"Rock around the Blockade" british campaign
Cuba Informacion and the Euskadi-Cuba Association are under attack for reporting on counter-revolutionary groups slandering Cuba's medical solidarity brigades. This law-fare trial is very serious and could result in 6 years imprisonment of Jose Manzaneda, the website's coordinator, plus a 50,000 Euro fine. The trial is on 15 February. There are two things that you can do to help:
DONATE TO THE LEGAL DEFENCE FUND
Either by becoming a member of Cubainformación (or by making an extra one-off contribution if you are already one) through this module: https://www.cubainformacion.tv/campaigns/yotambiensoyci/donativo
SIGN THE LETTER OF SUPPORT
If you belong to an organisation please write to firstname.lastname@example.org to add your organisation's name to support Cuba Informacion in their denunciation of this 'lawfare' For more information please see the summary below Video and coverage (Spanish) here Cubainformación - Article: Cubainformación denounced in Brussels media-judicial persecution that aims to imprison its coordinator and close the media outlet (cubainformacion.tv) and links to full information and documents (in Spanish) here Cubainformación - Article: Judicial persecution against Cubainformación and Euskadi-Cuba (all materials) (cubainformacion.tv)
Prison for the critical journalism of Cubainformación and the solidarity cooperation of Euskadi-Cuba?
In mid-February, in Madrid, a trial will be held against José Manzaneda, coordinator of the media outlet Cubainformación, and against the legal representation of the Euskadi-Cuba association, an entity that, until 2020, held the ownership of the www.cubainformacion.tv domain, due to a criminal complaint of libel, slander and hate crime, filed by the president of the "anti-Castro" organization PrisonersDefenders. which requests a sentence of six years in prison and compensation of 50 thousand euros, for the content of the report "Creating a health crisis in Cuba: objective of the war against its medical cooperation".
Cubainformación published this work in October 2020. In it, they described the work of Prisoners Defenders, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, exposing the attempt to destroy Cuba's medical solidarity cooperation agreements in numerous countries. One of the objectives, the report explains, would be to apply the economic blockade against the island in the field of health, cutting off the income that its Ministry of Public Health obtains from medical agreements in some nations – only in some, since, in the poorest, Havana assumes all the expenses of cooperation – this income serves to sustain, in a scenario of acute sanctions from Washington, part of the island's internal public health system. The current shortage of medicines and medical supplies in Cuba is be a direct cause of this.
Blockade against Cuba: an act of war
Numerous legal and academic sources describe the U.S. blockade against Cuba as an "act of war." In November 2023, in Brussels, a symbolic International Court described this blockade, in its verdict, as a "crime against humanity" that "has already caused, directly and indirectly, the loss of numerous human lives".
Because of his direct participation in the blockade, because of his public justification of this in the media and because of his lobbying work in favor of the extension of the blockade, through "sanctions", to countries of the European Union, the work affirmed, in its first version, that the president of Prisoners Defenders is, "like Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, a war criminal."
Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, who was an independent expert of the United Nations Human Rights Council, says that those who carry out this blockade, whether from the US government or from the organizations that support it, are "war criminals", in the absence of "a true International Criminal Court" to judge their crimes.
Whoever reads or listens to the work understands that the expression is journalistic hyperbole referring to "criminals of the war against medical cooperation" or "of the economic war" against Cuba, and not of a declared military war. In any case, the expression was withdrawn a few days later, in one of the routine editorial revisions. However, to our surprise, a week later, we received a burofax (special registered letter) announcing the beginning of the lawsuit, centered on that phrase.
European funds to "destabilise Europe and Spain"
Once the complaint was admitted, media outlets such as ABC, El Correo or El Nuevo Herald published parts of a press release by Prisoners Defenders, which stated, among other nonsense, that the Euskadi-Cuba NGO receives "European funds (...) to undermine institutions and destabilize (...) Europe and Spain." No further comment.
This lawsuit attacks an organization and a media outlet of the International Movement of Solidarity with Cuba, seeking to economically hurt both the development cooperation developed by Euskadi-Cuba and to censor the critical and uncomfortable voice of Cubainformación.
But they're not going to win. We will continue to denounce the blockade against Cuba as a war crime and to support the Cuban people with all possible solidarity. A solidarity that Cubainformación and Euskadi-Cuba will need in the coming months, in the face of what, in our opinion, is an attack on the work of cooperation and freedom of the press.
Note from defense lawyer Endika Zulueta regarding the upcoming trial against freedom of expression in Madrid Endika Zulueta
On October 5, 2020, on the website www.cubainformacion.tv (owned at the time by the Euskadi-Cuba Association), the journalist José Manzaneda published an article entitled "Creating a health crisis in Cuba, objective of the war against its medical cooperation", in this article, among other considerations, he pointed out the following: “Javier Larrondo, a member of one of the families of the Cuban bourgeoisie protected under the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, is, like Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, a war criminal. And he should be treated as such” (expression removed from the website on October 13, 2020).
Javier Larrondo is a person who is politically active in his capacity as president of the NGO "Prisoners Defenders", he is especially critical of Cuba's medical cooperation.
It is obvious that the expression "war criminal", in relation to the title of the article, implies the "war against medical cooperation" being waged by the Cuban Government, and in no way relates to war crimes committed in the context of an armed conflict, https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimen_de_guerra
At the hearing in February, the private prosecution brought by Mr Larrondo requested the sentence of 6 years' imprisonment, a fine of 26 months (15,600 euros) (13 months' imprisonment in the event of non-payment) and compensation of 50,000 euros, considering both the journalist and the legal representative of the website responsible for crimes of serious insult, serious slander and incitement to hatred for each of the accused.
Both the Public Prosecutor's Office and the defense request acquittal on the grounds that the facts do not constitute any crime.
CONSIDERATION OF PROSECUTION. – Not only does it seem obvious to us that the facts do not constitute any crime, but it is paradoxical that the president of an Association that claims to defend human rights intends not only to criminalize freedom of expression, freedom of information and ideological freedom, but also requests the imprisonment for more than 6 years of those who simply legitimately disagree with a certain political practice in a newspaper article.