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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Claridad
July 29, 2013Posted by on
Police forces of the Cuban regime have not only taken up the task of arresting, beating, deporting and spying on human rights activists on the island, but also have a long history of carrying out acts of vandalism against their homes. In the last couple of days, new cases of these actions have been documented.
Alexei Jiménez Almarales, an independent journalist from Holguin province, sent a note to this blog where he explains that the home of dissident couple Julio Cesar Álvarez Marrero (president of the Claridad Human Rights Movement) and Catalina Hidalgo Nonell (a member of the Ladies in White) was attacked by mobs organized by State Security on the morning of July 29th in the mentioned Eastern province.
“When they awoke on Sunday morning, they found the walls of their home full of signs with messages against them as well as exploded condoms full of paint…they had been thrown against the walls of their home, which was left completely filthy“, detailed Jimenez.
The repressors also “left a glass bottle with gasoline and a fuse on the tip in front of their house, as well as a box of matches next to the bottle“.
Julio Cesar Alvarez told the journalist that this serves as a direct threat of lighting his house on fire and he assures that “if something happens to me or to my wife, the culprit is the Cuban government“.
Meanwhile, on the same day in the city of Colon, in Matanzas province, the Lady in White Caridad Burunate suffered a similar attack when political police agents hurled feces at her house, all of this as an attempt to impede her from marching to church as all members of this female group do each Sunday.
“See the terror which Raul Castro’s regime has wanted to implant in Colon, Matanzas, filling my house with feces”, wrote the dissident on her Twitter account (@CaridadBurunate), publishing various photos of the aftermath along with the text. It is not the first time this is done to her.
Burunate’s home not only serves as a meeting point for a number of activists and Ladies in White in the area, but also as the headquarters of the community project known as “Lanza Flores-Capitán Tondique”, where members of the opposition in Matanzas prepare food for homeless and sick citizens.
Caridad Burunate responded to the attacks by hanging a sign outside her home explaining to everyday people what had happened, as well as by publishing another tweet which read, “Down with Fidel, Down with Raul, Down with the tyranny, Down with the dicatorship, Down with communism and Long Live a Free Cuba!“
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Alexei Jiménez Almarales – Cell Phone: +52-552-925 / Twitter: @jugandomelavida
Caridad Burunate – Cell Phone: +52-563-003 / Twitter: @CaridadBurunate
July 15, 2013Posted by on
Numerous Cubans on the island reported that activities in commemoration of the victims of the ’13 de Marzo’ Tugboat Massacre took place throughout the country this past Saturday, 13th of July, the 19th anniversary of the crime, where forces of the dictatorship received orders to open fire on children, women and men who were trying to escape the country on an old tugboat.
Independent journalist Alexei Jimenez Almarales sent a note to this blog about how these innocent Cubans were remembered in the Eastern province of Holguin:
Victims of ’13 de Marzo’ Tugboat Massacre remembered with much pain by dissidents in Holguin
Activists from the Republican Party of Cuba paid tribute to the people assassinated under the orders of Fidel Castro Ruz on July 13th 1994.
The members of the PRC deposited flowers in the river as a sign of respect to the men, women and children who lost their lives when the Cuban authorities sunk the 13 de Marzo tugboat on the coasts of Cuba.
“The assassination of these people who were aboard the 13 de Marzo Tugboat will not remain with impunity, we will remember them each year so that the people who perpetrated this horrible massacre know that the Cuban people demand justice”, commented Jorge Luis Recio Arias, director of the PRC in the municipality of Holguin.
Those who participated were: Jorge Luis Recio Arias, Amilkar Pérez Riverón, Lisbet Peñas Hernández, Ania Isabel Martínez Perdomo, Carmen Oropesa Ramírez, Julio Cesar Ramos Cúrvelo.
Activists of the Claridad Human Rights Movement pay tribute to victims of the 13 de Marzo Tugboat on the 19th anniversary of its drowning
Activists from the Claridad Human Rights Movement pay tribute to the victims of the 13 de Marzo Tugboat on the 19th anniversary of its sinking
Six member of the Claridad Human Rights Movement were able to make it to a local river, where they honored the people who lost their lives on that fateful 13th of July 1994.
After sharing a few words in remembrance of the horrible murder, the present deposited flowers in honor of the more than 40 people who died after being drowned by Cuban authorities in the shores of Havana.
They also commemorated the 11th anniversary of the Claridad Movement which was founded on July 13th of 2002 with the objective of denouncing human rights violations committed by the communist government of Cuba.
The participants were: Julio Cesar Álvarez Marrero, Alexander Casavielle Hidalgo, Yolanda Pérez Días, Wilmer Escalona Molina, Wilver Gomes Gracias.
For more details:
Alexei Jimenez – Cell Phone: +52-552-925
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
February 17, 2013Posted by on
The pro-freedom groups Independent and Democratic Cuba (CID), Claridad, the Pedro Luis Boitel Movement, the Eastern Democratic Alliance (ADO), the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and the LGBTA Observatory (an organization which champions rights for Cuban homosexuals) joined forces this Friday, 15th of February, and marched in the Eastern city of Holguin to protest the countless abuses against the Ladies in White this week and to honor the memory of Laura Pollan Toledo, fallen leader of that women’s group.
Since morning hours of that Friday, dissident Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, general coordinator of ADO, informed about the activities on his Twitter account (@LobainaCuba). Meanwhile, former political prisoner and general coordinator of UNPACU, Jose Daniel Ferrer, published a link on his Twitter account (@jdanielferrer) with an audio-testimony of some of the participants in the demonstration.
Javier Eduardo Martínez Reyes, president of the LGBTA group, provided details in the UNPACU YouTube channel, explaining that the political police unleashed a repressive operation against all participants, interrupting the activity. Martinez Reyes detailed that the activists set out from his home, marching, but were quickly arrested. There were a number of police vehicles waiting for the dissidents outside.
Martinez Reyes was detained alongside Franklin Peregrino de Toro (UNPACU) and Yunier Jimenez de la Cruz (ADO and CID) in a vehicle belonging to the Ministry of the Interior with license plate #021114. They were taken to the police unit known as El Anillo, where they remained detained for various hours. Other members of the LGBTA, ADO, CID and Claridad were also being held there, while other activists were taken to other police units. The police threatened all of them, saying that they would confiscate all of their materials- cameras, cell phones, laptops, etc.
The dictatorship’s State Security apparatus has made it very clear with this arrest that they deeply fear the union of diverse dissident groups on the island. Generally, groups which act completely independent from one another manage to march at least a few blocks before they are violently arrested, but when various organizations come together to carry out a public activity, the objective of the regime is to impede the everyday people from seeing this unity in action. The regime spends countless resources on its propaganda machine to try and create divisions among pro-freedom groups, both in and out of Cuba.
Yunier Jimenez, photo-reporter from ADO and also a member of CID, held a conversation with “Radio Republica”, where he detailed what happened from his point of view.
“We were psychologically tortured (in the Anillo police unit)”, said Jimenez, “Captain Juan Ramon Chapman told me that he would do all in his power to cause me harm, and he tried to intimidate me, saying that that he was going to kill me. He told me my days were counted and that they were going to find me one day with my mouth full of ants. He said that if the same thing that happened to Oswaldo Paya didn’t happen to me, then something very similar would”.
The dissidents were released after 1 PM, after more threats from their oppressors.
“However, in the end we achieved our objective, which was to have the different movements here in Holguin work together and to demonstrate to the regime that we are all Resistance and that we do not fear them, because this year is the year of the opposition in Cuba”, declared Yunier in the recording.