Pedazos de la Isla

"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation

Category Archives: Adis Nidia Cruz

Ladies in White, Activists Seek Solidarity to Put an End to Repression Against Them

“The repression this past weekend increased”, denounced Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) from the town of Palma Soriano, “and this is due to the fact that the political police of the tyranny is very bothered that last weekend, on the day of the Virgin of Mercy, about 50 Ladies in White from the Eastern region of the country surpassed the police operations they had set up around the entire area and were able to arrive to the capital…even though the majority of the women were eventually detained in Havana”.

As part of this crackdown, numerous Ladies in White from Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, Banes, Guantanamo, Bayamo and Holguin were arrested or impeded from leaving their homes when they tried to assist Sunday Mass in their respective churches.

Ferrer García explained that 4 Ladies in White were reported detained in Guantanamo and 14 in Santiago de Cuba.  The former political prisoner of conscience added that in Santiago “Darmis Aguedo and Adriana Isaac were beaten by the political police and were thrown off a truck onto the asphalt”.

In Banes, Marta Diaz Rondon explained that a police cordon was set up around her home, which kept her from leaving, as was the case of Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez in that same Eastern municipality.

Meanwhile, in other areas of Holguin province, 8 detainees were documented, among them Berta Guerrero Segura, Zuleidis Lisbeth Pérez Velázquez, Adisnidia Cruz, Danay Mendiola, Barbará Bauza Driggs and Glisedis Piña González.  Some of these women were detained in the notorious Pedernales Unit (known for torture and threats) and others were kept in “El Anillo” until after 1 PM, when Catholic Mass in the local Jesus Christ the Redeemer had already come to an end.

My house was completely surrounded by political police and State Security agents from the very early morning hours of Sunday, the 30th”, said Berta Guerrero Segura, representative of the female group in the province of Holguin.  “A group of female agents dressed in red shirt and blue pants, along with male State Security agents, carried out an act of repudiation against us and screamed insults at us with obscene words before arresting us.  The officials leading the operation were Yordanys Martinez Leon (chief of Confrontation in Holguin), and agents Rafael Chapman and Adonys Charles”.

During the arrest, the women were accused of ‘public disorder’.  “In fact”, added Guerrero, “as a form of blackmail and mockery, they told me that if we wanted to go to Church we would have to get ourselves an airplane or a helicopter to drop us off on top of the Church because we were not going to be allowed inside”.

Despite the regime’s aggressive operations, in the provinces of Matanzas, Havana and Pinar del Rio a number of women were able to surpass the vigilance cordons and assist Mass, where they prayed for the freedom of all political prisoners and of Cuba.

But throughout Monday, October 1st, the political police once again lashed out against the Ladies in White in Holguin.

State Security and political police agents surrounded my house all over again”, said Berta Guerrero during the afternoon.  This time, the agents detained various women who were trying to make it into the house, among them Barbara Bauza and Adisnidia Cruz.

Zuleidis Perez Velazquez detailed that the Ladies in White were giving out some small bags with food to their members “which were sent as gifts from our brothers in exile” and the regime agents robbed the humble products as they detained the women that day.

This has been just another form of robbery against us… mind you, those products were brought in legally to this country and they are all paid for”, denounced Perez, “and they don’t even give us an explanation nor have they, or will they, return them to us”.

Rosaida Gonzalez Escalona, an elderly Lady in White, was also arrested with violence, but without even participating in dissident activities that afternoon.  Her arrest occurred as she “was on her way to the train station of Holguin to say goodbye to one of her daughters…some agents came out of nowhere and detained her”, explained Perez Velazquez.

Meanwhile, the threats against others activists of Holguin also continued, like those against members of the Independent and Democratic Cuba Party (CID).  “Police officials continue to threaten the CID members, telling them that they cannot meet anymore in my house, and that they can no longer carry out activities.  There are two activists- Ramon Zamora Rodriguez and Carlos Enrique Nunez Cutino- that were told that their homes would be demolished.  In addition, a group of young activists from the New Juvenile Impact organization are also under violent threats”, added Perez.

In reference to her own case and that of the majority of the other Ladies in White and dissidents, Berta Guerrero Segura alerted “the international community” that the oppressive situation throughout the island has become “unbearable”.

We, the Ladies in White, can’t even go to a store or a market because they always arrest us”, she said.  “Whatever may happen to any of us, or our husbands or children is the direct responsibility of the Castro regime”.  In fact, her husband- dissident Franklin Peregrino del Toro- is also frequently arrested when he accompanies his wife out on the streets and many times when he is trying to buy food for his family.

I have lost count of all our arrests, but I know that there have been more than 40 in 2012 alone.  We ask international organisms like Amnesty International to join us in solidarity, to pay attention to our situation.  Our children are also suffering in school, where they receive threats that they will be expelled due to our activism.  I want the world to know what is happening in Cuba”, expressed Berta Guerrero.

Police Operations Underway to Impede Ladies in White from Assisting Sunday Mass (Holguin)

The Cuban regime’s police operations to impede Ladies in White in the province of Holguin from assisting Sunday Mass are underway, denounced Lady in White Zuleidis Perez Velazquez this Saturday, 28th of July.

According to the activist, there are 4 women who managed to make it to a house which is located only 4 houses from the local Catholic church in the city of Holguin, the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men temple.  However, these 4 Ladies are completely “surrounded by 7 police agents with the intention of keeping them from attending Mass tomorrow.  They [the regime] do not even respect the fact that they are so close to the church“.

The four women who are practically under house arrest are  Romelia Piña González,  Marlenis Abreu Almaguer, Glisedis Piña González and Adisnidia Cruz Segreo. The house in which they are in is located on 18th Street, number 131, between 23rd and 27th in the Pueblo Nuevo neighborhood, on the same street as the church.

The agent who is running the operation, which consists of 7 men, is Rafael Chapman, a well known “oppressor from State Security“, explained Perez Velazquez.  “These 7 men impede the women from stepping out of the house, they are prohibiting them from any sort of mobility, and they even have their cell phones blocked.  They are threatening them, telling them that they cannot go to church tomorrow“.

Despite operations such as these, Zuleidis Perez affirms that the Ladies in White will march to church, although the situation will most likely culminate with arrests, as usually occurs each Sunday.

The tactics of the political police normally consist in detaining the women during morning hours- usually around 8 AM- and later releasing them at around 12:30 PM, once Mass has ended.

The Ladies in White are victims of this kind of repression throughout the island, including other Eastern regions such as Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo, where they frequently suffer arrests, beatings, and even sexual threats.

Regardless, they continue to resist.

For more information from Cuba:

Zuleidis Pérez Velázquez- Cell Phone: +5358- 244- 778

Ladies in White Denounce New Threats by Police in Holguin

In Cacocum, Holguín, the home of Lady in White Berta Guerrero Segura has been completely surrounded by State Security agents, agents of the Rapid Response Brigades, and paramilitary troops from the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) for 6 days, in order to try and impede that she or her family assist Mass or step out of the house to meet with other local activists.

My home has been surrounded since Friday, July 20 th, and it is something which is happening week after week”,  denounced Guerrero Segura, signaling that the agents carrying out the operations are “Reymundo Rodríguez Pupo, agent Wilson from Holguín and also Joel Guerrero, among others”.

These same oppressors have been threatening Guerrero, her husband (activist Franklin Peregrino del Toro) as well as numerous other women from that area, saying that if they try to continue their activism or carry out public demonstrations, they will be detained until after the 26th, a date which the regime uses to celebrate and glorify the 26th of July Movement which was headed by dictator Fidel Castro.

The number of arrests of these Eastern Ladies in White have also increased, as was proven this past Sunday, July 22nd, when 8 of these women were violently arrested in the province of Holguin when they tried to make it to church.

The 8 were Ana María Aguilera Paneque, Adisnidia Cruz, Maydelin Guerrero Silva, Yoandra Garrido Silva, María Rosa Rodríguez Silva, Rosa María Naranjo Nieve, Danaime Diota and Rosaida González Escalona.

Meanwhile, another 7 women did manage to surpass police cordons and make it to Sunday Mass, among them Berta Guerrero.  Many may recall that now exiled Lady in White, Caridad Caballero Batista, would continuously be arrested weekend after weekend to keep her from going to church during the present year, but alongside her many other women would also be detained.  Guerrero Segura is one of these women, who during 2012 has not been able to make it to church on Sunday’s due to the fact that she is always arrested and kept in detention cells for a number of hours until Mass has concluded.

Zuleidis Pérez, another Lady in White from the municipality of Holguin denounced that “there is a horrible police operation underway” during these days against activists in the Eastern region of the country.  “Despite this, and under these circumstances, on the 23rd we were able to carry out a symbolic wake in honor of Oswaldo Paya in my home“.

Berta Guerrero adds that numerous activists were able to carry out a pots-and-pans protest at her home in Cacocum during the night of the 24th to celebrate the Day of the Resistance (each 24th of the month) and also to pay homage to Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero

Guerrero also sent out a message to the international community, in regards to the increased repression against the Ladies in White and the civic opposition: “The Castro regime is desperate, and they deny us our rights to freedom of movement, religion, as well as the rights of our families, because they also impede our relatives from coming to our homes.  They also arrest them“.

We are always under threat, and we were denouncing that this is a totalitarian regime which is based on repression, harassment, and vexation against dissidents and Ladies in White“.

For more information from Cuba:

Zuleidis Perez – Cell Phone: +5358- 244- 778

Holguin: Arrests, Vigilance, and Police Cordons Not Enough to Stop Weekly Vigil and Meetings

As occurs every Wednesday, this 18th of July 2012, the “Vigils for the Freedom of All Cuban Political Prisoners” were celebrated across the island, while many Ladies in White also celebrated their monthly literary meetings.

From the province of Holguin, Lady in White Zuleidis Perez Velazquez informed that the literary meeting in that zone was carried out in the home of Berta Guerrero Segura, in the municipality of Cacocum.  However, Perez Velaquez says that “from the very early morning hours- starting at around 3 or 4 AM- there was a large police operation set in motion in nearly all the surroundings of Holguin, as well as many other municipalities like Velasco, Cacocum, Banes, Gibara, Antilla, and right here in the city of Holguin” in order to try and impede the female activists from arriving to their destination.

Among the Ladies who were surrounded and were not able to make it to the meeting were  Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez, Marta Díaz Rondón, Miladis Piñales Rosa, Daylin Guerrero, Lissette González Rodríguez  and Odalmys Suarez (all from different municipalities).  Meanwhile, 7 other women suffered arrests at the hands of the political police, among them Lidia Hernández Pérez, Rosaida González Escalona, Rosa María Naranjo Nieves and Lisbeth Pena Hernández.

4 women were able to make it to the home of Berta Guerrero- Nelda Molina Leyva, Romelia Piña González, Lisedis Piña González and Adisnidia Cruz where they were able to carry out their literary meeting.

Zuleidis Perez explained that the weekly vigil was carried out in her home in the city of Holguin.  Previously, this vigil would be celebrated in the home of the now exiled Lady in White and independent journalist Caridad Caballero Batista.  “Upon Caridad Caballero going into exile, here in the province of Holguin we decided to continue her hard work, through which she was able to achieve that many members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance w0uld meet.  Now, we will continue these meetings, and we will be doing it from my house every Wednesday“.

Just as Caballero Batista would do it (who suffered a constant repression due to her tireless activism for freedom), Perez Velazquez also “let the activists present know about the arbitrary situations occurring in all of Cuba, all the arrests and more“, as well as the increasing level of activism.

Four men (human rights activists) were also arrested upon trying to arrive to the house, among them José Mir Cruz and Heladio Pupo Nieves.  Regardless, the vigil was carried out with members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance and the Ladies in White.

These arbitrary actions and all these violations which are being committed in these provinces have been occurring every single Wednesday as well as every Sunday, where they prohibit us from making it to Mass at church“, affirmed Perez Velazquez, “they arrest us, beat us, threaten us, and mistreat us“.

Despite these crackdowns by the regime, the Lady in White assured that the Resistance in the province of Holguin will continue standing firm against the dictatorship.

For more information from Cuba:

Zuleidis Perez Velazquez – Cell Phone: +5358- 244- 778 // Marta Diaz Rondon – Cell Phone: +5352- 771- 630 // Twitter: @MartaDiazRondon

Ladies in White Continue Marching: Sunday Report

Caridad Caballero Batista

As has occurred during the majority of Sundays of the present year, the Lady in White and independent journalist Caridad Caballero Batista was impeded from arriving to Sunday Mass at the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church in her city of residence- Holguin- due to an extensive police operation headed by the repressive agent Yordanys Maritnez Leon this past 24th of June.

The mentioned agent- Martinez Leon- has been responsible for the majority of violent acts against Caridad Caballero, her family, and other Ladies in White from Holguin, ordering acts of repudiation, beatings and arrests of those mentioned activists in order to keep them from arriving to Church every Sunday to pray for the freedom of all political prisoners and for a democratic future on the island.

Caballero Batista explains that this Sunday, she awoke to find her home “completely surrounded by a police operation, which consisted of female police agents, numerous motorcycles, and other officers“.  Because of this, the activist was not able to leave her home.

In Cacocum, Holguin, the Lady in White Berta Guerrero Segura was violently arrested by the political police at around 7:30 AM as she was trying to assist the same church in Holguin.  Meanwhile, two Ladies in White in Banes- Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez and Miladis Rosa- were trying to travel to Caballero Batista’s home to later march to church but they were intercepted and impeded by State Security agents from leaving their town.

Caballero Batista added that in the same province of Holguin, on Saturday June 23rd, the Lady in White Adisnidia Cruz Segreo, who was visiting her children in prison, was arrested.  Both of her sons are political prisoners- Marcos Maikel Cruz and Antonio Michel Lima Cruz. They were jailed for publicly listening to the rebellious and independent music of the rap-duo Los Aldeanos, and they have been considered prisoners of conscience.  Adisnidia was detained upon leaving the prison and held behind bars until afternoon hours on Sunday, after Mass had concluded.

Despite this crackdown, Caballero highlights that “4 women were able to make it to mass in the city of Holguin“.


The former political prisoner  José Daniel Ferrer García informed through ‘Háblalo sin Miedo’ that 4 Ladies in White managed to surpass police cordons and arrive to church in Bayamo.  Ferrer Garcia added that 35 Ladies in White assisted mass in the Sanctuary of El Cobre in Santiago de Cuba, while another 7 women made it to Catholic Mass in Guantanamo.

From the province of Matanzas, Caridad Burunate informed through her Twitter account (@CaridadBurunate) that 6 Ladies in White (among them, her) made it to mass in the city of Colon, despite a strong vigilance on behalf of Cuba’s political police.

Lady in White: “We are Going to Continue Moving Forward and Nothing Can Hold us Back”

After having surpassed police operations for two consecutive Sundays, this past 27th of May Lady in White and independent journalist Caridad Caballero Batista was once again arrested along with her husband Esteban Sandez Suarez as they were trying to assist Sunday Mass in the city of Holguin.  According to the activist, the violence occurred under the orders of State Security official Yordanys Martinez Leon, a well known local oppressor.

Just a few steps from my house, when we were trying to get to church at around 8:25 AM, agent Martinez Leon ran at me and quickly snatched my purse from my arm”,  said the activist, explaining that “that is what this specific agent always does first”. 

After the snatching of the purse, the official gave orders to a number of women dressed in green and who are members of the  Ministry of the Interior to continue with the arrest.  These agents twisted the arms of Caridad Caballero and shoved her into a police vehicle while other oppressors did the same with Esteban Sandez.  Both were taken to the Instructional Unit of Pedernales where they were confined to small, sealed-off and inhumane cells until 12:15 PM.

Some other Ladies in White in the city of Holguin who suffered the same fate were  Berta Guerrero Segura, Noemí Hidalgo Gómez and Adisnidia Cruz, among others.

According to Caballero Batista, there was a police operation consisting of constant vigilance and threats on behalf of countless political police officials throughout the entire week, until she finally was arrested on Sunday.  “Wherever I would go during the week, I had State Security agents following me“, she said.   “On Sunday, I awoke to find my house surrounded by a number of police vehicles State Security officials on motorcycles, National Police officers, and snitches from the Rapid Response Brigades“.  The dissident said that the latter constantly keep a watch over her and other local activists 24 hours a day.

Despite the constant persecution, Caballero Batista points out that another 5 Ladies in White were able to surpass police cordons and assist Mass in the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church this past Sunday.

“We are victims of all sorts of violations just for demanding our rights to religious freedom and the complete freedom of all Cubans, and for simply going to Church to pray to God for our loved ones and for the freedom of all political prisoners.  But despite this repression, we are going to continue moving forward and nothing will hold us back.  I am letting State Security know this, as well as Fidel Castro and Raul Castro…they will have to kill us, but as long as we have strength we are going to continue taking to the streets to demand our rights”,  said Caridad Caballero Batista.

For more information from Cuba:

Caridad Caballero Batista – Cell Phone: +5352-629-749 // Twitter: @caricaballero

In the City of Holguin, Ladies in White Surpass Police Cordon, Make it to Sunday Mass

This May 20th was the second consecutive Sunday in which the Lady in White Caridad Caballero Batista managed to surpass a strong police cordon and arrive to the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church in the city of Holguin, this time accompanied by 5 other women of the group- Barbara Bauza, Romelia Piña González, Lisedis Piña González, Ana María Aguilera Paneque and Nelda Molina Leyva. The Sunday prior to this, only Caballero Batista was able to make it to church without being detained.  Before this, the activist had not been able to assist Sunday Mass during 2012 because of constant arrests.

Caballero recounts that a large number of political police officials were shocked after they surrounded her home for hours during that morning to later find that she had already left and made it to church.  Usually, the Lady in White cannot even walk two blocks from her home when she is violently taken into custody.  This time, she used a new method.

When she arrived to the church, Caridad explained that there was “an immense police operation” waiting for the Ladies in White.  “They had a number of buses, police cars, and motorcycles stationed just two blocks from the church.  In fact, they were even using firefighters who were waiting to oppress us as well as female prison guards“.

Despite all of this, through the “new tactics“, the 6 Ladies in White were able to assist Sunday mass in its entirety.  Upon arriving at the temple, Caballero Batista said that the churchgoers were overcome with emotion.  They welcomed the women and chatted with them for a while.

However, other Ladies in White in Holguin did suffer arrests, as were the cases of Berta Guerrero Segura, Adisnidia Cruz, and Zuleidys Perez Velazquez, according to Caballero, who speculated that the number of arrests was most likely greater but she “could not confirm about other women because our telephone service was blocked during the entire time of our trip to church as well as after the Mass“.

We were able to march.  We walked with the gladiolus in our hands while the everyday people were staring at us, nervous at what could happen with us.  The regime was not expecting this“, she said, clearly emotional, “Thanks to the grace of God, this Sunday- which is the second to last Sunday of Lent- we were able to assist Mass.  We thanked God for having let us arrive, at least some of us“.

Caridad  stood by her Christian faith, assuring that “through the help of his angels, Jesus Christ allowed us to arrive to church, proving that there is no authority which can hold us down“.

For more information Cuba:

Caridad Caballero Batista – Cell Phone:  +5352-629749   // Twitter: @caricaballero

Another Sunday: Ladies in White do not Back Down in the Face of State Repression

The repression against the Ladies in White has not ceased, nor have the operations to impede them from participating in Sunday Mass in Holguin”, said from that same city Lady in White and independent journalist Caridad Caballero Barista, one of the detainees, as tends to occur, this past Sunday April 29th, 2012.

Caballero Batista and her husband, Esteban Sandez Suarez were detained during morning hours when they were on their way to the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church in the city of Holguin.  Some other activists/Ladies who suffered arrests at the hands of the political police were Isabel Pena Torres, Adisnida Cruz, and Marco Antonio Lima in Holguin and Berta Guerrero Segura in the municipality of Cacocun.  The latter was arrested along with her 2 year old daughter.  She was simply walking down a sidewalk, on her way to church, dressed in white and carrying her small child when police agents intercepted her.

In the case of Caballero and Sandez Suarez, both were physically assaulted by police officials who then shoved them into police vehicles and took them to the instructional unit known as Pedernales, where they are usually taken when detained.  The activist explained that they were placed in “pestilent cells which are completely sealed off and where there is barely enough ventilation to breath…it is horrible“.

Due to these horrid conditions in which the Lady in White and her husband are regularly confined to, as well as all the physical blows they receive and all the hunger strikes they carry out as a form of protest, both have started to suffer from serious pains and complications in the kidneys.

Meanwhile, Caballero adds that “in other regions of the country there were police operations which impeded various women from other municipalities, such as Banes and Velasco, from traveling to the city of Holguin to march together“.  In addition, during the morning of Saturday April 28th, the Lady in White Miladis Pena was intercepted, detained and deported by the police “despite the fact that she was not even traveling to Holguin“.

Other cases of violence against Ladies in White were reported throughout the island, as was the case in Santiago de Cuba where 7 women were violently arrested as they were on their way to the El Cobre Sanctuary.  They were then abandoned in desolate and remote areas, far from their homes.  Among these women was Belkis Cantillo Ramirez, wife of the recently released opposition leader Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia.  Despite the repression and the aggressive measures, whether it be in Holguin or in Santiago de Cuba or other provinces, some women were able to surpass police cordons and assist Sunday Mass.

Strong censorship still remains, cellphones blocked

In her case, Caridad Caballero adds that “it has been more than 1 month since I do not have telephone service“.  The dissident explains that this has been part of yet another method of censorship being practice by the Cuban regime so that she cannot communicate with fellow activists.  Up to this moment, her phone “does not receive and cannot dial any national calls and cannot send or receive any text messages from within the country.  Only a few international calls are allowed to be received“.

Caridad Caballero Batista

In fact, Caballero has had various family issues in Guantanamo (her native province) during the past few weeks- one uncle passed away, another uncle is in critical condition, and her elderly grandmother is sick- and yet, the activist has not been able to establish concrete communication with them.  Her house phone is also blocked.

Because of this, Caballero and Sandez recently went to the central office of CUBACEL (State phone company) in Holguin and present their complaints and demands.  However, they did not receive a response and their phones are still not working properly.

The Cuban regime has tried at all costs to impede Cuban dissidents from communicating with one another, from traveling freely within their own country, and from demanding their rights out on the streets.  But despite all of this, according to Caballero Batista, “as long as we are alive, we will continue resisting“.

For mor informaiton form Cuba:

Caridad Caballero Batista – Cell phone: +5352-629-749 // Twitter: @caricaballero


Persecution, Arrests, and Threats Mark Resurrection Sunday in Cuba

This 8th of April- Resurrection Sunday- in the Eastern Cuban city of Holguin, Ladies in White Caridad Caballero Batista and Isabel Pena Torres were arrested with violence.  Political police agents applied headlocks on these women, then twisting their arms and taking them detained to the Pedernales Instructional Unit, where they were kept in completely dark cells until 11:30 AM, right when Sunday Mass at the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church came to an end.

However, Caridad Caballero says that on their way to church, right before being arrested, “Isabel and I were able to walk about 15 blocks with our flowers in hand, and the everyday people greeted us and wished us their blessings.  Although we were just two women, they knew who we were and they said hello to us…it was a very beautiful moment“.  Nevertheless, a number of State Security agents aboard a police vehicle followed the women throughout town until they were finally arrested out on the street.  Caballero denounces that “the official who was in charge of this operation was agent Jordany Martinez Leon“.

In the case of Caridad Caballero, her husband Esteban Sandez Suarez, and their son Eric Sandez, they all had plans this Saturday and Sunday to arrive at church to receive their first communion and confirmation.  On Saturday morning, Caridad and Esteban were able to surpass the cordons composed of the political police, the national police, and the Rapid Response Brigades, but Eric did not have the same luck, considering that he was trying to leave his house later but was impeded from doing so by numerous agents.  In addition, all the telephone lines of the family were intercepted and blocked by the censoring apparatus of the Cuban regime.  That night, Caridad and Esteban were able to make it to the Jesus Christ the Redeemer Church and received their first communion.

In reference to this experience, Caridad recounts that it was a very “emotional” moment for her, considering that it was the first time in 2012 that both were able to make it to Mass.  “The churchgoers would greet us, they told us that they had not seen us for far too long, they asked how we were…they were very worried about us“, says the Lady in White.  “It was an incredible moment,” said the activist in reference to so much solidarity, “It was a very emotional rencounter with people with who we have shared so much time with.  I will never forget it“.

On Sunday, it was scheduled that the dissident couple would receive their confirmation, but due to Caridad’s arrest, it was not possible, though this time Eric was able to make it to church.  He received his first communion.  His house, however, was surrounded by Cuban soldiers but his father, Esteban, managed to clandestinely take his son out on that morning.  According to Caballero Batista, “during Eric’s communion, many churchgoers asked him about me and he explained to them that I was detained for trying to arrive“.  Another 5 Ladies in White were able to make it to church.

Meanwhile, in the same province of Holguin, in the municipality of Cacocum, the dissident couple made up of Lady in White Berta Guerrero Segura and Franklin Peregrino del Toro spent the entire weekend with their home surrounded by political police agents.  On Sunday the 8th, Guerrero Segura was violently arrested as she tried to leave her house for church.  In that same region, Adis Nidia Cruz (also a Lady in White) was detained for trying to arrive to church to pray for the liberation of her two jailed sons (Marcos Maikel Cruz and Antonio Lima Cruz) who were sent to the Castro dungeons for publicly listening to anti-government music.

In Banes, Holguin Lady in White Marta Diaz Rondon and her husband Juan Oriol Verdecia managed to make it to Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Charity, though under “constant vigilance of State Security“.  According to Rondon, these agents “persecuted us until we arrived at the actual church” and they waited for the activist and her husband outside the church until Mass was over in order to keep surveillance over them again all the way until they reach their homes.  Other Ladies in White in Banes- Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez and Miladis Pinales Rosa- were not able to make it to Mass considering that uniformed police officials kept them from leaving their own homes.  Diaz Rondon denounced the constant threats against her and assured that in Cuba, religious freedom is not respected.

Other arrests of Ladies in White were reported in Santiago de Cuba and in Havana, while in the town of Pedro Betancourt, Matanzas the regime unleashed a wave of 28 arrests of human rights activists.  This occurred on Saturday April 7th after the former political prisoner Angel Moya Acosta was violently arrested the previous day in the same town.  Moya had plans to visit the cemetery where his mother is buried, but was intercepted by the Cuban police.  The other 28 detainees had the sam plans- to travel to the cemetery.  Moya Acosta was released on the night of Sunday.

The Lady in White from Havana, Sara Marta Fonseca, reported on her Twitter account (@SaraMartaCuba) that former political prisoner from Pinar del Rio, Raul Risco Perez, suffered an arrest at around 10:30 AM on Sunday.  He was behind the bars of a police unit until 7 PM and the police agents confiscated various of his belongings, among them a laptop and voice recorder.

During this time, the former political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia remains detained in a police unit of Palmarito de Cauto.  Garcia was violently arrested this past Sunday 2nd, after his house was broken into by Cuban police.  His wife, the Lady in White Belkis Cantillo Ramirez was detained alongside Jose Daniel but was released on Saturday night.  Both Belkis and her 14 year old daughter Martha Beatriz Ferrer have suffered detentions and threats on behalf of the Cuban authorities during this weekend.

In Cuba, Holy Week goes by like any other week on the calendar- full of state sponsored persecution, aggression, and violence against dissidents and human rights activists who simply demand freedom for Cuba in a completely peaceful fashion.

Flowers in hand, Ladies in White demand freedom

Para mas información desde Cuba:

Caridad Caballero Batista – Cell: +5352-629-749 / Twitter: @Caricaballero //Marta Díaz Rondón – Cell: +5352-771-639/ Twitter: @MartaDiazRondon //Franklin Peregrino del Toro – Cell: +5353-139-855 // Ángel Moya Acosta – Cell: +5353-820-595 / Twitter: @jangelmoya


Lady in White: “As Pope Benedict’s visit to Cuba nears, the political police increases its repression”. Another Sunday of Arrests.

This past 11th of March was the twelfth consecutive Sunday that Lady in White and independent journalist Caridad Caballero Batista was forcefully kept from reaching church alongside other Ladies in the city of Holguin.  This time, Caballero was arbitrarily detained on Saturday, March 10th, together with her 19-year old son, Eric Sandez Caballero, at around 8:30 AM as they were both aboard a car headed towards a taxi and bus stop at the center of the city to take care of some personal chores.

As soon as we stepped down from the car, various State Security and political police officials ran at us and aggressively arrested us”, explained the activist, adding that the operation was led by agents Duglas Torres Pupo and Yordanis Martinez Leon, among others.  The arrest occurred before the eyes of a number of everyday citizens which were passing by that centric area.  Regardless, the regime deployed a number of police vehicles just to arrest two people.

Both mother and son were introduced in one of those police vehicles and taken to the Instructional Unit of Pedernales where they were kept in separate interrogation rooms.  “They told us that they were not going to allow us to move freely throughout the country and that they were going to start a smear campaign against us.  We responded by saying that we do not care for how many campaigns they carry out against us and that we are anti-Castro until the death, and that we will keep fighting for our rights: for freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and  the respect of human rights in Cuba“.

After this exchange of words, Caridad and Eric were moved to separate small and sealed off cells.  In the case of Eric, there were 4 other prisoners in his cell, all of who were being charged with different crimes, including robbery.  The guards did not give him a mattress and the 19-year old had to sleep on a piece of concrete in the cell.  Eric Sandez suffers from a medical condition where his sugar level and blood pressure suddenly drop and the blood flow to his brain becomes insufficient.  Whenever this happens to him, he must urgently be rushed to a doctor or a hospital.  Despite suffering from such a delicate condition, the functionaries of the Cuban regime still subject Eric to cruel and degrading treatment.

In the case of Caballero Batista, she was the only person in her cell, which was completely sealed off.  “The bathroom of the cell was a small hole on the floor and it was clogged.  I had to put up with that very strong smell, among mosquitoes, roaches, spiders, and other bugs“.  As she usually does, the Lady in White began to shout messages from her dungeon: “Down with Communism“, “Down with the Castros“, and “Long live Human Rights“.  Caballero affirms that she heard some common prisoners in the distance repeat her slogans.  “In fact, one of them told me to scream louder so it could be heard in all of the prison, and others would repeat my phrase when I would say ‘long live Human Rights‘”.

Caridad and Eric were kept in those cells (without drinking water) until Sunday at 11:30 AM, once the mass in the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church of Holguin had concluded.  During this whole time, Caballero’s home was surrounded by numerous police vehicles and State Security officials with the intentions of keeping Esteban Sandez, Caridad’s husband, from leaving his own home.  Despite this, the dissident found a way to leave his house and directed himself to the nearest State Security unit where he publicly demanded the liberation of his wife and son.

In regards to her son, Caridad Caballero assured that although the regime is trying to “frighten him, he has come out much stronger.  Every time he has one of these situations he gets even more inspired to stay in the struggle“.

Meanwhile, in the town of Banes the Ladies in White Marta Diaz Rondon, Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez, and Miladis Pinales Rosa were once again arrested at around 5:30 AM as they were trying to travel to the city of Holguin to march to mass alongside other Ladies.  Diaz Rondon explained that in her case her home had been under “tight surveillance since Wednesday“.  Despite the vigilance, the dissident and these other two women decided to leave their homes during the early morning hours.  They noticed that barely any State Security officials and political police officers were around their homes at that time.  They took advantage of the moment and boarded a bus.  However, as the bus arrived to the exit point of Banes, a military checkpoint composed of numerous State Security officials were waiting for the Ladies.

They took us down from the buses by force, and at that moment, we were arrested.  They put us inside police vehicles and took us to the State Security headquarter of Banes”, said Rondon.  The three women were kept separated in that unit for 6 hours until mass in Holguin and Banes came to an end.  “They told each of us that every time we leave our homes we will be detained“.  Diaz Rondon has not been able to leave her own city for various weeks now.  

All the exits of Banes are under control of State Security and the political police, but I have told all the officials that my house is not a dungeon”, affirmed the Lady in White.

Other Ladies in White, such as Berta Guerrero Segura in Cacocum and Adisnidia Cruz in the city of Holguín, were reportedly detained also on that Sunday.  Only 3 women made it to mass in Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church, under much vigilance and constant threats on behalf of functionaries from the communist regime.

During that same Sunday night, it was confirmed  that dissidents Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez, Eriberto Liranza Romero (president of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy) and Rene Rouco Machín (President of the Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia Movement) were suddenly arrested.  The detentions were reported by Yris Tamara Aguilera, wife of Antunez and active dissident in her own right, who published various Twitter messages (@YrisCuba) with the information.  In the case of her husband, his arrest occurred in the central town of Placetas as he stepped out of his house and was walking to the corner of his block when guards detained him “under orders of the high command from Havana“.  Eriberto Liranza and Rene Rouco were arrested in their respective homes in Havana.  Yris Aguilera added that she does not know the whereabouts of her husband or of Liranza or Machin, and that in the town of “Sagua la Grande all homes of dissidents are surrounded“.

In regards to all these arbitrary arrests, Caridad Caballero declared that “as Pope Benedict’s visit to Cuba nears, the political police increases its repression against the peaceful defenders of human rights and the Ladies in White“.

For more information from Cuba:

Caridad Caballero Batista – Cell Phone: 011-5352-629-749; Twitter: @caricaballero / Marta Díaz Rondón – Cell Phone: 011-5352-771-639; Twitter: @MartaDiazRondon / Yris Tamara Aguilera – Cell Phone: 011-5352-417-749 ; Twitter: @YrisCuba

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