Skip to comments.A historic day for freedom in Cuba!
Posted on 05/20/2005 1:57:00 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember
Cuban dissidents meeting in Havana listen to a pre-recorded message from president Bush. "No tyrant can stand firm forever against the strength of freedom," said the president in Spanish. "Because the hope for freedom is in each of our hearts. So today, we are certain that Cuba soon will be free."
One of the Cuban dissidents gathering for an Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba proudly displays his tattoos with the Statue of Liberty and the Twin Towers.More than 200 dissidents are currently meeting in the house of one of Cuba's best known dissidents.
Their first free vote in 46 years.
Dissidents applauding a speaker.
Others who haven't been able to get in shout their support from outside
(Excerpt) Read more at therealcuba.com ...
WOW!! Great post!
Isn't this dangerous for these people?
Viva Cuba Libre!
Will Fidel Castro drop dead already?
Heck, he might even try to free the enslaved peoples of Massachusetts, Chicago, and Berkeley next!
BUSH: "So today, we are certain that Cuba soon will be free."
Hmmmm, I wonder if Bush knows something about Castro's health that nobody else does? It would seem another thug is bound to step up and take control as soon as Castro dies.
Is this for real?
I've always heard it will be his brother, Raul.
Don't forget Venezuela.
Very real my friend, very real.
i pray to be liberated here in chicago. lemme know when the troops are coming.
Likely not. I believe Communism will be dead in Cuba before Castro assumes room temperature. Castro's brother has already been offered a place to live in Spain after his death, and it has been highly recommended that he accept that offer.
It may not be the liberty that we would hope for immediately, but Cuba will be free soon after Castro dies.
His brother, Raul, who (IIRC) is really running the show behind the scenes and is a bigger thug than Fidel. I don't think Raul's as big a windbag as Fidel, so he may not be quite as charming to the Hollyweird crowd.
You beat me by couple minutes. I was expecting "Castro dead. Choked on his own speech".
The Fidel lovers in hollyweird and Washington ain't gonna like it one bit...not one damn bit.
Great photos. The only worry I have is how long after the folks go home will the roundups by Fidel begin?
I understand Sean Penn, Barbra Steisand, and Susan Sarandan have all been medicated for screaming hissy fits.
I'd pay some of my husbands hard earned money to see that. Their communist leader appears to be on his last leg. Hell, nobody lives forever...but he sure is trying.
I fear for these brave people of course, but also celebrate their magnificent thirst for liberty. Around every corner in Cuba are the endless thug "police" enforcing the truly hellish leftwing regime:
The police continuously ask youngsters for their IDs as a form of harassment and intimidation. Many of these youngsters are sent to jail for one to four years for 'dangerousness' even though they haven't broken any laws (other than refusing to join the Young Communists).
HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- In what organizers called an unprecedented event, dissidents from groups opposed to Fidel Castro's communist regime gathered publicly Friday and chanted "Down with Fidel."
"Freedom! Freedom!" the group of more than 100 delegates cheered in the yard of Felix Bonne, a veteran dissident, in a working-class section of Havana. Castro's regime would not allow the use of a theater or hotel for the assembly.
Participants included members of dissident groups that are sometimes at odds but share the goal of driving Castro from power.
"We think this is the first democratic assembly that has ever been held in Cuba," said organizer and former political prisoner Marta Beatriz Roque of the rare public display of opposition.
Still, some opposition groups refused to take part, saying the event was backed by Miami-based exile groups that support violence.
A U.S. diplomat brought a videotaped message from U.S. President George Bush, who congratulated attendees on their courage and efforts to build democracy.
The two-day Assembly to Promote Civil Society started on the date that, until the 1959 Revolution that put Castro in power, was celebrated as Cuba's Independence Day.
A few dozen foreign observers attended, including James Cason, chief of mission of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. There were also representatives of the European Union and the Japanese, Polish, Czech, and Canadian embassies.
Organizers had been concerned Cuban police would prevent the meeting from happening.
Rally a 'fraud'
Well-known dissident Oswaldo Paya of the pro-democracy Varela Project refused to take part, calling the meeting "a fraud against the opposition" organized by "extremists whose movement has in the past been infiltrated and influenced by Cuban State Security agents."
No government authorities were known to be on hand and there was no blatant police presence in the neighborhood, but government spies do regularly infiltrate dissident meetings.
Cuban authorities blocked some international observers from attending. Two Polish European Union deputies who tried to enter the country Tuesday were turned back, and four Polish journalists who planned to attend were detained Friday, the Polish Embassy in Havana said.
Castro kicks out European lawmakers
Also, Thursday night, Cuba expelled a Czech senator and a German deputy who had been in the country for five days and were planning to attend the meeting. Czech Sen. Karel Schwarzenberg and German Christian Democratic parliament member Arnold Vaatz told CNN they were directed to get on an Air France flight to Paris.
Some participants Friday expressed surprise that the meeting took place at all.
The group called for government reforms and popular involvement in government decision-making. The dissidents also vowed to build relations among civic groups and to "rescue" lost values and traditions.
In papers handed out to media and others, the group said it agreed the meeting was a "big step forward" in the 46-year struggle to get out from under Castro's leadership.
Organizers are hoping more than 350 dissident groups would be represented at the meeting by the time it ends Saturday.
On Tuesday the U.S. Senate passed a resolution "extending its support and solidarity to the participants of the historic meeting" and "urging the international community to support the assembly and its mission to bring democracy and human rights to Cuba." The U.S. Treasury Department granted travel licenses to anti-Castro Cuban-Americans who want to attend.
Cuba accuses assembly organizers of being "mercenaries in the pay of the U.S.A.," a charge they strongly deny. "We have funded the assembly with donations from our brothers and sisters in the exile community. None of the $25,000 we have received comes from the U.S. government," said dissident Rene Gomez Manzano.
Asked by CNN to comment on the planned assembly, Castro said, "Those who attack us don't represent more than a fraction of 1 percent. ... You (the foreign news media) have helped create them."
Many wives of Cuban political prisoners did not attend the meeting, saying they feared it would be "provocative" and counter-productive.
From the headline, I thoroughly expected to see another story about Cuba dumping Windows for Linux.
Psst, Fredo is there, he'll take care of Uncle Fidel.