Reports from Cuba: Cuba refuses OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro entry to island

14yMedio reports from Havana via Translating Cuba:

Cuba Refuses OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro Entry To The Island

The Secretary of the OAS was also unable to enter the country using his Cuban passport, which does not require an entry visa
The Secretary of the OAS was also unable to enter the country using his Cuban passport, which does not require an entry visa.

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, has published a letter explaining why he can not attend the Oswaldo Payá “Freedom and Life” Award ceremony. In the letter, addressed to Rosa Maria Paya, Almagro states that he will not come after the refusal of the Havana authorities to grant him an entry visa to Cuba.

The Cuban consulate also denied Almagro entrance to the country using his Uruguayan passport, with which it would not need entrance visa.

According to the Secretary General of the OAS, an official of the Organization, Chris Hernández-Roy, was summoned to a meeting last Thursday by the Consul of Cuba in Washington and the First Secretary of the Consulate in which he expressed, also, the Cuban authorities’ surprise over the reason for the visit and its astonishment at the “involvement” of Almagro in anti-Cuban activities.

The award is not recognized by the Cuban State and the activities of Cuba Decide, an organization led by Rosa Maria Payá, “undermines the Cuban electoral system,” according to what they told the OAS.

For all these reasons, the authorities refused to grant Almagro a visa and warned him that he would not be admitted to the country if he attempted to board a flight bound for the island.

“We have responded to these arguments by pointing out that the only interest on our part has been, is and will be to facilitate Cuba’s rapprochement with the values and principles of the inter-American system, both as regards the defense of democracy and the promotion and respect for human rights, while expanding Cuba’s achievements in science, health and education to our region,” said Almagro.

Almagro laments in his missive the “analysis as superficial as it is alarmist,” that has led to his visit being interpreted as a problem for relations with the United States. He considers it “rather ridiculous” that bilateral relations between the two countries depend simply on the holding of the award ceremony.

He emphasizes, furthermore, that his presence on the island scheduled for Tuesday has nothing to do with a desire to evaluate the internal situation of Cuba or its political or ideological trends, issues on which he says he does not consider himself competent to give an opinion.

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Censorship in Cuba exposed by Publisher’s Weekly

Banned author: Armando Lucas Correa
Banned author: Armando Lucas Correa

An American publisher and a Cuban exile author were foolish enough to think that they could attend the Havana Book Fair and do what is normally done at any book fair in the free world.

Ha.  They were in for a rude surprise.  The book they were going to promote was deemed inappropriate and removed from the fair.

The Castronoids even went as far as to prohibit them from mentioning the book’s existence.

The Cuban exile author shouldn’t have been surprised at all by any of this.  Some would say he shouldn’t have gone there, simply on principle, for all Cubans know that any book fair in Castrogonia is totally bogus, heavily censored, and a propaganda victory for Castro, Inc.

The most revealing aspect of this shabby little act of censorship is the fact that the subject of the book in question had nothing to do with Cuba post-Castro.

The German Girl is a novel about a ship full of would-be Jewish refugees in the 1940’s who were denied entry to Cuba, under U.S. pressure.

Offensive book

You would think the Castronoids would love a book like this, for the villain in this story is the U.S.

Oh, but you can’t second-guess those Castronoids.  They didn’t like the book for some reason.  Maybe for the same reasons that led to censoring all Disney films for decades.  God only knows…

Anyway, the author, who describes himself as “apolitical” and says he is not “an initiator of protest”seems shocked.

And Publisher’s Weekly — the most important magazine in the publishing industry — was so shocked too that they decided to highlight this story in their latest issue.

Now, THAT is really shocking, for sure.

Armando Correa’s Debut Novel Seized In Cuba

 Although the recent U.S. Publishing Mission to Cuba—held February 10 to February 15 in conjunction with the Havana Book Fair—drew high praise from both its Cuban and American participants, the event was marred by a case of literary censorship that illustrated the reality of political and cultural life in Cuba.

On the eve of a February 13 conference on U.S. and Cuban publishing, the Book Institute of Cuba, the government agency that oversees the Cuban publishing industry, confiscated copies ofThe German Girl, a recent novel by Armando Correa, a Cuban-born exile and novelist as well as editor in chief of People En Espanol, the Spanish-language version of People magazine.

Copies of the book were seized and the Book Institute of Cuba delegation threatened to walk out of the conference if Correa’s name or the book were mentioned. “I was in the middle of a nightmare,” Correa said in an interview with PWafter his return to New York City.

Correa, who left Cuba in 1991 and went on to become an award-winning Spanish-language journalist in the U.S., returned to Cuba for the first time in 2016 as part of the first U.S. Publishing Mission to Cuba. During that visit he promoted his forthcoming debut novel, The German Girl, with no problems. The book was published in October 2016 by the Atria Publishing Group.

Although a request to sign copies of The German Girl in the USA Pavillion at the Havana Book Fair was rejected ahead of the visit, Correa believed that the book would go on display and that it could be given away. About 100 copies ofThe German Girl were shipped along with nearly 400 copies of a variety of American titles that were to go on display at the Havana Book Fair. Although the shipment of American titles were delayed at Cuban customs, the books were eventually released, and put on display in the USA Pavillion. Only copies of The German Girl were confiscated.

Asked why the signing and giveaway were not allowed, Juan Rodriquez Cabrera, president of the Book Institute of Cuba, replied by email that “the fair, organized by the Cuban state and its institutions, reserves the right to set forth a program which it considers to meet the objectives the country has proposed.”

…Speculating on the reasons his book was suppressed—author Correa said he was never told explicitly why the book was banned—he said, “I’m a Cuban exile and my book is about fear of the other—be it the fear of a different politics or fear of a different god. That’s the problem with the Cuban government. I’m not an initiator of protest, I’m not a political person, but I am independent, and they’re scared of me.”

Continue reading HERE

Gotcha, suckers!.... (pa'l carajo, comemierdas !)
Gotcha, suckers!…. (pa’l carajo, comemierdas !)

Rosa Maria Paya and Castroism’s fear

The Editorial Board of Diario de Cuba:

Editorial: Rosa María Payá and Castroism’s fear


In Havana, Rosa María Payá, President of the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy, was going to bestow the Oswaldo Payá Freedom and Life Award on Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS, and to honor late Chilean President Patricio Aylwin, represented by his daughter, former minister and ex-representative Mariana Aylwin.

In 2002 Oswaldo Payá submitted 11,020 signatures to the Cuban National Assembly and, in 2004, 14,000 additional ones demanding the freedom of association, the freedom of speech and press, free elections, and amnesty for political prisoners. Securing the support of such a large number of people under circumstances like Cuba’s entailed a complex mobilization effort headed up by the leader of the Varela Project, the largest undertaken by the democratic opposition in Cuba.

The response of the National Assembly to this request resulted in a modification of the Constitution, with socialism being described as “irreversible” in Cuba.

Oswaldo Payá perished on July 22, 2012 on a road near Bayamo. His family reported that the car he was traveling in was hit by a State Security vehicle. The circumstances of his death remain unclear. The regime has never allowed an investigation by international experts, and sought to close the case with a farcical trial.

Thereafter, while upholding her father and his legacy, Rosa María Payá has continued her struggle for the democratization of Cuba, framing it in a continental context. This has helped to overturn the tendency to approach Cuba separately, as unique exception, in the region. Payá has shown solidarity with the causes and challenges facing youth and activists from other countries, obtaining the same in return.

The result of this has been a wave of condemnations and expressions of solidarity from figures such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and former presidents Sebastián Piñera (Chile) and Felipe Calderón (Mexico), to the obstacles placed by the regime against the awards ceremony, to be held in Havana. Once again Castroism has shown that it is, irreversibly, a dictatorship. Denying entry to the Secretary General of the OAS and other international invitees merely evidences its desperation and fear.

Cuba’s banning of foreign dignitaries meeting with dissidents shows the apartheid regime has not changed

According to President Obama, only unilateral concessions and the embracing of the apartheid Castro dictatorship could foster positive changes towards more freedom on the island and less repression by the Cuban regime. When he announced his new Cuba policy, it sounded desperately ridiculous and acutely wrong. Now more than two years after its implementation, we actually see how desperately ridiculous and acutely wrong it is. After countless concessions, millions of U.S. tourist dollars pouring into the coffers of the dictatorship, and U.S. support on the world stage for the viciously repressive apartheid regime, Cuba remains a totalitarian hellhole run by a corrupt regime.

The Castro dictatorship has not changed one iota since Obama reversed U.S.-Cuba policy. Unilateral concessions, the abandonment of dissidents on the island, and the tacit backing of the apartheid Castro regime has instead emboldened the dictatorship to entrench itself further. Exactly what we “intransigent hardliners” in the Cuban exile community said would happened has happened, and the Castro regime is laughing all the way to the bank.

Banning the entry of foreign dignitaries yesterday to attend an event held by dissidents is proof positive that the Castro regime has not changed at all. Obama’s “Hope and Change” policy of embracing Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship has only served to quash what little hope Cubans ever had for real change.

John Suarez reports in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

#PayaPrize: Castro regime reveals its totalitarian and repressive nature before region’s democrats

Our interest is to bring Cuba closer to Inter-American values and principles and expand its achievements in science, health and education. – Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the OAS

Award ceremony in Havana at 11:00am this morning
Award ceremony in Havana at 11:00am this morning

At 11:00am with her home surrounded by Cuban State Security and with the names of Mr. Luis Almagro and Ms Mariana Aylwin taped to two empty chairs Rosa Maria Payá and a small group of activists who had managed to evade the security cordon carried out the award ceremony. At the same time in Miami, Ofelia Acevedo and other Cuba Decides activists held a press conference to update what had been going on and she explained to The Miami Herald: “We have seen their level of intolerance, arrogance and contempt for others,” she said. “They feel attacked because other personalities in the world recognize not only the Oswaldo Payá award, but also because in Cuba there are people who think differently and have different alternatives.”

Ofelia Acevedo, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas's widow addresses the press
Ofelia Acevedo, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas’s widow addresses the press

Earlier this morning Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States reported over social media that he had been denied entry to Cuba by the Castro regime’s immigration authorities.

He was the third high ranking Latin American democrat to be blocked from entering Cuba in the past 72 hours. A day earlier on February 21, 2017 former Mexican president Felipe Calderón was also told he would not be able to enter Cuba and on the evening of February 20, 2017 former minister and member of parliament Mariana Aylwin, who is also the daughter of the former Chilean president Patricio Aylwin was declared inadmissible by the Castro regime’s immigration machinery. The past seventy two hours should have dispelled any notions that the Castro regime has changed.

Cuba under General Raul Castro remains a totalitarian communist state that only legally recognizes the communist party, one educational system that it controls, one centrally planned economy that it also controls, regime monopoly over all media, and a communist moral code. Independent grassroots organizations are illegal and critical thought is punished.

Continue reading HERE.

As expected, Castro, Inc. defends its suppression of Paya Award ceremony

Hey, don't destabilize me!
Hey, don’t destabilize me!

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

True to form, many news outlets are focusing on the Castro regime’s excuse for preventing dissidents from awarding a human rights prize to Luis Almagro, the Uruguayan chief of the OAS.

“Provocation.”  “Destabilizing.” “An attack.”  Blah, blah, blah…

As usual, the Castro regime accused the dissidents behind the suppressed event of being “anti-Cuban and illegal.”

In a hilarious fit of pique, the Castro Ministry of Truth also accused the dissidents of trying to “damage the country’s international reputation.”

Yeah.  the last thing King Raul and his minions want is for their reputation as totalitarian thugs to be tarnished.


From  The Wire:

Cuba Slams Dissidents, Claims It Foiled Plot to Destabilise Country

Communist-ruled Cuba on Wednesday said it had foiled a serious plot aiming to destabilise the country by preventing the chief of the Organization of American States (OAS) traveling to the island to attend an award ceremony organised by dissidents.

The opposition group, which the government called “anti-Cuban and illegal,” had invited OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro to Havana to honour him for shining a light on violations of human rights in the Americas.

Cuba, which views the Washington-based OAS as an imperialist instrument of the US despite its fledgling detente with its Cold War foe, denied Almagro and other international invitees visas and issued a blistering statement.

The incident comes at an awkward time as US President Donald Trump considers whether to continue normalising relations with the Caribbean island.

“The plan … consisted of mounting in Havana an open and serious provocation against the Cuban government, generating internal instability, damaging the country’s international reputation,” the statement by the foreign ministry read.

The ministry accused Almagro of “an ambition agenda of auto promotion with attacks against progressive governments like those of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.”

In a letter to the dissidents, Almagro said he had assured the Cuban authorities he did not have an anti-Cuban agenda.

The OAS’s only interest was to “help move Cuba closer to the values and principles upheld by the organisation in relation to democracy and human rights,” he said.

Continue reading HERE.

Or, if you’d like to see the full statement from the Castro Ministry of Truth, here it is:

“The plan, plotted on several trips between Washington and other capitals of the region, was to mount in Havana an open and serious provocation against the Cuban government, generate internal instability, and damage the international image of the country,” the statement reads.

“Upon learning of these plans and enforcing the laws that underpin the nation’s sovereignty, the Cuban government decided to deny foreign nationals associated with the events described above to the national territory.”

Reports from Cuba: The two Marielas

Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello in Translating Cuba:

The Two Marielas

two marielas

Cubanet, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Havana, 14 February 2017 – The story I want to relate has two parts, one is true and the other is fiction. The real one is an event I was involved in at the Carlos III market while in line to buy yogurt, one of the products in shortest supply in this country – despite the fact that it is sold in hard currency – and in this case with a price of 0.70 Cuban convertible pesos (CUC), although there are other yogurts sold in different containers for as much as 5 CUC (1 CUC is roughly equal to $1 US).

In front of me, while we were waiting, was a young woman of around 30 something, but I could see she’d had a pretty rough life. She had the money in her hand, some of it in 5 and 10 centavo coins in CUC and a note for 5 Cuban pesos (CUP) – because, as you know, now the stores have to accept both currencies. All of a sudden she dropped a 10 centavo coin and to her great misfortune it rolled under one of the display cases and although the woman made a great effort to retrieve it, she could not.

She turned to leave the line and I asked, “Are you leaving?” and she said, “Yes, I had the exact amount of money and I dropped 10 centavos under that case.” Without thinking twice I said, “No, don’t leave, take the ten centavos.”

She accepted with the happiest look on her face and told me, “You have no idea how grateful I am, because my older daughter is sick and she doesn’t want to eat anything.”

From that moment, with the facility a Cuban has to establish communication with another person, even if they don’t know them, we spent the next thirty minutes while we continued to wait in line talking to each other.

She explained that she worked as a teaching assistant at an elementary school, but often had to be the teacher because there aren’t enough educators. She is divorced and the monthly support she receives from the children’s father is 50 Cuban pesos (roughly $2 US). That plus her own salary is not enough to live on and she has to “invent” and go begging to her mother. She told me, literally, “You have no idea what I have to do to be able to feed my kids.”

Like any good Cuban, she lives in a building considered uninhabitable, but she won’t accept going to a shelter because she knows other people who live in those conditions and it is dangerous for the girls, now that they are becoming young ladies. Because her apartment is on the second floor and nothing works, she has no running water and every other day has to carry up 10 or 12 buckets of water to meet highest priority needs, although she says she is grateful to her mother who washes and irons the girls school uniforms.

“Imagine. My mother was a member of the Party (Communist) and worked in the Federation of Cuban Women and as for my my father, may he rest in peace, his surname was Castro, so it occurred to her to name me Mariela [after Raul Castro’s daughter]. Now she regrets it.”

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Luis Almagro, OAS chief, denied entrance to Cuba

Luis Almagro
Luis Almagro

Well… what did anyone expect, really?

OAS chief Luis Almagro was invited by Cuban dissidents to receive the Oswaldo Paya Prize in Havana.

The ceremony was to be held at the home of Paya’s widow, and the presenter would have been Paya’s brave daughter Rosa Maria.

Will the Castro regime be criticized in the world’s free press for its blatant show of repression?

Whaddda you, nuts or sompthin’?  Gedddaowddaheeah….

The usual suspects will report on this as a case of a poor nation defending itself against imperialist aggression.

Or… much more likely: they will never report on this at all.

As of late afternoon Wednesday, only two English-language news organizations were carrying this story.

One of them was Eljeral (Miami Herald), the other, a Jamaican newspaper.

Rosa Maria Paya
Rosa Maria Paya

From AFP via the Jamaica Observer

Luis Almagro denied visa to visit Cuba

Cuban authorities have denied a visa to the head of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, to travel to the communist-ruled island to receive a prize from a dissident organisation, he said Wednesday.

Almagro had been invited to receive a prize named for dissident Oswaldo Paya, who died in 2012 in a car crash under mysterious circumstances.

“My request for a visa for the official OAS passport was denied by the Cuban consulate in Washington,” Almagro said in a letter to Paya’s daughter Rosa Maria, who organised the ceremony to confer the prize.

Almagro said he was informed by Cuban consular authorities that he would be denied a visa even if he travelled on his Uruguayan diplomatic passport.

The Cubans conveyed to a representative of Almagro that they regarded the motive of his visit an “unacceptable provocation,” and expressed “astonishment” at the OAS’s involvement in what they deemed anti-Cuban activities, he said.

Almagro said he asked that the decision be reversed, arguing that his trip to Cuba was no different from events he had participated in other countries of the region.

Two other political figures who wanted to travel to Cuba for the award ceremony — Mexico’s former president Felipe Calderon and former Chilean education minister Mariana Aylwin — said they also had been denied visas.

Cuba was suspended from the OAS in 1962 at the height of the Cold War, and has declined to return despite having been readmitted in 2009.

Since Cuba’s suspension, the only OAS secretary general to visit the island was Jose Miguel Insulza, a Chilean who attended a Latin American summit in Havana in 2014.

Which President picked a worse National Security Advisor? The “Goofball” Trump? or “the Brilliant!” Kennedy?

“The war is on. We face a working coalition that extends from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Iran is the linchpin of the alliance, its centerpiece.” (Gen. Michael Flynn, briefly Pres. Trump’s NSA.)


“These missiles are nothing but refugee rumors. Nothing in Cuba presents a threat to the United States. There’s no likelihood that the Soviets or Cubans would try and install an offensive capability in Cuba.” (a sneering National Security Advisor, McGeorge Bundy, on ABC’s Issues and Answers, October 14, 1962.)

Apparently President Kennedy  had full confidence in his sagacious NSA, because a day later he followed up with: 

“There’s fifty-odd-thousand Cuban refugees in this country, all living for the day when we go to war with Cuba. They’re the ones putting out this kind of stuff (about missiles.)”( a sneering President John F. Kennedy, Oct. 15th 1962.)


 Exactly 48 hours after insulting the young Cuban exiles who were risking their lives to warn the U.S. against the gravest military threat in its history U-2 photos sat on JFK’s desk revealing those “refugee rumors,” sitting in Cuba, and pointed directly at Bundy, JFK and their entire staff of sagacious ultra-educated Ivy League eggheads.



“If the (nuclear) missiles had remained in Cuba, we would have fired them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York City. The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims.”  (‘Che Guevara, November 1962.)

For months prior to Bundy and Kennedy’s scoffing against the Cuban missile-mongers, dozens of young Cuban exiles had been risking their lives by infiltrating Cuba and bringing out eyewitness reports of what remains the biggest military threat to the U.S. in its history. In the process, some of these Cuban boys were also dying by firing squad and torture at the hands of Castro and Che Guevara’s KGB-tutored secret police.



“Humberto Fontova has performed a great service for freedom and human decency. Every American should read this book.” (David Horowitz on Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant.)


Apparent voter fraud in Ecuador’s presidential election pushes country to the boiling point

Ecuador’s dictator née president, Rafael Correa, has long been a fan of the Castro dictatorship and the dictatorial regime it installed in Venezuela. As a corrupt leftist (at the risk of sounding redundant), he dreams of power in perpetuity, which provides an endless stream of riches stolen from the people that he can bestow on his family, friends, and himself. To achieve this, Correa has apparently taken a page out of Cuba’s Venezuela playbook and is attempting to rig the nation’s presidential election to ensure his hand-picked successor will win.

However, the pro-democracy Ecuadorean opposition is refusing to sit on the sidelines and simply watch as their country descends into a corrupt tyranny. They have taken to the streets and are demanding a second round to the election.

David Unsworth reports in PanAm Post:

Ecuador Near Boiling Point as Opposition Demands Final Vote Count

The Ecuadorean opposition is loudly protesting delays in reporting the final vote count in Ecuador’s presidential election.
The Ecuadorean opposition is loudly protesting delays in reporting the final vote count in Ecuador’s presidential election.

Tensions are nearing the boiling point in Ecuador as the National Electoral Council (CNE) continues to delay reporting completed vote totals. With 96.7% of votes counted as of 7pm, Lenin Moreno continues to maintain an 11 point lead over closest rival Guillermo Lasso. Moreno has 39.29% of valid votes, with Lasso at 28.27%. The CNE has all but declared a second round, noting a “marked tendency” regarding the pattern of outstanding votes, and strongly implying that Moreno will not reach the critical 40% threshold with remaining votes.

Under Ecuadorean election law, a candidate can win outright in the first round with either 50% or 40% plus a 10 point margin of victory.

The Ecuadorean opposition has viewed the CNE’s delays with skepticism, with many suggesting that they are being used as an opportunity by Rafael Correa‘s Alianza Pais party to manipulate the vote count and give an outright first round victory to Lenin Moreno.

Assemblywoman Mae Montano of Movimiento CREO confirmed today in an interview with Ecuadorean daily El Comercio, that Guillermo Lasso will be making an appearance this afternoon in front of the CNE headquarters in north Quito. “I believe that at this time, we need Lasso’s presence here in the capital. But to be clear, this goes beyond just a political movement or candidate. This is to defend democracy in Ecuador.”

Guillermo Lasso joined his supporters today in front of the CNE at 3pm this afternoon, and will subsequently return to his native Guayaquil where he will speak with the local delegation of the CNE.

Close elections are nothing new in the Andean region. Ecuador’s current situation brings to mind the bitterly contested Peruvian presidential election of last year when Pedro Pablo Kuczynksi defeated Keiko Fujimori by the narrowest of margins.

The Ecuadorean opposition is particularly concerned about the potential for fraud because of the closeness between outgoing president Rafael Correa and state institutions.

Continue reading HERE.

Photo of the Day: Obama’s Ignored Anti-Cuban Xenophobia


Cuban “migrants” excluded from the U.S. due to President Obama’s xenophobic anti-Cuban executive order wait in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, for entrance to the U.S.

These Cubans aren’t giving up, but the Mexican government might round them up and send them back to Castrogonia at any moment.

In most cases, these Cubans fear for their lives, since Castro, Inc. tends to be very rough on those who try to escape unsuccessfully.

If they escape successfully, earn money abroad, and return loaded with cash and gifts…well… that’s a different story.

Okay, again we ask: Where is the outrage?

Why aren’t American news outlets featuring stories on these aliens cruelly excluded by Obama?

Where are all the stories about broken families, shattered dreams, or the dismal and tragic consequences of dictatorial presidential executive orders?

And, by the way, where are the spell-checkers in this crowd?

For more on these desperate Cubans go HERE (in Spanish)…

Cuban journalists arrested for trying to attend Payá Prize ceremony

Sol Garcia Basulto & Henry Constantin Ferreiro
Sol Garcia Basulto & Henry Constantin Ferreiro

Prominent foreigners were not the only people barred from attending the Oswaldo Payá Prize ceremony in Havana.

In fact, many Cubans were prevented from being there, and some were even arrested.

Very loosely translated from 14ymedio:

Among those rounded up by police were independent journalists Henry Constantín Ferreiro and Sol García Basulto, both of whom were arrested as the tried to board a Havana-bound flight from  Camagüey.

Constantín is the director of the magazine Hora de Cuba and serves as regional vice-president of the Commission for Freedom of the Press and of Information.

Sol García Basulto is a correspondent for the web site 14ymedio.

The Inter-American Press Society (Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa –SIP) has condemned their arrest and called for their immediate release.

In addition to protesting these arrests,  Roberto Rock, president of SIP’s Commission for Freedom of the Press, had this to say: “We also demand respect for the work of journalists and for freedom of expression in Cuba.  The dictatorial measures of the Cuban government have not changed one bit, and they continue to stifle and disrespect freedom of expression.”

Robert Rock added: “Cuba’s opening to the world will take place only when the human rights of all Cubans are guaranteed and we have freedom of the press and freedom of expression.  As long as this does not happen, we will continue to denounce it with a loud voice.”

Sol García Basulto was realeased after spending a long day in jail.   Henry Constantín Ferreiro was not released and no one knows how long he will remain behind bars.




Chile and Mexico rankled as apartheid Castro regime blocks their officials from entering Cuba for dissident event

Rosa Maria Paya lays flowers at her father Oswaldo Paya's grave in Cuba.
Rosa Maria Paya lays flowers at her martyred father Oswaldo Paya’s grave in Cuba.

Today in Cuba, the Latin America Youth Network for Democracy and Cuba Decide are planning to hold a ceremony to award the first ever Oswaldo Paya Award for “Liberty and Life.” The award will be given to OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and posthumously, Chilean President Don Patricio Aylwin. As would be expected of Cuba’s brutally repressive and violent dictatorship, the Cubans behind this event have been harassed, threatened, and detained by Castro State Security for their act of dissent.

However, since this event also includes the participation of officials and dignitaries from other nations,  the Castro dictatorship has also refused to allow some of them entry into the country to participate in the awards ceremony. This heavy hand of repression and censorship extending beyond Cuba has rankled the governments of Chile and Mexico who are demanding a full explanation from the apartheid Castro regime.

Via Reuters:

Cuba blocks Chilean, Mexican former officials from entry

Cuba stoked tensions across Latin America on Tuesday by blocking a former Chilean minister and one of Mexico’s ex-presidents from traveling to the island to attend an award ceremony hosted by political dissidents.

Chile said it was recalling its ambassador to Cuba for consultation and asking the Cuban government why Mariana Aylwin, a former education minister and daughter of an ex-president, was blocked from entering Cuba on Monday night.

Aylwin was traveling to the island to receive a prize on behalf of her father. The event, planned for Wednesday, was organized by the Latin American Network of Youth for Democracy, a group opposed to the Communist government.

Cuba opposes anything that legitimizes dissidents, which it claims are funded by U.S. interests. The government is bracing for a tougher U.S. approach to the island under President Donald Trump.

“Exercising the right (to travel between nations) should not be interfered with, especially given that Chile has recognized the feats of various figures in Cuban history and politics,” Chile’s Foreign Relations Ministry said in a statement.

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon tweeted on Tuesday that Cuban immigration prevented him from boarding a flight from Mexico City to Havana to attend the same meeting.

Aylwin was prevented from checking in to her flight in Chile’s capital, Santiago, apparently at the request of the Cuban authorities, she told journalists on Tuesday.

Calderon, from Mexico’s conservative National Action Party, ruled Mexico from 2006 to 2012 and improved relations with Cuba, which had been severely tested by his predecessor.

Mexico’s foreign ministry said on its Twitter account that it “regretted” Cuba’s decision to block Calderon’s entry.

The group, known as JuventudLAC, has also invited Luis Almagro, the head of the Organization of American States, which suspended Cuba in 1962 for being Communist. It agreed in 2009 to lift the ruling, but Cuba declined to rejoin the Washington-based group, which it deems an instrument of its former Cold War foe the United States.

“The behavior of the Cuban government is deeply gross, vulgar and rude,” Rosa Maria Paya, the group’s leader and daughter of dissident Oswaldo Paya, who died in 2012, told Chilean media.

“We have all received information that (invited guests) are receiving pressure from the Cuban government.”

Mariana Aylwin is seen as an ideological leader of the most conservative segment of Chile’s center-left ruling coalition. Her father was Chile’s first democratically elected president after the 1973 to 1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

(Reporting by Gram Slattery in Santiago; Additional reporting by Sarah Marsh in Havana; Editing by James Dalgleish and Richard Chang)