Miami, Florida
January 25,  2019


CANF STATEMENT IN RELATION TO THE VENEZUELAN CRISIS




    The Cuban American National Foundation resolutely and unconditionally supports the proclamation of Juan Guaidó as interim President of Venezuela, as well as the nonviolent demonstrations of the Venezuelan people in demand of the return to democracy in that fraternal country.

     We also welcome the prompt response of the United States government, the first to officially recognize Guaidó, as well as that of democratic countries of the Americas such as Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Costa Rica, and Peru, among others.
 
     This support represents a recognition of the true democratic order in Venezuela, demonstrated by the decision of the National Assembly –the only legislative body freely elected by the Venezuelan people- to declare the mandate of Nicolás Maduro as illegitimate and unconstitutional.

     We call on all the governments of the world to join this official recognition without delay. Chavismo must receive a loud and clear message that the world endorses Juan Guaidó and the will of the Venezuelan people.

     Venezuela is living through decisive moments to arrive at a future of well-being, peace and democratic coexistence all of her citizens aspire to. We warn against the danger of intervention by the Castro dictatorship, the real power behind Chavismo. The international community must be prepared to give a strong response to any attempt by Castroism to keep his putative son, Chavismo, in power by force.

     Once again, the Venezuelan people have demonstrated their firm will to rescue the freedom stolen by a criminal dictatorship, an appendix of its Cuban counterpart.

    For CANF, a victory of Venezuela’s pro-democracy forces is also a victory for the pro-democracy forces in Cuba.

We are with you, count on us!

For more information please call 305-592-7768
Our mailing address is:
2147 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135



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New York City, New York
May 18, 2018

 

Ambassador Nikki Haley with Ladies in White Represemtatives
 


En la cita también estuvieron presentes Clara del Valle, Laly Sampedro y Cristina Canales, de la Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana (FNCA).

The representatives of the Ladies in White Lourdes Esquivel, Dolia Leal and Blanca Reyes met on Thursday in New York with the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Halei, in a meeting in which they spoke for 20 minutes about the repression suffered by human rights activists on the island. Also present at the event were Clara del Valle, Laly Sampedro and Cristina Canales, of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF).

Canales described the meeting as "something very positive" and stressed that it took place the same day that Washington spoke out against the Cuban regime before the UN Human Rights Council.|

In a statement read in Geneva, during the Universal Periodic Review, the United States maintained that "the April presidential transition once again deprived the Cuban people of any real choice in shaping the future of their country."

It also condemned that the Cuban government "continues to criminalize independent civil society and severely restricts the freedoms of expression, association, religion or belief and the right of peaceful assembly."

According to Canales, at this Thursday's meeting "Haley reiterated the commitment of the US Government to the freedom of Cuba" and confided "that with solidarity, global support, and the work of the Ladies in White, freedom will be achieved from Cuba".

During her remarks, Blanca Reyes emphasized the "solidarity" they received at the meeting and the "receptivity" with which they were heard and Esquivel mentioned details of the beatings and other abuses suffered by the Ladies in White in Cuba.

In the opinion of Reyes, "the United Nations has a very important role in the observation of human rights in Cuba, because the dictatorship has a special commitment to control that institution, when, in reality, the regime is increasingly repressive and brutal, especially with the Ladies in White."

In its statement in Geneva, the US government urged the Havana regime to "reform its single-party system to allow genuinely free and fair multi-party elections that provide citizens with real options with respect to their government."

She also demanded "stop the practice of arbitrarily arresting journalists, members of the opposition and human rights defenders, even preventively, and adopt a legal framework that guarantees judicial independence."
 

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Miami, Florida
May 18, 2018



CANF CONGRATULATES THE LADIES IN WHITE  FOR MILTON FRIEDMAN PRIZE 2018


Miami, FL. May 17, 2018. The Cuban American National Foundation congratulates the Ladies in White, who have been honored by the CATO Institute with the Milton Friedman Prize for Freedom, in its 2018 edition. This prize will be awarded today, May 17, 2018 at 7:00 PM, in New York City (Cipriani 42nd Street • New York, NY).

The Castro regime forbade the departure of several members of the Ladies’ Executive, including Berta Soler and Leticia Ramos, so that they could not attend the ceremony. Instead, present in New York City to collect the award, are Blanca Reyes and Dolia Leal, founders of the organization, and Lourdes Esquivel, a current member of the Executive, who traveled from Cuba for this purpose.

The Ladies in White have remained on the streets of Cuba for 15 years calling for freedom for all political prisoners, while the regime has stopped at nothing to attack and repress them. Awards like this represent an encouragement and a true banner that honors all Cuban women who want freedom and democracy for our Cuban homeland.

For more information, contact:
Eulalia Sanpedro.
Email: lsampedro@canf.org

Our mailing address is:
2147 SW 8th Street. Miami, FL 33135




 

 



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Miami, Florida
April 19, 2018


Today, after Raúl Castro delegated some of his titles, albeit not power, to his favorite, Miguel Diaz-Canel, in Cuba everything remains the same.

The tragic essence of Castroism does not reside in those who hold the positions of government, but in those who select them for those positions. For six decades, only the Castros, never the Cuban people, have selected their rulers. While this does not change, little can we wait from those who for six decades have subjected the Cuban people to misery, exile, death by firing squad and the most absolute repression of all their freedoms and fundamental rights.


However, the departure from the Council of State of most of its "historic" members, with the unfortunate exception of Ramiro Valdes, one of the most sinister, should encourage the hope that men and women born during Castroism will have a greater understanding of the Cuban reality and the enormous shortcomings of the system that now it is their turn to reform deeply, structurally, if they, not the Castros, aspire to receive the positive vote of the Cuban people. A great challenge that we wish they are willing to take on.


Meanwhile, the Cuban American National Foundation, an organization that since its creation in 1981 has worked tirelessly for the restoration of a just and democratic society for Cuba, urges all Cubans not to lose faith and hope for a future of freedom and well-being, and to remain united in the attainment of a Homeland "with all and for the good of all".


For more information visit our website www.canf.org or contact us at 305 - 592 - 7768

 



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CANF opens a commemorative exhibition in honor of Jorge Mas Canosa


Miami, FL. October 30, 2017.
The Cuban American National Foundation announces the opening on November 3rd of a commemorative Exhibition in honor of the legacy of our founder, Jorge Mas Canosa, two decades after his passing.

With this Exhibition, CANF celebrates the extraordinary contribution of Jorge Mas Canosa to the struggle for freedom and democracy in Cuba, and the permanence of his vision in the Foundation’s current work and continued support for Cuban civil society.

In the spirit of celebration, CANF and the Mas family convene the community and invite the public to visit the Exhibition, "Jorge, 20 years later your legacy lives Onward,” which will be displayed at our headquarters from November 3rd to November 20th, Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Our headquarters are located at 2147 SW 8th Street Miami, FL 33135.


For more information visit our website www.canf.org or contact Yarai Reyes at e-mail yreyes@canf.org.


        ****************************
Jorge Mas Canosa made his new country pay attention
By ROBERT G. TORRICELLI


Meeting Jorge Mas Canosa was like walking into a hurricane. He was a force of nature driven by gusts of ambition and love that swirled around a calm eye of Latin charm.

That storm entered my congressional office in the spring of 1986. The Cuban American National Foundation had achieved prominence with its calculated embrace of Ronald Reagan. Mastec, the Florida corporation he founded, was feeding off the national thirst for technology. But, mostly, the deadly strife in Central America had Fidel Castro back in the news.

We were an unlikely pair. A liberal suburban congressman, the product of the post-war American middle class, listened attentively to this Cuban émigré, who this year will have been dead for two decades. Revolution forced him from his homeland, and he was on a mission to destroy Castro’s regime. It would become one of the most important relationships of my life.

Castro occupied a special place for my generation. He was the animated figure on television. He factored into our parents’ decision to pile canned food, water, and radios in our basements. Before Vietnam, there was Castro interrupting the rhythm of American life with tirades and revolution.

Canosa understood the moment. The network that he built in Congress was formidable and strengthened by Cuba’s meddling in Africa and Central America. The latent hostility of my generation was fuel in search of a match.

Castro’s revolution had produced little more than a Soviet client state now threatened by perestroika. The Cold War was ending, and the last soldier on the field was Fidel Castro. The moment was right to make a move.

Late in 1991, on a boat off Coral Gables, we met to draft sanctions that would draw a line. The Cuban Democracy Act would plug the holes of the Kennedy embargo and present a choice between democratic reforms and economic strangulation. Ships that called upon Cuban ports could not visit the United States. European affiliates of American companies were banned from investment. Remunerations were limited. We would isolate post-Soviet Cuba from hard currency but flood it with ideas. The United States would offer new telephone cables, news bureaus, and travel by students and journalists. The price of escaping the sanctions was certification of progress toward a free press, multiparty elections, and the freeing of political prisoners. It was Castro’s choice.

Opposition from the George H.W. Bush administration was immediate. Castro, it was argued, just needed more time. He’d reform, and the end of the Cold War would bring change. Our best ally was Castro.

But as economic conditions worsened, so did repression.

Canosa’s ambitions might would have faltered if not for a rising star in the Democratic Party. Bill Clinton was a Democrat who wanted to build a new coalition. He recognized the conflicting realities of Bush’s opposition to new sanctions and Florida as the new pivot point of American presidential politics.

When Clinton’s aide, George Stephanopoulos, called to announce that the likely Democratic nominee would be endorsing my bill, success was assured. Congressional passage followed, and the Bush administration was quickly on board.

No moment in my congressional career is the source of more questions. Were the sanctions that Canosa produced the right thing? Didn’t they fail to change the Cuban regime? That’s all true but Cuba never armed another revolution. Economic isolation ended military adventurism.

The most important memory for me, however, wasn’t the policy at all. The Bush White House didn’t invite me to the signing of my own bill. Canosa was handed the signing pen by a beaming Bush. Before the event concluded, he left the White House and drove to my office where he handed me the pen as we embraced. The Cuban émigré who fled Communist revolution had taken a stand and moved his new nation.

ROBERT TORRICELLI SERVED AS A U.S. SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY FROM 1997 TO 2003.

 


 

MIAMI, FLORIDA
{05-24-2017
}

 

CANF SPENT ALMOST HALF A MILLION DOLLARS IN AID TO OPPOSITIONISTS IN CUBA
Mario Penton
 


The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) spent nearly $ 400,000 in support of dissidence in Cuba, according to a report released Monday at the headquarters of the exile organization in Miami. The document was released as part of the celebration of Cuba's Independence Day on May 20 and includes the main actions that CANF supports on the island, ranging from support to opposition groups to projects of humanitarian aid.


"We support 18 civil society groups, we work in 14 provinces of the country and directly reach 500 beneficiaries each month," said Karinna Álvarez, program director of the Foundation. Marta Beatriz Roque and René Gómez Manzano, two well-known opponents, presided over the lunch of the non-profit organization for the celebration of the 115th anniversary of the Republic.

The work of the organization made it possible to send 15 computers to the island, 59 cell phones and the payment of 54,000 minutes of conversation through the Cuban mobile network, where one minute costs 0.35 cents, the salary of a working day of a worker. "We have several projects that aim to improve the lives of simple people, such as housing repairs, medical assistance programs, help to the elderly, and delivery of toys to children," added Alvarez.

Support for opposition groups such as the Unión Patriótica de Cuba, el Foro Antitotalitario Unido, las Damas de Blanco, among others, as well as support for political prisoners and their families absorb a large part of the budget.

CANF financed the first overseas departure of the leader of the Unión Patriótica de Cuba and ex-political prisoner, José Daniel Ferrer, as well as numerous trips of activists and opponents to denounce within the international community, the human rights situation in the Island.

The Foundation also supports the efforts of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, the legal group - now in exile - Cubalex and the Independent Trade Union Association of Cuba, among other organizations. According to the report, CANF dedicated $ 245,000 to empowering civil society groups through projects of all kinds that have an impact to improve society.

"By empowering civil society, we not only seek to help Cuba be free, but to prepare new entrepreneurs who are able to manage the resources that are provided to them in a transparent and effective manner," Álvarez explained.

CANF also presented its new website as well as a new social networking program that seeks to "inform more about the work of the organization and the reality of Cuba."

Álvarez recalled that the Foundation's funds come from private donations and not from the US government.

"The effort made today by the Foundation is the result of the help we receive from the members of the organization and also from many other people. From those who contribute five dollars, to those who can do with their daily work for the freedom of Cuba, "he added.

Jorge Mas Santos, president of the Foundation and son of its founder, Jorge Mas Canosa, took the occasion to congratulate the Cuban people for the anniversary and made an analysis of the national situation, highlighting the effects of the chavismo crisis in Venezuela and the end of the policy of "wet foot, dry foot," which in the opinion of the Cuban American could have a direct influence on the government of the island.

“With the death of Fidel Castro, the shroud of darkness and despair has given way to the light of hope for the future,” said Mas Santos, on the death of former President Fidel Castro.

 


 

 

MIAMI, FLORIDA
{03-08-2017

three unpacu adtivists detained,
whereabouts unknown

From: Karinna Alvarez
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2017
To: Benito Clark
Subject: UNPACU


At 3am this morning at least two UNPACU headquarters were stormed by Cuban State Security in Santiago de Cuba. At the moment, the activists Jose Daniel Ferrer, Yriade Hernandez Aguilera, and Carlos Oliva Rivery have been detained and their whereabouts are unknown.

The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) was able to speak with UNPACU activist Zaqueo Báez in Havana, who confirmed the above. Activist Lisandra Robert Salazar in Santiago, also confirmed that activist Lietis Rachel Reyes Tur was returned to her home after the events that took place earlier this morning.

Lietis, a pregnant woman, had been detained three hours in a clinic and after protesting was taken back to her house by a patrol car. Lietis confirmed that she did not know exactly what had been confiscated as she was the first to be arrested.

CANF will continue to follow the situation closely and resolutely condemns these repressive acts carried out by the Castro regime.

 






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MIAMI, FLORIDA
FEBRUARY 25, 2017


ANOTHER POLITICAL PRISONER DIES IN CUBA

 

Courtesy of Jose Benito Clark-CANF


This morning in the prison Combinado del Este, in Havana, political prisoner and member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), Hamell Santiago Maz Hernández, died at age 45.

According to the deceased activists’ wife, Milfre de la Caridad Reyes Reyes, two officials from the Ministry of Interior notified her that her husband had died of a heart attack.

This is the version of the jailers. UNPACU will investigate, with however many reliable sources are possible, the true causes that ended the life of this nonviolent oppositionist.

Maz Hernández was detained along with another UNPACU activist, Alberto Valles Pérez, on June 3, 2016 and was falsely accused of contempt. Up until this moment he had been awaiting the farce trial against him, ordered by the political police in retaliation for his courageous activism on the streets of Havana.

Hamell Santiago was one of 55 of UNPACU’s political prisoners that are currently being held in the jails of 5 eastern provinces, Camagüey, Havana, Mayabeque, Artemisa, and Pinar del Río.

UNPACU has continuously denounced the inhumane conditions, beatings, torturing, and other cruel and degrading acts that affect the dignity, health, and even the lives of their political prisoners.

This is the second UNPACU activist that has died in prison. Wilman Villar Mendoza died after a long hunger strike back in 2012.

If the democratic world does not energetically condemn the abuses of tyranny, other human rights defenders will also die in prison.

February 24, 2017
Council of Coordinators of UNPACU
José Daniel Ferrer García
Yriades Hernández Aguilera
Carlos Oliva Rivery
Carlos Amel Oliva Torres
Ovidio Martín Castellanos
Jorge Cervantes García
Katherine Mojena Hernández




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JANUARY 12, 2017


CANF Statement on Changes to “Wet Foot-Dry Foot” Policy


The sudden, violent changes that fell on the Cuban people on January 1st, 1959 with the rise to power of the Castro regime has thrust millions of Cubans to seek asylum, protection and peace, for them and their families, all over the World, especially in the United States who has received more than 2 million with open arms. But, the exodus that has lasted six decades will not end as long as the Castro regime is in power and Cubans do not regain freedom to determine their own destiny.

The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) has repeatedly stated that the solution to the Cuban problem cannot be found anywhere else other than inside Cuba by the will and effort of patriotic Cubans. Fleeing is not and will never be the answer, but those who are persecuted, discriminated and under threat of perish or incarceration and resort to seeking asylum in the United States, must be given all the protection that they rightly deserve.

The CANF never considered the "wet foot-dry foot" Clinton presidential directive an effective, fair option for the difficult situation caused by Cubans continued attempts to enter the United States. The revision of the current policy is in order, as long as the rights to a due process for those with bona fide claims of persecution are given the full protection of the law and a humanitarian, effective solution is given to the thousands of Cubans stranded throughout Latin America.

The CANF recognizes the extraordinary efforts of the American people and its successive governments to help alleviate the tragedy suffered by the Cuban people over the last six decades; a tragedy whose responsibility lies, exclusively, with the Castro regime.




 


Contact:
Laly Sampedro
E-mail: lsampedro@canf.org
Cell: 786-877-7393
For Immediate Release MIAMI 10, 2016

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ON HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, CANF STRONGLY CONDEMNS THE CONTINUOUS VIOLATIONS OF CUBAN REGIME
 

Courtesy of José Benito Clark


December 10th is Human Rights Day. Sixty-eight years ago today, the United Nations welcomed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, considered as one of humanity's most important achievements, with the purpose of establishing equal rights between all Nations and among all men.

Human Rights are inalienable, universal and enduring because they belong to all people, regardless of nationality, class, race, gender, religious belief, disability, sexual orientation, ideology or any other form or trait.

The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), today more than ever, maintains steadfast in its mission for a free and democratic Cuba, where freedoms and human rights are respected.
The Cuban government for more than 50 years has violated the most elementary clauses of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its repressors have tortured, imprisoned, and murdered at a whim those citizens who do not support the same ideology.

In more recent history, the Castro regime has beaten and imprisoned defenseless women such as the Ladies in White, who have been heavily beaten for 80 consecutive Sundays, for peacefully demanding the release of all political prisoners.

The regime does not listen to the voice of its citizens; does not offer impartial justice under a respected rule of law; and directly violates a number of acknowledged and accepted international human rights laws.

CANF strongly condemns the continuous acts of repression and violence against the Cuban people and will continue to make public the countless acts of harassment and imprisonment against dissidents and political activists on the island.

In the days following Fidel Castro's death, Cubans were subjected to forced grief, and the regime aggressively punishment those who did not participate in the mourning of the dictator's death.

As a result of government crackdowns following Fidel’s death, over 20 political activists were detained; among the following being most striking due to their extreme measures and arbitrary nature:

• The case of the dissident Eduardo Pacheco, who was beaten and imprisoned for allegedly defying the orders of national mourning during the days following the death of Fidel Castro. Pacheco suffered a beating that left serious injuries on his face and has been told he will facing a military trial.

• The case of the activist Eduardo Cardet, national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, who was beaten by State Security for "meeting in Miami with who he should not," as he was told by political police. Eduardo was sent to pre-trial detention where he is currently awaiting trial for "Attempt against the Authority."

• The case of Danilo Maldonado, better known as “El Sexto,” which has gained commended international attention, and for whom Amnesty International demands an immediate release. According to the Castro government, Danilo will be prosecuted for destroying state property, after he graffitied one of the walls of Havana Libre with the words, "Se Fue" (He’s Gone) – in reference to Fidel’s death. Danilo is currently being held in the prison Valle Grande, known for its human rights violations and precarious conditions.

Among these examples, it is also important to highlight the current situation facing the nonviolent opposition movemnet, Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). With a membership of more than 3000 activists aross the island, UNPACU confirms that 46 activists from the organization, are currently under threat and imprisonment for political reasons. José Daniel Ferrer, leader of UNPACU, along with the rest of its membership, suffer from political police repression including the illegal invasion of their homes, the confiscation of their goods and property, among other various forms of violence and threat.

CANF also distinguishes the worrisome police harassment and repression against members of the independent legal group, Cubalex, whose group member and lawyer, Julio Antonio Ferrer, has been held prison for over 10 months, without the right to a fair trail.

This report highlights only a few of the many examples of the endless and ongoing human rights violations committed by Castro’s repressive government. For more information or other related data, visit our site www.canf.org.

CANF is a 501-c3 organization and all donations are tax-deductible.





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Contact:
Laly Sampedro
E-mail: lsampedro@canf.org
Cell: 786-877-7393
For Immediate Release November 26, 2016




          On The Occasion of Fidel Castro's Death

Miami, Florida

Today we Cubans arrive at a momentous crossroad in our history. Fidel Castro has died after imposing his will on the Cuban people for more than half a century. As Cubans, this historical moment forces us to consider our own future; and encourages us to put aside our anguish, our differences, and our fear in order to pave the way for a brighter future. Today, we are filled with hope as millions of Cubans look to close this dark chapter of our history and work toward a new future for Cuba.

We begin the arduous task of creating a nation at peace with itself and with the rest of the world. A just, prosperous, and worthy nation, firmly committed to fulfilling Jose Marti’s dream of a Cuba “with all and for the good of all.” Cuba is in need of change and reform, and the death of Fidel Castro signifies an opportunity to look ahead, prepare for change, and unite all that his presence has divided.

For the men and women of the Cuban American National Foundation, today is a day of deep reflection as all Cubans are now tasked with new and great responsibilities. Today must be a day of hope, willingness, and solidarity in favor of peace, freedom, and the well-being of our brothers and sisters on the Island.




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MIAMI, FLORIDA
{11-23-2016}

THE 19TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF THE GREAT CUBAN PATRIOT JORGE MAS CANOSA


Jorge Mas Canosa, 58, Died on November 23, 1997. Mas Canosa came to the United States as a penniless refugee from the dictatorship of Fidel Castro and created the Cuban-American National Foundation that soon became one of Washington's most effective lobbying groups.

From the moment he arrived in Miami in 1960, Mas dedicated himself to seeking the overthrow of the Castro brothers dictatorship, first as a conspirator in various armed plots against Cuba and then, for the last two decades of his life, in the halls of Congress. His organization became a familiar presence on Capitol Hill and over the years earned a reputation as generous in his donations to officeholders willing to endorse his political objectives.

For more than a decade, three American Presidents sought his advice on Cuban affairs to such an extent that many critics of Mas Canosa considered him the principal architect of an American policy they regarded as excessively rigid. Every significant piece of legislation on Cuba since 1980 has borne his imprint, from the establishment of Radio and TV Marti to the Helms-Burton Act tightening the economic embargo of Cuba.

At a $1,000-a-plate fund-raising dinner in Miami in 1992, President George Bush declared, ''I salute Jorge Mas.'' He called Mas Canosa the living embodiment of the success of Cuban immigrants in the United States. By then, Mas Canosa had already become a millionaire many times over in the communications and construction businesses.

Jorge Mas Canosa was survived by his wife, Irma, and three sons, Jorge Jr., CANF Chairman, who has for several years run the family business, Juan Carlos, a lawyer, and Jose Ramon.
 


Courtesy of Jose Benito Clark-CANF



Jorge Mas Canosa
Born in Santiago, Cuba, on September 21, 1939
Died in Miami, USA, on November 23, 1997



                                        
+++++++++++++

Eulogy by Raul Mas Canosa, Jorge's younger brother
 


MOST PEOPLE have focused on my brother's accomplishments as a patriot and as a political leader, but I want to talk to you about Jorge as an individual, who he was as a man, a father, a husband, a brother, a good son, a great friend, a faithful Catholic, a sinner, an individual with his share of human frailties, but above all a man who loved life, who loved both his native Cuba and his adopted country and who lived every moment of his short 58 years as if there were no tomorrow.

Many people say that his greatest legacy is the Foundation and what it represents, an institution dedicated to restoring freedom in Cuba, which I have no doubt will carry on the struggle with renewed dedication and effort. But to focus on Jorge exclusively as a political figure would be a great injustice. Jorge was much more than that.

To me, his greatest legacy can be found in a number of places, beginning with his family, his loving wife Irma, his three magnificent boys: Jorge, Juan Carlos, and Jose Ramon, anyone of whom individually would make any father intensely proud and who have thus far blessed him with four wonderful grandchildren and a fifth still to come.

Jorge managed to generate intense loyalty and love among those he considered his friends. In the Bible, Jesus tells us that ''Greater love hath no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.'' Jorge was the type of person who would have gladly laid down his own life for the sake of a good friend, not to mention his beloved Cuba.

And as I look out onto this crowd, I see the faces of dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of individuals who would have gladly done the same for him, who would have gladly accepted his suffering without hesitation. That, my friends, is greatness, indeed.

Aside from his friends, Jorge managed to generate warmth and affection in practically everyone he came in contact with. He felt as comfortable dealing with a head of state as he did with a common laborer in one of his many companies. One evening he'd be at a gala dinner, and the next day he'd delight in sharing a good chivo or rabo encendido with someone who brought it to work in a cantina.

I can tell you as a fact that Jorge preferred those simple, home-cooked meals with his employees, or with his friends or his family, more than anything else.

Last night I had an opportunity to walk among the long lines of people waiting patiently to view his mortal remains. I was particularly impressed with the number of elderly people who traveled from all over and stood quietly while waiting to pay their respects.

Older people have a special wisdom that comes with experience. They've been around the block a few times and have learned to separate the real from the fluff. They have the ability to see things in perspective, taking into account both the good and the bad. To see so many of them was indeed touching. Perhaps they recognized my brother for what he truly was: a great man, an imperfect man, but one who was the genuine article, whose convictions were real, whose passion for a free and democratic Cuba knew no bounds.

I heard a number of comments from the people, which I would like to read from the press.

Many people commented on the irony of his short life, on how he didn't get to see a free Cuba, on how he ''lost his life at such a young age.'' Let's talk about that.

In his short life, Jorge lived the type of life that most people can only dream of. He was an inspired patriot, a self-made millionaire, a wonderful father, a great son and brother, a philanthropist, a faithful servant of God.

Do not lament his short lifetime. Give thanks for the life he led, a full life, always at full throttle, never looking back. Jorge didn't lose his life; he gave his life. He gave it to what he most believed in: the restoration of freedom and democracy in the land he loved -- his beloved Cuba. And while he did not get to see a free Cuba in his mortal life, I am sure that he eventually will see it from above.

I have no doubt in my mind that he's up there right now, lobbying God himself for the freedom of Cuba. The irony of Jorge's death will always serve to make Cuba eventual freedom even sweeter. Look closely in the months ahead, for I'm sure you'll see Castro's beard becoming mas canosa.

Do not lament the fact that his life is over, while that tyrant still lives on this earth. Remember the words of Saint Augustin: ''Faith maintains this principle and we must believe it: Neither the soul nor the body suffers complete annihilation. The wicked rise again for punishment beyond imagination, while the good rise for everlasting life.''

To all of you who have suffered with us during this difficult period: Accept the suffering with joy. Remember how in Romans, chapter five, we are told: ''Let us rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.''

Let us move forward -- adelante, adelante, adelante -- with the power and the strength of the Holy Spirit on our side.

I want to tell you a few things about Jorge's death, because it is said that until the day of one's death no one can be sure of one's courage. If that's the case, then I can assure you that Jorge's death, like his life, was courageous indeed. He kept his illness a secret, not wanting to worry us, certainly not wanting to affect the work of the Foundation. He attended to the needs of others, including myself, even though he was in great pain and slowly dying.

I remember one moment in particular, sitting in his living-room, when he mentioned his pain and suffering and he said to me: ''After all God has given me, I accept this pain willingly and offer it as a sacrifice to Him.'' He was a good Catholic to the end, well aware that, while it's good for Man to gain the whole world, what good is it if you lose the worth of your very self.

I spoke earlier of his common touch. It was evident, even in his death, that he kept his ability to generate warmth and affection among all. In those last few hours, as his heart slowly faded as we watched the monitor, we'd watch it go down and then suddenly come back up again to 75, 80 beats a minute. And his nurse, Elizabeth, who had been at his side all that time and who's here with us today, said to me: ''What someone wouldn't give for a heart like that!''

Elizabeth, if you only knew the half of it -- the heart that man had!

After he died, his gardener, Israel, came to pay his last respects. I said to him: ''I can't look after you anymore, but someone else surely will.''

I know that my brother had his critics. People liked to fault him for what he did or didn't do, but I don't think anyone can doubt his sincerity or patriotism. And I would like to leave you with something to remember him by, some words that were spoken by a very famous American patriot early in the century, 1910, a president by the name of Teddy Roosevelt. He wrote: ''It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or how his deeds could have been done better. The credit actually belongs to the man who's actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, sweat and mud, who strives valiantly, errs and comes up short again and again. There is no effort without error and shortcomings.

''Who actually does strive to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who suspends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while faring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.''

Goodbye, dear brother. I would tell you to rest in peace, but I know you're up there fighting for all of us. I love you.

 





********************************************************

                       
MIAMI, FLORIDA
{11-16-2016}

CUBAN-AMERICAN LEADERS, DISSIDENTS URGE TRUMP TO GET TOUGH WITH CASTRO REGIME

By Elizabeth Llorente

Cuban-American leaders and human rights activists within the island nation are hoping that the incoming Trump administration will scale back President Obama’s efforts to restore relations between the two countries, measures they say emboldened the communist regime and brought the U.S. little in return.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, said that a top priority for him next year will be to roll back sweeping changes President Obama implemented that significantly eased trade and travel restrictions. Rubio, like many Cuban-Americans who have opposed the normalization of relations, said Obama’s overtures to the Cuban government have not yielded the hoped-for reforms.

“By any objective measure, President Obama’s unilateral policy changes have failed, and they are not in the best interest of the American people or the people of Cuba,” Rubio said in a statement. “Rolling back President Obama's one-sided concessions to the Castro regime, a key campaign promise shared with President-elect Trump, will be a top priority for me next year.”
 


Rubio met on Tuesday with Guillermo Farinas, one of Cuba’s most prominent human rights activists, during the dissident’s visit to Washington D.C. Farinas, who has been jailed numerous times by Cuban authorities, has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s surprise decision two years ago to normalize relations with the Cuban government after more than a half-century of hostilities between the two nations.

Farinas and other dissidents, as well as some international human rights organizations, say the Cuban government continues to oppress its critics. Farinas went on a month-long hunger strike earlier this year after he was detained and beaten by Cuban authorities when he asked about a fellow dissident who had been arrested. Farinas, who was in New York Wednesday to meet with Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, told FoxNews.com Obama’s U.S.-Cuba policy betrayed the cause of human rights.

“I have faith that President Trump will be better for the people of Cuba and press the cause of freedom and democracy,” Farinas said. “Let’s just say no one can possibly be worse than Barack Obama has been for our cause.”

During the GOP primary, Trump signaled support for thawed relations, provided the Cuban government reformed its approach to human rights. After he won the nomination, Trump addressed the issue again in Miami, assailing Obama’s approach to Cuba.

“All of the concessions Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them,” he said, adding that he intended to “unless the Castro regime meets our demands.”
 

L to R : Remberto Perez (Canf Director from NJ ),  Guillermo Farinas,  Samantha Power  (US Amb. to the UN ),  CANF co-founder José "Pepe" Hernández, in Washington DC, Nov 16, 2016  (Courtesy of Jose Benito Clark -- CANF)


Top officials of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), one of the oldest and most influential anti-Castro organizations, say they are lobbying members of Trump’s transition team for a meeting with the president-elect.

“We want Donald Trump to understand the reality of the situation faced by Cubans in Cuba,” CANF co-founder Jose “Pepe” Hernandez, a Bay of Pigs veteran, told FoxNews.com. “We want a U.S.-Cuba policy that will bring democratic results.”

Other Cuban-American groups pressed Trump before he sealed the nomination. Brigade 2506, Miami-based veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion, endorsed Trump for president, the first endorsement in the organization's 55-year history.

“For Donald Trump, it was a great honor to be recognized by the brigade,” said Helen Aguirre Ferré, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. “He was deeply moved by it. This is an important issue to him, he has said you can’t negotiate with human rights.”

Rubio is not the only lawmaker waiting to see what Trump will do regarding Cuba. Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton and also sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, told FoxNews.com that he does not know quite what to expect from a Trump administration.

“It depends on which Donald Trump shows up,” Menendez said. “The Donald Trump who said earlier in his campaign that he thinks it was good to engage Cuba, or the Donald Trump toward the end of the campaign who said he’d consider rolling back much of what Obama did unless there’s advantage for the Cuban people.”

Elizabeth Llorente is the Politics Editor/Senior Reporter for Fox News Latino, and can be reached at Elizabeth.Llorente@Foxnewslatino.com. Follow her on https://twitter.com/Liz_Llorente





CANF Hurricane Relief Effort to Cubans Affected by Hurricane Matthew
Karinna Alvarez Ph: (305) 592-7768
E-mail: kalvarez@canf.org
For Immediate Release October 7, 2016



The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) in partnership with the Unión Patriótica de Cuba (UNPACU) began sending aid to Cuba in preparation for Hurricane Matthew early last week. In the aftermath we continue to send post-hurricane relief to the eastern region of the Island.

CANF and UNPACU have organized a relief effort to provide food, water, shelter, and home reparations to those Cubans affected by Hurricane Matthew in the province of Guantanamo; particularly in the most affected municipalities of Baracoa, Maisí, and Imías. The towns of Maisí and Imías suffer from extreme poverty, making the disasters brought by Hurricane Matthew especially difficult to overcome.

Although the Cuban government claims to have begun sending work forces to rebuild certain telecommunication infrastructures, the government has failed to initiate a rapid-response effort and provide emergency relief directly to the hundreds of victims who have lost their homes and belongings; left with nowhere to go, nothing to eat or drink, and given limited information as to how their current devastating situation will be resolved.

As we keep all of those affected by Hurricane Matthew in our thoughts and prayers, including those in Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas, CANF urges the community to support our efforts in bringing disaster relief to those individuals in eastern Cuba.

Donations can be made by visiting our site at canf.org or by sending a check made out to the CUBAN AMERICAN NATIONAL FOUNDATION/Hurricane Relief.


CANF is a 501-c3 organization and all donations are tax-deductible.






SANTIAGO DE CUBA, CUBA
{05-10-2016

Hurricane Matthew: the suffering people, the state security and the lies of the regime.
José Daniel Ferrer García
General Coordinator of UNPACU

Hurricane Matthew has already left the eastern end of Cuba leaving behind extensive damage and deep pain. According to activists of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in Baracoa, the first town founded in the Greatest of the Antilles, there is great destruction. Many families were left homeless.

General Ramón Espinosa Martín, deputy minister of the Armed Forces, says no human casualties were reported and hopefully so, but we received from Baracoa worrying comments circulating among the population. We are trying to get accurate information as soon as possible. The official press says very little, characterized by a mixture of inability to report promptly and objectively and a great ability to hide the truth and lie.

At times like these, solidarity is of the essence, with prompt and effective aid and assistance to the victims. After the passage of previous hurricanes (Hurricane Sandy, for example), we have seen the mismanagement of the Totalitarian State. Four years after the passage of Sandy through Santiago de Cuba in October 2012, many families remain homeless or live in shacks built with their own effort, that today would not withstand winds of a tropical storm.

UNPACU is willing to help to the maximum of their abilities, those affected municipalities in Guantanamo counting on the support of exiled patriots. Despite the regime hampering any joint action, and chasing those activists looking to be involved, this will not stop us. Four days before the arrival of hurricane Mathew in Cuba we were taking measures, buying food, storing drinking water and fuel. We prepared our best houses to accommodate activists and neighbors with unsafe housing. We also began interviewing many citizens outraged by the abandonment by the authorities and by the lies of officials and the official press.

The political police immediately began arresting our activists and threatening our informative work to prevent and hinder efforts to help the population. They know that their efforts are insufficient, but persecute those who want to do the most good. In Santiago de Cuba we have three activists still detained for interviewing people and filming very long and even violent queues for food and other necessities. According to the agents of this repressive body, they will not allow any information that affects the image of the revolution and endanger state security to spread.

Shortly after Matthew passed through Haiti, Cuban television gave data on the damage done to that poor nation. At noon today, even when the hurricane was already distant from the affected areas, the Cuban government - one that boasts of its ability to deal with natural phenomena and inform the population – has not been able to send a helicopter to Baracoa and other places damaged to show images of what happened there. They have only shown some photos sent by neighbors.

For four days, we have heard triumphant speeches that strongly contradict the reality of the Cuban people, before the arrival of the hurricane, and the situation they have to live in the affected areas after the passage of such weather events. Raul Castro was visiting special repressive forces of the Interior Ministry in Santiago de Cuba; they said they were ready to rescue. Liars! They are ready, yes, but to repress activists and independent journalists who take pictures and interviews and peaceful opponents that offer help to the needy.

In Santiago de Cuba, neither Raul Castro nor Communist Party Secretary Lazaro Exposito ever visited the neighborhoods where many families in flimsy homes anxiously waited the hurricane. Hundreds of opinions collected by UNPACU must be heard. However, we have not been able to upload them because Internet connections have been suspended throughout the province since Sunday morning. In interviews several people say they were deceived by the government and many ensure they received no aid after the passage of Sandy 4 years ago, and much less expect it if Matthew left them without their damaged homes.

Since they began evacuating people in the eastern provinces we began receiving complaints of evacuees in different places: from Guantanamo several were food poisoned by ground meat among evacuees in the school Barrio Obrero; from Providence evacuted 4, and from Majibacoa, Las Tunas, 43 evacuees at a local shelter said they had no food or milk for young children and were forced to sleep on the floor. In Palma Soriano, evacuees in Reparto Amelia in an elementary school, on Monday ate only a little bread with picadillo and slept on the floor. In a high school in Altamira, Santiago de Cuba, hundreds of evacuees spent a day without food. They were taken out of the place and removed to another site for not having conditions. This is just a small sample.

Many refused to be evacuated to state shelters and sought the solidarity of neighbors with strong housing. Esteban Lazo, President of the National Assembly of People's Power gave a fact that should shame him: 93% of the evacuees were in private houses. The totalitarian state that demands sacrifices and endurance, the exploiting State that pays poverty wages and demands more and more efforts and contributions to the people, cannot properly evacuate the thousands of humble citizens living in appalling conditions.

As Hurricane Mathew approached, the queues at the premises of the Western Union in Santiago de Cuba were a strange sight: long lines of people of all ages, white, mixed-race and black, of both genders, receiving money mainly from the USA. After receiving the money they went to the foreign currency stores to make other queues to buy food and other necessities to face the storm. These are lucky enough to have relatives abroad. Those who do not, and those who are not part of the privileged class in the structures of the regime, could expect God's favor. And luckily for Santiagueros, it seems that God heard.




 

SANTIAGO DE CUBA, CUBA
{05-10-2016


Hurricane Matthew: the suffering people, the state security and the lies of the regime.
José Daniel Ferrer García
General Coordinator of UNPACU

Hurricane Matthew has already left the eastern end of Cuba leaving behind extensive damage and deep pain. According to activists of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in Baracoa, the first town founded in the Greatest of the Antilles, there is great destruction. Many families were left homeless.

General Ramón Espinosa Martín, deputy minister of the Armed Forces, says no human casualties were reported and hopefully so, but we received from Baracoa worrying comments circulating among the population. We are trying to get accurate information as soon as possible. The official press says very little, characterized by a mixture of inability to report promptly and objectively and a great ability to hide the truth and lie.

At times like these, solidarity is of the essence, with prompt and effective aid and assistance to the victims. After the passage of previous hurricanes (Hurricane Sandy, for example), we have seen the mismanagement of the Totalitarian State. Four years after the passage of Sandy through Santiago de Cuba in October 2012, many families remain homeless or live in shacks built with their own effort, that today would not withstand winds of a tropical storm.
 


UNPACU is willing to help to the maximum of their abilities, those affected municipalities in Guantanamo counting on the support of exiled patriots. Despite the regime hampering any joint action, and chasing those activists looking to be involved, this will not stop us. Four days before the arrival of hurricane Mathew in Cuba we were taking measures, buying food, storing drinking water and fuel. We prepared our best houses to accommodate activists and neighbors with unsafe housing. We also began interviewing many citizens outraged by the abandonment by the authorities and by the lies of officials and the official press.

The political police immediately began arresting our activists and threatening our informative work to prevent and hinder efforts to help the population. They know that their efforts are insufficient, but persecute those who want to do the most good. In Santiago de Cuba we have three activists still detained for interviewing people and filming very long and even violent queues for food and other necessities. According to the agents of this repressive body, they will not allow any information that affects the image of the revolution and endanger state security to spread.

Shortly after Matthew passed through Haiti, Cuban television gave data on the damage done to that poor nation. At noon today, even when the hurricane was already distant from the affected areas, the Cuban government - one that boasts of its ability to deal with natural phenomena and inform the population – has not been able to send a helicopter to Baracoa and other places damaged to show images of what happened there. They have only shown some photos sent by neighbors.

For four days, we have heard triumphant speeches that strongly contradict the reality of the Cuban people, before the arrival of the hurricane, and the situation they have to live in the affected areas after the passage of such weather events. Raul Castro was visiting special repressive forces of the Interior Ministry in Santiago de Cuba; they said they were ready to rescue. Liars! They are ready, yes, but to repress activists and independent journalists who take pictures and interviews and peaceful opponents that offer help to the needy.

In Santiago de Cuba, neither Raul Castro nor Communist Party Secretary Lazaro Exposito ever visited the neighborhoods where many families in flimsy homes anxiously waited the hurricane. Hundreds of opinions collected by UNPACU must be heard. However, we have not been able to upload them because Internet connections have been suspended throughout the province since Sunday morning. In interviews several people say they were deceived by the government and many ensure they received no aid after the passage of Sandy 4 years ago, and much less expect it if Matthew left them without their damaged homes.

Since they began evacuating people in the eastern provinces we began receiving complaints of evacuees in different places: from Guantanamo several were food poisoned by ground meat among evacuees in the school Barrio Obrero; from Providence evacuted 4, and from Majibacoa, Las Tunas, 43 evacuees at a local shelter said they had no food or milk for young children and were forced to sleep on the floor. In Palma Soriano, evacuees in Reparto Amelia in an elementary school, on Monday ate only a little bread with picadillo and slept on the floor. In a high school in Altamira, Santiago de Cuba, hundreds of evacuees spent a day without food. They were taken out of the place and removed to another site for not having conditions. This is just a small sample.

Many refused to be evacuated to state shelters and sought the solidarity of neighbors with strong housing. Esteban Lazo, President of the National Assembly of People's Power gave a fact that should shame him: 93% of the evacuees were in private houses. The totalitarian state that demands sacrifices and endurance, the exploiting State that pays poverty wages and demands more and more efforts and contributions to the people, cannot properly evacuate the thousands of humble citizens living in appalling conditions.

As Hurricane Mathew approached, the queues at the premises of the Western Union in Santiago de Cuba were a strange sight: long lines of people of all ages, white, mixed-race and black, of both genders, receiving money mainly from the USA. After receiving the money they went to the foreign currency stores to make other queues to buy food and other necessities to face the storm. These are lucky enough to have relatives abroad. Those who do not, and those who are not part of the privileged class in the structures of the regime, could expect God's favor. And luckily for Santiagueros, it seems that God heard.





MIAMI, FLORIDA
{10-06-2016}


Hurricane Matthew carves a path of destruction through eastern Cuba

For nearly six decades, the corrupt and repressive apartheid Cuban dictatorship has invested little to nothing in Cuba’s buildings and infrastructure while diverting millions if not billions of dollars into Swiss bank accounts owned by the Castro family. The Cuban people have had to suffer the devastation of the Castro “revolution” and now they must deal with the devastation of a major hurricane.

 



Mimi Whitefiled via In Cuba Today:
Eastern Cuba lashed by Matthew: collapsed homes, crumbling highways and more.

Residents of Baracoa on Cuba’s northeastern tip awoke to a world transformed Wednesday: collapsed walls, pieces of roofing and household goods littering the streets, downed electric wires hanging at crazy angles and large trees leaning against buildings.

The city of approximately 82,000 people was the exit point as Hurricane Matthew tore through a narrow strip of Cuba’s easternmost province, Guantánamo — from Punta Caleta on the southern coast to Baracoa on the north. It’s one of Cuba’s oldest settlements, and in 1492, Christopher Columbus visited.

Many of the homes in Baracoa are old — some centuries old, and nearly half of the dwellings in the province had been reported in poor condition prior to Matthew’s rampage. Many didn’t hold up well to the Category 4 hurricane and torrential rains.

As of Wednesday afternoon, no hurricane-related casualties had been reported in Cuba. After the hurricane passed, the Red Cross swung into action to free people trapped on second stories after stairways collapsed.
A government news website reported that the Baracoa airport and its control tower sustained heavy damage and that little remained of some coastal homes after 25-foot waves lashed the beaches. Sections of the coastal highway between Guantánamo and Baracoa also collapsed, the publication said.

 


“Total destruction in Primera Villa Cubana,” journalist Mavel Toirac of Primada Visióntelevision posted on Facebook. “It’s still not dawn yet but anyone who passes through the streets sees them covered in flooring, fallen cables, unhinged doors, sadness….. WeBaracoenses are going to need a lot of strength to be able to deal with so much destruction.’’