Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The Controversy About Sentences of Protestors

 'Drip drip' of harsh sentences for Cuba protesters deters engagement from U.S.

The long prison terms dump "a whole bucket of cold water over any push for improving relations," said Ric Herrero of the Cuba Study Group.


MIAMI — Brandon David Becerra Curbelo turned 18 in November in a Cuban prison.
The Havana resident was recently sentenced to 13 years for public disorder, sedition and other charges after he took part in unprecedented, historic protests that rocked the island in July. "He doesn’t even know why he is in prison," his mother, Yanaisy Curbelo, said by phone from Cuba. "He tells me: ‘Mamá, I don’t understand. I yelled ‘Patria y Vida’ and ‘Cuba is hungry,’ but I didn’t do anything else.’”
In the U.S., the trials have left many people with little appetite to push to open better relations with Cuba, long-standing advocates of engagement say.
“The Cuban government’s response to the July 11 protests and now these three months’ drip drip of exorbitant sentences against those protestors dumps a whole bucket of cold water over any push for improving relations in the United States,” said Ric Herrero, the executive director of the Cuba Study Group, a non-partisan organization that supports civil society in Cuba and engagement between the two countries.
Herrero said members of Congress have privately expressed to him that they are hesitant about traveling to the island or about calling for re-engagement because the “stream of sentences being handed down would undercut their efforts.”
Protesters shout slogans against the government in Havana on July 11, 2021.
Protesters shout slogans against the government in Havana on July 11. Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters

Hundreds of Cubans who participated in July’s protests have been sentenced to up to 30 years in mass trials. Although the protests mostly were peaceful, some people threw stones at police, looted and vandalized. The more serious charges include sedition, violent attacks, theft and vandalism.
The international community and rights groups have criticized the trials, saying they lack transparency and that the sentences are disproportionate to the crimes to deter any protests against the government. In Cuba, 30-year sentences are usually handed down for serious crimes, like murder.
Johana Tablada, the deputy director for U.S. affairs at the Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry, said the U.S. government has “directed an incredible media display” to mischaracterize the protests and the sentences.
“There was only one day of protests where thousands participated, and now they are saying people are in jail for expressing how they feel. That is a lie,” Tablada said. She said no more than 300 people have been tried and sentenced and that they are tied to four violent acts: assault on a police station, assault on a pediatric hospital, assault on a pharmacy and assault on a commercial center where police vehicles were vandalized.
She said “it’s a lie” to say that peaceful protesters are in jail and that Cuba jails children.
“There is a specific interest by the United States government to use this as the new obstacle to justify its inhumane policy hardened by Biden’s administration,” Tablada said.
Cuban authorities announced in January that 790 people had been arrested and charged with crimes, but have given few details. Groups that keep track of detentions and trials, like Justice 11J, say they have confirmed 1,440 detentions, cautioning that the number could be higher because some people are afraid to come forward. They say 616 sentences have been issued, about 22 of them to people who were 16 or 17 when they were sentenced. Cuba’s Supreme Court said about 100 people who were convicted last month had “tried violently to subvert the constitutional order.”
President Donald Trump quickly ended President Barack Obama's historic opening with Cuba when he took office. Trump restricted travel and remittances and reduced the staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana to skeletal proportions after mysterious health incidents were reported.
Joe Biden said during the 2020 campaign that Trump's actions were “failed policies” and vowed to reverse them, saying they “inflicted harm on Cubans and their families” and have “done nothing to advance democracy and human rights.”
Herrero said the Biden administration had been getting ready to act on changing some of Trump's policies when the protests erupted in July.
Riot police in Havana
Riot police walk the streets after a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel in Havana on July 12. Yamil Lage / AFP - Getty Images file

Now the general sentiment is that the hefty sentences make it difficult to make a case and win enough support for an opening.
Cuba's government accused the U.S. of funding and fomenting the protests, saying Miami-based opposition groups instigated July’s unrest through a social media campaign, with President Miguel Díaz-Canel comparing the trials in Cuba to the trials in the U.S. of those accused of storming the Capitol
Advocates in the U.S. say more engagement would put the U.S. in a better position to hold the Cuban government accountable for human rights violations and to address them directly with the government.
Herrero said, “All the U.S. government messaging to the Cuban government over these abuses is done via tweet.”

'He's just a kid'

For Kendry Miranda Cárdenas’ mother, life has turned upside down since her son was arrested days after the protests. 
He turned 18 in prison in October and was recently sentenced to 19 years on charges of sedition and other counts. His family is devastated.
Kendry Miranda Cardenas turned 18 while in prison. He was arrested following the protest on July 11 and is serving a 19-year-sentence.
Kendry Miranda Cárdenas turned 18 in prison. He was arrested after the protest on July 11 and is serving a 19-year-sentence.Kenya Miranda Cárdenas

“I feel awful. All these problems gave me a brain aneurysm. Now I can’t work, so I don’t have money to take food to my son on visitation day,” his mother, Kenya Miranda Cárdenas, said by phone from Havana. “My son is desperate. He’s just a kid, and they piled on all those years. When I visit him, I try to give him hope, but it’s all a lie. It’s a lot of years, not two days.”
Former Rep. Joe García of Florida, a Democrat, condemned the protesters’ prison terms. He said U.S. policy toward Cuba is "a hard policy because it is laced with anger, resentment, victims, brutal persecution and tenacity."
García, who has traveled to Cuba to create more engagement between the two countries, said the lengthy prison sentences become "fodder for clever politicians on both sides of the straits" — referring to the U.S. and Cuba — to have entrenched positions and ultimately to "do nothing."
U.S. farmers who visited Cuba recently on a trade tour said at a news conference that they would like to sell more products to the island but that the decades-old embargo complicates their efforts.

Restrictions still in place

Trump banned U.S. companies from sending remittances via Cuban military-controlled companies, which included Western Union’s main partner. Cuban Americans still send remittances, but they use agencies that might charge more. The U.S. also suspended flights to all airports except Havana’s, making travel to faraway provinces difficult.
Miami resident Eloina Ramos, 77, hasn’t visited her 98-year-old mother in Ciego de Ávila since 2018. With flights restricted to Havana, she would have to travel seven hours by car from the main airport to get to her family — or go through a third country."They need to remove those restrictions, because they affect those who travel to other provinces," Ramos said.
Despite the impact of the restrictions, there haven’t been significant opposition or protests from Cuban Americans to change them.
Pressure to re-staff the U.S. Embassy is mounting as the number of Cuban migrants arriving at the U.S. has risen sharply — the number crossing the border at the end of March was up by 460 percent over the same time last year, according to internal Customs and Border Protection data obtained by NBC News. That outpaced the number of people arriving from Central America.
Fully re-staffing the embassy and restarting the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program would help some Cubans arrive through less risky means. The U.S. recently announced that it would increase the staff at the embassy in Havana and begin a limited amount of some immigrant visa services, but most Cubans still have to travel to Guyana for visa processing. With ticket prices hovering around $3,000, the trips are inaccessible for many.
In the meantime, the trials in Cuba continue to generate attention as families hold out hope the sentences will be reduced.
Curbelo's son Brandon believes he’s not going to serve 13 years, she said, "because he didn't do anything else" except march in the street.
NBC News producer Orlando Matos contributed from Havana.
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Carmen Sesin

Carmen Sesin is a reporter based in Miami.


Hi Carmen,

A good, comprehensive and balanced, article.  My view:

1)  Both Cuba and the US have responsibility for creating the conditions that led to the July 11-12 protests.

2)  Like in Black Lives Matter and every peace demonstration I participated in some people violate the law by intention or losing self-control during the heat of confrontation.

3)  In their own minds, and those of their allies, everyone arrested was innocent or at least justified and entitled to be proclaimed innocent.

4)  The default position of authority everywhere is that an example must be set that discourages  future violence and illegality.

5)  Both Cuba and the US are responsible for an atmosphere of mutual distrust that leads to disproportionate sentences.

6)  Hard liners in both countries profit from and are vindicated by harsh sentences and imprisoned examples/martyrs.

7)  There is precedent for setting aside legal decisions with negotiated solutions:  Bay of Pigs POWs, Black Spring convicted prisoners, Allan Gross and the remaining of the five heroes/spies

8)  Bilateral agreement is the only way to achieve release of 11-12 J prisoners in a reasonable time. Otherwise, indefinite posturing by both countries.

9)  Ideally resolving the underlying conditions would come out of such a deal:  ending the embargo, creating space for public protest.

10)  More realistically: amnesty for convicted protestors with an opportunity of family emigration in return for restoring Obama's policies and legislatively ending all travel restrictions.

I have posted this argument in our last two newsletters and written directly to both governments to no avail. 
          Cuba NL  Jan 4, 2022       https://conta.cc/3sSBUfM
          Cuba NL  Feb 4, 2022    https://conta.cc/34uiSSJ

Both countries need leaders with courage and vision.


John McAuliff
Executive Director, Fund for Reconciliation and Development
Coordinator, Cuba-US People to People Partnership

Monday, April 11, 2022

Holguin Ibero-American Congress of Thought October 2022


XVI Ibero-American Congress of Thought

House of Ibero-America. Holguin

Second Notice of Call

The House of Ibero-America with the co-sponsorship of the University of Holguín, convene the XVII Ibero-American Congress of Thought, to be held between October 25 and 27, 2022 in the Cuban city of Holguín, in the special framework for the celebration of the XXVIII Edition of the Ibero-American Culture Festival,  on this occasion in the virtual and blended modalities, and with the fundamental axis: 30 years of a cultural debate, the mutual encounter.

You can participate in the Congress online by accessing through the various communication platforms of social networks or in person, in the categories of author, exhibitor, cursista or observer, sharing their experiences about the central axis of the same and the traditional forums, from articles, conferences, pre and post congress courses,  and presentations in videos and streams.

Papers must be submitted in Word document format (. doc, .docx), which once selected by the Scientific Committee, will be published in the memories of the event with ISBN and the best will be able to be part of the editorial cushion of the journal of research and social criticism Guayza. The topics to which they must respond will be grouped into the following topics:


  •  FORUM 1: Discovery, encounter or encounter.
  • FORUM 2: Gender studies
  • FORUM 3: Society, Cultural Groups and Artistic Processes
  •  FORUM 4: Social Thought, National Identity and Heritage
  • FORUM 5: Sociodemographic Studies in contemporaneity.
  • FORUM 6: Culture, tourism and sustainable development. Challenges
  • FORUM 7: Studies of the socio-educational context.


For admission, the works related to the central axis of the event will be prioritized; all must have a proactive approach, they will be grouped by themes and  the various Forums will be formed. Other interested delegates may participate and speak (during the debate).


The authors will present a digital version of their proposals with an extension of 5 pages for the content of the work, in Arial 12, space and a half, without cover, in systems compatible with Windows. It is necessary that the name of the document is saved and sent with the exact title of the work, the name of the 2 authors. On a first sheet you must record, only, the following data: Title of the work (whose length does not exceed 12 words), name of the authors with their academic or scientific degree, institution, province or country, institutional and personal email, and telephones. All this accompanied by a summary of no more than 250 words and keywords. At the end, the bibliography must appear, limited by the APA standard; these elements are not contemplated within the limit of 5 pages. Two authors per paper will be admitted, each main author can send two proposals of works to select one of them.


The content of the work must conform to the themes of the call and in all cases contain a critical vision of the author on the issue treated. Research designs or texts that exceed the limit of pages or authors are not allowed. The deadline for admission will close on August 30, 2022. Papers that do not meet the above requirements will not be approved by the Admission Committee.


Once the works have been selected, the participants will be delimited online, who must send the following data: names and surnames, institution, province, country, electronic mail and whattsapp number  to the martinezpupo@gmail.com email.

The participant in the online form will be able to access the main actions of the Congress from the various platforms in social networks and be part of its debate through the Congreso Iberoamericano Group on Whatsapp (+53 55084207)

The Organizing Committee will inform both face-to-face and virtual participants about the acceptance of their proposals from September 15 to 20, 2022.

It will also be possible to access collateral actions such as workshops, pre and post-congress courses  that will be published in future notices.


Organizing Committee

- Honorary President: Doctor of Historical Sciences Eduardo Torres Cuevas, Director of the Office of the National Marti Program.

- President of the Organizing Committee of the Ibero-American Culture Festival: Dr.C Eduardo Ávila Rumayor. Director Casa de Iberoamérica.  Doctor in Education Sciences and Assistant Professor University of Holguín.

- President of the Organizing Committee of the Ibero-American Congress of Thought.  MSc Bárbara Martínez Pupo. Sociologist. Investigator. Assistant Professor University of Holguín.

- Dr.C Nury Valcarcel Leyva. Specialist in Local Development and Gender. President of the José Manuel Guarch Delmonte Chair. Professor At the University of Holguín.

- MSc Amparo Berrillo. International Professor of Yoga in Everyday Life, Representative University Extension, President of the Honorary Chair of Bioethics and Assistant Professor at the University of Holguín.

- Msc Yaimara Almaguer Cardenas. Art Historian. Organizer of the Young Researchers Award and Our Memory Congress. Professor Instructor University of Holguín.

-MSc Yudania Cuza Silot. Sociologist. Specialist in Environmental Management. Assistant Professor University of Holguín.

- Msc Adriana Roses Labrada. Specialist in Sociocultural Studies and history and culture. Assistant Professor University of Holguín.


- MSc.  Isairis Rojas Paris. Researcher and Main Specialist Project Center for Studies for Sociocultural Development

- MSc Marielena Grey Suarez. Cultural Laboratory Project Coordinator. Assistant Professor University of Holguín.

- MSc Maria Eugenia Brito Fitz. Specialist in projects and local development. Coordinadora Cultural Laboratory Project. Assistant Professor University of Holguín.


Registration fee:

- For National Delegates in Virtual Forum: 400.00 CUP. 

It entitles you to:

_Participación in the Online Forum

_Publicación of his work in isbn memories

_Certificación with academic credit


- For  National Delegates In person: 1000.00 CUP

It entitles you to:

_ Participation in all spaces in the area that develops the Congress.

_ Accreditation Module

_Transportación to and from the Congress headquarters

_ Gastronomic Offer in the Congress space

_ Publication in the Reports with ISBN

_ Certification with academic credit

_ Access to the purchase of a tourist excursion (Bariay day 28, Gibara Day 29)

The pre and post evento courses will cost 150.00 MN

To register, please contact:

Organizing Committee. House of Ibero-America. Arias No. 161 between Maceo and Libertad. Telephones: (5324) 427714 and (5324) 427715.

Emails: martinezpupo@gmail.com, ycuza@uho.edu.cu


- For foreign delegates :

Registration fee for the Congress 120.00 USD, registration for pre-congress courses 50.00 USD, managed through our official tour operator, the Paradiso Cultural Tourism Agency by contacting Mr. Emilio Ortiz Suárez. Commercial Specialist of the Paradiso Travel Agency. Email: emilio_ortiz_suarez@schg.artex.cu

This includes the certificate of participation in the Congress and the Party.

Waiting to meet your professional expectations.

Organizing Committee.


For more information and publication, send the works to Emails: martinezpupo@gmail.com, ycuza@uho.edu.cu



Submission of works with all their rules: August 30, 2022

Notification of acceptances: September 15, 2022

Payment of the registration fee: From September 15 to October 15, 2022

This payment can be made to the account of laCasa de Iberoamérica from the transfermóvil and enzona platforms.

For more information:

- MSc. Barbara Martinez Pupo

Email: martinezpupo@gmail.com

WhatsApp: (+53) 55084207

- Msc Yaimara Lidia Almaguer Cardenas

Email: yaimara.leah@gmail.com

WhatsApp: (+53) 54198220

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Cuba Eliminates Covid Entry Requirements (4/4/22)


Nota Informativa del Ministerio de Salud Pública

En correspondencia con la situación epidemiológica internacional y nacional de la COVID-19 y los niveles de inmunización alcanzados, se ha decidido realizar las siguientes modificaciones a los requisitos de entrada al país como parte del Control Sanitario Internacional.

  • Eliminar como requisito de entrada al país la presentación de una prueba para COVID-19 (Test de antígeno o PCR-RT) realizada en el país de origen, así como el certificado de vacunación anti-COVID-19.
  • Se mantendrá la toma de muestra para estudio de SARS CoV-2 (gratuito) de forma aleatoria a viajeros en los puntos de entrada al país, teniendo en cuenta la cantidad de vuelos, la entrada de embarcaciones y el riesgo epidemiológico que represente el país de origen.
  • De resultar positiva la muestra tomada en el punto de entrada se procederá según los protocolos aprobados en el país para el control clínico-epidemiológico de la COVID-19.
  • Se mantienen todos los flujos y medidas implementadas en todos los puntos de entrada al país que garantizan el distanciamiento social y la desinfección de las manos y superficies.
  • Se mantiene el uso obligatorio de la mascarilla en todos los puntos de entrada al país.

Information Note from the Ministry of Public Health

In correspondence with the international and national epidemiological situation of COVID-19 and the levels of immunization achieved, it has been decided to make the following modifications to the requirements for entering the country as part of the International Sanitary Control .

  • Eliminate as a requirement to enter the country the presentation of a test for COVID-19 (antigen test or PCR-RT) carried out in the country of origin, as well as the anti-COVID-19 vaccination certificate.
  • The collection of samples for the study of SARS CoV-2 (free) will be maintained randomly from travelers at the points of entry to the country, taking into account the number of flights, the entry of ships and the epidemiological risk that the country of origin represents. origin.
  • If the sample taken at the point of entry is positive, it will proceed according to the protocols approved in the country for the clinical-epidemiological control of COVID-19.
  • All flows and measures implemented at all points of entry into the country that guarantee social distancing and the disinfection of hands and surfaces are maintained.
  • The mandatory use of the mask is maintained at all points of entry into the country