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Found 12 results

  1. Los compañeros de la víctima del incendio no podían reprimir su dolor por la pérdida de «un buen hombre». Recuerdan que Tomás -no sabían cuál era su apellido- había nacido en Cuba y que llegó a Andoain hace «unos tres años» procedente de Barcelona. «No tenemos muchos datos sobre su biografía. Recuerdo que en una ocasión me dijo que se había marchado de su país en una balsa. Creo que llegó a Estados Unidos, pero tampoco lo puede afirmar», relataron. Puede que no conozcan sus antecedentes, pero todos coinciden en señalar que era una excelente persona. «Estaba dispuesta a echar una mano. Cuando venía con algo de comida la solía compartir. Y siempre huía de los conflictos. Cuando a veces discutíamos con la persona que ha provocado el incendio, solía tratar de apaciguar los ánimos». La víctima era miembro de los Testigos de Jehová. «A Tomás le habían dejado una casa para vivir pero prefería estar con nosotros. Allí se sentía muy solo». http://www.diariovasco.com/gipuzkoa/201701/27/balsero-testigo-jehova-marcho-20170127004101-v.html
  2. By Zunilda Mata. Discriminated against for decades, Cuba’s Jehovah’s Witnesses just opened an employment agency that focuses on the “honesty and decency” of its people. The database “is an opportunity to advertise the skills that the brothers have in different professions and trades,” says Tamara Sanchez, one of the managers. As a “private initiative,” although it is linked to the religious community, she describes the new project as one to connect the private sector with “serious and decent” workers. Close relationships within the congregation are a plus for the rapid transmission of information. “When I look for a job with the state and they realize that I am Jehovah’s Witness they see me as a weirdo,” said Mario Francisco. “I was not a Pioneer [in elementary school] and did not wear the neckerchief,” he recalls. The young man works in the private sector as a caregiver for the elderly. He considers that job opportunities through the agency could be “a way to erase prejudice.” He notes that he only works with families who share his beliefs because he feels “more respected.” “Please, if you are not a witness, do not call to register (…), although we do not doubt that you are an honest person, we cannot accept your registration,” clarify the managers of the employment exchange. The project is focused only on those who “find it very difficult to get work in these critical times.” Jehovah’s Witness Hall in Havana. (14yMedio) The Cuban government’s relationship with Jehovah’s Witnesses has been tense since the coming to power of Fidel Castro. Many were interned in the Military Units to Aid Production (UMAP) camps that operated on the island between 1965 and 1968 – along with other religious believers, homosexuals and political dissidents – while others were driven underground and into exile. The official animosity continues today, but some years ago the authorities issued permits for the congregation’s meeting halls to open. “We are allowed to meet but there is no public recognition that we exist, that we are here and we are not criminals or bad people,” says the nurse. The stigma is felt strongly in teaching and working life. “There is not a single Jehovah’s Witness who is the manager of a hotel, a hard-currency store manager or a state official,” says Mario Francisco. In his opinion, this group is still seen as “unreliable” for certain positions. The latest report on Religious Freedom in the World (2014), released by the United States Department of State, reveals that the Cuban authorities continue to monitor the activities of religious groups on the island. Among the hardest hit are the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although the Constitution, in force on the island since 1976, enacts that “the State recognizes, respects and guarantees religious freedom,” the Office of Religious Affairs of the Communist Party staunchly monitors construction permits for new houses of worship. Excessive controls have strengthened the informal networks that serve the Witnesses to spread their beliefs from door to door, to help each other in case of need and to warn each other of dangers. They have now extended these networks to the job search. Through a phone call, a text message or an e-mail sent to the organizers of the new employment agency, applicants submit their professional skills and contact details. The project has two databases, one public and one private. The public information can be read on classified site such as Revolico and others circulate in the Weekly Packet. There are more than twenty occupations included and they include everything from plumbing to cooking, cleaning, medicine and jewelry making. “Often someone would ask us for a serious, honest and responsible worker for a job and we didn’t have ways to identify the brother who would be ideal for the position,” the promoters explain. The list will favor those who until now have been adversely affected by prejudice. “The witnesses who are contacted for a possible job will be duly questioned about their beliefs and their faithfulness in the service of the Lord,” they clarify. A test that Mario Francisco deems necessary. “When people ask me for my religious beliefs, it is usually to not give me the job… but in this case I will answer the question without fear.” Source: 14yMedio and Translating Cuba.
  3. I was born in one of the central eastern provinces. Cuba was recognized by many as the beautiful pearl of the Caribbean from the very first day of its discovery by Christopher Columbus, who expressed that this was the most beautiful land ever seen by human eyes. I was born in nineteen hundred and fifty-eight, one year before the triumph of the revolution. My parents were religious, they educated me in accordance with their principles. My father and my older brother were detained on various occasions, and completed sentences of deprivation of liberty; my brother on three occasions and my father on two. Mistreated and abused as you might imagine. I was the fourth son of seven that my mother had, we lived in a coastal town. My father owned a candy store and dedicated the better part of his time to his work and to preach the Word of God, as is common with the “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. He never wished to mix in political problems nor give opinions that were not about his religion, this was known by the whole town, where he was very appreciated for the help he offered to many people. In that time, to be religious, homosexual, or dress in the latest fashion was to be considered counter-revolutionary. They were persecuted or causes would be invented to detain and judge them. One day several uniformed men appeared at the house bearing large arms, they broke down doors and windows, one group entered brusquely and another surrounded the house outside, as if they had entered a haunt of criminals or terrorists, though my parents had never had troubles with the police or justice. They handcuffed my father, they took him out of the house beating him, and by force they took him into detention. I am never going to forget what they did before our eyes, I was already around seven years old and was there with three brothers younger than me. My mother took us all through town by foot, and we went to the police station where they were holding my father. When we arrived they were taking his statement, they wanted to accuse him of counter-revolution. He refused to sign, he told them he was a religious person and that his beliefs did not permit him to mix in political matters. After several hours of interrogation, of personal offenses and physical mistreatment, right in front of is they took him down with blows and shoving him, put him in a cell together with other common prisoners. One of them helped the policeman, and as a result, they fractured his ankle as well as left many marks on his body. That day they did not take him to the doctor, instead on the following day, then they could make out a certificate about the lesions that was useless; they never made a case based on the denunciation of my father. My father remained firm and offered resistance to being detained, because that was an arbitrary act, it was illogical to think that they were dealing with a counterrevolutionary or something like it. If he signed those documents he was recognizing his participation in something he had not done, the entire town was a witness to these facts, I remember having seen many people meeting in front of the police station. After several days of detention and without proof, the police decided to set him free. Our family looked for lawyers, we presented proofs, the medical certificate but they never accepted the complaint. With time we finally realized the impossibility of carrying a criminal complaint forward against the police and we left it all in God’s hands. On another occasion, they used Maturranga, a poor town drunk, to make him pass as a Jehovah’s Witness. I was small and don’t remember his real name, what was important was the trauma they raised around him. The police would get him drunk, they’d give him matches and fuel so that he would appear in a sugar cane field as if he were going to set it ablaze. The man followed orders and in those moments the police showed up, faked having been advised to stop this man — whom everybody knew well for his alcoholism and not as a religious type — from setting the sugar cane field on fire. Meanwhile in town the other part of the plan was being cooked up. The raising of a public show trial in the park. They had the circus set up, cars with amplifiers installed, to announce that they had surprised a Jehovah’s Witness trying to burn a cane field. They got the whole town together to give him a show trial, in the middle of a park in town; but as everyone knew it was a farce, very few attended. The only thing they succeeded in was being the town joke, which as always they invent stories and jokes around anything that happens. I remember some verses in the form of a popular satire which came out of that happening: In God’s Armaggedon According to the prophet Maturranga There will be a lot of taro, Butter, wine, and rice Source
  4. Discriminados por décadas, los Testigos de Jehová cubanos acaban de inaugurar una bolsa de empleo que apuesta por “la honradez y decencia” de su gente. La base de datos “es una oportunidad para anunciar las habilidades que tengan los hermanos en distintas profesiones y oficios”, asegura Tamara Sánchez, una de sus gestoras. Como una “iniciativa privada” aunque vinculada a la comunidad religiosa, la joven describe el nuevo proyecto para conectar al sector privado con trabajadores “serios y decentes”. Las estrechas relaciones dentro de la congregación son un punto a favor para que la información se transmita con rapidez. “Cuando busco trabajo con el Estado y se dan cuenta que soy Testigo de Jehová me ven como un bicho raro”, comenta Mario Francisco, un graduado de enfermería. “Sufrí mucho en la escuela. Me apartaban porque no era pionero y no me ponía pañoleta”, recuerda. El joven labora en el sector privado como cuidador de ancianos. Considera que la nueva bolsa de empleo podría ser “una manera de borrar prejuicios”. Cuenta que solo acepta trabajo en familias que compartan sus creencias porque se siente “más respetado”. “Por favor, si usted no es testigo, no llame para inscribirse (…) aunque no dudamos de que sea una persona honrada, no podremos aceptar su inscripción”, aclaran los gestores de la bolsa de empleo. El proyecto solo está enfocado en aquellos que “se les hace muy difícil conseguir trabajo por lo crítico que están los tiempos”. La relación del Gobierno cubano con los Testigos de Jehová ha sido tensa desde la llegada al poder de Fidel Castro. A muchos los internaron en las Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción (UMAP) que funcionaron en la Isla entre 1965 y 1968, mientras que otros fueron empujados a la clandestinidad y al exilio. La ojeriza oficial se mantiene hasta el día de hoy, pero desde hace algunos años las autoridades expiden permisos para que la congregación abra salones de encuentro. “Se nos permite reunirnos pero no hay un reconocimiento público de que existimos, que estamos aquí y no somos criminales ni malas personas”, apunta el enfermero. El estigma se siente con fuerza en la vida docente y laboral. “No hay un solo Testigo de Jehová que sea gerente de un hotel, administrador de una tienda en divisas o funcionario estatal”, asevera Mario Francisco. En su opinión, este grupo sigue siendo visto como “no confiable” para ciertos puestos de responsabilidad. El último informe sobre la Libertad Religiosa en el Mundo (2014), difundido por el Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos, revela que las autoridades cubanas continuaban controlando las actividades de los grupos religiosos de la Isla. Entre los más afectados estaban los Testigos de Jehová. A pesar de que la Constitución, vigente en la Isla desde 1976, promulga que “el Estado reconoce, respeta y garantiza la libertad religiosa”, la Oficina de Asuntos Religiosos del Partido Comunista vigila férreamente los permisos para la construcción de nuevas casas de culto. Los excesivos controles han fortalecido las redes informales que sirven a los Testigos para difundir sus creencias de puerta en puerta, ayudarse mutuamente en caso de necesidad o advertirse de peligros. Ahora han extendido esas redes a la búsqueda de empleo. A través de una llamada telefónica, un mensaje de texto o un correo electrónico remitido a los organizadores de la nueva bolsa de trabajo, los interesados remiten sus habilidades profesionales y datos de contacto. El proyecto cuenta con dos bases de datos, una pública y otra privada. La información pública podrá leerse en sitios de clasificados al estilo de Revolico y otros que circulan en el paquete semanal. Las ocupaciones aceptadas superan la veintena e incluyen desde la plomería hasta la cocina, la limpieza, la medicina y la orfebrería. “Muchas veces alguien nos pide un trabajador serio, honrado y responsable para un empleo y no tenemos maneras de localizar al hermano ideal para ese trabajo” explican sus promotores. El listado favorecerá a quienes hasta ahora se han visto perjudicados por los prejuicios. “Los testigos que sean contactados para un posible trabajo serán debidamente interrogados sobre sus creencias y su fidelidad en el servicio de Jehová”, aclaran. Una prueba que a Mario Francisco le parece necesaria. “Cuando me preguntan por mis creencias religiosas, normalmente es para no darme el trabajo… pero en este caso voy a responder sin miedo la pregunta”. http://www.14ymedio.com/nacional/Trabajador-serio-decente-busca-empleo-Cuba-Testigos_de_Jehova_0_2110588921.html
  5. El huracán Matthew, el más poderoso del Atlántico en casi una década, dejó atrás la isla de Cuba y continúa curso rumbo a Bahamas y después a Florida, Estados Unidos. Matthew, ahora de categoría 3, tocó tierra en el extremo este de Cuba a última hora de la tarde del martes después de haber golpeado fuertemente República Dominicana, donde dejó cuatro muertos, y Haití, donde el saldo provisional es de cinco muertos, 14.000 desplazados y severos daños materiales. A territorio cubano, Matthew llegó como huracán de categoría 4. El ojo de la tormenta entró por Punta Caleta, en la provincia de Guantánamo, el martes a las 6 de la tarde y se mantuvo estacionario durante varias horas hasta que salió de la isla esta madrugada. Al dejar Cuba, las ráfagas bajaron a 215 km/h, aunque seguía siendo considerado de categoría 4. Los vientos huracanados se extienden a lo largo de 75 km alrededor del ojo. Se espera que Matthew siga en dirección norte durante las próximas horas y que el miércoles gire hacia el noroeste. Este jueves atravesará Bahamas y se espera que durante la noche pase "muy cerca" de la costa este de Florida. El Centro Nacional de Huracanes de Estados Unidos amplió las zonas de la península de Florida que considera en peligro de sufrir vientos huracanados el jueves. El paso por Haití y República Dominicana Además de dejar cuatro muertos, el huracán Matthew provocó daños en al menos 200 viviendas en República Dominicana, dijeron funcionarios después de que la tormenta sacudiera la isla que el país comparte con Haití. Las autoridades dominicanas se vieron obligados a evacuar a casi 800 personas. Las fuertes lluvias y los intensos vientos dejaron asiladas 31 localidades, informó el Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia local. En Haití, el huracán tocó tierra cerca de Les Anglais, en el extremo oriental del país, hacia las 7 de la mañana hora local (11 GMT). Informes desde la costa sur indican que varias comunidades quedaron anegadas. El alcalde de Les Cayes, Jean Gabriel Fortuné, le dijo a la BBC que casi todos los edificios de la ciudad habían perdido sus techos por los fuertes vientos y muchas de las casas más débiles habían sido destruidas. Mientras que las calles estaban inundadas por la marejada. El funcionario agregó que hubo numerosas muertes, aunque no precisó la cifra. Según el periódico Diario Libre, de República Dominicana, el Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia (COE) informó que cuatro personas habían muertoa causa de los deslizamientos de tierra producidos por las lluvias: dos niñas de ocho y diez años, un niño de cinco años, y un oficial retirado. El presidente interino de Hatí, Jocelerme Privert, dijo más temprano que algunas personas que no habían respetado las alertas habían muerto, pero no dio más detalles. Haití es uno de los países más pobres del mundo y muchos de sus 11 millones de habitantes viven en zonas propensas a las inundaciones y en viviendas endebles. El país no se ha recuperado del devastador terremoto de 2010 ni de una extensa epidemia de cólera que trajeron soldados de Naciones Unidas. Haití ha recibido un golpe brutal. Las condiciones aquí son atroces. Dar un paso fuera es igual a empaparse en cuestión de segundos. Los más vulnerables fueron quienes viven en las chozas a lo largo de la costa occidental. Allí, las grandes marejadas son el principal peligro. La gente aquí se enfrentan a inundaciones que amenazan sus vidas y la probabilidad de deslizamientos de tierra en un paisaje sin árboles. Esta tormenta de categoría 4 llega a este empobrecido país que todavía trata de recuperarse del terremoto de 2010 que mató a más de 200.000 personas, y una epidemia de cólera que llegó después del sismo. Muchos de ellos viven en los barrios marginales que ofrecen poca protección contra los fuertes vientos y lluvias. Y muchos se negaron a evacuar, por temor a que sus pocas pertenencias que les quedan fuesen robadas. Refugios Las autoridades haitianas informaron que se han construido unos 1.300 refugios, suficientes para acomodar a 340.000 personas. Los dos aeropuertos del país están cerrados. A pesar de que algunos haitianos han rehusado trasladarse a los refugios, un ciudadano de Puerto Príncipe aseguró que la comunidad se uniría para hacerle frente al peligro de la tormenta. "Estamos en comunicación entre nosotros por nuestros propios medios. Le informaremos al pueblo cómo está la situación. Si las cosas se ponen mal, nos uniremos". En Jamaica, el gobierno suspendió la alerta por huracán y la reemplazó por una advertencia de tormenta tropical luego de que el centro de Matthew cambiara su curso hacia Haití. "Evitamos lo peor del impacto, pero no creemos que estemos fuera de riesgo todavía", dijo Evan Thompson, director del Servicio Meteorológico del país. Tras golpear a Cuba, se espera que el huracán atraviese las Bahamas con una trayectoria noroccidental, pasando cerca de la costa este de Florida, en Estados Unidos. En este estado y partes de Carolina del Norte se ha declarado el estado de emergencia. "Impactos directos de huracán son posibles en Florida tarde esta semana", dice una advertencia del NOAA en su sito internet. El huracán Matthew es el más poderoso de la región desde Félix, en 2007. El Centro Nacional de Huracanes de EE.UU. también advirtió sobre la formación de una nueva tormenta tropical, Nicole, que se encuentra a 840 km al noroeste de San Juan Puerto Rico. Cuenta con vientos máximos sostenidos de 85 km/h con ráfagas más fuertes. http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-37548407
  6. The first time he attended the Pioner School, he did not have a book because of the persecution in Cuba.
  7. La primera vez que fue precursor en la escuela no tenía un libro a causa de la persecución en Cuba
  8. La primera vez que fue precursor en la escuela no tenía un libro a causa de la persecución en Cuba
  9. The last direct flight carrying Cuban migrants out of Costa Rica arrived in Mexico on Tuesday, ending an effort to transport Cubans who have been stranded in Central America since mid-November. Nearly 8,000 Cuban migrants had been stuck in Costa Rica after Nicaragua, a Cuban ally, began denying them entry. As the flow of migrants began to bottleneck at the border of Nicaragua, Costa Rica in turn closed its border to new arrivals, forcing additional migrants to seek shelter in neighboring Panama. Panama and Costa Rica agreed on a solution to fly the migrants over Nicaragua to various cities in Mexico and El Salvador starting in January, from where they could continue north until they reached their destination: the U.S. border. “This has been a successful operation, which included organizing nine flights in a period of three weeks and which was made possible thanks to exceptional measures of support and collaboration on the part of Mexico, Panama and governments of the Latin American region for humanitarian reasons and from a viewpoint of shared responsibility,” Panamanian Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel De Saint Malo de Alvarado said Friday in a statement. Although most migrants were able to continue on their journey, all arrivals from Cuba after the end of the flight operation on March 8 have been left to comply with Panama’s standard immigration laws, according to the Latin American Herald. A small number of Cubans are still in Costa Rica as well, said Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, unable to make the journey north for various reasons, according to Agence France-Presse. The process has undeniably had its share of challenges, from lost passports to missing information and logistical setbacks. Tired of waiting in the shelters, approximately 2,985 migrants chose to take their chances with immigrant smugglers (although some reportsestimate the number is closer to 4,000). According to Costa Rican news source Tico Times, the Solís administration has sought to highlight Costa Rica’s respect for human rights after having helped cause the migration crisis in the first place. The country’s handling of the situation has been praised, and with good reason; Costa Rica issued 7,800 temporary transit visas to the Cubans in just four months, and sheltered 5,500 migrants in 44 locations across the country. These efforts were aided by dozens of families, community groups and religious organizations that helped provide both shelter and food. “We’ve never had such a large number of migrants together at one time,” President Solís told Tico Times on Friday morning, as one of the last planes carrying Cuban migrants left for Mexico. “Look how they’re leaving – they’re leaving happy and tranquil, thanking the people of Costa Rica.” The migration of Cubans to the United States has gathered speed in the past few years, with the renewal of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Many Cubans fear that the 1961 Cuban Adjustment Act will be eliminated, and with it, the opportunity to obtain residency in the U.S. Source: http://www.humanosphere.org/human-rights/2016/03/planes-carry-cubans-north-ending-long-standstill-central-america/
  10. An unprecedented crackdown on churches across the denominational spectrum in Cuba in 2015 has fuelled a spike in reported violations of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), according to a new report by CSW. Figures compiled by CSW, which are not exhaustive but which serve as an indicator of the level of FoRB violations, reveal a tenfold increase - with 2,300 separate violations recorded in 2015 compared to 220 in 2014. Many incidents involve involved entire churches or, in the case of arrests, dozens of victims. A digital illustration by CSW highlights the crackdown on churches in Cuba. The spike in cases was largely due to the government declaring 2,000 Assemblies of God (AoG) churches illegal, ordering the closure or demolition of 100 AoG churches in three provinces, and expropriating the properties of a number of other denominations, including the Methodist and Baptist Conventions. Legally registered and unregistered religious groups across the denominational spectrum reported varying degrees of hostility from the government. According to the report, “the consistently antagonistic relationship” between Caridad del Rosario Diego Bello, director of the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA), an arm of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party which oversees religious affairs on the island, and the leadership of many religious groups, “is evidence that the office exists solely to monitor, hinder and restrict the activities of religious groups.” In 2015, the ORA continued to deny authorisation for a number of religious activities and in cooperation with other government agencies, issued fines and threats of confiscation to dozens of churches and religious organizations. The ORA also sanctioned the arbitrary expropriation of historic, registered church properties and the actions against the AoG churches. CSW’s report also highlights “more brutal and public tactics” being employed by government agents than were witnessed in the first decade of the millennium: “Week after week, state security agents physically and violently dragged scores of women away from Sunday morning services. Most were arbitrarily detained until after the conclusion of religious services. The government continued to employ a strategy of frequent, temporary arbitrary detention to target those it views as political dissidents. This tactic is also applied to religious leaders who are viewed as problematic, for whatever reason, by the authorities…for the first time in four years a church leader was sentenced to and served six months in prison for holding unauthorised religious services.” In the face of intense pressure, many Christians are engaging in peaceful protest, as seen in the case of the attempted demolition of an AoG church in Santiago de Cuba in November 2015 which was thwarted after local Christians held a peaceful sit-in at the church building. On 8 January 2016, a large-scale government operation led to the mass arrests of several church leaders and the blocking of their communications devices while two churches were demolished, possibly to pre-empt a similar protest. Both churches belonged to the Apostolic Movement, an unregistered network of Protestant churches. CSW’s analysis suggests that the Cuban government is trying to eliminate the potential for social upheaval by cracking down on any and all groups that are calling, or could call, for social and political reforms alongside the limited economic reforms the government has enacted. CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “CSW doesn’t use the word ‘unprecedented’ lightly to refer to violations of freedom of religion or belief in Cuba in 2015. Following an upward trend in violations in recent years, 2015 witnessed a spike as the authorities deployed ever more public and brutal tactics to target churches across the denominational spectrum, regardless of their legal status. It is clear that despite promises of reform, the government is determined to maintain a tight grip on civil society, including churches. We commend the courage of religious groups who have spoken out publicly to denounce these violations and to call for the right to freedom of religion or belief to be upheld. We urge the international community to stand with them and to hold Cuba to account for these human rights violations.” CubaCrackdown