this is the translation of the call a prisoner made to a human rights activist:
MAY 20, 2008:
SPEAKING: JUAN CARLOS GONZALEZ LEIVA ATTEMPTS TO INTERVIEW JOSE DANIEL FERRER GARCIA WHO IS IN PRISON IN CUBA
THE FOLLOWING IS A TRANSLATED TEXT OF THE PHONE CALL AND MR. FERRER GARCIA'S ATTEMPTS TO SPEAK TO GONZALEZ LEIVA
WE REPUDIATE VIOLENCE AND HATE AND CALL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE...THOSE OF US WHO FIND OURSELVES IN PRISON DEFENDING ALL RIGHTS....NO....WHAT??
DANIEL FERRER (DF) AT THIS POINT IS INTERRUPTED BY AN OFFICIAL (A GUARD) AS HE SPEAKS TO GONZALEZ LEIVA (GL):
DF: THERE IS AN "OFFICIAL" HERE WHO IS POSSIBLY NEW HERE AND IS PLAYING THE JOKER AND DOESN'T WANT ME TO READ OUT LOUD. ARE YOU RECORDING ME?
GL: YES YES YES
DF: THIS GUY IS BEING THE IMPERTINENT ONE, BUT THIS ISN'T GONNA BE THE SAME AS THEY'RE USED TO IN OTHER OCCASSIONS...CALL SECURITY CALL WHOEVER...I'M NOT MOVING FROM HERE UNTIL I FINISH THIS CALL/RECORDING AND FROM HERE I WILL NOT MOVE AND IF YOU PULL ME THE PHONE COMES WITH ME...GO GET WHOM YOU WILL...AND DOWN WITH THE DICTATORSHIP, DOWN WITH COMMUNISM, DOWN WITH FIDEL AND LONG LIVE CUBA FREE!
DF: YOU ARE NOT TAKING MY PHONE....YOU'RE NOT PASSING ME FROM THIS POINT....PERMISSION! NOTHING! PERMISSION? NOTHING!
AIN'T NOTHING DOING! GO GET WHO YOU WANT. I AM TIED TO THIS PHONE. TO GET ME MOVING FROM HERE YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO KILL ME!
(GUARD IS HEARD IN THE BACKGROUND ARGUING WITH DF)
GUARD: NO MAN, NO ONE'S GONNA KILL YOU.
DF: OVER MY DEAD BODY ARE YOU GETTING ME OUT OF HERE
GUARD: WE'RE NOT GOING TO KILL YOU.
DF: I'M NOT LETTING GO OF THIS PHONE. THIS IS MY LIFE MY FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.NO ONE TAKES THAT AWAY FROM ME.
GUARD: NO BUT BY THE PHONE....
DF: BY PHONE WHAT? I'VE BEEN IN PRISON FIVE YEARS SPEAKING THE TRUTH ABOUT (CUBAN) PRISONS AND I AM GOING TO CONTINUE SPEAKING ABOUT THEM. I DON'T KNOW IF YOU'RE NEW IN THIS PRISON OR IF YOU CAME FROM THE PLANET MARS. BUT I'M JOSE DANIEL FERRER GARCIA (indistinct) WILL CONTINUE TO STATE VIA TELEPHONE WHAT GOES ON IN PRISON IN CUBA.
GUARD: ...ANOTHER PLANET
DF: I'M PRETTY SURE...BUT FROM THIS POINT I WILL NOT LET GO OF THIS PHONE...YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO KILL ME TO TAKE THIS PHONE FROM ME
GUARD: NO MAN, THERE IS NO NEED IN KILLING YOU
DF: NO, BUT YOU'LL DO SOMETHING, I DON'T KNOW BUT I DO KNOW I WILL MAINTAIN THIS PHONE IN MY HAND. I AM NOT LETTING GO OF THIS PHONE
GL: THAT'S WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO WITH THESE TYRANTS DANIEL
DF: indistinct.....NO, THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GET REINFORCEMENTS I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO
GL: DON'T LET THEM COUNT THIS TIME AGAINST YOU
DF: NO I HAVEN'T BEGUN TO SPEAK YET...IT'S 25 MINUTES TO SAY WHAT I AM GOING TO SAY...WHAT I WANT TO SAY. OF COURSE I WON'T LET IT COUNT...I HAVEN'T BEGUN TO READ YET. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO SILENCE JOSE DANIEL, THAT'S KILLING HIM
GUARD: WE WON'T KILL YOU YOU GOT 25 MINUTES ONLY. (indistinct) FINE. BUT LISTEN TO ME
DF: I WON'T LISTEN TO YOU
GL: TELL HIM THAT YOU'LL LISTEN AFTER YOU FINISH SPEAKING. TELL HIM TO GET LOST
SOME OTHER MAN INTERRUPTS AND STATED "I'VE BEEN INFORMED OF THIS SITUATION..."
DF: HE (THE GUARD) SHOULD HAVE NEVER COME...THERE ARE TWO (PERSONS?) THAT ARE DESIGNATED TO GIVE ME THE CHANCE TO USE THE PHONE...IF (HE?) DOESN'T KNOW ABOUT THE RIGHT TO ALLOW ME TO SPEAK TO SAY WHAT I WANT TO SAY, WHAT I THINK, FEEL, NO? IF HE DOESN'T KNOW IT LET HIM FIND OUT...
ANOTHER MAN SPEAKS IN THE BACKGROUND.
DF: I WILL STAY HERE WITH YOU. I WON'T LET GO OF THIS PHONE AND I AM NOT GOING WITH YOU.
GUARD: indistinct YOU HAVE TO LET GO!
DF: NO! FROM HERE I AM NOT MOVING UNTIL I USE MY 25 MINUTES WILL NOT LEAVE...IN WHAT I FIND CONVENIENT... I WON'T LEAVE
GUARD: HANG UP THE PHONE
DF: I WON'T HANG UP THE PHONE...YOU WILL NOT PUT HANDCUFFS ON ME...YOU WILL NOT PUT HANDCUFFS ON ME...YOU WILL NOT.. DOWN WITH THE DICTATORSHIP!...DOWN WITH COMMUNISM!....YOU....
AT THIS POINT DANIEL'S PHONE WAS TAKEN FROM HIM AND HE WAS BEATEN MERCILESSLY BY THE GUARD
THERE HAVE BEEN HUNDREDS OF ACTS OF REPUDIATION AGAINST PEACEFUL ANTI-GOVERNMENT ACTIVISTS SINCE JAN 2008 IN CUBA
"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
View Che Guevara's Forgotten Victims on Scribd
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Guantánamo, Cuba. May 20, 2008. Cuban Democratic Directorate. Political prisoner José Daniel Ferrer García, held at Guantánamo Provincial Prison, was attacked by guards as he attempted to give a firsthand report on prison conditions to activist Juan Carlos González Leiva. The guard attempted to cut the prisoner’s telephone connection, producing a confrontation during which Ferrer shouted slogans against the dictatorship and in favor of freedom for Cuba. The connection cut off abruptly.
Ferrer García subsequently managed to reestablish communication and explained what had happened: “They took the telephone from my arms by force, they started to twist my arms around to my back. They twisted them in such a way that my wrists are… and great pain in my shoulders. They nearly stuck my twisted arms to the nape of my neck. Then they threw me to the ground and dragged me all along the ground in that position. I do not know how my arms did not break.”
Ferrer García added that they had taken him to the prison’s command office, and that he was subsequently able to return to the telephone. Just as he was explaining this to González Leiva, he was once again interrupted by the same guard, who abruptly cut the connection. Before they drew him away from the telephone, Ferrer García said that if he were not allowed to use the telephone, he would become plantado, or assume a rebellious and absolutely uncooperative attitude in protest.
"If there is another issue with the telephone, there will be no understanding. I will begin my protest anew then. Juan Carlos, are you listening to me? I will call you in 10 minutes. If I do not call you, José Daniel is in solitary confinement or José Daniel was beaten to death, because as long as José Daniel has his way of thinking, no one will violate his rights.”
González Leiva, who transmitted the dramatic recording abroad, stated that “it is necessary… that this recording be spread around the whole world. These are the changes that the Cuban government is carrying out.”
González Leiva added that “the European Union [and] the international community have meetings coming up, and the measures imposed against Fidel Castro’s dictatorship, in this case the Castro brothers’, Raul Castro’s, should not be suspended, should not be removed. This is what is happening: repression of freedom of expression, repression of the right of Cubans to express themselves both in a prison, and on the outside, the largest prison of all.”
March 21, 2008
Juan González Febles
HAVANA, Cuba, (wwww.cubanet.org) - The Cuban government has recently promoted its decision to sign a series of pacts with the United Nations. The commitments covered are in areas as sensitive as can be - civil law, along with political, cultural and social rights. The most extraordinary thing about this event was that nothing has been spread around regarding what these documents mean inside Cuba. As a result, the people don’t know what the Cuban government has signed and how it will affect them.
Cuba has been a signatory of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights since 1948. Nevertheless, there are hundreds of activists imprisoned for defending the letter and the spirit of this document. Furthermore, neither the Cuban state controlled media, nor any government officials, have clarified what impact the singing these new agreements will have on daily life on the island.
The new pacts seem like censored material or for future censorship. Perhaps we find ourselves in the dawn of another new wave of arrests classified as "fraternal beat-downs" for trying to bring to light what the Cuban government has agreed to and hidden from the public. Officially, the government has not said a word about the content of what was signed and this in itself is very significant.
Journalist Rose Miriam Elizalde conducted an interview with one of the youths that quizzed the President of the National Assembly, which was published in Granma’s digital edition. Nothing was in the tabloid version available to the people, not even a mention of the topic. All appeared normal in the government’s handling and obscuring of the truth.
In another instance, the decree allowing the sale of an extensive range of electric goods to the population, including computers and cell phones, was also realized only in the digital form of Granma for foreigners. It pretended that the people, denied free access to internet, would remained in the dark about this, like so much other information. However, less than 48 hours after the government made a calculated proclamation about this new measures, the people were already making comments on the streets. The best one being why "do these people hide the ball?”
The answer is simple. The government knows that it wasn’t the promotion of perestroika that put an end to communism in the old Soviet Union. What finished it was glasnost, period. It is exactly this type of informational transparency that the Castrist regime fears.
The first thing that should be required from the Cuban government, through the pressure from those European external factors that are accompanying the Cuban regime in its difficult process of transition to a more adequate form of government, is simply transparency. These forces say loud and clear that the people have the right to know. We refer to "European external factors," because the regime does not respect the Cuban people. Also, as a result of the unfeasibility of the government’s economic direction, it has placed itself in the difficult and shameful position of having to accept what never they would have accepted in the past. All for the sake of preserving support for the future and potential leaders that are holding up their absurd system.
The secret pacts should stop being secret and the "liberalizing measures" that the government adopts should be given to the population in due time and in the right form, the immediacy is required everywhere. There should be no restrictions on access to such information.
The students of the University of Computer Sciences (UCI) and of the 'Brothers Martínez Tamayo' School of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence, who download internet works of this type, read them and distribute them among themselves, have an incentive to question like friends the next bureaucrat visiting them.
The secret internet users that check websites with Cuban themes, who download, print and distribute the "hottest" pieces point towards future demands. We have already had enough of the excessive secrecy and of the secret agreements being made behind the backs of the people. Now is the moment for transparency.
Translation by Scott Hudson (People in need)
Monday, May 19, 2008
Aging U.S. fugitives live as exiles in Cuban neighborhoods
Alleged criminals aging, miss U.S. they left behind
Ray Sanchez | Direct from Havana
May 18, 2008
Nearly four decades after allegedly killing a New Mexico state trooper
and fleeing to Cuba, Charlie Hill lives on the outskirts of the capital
in a tiny apartment with a backed-up toilet. He gets by on a ration card
and a $10 monthly state stipend.
The 58-year-old grandfather and avowed black separatist listens to South
Florida AM radio stations that reach across the straits for news and
sports scores. Phrases from the turbulent 1960s, like "right on," pepper
Hill is among 70 fugitives from American justice who live as ordinary
citizens in Cuba, where the revolutionary government welcomed many as
militants and political activists who faced persecution in the United
States. Cuba's government has refused almost all requests for their
return but, in 2006, said "it would no longer provide safe haven to new
U.S. fugitives entering Cuba," according to the State Department.
Still, time, not the law, is catching up with the U.S. fugitives. One of
the most notorious was Robert Vesco, an American businessman
investigated in the 1970s for stealing more than $200 million from a
Swiss mutual fund company. Rather than face charges, Vesco moved around
Latin America before settling in Cuba in the 1980s.
Burial records at Havana's Colon Cemetery show a 71-year-old man with
the same name and birth date as Vesco died on Nov. 23 from lung cancer
and was buried the next day in a private plot. His demise was not known,
even among other American fugitives, until recent press reports.
Hill is among a handful of holdovers who arrived in the 1960s and 1970s,
an era when revolution and violent activism was romanticized, and
hijacking planes to Cuba was a common escape for radicals seeking
refuge. To them, Vesco was another kind of outlaw.
"Vesco was running from the law because he stole money," Hill said.
"When you are a revolutionary you're in exile and you still continue
your struggle as best you can. I'm an exile."
American fugitives in Cuba include black separatists, Black Panthers and
Puerto Rican independence militants. To American law enforcement, they
are cop killers, bank robbers and common criminals. Some fugitives
speculate their future on the island could end if Cuba tries to work out
a prisoner exchange for the so-called Cuban Five — Cuban nationals
imprisoned for spying in America.
"I don't want that, but hey man, if it happened, I would have to go
down, brother," Hill said.
Wayne Smith, who once served as America's top diplomat in Havana,
dismissed the idea of a prisoner swap.
"I think the Cuban government might be interested, but I don't think it
would really happen," he said. "The U.S. government would be very
reluctant to get into that."
At least one fugitive, Joanne Chesimard, a black nationalist who fled to
Cuba after escaping from a U.S. prison in 1979, has gone into hiding on
the island. She has a $1 million bounty on her head for killing a New
Jersey state trooper in 1973.
Chesimard now goes by the name Assata Shakur. She once listed her number
in the Havana phone book, but now fears that bounty hunters may try to
snatch her, according to a friend who has not seen Shakur in more than a
For its part, Cuba accuses the United States of harboring one of the
island's most-wanted men. Authorities want the United States to hand
over anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA operative
and alleged mastermind of the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976. All
73 passengers on board were killed. Venezuela, where the downed plane
originated, also has requested his extradition.
Posada Carriles, who was held on immigration charges but freed from a
federal prison in Texas a year ago, also is suspected of plotting a
series of Havana hotel bombings in the late 1990s. Hundreds of
Cuban-Americans honored the exile this month with a sold-out gala in
Miami, where he now lives.
In Cuba, Hill longs for the life he left behind.
"I miss apple pie and sweet potato pie, man," he said. "I miss watching
football. But that doesn't mean I regret being a revolutionary and doing
what I did."
Hill escaped to Cuba in 1971 after a state trooper stopped him and two
other members of a black separatist group outside Albuquerque, N.M. They
were transporting arms and explosives. One of the suspects shot the
trooper, Robert Rosenbloom, in the throat, killing him. The men forced
their way into the Albuquerque airport and hijacked an airliner to Cuba.
Hill's accomplices both died in Cuba: Ralph Goodwin drowned at a beach
outside Havana decades ago; Michael Finney died of throat cancer in 2005.
Asked if he expected to return to America, Hill said: "Maybe in a coffin."
Ray Sánchez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.