Pedazos de la Isla

"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation

Category Archives: Juan Francisco Rangel

Another bloody Sunday in Cuba, but the opposition continues defying the dictatorship

Ladies in White in Cardenas, Matanzas. The same ones who were violently beat this Sunday, 21st of July.

State Security and other police sectors of the Cuban regime repeated their violent actions against a number of Ladies in White and male dissidents in the province of Matanzas this Sunday, July 21st, mainly in the cities of Colon and Cardenas.  The news arrived just one week after similar violence on July 14th and after State Security agents had visited a number of work centers in the mentioned cities, convoking ‘corpulent’ people to participate in beatings against the dissidents.

However, the people who were convoked did not participate in the aggressions, according to independent unionist and former political prisoner Ivan Hernandez Carrillo on his Twitter account (@ivanlibre).  For this reason, the police was clearly bothered and once again unleashed a wave of arrests and beatings.  Ivan was one of the victims of repression that morning.

The dissident leader was arrested and beat by political police agents when he stepped out of his home in Colon to show solidarity with the Ladies in White of that area who were being harassed by paramilitary mobs.

Some of the other arrested activists between Colon and Cardenas were Juan Francisco Rangel, Reinier Penates Calzadilla, Francisco Brias Tamayo, Ibrahim Navarro, Emanuel Valles Rodríguez, Jorge Serrano Alfonso, Jesús González Lemus, Rudel Montes de Oca, Javier Erbello, Eduardo Hernández, Marisol Fernández, Batista Rodríguez Rivas, Niurka Rivero, José Hernández Carrillo, Irania Borrego, Nelson Ruiz Alonso, William Acevedo Roque, Yudaimis Hernández, José Hernández López, Elizabeth Pacheco, Juan Carlos Pazos, Eduardo Pacheco, former political prisoners Ángel Moya Acosta and Félix Navarro, as well as the daughter of the latter, Sayli Navarro.

In the majority, if not all, of these cases, after being threatened and beat, the dissidents were abandoned in desolate fields situated miles away from their homes or cities of residence.

Leticia Ramos Herreria, representative of the Ladies in White for Matanzas province and one of the most beat during this police operation, had much to tell about this.  She explains that in Cardenas the violence began after a group of women began their march after Mass at La Parroquia Church.

Since morning hours, there was a large cordon set up by the political police and the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) in front of the church.  There were also many women dressed in civilian clothes but they were really officials“, detailed Ramos. “We walked about a block or so when these people rushed up against us…they began to beat and started to shove us inside police vehicles“.

The detainees were taken individually to the Offices of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), which Leticia describes as “a place being used lately as a torture center against dissidents, because it is located far away from the city and there no one can see how they beat us“.

In that center, police agents continued to beat the men and women while the guards simply joked around and laughed.  “The guards were laughing as the agents were beating us and together they began to verbally offend us, calling us ‘lesbians’ and threatening to ‘put a finger in our anus’, while the men were called ‘homosexuals’“, denounced Leticia.

One of the officials who beat the Lady in White the most was one known as “Chuly”, a member of the PNR.  She told Ramos that she was going to kill her, specifically by “putting a bullet right through my forehead if I kept assisting Mass and walking on Sundays“.  The same agent who injected Leticia with an unknown substance last Sunday also participated in the aggressions against her once again.

Leticia Ramos shows fracture on her lip after beating. July 21st 2013

There is also the case of Lady in White Odalys Hernandez who has a burn on her neck because they tried to strangle her.  She has bruises on her ribs, her abdomen and in her interior from the kicks she received.  Yamila Senda Ruiz was beat by the same officials who were beating me, while activists Francisco Villa, Manuel Barrio, Nelson Curbelo and others were detained and abandoned in desolate places“, recounts the dissident.

Leticia was abandoned in a place known as Sequeira, more than 20 kilometers from the road which leads to the town of Limonar.  The activist was able to return to her home in Cardenas thanks to the solidarity of an anonymous citizen who drove her back.  Something similar happened to Ivan Hernandez, who wrote on Twitter that a farmer gave him water and drove him back after the activist told him what had happened.  It is precisely this citizen solidarity which gravely worries the dictatorship.

“Today has been a victorious day for us, and a defeat for the tyrant”, wrote Hernandez, “they had to arrest us because they were not able to unify and convoke Cubans to repress us…as much as State Security tried to intimidate and recruit men in Colon for quite some days now, the people did not come to attack us”.

On her part, Leticia once against accused the government for what happened and assured that the official leading the operation was State Security Lieutenant Coronel Joaquin, the same person who masterminded the aggressions last weekend.

“All the blows are the fault of the regime and of Lieutenant Joaquin, who is in charge of this bloody hunt of Ladies in White and peaceful dissidents since last week in the province of Matanzas“, expressed Ramos Herreria, “but if they want to kill us, they are going to have to do it on the streets because the streets belong to the people of Cuba.  And I am Cuban and I am firm in my convictions.  We are all firm.  We will continue going to church and marching“.

Despite the violent atmosphere in Matanzas, it was reported that many Ladies in White in other provinces were able to surpass police cordons and march to and from their respective churches, from East to West of all Cuba.

–-

For more information from Cuba, contact:

Leticia Ramos Herrería – Cell Phone: +52-481-807
Iván Hernández Carrillo – Cell Phone: +52-599-366 / Twitter: @ivanlibre
Sayli Navarro – Cell Phone: +52-731-652 / Twitter: @SayliNavarro

Ex political prisoner refuses to comply with police citation

When political police agents showed up at the home of former political prisoner of conscience Ivan Hernandez Carrillo in the city of Colon, Matanzas, this 20th of March, his mother Asuncion Carrillo was the one who opened the door.  Ivan was not home, so Asuncion refused to receive the police citation they were bringing for her son which ordered that he had to show up to the local police unit on the following day.  However, Hernandez Carrillo quickly took to his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) to make it very clear to the agents that he would not go to any police unit.  

I respect what each person choses to do, but I am not going to any police unit with or without a citation“, said Ivan, “They are going to have to arrest me and drag me through the street to take me to a police unit, but I am not going to comply with any citations to see any police chief so that he treat me like a delinquent and criminal, because I am neither of those things“.

Due to the information he constantly reports through Twitter and photos, videos, and audios, the political police constantly watches this former prisoner of conscience. When he is not being persecuted by some State Security agent, many times his cell phone is blocked or his calls are interrupted.

When Thursday arrived, Ivan stayed true to his word; he did not cooperate with the orders of the police.

Dissidents Juan Francisco Rangel and Lázaro Díaz Sánchez, from Colon, were also summoned for the same day- Rangel at 11 AM and Diaz Sanchez at 2 PM.  Both were interrogated by agent Raudel, with the same accusations and threats as always because of their pro-freedom activism.

Like I said, I respect the decisions of everyone, but my own is that I will not go to any unit“, emphasized Hernandez Carrillo.

As of now, the renown dissident has not suffered repercussions because of his decision, although it is assumed that the State will continue to harass him.  Regardless, his decision proves that power lies in the citizen, not in the repressive bodies of the regime.

* Special thanks to activist María Cama (@mspianoteacher) for this information 

For more information from Cuba, contact: 
Iván Hernández Carrillo – Cell Phone: +52-599-366 / Twitter: @ivanlibre 

Dictatorship tries to impede celebrations of a date which belongs to all Cubans

Drawing of Marti on cover of famous Cuban magazine. 1955.

With all and for the good of all” – one of the most famous phrases by Jose Marti is, perhaps, also one of the ideas which the totalitarian system in Cuba fears the most, proven- year after year- every 28th of January when countless uniformed agents are sent out throughout the island to try and impede civic demonstrations to commemorate the anniversary of his birth.  2013, the 160th anniversary, was no exception.

The police operations began on Sunday the 27th.  In Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, the home of dissident Yuniesky Dominguez Gonzalez- member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU)- was attacked with feces, staining the door and windows.  Dominguez directly blamed the political police for this, since he and his wife, Lady in White Taimi Vega Biscet, had plans to carry out a tribute to Marti.

These are methods employed by the political police, I hold them responsible as well as the Communist Party and all other instruments of the regime“, said the activist.

Meanwhile, despite police vigilance and direct threats by State Security, in Havana 41 Ladies In White managed to carry out their traditional march to Santa Rita Church and later to Mahatma Gandhi Park (See video, courtesy of ‘Hablemos Press’). These women deposited flowers in a statue of Marti in that park and commenced to read various phrases by the poet.

In Cardenas, Matanzas, Leticia Ramos Herreria and other Ladies in White marched for 26 blocks until they arrived to a local park to also deposit flowers in another Jose Marti statue.  This achievement bothered the authorities to the point that State Security officials summoned Ramos to a police unit for the following day.  The activist recounts that she was threatened and offended during the interrogation but that she refused to sign any sort of document and let them know very clear that she would continue going out to the streets of Cuba.

On Monday, the 28th, the repression increased but so did the peaceful and public demonstrations.  In the same province of Matanzas, but in the city of Colon, Juan Francisco Rangel was also summoned to the police station and later surrounded in his own home by agents to try and impede a march.  However, he managed to take to the streets along with other activists from the Pedro Luis Boitel Party for Democracy, successfully carrying out the activity and depositing flowers for Marti, according to a Tweet published by Carlos Olivera (@COliveraCuba).

In Santa Clara, Villa Clara, a group of dissidents from the Central Opposition Coalition also took to the streets shouting slogans in favor of change and honoring Marti.  They were all violently arrested, according to a report by independent journalist and blogger Carlos Michael Morales Rodríguez.

Not too far from that city, in Placetas, members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front carried out a protest against the regime, also screaming slogans such as “Jose Marti Lives“, as was captured in an audio published by ‘Radio Republica’ in the voice of dissident leader Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’.

A successful march with signs containing anti-regime messages and Jose Marti phrases took place on the streets of Quemado de Guines, Villa Clara, by various members of the Cuban Reflection Movement, among them Maydelis Gonzalez Almeida, who said the march “took place despite strong police vigilance“.

Activity in Quemado de Guines infront of Marti bust. January 28th, 2013

Despite acts of repudiation and some arrests, in Camaguey a public activity was carried out by activists of the Pro-Human Rights Party of Cuba, said Daniel Millet Jimenez.

In Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila, dissidents of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights and from the Pedro Luis Boitel Resistance Movement congregated to honor Jose Marti.

Throughout the Eastern region of the country, members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance in Baracoa, according to Francisco Luis Manzanet Ortiz, and of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy (CYMD) in Velasco, according to  Yonart Rodríguez Avila, also carried out their own meetings, marches and demonstrations in honor of Marti.  Yoandri Montoya Aviles said that in Bayamo, members of the Youth Movement of Bayamo paid homage to the “Apostle of Cuba”.

CYMD also carried out other activities in the municipality of Arroyo Naranjo, in Havana, publishing some photos of the events in their blog.  In the same province, Lady in White  Sara Marta Fonseca held a vigil and an encounter in her home located in Rio Verde, Boyeros.

UNPACU also published some testimonies on their YouTube channel detailing repressive actions against activists for trying to carry out their own tributes in Guantanamo.

Former political prisoner of conscience Ivan Hernandez Carrillo published a series of Twitter messages (@ivanlibre) denouncing that dissidents Pastor Alexis Huerta and Carlos Alberto Gómez, members of the Independent and Democratic Cuba Party (CID), were violently arrested in the central city of Sancti Spiritus also for trying to carry out similar tributes as those occurring throughout the country.  Cases of repression, police cordons, and beatings were also confirmed in Pinar del Rio against other CID members and the Pinar del Rio Democratic Alliance.

These were only a few of the events which took place on the island between the 27th and 28th of January, when Cubans paid tribute to one of the figures most representative of their culture- a culture which does not belong just to one political group or dictator.

 “A just cause, from the bottom of a cave, is more powerful than any army”

-Jose Marti

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