Oswaldo Paya

Farewell Letter from El Sexto

Farewell Letter from El Sexto / Danilo Maldonado Posted on September 24, 2015 Valle Grande Prison From the “cell” (of punishment) September 16, 2015… Where I am there is little light and I am in my underwear because I do not want to wear the prison uniform. They give me a mattress for 5 or […] Continue reading

The Lives Of Opposition Leaders Have Their Names On The Government’s Blacklist

The Lives Of Opposition Leaders Have Their Names On The Government’s
Blacklist / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on July 1, 2015

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, 3 June 2015If the Cuban dictatorship has an
enemy, it is themselves, as an institution of evil. After… Continue reading

The Political Legacy of Oswaldo Paya

The Political Legacy of Oswaldo Paya / 14ymedio
Posted on July 22, 2014

14YMEDIO, 22 July 2014 – On 22 July 2014, the opposition leader Oswaldo
Payá and the activist Harld Cepero died. Payá led the Christian
Liberation Movement and… Continue reading

Cuba dissident Farinas finally picks up 2010 Sakharov prize

Cuba dissident Farinas finally picks up 2010 Sakharov prize

Saying “Cuba will be free”, dissident Guillermo Farinas on Wednesday
finally picked up the European Union’s prestigious Sakharov human rights
prize — three years after winning the award.
“This fist held… Continue reading

Dissidents Find ‘Cuba Outside Cuba’ In Miami

Dissidents Find ‘Cuba Outside Cuba’ In Miami

MIAMI — When Cuban hunger striker Guillermo Farinas arrived in Miami,
he said he was prepared to face rejection from radical members of the… Continue reading

Will the Cuban government pay a price, or benefit, by finally letting Castro opponents travel?

Cuba's dissidents go abroad

Will the Cuban government pay a price, or benefit, by finally letting
Castro opponents travel?

HAVANA, Cuba — For most of the past 50 years, the Cuban government has
had a straightforward strategy for keeping opposition activists from
spreading their criticism abroad and linking up to international

It wouldn't let them leave.

By blocking dissidents from traveling, the Castro government could
punish their activism and limit the unflattering things they might tell
foreign audiences about life under tropical socialism.

Over the decades, countless speaking invitations for Cuban dissidents
from universities and foreign parliaments went unfulfilled. Awards were
never picked up. Prize money went uncollected.

Now many of those activists are packing their bags. Following the broad
travel liberalization implemented last month by President Raul Castro,
some of Cuba's best-known opposition figures have been told they're free
to go — and return.

Most notably, dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez has embarked an 80-day
tour of Latin America, Europe and the United States, with stops in New
York City, Washington, DC, and Miami. The 37-year-old creator of the
blog Generation Y is also planning to visit the offices of Twitter,
Google and Facebook.

Sanchez says Cuban authorities have denied her permission to leave more
than 20 times over the past five years, but finally issued her a
passport at the end of January. She boarded a flight Sunday evening from
Havana to Brazil via Panama.

"The Cuban government shouldn't even dream that I won't come back!" she
told her more than 400,000 Twitter followers over the weekend. "My
grandchildren will be born on this island, they'll bury me at the base
of a tree so I can live on!"

Now the question is: Will the trips abroad by Sanchez and other Cuban
dissidents further damage Castro's image abroad? Or will the very fact
that government opponents like Sanchez are traveling send the message
that Cuba is softening, opening up, and becoming more tolerant?

"In some sense, the government is attempting to convert its harshest and
most eloquent critics into its best ambassadors for the reality of the
changes taking place on the island, especially as related to its
migration reforms," said Ted Henken, a professor at Baruch College who
is organizing events for Sanchez in New York City. "If they can travel,
things must be changing no matter what they say while abroad," he said.

But Henken said Sanchez will be able to gain new supporters around the
world as she travels, aiding her cause of "internal, civic and
non-violent struggle in Cuba," he said.

"This may be the unintended consequence and Achilles' heel of the
government's very positive, if calculated, decision to allow her to
travel," added Henken, who is also the president of the Association for
the Study of the Cuban Economy.

Sanchez's trip will take her to at least a dozen countries. There's been
no word yet if her two-day stop in Washington, DC will include a visit
to the White House.

Other prominent Castro critics have already left Cuba to begin trips of
their own. One young dissident whose departure carried added symbolism
is Eliecer Avila, who was featured in a viral 2008 YouTube video that
showed him publicly challenging a top Cuban government official about
why young people couldn't travel.

Also now traveling is Rosa Maria Paya, the daughter of late Cuban
dissident Oswaldo Paya, who has accused the Castro government of
orchestrating the horrific car crash that killed her father last summer.
She departed on a trip for Chile that had been held up because the
government wouldn't give her an "exit permit" under the old rules.

As of Jan.14, Cubans no longer need government-issued permits to come
and go, only a valid passport and a visa from their destination country.

Restrictions still remain on some government and military officials, as
well as star athletes and top scientists. But Cuban authorities have
told many of the island's most prominent opposition figures they can now
travel. They include Berta Soler, leader of the "Ladies in White" group
that holds weekly marches through Havana, and Guillermo Farinas, winner
of the European Union's 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

At home in Cuba, those figures face frequent harassment and constant
surveillance by authorities, but once abroad, they will be able to raise
funds and network with other activists beyond reach of Cuban state
security agents.

Yet even as some Castro opponents launch their trips abroad, others have
been told they're not going anywhere. Cuba's new travel laws include
exceedingly broad, vague language that allows the government to deny a
passport to someone "for reasons of public interest," and several
dissidents say they've been turned down.

Some are unable to leave because they remain on probation, having been
freed from prison in the past few years through the intervention of the
Catholic Church. The new travel policy bars Cubans who have pending
criminal charges or who are on parole from receiving passports.

That has left dissident economist and former political prisoner Oscar
Espinosa Chepe, 72, in a bind. He's been hospitalized several times in
the past year as a result of failing health, and he's now wondering if
the government will let him go abroad to seek additional treatment. His
parole isn't up until 2023, he said, and he and his wife, fellow
activist Miriam Leiva, have yet to apply for new passports.

Still, Espinosa Chepe said he didn't think the government would be hurt
by additional public criticism from other dissidents traveling abroad.
"The government has made an intelligent move. It's trying to convey a
message of openness," he said. "It remains an authoritarian system, but
I think it's making positive steps with an eye on improving relations
with the US."

Asked whether his inability to leave Cuba has blunted his message over
the years, Espinosa Chepe said he didn't think so, noting that he
frequently conducts interviews by phone, and has even participated in
international academic conferences remotely. "I've said everything I've
wanted to say," he added. Continue reading

Cuba: Outrage, disbelief over latest dissident arrests

Cuba: Outrage, disbelief over latest dissident arrests Detained blogger Yoani Sanchez's husband fumes to GlobalPost: Cuban government has 'no logic whatsoever ... I want to understand what they're thinking.' Girish GuptaNovember 9, 2... Continue reading

Late Cuban dissident’s family blames government for death

Late Cuban dissident's family blames government for death AFP October 7, 2012, 11:50 am BAYAMO, Cuba (AFP) - The Cuban government is to blame for the death of human rights activist Oswaldo Paya, family members said Saturday as they called for th... Continue reading

Award-winning Cuban dissident detained

Award-winning Cuban dissident detained Agence France-Presse 10:12 am | Saturday, August 25th, 2012 HAVANA – Leading Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas was arrested by police after an argument with agents guarding his home, his mother and activists ... Continue reading

Arrests show Cuba not yet ready for reform

Arrests show Cuba not yet ready for reform by Staff Writers Havana (UPI) Jul 25, 2012 Cuba's wide-scale crackdown on dissent that led to arrests at a funeral shows the Central American country isn't ready for credible political reform despite its amb... Continue reading

US, Amnesty critical of Cuban dissident detentions

Posted on Wednesday, 07.25.12 US, Amnesty critical of Cuban dissident detentions By PETER ORSI Associated Press HAVANA -- Cuba was criticized by the U.S. government and Amnesty International on Wednesday over the brief detention of dozens of dissiden... Continue reading

Cuba’s opposition tries to plot fresh course

Posted on Friday, 09.23.11

Cuba's opposition tries to plot fresh course
Associated Press

HAVANA — When dozens of Cuban intellectuals and commentators were
jailed in a notorious crackdown on dissent, their wives united in… Continue reading

Cuban dissidents push for opening to democracy

Cuban dissidents push for opening to democracy
By Carlos Batista (AFP) – 8 hours ago

HAVANA — Leading dissidents in Cuba have launched a reform plan seeking
a democratic opening in the Americas' only one-party Communist-run state.

More than 40… Continue reading

Jimmy Carter’s “Ignominious Report”

Jimmy Carter's "Ignominious Report"
By Alberto de la Cruz on 04/07/2011 – 8:59 am PDT

Pedazos de la Isla has the thoughts of former Cuban prisoner of
conscience Normando Hernandez regarding Jimmy Carter's trip to Cuba.
by Normando Hernandez, ex-prisoner… Continue reading

Czech MEP meets dissidents in Cuba

Czech MEP meets dissidents in Cuba?TK |28 February 2011Havana, Feb 27 (CTK) - The atmosphere in Cuba is like a pressure cooker that can explode at any time, Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas told Czech MEP Edvard Kozusnik, who met him briefly after hi... Continue reading