FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UPDATE (May 23, 3017) - Cuban Libertarian Party and Nevada Libertarian Party protest the night-time disappearance of Cuban LP spokesman Nelson Rodriguez Chartrand. Read more.
LAS VEGAS (May 7, 2017) - The Libertarian Party of Nevada is proud to announce today’s historic launch of the Cuban Libertarian Party - José Martí in Havana. Following the Castro regime’s recent persecution of Cuban libertarians, a determined group of activists in Havana banded together in a libertarian political party named after Cuba’s founding father, who died in Cuba’s war of independence from Spain.
This chain of events began three months ago when two libertarians were arrested for the political crime of gathering in a private home to read books and discuss limited government and free markets. Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez and Manuel Velazquez Visea, associated with Mises Institute Cuba and the Benjamin Franklin Libertarian Library, were staked out by undercover plainclothes State Security agents. The secret policemen returned in the night with the National Revolutionary Police to arrest the two libertarians on the false crime of attempted assault. The two libertarians are still incarcerated at the Melena del Sur labor prison and face charges of distributing “enemy propaganda.”
One fellow libertarian in Havana was able to make contact with a Cuban libertarian refugee in Miami, who contacted a Spanish-speaking member of the Libertarian Party of Nevada. One week following the incident, LP Nevada published a press release in English and Spanish denouncing the Cuban government’s arrest of the two activists and calling for their immediate release. Similar action was later taken by the Libertarian National Committee, the Libertarian Party of Spain, and the Libertarian Party of Russia.
Three other members of Mises Cuba and the Benjamin Franklin Libertarian Library have since been arrested, including Armando Novoa and Eduardo Ramos Balaguer released within 24 hours following immediate international outcry and direct protest to Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Relations. The political police also make a habit of surrounding their meeting centers with police cars, deterring libertarians from entering and detaining them as they exit. Constantly harassed by State Security and knowing more arrests will follow, Havana’s libertarians have decided to raise the level of their peaceful dissidence by founding the Cuban Libertarian Party - José Martí.
The party will have three branches: the Party, for political action and running candidates; Mises Institute Cuba, for economic research and education; and the Libertarian Libraries, a functioning library that hosts study group meetings with locations in Havana and Camaguey province. In order to be effective and overcome the challenges the regime will put in their path, Cuba’s libertarians need financial assistance from the outside world. Donors can give electronically through PayPal (https://www.paypal.me/InstitutoMisesCuba), or they can directly contact the Libertarian Party of Nevada or Zach Foster (Facebook.com/politicalzachfoster) directly for the Cuban libertarians’ Bitcoin wallet for grassroots activism.
Known libertarians and libertarian sympathizers currently incarcerated are Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez, Manuel Velazquez Visea, René Ronco Machín, Rolando Guerra, Roser Ayala García, and Rafael Averof Rodríguez. Party spokesman Nelson Rodriguez Chartrand disappeared on the night of May 22 on his way home from Camaguey province; we believe State Security kidnapped him. Please email Josefina Salomon at Amnesty International - The Americas ([email protected]) and Human Rights Watch ([email protected]) with the prisoners' names and this press release.
Cuba’s libertarians are doing something historic and they’re officially asking the world for help. Libertarians of the world should be the first to answer this call. Until the final weeks of the Cuban Revolutionary War, Fidel Castro’s July 26th guerrilla army never had more than 300 people, yet they won the war. Just imagine how many brushfires of liberty that peaceful, hopeful activists can light in the minds of men and women across Cuba.
Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever boldly against it.
For more information:
Original press release, Feb. 2: Libertarian Party of Nevada (LPN) Condemns Cuban Government for Arresting Libertarian Activists