Monday, August 21, 2006

Counting Castro's Victims

Our favorite Cuban-American filmmaker, Agustin Blazquez, sent us this item from the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger:
The goal of the Cuba Archive project, now 8 years old, is to build a database of all the people killed trying to escape the revolution or fighting against it -- alleged executions, battlefield deaths, prison sui cides and refugee boat sinkings. Two independent sources are needed to back each case.

It is believed to be the only comprehensive effort of its kind.

So far Werlau, a former banker, and co-founder Armando Lago, 66, a half-paralyzed Florida economist, have found more than 9,000 reports -- many confirmed, others still sketchy -- of people killed by the Castro regime.

They include more than 5,000 people killed by firing squad, many in the years immediately after Cas tro took power in 1959. Two thou sand others are said to have died in prison -- some executed, others in accidents, some never explained.

An estimated 77,000 people have died trying to flee the island, some by drowning and others in boats that, Castro critics charge, were sunk by the Cuban military.

Researchers also hope to include roughly 3,000 people killed in the violence leading up to the 1959 revolution, including those killed by the forces of dictator Fulgencio Ba tista.