"Nobody is in agreement…It’s that, no one says it and no one takes the risk to say it, to speak the truth. That’s what is happening. In other words, one of the foundations, of what are the regimes in the entire world, in all of history, has been fear and lies. In other words, once you are in fear that's when you don’t take a risk, where you collect yourself and don’t unite…understood? To be in fear is not to offer help to anyone because that signifies risk." -Gorki Águila Carrasco, lead singer, guitarist of the music group Porno Para Ricardo and political prisoner
"Socialist ideology, like so many others, has two main dangers. One stems from confused and incomplete readings of foreign texts, and the other from the arrogance and hidden rage of those who, in order to climb up in the world, pretend to be frantic defenders of the helpless so as to have shoulders on which to stand." --Jose Marti

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

THREE CUBANS

Below is a video entitled "Three Cubans" by Robert Carl Cohen which is an interesting look at Cuba 4 to 5 years into the Communist regime:
'In 1963-64 Robert Carl Cohen became the first American authorized by the US State Dept. & Cuban Foreign Ministry to film in Cuba. Three Cubans documents the effects of Castro's Revolution on an upper, middle, & lower economic class Cuban.'

video

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

IN MEMORY OF ERNESTO CHE GUEVARA

video

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

MURDEROUS ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ, CUBA


Iskander Maleras and Luis Valverde By Cuba Archive Staff | Published 04/9/2006 | Case Profiles | Rating:
Maleras and Valverde: 1994 exit attempt

Iskander Maleras Pedraza

ISKANDER MALERAS PEDRAZA, Age 26, AND LUIS ANGEL VALVERDE LINFERNAL, Exact age unknown (in his 30s).

Assassinated January 19, 1994 while trying to gain asylum by entering the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo, Cuba.

Maleras was a resident of Guantánamo, Cuba. He had been repeatedly harassed and threatened by police, State Security, and neighborhood Communist Party watchdogs, for openly declaring his opposition to the Castro regime. Detained on numerous occasions, in one instance he had endured three months of prison on a fabricated charge of stealing horses. The case had been thrown out on trial only when another plaintiff testified the parties did not know Maleras and had been instructed to lie about his involvement.

On January 19, 1994, Maleras and Valverde with two other young men, Luis Gustavo Matos, and Eduardo Serante Gonzalez, attempted to flee Cuba trying to reach the Guantanamo Naval Base by raft. Maleras, not knowing how to swim, was on top of the very small raft, while the others pulled it as they swam towards the base.

When they were about 50 meters from the shore of the U.S. Naval Base, two Cuba border guards (José Barceló Escalona and Iván Fuentes Ramírez), opened fire with AKMs, killing Maleras and Valverde. The other two pled for clemency and took cover under water. Matos was injured on one foot and left to bleed to death, but was able to swim away at nightfall, making it to the U.S. base. Serante was captured, tried, and sentenced to house arrest instead of prison due to the public commotion the assassinations had caused. He later went into exile and lives in Florida.

The government refused to return the bodies of Maleras and Valverde to their families for a funeral and burial. Instead, they were buried naked in unmarked graves at the St. Raphael Cemetary of Guantanamo, designated by the government for victims of border guards or mine fields by the U.S. Naval Base.

The crime caused great commotion in the city of Guantamano, as the parents were very well known and respected professionals. Government authorities did not allow visits to the family home or the cemetery and posted patrols on the streets. The border guards were given awards for their deed, while prominent government figures went on local radio and TV to denounce the young men as "traitors, counter-revolutionaries and anti-social elements.”

Soon after the killings, the family was told by neighbors that a local school had on display the photos of the bodies ravaged by bullets, to impress upon the children the high cost of attempting to escape the country.

Iskander's sister was fired from her job as a music teacher at the university and was unable to find employment due to the stigma that befell the family. They endured so much harassment from the government that they had to go into exile after obtaining political asylum in the United States.


Iskander's mother writes that Iskander was born on September 15, 1967 and was the youngest of three siblings. He was very generous, had many friends, and was an avid cyclist. Her loss is incalculable and she will not rest until justice for her son is done.

Sources: Written and telephone testimony of Eulalia Nilda Pedraza, Iskander’s mother, Resident of Florida, February and April of 2006; Personal testimony by mother of August 2006; Testimony to La Nueva Cuba of Eulalia Pedraza of January 12, 2006, http://www.lanuevacuba.com/nuevacuba/notic-06-01-1370.htm.

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Monday, October 8, 2007

SEPTEMBER 2007: POLITICAL PRISONERS CONTINUE TO SUFFER

According to recently released political prisoner Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez”, they were taken to the Technical Department of Investigations known as “Cien y Aldabó” in the City of Havana. There, they were incarcerated in cells with inhumane conditions while being physically abused by authorities. The group included various female activists.

“Yesmi Elena, who was with me, was beaten and strip searched by three female guards at the '10 de Octubre' Police Station. She has a wound above her right lung, and has scratches and beatings on her head. When they finished with her, they proceeded to beat me, I have beatings on my head, scratches, also on my hand, and they ripped by pants trying to take them off to strip search me,” informed Idania Yánes Contreras from Santa Clara.

After being repeatedly mistreated for several hours, the activists were released under threat of being arrested again. Among those arrested were 26 activists from Villa Clara.

“What has just taken place demonstrates that the peaceful opposition in Cuba is united. No organization prevailed over any other during this activity. No specific names were mentioned. We were all there as members of the opposition. Our only goal was to support and express our solidarity with our imprisoned brothers,” Antúnez told the Cuban Democratic Directorate from Placetas, in the province of Villa Clara shortly after being arrested.

Friday, October 5, 2007

CHE GUEVARA

Che Remembered 40 Years After Death
Published: 10/5/07, 6:05 PM EDT
By ALVARO ZUAZO
SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia (AP) - Fidel Castro insists Ernesto "Che" Guevara could never have been taken prisoner 40 years ago if his gun hadn't malfunctioned. But the retired Bolivian general who led the mission to capture him says the Argentine revolutionary was hardly a heroic figure in his final moments.

The man that Gen. Gary Prado remembers - sad, sick, hungry, dressed in rags and alone in the jungle - simply dropped his gun and surrendered, saying, "Don't shoot, I'm Che."

"He wasn't the figure of the heroic guerrilla," Prado recalled in an interview with The Associated Press Thursday night.

Decades after he gave up a comfortable middle class life in Argentina to foment armed rebellion, Guevara still inspires and infuriates people around the world.

He is an icon for fans who have made his death scene a tourist trap. His face is instantly recognizable, a one-dimensional image on posters and T-shirts that either celebrate or mock his revolutionary ideals.

Prado is bitter that Guevara still gets so much global attention four decades later. He's angry that Bolivia's leftist President Evo Morales plans to honor Guevara but not the 55 soldiers who died putting down his attempted revolution in Bolivia.

Che "wasn't someone to inspire terror or anything, but simply to be pitied," he said.

Castro has put a noble spin on the death of his fellow revolutionary and close friend, calling Guevara "not a man who could have been taken prisoner" with a working gun.

"Wounded and without a weapon they were able to hold him and take him to a small town nearby, La Higuera," Castro told Spanish writer Ignacio Ramonet for the book "100 Hours with Fidel."

"The following day, October 9, 1967, at noon, they executed him in cold blood," Castro said.

Prado said the order to kill Guevara, then 39, came not from the CIA operatives who joined his soldiers, but from Bolivia's president, who wanted to avoid a trial that would give Guevara a global platform to spread his views. Prado said he wasn't present when Guevara was shot.

"Why did they think that by killing him, he would cease to exist as a fighter?" Castro asked in 1997, when Guevara's remains were finally laid to rest in Cuba amid thundering cannons. "Today he is in every place, wherever there is a just cause to defend."

Those who knew him personally remember a complex character - sardonic and demanding of himself as well as others.

"He always did what he said he was going to do," said Alberto Granados, who traveled with Che across South America on a broken-down motorcycle in 1952, a trip portrayed in the hit 2004 movie "The Motorcycle Diaries."

"That's why he is still timely," added Granados, who is now in his 80s and lives in Havana.

Guevara's Cuban enemies, now living in exile, remember a man who did not flinch after Castro and his rebels came to power. It was Guevara who oversaw the military tribunals and subsequent firing squad executions of hundreds of people - military, police and other officials of the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.

Cuba will honor him Monday with a ceremony at the tomb where his remains are kept, beneath a gigantic bronze statue built in his image in Santa Clara, where Guevara oversaw a decisive victory for the Cuban rebels. Cuba also planned a gathering of 1,500 people playing chess - Guevara's favorite game.

In Bolivia, Che fans were gathering in the jungle where he was captured and in La Higuera, where he was killed. A new Che statue is being built in his native Argentina, Venezuela is holding an art and music festival in his honor, and students were painting huge Che portraits in Mexico City's subway.

Guevara's image is ubiquitous in Cuba, where a giant stylized rendering of his face oversees Havana's Plaza of the Revolution. Cuban schoolchildren start their daily classes by pledging: "Pioneers for communism. We will be like Che!"

Those who knew him personally would consider that difficult. They recall him being a taskmaster insistent on austerity.

"He was demanding of everyone and practiced being a personal example," wrote Tirso Saenz, an adviser when Guevara served as Cuba's Industry Minister. Once, Guevara and other ministry officials were served fat, juicy steaks during a severe food shortage. Steaks are a treasured meal for Argentines, but Guevara became incensed and ordered it all removed.

"What is this?" Saenz quoted Guevara as saying in his biography. "No one is touching this meat. Take it away."

Leftists still cherish the image of the dogmatic Marxist wearing a beret, a determined gaze and an unkempt beard. But anti-communists hate what he stood for.

One such man is Cuban exile and former CIA operative Gustavo Villoldo, now living in Florida, who hopes to profit from a lock of hair snipped from the slain rebel's head in Bolivia. Now 71, Villoldo said he kept the hair and other items in a scrapbook since participating in that mission. Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas is auctioning them off on Oct. 25-26.

The auction has generated much discussion among Cuban exiles. Some fear a Che fan will buy them and put them on reverent display.

Prado said that after Guevara surrendered in the jungle to his squad of 70 Bolivian soldiers, he asked what they planned to do with him, and that they initially told him he would be put on trial.

"I'm worth more to you alive than dead," Prado remembers him responding.

Guevara was shot the next day. He would have been 79 this year.