Pedazos de la Isla

"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation

Category Archives: Eastern Democratic Alliance

Jose Manuel Rodriguez: New political prisoner in Baracoa

The absurd Law of Pre Social Dangerousness has taken another victim in Cuba. This time, it’s Jose Manuel Rodriguez, a member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance in Baracoa, Guantanamo, in the Eastern region of the country.

According to an audio published on ‘Radio Republica’ by Isael Poveda Silva, a dissident and member of ADO-Press, Rodriguez had been receiving a series of acts of repudiation and threats at the hands of police agents until they finally detained him.  On Wednesday, October 30th, he was sentenced to 4 years behind bars for the “simple fact of defending human rights and refusing to collaborate with the State Security apparatus”.

Poveda adds that the trial was extremely brief and authorities did not allow the presence of relatives and barred lawyers to participate in his defense.

The Law of Pre Social Dangerousness gives power to the regime to jail any citizen under the pretext that they may commit some sort of crime in the future.  It is widely used to punish those who protest against the system as well as the youth.

Jose Manuel Rodriguez is the father of three underage children and he is married.  The Eastern Democratic Alliance is demanding his immediate and unconditional release.

The intolerance of a dictatorship leaves its marks on a child in Banes, Holguin

Gertrudis Ojeda and her daughter Bianca. Foto by: Martha Diaz Rondon

Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez and her husband Yoandri Naoki Ricardo Mir are no strangers to what it means to be a dissident in Cuba.  She is a member of the Ladies in White and both are members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, two groups which oppose the communist dictatorship.  Because of this, they have been arbitrarily arrested by the political police, beat, deported, kept under vigilance and threatened with death.  These are consequences which they have accepted in their struggle for freedom.  But now, their three children are directly suffering from this State repression, especially their 6 year old daughter, Bianca Ricardo Ojeda.  

The three children of the couple have first-handedly witnessed how police agents have raided their home in Banes, Holguin, physically assaulting their parents.  They have also seen how mobs organized by State Security have surrounded their home and shouted obscene words and severe threats.  They have all suffered the fear, but the young Bianca seems to be the most seriously psychologically affected.

On Saturday, August 17th 2013, Gerturids, Naoki, their children and other relatives were in the town of Guardalavaca when – during afternoon hours – they tried to board a bus back home to Banes.  Upon seeing the extremely long lines at the terminal and after waiting several hours without transportation, the dissidents decided to carry out a public protest, demanding transportation for everyone who was waiting.

Suddenly, agents of the National Revolutionary Police arrived and they brutally attacked me along with my brother Luis Manuel Garcia Mir“, recounts Yoandri, “they attacked us with sticks, shoving us, kicking us, and even launched pepper spray against us.  They then detained my brother and I in a police vehicle and took us to the police unit of Banes, where they threw us into dark dungeons.  We remained there until 10 AM of the next day“.

Also present was Janet Vergara, Gertrudis’ sister who is 6 months pregnant. “We were also mistreated…Janet was pushed and beat.  Right now she has pains in her stomach“.

The 3 minors of Suarez and Ricardo witnessed all the violence.

My little girl, Bianca, is sick in the nerves…she is very afraid.  This has happened on various occasions but now she seems to be worse.  We are considering taking her to receive psychiatric help, because she has too much trauma after seeing all these violent actions“, expressed Yoandri Naoki, notably worried.

She saw everything…how they punched us, handcuffed us, kicked us, and how they sprayed us…everything“.

One of the agents who was most violent to the Holguin natives could not be identified by name but his badge number was 21771, according to Gertrudis and Yoandri.

Dissidents in Banes, Holguin. 6 year old Bianca Ricardo Ojeda is at the bottom left infront of her father Yoandri Ricardo. Photo by: Martha Diaz Rondon

After the arrests, Gertrudis traveled with her 3 children to the police unit, where she remained outside until very late at night as a form of protest, demanding the liberation of her relatives. She did not receive a single response from any official and had to eventually leave because of her children.

These are the typical problems faced by dissidents in Cuba“, says Gertrudis, explaining that entire families are subjected to repressive measures, from the elders to the youngsters.  “My daughter is traumatized and I hold State Security accountable for what may happen to her“.

Ojeda Suarez managed to dodge police cordons on Sunday, August 18th, and arrived at Mass as part of her habitual march as a member of the Ladies in White, but she denounced that her home remained under very tight police vigilance.  Agents – such as Freddy Aguero, among others – frequently knock on their door and let them know that they will be jailed if they step outside.

Despite the risks, Gertrudis and Yoandri continue to carry out vigils, debates and other encounters with members of the opposition in the Eastern city of Banes, as well as spontaneous protest marches which usually end in detentions.

Ojeda also said to feel extremely concerned for the fate of her pregnant sister.

My sister Janet still has pains after the physical mistreatment at the hands of the police in Guardalavaca.  These agents did not care that she was pregnant.  We really do not know how this will end, if she will have to go to the hospital for some time or – hopefully not – she may even lose the child“.

To contact Gertrudis and Yoandri in Cuba:
Cell Phone – +58-025-501

Violent arrest of 43 dissidents in Holguin for debating about The Path of the People

Independent journalist Alexei Jimenez Almarales, from Holguin, has sent the following note in regards to 43 arrests of local dissidents on the afternoon of August 5th, the anniversary of El Maleconazo (when numerous Cubans took to the streets in Havana demanding freedom in 1994).  The activists had plans to divulge and debate The Path of the People, a pro-freedom project started by Oswaldo Paya.

The details:

“State Security detained 43 dissidents in the city of Holguin last Monday, on the 19th anniversary of ‘El Maleconazo’

Activists from various organizations decided to meet and debate about Oswaldo Paya’s project known as ‘The Path of the People’.  The political police came out and directed themselves towards the home of dissident Ramon Zamora Rodriguez, where meeting was to take place. 

The detentions and beatings started in the place where The Path of People was to be debated and they extended to various points of the city, culminating in a total of 43 detainees all in the same day, a historical record of violation of human rights on behalf of State Security in Holguin”.

Jimenez Almarales provided a list with the names of the 43 detainees (including himself):

Julio Cesar Ramos Curbelo
Alexander Marrero De La Rosa
Suleidy lisbet Pérez Velázquez
Carmen Oropesa Ramírez
Alexei Jiménez Almarales
Jorge Luis Recio Arias
Emir José Bermúdez Pérez
Julio Cesar Albares Marrero
Rosa María Naranjo Nieves
Danai Mendiola Duquesne
Luis Jaime Meriño
Mauricio Martínez Días
Yolanda Pérez Días
Marisol Pupo Rodríguez
José Luis Ricardo Soberats
Yuri Miguel Carralero Vázquez
Bernardo Cintero Gonzales
Gilberto Solí Gonzales
Ramón Zamora Rodríguez
Maylin Ricardo Góngora
Pedro Leiva Góngora
Juan Sacaría Verdecía
Maidolis Leiva Portelles
Damaris García Martínez
Rafael Leyva Leyva
José Isidoro Urbino Zaldívar
Mairin Poso De La Torre
Fuera de la casa de ramón Zamora
Yosbanis Pupo Pérez
Fidel García Roldan
Berta Guerrero Segura
Magdelivia Pelegrino Guerrero
Franklin Pelegrino Del Toro
Rubier Cruz Campo
Liliana Campos Bruzón
Yolangel Pupo Pérez
Ricardo Rodríguez Feria
Amauri Güero Mora
Roberto González Hernández
Eladio Pupo Nieves
Arlenis Rodríguez Ávila
José Luis Mir Cruz
Amilkar Pérez Riverón
Livia Hernández Pérez

The detainees included members of diverse organizations, among them the Christian Liberation Movement, the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, the Patriotic Union of Cuba, the Republican Party of Cuba, the Eastern Democratic Alliance, Ladies in White and FLAMUR.

Audios recorded during the very moment of the violence, specifically of the act of repudiation by paramilitary agents towards the home of Ramon Zamora, were published on various media outlets in the internet.  In this audio by Radio Republica and this one published by UNPACU, more details are provided.  Agents broke doors and windows to detained activists, and also violently harassed women and underage children.

Meanwhile, Alexei Jimenez reported that this past Saturday, August 3rd, State Security agents attacked dissident Julio Alberto Arias, a member of the Republican Party, in the same city of Holguin.  “Julio Alberto was detained by 4 State Security agents who twisted his arm out on the street and took him to the PNR Unit known as La Primera“, detailed Jimenez.

The journalist provided this photo of the attacked dissident:

Human rights activists have been denouncing an increase in police violence on the island, and all of this because activism in favor of freedom has been increasing as well.

For more information from Cuba, contact:

Alexei Jimenez – Cell Phone: +52-552-925 / Twitter: @jugandomelavida

Cuba: Increase in arbitrary robberies and arrests at the hands of the State

In the last couple of weeks in Cuba there has been an increase in the amount of arbitrary arrests and robberies of pro-democracy dissidents at the hands of the political police.

Various cases have been coming in from the Eastern region of the country.  The case of activist Yuniesky Dominguez Gonzalez and former political prisoner Dany Lopez de Moya, both member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, is one of them.

Yuniesky recounts that on Tuesday, July 23rd, as they both were leaving a meeting at the home of Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of UNPACU, when they were near the highway of Palma Soriano, members of the National Revolutionary Police and the political police intercepted them.  Agent Norberto was running the operation.

The agents intercepted the vehicle we were traveling in“, explained Dominguez to this blog, “then, the agents used forced to get us out, pulling our clothes and beating us.  They did the same thing with Dany’s son, 15 year old Frank Daniel Rodriguez“.

The first thing the agents did was to snatch all the belongings of the detainees.  “They took Frank Daniel’s phone and purposely spent the money he had on it as a form of blackmail.  They also robbed CDs, USBs and other things” which were never returned.  The discs were destroyed.

Yuniesky explains that the motive of breaking the CDs is to keep them from spreading throughout the population, considering that UNPACU members fill them with images of protests and activism not only of their movement, but of the opposition in general.

Similarly, on July 18th, the political police arrested youth activists Yoandri Montoya Aviles and Juannier Rodriguez in the city of Bayamo. Both dissidents are members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance (ADO) and were arrested while they filmed a documentary for PalenqueVision, the audio-visual project of this group.  The equipment they were using were robbed.

Juannier, who has been victim of expulsions and blackmail at his university due to his ties with the opposition, recounts that they were just “chatting with other young people in Bayamo, working on a video about their day-to-day reality when police agents suddenly arrived and took our cameras, breaking one of them“.

The agents accused the activists of being “delinquents” and were detained by force, shoved inside a bus and taken to a police unit.  Afterward, Juannier Rodriguez was deported to Guantanamo, his province of residence, but he defied the authorities and returned to Bayamo.

On Monday, July 22nd, the Cuban regime carried out a violent operation against a number of members of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) in the province of Las Tunas as they paid tribute to Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero on the first anniversary of their death.

Ezequiel Morales Carmenate, leader of the MCL in that area, denounced that paramilitary mobs, made up by members of the Communist Party, the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution and the political police “assaulted the home of Roger Curbelo, the headquarters of the MCL in the municipality of Puerto Padre“.  The agents penetrated the house, beating activists and robbing a Cuban flag as well as signs honoring Paya and Cepero, also accusing the dictatorship of having to do with the events which occurred on July 22nd 2012.

In the municipality of Majibacoa the home of Elber Perez (another leader of the MCL) was also the scene of excessive violence when the mobs assaulted the house during night hours, robbing countless documents, CDs and other work instruments.

On his part, Yuniesky Dominguez said that the upcoming anniversary of the assault of the Moncada Barracks on July 26th by the movement led by the Castros, who assumed power through violence on 1959, “has the regime very worried“. Why?

Because the activism of the peaceful opposition has put the regime in danger.  We are not fighting with weapons, nor do we carry out acts of sabotage as the July 26th Movement did.  However, our weapon is still lethal, and it is our words, and we work so that the people know what we do against the dictatorship and in favor of human rights and the population“.

That’s why, the activist explains, that in its desperation the dictatorship turns to physical aggressions and robbery of materials used by dissident to work towards freedom.  Materials which are obtained by activists with much difficulty, considering that the majority of these things are sent from abroad by people who have joined in solidarity, or in some cases, bought by the dissidents themselves, at a very elevated price.

Son of military official attacks dissident family, underage children

Jorge Cardona, son of a Major (with the same name) of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and of the Military Counter-Intelligence, stoned the home of the dissident family of Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez and Yoandri Naoki Ricardo Mir and physically attacked one of their underage children in Banes, Holguin, in Eastern Cuba.

The events took place at around 7 PM on July 3rd when two of Ojeda and Mir’s children were playing outside their house.

Jorge Cardona showed up and started to throw rocks towards my children and my house“, recounts Gertrudis Ojeda, notably agitated by the actions which put the lives of her children in danger, “Cardona rushed up to my oldest son, Ernesto, who is 14 years old, and kicked him twice on his left leg, causing him some injuries“.

When they noticed what was happening, Gertrudis and Yoandri rushed out of the house in defense of their children, just to find Jorge Cardona shouting pro-government slogans at them, as well as offensive phrases, such as “worms“.

Ojeda Suarez says that Cardona, who is 18 years old, began to throw more rocks which nearly hit Yoandri in the head, as well as their 5 year old son.

We know that this was all set up by State Security against us because, earlier that day, we had gone to the police unit to show solidarity with one of our brothers in struggle from the opposition“, explained Ojeda, who could confirm her declaration even more when “suddenly a Suzuki motorcycle (used by State Security) arrived on the scene and rapidly took the 18 year old away“.

On the afternoon of that same day, Gertrudis, her husband and other activists protested in front of the police unit of Banes, as a display of solidarity with Antonio Gonzalez Costa, a member of Independent and Democratic Cuba (CID), who had been summoned to the police unit and threatened by State Security because of his activism.  Just 2 days before, Gertrudis and Yoandri also protested in the same unit, demanding the release of dissident Rafael Meneses Pupo and 2 other activists who had been arrested upon leaving their home.  The pressure they carried out led to the liberation of the 3.


It’s common practice for State Security to retaliate against citizens who publicly oppose the totalitarian system through actions like these, using members of the military forces to carry out acts of violence.

The Cardona family frequently participates in these acts of repression, whether it be Jorge (father) or his wife, affirm the Holguin activists.

The wife of Jorge Cardona (father) has participated in acts of repudiation against us“, recounts Gertrudis, “State Security uses these people since they are military officials to try and provoke us and then jail us“.

However, it’s not necessary for a dissident to respond to a provocation to be taken to a prison in Cuba.  Gertrudis, a member of the Ladies in White, and Yoandri Naoki, both member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance (ADO), are continously detained for various hours and, many times, days, just for carrying out marches, organizing debates, workshop and vigils, as well as carrying out other acts of civil disobedience in public.  When they are not detained, they are victims of beatings and house raids at the hands of the political police.

In their monthly report of human right’s violations in Cuba, the independent news agency ‘Hablemos Press‘ documented less arbitrary arrests of pro-freedom activists in the month of June, but noted the sharp increase in excessively violent actions carried out by the political police, paramilitary forces and highly dangerous citizens used by Cuban Intelligence.  Among them: machete attacks, house raids, beatings during dawn hours, and deportations.

I want to call on Amnesty International and public opinion in general, so that they please intercede for us…because this dictatorship is putting the lives of my children in danger“, declares Gertrudis Ojeda, “They could have hit my kids with a rock and could have killed them, as well as my husband.  I am very fearful of what may happen to my family, and it’s likely that this cruel dictatorship will attempt against our lives again, considering that this is a dictatorship with absolutely no feelings and very violent“.

The violence against us is constant.  It doesn’t consist just of shouting slogans against us, but also carrying out violent actions with rocks, beatings, and more“, she adds.

Audio: Declarations by Gertrudis Ojeda (in Spanish):

For more information from Cuba, contact:
Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez – Cell Phone: +58-025-501

Daniel Barriel recounts house raid, arrest and the solidarity which achieved his release

When dissident Daniel Barriel Sanjurjo, organizer of the “Zapata Lives” cell of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in Santiago de Cuba, heard abrupt knocks on his door on the morning of June 28th and noticed that they were coming from agents of the Cuban political police, he knew there were going to be problems, all because of his pro-democracy activism.  The agents ordered him to open the door, but since they did not present a search warrant, Barriel refused.  Police officials kicked down the door, breaking parts of it and raiding the house.

Upon entering my home, the 6 agents rushed towards me“, recounted the young dissident, “they started to beat me in front of my wife and my 5 year old son“.

Barriel was aggressively handcuffed (he still has the marks) and he was forcefully taken out of his home while still wearing underwear and shoved into a police vehicle.  He was taken to the Operations Unit of Versalles.

The police agents were accusing the activist of having painted messages against the Cuban regime on top of a mural with images of dictators Fidel and Raul Castro.    Daniel denies this, not because he is against the gesture, but because he explains that his activism is “public” and he does not have to hide his actions.

Upon arriving to the unit, they put me into an inhumane cell with only enough room for 2 prisoners which were already there.  One of these prisoners was an assassin and the other was a marijuana dealer“, said Barriel, who assures that he was victim of “psychological tortures” at the hands of State Security agents who continuously warned him that they would “disappear” him and that he “would not see the light of day again“.

The Santiago native adds that he was interrogated 2 more times and was then moved to another cell at around 4 in the afternoon, where the threats that he would go to prison continued.

Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of UNPACU, explains that the Versalles Unit is known for the psychological tortures against detainees, as agents “try to break the will-power of the dissident and try to convince them to drop out of the opposition movement“.

In this torture process the detainees are usually kept for various days, weeks or months, but in the case of Daniel Barriel he was released the same day.  “All of this is due to the brave response of more than 40 of our activists“, explains Ferrer.

Numerous activists “met at the home of Barriel in the Sueno Neighborhood and publicly declared that they were going to take to the streets to protest“, recounts the former political prisoner.

Upon seeing the intelligent ad rapid response of the dissidents, the police decided to surround them in the house and brought members of the Rapid Response Brigades (paramilitary group) who tend to attack human rights defenders with weapons such as sticks, rocks, metal objects, etc”.  Despite this, the demonstrators remained firm and ready to go out to the street.

The persistence of the activists led the police to release Barriel Sanjurjo.

Suddenly, a couple of agents visited me and told me that there was a process open against me for the crime of writing over the murals and that they would summon me again to the unit, but that I would be released for the time being“, recounts the activist.  At the same time, Barriel’s mother received a phone call from a police agent asking her to please keep the more than 40 activists “calm” because they were going to release her son.

Daniel details that he was taken to his home in a police vehicle.  Upon arriving, he  noticed the presence of mobs who were carrying out an act of repudiation.  He pointed out that the aggressors were all officials or members of paramilitary groups but “none of them were neighbors or everyday people“.

Barriel pointed out that he was still in danger of going to prison, considering that the police told him accusations against him were  still open.  Regardless, he thanked all dissidents who showed solidarity with him during his arrest and affirmed that he will continue carrying out his work as director of the “Zapata Lives” Cell of UNPACU, which is made up mostly of young activists who define their activism with public activities on the streets, such as marches or the handing out of pro-freedom pamphlets.

This effort of working together and using pressure to achieve the liberation of a detained activist is not an isolated case.  This Monday, July 1st, for example, 3 activists were detained in the municipality of Banes, Holguin, among them Rafael Meneses Pupo.

The 3 were released from the National Revolutionary Police Unit when Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez, member of the Ladies in White and of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, and her husband Yoandri Naoki Ricardo Mir carried out a protest inside the unit.

Cases such as these “prove that the political police doesn’t feel sure of itself, not even with their own officials“, while everyday citizens and the organized opposition continue gaining space, expresses Jose Daniel Ferrer.

For more information from Cuba, contact:
Daniel Barriel Sanjurjo – Cell Phone: +53-388-130

Rising crime rate leads to insecurity in municipality of San German

A National Revolutionary Police (PNR) official shot a 24 year old male to death in the municipality of San German, Holguin province, during the morning hours of this past 5th of June.  The young Cuban was Eliesmer Acosta Rodriguez who was riding a horse at the moment and eventually had a confrontation with the agent.  Cases like these are not rare, according to the Holguin activist Eliecer Palma.

The dissident explains that although the young Acosta Rodriguez was known for his “disorderly conduct“, his death was still a crime- a crime which has been happening with much more frequency in San German.

San German continues to have a high rate of murders, whether it be by gun or with machete attacks… it’s actually very worrying, and the locals are starting to reflect this worry“, said Palma, who affirms that many neighbors have visited him to communicate their state of insecurity.  They trust that he will publish their denouncements through alternative mediums in other parts of the island and abroad.

The sharp climb of crime rates seems to also be accompanied by a certain state of impunity seeing as, most of the time, the culprits belong to official organs.

There are often cases where justice is not served“, affirms the activist, member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, “for example, one citizen confirmed to me that he was a witness of an assassination where a PNR official from Havana, who had a girlfriend in this Eastern zone, arrived one day dressed in civilian clothing and carrying a gun.  He had an argument with two workers and he shot each of them.  They both died on the spot.  As of today, there has been no justice.  There was never a trial and the families of the victims are completely destroyed“.

Palma adds that, in his investigations, he found that “the parents of the person who shot are high ranking officers of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) and when the events took place he was returned to Havana and the case just stayed  like that…no other actions were taken“.

A number of years have passed since that incident.  In the meantime, San German has seen the rise of these murders.

In another more recent case, the pro-freedom activist recounts that “a 30 year old male who worked as a guard in one of ETECSA’s antennas got a gun and went to the Educational Direction of San German and shot one of the workers to death“.

In this specific case, the assassin was detained but he still has not been sentenced.

Meanwhile, this past 16th of June there was a “brawl” between PNR officials and various citizens in the Nocturnal Cabaret of San German, said the activist.

There was a confrontation between 3 police agents and various citizens who were in a party.  Supposedly, the PNR was looking to capture a criminal, but upon arriving to the Cabaret the Second Chief named Leonardo started to attack all the people with tear gas“, he says, “and this led to an argument and then a rather large and violent confrontation with the officials“.

Robberies have also skyrocketed in the municipality, many times carried out by the very own police agents, assures Palma.

In addition, criminals are used by police forces to keep vigilance over and harass human rights activists in that area, whether it be out on the streets or during arbitrary detentions in police units.

I had the uncomfortable experiencing of sharing a dungeon for 5 days with a man who attacked a lady with machetes when I was recently detained in San German“, recounts Eliecer.

These tactics are frequently employed against members of the Cuban opposition.

For more information from Cuba, contact:

Eliecer Palma – Cell Phone: +52-771-487 / Twitter: @eliecerpalma1

Signs in favor of the people and against the regime in Antilla

A number of signs with messages in favor of the everyday people and against the Cuban dictatorship appeared in different parts of the municipality of Antilla, Holguin province, this Sunday June 9th.

Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante, a member of the Ladies in White and also of the pro-freedom groups Eastern Democratic Alliance (ADO) and the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) said that the majority of the signs read “Down with Hunger“.

She explained that the mentioned slogan is something which demonstrates the discontent and desperation of the citizens on the island, as well as one of the main concerns of Cubans: finding food.

Among the places where the signs appeared was the popular cafeteria known as “La Popular” located in Maximo Gomez Street and on the walls of the Cuban Women’s Federation office on Maceo Street.  These said “Down with Fidel”.

Sanchez Infante said that the apparition of the signs led the National Revolutionary Police to worry.

The PNR agents quickly showed up and erased the signs on the Federation’s office“, said the activist, “the messages reflect the true feelings of the people of Antilla“.

Sometimes, signs are hung by members of the internal opposition while other times they are placed by neighbors and everyday citizens who express themselves in this manner.

Other common messages on the signs are “Down with Unemployment”, “Fair Salaries”, and “Food for our Children”.

For more information from Cuba, contact:
Mildred Noemí Sánchez Infante – Cell Phone: +52-615-097

Soccer game suspended in Baracoa because of anti-regime sign in stadium

Authorities in the Eastern city of Baracoa suspended some soccer games in the Manuel Fuentes Borges Stadium after they found at least one sign with anti-regime messages, according to activist Francisco Luis Manzanet, president of the Juan Pablo II Dissident Movement and also member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance.

Last week in Baracoa, when the municipalities’ soccer team was about to play a game, workers started removing the bases set up there for baseball matches when they found a sign under second base that said ‘Down with Fidel, Down with Raul and Down with Communism’“, said Manzanet.

The dissident explains that this led to the presence of various National Revolutionary Police (PNR) and State Security agents who entered the stadium in search of explanations.

In addition, the Provincial Sports Director suspended the soccer game temporarily  in that stadium“, he said.  But this decision visibly bothered the soccer players as well as the locals who take a liking for the sport more each day.

This has caused unconformity on behalf of the athletes and of the people in general“, explains Manzanet.

Meanwhile, the activist also confirmed that the political police has been investigating each and every one of the stadium employees and, as of now, they have not found the “culprit“.

Cases such as these, of the apparition of anti-regime signs in different public places of different regions of the island, are being reported with much more frequency according to activists and everyday Cuban citizens.

For more information form Cuba, contact:
Francisco Luis Manzanet – Cell Phone: +58-325-844

Baracoa: Young dissident talks about repression and resistance

Raday Matos Matos

Raday Matos Matos, a young dissident from the city of Baracoa, Guantanamo province, spoke with this blog about a recent march that 7 members of the Juan Pablo II Opposition Movement and of the Eastern Democratic Alliance from the mentioned city carried out this past Saturday, 18th of May, as part of the Boitel and Zapata Live Campaign, kicked off to honor Cuban martyrs Orlando Zapata Tamayo and Pedro Luis Boitel, political prisoners who died after lengthy hunger strikes.  The march was also to publicly denounce the social situation which everyday citizens go through on the island.  The demonstration was repressed by political police forces, but the dissident managed to receive solidarity on behalf of their neighbors.

The dissidents set out in march carrying signs which read “Down with hunger“, “down with the dictatorship“, “down with low salaries“, “long live peace” and “freedom“.

The arrests took place minutes after the march started, which went from La Laguna neighborhood all the way to Marti Park.

Raday recounts, “before the arrest we were physically assaulted by secret agents at the service of the political police.  In fact, they hurt a woman amongst us the most, Daisy Romero Fernandez“.

Other assaulted dissidents were Luis Noa Silva, Jorge Luis Reyes and Francisco Luis Manzanet, president of the Juan Pablo II Movement.  The latter also provided this audio with more details about the activity, published on the YouTube account of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU).

The police officials snatched the signs which the dissidents were carrying and ripped them, all of this before the stare of various everyday citizens who, according to Matos Matos, started to shout messages against the repressors and in favor of the activists.

With further violence, the agents forced the activists inside police vehicles which took them to the National Revolutionary Police Unit of the municipality, where they were all kept for a number of hours.  In the case of Raday, the agents issues a written warning for him because of his acts of civil disobedience.

On the following day- May 19th- the majority of the dissidents in all of Baracoa awoke to find their homes surrounded by the political police. The agents were impeding the activists from stepping outside of their homes.

We have been surrounded, harassed and haven’t been able to leave our own homes.  Other activists have called me to confirm that they are going through the same things, saying that the political police and State Security are keeping a tight vigilance over their homes“, denounces Matos, “many police vehicles have been passing by my house, going around, keeping watch, surrounding each of our homes“.

Persecution of dissidents on behalf of the State police have been increasing in the city of Baracoa, but everything indicates that it is because of the growing level of activism out on the streets, especially on behalf of young nonconformists.

“We accuse the government for all the repression, persecution and all the aggression“, said Raday Matos.

Listen to the audio of Raday Matos Matos (in Spanish):

For more information from Cuba, contact:

Raday Matos Matos- Cell Phone: +58-144-692 / Twitter: @radaymatos
Francisco Luis Manzanet Ortiz- Cell Phone: +58-325-844

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