Sunday, May 20, 2018

Venezuela: Fake elections in a dictatorship

Venezuela's night grows darker

Voting booth in Venezuela
Sunday's fake election in Venezuela brings the South American nation another step closer to Cuban-style totalitarianism. The outcome of the fraud was preordained, another "victory" for Nicolas Maduro. However the actual victor was the Castro regime that remains firmly in control of the South American country.

Ration cards have been issued for food in a country were mass hunger is an ever present reality and it is understood by many that following regime instructions, such as going to vote in a sham election, is necessary to be eligible for rations. The Maduro regime has continued, the process started under Hugo Chavez, of taking over sectors of the economy.

Venezuela has been a dictatorship for sometime. Back in October of 2012 following another fake election in that South American country the following observation was made in this blog:
"Venezuela is not a democracy. Power has been concentrated for more than a decade into the hands of Hugo Chavez, his political party and Cuban handlers. The judiciary and the Congress were subordinated to Hugo Chavez. What you have had in Venezuela today is a contested election in a non-democratic country." 
Six years later the same can be said with the exception that this election was not contested. Major opposition parties were outlawed and the most popular opposition leaders banned from running. The opposition called for a boycott of the presidential elections. In addition to that the electoral process itself is one of irregularities and illegalities carried out by the Maduro regime. Venezuela is on its way to completing the transition from an authoritarian dictatorship to a totalitarian one. It is no longer a case of not opposing the regime, but actively supporting it or risk being punished.

Nicolas Maduro's timeline in power

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Venezuela: Cuba's colonial possession in South America implodes

Dark days ahead in Venezuela.
Dictator Raul Castro with his Venezuelan and Cuban puppets
In Venezuela the electoral system is rigged, the regime of Nicolas Maduro is a narco-state managed and controlled by the Castro regime's military and intelligence services. The Cuban presence has been called an "occupation army" by OAS General Secretary Luis Almagro.

Venezuela today is a territory subject to a foreign state it has become a colony of the Castro family. As Venezuelans starve in the streets and children die because of a lack of medical supplies, the Maduro regime purchased $440 million worth of foreign oil and shipped it directly to Cuba.

Venezuela is a communist regime were nurses complaining about the lack of medicine or medical equipment are arbitrarily detained. It is a country were citizens are driven to vote out of fear.

Those of us living in freedom have a duty to protest what is going on in Venezuela.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Universal Periodic Review: A review of the Castro dictatorship's desperate actions to cover up its dismal record

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel

Castro regime delegation undergoes the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva
Today the third Universal Periodic Review of Cuba took place at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.  It was a circus.

The Castro regime cannot debate the facts. Instead it tries to flood the process with propaganda to drive out serious reports presented by non-governmental organizations, block dissidents from traveling to attend the review, and limit the time that democratic member states have to raise questions with cheer-leading by repressive regimes that take up time and limited interventions to 50 seconds.

Hillel Neuer of UN Watch exposed the rampant cheating of the Cuban government to avoid being evaluated during the Universal Periodic Review.
When that fails and serious issues are raised the representatives of the dictatorship engaged in ad hominem attacks such as guilt by association to generate confusion in order to not have to answer the tough questions on its systematic violation of human rights.

According to the representatives of the Castro regime the only Cubans that can be called human rights defenders are those who fight for the revolution, i.e. the 59 year old communist dictatorship that has turned Cuba into an Orwellian nightmare. 

But when Sirley Avila Leon, who believed the promises of the revolution, sought to see them fulfilled and went through the official channels to open a school for Cuban children she was shunned, marginalized, harassed, and was nearly killed in a machete attack in 2015. Following the attack state security let doctors know that she was not to be treated.

When Dr. Eduardo Cardet, a medical doctor, followed the existing constitution to effect changes to improve the human rights situation in the island, restoring sovereignty to Cubans, and expressed his views he was beaten up, jailed and sentenced to three years in prison.

The claim by the Castro regime that it is committed to human rights is false. The dictatorship in Cuba has spent decades undermining international human rights standards. They even defended right-wing military dictatorships from being condemned at the UN Human Rights Commission and in the 1960s recruited former Nazis to train their officials.

Gabriel Salvia of the Center for Opening and Development of Latin America ( CADAL in Spanish) tweeted about the complicity of the Castro regime with the Argentine military junta and I translated it to English.
The Castro regime runs roughshod over human rights in Cuba, and spends an exorbitant amount of money to cover up its repressive nature. In the current worsening international human rights climate
there may not be much that can be done, but one must speak truth to power and protest. Let the world know the cynical  nature of this exercise.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Human Rights in Cuba: Shadow UPR and three Cubans killed during the span of the current review

 “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” - Flannery O'Connor

Over the past few days this blog highlighted three cases from the past four years that highlight the cruelty of the Castro regime: in 2014 a blind attorney beaten down by state security agents; in 2015 a human rights defender and mother lost her hand and the use of her knees in a machete attack ordered by regime agents in reprisal for trying to keep a school open; and in 2016 a Cuban doctor was beaten down in front of his wife and children and taken to prison where he remains today suffering assaults and ill treatment for giving his honest opinion of the legacy of Fidel Castro.

Today in Geneva, Switzerland just steps away from where the Universal Periodic Review will be held on May 16th there was a self-described "Shadow UPR" that highlighted more recent cases, and the steps taken by the dictatorship in Cuba to avoid being held accountable. Below are the videos of the entire event and are worth watching.

Sadly there are those who will be unable to do so because they were victims of extrajudicial killings carried out by agents of the Castro over the past four years. Below are three cases, but sadly there are more.

Yunisledy Lopez Rodriguez: Brutally murdered at age 23 in 2014
Yunisledy Lopez Rodriguez was 23 years old, the mother of two small children and she lived in Vista Alegre, in the Municipality of Majabiquoa in Las Tunas, Cuba. She had suffered harassment from state security agents, who had wanted to evict her and her children from their home for her activism in the Civics and Truth movement.

Yunisledy found out that her then boyfriend "Ruber" had been given the order to kill Cuban dissident Sirley Avila Leon by state security. Yunisledy immediately told Sirley Avila Leon of the danger and on May 21,  2014 when Sirley's home was set on fire formally complained to the police. She reported that her partner had told her that he would murder Sirley and that through the above action had attempted to carry it out. The police never made a pronouncement on the matter and did nothing. 

Afterwards "Ruber" warned Yunisledy and told her that if she did not want to be killed that she should join him in Camaguey where he had been given the possibility to work as a "cuenta propista"  as a reward for carrying out his arson attack against Sirley Avila Leon and to give the impression that he was in a prison elsewhere. [This is an aspect of the job sector opportunities that Amnesty missed in their report.]

She  denounced the new threat to the police but no action was taken against him and he went away. After two months approximately September 20-21, 2014, another man,  the father of her young son appears at her home and tells her that he'll kill her. But instead rapes her in front of her children and leaves.

Immediately she went to the police and made a complaint because he was supposedly a prison escapee, but the police took no action. They told her not to worry that he was already back in prison. Yunisledy called Sirley on September 24, 2014 and told her that they both knew why he was being sent to kill her. Yunisledy asked Sirley to care for her children because she had no police protection.

On September 26, 2014 while preparing food for her children the individual known as "El Tejon" entered the house and stabbed her 18 times in front of her two kids. This was done to give the appearance of a crime of passion.

Diosbel Díaz Bioto killed on December 16, 2014
 On December 16, 2014 the Cuban coastguard ram and sank a boat with 32 refugees, one of them, Diosbel Díaz Bioto, was killed. Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." This is completely and systematically violated in Cuba. 

Yuriniesky Martínez with his dad, son, and on (right) how he was found in 2015
Yuriniesky Martínez Reina (age 28) was killed by state security chief Miguel Angel Río Seco Rodríguez in the Martí municipality of Matanzas, Cuba on April 9, 2015 for trying to leave Cuba. He was part of a group of young men who were building a boat near Menéndez beach to flee the island, when they were spotted trying to leave and were shot at by state security. Yuriniesky was shot in the back and left to die.  He was found face down in some brush.

Cuba's UPR record is a shameful indictment: A regime that beats and imprisons doctors who dissent

"Facts are difficult things."  - John Adams

Prisoner of conscience Dr. Eduardo Cardet
Cuba will undergo its third Universal Periodic Review from 2:30pm to 6:00pm on May 16, 2018 Geneva time. The propaganda machine has already started up, but facts are difficult things.

The regime in Cuba calls itself a medical superpower and boasts of its medical doctors, but these health care professionals are not free, and not entitled to their opinion. Take a moment and review the case of Eduardo Cardet MD.

Medical doctor, beloved by his community, husband, and father of two. Today his life hangs in the balance in Cuba. On November 30, 2016 in front of his wife and kids he was beaten up by Castro's political police and taken away.  Amnesty International recognized him as a prisoner of conscience. He was sentenced to three years in prison on March 20, 2017 in a political show trial that violated international norms. He was badly beaten and stabbed twice by three prisoners on December 19, 2017 most likely on orders of regime agents. Family fears that he has a carcinoma on his nose that is not being treated. 

Eduardo Cardet continues to suffer this injustice in Cuba today. He is the national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, a Cuban opposition movement that mobilized tens of thousands of Cubans to peacefully petition the Castro regime for democratic change. When members of his movement, on April 5, 2018, attempted to turn in a petition signed by 10,000 Cubans they were detained for 24 hours and the signatures seized by the political police. There are fears that those who signed will be persecuted.

This is the reality that the Castro regime is trying to hide behind an avalanche of propaganda. Dr. Eduardo Cardet should never have been jailed. He is a prisoner of conscience and should be free. 

He is not the first doctor imprisoned for what he thought. Decades earlier Dr. Armando Valladares would spend many years in prison for his dissenting opinion. Dr. Desi Mendoza imprisoned because he spoke out about a dengue epidemic. There have been others whose names we do not know.