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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Blas Agusto Fortun Martínez
August 18, 2012Posted by on
The dissident leader suffered strong chest and head pains during his arrest but was denied medical assistance in police unit and local Placetas Hospital. Meanwhile, activist Atruro Conde Zamora was threatened by police agents that they would fabricate him a crime in order to disappear him.
At around 9 AM on the morning of Friday, August 17th, the renown dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Perez “Antunez” was arrested by the political police along with Arturo Conde Zamora, also an activist, when they were both on their way to carry out a civic demonstration in front of a Jose Marti monument in the city of Placetas, Villa Clara. According to Antunez, the activity was going to be in condemnation of the deaths of Oswaldo Paya Sardinas and Harold Cepero Escalante, as well as other dissidents like Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Wilman Villar Mendoza, Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia, and Laura Pollan.
He also explained that other members of the Resistance had plans to join the protest. “Blas Fortun Martinez, Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, Xiomara Martinez Jimenez, Donaida Perez Paceiros and Yaite Cruz Sosa all had plans to meet up with us to join the activity“, said Antunez, but it was not possible at that moment.
Antunez explained that the arrest was violent and both men were taken to the Placetas Police Unit where they were confined to pestilent cells for 24 hours. During the detention, Antunez started to suffer “strong pains in the chest, head, and on the right eye“. The activist acquired many health issues during the 17 year prison term he was sentenced to in the 90’s for carrying out a peaceful demonstration against the Cuban regime. When his brother- Loreto Hernandez Garcia- went to the police unit at around 11 PM and tried to give him medicines for the pains he was suffering, the authorities flat out told him that this was not allowed. The activist did not receive medical attention during his time in the cell.
While the activists- both who are members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front- remained detained, the group of dissidents which was going to initially join the protest that morning decided to carry out their own demonstration outside the home of Antunez. His wife Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, also a leading dissident and president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, explained to various news sources like “Radio Republica” and “Radio Marti” that the group took to the streets and started to shout slogans like “Water, food, the people are dying”, “Freedom for Antunez and Conde Zamora”, and “Towards the National Strike”. These activities were closely watched by State Security agents but no arrests were reported.
Antunez also denounced that Arturo Conde Zamora received threats and insults during his time detained. “One of the officials told him: ‘Nigger, if you do not get out of the opposition we are going to fabricate a common crime for you and take you out of circulation’“. These tactics are common in Cuba, where countless dissidents have been taken to prison or have been fined for heavy sums for crimes they have never committed.
At around 9 AM of Saturday, Agusut 18th, Arturo Conde and Antunez were released. In the case of the latter, he was still suffering strong chest pains, so he tried to get checked at the Placetas Hospital, but once he arrived there he was told that they could not tend to him under the excuse that there were not enough doctors present.
Once Antunez returned to his home in Placetas he noticed that the cordons of police agents were still there, watching over all of his actions. Although he still feels some chest pains, Antunez- the secretary general of the Orlando Zapata National Resistance Front- affirmed that he feels “more firm and decided than ever” of his position: that he will “not shut up, and not leave Cuba“.
For more information from Cuba:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’- Cell Phone: +5352-731-656 // Twitter: @antunezcuba
Despite the Sexual Harassment and the Physical Aggressions, the Women of the Rosa Parks Movement Will Continue Marching
March 5, 2012Posted by on
Every first day of the month has already started to become synonymous with acts of Resistance by the activists from the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. This past March 1st, these Cubans once again took to the streets, but this time in different areas of the island.
In Banes, the Lady in White and Vice-President of the Rosa Parks Movement, Marta Diaz Rondon, led a group of other women to the Northern Cemetery in that same town where the remains of activist Marta Cecilia Perez Duconger lay. The dissidents decided to pay tribute to this Cuban on this specific date because she was one of the founders of the Rosa Parks Movement. Although they were able to carry out their tribute, a constant surveillance by the political police surrounded the women. In Matanzas, dissident Leticia Ramos, along with other activists, also took to the street and carried out a protest march.
However, without a doubt the worst violence occurred in Placetas, where a group of women from the Rosa Parks Movement, among them their president Yris Tamara Aguilera, surprised the regime functionaries in that area and stood outside the headquarters of the Municipal Headquarters of the Communist Party demanding freedom for the political prisoners Yazmin Conyedo and Yusmany Alvarez, an end to forced evictions, and, in sum, freedom for Cuba. Other women who participated were Donaida Pérez Paseiro, Yaite Cruz Sosa and Dora Pérez Correa. According to testimonies of these same women, many everyday Cubans displayed support and solidarity with them.
In just instants, a mob made up of State Security agents surrounded the women and quickly and violently arrested Blas Fortun Martinez, a dissident from the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front who was reporting from the scene of the protest. This arrest was carried out by agent Idel Gonzalez Morfi, best known as ‘Railroad Nail’. Meanwhile, and despite the aggressions, the women kept firm and shouted “freedom” and “the streets belong to the people“.
The communist mobs did not take long to physically assault the demonstrators. In this case, the activists denounce that the women from State Security who work in the Communist Headquarters began to scratch them and even bite them. In addition, the functionaries began to take off their shoes and use them to beat the female dissidents. According to Donaida Perez, numerous passer-bys defended the dissidents, standing in between them and their aggressors.
After this display of violence, the women from the Rosa Parks Movement decided to head back to one of their homes- that of Dora Perez, which is located literally across the street from the Communist Headquarters. But State Security was not satisfied with beating them and harassing them for just a short while. Considering that the march was completely spontaneous, the agents could only manage to gather a small group of women from State Security during the initial violence. When some time had passed, the functionaries organized a larger repressive operation against the women. A number of agents surrounded the home of Dora Perez and started to hurl rocks and shout offensive slogans. Various soldiers broke into the home and beat all those inside, taking them detained, even those who did not participate in the protest, like Yaimara Reyes Mesa and Xiomara Martin Jiménez. Also, the daughter of Dora Perez, who is not even a public dissident, was beaten and arrested.
In the following audio, recorded and provided by the Cuban Democratic Directorate (in Spanish), one can hear the moment when the arrests occurred, as the dissidents are bravely confronting their oppressors and shouting “No more Castros“, “Long live Democracy“, and “freedom for the Cuban people“, among other slogans:
All the women inside the house were arrested and the soldiers even left the door of the house wide open. Yris Aguilera, Dora Perez, and Yaimara Reyes were taken to the Instructional Police Headquarters (UPOC) in Santa Clara. When news of this spread, on the next day members of the Central Opposition Coalition directed themselves to that unit, demanding the immediate liberation of the activists.
The women of the Rosa Parks Movement were released during the afternoon hours of March 3rd. But the violence did not stop there. In the case of Yris Tamara Aguilera, she was beat inside the police vehicle which was headed to leave her back at her house in Placetas. The official known as Yuniel Monteagudo Reina was the aggressor, and he is also forcefully lowered Yris’s pants, sexually harassing her. Yris protested and did not let him get any closer to her, despite his physical strength. In declarations made just minutes after this abuse, Yris denounced that agent Yuniel told her “I’m gonna tear off the pants of this nigger and I am going to get on top of her”. This was also strongly denounced by her husband, the well-known activist for human rights and opposition leader, Jorge Luis Garcia ‘Antunez’.
These women have affirmed that despite the increased violence against them every first day of the month (and any other day they voice their opinions), they will continue demonstrating in defense of human rights, against government impunity, state violence, and, in sum, the Castro dictatorship.
This information was based on Twitter messages published by the Cuban Democratic Directorate. For more information follow @DirectorioCuba.
And from Cuba: Yris Tamara Aguilera – Cell: 011-5352- 417-749, Twitter: @YrisCuba / Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez – Cell: 011-5352- 731-656, Twitter: @AntunezCuba
November 15, 2011Posted by on
“This will be a war with the aim to wear you out“, that’s what the new political police chief in Placetas- Raul Acare Martinez- told Antunez while the latter resided in a jail cell during his most recent detention. Martinez signaled that “every time you all (dissidents) go out to the streets, you will all continue to be arrested“.
Antunez has confirmed this, as he has been victim of 3 arrests (of 72 hours in length) in just one month. The most recent one was on Tuesday, November 8th, when 14 dissidents from the Central Opposition Coalition and the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front met up in a public location in order to carry out a peaceful sit-in in solidarity with Alcides Rodriguez and Rolando Ferrer, both of who were in hunger strike at the time. In addition, it was also a demonstration of solidarity with the savagely beaten Idania Yanez and various other dissidents who remain imprisoned for political reasons in Santiago de Cuba.
“As soon as we concluded that activity and we started to walk back to my house, we were violently repressed and taken to the police unit“, explains Antunez, emphasizing the cases of various of his brothers and sisters in struggle who suffered health complications, such as Xiomara Martin Jimenez who suffered “a serious hypertension crisis” and the blind activist Jose Angel Vazquez who was treated just as ruthless as the others. In the case of Antunez, relatives were informed that he was also experiencing various complications during his second day behind bars. “I regularly suffer from hypoglycemic problems, and I grew very dizzy, had tachycardia, and strong pains in my chest“, he narrates.
The dissident from Placetas adds that his sister, Caridad Garcia Perez Antunez, who is not even a dissident, was “beaten and arrested along with her 15 year old daughter” as they walked in front of his home, trying to find out what was happening to her brother.
After 72 hours, all the non-violent demonstrators were released but the ‘war to wear out’ was clearly underway.
Since the weekend and Monday the 14th, the home of Antunez “has been target of a massive police operation, where no one is allowed to walk in front of the house, passing cars are diverted and they are asking all neighbors for identification“. Despite this, numerous activists were able to surpass the police circle and met up to re-inaugurate a monument to the fallen Orlando Zapata Tamayo (which was debuted a few months ago during the ‘Zapata with Us’ campaign) which was destroyed by the political police last October 24th, during the Day of the Resistance.
Though some dissidents were present, many were detained, deported, or impeded from traveling. Among those arrested were María del Carmen Martínez López and Yanisbel Valido Pérez (Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, Central Opposition Coalition) and among those deported were Yaimara Reyes Mesa, Lorenzo Hernández García, and Blas Agusto Fortun Martínez. Many other activists, from other provinces, were not able to make it due to the strong police operation in their towns which would not let them mobilize, as was the case of Ricardo Pupo Sierra from Cienfuegos.
Regardless, among those present were “from Camaguey, Santo Fernandez Sanchez and Leonardo Garcia Tomas from the Independent and Democratic Cuba Party (CID), and coming from Banes, Rene Quiroga, Aurelio Antonio Morales, and Vivian Tamayo Ramayo from the Eastern Democratic Alliance, and from Ciego de Avila Julio Columbie Batista“, informed Antunez.
The vigilance, the threats, and the repression on behalf of government agents has not ceased, but regardless, the activists carried out the planned activities. “Though many could not be there with us, there was still a significant number of people present,” affirms Jorge Luis Garcia ‘Antunez’, “and, in addition, Zapata was there with us in heart and in spirit“.
Antunez and other members of the Cuban resistance throughout the island have proved that even if the war unleashed against them by the dictatorship is trying to wear them out, they will not tire.