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Granma still covers the story

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I think I am going to vomit, Peter.

Havana, November 28, 2007. Between 15 and 25 human rights activists have been carrying out a sit-in in front of the National Revolutionary Police Unit (PNR) for more than a week demanding the release of Juan Bermudez Toranzo, who was violently arrested the night of November 21st, at 9 p.m. by more than 30 members of the PNR and State Security. The officials burst into his home in the Cambute neighborhood, located in San Miguel de Padrón, where a fast was being carried out for the freedom for all political prisoners.

“We find ourselves here sitting-in, we will not move until he is immediately freed, and we hold the Cuban Regime responsible of these violent acts that can be taken upon us and on Bermudez Toranzo,” declared Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva to the Cuban Democratic Directorate in the early hours of the morning. Gonzalez Leiva is the Executive Secretary of the Council of Investigators of Human Rights in Cuba and President of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights. He affirmed that the participants have been sitting-in, in silence, since November 22nd before the National Revolutionary Police Unit “Aguilera,” found in the municipality of 10 de Octubre.

Nery Castillo, wife of Bermudez Toranzo, who also is sitting-in with the rest of the activists in front of the police unit, has been subject to harsh intimidation by high-ranking officials of the 21st Department of State Security and of “Villa Marista.” The agents warned her that “she would have to leave the sit-in, that they were going to take away her children, and that they have prepared a battalion of women of the Rapid Response Brigade to arrest and abuse all of them.” However, Gonzalez Leiva affirmed that they will stand firmly until they free her husband.

Bermudez Toranzo was taken from his home on November 21st and dragged along the street with his two-year old son, to take him to the squad car that took him to the police unit. The child, traumatized by the violent act, stayed with his mother in the middle of the street.



Ron Ecker who calls the families of the current and previous POTUS "crime families" remains a free man. Bermudez Toranzo is not. Neither are the many other political prisoners of conscience in Cuba.

Although it happened many years ago, did you read how Castro's goons executed William Morgan?

Excuse me while I rush to the bathroom.

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Peter, perhaps you can tell the Forum members what offense Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta committed against the people of Cuba for which he was, in March of 2003, sentenced to 20 years in jail? He was of course the National Coordinator of the Youth for Democracy Movement.

Maybe when you shake Castro's hand you can ask him that. But be careful how you ask it: you might end up in one of his jails as well!

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Peter, sorry to say this, but you are either morally obtuse or ignorant.

If you had not read the following "Amnesty International" report on Cuba, you are ignorant for praising Castro (by offering him your hand) BEFORE reading it. If you are aware of the brutal suppression of political liberties in Cuba but still want to shake Fidel's hand, then you are morally obtuse.

From Amnesty International web-site:

In March 2003, the Cuban government carried out the most severe crackdown on the dissident movement since the years following the 1959 revolution. Scores of dissidents were detained, seventy five of whom were subjected to summary trials and quickly sentenced to prison terms ranging from 26 months to 28 years. This crackdown came as a surprise to many observers who believed that Cuba might be moving towards a more open and tolerant approach towards opponents of the regime: the number of prisoners of conscience had declined and had been superseded by short term detentions, interrogations, summonses, threats, intimidation, eviction, loss of employment, restrictions on travel, house searches or physical or verbal acts of aggression. In addition, in April 2000 the Cuban Government began implementing a de facto moratorium on executions, which was broken in April 2003 with the execution of three men convicted of hijacking a tugboat to leave the island, in which no one was harmed.

The events of March/April 2003 signalled a step backwards for Cuba in terms of respect for human rights. The authorities tried to justify the crackdown by citing provocation and aggression from the United States. Amnesty International declared the 75 convicted dissidents to be prisoners of conscience(1) and called for their immediate and unconditional release, since the conduct for which dissidents were prosecuted was non-violent and fell within the parameters of the legitimate exercise of fundamental freedoms as guaranteed under international standards.

Moreover, Amnesty International believes the charges are politically motivated and disproportionate to the alleged offences.

The charges brought against those arrested in the 2003 crackdown were not those commonly used to suppress dissent, such as "propaganda enemiga", "enemy propaganda", "desacato", "disrespect", or "desórdenes públicos", "public disorder." Rather, the emphasis was on offences carrying higher penalties under the Cuban Penal Code. Most of the dissidents were charged under either Article 91 of the Penal Code or Law 88, or both. Article 91 provides for sentences of ten to 20 years or death for anyone who "in the interest of a foreign state, carries out an act which has the objective of harming the independence of the Cuban state or its territorial integrity". Law 88, which was passed into Cuban legislation in February 1999 but had not yet been put into practice, provides lengthy prison terms for those found guilty of supporting United States policy on Cuba aimed at "disrupting internal order, de-stabilising the country and destroying the Socialist State and the independence of Cuba".

According to the trial documents available, the evidence on which the March 2003 prosecutions were brought and the sentences confirmed included:

publishing articles or giving interviews, in US-funded or other media, said to be critical of economic, social or human rights matters in Cuba;

communicating with international human rights organisations;

having contact with entities or individuals viewed as hostile to Cuba's interests, including US officials in Cuba, or members of the Cuban exile community in the United States or Europe;

distributing or possessing material such as radios, battery chargers, video equipment or publications, from the US Interests Section in Havana(2);

being involved in groups which are not officially recognised by the Cuban authorities or which are accused of conducting counterrevolutionary activity, including among others: unofficial trade unions; professional associations such as doctors' and teachers’ associations; academic institutions; press associations or independent libraries.

In 2003, the Cuban government claimed that the above mentioned activities threatened national security and therefore warranted prosecution. Amnesty International believes the activities constitute legitimate exercise of freedom of expression, assembly and association. In Cuba these freedoms are severely limited in law and in practice. Those who attempt to express views or organize meetings or form organizations that contradict government policy and/or the aims of the state are likely to be subjected to punitive measures such as imprisonment, loss of employment, harassment or intimidation.

The right to a fair trial is also limited in Cuba, with courts and prosecutors under government control. Cuba’s National Assembly elects the President, Vice-President and the other judges of the Peoples’ Supreme Court, as well as the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. In addition, all courts are subordinate to the National Assembly and the Council of State, raising concerns with regard to internationally recognised standards for fair trial and the right to trial by an independent and impartial tribunal.(3) The right of dissidents to a fair and proper defence is also unlikely as lawyers are employed by the Cuban government and as such may be reluctant to challenge prosecutors or evidence presented by the state intelligence services.

At the dissident trials in April 2003 some attorneys were reportedly denied access to the defendant or only given access five minutes before the trial and were thus unable to prepare their defence, and in some cases the right to choose a defence lawyer was completely denied. Although some family members and others were allowed to attend, foreign diplomats and some journalists were barred from entering.(4)

During the last year, Amnesty International has received reports that some of the prisoners of the 2003 crackdown have been treated with particular severity, for example held in harsh prison conditions, many in locations far from their home towns, and some have reportedly been ill-treated.

During 2004 and early 2005 a total of 19 prisoners of conscience were released, 14 of whom were only granted "licencia extrapenal", "conditional release" permitting them to carry out the rest of their sentences outside prison for health reasons, in the knowledge they could be detained again. Also, the Cuban government eased the conditions of some prisoners of conscience by moving them to locations nearer to their homes and by giving all but two medical check ups.

Two years on since the March 2003 crackdown, in spite of the releases and limited improvements, the total number of prisoners declared by Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience is 71, which includes two new cases. There have also been some reports of ill-treatment by prison guards. Over a dozen prisoners are still being held in prisons which are at the other end of the island from their home town, thus making family visits very difficult.

The organization is calling on the Cuban Government to liberate all prisoners of conscience currently detained in Cuba, to provide adequate medical care to all prisoners of conscience, to initiate independent and impartial inquiries into the reports of ill-treatment described in this document, and to make the results public. Prison officials alleged to be implicated in cases of ill-treatment, or deliberately inflicting cruel and degrading treatment on prisoners should be suspended pending investigation and those found responsible brought to justice.

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Is Gabriel Molina a nom de plume of Bill Kelly?

Thank you Michael, and Tim,

for calling my attention to the writings of Gabriel Molina, who indeed is still covering this story, from the perspective of Havana.

I too want to go there. I might be able to get a part for my car, check out the Gramna boat, rebuild the Havana Country Club golf course and open an Irish pub.

I didn't read the articles when Michael first posted them, considering they were just propaganda pieces from the controlled communist press, but after you accused me of something unfounded - writing under an assumed name - something I've never done, well I read them.

And I found Molina's reports a fairly accurate picture of the current situation, much more so than others I've been reading.

If Molina wants to plagerize my work I'm honored that its worth stealing.


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Bill, Bill, I assumed you and everyone else would realize I was being facetious in suggesting you wrote the article simply to make the point that the articles parrots your POV on the RFK assassination, or is it vice versa?

While we are on that subject, Havana certainly had the motive to want to deny the presidency to RFK and thus may have a REAL motive to try to pin the blame on Morales (who is NOT in the photograph) and Gordon Campbell (who not only is not in the photograph but was not on earth at the time).

Your plans for a gulf club and Irish pub are excellent however. But why not reopen the Sans Souci? That sure sounds like it was a beautiful night club.

I anxiously await the time I can travel to a free Cuba.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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And I found Molina's reports a fairly accurate picture of the current situation, much more so than others I've been reading.

One thing in particular that Molina wrote puzzled me:

Morales, who feared an attempt on his life from his "own people," died from a suspicious heart attack the day before he was to testify before the House Select Committee that was investigating the Kennedy assassination.

I was under the impression that Morales' name was on a list, but he had not been scheduled to testify before the HSCA.

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Michael, I am quite sure you are correct.

The bigger question IMO is what basis Molina has for assserting that Morales' heart attack was suspicious. I am sure many believe it was suspicious based solely on (1) the age of Morales; and (2) the fact that it happened during the HSCA investigation. But if those are the ONLY reasons for characterizing Morales' death as suspicious, a responsible journalist would have simply made those points and let readers draw their own conclusions.

Moreover, of course, the article fails to disclose the research of Morley and Talbot that concluded it was NOT Morales in the photo. So much for responsible journalism.

And what does it say of Bill Kelly when Kelly states (presumably with a straight face) that the article is a "fairly accurate picture of the current situation"? Certainly I think we can all (well, most of us anyway) agree that any accurate picture of the current situation must include reference to the research of Morley and Talbot.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Michael, let's think logically here.

Despite the fact that he was a long-time friend of Morales the fact that it was Carbajal's opinion that "the CIA killed Morales" is of no greater evidentiary value than your opinion or mine (valued at zero) unless Carbajal had FACTS or EVIDENCE to support his opinion. I suspect if he had such facts or evidence he would have so disclosed. Don't you?

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Tim : "While we are on that subject, Havana certainly had the motive to want to deny the presidency to RFK..."

- Really, how so?

Tim, http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.ph...st&p=129048 and further posts indicates you may be suffering from an 'enlarged head', possibly from 'water on the brain' and a bad case of 'foot in mouth dis-ease', The symptoms are potentially disreputable.

Script: Get a tap on the head, and pour a few bottles of superglue on the key board. (no fee)

Tim : "I anxiously await the time I can travel to a free Cuba"

You can, however re-entry to the USofA without being charged with breaking the law by US authorities could be a problem. Some circumvent this by entry through other countries and kindly helped by sympathetic Cuban Customs who may not stamp your passport to give you less trouble when tryiing to get home to 'the land of the free'. However, after the experience, keeping silent about the lies you have been fed and gobbled up over the years could be difficult. (see script)

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John, it is well accepted that RFK was the driving force behind the Kennedys' secret war against Cuba that some have called a "vendetta". He personally approved sabotage and destruction operations against Cuba that were occuring in the week before the assassination of his brother. There is little reason to wonder why Lisa Howard so strongly opposed his 1964 candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

Havana had every reason to believe that RFK would reinitiate the operations against Cuba that had been turned off by LBJ.

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