STORIES OF ELIAN’S CUBA, PART 3
These individual stories, extracted from information sent from Cuba at great risk by independent Cuban journalists living there, paint a much more accurate picture of Elian’s Cuba than the incomplete and misleading reports of foreign journalists accredited by the Castro regime. All who are acquainted with Castro’s blackmail of the foreign press, know that if they report reality they are immediately expelled from the island and their future requests to enter Cuba will be denied. Therefore, most foreign reporters cooperate. This renders a disservice to the public and to the suffering Cuban people.
(Cuba Free Press, October 7, 1999, by Alida Viso Bello, Cuba Press) Manuél Antonio González Castellanos, 41, the grandson of Lidia Doce, the messenger of Castro’s guerrillas in the Sierra Maestra Mountains in the late 1950s and a martyr of Castro’s revolution, became an independent journalist. Now he is a political prisoner in the Cuba Sí Prison in the eastern province of Holguín, serving a 2 year and 7 month sentence for insulting Fidel Castro. Ana Virginia González Castellanos, the sister of the imprisoned journalist said that State Security (SS) First Lieutenant Ricardo Marrero encourages common criminals in the jail to harass her brother. The SS threatens and beats other prisoners in exchange for their cooperation and promises them benefits if they harass and inform on Castellanos.
(CubaNet, October 13, 1999, by Angel Pablo Polanco) The United Pentecostal Church of Cuba solicited permission from Castro’s regime to hold a public religious gathering in Havana. The regime’s response was a swift arrest of Reverends Santos Osmani Dominguez Borja and Lázaro William Urbina Dupont, Bishop, President and National Supervisor of the church. Rev. Dominguez Borja was apprehended at 5 a.m. in his house on October 8 and later banished to the eastern province of Holguín, 451 miles from Havana. Rev. Urbina Dupont, 31, was summoned to a Havana police station at 7 a.m. on October 9 where he was detained for 8 hours and interrogated for more than 6 hours. He was forced to sign under duress a document agreeing "not to participate or incite subversive political acts as well as not to leave his home on Sunday October 10." The detentions of the reverends coincided with the visit to Cuba of the president of the World Council of Protestant Churches.
(Cuba Free Press, October 22, 1999, by Margarita Yero, Cuba Free Press) In the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba on October 21 between 12:15 and 1:30 a.m., the house of independent journalist Adalberto Yero was stoned by Castro-sponsored mobs. Yero called the National Revolutionary Police for help but they did not show up. This was the fifth attack on his house by Castro’s mobs. In prior incidents, Yero was able to identify his attackers as his next door neighbors (where the local block Committee for the Defense of the Revolution is housed). Bismark Cabrera, his sector’s chief of police, ignored all of Yero’s previous complains.
(Diario Las Americas-AFP/EFE, October 29, 1999, by Ramón Alberto Cruz-Lim, Nueva Prensa Cubana) An increasing number of beggars have been appearing on the streets of the eastern city of Ciego de Avila. As a clear sign of Castro’s failed social assistance programs, the city administrative and political authorities have not been able to reverse the trend. Unlike the homeless in other countries where many are mentally or physically disabled, the new army of Cuban beggars is generally elderly citizens whose government retirement pension is not enough to sustain well-being even at the lowest level. Most food and other daily survival goods are available only in U.S. dollars, but salaries and pensions are paid in worthless Cuban pesos. These beggars are concentrating at the entrances of the U.S.-dollars-only stores and restaurants throughout the island. Marcia Cervantes, 71, who agreed to give her name while the other beggars ran away for fear of SS police reprisals said that the home for the elderly where she was living "closed for repairs two years ago and I am dying of hunger."
(Directly from Cuba and CubaNet, October 31, 1999, by Berta Mexidor, Agencia Libertad) For over 10 years, Castro’s regime has been exploiting Cuban workers sent abroad. First, it was Africa, where Castro sent Cuban doctors and hospital technicians. Then Japan, where baseball trainers and players were sent. But now Castro is sending general workers and technicians. The workers he exports have to sign a "Return-to-Cuba Contract" in which they are obligated to give 75% of the salary received abroad to Castro’s regime. As requisites, Castro’s workers abroad cannot have ties to pro-democracy exiles, cannot have ever solicited a U.S. visa and cannot have family members abroad (because the regime does not want to lose the average US$100 to $300 monthly per person that many U.S. relatives send which ultimately ends up in Castro’s coffers).
Also, Castro’s regime keeps in Cuba the parents, spouses, sons, and daughters of the worker sent abroad, as hostages. The reasons are simple. These workers abroad provide Castro with a big chunk of their salaries and they send U.S. dollars to the relatives left behind. The family members kept as hostages of Castro are the incentive for them not to defect, to prevent them from telling the truth about the real situation in Cuba and ultimately, to coerce them to return to Cuba at the end of their assignments. Castro has the scheme very well thought out to provide him with maximum control and maximum monetary gain.
(Larry Daley/Esteban Casañas Lostal, October 31, 1999) The decomposed body of another young man who tried to escape Castro’s regime hidden in the landing gear of an Italian passenger plane was found after nine days. His body was placed in a casket and sent back to Havana. However, Castro’s regime determined that the casket was too good for the "traitor." The authorities confiscated the casket and demanded that his grieving family buy an ordinary one made in Cuba. However, this was not an isolated incident. When a Cuban is visiting relatives abroad and he or she dies, and the body is returned for burial, Castro’s officials exercise all kinds of pressures on the grieving relatives on the island in order to exchange the foreign-made casket for one made in Cuba. Confiscated caskets are reserved for Castro’s hierarchy and the U.S. dollars-paying foreigners. Apartheid in Castro’s Cuba exists even after death.
(CubaNet, November 2, 1999, by Oswaldo de Céspedes, Cuba Press) In the western province of Pinar del Río, a farm tobacco technician, Pedro Luis Iglesias, 30, a Jehovah Witness, was summoned on October 20 by the National Revolutionary Police captain of his rural sector to the local police station. Captain José Luis Juncosa insulted him and denied his right to evangelize others in the area, called him "vagrant, delinquent and counterrevolutionary," and hit him twice on the face.
(CubaNet and Cuba Free Foundation, November 2, 1999, by Vicente Escobar, Lux InfoPress) In the eastern town of Las Tunas, José Villavicencio Milanés, 23, died October 30, at the Ernesto [Che] Guevara provincial hospital because of a beating received at a police station. Villavicencio Milanés was the son of a high ranking Castro’s army officer. An unidentified nurse at the hospital said that the young man was clinically dead on arrival. He had multiple skull fractures, cranial bleeding, a demolished eye and various lesions around the abdomen and extremities. "It would have been difficult to save his life," she said. The cause of the brutal beating by Castro’s police is not known. To prevent protests, police and SS agents were stationed around the local funeral home during the wake.
(La Voz de Cuba Libre, December 13, 1999, by Dominican Republic tourist) In the U.S.-dollars-only pharmacy of the showcase hospital Cira García, a tourist bought some medicines needed for a Cuban family. A label on the bottle said "Humanitarian Help." Stunned, he asked the pharmacist. She replied, "That’s not my business. The government sends them here and we sell everything for U.S. dollars."
Poor Elián, that is the country where Clinton wants to send you .. ..
Agustín Blázquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton
Mr Blazquez is the Producer/Director of the documentaries
COVERING CUBA & CUBA: THE PEARL OF THE ANTILLES