The top Latin American story of 2014

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The top Latin American story of 2014

With­out a doubt, Pres. Obama’s Decem­ber 17 State­ment on Cuba Pol­icy Changes was the top news of 2014 on Latin America.

Along with the State­ment, Amer­i­can hostage Alan Gross was released in exchange for three Cuban spies, whose ring­leader, Ger­ardo Hernán­dez, was serv­ing two life sen­tences. Ger­ardo Hernández’s wife was able to impreg­nate his wife through arti­fi­cial insem­i­na­tion by hav­ing his sperm col­lected at prison in the U.S. and then flown to Cuba at U.S. tax­pay­ers’ expense as part of the deal. Hernán­dez was greeted as a hero in Havana as soon as he landed in Cuba.

The take­away from Obama’s State­ment was that a new U.S. pol­icy towards Cuba would lead to a new Cuba pol­icy towards the U.S. It didn’t take long for Mariela Cas­tro, daugh­ter of dic­ta­tor Raul Cas­tro and mem­ber of the Cuban Par­lia­ment, to dis­abuse us of that notion.

More sig­nif­i­cantly, the new U.S. pol­icy towards Cuba has meant no change at all towards dis­si­dents. Just yes­ter­day (empha­sis added)

Cuban author­i­ties arrested dis­si­dents, inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ists and a well-​known artist Tues­day in an appar­ent attempt to block a rally in Havana’s rev­o­lu­tion­ary square orga­nized by a new move­ment that calls itself #YoTam­bi­enEx­ijo (I also demand).

Among those detained were jour­nal­ist Reinaldo Esco­bar, edi­tor of the online 14ymedio pub­li­ca­tion and hus­band of promi­nent blog­ger Yoani Sánchez; Eliecer Ávila, an activist; and Anto­nio Rodiles, who directs a human rights group called Estado de Sats. Sánchez, who founded 14ymedio, reported the arrests on Twitter.

Sánchez said she was placed under house arrest and also reported that sev­eral other 14ymedio con­trib­u­tors were vis­ited by State Secu­rity offi­cers and warned not to cover the event, which was sched­uled to take place at 3 p.m. at the Plaza de la Revolución.

The demon­stra­tion called for par­tic­i­pants to go before a micro­phone for one minute to share their thoughts, con­cerns or ideas about how Cuba’s future should unfold.

Cuban author­i­ties had denied per­mis­sion to its orga­niz­ers. Lead­ing the event was artist Tania Bruguera.

As for the rest of Obama’s State­ment, Frances Martell exam­ined LINE BY LINE: EVERY EMPTY PROMISE IN OBAMA’S CUBA SPEECH.

Mean­while, Bruguera, who resides in the U.S., is still detained, where­abouts unknown.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics at Fausta’s Blog.

Without a doubt, Pres. Obama’s December 17 Statement on Cuba Policy Changes was the top news of 2014 on Latin America.

Along with the Statement, American hostage Alan Gross was released in exchange for three Cuban spies, whose ringleader, Gerardo Hernández, was serving two life sentences. Gerardo Hernández’s wife was able to impregnate his wife through artificial insemination by having his sperm collected at prison in the U.S. and then flown to Cuba at U.S. taxpayers’ expense as part of the deal. Hernández was greeted as a hero in Havana as soon as he landed in Cuba.

The takeaway from Obama’s Statement was that a new U.S. policy towards Cuba would lead to a new Cuba policy towards the U.S. It didn’t take long for Mariela Castro, daughter of dictator Raul Castro and member of the Cuban Parliament, to disabuse us of that notion.

More significantly, the new U.S. policy towards Cuba has meant no change at all towards dissidents. Just yesterday (emphasis added)

Cuban authorities arrested dissidents, independent journalists and a well-known artist Tuesday in an apparent attempt to block a rally in Havana’s revolutionary square organized by a new movement that calls itself #YoTambienExijo (I also demand).

Among those detained were journalist Reinaldo Escobar, editor of the online 14ymedio publication and husband of prominent blogger Yoani Sánchez; Eliecer Ávila, an activist; and Antonio Rodiles, who directs a human rights group called Estado de Sats. Sánchez, who founded 14ymedio, reported the arrests on Twitter.

Sánchez said she was placed under house arrest and also reported that several other 14ymedio contributors were visited by State Security officers and warned not to cover the event, which was scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. at the Plaza de la Revolución.

The demonstration called for participants to go before a microphone for one minute to share their thoughts, concerns or ideas about how Cuba’s future should unfold.

Cuban authorities had denied permission to its organizers. Leading the event was artist Tania Bruguera.

As for the rest of Obama’s Statement, Frances Martell examined LINE BY LINE: EVERY EMPTY PROMISE IN OBAMA’S CUBA SPEECH.

Meanwhile, Bruguera, who resides in the U.S., is still detained, whereabouts unknown.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics at Fausta’s Blog.