Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

Venezuela: The start of the really bad news

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro inaugurates a new state of bad news in Venezuela: Like his Cuban Communist bosses, Maduro is now incarcerating business owners. Their crime? Owning a business:
Venezuela Arrests 100 ‘Bourgeois’ Businessmen In Crackdown, Maduro Says

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday that authorities had arrested more than 100 “bourgeois” businessmen in a crackdown on alleged price-gouging since the weekend.

“We have more than 100 of the bourgeoisie behind bars at the moment,” Maduro said in a speech to the nation.

One of them movingly tries to protest (in Spanish) in vain,

Make no mistake, this is the start of the really bad news.

Venezuela’s House of Cards goes from bad to worse, as Steve Hanke points out:

the implied monthly inflation rate has now ramped up to 36%, as shown in the chart below. That’s dangerously close to the hyperinflation threshold of 50% per month. This is due to an accelerating depreciation of the bolivar, reflecting Venezuelan’s deteriorating economic outlook.

Indeed, the repression is going to worsen, as the regime will never admit that Communism doesn’t work.


Cuba: Foreign businessmen jailed for wanting to collect

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Do business with Cuba + travel to Cuba trying to get paid = go to jail

The Miami Herald reports on Panamanian businessman Nessin Abadi, in his early 70s and owner of the large Audiofoto chain of electronics stores
, jailed without charges in Cuba for over a year, like many others,

Few of those cases “have been reported in the press and there are many more in the system than is widely known,” [Stephen] Purvis wrote. “As they are all still either waiting for charges, trial or sentencing they will certainly not be talking to the press.”

Purvis also appeared to indicate that Cuba targeted certain businessmen in order to make room for deals with businessmen from other countries that are more politically in tune with Havana and may not push so hard for their debts to be paid.

Purvis wrote to The Economist that the jailed businessmen are from several countries, “although representatives from Brazil, Venezuela and China were conspicuous by their absence.”

Stephen Purvis’s company, as you may recall, Coral Capital, was behind the Bellomonte Golf and Country Club development, which lost £10.6 million. He spent 16 months in jail and was released last July, along with Amado Fakhre, who was the company’s executive director.

The Herald mentions others,

Canadian Sarkis Yacoubian was sentenced to nine years in a prison in June even though he cooperated with authorities in detailing a corruption scheme that also brought down several government officials. His cousin and business partner, Krikor Bayassalian, a Lebanese citizen, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Still awaiting trial is another Canadian, Cy Tokmakjian, who like Yacoubian sold transportation and other equipment to the Cuban government. He was arrested in 2011.

Abadi is not the first Panamanian businessman to run afoul in Cuba.

Alejandro Abood, then 50, was arrested in Havana in 2001 in what an El Nuevo Herald report at the time described as a roundup of Cubans and foreigners suspected of spying activities close to the offices of then-ruler Fidel Castro.

Purvis asserts that “there are many more in the system than is widely known.” You can read his letter to The Economist here.

Bahamas: Cuban arrivals from Bahamas allege beatings and sexual abuses

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

The Miami Herald reports that Cuban arrivals from Bahamas allege beatings and sexual abuses

The first Cubans to arrive in Miami from a notorious migrant detention center in Bahamas this month alleged Friday that guards regularly beat some of the male inmates and sexually abused some of the women.

One of the women repatriated from the center to Cuba earlier this month arrived pregnant by a guard, according to the Democracy Movement, a Miami group that has been helping the undocumented migrants detained in Nassau.

The movement led a string of protests against the Bahamas government this summer after detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre smuggled out cell phone images of inmates sewing their lips together in protest and an alleged guard kicking prisoners.

Haitians have also complained about the conditions at the infamous Carmichael Road detention center for many years.


En español: Bayly entrevista al Padre Conrado

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Entrevista de Jaime Bayly con el Padre José Conrado, disidente cubano conocido como “el Cardenal del pueblo”. Escuchen ambas partes, ya que el Padre nos inspira a todos:

Primera parte,

Segunda parte, con Silvia,

En español: Bayly entrevista a Guillermo Fariñas

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Lloré escuchándolo.

1a parte:

2a parte:

3a parte:

4a parte:

Cuba’s message to dissidents: You had your trip, now we’re coming after you

Monday, April 29th, 2013


Belkis Cantillo, second from the left.

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.

In Italy, Yoani Sánchez was “greeted” by this,

If you are in Hialeah tonight: Rosa María Payá event

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Via Alberto de la Cruz, Rosa María Payá will talk at the Immaculate Conception church,

When

Friday, April 12, 2013

Time

9:00 PM

Where

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.


OLPL en el show de Bayly

Friday, April 12th, 2013

In Spanish: Jaime Bayly entrevista al bloguero cubano Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo,

En Twitter, OLPL.

[With apologies to my English-only readers.]

Cuba: Beyonce’s no-no

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

As the regime brings on more repression, Drudge juxtaposes:

Cuba: More repression

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Jaime Darenblum describes Why Cuba Is Getting More Repressive
Raúl Castro’s economic reforms are less significant than his crackdown on dissent.

* 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 CCHRNRThose 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 writtenPayá’s daughterRosa 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.

Events in the first quarter of 2013 point to an ongoing trend of a broader political crackdown on religious freedom in Cuba, while reported violations tripled in 2012.

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.