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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Jose Daniel Ferrer: Beatings, Arrests, Vandalism in Palma Soriano Impede Ladies in White from Marching
July 26, 2011Posted by on
Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia explains that the peaceful march planned by the Ladies in White, which would begin from the Our Lady of the Rosary Church after a mass, could not be carried out on Sunday July 24th because since the day before “there were arrests and houses surrounded. Members of the repressive political police, together with members from the National Police and members of the so-called Rapid Response Brigade had surrounded various homes here in Palma Soriano“. In addition, these repressive forces also set up various checkpoints throughout the region. In those ‘security’ points, Jose Daniel explains that “they were stopping cars and asking for ID cards. They did not let those who are known as dissidents pass“.
This strategy was implemented in order to arrest dissidents, Ladies in White in their majority, who had planned to take part in march in Palma Soriano where they demand rights, respect, and freedom for jailed dissidents and all of the Cuban people in a peaceful manner. “This led to approximately 20 arrests“, points out Ferrer Garcia, adding that “the women from Bayamo who decided to go out notified us via phone that they were on their way but then we did not hear from them again, their cell phones give no answer, so logic indicates that they are detained“. Similar cases sprouted up in Santiago de Cuba. Though some of these cases were not possible to confirm, considering that many phone lines being inactive or blocked. The number of arrests, however, is estimated to have been over 20. Jose Daniel Ferrer’s phone was also blocked for a period of time during the crackdown.
The sinister habit of physical aggression was not excluded. “Various women were beaten“, narrates Ferrer Garcia, citing names such as Belkis Castillo (his wife), Noami Infante, Ana Celia Rodriguez, and others. Also, “Hector Felix Labrada Munoz received some physical blows. He then went out to seek medical assistance at a clinic while presenting a certificate which listed the injuries he had just suffered which were all over his body, including on one of his eyes. Despite this, the doctor at the center denied him assistance, and soon thereafter one of the guards in the clinic kicked him out“. The list of some of the other names of dissidents who suffered the violence include Lazaro Alonso Parada, Pedro Manuel Guerrero, Ruben Torres Saiz, Manuel Martinez Cabrera, and Vivian Pena Hernandez. Ferrer adds that two neighbors- Yaritza Echevarria and Noeliber Cors- joined in solidarity with the dissidents being oppressed. These neighbors stood between the oppressors and the victims being beaten in an attempt to stop the kicks and punches. Because of this, the neighbors were also strongly beaten. As for Ferrer, he was also a victim of the violence, stating that he received “various punches“.
The dictatorship’s forces also turned to vandalism in their attempt to demoralize and attack the opposition. In the home of the dissident couple Aime Garces Leiva and Julio Ballester, the mobs “used black paint to write phrases on the walls of the house in favor of the regime; phrases such as ‘Long Live Fidel’ and ‘Long Live Raul‘,” explains the former political prisoner of conscience, who classified the paintings as “extremely low, and not to mention sloppy“. As if this was not enough, some of the attackers hurled eggs at the house. “Also the home of Agustin Parades“, a family which Ferrer described as “very brave and one which has various members in the opposition” suffered similar attacks.
These photos, demonstrating some of the slogans painted on by the robotic Castro-commanded mobs as well as the remainders of eggs hurled at the home, were published on Facebook by Luis Enrique Ferrer Garcia, brother of Jose Daniel, who is exiled in Spain.
Although the march could not be carried out, and although a number of beatings and arrests occurred, on this 24th of July one could notice the important refusal on behalf of various neighbors to participate and be accomplices of the supposed spontaneous mob attacks and of so much violence, as was demonstrated by the fact that various neighbors tried to protect the dissidents. “Many of these brave people are already in the opposition, while others are not“, affirms Ferrer Garcia. One can also note what Jose Daniel Ferrer describes as the regime’s “nervousness” of soon losing control. Because of these worries on behalf of the dictatorship, one can note the increase of attacks, aggressions, and offenses. Regardless, tired but not defeated, these dissidents will not give up in the face of such absurd and repressive actions. Marching peacefully, dissenting from a dictatorship, and demanding inalienable human rights is not a crime, and because of this, these activists will continue marching, and they will continue demanding what belongs to them and to everyone- freedom.
The following day, July 25th, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia published these Twitter messages (my translation):
jdanielferrer jose daniel ferrer:
#cuba.Mildrei Noemi, Lady in White from Antillas, is still detained. We do not know where she is being kept. She was violently arrested yesterday in Palma Soriano.
jdanielferrer jose daniel ferrer:
After the arrests, beatings, and mob attacks against dissidents, a few posters with anti-Castro slogans propped up in Palma Soriano
jdanielferrer jose daniel ferrer:
“Down with Fidel”, read one of the posters placed in soda factory, just two streets down from the home of Aimee Garces.