User-agent: * Allow: / Legal news, political opinion, Satire, and lawyer thinking by Tim Paynter, Attorney at Law: 2010-11-07

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dissidents Remain Prisoners of Cuba

This article originally published as Cuba Welches On Freedom For Dissidents
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Cuba refuses to release 13 dissidents being held in order to silence their voices.  The terms of a July 7th agreement are in default.  An international human rights advocate says he is going back on a hunger strike that nearly took his life.  Through all of this, Cuban President, Raúl Castro remains mum.

Things came to a head for Cuban leadership on February 23rd, 2010, when Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a 42 year old plumber and ‘prisoner of conscience’, died after a 72 day hunger strike. Tamayo was imprisoned on multiple occasions including once for taking part in a human rights workshop in a Havana park. He was jailed in the 2003 crackdown called Black Spring,

Originally, Zapata-Tamayo was to be imprisoned for 36 months. However, once incarcerated, authorities added additional charges extending his sentence by 36 years.

Cuban President, Raúl Castro, issued a statement expressing regret for the death of Zapata-Tamayo. He then summarily detained over 50 activists, thus preventing them from attending his wake and staging a public protest over the death.

Guillermo Farinas during hunger strike

As this most recent crop of dissidents rots in jail, the international community has demanded their release, including dissident Guillermo Farinas who staged his own 134 day hunger strike. First, Farinas won Europe's Sakharov human rights prize in October, a public disgrace for Cuba.

Then, while Farinas lie near death, Castro flinched. The hunger-strike death of Zapata-Tamayo was bad enough. Two hunger-strike deaths was a lot to defend. Cardinal Jaime Ortega of the Roman Catholic Church brokered a deal.

Castro agreed to release all 52 prisoners over a four month period. Most of the dissidents earned freedom because they agreed to leave Cuba and go into exile. However, 13 prisoners have refused to agree to leave after their release. Castro refuses to honor his deal. The final date for their release has passed. Farinas threatens to return to his hunger strike.

In a sense, the US holds its own political prisoners as it busts down doors and uses subterfuge to enter dwellings.  See Ice Fakes Accident, Invades Home

"To not release them would be fatal to the promise given to the Church, and a fraud against the international community," Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Havana-based Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said hours ahead of the deadline.

"It is not what we thought would happen," Father Jose Felix Perez said after holding mass for the dissident group Damas de Blanco, or “Ladies in White” which is comprised of the family members of the 2003 prisoners, primarily their wives.

Meanwhile, at stake is Cuba's desperate need to normalize relations with democratic countries including the U.S. Castro must weigh which will be more dangerous. Is it 13 dissidents who insist a one party system will not provide reforms, or is it the growing discontent from the Cuban people at being isolated through the hands of the Castro's?

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Legal news, political opinion, Satire, and lawyer thinking by Tim Paynter, Attorney at Law: Latin King Gay Rape Victim Speaks Out

Legal news, political opinion, Satire, and lawyer thinking by Tim Paynter, Attorney at Law: Latin King Gay Rape Victim Speaks Out

Latin King Gay Rape Victim Speaks Out

Original story appeared as Bronx Gay Rape Victim Speaks Out

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It started when a 17 year old who is the grandson of Vic Power, one of the first black and Latino players to hit the major leagues, bumped into “Cheto”, a local thug and leader of the Latin King Goonies.  The youth was leaving the apartment of a well known Bronx resident, “La Reina”, “the Queen”.

What is a Latin King Goonie recruit doing in the apartment of a gay man? Cheto wanted to know.  

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Idelfonzo “Cheto” Mendez, Nelson Falu, David Rivera and Jose Dominguez dragged the teen to a Morris Heights apartment.  They forced the boy to strip naked, and tied him to a chair for interrogation.

“Are you a fag?” they asked.  When they didn’t get the answer they wanted, they beat the youth.  During the two hour session, they raped the youth, using the handle to a plunger.

“Do you like it?” Cheto asked the terrified boy as he slid the plunger in and out of the boy’s anus.  “Are you a fag?”

Finally, the youth confessed.  He had sex with La Reina.  More, a potential recruit, also 17, was La Reina’s lover.


Satisfied, Cheto told the boy he had to be punished for having gay sex.

“Do you want the pipe or the bat?”

If the boy hated himself enough, the pipe would do plenty of damage.  He chose the bat, which was plastic.  The gang gave him a ritualized whipping.   With the score settled, the gang offered to take him to the hospital.  He was, after all, one of their own.

Before leaving, Rivera hit the boy in the head with a paint can, snarling, "If you snitch, your family is gonna get it!"

cepeda falu riverasm"It gets me angry that they beat me because these were my friends. We were like family. We went to church together. They just turned on me." the 17 year old said in an interview with the Washington Post.

"They told me the beating was not personal," the youth said, as the gang offered to let him remain in the gang.  "It was just that I violated one of the rules.” 

Gay sex is against the rules in most gangs.  The gang later attacked La Reina, his 17 year old boyfriend and La Reina’s brother.  The attack on La Reina was especially vicious, lasting over 10 hours.  His lover was forced to burn his nipples and penis with a lighted cigarette.  La Reina was sodomized with a plastic baseball bat, likely the same one used to beat the first 17 year old.

The 17 year old says he is not gay.  

"Gangs are no good for anyone," the teen said. "Being in a gang will get you nowhere."

Confused youth often seek older gay men for homosexual experiences in an effort to sort out their own feelings.   If this 17 year old is gay, coming to terms with his feelings will be difficult, after suffering the vicious face of hate for the LGBT community.