Cuban Dissident Guillermo Fariñas Interviewed in Miami

May 22, 2013 |

Daniel García Marco

Guillermo Fariñas. Photo: forocomunista.com

HAVANA TIMES —  After the more than 20 hunger strikes that have seriously undermined his health, Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas is still determined to oppose Raul Castro’s government through peaceful means and wishes to send “a message of love” to his “oppressors”, DPA reported.

“We always remember to send our oppressors a message of love. As a peaceful protester, one must take the moral high-ground and avoid calls for revenge,” 51-year-old Fariñas stated during an interview with DPA in Miami, the capital of Cuban exiles.

Fariñas is the latest renowned Cuban dissident to have traveled outside of Cuba, availing himself of the migratory reforms that came into effect this January.

The dissident will go on a tour not too dissimilar from that made by blogger Yoani Sanchez, to claim a Sakharov Award in Brussels, granted him in acknowledgement of his defense of human rights and civil liberties.

Fariñas, known for the hunger strikes with which he has sought to bring pressures on the Cuban government to secure the release of political prisoners, has no faith in Raul Castro and believes his reforms are mere “cosmetic” changes.

DPA: Do you think things are truly changing in Cuba, that something new is coming?

   Fariñas: Something new is coming, but nothing is truly changing. Democracy is what’s coming. They’re going to try and install a democracy in the style of Byelorussia, the Ukraine, or Russia, where those who were in power in the days of totalitarianism can maintain their totalitarian hold on society under the banner of democracy. We have to bring pressure to bear on the government, as Cubans, as exiles, as defenders of democracy, no matter what part of the world we’re in, so that that doesn’t happen, so that the people are the ones who decide their fate.

   DPA: Do you feel that Cuba’s migratory reform, the fact all of you are traveling outside Cuba and denouncing the actions of its government, is having effects contrary to what they wanted?

Fariñas: No, they knew they couldn’t impose conditions on us, they know us well. They’re trying to clean up their act. They knew this was going to happen. They want to coax the European Union and North America into making more substantial investments in Cuba and granting them credit that will pull them out of bankruptcy.

DPA: There are different opinions about the US embargo among members of the opposition. What is yours? Should it be lifted or maintained?

Fariñas: The embargo is a policy that causes suffering among the Cuban people, but the Cuban government’s posture causes even more suffering among the people. Before we discuss the embargo, which is an issue that divides Cuba’s peaceful opposition, we have to talk about the embargo that the Cuban government has imposed on its own citizens.

DPA: How do you imagine that the fall of Cuba’s current government and a transition might come about?

Fariñas: That’ impossible to predict. There are many different power groups, many different interests within Cuba. Supporters of Fidel are gradually being displaced from power and supporters of Raul are gaining more and more ground. As a non-violent opposition, we must try to bring about change through peaceful means. We’re going to return to Cuba so that change comes about without violence. This is what we call for.

DPA: Do think change will come in the same way the Berlin Wall and Communism fell in Europe, almost abruptly?

Fariñas: Let’s hope so. We hope it will come as it did in Germany, in Czechoslovakia. We don’t want it to be like it was in Rumania.

DPA: Would you accept a transition led by the Cuban government?

Fariñas: If not the government, then the people of Cuba will lead it. Every time I am questioned by State Security officers, I tell them that they are the ones who have to take the first step, that they are the ones who have the power, the weapons. But we mustn’t forget to send our oppressors a message of love. As a peaceful protester, one must take the moral high-ground and avoid calls for revenge. There is a place for communists and supporters of the Castros in the Cuba to come.

   dpa: Why did you choose the hunger strike as your method of protest?

Fariñas: When I decided to oppose the government publicly, I began to look for the strengths and weaknesses of the regime. Until that moment, hunger strikes had been used as a means of protest only in prisons. I took them out to the street. These strikes draw public attention to our cause. You have to make a concrete demand. During my last hunger strike, I asked for the release of 26 political prisoners. What’s significant about the hunger strike is that your life is in the State’s hands. You arrive at an intensive care ward, place the ball in the adversary’s court, because those doctors are part of the State. It is the State that decides whether to keep me alive or not. If I die, I die because of the State.

dpa: How are you able to endure these hunger strikes?

   Fariñas: With a lot of willpower. The greatest strength you can rely on in this world is to believe that your ideals will prevail. No one can crush that.

dpa: What are Cuban prisons like?

Fariñas: I’ll sum it up for you with one phrase: they are graveyards for the living.

Share this:

What's your opinion?

  • DC1945

    What a bullshitter! Cuba is now more democratic than the US ever was. He’s just pissed off that he can’t buy elections like his handlers in Miami. “Dissidents” like Farinas can get nowhere within the Cuban system because, as none other than the former head of the US Interests Section, Jonathan Farrar, wrote to his superiors (thanks WikiLeaks!), they are a bunch of money-grubbing losers who couldn’t elected dog-catchers. (My paraphrasing) They have shown no leadership potential whatsoever. He even conceded that the future leaders of Cuba will likely come not from this tiny handful of “dissidents,” but from middle ranks of the current government!

    If they want to get anywhere in Cuba, these “dissidents” will have do to more than suck up to the international media as Farinas does here. They will have to start playing vital leadership roles in their own communities. And you can’t do that by sitting on your ass writing propaganda pieces for the capitalist and US propaganda media for wads of cash. (The US government has earmarked at least 20 million US Taxpayers’ Dollars every year to support opportunists in Cuba like Farinas.)

    I appreciate that Farinas does not support the US embargo. He would be guilty of high treason otherwise. But he is being disingenuous in the extreme by equating these genocidal trade sanctions to any Cuban government policies. None other than Amnesty International has reported:

    “The US government is acting CONTRARY to the Charter of the United Nations by restricting the direct import of medicine and medical equipment and supplies, and by imposing those restrictions on companies operating in third countries.”

    “The RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY THE EMBARGO help to deprive Cuba of vital access to medicines, new scientific and medical technology, food, chemical water treatment and electricity.”

    “The US embargo against Cuba is IMMORAL and should be lifted. It’s preventing millions of Cubans from benefiting from vital medicines and medical equipment essential for their health.”

    “Amnesty International calls on the US Congress to take, WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY, the necessary steps towards lifting the economic, financial and trade embargo against Cuba.”

    “UN agencies working in Cuba, such as the WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA, continued [as of 2012] to report the negative effects of the US embargo on the health of the population, particularly members of marginalized groups. Access to specific commodities, equipment, medicines and laboratory materials remained scarce as a result of restrictions imposed on the importation of items manufactured by US companies and their subsidiaries or produced under US patents.”

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/002/2009/en/e7b1efe4-27f4-4b2c-9a39-23c88749e39e/amr250022009en.html

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/president-obama-should-take-lead-lifting-embargo-against-cuba-20090902

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/007/2009/en/51469f8b-73f8-47a2-a5bd-f839adf50488/amr250072009eng.pdf

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/cuba/report-2012

  • chrisvogel

    Nice that opponents of Cuba are, for once, going to try non-violence; possibly because the terrorism of the last fifty years didn’t work, neither in Cuba nor in all of the other Latin American nations where the US sponsored and trained and armed and paid for death squads and torture and disappearances.
    Interesting that he should have noticed that prisons are unappealing. He might draw this to the attention of the American people, who imprison more of their fellow citizens, in both absolute numbers and per capita, than any other country on earth. Not the sort of thing you would want to import to Cuba.

  • CUBAQUS

    The Cuban dissidents and nearly all of the opponents of the Castro regime abroad have never resorted to violence. They have been the target of violence from the Cuban regime.
    Violence in the case of the opposition is the rare exception.
    violence, including extra-judicial killings, by the regime is standard.

    • Dan Christensen

      The only death squads in Cuba were those trained and organized by the CIA in the 1950’s to support the Batista regime. There have been no extra-judicial killings since the triumph of the Revolution.

      • CUBAQUS

        You show your ignorance about Cuban history again, Dan Christensen.
        There never were death squads in Cuba under Batista.
        The dictator Batista killed a lot less people than the dictator Fidel Castro.

        The regime is guilty of a series of extra-judicial killings. Amongst them are the people of the 13 de Marzo tugboat and the 4 pilots of the unarmed civilian planes Raul Castro had shot down over international waters,

        But I see you don’t deny that the regime is guilty of violence against those that oppose it.

    • ac

      What are you smoking? A failed invasion in Bay of Pigs, the so called war against bandits, terrorist attacks on ships and civil planes, hijacking of planes and ships, sabotage of economic targets, terrorist attacks at hotels, multiple attempts to kill the president, suspected biological warfare and so on, all were explicit acts of violence carried by the opposition with the support of the US government.

      If thats what you meant by “opponents of the Castro regime abroad have never resorted to violence” I don’t want to see your concept of violent opposition.

      • CUBAQUS

        With the exception of the attacks on a hotel all about half a century ago. and at a time the Castro regime was also involved in similar activities.
        The “biological” warfare is a lie as are many other items you refer to.
        The fact is: it is the Cuban regime that is guilty of acts of violence .

      • Griffin

        The correct quote is “nearly all”.

        The “war against the bandits” is what Castro called his murderous extermination of the rebels in the Escambrey Mountains, many of whom fought with the July 26th Movement against Batista. They took up arms against Castro when he reneged on his promise to hold free multi-party elections.

        The point you are ignoring, and attempting to avoid discussion of, is that Farinas is calling for peaceful opposition to the government.

        By calling up these old historic examples (some true, some not) you are trying to tie Farinas and all other peaceful dissidents to the violent extremist anti-Castro terrorists.

        That is the tired old trick Fidel has used for 54 years: if you aren’t for me, you are with the terrorists. Morally, factually, logically and historically you know that tactic is a lie. Why do you persist in using it? It’s not worthy of you.

        Shall we turn that tactic around and try it on you? By your own comments here, you are very anti-American (even while being yourself an American). While I don’t have any evidence of you personally being involved in any sort of violent or terrorist activity, I do know of other leftist anti-Americans who have (eg. the Weathermen, North Korean agents, ) … Therefore, by your own logic, you are identical to and inextricably tied to all other anti-American Leftests who have ever lived, whether you had any actual contact with them or not.

        Absurd? Of course it is. And so is your attempt to smear Farinas with the terrorist brush.

  • CUBAQUS

    Guillermo Farinas is alkl but a “bullshitter”, Dan Christensen.
    He is a peaceful pro-democracy and human rights activist that has received lots of rewards from various organizations.
    On 20 October 2010 Fariñas was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament.

    Cuba has no democracy whatsoever, Dan Christensen. Even the UN rapporteur came to that conclusion in his report. Cuba is a Stalinist system where the regime controls all aspects of life and the whole electoral process from the selection of local candidates to the nomination of the president. The Cuban people have no free choice.

    See:
    http://www.cubaverdad.net/democracy.htm
    http://www.cubaverdad.net/elections_in_cuba.htm

    From repression and intimidation to “gerrymandering”: all part and parcel of the Cuban repressive system in the case of elections:

    See in this site:

    “Was Sirley Avila Right?, November 13, 2012, http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=82045

    After your usual propaganda rant against the dictatorship you again post your often exposed genocide lie I see.

    Notwithstanding the fact that for over a decade you have been unable to post in any forum whatsoever just a single link to a statement by a respectable organization that would ever have referred to the embargo as genocide you shamelessly continue to try to mislead people by trying to misrepresent the position of Amnesty International. the plain fact is that Amnesty International NEVER claimed the embargo was genocide.

    It is in fact the dictatorship you support that is on Genocide Watch’s list for its crimes. Fidel Castro, in the case of the UMAP, also admitted that he is responsible for the acts of crimes against humanity in these concentration camps.

    See:
    http://genocidewatch.org/genocide/genocidespoliticides.html
    http://www.cubaverdad.net/genocide.htm

    The US was by 2008 Cuba’s largest food supplier. It also is the source of the overwhelming part of the 5 Billion dollars in remittances (goods and cash) that go to Cuba each year.
    Genocide implies an “intent to kill”. Sending food and cash is a strange way to kill people.

    On medicines see:
    “The U.S. says it approved $142 million in commercial and donated
    medical exports to the communist island in 2008. So why did less than 1
    percent of it get there?”

    “It’s not the embargo,” said John Kavulich, a senior policy adviser at the New York-based U.S.-Cuba Economic Trade Council, which provides nonpartisan commercial and economic information about Cuba. “These are economic and political decisions not to buy.” Cuba often waits for allies to donate what it needs, Kavulich said. “They’d rather get things for free than pay for them.”

    “It’s unclear why U.S. medical exports aren’t reaching Cuba”, Dallas Morning News, 5 December 2009.

    • Dan Christensen

      As you know, the report by this “UN rapporteur” of yours was rejected by the UN body that commissioned it, and he was immediately sacked. Even they seemed to know a political hack job when they saw one.

      Cuban voters actually have more choice than US voters. Unlike the case in the US, candidates are NOT nominated by distant, money-hungry political machines. In Cuba, the nomination process is strictly a grassroots affair. Candidates for local assemblies are nominated in open, public meetings in each neighbourhood. The local assemblies, in turn, nominate the candidates for the National Assembly (including both Fidel and Raul), with the Cuban voter having the ultimate veto. In national elections, they have the option of rejecting every candidate on the ballot and calling for an entirely new slate of candidates– real power that US voters can only dream of.

      Also unlike the case in the US, all Cubans, regardless of their economic circumstances have the equal right, and, more importantly, the equal opportunity to run for and win any public office. It costs nothing to run even for the office of President.

      As for your often repeated lies and rationalizations for what amounts to genocide, Amnesty International reports that the abuse continues to this day (as of their 2012 report — see above). And for 20 years in row now, the UN General Assembly, has voted overwhelmingly to condemn your beloved embargo. Not even your closest allies can support these cruel and inhumane sanctions of yours. Doesn’t that tell you anything?

      I will pose the question to you again, Paul: What if it was Germany inflicting sanctions on Belgium that deprived you and your family of vital access to medicines, new scientific and medical technology, food, chemical water treatment and electricity for half a century? Would that be genocide? Or would it be a legitimate tool of foreign policy that would be no one else’s business? (Don’t hold your breath, folks! Paul, here, would rather die than give a straight answer to that one.)

    • Dan Christensen

      Cuba is now more democratic than the US ever was. See previous article here at: http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=92817

      As you know, the report of your “UN rapporteur” was rejected and he was immediately sacked by the UN body that commissioned it.

      According to Amnesty International, the US regime is still, as of their 2012 report, restricting the sales of medicines, etc. to Cuba.

      On whether your beloved embargo is genocide, suppose some superpower was inflicting sanctions on your own country depriving you and your family of vital access to medicines, new scientific and medical technology, food, chemical water treatment and electricity. Would that be genocide or not? How about a straight answer for once, Paul?

      As for GW’s outrageous claims, no one takes that silly little table at their website seriously. (The sum-total of their “work” on Cuba is an unattributed, unsourced one-liner in this silly little table at their website.) More mainstream groups like Amnesty International and the UN have never supported GW’s outrageous claims. What they WILL support, however, is the fact that, “The RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY THE EMBARGO help to deprive Cuba of vital access to medicines, new scientific and medical technology, food, chemical water treatment and electricity.” So, it seems the only genocide here is in fact your beloved embargo.

      • CUBAQUS

        As shown: Cuba isn’t democratic at all.
        Linking to your own past lies in a comment to an article will not save you, Dan Christensen.

        There is no freedom of speech in Cuba and without that there can be no democracy. The whole “electoral” process is so controlled at the stage of the “selection” of the candidates that the elections are a sham.

        The UN’s assessment of the so called elections is correct:
        “the electoral process is so tightly controlled that the final phase, the voting itself, could be dispensed with without the final result being substantially affected”
        See: E/CN.4/1998/69

        In spite of your desperate attempts to misquote Amnesty International again, Dan Christensen, the fact remains that amnesty International has NEVER called the sanctions “genocide” and also no other respectable international organization has ever done so.
        There are just your lies and misrepresentation of the message of Amnesty International, an organization whose recommendations on Cuba you all reject.

        The US has clearly no “intent to kill” anyone and isn’t in fact killing people in Cuba. the regime is. The convention therefore applies to the regime and not the USA that – in spite of economic sanctions and being brought to the brink of nuclear war by the Castro regime – sells food and medicines to Cuba. It was by 2008 Cuba’s biggest food supplier. Any medicines and food that don’t get to Cuba are to be blamed on the regime and its inability to provide for the Cuban people after destroying the economy and the agriculture.

        As far as your dogmatically inspired pathetic attacks on the respected international organization “Genocide Watch” go: they just show how desperate you are, Dan Christensen. Their record and membership speaks for itself.
        “Genocide Watch is the Coordinator of the International Alliance to End Genocide”
        http://www.genocidewatch.org/aboutus/missionstatement.html

        • Dan Christensen

          For a small island national besieged for a half century by a genocidal superpower, there is ample opportunity for well-meaning people with legitimate concerns to express themselves. (See my comments at http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=92817)

          Your “UN assessment” is nothing of the sort. It is the work of a single man. His final report was rejected and he was sacked by the same the same UN body that commissioned it. The matter went no further.

          On the genocidal nature of your beloved embargo, you remain as evasive as ever, Paul. Never mind your endlessly repeated lies and rationalizations — just answer the question: Suppose some superpower was inflicting sanctions on your own country depriving you and your family of vital access to medicines, new scientific and medical technology, food, chemical water treatment and electricity. Would that be genocide or not, Paul?

          Whatever good works GW may have done, that silly little table entry on Cuba is not one of them. No one outside your tiny circle of fanatical Cuba haters takes it seriously.your endless, dogmatic rants.

          • CUBAQUS

            Still repeating the same lies over and over again I see, Dan Christensen.

            Linking to your past lies won’t save you either. It just shows you have nothing to back up your current lies than you past lies.

            You can’t refute in any way that there is no intent to kill anyone on the part of the US. That also explains why you can’t post any link to a respectable international organization referring to the trade sanctions as genocide.
            you are just posting your desperate lies over and over again.

            As far as the elections in Cuba go: there is the UN assessment still on record however hard you try to claim it isn’t.

            Here is the link:
            http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/TestFrame/e5cd0d891d0d6566c125661300495d69?Opendocument

            Your pathetic attempts to deny the UN assessment – by a Scandinavian diplomat as well – and your pathetic attacks on Genocide Watch just show you know you are cornered.
            Fine by me.

  • CompayLibre

    If Cuba would pay it would have all the medicines it needs, Dan Christensen.
    It is not the embargo, stupid. It is the lack of funds because the regime destroyed the economy with its Stalinist planned economy.

    Even the Chinese stop deliveries due to non-payment::
    “lunes, 20 de mayo de 2013
    Enfermas sin tratamiento porque Estado no paga el medicamento a China”
    http://www.cihpress.com/2013/05/enfermas-sin-tratamiento-porque-estado.html

    • DC1945

      Again, no one is buying into your lies and rationalizations — not groups like Amnesty International, not even your closest allies at the UN. Deal with it.

  • Griffin

    First of all, Fariñas is not an opponent of Cuba. He is an opponent of the Castro regime. Cuba is not the regime and the regime has no right to claim it represents Cuba.

    Secondly, there have been many opponents of the Castro’s who advocated non-violent opposition to the regime, including Oswaldo Paya, Laura Pollan and Wilmar Villar Mendoza all advocated peaceful political change. Sadly, all three are dead. Paya in a questionable car accident, Pollan of an infection acquired shortly after she was arrested and Villar of a hunger strike.

    You would do better to call for non-violence from the regime.

  • CUBAQUS

    An interesting article that just came out:
    – 69% of Cubans fear to express themselves freely
    – 64% want direct elections for the president

    More than half of he Cuban people (53%) called the regime repressive and 20% declined a reply on the question.

    Cuba is ne democracy, Dan Christensen. There is no freedom of speech.

    “El 69% de los cubanos teme represalias por expresarse libremente”
    http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1369330653_3402.html

    • Dan Christensen

      A “poll” by the International Republican Institute???? You mean the same pathological liars that recently brought us the illegal war in Iraq based on lies, lies and more lies, as well as the biggest financial frauds the world has ever seen? Get real!

      In a secret ballot in national elections this year, the overwhelming majority (approx. 85%) of Cuban voters expressed their support for all of the revolutionary candidates. Much to your chagrin, in Cuba, the majority really does rule. I guess that’s why you believe genocidal trade sanctions are The Only Solution.

      • CUBAQUS

        A poll – one in a series of polls – that have been accepted and welcomed by lots of Cuba experts, Dan Christensen.
        A poll that confirms what lots of people with family ties and friends in Cuba immediately recognize.

        As far as the “elections” in Cuba goes: the UN already stated the polls are meaningless and attendance is enforced though the repressive system starting with the CDR. Cubans go through the motions to avoid problems, but everyone knows the outcome is fixed from the beginning.

        Under Cuba’s Stalinist system the so-called “elections” are as valid or representative as in North Korea or in the former Eastern block.

        • Dan Christensen

          The vote in Cuba is by secret ballot. In general elections, no one knows how an individual voted. And any resident of an electoral district is allowed to witness the counting of ballots there.

          In voting in much of the old Soviet Union (including the Moscow area), it would have been obvious to everyone at the polling station present how you voted. It wasn’t a secret ballot.

          In the Cuban elections of 2008, which were much more widely covered than in other years in the international media with the recent retirement of Fidel, there was not a hint from any quarter, not even in the rabidly anti-Cuban Miami media, that is was anything but a clean vote. Likewise, there was no such suggestion about the elections this year.

          • CUBAQUS

            As the UN has said; the ballot in Cuba is irrelevant.
            “the electoral process is so tightly controlled that the final phase, the voting itself, could be dispensed with without the final result being substantially affected”
            See: E/CN.4/1998/69
            http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/TestFrame/e5cd0d891d0d6566c125661300495d69?Opendocument

            Rejecting “candidates” won’t solve anything as any new “candidate” again will be selected in a government controlled system that leaves no options to the people.

            The Cuban repressive system does not allow anyone opposing the regime to stand.

            The CDR controls all aspects at the mocal level.

            From then on the government controlled “representative organizations” and electoral commissions control everything.

            More on the CDR:
            http://cubacdr.impela.net/
            More on “elections” in Cuba:
            http://www.cubaverdad.net/elections_in_cuba.htm

  • chrisvogel

    I guess neither reality nor honesty are your long suit, which explains why you use a false identity. Batista’s squads and the SIM and the regular military and the police tortured and murdered thousands, and did so indiscriminately as a means of intimidation. The same is true of Machado. The revolution happened for a reason or, in this case, ten million reasons. And Cuban exile community in Miami kept up their favourite activities, bombing and murdering everyone who disagreed with them, until those turned out to be their own children.

    • CUBAQUS

      There were no death squads in Cuba. There was an ongoing civil war with violence on both sides. Yes the police of the dictator Batista killed people like Frank Pais after Raul Castro’s wife betrayed him to them (Vilma Espin).

      But there were no “death squads”.

      While the dictator Batista – supported by the communist until late 1958 – killed hundreds of people. Fidel Castro killed thousands. Estimates go up to 141,000 whose deaths are due to the Castro regime.

      http://www.cubaverdad.net/genocide.htm
      http://www.cubaverdad.net/revolution.htm

      • Dan Christensen

        Still in denial, I see. You are looking more ridiculous by the hour, Paul. Now, Batista was a communist??? I guess that’s why he fled to Moscow when Fidel and boys rolled into Havana. (HA, HA, HA!)

        • Griffin

          Dan,

          It is perfectly well documented how the Cuban Communist Party and the unions they controlled supported Batista. Even Fidel wrote about that and it’s one of the reasons why he didn’t trust the Communist Party.

  • Dan Christensen

    Still in denial even after all these years, eh, Paul? No death squads in Batista’s Cuba? By your dismissing of these atrocities like this, it is easy to imagine the reign of terror you would unleash on the Cuban people if you and your ilk ever had the chance again!

    Also, there has never been any credible evidence that the regrettable sinking of the “13 de Marzo” was anything other than a hijacking gone tragically wrong. The immediate reaction of the Cuban government was to cease to intercept any boats leaving Cuba — an odd to way to make an “example” of anyone, wouldn’t you say? Needless to say, the US regime went “ballistic!”

    As for the shooting down of the BTTR planes, credible testimony at the Miami spy trials by a retired US air-defense expert supported the Cuban position that these aircraft had military markings, appeared to be of the same type of aircraft used in Vietnam on similar US psyop misions, and that they were actually shot down in Cuban airspace.

    • CUBAQUS

      Still suffering from delusions, aren’t you Dan Christensen. Your paranoia in calling everyone that ridicules you by the same name is rather funny in a way.
      It shows what a paranoid little man you are.

      On the tugboat “13 de marzo” men, women and children were killed on purpose as the survives have testified. An act of extra-judicial killing.

      No “hijacking” gone wrong. People trying to leave in a boat. If the regime had allowed them to leave there would have been no deaths. The regime sank the boat by ramming it a number of times and even prevented some people from saving themselves. The testimonies of the victims stand and the regime never allowed an independent investigation. It even attacked people that tried to remember the dead.

      The UN and international organizations have concluded the Brothers to the rescue planes were:
      – unarmed civilian planes and easy to identify as such (no military type planes)
      – had not entered Cuban airspace
      – were over international waters when shot down
      – were fleeing away from Cuba at the time
      – did not pose any threat to Cuba

      It was another documented case of extra-judicial killing and rightly condemned as such by the UN and human rights organizations. Your lies won’t change facts, Dan Christensen.

      Read up on more victims of Castro at the Cuba Archive:
      http://cubaarchive.org/home/

      • Dan Christensen

        At the time of the sinking of the “13 de Marzo,” 20,000 Cubans were emigrating legally every year. I see you would also rather not address the fact that the immediate reaction of the Cuban government was to cease intercepting any boats leaving Cuba. Doesn’t exactly fit your all too transparent propaganda agenda, does it?

        Expert testimony years later at the Miami “spy” trials confirmed that US authorities withheld vital information in the case of the BTTR shoot-down. At the time of shoot-down, even the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) itself pointedly refused to endorse its own report on the matter!

        To my knowledge, your Cuba “Archive” is not widely cited in any serious research. Although it has been around for over a decade, I don’t see even a single reference to it at either the Amnesty International or the US-based Human Rights Watch websites. What does that tell you?

        BTW, you can change your handle as often as you like, Paul, but after all these years, I think I would know your repetitive, inarticulate, dishonest and desperately dogmatic writing style anywhere. You are truly, ummm… unique in the world. ;^)

        • CUBAQUS

          Millions of Cubans have left Cuba since Castro seized power, Dan Christensen.

          Most illegally.

          Even after the recent changes Cubans are not free to leave Cuba. The “carta blanca” exit visa has been replaced by the “carta azul” passport.
          The regime still has a law against “illegal exit” on the books which it still enforces:
          http://salidailegal.impela.net/
          Nobody on the “13 de marzo” would have dies if the regime hadn’t rammed to boat to sink it.
          The same holds for the 4 pilots: the UN and international organizations all have condemned the killing of these 4 men as an extra-judicial killing. Unlawful under any law.
          However hard you try to misle&ad people with your lies, you won’t change the facts.

          All you are about is repetitive propaganda and cheap tricks.

          I just post facts.

        • CompayLibre

          The testimony of a child on the “13 de marzo” that exposes your lies, Dan Christensen:

          “It began on the fateful day of July 13, 1994, as we embarked on the 13 de Marzo tugboat at about 2 a.m. About 13 miles off the coast of Cuba, we were suddenly attacked by three Cuban tugboats. They rammed us.
          Pressure hoses, normally used to put out fires at sea, were used
          against us. Their impact was so powerful that children were swept to
          sea from their parents’ protective embrace.

          Those on the tugboats shouted insults over loudspeakers. In a frenzy, they crashed into the ship, damaging the hull, which caused the tugboat to take in water rapidly. Within minutes, the ship sank. People were screaming and begging to be rescued, but those on the tugboats showed no pity. They circled us and made whirlpools in the water, causing men, women and children to be lost forever in a black sea of despair.”

          “ESCAPE FROM CUB
          `Our only luggage was hope’
          BY SERGIO PERODIN JR.”
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaVerdad/message/15952

          • Dan Christensen

            CL wrote: “They circled us and made whirlpools in the water, causing men, women and children to be lost forever in a black sea of despair.”

            Pure bullshit. And physically impossible.

            Whatever it takes, I guess. Maybe someone will believe it.

            And still no proof that this was anything other than a hijacking gone tragically wrong — no proof of any kind high-level conspiracy to make an “example” of these hijackers.

      • Dan Christensen
        • CUBAQUS

          Referring to your own lying propaganda website to support your lies here just shows you have nbo real arguments, Dan Christensen.

          This site gives links to Amnesty International and the victims testimonies:
          http://www.cubaverdad.net/13_de_marzo.htm

          They expose your lies.

  • CUBAQUS

    The one posting “lies and rationalization” here – over and over again – are you, Dan Christensen.
    Compay posted facts. Facts that expose your propaganda lies.

  • CompayLibre

    Thanks for confirming you can not refute the facts and are reduced to your usual evasive crap.
    The fact that Cuba can’t pay for imports is widely known and confirmed by lots of organizations.
    Don’t blame the embargo in your despair, Dan Christensen.
    Blame those that destroyed Cuba: the Castro elite.

    • DC1945

      Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I presume?

  • Dan Christensen

    It is interesting that Farina did not mention his last hunger strike. It was NOT, as he said here, over these 26 political prisons. It was in apparent frustration over the wheels coming off his campaign to pin responsibility for the death of dissident, Juan Soto, on Cuban authorities. He and his pals were caught in one lie after another. Then the Soto’s family came out with the truth in the Cuban media — he died of natural causes. The capitalist media deserted their darling Farina in droves. In the their eyes, I’m not sure that the Cuban “dissident” movement ever quite recovered from those revelations. Gone were days when the utterances of anyone called themselves a “dissident” in Cuba was reported in the capitalist media without question as some kind of Revealed Truth.

  • Dan Christensen

    Sadly, for you, even the normally docile and unquestioning capitalist media realized that they had been lied to all along by Farinas and Company.

    It must have a been rude awakening for them. Even the Miami Herald lamented that the fact that “International reactions to Soto’s death on Sunday appear more muted so far, apparently because of [ahem…] the conflicting versions of the beating.” (May 5, 2011). Farinas and his “dissident” pals just couldn’t seem to get their story straight!

    Shortly after the revelations in the Cuban media by Soto’s family, the foreign press pretty much dropped the story like the proverbial hot potato (my observation of coverage on Google News). Juan Soto, already in poor health, had apparently died of nature causes. Everyone — except for maybe you and a few of your wacky friends, Paul — abruptly come to that realization.

    Not used to being ignored by the capitalist media, and to “protest” this unfavourable turn of events, Farinas went on another of his famous “hunger-strikes.” Unlike his previous “hunger-strike,” however, the foreign media largely ignored this one — like the old fable of the boy who cried wolf.

  • Dan Christensen

    A link to the original AI report can also be found at the link I provided. It even leads off with a sizable quote from the AI report.

  • Dan Christensen

    Thanks for confirming that not even you, Paul, can deny that this “report” of yours was rejected and the author sacked by UN body that commissioned it.They knew a political motivated hatchet job when they saw one.

    Evasive as ever, I see you are still refusing to answer that one simple question about what is or isn’t genocide. Can’t blame you really. You seem to know all too well that you would be finished here if you answered the question truthfully. No decent person would hesitate to answer. You on the other hand…..

  • Griffin

    I think what you mean is “Dan doesn’t believe in facts.”

  • Dan Christensen

    As we have already seen here, your “UN assessment” is nothing of the sort. That is just another of your lies, Paul.

    Again, if your “dissident” pals want to get elected, they will have to stop fighting among themselves and constantly grubbing for money. (See Jonathan Farrar’s top secret report posted by WikiLeaks.) They will actually have to start showing some real leadership in their respective communities.

    Almost every adult in Cuba is a member of their local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR). Political organizations at the street and neighbourhood level, they are the first line of defense against US aggression and other criminal activity. In addition to a neighbourhood watches, they also organize things like blood donations, educational programs, and social and cultural events. No wonder you hate them!

    The leadership of the CDR is democratically elected from among the residents of each neighbourhood. And much to your chagrin, in every election at every level, the overwhelming majority of Cubans have always shown their support for the Revolution and its institutions (from the national government on down to their local CDR). Must be frustrating as hell for you. I guess that’s why you believe so strongly that genocidal trade sanctions are the only solution. Whatever it takes, right, Paul?

  • Dan Christensen

    Some background on the CDR’s from a Cuban source:

    Committees for the Defense of the Revolution

    The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) were founded on September 28, 1960, on the initiative of Fidel Castro, the leader of the Revolution. Taken together, they constitute the largest mass organization in Cuba and almost eight million Cubans, the vast majority of the population over 14 years of age, belong to them.

    Their origins are intimately linked to the U.S. government’s aggressive policies ever since the revolutionary victory on January 1, 1959. They arose out of the need to unite the people in defense of the Revolution.

    Their primary organizational structure is in each neighborhood, where the neighbors get together and form their defense committee. Revolutionary vigilance was the main initial task, but other important ones were added gradually, like organizing blood donations, vaccination campaigns, neighborhood cleanup and beautification, collection of recyclable materials and environmental protection. All of this is done with the chief aim of safeguarding the citizenry and protecting community property. More recently, the difficult economic situation brought about the need for the creation of collective gardens for the cultivation of produce and medicinal plants, as well as aquiculture.

    This mass organization prioritizes the ideological orientation of its members through the study and debate of documents dealing with the most important national and international topics, as well as those related to sex education, social matters and children’s education. It also organizes neighborhood debates so that people can learn more about new laws or any important national event. It also carries out cultural, sports and recreational activities for children and reinforces the relationship between the schools and the community.

    There are nearly 122,000 defense committees in the country and each of them is directed by a group of neighbors nominated and elected in democratic community meetings.

    The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution are non-governmental organizations that finance their own activities through annual dues paid by their members.

    Original link at:
    http://www.cubaminrex.cu/English/Look_Cuba/Society/society_Social%20Organizations.htm

    • Griffin

      Participation with the CDRs is mandatory. They form the central element of the Cuban totalitarian system, spying and controlling the people at the most local level.

      • Dan Christensen

        US agents and other criminals may well feel “persecuted” by the majority of their neighbours who actively support their CDR. Without the CDR’s and constant vigilance, the US would have crushed the Revolution 50 years ago with endless acts of terror, subversion and sabotage. No wonder you hate them.

        • CUBAQUS

          Cuba dissidents are no “US agents” and certainly no criminals, Dan Christensen.
          They are people defending human rights for Cubans that are sanctioned by the Castro regime for their opposition using these repressive laws:

          “Repressive Laws in Cuba.”
          http://www.cubaverdad.net/repressive_laws.htm

          The CDR are just part of the Castro repressive system. They are informants of the regime, as you yourself have confirmed.

          • CubaFAQ

            The genocidal US regime is bankrolling these “dissidents” to the tune of at least 20 Million US Taxpayers’ Dollars every year. I think that makes them US agents.

          • CUBAQUS

            Three different names used to post in one day. That must be a record, Dan Christensen.
            There is no “genocidal US regime”, Dan Christensen.
            Those are just your endlessly repeated lies.
            It is the Castro regime that is on Genocide Watch’s list.

      • CompayLibre

        The CDR and its active members also referred to as chivatos (informers) are the front line of repression in Cuba.
        Membership is almost by blackmail. Not being a member means your children can’t get an education and you won’t get a job.
        To enter medical school a letter of reference of the CDR is required. To get a job a similar letter is required.
        This places a lot of power in the hands of the presidents of the CDR that often are corrupt as hell and require payments.

        That is what the regime is all about.

        On the CDR and corruption you can find lots of data here:
        http://cubacorrupcion.impela.net/?s=CDR

        A more complete archive on the CDR:
        http://cubacdr.impela.net/

        This article was first printed in International Socialism Journal 2:20
        (Autumn 1983), pp.135-44. International Socialism Journal is a quarterly
        journal of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP-Britain).

        Transcribed and marked up by Jørn Andersen for Marxisme Online, 1998.

        The membership of the CDRs – running to several millions – is
        certainly impressively large, but why exactly do ordinary workers
        participate in them?

        Are they signs of Cuba being a qualitatively different society from
        our own in the West? All the indicators point to a rather more mundane
        explanation.

        A recent article, for instance, argues that ‘…there is no way not
        to belong. or else you are really asking not to get anywhere in life’,
        and points to the fact that it is virtually impossible to get an
        apartment, a better job – or even a refrigerator – without being a CDR
        member. What is more this influence is very pervasive, extending to all
        areas of life.

        For instance:
        … the most popular TV programme in Cuba, Parabailar (for Dancing) which is a dance contest, requires that in order to participate you must participate in voluntary labor and belong at least to the CDR, or other
        so-called mass organizations, or the Communist Youth. [9]

        Perhaps, under these circumstances, the wonder is that only 50% of the population are members of the CDR.

        With a leadership appointed through the central bureaucracy of the Communist Party and with no powers to formulate policies, the CDRs certainly cannot,
        by any stretch of the imagination, be seen as anything other than bodies – mass bodies certainly – for the incorporation of the working class and of its subordination to the regime.

        See :
        http://www.marxists.de/statecap/cuba/83-cupop.htm

        The CDRs are a nationwide network of neighborhood block associations which act as appendages of theUrban CDR in Cuba state security apparatus, operating as its eyes and ears on a daily basis. The CDRs were founded in 1960 as a defense against violent counterrevolution and developed into a ubiquitous mechanism of social and political control. The CDR system, like all mass organizations in Cuba, is organized like a pyramid. There is a national directorate headed by a national coordinator. At the next level are the fourteen CDR provincial committees, and beneath those are regional, municipal and zone committees. The zone CDRs oversee the individual block committees.41

        CDR members spy on their neighbors and, in turn, urge them to spy on others and fill out “Opinion Collection Forms” about what they hear their neighbors and colleagues saying during the course of daily life, particularly their political opinions. The completed forms are then passed on by the CDRs to the police and MININT. The CDRs also rely on networks of chivatos, “stool pigeons,” to gather information on people’s behavior.42 The CDRs operate in conjunction and overlap with the CTC, the UJC, the FMC, and the FEU, which perform the same functions in the workplace and in the schools. The failure to report criminal activity, including political “crimes,” is itself considered a crime punishable under Cuban law.43 In assessing the penetration of the state into daily life, one young man said to the delegation from Pax Christi Netherlands, “I can’t even trust my friends.”44

        Another organization whose purposes include social and political control is the Territorial Troop Militia (MTT). The MTT was established in 1980 under the direction of the PCC and in 1992 had an estimated 1.5 million people under paramilitary discipline.45 The stated purpose of the MTT was to defend against foreign invasion, but the MTT is foremost a political instrument for mobilizing a discontented populace, intensifying political indoctrination and reinforcing a garrison state mentality.46

        In sum, there is no official organization that is not geared to combat and root out dissent and disaffection with the political system. State Security, the array of PCC-controlled mass organizations and the MTT comprise an integrated system of organized surveillance and informing on a massive scale.

        Cuba’s severe economic problems since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc appear to haveCDR in rural Cuba undercut the effectiveness of the CDRs to some extent, particularly in terms of their ability to mobilize great numbers of people for PCC gatherings and activities, another of their prescribed functions. However, during a ten-day trip to Cuba in the spring of 1995 by this writer, most ordinary Cubans in Havana and the provincial cities of Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara and Matanzas reported that they remained intensely wary of CDR surveillance, even while conversing in their own homes.47 The delegation from Pax Christi Netherlands, which visited Cuba from July 15 to August 4, 1995, concluded:

        Fear is the basic instrument of political control. The information at the State Security’s disposal can be used to threaten and intimidate anybody, including those who oppose the regime, to force them to go along with the established ideology…There is no place to escape the tentacles of the State. The distrust is unbearable.48

        Pax Christi Netherlands believes, based on both official and dissident sources in Cuba, that there are currently about 80,000 CDRs.49 That means that with a population of a little more than 11 million, Cuba has approximately one CDR for every 140 people.

        See: http://www.worldpolicy.org

    • Read this article on this site about the CDR, Dan Christensen.
      Nobody is buying your lies.

      “Pitching in My Two Cents for Cuba’s CDR Congress”
      http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=93703