Friday, November 16, 2012

All animals are equal

But in the Castro Brothers' Workers Paradise, some animals are more equal than others...

Vilma Rodríguez Castro, grand-daughter of Cuban dictator Raul Castro In Cuba (Via) this week, three dozen Ladies in White were beaten and arrested for trying to attend Mass; two dozen pro-democracy leaders were beaten and arrested for inquiring about a colleague's imprisonment; and a dozen pastors were arrested for trying to distribute independent hurricane relief to victims in eastern Cuba.

So how does the State Department reward this surge in repression by the Castro's dictatorship?

By granting a U.S. visa to Raul Castro's grand-daughter to attend an art exhibit with her boyfriend in New York City.

That's right, according to the Cafe Fuerte blog, Vilma Rodríguez Castro, grand-daughter of Cuban dictator Raul Castro, is in New York City this week attending the contemporary Latin American art fair, PINTA 2012. She was accompanying her boyfriend, Cuban artist Arlés del Río.

Witnesses spotted her last night wearing Chanel shoes, a Louis Vuitton purse and a Rolex watch, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

Is this ignorance, irresponsibility or just policy malpractice by the State Department?

From Amnesty International:


Cuban Man Targeted for Government Criticism

Government critic Antonio Rodiles has been charged with “resisting authority”. It is believed the charges may be used to punish and prevent his peaceful criticism of Cuban government policies.

Cuban dictatorship critic Antonio RodilesA coordinator of a civil society initiative calling on the government to ratify international human rights treaties, Antonio Rodiles, has been charged with “resisting authority” (resistencia). He has been placed in pre-trial detention (prisión provisional), but no date has been set for his trial.

Shortly after the arrest of the independent lawyer and journalist Yaremis Flores on 7 November, Antonio Rodiles, his wife and several other government critics went to the Department of State Security headquarters, know as Section 21 (Sección 21) in the neighbourhood of Marianao in Havana, to enquire after her whereabouts. Before they could reach the building they were approached by 20 people, all plain-clothed, as two officials from the Ministry of the Interior looked on. Antonio Rodiles was reportedly knocked to the ground and pinned down by four men. Several of the other activists were also manhandled and were forced into a police vehicle and sent to various police stations around Havana. All were released by 11 November, except Antonio Rodiles.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office (fiscalía) informed Antonio Rodiles’ wife on 14 November that he was being charged with “resisting authority” but a formal charge document has yet to be issued.

Antonio Rodiles is one of the coordinators of Citizen Demand for Another Cuba (Demanda Ciudadana Por Otra Cuba), an initiative calling for Cuba to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the country signed in 2008. Amnesty International believes the charges against him may be being used to punish and prevent his peaceful activities as a government critic and is gathering further information on his case and treatment.

When museums bite

Susan Helen Adler paced the corridors of the Baltimore Museum of Art, searching for objects that once belonged to her great-great-aunt, the late Saidie Adler May.

In one room, she encountered about a dozen pieces, next to plaques that read “Gift of Saidie A. May.” But Adler, hungry to see more May donations on display, quickly grew upset with how much she thought should be there.

She was already frustrated that one of her great-great-aunt’s paintings, a small Renoir, had turned up in a box of junk at a West Virginia flea market. The painting, she eventually learned, had been stolen from the museum in 1951 and then largely forgotten. How could that have happened?
Read the article by Ian Shapira in the WaPo here.

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