yoani sanchez, blogger, beat up in Cuba

  This report from Yoani herself, award-winning citizen journalist/blogger of www.generationy.com –she who tells the REAL story happening in Cuba today.


yoani sanchez 001


A gangland style kidnapping, by Yoani Sánchez

Nov. 8 – Near 23rd Street, just at the Avenida de los Presidentes roundabout, we saw a black car, made in China, pull up with three heavily built strangers. “Yoani, get in the car,” one told me while grabbing me forcefully by the wrist. The other two surrounded Claudia Cadelo, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, and a friend who was accompanying us to the march against violence. The ironies of life, it was an evening filled with punches, shouts and obscenities on what should have passed as a day of peace and harmony. The same “aggressors” called for a patrol car which took my other two companions, Orlando and I were condemned to the car with yellow plates, the terrifying world of lawlessness and the impunity of Armageddon.

I refused to get into the bright Geely-made car and we demanded they show us identification or a warrant to take us. Of course they didn’t show us any papers to prove the legitimacy of our arrest. The curious crowded around and I shouted, “Help, these men want to kidnap us,” but they stopped those who wanted to intervene with a shout that revealed the whole ideological background of the operation, “Don’t mess with it, these are counterrevolutionaries.” In the face of our verbal resistance they made a phone call and said to someone who must have been the boss, “What do we do? They don’t want to get in the car.” I imagine the answer from the other side was unequivocal, because then came a flurry of punches and pushes, they got me with my head down and tried to push me into the car. I held onto the door… blows to my knuckles… I managed to take a paper one of them had in his pocket and put it in my mouth. Another flurry of punches so I would return the document to them.

Continue reading Generation Y


Yoani Sánchez detained and beaten by Castro’s security agents (UPDATED)

Nov. 7 –  Cuban blogger Claudia Cadelo gives an account of what happened when she, Yoani Sánchez and other young Cubans tried to join a performance in Havana to ask for a stop at the violence OctavoCerco

Famed Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez said Friday she and another blogger were punched and thrown violently into a car by presumed state security agents as they walked to participate in a peaceful march in downtown Havana.

“No blood, but black and blues, punches, pulled hairs, blows to the head, kidneys, knee and chest,” Sánchez told El Nuevo Herald shortly after she and Orlando Luis Pardo were freed. “In sum, professional violence.”  The Miami Herald

Video of the performance that took place in Havana yesterday and that resulted in the beating by Castro’s Gestapo of Yoani Sánchez, Claudia Cadelo and other well known Cuban bloggers and musicians.

Nov. 6 – 8 PM Update – Oscar Haza, the host of A Mano Limpia on Channel 41 in Miami, was able to talk to Yoani Sánchez after she was released.

Yoani told Haza that two experts in martial arts, who were not wearing uniforms, forced her into a car where she was beaten before she was released in another part of the city, far from where the pacific demonstration was supposed to take place.

She said she told the people who kidnapped her: “Go ahead, kill me, I am at your mercy,” and she said she could tell that the thugs who were hitting her looked even more scared than she was.

Yoani said that they kept telling her that she must stop writing on her blog.

Claudia Cadelo, the blogger of Octavo Cerco, was also interviewed by Haza.

She was also kidnapped by force and pushed into another car and taken to another part of the city to prevent her from participating in the performance.

She said she was also beaten by those who kidnapped her.

Ironically, the performance planned by the group of bloggers and musicians was supposed to be against all types of violence.

Before they were detained by Castro’s Gestapo, the group of young men and women were singing and dancing and didn’t make any political demonstration, but the totalitarian system in Cuba would not even allow a pacific and apolitical performance.

Ciro Díaz, a member of the band Porno Para Ricardo, was also detained for participating in the performance.

 EARLIER INFORMATION – PenultimosDias is reporting that Yoani Sanchez, the blogger of Generation Y, and a group of other bloggers and musicians who don’t sympathize with the Castro regime, were detained by Cuba’s State Security to stop a “pacific performance” that they were planning on Calle 23 in Havana.

According to the information coming from Cuba, Sánchez; Claudia Cadelo; Aldo, the rapper of the Aldeanos and others were detained by Cuban police and taken by force to different places in Havana to prevent the pacific demonstration.

Yoani Sánchez was introduced by force inside a State Security car that had private license plates and taken away to an unknown location.

According to the latest information available she was later released.

It is not known if any of the others are still being detained at this time.


political or spiritual—are you both?

last night we gathered with friends and had a somewhat heated discussion about the state of affairs, the temperature rising at our table laden with fresh fish, vegetables and fancy, cheesy, re-baked potatoes. Aren’t WE the lucky ones to have such abundance, here in the good ol’ U.S. of A? I’m grateful. Are you? Everyday is Thanksgiving to me, not just when the calendar points to it.

when you're in the gratitude mode everything's extraordinary!

when you're in the gratitude mode everything's extraordinary!

. . . instead of ordinary . . .

. . . instead of ordinary . . .

All six of us had spent a good bit of time living outside the country; three of us weren’t American born; two natives of oppressive Latin American governments that were really nothing more than authoritarian dictatorships; the other person was French. All of us well traveled in many areas of the globe.

The words flew fast and heavy when we began to discuss Cuba, a country five of us had recently visited, at different times and in different capacities. Two of my friends had just had their picture published, a portrait of the married pair standing in front of a mural of Che, as they grinned widely and holding a copy of their hometown newspaper: part of a special show-and-tell feature their small town paper offered to travellers.

my friends in havana

my friends in havana

these two had lived through a lot of political unrest, suffering much painful harassment from drug cartels and government agencies alike when, for many many years, they had an organic farm deep in the mountainous jungle of Colombia. Their ordeal ended with fleeing for their lives, after finding out they were on a hit list to be “disappeared” … as many of their friends had been already–by government agencies working in cahoots with drug cartels. Unfortunately, the husband, my dear friend Miguel, had already anguished over leaving his native country after his own father was found murdered by the ruling factions vying for power in Colombia at that time, the eighties.

To live in such overwhelming terror leaves one permanently fearful of government power wielded for purposes other than the betterment of the populace. To live in such a nightmare scars one’s soul. Some who have survived this kind of emotional torture experience their hearts going hard, their faith in government, forget about God, turning to dust. I am happy to report that my friends, Miguel and Monica I’ll call them for their anonymity’s sake, are fully integrated, peaceful and loving folks, who have weathered their misfortunes with the help of level-mindedness, and a healthy dose of expressing themselves, releasing their sorrows, through their art.

Yet, whether from their horrific personal experiences or their own natural propensities, today they both subscribe to the belief that the communist Cuban government of Castro has been a success. In the eyes of people who have lived through hell in other violence-prone latino nations, this unseemly fact does make sense—if you reckon the alternative of unheard of violence and poverty are the cold hard facts of many other South American countries (the Argentinean and Chilean dictatorships of the past, Nicaragua of Central America, and today, Mexico succumbing to the influence of drug cartels more and more).

greeting at havana airport

greeting at havana airport

To Monica and Miguel, the Cubans appeared as contented children, heralding their love for “Papa” Fidel, even crying at the suggestion he could ever die. Wherever Miguel and Monica went in Cuba, countryside, city or village, they saw contentment and peace, safe streets, unthreatening people, and no crime in either small pueblos or large cities. In effect, this latino experience for my friends was the exact polar opposite from their own, when they lived in dangerous Colombia, whether from local jungle-living guerilla; the FARC, a citizen-run counter-guerilla movement, organized drug cartels or drug-moneyed government agents–all were threats in Colombia when my friends lived there. Compared to the extreme violence Miguel and Monica lived through, the daily threat on their lives even while living in the remotest, most peaceful place, raising vegetables and tending cattle, Colombia was hell. To them, with this comparison, Cuba today is a model of a peaceful place, a country where one can live safely and with enough food and education for everyone. Even today, it is rumored that the president of Columbia is in power because of his associations (his past ones at least) with organized drug mafia. We shall see the development of that country, as we also watch with interest how the governments of Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela and Eva Morales’s Bolivia turn out, those two countries that are turning away from democracy and toward the communist philosophy espoused by the Castro regime.

yoani sanchez

yoani sanchez

The award-winning journalist and blogger Yoani Sanchez ( www.generaciony.com ) tells a different story. She, you see, LIVES in Cuba. She tried to move away, years ago, to Switzerland, but couldn’t leave the country of her blood, her heart. She tells her story to the world, and is now featured as part of the Huffington Post ( www.huffington.com ). But my friends Monica and Miguel think her view is slanted. And . . . I think theirs are. No doubt, people think mine is too.

Yes, each of our own perspectives —whether about life in general, religion, politics, sex, even the food we choose to eat — are affected by the experiences we’ve had in our life.

This is an interesting topic, because to me, I used to consider myself a totally un-political person, yet a true spiritual warrior. Yet I realized after 9.11 that I would have to, one day, make a stand about how I felt. After my country was attacked by terrorists who don’t approve of our democratic way of life, either for religious or political reasons, I decided that I felt strongly enough about democracy — when I seriously asked myself this very telling question—that if i had to, i would choose to die in upholding the values that our country stands for. I would rather die, yes, that’s right, than be subjected to the whim and will of any other system, be it a dictatorship, a takeover by renegade prophet or politician who self-proclaims his or her view to be that “of the people’s” as the revolutionaries of Cuba loudly sing. It’s the same song sung (different language, different rhythm, but same lyrics) by the silently menacing dark shadows of the Taliban that deepens the gulf between East and the West in our world today. Whether right or wrong, unless people get to VOICE their choice —that is, live in a democratic style where the vote of the people is the rule of the land —any system that is in power is going to end up putting out the flame of the human spirit: taking away our intrinsic freedom of choice.

free to choose whom to love, who to be --- what to dream!

free to choose whom to love, who to be ---what to dream!

To satisfy some of my own questions, I decided to sit and contemplate the difference between what “political” and “spiritual” means to ME. I believe all humans are a blend of many things. But some of us are very much more one way (emotional, intellectual, physical–and political or spiritual) than the other. No one can be absolutely un-political, unless they are brain dead. Maybe there are a lot of those types, the ones who watch too much TV, but i bet they tend to be more finantics than those who don’t watch TV. Even Daw Ang San Su Kyi, my beloved heroine of Burma, who has been under house arrest for nearly 20 years for opposing the military dictatorship of her country, maintains total peace and passive resistance as her political stance. In her quiet vigil she is a STRONG political figure, even though her warring-arms are nothing more than the single lotus tucked behind her ear.

she awaits the moment of freedom, in prayer and silence

she awaits the moment of freedom, in prayer and silence

When my consort Carter and I made the trip to Cuba last March (see previous blog postings when we traveled with the humanitarian group, Fundacion Amistad)— we had exactly the opposite feeling about how the people in Cuba appeared, as our friends Monica and Miguel had. We felt the Cubans’ deep sadness of those we met and spent real time with, saw the lack of vitality expressed in the words they spoke in public, viewed the counter-revolutionary sentiments in their art, noticed how their faces turned frightened when certain subjects were mentioned outside their homes. Countless times we were told household secrets only shared behind closed door by the frustrated, depressed Cuban people we visited. We met with several collectives of artists and artisans, an internationally acclaimed actor, an noted architect, and business and service people as well; all of whom felt incredibly depressed, they said in private conversation, because they were not allowed to participate with the rest of the world. They felt—in a word—unfree.

Here is my list of the differences of being political as opposed to centering on a spiritual way of taking ACTION to help humanity. You decide which characteristics suit you best. Hopefully you’re a blend of both. 

A POLITICAL perspective on life is

  • divisive
  • authoritarian
  • filled with motives
  • replete with agendas
  • involved in the art and science of governing others
  • engaged in intrigue, shrewdness, contriving, dealing, promoting of policy and taking action either FOR or AGAINST a political system
  • argumentative and often, finantic about personal views

A SPIRITUAL perspective on life is

  • all inclusive
  • without rules or boundaries
  • has no judgement, motives, or agendas other than acceptance and forgiveness, knowing that evolution does not come without painful growth
  • involved in no-opinion but passive resistance, like Ghandhi and Daw Aung san su Kyi, Martin Luther King, and countless others
  • wants to help others attain spiritual freedom, and actively prays (engages in “mental thought battle”) to achieve this goal

the words themselves tell it all.

political:   from the Greek word, politikos—about the people, the citizens

spiritual:  from the Latin spiritus—a breath, to breathe (a.k.a., to LIVE)


Being in balance with both sides of our human nature, the political and the spiritual, is the healthiest. But in my book, it is better to be MORE spiritual than political. To pray for change is much more powerful than arguing or taking up arms. If all of us who believe in the highest possibilities for the evolution of our species, used prayer as our tools, holding positive thoughts as our weapons of change, the ONENESS, the UNITY, the SACRED DIVINITY of our human state will become a reality instead of some far-fetched metaphysical mumbo jumbo. Instead of fighting or arguing over politics—a lot of change occurs on its own when thoughts are attuned to the highest potential. Thought is action. Thoughts are “seeds” of change.


I offer this blog as a seed to balance the anger and unrest in many people’s hearts who have been deeply affected by violently suppressing regimes.

In the Light, lordflea

desdecuba.com, a blog speaks of freedom

hola mis amigos!

the waterfall of life, we are all One

the waterfall of life, we are all One

yes, we’re off to Cuba, but first I want you to know about www.desdecuba.com/generationy

this is the English-translation of yoani sanchez’s award-winning blog from havana, in which she realizes that, after studying literature and philology, the modern blog is the most meaningful method of putting language to use. right on soul sistah! so check out desdecuba. she even returned to the island from living freely in switzerland, in order to follow her bliss…to help her fellow cubanos liberate themselves, through blogging, from the tyrany of the castro regime. raul, castro’s brother, has done nothing but clamp down further on people’s abilities to live openly. we should all send our prayers, and gratitude, to yoani and her fellow bloggers, there at www.desdecuba.com the spanish-language portal that hosts several other blogs.

one of which is about the kids with cancer that Carter and i will be bringing meds to. the kids’ project that we’ll be helping out with has their own web page, if you wish to see what we’ll be up to, at least some of the time we’ll be in cuba. www.desdecuba.com/carmenrey there is an email link there. and click here if you’d like to know more about www.fundacionamistad.com the humanitarian group that is sponsoring our trip.

who says we're not all possible angels?...or devils?

who says we're not all possible angels?...or devils?

for those of you interested in speaking spanish i’ve discovered a terrific FREE website with upbeat, very comprehensive lessons! i found this site when i was looking for a “quick-look-up” web dictionary. you know when you have an entire list to look up, after reading a book, or a newspaper? well, instead of turning those cumbersome paper pages, just visit this site. i’m directing you to the lessons sections, which are fun and have lots of support materials, so you can click here and find the dictionary on your own: www.spanishdict.com/translate/learn

the power of art is truly miraculous. did you know that it was through the organized, under-ground efforts of artists and writers, actors and artists of all sorts, that caused the Berlin Wall to be brought down and the collapse of the entire Soviet Union? amazing. art. heart-art, I call it. who would have thunk it, that art made with soul–any creative endeavor done intentionally–could be so powerful.

art is magic...channels of Light

art is magic...channels of Light

we’re very excited to be able to travel to cuba. it’s a huge honor, to participate in this volunteer effort, and to help bring outside influences to a people who, instead of looking out to the sea and embrace it for the wonders it signifies, and the countries it’s linked to … cubanos stand with their back to the Caribbean Sea, because to them, it is the walls of their island-prison.

our new prez & amigo, the Dalai Lama

our new prez & amigo, the Dalai Lama

i know Obama has it on his plate to open up cuba, at least more than his predecessor. but of course, especially now with the ongoing slaughter between Israelis and the Hamas, the immediacy of freeing cuba from oppression is not as grave as the escalating situation in the Middle East.

for those of you who are looking for a great eco-comedy indie film, try www.lithiumsprings.com not only will you laugh at this treasure story, but you and your kids can share a great lesson about stewardship of our precious planet by watching it together. check out the headstand-yogini thousand year-old woods nymph. she’s my favorite character. pretty great acting by a dachshund too, believe me.

with my love I’ll say farewell until we return from cuba. here’s a painting to contemplate about all of us, wherever you are.

adios amigos, en la Luz, in the Light, lordflea

we are ONE

we are ONE

We’re going to Cuba! In Spirit.

hi friend,

yes, carter my consort and i leave for Cuba on Monday, Jan. 12th, arriving in havana with as much over-the-counter medicine, powdered milk, ivory soap and ovaltine as we can carry, plus a wheelchair apiece. we’re going as volunteers with a humanitarian effort, supported by the u.s. gov’t–so don’t worry, we’re not going to get thrown in u.s. or cuban jail or get in touble of any kind. the organization that supports these efforts, for which we’ve volunteered, to help do special art projects with havana artists, among other things, is www.fundacionamistad.com ; “foundation of friendship” between u.s. concerns and the cuban people. we are not going to support the castra gov’t in any way shape or form. we’re going to help the people. the medicine we’re carrying is going directly to children who suffer from cancer. the other goods will be dispersed as needed.

i have a lot of questions about cuba, as i’m sure the rest of the world does, too. i’ll be open-minded, with wide-open eyes, and hopefully my digital camera fully charged (god, do they have electricity in our hotel, with plugs that can re-charge batteries?). all i know about cuba is from old movies and stories my mother tells me about the tropicana, where she and my dad went to dance and gamble back in baptista’s time, and other things I’ve learned from the few exiles i’ve met: in particular our sister-in-law, Carmen Bettencourt Lord, who left as a child in ’59 or ’60, and our yoga-artist friend, Tomas Sanchez. Here is one of Tomas’ paintings:

dsc000541 notice the small, insignificant figure of a person sitting by the water’s edge? in contemplation? well, that’s why fidel made trouble for tomas, telling him over twenty years ago, “make the people BIG and the landscape small. it’s the PEOPLE this revolution is about, not the land!” but tomas, a yoga meditating friend of mine (we have the same teacher), was in love with painting the landscape, and how humanity should reflect upon it to glean knowledge, peace, and guidance from an intimate relationship with it. so…fidel harassed him, and, just before tomas was to be thrown in jail, or worse, tomas managed to get off the island and defect to mexico. consequently he went to live in miami, and now resides in the hills outside san jose, costa rica, where carter and I met him. he’s sad about leaving his beloved country, as all cubanos are. his elderly father is ill and tomas has only just recently been allowed back to visit him. we’d all like to see cuba freed of the kind of iron-fisted dictatorship that decides what is for the people. but the people are starved for freedom, that’s what they are. right, tomas?


today tomas is free to express himself in however a fashion he wishes. his paintings sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars in all major art capitals of the world, yet he donates the proceeds of several each year to the kinds of mind-expanding organizations such as www.siddhayoga.org that have allowed him to find peace within his own being. raised as a peasant’s son in cuba, tomas is now represented by the very best gallery in new york city, the marlborough gallery, with musem shows (recently at the most beautiful modern art one I’ve ever been to, in monterey, mexico, see: www.marco.com ) and … the most evident sign of modern success … ripoff tomas sanchez’s popping up everywhere, trying to paint in his inimitably subtle, evanescent, mystical style–impossible to do, my friends. beware of when you google: tomas sanchez. you’ll find many of them. the cuban tomas, my yoga friend, is only represented by the marlborough ( www.marlboroughgallery.com ). you can find a poster for sale of his beautiful rendition of swami nityananda, an Indian saint at a reasonable price, at the bookstore of tomas’ meditation teacher: ( www.siddhayoga.org/bookstore )

tomas makes my entire Being smile:


stay tuned for more about our trip to CUBA…we’ll be back in a week, and i’ll share pics and what i discover on our trip. meanwhile, if you want to read a blogger i’ve recently discovered, who managed to find a way to blog directly from havana, where even computers are verboten (the gov’t can’t shut her down now, because already yoani sanchez, the blogger, has won numerous awards and the outrage would be an avalanche of international proportions, if they did) please go to: www.desdecuba.com to read yoani’s blog in spanish. she’s translated into 13 languages: english address is: www.desdecuba.generationy  . WOW. the power of the blog continues to astound me.

remember to breathe, and as you do, include the sound of Om with your outbreath, and you’ll feel much better. for those of you suffering in any way (physical, mental, spiritual, or materially, with the current economic crunch) if you focus on your breath, and make the sound of Ooooommmm with your outbreath, this is the best medicine in the world. try it and see.

don’t forget: if any of you want to be included on my “lordflea alert” email, sent out whenever i make a new post (i’m pretty irregular with my posting, due to many commitments other than blogging) please write me: dearlordflea@gmail.com and ask to be put on it. i won’t give away your e address, ever. cross my lordflea heart.

in Spirit, with great love for each and every one of you,

your pal lordflea