Review of the press for January 26, 2022
Cuban regime admits lying: 790 protesters, including 55 minors, in jail. Important case of human rights violations involving MSC Cruises and Cuba presented today at the European Parliament
Cuban regime admits lying: 790 protesters, including 55 minors, in jail
After months of denials, Cuban authorities acknowledged for the first time Tuesday that they are prosecuting more than 700 people who protested against the government last July, including 55 between the ages of 16 and 18. As the trials continue this week, authorities also revealed that 25 minors under the age of 16 faced punishments such as internment in centers run by the Interior Ministry, and that 28 detainees between the ages of 16 and 18 are in jail. According to the release, government prosecutors have charged 790 Cubans in connection with the demonstrations. Of those, 710 have been formally charged with vandalism and other charges and have already been sent to trial. The document says that most of them, 69%, are in jail.
Olavo de Carvalho, Bolsonaro's guru, dies
The philosophical leader of Brazil's new right wing died yesterday in Richmond, USA, where he had lived for years. Brazilian writer Olavo de Carvalho had described the coronavirus as a "horror story to vaccinate the population" and, paradoxically, it was Covid-19 that was the cause of his death, as confirmed by his daughter Heloísa. It is a particularly painful death for President Jair Bolsonaro, for whom the 74-year-old philosopher and conservative ideologue was a kind of political guru. "Today he leaves us one of the greatest thinkers in the history of our country, the philosopher and professor Olavo Luiz Pimentel de Carvalho," the president wrote yesterday on Twitter. "Olavo was a giant in the fight for freedom and a beacon for millions of Brazilians. His example and teachings will mark us forever," Bolsonaro added.
Mexico rallies against unpunished murder of three journalists in January
Press associations in the tequila country accuse President López Obrador of failing to protect threatened journalists. "You don't kill the truth by killing journalists." The Association of Journalists of Oaxaca summarizes in this way the anger and indignation of the demonstrations called yesterday by press professionals and human rights associations in more than 30 Mexican cities to demand an effective system of protection for journalists and an end to impunity for the murders of reporters. The murder of three journalists so far this year has alerted the Mexican press to the insecurity they face despite calls for protection. The murder of Lourdes Maldonado, Maldonado, who was gunned down in her car Sunday in Tijuana, prompted a joint reaction from dozens of organizations in favor of press freedom and the right to information. Maldonado had asked Mexican President AMLO for protection at a press conference for a lawsuit against former Baja California Governor Jaime Bonilla, from the same party as AMLO. All to no avail. She was murdered three days ago.
They propose in the U.S. to create a "special representative against communism"
Federal Congressman Carlos Giménez yesterday presented a bill to Combat Communism that would create a position within the State Department to combat that ideology. The proposal, which has the support of Republican legislators from Florida, María Elvira Salazar and Mario Díaz-Balart, and New York, Nicole Malliotakis, of Cuban mother and Greek father, was presented as an "important bridge between the government and those fighting for freedom and democracy within communist countries."
Important case of human rights violations involving MSC Cruises and Cuba presented today at the European Parliament
According to the testimonies collected from Cuban seafarers who have worked in Italy, MSC MALTA SEAFARERS COMPANY LIMITED contracts them through a Cuban agent, the Cuban company SELECMAR. In the contract, an appendix indicates, for Cuban governments only, that the agent, in this case the Cuban company SELECMAR, can take 80% of the base salary. On the ships, according to testimony in the possession of the NGO Prisoners Defenders, which is presenting the case in Brussels today, the company MSC withholds passports not only during the voyage, but also in the countries where the ships call, to prevent "Cubans from escaping." According to the declarants, MSC would be fined "10,000 dollars for every Cuban who escapes," which is why they tell us that MSC Cruises' employees have become for them an extension of the Cuban regime's repression. Restrictions like these, and the detention of passports, do not happen to personnel of other Latin American nationalities, only to Cubans. Even Cubans with valid Schengen visas are given their passports only for immigration authorities from European countries to board the ship and check them, and then - before leaving the ship - their passports are confiscated again and they leave the ship on European soil with only an MSC company ID card, but the passport is kept by MSC on the ship for security. Croatia was the only country that refused to let them off the ship without passports and demanded that they be allowed to keep their passports, but not Italy and other Mediterranean countries where MSC cruise ships stop. Two concrete examples:
In the first case, the seafarer had a base salary in the MSC company of 408 euros, but the Cuban government was withholding 326.40 euros every month, or 80%. In another case, the seafarer had a base salary of 328 euros and the Cuban government withheld 80%, or 262.40 euros. This withholding accepted in the MSC contract, for SELECMAR means that seafarers work on MSC luxury cruises in the Mediterranean with a base salary ranging from €65.60 to €81.60, or between $77 and $95, and SELECMAR receives 80% of their base salary through a contract with the MSC company, where it indicates that the maintenance is 80%, only for sailors from Cuba, a country that through these agreements would be exercising slavery on its citizens, an exercise in which, according to the declarants, MSC Cruises would be fully involved. Since it appears that MSC is aware that this retention would cause massive desertion, it gives them an extra $641 outside of the contract, which Cuba does not control. The collaborators assume that this is being done behind Cuba's back so as not to retain 80% of it, and so that they can have a total salary of $727 per month on average, a figure that is still many hundreds of euros below the minimum wage in Europe, and all the more so in a profession that requires dedication, This is all the more true in a profession that has a dedication, danger and a situation of forced separation from family, as we heard from those who worked on MSC Cruises ships, between 10 and 12 hours a day, every day of the week, for a constant total of 77 hours a week, which is 192% of the maximum working hours allowed by the World Labor Organization.