CUBA BRIEF: Another political prisoner dies, Plaque honoring Oswaldo Payá removed by persons unknown, Evo Morales travels to Cuba for medical evaluation

Reuters, March 1, 2017 

Bolivia’s Morales travels to Cuba for medical evaluation

by Daniel Ramos; Writing by Luc Cohen

Bolivian President Evo Morales took an “emergency trip” to Cuba on Wednesday to seek treatment for a throat condition, presidential minister Rene Martinez said, adding that the president would receive a “routine evaluation.”

The throat complications have been going on for “quite some time” and have caused Morales, 57, to have difficulty speaking and prompted him to cancel public appearances, Martinez told reporters.

“Per medical advice, it was decided that our president would have a routine evaluation in Cuba,” Martinez said. “Once it started getting worse, because he was having a lot of trouble speaking, this emergency trip was planned.”

Morales took office in the Andean country in 2006 and was elected to a third term in 2014. He said last year he may run for a fourth consecutive term in 2019 elections despite losing a referendum that would have reformed the country’s constitution to allow him to run again.


Babalu Blog, March 2, 2017

The cost Cuba pays for indifference and a dictatorship: Another political prisoner dies in prison

by Alberto de la Cruz

Hamell Santiago Más Hernández, a political prisoner and an activist of the Unión Patriótica de Cuba (Unpacu), died on Friday, February 24, 2017 in the Combinado del Este prison located in Havana. Jose Daniel Ferrer over twitter charged that ill treatment and torture had led to Hamell’s untimely death.

In the midst of observing the anniversaries of two grave injustices in Cuba last week ( the death of prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo on February 23, 2010 after years of torture, beatings and ill treatment and the February 24, 1996 Brothers to the Rescue shoot down when the Castro brothers ordered the destruction of two civilian planes in international air space killing Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña and Armando Alejandre Jr.

Meanwhile as Latin American democrats were barred from entering Cuba because of their solidarity with Cuban democrats, shamefully American members of Congress remained publicly silent aboutthese human rights concerns and focused on engaging in commerce with the Castro regime and military that controls the national economy of Cuba. Both The Washington Post and National Review called them on this lack of solidarity with democrats and appeasement of a communist dictatorship.

But what of Hamell Santiago and his family? Another name added to the long list of victims of the Castro dictatorship that too many in the world ignore in order to pursue their business deals with his killers. 



Panam Post, March 1, 2017

Cuban Dissident’s Daughter Demands New Investigation into Father’s Death

By: Ysol Delgado – Mar 1, 2017

Cuban dissident and promoter of the “Cuba Decide” initiative Rosa María Payá requested this week that the Havana Ministry of Justice review the case of her father’s death.

María Payá tweeted about her visit to the Ministry of Justice while it was happening, saying she was there to ask that the cause of death of famous Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá be looked at again.

Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, died in a 2012 car accident, according to local media, an incident that also involved the death of activist Harold Cepero and injury to Jens Aron Modig of Sweden and Ángel Carromero of Spain.

Payá has maintained since 2012 that the accident was not an unforeseen accident but rather an “attack” by Cuban State Security with the intention of getting rid of a prominent dissident.

According to Carromero’s statements regarding the incident and several investigations, the event looks more like a murder than an accident.



Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter, March 2, 2017

Defying Cuban style Stalinism: Remembering and honoring Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas

“The first victory we can claim is that our hearts are free of hatred.” -Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas

On the morning of February 28, 2017 on what would have been the 65th birthday of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas his daughter Rosa María Payá Acevedo, along with friends and activists, placed a plaque honoring his memory on the front of their home in Havana, Cuba.  The plaque contained an image of the martyred dissident leader on the left hand side and the following quote:

“The first victory we can claim is that our hearts are free of hatred. Hence we say to those who persecute us and who try to dominate us: ‘You are my brother. I do not hate you, but you are not going to dominate me by fear. I do not wish to impose my truth, nor do I wish you to impose yours on me. We are going to seek the truth together’. This is the liberation which we are proclaiming.”

Later that same day in the late afternoon the plaque had been removed by “unknown” persons. A small plaque on the home of a martyred dissident and a human rights ceremony in a private home are but just two examples of what a totalitarian regime cannot tolerate.