What Is Happening These Days in Cuba

[The press all over the world, including Romania, is utterly blind to the current events in Cuba. That is why I asked a friend of mine there to share with us about the situation. Here is what he wrote.]

This year has been really tense, because of the economic pressure from Trump admin. Covid added to it but Cuban gov had a great opportunity to open the economy. They did some reforms but not what people expected or needed. One of the most infamous ones was the opening of stores where you can only buy using foreign currency such as dollars, euros and so on through a magnetic card (no cuc [Cuban convertible] and no Cuban pesos allowed). It’s impossible for Cubans to get that money into the card in a legal way, the only way is some have to send it to you from overseas, it’s persecuted to change currency form hand to hand. So now “normal” stores are being changed into these new kind of stores so Cubans have ever less options which means very long lines, scarcity and strict controls on what you buy. In 2020 covid has been maybe the smallest of our problems.

Small and individual protests, memes and articles have been circulating in social media criticizing everything, also there were some attempts to organize strikes but with no much success 

Then a few days ago a Cuban rapper recorded a video with offensive lyrics to the government. The rapper was put in jail (normal procedure here) but this time a group of artists and activists called “Movimiento San Isidro” (MSI) decided to do a meeting at their leader’s house to protest by reading poetry and making indoor art and show it online. The government started once again to harass them, they closed their street to prevent anyone to join them or provide them food and water. MSI answered declaring a hunger strike, some of them even declared hunger and thirst strike. This lasted like 10 days under violent arrestment which Cubans were able to follow online.

Then on Nov 26 police decided to invade the house and take everyone out of there by force. Social Media went off during a couple of hours, people started to fear the worst. When the internet came back people were really angry demanding to know where the group was taken. The women appeared in their houses a few hours later but most of men were still missing.

On Nov 27 a group of artists decide to go to Culture Ministry demanding to meet with the “Ministro”, they were around ten. Security didn’t allow them to get in so they started posting on social media and more artists started to show up by night time they were over 300, some say 500 demanding to talk, among them some of the MSI managed to arrive. They were able to meet with the “vice ministro” by midnight while government cut power in the zone and once again tried to prevent people to send food and water to the protesters. But nobody moved. That night the group didn’t achieved much really, but the whole nation was watching on Facebook mostly. Since 1994 and the “Balseros” crisis nothing like that happened. 27th of November will be remember as an historic day.

Since that day the government is trying hard to defame the protesters and portrait them as mercenaries or even terrorists. But that protest has inspired youth from all over the country to replicate it and to try to organize more protests. Now people want to protest those new stores, to protests lack of freedom of expression, to protests police brutality, to protest for the liberation of this rapper (by the way: the leader of MSI and another very famous political prisoner were freed today, 2 in just 1 day, that’s very telling). It’s a wave, an awakening of this generation. Nobody can tell where we are heading, nobody could predict what was about to happen that 27th of November and the after shocks. There are even people attacking the new stores (although I think that is part of the government strategy to justify the heavy militarization of Havana that started yesterday).

This is only part of what’s happening, my friend, but literally every hour something new appears. One thing is certain and there’s a phrase circulating on social media that describes it very well: “They took everything from us and they ended up taking also our fear”. Since Nov 27th maybe communism is still standing, but this nation will never be the same.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide – A Prayer Diary for Cuba

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“God gives us strength based on our faith. We are fighting for freedom. Our Lord said the truth will set you free and we are fighting for this ideal.” Berta Soler is a human rights activist and the leader of the Ladies in White group. Berta exemplifies the courage and perseverance of Cuba’s human rights activists, church leaders and hundreds of others who face daily harassment just because of what they believe.

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Fếlix Llerena López is a young religious freedom defender who was arrested three months after an advocacy visit to Washington, DC with CSW. He wasn’t permitted to travel and had even been expelled from university. However, the charges against him have now been dropped: praise God for this good news. Continue reading “Christian Solidarity Worldwide – A Prayer Diary for Cuba”

Honouring Cuban Dissident Armando Valladares on the Day of Fidel’s End

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Armando Valladares

Another old communist devil, comrade Fidel, died today. Cuba, and the world, will be better off without him.

(By the way, I am still waiting, and hoping, that another old devil, comrade Mugabe, will also finally appear before the judgement throne of God, for his many crimes. The sooner, the better, for the sake of the embattled and hungry the people of Zimbabwe, and the good of the world as a whole.)

But today I refuse to talk about old devils. I prefer to rather share with you a few words in honour of one who dared to stand, at a high cost, against the devilish communist ideology in Cuba, the Catholic poet, diplomat, human rights activist, and public intellectual, Armando Valladares.

I remember of praying for him in the early nineteen eighties, after reading about his harsh imprisonment in Sergiu Grossu’s monthly magazine Catacombes, which the Romanian author edited in Paris, France.

Here are a few details about his life and work (source, HERE).

As you read about him, I invite you to say a prayer for freedom and dignity in Cuba.

May the Lord hear our prayers!

* * *

Armando Valladares Perez (born May 30, 1937) is a Cuban poet, diplomat, and human rights activist. In 1960, he was arrested by the Cuban government for protesting communism,[1] leading Amnesty International to name him a prisoner of conscience. Following his release in 1982, he wrote a book detailing his imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Cuban government [Against All Hope: The Prison Memoirs of Armando Valladares], and was appointed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Continue reading “Honouring Cuban Dissident Armando Valladares on the Day of Fidel’s End”

Why Christian Persecution Remains, Despite Reforms in Cuba

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Cuba has shown some relatively significant signs of economic and political transformation since Raúl Castro’s official election as President in February 2008, but the nation’s communist government still persecutes Christians and crushes dissent.

While Raúl Castro has the same objective as his predecessor and brother Fidel Castro – to pass on the legacy of the Revolution to the next generation – the incumbent president believes the country should have private farmers’ markets, legalize the dollar, allow self-employment, gradually end the isolation, and compete globally.

Therefore, as Raúl Castro begins his second five-year term as president this month, some positive developments can be seen. For example, immigration authorities are now processing passports for Cubans to travel abroad, and citizens can also retain their property and residence status if they live or work outside of Cuba. Besides, about half of the nation’s economy is expected to be in private hands within five years.

Moreover, in the general election this month, a little less than three-fourth of the candidates for the 612 seats are newcomers, most of who were born after the Cuban Revolution. And about half of the candidates are women.

Cuba, which has been governed by a one-party state ever since Fidel Castro overthrew the U.S.-supported dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959, is also strengthening relations with Brazil and the Catholic Church, apparently to open up new economic and social spaces for Cubans. Continue reading “Why Christian Persecution Remains, Despite Reforms in Cuba”

Cuban Government Harasses Christian Leaders and Their Families

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Threats have been made by government officials to destroy a church property due to its affiliation with the Apostolic Movement, a fast-growing unregistered network of protestant churches. Pastor Bernardo de Quesada, a national leader of the church group, has publicly denounced an order from the Provincial Ministry of Housing that he and his wife demolish an outdoor covered patio, used by the church for meetings. The order directly contradicts written permission for construction of the patio issued by another government agency, which added that “permission for this type of construction is not necessary.”

There have also been complaints that the Cuban government is targeting the family members of its leaders. In one particular case, the electricity has been cut off from the home of retired military officer Lieutenant Colonel Orlando Porfirio and his ill wife, in what they believe is an attempt to put pressure on their adult son who is a worship leader. The elderly couple have not had electricity supplied to their home since October 9, 2012, and have received no response to repeated written complaints to government officials. Continue reading “Cuban Government Harasses Christian Leaders and Their Families”

Cosmin Bumbut, Voicu Bojan – Atelier foto – Cuba 2012

Despre vizita lui Voicu Bojan in Cuba am mai scris pe acest blog (in cinci episoade; primul AICI).

Acum, iata, ma anunta Voicu, cartea lui si a colegului lui despre aceasta calatorie este disponibila in format electronic. GRATUIT.

Detalii, AICI.

Multumim, Voicu, pentru marinimie, si la mai mare.

Cuba is slooooooowly changing

This is not the end of communism, but it may lead to it, in time.

A short BBC documentary.

Jimmy Carter Meets with Cuban Dissidents in Cuba


Carter with Cuban dissidents (photo. AP)

Former US president Jimmy Carter has had talks with prominent Cuban dissidents on the third day of his visit to the communist-run island.

Among them were several activists recently released from prison and the dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez. Continue reading “Jimmy Carter Meets with Cuban Dissidents in Cuba”

Un Castro disperat recurge la socialismul in versiunea light

Confruntat cu o criza economica si sociala fara precendent, El Lider Mejor, ‘tovarasul’ Fidel Castro, incearca cu disperare sa salveze prin compromisuri economice inspirate din sistemul mixt experimentat de chinezi, ce a mai ramas din revolutia lui socialista, cu scopul de a pastra puterea pentru clica de activisti din jurul lui. Iata ce scrie astazi despre aceasta situl HotNews:

Continue reading “Un Castro disperat recurge la socialismul in versiunea light”

Cele mai putin libere locuri din lume

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Săptămânalul Foreign Policy publica pe 2 iulie un remarcabil fotoreportaj intitulat  “The Least Free Places on Earth”.

Vă invit să citiţi AICI textul scurt şi incisiv. Şi, mai ales, să vedeţi fotografiile extrem de relevante.

Continue reading “Cele mai putin libere locuri din lume”

Salsa de Cuba – Interviu cu Voicu Bojan (IV)

DMAi dreptate, Voicu, sunt insa sub impresia discutiilor de aici. Nici nu se poate altfel, cind ii vezi pe oamenii astia care platesc un pret atit de mare pentru credinta lor si o fac cu atita naturalete si lipsa de emfaza.

Daca asa ti-e vremea, sa trecem atunci la altfel de subiecte. Nu pot spune subiecte „mai usoare”, caci vreau sa te intreb ceva legat de femeile din Cuba. Parca ii vad pe cititorii blogului ridicind din sprincene. Oare se poate vorbi despre femei pe blogul unui crestin (era sa spun „pe un blog crestin”, dar n-am vazut inca vreun blog botezat, si se stie ca numai astfel intri in biserica)? Ce fel de frivolitate mai este si asta? se vor întreba unii.

Continue reading “Salsa de Cuba – Interviu cu Voicu Bojan (IV)”

Salsa de Cuba – Interviu cu Voicu Bojan (III)

DMAm trait si unul si altul destui ani sub „binecuvintarea” comunismului ceausist. Asa fiind, ne-am format capacitatea de a „mirosi” lucruri pe care in general cei neobisnuiti cu „cea mai dreapta dintre orinduirile posibile” n-ar fi in stare sa le vada. Cum ti se parut Cuba lui Castro din aceasta perspectiva? Ma intereseaza mai ales acela lucruri pe care sa zicem calatorul american sau cel francez eventual nu le-ar putea observa ori intelege.

VB – Cred că ai dreptate – trebuie să fi trăit experienţa comunistă ca să pricepi câte ceva despre Cuba de azi. Avea totul un aer de mijloc de ani 80, starea aceea de impasibilitate, de paralizie mentală când ai senzaţia acută că nu mai e posibil nimic. Hrana pe cartelă, toţi egali, o sărăcie veselă, un regim înţepenit în acelaşi discurs vreme de 50 de ani, discurs numai bun de luat peste picior pe la terase cu bere proastă. Un fel de noi ne facem că muncim / ei se fac că ne plătesc. O lume cu cozi nesfârşite la îngheţată, o disperare generată de absenţa unei minime libertăţi de mişcare, o dovadă în plus că ideologia comunistă e un mare bluf.

Continue reading “Salsa de Cuba – Interviu cu Voicu Bojan (III)”