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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
May 19, 2013Posted by on
Each Sunday, police forces are deployed throughout the municipality of Antilla, in Holguin province, with the mission of carrying out an arrest. It’s not about a citizen who robs stores, or who breaks into homes or who kills or harasses other citizens. No. It has to do with a Lady in White: Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante. The police cordons are also activated when there are other civic activities taking place, just like the monthly encounter which the Ladies in white carry out. The harassment has been so severe that the mentioned activist has not been able to assist Sunday Mass in 2013 so far to pray for the freedom of all political prisoners as all these women do throughout the island.
Sanchez Infante was arrested at around 5 AM this past Friday, May 17th, as she was trying to travel from Antilla to the city of Holguin to participate in the monthly meeting held by the Ladies in White in that province. The main agent in charge of the arrest was Yosvany Reyes Maltrapa.
“Agent Maltrapa twisted my left arm and with his other hand he punched my mouth“, explained Mildred. The activist was kept in a dungeon of a police unit until a couple of minutes past 10 AM, after the meeting had come to an end.
A couple of State Security agents also threatened Mildred’ mother, telling her that she should “talk her daughter out” of participating in dissident activities. If she didn’t do so, they would both suffer the consequences, one agent told the lady.
Mildred suffered yet another threat. “Agent Yosvany told me that he was going to attack me, or ‘get me’, one of these days when I was alone“, she denounces.
“They always arrest me“, expressed Mildred, “in 2013 so far I have not been able to assist Mass in the city of Holguin…not even here in my own neighborhood of Antilla. When the police sees that Mass ends, then they release me. I don’t have the exact number of arrests I’ve had so far in 2013. I have not been able to participate in the reunions of the Ladies in White, in mass, or in another other peaceful activities of the opposition“.
Listen to Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante’s testimony (in Spanish) here:
This repression against the Ladies in White and other pro-freedom activists in the province of Holguin is constant. Berta Guerrero, resident of the city of Holguin and representantive of the female group for the province, denounces that each Sunday a number of women are arrested when they try to make it to Mass. In fact, a police agent has even told them that they would have to “buy a helicopter” if they wanted to make it to church.
For more informaiton from Cuba, contact:
Mildred Noemí Sánchez Infante- Cell Phone: +52-615-097
May 16, 2013Posted by on
Technology and social networks once again prove their importance when it comes to Cuba, despite the fact that the totalitarian system practices a severe form of censorship.
Caught on camera above is Kenny Aguero, a State Security agent in the province of Matanzas. The photo was taken by former political prisoner Ivan Hernandez Carrillo and published on his Twitter account (@ivanlibre). Aguero operates mainly in the city of Cardenas and is a repressor of dissidents, especially of Ladies in White, such as Leticia Ramos Herreria and Elizabeth Pacheco. He dedicates himself to persecute this women, verbally offend them, arrest them and beat them without mercy (testimony in this audio). In one of his most recent actions against the opposition, he summoned Marisol Fernandez Socorro, also a Lady in White, to a police unit because of her activism out on the streets.
In the following photo, also published by Hernandez Carrillo, is Aurio Cueto, another collaborator of the regime:
According to Ivan, Cueto testified against him and also activist and former prisoner of conscience Felix Navarro during their trial in the Black Spring of 2003, when 75 journalists were sent to prison. Both Matanzas natives were sentenced to 25 years behind bars. Cueto currently continues to keeping a tight vigilance over activists in different cities of Matanzas, as well as helping the police to arrest them for their peaceful activities.
With each photo, each Tweet, and each post in an alternative and free blog, the impunity of the dictatorship continues to dissolve.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Ivan Hernandez Carrillo- 52-599-366 / Twitter: @ivanlibre
May 15, 2013Posted by on
Another video has been published of the march carried out by the Ladies in White this past Mother’s Day, 12th of May, in Havana, in honor of Cuban mothers around the world. The women marched to the Santa Rita Church and later held a public meeting in the Gandhi Park of the same city.
This new video, filmed and edited inside of Cuba by members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), demonstrated the mentioned activity. Don’t miss it:
May 15, 2013Posted by on
Police agents in the municipality of Vueltas, Villa Clara province, repressed various citizens during the activities of this past First of May.
Among those attacked were dissident couple Raul Gonzalez and Niurcy Acosta Pacheco, members of the Cuban Reflection Movement (MCR) who were surrounded in their own home by the agents and kept from stepping out. When they finally made it out, they were violently arrested
Raul Gonzalez sent the following photos via his cell phone:
Gonzalez accompanied the images with the following text:
“That’s how the first of May was celebrated, with such a ‘democratic’ act, here in our municipality. They prohibited us from leaving our homes. And then they said they didn’t want arrests. Long live FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY! Raul and Niurcy (MCR)”
May 14, 2013Posted by on
Cuban born musicians Gloria and Emilio Estefan recently met with Pope Francis in the Vatican and took a very special message to him in the name of the people of Cuba.
According to a report by ‘CBS’, the Estefans asked the Pope to please pray for human rights on the island. It’s the second time they do so, the first being with Pope John Paul II.
Pope Francis recently met with the leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, after a public Mass and told her and the Cuban people to “continue onward”.
Gloria Estefan is slated to host a chat this upcoming Monday, May 20th, with Soler and other Cuban activists in Miami’s Historic Freedom Tower. The 20th of May is also Cuba’s Independence Day, which is not recognized by the dictatorship. The event is free but tickets are required and can be obtained here, through Miami Dade College.
On March 25th 2010, Gloria and Emilio organized a massive march down Miami’s 8th Street (‘Calle Ocho’) in solidarity with the Ladies in White after a brutal beating by the political police on March 17th 2010 in Havana which was caught on film. More than 100,000 people participated in the march, most of them dressed in white, in a gesture of support with the Cuban women.
May 14, 2013Posted by on
As was recently reported, Ladies in White marched throughout the island this past 12th of May- Mother’s Day. In Havana, they dedicated their march to Laura Pollan Toledo, leader of the group who died in 2011 in extremely strange and mysterious circumstances. Her daughter, Laura Labrada Pollan, read some emotional words in her memory. The women also demanded the immediate release of Sonia Garro Alfonso, Cuban mother and Lady in White who has been behind bars for 1 year and 2 months.
They also sent a message to Berta Soler, representative of the group, thanking her for her tireless work taking the Cuban reality to the world. Angel Moya Acosta, dissident leader and former political prisoner, published some photos of this activity on his Facebook account. He also uploaded the following video on his YouTube channel:
May 13, 2013Posted by on
The Ladies in White marched through the streets of Cuba this Sunday, May 12th, in honor of Mother’s Day, sending out greetings to Cuban women around the world, as well as a special tribute to Laura Pollan Toledo, deceased founder of the group. It was confirmed that some women suffered reprisals at the hands of the political police, although the majority were able to carry out their weekly march, flowers at hand, to assist Mass and pray for the freedom of all political prisoners.
In Havana, 48 Ladies in White marched down 5th Avenue accompanied by 29 male human rights activists. They dedicated their walk to all the mothers of the world, according to a tweet published by former political prisoner and dissident leader Angel Moya Acosta (@jangelmoya).
Leticia Ramos Herrería, representative of the group in Matanzas, said that a total of 17 women marched and assisted Mass in the entire province. She added that in Cardenas, city where she resides, “11 Ladies in White were able to march for 11 blocks after Mass all the way to the Monument of the Mothers, where we deposited 2 bouquets of flowers“.
After that tribute, Herreria explained that the activists began to shout “Long Live Laura Pollan” for various minutes. In this occasion there were no arrests but there was a constant vigilance by the police.
“Meanwhile“, recounted Leticia, “Citizens were congratulating us and wishing us a Happy Mother’s Day when we marched by them. There was a display of solidarity“.
In the province of Holguin things looked a bit different. Although 10 Ladies in White managed to arrive at their respective temples, some were arbitrarily arrested by the political police.
Berta Guerrero Segura, representative of the women’s group for the mentioned province, said that all the Ladies in White from Holguin “awoke that morning with their homes surrounded by State Security, under strict vigilance. The operation had started at dawn“.
Two of the detainees were Eimirce Cespedes Estrada (from Velasco, Holguin) and Yarelys Castaneda Almarales (Holguin). The latter “was detained together with her 1 year old son who she was carrying in her arms. Just like that, the political police took them to a dungeon for a number of hours“.
Her husband was also physically assaulted by various agents who applied a headlock on him when he came in defense of his wife.
Guerrero adds that Yolanda Perez Diaz, who is not a Lady in White but a member of the dissident Claridad Movement of Holguin, “was intercepted by agent Adony Charles, of State Security, who told her that she was on his bad side that morning and that he wouldn’t let her come out of her house“.
“I am denouncing the constant abuse, the harassment, and the psychological war carried out by State Security against us, the Ladies in White of Holguin. These violations are constant. In fact, they have told us that we will never be able to go to church“, said Guerrero Segura.
In Palma Soriano 33 Ladies in White marched and successfully made it to church while in the municipality of Santiago de Cuba another 21 Ladies made it, according to declarations made by Ana Celia Rodriguez to this blog. Rodriguez was one of the Cubans recently on hunger strike demanding the release of activist Luis Enrique Lozada Igarza. Her health, like that of the majority of all other former strikers, is still delicate.
The majority of the members of the Ladies in White are mothers and chose to dedicate the symbolic date in honor of so many women who have risked their lives fighting for the freedom of not only their families but also of the entire nation, as is the case of Sonia Garro Alfonso, a Lady in White and Cuban mother who is currently in prison and has been for 1 year and 2 months.
Not even on Mother’s Day does the regime respect these women, carrying out arrests and keeping them under strict vigilance, but they keep praying, they keep speaking out, they keep marching.
In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a video made by the authors of this blog in 2012, in honor of the Cuban woman:
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Leticia Ramos Herrería- Cell Phone: +52-481-807
Berta Guerrero Segura- Cell Phone: +53-632-110
Ana Celia Rodríguez- Cell Phone: +52-996-531
May 11, 2013Posted by on
The Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy (MCJD), a pro-freedom group made up of young activists in different regions of the country, has launched their own YouTube channel, where they will publish videos of activities they carry out as well as videos which show the Cuban reality, according to the president of the group, Eriberto Liranza Romero.
The first video which MCJD has published was one where some of its members are turning in a document demanding an end to the Law of Pre-Criminal Social Dangerousness to the General Fiscal Office of the Republic (Havana). The law dictates that any person who is suspicious of possibly committing a crime in the near future could be sent to prison. The same law has taken thousands of young Cubans to prisons arbitrarily. MCJD carried out a campaign of debates this past 23rd and 24th of April with young Cubans throughout the country in regards to the law. The majority of the participants agreed that the law should be abolished. They drafted a document with the same demands, including numerous signatures.
Eriberto Liranza presents the video, where 3 activists hand in the document with signatures, surprisingly without suffering arrests, although towards the end a guard orders the person filming to stop doing so:
You can check out MCJD’s new channel by searching for “CubaMCJD” on YouTube.
May 11, 2013Posted by on
Mobs organized by the Cuban regime’s State Security apparatus have been repudiating and harassing various dissidents in Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila, this week.
Idael Pérez Díaz, member of the Central Opposition Coalition, the Pedro Luis Boitel Movement and the Orlando Zapata Resistance Front, told this blog that during the morning and afternoon of Wednesday, May 8th, the mobs “threw rocks and shouted offensive words at us, while about 10 State Security jeeps spent the day stationed in the corners of the block, giving alcoholic beverages to all those participating in the repudiation“.
The acts of aggression took place outside the home of Perez Diaz where a number of dissidents from other cities, like Santa Clara, were congregated.
He also explained that the mobs were made up by people from other municipalities because the vast majority of neighbors refused to participate. Some neighbors even took food to the activists, considering that they couldn’t step outside their homes due to the police cordons. Such actions of citizen solidarity are being reported with much frequency throughout the entire island.
“Lediño, the chief of state Security for the province of Ciego de Avila, was the one directing the entire operation“, added Perez, “the other people are mainly from the Communist Party, only a few from this municipality, and the rest from other areas“.
Idael and his wife, Santa Gonzalez Pedroso, are renown local dissidents, as are their children, Idaelvis Perez Gonzalez and Delvis Perez Gonzalez. The latter is just 12 years old and has been suffering psychological traumas due to the constant harassment of the regime against his family.
“Delvis became very nervous and we had to get him out of the house with the help of some relatives“, said Idael. On January of 2013, the minor was expelled from his wrestling team at school under the orders of State Security. The pretext of the agents were that his parents were ‘counter-revolutionaries’. (Audio here).
Meanwhile, activists Julio Columbie Batista and Jenni Barallobre Columbie, also from Grua Nueva, were violently arrested near the city of Moron on May 7th, as they were returning from Camaguey. They were detained for more than 48 hours and both were threatened with being jailed if they continued their opposition activities out on the streets, and if they kept on creating pro-freedom groups in nearby areas.
Idael, Santa and the rest of the congregated dissidents were also demanding the liberation of Columbie and Barallobre.
The repudiation came to an end on Thursday afternoon, but police guards were still keeping a tight vigilance over the dissident family, while still handing out beer to people from the Communist Party and other institutions of the dictatorship which were lending themselves to take part in such actions.
Despite all this, Santa Gonzalez Pedroso and other women from the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights carried out a march to the local church as they do each Thursday, in honor of all those Cubans who have been killed for wanting democracy. In this case, they were not arrested.
But the vigilance continues.
“I hold State Security accountable for what could happen to us, my family and all other dissidents“, declared Idael Perez.
Listen to declarations by Idael Perez (in Spanish) below:
For more informaiton from Cuba, contact:
Idael Pérez Díaz – Cell Phone: +58-163-741
Santa González Pedroso – Cell Phone: +58-163- 728 / Twitter: @SantaCuba1
Julio Columbie Batista- Cell Phone: +52-627-602
May 9, 2013Posted by on
Seventeen-year old Enrique Lozada Aguedo has proven to be a representation of Cuba’s future, of so many youths that have been abandoned by the totalitarian system and who are full of hope, despite the repressive tactics of the regime. Being the youngest of the more than 60 UNPACU strikers during the month of April and May, he made it very clear that he was willing to die to the freedom of his father, Luis Enrique Lozada Igarza, and to demand that human rights be respected and upheld.
But what worries the Cuban dictatorship the most is not that the activist is willing to die, but that he is willing to live, for a new nation.
Now, Enrique sends out an important message. He calls on the Cuban youth to defend their rights and assures that, very soon, there will be freedom in Cuba, because there are many who are willing to fight for it. That’s what he had to say after more than 3 weeks on hunger strike, with a seriously affected health, but with a very strong spirit. Listen to his message, in Spanish, below:
Transcription and English translation, here:
“I am seventeen years old. I want to call on the youth of the world, not just the ones in my country. I want to convoke them so that they manifest themselves against the injustices that daily attempt against family harmony. I want to call on them to take a stand against all injustices that constantly go against our families, because we must fight against violence, against all things that violate our dignity and our morals.
I want to tell the Cuban authorities and the Cuban dictatorship that neither the beatings nor the imprisonments will stop us from demanding our rights. We are going to keep demanding freedom, we are going to keep speaking up for a Cuba where there is democracy, and we are even willing to give our lives for our country, for the land where we were born, for our sky, we are willing to do it.
To the civilized world, where there is democracy and freedom, I say that Cuba will soon be free, and soon, in Cuba there will be social justice. Cuba will soon be democratic.”