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jueves, 16 de julio de 2009

Marihuana y Revolución….. la otra historia de la Sierra.

Nada es lo que parece…

Dicho popular






El presente artículo no es fruto de mi imaginación ni una ficción extraída de un triler holliwodense…. No, no estimados lectores es la pura realidad, que he podido constatar cuando, por curiosidad, he hurgado en la verdadera historia de los últimos 50 años del gran Revolico castrista.

Para comenzar y siendo justo debo significar que en medio de la lucha contra el régimen de Batista muchos de los jóvenes que entregaron generosamente sus vidas, muchos de los que cooperaron aun arriesgando lo poco que tenían, esos: eran hombres honestos y decentes, a ellos el respeto de la Patria agradecida.

Pero: ¿Que hay del traidor? ¿Qué hay del usurpador el que dejo de lado los ideales de una generación por su beneficio personal? ¿Cómo contamino con el tráfico y la extorsión el ideal martiano base programática del movimiento 26 de julio?

A esta última pregunta trataré de dar respuesta.

Hoy día se conoce de los nexos de las guerrillas colombianas con el narco tráfico al que utiliza como fuente principal de financiamiento y del que han obtenido pingues beneficios desde casi los propios inicios de esta guerra contra los gobiernos constitucionales. Pero esta relación narco-guerrillas no surge en Colombia como muchos piensan pues desde mucho antes el Ejercito Rebelde capitaneado por Fidel Castro había entrado en contacto con los señores de la marihuana en la Sierra Maestra.

Estos bandoleros controlaban amplios territorios de la mayor de las cadenas montañosas de la isla en los que apoyados por capitales como los de Julio Lobo cosechaban la hierva para luego bajarlas al llano y venderlas a las redes que las distribuían en las ciudades.

Para alguien que no ha estado en la Sierra Maestra quizá no resulte tan difícil hablar de la vida en esos parajes pero otra cosa vivir en ella. No en balde fue el lugar planificado para hacer la guerra a Batista por la dirección del movimiento revolucionario encabezado por Frank País, Celia Sánchez y Fidel Castro estos sabían de lo inhóspito e intricado de los caminos algo que hacia difícil la lucha regular por parte del ejército que tendría que afrontar una trama bélica al estilo de los partisanos en la 2da Guerra Mundial.

El escenario escogido para la contienda era el ideal ahora faltaba la parte mas importante y decisiva de la que no se puede prescindir en este tipo de contienda: “El campesinado”.La muestra mas evidente de que es imposible realizar la guerra de guerrillas sin este factor fue el fracaso del Che Guevara en Bolivia pero esto seria material para otro trabajo.

Remontarnos al año 1956 en la Sierra Maestra es desvelar un panorama dominado por caciques que controlaban a casi 50 mil campesinos parte de los cuales se dedicaban al sembrado de la marihuana negocio para el que existía una amplia red de productores que la cultivaban y bajaban al llano para que luego fuera distribuidas en los centros urbanos.

Todo este asunto del cannabis era ampliamente conocido por los líderes del movimiento que comprendían la imposibilidad de acceder a esos parajes y establecerse sin mantenerse en simbiosis con los “Reyes de la hierba en la zona.

Según afirma uno de los líderes del ejército rebelde el señor Carlos Franqui cito:

“Durante la lucha de guerrillas en la Sierra Maestra, en los años 1957-58, los rebeldes descubrimos una verdad mantenida por años en sordina en Cuba: en la Sierra Maestra y otras montañas se cultivaba la marihuana que se consumía en la isla. La Sierra Maestra era un sitio inhóspito, aislado, frecuente refugio de perseguidos, marginados, de campesinos sin tierra, de fuera de leyes y de clanes familiares y sociales”.

Lo que Franqui afirma no incluye el hecho de que Castro conocía de antemano el terreno que pisaría y los contactos que tendría que realizar entre los bandoleros que pululaban en la Sierra y que compartirían el mismo territorio en el que el realizaría sus operaciones guerrilleras.

Para muchos jefes del Ejército Rebelde el encuentro con los delincuentes y bandidos de las montañas fue un hecho casual, para estos todo era problema que tendrían que resolverse cortando de raíz el tráfico,algo que estaba muy lejos de las verdaderas intenciones de Castro que siempre espero que este contacto le rindiera beneficios económicos para mantener la guerra como ocurrió en realidad.

Según señala Franqui en sus notas publicadas en el Diario Digital “El Veraz” de San Juan de Puerto Rico, en encuentros entre la dirección del movimiento en la Sierra se comento la necesidad de eliminar el cultivo de la hoja, pero juzguen ustedes mismos las orientaciones de Castro y cito:

“La primera decisión de Faustino con nuestro apoyo fue prohibir el cultivo de marihuana en nuestros territorios y ordenar su destrucción. Fidel Castro lo impidió con el argumento de que: Si prohibimos el cultivo de la marihuana, nos echaremos de enemigos a los campesinos y traficantes y perderemos la guerra."

Con el napoleónico razonamiento de que el fin justifica los medios Castro dio luz verde al cultivo y tráfico de la marihuana sacando tajadas monetarias que engrosaron sus fondos para “financiar la guerra”.

Pero,¿ como fue el contacto real del hoy tirano en pijamas con el cartel de la Sierra?, veamos:

Crecensio Pérez el hombre fuerte de la Sierra era un delincuente que controlaba la siembra de la marihuana en el oriente del país este cacique era el amo de la cosechas de la hierva y dominaba con sus hombres la distribución de la droga en el llano. Mucho se ha comentado de que el movimiento 26 de julio a través de Celia Sánchez había entrado en contacto con pobladores de la zona que le señalaron a Cerscencio como el hombre a tener en cuenta en el futuro establecimiento de la guerrilla en la montañas de la Sierra. Lo anterior deja descartada la coartada de Castro de que el encuentro con Pérez halla sido casual.

Después del naufragio del yate Gramma en las costas de las Coloradas las cosas siguieron desafortunadas para los expedicionarios, maltrechos por los ataques de la aviación del ejercito de Batista, el grupo se disperso internándose en las estribaciones de la Sierra, y es allí donde los fue a buscar el Cacique Crescencio que conocía como nadie esos predios agrestes e inhóspitos y estaba alertado del desembarco.

Al encuentro con los expedicionarios del Gramma Crescencio envió a su mejor arriero de mulos que conocía como nadie el terreno, me refiero a el actual comandante de la Revolución Guillermo García.


García, era uno de los peones del cacique que lo utilizaba para bajar de las lomas la marihuana en las arrías de mulos. Una vez en el llano la droga era cargada por los distribuidores envueltos en el negocio.

Cuando al fin el bandolero topó con el grupo, para Castro fue la salvación , Pérez procuró mantenerlos a salvo dándoles el abrigo que les libro de una muerte segura. Estos gestos nunca fueron olvidados por el futuro tirano.

Crescencio fue la perla fina en los principios de la guerrilla pues dominaba hasta el ultimo rincón de la serranía, era respetado y temido y además cooperó con Castro financiando el incipiente grupo insurgente al que el dinero del tráfico de la marihuana le sentó de maravillas.

No obstante había que dotar al malhechor de otra leyenda pues no podía presentarse al benefactor de la guerrilla como un traficante de marihuana entonces surge la historia urdida por el propio Castro de que Crescencio Pérez era un “Líder Campesino” : flagrante mentira.
La leyenda inventada para el cacique salpico a Garcia que junto con otros dos bandoleros Vitalio Acuña y Hermes Cordero se incorporó al grupo insurgente tal y como lo hizo el jefe de estos.


Acuña y Cordero eran los lugartenientes de Crescencio en sus operaciones, se les consideraba unos matones que supervisaban el trasiego de los sembrados y la comercialización del psicoactivo.

Sobre Crescencio Pérez se han vertido diversas historias en las que se le achacan más de una muerte pero al menos este servidor no ha encontrado pruebas que lo demuestren no obstante y como decía mi abuela “Cuando rió suena…..”


Así las cosas los otrora traficantes, bandoleros y cuatreros se convirtieron de la noche a la mañana en “Héroes de la Revolución” por obra y gracia de la marihuana de la que vivieron buena parte de sus vidas.


Al triunfo del revolico castrista Crescencio ostentaba los grados de Comandante al igual que Guillermo García mientras Vitalio (Vilo) Acuña fue ascendido a capitán muriendo años mas tarde en Bolivia en la desastrosa campaña de Ernesto “Che” Guevara en el cono sur de América. En cuanto a Cordero no sobrevivió al triunfo del 59 cayendo en combate.

Como he podido corroborar, todos estos años Fidel Castro ha sepultado el caso de Crescencio Pérez del que se sabe poco después del 59.Solo que el sátrapa le otorgó unas tierras en Oriente que el otrora cuatrero administró al margen de las “leyes revolucionarias” con total impunidad.

Cuentan que en las cercas que delimitaban los predios de Pérez este colgaba carteles anunciando la venta de carne de res algo que ha sido pecado en la Cuba castrista.

Cuando en un articulo anterior a este hube de referirme a Castro como gángster quizá para muchos lectores la palabra sonó altisonante, hoy más que nunca a quedado fehacientemente demostrado que no solo este moustro es un gángster mafioso y vulgar delincuente sin no que suma a su negro palmares el de traidor a los ideales por los que murieron los mejores hombres de su generación manchándolos con el lodo del trafico de drogas, desde los propios inicios de la guerra contra Batista.


Nada hay que extrañar, algún día se han de abrir los archivos donde se pondrán al descubierto la complicidad de Castro con el tráfico de drogas internacional algo que para muchos ya no es un secreto.

Ese día, ya viene llegando…




Cuba es más pero mucho, mucho, más.

Ángel Drag.
AD.

miércoles, 15 de julio de 2009

VENEZUELA FRENTE AL ESPEJO DE CUBA.



El proceso nacionalizador de Chávez se ha acelerado a un ritmo frenético desde 2007.

Ahora le han tocado a los medios masivos de comunicación, particularmente a la televisión y la radio. Para justificar estas medidas habla de un “latifundio mediático” de las empresas privadas. Ha ordenado el cierre de 285 emisoras de radio y TV. Debemos recordar que en mayo de 2007 estatalizó a CANTV, la más grande empresa de telecomunicaciones del país. Así mismo, compró a la norteamericana Verizon, con lo que tiene el 100% de esta rama en sus manos.

El señor Chávez quiere destruir el “latifundio mediático” según ha dicho. Lo que no ha dicho es que Él se convertirá en el más grande latifundista y monopolista de todos los medios masivos de comunicación de la República de Venezuela.

Se trata de silenciar a la oposición democrática, de no darle ninguna posibilidad de disentir. Desde luego, todo eso bajo la dirección de su querido maestro Fidel Castro, el más grande violador de los derechos democráticos en el continente, en el último medio siglo.

Los que pensaban que el venezolano iba a seguir un camino castrista corregido, se equivocaron: es la copia al carbón de todos los pasos dados por el castrismo, para tener en su puño todos los resortes del poder, incluyendo – por encima de todo - al llamado “cuarto poder”.

El Guión – copia exacta de F. Castro -del monopolio y latifundio del poder, sigue su curso sin perturbación. Las fases son las siguientes:

-Creación del “Enemigo”, el Imperio Americano”

-Nacionalización de los sectores más importantes de la

economía: petróleo, siderúrgica, electricidad,

telecomunicaciones, sistema bancario, cementeras,

alimentos, expropiación de tierras, etc.

- Nacionalización o expropiación de todos los medios de

comunicación: televisión, radio, prensa escrita, cine,

Internet.

- Creación del PUSV, que luego se convertirá en el

- Partido Comunista de Venezuela, con su Primer

Secretario, Hugo Chávez Frías.

- Terror, tortura, asesinatos, abusos y represión contra

todo vestigio de Oposición democrática.

- Dominio absoluto de la Educación, con programas de

educación marxista en todos los niveles de enseñanza.

Eliminación de las escuelas y Universidades privadas.

- Creación de un masivo sistema de escuelas de

instrucción marxista, para preparar a decenas de miles

de partidarios y cuadros del PCV.

- Formación de los Comités de Defensa Bolivarianos,

ojos y oídos de la Inteligencia y Contrainteligencia, así

como del Departamento de Seguridad del Estado.

- Creación de organizaciones – bajo la dirección del

PCV- que agrupen a mujeres, niños, jóvenes,

estudiantes, obreros y campesinos. También se

agruparán a los escritores, artistas y profesionales

de todas las ramas de la economía.

- Formación de escuelas para preparar a nacionales y

extranjeros como guerrilleros, agentes provocadores,

especialistas en motines y manifestaciones, agentes

de inteligencia y contrainteligencia, como fuerzas de

infiltración y subversión en los países vecinos y en

toda Suramérica.

- Extraordinarias inversiones en las fuerzas armadas,

fuerzas especiales, seguridad del estado, aparato

policial, milicias y fuerzas paramilitares, con el objetivo

“público” de proteger a la “Revolución Socialista” y con

el objetivo real y secreto de destruir a los movimientos

opositores.

- Creación de un Parlamento sin oposición, totalmente

compuesto de los miembros del PCV, y fieles al Patrón

Mayor, Hugo Chávez.

Con todo el poder económico, político, militar y sobre los medios masivos de comunicación en las manos, no habrá Dios ni fuerza que pueda sacar a Hugo Chávez del poder perpetuo.

Supongo que su más recóndito anhelo será sobrepasar a su adorado maestro, que ya tiene 50 años en el poder.

Tal y como dijo en una entrevista el señor Alberto F. Ravell, Director ejecutivo de GlobovisiónSi los venezolanos dejan que les quiten los medios, bien merecido lo tienen. Se quedarán sin información” Pero no sólo se quedarán sin información: se quedarán ausentes del poder, porque información es poder.

Los pobres de Venezuela –obreros, campesinos, personal de servicios, etc. – no saben lo que les traerá el apoyo a Chávez y su Guión totalitario.

Ese Guión se impondrá a la fuerza, con la violencia del poder, como se demuestra en estas palabras del Presidente de PVDSA, Rafael Ramírez: "Quien no esté en un comité socialista es sospechoso de conspirar contra la revolución".

Dijo más: "El que no se sienta cómodo con esa orientación, es necesario que le ceda su puesto a un bolivariano (un partidario del presidente)". Esto lo dijo en un vídeo que mostró la oposición hace algún tiempo.

Este señor es la cara fascista de lo que le espera a los trabajadores. Es uno de los más importantes dirigentes del PUSV, el partido marxista de Chávez.

No sólo será en los centros de trabajo. Lo aplicarán sin concesiones en las Universidades: “Las Universidades son para los revolucionarios”, consigna castrista aplicada en Cuba de manera radical, y que destruyó la vida de miles de jóvenes universitarios, a través de las incontables purgas que se hicieron.

Aquí están expuestos los verdaderos propósitos de Chávez y sus guatacas y seguidores, en la cúpula en el poder.

Venezuela tiene que mirarse en el espejo de Cuba, uno de los países más desarrollados de América en los años 50. El Guión Totalitario de Fidel Castro, la ha destrozado como Estado, Sociedad y Nación. La miseria y la pobreza sólo se pueden comparar con Haití, a pesar de lo que diga la propaganda comunista acerca de los éxitos en educación y salud pública.

Si el pueblo venezolano y su Oposición, no paran a Chávez, el destino de su país será el mismo que el de Cuba. Ya están advertidos. Lo que queda es de su parte. Sólo la más extrema unidad de las fuerzas democráticas, con el apoyo de las fuerzas armadas, podrán detener a tiempo estos planes macabros del señor Chávez.

De lo contrario – cosa que ya no veré – tendrán a este golpista, que postula mentirosamente ser un demócrata, los próximos 50 años en el poder.

Un abrazo.

Asdrúbal Caner Camejo

Representante del PSC

en Canadá

domingo, 12 de julio de 2009

PROTESTA: !1994 CRÍMENES CONTRA LOS BALSEROS!




DESDE OTAWA CANADA NOS LLEGA UN PEDIDO
Hola: Vamos a realizar una protesta frente al Parlamento de Canadá, mañana lunes entre la 1-5 de la tarde. Quisiera que pusieran la carta de Juan Carlos y la nota sobre el "hundimiento del remolcador 13 de Marzo" Poner el título: PROTESTA: !1994 CRÍMENES CONTRA LOS BALSEROS!
From: juan C suarez
Subject: Re: protest
To: "CBC News Ottawa"
Received: Thursday, July 9, 2009, 10:44 PM

PROTESTA: !1994 CRÍMENES CONTRA LOS BALSEROS!

Hi Jen;

My name is Juan Carlos Suarez Rodriguez and Iam the person who will be protesting in front of Parliament Hill this Monday July 13th 2009.

Iam a survivor of the tragedy that already cost over 75,000 lives to the people of cuba in over 50 years of Cuban dictatorship. I left my country in august of 1994 in a raft made of inner tubes and wood ..I spent a year in Guantanamo bay as a cuban refugee awaiting to be allowed to enter the US and finally now Iam here in Canada, a coutry I wanted always to visit.

I was only 17 years old when I was brutally beaten by cuban police in downtown havana just for using a public washroom where only tourists could go...they were Germans and Canadian tourists the ones visiting havana in those days ..Iam 43 years old now but still have the scars in my head and witness in Havana wheeling to testify to the truth of what happened that day.

Iam sending you as much information as I can about what happened on July 13th 1994 and why I will be paying tribute to my fellow cubans who have die trying to escape the "PARADISE ISLAND" Tourism agencies sell unscrupulously to Canadians who are totally missinformed about the reality of our people.

Iam also sending you photos with very disturbing images about this reality and my question is '''''why does the canadian press does not address this reality to canadian people""" """why Canadian press does not exercise their right to investigate violations of human rights in our country as it does in other countries''' and again''''Why do the canadian government continue to turn a blind eye on these violations after being a cosignatary of 6 international treaties against human rights violations'''' it is just Hipocritical and totally offencive to cubans the fact that we are not allowed to visit hotels in our country while Canadians are being served in luxury resorts from where our own people are banned.""""how will Canadians feel if something like that was done to them''''' all this questions are the questions we all cubans have to ask you becuase our embassy here does not represent us but represent the tourism industry that keep them in power.

I will be Building a raft in front of the parliament hill this July 13th to honor the lives of those who are still in the bottom of the sea and ask the Canadian government to respect the international treaties it has signed by looking into crimes against humanity commited by Cuban government.

Attached is also a photo of Raul Castro blindfolding a young farmer acused of treason in the mountains of Cuba at the beguining of the revolution...this young man was later executed by Raul Castro himself ..the message that this government is sending to the world is that it is OK to execute people today and 50 years later became a president of a country without a single question???..

I am planning on building rafts in Ottawa till this government allow me to testify as a survivor and as a witness of the crimes against humanity the government of cuba have commited and for which Iam asking to open an international investigation immediatly...this is 2009 and no government who sign international treaties agains violations of human rights should be doing business with a government suspected of mass murder and genocide...I have the evidences and I have the witnesses and survivors...I just need the media.

On July 13, 1994, at around three in the morning under the cover of darkness, around
seventy
2 men, women, and children boarded the recently renovated tugboat "13 de Marzo.3" They planned to escape the island by making the ninety-mile journey across the Straits of Florida, hoping to reach freedom in the United States. Many also sought the means to send help back to the family they were leaving behind. Eduardo Suárez Esquivel (Eddy), a computer engineer who had attempted unsuccessfully to flee on several occasions, came up with the idea. Obsessed with the idea of finding a way out of Cuba, he convinced his brother in law, Fidencio Ramel Prieto, to take the tugboat and serve as skipper. Ramel, who was in charge of operations at the Port of Havana, served as one of its Communist Party secretaries and had twenty-five years of commendable service at the port. This gave him access to the tugboat, which belonged to the state enterprise Empresa de Servicios Marítimos. With all vessels in Cuba under government ownership and tightly controlled to prevent escapes, this access was no small feat. Raúl Muñoz, a friend and fellow port worker who had been harbor pilot of the "13 de Marzo" and was now the pilot for another tugboat, was recruited to pilot the tugboat for the escape. Several more men joined in to develop the plot. The plan included numerous family members and close friends. Only Ramel had the entire list of the approximately fifty two passengers who were to go on the journey. The organizers were divided into groups and each had a leader. Each leader was in charge of getting his respective group to the pier on the designated day. To keep maximum secrecy, the children were told they were going on an excursion. On three previous occasions, a date had been chosen, but the escape had been aborted when insiders working at the port announced unexpected security measures deemed unfavorable. Unbeknownst to them, government authorities had been receiving information of the plan, in all probability by infiltrators. The spies are suspected to have been part of the actual planning group -in fact two did not show up for the departure. But, the information may have leaked out to spies through relatives who knew of the plot.
On the designated date, the group quietly boarded the tugboat in the middle of the night and the motors were started. Unexpectedly, people who were not on the list showed up, a few others who were to come did not. It was 3:15 A.M. when they began to make their way out of Havana‟s harbor. Immediately, a tugboat belonging to the same state enterprise initiated a chase. The pursuing vessel first tried to drive the "13 de Marzo" into a dock. When that proved unsuccessful, it rammed it, attempting to push it towards the reefs by the mouth of the harbor near the Morro Castle.
4 As its crew maneuvered skillfully, the "13 de Marzo" avoided the attacks and kept sailing forward. Free Society Project, Inc. March 2007. ©All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution of this material is authorized as long as its source, Cuba Archive/Free Society Project, is cited. 2
People at nearby piers and at the Malecón, Havana‟s seawall, witnessed the attack and were yelling to let them go. Just as the "13 de Marzo" cleared the harbor, two other tugboats that had been waiting for them in the dark, joined the chase. With their water cannons, they started spraying high pressure jets at the escaping vessel. The wooden "13 de Marzo" was now being hounded by three modern, larger, and heavier tugboats made of steel –the "Polargo 2," "Polargo 3," and "Polargo 5." They were respectively commandeered by Jesús Martínez Machín, a man named David, and one called Arístides.
As the "13 de Marzo" sailed ahead, the pursuing tugboats kept spraying the high-pressure water and getting in its way to make it stop. After around forty-five minutes, when the "13 de Marzo" had reached approximately seven miles out to sea, the pursuing tugboats began ramming it. Although the "13 de Marzo" had stopped and signaled its willingness to surrender and turn back, the relentless attack continued. The pilot of the "13 de Marzo" attempted to radio an SOS, but the pounding water had damaged the electrical equipment. A vessel belonging to the Cuban Coast Guard had arrived on the scene, a Soviet-built cutter referred to as "Griffin."
5 But, it stayed back, simply observing the spectacle.
The adults brought out the children on deck to see if this would deter the incessant jet streams and collisions. In desperation, parents held their children up in the air and pleaded for their lives, putting them in front of the powerful reflector lights pointed at them. But, the attackers disregarded their cries and continued to bombard the powerless passengers with the high pressure water. The mighty streams scattered them all over deck, ripped clothing off, and tore children from their parents‟ arms. Some were swept into the ocean immediately.
In a frantic attempt to find safety, some passengers went below deck to the cargo hold and the machine room, many carrying children. The "13 de Marzo" was now taking in water from the incessant ramming. Although it had stopped its engine, the "Polargo 5" rammed it decisively one last time and it began to sink. The doors to the machine room and cargo hold were blocked by the water. With the passengers pinned down, they desperately pounded on the walls and ceilings as the children wailed in horror. Frantically, Raúl, the pilot, tried unsuccessfully to open the trap door on deck as it was quickly filling up with water. Unable to make it budge, silence soon took over. Those trapped below had all drowned. It was around 4:50 A.M. when the tugboat sank seven miles northeast of Havana harbor. Panic gripped the stunned survivors. Mothers tried to hold on to their children to prevent them from drowning, screaming for husbands and other relatives to help. They all clung to life in high seas in the dark of night. Many floated atop a large refrigeration box, others hung onto anything that floated by or simply treaded water. The three boats then began circling the survivors, creating wave turbulence and eddies for around forty-five minutes. It was obvious they wanted to make sure no one would be left alive to bear witness to the horror. María Victoria García, who lost her ten-year old son, husband, and many other close family members later related: "After nearly an hour of battling in the open sea, the boat circled round the survivors, creating a whirlpool so that we would drown. Many disappeared into the seas... We asked them to save us, but they just laughed." One of the tugboats attempted to run over the floating refrigeration box holding many survivors. Fortunately, it was unsuccessful.
Free Society Project, Inc. March 2007. ©All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution of this material is authorized as long as its source, Cuba Archive/Free Society Project, is cited. 3
All of a sudden, the attackers stopped and the tugboat crews told survivors to swim toward the Cuban Coast Guard ships on the scene. Once on board, they noticed that a merchant ship with a Greek flag was close by, approaching Havana harbor. Survivors believe this is was what made the attackers stop unexpectedly. Several Coast Guard vessels then moved in to rescue those who were left. The exhausted groups of rescued passengers were kept at high seas almost until around 11A.M. When the order was received, they were all taken to a Naval Base at Jaimanitas, near Havana, where many high-ranking members of the military had gathered. The men were put into one cell and left there. The women and children were put it another cell, where they were interrogated. Early that evening the women and children were sent home and the men were taken to Villa Marista, Havana‟s State Security headquarters. Some were kept in detention several weeks and released to domiciliary detention. Two were kept for eight months. They were all given psychotropic drugs, visited by psychologists, and subjected to interrogations at all hours with the purpose of making them relay the story as an accident. Reports of the number of victims varied from the start. Because some who were supposed to make the journey did not show up while many others unexpectedly joined in, the exact number who boarded and of those who perished remains uncertain. Finally, only thirty seven people, individually identified, were confirmed missing by their grieving families and the thirty one survivors. Many were related; most came from four neighborhoods of greater Havana -Cotorro, Guanabacoa, Marianao, and Arroyo Naranjo. Four more persons may have perished if, in fact, seventy-two passengers boarded, but they remain unidentified.
Despite intimidation and harassment, many survivors immediately denounced the premeditated ramming of the "13 de Marzo" and the deliberate aggression against them while they were unarmed and in no position to seriously resist capture. They recounted how the pursuers appeared to be taking orders from the Cuban Coast Guard cutter and that, at one point, a helicopter had flown over the scene. The escapees never imagined their lives had been in danger. Even Ramel‟s son, who worked for State Security
6 and survived, reported never thinking they would suffer more than imprisonment if they were stopped. Unknowingly, however, they were taking a much larger risk than they had bargained for. Earlier that year, on April 28th, the tugboat "Polar 12" had been commandeered in Havana harbor and taken to Key West, Florida, with sixty-eight persons on board. On June 17th another tugboat, "The Mar Azul," had also been taken to Florida with seventy-four persons on board. Reportedly, both tugboats had been pursued by Cuba‟s Coast Guard, rammed by its vessels in international waters, and attacked with machine guns even though they carried many women and children as passengers. Because information in Cuba is tightly controlled and all media is owned by the government, these incidents were unknown on the island. The Cuban government reported that thirty-two people drowned and thirty one were rescued, but a list of victims was not provided. No bodies were returned to their families for burial and, if any were recovered, their location remains unknown. In fact, the authorities expressly refused to conduct search operations for the bodies. At State Security headquarters, agents mocked desperate relatives seeking bodies and told them that their loved ones were nothing more than "counter-revolutionary dogs."
When news reached the outside world, Rafael Dausá, the head of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, declared that survivors‟ accounts were "science fiction" and blamed the incident on the "thieves who stole the boat."
Granma –government newspaper and organ of the Communist Party- published the official version of the events - that the three pursuing vessels "had attempted to intercept Free Society Project, Inc. March 2007. ©All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution of this material is authorized as long as its source, Cuba Archive/Free Society Project, is cited. 4
the "13 de Marzo" and the maneuvers undertaken to that effect had resulted in a regrettable accident that had made the boat sink." In a subsequent story titled "Capsized tugboat robbed by anti-social elements,"
Granma blamed the "irresponsible act of piracy" on counter-revolutionary radio stations of the "Miami nest of maggots" (referring to Cuban exiles) and on the United States‟ failure to abide by immigration agreements. A Granma editorial of July 23rd 1994 was titled "A bitter lesson for the irresponsible." In a speech on July 26th, Raúl Castro, the head of Cuba‟s Armed Forces, insisted that the tugboat was destined to sink because it had not been seaworthy and praised the Cuban Coast Guard for trying to prevent that. Cuban radio stations, which are all government owned, repeated similar explanations. Finally, on August 5, 1994, in a three hour speech, Fidel Castro publicly praised the perpetrators for their exemplary behavior and patriotic acts and emphatically declared that they had no intentions to sink the boat. Attempting to feed the cover-up, some of the imprisoned survivors were paraded in front of cameras to tout the government line and insist that the tragedy was their entire fault. Manipulated into apologizing publicly, they had, among other things, been told that the populace was ready to lynch them for killing so many children. Apparently, the international community‟s reaction soon tempered the Cuban government‟s defiant tone. World leaders, including the Pope, made statements denouncing the deplorable incident and expressed condolences to the victims. Cuba‟s Ministries of Interior and of Foreign Relations promised an investigation. Unsurprisingly, it has never been heard of again. Subsequent attempts by family members of victims and human rights activists on the island to open judicial processes via official legal channels have been ignored. In fact, the head of the operation, tugboat pilot Jesús González Machín, is said to have received a "Hero of the Cuban Revolution" award from the government.
Numerous reports by international organizations have condemned the massacre. On July of 1994, Amnesty International had called on the Cuban government to carry out an investigation of the incident and to bring justice if any government affiliate was involved. In 1997, Amnesty reported that there was sufficient evidence to indicate that it had been an official operation and that, if events occurred in the way described by several of the survivors, those who died were victims of extrajudicial execution. In June of 1995 the United Nations‟ Special Rapporteur on Cuba requested from the Cuban government an investigation and called for those responsible to be processed and the families of victims to be compensated. On October of 1996, the United Nations denounced the absence of an investigation. That same month, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (O.A.S.) released a Special Report declaring that the Cuban state was responsible for premeditated murder. Over time, as more survivors and witnesses left the island and their accounts were pieced together, it became apparent that the Cuban government had planned the murder. It was evident that spied had been infiltrated who offered early and detailed knowledge of the preparations. Reportedly, once the plot was known, the decision had been made at the highest levels of government to not foil it by arresting the organizers or closing the entrance to Havana harbor. Instead, they would be allowed to steal the tugboat, so it could be sunk and an enduring lesson could be delivered to prevent further escapes from the island.
Free Society Project, Inc. March 2007. ©All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution of this material is authorized as long as its source, Cuba Archive/Free Society Project, is cited. 5
ENDNOTES
1Article 216 of Cuba‟s Penal Code punishes exit from the national territory not authorized by the government with up to eight years in prison. Article 117 punishes theft of any maritime or air vessels ("piracy") with ten to twenty years in prison or death. 2The exact number remains unclear to this day. Ramel, the skipper, reported to the leaders that 72 people had come on board. But, when the victims and survivors were later accounted for, only 68 were found -37 victims and 31 survivors. There are several explanations for this discrepancy: 1. The skipper could have made a mistake counting, especially in a situation of fear and confusion when some who were expected did not show up while many who were not did. 2. Four people may have perished who came on board with the last-minute group may have been known only to someone who died and whose families may not have known they were going on the tugboat. 3. Four people, also from the last-minute group, jumped into the harbor when the first hostile encounters took place and, in fear, have not come forth. 4. Four people were State Security agents that jumped, as previously planned, after the tugboat left the pier.
To cover up government involvement, only civilian vessels were employed in the attack and while only Coast Guard vessels rescued survivors. The O.A.S. report indicates that while this type of manipulation has been common Cuban government practice, "the attack against defenseless civilians was planned, orchestrated, and directed by the Communist Party and State Security with the direct participation of both." On the island, survivors and family members of those who died were initially denied information and put under constant surveillance. Many were dismissed from their jobs. They have continued to endure systematic harassment by the authorities. Over the years, all survivors except one have managed to go into exile, some in voyages by raft. All bear the marks of deep trauma, feelings of senseless loss, and a sense of outrageous injustice.
On the island, the Cuban government continues to imprison, threaten, and intimidate those who seek to peacefully protest the sinking and remember those who died, usually in small ceremonies on the anniversary of the attack. Government-organized mobs, the Rapid Response Brigades, habitually scream insults and hit participants.
7 To prevent commemorative activities, members of political and human rights groups are arrested, mobs harass them and even intrude in their homes, and extensive police operations are mounted. Just this past February 27th 2007, five peaceful activists kept under arrest since the July 13, 2005 memorial were tried for public disorder. René Montes de Oca, Emilio Leiva, Lázaro Alonso, and Manuel Pérez Oria were sentenced to two years imprisonment and Roberto Guerra Pérez to one year and eight months. The defendants declared that they had merely attempted to render tribute to the tugboat victims and only screamed at attackers of the Rapid Response Brigade to not hit them while they formed a human chain to protect themselves. What is perhaps the most puzzling aspect of this tragedy is that, as with similar cases in the past,8 it has been largely ignored by world media. As a result, international public opinion remains essentially unaware of the systematic attacks perpetrated by the Cuban government on defenseless civilians trying to flee Cuba. Sadly, many world leaders and celebrities display a shameless disregard for the most basic standards of accountability for the Cuban government. The Castro regime continues to enjoy a free pass to trample on the most fundamental rights of its citizens, including the most precious -the right to life. See attached pages for List of Victims and Survivors, Photos, Brief biographical entries on all victims, and Sources.

PROTESTA: !1994 CRÍMENES CONTRA LOS BALSEROS!


Desde Otawa nos llega un pedido.....
From: juan C suarez
Subject: Re: protest
To: "CBC News Ottawa"
Received: Thursday, July 9, 2009, 10:44 PM

PROTESTA: !1994 CRÍMENES CONTRA LOS BALSEROS!

Hi Jen;

My name is Juan Carlos Suarez Rodriguez and Iam the person who will be protesting in front of Parliament Hill this Monday July 13th 2009.

Iam a survivor of the tragedy that already cost over 75,000 lives to the people of cuba in over 50 years of Cuban dictatorship. I left my country in august of 1994 in a raft made of inner tubes and wood ..I spent a year in Guantanamo bay as a cuban refugee awaiting to be allowed to enter the US and finally now Iam here in Canada, a coutry I wanted always to visit.

I was only 17 years old when I was brutally beaten by cuban police in downtown havana just for using a public washroom where only tourists could go...they were Germans and Canadian tourists the ones visiting havana in those days ..Iam 43 years old now but still have the scars in my head and witness in Havana wheeling to testify to the truth of what happened that day.

Iam sending you as much information as I can about what happened on July 13th 1994 and why I will be paying tribute to my fellow cubans who have die trying to escape the "PARADISE ISLAND" Tourism agencies sell unscrupulously to Canadians who are totally missinformed about the reality of our people.

Iam also sending you photos with very disturbing images about this reality and my question is '''''why does the canadian press does not address this reality to canadian people""" """why Canadian press does not exercise their right to investigate violations of human rights in our country as it does in other countries''' and again''''Why do the canadian government continue to turn a blind eye on these violations after being a cosignatary of 6 international treaties against human rights violations'''' it is just Hipocritical and totally offencive to cubans the fact that we are not allowed to visit hotels in our country while Canadians are being served in luxury resorts from where our own people are banned.""""how will Canadians feel if something like that was done to them''''' all this questions are the questions we all cubans have to ask you becuase our embassy here does not represent us but represent the tourism industry that keep them in power.

I will be Building a raft in front of the parliament hill this July 13th to honor the lives of those who are still in the bottom of the sea and ask the Canadian government to respect the international treaties it has signed by looking into crimes against humanity commited by Cuban government.

Attached is also a photo of Raul Castro blindfolding a young farmer acused of treason in the mountains of Cuba at the beguining of the revolution...this young man was later executed by Raul Castro himself ..the message that this government is sending to the world is that it is OK to execute people today and 50 years later became a president of a country without a single question???..

I am planning on building rafts in Ottawa till this government allow me to testify as a survivor and as a witness of the crimes against humanity the government of cuba have commited and for which Iam asking to open an international investigation immediatly...this is 2009 and no government who sign international treaties agains violations of human rights should be doing business with a government suspected of mass murder and genocide...I have the evidences and I have the witnesses and survivors...I just need the media.

On July 13, 1994, at around three in the morning under the cover of darkness, around
seventy
2 men, women, and children boarded the recently renovated tugboat "13 de Marzo.3" They planned to escape the island by making the ninety-mile journey across the Straits of Florida, hoping to reach freedom in the United States. Many also sought the means to send help back to the family they were leaving behind. Eduardo Suárez Esquivel (Eddy), a computer engineer who had attempted unsuccessfully to flee on several occasions, came up with the idea. Obsessed with the idea of finding a way out of Cuba, he convinced his brother in law, Fidencio Ramel Prieto, to take the tugboat and serve as skipper. Ramel, who was in charge of operations at the Port of Havana, served as one of its Communist Party secretaries and had twenty-five years of commendable service at the port. This gave him access to the tugboat, which belonged to the state enterprise Empresa de Servicios Marítimos. With all vessels in Cuba under government ownership and tightly controlled to prevent escapes, this access was no small feat. Raúl Muñoz, a friend and fellow port worker who had been harbor pilot of the "13 de Marzo" and was now the pilot for another tugboat, was recruited to pilot the tugboat for the escape. Several more men joined in to develop the plot. The plan included numerous family members and close friends. Only Ramel had the entire list of the approximately fifty two passengers who were to go on the journey. The organizers were divided into groups and each had a leader. Each leader was in charge of getting his respective group to the pier on the designated day. To keep maximum secrecy, the children were told they were going on an excursion. On three previous occasions, a date had been chosen, but the escape had been aborted when insiders working at the port announced unexpected security measures deemed unfavorable. Unbeknownst to them, government authorities had been receiving information of the plan, in all probability by infiltrators. The spies are suspected to have been part of the actual planning group -in fact two did not show up for the departure. But, the information may have leaked out to spies through relatives who knew of the plot.
On the designated date, the group quietly boarded the tugboat in the middle of the night and the motors were started. Unexpectedly, people who were not on the list showed up, a few others who were to come did not. It was 3:15 A.M. when they began to make their way out of Havana‟s harbor. Immediately, a tugboat belonging to the same state enterprise initiated a chase. The pursuing vessel first tried to drive the "13 de Marzo" into a dock. When that proved unsuccessful, it rammed it, attempting to push it towards the reefs by the mouth of the harbor near the Morro Castle.
4 As its crew maneuvered skillfully, the "13 de Marzo" avoided the attacks and kept sailing forward. Free Society Project, Inc. March 2007. ©All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution of this material is authorized as long as its source, Cuba Archive/Free Society Project, is cited. 2
People at nearby piers and at the Malecón, Havana‟s seawall, witnessed the attack and were yelling to let them go. Just as the "13 de Marzo" cleared the harbor, two other tugboats that had been waiting for them in the dark, joined the chase. With their water cannons, they started spraying high pressure jets at the escaping vessel. The wooden "13 de Marzo" was now being hounded by three modern, larger, and heavier tugboats made of steel –the "Polargo 2," "Polargo 3," and "Polargo 5." They were respectively commandeered by Jesús Martínez Machín, a man named David, and one called Arístides.
As the "13 de Marzo" sailed ahead, the pursuing tugboats kept spraying the high-pressure water and getting in its way to make it stop. After around forty-five minutes, when the "13 de Marzo" had reached approximately seven miles out to sea, the pursuing tugboats began ramming it. Although the "13 de Marzo" had stopped and signaled its willingness to surrender and turn back, the relentless attack continued. The pilot of the "13 de Marzo" attempted to radio an SOS, but the pounding water had damaged the electrical equipment. A vessel belonging to the Cuban Coast Guard had arrived on the scene, a Soviet-built cutter referred to as "Griffin."
5 But, it stayed back, simply observing the spectacle.
The adults brought out the children on deck to see if this would deter the incessant jet streams and collisions. In desperation, parents held their children up in the air and pleaded for their lives, putting them in front of the powerful reflector lights pointed at them. But, the attackers disregarded their cries and continued to bombard the powerless passengers with the high pressure water. The mighty streams scattered them all over deck, ripped clothing off, and tore children from their parents‟ arms. Some were swept into the ocean immediately.
In a frantic attempt to find safety, some passengers went below deck to the cargo hold and the machine room, many carrying children. The "13 de Marzo" was now taking in water from the incessant ramming. Although it had stopped its engine, the "Polargo 5" rammed it decisively one last time and it began to sink. The doors to the machine room and cargo hold were blocked by the water. With the passengers pinned down, they desperately pounded on the walls and ceilings as the children wailed in horror. Frantically, Raúl, the pilot, tried unsuccessfully to open the trap door on deck as it was quickly filling up with water. Unable to make it budge, silence soon took over. Those trapped below had all drowned. It was around 4:50 A.M. when the tugboat sank seven miles northeast of Havana harbor. Panic gripped the stunned survivors. Mothers tried to hold on to their children to prevent them from drowning, screaming for husbands and other relatives to help. They all clung to life in high seas in the dark of night. Many floated atop a large refrigeration box, others hung onto anything that floated by or simply treaded water. The three boats then began circling the survivors, creating wave turbulence and eddies for around forty-five minutes. It was obvious they wanted to make sure no one would be left alive to bear witness to the horror. María Victoria García, who lost her ten-year old son, husband, and many other close family members later related: "After nearly an hour of battling in the open sea, the boat circled round the survivors, creating a whirlpool so that we would drown. Many disappeared into the seas... We asked them to save us, but they just laughed." One of the tugboats attempted to run over the floating refrigeration box holding many survivors. Fortunately, it was unsuccessful.
Free Society Project, Inc. March 2007. ©All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution of this material is authorized as long as its source, Cuba Archive/Free Society Project, is cited. 3
All of a sudden, the attackers stopped and the tugboat crews told survivors to swim toward the Cuban Coast Guard ships on the scene. Once on board, they noticed that a merchant ship with a Greek flag was close by, approaching Havana harbor. Survivors believe this is was what made the attackers stop unexpectedly. Several Coast Guard vessels then moved in to rescue those who were left. The exhausted groups of rescued passengers were kept at high seas almost until around 11A.M. When the order was received, they were all taken to a Naval Base at Jaimanitas, near Havana, where many high-ranking members of the military had gathered. The men were put into one cell and left there. The women and children were put it another cell, where they were interrogated. Early that evening the women and children were sent home and the men were taken to Villa Marista, Havana‟s State Security headquarters. Some were kept in detention several weeks and released to domiciliary detention. Two were kept for eight months. They were all given psychotropic drugs, visited by psychologists, and subjected to interrogations at all hours with the purpose of making them relay the story as an accident. Reports of the number of victims varied from the start. Because some who were supposed to make the journey did not show up while many others unexpectedly joined in, the exact number who boarded and of those who perished remains uncertain. Finally, only thirty seven people, individually identified, were confirmed missing by their grieving families and the thirty one survivors. Many were related; most came from four neighborhoods of greater Havana -Cotorro, Guanabacoa, Marianao, and Arroyo Naranjo. Four more persons may have perished if, in fact, seventy-two passengers boarded, but they remain unidentified.
Despite intimidation and harassment, many survivors immediately denounced the premeditated ramming of the "13 de Marzo" and the deliberate aggression against them while they were unarmed and in no position to seriously resist capture. They recounted how the pursuers appeared to be taking orders from the Cuban Coast Guard cutter and that, at one point, a helicopter had flown over the scene. The escapees never imagined their lives had been in danger. Even Ramel‟s son, who worked for State Security
6 and survived, reported never thinking they would suffer more than imprisonment if they were stopped. Unknowingly, however, they were taking a much larger risk than they had bargained for. Earlier that year, on April 28th, the tugboat "Polar 12" had been commandeered in Havana harbor and taken to Key West, Florida, with sixty-eight persons on board. On June 17th another tugboat, "The Mar Azul," had also been taken to Florida with seventy-four persons on board. Reportedly, both tugboats had been pursued by Cuba‟s Coast Guard, rammed by its vessels in international waters, and attacked with machine guns even though they carried many women and children as passengers. Because information in Cuba is tightly controlled and all media is owned by the government, these incidents were unknown on the island. The Cuban government reported that thirty-two people drowned and thirty one were rescued, but a list of victims was not provided. No bodies were returned to their families for burial and, if any were recovered, their location remains unknown. In fact, the authorities expressly refused to conduct search operations for the bodies. At State Security headquarters, agents mocked desperate relatives seeking bodies and told them that their loved ones were nothing more than "counter-revolutionary dogs."
When news reached the outside world, Rafael Dausá, the head of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, declared that survivors‟ accounts were "science fiction" and blamed the incident on the "thieves who stole the boat."
Granma –government newspaper and organ of the Communist Party- published the official version of the events - that the three pursuing vessels "had attempted to intercept Free Society Project, Inc. March 2007. ©All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution of this material is authorized as long as its source, Cuba Archive/Free Society Project, is cited. 4
the "13 de Marzo" and the maneuvers undertaken to that effect had resulted in a regrettable accident that had made the boat sink." In a subsequent story titled "Capsized tugboat robbed by anti-social elements,"
Granma blamed the "irresponsible act of piracy" on counter-revolutionary radio stations of the "Miami nest of maggots" (referring to Cuban exiles) and on the United States‟ failure to abide by immigration agreements. A Granma editorial of July 23rd 1994 was titled "A bitter lesson for the irresponsible." In a speech on July 26th, Raúl Castro, the head of Cuba‟s Armed Forces, insisted that the tugboat was destined to sink because it had not been seaworthy and praised the Cuban Coast Guard for trying to prevent that. Cuban radio stations, which are all government owned, repeated similar explanations. Finally, on August 5, 1994, in a three hour speech, Fidel Castro publicly praised the perpetrators for their exemplary behavior and patriotic acts and emphatically declared that they had no intentions to sink the boat. Attempting to feed the cover-up, some of the imprisoned survivors were paraded in front of cameras to tout the government line and insist that the tragedy was their entire fault. Manipulated into apologizing publicly, they had, among other things, been told that the populace was ready to lynch them for killing so many children. Apparently, the international community‟s reaction soon tempered the Cuban government‟s defiant tone. World leaders, including the Pope, made statements denouncing the deplorable incident and expressed condolences to the victims. Cuba‟s Ministries of Interior and of Foreign Relations promised an investigation. Unsurprisingly, it has never been heard of again. Subsequent attempts by family members of victims and human rights activists on the island to open judicial processes via official legal channels have been ignored. In fact, the head of the operation, tugboat pilot Jesús González Machín, is said to have received a "Hero of the Cuban Revolution" award from the government.
Numerous reports by international organizations have condemned the massacre. On July of 1994, Amnesty International had called on the Cuban government to carry out an investigation of the incident and to bring justice if any government affiliate was involved. In 1997, Amnesty reported that there was sufficient evidence to indicate that it had been an official operation and that, if events occurred in the way described by several of the survivors, those who died were victims of extrajudicial execution. In June of 1995 the United Nations‟ Special Rapporteur on Cuba requested from the Cuban government an investigation and called for those responsible to be processed and the families of victims to be compensated. On October of 1996, the United Nations denounced the absence of an investigation. That same month, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (O.A.S.) released a Special Report declaring that the Cuban state was responsible for premeditated murder. Over time, as more survivors and witnesses left the island and their accounts were pieced together, it became apparent that the Cuban government had planned the murder. It was evident that spied had been infiltrated who offered early and detailed knowledge of the preparations. Reportedly, once the plot was known, the decision had been made at the highest levels of government to not foil it by arresting the organizers or closing the entrance to Havana harbor. Instead, they would be allowed to steal the tugboat, so it could be sunk and an enduring lesson could be delivered to prevent further escapes from the island.
Free Society Project, Inc. March 2007. ©All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution of this material is authorized as long as its source, Cuba Archive/Free Society Project, is cited. 5
ENDNOTES
1Article 216 of Cuba‟s Penal Code punishes exit from the national territory not authorized by the government with up to eight years in prison. Article 117 punishes theft of any maritime or air vessels ("piracy") with ten to twenty years in prison or death. 2The exact number remains unclear to this day. Ramel, the skipper, reported to the leaders that 72 people had come on board. But, when the victims and survivors were later accounted for, only 68 were found -37 victims and 31 survivors. There are several explanations for this discrepancy: 1. The skipper could have made a mistake counting, especially in a situation of fear and confusion when some who were expected did not show up while many who were not did. 2. Four people may have perished who came on board with the last-minute group may have been known only to someone who died and whose families may not have known they were going on the tugboat. 3. Four people, also from the last-minute group, jumped into the harbor when the first hostile encounters took place and, in fear, have not come forth. 4. Four people were State Security agents that jumped, as previously planned, after the tugboat left the pier.
To cover up government involvement, only civilian vessels were employed in the attack and while only Coast Guard vessels rescued survivors. The O.A.S. report indicates that while this type of manipulation has been common Cuban government practice, "the attack against defenseless civilians was planned, orchestrated, and directed by the Communist Party and State Security with the direct participation of both." On the island, survivors and family members of those who died were initially denied information and put under constant surveillance. Many were dismissed from their jobs. They have continued to endure systematic harassment by the authorities. Over the years, all survivors except one have managed to go into exile, some in voyages by raft. All bear the marks of deep trauma, feelings of senseless loss, and a sense of outrageous injustice.
On the island, the Cuban government continues to imprison, threaten, and intimidate those who seek to peacefully protest the sinking and remember those who died, usually in small ceremonies on the anniversary of the attack. Government-organized mobs, the Rapid Response Brigades, habitually scream insults and hit participants.
7 To prevent commemorative activities, members of political and human rights groups are arrested, mobs harass them and even intrude in their homes, and extensive police operations are mounted. Just this past February 27th 2007, five peaceful activists kept under arrest since the July 13, 2005 memorial were tried for public disorder. René Montes de Oca, Emilio Leiva, Lázaro Alonso, and Manuel Pérez Oria were sentenced to two years imprisonment and Roberto Guerra Pérez to one year and eight months. The defendants declared that they had merely attempted to render tribute to the tugboat victims and only screamed at attackers of the Rapid Response Brigade to not hit them while they formed a human chain to protect themselves. What is perhaps the most puzzling aspect of this tragedy is that, as with similar cases in the past,8 it has been largely ignored by world media. As a result, international public opinion remains essentially unaware of the systematic attacks perpetrated by the Cuban government on defenseless civilians trying to flee Cuba. Sadly, many world leaders and celebrities display a shameless disregard for the most basic standards of accountability for the Cuban government. The Castro regime continues to enjoy a free pass to trample on the most fundamental rights of its citizens, including the most precious -the right to life. See attached pages for List of Victims and Survivors, Photos, Brief biographical entries on all victims, and Sources.

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