Maggie Alarcón

Archive for the ‘Press’ Category

Lo que no cuentan

In CAFE, CENESEX, Politics, Press on April 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

La misoginia (del griego μισογυνία; ‘odio a la mujer’)

Del grupo Tod@s Contra la Violencia nos ha llegado este testimonio que resulta oportuno divulgar en momentos donde la prensa en Miami, se hace eco de hechos que pueden ser inexactos, sobre todo si no se tienen todos los datos. Angel Santiesteban, si bien es un escritor con cierto grado de reconocimiento nacional e internacional, no está detenido por sus posturas políticas ni por las cosas que escribe. Está detenido por un motivo que va más allá de la creación artística y la filosofía. 

Hablan los medios sobre injusticias cometidas contra el reo en prisión, de ser cierto, por supuesto que es condenable, pero aun están por comprobar. Lo cierto es que su alegato no tiene nada que ver con la calaña de la persona de la que se habla. Este señor merece mucho más que la condena minima que le han impuesto.

Lo peor en el caso de Santiesteban es que insiste en encubrir una personalidad diabólica y sádica tras un velo de “pobre mártir incomprendido y reprimido.”  Si bien es cierto que lo peor de sus actos no ha sido el motivo por el cual se encuentra en la cárcel hoy, no es menos cierto que ha cometido un sin fin de actos antisociales, y que cada uno es penado por la ley.

Este señor se encuentra en la cárcel por  haber cometido delitos, varios, y ninguno tiene que ver con una agenda politica. Es triste que no lo esté por haber cometido otros. La violencia contra una mujer, la  madre de un hijo, la suya propia, una hija o cualquiera es un hecho condenable.

En su caso, los actos más violentos, no se limitan a allanamiento de morada, incendio provocado, ni a robo ni a tráfico ilícito de bienes mal habidos.

No.

Lamentablemente la violación, los atropellos verbales y físicos y la coersión, al parecer prescriben dentro de la ley.

Que agradezca Santiestaban que solo le ha tocado cumplir cuatro años de privación de libertad. Debería aprovechar  el tiempo que tendrá para meditar sobres sus actos y buscar ayuda, porque un hombre que se comporta como lo ha hecho él, y que hoy intenta escudarse tras el traje del creador incomprendido y atosigado, solo sirve para poner en evidencia lo misógino y cobarde que verdaderamente es. 

A continuación  la declaración de una testigo de la historia, la verdadera, la que no quieren contar.

Yo, la testigo

Decido exponer a la luz, mi versión de los traumáticos eventos de los cuales fue víctima mi amiga y compañera de estudios, Kenia, ex esposa de Angel Santiesteban. Me asiste mi condición de “refugiante” de ella y de su hijo durante medio año, y de testigo de los intentos que, en el pasado y hoy, se llevan a cabo para disminuir la culpabilidad del agresor. Para salvaguardar la privacidad de la víctima, no considero oportuno mostrar imágenes de su rostro. Por gratitud, celebro la solidaridad y apoyo que recibimos de muchos y de muchas, y sin ánimo de entablar polémicas (que a ningún sitio útil conllevarán), pero siendo necesaria mi declaración para quienes aún no cuentan con suficientes evidencias, a continuación expondré la secuencia de los hechos de los cuales soy testigo. Con toda intención, no estableceré valoraciones sobre la postura ideológica de Santiesteban, que él tanto se esforzó en mostrar, y que muchos enarbolan hoy, con el objetivo de distorsionar la real magnitud de su violencia, único motivo por el que ha sido condenado en la actualidad.

 28 de julio del 2009: A las 7.00 de la noche, recibo una llamada de mi amiga desde el hospital Fajardo, quien me pide ayuda, ya que se encontraba golpeada y sin ningún apoyo. Me expresó textualmente: “Ayúdame, porque Santiesteban me cayó a golpes”. Acudí al Cuerpo de Guardia de dicho Hospital, y la encontré agazapada tras una silla, golpeada en el rostro, sobre todo en ambos oídos. Constaté marcas rojas en sus muñecas y en sus tobillos. El médico de guardia, nos orienta que se requiere de un oficial de la policía para llevar a cabo el examen médico. Nos dirigimos ambas a la Estación de Policía de Zapata y C, de donde regresamos al Hospital Fajardo, acompañadas por un miembro de la PNR.

Ya con el certificado de lesiones, volvemos a la misma Estación de Policía, donde al cabo de varias horas, los oficiales escuchan por primera vez la versión de los hechos por boca de la agredida. Ella refirió haber sido amarrada, amordazada, golpeada y violada por Santiesteban, a lo cual le señalan que por la agresión sexual, al violador podrían imponerle una sanción que oscilaba entre 20 y 25 años de privación de libertad. Ante esta información, mi amiga expresó “no quiero que mi hijo pase tanto tiempo sin ver a su padre”, por lo cual decide no denunciar la agresión sexual. Señalo que no fue conducida (como debe ser) a Medicina Legal, por lo que no se practicó examen ginecológico. La acusación del resto de los daños se realiza en horas de la madrugada del 29 de julio.

 Resulta muy significativo que mientras nosotras esperábamos para hacer la denuncia en la Estación de Zapata y C, se apareció de pronto Iris Cano, amiga de Santiesteban. Me dijo a mí personalmente que él la había llamado expresándole “Se me fue la mano con Kenia, ve a ver cómo está ella”. Iris nos acompañó cuando salimos de la Estación, y juntas las tres, con un oficial de la Policía, nos dirigimos al apartamento alquilado por mi amiga. Me pregunto ¿si Santiesteban fuera inocente para qué enviaría a su amiga esa noche?

 Un mes más tarde, el 30 de agosto del 2009, encontrándose mi amiga en la residencia de su madre en las afueras de La Habana, a las 6.00 am se aparecen en mi casa el dueño del apartamento que mi amiga alquilaba, y su vecino Alexis Quintana, quienes me comunican textualmente: “le prendieron candela al apartamento”. ¿QUIÉN? Pregunté yo, a lo cual me responde Alexis Quintana: “el padre del hijo de Kenia”. ¿Y CÓMO LO SABES? Pregunté yo. Su respuesta fue: “porque en la tarde de ayer Santiesteban me pidió que fuera al apartamento a ver si ella estaba, y me dijo LE VOY A DAR CANDELA A LAS COSAS DE ESA PUTA”. Asimismo, Alexis Quintana me contó que había ido por su propia voluntad a la Estación de Policía de 21 y C, para advertir lo que podía suceder ante la amenaza de Angel Santiesteban. El oficial Noriega de dicha Estación, fue el responsable de recibir la advertencia, aunque más tarde reconoció en mi presencia, que no le había dado la importancia a la declaración del citado Alexis, que luego se supo que merecía.

 La ex esposa y el hijo de Santiesteban encuentran refugio en mi casa durante 6 meses, al quedarse ambos sin vivienda, y con la necesidad de mantener al niño en la escuela. El apartamento que alquilaban, y que resultó dañado por las llamas, mostraba intenso olor a gasolina. Señalo con énfasis este dato porque casi un año después de dicho incendio, en julio del año 2010, el mismo testigo ya mencionado : Alexis Quintana, acudió a mi casa y nos comunicó a mí y mi familia lo siguiente:

 Que Angel Santiesteban se había presentado en su casa el día 23 de julio, con el objetivo de sobornarlo y amenazarlo para que alterara su declaración original. Nos contó que fue obligado a leer un documento mientras era filmado, donde se decía que: Kenia mantenía relaciones amorosas con un policía; que ella le había ofrecido a cambio de su testimonio una salida ilegal del país; así como que el mal estado de las instalaciones eléctricas del edificio, era la causa del incendio ocurrido un año antes.

 Enfatizo que este hecho de manipulación brutal, y de material fílmico obtenido bajo coacción (que circula en estos momentos en varias páginas de Internet), fue denunciado oportunamente en la Unidad de Policía de Zapata y C.

Para mayor objetividad, ofrezco el No de la denuncia: 05050; la fecha: 25 de julio del 2010, y el nombre del oficial que la recepcionó: Subteniente de Carpeta Lázaro Yenier Paz Turro.

Como es evidente, existen sobrados elementos que demuestran la culpabilidad de Santiesteban, cuyo enjuiciamiento fue dolorosamente retardado, y ahora irresponsablemente cuestionado. Lejos de abogar por su liberación, cabe preguntarse por qué se dilató su detención, por qué no se recolectaron más evidencias, por qué se mantuvo durante tres años sin apoyo suficiente por parte de las instituciones pertinentes (que se supone protejan los derechos de la mujer), a esta víctima y a su hijo, que aún permanecen sin techo propio y estable.

Leticia Pérez.

President Hugo Chavez, a Non-MSM Primer

In Politics, Press, Social Justice, US on January 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm

 

By Vivien Lesnik Weisman

 

Originally published in the Huffington Post

In order to understand the media coverage of the situation in Venezuela one must look at the antecedents. It is instructive to revisit this NYTeditorial on the occasion of the 2002 coup.

April 13, 2002 “Hugo Chavez Departs”
With yesterday’s resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader, Pedro Carmona.

 

The U.S. quickly recognized the coup leaders as the legitimate government of Venezuela in spite of the fact that their first acts where to dissolve the legislature and judiciary and suspend the Constitution. After all, the perpetrator of the coup was not a charismatic self-proclaimed socialist mestizo but a “respected business leader” who was also not incidentally of European extraction and a member of the ruling oligarchy. The constitution in question had recently been created by a Constitutional Assembly which the people had called for with a 92 percent mandate and ratified by popular referendum with 71.8 percent of the vote; not exactly an undemocratic document.

Leaving aside the substantial evidence that the coup was U.S. hatched with ample evidence hereand here, what crimes did the democratically elected president of Venezuela commit to deserve such a description and the ire of the U.S.?

Well for one, Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, Saudi Arabia has the second and it is the fourth most important U.S. supplier. Yes, largest reserves in the world. And Venezuela is not far away in the Middle East, but in our hemisphere, in what has traditionally been considered our “sphere of influence” (read: with a government and an oligarchy that puts the interests of the United States and the U.S. corporations before that of their people).

Put simply, oil rich Venezuela under Chavez refused to conform to the Latin American model of the client state. No matter how many times President Chavez is elected and re-elected and given mandates by popular referendums, refusing to bow down to U.S. interests is his capital crime and that crime is never forgiven; Cuba being a case in point.

Speaking of capital, what did President Chavez do with all that oil money? Surely he did the traditional thing and divided it up nicely between his friends and cronies and sent the rest to Citibank. Wrong. First he payed back the Venezuelan debt to the IMF and asked them to get out of town, and next he helped pay down his friend’s debt, Argentina. Next he helped Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador pay down their debt. Thanks to Chavez the IMF’s portfolio is down in the region to less than 1 percent from 80 percent in 2005. With no IMF and its partner institution, the World Bank, in the region the sway of policies such as unfettered markets with limited government spending greatly restricting social programs is kept to a minimum. In other words, the policies of the Washington Consensus that has been so detrimental to the economies and the people of developing nations in Latin America and so lucrative for the U.S. and transnational corporations is no more.

He also set up a regional exchange — Banco del Sur or Bank of the South — where partner nations can borrow money for social projects and infrastructure development funded by Venezuela, and the member countries. And of course there is the all important Mercosur, a kind of Latin American European Union to integrate the markets and work together rather than in isolation like in the past, making it easier to be pressured by external forces, i.e. the U.S. Oh, and the discounted oil to Cuba alleviating the sting of the 50-year-old U.S. embargo really rubs us the wrong way. WTF, this guy is really messing with the world order now.

But, the most capital of his offenses is his innovative social experiment, that goes by the name of the Bolivarian Revolution. God we hate that R word. You see this has a transcendence beyond their borders, beyond the region, right smack to our front yard; or should I say Zuccotti Park? A charismatic leader is in many ways the antithesis of the horizontal anarchic structure of the Occupy movement, but still the experiment in collectivization and citizen participation, direct democracy, and worker and neighborhood councils that many in the Occupy movement are working toward and that we find so very difficult to organize in the U.S. is being lived in Venezuela.

rally of hundreds of thousands is easily mobilized, as was in evidence on January 10th as Vice President Nicolas Maduro and officials from around the world, including several presidents of Latin America, turned out. The people wore the presidential sash and chanted “We are all Chavez now” in solidarity with their absent president. This degree of participation and engagement is not unusual in Venezuela where voting is usually in the 90 percent range. And they don’t vote every four years and go home as is often the case here with our low voter turnout and where many of us feel we are voting for the lesser of two evils. The opposition party, the party of the oligarchy, offers a clear political and economic alternative but there seems to be no turning back this social revolution.

Venezuelan civil society is not only highly politicized but the people feel that they are participants in the decision-making process and in the affairs that concern their lives.

MSM fueled ignorance of this exciting and innovative social justice oriented society that is being created in Venezuela as well as other Latin American countries seems purposeful and targeted at keeping us tethered not only to cruel but failed economic models. The lack of accurate information on alternatives to market capitalism — or whatever this unfair, un-engaging, unfriendly system is called — keeps us in despair, balkanized and directionless, anesthetized by junk culture and television; spectators rather than participants in our own lives.

The Venezuelan example of bringing resources under public control and using the revenue for the betterment of all offers a model that cannot be replicated everywhere. But it is seen as a dangerous model because one of the places it can be replicated is in the United States. We too have vast oil and gas reserves and vast natural resources. We too could have free higher education and health care, not to mention student debt forgiveness. How about a truly democratic form of government where the citizenry decides not just whether to vote for Tweedle Dum or Tweedle Dee, but whether to go to war or live in peace and go to college; whether to have clean air and water and non-GMO pesticide free foods and sustainable agriculture or Big Agra.

Hmmm… I’m liking this. Develop alternative forms of energy and ban fracking forever? Stimulate the economy by building new roads and cool schools, music centers, hospitals, theatre, animation and computer clubs, relaxation centers, urban gardens, water parks, beach clubs and fun centers rather than stimulating the economy by making war and selling weapons? How about meaningful work and leisurely time rather than wage slavery? I can hear all the detractors screaming idealist, dreamer. I’ll take that. But really, if ordinary Venezuelans can displace the ruling oligarchy and be the architects of their own destiny then why can’t we too overturn the oligarchical structures of the corporate state? Why are we the only significant oil producing country that does not own the oil and gas on our land? Nationalization of natural resources such as oil and natural gas is not only just; it’s practical. If Venezuela can cut poverty in half and offer higher education gratis and healthcare for all, imagine what we can do with all that oil in Texas.

______This post focused on the astonishing expansion of economic rights, citizen participation and the democratization of Venezuela under President Hugo Chavez; his effects on the region and what we can learn from it. Venezuela is a society in the throes of transformation and factors contributing toward centralization rather than evolving into decentralization are said to be undermining the independence of separate branches of government and the media. Here too there is much disinformation and will be the subject of separate posts.

OBAMA’S CUBAN 5 DILEMMA

In ACLU, Alan Gross, Blockade, Cuba, Cuba/US, Cuban 5, Miami/Cuba, Politics, Press, US on September 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm

 

By Tom Hayden

From the Peace Exchange Bulletin

The ongoing case of the Cuban 5, convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and murder, for monitoring and trying to prevent terrorist attacks on Cuba from official US sanctuaries in Miami, will be central to any diplomatic effort to bridge the widening gap between the Obama administration and Latin America, assuming the president wins a second term.

“It is hard to believe that this case ever happened in the first place,” says the former top State Department official Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (2002-05), “unless, of course, one contemplates the real power of this group of Cuban-Americans in Florida and the hold they exercise over the US government.”

The Cuban argument is that the Five were sent to Florida to monitor the Cuban exile community after many bombings and deaths coordinated by Luis Posada Carriles, a former US CIA informant still living in Miami.

Last week marked the fourteenth year since the Five were arrested in 1998. Four remain held in high-security US prisons while one, Rene Gonzales, has completed a 13-year sentence, but is prevented by the US from returning home from Florida to Cuba. Appeals in federal court are ongoing.

Meanwhile, the Organization of American States (OAS), originally designed as a federation of pro-US satellites in the hemisphere, is showing significant independence after democratic elections of many Latin American governments opposed to neo-liberal corporate-centered economic policies and militarized US security policies.

Most recently, the OAS sent a take-it-or-leave-it message to the Obama administration that it will no longer meet again without the official seating of a Cuban delegation, which means the US either can fall into further isolation or begin a meaningful thaw in US-Cuban relations. Assuming the OAS holds firm, the Obama administration can tell its hard-line Cuban-American critics that “Latin America made us do it,” and accept being in the same meeting room with Cuban officials.

This is no longer a moral or political issue, but of strategic consequence for the US in its backyard. The US blockade of Cuba is becoming a hemispheric blockade of US diplomacy, with China gaining economic and diplomatic ground, according to a leading Latin American specialist interviewed in Washington last week. The specialist, who is currently active in US regional diplomacy, was interviewed off the record.

A major impediment to any thaw in US-Latin American relations is the continued incarceration of the Cuban Five.

At a meeting in Washington last week, a possible scenario for freeing the Five was described by Jose Pertierra, an attorney representing Venezuela in the extradition case against Posada-Carriles. Citing a recent speech by Cuban president Raul Castro proposing a “gesto-y-gesto” approach to resolution, Pertierra recalled how the US government released four militant Puerto Rican nationalists in 1979, followed ten days later by a separate Cuban release of ten US citizens from a Cuban prison, one of whom “readily” admitted being a CIA spy. (Time, October 1, 1979)

One of those Puerto Rican prisoners released in 1979, Rafael Cancel Miranda, spoke at the same public meeting with Pertierra last week, with Cuba’s de facto ambassador, Jorge Bolanos Suarez, in the audience. The charges leveled against the Puerto Ricans were far more severe, by US standards, than those against the Cuban Five. The Puerto Ricans were convicted of firing weapons into the US House of Representatives, wounding five members of Congress.

President Jimmy Carter released the Puerto Ricans – including Lolita Lebron, Irving Flores Rodriguez and Oscar Collazo along with Cancel Miranda – after prison terms of 24 years. Declassified documents show that Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, argued that their release “would remove from the agenda of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned movement and other international for a, a propaganda issue which is used each year to criticize the US, and is increasingly used as an example of our human rights policy.” (Pertierra, Jose. “Gesture for Gesture: A Historical Roadmap for the Liberation of the Cuban Five,” September 14, 2012)

One proposal being floated by some allies of Cuba today is for the “gesture for gesture” release of the Five and, separately, Alan Gross, an imprisoned American private contractor convicted of illegally smuggling communications equipment into Cuba as part of a “democracy promotion” project under the control of the US Agency for International Development (AID). Gross made five surreptitious trips in 2009 before being arrested. He claimed to be assisting Cuba’s small Jewish community set up Internet service, enlisting American Jews in helping carry networking equipment onto the island, including mobile phone chips which make signals undetectable. The specialized chip is frequently used by the CIA and Pentagon, as reported by Desmond Butler. (AP, February 13, 2012)

The US clearly wants Gross returned, but how important is his release as a matter of state interest? His wife Judy and a stream of Congressional representatives have visited Gross in Cuba. But does the national security elite care enough about Gross to exchange him for the Cuban Five (or even the one Cuban currently in Florida)? The continued imprisonment of Gross might actually serve an American interest of damaging Cuba’s reputation and deflecting attention away from the Cuban Five case. If Gross dies someday in a Cuba jail, the US would blame Cuba? At this point, neither Gross nor his wife will even admit his involvement in a secret US-sponsored project aimed at regime change.

For their part, the Cubans will have to weigh the costs and benefits of holding Gross for 15 years if there is no flexibility on the US side.

While the current prospects for a “gesto y gesto” swap seem dim in a case that has already dragged on for 14 years, behind-the-scenes discussions are continuing. If Obama is re-elected, the dispute is likely to intensify.

UN “ASESINATO” FABRICADO

In Alan Gross, Asamblea Nacional/National Assembly, CAFE, Cuba, Cuba/US, Cuban 5, Miami/Cuba, Politics, Press, US on September 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Por Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

 Published in English in Counterpunch

 

El 24 de febrero de 1996 se produjo un lamentable incidente frente al Malecón habanero. Dos avionetas pertenecientes a un grupo terrorista de Miami fueron derribadas por la defensa antiaérea cuando violaron el territorio nacional de Cuba. Decenas de violaciones semejantes habían ocurrido en el último año y el Gobierno había advertido públicamente que no toleraría su repetición.

El hecho agravó seriamente las tensiones entre Estados Unidos y Cuba y fue objeto de intensos debates en la Organización de Aviación Civil Internacional y el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU.

El 7 de mayo de 1999 – luego que habían pasado tres años y más de dos meses – el gobierno de Estados Unidos, de modo irresponsable y caprichoso, utilizó el incidente y lo convirtió en el Cargo 3  (Conspiración para cometer asesinato) formulado sólo contra Gerardo Hernández Nordelo.

El Cargo 3 concentró casi completamente el proceso de los Cinco. A esta acusación dedicó el Tribunal la mayoría de sus sesiones, expertos y testigos. En la sala de la Corte estuvieron presentes todos los días los familiares de los que perdieron la vida el 24 de febrero de 1996 quienes hacían demostraciones públicas y daban conferencias de prensa allí mismo frente a los miembros del jurado.

El tema fue el eje central de la campaña mediática. Sobre él se produjeron miles de artículos y comentarios en la prensa escrita y en las emisoras de radio y televisión.

Curiosamente los medios le prestaron gran atención al Cargo 3 antes de que éste existiera. Puede afirmarse sin la menor duda que la acusación fue resultado de una conspiración entre el Gobierno y los grupos terroristas responsables de aquel suceso en la que los “periodistas” pagados por el Gobierno tuvieron un papel decisivo.

En septiembre de 1998 cuando el FBI apresó a los Cinco, la Fiscalía presentó los cargos de los que eran acusados. Allí no estaba el Cargo 3, no se hacía referencia alguna a incidentes aéreos o avionetas derribadas ni a nada por el estilo. La acusación contra Gerardo fue agregada más de siete meses después cuando él y sus compañeros estaban en confinamiento solitario, aislados del mundo, en su primera visita al “Hueco” que duró 17 meses.

Una revisión de la prensa de Miami entre septiembre de 1998 y mayo de 1999 permite comprobar la afirmación anterior. Se pueden encontrar numerosas declaraciones de dirigentes de grupos terroristas, ampliamente difundidas y amplificadas por los “periodistas”, pidiéndole al Gobierno que agregase la nueva acusación. Entre otras cosas, puede leerse la información, profusamente desplegada, acerca de reuniones entre los fiscales y los terroristas de las que surgiría la llamada “Segunda Acta Acusatoria”, que sustituiría a la anterior incorporando el Cargo 3.

La lectura de ambos documentos de la Fiscalía haría que cualquier periodista medianamente serio se sorprendiera y sintiera la obligación de averiguar. Según esos documentos el FBI había logrado descubrir quién era realmente y qué hacía en Estados Unidos Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, por lo menos, desde 1994, más de dos años antes del incidente de 1996. Habían conseguido descifrar sus comunicaciones con La Habana, sabían lo que hacía y lo que se le instruía hacer. Por eso no actuaron contra Gerardo y sus compañeros, porque les constaba que su trabajo no era en absoluto perjudicial para Estados Unidos ni para el pueblo norteamericano.

Sabían también que Gerardo nada tenía que ver con los sucesos de 1996. En aquellos días fue grande el alboroto, no sólo en Miami sino también en Washington. Bill Clinton, quien era el Presidente, ha escrito que entonces se le propuso incluso un ataque militar contra Cuba. Los más agresivos grupos del Sur de la Florida vociferaban día y noche reclamando guerra. El contubernio de esos grupos con el FBI local  es archiconocido. ¿Puede alguien creer que no habrían hecho nada contra el “culpable” por el derribo de las avionetas? ¿Qué no hubieran actuado contra él si lo hubiesen tenido allí mismo, y controlado por el FBI, en Miami?

¿Y Cuba? Ninguna de las comunicaciones entre La Habana y Gerardo, que posee el FBI y fueron presentadas en el juicio,  sugieren siquiera que existiese la menor preocupación por su seguridad y por protegerlo frente a los riesgos que enfrentaría si él hubiese tenido alguna participación en aquel incidente. Gerardo continuó su labor en Miami durante casi tres años más. Vino a Cuba de vacaciones y a nadie se le ocurrió que aquí se quedase para proteger su vida.

Cuando lo detuvieron en septiembre de 1998 no lo acusaron de nada relacionado con lo ocurrido en 1996 por la sencilla razón de que el FBI conocía, por lo menos desde 1994, lo que hacía Gerardo y sabía, por tanto, que él no tuvo relación alguna con aquella desgracia.

Sin embargo en 1999 se aparecieron con la increíble calumnia de acusarlo por participar en un asesinato en primer grado – con premeditación y alevosía – y lo hicieron – el FBI, o sea, el Gobierno – para satisfacer los deseos de la mafia terrorista y sus corifeos en los medios que eran, a su vez, asalariados del Gobierno.

Tan endeble era esa acusación que la propia Fiscalía reconoció después que no la podía probar y pidió retirarla, algo que hubiera sido noticia de primera plana si se tratase de otro caso y no el de los Cinco.

 

El Habeas Corpus de Gerardo Hernández

In Alan Gross, CAFE, Cuba, Cuban 5, Cuban Americans, Politics, Press, US on August 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm

 

Por Fernando Ravsberg

Tomado del blog Cartas desde Cuba

 

La relatora especial de la ONU sobre la independencia de jueces y abogados, Gabriela Knaul, expresó oficialmente  su inquietud por la falta de trasparencia legal y de procedimientos en los juicios contra 5 agentes cubanos detenidos en EEUU desde hace más de una década.

Al parecer la fiscalía y la jueza jugaron con cartas escondidas en la manga, impidiendo que la defensa tuviera “acceso a todas las pruebas disponibles y a los archivos documentales”. Es una violación de procedimiento tan elemental que aparece hasta en las series de TV.

Pero los desaciertos procesales no se quedan ahí, según la relatora de la ONU los Habeas Corpus presentados por la defensa son valorados “por la misma jueza que previamente estuvo a cargo de los casos”, con lo cual la convierten en juez y parte.

Para colmo de males se vislumbra la mano del gobierno de EEUU presionando a los tribunales para conseguir las condenas más duras. Antes y durante el juicio, varios periodistas de Miami habrían recibido dinero para escribir artículos contra los 5 agentes cubanos.

Realmente no parece muy legal que el Poder Ejecutivo intente influir sobre el Poder Judicial ni tampoco resulta muy ético que un periodista acepte recibir dinero del gobierno con el fin de escribir artículos para influir en el resultado de un juicio en curso.

El abogado norteamericano Martin Garbus asegura que en el periodo 1998-2001 la comunidad miamense recibió a través de la prensa escrita, radial y televisiva un arsenal de propaganda pagada por el gobierno para interferir en el proceso y persuadir al jurado.

Según Garbus, una quincena de periodistas recibieron dinero para escribir contra los 5 agentes. Al parecer algunos cobraban en secreto, ni siquiera en sus medios de prensa sabían que trabajaban para otro patrón más generoso, tanto que le pagó a uno de ellos U$D 175 000.

La Oficina de Transmisiones a Cuba del gobierno de EEUU (OCB) se vio obligada a aceptar la acusación, cuando el periodista Oscar Corral reveló que 50 de sus colegas en la Florida eran pagados por Radio Martí para hacer materiales apoyando la postura del Departamento de Estado contra Cuba.

El escándalo fue tal que el editor del mayor periódico de Miami, Jesús Díaz, despidió a varios periodistas aduciendo que no se puede “garantizar la objetividad ni integridad si alguno de nuestros reporteros o reporteras reciben compensación monetaria de cualquier entidad, en especial de una agencia de Gobierno”.

A pesar de las duras palabras del editor, la falta ético-profesional no parece haber sido considerada demasiado grave porque unos meses después algunos de esos periodistas volvieron a trabajar en la redacción como si nada hubiera pasado.

Sin duda, se han dado tantas anomalías legales y éticas que parece lógico que la Relatora de la ONU, Gabriela Knaul, mire con recelo la independencia de los jueces en este caso. De todas formas era de esperar que fuera así, teniendo en cuenta donde se realizó el juicio.

Miami es una ciudad en la que los exiliados cubanos tienen un enorme poder político, económico y mediático. Era muy improbable que obtuvieran un trato justo estos 5 agentes confesos de vigilar e informar a Cuba de las actividades de esa misma comunidad.

El ambiente de Miami sobrepasa incluso el odio a Fidel Castro y se extiende a los ciudadanos que viven en la isla. En el mayor periódico de la ciudad aparecen diatribas asegurando que cualquier acercamiento “lo tienen que construir los cubanos sumisos del interior”.

A los que describe como “los que lo han aguantado todo, los que han colaborado en todo, los que apalean a los cubanos insumisos, los que delatan a sus compatriotas, los que los torturan, los que los arrojan al mar, los que llevan cincuenta años llenando la Plaza de Fidel y aplaudiéndolo y oliéndole el culo”.

Pero parece que a Washington no le bastaba ambiente natural de la ciudad, entonces decidieron que su aparato de información oficial “quemara” cientos de miles de dólares para inflamarlo aún más y crear un incendio de grandes proporciones a través de la prensa.

En medio de ese ambiente Gerardo Hernández fue condenado a 2 cadenas perpetuas, como para garantizar que seguirá tras las rejas aún si lograse reencarnar en otra vida. Ahora su defensa reclama un juicio justo, en una ciudad desprejuiciada, sin presiones del gobierno ni campañas de prensa.

El tema preocupa incluso a las Naciones Unidas porque como expresara el abogado estadounidense Martin Garbus “cada dólar por cada artículo, imagen o programa de radio o televisión que se gastó en este programa secreto, violó la integridad del juicio”.

Much ado about nothing … or not

In Asamblea Nacional/National Assembly, Blockade, CAFE, Cuba, Cuba/US, Cuban Americans, Cuban Embargo, Miami/Cuba, Politics, Press, US on August 1, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Margarita Alarcón Perea

It’s been a topic of conversation on the streets, in places of work, in the news (foreign press) and the blogger sphere. Cuba will be imposing a new import tax come this September. The information came out in the form of a document (PDF) posted on the web site of the National Customs Agency.

Back history

Entrepreneurs have been popping up all over the country after the very extensive  layout in the national newspaper announcing which jobs qualified as legal entrepreneur endeavors. From watch repair shops to restaurants to cafeterias and impromptu clothing stores. All of these immediately began to lighten the burden of shopping and receiving services in a country which has been lacking in retail business for way too long. Now you may walk up a couple of blocks from any neighborhood in Vedado and either get the batteries in your watch replaced or have your cell phone fixed or buy yourself a new shirt, dress or pair of shoes. On occasion at much more moderate prices than those offered in the state owned businesses. You may also sit down for a sandwich or have a complete meal at any of the eateries sprouting up all over town. It’s all quite comforting and relaxing as far as a society goes; what is more important, it is all quite welcome and overdue.

How they work

When these new job opportunities opened up, the State took the needs and the availability of job options into account. For this purpose the page in the paper that listed all of the possible business options one would have hoped would have been as explicit as possible. In some instances this was not the case. Cuba has a serious issue when wording legal jargon and the reader has an even bigger problem when this legal jargon is left to interpretation. For instance, one of the new job opportunities was listed as “sale of CD’s ,LP’s, DVD’s”. Nowhere was it stated that the sale of these items was to be that of “used” ones and not items created by individuals with either internet access (downloading) or the ability to burn 30 CD’s or DVD’s from an original and which include the works by Cuban artists who are signed to Cuban record labels and will hence not see a cent from royalties on these sales. Same applies to movies, you can buy for less than 5cuc’s the entire bootlegged Elpidio Valdes collection a comic strip created by Juan Padrón, Cuban film maker distributed by ICAIC the Cuban National Film Institute. This entire situation has been going on for over two years now and I for one have seen no sign of it coming even close to an end. Having worked in the music industry for a good long part of my life and having musicians both as friends and as family members I found this legalized pirating remarkably insulting.

More cases

The food entrepreneur business also has its loopholes. Most businesses will buy their produce from the farmers markets and fishermen and then some from the general state owned stores. Now, the reality is simple, those who have family abroad will be at an advantage since these can help out with the wholesale acquisitions of a good lump of the stuffs necessary in order to start a business and keep it going. In some cases this was happening in a constant free flowing manner which not only helped to sustain the business itself but also garnished the services and quality of the goods with fresh new ideas and incentives not seen on the island in a long time. Things like matching heavy duty salt and pepper shakers, hot sauce and other goodies from – I’m guessing here, COSTCO, Wall-Mart etc – were coming down in the huge black plastic duffle bags brought down from Miami, Venezuela and Ecuador among other nations.

Not all was centered on the plight of buying from aboard. At one such Paladar I noticed these very simple presentation plates and asked if these were also being brought down from somewhere (over the Rainbow…), “Oh, no!” said the owner. “I commissioned them from a guy who hand draws the logo for me and I acquired the plates here at a state owned store.” With this response I thought: how grand a situation where not only was the owner making a buck but he was also helping to entice other members of society to join the independent work force. The other positive edge to this whole opening up of events has been that if you own a business in Cuba and you employ others, you pay less tax to the state. An even bigger plus is that many of these restauranteurs will use their wall space as impromptu show /sales rooms for the works of young artists. Job opportunities galore!

So, where’s the problem?

If you’ve read this far then you must have started to wonder about the first paragraph in this piece and the rest of my train of thought, right? Well read above again, where I use the word “plight” in regards to bringing down goods. Cuba established the legal possibility of opening up certain levels of business but it didn’t have a system of whole sale in place for those business in order to enable the owner/investor to acquire the stuffs to supply their places of work. So what happened? Mules happened. And more importantly, a huge traffic of un controlled import which was completely under the national radar. It also has served as the perfect food for corruption inside the Customs Agency. You pay me a buck or two, I let you by with 56 pounds worth of parmesan cheese and Hunts tomato paste or 72 multi colored jeans in 7 different sizes and two duffle bags full of bright and shiny in style t-shirts in sizes S, M, L and XL.

The other thing that sprouted up precisely because of the misinterpretation of the wording in the law was not only the birth of pirating which in my opinion has no place in this country, but too a situation whereby  an individual who acquires a license to sell clothing , understood to be  clothing manufactured by a seamstress, ideally the one who has requested the license, would then open an impromptu shop on a street corner or home to sell clothing and accessories imported from abroad.

Not all the traffic from Miami and elsewhere is about this. But much of it is, and its wrong and illegal anywhere in the world. You import for a business, you pay a business import tax. It’s as simple as that. The problem now stands in the legal writing of the new customs regulation. Is the population of the island all involved in some sort of entrepreneurial business? Nope. Does some of the population depend on what their family members send them, whether it be in the form of food or clothing or anything else? Yes. Is it fair to regulate affecting all such that many will be footing the bill of the few? I think not.

Putting things into perspective, the problem the way I see it, isn’t the regulation on a personal import tax. The problem lays in not having worded the text properly clarifying that until Cuba has the ability to establish a wholesale market, something which is unlikely while Helms Burton and their law continue running the economic show on this island, there should be a an import tax on large (obvious) quantities of merchandise into the country. You can establish a clothing shop on your front porch, or desire to have delicacies on your menu , you’re just going to have to pay for the import of what you sell.

La Jornada Supports Asylum for Assange

In CELAC, Ecuador, Human Rights/Derechos Humanos, Julian Assange, OAS/OEA, Politics, Press, Rafael Correa, US, Wikileaks on June 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm

 

Press in front of the Embassy of Ecuador in the UK

 

 

By Tom Hayden

MEXICO CITY – The leading Mexican paper La Jornada is strongly supporting asylum for Julian Assange in Ecuador, in a sign of Latin American sentiment against his extradition to Sweden or the United States. The conflict is portrayed as one between the Old World and new democratic norms embraced by much of the world. “Ecuador will require the solidarity of honorable governments and societies like ours, which benefitted from the work of Assange and his team, and have obtained by way of their “leaks,” an invaluable tool for public scrutiny and social control of the authorities and world powers” a June 20 editorial declared.

Whatever response the Rafael Correa government gives Assange, the existence of a political refugee in contemporary Europe, the legal fury being directed against him by the authorities of two Old World countries, England and Sweden, and the silence of the Western powers in regard to this situation, demonstrates the hypocrisy and moral and political bankruptcy of governments that repeatedly claim to be champions of freedom, transparency, legality and respect for human rights”, the editorial went on.

“In this connection, it is worth mentioning that yesterday, while Assange was seeking political asylum at the Ecuador Embassy to avoid being extradited to Swedish territory, representatives of these powers attended the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, where there was confirmation of their inability to come up with proposals for resolving the social and economic devastation that confronts their populations, particularly in European countries.”

Cuba’s Media and the “Spokespersons”

In Cuba, Economics, Education, History, Human Rights/Derechos Humanos, Politics, Press on December 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

 

Fernando Ravsberg and I don’t always see eye to eye, often we may coincide on the subject matter but not on the way he interprets or projects certain topics. On this occasion I must admit I agree with him on almost everything save for having omitted that my father, as he well knows, does speak to the press and has been doing so ad nausea for quite some time now. Still, this piece below, is in my view an homage on a day like today, the 50th Anniversary of the Culmination of the Literacy Campaign in Cuba, to a man who was a close dear friend of my family´s and who not only spoke to the press, he also taught them, and taught them well.  MAP

Versión en castellaño

From the HAVANA TIMES

By Fernando Ravsberg

“I’m not very interested in numbers,” is an acceptable phrase from the mouth of a poet or a painter, but when spoken by an official linked to foreign trade in the middle of a press conference, the matter becomes worrisome. Recently a Cuban politician not only refused to talk about numbers, he also failed to mention the names of the countries to which Cuba exports services. Instead, he recommended that we find that information on the TV news or from the Statistics Office. He told us: “2010 was an improvement over 2009, but in speaking of improvements we want to improve more and more and much more, because sometimes values are better, but you have to grow in value and quantity because the quantities get better values.” On relations with Japan he stated, “Sales are bought, and when I say that sales are bought, this is between two parties; the party that buys needs to buy, and the party that sells has to adapt to those consumers. But the seller is more responsible than the buyer.” Before the questions, he had read off a bunch of pages to us with the names of exported Cuban products, mainly pharmaceuticals, but he did so while keeping the secret as to how much money these bring in or where they’re sold. He ended his presentation with an elaborate metaphor: “I see Cuba as a hive where the bees: industrious and healthy are working alongside their beekeeper,” making a subtle reference to the people and the president, General Raul Castro.

Having just returned from vacation, I went to my first press conference and felt at home. This is the reality we journalists experience here on the island, and this is the type of official source that later complains that “we don’t write about the good things in Cuba.” That conference was a real shame because there was a great deal of interesting information that could have been released on the sale of Cuban services on the five continents, which has now become the main source of income for the island. In some press conferences little information is provided.

On top of that, our editors require more than a simple “things are good and will continue to improve.” It may be true but it’s impossible to publish information without data. But most importantly, readers demand more than the “faith” that can stirred by the words of a politician. This is not an attempt to crucify this man, because he’s no exception. I’d go so far as to say that even with his limitations, at least he was able to sit down in front of us. Others avoid the press, claiming unexpected trips or illnesses. Besides, a good government official doesn’t have to be a good communicator, though there are some. The greater truth is that Cuba today is dramatically sterile when it comes to taking advantage of the opportunities it has to make its voice heard to the world. Of course politicians in other countries can avail themselves of the advantage of being assisted by press offices and spokespeople who take the hit every time a blow is expected, an experience that works quite well,  even here.

For a while the Foreign Ministry had several spokes persons. The most outstanding was an experienced diplomat, Miguel Alfonso, who always filled the official information void, if only to say “no comment.” But Alfonso’s work went beyond press conferences. He maintained a close relationship with journalists. We knew him very well, just as he knew us, to the point of calling us at any hour to discuss any topic. Miguel spoke without fear; he wasn’t afraid of making mistakes and would say that spokespeople are “disposable,” not only as a result of their own mistakes but also for political strategies. I always had the impression that he was more concerned about his country than his individual position.

This isn’t about journalists and spokespeople giving each other flowers, to the contrary; never did so many sparks fly as in his press conferences, but he was able to sit down afterwards for a cup of coffee with any of the correspondents. Unfortunately for us, the UN hired him as an expert and an early death later took him away for good. Notwithstanding, he left behind a school, a way of doing things that should be emulated for the benefit of all.