Pedazos de la Isla

"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation

Venezuelan opposition leader calls on #WomenForLife March against Injustice

Maria Corina Machado and other opposition members and activists during press conference for #WomenForLife protest. Caracas, Venezuela

One of Venezuela’s best known opposition leaders, Maria Corina Machado, and other female activists called on Venezuelan women to participate in a march under the slogan #WomenForLife scheduled for 10 AM this 26th of February.  The purpose of the march is to “silently and peacefully march” to the headquarters of the National Guard in Caracas to demand justice for the many students and activists who have been detained, mistreated or killed for civically demonstrating out on the streets against the current regime.

Machado and other known figures such as Lilian Tintori, wife of recently imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, and actress Norkys Batista took part in a press conference on Monday in the capital city of Caracas to announce the details of the march, which is being promoted through Twitter and other social media outlets with hashtags #WomenForLife and #26F (the latter making reference to the date of the demonstration; February 26th).

The organizers of the event are asking “mothers, grandmothers and sisters” to participate and to wear white during the march.

This call to action surges amid days of street protests carried out mainly by students who oppose the current regime in Venezuela led by Nicolas Maduro.  Forces of that same government have used street thugs and armed officials to violently attack the demonstrators, already causing more than 13 confirmed deaths and numerous injuries.  Many others, including known opposition members like Leopoldo Lopez, have been imprisoned.

“In all of Venezuela, we will walk dressed in white, and in silence, to the headquarters of the National Guards to challenge the military personnel to stop the violence”, tweeted Maria Corina on her account (@MariaCorinaYA).

Women for Life poster. “For the fallen, the tortured, the imprisoned…on the streets to the end!”

Jailed dissident rapper beat by more than 10 guards and other police officials #FreeElCritico

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(Bayamo, Cuba) – A group of more than 10 guards from the Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo, alongside State Security and Ministry of Interior officials, savagely beat jailed dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, best known by his artist name “El Critico”.  The violence occurred on Sunday, February 23rd, confirmed Remon’s wife, Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena, a victim of constant persecution as well.

The imprisoned musician – a member of the underground hip hop group “Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso” (The Unwanted Children) – has been carrying out a series of protests from prison, refusing to shave his facial hair and writing words like “change” and “freedom” on his sheets.  However, on the 23rd, guards and other security officials used blades to forcefully shave his beard, causing him several cuts, says Yudisbel.  After this incident, “the more than 10 officials beat him and shouted offenses at him, ordering him to stop his protests”, adds the young wife.

El Critico’s response was that he’d rather die in the struggle than give in to the demands of the Cuban regime.  The rapper was jailed on March 23rd of 2013 after a series of police home raids, beatings and short detentions in his hometown of Bayamo.  State Security agents accuse him of “attempt” although the reason behind his imprisonment is his protest music and having placed several signs with anti-regime messages in public.  He has not had a trial and has been in a judicial limbo for what will soon be a year.  Remon is also denied medical attention, despite suffering from chronic gastritis, and is barred from family visits. His actions of not shaving (and occasionally carrying out hunger strikes) is to protest the unfair and false accusations against him.

On her part, Yudisbel Roseyo is also the victim of frequent persecution, as she is arrested mostly on Sundays for participating alongside the Ladies in White in marching to morning Mass to pray for the freedom of Cuba’s political prisoners, her husband among them.  She too has been beat, offended, detained and deported by State Security officials.

Activists and bloggers have continued to use #FreeElCritico on Twitter and other social networks as part of a digital campaign to demand the immediate release of the Cuban rapper.

For more information straight from Cuba, contact Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena: Cell Phone – 53-552-353

“El Critico” punished in prison for his ideas while his wife is persecuted in the streets

Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, the rapper best known as “El Critico” who has been unjustly imprisoned in the Eastern town of Bayamo since March 2013, has not received medical attention after carrying out a 27-day long hunger strike and being returned to Las Mangas Prison, despite suffering various health complications, among them chronic gastritis.  In addition, this week penal authorities suspended family visits for the young musician.

Yudisbel Roseyo, wife of  Remon, informs in the following audio that the suspension of the visits took place after he refused to shave his beard as a sign of protest and after he painted his sheets with the word “change”.

On her part, Roseyo has been victim of arrests each Sunday for trying to make it to Catholic Mass along with other Ladies in White in Bayamo.  Recently, she was kept in a bus under the sun for various hours and this 1st of December her home was stoned by political police officials.  These tactics did not impede her from stepping out of her house, and upon doing so she was arrested and physically assaulted by police agents.

Both Roseyo and Remon Arzuaga have been threatened by the regime to not continue with their posture in favor of freedom  but both have reiterated  that they will keep doing what  they have done until now, despite the consequences.

Dissidents in Cuba and Twitter users around the world unite for new Tweet-Protest: #FreeMarcelino

Marcelino Abreu holds up his bloody shorts after police beating

On Wednesday, November 20th, renown dissident Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, from Havana, sent out a message through “Radio Republica” so that members from all opposition organizations in and out of Cuba raise their voices and carry out activities to demand the liberation of political prisoner Marcelino Abreu Bonora who is currently suffering in the Arnaldo Milian Castro Hospital of Santa Clara, Villa Clara, in a hunger strike which has already lasted more than 60 days.

Fonseca, who serves as the spokesperson of the OZT National Resistance Front and one of the leaders of the Pro Human Rights Party of Cuba, as well as a member of the Ladies in White, highlighted in the audio that no person should be taken behind bars because of their ideas, explaining that this is precisely what has happened with Abreu who was jailed after handing out pro-freedom pamphlets in the Cuban capital (Havana).  Afterwards, State Security fabricated a crime of “attempt, resistance and damages to a door lock” against the dissident.  His time in prison has been in the central province of Villa Clara but due to his severe health situation during his prolonged hunger strike he has been taken to the hospital.

Sara Marta also sent out a message on her Twitter account (@SaraMartaCuba) calling on Cubans from around the world and from all social networks to join the call of solidarity with Marcelino Abreu, asking them to use the hashtag #FreeMarcelino on Twitter.

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Almost immediately, a number of Twitter users, bloggers and activists began to Re-Tweet and share Fonseca’s message and convoked a Tweet-Protest for this Friday, November 22nd starting at 9 AM using #FreeMarcelino to raise awareness on the situation of this dissident who is in very “grave” condition, according to relatives and fellow opposition members.  Similar protests have successfully taken place and have garnered massive participation in days past with the cases of dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon ‘El Critico’ (#FreeElCritico), the Lady in White Sonia Garro (#FreeSonia) and the case of Cuba’s election into the UN’s Human Rights Council (#DontVoteCuba).

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Other dissidents currently in and out of Cuba have also been rallying support for the liberation of Marcelino, including José Daniel Ferrer García, Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, Carlos Michael Morales Rodríguez, Ricardo Lázaro Fiallo López, Damaris Moya Portieles and Anyer Antonio Blanco Rodríguez, among many others.  All of the previously mentioned have described Abreu’s case as “urgent”.  The young activist is a member of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Hard Line and Boycott Front.

‘El Critico’ returned to prison and being denied medical assistance #FreeElCritico

Dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico” has been returned to Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo, where he was being held originally before starting his hunger strike which lasted 27 days and nearly cost his life.  He has now been put in a cell where he is being denied medical assistance, confirmed his wife Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena.

“El Critico” suspended his hunger strike after State Security agents told him they would revise his case – a fabricated case of “attempt” created after agents beat him in his Bayamo home last 26th of March.

Now, the musician and UNPACU activist, has been returned to prison without medical assistance despite his very weak state of health (product of the lengthy strike) and other health ailments such as chronic gastritis.

Yudisbel Roseyo informs in this audio:

The campaign for Remon’s freedom, which originated on social networks and backed up by the hashtag #FreeElCritico, has kept going and will keep going until the young rapper is freed, affirm twitter users, bloggers and activists.

On her part, Roseyo Mojena has been victim of detentions and persecution at the hands of the political police due to her activism withing the Ladies in White in Bayamo.

A Hip-Hop dance that is dangerous for Cuban State Security

The young Cuban Yunior Ramirez Roca is the cultural promoter of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy, an opposition group which, as the name suggests, focuses on working with the youth of the island.  28-year old Ramirez also distinguishes himself as a Hip-Hop dancer, or B-Boy, and dedicates much of his time to impart classes to other youths in Havana in this style of dance with the purpose of keeping them away from drugs, alchoholism and participation in State events such as acts of repudiation against non-conformists.

The following video was published by the CYMD on its YouTube channel and shows a performance by Ramirez Roca.  It is precisely because of these dances and his project to attract the youth that State Security has violently arrested him on various occassions. In the two most recent cases the authorities have deported the activist from the capital to Isle of Youth (originally known as Isle of Pines), his place of birth, despite the fact that he has been living in Havana for several years.

During his arrests Yunior has been threatened by police officials that if he continues in the opposition and working with civil society he would be sent to prison.  Apparently, his Hip-Hop dance skills turn out to be very dangerous for the military regime of Havana.

UPDATED on November 19th 2013: Eriberto Liranza Romero, president of the CYMD, informed via text message that Yunior Ramirez was arrested once again on Monday, November 18th in Havana and is being held in the police unit known as “El Vivac”.  

The Cuban dictatorship and the United Nations

This new graphic design by digital artist Rolando Pulido says a lot in just one picture after the UN voted – once again – the Cuban dictatorship to form part of the Human Rights Council of this organization which defines itself as a promoter of rights and freedoms for all people.  It shows dictator Raul Castro surrounded by the images of just some of his victims – Laura Pollan, Wilman Villar Mendoza, Juan Wilfredo Soto, Oswaldo Paya, Harold Cepero and Orlando Zapata Tamayo.  Pictured on the upper left is also an image of Raul Castro preparing an assassination of a young Cuban in the early 60′s.

“El Critico” suspends hunger strike, continues fight for freedom #FreeElCritico

“Long live Cubans with everything they deserve” – El Critico

As has been reported in various outlets, Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico” has suspended his hunger strike which lasted 27 days and has left him with serious health consequences, nearly costing him his life.  The dissident rapper – unjustly imprisoned since March of 2013 – decided to stop his strike after State Security agents “promised” him that they would revise his case.

The young musician was arrested after a series of acts of repudiation organized by the State and violent arrests by the political police in Bayamo.  He was later accused of “attempt” against an agent’s life, when in reality he was the victim.  In prison he has suffered beatings, confinements in punishment cells, threats, and has even contracted diseases such as cholera.

Although his case will supposedly be revised, El Critico will continue demanding his freedom and will continue assuming his posture against the dictatorship and in favor of freedom, according to declarations by his wife Yudisbel Roseyo from the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Hospital in Bayamo, where Remon is still interned.

Roseyo has not left the hospital during her husband’s strike, despite the fact that State Security agents have been harassing her and other dissidents.  The young member of the Ladies in White said she did not feel fear and although she feels more relief, considering that her husband has left the strike, she pointed out that he is still arbitrarily detained.  She declared that she’d keep demanding “his liberation as well as the liberation of all political prisoners on the island”.

In the name of El Critico, Yudisbel thanked every person who joined in solidarity with his case, including bloggers, twitter users, activists, NGOs, media outlets, politicians and artists.  (Gloria Estefan joins the call to free El Critico)

Meanwhile, the #FreeElCritico campaign will continue until the rapper, who is a member of the hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children, is freed.  It will also merge with other campaigns to demand the liberation of all political prisoners in worrying situations such as Roilan Alvarez, Marcelino Abreu and Ivan Fernandez Depestre, all of who are currently on hunger strike.

Join the call! Demand release of jailed rapper Angel Remon using #FreeElCritico

Activists on social networks are convoking a “tweet-protest” using #FreeElCritico starting this Monday, November 1st, at  AM in solidarity with Cuban dissident rapper and political prisoner Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, known best as “El Critico” form the hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children (Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso).

The call surges while Remon Arzuaga is in “critical and urgent condition” in the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Hospital in Bayamo due to a hunger and thirst strike he has been carrying out for more than 17 days.  His wife, Yudisbel Roseyo, has been in the hospital since then although the authorities to not let her pass to see him, except on one brief occasion.  During that encounter, the musician and activist  told her to please not ask him to stop the strike.  He affirms that he would take his struggle until his “freedom or death”.  

Angel Yunier, who is also a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), has been jailed since March 26th after a series of acts of repudiation against his home.  He confronted the State-organized mobs with a discourse, calling on them to abandon their fear and double moral and join the opposition.  He was arrested under the orders of State Security captain Julio Cesar as well as other repressors who accuse him of “attempt”, although there is no proof and there has not yet been a trial.  Recently, the regime announced that it asks 8 years of prison time for Remon.  On that same day, he was brutally beat (October 15th) in the Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo, where he has spent most of his captivity.  Remon was also placed in a sealed off isolation cell for a number of days.  It was then that he started his hunger strike demanding his liberation.

Yudisbel Roseyo confirmed that Remon was beat once again while already on hunger strike. His health is deplorable, as he also suffers from chronic gastritis and even contracted cholera during the month of July – a period which did much damage to his body.  His heart rhythm is very slow and his blood pressure is significantly low.  Relatives and dissidents have expressed extreme worry regarding the situation and have said that Remon Arzuaga is very near death.  Meanwhile, paramilitary forces of the dictatorship have the Hospital under custody and frequently expel activists and prohibit Yudisbel from seeing her husband.

With the hashtag #FreeElCritico Twitter users will demand his freedom, just as they did on Friday, November 1st, with also unjustly jailed Lady in White Sonia Garro Alfonso, using #FreeSonia.  Both are prisoners for motives of conscience and have been severely mistreated while behind bars.  Dissident Roilan Alvarez, also a detained activists from UNPACU, is also on hunger strike.  In the case of Alvarez, his protest has lasted more than 20 days and he has taken a position similar to that of Remon’s – “freedom or death”.  His health is also critical.

Cuban artists in exile Gloria Estefan (@GloriaEstefan) and Albita Rodriguez (@AlbitaCantante) have retweeted the tweet-protest announcement on their respective Twitter account, as have politicians, human rights organizations and numerous individuals who work towards the freedom of Cuba.

We cannot allow any more deaths of young Cubans because of a regime which does not allow them to freely express themselves.  Cuba needs the creativity, energy and patriotism of people like “El Critico”.  Pass it on, don’t remain silent.

#FreeElCritico  

 

Jose Manuel Rodriguez: New political prisoner in Baracoa

The absurd Law of Pre Social Dangerousness has taken another victim in Cuba. This time, it’s Jose Manuel Rodriguez, a member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance in Baracoa, Guantanamo, in the Eastern region of the country.

According to an audio published on ‘Radio Republica’ by Isael Poveda Silva, a dissident and member of ADO-Press, Rodriguez had been receiving a series of acts of repudiation and threats at the hands of police agents until they finally detained him.  On Wednesday, October 30th, he was sentenced to 4 years behind bars for the “simple fact of defending human rights and refusing to collaborate with the State Security apparatus”.

Poveda adds that the trial was extremely brief and authorities did not allow the presence of relatives and barred lawyers to participate in his defense.

The Law of Pre Social Dangerousness gives power to the regime to jail any citizen under the pretext that they may commit some sort of crime in the future.  It is widely used to punish those who protest against the system as well as the youth.

Jose Manuel Rodriguez is the father of three underage children and he is married.  The Eastern Democratic Alliance is demanding his immediate and unconditional release.

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