoners by the Government of Cuba;

(2) calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners detained in Cuba;

(3) pays tribute to the courageous citizens of Cuba who are suffering abuses for engaging in peaceful efforts to exercise their basic human rights;

(4) supports freedom of speech and the rights of journalists and bloggers in Cuba to express their views without interference by government authorities and denounces the use of intimidation, harassment, or violence by the Government of Cuba to restrict and suppress freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press;

(5) desires that the people of Cuba be able to enjoy due process and the right to a fair trial; and

(6) calls on the United States to pursue policies that focus on respect for the fundamental tenets of freedom, democracy, and human rights in Cuba and encourage peaceful democratic change consistent with the aspirations of the people of Cuba.

(Source: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=hc111-251)

Friday, March 12, 2010

REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS - THE ENEMIES OF THE INTERNET 2010 / LOS ENEMIGOS DE LA INTERNET 2010

(Fuente: Reporters without Borders / Reporteros sin Fronteras: http://www.rsf.org/ennemis.html )
(Abajo: el artículo en español)

The Enemies of the Internet 2010

The “Enemies of the Internet” list drawn up again this year by Reporters Without Borders presents the worst violators of freedom of expression on the Net: Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
Some of these countries are determined to use any means necessary to prevent their citizens from having access to the Internet: Burma, North Korea, Cuba, and Turkmenistan – countries in which technical and financial obstacles are coupled with harsh crackdowns and the existence of a very limited Intranet. Internet shutdowns or major slowdowns are commonplace in periods of unrest. The Internet’s potential as a portal open to the world directly contradicts the propensity of these regimes to isolate themselves from other countries. Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan have opted for such massive filtering that their Internet users have chosen to practice self-censorship. For economic purposes, China, Egypt, Tunisia and Vietnam have wagered on a infrastructure development strategy while keeping a tight control over the Web’s political and social content (Chinese and Tunisian filtering systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated), and they are demonstrating a deep intolerance for critical opinions. The serious domestic crisis that Iran has been experiencing for months now has caught netizens and the new media in its net; they have become enemies of the regime.

http://www.rsf.org/Web-2-0-versus-Control-2-0.html

Los enemigos de la Internet 2010

La lista de los enemigos de la Internet establecida por Reporteros sin Fronteras reúne de nuevo este año a los principales países que violan de la libertad de expresión en la Web: Arabia Saudí, Birmania, China, Corea del Norte, Cuba, Egipto, Irán, Uzbekistán, Siria, Túnez, Turkmenistán, Vietnam.
Algunos de estos países buscan impedir a toda costa que sus ciudadanos tengan acceso a Internet : Birmania, Corea del Norte, Cuba y Turkmenistán. En otros, los obstáculos técnicos y financieros se conjugan con el control de Estado y la existencia de un Intranet muy limitado. Cortes de la Red o disminución de la velocidad son moneda corriente en épocas de disturbios. Arabia Saudí y Uzbekistán optan por un filtrado masivo e incitan a sus internautas a la autocensura. China, Egipto, Túnez y Vietnam apuestan por una estrategia de desarrollo de infraestructura con un objetivo económico, pero controlando siempre de cerca el contenido político y social (los sistemas de filtrado chinos y tunecinos son cada vez más sofisticados), mostrando así una gran intolerancia de las voces críticas. La grave crisis interna vivida por Irán desde hace meses hace caer en su trampa a los netciudadanos y a los nuevos medios de comunicación, convertidos a su vez en enemigos del régimen.
Entre los “países bajo vigilancia” se encuentran algunas democracias. Australia, por la próxima implantación de un sistema avanzado de filtrado de la Web, y Corea del Sur, donde leyes muy estrictas controlan a los internautas, cuestionando su anonimato e incitando a la autocensura.
Turquía y Rusia también están en la lista de “países bajo vigilancia”. En Rusia, después del control ejercido por el Kremlin sobre la mayoría de los medios de comunicación, la Internet se ha convertido en el espacio más libre de intercambio de información. Mas su independencia está amenazada por arrestos y persecuciones a blogueros, así como por bloqueos de sitios “extremistas” que no siempre lo son. La propaganda del régimen está cada vez más presente en la Red. Existe un verdadero riesgo de que la Internet se convierta en una herramienta de control político.

BUZEK ON THE ADOPTION OF THE RESOLUTION ON PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE IN CUBA BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Thursday 11/03/2010

The European Parliament adopted today during the plenary in Strasburg a resolution on prisoners of conscience in Cuba, following the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo who protested against government abuses.

Following the vote EP President Jerzy Buzek said:"We are very concerned about the situation of the prisoners of conscience in Cuba. Last month Orlando Zapata Tamayo died after a hunger strike of 85 days. Now, other imprisoned dissidents went on hunger strike following Zapata's example. We are particularly concerned about the alarming state of the journalist and psychologist Guillermo Fariñas. We cannot afford another death in Cuba. We call for the immediate release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. No progress has been made in relation to the respect of human rights by Cuban authorities. Words are not enough. We need action. The Cuban government must respect fundamental freedoms, especially the freedom of expression and political association. Freedom of movement must also be respected. We are waiting for almost five years already to hand the Sakharov Prize to the Damas de Blanco and they are still not allowed to leave their country. The European Parliament urges the EU institutions to give their unconditional support and full encouragement to the launching of a peaceful process of political transition to multi-party democracy in Cuba.We voice our profound solidarity with the entire Cuban people and support them in their progress towards democracy and respect and promotion of fundamental freedoms."

* * *For further information:
Inga Rosińska
SpokeswomanMobile: +32 498 981 354

Delia VlasePress Officer,GSM: +32 476 331 038

PARLAMENTO EUROPEO CONDENA MUERTE 'EVITABLE Y CRUEL' DE DISIDENTE CUBANO

(Fuente: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/03/11/1524725/parlamento-europeo-condena-muerte.html)

By AFP
ESTRASBURGO
El Parlamento Europeo aprobó el jueves una dura condena a Cuba por la muerte "evitable y cruel'' del preso político Orlando Zapata, en momentos en que la presidencia española de la UE se ha propuesto estrechar los lazos entre el bloque y la isla comunista.

En una resolución adoptada por abrumadora mayoría, con 509 votos a favor, 30 en contra y 14 abstenciones, la Eurocámara "condena duramente la muerte evitable y cruel'' de Zapata, ocurrida el 23 de febrero tras 85 días de huelga de hambre, y alerta contra el "fatal desenlace'' al que se expone el disidente Guillermo Fariñas, que inició el mismo tipo de protesta el día 24.

Los eurodiputados reiteran además en ese documento, consensuado previamente por los principales grupos políticos, incluidos conservadores y socialistas, su exigencia de liberar a todos los presos políticos, deplorando "la ausencia de todo gesto significativo'' de La Habana en ese sentido.

El texto fue rechazado poco después por el Parlamento cubano, que lo tachó de ‘‘discriminatorio y selectivo''.

La resolución, según una declaración de los legisladores cubanos, "manipula sentimientos, tergiversa hechos, esgrime mentiras y oculta realidades''.

En el seno de la Unión Europea (UE), el documento supone una dura condena al gobierno cubano y levanta un nuevo obstáculo a los esfuerzos de la presidencia española del bloque para dar un paso más hacia la normalización de las relaciones con la isla.

La muerte de Zapata y la consiguiente condena de la Eurocámara puede complicar en particular la voluntad de España de derogar la Posición Común, un documento que la UE elaboró en 1996 de forma unilateral y en el que se exige a La Habana avances en materia de derechos humanos y democracia.

El gobierno español y especialmente su ministro de Asuntos Exteriores, Miguel Angel Moratinos, se ha mostrado partidario de reemplazar el texto por un acuerdo de cooperación consensuado previamente con Cuba, defendiendo que implicar legalmente a sus autoridades es la mejor manera de favorecer el cambio en la isla.

Pero en su resolución, los parlamentarios europeos evitan referirse a la Posición Común e incluso al diálogo político que Bruselas mantiene con el régimen cubano desde mediados de 2008, después de que se levantaran las sanciones impuestas en 2003 tras una ola de arrestos de disidentes.

En cambio, la Eurocámara, con sede en Estrasburgo (Francia), pide a los máximos representantes de la UE que "intensifiquen las medidas'' para exigir la libertad de los presos políticos y solicita "de inmediato'' la apertura de un "diálogo estructurado'' con la sociedad civil cubana.

Una enmienda presentada por el grupo Izquierda Unitaria, en la que se apoyaba los esfuerzos de la presidencia española por normalizar las relaciones UE-Cuba y retirar la Posición Común, fue rechazada por los parlamentarios.

De hecho, el propio gobierno socialista español se ha abstenido de volver a esgrimir su voluntad de suprimir la Posición Común - que desde un principio contaba con la fuerte oposición de Estados europeos como Suecia o República Checa que no ven avances en la isla -, desde la muerte de Zapata.

El secretario de Estado español para Asuntos Europeos, Diego López-Garrido, indicó el miércoles durante un debate sobre Cuba en el Parlamento Europeo que la UE seguirá ‘‘reclamando la liberación de todos los presos políticos'', limitándose a defender la ‘‘necesidad'' de mantener el diálogo político con las autoridades.

En el transcurso del mismo debate, el comisario europeo de Ayuda al Desarrollo, Andris Piebalgs, dejó clara la posición de Bruselas respecto a la Posición Común al asegurar que sigue siendo una "buena base'' para acompañar a los cubanos hacia una democracia pluripartidista.

EUROPEAN UNION CONDEMNS CUBA FOR RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Source: The Seattle Times
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2011317258_apeueucuba.html

STRASBOURG, France —
The European Parliament voted Thursday to condemn Cuba for the "avoidable and cruel" death of a dissident hunger striker, earning a stinging response from Havana, which said it did not appreciate the lecture and would not respond to international pressure.

The European assembly called on Cuba to immediately release its political prisoners and urged Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign and security affairs chief, to push the totalitarian, Communist-run island toward a peaceful transition to multiparty democracy.

The vote, adopted 509-30 with 14 abstentions, follows the Feb. 23 death of jailed Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who succumbed after an 83-day hunger strike.

Another opposition member, freelance journalist Guillermo Farinas, has been on his own hunger strike since Feb. 24.

Farinas lost consciousness Thursday and was rushed to the hospital in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara on Thursday, his second trip to the hospital since he began the fast.

Licet Zamora said Farinas passed out just after midday. On the seventh day of his fast, Farinas also passed out and was taken to the hospital, where doctors hooked him up to an IV and administered eight liters of fluids and nutrients.

Farinas says he will continue the protest until his death unless Cuban President Raul Castro's government agrees to release 26 ailing political prisoners.

The EU parliament said it was particularly concerned about Farinas, calling his condition "alarming."

"We cannot afford another death in Cuba. We call for the immediate release of all political prisoners," Jerzy Buzek, the president of the European assembly, said.

Buzek said Cuba has ignored appeals for increased democracy from around the world.
The Caribbean island has been ruled by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro since they ousted dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. There are some 200 political prisoners in Cuban jails, according to human rights groups.

"We need action," said Buzek. "The Cuban government must respect fundamental freedoms, especially the freedom of expression and political association. Freedom of movement must also be respected."

Cuba, which had hoped for improved relations with Europe following Spain's ascension to the EU presidency in January, blasted the EU vote as hypocritical and wrong.

"Following a sullied debate, the European Parliament has just passed a condemnation resolution against our country, manipulating sentiments, distorting facts, deceiving people and obscuring reality," Cuba's National Parliament declared in a statement later Thursday.

"Cubans find it offensive this attempt at teaching us lessons," the parliamentary declaration continued.

It said Europe was in no position to judge Cuba given Europe's poor treatment of immigrants and the unemployed and its alleged complicity with America's treatment of al-Qaida terror suspects.
Cuba "rejects impositions, intolerance and pressure" from abroad, the Cuban parliament statement said.

The Cuban government considers the dissidents to be paid stooges of Washington, and says most - including both Zapata Tamayo and Farinas - are common criminals.

In Brazil, presidential spokesman Marcelo Baumbach said Thursday the government had received a letter from imprisoned Cuban dissidents asking President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to intercede with Raul Castro to revise their sentences.

Baumbach said Silva had not read the letter. It was unclear when the letter arrived.
The five-page letter was signed by 50 Cuban dissidents who asked for Silva's help in get their sentences reduced.

Baumbach confirmed receipt of the letter two days after Silva told the AP: "I don't think a hunger strike can be used as a pretext for human rights to free people. Imagine if all the criminals in Sao Paulo entered into hunger strikes to demand freedom."
---
Associated Press writer Paul Haven in Havana contributed to this report.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

COMMUNICATIONS ACTIVIST SILENCED IN CUBAN JAIL CELL

(Fuente: JTA: The Global News Service of the Jewish People: http://jta.org/news/article/2010/03/08/1010987/communications-activist-silenced-in-cuban-jail-cell)

By Ron Kampeas · March 8, 2010
Video
Photos

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Alan Gross has been about communications all his life: The call-mom-everyday son, the family newsbreaker, the message guy for Jewish groups, the get-out-the-vote enthusiast for candidate Barack Obama, the technology contractor who helped the U.S. government bring the world's remotest populations into the 21st century.

Now, however, Gross, 60, of Potomac, Md., has been languishing for three months in a Cuban high-security prison and his rare conversations are monitored by Cuban officials.

"He spoke with my sister-in-law on a few occasions with someone standing by him," Bonnie Rubinstein, his sister, told JTA in an interview Monday. "He was guarded, he tried to impart that he was OK."

In fact, not so OK, Rubinstein said, correcting herself: Gross' call last week to his wife, Judy, was to ask for the medication he needs for his gout and that is unavailable in Cuba
.
"We're hoping he got the medication," said Rubinstein, a director of early childhood education at Temple Shalom in Dallas. "He lost 52 pounds. We're very worried about him."

Gross was arrested Dec. 3 as he prepared to return from Cuba, where he was completing work on behalf of the U.S. government. He has not been charged, but leading Cuban figures -- including President Raul Castro -- have accused him of being part of a plot to undermine the government.

After weeks of taking a quiet approach to secure Gross' release, his family and friends launched a public campaign that is spreading to Jewish communities across the United States, attracting the support of U.S. lawmakers and high-profile media outlets. It kicked off last month when Judy Gross issued a video appeal for the release of her husband of 40 years. The Grosses have two adult daughters.

"Alan has done nothing wrong and we want him home," she said in the Feb. 18 video. "We're hoping that U.S. officials and Cuban officals can get together and mutually agree on a way to get him home."

Up to that point, Judy Gross added, she had only been able to have three brief conversations with her husband.

The video marked the family's decision to go public after several weeks of hoping to secure his release behind closed doors. Remarks by Cuban leaders suggesting that Gross was a spy were a factor in the change, said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Latin America subcommittee, who has met with the family.

"I'm going to continue to make noise about it, it's the only thing that can get him released," said Engel, who raised the matter last month with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton when she testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The campaign emphasizes Gross' Jewish commitment.

"He is helping the Jewish community [in Cuba] improve communications and Internet access," Judy Gross said in the video. Later, after outlining his anti-poverty activism, she added that "Alan also loves the Jewish community. He's been involved for as long as I can remember."
Gross was active as a young man in the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization and worked several years in the 1980s for the Greater Washington Jewish Federation.

In a statement, the State Department said Gross was working on "a program designed to play a positive constructive role in Cuban society and governance by helping Cuban citizens to gain access they seek to information readily available to citizens elsewhere in the world." Such projects are banned in Cuba.

The State Department did not specify work with the Jewish community, but a backgrounder distributed by Gross' family, business associates and supporters said he worked only with "with peaceful, non-dissident, Jewish groups" in Cuba. El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish language daily published by the Miami Herald, quoted one Cuban Jewish leader as saying she had not heard of him.

Cuba's once thriving Jewish community was substantially depleted after Fidel Castro's 1959 rise to power. Much of the community moved to Miami. Israel struck a deal with Cuba in the late 1990s that allowed the emigration of all but about 1,500 Jews.

"His work was humanitarian and non-political," the backgrounder says. "Alan was helping Cuba’s tiny Jewish community set up an Intranet so that they could communicate amongst themselves and with other Jewish communities abroad, and providing them the ability to access the Internet."

Friends said he was organizing access to Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica and Jewish music sites.

Gross' plight has galvanized at least two communities: the greater Washington area, where he lives and is active in Am Kollel, a Jewish Renewal community in suburban Maryland; and in Dallas, the home of his sister and mother.

Gross' mother, Evelyn, 87, is ailing from her concerns for Alan, who called her every day before his arrest, Rubinstein said.

"This is the kind of brother he was, " the sister said, her voice cracking. "If anything was going on with our parents, he would be the one to call. He is fun loving and sociable, everyone loves him. He's a 'gut neshama' " -- a good soul.

Last month, Gross' congressman, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and both of Maryland's Democratic senators -- Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski -- wrote to Clinton expressing their "overwhelming concern" about Gross. Van Hollen also is circulating a similar letter to his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ron Halber, who directs Washington's Jewish Community Relations Council, said his JCRC is asking its counterparts nationwide to urge lawmakers to sign the letter.

"This man's career has been marked by humanitarian efforts," Halber said.

The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have weighed in with editorials.

"Only in the ancient, crumbling regime of the Castro brothers could this ridiculous charge be leveled," the Post said Feb. 22, referring to the insinuations of espionage. "That's because Cuba is virtually alone, even among authoritarian countries, in trying to prevent most of its population from using the Internet even for nonpolitical purposes."

Rubinstein said Gross had been to Cuba several times prior to the most recent visit, and that for the first time in his career he seemed apprehensive.

"He was concerned that whomever he spoke to in Cuba, he couldn't trust anyone there," she said. "He had never felt nervous, not even in Iran or Iraq."

A statement by Gross' company, Joint Business Development Center, on a Web site promoting voluntarism, said that it "has supported Internet connectivity in locations where there was little or no access. In the past two years JBDC has installed more than 60 satellite terminals, bringing Internet access, email, VoIP, fax and the like to remote locations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Armenia, and Kuwait."

JBDC was subcontracting from Development Alternatives Inc., which itself had won a bid for the Cuba contract from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

According to a Washington Jewish Week story in January, DAI in the past has been linked to groups opposing the Chavez regime in Venezuela -- an ally of the Castro regime. The newspaper also quoted Cuba experts as wondering why such assistance was needed, saying that World ORT already provides computer needs to Cuba's Jews. Such an officially sanctioned program, however, would likely not have promoted free Internet access, as Gross was doing.

In a Dec. 14 statement on the matter, DAI said it was working with the State Department to "ensure that the detainee's safety and well-being is given top priority."

DAI updated its statement on Monday in an e-mail to JTA.

“We are obviously very concerned about Alan’s well-being and continue to do everything we can to secure his release," said the company's spokesman, Steven O'Connor. "In that regard, we are grateful for the efforts of the State Department and remain hopeful that Alan can be reunited with his family soon.”

The last visit American diplomats were allowed with Gross was on Feb. 2. The phone number for the Cuban Interests Section in Washington was perpetually busy on Monday.

In her video, Judy Gross said her husband had visisted more than 50 countries, helping not only to promote Internet access but to build schools and promote employment. The backgrounder emphasizes his work with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"His work has had a positive impact in the lives of people in over 50 countries, including the West Bank, Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and Haiti," it says.

Friends and Cuba watchers say Gross is a victim of Cuban resentment of U.S. human rights outreach in the island nation. The autocracy had hoped that efforts launched under President George W. Bush would subside, but President Obama -- for whom Gross campaigned in 2008 -- has maintained the programs.

"The Castro regime is trying to put pressure on the United States," Engel said. "If Raul Castro wants to normalize relations with the United States, this is a heckuva way to do it."

Ron Kampeas is JTA's Washington bureau chief.

DISSIDENT'S DEATH SPURS NEW PROTESTS IN CUBA












(Source: USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2010-03-08-cuba-protest_N.htm)

By Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
Dissidents are going on hunger strikes in Cuba after the death of a prisoner of conscience in an attempt to bring global attention to the oppression of the Castro regime, dissidents and rights groups say.

"If they allow me to die, it will demonstrate to the world that there have been political executions here in Cuba from 1959 until the present day," said Guillermo Fariñas, referring to the more than 50 years that Cuba has been under communist control.

Fariñas, 48, went on a hunger strike Feb. 24, a day after the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo. Tamayo, 42, died after refusing food and water for 82 days.

Two other prisoners — Luis Enrique Ferrer Garcia and Evan Hernandez Carrillos — have also announced hunger strikes, according to the Miami-based Cuban Democratic Directorate, which tracks opposition figures in Cuba.

Fariñas, who spoke last week from his home in Santa Clara, has since been taken to a hospital by relatives. He said Tamayo's death has energized Cuba's dissident movement.

"It has really touched the opposition," Fariñas said. "Everyone wants to show support."

The movement comes as the United States and Europe have been softening their stances toward Cuba. The Obama administration lifted restrictions on travel to the island by Cuban Americans and toned down the language on Cuba in the annual State Department terrorism report.

In Congress, bills have been filed to ease restrictions further. The European Union lifted diplomatic sanctions, and Cuba's suspension from the Organization of American States has been ended as well.

Some Cuba experts see the hunger strikes as a gamble as a way of trying to prompt change.
"Once these people lose their life, it does not help the opposition movement," said Juan del Aguila, an associate professor at Emory University in Atlanta who has studied the Cuban opposition. "It is clearly a sign of desperation, no question about it."

About 200 Cubans have been imprisoned for crimes such as criticizing the government's economic policies to passing out pamphlets against abortion or on the United Nations Bill of Rights.

As many as 5,000 Cubans served sentences for "dangerousness," without being charged with any specific crime, according to the State Department. Prisoners are beaten on a near-daily basis in cells infested with vermin and lacking water, according to the department's human rights report.

The International Committee of the Red Cross regularly visits prisons to check on conditions, including the U.S. facility for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay. It has been refused access to Cuba's prisons. "It's been a long time since we've been able to visit Cuban prisons," says Marçal Izard, an ICRC spokesman.

There was hope things would change when Fidel Castro ceded power to his brother Raúl, but Human Rights Watch says Raúl Castro has locked up scores of people for exercising their fundamental freedoms. The group says Raúl Castro has used the courts to silence free speech, quash labor rights and criminalize dissent. Human rights defenders, journalists and others have been given sham trials and imprisoned for lengthy terms, the group says.

Tamayo had been imprisoned since 2003 on charges that include "disrespecting authority." Government media denounced him as a "common prisoner."

Fariñas' first arrest came as a journalist for reporting on hospital corruption. He has since served 11 years for a variety of offenses. On Monday, Cuba denounced him in the Gramma newspaper and said it "will not accept pressure or blackmail."

Fariñas said he recognizes that he is in a showdown and that Raúl Castro is not likely to give in.
"I don't plan on giving up, either," Fariñas said.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

COMMITTEE FOR THE PROTECTION OF JOURNALISTS HOLDS CUBA RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WELFARE OF JAILED JOURNALISTS


(Vea el artículo en español abajo)

Committee to Protect Journalists

330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465‑1004 Fax: (212) 465‑9568 Web: www.cpj.org E-Mail: media@cpj.org

Contact: Carlos Lauría, senior program coordinator Phone: (212) 465-9344, x120; E-mail: clauria@cpj.org

José Barbeito, research associate Phone: (212) 465-9344, x146; E-mail: JBarbeito@cpj.org

New York, March 4, 2010—


A week after the death of jailed Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a journalist on a hunger strike is seriously ill while health conditions of imprisoned reporters remain dire. As the seventh anniversary of the massive crackdown on dissidents approaches on March 18, the Committee to Protect Journalists renews its call for the Cuban government to immediately and unconditionally release all jailed journalists.

Zapata Tamayo, a dissident jailed in 2003 and sentenced to 25 years on charges of disrespecting authority, died at a Havana hospital on February 23 after refusing food since December to protest prison conditions, the press reported.

Zapata’s death, which sparked condemnation from the international community and an unusual statement of regret from President Raúl Castro, highlighted the terrible conditions of Cuban jails and the inhumane treatment of imprisoned dissidents. It also prompted strong reactions from dissidents on the island.

“We urge President Castro to ensure the proper care of all journalists currently incarcerated,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ Americas program senior coordinator. “We hold the Cuban government responsible for the health and welfare of those imprisoned.”

Guillermo Fariñas, 48, a Cuban journalist and political activist in the city of Santa Clara, has been on a hunger strike since February 24 to protest Zapata’s death and demand the release of more than 20 jailed dissidents—including several reporters—suffering serious ailments, his colleague Licet Zamora told CPJ in a telephone interview. He was rushed to a hospital on Wednesday after his condition deteriorated, according to The Associated Press, but was later released.

Fariñas, who almost died in 2006 after an extended hunger strike to protest restrictions on Internet access, hasn’t had food or water for a week and was showing symptoms of dehydration, hypoglycemia, and low blood pressure, Zamora said on Monday.

Jailed journalists Pedro Argüelles Morán and Adolfo Fernández Saínz also reacted to Zapata’s death and fasted for three days, Laura Pollán, a leading human rights activist told CPJ.

Pollán, wife of jailed independent journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez—a 2008 CPJ awardee—told CPJ that jailed journalists Pedro Argüelles Morán, José Luis García Paneque, Alfredo Pulido López, Adolfo Fernández Saínz, Normando Hernández González, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, José Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández, and Fabio Prieto Llorente continue to suffer serious illnesses while receiving inadequate attention.

CPJ research shows that that the health of Cuban journalists has seriously deteriorated amid poor prison conditions and insufficient health care. Relatives and friends described health problems ranging from diabetes and a tumor to pneumonia and cataracts. In some cases, they say, the journalists have received little medical attention. They say poor and unsanitary prison conditions have exacerbated the medical problems. Pre-existing ailments have worsened in prison, while a host of serious new illnesses have arisen among those jailed.

Cuba continues to be one of the worlds’s leading jailers of journalists—behind only Iran and China—with 22 independent journalists currently imprisoned. Twenty of these journalists were jailed during the March 2003 crackdown, known as the Black Spring. After perfunctory, closed-door trials, the journalists were handed prison sentences of up to 28 years in prison on antistate charges stemming from their reporting. The journalists had worked for independent news agencies, filing stories by phone and fax to overseas news outlets and Web sites.

“Journalists in Cuba have paid a huge price solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression,” said Lauría. “Seven years is enough; these sentences are cruel and vindictive. We call on President Castro to immediately and unconditionally release all journalists and grant freedom of expression and information to all Cuban citizens.”

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom around the world.

___________________________________________________]\

CPJ responsabiliza a Cuba por el bienestar de los periodistas presos

Nueva York, 4 de marzo de 2010-

Una semana después de la muerte del disidente cubano preso Orlando Zapata Tamayo, un periodista en huelga de hambre se encuentra en estado crítico mientras que las condiciones de salud de los reporteros encarcelados siguen siendo graves. A poco de cumplirse el séptimo aniversario de la masiva embestida contra la disidencia el 18 de marzo, el Comité para la Protección de los Periodistas (CPJ, por sus siglas en inglés) reiteró la exhortación al gobierno cubano para que libere de inmediato y sin condiciones a todos los periodistas presos.

Zapata Tamayo, un disidente encarcelado en 2003 y sentenciado a 25 años por acusaciones de desacato a las autoridades, murió el 23 de febrero en un hospital de La Habana tras rehusarse a ingerir alimentos desde diciembre en protesta por las condiciones carcelarias, según informes de prensa.

La muerte de Zapata, que generó condenas de la comunidad internacional y un inusual comunicado del Presidente Raúl Castro lamentando el deceso, resaltó las terribles condiciones de las cárceles cubanas y el trato inhumano de los disidentes presos. También provocó fuertes reacciones de disidentes en la isla.

“Instamos al Presidente Castro a asegurar que los periodistas presos reciban la atención adecuada”, afirmó Carlos Lauría, coordinador senior del programa de las Américas del CPJ. “Responsabilizamos al gobierno cubano de la salud y el bienestar de todos los reporteros encarcelados”.

Guillermo Fariñas, de 48 años, un periodista cubano y activista político en la ciudad de Santa Clara, ha estado en huelga de hambres desde el 24 de febrero para protestar por la muerte de Zapata y reclamar la liberación de más de 20 disidentes –incluyendo varios periodistas- que sufren serias enfermedades, su colega Licet Zamora indicó al CPJ en una entrevista telefónica. Fariñas fue trasladado de urgencia a un hospital el miércoles luego de que su estado se deteriorara, según The Associated Press, pero ya fue dado de alta.

Fariñas, quien estuvo grave en 2006 luego de una extensa huelga de hambre en protesta por falta de acceso a la Internet, no ha ingerido alimentos ni agua por una semana y estaba con síntomas de deshidratación, hipoglucemia y baja presión arterial, informó Zamora.

Los periodistas presos Pedro Argüelles Morán y Adolfo Fernández Saínz también protestaron por la muerte de Zapata e hicieron ayuno por tres días, indicó Laura Pollán, una activista líder por los derechos humanos.

Pollán, la esposa del periodista preso Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez –ganador en 2008 de uno los premios del CPJ- señaló que los periodistas Pedro Argüelles Morán, José Luis García Paneque, Alfredo Pulido López, Adolfo Fernández Saínz, Normando Hernández González, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, José Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández y Fabio Prieto Llorente sufren serias enfermedades y reciben atención médica inadecuada.

La investigación del CPJ muestra que la salud de los periodistas cubanos se ha deteriorado seriamente por las pobres condiciones carcelarias y la insuficiente atención médica. Familiares y amigos describieron una serie de problemas de salud que comprende desde diabetes y tumores hasta neumonía y cataratas. Indicaron que en algunos casos, los periodistas han recibido atención médica deficitaria. Señalaron también que en condiciones carcelarias antihigiénicas donde además hace mucho calor, los problemas médicos de los periodistas se han exacerbado. Enfermedades preexistentes se han agudizado, según parientes y amigos, mientras que algunos de los periodistas encarcelados han desarrollado nuevas y graves enfermedades.

Cuba continúa siendo uno de los países del mundo con mayor cantidad de periodistas presos por su labor –detrás de Irán y China-, con 22 reporteros independientes encarcelados en la actualidad. Veinte entre los 22 periodistas fueron presos durante la masiva embestida de marzo de 2003, conocida como la Primavera Negra. Tras juicios sumarios a puerta cerrada, los periodistas fueron sentenciados hasta a 28 años de cárcel bajo acusaciones de traición vinculadas a su trabajo periodístico. Los reporteros trabajaban para agencias de noticias independientes y enviaban sus artículos por fax y teléfono a medios y sitios Web en el extranjero.

“Los periodistas cubanos han pagado un precio altísimo solo por ejercer su derecho a la libertad de expresión”, indicó Lauría. “Siete años es suficiente; éstas sentencias son crueles y vengativas. Instamos al Presidente Castro a liberar de inmediato y sin condiciones a todos los periodistas presos y a garantizar la libertad de expresión y de información a todos los ciudadanos cubanos”.

El CPJ es una organización independiente sin ánimo de lucro radicada en Nueva York, y se dedica a defender la libertad de prensa en todo el mundo.

PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE, ARIEL SIGLER AMAYA, IN DEPLORABLE STATE

(Source: http://sunriseinhavana.blogspot.com/2010/03/prisoner-of-concience-ari... )

By: Miguel Sigler Amaya, expolitical prisoner , exiled in the USA.

Miami, FL. Monday, March 1st, 2010

First I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of the Sigler Amaya family, for what you are doing for my brother Ariel and the other prisoners of conscience.

I Communicated by telephone on Sunday, about 10 pm, with my other brother there in Cuba, Juan Francisco Sigler Amaya. My family was summoned 15 days ago by the medical board of Julio Diaz Rehabilitation Hospital in Havana, where my brother Ariel Sigler Amaya has remained for over five months. On Saturday 27 February there were 5 members of our family there.

They explained about the seriousness of Ariel's condition. It is getting worse by the day. He is expelling large amounts of blood from his rectum due to the advanced state of his hemorrhoids. He is coughing up pieces of putrid green and yellow with a lot of stench; he has intense pain in his throat, digestive tract, esophagus and stomach; intense suffering and great pain in the pelvis and bladder when he urinates (the urine has a strong stench), he suffers from dizziness, severe headaches, he is very pale yellow, weak, his legs are blackened and dried and he remains bed ridden with a device around the neck called "Minerva".

According to doctors they can not intervene surgically for the hemorrhoids or tonsillitis in his throat, because he would not survive in his state of weakness and severity.

Ariel says that he will use any resources he deems appropriate to end this situation. He said that he will not attempt to end his life via a possible suicide. The family got the message and advised him not to go an a hunger strike, since he would not last a week.

The security agents of the state who participated in this meeting-captains, lieutenant colonels and colonels of the highest-ranking Cuban government, were very disturbed by violent on the globally recognized information on the case of Ariel. They stated in a threatening manner that if the United States with all the rockets and missiles, have not been able to intimidate them, our family was not going to do it. The discussion became so heated that it almost resorted going to blows, all led by the renowned and infamous terrorist leader, Lt. Col. Tamayo.

Brothers: Please, ask for assistance, support and solidarity to prevent further human beings dying in Cuba because of a dictatorship than would sacrifice all Cubans to stay just one more day in power.

It is time to ask urgently for the arrest of Fidel, Raúl Castro, and Ramiro Valdes, by international recognized organizations in these cases of crimes against humanity.

Phone to communicate in Cuba with his brother Juan Francisco Sigler Amaya, his representative: 011-53-45-89-8448, Municipio Pedro Betancourt, Matanzas, Cuba.

(Source-Radio Marti)

http://sunriseinhavana.blogspot.com/2010/03/prisoner-of-concience-ariel-sigler.h...

VIVA ZAPATA BY MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY

MARCH 1, 2010, 4:56 A.M. ET
(Vea el artículo en español abajo)

Viva Zapata

A Cuban dissident is murdered while Latin leaders schmooze with Castro.
By: Mary Anastasia O'Grady

Mexican President Felipe Calderón wore a broad smile as he warmly greeted Cuba's Raúl Castro at the Rio Group summit on the posh Mexican Riviera last week. The two men, dressed in neatly pressed guayabera shirts, shook hands as Mr. Calderón, with no small measure of delight, gestured to his audience to welcome Mexico's very special guest.
A mere 300 miles away, in a military prison hospital in Havana, political prisoner Orlando Zapata lay in a coma. For 84 days the 42-year-old stone mason of humble origins had been on a hunger strike to protest the Castro regime's brutality toward prisoners of conscience. His death was imminent.
Zapata's grim condition was no secret. During his strike, for 18 days, he had been denied water and placed in front of an air conditioner. His kidneys had failed and he had pneumonia. For months human-rights groups had been pleading for international attention to his case.
But over at the Playa del Carmen resort on the Yucatán, Mr. Calderón wasn't about to let Zapata spoil his fiesta, or his chance to improve his image among the region's undemocratic governments. The summit went on as planned with no mention of Havana's human-rights hell. On Tuesday Zapata passed away.
Zapata's death while Latin American leaders broke bread with Castro is a coincidence that captures the cowardice and expediency toward Cuban oppression that has defined the region for a half century. Now the Latin gang, with Cuba as a prominent member, has decided to form a new regional body to "replace" the Organization of American States. To make their intentions clear, they banned Honduras's democratically elected President Porfirio Lobo from last week's meeting.
The Mexican foreign ministry did not respond to several requests last week for a statement from Mr. Calderón on Zapata's death. Its silence suggests that the only thing the Mexican president regrets is the unfortunate timing of the dissident's demise.
Yet Zapata hasn't gone quietly. His passing has once more elevated the truth about the lives of 11 million Cubans enslaved for the last 50 years under a totalitarian regime. And it has embarrassed the likes of Mr. Calderón. Newspapers across the globe, from Buenos Aires to Madrid, are denouncing the mind-boggling hypocrisy of those who feign concern for human rights while embracing Castro.
Like most Cuban dissidents, Zapata did not so much choose his role as martyr as it chose him. Born in the province of Holguin in the eastern part of the country, he moved through the Cuban education system as any ordinary citizen.
But the requisite Marxist indoctrination didn't take. Like so many Cuban patriots before him, once his conscience had been awakened no measure of cruelty could stop him from speaking out.
Zapata became part of a wave of peaceful resistance that began to organize and grow bolder in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was detained three times in 2002. According to Miami's Cuban Democratic Directorate, which tracks dissident activity, he was arrested for a fourth time on Dec. 6, 2002, "along with [the prominent pacifist and medical doctor] Oscar Elías Biscet."
Dr. Biscet, a devout Catholic and disciple of Martin Luther King Jr.'s adherence to nonviolence, began opposing the regime when he learned of its policy of suffocating babies who survived abortions. Today he is considered one of the island's most important human-rights defenders. His continuing imprisonment and torture are well documented. It is not known whether Mr. Calderón, who also describes himself as a Catholic, discussed Mr. Biscet's plight with his guest Raúl.
Zapata was arrested again in March 2003 along with 74 others in what the resistance calls the "black spring." This time he was held and in May 2004 he was sentenced to 25 years. But his commitment to his brethren never wavered. Indeed, it deepened.
In July 2005, at the Taco Taco prison, he took part in a nonviolent protest marking the 1994 massacre of 41 Cubans who had tried to flee the island on a tugboat and were drowned by state security. That got him another 15 years in the clink.
Zapata was judged guilty of "disobedience to authority" and was repeatedly tortured. But he died a free man, unbroken and unwilling to give up his soul to the regime, which is more than can be said for Mr. Calderón. Word is that Mr. Calderón noticed the offshore drilling contracts Castro has given to Brazil's Petrobras and is cuddling up to the dictator in hopes that Mexico's Pemex will be next.
As to Cuban freedom, the yearning lives on, and Zapata's death is already serving as a source of renewed inspiration to the movement. The regime knows this, which is why state security put his hometown on lockdown the day of his funeral. Even as Cubans mourn their loss, it is certain that, treasuring his personal triumph over evil and his gift of bravery to the nation, they will not let his death be in vain.
-------------------------------------------------------


MARCH 1, 2010, 4:56 A.M. ET

Viva Zapata

Un disidente cubano es asesinado mientras los líderes latinoamericanos brindan con Castro

Por Mary Anastasia O'Grady

El presidente de México, Felipe Calderón, sonrió ampliamente mientras saludaba a su par cubano, Raúl Castro, en la cumbre del Grupo de Río organizada la semana pasada en la lujosa Riviera Mexicana. Ambos, luciendo guayaberas bien planchadas, se dieron un apretón de manos mientras Calderón, mostrando un especial deleite, hacía gestos a la audiencia para que diera la bienvenida al invitado especial de México.

A sólo 500 kilómetros de distancia, en un hospital penitenciario de La Habana, el preso político Orlando Zapata estaba en coma. Durante 84 días, este albañil de 42 años y origen humilde había estado en huelga de hambre para protestar contra la brutalidad del régimen castrista hacia los presos de conciencia. Su muerte era inminente.
La espantosa situación de Zapata no era ningún secreto. Durante su huelga de hambre le habían negado agua por 18 días consecutivos y lo habían colocado frente a un equipo de aire acondicionado. Sus riñones habían colapsado y tenía neumonía. Durante meses, grupos de derechos humanos habían reclamado atención internacional para su caso.

Pero en Playa del Carmen, en la península de Yucatán, Calderón no iba a permitir que Zapata arruinara su fiesta o la oportunidad para mejorar su imagen entre los gobiernos antidemocráticos de la región. La cumbre siguió su curso, sin menciones para el infierno humanitario de La Habana. El martes pasado, Zapata murió.

Su fallecimiento, ocurrido al mismo tiempo que los líderes de América Latina compartían mesa y mantel con Castro, es una coincidencia que captura la cobardía y el oportunismo que han definido durante medio siglo el acercamiento de la región hacia la opresión cubana. Ahora, la pandilla latinoamericana, con Cuba como miembro destacado, ha decidido formar un nuevo bloque regional para "reemplazar" a la Organización de Estados Americanos. Para dejar claras sus intenciones, prohibieron la asistencia a la reunión del presidente democráticamente electo de Honduras, Porfirio Lobo.

El Ministerio mexicano de Relaciones Exteriores no quiso responder la semana pasada a los pedidos para que Calderón difundiera un comunicado sobre la muerte de Zapata. Su silencio sugiere que lo único que lamenta Calderón es la desafortunada coincidencia entre su fallecimiento y el comienzo de la cumbre.
Zapata, de todos modos, no partió en silencio. Su muerte ha puesto de relieve otra vez la verdad acerca de las vidas de los 11 millones de cubanos esclavizados durante 50 años por un régimen totalitario. Y también supone un acontecimiento embarazoso para personajes como Calderón. Periódicos de todo el mundo, de Buenos Aires a Madrid, están denunciando la increíble hipocresía de aquellos que fingen tener una preocupación por los derechos humanos mientras apoyan a Castro.

Al igual que casi todos los disidentes cubanos, Zapata no eligió su papel de mártir, sino que el papel lo eligió a él. Oriundo de la provincia de Holguín, en el oriente del país, Zapata atravesó el sistema educativo como cualquier otro ciudadano. Pero el obligatorio adoctrinamiento marxista no funcionó con él. Como muchos patriotas cubanos antes que él, una vez que su conciencia se había despertado no había crueldad en el mundo que pudiera impedir que denunciara el sistema.

Zapata formó parte de la ola de resistencia pacífica que comenzó a organizarse y crecer en los últimos años de la década pasada y principios de ésta. En 2002 fue detenido tres veces. Según el Directorio Democrático Cubano, una organización de Miami que monitorea la actividad disidente, Zapata fue arrestado por cuarta vez el 6 de diciembre de 2002, "junto a [el médico y destacado militante pacifista] Oscar Elías Biscet".
Biscet, un católico practicante y discípulo de las ideas no violentas de Martin Luther King, empezó a oponerse al régimen cuando se enteró de la política habitual de asfixiar a los bebés que sobrevivían a los intentos de aborto. Hoy es considerado uno de los mayores defensores de los derechos humanos de la isla. Tanto su prolongada estadía en prisión, como las torturas que ha recibido, están bien documentadas. No hay información sobre si Calderón, que también se define como católico, discutió la situación de Biscet con su invitado, Raúl Castro.

Zapata fue arrestado otra vez en marzo de 2003, junto con otros 74 activistas, en un episodio conocido desde entonces por la resistencia como la "Primavera Negra". Desde entonces estuvo detenido y en mayo de 2004 fue condenado a 25 años de prisión. Su compromiso con sus hermanos, sin embargo, se mantuvo firme. De hecho, se profundizó.

En julio de 2005, en la prisión de Taco Taco, Zapata participó de una protesta no violenta para conmemorar la masacre de 41 cubanos que en 1994 habían intentado fugarse de la isla en un bote a motor y fueron ahogados por el aparato de seguridad. Eso le valió otros 15 años de sentencia.

Zapata fue encontrado culpable de "desobediencia a la autoridad" y torturado con frecuencia. Pero murió libre, incólume y convencido de no entregarle su alma al régimen, que ya es más de lo que se puede decir de Calderón. Se dice que los contratos de exploración en alta mar que Castro le ha dado a la brasileña Petrobras explican las caricias con el dictador.

Con respecto a la libertad de Cuba, el deseo sigue vivo, y la muerte de Zapata ya sirve como una fuente de renovada inspiración. El régimen lo sabe y por eso sus fuerzas de seguridad tomaron el control de su pueblo natal el día de su funeral. Mientras los cubanos lloran la muerte de Zapata, lo seguro es que, valorando su triunfo sobre el mal y el regalo de su valentía a la nación, no dejarán que su muerte sea en vano.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126743657564653729.html?mod=WSJS_inicio_RightTopCarousel

EL PRISIONERO DE CONCIENCIA, ARIEL SIGLER AMAYA, SE AGRAVA

Miami, FL. Lunes, marzo 1 de 2010

Lo primero es, agradecer con todas las fuerzas del corazón, de parte de la familia Sigler Amaya, lo que están haciendo por mi hermano Ariel y los otros prisioneros de conciencia.

Ayer domingo comuniqué vía telefónica, sobre las 10 de la noche, con mi otro hermano allá en Cuba, Juan Francisco Sigler Amaya. Ellos fueron citados desde hace 15 días por la junta médica para el Hospital de Rehabilitación Julito Díaz en La Habana, donde permanece ingresado Ariel desde hace más de cinco meses, para el sábado 27 de febrero. Fueron 5 miembros de nuestra familia.

Les explicaron sobre la gravedad de Ariel. Está empeorando por día, expulsando gran cantidad de sangre por el recto debido a la avanzada hemorroide sangrante; está botando por su boca, tacos putrefactos de color verde y amarillo con mucha fetidez; tiene dolores intensos en garganta, tubo digestivo, esófago y estomago; padece de intensa ardentía y fuertes dolores en la pelvis y vejiga cuando orina (el orine con mucha fetidez); sufre de mareos, fuertes dolores de cabeza; está muy pálido, de color amarillo, débil; sus piernas están renegridas y disecadas; permanece postrado en una cama, con un dispositivo alrededor del cuello llamado “minerva”.

Según los médicos no pueden intervenirlo quirúrgicamente, ni de las hemorroides ni de la amigdalitis en su garganta, pues no lo resistiría por su estado de debilidad y gravedad.

Ariel advierte que apelará a los recursos que él estime conveniente para acabar lo antes posible con esta situación. También recordó que no intentará en contra de su vida por mediación de un posible suicidio. La familia captó el mensaje y le aconsejaron que no apelara a una huelga de hambre, pues no resistiría una semana.

Los agentes de la Seguridad del Estado que participaron en este encuentro -capitanes, tenientes coroneles y coroneles del más alto rango del gobierno cubano-, se mostraron violentos y muy molestos por las informaciones mundialmente reconocidas sobre el caso de Ariel. Manifestaron de forma amenazante que si Estados Unidos con todos los cohetes y misiles, no los han podido presionar, nuestra familia tampoco lo va a lograr. La discusión fue tan acalorada que hubo gran posibilidad de irse a las manos, todo provocado por el reconocido cabecilla terrorista y tristemente celebre, teniente coronel Tamayo.

Hermanos: rogamos, pedimos ayuda, apoyo y solidaridad, para evitar que sigan muriendo seres humanos dentro de Cuba por culpa de una dictadura, que por permanecer un día más en el poder sería capaz de sacrificar a todos los cubanos.

Llegó el momento de pedir con urgencia el arresto de Fidel y Raúl Castro Ruz, y de Ramiro Valdés, por organizaciones internacionales reconocidas para estos casos de crimen de lesa humanidad.

Teléfono para comunicarse en Cuba con su hermano Juan Francisco Sigler Amaya, su representante: 011-53-45-89-8448, Municipio Pedro Betancourt, Matanzas, Cuba.

Por: Miguel Sigler Amaya, exprisioneros político, desterrado en USA.