More Self-Infliction in Canaletas; Adriane Parra Carralero

During the midday of April 21st, the common prisoner Adriane Parra Carralero ingested a considerable dosis of hydrochloric acid while in the factory of the provincial prison of Canaletas in Ciego de Avila, according to multiple prisoners that witnessed the incident, though they prefer to remain anonymous to avoid any reprisals.

The sources assured that Parra Carralero solicited a soldier that watches over all the captives. He felt indisposed upong receiving a negative response from the functionary of the Interior Order. The sources also added that Parra Carralero was urgently transferred to the provincial hospital known as “Antonio Luaces Iraola” which is situated in the capital of Ciego de Avila. His state of health appeared to be delicate.

Upon finishing this message, Parra Carralero has not yet returned from the hospital. I must point out that here in Canaletas it is very rare to live through a day in which a prisoners does not hurt, or self-inflict, himself.

Pablo Pacheco Ávila, prisionero de conciencia.

Cuba Needs Real Changes

The recent declarations made by cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, head representative of the Vatican in Cuba, have given rise to a wide range of opinions throughout the entire island, and not to mention also outside of our country. 72 hours after the conference with Jaime Ortega Alamino the Cuban government has remained totally quiet. Those leaders who are in power have two options. The most feasible and beneficial choice would be to accept the message and commence working towards positive results for the good of all Cubans. However, they could also chose to attack the Catholic Church with unstoppable intolerance.

It wouldn’t be the first or last time in which the authorities of Havana have used absurd language in an attempt to defend themselves against the unjustifiable. Night after night I ask myself: Is so much political blindness possible? I think that even some of the most loyal members to the regime desire a 180 degree turn for things. The Cuban nation needs real changes, not cosmetic ones like those that are carried out by the current president, Raul Castro Ruz. The current living conditions are unsustainable, and there is where the gravest danger for our society lies. Our society is worn out from so many sacrifices and the same rhetorical discourse, in addition to all the constant necessities that affect nearly the entire population.

As a result of the visit of His Holiness John Paul II in 1998, the Catholic Church has gained some terrain. Currently, the church enjoys a position that is advantageous, and perhaps even fundamental, for the destiny of this country. In that same manner we must emphasize that the current scales between government and the Catholic Church are similar enough. The government has power while the church feeds the faith and souls of all Cubans. It’s also true that other religions have gained importance as well, conquering the hearts of some of the most dispossessed people- an essential factor when the time for change comes.

On multiple occassions I have heard people say that the Catholic Church has been a silent witness of perverse acts. Such a statement would prove that the true power of the church is not so strong within the society. I don’t judge any religion- such a task belongs to God- but I don’t share that opinion which is someitmes ill-intentioned and possibly even ordered by the political police against the Cuban Catholic Church. It’s true that the fall of the communist system in Eastern Europe counted on the support of Catholics, especially Poland. The solidarity movement, together with the church, were the pillars of the transformation of that country. I am not unaware of the conditions and individual characters of the European country in relation to Cuba.

At odds with the communist Cuban administration, the Catholic Church has published the international covenant of economic, social, and cultural rights (which Cuba is a signatory of) in whatever methods of communication they have available. Other Catholic publications refer to the need of a common well being, the death penalty, the economic crisis in the country, and other subjects that make reference to the loss of values during these past years, especially since the government-declared “special period”.

More than just offering words, the Church can serve as a bridge for reconciliation. The government should not consider the words of Jaime Ortega Alamino as criticisms, and instead they should make a conscience note of the reality which consumes our anxieties of wanting freedom and independence. The latest happening prove that the diabolic visciousness against the Ladies in White must cease. We must look at the future with optimism. In Cuba, if we continue down the path which has been imposed on us by a system of government, it will lead us to a catastrophe that would be difficult to fix. We should act accordingly with current times, with sense, consciencness, and lots of responsibility. What needs it most is this very land whch we call our country.

Pablo Pacheco Ávila, prisionero de conciencia

Beating of a Prisoner; Ciego de Avila

Painting by Ahmad Abu Hannya

This past April 21st the prisoner Disley Mancilla Lopez was victim of a beating by the functionary of Interior Order, Pelsido, and the chief of the detachment, the so called re-educator, Isaiin, both whom are sub-officials of the direction of penititiary establishments of the Ministry of the Interior.

The 35 yeard old Ciego de Avila resident, Mancilla Lopez, is currently in provincial prison while waiting for a trial and is confined to detachment 7 of this Provincial Prison of Canaletas in Ciego de Avila. After the beating he cut himself in one of his arms.

This cruel, inhumane, and degrading act constitutes the unpunished violation of articles 58 and 30 of the Socialist Constitution, number 11 of the draconian penal code, and number 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Pedro Argüelles Morán, grupo de los 75, Prisión Provincial de Canaletas, Ciego de Ávila.

Ladies Dressed in Purity

Infamy and shame defines what the Cuban regime has been doing to the Ladies in White- those noble and worthy women who peacefully demand freedom for their sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, and other loved ones who have been unjustly and arbitrarily jailed. They assist masses at church and march through the streets handing out flowers to their fellow citizens. The communist regime has shown its true essence and nature, doing whatever it takes to remain in absolute power, even if the island were to drown in the Caribbean Sea. They have proved that their methods are nothing other than anti-humane and anti-democratic ones and once again they have showed their total scorn for public and international opinion.

Those mobs, which have been organized and directed by the Castro political police, scream all sorts of insults and offenses at those exemplary women who are dressed in purity. This demonstrates the incredible amount of cowardice and low morality on behalf of the Cuban totalitarian regime. While the government continues unleashing hordes of Castro supporters and condemnation rallies on the Ladies in White, they will continue tarnishing and drowning themselves in their own manure, produced by so much infamy and shame. Despite all the moral and material misery, I continue believing in national reconciliation in a country that is “of all, with all, and for the good of all”, like our apostle of independence, Jose Marti, magisterially convoked.

Pedro Argüelles Morán, grupo de los 75, Prisión Provincial de Canaletas, Ciego de Ávila.

If I were the Last One

In the past few days, there have been talks and speculations about the possible release of us, the members of the group of the 75 whom yet remain hostage under the totalitarian regime of the Castros. If such acts of liberation were to actually take place they will not be products of humanitarian good-will on behalf of the communist Cuban regime- no, no, no. Instead, it will all be a result of the tragic martyrdom of our companion in struggle Orlando Zapata Tamayo, of the brave altruism of our dissident brother Guillermo Farinas, of our exemplary sisters known as The Ladies in White and their partners The Ladies of Support, and of course of the very errors and horrors comitted by the regime of the Castros.

Personally, I don’t consider my possible liberation or the extension of my sentence as the most important issue at hand. Instead, and this truly is transcendental, I consider that establishing a frame of total respect for the inherent human right to freedom, for all Cubans, is more important. And precisely, as we try to achieve that goal we end up in the communist gulags as we peacefully fight for truth, freedom, love, and so that rights and laws can flourish in our country. I would cheerfully like to be the last political prisoner of conscience left here in the Greatest of the Antilles, but never forgetting the paradigmatic sentence of our Bronze Titan, “You don’t beg for freedom, you achieve it with the tip of a machete.”

Pedro Argüelles Morán
Group of the 75, provincial prison of Canaleta, Ciego de Avila, Cuba.

We are All Cuban

Today, I remembered the televised debate between Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada (president of the National Assembly of Popular Power of the Cuban government) and the deceased leader of the Cuban-American National Foundation, Jorge Mas Canosa, which occured years ago. It was necessary for the Cuban people in the island to see this interchange of criticisms and to analyze it, but that was not the case. The hiearachy of Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada does not have the sufficient power to escape censorship.

Yesterday my colleague, Claudia Cadelo, read me the “strange dialogue” (so named by the state run Granma newspaper) between Silvio Rodriguez and Carlos Alberto Montaner. In my opinion, Silvio Rodriguez has been one of the most prominent singer-songwriters of the island during the past five decades. On the other hand, Carlos Alberto Montaner enjoys the support of the diaspora and of the dissident readers, in addition to some questionable representatives of the regime.

Both have the gift of impressive communication skills and an unquestionable level of intelect. Both these men share the interesting ability to attract followers and detractors from both shores, including the civlized Europe. Silvio often likes to be naive and likes to obey, without limits, the regime in Havana. However, I think much of the challenge to debate with Montaner has something to do with the release of his new album.

The confrontation between both these Cubans of different personalities enriches the reconciliation process of the futre of Cuba. She (Cuba) will need from all of her children to detach herself from a crisis that goes far beyond economic failure. Carlos Alberto Montaner, being the same attorney as always, stripped the soul of the poet. He applied a lecture about the cruel national reality to him. Such a reality was apparently oblivious to Silvio. Montaner subconsciously mentions the political prisoners but does not cite the prisoners of conscience, which is the most visible stain on the land of Jose Marti, occuring during a period where there is no space for dictatorships, even though unfortunately not all have disappeared.

I could not control my laughter upon hearing Silvio refer to his 2008 visit to various prisons, alongside other popular artists. I am convinced that Silvio does not recall that in each of his performances, the prisoners watching were those who were chosen. Meanwhile, the political prisoners and prisoners of conscience were deprived of such a luxury. I would not have felt just at a Silvio concert.

Carlos Alberto Montaner is outlawed in the island, yet many are familiar with his work. Those who risk their hides in order to be known are never left behind. What I gathered from the inteligent correspondence between the singer and the writer was an impressionable transparency and knowledge on behalf of Montaner, taking into account that he has not been physically present in the island for the last 50 years of revolution.

I congratulate Montaner for his answers for Silvio when the lattr mentioned the abominable terrorist act in Barbados where various innocent people died, most of who were Cuban. Silvio felt the sword of Damocles hanging above his head after he heard Silvio bring up the criminal act which occured in the tugboat known as the 13th of March, where various people lost their lives, amongst them children. Also, the mention of the shooting of the Brothers to the Rescue planes in 1996 by Cuban combat planes which caused the deaths of four compatriots who lived in the United States.

I am of the type who trusts in dialogue and respect amongst one another. I applaud Silvio for pronouncing himself, with dignity, and exposing his personal criticism towards the shameful and humiliating attitude taken on by the fanatical mobs that were sponsored by those in power against defensless women who simply demand freedom for their captive loved ones who are found in prison for the way they think.

I hope Montaner stays true to his word in regards to the embargo held by the US towards the island, for it just serves as an excuse for all the evils of an inefficient system of slavery. I suggest that they both converge in thought with their colleagues and friends. From now on we can no longer refuse the protagonism of other Cubans, distant in ideas but worthy of this land. I would like to see a debate between Gloria Estefan and Miguel Barnet or between Willy Chirino and Fernandez Retamar. In sum, there a plenty of examples that exist but beyond all the different tendencies we should make it clear that we are all Cuban, compromised with Cuba and loyal to the ideology of Marti. It doesn’t matter that on occasions our points of view differ, as long as we always respect one anothers ideas.

Pablo Pacheco Avila, prisoner of conscience

We Can’t Always be Deceived

There are many dissimilar forms of lying, but our fellow human beings cannot always be deceived. Right now, the authorities of Havana are carrying out a fierce campaign against anyone who dissents from the current political system to the extreme that they make a state journalist publish articles or entire websites that are run by, or sponsored, by the island’s government. We must know that the worst corruption of the revolution lies within that very regime, which has dominated Cuba for more than five decades, and has tried to displace the pacific dissidence.

But can someone explain the fear of publishing such a post in Granma, the state-run newspaper which represents the Cuban Communist Party? Is it ethical to deprive the people from knowledge of a phenomenon that is neither new nor established to any form of government? It is mediocre to think that all individuals with administrative positions suffer from the universal whip which scorns the minds of the weak ones of a society that is plagued by human misery. The official press, likely to accept the imprisonment of thought, once again leans towards pleasing the caprice of a minority that enjoys unlimited power.

On occassions, we feel subtle compassion for our fellow neighbors who prefer silence before a superior fear of a pain that would produce grave consequences. It is easy to isolate a portion of society with the threat of aiming weapons when they do not have any ways of defending themselves from the consumed fallacy.

It is impossible for all citizens to share the same exact ideology. From the very first moment, they amputated our chance to give our opinions and decide the future. We now need to rebel against the marked difference between slavery and freedom. Of course, not everyone choses to live under the fire of repression and to dust off the double morals which corrode the most pure ideals.

Since the very first moment that I used reasoning, I have searched for diverse sources of information. It is very sad to sin as an idiot or a naive person. The benefit of the doubt should always be present amongst each one of us. Absolutely no one possesses absolute truth. Whoever declares themselves as holding such truth is mediocre and turns themselves into a walking cadaver.

Dreams are necessary in order for humans to live amongst one another, but life cannot be lived just solely on dreams. Such a response would make us feel guilty. The fault never remains forgotten, and it is not true that fault is not only negative. Universal history demonstrates that only the people of a country are responsible, or not, for the artificial rhetoric imposed on us by the owners of absolute power.

Pablo Pacheco Avila, prisoner of conscience

Cuba Belongs to all Cubans

Dissident voices against the government have gained much popularity. Yesterday, these were just isolated voices but they now constitute a widespread murmur. In fact, even those who fear still criticize by whispering into ears. Hearing everyone- intellectuals, artists, workers, doctors, country people, athletes, teachers, and the always rebellious youth criticize the serious problems that plague this entire country strongly calls forth much attention. They have pointed to the United States’ embargo as the culprit of causing so much misery on the island, endangering supposed achievements of the government.

It’s no secret, however, that despite much ups and downs it has served to keep the people distracted and loyal to the regime. We have reached a point of no return. If we analyze our problems without objectivity, we will find ourselves at a dangerous and unpredictable crossroad. The power of the current communist authorities, which only last thanks to its military power and to the fear that lurks in much of the consciences of this society, is not the only thing at risk.

Failing to act consequently could lead this nation to a state of chaos that would prove to be fatal for the aspirations of Cubans. Even worse, we could lose our own credibility of believing that we could advance and construct a country that would be with all and for the good of all, an unrealized dream of Cuba’s most illustrious figure, the apostle Jose Marti.

In the official press, articles are normally published that describe the ill-fated realities of other countries. Domestically, however, they make it seem that everything is rose colored. Save for rare exceptions, we don’t see any publications about the national problems. In my opinion, the state newspaper Granma, harbors one of the most open sections within state-owned information systems: “Letters to the leaders” . It demonstrates a sector that is determined to not remain silent and that instead uses the most minimal crack in the system in order to expose an idea. I must point out that the criticisms are personal and do not necessarily reflect reflect positions held by Havana’s government.

This year marks the 8th anniversary of governmental intolerance towards a group of dissidents, preventing them from being with their families, mainly their wives, most of which have realized the dream of becoming mothers. We can feel that the end of the nightmare, which from the very first moment covered this land (which is also our mother) with darkness, injustice, and infamy, is near.

I should not, and cannot, finalize this letter without mentioning the pain that the Sigler Amaya family is going through upon living through this year without Gloria, mother of a family that is loyal to democratic principals. Reina Tamayo also occupies a special place in my heart. Her son, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, may have physically left us but he continues to live on, and multiplies, within each dignified Cuban willing to sacrifice themselves for the country.

Lastly, I have nothing but honor and recognition for the Ladies in White, especially the mothers of the group. It’s quite possible that the main link to change the destiny of Cuba will be the release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. No one should fear the future when the present is uncertain. Whether some want it and others don’t, Cuba belongs to every Cuban. Remaining silent will be the same as engaging in complicity. Sooner or later, reconcilliation will come, it’s inevitable.

Peace, prosperity, and common good respond to two words, powerful like the strength of God. If, at this very moment, we appeal to love and dialogue, the path will be less rough and complicated for the popular consensus. Tomorrow, tomorrow we may not have the possibility saving ourselves and others.

Pablo Pacheco Avila, prisoner of conscience

Calling Upon the European Union

We political prisoners and prisoners of conscience are addressing the Council of the European Union, which will meet during its scheduled semi-annual session and will discuss, among other things, the relations between the EU and Cuba. With total respect for the sovereignty of the Union and each of its member countries, we are aiming to push the following points:

1) We regard the common position based on a political block and adopted in 1996 as an ethical and dynamic mechanism that is on the path of promoting respect for fundamental rights and freedoms in Cuba, which with so much gradualism grants the Cuban government the possibility of collaborating with Europe if the Cuban government chooses to respect the rights and freedoms previously mentioned. Eliminating the common position or inverting the logic of its gradualness would, no doubt, constitute the furthering of the deterioration of the unalienable rights and freedoms of the Cuban people and would continue to initiate a barren and circular path that previous heads of states and governments of the Union and other nations have taken.

2) We are warning that the lamentable situation regarding political, civil, and economic rights, in addition to the lack of fundamental freedoms, could lead the Union and the international community to react. For that reason, we consider that if the analysis of the human rights situation in Cuba and its relations with the EU is limited to only one annual meeting, then it will be very insufficient.

3) Given the aggressive manner in which events in Cuba are occurring, we suggest that the Union institute a consultation mechanism that would be fluent in regard to the faculties of official representation for the Union’s foreign affairs as well as the European Commission that is capable of swiftly measuring the common position according to the behavior of respect towards fundamental rights and freedoms in Cuba. This mechanism could include:

A) Maintaining a constant monitoring process of elemental rights and freedoms over the sectors that supposedly promote those same rights within Cuba.

B) Semi-annually proposing concrete measures one way or another according to the gradualness of the common position and the course of such rights and freedoms in Cuba.

C) Acting as an interlocutor between the European Council and the Cuban government in order to continue the political dialogue that should not be abandoned.

D) Displaying the common European positions in international forums in order to stimulate their applications outside of the European Union’s frontiers.

We ask the EU’s member states to take our opinions into account during their analysis of EU-Cuba relations that will occur at the center of the European Council. At the same time, we are expressing our gratefulness towards the Council as well as all the other European institutions that have supported rights and freedoms for Cuba, as well as our immediate and unconditional release from prison.

We are inviting all the political prisoners and prisoners of conscience as well as all the organizations in and outside Cuba that concern themselves with rights and freedoms for the Cuban people to endorse this document.

The members of the group of the 75 that are confined to the provincial prison of Canaleta in Ciego de Avila: Antonio Ramon Diaz Sanchez, Pedro Arguelles Moran, Felix Navarro Rodriguez, Pablo Pacheco Avila, Adolfo Fernandez Sainz.

Request for Solidarity

Eighty-six months. This 18th of May we members of the group of the 75 whom remain hostages of the Castro totalitarian regime will have served 7 years and 2 months of being isolated from our social and family environments. The motive for such captivity has solely been the act of having been social communicators and civil fighters in favor of the inherent rights and freedoms of the dignity of human beings. On that same day, the European Union, Latin America, and Caribbean Summit will take place in Madrid. The subject of Cuba will be on the agenda. For that reason, a group of us will be holding a 72 hour hunger strike so that those who are present at the summit will not forget that in Cuba there are political prisoners, prisoners of conscience, and that there is no prevailing system of justice. We also want to commemorate the fact that our fond brother dissident, Guillermo “Coco” Farinas, will be on the 84th day of his hunger strike on that same day as he continues demanding freedom for over twenty prisoners of conscience who remain caged in the communist Cuban dungeons.

The European Union is made up of 27 democratic countries- some of which have even experienced “real socialism”, one party states, centralized and state-run economies, the violation of the Declaration of Human Rights, and all the errors and horrors of the frustrating ideology known as Marxism-Leninism. We Cubans continue suffering under all these material and spiritual miseries which have been supported by a totalitarian regime for more than half a century. We are in need of solidarity for our honest cause which is in favor of truth, freedom, justice, and love. Spain should especially be a supporter considering that they also suffered under the dictatorship of Franco and are familiar with the importance of international support.

I repeat: we are asking the participants of the summit to support us in our struggle for a new Cuba that will “be for everyone, with everyone, and for the good of all” just like our Apostle of Independence, Jose Marti, paradigmatically convoked.

Pedro Arguelles Moran
Group of the 75 of the Black Spring
Provincial Prison of Canaleta, Ciego de Avila


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