Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Statement by the President on the Legacy of Laura Pollán

Today, as the National Endowment for Democracy awards the Democracy Service Medal posthumously to Laura Pollán, the founder of Las Damas de Blanco, we honor and celebrate her life by recognizing her significant contributions to the struggle to defend human rights in Cuba.

Laura Pollán and the quiet dignity of the Ladies in White have courageously voiced the core desire of the Cuban people and of people everywhere to live in liberty. Taking to the streets in peaceful protest to draw attention to the plight of those unjustly held in Cuba’s prisons, Laura Pollán and the Ladies in White have stood bravely against Cuban authorities who unleash mobs, and resort to house arrest, and temporary detention in a failed attempt to silence them. Through Laura Pollán’s and the Damas’ brave actions, the world bore witness to the repressive actions of Cuban authorities, eventually leading to the release of political prisoners wrongly jailed in the Spring of 2003.

Though Laura is not with us today, her bravery in the face of repression and her selfless commitment to democracy and human rights in Cuba, offer a living legacy that inspires us to keep moving forward. To Las Damas de Blanco who will watch or listen to today’s ceremony, you have our utmost respect for your efforts to stand up for the rights of the Cuban people even in the face of this weekend’s crackdown directed at you and we honor each of you as well.

The United States is steadfast in supporting the simple desire of the Cuban people to freely determine their future and to enjoy the rights and freedoms that define the Americas, and that should be universal to all human beings. I remain committed to supporting civil society in Cuba, including by protecting the ability of Cuban Americans to support their families in Cuba through unrestricted family visits and remittances.
The Castro brothers' criminal dictatorship will come to an end one day soon, and justice will touch the Castros and their fellow criminals who have brutalized the Cuban people for so many years.

It is a lesson in human will to see these brutal dictators throw the entire power of their 53-year-old repressive state machine at a bunch of valiant old women and have the Ladies in White show the Cuban police state what human will power and love for freedom is all about.

Laura Pollán, you will not be forgotten.

You won't believe this...

Hardworking Norfolk art dealer Sheila Giolitti is the owner of Norfolk-based gallery Mayer Fine Art.

MFA is not only Norfolk's best art gallery (in my biased opinion since they represent me), but also the only Norfolk-based gallery and one of 2-3 Virginia art galleries that does art fairs around the US and overseas.

This morning Giolitti woke up to the news that her gallery website had been hacked into by an extremist Muslim group who filled her website with anti Jewish, hate-filled slogans, causing her account to be suspended.

Who knows why the website was targeted, unless some idiot thought that the "Mayer" in Mayer Fine Art means that it is a Jewish-owned gallery, which it isn't.

I don't know if there's a relationship, but I am also aware of the fact that several artists' email accounts around the Tidewater area have been recently hacked into and hate-filled emails sent out, and this morning my own personal account had been shut down (for unknown reasons so far) and I had to go through a laborious process to restore it and hope that it was all a precautionary step from MS.

One word to those whose heart and actions are filled with hate: you reap what you sow.