May 26, 2009

Antúñez Arrested and Released, Vows to Continue

Cuban dissident Jorge Luis García Pérez, Antúñez, and several others were arrested May 24 as they prepared to march to Colón cemetery to commemorate the 1972 prison death of Castro opponent Pedro Luis Boitel. According to, dissident journalist Carlos Serpa Maceira reported that they were also stripped of censored books and other belongings.

Others arrested included Iris Pérez Aguilera (his wife), Martha Díaz Rondón, Blas Fortún Martínez, Ernesto Mederos Arrozarena, Carlos Cordero Páez and Juan Oriol Verdecia Évora.

Antúnez had recently ended a liquid fast in which with several others he had been under siege by State Security, at his home and for over 2 months. During that period visitors were not allowed to enter or leave and those who attempted were reportedly arrested and beaten up, including 3 women.

Iris, her husband Antuñez and Santana, another dissident.

Sign reads "Won't shut up and won't leave."

Picture from

Pedro Luis Boitel was a university student who as an opponent of Batista's tyranny joined Castro's 26 of July Movement. However, he also opposed Castro's dictatorial pretensions and in 1961 was sentenced to 10 years in prison where he died after a 53 day hunger strike.

Pedro Luis Boitel

Photo from Wikepedia

Antúñez and others arrested with him 2 days ago were released last night as the dissident vowed to continue with plans to commemorate Pedro Luis Boitel's death notwithstanding 'arbitrariness', that is, one supposes, arbitrary detentions. 

They were apparently not charged but their cellphones were taken.

Dissident news services (outside Cuba) reporting the arrest include, Marti Noticias and Their release was reported by

May 25, 2009

Antúnez and other Cuban Dissidents Arrested While Preparing to March

This post has been updated here.

May 20, 2009

Is Congressman Serrano Confused about Cuba and Castro?

Here's Puerto Rican-American Rep. José Serrano [D-NY] at an anti-Castro rally in 1992:

Yet on February 19, 2008 he's quoted by the NY Times contending:
"It is time to recognize that Castro was a great leader for his people — and move toward engagement with his successor. It is time to put the past struggles behind us and move forward together."
On January 6, 2009 he went even further by sponsoring the Cuba Reconciliation Act now being considered in the US House of Representatives.

The congressman is possibly confused, which is to an extent understandable, for who hasn't been at some point with regard to Cuba and Castro? With regard to what is just and what is not? Yet his confusion seems extreme. Hopefully he will help us understand the reasons for his change to a diametrically contrary position. Are we to think that that dictatorships and all that's necessary to keep them intact are now acceptable to him in some cases? Would one be acceptable in Haiti? In the U.S.? In Puerto Rico? Or only in Cuba?

Perhaps politically Rep. José Serrano believes he only owes his constituents an explanation.

Morally, however, I believe he owes one to the Cuban people and its over 2 million exiles, some of whom were raised in Puerto Rico and New York and still live there.


May 19, 2009

Hollow Chocolate Coated Habana Cubans For Sale Too

The branding of Cuban identity as a sweet chocolate coated, hollow, cylindrical wafer for the purpose of commercial exploitation is not limited to Argentina's Arcor's Cofler 'Cubanitos'. Kraft Argentina's Terrabusi brand has also branded an almost identical wafer as 'Habanitos'.

What do you think?

Related: Cubans for Sale

May 16, 2009

Cubans for Sale

'Little Cubans' or 'Cubanitos' are for sale thanks to Arcor, the Argentinean company that owns the 'Cofler Cubanitos' brand.

According to Arcor's website the company was founded in 1951 in Córdoba, Argentina, which also happens to be Dr. Ernesto 'Che' Guevara's' childhood home.

Arcor explains that its mission is to:
"Provide persons throughout the world the opportunity to gratify themselves with quality products at a just price in order to thereby create value for its shareholders, collaborators, clients, community, providers and environment through a project that is based on sustainable processes."
What do you think?

May 11, 2009

Cuban Police Beat Up 3 Women Attempting to Visit Dissident Antúnez (Video)

While walking towards the house where Cuban dissident Jorge Luis García Pérez, Antuñez, is under siege by Cuban State Security since March, 3 Cuban women were detained and beaten up by Cuban State Security (see video below). They reported (hear audio) being taken to a wagon where they were thrown on the floor and kicked; one was struck on her breasts and kidneys, another on her mouth and the third laterally.

Will the Congressional Black Caucus now express their outrage? Jesse Jackson Sr. or Jr.? Al Sharpton? How about Oakland's Ella Baker Center for Human Rights?

Or, absent any outrage, should we assume each and all consent?

Don't Ask Stupid Questions
Report of Attempt to Visit Antúnez and Cubans under Siege in Placetas
Updated below on May 13 at 11:15 AM FROM ARGENTINA
Almost 36 hours after publication this post cannot be found by the Google search engine or the others that depend on it. The world's most used search engine continues to subtly but systematically censor news coming from Cuban dissidents related to human rights violations. Meanwhile many newspapers are plagued by gaps in their Cuba coverage (e.g. live reporting on Antúnez) and, like Google, they adopt increasingly subjective editorial criteria. As far as coverage of Cuba is concerned Google and most of the news media have been reduced to the pursuit of clicks.
Updated below on May 13 at 3:15 PM FROM ARGENTINA
My post "Cuban Police Beat Up 3 Women Attempting to Visit Dissident Antúnez (Video)" is finally found in Google's search engine but only 4 hours after reporting Google's censorship in my previous update and in this blog; and 40 hours after originally posting it.

However it cannot be found if one searches by date using 'Cuba' or 'Cuba repression' as keywords. The Cuban tyranny was elected to the United Nations Human Rights council the same day as my post. That piece of news is of course is easily found on Google.

By blocking this post for 40 hours Google made it effectively invisible in blog searches by date. In addition, given a human rights bias that favors Castro and friends while hiding posts by Castro's opponents (exiles, etc.) it effectively makes it invisible in blog searches by 'relevance'. Thus Invisible Cuba is the title of this blog.

May 4, 2009

Invisible Cuba

Invisible Cuba is Desde donde estoy en el exilio's child. The title of the blog was inspired by Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" and my strange experiences with Google.

Castro Again Accused of Drug Trafficking

A former direct report of Pablo Escobar has tied Fidel and Raul Castro to a chain of narco trafficking linking Colombia, Nicaragua, Panama, Mexiso and Cuba. Jon Jairo Velázquez, 'Popeye', who is serving a sentence in a high security prison in Colombia claims in a video interview that Fidel Castro and Pablo Escobar had a very close relationship with Gabriel Garcia Marquez acting as their intermediary. Operational details were allegedly engineered by his brother Raul. The apparatus served to provide leftist guerrillas and narco-traffickers with weapons and the regime with $100 million. According to Velázquez 6000 kilos of 'drugs' remain 'hidden' in Cuba.

This is the second public testimony pointing to the Castros' involvement in narco-trafficking. In the late 1980's General Arnaldo Ochoa and 3 others were executed by the regime for drug trafficking after a high profile trial in which one of the defendants claimed to have been told by another that it was all supervised by the highest authorities in the regime.

The accusations are reported in a short 2 part documentary available in Telemundo51 and produced by Gina Montaner, daughter of Carlos Alberto Montaner, a well known exiled writer and publisher.

Related: What Castro Wants from he Confesses that Retired US Military Officers say the US Needs him for Protection from Drug Lords - Part V

May 1, 2009

Return Guantanamo to Whom?

Julia E. Sweig, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, has recommended that the US government return Guantanamo to 'Cuba' and convert it to a 'public health research and treatment center' where Cuba the US and other nations in the region could 'develop strategies for cooperation' in health care and research. Her views appear in an essay titled "Don't Just Close Gitmo. Give It Back." published by The Washington Post.

Ms. Sweig may in part be justifiably reacting against a radicalized sector in the US who believe in their right to sovereignty while denying it of others. One only needs to read some of the comments readers posted to her essay in the Washington Post to realize that this sector is still a reality.

Yet she is representative of a radicalized sector on the opposite extreme which shamelessly argues for US support of a totalitarian dictatorship. How else could one characterize the fact that she simply omitted millions of Castro's victims and opponents from her Guantanamo solution? Perhaps she hoped to obscure these most difficult facts by reminding us it's a move that dates 'back to the Kennedy White House' and has been "...viewed favorably by Havana ever since...".

By 'Havana'. Hmm.

Why doesn't Ms. Sweig address the fact that Havana has not been legitimately represented by anyone since Batista's and Castro's respective coups in 1952 and 1959? Is it because, as far as she is concerned, the Cuban regime's potential as a US partner in health research and treatment trumps all other considerations, just as it does for many on the US left? What do she and they mean by 'health'?

After all what is the significance of 'health treatments' in a nation whose population has diminished for 3 consecutive years and in 2008 possibly by as much as 6%? One would have expected that she would understand that health should logically manifest as more life, not less, as in a growing healthy forest.

Evidently she compartmentalizes 'health care' and 'respect for human rights' and would like us to think that, like the Nazis, a nation can be highly successful in the former while utterly failing in the latter; that violations of the former have no impact on the latter. Thus in her view it seems as if a health researcher or practitioner is in no way disqualified by abusing his patients' or subjects' human rights. Cleansing the nation of all who disagree with him has not been an issue of conscience for Castro nor does it seem to be for Ms. Sweig. Cultural genocide, ethics and health care are simply unrelated.

Perhaps she believes that by virtue of the fact that the US is also gravely guilty of human rights violations (e.g. Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, etc.), it can in good conscience cooperate with the Castro tyranny on health.

Whatever the case may be with Ms. Sweig's ethics, her solution shows no evidence of having considered human rights or the millions who must constitute one of 3 parts to any solution; or that because they are the victims they should be preferentially considered as decisons are made on changes to US policy for Cuba or Guantanamo. Her solution just ignores them and hands over Guantanamo to the Cuban who for 50 years has been criminally abusing his patients and victims while endlessly boasting about 'his health care system'.

Is her solution really what the US government should do to improve its image internationally?

Of course not. A true solution must as a minimum require Castro to recognize the rights of the millions and likely majority he unabashedly calls 'gusanos' (worms). Given irreconcilable ethical differences, one possible process to implement it, in the most general terms is outlined here.

For more on Cuba's diminishing population read 'Cuba population continued decline in 2008' and 'Abortion and Population Decline in Cuba (Updated)'
Why can't this 64 year old cuban (below) get health care from Cuba's Castro? Why do the regime's 'social workers' tell his son they don't have any service for 'that'? Why can't he get an appointment with a neurologist? Is it perhaps because he's the father of a young member of the non-violent opposition?

Buenaventura Roberto Gonzáles Velásquez.
Photo: Courtesy of Roby González Torres, his son. Copied from
For information on how Google treats this and other posts on human rights in Cuba read "Google, the Mainstream News Media, Blogs and Cuba : What I thought was not so crazy after all".