Faustam fortuna adiuvat
American and Latin American Politics, Society, and Culture.
Cuba’s Communist regime has telegraphed a message to dissidents Orlando Luis Pardo @OLPL, Yoani Sánchez @yoanisanchez, Rosa María Payá @RosaMariaPaya, and any others who were allowed to travel outside the country:
One week after returning to Cuba, Lady in White is missing after being beaten and arrested by Castro State Security
Yesterday, the Castro regime carried out its usual Sunday of violent repression against members of Cuba’s peaceful human rights group the Ladies in White when they joined together for Sunday church services as they do every Sunday. As the women stepped out of the church after Sunday mass in the town of Palma Soriano, they were met by Castro State Security agents who began to viciously punch them and beat them with umbrellas before placing them under arrest.
Among the Ladies in White victimized by the violence of the Castro dictatorship was Belkis Cantillo, a Lady in White who just a week ago was in Brussels to take part in the long overdue acceptance of the Sakharov Prize the group had won in 2005. Ms. Cantillo was one of the women who was beaten and arrested by the Castro political police before being arrested and taken away. As of this morning, her physical condition and whereabouts are unknown.
In record time, From Brussels to a Cuban Prison in just one week.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Parish Hall of the Church of the Immaculate Conception
4497 W. 1st Avenue
Hialeah, FL 33012
Information in Spanish at Encuentro con Rosa María Payá con las organizaciones del destierro y todo el público que le interese
Follow Rosa María on Twitter.
* During the first nine months of 2011, the independent Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCHRNR)documented some 2,784 “incidents of human-rights abuses,” compared with 2,074 in all of 2010.
* In March 2012, Amnesty International reported that, since 2010, there had been “a steady increase in the number of arbitrary detentions,” with the Castro regime waging “a permanent campaign of harassment and short-term detentions of political opponents.” One of Amnesty’s Cuba researchers affirmedthat “Cuba has seen worsening repression when it comes to human rights.”
* Over the next ten months, between March 2012 and January 2013, the number of political prisoners on the islanddoubled (from 45 to 90), according to the CCHRNR. Those figures only include prisoners jailed on explicitly political charges; the total number of Cuban political prisoners is much larger, since the regime is holding many dissidents on bogus criminal charges.
* In its latest Freedom in the World report, Freedom House says: “The Cuban government oversaw a systematic increase in short-term ‘preventative’ detentions of dissidents in 2012, in addition to harassment, beatings, acts of repudiation, and restrictions on foreign and domestic travel.”
* Overall, notes Miami Herald correspondent Juan Tamayo, Cuba witnessed “a record 6,200 short-term detentions for political motives” last year.
Then there is the story of Oswaldo Payá, a world-famous Cuban dissident and founder of the Varela Project who (along with fellow dissident Harold Cepero) died last July after a highly suspicious car accident. As Wall Street Journal columnist Mary O’Grady has written, Payá’s daughter, Rosa María Payá, believes that his car “was intentionally rammed from behind by another car,” and that her father’s death was “a probable murder.” In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Spanish politician Ángel Carromero, who was driving the car carrying Oswaldo Payá, said that they were rammed by a government vehicle whose occupants were “staring at [them] aggressively” before the collision. Carromero also said that, after the crash, he was drugged and threatened by Cuban authorities, who subsequently convicted him of manslaughter. (In December, Carromero was repatriated to Spain, and he has since been paroled.) Florida senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, has urged the United Nations to launch “a thorough independent investigation of the events leading up to Payá’s death.”
The death of Payá and the broader campaign of repression against Cuban activists are troubling enough. But for U.S. officials hoping to abolish or ease sanctions, the elephant in the room is the ongoing detention of USAID contractor Alan Gross, a Maryland resident who has been held in a Cuban prison for more than three years on ridiculous espionage charges. It is hard to argue that Havana either deserves or desires warmer relations with Washington when it continues to hold an American hostage. Gross, who turns 64 in May, has seen his health deteriorate, and has reportedly lost more than 100 pounds since his incarceration.
Mary O’Grady reported on Sonia Garro, who has been held in prison without charge since March 18, 2012.
The reason for this trend, according to Darenblum, is that the dictatorial gerontocracy is afraid of the growing democracy movement. I would add that the gerontocracy is also aware of their mortality.
And they’ll fight to the death.
Judge María Lourdes Afiuni Mora has been in detention since 2009 without trial; she has now written a book detailing the horrors of her imprisonment, during which she was tortured and raped while in jail. She was moved from prison to house arrest in February 2010.
The book is titled, Chavez me puso presa. Habla la juez Maria Lourdes Afiuni (Chavez Imprisoned Me. Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni Speaks.)
Venezuelan blogger Miguel Octavio posts, With Afiuni’s Case, Chavez’ Revolution Shows Lack Of Compassion And Scruples
What was not known to the public, but the Government and the UN were informed of, was that Judge Afiuni was tortured and raped while initially incarcerated at INOF in Los Teques. This was only publicly revealed this week, as a book was published with Afiuni’s story. The story is no surprise, Venezuela’s penitentiary system has become a terror story of how human beings are treated with less respect than animals at the country’s jails. What is sad is that Afiuni also had to suffer this additional violation of her rights as a human being to satisfy Chavez’ whims and that despite her suffering, nobody in the Chavez Government showed any form of compassion towards her.
But it gets worse.while the Minister for Women says that it has to be investigated and “if true” her rights have to be guaranteed (about time!), the former Head of INOF who goes by the name of Isabel Gonzalez tries to turn it around against Afiuni and says (without any support) that she will sue Afuini, because it is all false and her accusations violate human dignity”. They also now deny that the accusation was presented to the UN, which her lawyer clearly says was done and today Maria Corina Machado publicly scolds Chavez, because he knew the reality of what had happened to Afiuni.
I failed to mention this courageous woman’s ordeal in this morning’s podcast; the fact remains that Chavez continues to repress all opposition prior to the December 16 elections for state governors and state legislators.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced plans to travel to Cuba as early as Tuesday for more medical treatment, even when earlier this year he had declared himself “cured”.
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Chen Guangchen and his family are on their way here,
BEIJING — Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, who emerged at the center of a diplomatic row between the U.S. and China, left Beijing on a United Airlines flight bound for Newark, N.J., Saturday afternoon after Chinese officials and American diplomats swiftly arranged his travel out of the country for an uncertain new life in the United States.
Chen, in a brief telephone interview with The Washington Post, said he still did not have a valid passport in hand when he received a call Saturday from Chinese officials telling him to pack his belongings.
“They came to my ward suddenly at around 11 o’clock this morning,” Chen told the Post. “It’s a surprise.”
Chen said U.S. diplomats arrived at the airport around 2 p.m. Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, reached by telephone while waiting for the flight, said Chinese officals gave the family their passports after they arrived at the airport. U.S. diplomats readied the visa papers.
United Airlines Flight 88 to Newark took off several hours behind schedule. The delay was likely caused, among other things, by a thunderstorm.
His flight is scheduled to arrive in Newark at 6:05PM.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Chen will most likely study at NYU rather than seek political asylum.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today regarding the announcement that Chinese lawyer and human rights advocate, Chen Guangcheng, has left China for the United States. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“I am pleased and relieved by the announcement that blind Chinese lawyer and human rights advocate, Chen Guangcheng, his wife, and their two children have left China for freedom in the United States.
“Mr. Chen’s journey to the U.S. marks the end of a seven-year ordeal of harassment, imprisonment, and beatings by the Chinese regime. He dared to publicly speak the truth about the abuse and violence that Chinese officials inflict on the women and families of his home province and, for that, he suffered greatly.
“I remain gravely concerned about Chen’s relatives and fellow human rights advocates who remain in China and face retribution by a Beijing regime that denies the most fundamental freedoms to the Chinese people.
“Congress will remain vigilant on behalf of Mr. Chen’s relatives and fellow activists. Their well-being must remain a priority for the United States. Responsible nations must not lose sight of our moral responsibility to support those who suffer under the chokehold of repressive rulers.”
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Heritage held a press conference with Bob Fu, President of China Aid and Tiananmen Square student leader and Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. Both have long established relationships with Chen.
It is worth noting that Chen shares with Cuban dissident Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet a concern for the rights of women not to endure forced abortions.
Roger Kimball is posting about Bulldozed: “Kelo,” Eminent Domain and the American Lust for Land, the book his firm Encounter Books published,
which was the subject of a defamation suit brought by the wealthy Texas developer H. Walker Royall. Royall must have really disliked the book. He sued:
1. Encounter Books (of which I am the publisher);
2. The author, Carla Main;
3. The law professor Richard Epstein, whose tort was to have provided a blurb for the book (yes, you read that correctly: Epstein wrote a blurb: Royall sued him);
4. A Texas newspaper, whose sin was to have run a positive review of the book;
5. And the hapless author of that review.
It lead to A free speech fight as big as Texas, which has a happy ending as it also is a victory for free speech,
In ruling this way, the court preserved the right to criticize government without fear that persons who do business with municipalities will sue, saying they were personally defamed by mere association with government. One can easily imagine the chilling effect the absence of this protection would have on free speech in an age of public-private real estate partnerships, bank bailouts, the Solyndra loan and other government forays into the private sector.
You can buy Bulldozed’s Kindle version and read it right away.