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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Damaris Moya
August 29, 2013Posted by on
Each Thursday in the central region of Cuba women dressed in black march to their nearest church, in a sign of honor and respect to compatriots who have lost their lives in the struggle for establishing a country free from dictatorships. Many times the women are beat, arrested or deported, but each week they walk. They are the members of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, named so in honor of the American civil rights hero.
The women of the Movement are mainly active in the provinces of Villa Clara, Ciego de Avila and Camaguey. They dress in black “as a sign of mourning“, according to the group’s president, Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, originally from Sancti Spiritus and who has been known as one of the female leaders of the Cuban opposition for some years now after she begun her activities demanding the release of her husband, former political prisoner Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, who spent 17 years in the communist gulags for demanding change and freedom in the 90’s.
But why do these women mourn?
“Because we are honoring the many victims of the Castro tyranny“, explained Perez Aguilera, who explains that she is referring to the martyrs of all generations since 1959, “like Pedro Luis Boitel, Mario Chanes de Arma, Mario Manuel de la Pena, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Laura Pollan Toledo, Harold Cepero, Oswaldo Paya“… but she assures that “the list continues“.
Among the mentioned names are members of the pro-freedom Resistance from different stages in history, like Pedro Luis Boitel from the 70’s, Mario Manuel de la Pena (a young Cuban-American member of Brothers to the Rescue) from the 90’s, as well as more recent cases such as Zapata Tamayo, Pollan and Paya. On occasions, the marches have paid tribute to freedom fighters who died in combat or were executed in the Escambray mountains in the 60’s. They have also remembered rafters who have fled the island in search of freedom and have perished.
“We do this to not forget those heroes who fought for the freedom and democracy of Cuba“, says Yris.
Meanwhile, the political police and other repressive factions of the dictatorship lash out against these female activists each Thursday through different methods. At one point in time, each of the women would be arrested but now Perez explains that the agents have employed a new method, “arresting some” and “others not” in an attempt to try and create divisions among the group, an approach which has not yielded positive results for the regime.
“Some of us always manage to make it to church where we participate in Mass in honor of the martyrs, and also, every time one of our activists are left abandoned in some desolate field, they always return and continue the activity“, assures the dissident, a resident of Placetas, Villa Clara. Other cities where weekly marches are reported are Santa Clara, Grua Nueva and Camaguey.
The Rosa Parks Movement also carries out other civil disobedience demonstrations, such as sit-ins, public debates and protest marches. The goal of these activities is to demand the liberation of all political prisoners as well as to demand better social and living conditions for the everyday population.
And it is precisely because of all these Cubans who suffer under the reprisals of the communist regime or who have lost their lives that this female organization “will continue” with their actions, affirms Perez Aguilera.
Here are some declarations about the group made by Yris to this blog (in Spanish):
This past 28th of August, in honor of Martin Luther King’s legacy in the field of civil rights, exiled journalist, blogger and activist Luis Felipe Rojas interviewed Yris Tamara Perez, Damaris Moya and Yaite Cruz Sosa, all members of the Movement, in his program “Contacto Cuba”, transmited to the island through Radio Marti. Take a listen to the show here.
August 27, 2013Posted by on
Several Cuban opposition activists are calling on the international community as well as their fellow compatriots to denounce the situation of political prisoner Ivan Fernandez Depestre, who has been on hunger strike for more than 27 days and whose health has drastically worsened, placing him in a state very “near death”, according to a press release by the Cuban Democratic Directorate.
Fernandez Depestre was abruptly and violently jailed on July 30th after he participated in a peaceful demonstration in honor of Frank Pais, a Cuban martyr who stood up against totalitarianism on the island many years ago. Two days later, on August 2nd, Fernandez was sentenced to 3 years of prison under the Law of Social Pre-Dangerousness which orders time behind bars for citizens who look “dangerous” of committing “crimes” in the future. The activist has been on hunger strike since.
Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, leader of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance Front, a coalition which Ivan is part of, has been frequently denouncing the situation and taking to his Twitter account to let the world know what is going on. In an audio published on his YouTube channel, Antunez expressed that Ivan is “agonizing in a protest that has lasted longer than 20 days” and that his health is “very critical”.
Antunez, who is currently in the city of Miami as part of an international tour to denounce the Cuban reality, has been in contact with dissidents on the island who have carried out several protests demanding the release of Fernandez and called on the international community and all human rights organizations to end their silence in regards to this case.
On August 26th, it was confirmed that Ivan was in the hospital of the penitentiary known as Guamajal, but on morning hours of the 27th, he was transferred back to El Pre Prison, in the city of Santa Clara, Villa Clara. Activists have expressed worry that his life may end there due to the fact that he has been submitted to constant aggressions and very poor medical assistance.
On Friday, August 23rd, Damaris Moya, president of the Central Opposition Coalition, called on dissidents across the island to carry out protests in favor of Ivan’s freedom. A number of activities were documented, but so too was a brutal and repressive response on behalf of Cuba’s political police. Dissidents were beat, arrested, and deported, while many homes were raided and surrounded with police officials.
Antunez tweeted (@antunezcuba) this Tuesday that opposition members have not rested in their demands, saying that protests have taken place in municipalities and cities such as “Placetas, Santa Clara, Sagua la Grande, Holguin, Havana, etc”.
Ivan Fernandez Depestre is on hunger strike to demand his immediate release.
June 3, 2013Posted by on
The home of Damaris Moya Portieles and her family in Santa Clara, Villa Clara. Damaris is the president of the Central Opposition Coalition and a member of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. She is one of the most persecuted activists in that central area but also one of the most active. Her home has become a constant target of repression on behalf of the political police, but as one can see, it has also become one of the bastions of resistance.
This is how dissidents live in Cuba.
As a response to constant acts of repudiations, raids and attacks organized by the regime, Moya Portieles and her family decided to write pro-freedom messages on her walls. Some of them read:
“The Cuban people are hungry, but they are also afraid. When the fear ends, so too will the hunger”.
“Down with Raul and Fidel (Castro)”.
“Freedom for Sonia Garro Alfonso and her husband”.
“Fidel and Raul are corrupt thieves”.
“No more hunger and misery”.
This photo was published on Twitter by Cuban-American activist Cecilia Rojas (@CeciliaF_Rojas). Cecilia recently visited Cuba after her mother passed away. She was brave enough to meet with some dissidents, among them Damaris Moya and Antunez. Due to this display of solidarity she was detained for various hours by the political police.
May 29, 2013Posted by on
Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, member of the Central Opposition Coalition, has been on hunger strike in the Vidal Park of Santa Clara, Villa Clara, along with his wife Ramona Maday Garcia, for more than a week, demanding that the regime give him a home after he was forcefully evicted during the month of April.
Santos, a former dissident prisoner, came out of jail to find that his father had passed away and that he had no home. He spent various months staying at the homes of friends and fellow activists until he decided to occupy an abandoned establishment in the city of Santa Clara. Police forces violently evicted him and his wife from the place, and the activist took shelter in the house of another dissident. Eventually, he decided to demand the regime to give him the opportunity to have a house where he could establish himself and establish a family.
This Wednesday, May 29th, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, former political prisoner and general secretary of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, published an audio in his YouTube account detailing that another 4 activists had joined Luis Enrique’s hunger strike. The striker shifted his protest to the home of Antunez, where the other dissidents also reside. They are Arnaldo Perez, Fernando Vazquez, Yunier Santana, and most recently, Damaris Moya Portieles. The latter is the president of the Central Opposition Coalition.
Although the life of each of these hunger-strikers is in danger, Antunez explains that the most worrying situation is that of Luis Enrique Santos Caballero who only has one kidney. He lost his other kidney in prison after he was severely beat by a number of guards. Santos Caballero has also seen his health affected in the last couple of days after sleeping under rain and wind in a public park for more than a week.
“Luis Enrique Santos is on the verge of losing his life for demanding something so basic, so elementary, which is having a home”, declares Antunez in the audio, “he is a man who truly looks like a cadaver…he is suffering the effects of a weakened physical state, and the lack of one kidney. At any given moment, a fatal outcome may take place”.
Antunez called on the international community, especially people who have Twitter accounts and who run blogs about Cuba, to keep informing about the situation of Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, an activist who is willing to give his life so that at least his wife could have a decent home.
Para más información desde Cuba, contactar a:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’ – Móvil: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba
April 19, 2013Posted by on
On the night of Wednesday, April 17th, Cubans in diverse parts of the country rang their pots and pans as a display of support and solidarity with the Venezuelan opposition, a movement which also uses these methods of civil disobedience.
The protest was convoked by the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, a coalition which groups numerous internal opposition organizations. Other groups, as well as members of Cuba’s civil society, participated.
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, secretary general of the Front, said in an audio published on his YouTube account that “a group of members of the Cuban resistance in different provinces shook neighborhoods and towns with the pots and pans protest” despite the fact that “the political police had a violent reaction against these activists”.
In the city where Antunez lives- Placetas, Villa Clara (right in the center of Cuba) – dissidents rang their pots and pans despite being surrounded by political police agents which threw rocks and shouted profanity. One of the rocks hit a 6 year old as well as the leading dissident Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, who is still suffering from a brutal beat-down at the hands of State Security agents in March.
Santa Clara (another city in the province of Villa Clara) was the scene of another demonstration, where member of the Central Opposition Coalition met at the home of Damaris Moya Portieles to carry out the protest. There, the political police arrested various dissidents, while they organized a violent act of repudiation. Regardless, independent blogger Carlos Michael Morales said that those present began to shout “Down with Nicolas Maduro, Down with Communism” and “Long Live Capriles“.
Other pots and pans protests were reported in the province of Camaguey, according to activist Santos Fernandez Sanchez, member of the Pro-Human Rights Party of Cuba. Former political prisoner of conscience Librado Linares Garcia reported on his Twitter account (@LibradoLinares) that in Cienfuegos there were also protests, which provoked a violent reaction by the State police.
In Havana, numerous demonstrations were reported in more than 6 different municipalities, according to dissident Jose Diaz Silva. Among the municipalities was Boyeros, where Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo carried out a significant pots and pans protest along with her family and other activists. Agents of the Rapid Response Brigades and the political police surrounded the house and began to throw rocks, dirty water, eggs, tar and even used condoms. Julio Leon Fonseca, husband of Sara Marta, received a death threat from one of the agents in the mob.
“We have done this in support of the Venezuelan opposition, who are out on the streets demanding their rights”, said Sara Marta Fonseca in an audio published on ‘Radio Republica’, “they [the political police] have broken our windows…they came in to our porch and tore down signs. These are the things dictatorships do when they are about to topple…they are very bothered because the pots and pans rang in many parts of Cuba in support of the opposition and people of Venezuela”, said the dissident.
Alternative blogger Yusnaby Perez said on his Twitter account (@Yusnaby) that pots could be heard in parts of Central Havana.
“Not only in Central Havana”, read another message by Perez, “the pots and pans could also be heard in the town of Santa Fe…there are people on the street with signs”.
He managed to publish a video of the demonstration on YouTube minutes later:
Other pots and pans protests were confirmed in places like Mayabeque, Granma, Holguin and Guantanamo.
“We paid tribute and showed our support with our brothers in Venezuela, a country which was victim of a grotesque electoral fraud at the hands of Nicolas Maduro’s regime which is trying to perpetuate itself in power”, reiterated Antunez, “may these words serve to send all of Venezuela our respect, our admiration, our affection, and so that they know that the Cuban Resistance stands with them”.
The complete audio by Antunez here:
March 8, 2013Posted by on
It’s not rare for Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera to suffer a beating by uniformed agents in Cuba. Both she and her husband, the renown dissident and former political prisoner Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, live under constant police vigilance, which does not allow them- the majority of times- to freely move throughout their own city of residence, Placetas, or throughout the country, for that matter. And when they manage to surpass vigilant cordons and arrive to other destinations, they are eventually intercepted and deported. This was proven once again on Thursday, March 7th 2013, when the activist was brutally beaten by State Security agents and left lying unconscious on a street in the city of Santa Clara.
Perez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, was with other women of the group participating in the weekly march they carry out every Thursday to pay homage to Cubans who have died while trying to achieve freedom in the country, when the violence took place. It was around 9 AM when the others were detained: Damaris Moya, Yanisbel Valido, Natividad Blanco, Ramona García and Yris Tamara Aguilera herself.
The women were taken directly to cells in different police units throughout the region, but agent Eric Francis Aquino Yera and one known as Misael kept Yris in a separate police vehicle, by herself, from which she was taken out, or better said- dragged out- by her hair and thrown against the pavement various times to the point that she was left unconscious after suffering blows to the head, according to declarations made by Antunez in an audio published on the YouTube account “PlacetasCuba100″ (belonging to Yris Perez).
Minutes later, some neighbors showed up to the home of Damaris Moya in Santa Clara and told her husband, Yanoisy Contreras, that there was a person abandoned out in the road, passed out. “We first thought it would be a drunkard”, said Antunez in the audio, “but when Yanoisy went to the corner of the block and saw that heart-wrenching scene, where Yris was just thrown there, bleeding and passed out… we urgently took her to the 20th Anniversary Hospital of Santa Clara”.
Yris’ condition was grave, which is why she was rushed to the Armando Milian Castro Hospital, located in the same city, where she was submitted to various exams. However, the hospital authorities, in collaboration with State Security, expelled Yris Tamara from the hospital as soon as she gained her conscious back.
Upon arriving to Moya’s home, other dissidents who displayed solidarity with Yris were detained, among them Michel Oliva Lopez and Alberto Reyes Morales. Others in Sagua la Grande, Villa Clara and Velasco, Holguin also were surrounded and arrested for protesting against the events.
“We are highlighting the seriousness of this situation”, said Antunez about his wife, “we hold the dictatorship accountable for the life of Yris”.
Due to the countless beatings she has received- product solely of political persecution- Perez Aguilera has developed a cyst in the lower back part of her neck. She frequently suffers migraines, dizziness spells and other sharp pains due to this wound which she has not been able to tend to medically.
Eric Francis Aquino Yera, one of the agents who attempted against the life of Yris this Thursday, is the same official who, in 2012, threatened to rape the 5 year old daughter of Damaris Moya- Lazara Contreras.
The attack against the president of the Rosa Parks Movement comes the day prior to International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world.
These beatings have not managed to force Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera to give up her fight in the past, which gives rise to an important question- what is the real news here? Is it the fact that the dissident was repressed? Or, rather, that she keeps going out to the streets demanding rights for all Cubans, despite whatever kind of consequence?
For more information form Cuba, contact:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’ – Cell Phone: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba
October 14, 2012Posted by on
This Sunday 14th of October, the year anniversary of the death of Laura Pollan, leader of the Ladies in White, operations unleashed by the police forces of the Cuban regime produced numerous arrests throughout the island, but such actions were not able to impede the activities carried out in honor of Pollan.
A wide range of tributes were reported in the country since Berta Soler, representative of the Ladies in White, announced a week of activities last October 7th.
For example, that same day women carried out their traditional march along Havana’s 5th Avenue and screamed slogans like “Laura Pollan Lives“, while dissident Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello managed to arrange a daily Mass throughout the week in the San Juan Bosco Church in Havana in memory of the fallen leader of the Ladies in White. In the eastern town of Manzanillo, where Laura was born, various human rights activists met at the cemetery where part of her ashes remain and carried out a prayer vigil and deposited several white gladiolus flowers, the symbol of the peaceful struggle of the Ladies in White.
The actions continued all week in other regions: Holguin, Baracoa, Bayamo, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and Pinar del Rio, among others.
On Saturday the 13th, the Ladies in White held a meeting in their headquarters, situated in Pollan’s home on Neptuno Street, in Havana. Many of these women were arrested or kept from leaving their homes so that they not arrive to the encounter, but 18 of them were able to carry out the activity.
Marta Díaz Rondon, a Lady in White from the Eastern municipality of Banes, in Holguin province, was one of the women who were present. Diaz Rondon had to leave days before in order to arrive to the capital, where she managed to surpass numerous police cordons and arrive to the group’s headquarters.
Diaz says that the activity was carried out in an atmosphere of peace in the house, as the women “lit candles in front of pictures of Laura Pollan and deposited various flowers”. Meanwhile, outside the atmosphere was not the same. The regime organized mobs around the home which consisted of state police agents in civilian clothing and various pre-university students and even dancers who tried to make the act of repudiation seem like a simple “celebration” before the eyes of the international media.
Not only did the mobs blast pro-government music, but their members also shouted insults and obscene words at the women. The Ladies in White simply responded by singing the national anthem and shouting such slogans like “Laura Pollan Lives” and “Free Cuba“.
Nearby streets were closed off by the police and all traffic was re-routed to keep any other activists from arriving to the encounter.
On the following day- Sunday the 14th- a number of women throughout the country were reported as detained.
In the case of Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, the renown dissident recounted that her home was surrounded by political police agents since 1 AM to keep her from leaving her house and joining the peaceful march to the Santa Rita Catholic Church. Neighbors told her that uniformed officials were keeping a tight vigilance over all the corners of the Rio Verde neighborhood of Boyeros, Havana, where her home is located.
“In addition, the agents had the objective of keeping any other dissident from arriving to my house to pay our own tribute to that grand leader that was Laura Pollan Toledo“, said Fonseca.
Meanwhile, the State Security agents Sanper and Alejandro ‘visited’ the headquarter of the group and threatened the women, telling Berta Soler that the Ladies in White could not march. However, Soler and Laura Labrada Pollan (Laura’s daughter) told the agents that they would not accept their instructions and they went out anyway and carried out their march with 48 women. They were accompanied also by other figures of the opposition like Hector Maceda (former prisoner and husband of Pollan), Ofelia Acevedo (widow of Oswaldo Paya), Antonio Rodiles, Hugo Damian Prieto and former political prisoners Ivan Hernandez Carrillo and Arnaldo Ramos.
Hernandez Carrillo was reporting from the scene of the activities through his Twitter account: @ivanlibre.
A group of women from Santiago de Cuba managed to surpass numerous police cordons and arrive to the Santa Rita church, joining the group of more than 40 women who had already arrived. Meanwhile, back in Santiago, another 30 women made it to the El Cobre Shrine.
In the central city of Santa Clara, 6 women from the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights were violently arrested when they were showing solidarity with the Ladies in White by trying to assist Mass in La Pastora Church. The detainees were Idania Yánez Conteras, Damaris Moya Portieles, Yaite Cruz Sosa, Ana Rosa Alfonso, Xiomara Martin Jiménez and Yanisbel Valido Pérez.
Idania Yanez explains that the women were dressed in white- as a form of solidarity, as these women always wear black during their protests- and that they were dragged off the bus they were aboard while they were “beaten“.
“State Security official Yunier Monteagudo Reina and other agents intercepted the bus we were traveling and started to physically assault us“, detailed Yanez, “Yunier hit Damaris Moya in the face and broke her lips… they dragged us throughout the floor, they shoved us and then they detained us and took us to the local police unit“.
The activists from the Rosa Parks Movement started to shout slogans against the government and others in honor of Laura Pollan while they were being assaulted.
Yanez said that at no point did the everyday people demonstrate hate towards them. Instead, they looked at the events in horror and demonstrated their solidarity with the protestors.
Other activists were arrested as was the case of Angel Moya Acosta and Raul Borges, among many others, but the internal opposition achieved their objective: honoring Laura Pollan, that Lady who made the Cuban regime tremble with just a flower, demanding peace, freedom and justice.
July 14, 2012Posted by on
18 years ago, forces of the Cuban regime assassinated 41 people who were trying to flee the country in search of freedom in the United States aboard an old tugboat (“13th of March”). The crime occurred on July 13th, 1994, when a couple of other state vessels persecuted the tugboat (which had 69 people on board), blocked its path, and used a cannon to fire water at the Cubans. 41 of those people died, drowned or from the impact, and among them were 11 minors.
In 2012, during the anniversary of this massacre, the repression of the regime (the same one which committed the crime) was not able to impede Cubans throughout the island from honoring the victims.
On the eve of the anniversary, about 18 activists in Santa Cruz del Sur, Camaguey, met at the home of dissident Yoan David Gonzalez Milanes to carry out a candlelight vigil followed by a pots and pan protest in memory of the vicitms. On the following day, July 13th, this same group had plans to march out of the home up to a local river, where they would deposit flowers in honor of those assassinated. However, government mobs surrounded the home, shouted violent slogans, kicked down the door, and impeded the dissidents from stepping out. Regardless, on the morning of Saturday July 14th, the dissidents once again tried to step out of the house, and this time they did, although they were arrested by forces of the political police.
Another successful pots and pan protest took place on July 12th in the city of Placetas, in Santa Clara, where dissidents like Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez”, Marta Díaz Rondon and Leticia Ramos Herrería participated. They were carrying out a meeting there, debating a new opposition campaign dubbed “Towards the National Strike”.
July 13th began with the news that 6 activists from the Central Opposition Coalition in Santa Clara also carried out a peaceful march to a local river to also deposit flowers, but all of these members were violently arrested. Among them was Idania Yánez Contreras, Rolando Ferrer Espinosa, Alcides Rivera and Damaris Moya Portieles. However, Alcides Rivera managed to throw the flowers into the river right before being arrested. In the case of Yanez Contreras, she was shoved into a police vehicle and kept in there for nearly an hour before being taken into custody in a police unit, with the engine off, the windows up and under the scorching sun.
The Free Yorubas Association of Cuba, a religious organization independent from state control, carried out a religious ceremony a couple of days before the anniversary, in which they prayed for the victims and prayed for the freedom of Cuba.
In Havana, the home of Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo had already been completely surrounded by the political police for 5 days, keeping her family and other dissidents from going out to the street. Fonseca explained that, although they could not make it out, she managed to hang a large sign on her porch with messages condemning the Castro regime for the tugboat massacre and honoring the victims, highlighting that there were minors among the murdered. The activist added that other members of the group which she presides over- the Pro Human Rights Party of Cuba- did manage to surpass police cordons and pay tribute to the victims publicly in the same province of Havana.
Meanwhile, also in Havana but in the neighborhood of Arroyo Naranjo, Eriberto Liranza Romero said that various activists from the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy shocked the police, despite having been under threats and vigilance for 2 weeks, managing to throw flowers into a local river. On the morning of Saturday the 14th, Liranza explained on Twitter that other activities were being carried out by other members of the same youth group.
In Banes, Holguin, a group of dissidents from the Eastern Democratic Alliance marched to a river as well, successfully throwing flowers. These same dissidents managed to surpass a police cordon which had been set up by State Security Major Roilan Cruz, one of the main culprits of Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s assassination in 2010.
Other similar activities were reported in other provinces and cities, although telephone interruptions made it difficult to confirm further details.
Meanwhile, various Cubans across the island sent out messages through Twitter, using the hashtag #Remolcador13M (#Tugboat13M). One of these Twitter users was former political prisoners Pedro Arguelles Moran who mentioned the anniversary and emphasized that the crime was executed under “orders of the Castro tyranny“.
The Pastor and blogger Mario Felix Barroso tweeted, “The assassins are still out on the street, but God will do justice“. Meanwhile, Yoani Sanchez recalled that she was 17 years old when the massacre occurred and mentioned that many people, including her friends, would also risk their lives at sea in search of freedom. She explained that she did not know of the crime until “a couple of months after“, but affirmed that “ignorance does not free us of responsibility“.
“Help us to not forget them“, continued another Tweet by Sanchez, “to denounce the injustice“. The blogger also published a link to a harrowing testimony by one of the survivors.
June 21, 2012Posted by on
Alfredo Viso, an exiled Cuban activist has shared the audio above (in Spanish) of Barbara Moya Portieles, mother of hunger striker Damaris Moya Portieles, an active dissident who finds herself in a delicate state of health due to the protest which she has been carrying out for more than 2 weeks. With this strike, Moya Portieles demands that the State Security agent Eric Francis Aquino Yera be taken before a tribunal for threatening to rape her 5 year old daughter. This threat occurred when Damaris was detained in a prison cell after having participated in a candlelight vigil for the release of all Cuban political prisoners in the city of Santa Clara in early May.
The government agent, Aquino Yera, explicitly told Damaris that he would rape her daughter and also ordered various common prisoners- who have committed violent crimes- to repeat the threat.
As soon as Damaris was released on the following day, she took her daughter- Lazara Conteras- out of school and has not let her go back since, because she fears that she may really be raped or kidnapped. After two weeks of not assisting class, the school principal began a legal process against the dissident, alleging that she has deprived her child of weeks of education. However, Moya Portieles affirms that her small daughter will not return to school until they can assure her that nothing will happen to her, something that no school or government official has done to the date.
Her mother, and the vast majority of the internal Cuban opposition, have called on the international community to show solidarity with Damaris Moya Portieles and her family. In fact, former political prisoner Jorge Luis Garcia “Antunez” announced the launch of a campaign by the name of “We Cannot Let Damaris Die”, which was convoked by the Orlando Zapata National Resistance Front. This campaign asks all Cuban dissidents and everyday citizens to carry out peaceful activities in support of the human rights activist.
There is also the video below, published on the YouTube account of Antunez (in Spanish), in which Barbara Moya offers another harrowing testimony, expressing much fear for the life of her daughter and the security of her grand-daughter:
June 7, 2012Posted by on
This past Sunday June 3rd, Damaris Moya Portieles- activist from the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights- declared herself on hunger strike in the city of Santa Clara. Moya decided to start this kind of protest because during the month of May, the police agent Eric Francis Aquino Yera threatened to rape her daughter, Lazara Contreras Moya, who is only 5 years old. These threats occurred while the activist was being held in a prison cell after being arrested for hosting the weekly vigil for the freedom of all political prisoners in her home. Some common prisoners also threatened to rape her underage daughter, but all of them did so under the orders of Aquino Yera.
With her hunger strike, Damaris Moya said that she is protesting against so much government impunity and she is demanding that the culprits be tried and taken to court for their threats, mainly Eric Francis Aquino Yera, and that functionaries of the government and/or her daughter’s school can prove to her that nothing will happen to her child.
From the moment of the threat, Damaris Moya has not allowed her daughter to assist school, because she is very fearful that something may happen to her. After two weeks of not assisting class, principals from the school carried out a legal process against Moya. Regardless, the dissident has stressed that as long as the oppressors are loose, the life of her daughter is in danger, and because of this she will not assist class.
This Wednesday June 6th, Damaris Moya reported to “Radio Republica” that her home was completely surrounded by numerous police agents because she had hung signs with anti-government messages on her porch. These signs read “Fidel and Raul Castro: traitors, murderers, and dictators”, “Out of Cuba tyrants”, and “Long Live a Free Cuba”. According to the activist, these same agents broke into her porch, smeared the walls with excrement, and snatched and ripped the signs. During these aggressions, Moya explained that agent Eric Francis Aquino Yera was parked behind the house as a form of mockery and threat.
However, despite the hostile atmosphere against her and her family, Damaris Moya Portieles has said that she will continue her hunger strike and that she will not allow her daughter to return to school until her case is resolved.
For more information from Cuba:
Damaris Moya Portieles – (Cell Phone): +5342-218-079