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.
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
- 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 email@example.com (ATT. HUMAN RESOURCES)
(Alexandria, Virginia) Yesterday Global Liberty Alliance Chief Counsel Jason Poblete met with officials with one of the leading human rights lawyer groups in Nicaragua, the Permanent Commission of Human Rights, better known by its Spanish acronym, the CPDH.
Continue reading Repression Continues in Nicaragua, GLA Meets With Nicaraguan Lawyers
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
According to a story in McClatchy News, Trump administration officials recently met with Venezuelan opposition members “to urge the White House to sanction Nicaragua and a company whose joint venture they say is helping to prop up the government in Caracas, according to multiple sources familiar with the conversations.” Read more here.
If Venezuelan opposition leaders are pressing Trump administration officials to sanction Nicaragua, it marks the first time that Daniel Ortega has come under recent public scrutiny for meddling in politics outside of Nicaragua. Recent reports in Nicaraguan newspapers quote opposition leaders and local experts alleging that Nicaragua has been hiding money for the state-owned Venezuelan energy company PDVSA.
The issues in Nicaragua appear to stem from transactions involving Nicaraguan company partially owned by the Venezuelan government called ALBANISA S.A. According to one expert, close to $4.0 billion may have been held or laundered through that Venezuelan-owned company. Was the company set up, or used, to evade U.S. economic sanctions? Is there a Cuba or Russia connection?
The U.S. government has many tools at its disposal to address public corruption in countries such as Nicaragua, including economic sanctions, the Global Magnitsky Act, and other laws. The Congress is also considering the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) of 2017. Among other things, the NICA directs the President to instruct the U.S. Executive Director at international financial institution (IFIs) to use U.S. influence to oppose any loan for the government of Nicaragua’s benefit if various conditions are not met to help advance rule of law and curb human rights abuses, among other conditions.
To learn more about the Fund’s work in Nicaragua, follow this link to read about a political persecution case by the Sandinistas of an American businessman, Mr. Roberto Bendaña McEwan. Roberto was falsely accused by Nicaragua’s Sandinista government of various crimes because he dared to call for free and transparent elections in Nicaragua including a clean up of the voter rolls in that country.
On or about January 2, 2014, Nicaragua abused the INTERPOL processes by requesting a Red Notice based on false charges. An INTERPOL Red Notice is a device that alerts law enforcement agencies around the world of an outstanding arrest warrant. You can read more about Roberto case by following this link.
Roberto Bendaña, U.S. citizen and civil society advocate, responds to the current situation in Nicaragua and discusses The NICA Act.
Continue reading Roberto Bendaña on The NICA Act
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One of the oldest newspaper in Nicaragua, La Prensa, highlighted the efforts by The Global Rule of Law & Liberty Legal Defense Fund in an editorial on entrepreneur and civil society advocate Roberto Bendaña McEwan.
The article discusses the human rights violations, institutional backsliding in Nicaragua, and the unlawful use of the judicial system and international bodies such as INTERPOL to repress critics of the dictatorial regime.
Continue reading Work by Global Liberty Defense highlighted in Nicaraguan Publication
On March 9, Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen released the following statement on the 10 year anniversary of Robert Levinson’s disappearance in Iran. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s statement points out Iran’s “disturbing pattern” of taking American and dual citizens hostage, including Internet freedom advocate Nizar Zakka.
The press release, found below, can also be found here.
Continue reading U.S. Congresswoman on Iran Hostages, Including Nizar Zakka