Information on an organization called Flotilla Democracia, apparently operating in Cuba and Florida [CUB30827.E]

The only references to a Flotilla Democracia found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate are in a news article in Spanish referring to one of several flotillas of small vessels organized by the Florida-based Movimiento Democracia, or Democracy Movement (CubaNet 19 May 1997). This Cuban opposition group has organized a number of flotillas or flotilla sailings which attempt to approach Cuban territorial waters, on occasions accompanied by aircraft of the Florida-based Cuban opposition group Hermanos Al Rescate (Brothers to the Rescue) (ibid. 20 Aug. 1997; FCF 18 July 1998; USDS 31 Oct. 1997). Although the Movimiento Democracia maintains an Internet Website, few details on the organization are available. A United States Department of State press statement refers to it as a Miami-based group, with which it reached a legal settlement agreeing to release the standard-bearing vessel of the flotillas, called Democracia, which was confiscated after it violated a Presidential Decree regarding unauthorized surface travel to Cuba (ibid.). The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) assisted the Movimiento Democracia in its legal action against the U. S. government confiscation of its vessel (FCF 27 Apr. 1998).

One news report on a late-1997 flotilla identifies Ramon Sanchez as a spokesman for Movimiento Democracia and adds that the group had "asked Havana residents to gather at El Malecon esplanade at dusk or to bang pots and pans at 9 p.m. EST on Saturday" (TBWT n.d. 1997). The report does not mention how this request had been disseminated in Cuba.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References


CubaNet [Miami, Fla.]. 20 August 1997. "Exilados planean protesta costa cubana contra planta nuclear."[Internet] http://www.netpoint.net/~cubanet/Cnews/y97/aug97/20o3.htm [Accessed 17 Dec. 1998]

_____. 19 May 1997. "Informaciones del Bur├│ de Prensa Independiente de Cuba: Llama el Movimiento 13 de Julio a la cordura de los integrantes de la Flotilla Democracia." [Internet] http://www.netpoint.net/~cubanet/Cnews/y97/may97/ 19a1.htm [Accessed 17 Dec. 1998]

Free Cuba Foundation (FCF), Miami. 18 July 1998. Rachel La Corte. "Flotilla Honors Drowned Cubans." [Internet] http://www.fiu.edu/~fcf/flotillaremembers98. html [Accessed 17 Dec. 1998]

_____. 27 April 1998. "Movimiento Democracia Reaches Pact; Wins Return of Principal Symbol." [Internet] http://www.fiu.edu/~fcf/ acludemocracia.html [Accessed 17 Dec. 1998]

The Black World Today (TBWT) [Teaneck, NJ]. n.d. "Cuban Exiles Plan Laser Beam Message Over Havana." [Internet] http://www.tbwt.com/articles/carib/ carib130.htm [Accessed 17 Dec. 1998]

United States Department of State (USDS), Washington, DC. 31 October 1997. "November 1 'Flotilla'to Waters Off Cuba." [Internet] http://secretary.state.gov/ www.briefings/statements/971031.html [Accessed 17 Dec. 1998]