CUBA BRIEF: Cuban activists denounce new repression methods, Cuban archbishop says things must change, and Cuban sentenced to 1 year for homeschooling his children

CUBABRIEF:  Demonstration tomorrow, Wednesday at Cuban Embassy Cuban to protest the sentencing to a year in prison of a Cuban pastor for homeschooling his two children.  In our “IN CASE YOU MISSED IT” section we are including a 14yMedio article about the visit of a Cuban archbishop to the Vatican.  — “Cuba is waiting for changes,” said Archbishop Dionisio García Ibáñez on Radio Vatican. The article was published earlier this month.  

Also in this issue: While the new U.S. president’s policies on Cuba remain uncertain Cuban authorities have expelled students from universities, arrested dissidents who want to run in the next elections and forced others into exile. The phones of dissidents and human rights activists also are tapped, making communication with journalists abroad difficult — all part of a campaign to crush criticism at a crucial time.  “There is a campaign of annihilation in 2017,” said Eliécer Ávila, a young Havana engineer who founded Somos +. He was reached by phone after several failed calls by el Nuevo Herald.

 

SENTENCED TO A YEAR IN PRISON FOR HOMESCHOOLING HIS CHILDREN

A Cuban court sentenced pastor Ramón Rigal to a year in
prison for homeschooling his two children, and his wife
Adya to a year under house arrest.
 

Join us on Wednesday, May 17 at 12:PM- 1:00 PM EDT to speak out against Cuba’s violation of human rights and stand up for educational freedom. CUBAN EMBASSY, 2630 16th St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20009

Hosted by HSLDA, a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend & advance the right of parents to direct the education of their children & protect family freedoms.   http://www.hslda.org

 

The Miami Herald, May 15, 2017

A man waving an American flag run out in front of a May 1 march in Havana on Monday. 

He was quickly surrounded and dragged out by plain clothes police officers. AP

CUBA

Cuban activists denounce new methods of repression

BY NORA GÁMEZ TORRES

ngameztorres@elnuevoherald.com

While the new U.S. president’s policies on Cuba remain uncertain, the government in Havana appears to be more nervous about its domestic opposition than usual, as the island heads into a complicated political transition.

Authorities have expelled students from universities, arrested dissidents who want to run in the next elections and forced others into exile. The phones of dissidents and human rights activists also are tapped, making communication with journalists abroad difficult — all part of a campaign to crush criticism at a crucial time.

“There is a campaign of annihilation in 2017,” said Eliécer Ávila, a young Havana engineer who founded Somos +. He was reached by phone after several failed calls by el Nuevo Herald.

Eliécer Ávila participates at an event at Miami Dade College in 2013.

Alexia Fodere El Nuevo Herald

A member of his organization, Karla María Pérez González, was expelled from a university journalism program last month. Ávila, who wants to run in the next municipal elections, said a police raid of his home seized almost everything he owned.

“In my house the police were like a moving company. I don’t even have a computer, and I have a borrowed cell. All this limits your ability to communicate, to exist in politics,” Ávila said. [More

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article150602062.html

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: 

14yMedio, May 5, 2017

The Archbishop Of Santiago de Cuba Says In The Vatican That The Island “Is Waiting For Changes”

Archbishop Dionisio García Ibáñez has also affirmed that “the Cuban people can live in better spiritual and material conditions, and that things must change.” (Networks)

14ymedio, Havana, 5 May 2017 — “Cuba is waiting for changes,” said Archbishop Dionisio García Ibáñez Friday on Radio Vatican; he has also said that “the Cuban people can live in better spiritual and material conditions.”

The statements of García Ibáñez, collected in Spanish by ACI Prensa, came after Pope Francisco received a delegation of Cuban prelates in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican, a meeting that was part of a broader visit to the Holy See Headquarters that began on April 25 and ends Friday.

According to ACI Prensa, “the presence of the Cuban prelates in the Vatican aroused great expectations, bearing in mind the importance that different pontiffs have contributed to relations with the Caribbean island.”

The press agency recalls that John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have traveled to Cuba in 1998, 2012 and 2015, respectively.

Regarding religious freedom on the island, García Ibáñez stated that “there is an opening in the sense that there is a greater understanding of religion, and the people can express their faith.”

“We are working with the state because after 50 years in which the population has grown we can have the spaces for worship that we need,” said the archbishop, who also expressed his hope that the process will continue.

However, he has pointed out that “there are no parish houses with their pastoral structures, but nevertheless the Church lives.”

The meeting this Thursday was also attended by the archbishop emeritus of Havana, Jaime Ortega Alamino, the current archbishop of the island’s capital, Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez and the president of the Cuban Episcopal Conference and archbishop of Camagüey, Wilfredo Pino Estévez.

The trip of the Cuban ecclesiastics had as its main objective the Ad Límina Apostolorum (‘to the threshold of the Apostles’) visit to the tomb of the apostles Peter and Paul.

During their visit to the Vatican, the prelates wrote an epistle addressed to the faithful of the island, in which they explained that the visit “is a clear and public manifestation of the communion between all the bishops of the world and the bishop of Rome, and an effective means to reaffirm that communion.”

http://translatingcuba.com/the-archbishop-of-santiago-de-cuba-says-in-the-vatican-that-the-island-is-waiting-for-changes/

 

14yMedio, May 13, 2017

Cuba’s Private Sector Demands “Young, White and Childless”

Of the more than 535,000 people are self-employed in the country, 32% are women. (VC)

14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 13 May 2017 – Three employees circulate among the tables, so similar that they seem cast from the same mold. “I want to give a good image to the place,” says the owner of a flourishing cafe on 26th Street in Havana. Like him, many private businesses are imposing a standard on female employees: “Young, pretty, white and childless.”

With the boom of self-employment, new businesses are emerging everywhere, much more efficient than state services. However, there are also discriminatory patterns that privilege the physical appearance of the hired staff, above their professional abilities.

The waiters and other employees of the most prosperous businesses in the capital are mostly under 50, thin and white, and among them there is also an abundance of single women, blond and blue-eyed. The current legislation only requires that the contractor must be more than 17 years old and be a permanent resident on the Island.

The success of a business seems to be measured not only by the number of clients or revenues, but by a refined casting to choose the faces of those who serve the public. Many prefer physiognomy over the skills to serve a table or run a cash register.

Behind the scenes, physical abilities seem to fading in importance. For the positions in the kitchens the “image” demands are less, but they don’t go away. The entrepreneur is obsessed with showing “an image of success” through appearances, often gleaned from magazines and movies.

Luisa is 59 and her monthly pension doesn’t stretch far enough to support her for one week. A few months ago she decided to find a job cleaning in some of the prosperous B&Bs in Old Havana where she lives. “I thought it was a question of being healthy and doing a good job,” she told 14ymedio.

After four interviews with the owners of several rental properties, the woman was no longer so convinced that the most important thing was her efficiency. “They looked a lot at my physical presence and one told me very clearly that she would not hire anyone with dentures.” Another potential employer asked if she was “dieting” to look “better.” [More]

http://translatingcuba.com/cubas-private-sector-demands-young-white-and-childless