CUBA BRIEF: Castro Redoubles Assault On The Private Sector, Women in White, meet the Ladies in White, Rosa Maria Paya seeks justice

Panam Post, February 28, 2017

Cuban Censorship of Dissident Award Shows Obama Policy Won’t Change Regime’s Nature

By Dr. Jose Azel

In the fable of the scorpion and the frog, a scorpion asks a frog to carry it across the river. The frog, afraid of being stung, hesitates. But the scorpion argues that if it were to sting the frog, they would both drown. Considering that it would be irrational for the scorpion to cause both of their deaths, the frog agrees. Midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. As they are both drowning the frog asks the scorpion: Why? The scorpion replies that he could not help himself; it was in his nature to do so.

I was reminded of this fable by political analyst Eugenio Yañez as we discussed the behavior of the Cuban government in denying visas to a number of high level dignitaries that sought to travel to Cuba to receive a democracy award named in honor of the slain government opponent Oswaldo Payá. The award was to be issued in Cuba on February 22, by the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy at the home of its president, Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo, Paya’s daughter.



Translating Cuba, February 24, 2017

The Cuban Regime Has Redoubled Its Assault On The Private Sector / Iván García

By Iván García

Ivan Garcia, 24 February 2017 — Marino Murillo, the presumptive tsar of economic reforms in Cuba, a prime minister with broad powers, passed up a seat in the first row next to the senior staff of a long-lived revolution governed by an exclusive club of elders who, as a group, have lived almost 500 years, to take a seat in the third row, far from the spotlight and the cameras.

In closed societies, where rumors are more truthful than the information offered by the State press, you have to learn to read between the lines. Lacking a government office that offers public information to its citizens, academics, journalists and political scientists, you must look with a magnifying glass at the most insignificant signs.

That morning in December 2015, when the autocrat Raúl Castro feigned indignation before the more than 600 deputies of the monotone national parliament about the abusive prices of agricultural products, was the beginning of the end for Marino Murillo.

Castro II requested that measures be applied. And not very consistently, alleging the law of supply and demand that governs the produce markets, Murillo mumbled that he would try to implement different regulations to try to curb the increase in prices.

Apparently this wasn’t sufficient. The previous super-minister fell into disgrace, and now not even his photo appears in the official media, although theoretically he continues at the front of the agenda, charged with implementing the economic guidelines, a kind of commandment that moves at a snail’s pace and with serious delays: In six years, only a little more than 20 percent of the guidelines have been implemented.



The Washington Examiner, February 28, 2017

Women in White, meet the Ladies in White

By Daniel Allott (@DanielAllott)  2/28/17

A group of women lawmakers made a silent protest during President Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening. The Democratic congresswomen dressed in white as an emblem of support for their definition of “women’s rights” — abortion, equal pay and the like. The protest is seen as a form or resistance to Trump’s presidency and presumably a nod to the women’s suffrage movement, which urged women to dress in white as a symbol of purity.

But it also calls to mind a contemporary women’s movement in which female followers don white as a sign of protest. The Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) are a group of wives, mothers and other female relatives of jailed dissidents in Cuba. Since 2003, they have attended Catholic mass each Sunday morning wearing white clothes then marched through the streets of Havana, usually silently. They wear white as a sign of peace. And many of the women wear buttons bearing a photo of their imprisoned loved one and the number of years he’s been sentenced to serve. The Ladies have won several international human rights awards for their courage and witness.

This simple protest has attracted violent pushback from Cuba’s authoritarian regime. The Ladies have been beaten, jailed and harassed by state police and civilians who support the government.Just last Sunday, more than 50 members of the Ladies in White were arrested and prevented from making their peaceful demonstration.

Daniel Allott is deputy commentary editor for the Washington Examiner


Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter, February 27, 2017

Rosa María Payá went to the Ministry of Justice in Cuba to review the case of her dad Oswaldo Payá and friend Harold Cepero

 Justice for Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero


Rosa María Payá at the Cuban Ministry of Justice (twitter)

Today, February 27, 2017 at 10:30 am Rosa María Payá delivered to the Ministry of Justice of Cuba an appeal for a judicial review to Maria Esther Reus González, Minister of Justice. In accordance with the procedures of Cuban criminal law, she presented an appeal for a judicial review of the conviction of Angel Carromero for the events that caused the death of her father, Oswaldo Payá, and her friend Harold Cepero.

Rosa María expressed that:

“According to Cuban law, anyone can request a review of a criminal case and I decided to do it not only because Angel Carromero alleged that another car had intentionally hit the car he was driving, but also because the rules of due process were violated when he was prevented from providing expert evidence which would determine if the event was provoked. I submit the request for judicial review to the competent authorities: the Minister of Justice, the President of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General. With this process, the last legal possibility of discussing the case in Cuba is exhausted. By law, one of these authorities must respond within 90 days. Consequently, we remain waiting, without prejudice to the allegations and with evidence that we will present in various international legal forums.

Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, and Harold Cepero Escalante died under circumstances that point to an extrajudicial killing carried out by the Castro regime’s intelligence services on July 22, 2012.  World leaders and human rights defenders in 2013 called for an inquiry into deaths of Oswaldo and Harold, among them was South African Nobel Peace Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.