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The Global Liberty Alliance Defends Jewish Family in Cuba from the Regime’s Anti-Semitic Attacks

The Cuban regime is one of the worst offenders of religious liberty in the Western Hemisphere. Two months ago, the Global Liberty Alliance (GLA) received disturbing reports about a series of anti-Semitic attacks against a Sephardic Jewish family in Camagüey, Cuba. After Havana, Camagüey is Cuba’s third-largest city and is located in the central part of the island.

Working with independent lawyers in lawyers, in December 2019 the GLA started supporting and advising the Tejada family. Based on preliminary reports from the independent lawyers and the family, it appears that what started as an apparent schoolyard bullying incident over the kippah, may have been part of a coordinated intimidation anti-semitic campaign. The matter took on a more serious tone a few weeks ago when a Rapid Response Brigade appears to have been mobilized against the parents.

At this juncture, Mr. Olainis Tejeda Beltrán’s eldest son, Liusdán Martínez Lescaille, has been instructed by Cuba’s Ministry of Education that he must stop wearing a kippah to school. If the Tejada family fails to comply with the government’s latest orders, Liusdán’s parents have been told by Communist Party apparatchiks that they could face fines and prison times. This case is similar to the pattern of attack used against the Rigal family in Guantanamo. Christians, the parents are currently in prison for homeschooling their children. You can learn more about the Rigal matter here and here.

“Religious liberty is incompatible with socialist thinking. The regime’s puppet lawyers and officials use legal technicalities and regulations to repress religious liberty. Mr. Tejeda and his family are being put through the system to teach them a lesson; however, independent lawyers and civil society leaders have, and will, come to their defense. We will have their backs,” said Jason Poblete, GLA Chief Counsel.

The GLA has been in contact with U.S. government officials and policymakers about the Tejada matter along with other religious persecution cases. In the near future, the GLA will release more details about how Cuba’s religious police – the Office of Religious Affairs – is supporting Communist Party efforts to repressing religious freedom on the island. We will also provide an update on the Tejada matter. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Tejada’s case by reading this story in the Jerusalem Post.

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Liberty Coalition Urges the U.S. Government to Step Up Measures To Combat Cuban Human Trafficking in Healthcare Workers

Alexandria, Virginia – A coalition of organizations including Cuba Archive, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and the Global Liberty Alliance sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week urging the administration to step up efforts to hold Cuba to account for human trafficking in healthcare workers. The letter is embedded at the end of this post.

“The Cuban regime uses medical missions to gain economic and political benefits and, in the process, to undermine U.S. interests throughout the region and beyond,” says the letter. “In Venezuela, Cuba’s medical “collaborators” have long been used as political weapons to export Cuban communism. Cuba’s medical missions have been expelled from Brazil, El Salvador, and, most recently, Ecuador and Bolivia owing to security and human rights issues.”

The Cuba Archive, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and the Global Liberty Alliance have teamed to help raise awareness of Cuba’s human trafficking in healthcare workers. Among other action items, during the next few months, the coalition will publish evidence of healthcare human trafficking and also hold traffickers to account in a variety of ways.

The coalition recommends the “U.S. government expand its use of economic sanctions and deny U.S. visas to foreign government officials or private sector stakeholders who are known to have been or are implicated in, or responsible for, the exploitation of Cuban medical workers.”

“Human trafficking in health workers by Cuba impacts well beyond the island gulag, hurting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests in the Western Hemisphere and beyond,” Jason Poblete, GLA Chief Counsel said. “We look forward to working with the Cuba Archive and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation to expose this network and hold lawbreakers to account,” added Poblete.

The U.S. Blacklists High-Ranking Cuban Intelligence Official and His Family Members

Alexandria, Virginia – The U.S. Department of State announced this weekend that the U.S. government had imposed economic sanctions and visa restrictions on a high-ranking Cuban intelligence official and his family for gross violations of fundamental rights in Cuba and Venezuela.

“This is a good development and builds upon President Trump’s reorientation of U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere. For decades the Communist Party, as well as senior Cuban government officials, have been given free pass by U.S. policymakers and allies in the region,” said Jason Poblete of the Global Liberty Alliance. “Access to the U.S. market is a privilege, not a right. Anyone who engages or facilitates gross violations of fundamental rights should be held to account. This designation is part of that process,” added Poblete.

The State Department November 16 notice states Mr. Julio Cesar Gandarilla Bermejo, Cuba’s Minister of Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior (MININT), had been publicly designated under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, due to his involvement, by command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights. The designation can be done publicly or privately. In this case, it was done publicly, likely to send a message to senior Cuban regime officials.

Pursuant to U.S. laws, the Secretary of State can make these designations where the Secretary has credible information that foreign government officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights (GVHR). When these individuals and their immediate family members are designated, they are deemed ineligible for entry into the United States. In addition to the public designation of Julio Cesar Gandarilla Bermejo, Secretary of State Pompeo publicly designated his children, Julio Cesar Gandarilla Sarmiento, and Alejandro Gandarilla Sarmiento.

The Global Liberty Alliance, in conjunction with several other human rights advocacy groups, urged the Trump administration earlier this year to publicly designate and impose economic sanctions on Cuba’s Office of Religious Affairs. You can read more about it here. In addition, for several years the Global Liberty Alliance has also recommended other designations of senior officials of the Communist Party and the Cuban government.

“Other governments in the Americas and beyond should support the Trump administration’s efforts to hold gross violators of fundamental rights to account. Spain, Canada, the European Union, indeed, any nation with close relations with Cuba should impose economic sanctions and deny visas to senior regime officials and their family members,” added Poblete.

Urgent Action (Cuba) – José Daniel Ferrer UNPACU

Alexandria, Virginia – For several weeks, the Communist government of Cuba and the party apparatus have ruthlessly targeted Cuban opposition leader José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (“UNPACU”). Unlawfully detained on October 1, 2019, Mr. Ferrer has since been subjected to all forms of torture.

With the support of Mr. Ferrer’s family and a coalition that represents a large cross-section of Cuba’s opposition movement, the Global Liberty Alliance (“GLA”) requested that the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights of the Organization of American States press the Cuban government to adopt precautionary measures to protect the lives of Mr. Ferrer and his other UNPACU colleagues who have been unlawfully detained in Cuba for weeks.

Attached is the complete press release with supporting documentation.

U.S. Policy Makers Urge Trump Administration to Impose Additional Sanctions on Nicaraguan Officials

In a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin this week, House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Chairman Albio Sires (D- New Jersey) urged the Trump administration to hold Nicaraguan officials accountable for acts of corruption and serious violations of human rights.

“The repression carried out against peaceful protestors in 2018 by security forces and affiliated groups under the direction of President Daniel Ortega resulted in over 300 deaths and 800 arbitrary detentions,” Chairman Sires said. Sires added that “[w]hile I appreciate the actions that your department has already taken, including designations of three officials that were announced today, I urge you to fully utilize the tools available under U.S. law,” and impose additional sanctions on other Nicaraguan officials.

For several years the Global Liberty Alliance has been tracking gross violations of fundamental rights in Nicaragua. The GLA has also met or talked with civil society leaders from Nicaragua, including family members and representatives of American citizens who have been targeted by the Ortega-Murillo regime. The GLA has also been urging U.S. policymakers to impose tougher sanctions, visa restrictions, and otherwise hold violators of fundamental rights to account for what they have done, and continue to do, to undermine regional security and U.S. national interests.

Since 2008 several Americans have been killed and/or tortured by agents of the Cuba-backed Ortega-Murillo regime.

Embedded in this post is a copy of Chairman Sires’s letter to Secretary Mnunuchin. Nic Letter 11-7-19 on Scribd:

GLA is Hiring!

Program Assistant:

The Global Liberty Alliance (GLA) seeks a fully bilingual (English and Spanish) Program Assistant to support programmatic work, planning, designing and implementing programs related to rule of law, democracy, and human rights in Latin American repressive countries. This position is based in GLA’s Alexandria office. Responsibilities:

  • Under supervision, creates or makes contributions to drafts of proposals, concept papers, reports, memos, program updates, and work plans
  • Plays a role in organizing program training, conferences, workshops and meetings
  • Proofreads and inputs edits on quarterly reports and proposals. Translates documents.
  • Assists in monitoring program spending; perform basic analysis and financial projections
  • Provides administrative and logistical support to staff; oversees logistics needs
  • Provides administrative support and programmatic input into the proposal process and contributes to strategic discussions; contributes to work plan formulation and discussions
  • With guidance, identifies means and methods to support program strategy and vision; handles limited aspects of program management
  • Assists Program Manager in coordinating with staff, volunteers, consultants, and partners
  • Prepares and compiles briefing materials for staff, consultants and volunteers in programs

Qualifications:

  • Fluency in oral and written Spanish and English required
  • Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, Political Science or a related field. Additional years of relevant work experience may be substituted for the educational requirement
  • A minimum of six months of relevant experience in a professional office setting; experience in the area of rule of law, democracy, and human rights preferred
  • International working experience or interest in the regional political environment, preferably in the region repressive countries (Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela)
  • Working knowledge word processing and spreadsheet applications
  • Basic knowledge of monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) 
  • Must be legally eligible to work in the U.S. GLA does not provide sponsorship.

General Working Conditions:

General working office environment. Some long hours including evenings and weekends to complete tasks or attend events. May involve work in regions that are remote and lack basic modern infrastructure.  Email applications to info@globallibertyalliance.org (ATT. HUMAN RESOURCES)

UPDATE 25- On Fourth Anniversary of Nizar Zakka’s Abduction

Open Letter from Nizar Zakka, Former Iran Hostage, On the Fourth Anniversary of his Abduction

On this day four years ago, kidnappers decided to make September 18, 2015, a turning point in my life. The only motivation was to make me a pawn in their campaign against the emerging spirit of openness in their country, a process which was heading toward the nuclear deal.

On this day, four years ago, I was forced to begin a journey of the harshest bitterness, pain and sorrow. My only fault was that, on that day, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, on my way back from Tehran to Beirut, concluding an official working visit at the invitation of the Iranian Presidency. 

Continue reading UPDATE 25- On Fourth Anniversary of Nizar Zakka’s Abduction

ADN CUBA: U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo urged to sanction Cuban officials for religious freedom crackdown

Por ADN Cuba el 02 Sep 2019 – 7:20pm

Philanthropists, evangelists and lawyers concerned about individual liberty in Cuba recently urged U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to issue new sanctions against regime officials whose job it is to suppress religious freedom on the Communist island. 

Continue reading ADN CUBA: U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo urged to sanction Cuban officials for religious freedom crackdown

GLA Letter to ICT Industry Leaders on Alleged Weaponization of ICT Technology in Cuba

In response to a request from Cuban civil society and religious leaders a few weeks ago, the Global Liberty Alliance sent a letter of information to ICT industry leaders and U.S. policymakers to raise awareness about alleged weaponization of ICT tools in Cuba. The matter was brought to the Global Liberty Alliance’s attention by a human rights defender and former political prisoner, Mr. Jorge Luis García Pérez (known as “Antúnez”).

Continue reading GLA Letter to ICT Industry Leaders on Alleged Weaponization of ICT Technology in Cuba