Pedazos de la Isla

"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation

Category Archives: Juan Francisco Sigler Amaya

State Agents Watch Every Step of Former Political Prisoner in Matanzas

Angel Moya Acosta

State Security informants, as well as agents of the same repressive organism, among others, have been keeping a tight vigilance over every step of the coordinator of the Democratic Freedom Movement for Cuba and former political prisoner Angel Moya Acosta in his home city of Pedro Betancourt, in the province of Matanzas, ever since the afternoon of Wednesday, September 5th.

The reason for this operation?

Moya Acosta explains that for various weeks the Movement which he represents has taken up the task of “publicly distributing information to the population with the objective of awakening their conscience“. Among the documents handed out are copies of the Citizen Demand for Another Cuba (penned by numerous dissidents in the island), copies of the Miami-based ‘El Nuevo Herald’, and news reports published by the independent news agency ‘Hablemos Press’, which consists of information regarding activism and repression in Cuba.

The oppressive forces are mobilizing themselves to try and keep us from continuing to distribute the mentioned informational materials to the population“, said the dissident.

In fact, Moya Acosta is not the only dissident being kept under watch and being harassed in his own house, which is located on 20th Street, between 25th and 27th in the city of Pedro   Betancourt. The activist explains that on September 5th Juan Gonzalez, also a member of the Democratic Freedom Movement, was victim of an attack carried out by State Security and Rapid Response Brigade mobs who “hurled stones against his home“.

Members of the Independent Alternative Option Movement have also been victims of attacks in recent days“, explains Moya, referencing this group which is also very active and known in the province of Matanzas and which also participates in the distribution of informational pamphlets to the population.

This past 28th of August, another act of violence occurred against these activists in the same city of Pedro Betancourt. “State Security agents and members of the Communist Party of Cuba organized an act of repression in the marginal neighborhood known as ‘El Matador’, where mobs started shouting slogans like ‘down with the worms’ and burned copies of the printed materials that were being handed out which had been confiscated during a house raid in the same month of August“.

Since then, the operations have only increased.

At this very moment, the cordons around my house in Pedro Betancourt continue. They are being directed by State Security and also count with the participation of Rapid Response Brigade members, agents of the National Revolutionary Police. It consists of vigilance, with police vehicles, and other methods set in motion to try and control my movements as well as the movement of other activists“, explains Angel Moya, adding that as he was making those declarations to this blog, various State Security agents kept walking by his house, watching.

The renown dissident held the Cuban regime responsible for what could happen to him, and other dissidents, in the next couple of days, but assured that he will continue giving out information, free of censorship, to the local population.

Moya Acosta was one of the activists present a few days ago when hundreds of neighbors came out in defense of a group of dissidents in Pedro Betancourt while military regime forces were raiding the home of activist Juan Francisco Sigler Amaya. Due to this display of support, the police officials had to flee, emphasizing once more the power of non-cooperation and citizen solidarity.

For more information from Cuba:

Ángel Moya Acosta – Cell Phone:  +5353-820-595      // Twitter: @jangelmoya

Neighbors, Everyday Citizens Defend Dissidents in Pedro Betancourt, Matanzas

Juan Francisco Sigler Amaya

I want to thank the people from the town of Pedro   Betancourt for the support they have given us and I ask God that He bless them all”.

That was the expression of Caridad Gonzalez Gonzalez in reference to the residents of that city in Matanzas province who rebelled against the Cuban regime’s mobs and defended a group of human rights activists who were being beaten and arrested.

The events occurred this Sunday, August 12th 2012, at around 5:30 PM, when agents from State Security, the Rapid Response Brigade, and the political police broke into the home of dissident Felix Sotomayor to carry out a search for supposed “subversive propaganda“, according to Gonzalez Gonzalez, who is an activist of the Independent Alternative Option Movement and wife of the well known dissident Juan Francisco Sigler Amaya, president of the mentioned pro-democracy organization and one of the detainees.

During the moment of the search, former political prisoner and leading dissident figure Angel Moya Acosta, Felix Sotomayor, Dagoberto Santana, Edel Perez, Edilie Moreno Fernandez, Rogelio Ibanez and Roberto Ibanez were also violently arrested. “In addition“, says Caridad, “they were all savagely beaten“.
As the violence occurred, Guliver Sigler Gonzalez- also an active opposition activist and relative of the well known Sigler Amaya dissident family- was filming the events on camera. When the mobs noticed this, they rapidly lashed out against him in a very aggressive manner, described Caridad. “Guliver was the one who suffered the worst beatings because he was recording“, explained the activist.

Others who were beaten along with Guliver were Jesus Sousa Moreno and Eugenio Sousa Moreno, the underage children of Edilie Moreno Fernandez. It was at this moment that the everyday citizens- neighbors of the Pedro Betancourt town- came out in defense of the victims.

The people responded with what they had- stones and sticks“, said Caridad Gonzalez, “they did this to defend the opposition“. The Matanzas native added that there were more than 50 people who joined in solidarity against the oppressors.

In fact, “when they were taking Angel Moya detained, the people began to shout at the mobs ‘Assassins’ and ‘fascists’“. Some of the neighbors threw rocks at the police agents.

According to Caridad, popular support was so high that the agents of the dictatorship had to leave the scene.

These events were also confirmed by Angel Moya’s sister- Lidice Moya Acosta- who witnessed the confrontations.

The police was very afraid“, explained Acosta, who had a verbal confrontation with the agents. “They ended up telling me ‘calm down, we are not going to search your house’. In fact, within the mobs there was a woman who I know because my mother was her professor, and she is the one who screams the most insults. But their were so many people there helping us that she had to run away and hide in someone else’s house“.

The police could not arrest any of the neighbors“, added Lidice.

An emotional Caridad Gonzalez reiterated that she is grateful of the neighbors who showed solidarity with her relatives and brothers in struggle, while Lidice Moya Acosta assured that if this would have happened in her house, which is located very near to the scene of the events, “the same thing would have happened“.

It is not the first time that everyday citizens- not affiliated to any dissident group on the island- come out in defense of human rights activists. During the beginning of 2012, in the same province of Matanzas but in the city of Colon, neighbors of the Lady in White Caridad Burunate refused to participate in a repudiation attack against her convoked by the political police. Meanwhile, in Palma Soriano, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia has said on numerous occasions that citizen solidarity with the Ladies in White has been increasing, as has been confirmed when these women are arrested and the passerby’s start to protest. Similarly, Lady in White Rosario Morales la Rosa has narrated that citizens have congratulated her for setting up a sales spot in Eastern Havana and have defended her against police officials who have wanted to arrest her.

When Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo and other 3 women were arrested for carrying out a civic demonstration on the steps of Havana’s Capitol building in 2011, everyday people started to shout at the repressors, shouting “abusers” and demanding that they do not beat the women. In another similar protest, also in 2011, when Ivonne Malleza and other activists demanded “food for our children” and “fair salaries” at Havana’s centric FraternityPark, the response of the citizens was the same. In fact, an elderly lady who is not a member of any dissident organization joined the protest and was arrested for several weeks.

These accounts are just some examples of the solidarity of the people with dissidents, considering that the latter do not only demand freedom for a group of people, but instead for all Cubans, and in sum, they are also the people.

**UPDATE 08/13/12 – Ex political prisoner Ivan Hernandez Carrillo reported via Twitter (@ivanlibre) that more than 20 neighbors who defended the dissidents have been cited and summoned to police units for their actions.

A special thanks to Ivan Hernandez Carrillo (from Cuba) and activist Maria Cama (@mspianoteacher) for providing the audios for this interview.

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