Pedazos de la Isla

"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation

Category Archives: Ladies in White

Regime denies two prominent dissidents right to travel out of Cuba


PicMonkey Collage

This week the Cuban regime denied two well-known dissidents their right to travel out of Cuba, providing little or no explanations as to why the decision was taken.

The first of the refusals occurred in Eastern Cuba – specifically in Santiago de Cuba – when former political prisoner and leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia was told by authorities on October 7th that he would not be able to acquire his passport.  The functionaries said the activist could not travel for reasons of “public interest”, alleging he has engaged in criminal activities (in Cuba, political dissent is considered one of the highest offenses).

Ferrer Garcia was invited by the Unity Progress and Democracy Party to participate in an event in Europe.  It was the second time the Cuban regime denied him his passport.

On Friday October 11th, Leticia Ramos Herreria – representative of the Ladies in White for the central province of Matanzas – received a negative response from Cuban authorities after she started travel procedures two weeks earlier.

“ ‘Your petition has been denied, we cannot give you your passport to travel”’, that’s what immigration official told me”, tweeted Leticia on Friday (@LeticiaRHCuba).  No further explanations were provided.

Former political prisoner Ivan Hernandez (impeded from traveling as well on past occasions) also tweeted (@ivanlibre) about this situation, classifying it as “arbitrary” and pointing out that the Lady in White is in no way under an ‘extrapenal license’ that would impede here rights.

Leticia Ramos and Jose Daniel Ferrer are two of the many active opposition members on the island. Ramos is subject to frequent violent arrests every Sunday as she marches in Cardenas, Matanzas with other women for the freedom of all political prisoners and also engages in other activities in favor of the civil society.  Ferrer heads UNPACU, one of the many active pro-freedom groups in the country which started in the East and has spread throughout the island with many members.

Meanwhile, Blanca Reyes – exiled Cuban activist in Spain and representative of the Ladies in White in Europe – was also denied the right of entry into Cuba this week to visit her elderly and sick father.

“My father fractured his hip, he is going to be operated and the government of Cuba refuses my entry into the country to see him.  He is 93 years old”, wrote Blanca on the Ladies in White’s official Twitter account, @DamasdBlanco.

Reforms in Cuba?

Dissident speaks about the importance of unity against the dictatorship

From Boyeros, Havana, dissident leader Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo spoke about activities carried out in different parts of the island on September 24th, the Day of the Virgin of Mercedes, patron saint of prisoners. She explains that members of groups such as the Orlando Zapata National Resistance Front, the Pro Human Rights Party and others set out to their respective local churches to pray for the liberation of all political prisoners.  In Havana, more than 70 Ladies in White participated in Mass and, together with a large number of everyday people, created a moment of freedom inside the temple, despite the presence of the political police outside.  Fonseca also explains that the regime fears when diverse opposition groups work closely with the everyday population:

“This 24th of September, it was once again proven that the Castro-communist dictatorship fears the unity of the opposition with the people.  In that unity lies the beginning of the end of so many years of suffering.  Very soon, God-willingly, Cuba will be free.  There will be no more political prisoners, men and women jailed because of their ideas”.

To listen to the complete declaration by Sara Marta (in Spanish) click this link from ‘Radio Republica’.

Despite police reprisals, high turnout of dissidents at activities for Patron Saint

September 8th 2013 was yet another anniversary of the appearance of the Virgin of Charity, Patron Saint of Cuba, but this did not keep the totalitarian system on the island from practicing their accustomed acts of harassment and repression against Ladies in White and the opposition in general.  However, members of the pro-freedom movement took to the streets and, in what was a high turnout throughout the country, participated in Masses and processions for “Cachita”, as Cuba’s Virgin is popularly referred to in folklore.

Matanzas province witnessed its 9th consecutive Sunday of police violence against the Ladies and other dissidents, specifically in the cities of Cardenas and Colon.

Since early morning, former political prisoner of conscience Ivan Hernandez Carrillo (in the city of Colon) used his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) to explain what was happening.  Eventually, he documented a total of 27 arrests among Ladies in White and other opposition members.

Hernandez was one of the detainees, as were also former political prisoners Felix Navarro and Angel Moya Acosta.  Other activists violently arrested that morning were Francisco Rangel, William Acevedo Roque, Jose Hernandez Lopez and Luis Alberto Amaya Fleitas.

In regards to his arrest, Ivan said that they used “2 uniformed police officials and 3 secret political police agents dressed in civilian clothing”.  The repressors forcefully lowered Ivan’s pants and then proceeded to shove him inside a police vehicle.

Regardless, the renown dissident pointed out that 8 Ladies in White assisted Mass dedicated to the Virgin of Charity in the city of Colon while another 6 women managed to do so in the city of Cardenas.  But they too were lashed out against.

Leticia Ramos, the representative of the Ladies for the province of Matanzas, tells this blog that “upon leaving Mass in Cardenas, the Ladies in White were attacked by the political police and mobs made up and organized by State Security.  In the case of this Sunday, we were not as severely beat as in the past but there was still violence“.

Ramos remained detained from 9 AM to 2 PM, confined to a cell in the National Revolutionary Police Unit of the town known as Marti.  She denounces that other women like Mercedes de la Guardia Hernandez and Odalys Hernandez were left abandoned in desolate fields in a place called Limonal.  Something similar happened to Marisol Fernandez and Yamila Senda Ruiz, while Katuiska Rodriguez and Elizabeth Pacheco were taken to the Cardenas Center for Investigations where they “were accused of creating ‘public disorder’ and ‘disobedience’ and then handed a document with these accusations.  They both refused to sign it“, said Leticia.

Similarly, in Colon, the Ladies in White were intercepted by the political police as soon as they walked out of Mass, being subjected to aggressive arrests while agents shouted threats and offensive words at them.  Among the detainees were women such as Sayli Navarro, Tania Echeverria and Asuncion Carrillo.

Ivan Hernandez published a series of photos on Twitter documenting this repression:

Meanwhile, over at Havana – Cuba’s capital – a total of 80 Ladies in White managed to march down the centric 5th Avenue, carrying white flowers and participating in Mass in honor of the Virgin and praying for the liberation of all political prisoners, according to the independent news agency ‘Hablemos Press’.

In the Eastern region of the country, dissidents and Ladies in White massively participated in Mass at the emblematic National Shrine of the Virgin of Charity in Santiago de Cuba.

The Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) sent out a press release in which they confirm that 201 of its members accompanied 57 Ladies in White to Mass dedicated to the Virgin.  They also published the following video of the event:

Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, former political prisoner and leader of UNPACU, wrote on Twitter (@jdanielferrer) that “managing to get 200 activists in a public place and more-so on a day like that Virgin’s is not an easy task in totalitarian Cuba”, highlighting that the result constituted a victory.

Ferrer added that UNPACU activists which were at the Sanctuary took shirts and other accessories which identified themselves as human rights defenders.  The event, according to the dissident, took place in front of thousands of devotees, both everyday Cubans and international tourists.  None of these groups repudiated the activists.  He assures that the political police “was very nervous” and did not know how to respond.

In Guantanamo and Holguin it was confirmed that various Ladies in White made it to Mass.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern town of Bayamo another 8 Ladies in White managed to surpass police cordons and arrive at Mass, according to Yudibsel Roseyo Mojena, a member of the women’s group and wife of political prisoners and dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga.

Since Saturday, State Security had been keeping a close eye on us but we managed to make it to Mass anyway and participate afterward in the procession for the Virgin“, explained the young Cuban woman.  “During the entire time of the procession agents of State Security and of the National Revolutionary Police were watching the Ladies in White.  The vigilance lasted all day“.

Yudisbel adds that the majority of the town took part in the procession – more proof that the dictatorship was never able to do away with Cuban’s devotion to their Virgin.  A number of independent sources confirmed that there was massive turn out of everyday people in other regions throughout the island as well.

In Miami (the Cuban exile) there was also an emotional Mass and concert in honor of Cachita.  A large portion of the Cuban-American community participated in this annual event as did figures of the peaceful resistance, such as Rosa Maria Paya, who offered a speech and prayer in favor of unity, peace and freedom.

Attempt against life of dissident leader and her son in Havana

Sara Marta Fonseca and her son, Ignacio Leon Fonseca, during a pots and pans protest at their home in Havana

A vehicle nearly ran over dissident leader Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo and her son Ignacio Leon Fonseca twice in a matter of minutes in Boyeros, Habana, on the 31st of August.

It took place near 11 AM on the corner of 273rd and 160th street when Fonseca was taking care of some personal chores.

The car, a modern model and blue in color, sped up towards us“, described the dissident, who also alerted about what had occurred through a Twitter message that morning (@SaraMartaCuba).  Fonseca told this blog that she and her son quickly jumped back when they saw the car speeding towards them.

When we jumped out of the way, the car stopped.  Then, we tried to cross the street again but this time about 2 kilometers behind the car, but once again when we tried to cross the car charged against us but this time backing up.  We were able to get out of the way on time again“.

Sara Marta managed to look inside the car but could not identify anyone, although she confirmed that there were 4 men and that one of them was carrying a Walkie-Talkie.  This equipment is widely used by police agents on the island.

The attempt against Fonseca’s life took place in front of some neighbors who, according to the opposition member, began to publicly complain.

One of the neighbors approached the car and yelled at the driver, ‘Do you not know how to drive?

Once seeing that the discontent amongst locals was increasing, the blue car sped up and drove away.  But the mysterious and dangerous actions did not end there.

We finished our personal chores that morning but  when we were on 273rd Street and 2nd, I was talking to a neighbor precisely about what had happened when a motorcycle arrived.  Interestingly enough, the bike was also blue, and it began to surround us.  It went around about 3 times.  The driver would break and stare at the person I was talking to, as if trying to identify him.  After those 3 turns, the motorcycle drove away“.

Fonseca Quevedo does not in any way doubt that the State has to do with what happened to her and her son that morning.  In fact, she is pretty sure it was sent by the authorities, considering that police violence has been on the rise during the last few months.  Recently, when dissidents are detained, explains Sara, State Security agents threaten to assassinate them while they are being interrogated.

Fonseca, a renown activist and member of the Cuban Pro Human Rights Party, the Ladies in White and the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front (all pro-freedom groups on the island), is no exception to the rule and has been threatened and arrested several times in the last month.

The increase of violence in Cuba also includes savage beatings at the hands of police officials, deportations and kidnappings which end in abandoning the dissidents in desolate fields far from their homes.

Sara Marta, who is known amongst the opposition for carrying out frequent vigils and public activities of civil disobedience in favor of freedom, points out that it is not only her life and her son’s life that are in danger, but also the lives of all dissidents in the country.  However, she assures that the dramatic rise in violence is also proof of the fear that the dictatorship is feeling.

Sara Marta in front of her house, sign reads ‘Down with Communism’, ‘Down with Fidel’

For more information from Cuba:

Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo – Cell Phone: +53-379-011 / Twitter: @SaraMartaCuba

Ladies in White, dissidents, defy another wave of violence

Matanzas, Santiago de Cuba and other provinces were the scene of more police violence against the Ladies in White and other dissidents when they assisted Mass this Sunday, August 25th.  This repression has been consecutive for more than one month.

At around 8 AM, former political prisoner Ivan Hernández Carrillo used his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) to provide details of what was happening in the city of Colon and other regions.

Hernandez confirmed that 7 Ladies in White managed to participate in Mass in the city of Cardenas but they “were arrested” upon stepping out of the church.  The detainees were Mercedes de la Guardia Hernández, Yamila Sendra Ruiz, Margarita Cienfuegos Acosta, Odalys Hernández Hernández, Katiuska Rodríguez Vives, Marisol Fernández Socorro and the representative of the group in the province, Leticia Ramos Herreria.

Another 2 women - Esmeralda García Wong and Amada Herrería Rodríguez – were arrested in the same city before making it to Mass.

All the previously mentioned women were beat by political police agents during the moment of their arrests.

Colon: Police car stationed in Bartolome Maso St to close off traffic and attack. Via @ivanlibre

Dissident Francisco Rangel Manzano was arrested in Colon, while renown opposition leader and former political prisoner Angel Moya Acosta was arrested in Pedro Betancourt.  Hernandez Carrillo also confirmed the arrests of activists in the town of Los Arabos, including  José Hernández López, William Acevedo Roque and Yudaimis Fernández Martínez.

Ivan added in another Twitter message that, for the first time in more than one month, he was able to surpass police cordons and participate in Mass alongside 8 Ladies in White in Colon.  However, he informed that there were “Suzuki motorcycles of the political police” stationed outside the church, as well as various agents dressed in civilian clothing, among them Orestes, known for carrying out violent actions against locals.  There was also the “presence of regime collaborators inside the church” watching the activists.

During the Mass in Colon, Father Santana prayed for the dissidents, pointing out that the Day of the Virgin of Charity was nearing and that he was asking the Patron Saint of Cuba to “end all the hostilities, and that people who think one way can express their ideas and manifest them”.  Despite the solidarity during the Mass, however, State police agents arrested all the Ladies in White when they stepped out of the church: Lazara Rodríguez, Yanelis Pérez Reyes, María Teresa Castellano Valido, Maritza Acosta Perdomo, Sayli Navarro and Asunción Carillo (the latter is Ivan Hernandez’s mother).

Agents arrest Ladies in White in Colon, among them Sayli Navarro and Asuncion Carrillo. Via @ivanlibre

Asuncion Carrillo, mother of Ivan, does the “L” for “Libertad” (Freedom) before being shoved inside police car. Via @ivanlibre

These arrests consisted in pushing, headlocks, and pulling hair, according to Hernandez.  All the detainees were abandoned in desolate camps, far from their homes.  This was the case of Angel Moya, who later told Ivan that “what these henchmen do to us gives us more strength each day”.

After all the violent measures taken by the police, there were at least 24 Ladies in White and other dissidents who had been arrested in the province of Matanzas.  Despite the orders of the dictatorship to lash out against the opposition movement on the island, the Ladies in White took to the streets in all of Cuba, demanding freedom and rights.

Messages sent out by @ivanlibre highlighted that in Gibara, 7 Ladies in White arrived to Mass.  Unfortunately, the priest expelled them from the church afterward, forcing them to face the violent mobs.  The women were violently beat and detained.

In Cuba’s capital – Havana – 82 women marched with flowers and participated in Mass, while 7 managed to do so in the province of Villa Clara.  3 Ladies in White made it to church in Ciego de Avila, 22 in the Eastern province of Holguin and 10 in Guantanamo.

According to the Twitter account of independent news agency Hablemos Press (@HablemosPress), more than 50 Ladies in White participated in Sunday Mas but they were later brutally beat by police agents on 5th Street.  They were shoved into cars and buses.

The agency later tweeted that they had documented more than 65 arrests of Ladies in White in all the island.

Despite the violence, the Ladies in White and the Cuban opposition in general have left it clear that they will continue on the streets not only demanding their rights, but also the rights of the entire nation.

Thanks to Twitter, Ivan Hernandez Carrillo was able to publish various photos of the what happened on Sunday the 25th.

Meanwhile, Ivan also published photos of repressors and the vehicles they used during the violent operations in Colon, Matanzas:

These cars belong to political police officials in Matanzas and Havana. Via @ivanlibre

This is the same State Security agents who fractured arm of Lady in White Sonia Alvarez weeks ago during aggressions. Via @ivanlibre

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

Interview with Leticia Ramos in regards to State Security tactics, kidnapping and persecution

On Sunday, August 18th, the Cuban regime once again attacked the Ladies in White and various dissidents in the province of Matanzas through arrests, beatings and acts of repudiation.  There were also cases of repression in the province of Santiago de Cuba, where paramilitary mobs repudiated and attacked a number of women inside a house.  Despite the violence, more than 200 members of the Ladies in White were able to march and arrive at Mass, according to this article published by ‘Marti Noticias’.  In this blog, we will publish a series of interviews with various Cubans who have been repressed in these past days but continue expressing their ideas in favor of change and freedom. 

Leticia Ramos Herrería is the representative of the Ladies in White for the province of Matanzas.  She has been injected with mysterious substances, arrested, persecuted, and threatened with death in the last few weeks, as well as other activists.  Here, she speaks about what happened on Saturday August 17th and Sunday August 18th when State agents not only attacked her but also used psychological tactics against her:

Not only were you victim of police repression this Sunday, August 18th along with other Ladies in White, but also on Saturday, the 17th.  What was it exactly that happened?

On Saturday, August 17th, I was victim of a kidnapping at the hands of a high official of the National Revolutionary Police and a State Security agent right at the corner of my eldest son’s house.  They shoved me into a vehicle.

What happened inside that car?

When we were near the road which connects the city of Cardenas with Varadero, a Lada model vehicle with a blue license plate pulled up in front of us and told us to stop.  State Secuirty agent Livan and Captain Kenny Aguero came out of that car.  They walked over to the vehicle I was in and tried to take me out and put me in the other car.  I broke lose from their grasps and stood out in the middle of the street, where I began to shout slogans against the government such as “Down with Fidel, Down with Raul” and “Down with the dictatorship”.  A police official pulled my hair and pushed me.  Livan then shoved me into the vehicle.

Then, an argument broke out between officials Livan and Kenny Aguero.  They were shouting really obscene words at each other.  Eventually, they involved me in the argument but, without obscene words, I told them what they were: assassins, henchmen, and that I didn’t have to talk with them because I had been kidnapped.

Where did they take you once you were in the car again?

They took me to a town called Guasima, between Cardenas and Varadero.  They parked me in front of a pink house.  The officials tried to take me out of the car and take me to the backyard, where there was another Lada vehicle with a white sheet over its license plate.  Livan and Kenny told me to get down but I told them I wouldn’t, that I had no reason to go into any house and talk to anyone.

These officials entered the house and another official came out.  He did not identify himself.  He was tall and had dark hair.  He told me, “Leticia, I need you to get off the car because I need to have a talk with you”.  I told him I did not need to talk with any of them and that they could punch me to death out there but I wasn’t going to get off the car.  I told them I was going to start shouting because I was born and raised in that town and all of my father’s side of the family still lives there and If I started screaming, they would soon find out what was happening.  The agent closed the door, went around the car and got inside.

He tried to talk to me and at that moment he asked me to collaborate with State Security and work for them.  He told me I was going to have a better life with everything I wanted; If I wanted to move they would find me a house, and my sons would have the best jobs.  I told them that it was a severe act of disrespect and that none of them had the morale to tell me anything like that.  I let them know that I was fighting against a dictatorship and that I would continue to do so until the Castro brothers leave power and until Cuba has a real democracy.

At any moment were you able to identify the man who offered you to collaborate with the regime?

I wasn’t able to identify him, but in my opinion I think he was a high official of State Security as well as a psychologist.  They use people like that to carry out such actions. Based on the way he spoke to me I believe this, because they all know that I would never accept such a dirty offer.

After this situation, I told them to open the door because I was going to leave.  The man stepped out and left me in the car.  He walked back inside the house, later exiting with a notebook.  I was then changed from vehicles again.  I took advantage of the moment and told all the passerby’s what was happening and also let the repressors know that “I would not collaborate with you neither tomorrow, now or ever.  You are all assassins”.

In reference to this Sunday, August 18th, the political police once again lashed out against the Ladies in White in Matanzas…

Yes, in the morning various Ladies in White carried out a march from Playa Larga, where my house is, to the church, where we assisted Mass.  When the religious service came to an end, there were already mobs stationed on the corner of Real and Obispo Street.  These mobs were the same as always…they are paramilitary agents dressed in civilian clothing.

We decided to walk a block against these mobs.  They began to shout obscenities and pro-government slogans at us.  I told a group of Ladies in White to get aboard a wagon that would take them back to Playa Larga.  The mobs chased the wagon, threatening the women and eventually intercepting them.  Luckily, they were able to make it inside the home of Marisol Fernandez Socorro, another member of the group.  The mobs remained outside for a while shouting offenses at them.

As for me, I hopped aboard my husband’s electric bicycle to return back to my house.  But when we turned a corner, there were already mobs waiting for us.  They had been organized by State Security.  They shouted verbal offenses at us and blocked our path.  When I tried to get off the bike, among all the screams and threats, I got tangled and hurt my left thigh.  I was injured and lost lots of blood.

My husband, Rudel, took me to the hospital.  After much wait, I was able to see an orthopedic.  He gave me stitches on the wound, which turned out to be very deep (at least 10 centimeters).  This was all the fault of the mobs organized by the political police and the Castro brothers to harass and attack us, Sunday after Sunday, just for assisting Mass and marching.

what is your response to all of this persecution?

I am sending out a clear message to these repressors:  Wound or no wound, beatings or not beatings, I am going to continue assisting Mass, demanding freedom for all political prisoners, freedom for Cuba, and respect of Human Rights.  We are going to continue out on the streets because the streets belong to Cubans, not just them.  Down with the dictatorship! We want Human Rights! Laura Pollan Lives!

Check out this audio of Leticia Ramos recounting the events (in Spanish):

To contact Leticia Ramos in Cuba:
Cell Phone– + 52-481-807

More beatings, arrests, repudiation and injections against Ladies in White in Matanzas

After four weekends of unmeasurable violence against the Ladies in White and other dissidents in the cities of Cardenas and Colon in the province of Matanzas, Berta Soler – leader of the Ladies in White – traveled to Cardenas this Sunday, August 11th, to march together with the women being repressed, demanding freedom for all political prisoners.  The result was the fifth weekend of violence.

11 women managed to march and assist Mass at The Parish of Cardenas.  When the religious service came to an end, the Ladies left the temple in a march back home.

Leticia Ramos Herrería, representative of the women’s group for the province of Matanzas, said that a State Security official intercepted them and told them that they could not continue walking, all while the same mobs as always – organized by the regime – surrounded the women.

We remained in silence while the mobs shouted insults at us“, said Ramos Herreria, “then, the official told me that we were going to be arrested but without being beat.  It was all the contrary“.

Ramos recounts that all the women were beat and thrown inside police vehicles, among them Berta Soler and Maria Cristina Labrada, from Havana.  Some were taken to the National Revolutionary Police unit while others were left out in the Port of Cardenas.

Leticia explains that although she was also beat, in this case she was not the worst off.  “I want to shed light on the situation of Mercedes de la Caridad la Guardia who the agents, in addition to being beat, threw paint on her, later detained her in the PNR unit and then abandoned her 40 kilometers away from the city.  She was grabbed by the arm by PNR agent Yordan (badge #33500) and agent Yudy (the same woman who has beat us during past weekends and who threatened to shoot me in the forehead recently).  They punched her on her neck, face, abdomen, etc“.

Another worrying case was that of Elizabeth Pacheco Lama, a 23 year old Lady in White.  At the time of her arrest she was “injected on the head with different needles.  They dragged her, beat her, and even destroyed her shoes“, said Leticia.

Despite the State-sponsored violence, Leticia Ramos considers that one of the most significant factors that day was the fact that a number of everyday people showed solidarity with the persecuted women and, because of this, they also suffered violence at the hands of the police.

I want to thank many of the people of Cardenas who protected us.  The police pushed many of them against a wall, they beat them and many of them were shoved into police cars“, said the Matanzas dissident.

Meanwhile, in the city of Colon the violence was similar.  Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, former political prisoner and independent unionist, used his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) to detail that he was arrested upon stepping out of his home in the morning.

“After the violent arrest, dragging me threw the street and pushing me into a police vehicle, they abandoned me out on kilometer 170 on the national highway”, wrote the renown dissident.

Ivan Hernandez @ivanlibre tweeted this picture of the police agents stationed outside his home who later arrested him with violence.

Mobs harassing Ladies in White in Colon. Picture tweeted by @ivanlibre and @COliveraCuba

Ivan’s mother, Asuncion Carillo Hernandez (an elderly lady) was also arrested and they “left her out 1 kilometer after the exit of Colon, en route to San Jose”.

Ivan also tweeted about the case of Lady in White Maritza Perdomo, another woman who was harassed and arrested, kept in an unknown location for a while.

Hernandez Carrillo added that the police officials handcuffed him and twisted his arms back to the point that they cut his circulation in order to impede him from making the “L” shape with his hands (‘L’ for “Libertad”, Spanish for “Freedom”, a sign commonly used by Cuba’s opposition).

Renown dissident and former political prisoner of conscience Angel Moya Acosta was also arrested that Sunday, among other human rights activists.

9 Ladies in White were able to make it to Mass in Colon, despite that many of them were later arrested and repressed.

Dissident Lazaro Diaz Sanchez published a photo on his Twitter account (@LazaroDiazSanch) of an injury he sustained after physical attacks by the political police approximately 3 weeks ago:

@LazaroDiazSanch

We blame the political police, the Castro brothers and their dictatorship for anything that may happen to Elizabeth Pacheco Lama, who was injected on the head.  She also has chunks of hair missing because they pulled it, her legs are scratched and she took many physical blows“, expressed Leticia Ramos, “We hold the dictatorship accountable for her physical integrity as well as that of all Ladies in White in Matanzas, and all of Cuba“.

Images and testimonies of violent act of repudiation in Holguin

Mobs organized by the political police harass, offend and provoke dissidents in Holguin. August 5th, 2013.

This past August 5th, 2013 a violent act of repudiation took place in the city of Holguin, in the province by the same name, in Eastern Cuba.  The repudiation took place in the home of dissident Ramon Zamora, a member of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, where they had plans to carry out a conference and debate about The Path of the People, a pro-freedom project created by the late Oswaldo Paya.  In addition to the repudiation against the home, a total of 43 dissidents in different areas of the city were arrested as they tried to arrive to their destination. Among the detainees were members of diverse pro-freedom groups, such as the Patriotic Union of Cuba, the Ladies in White, CID, the Republican Party of Cuba and the Christian Liberation Movement.

Now, images of the beginning of the act of repudiation at the home of Ramon Zamora (where there were women, children and elderly people) have arrived.  In the following video, sent by independent journalist Alexei Jimenez Almarales, we can see mobs organized by State Security insulting and provoking the dissidents inside the house. We can also observe the presence of vehicles used by the political police (white Ladas):

Caridad Caballero Batista, renown dissident from Holguin who had to take exile in the United States recently, spoke with this blog and identified two State Security agents at the beginning of the video (second 0:48).  There are two individuals near the Lada car.  Caballero identified the one with the red shirt as “El Polaco” and the one with the baseball cap as Michael.  These agents are responsible for carrying out and ordering arrests, vigilance and repudiation against human rights activists in Holguin.

State Security agents “El Polaco” (red shirt) and Michael (cap) infront of Lada vehicle, orchestrating act of repudiation in Holguin. August 5th, 2013.

A second video also sent by Alexei Jimenez shows the testimonies of two underage children and one elderly man, recounting the moment of the act of repudiation.  The children express that they felt lots of fear while the mobs arrested and beat their family members and tried to raid the house.  Meanwhile, the 63 year old man details how he was beat and later left abandoned in a desolate field far from his home.  There are also pictures of the injuries he sustained after the assault.  Check it out here:

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

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