- RT @SayliNavarro: #Cuba Info Leticia Ramos que a la 1:30am del dia 19 fueron desalojados por la policia los jovenes que estaban en el Rapid… 51 minutes ago
- RT @SayliNavarro: #Cuba Agrega Leticia <<desde que se instalaron las brigadas antimotines es mucha la represion que estan ejerciendo sobre … 51 minutes ago
- RT @SayliNavarro: #Cuba El Rapidito (lugar de recreacion donde se reunen muchos jovenes) esta situado en Calle Real y Minerva, de la ciudad… 51 minutes ago
- Pass it On: Angel Yunier Remon “El Critico”: pedazosdelaislaen.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/pas… 3 hours ago
- The idea of #PassItOn is so it's shared all over the internet. So, if you like it, #PassItOn! #FreeElCritico: youtube.com/watch?v=HjUYIm… 3 hours ago
- The first edition of #PassItOn has been dedicated 2 dissident rapper Angel Remon "El Critico, imprisoned since March: youtube.com/watch?v=HjUYIm… 3 hours ago
- Check out new audio-visual project "Pass It On", created 2 tell the story of FREE Cubans. Check it out: youtube.com/watch?v=HjUYIm… 3 hours ago
- Pasa la voz: Ángel Yunier Remón “El Critico”: pedazosdelaisla.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/pas… 3 hours ago
"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Leticia Ramos
May 16, 2013Posted by on
Technology and social networks once again prove their importance when it comes to Cuba, despite the fact that the totalitarian system practices a severe form of censorship.
Caught on camera above is Kenny Aguero, a State Security agent in the province of Matanzas. The photo was taken by former political prisoner Ivan Hernandez Carrillo and published on his Twitter account (@ivanlibre). Aguero operates mainly in the city of Cardenas and is a repressor of dissidents, especially of Ladies in White, such as Leticia Ramos Herreria and Elizabeth Pacheco. He dedicates himself to persecute this women, verbally offend them, arrest them and beat them without mercy (testimony in this audio). In one of his most recent actions against the opposition, he summoned Marisol Fernandez Socorro, also a Lady in White, to a police unit because of her activism out on the streets.
In the following photo, also published by Hernandez Carrillo, is Aurio Cueto, another collaborator of the regime:
According to Ivan, Cueto testified against him and also activist and former prisoner of conscience Felix Navarro during their trial in the Black Spring of 2003, when 75 journalists were sent to prison. Both Matanzas natives were sentenced to 25 years behind bars. Cueto currently continues to keeping a tight vigilance over activists in different cities of Matanzas, as well as helping the police to arrest them for their peaceful activities.
With each photo, each Tweet, and each post in an alternative and free blog, the impunity of the dictatorship continues to dissolve.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Ivan Hernandez Carrillo- 52-599-366 / Twitter: @ivanlibre
May 13, 2013Posted by on
The Ladies in White marched through the streets of Cuba this Sunday, May 12th, in honor of Mother’s Day, sending out greetings to Cuban women around the world, as well as a special tribute to Laura Pollan Toledo, deceased founder of the group. It was confirmed that some women suffered reprisals at the hands of the political police, although the majority were able to carry out their weekly march, flowers at hand, to assist Mass and pray for the freedom of all political prisoners.
In Havana, 48 Ladies in White marched down 5th Avenue accompanied by 29 male human rights activists. They dedicated their walk to all the mothers of the world, according to a tweet published by former political prisoner and dissident leader Angel Moya Acosta (@jangelmoya).
Leticia Ramos Herrería, representative of the group in Matanzas, said that a total of 17 women marched and assisted Mass in the entire province. She added that in Cardenas, city where she resides, “11 Ladies in White were able to march for 11 blocks after Mass all the way to the Monument of the Mothers, where we deposited 2 bouquets of flowers“.
After that tribute, Herreria explained that the activists began to shout “Long Live Laura Pollan” for various minutes. In this occasion there were no arrests but there was a constant vigilance by the police.
“Meanwhile“, recounted Leticia, “Citizens were congratulating us and wishing us a Happy Mother’s Day when we marched by them. There was a display of solidarity“.
In the province of Holguin things looked a bit different. Although 10 Ladies in White managed to arrive at their respective temples, some were arbitrarily arrested by the political police.
Berta Guerrero Segura, representative of the women’s group for the mentioned province, said that all the Ladies in White from Holguin “awoke that morning with their homes surrounded by State Security, under strict vigilance. The operation had started at dawn“.
Two of the detainees were Eimirce Cespedes Estrada (from Velasco, Holguin) and Yarelys Castaneda Almarales (Holguin). The latter “was detained together with her 1 year old son who she was carrying in her arms. Just like that, the political police took them to a dungeon for a number of hours“.
Her husband was also physically assaulted by various agents who applied a headlock on him when he came in defense of his wife.
Guerrero adds that Yolanda Perez Diaz, who is not a Lady in White but a member of the dissident Claridad Movement of Holguin, “was intercepted by agent Adony Charles, of State Security, who told her that she was on his bad side that morning and that he wouldn’t let her come out of her house“.
“I am denouncing the constant abuse, the harassment, and the psychological war carried out by State Security against us, the Ladies in White of Holguin. These violations are constant. In fact, they have told us that we will never be able to go to church“, said Guerrero Segura.
In Palma Soriano 33 Ladies in White marched and successfully made it to church while in the municipality of Santiago de Cuba another 21 Ladies made it, according to declarations made by Ana Celia Rodriguez to this blog. Rodriguez was one of the Cubans recently on hunger strike demanding the release of activist Luis Enrique Lozada Igarza. Her health, like that of the majority of all other former strikers, is still delicate.
The majority of the members of the Ladies in White are mothers and chose to dedicate the symbolic date in honor of so many women who have risked their lives fighting for the freedom of not only their families but also of the entire nation, as is the case of Sonia Garro Alfonso, a Lady in White and Cuban mother who is currently in prison and has been for 1 year and 2 months.
Not even on Mother’s Day does the regime respect these women, carrying out arrests and keeping them under strict vigilance, but they keep praying, they keep speaking out, they keep marching.
In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a video made by the authors of this blog in 2012, in honor of the Cuban woman:
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Leticia Ramos Herrería- Cell Phone: +52-481-807
Berta Guerrero Segura- Cell Phone: +53-632-110
Ana Celia Rodríguez- Cell Phone: +52-996-531
January 31, 2013Posted by on
“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“.
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”
December 31, 2012Posted by on
Ladies in White throughout the country made it to Mass and carried out their weekly march this last Sunday of 2012, the 30th of December, after a year in which repression against them, and the opposition in general, has increased drastically.
32 of these women arrived at Mass in the Santa Rita Church of Havana, 7 in Pinar del Rio, 20 in Matanzas, 6 in Guantanamo, 2 in Ciego de Avila and 2 in Holguin, affirmed Berta Soler, representative of the female group.
Soler considered the situation to be “an achievement“, considering that in nearly all the cases, in the mentioned provinces the Ladies in White arrived at their respective churches, surpassing police cordons and evading arrests, except in Holguin where 9 of the women were detained.
The detainees in the mentioned Eastern province were Bertha Guerrero Segura, Ana María Aguilera Panque, Romelia Piña González, Marlene Abreu Almaguer, Rosa María Naranjo Nieve, Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo, Viviana Campo, Eunices Céspedes Estrada y Bárbara Bauza Driggs.
Bertha Guerrero, representative of the group in Holguin, detailed that the arrests occurred during early morning hours, especially that of Eunices Cespedes, resident of the municipality of Velasco, who was abruptly arrested at 4 in the morning.
“They kept us arrested up to around 12:30 in the afternoon, after Mass had ended in the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church“, said Guerrero, “Afterward, they left us stranded in different parts on the outskirts of Holguin, forcing us to walk miles to get to our homes“. State Security agents placed a video camera this year in front of the mentioned church to keep watch over the Ladies. The same camera had previously been installed outside the home of recently exiled Lady in White and human rights activist Caridad Caballero Batista, who also suffered countless arrests this year for trying to make it to church. The camera was relocated as soon as she left the country.
During her arrest, Bertha Guerrero denounced that the Second Chief of Confrontation, known as Yordanis Martinez Leon, told her that “if the Ladies in White want to make it to church, we’d have to buy ourselves a helicopter to drop us off at the church because they were never going to let us get there“. It is not the first time this repressor tells her that.
“Sunday after Sunday we have been detained and, in addition, also threatened with our children and families“, added Guerrero, citing the case which also occurred this Sunday, where one of the detainees- Barbabra Bauza- “had her son arrested because on Saturday, some citizen burned a Cuban flag in the Calixto Garcia park. Her son was arriving home in the morning and since State Security had not been able to arrest or blame anybody, they did so with him, taking him to the instructional unit known as Pedernales. Agent Rafael Chapman, of State Security, told Barbara that he does not care if her son is a minor (16 years of age), for he would invent a crime for him and take him to prison. This happens simply because he is the son of a Lady in White“. She added that the women are ready to take to the streets in protest to demand his freedom.
Guerrero said that despite the repression, the Ladies in White of Holguin will continue marching and that she has hope that 2013 will bring good things for Cuba.
In an emotional case, Leticia Ramos Herreria, representative of the Ladies in White in the province of Matanzas, explained that in addition to the fact that 20 women of the province made it to Mass, in the church known as “The Parish” in the city of Cardenas, a group of these acitvists were greeted with respect and admiration by churchgoers.
“The people rose from their seats when it was time to share the greeting of peace, and they came up to us, hugged us, and gave us their blessings“, recounted Ramos, “When we left the church, we carried out our march and many people also came up to us, displaying their support, greeting us, saying that we are doing the right things and saying that they hope more people rise like us“.
Leticia said she felt lots of happiness, considering that “we have achieved to carve out a space not only in the church but also amongst the people“.
There have been far too many beatings, arrests, deportations, threats, and other forms of State persecution and violence against the Ladies in White this 2012. In fact, one of the most repressive of cases occurred in February when two members of the group- one from Pinar del Rio and the other from Palma Soriano- suffered miscarriages after police arrested and harassed them. Their names are Noralys Martin Hernandez and Taimi Vega Biscet. (Read more about these cases here).
Regardless, everything signals that the increase in repression is attributed to the fact that the group has significantly increased in size and that its members have not stopped defying the dictatorship for one moment. They have been persistent in their marches, declarations and activities.
“Despite the repression“, said Berta Soler, “the most important thing is that the Ladies in White will continue stronger and more prepared than ever. We will continue our peaceful struggle for the freedom of all political prisoners as well as the respect of human rights in 2013. We will continue to grow throughout the island. The Cuban government’s repression has only made us more united“.
For more information from Cuba:
Berta Soler- Cell Phone: +5352-906-820
Bertha Guerrero Segura- Cell Phone: +5353-632-110
Leticia Ramos Herrería- Cell Phone: +5352-481-807
November 19, 2012Posted by on
From the city of Cardenas, the representative of the Ladies in White in the province of Matanzas- Leticia Ramos Herreria- sent out photos to ‘Radio Republica’ which show the constant operations and cordons set up against her by the political police. With these tatctics, the police tries to impede that she freely travel out of the city, that she assist Sunday Mass with the rest of the Ladies in White, and that she participate or carry out any activities of civic opposition.
In the photo-denouncement, one can see how the cordon of police agents impede the activist from continuing to ride her bicycle down the road and culiminates in her arrest. The photos are of this same year (2012).
Both Leticia and her husband, Rudel Monteoca, have received death threats from State Security- directly and through the use of plain clothed agents. This past 4th of November was one of the most recent acts of aggression against the Lady in White, when she was brutally beaten and confined to a dungeon for numerous hours. Her testimony (in Spanish) of that day can be heard by clicking here, the official YouTube account of former political prisoner and renown opposition leader Ivan Hernandez Carrillo.
October 31, 2012Posted by on
Category 2 Hurricane Sandy left behind a scene of destruction throughout all of Eastern Cuba, tearing down countless homes and costing the lives of at least 11 people during the morning hours of October 26th.
A few days later, the Cuban regime has responded with inefficiency in regards to the situation, as well as with the accustomed repression against human rights defenders. However, these same activists and the everyday people have been helping neighbors who have suffered hard hits, considering that the regime’s personnel have paid no attention to the suffering.
In Santiago de Cuba, one of the most affected provinces has “grave damages“, according to former political prisoner and leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia.
“Sandy has passed through a region that was already very poor, which was already damaged by so many years of the regime’s inefficiency, and it has left even more destruction of homes, farms, stores, churches and other establishments”, explained Ferrer, “it has left more hunger, there is no electricity and there are lots of necessities which Cubans already have to begin with. The entire region has nearly been left without any services. There is no drinkable water and there is destruction everywhere and people are trying to resolve with what they have”.
The dissident leader points out that during the storm, one activist on UNPACU in Palma Soriano sheltered about 30 people in his home. Meanwhile, the website of the pro-democracy Independent and Democratic Cuba (CID) reported that various activists from this group have been assisting affected families, helping them rebuild what they can.
“Civil Defense has done nothing to help the affected”, affirmed Ferrer García. This declaration is one seconded as well by Lady in White and member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, Marta Diaz Rondon, from Banes, Holguin.
“Here, the people are criticizing the government because they have neither protected or helped them”, said Diaz, “the people have told us- dissidents- to please take pictures and make their situations public. The entire town was misinformed before the hurricane passed. The state media said that there were only going to be some rains and winds, but at no moment did they mention a hurricane passing through Banes, while no one was evacuated”.
Many citizens witnessed before their eyes as their homes crashed down while they rushed to take shelter wherever they could.
The home of Diaz Rondon was penetrated by water brought my intense rains, while parts of her roof (made of zinc) fell. Meanwhile, in the same municipality of Banes but in another neighborhood, Lady in White Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez suffered the total destruction of her home.
Ojeda Suarez recounts that “the storm ripped off my roof, it tore down my back wall and all of my children’s furniture were soaked. The little bit of things I had have been destroyed, but I was not the only one. Two houses next to mine also fell to the ground. My brother-in-law also lost his roof and a wall. The situation in Banes is disastrous”.
The activist explained that the majority of the food she had was destroyed and that the people “are hungry” and “desperate“. She adds that before and after the storm, functionaries of the Communist Party have walked by her neighborhood but at no point in time did they stop by her house to ask if she needed any sort of help.
“The situation in Banes, when it comes to food, is critical. People cannot find food. We are cooking with rocks, and with pieces of debris from our homes”, added Marta Diaz Rondon.
In his part, activist Walter Cañete Cruz said that in the Los Pinos neighborhood of Banes, his home and that of many other citizens were also reduced to rubble, and that “the authorities have not appeared to try and fix the problems“.
The effects of the hurricane were not only felt in the Eastern region of the country, but also in some central areas, especially in the Northern coastal town of Playa Larga, in Cardenas, Matanzas, where Lady in White Leticia Ramos Herreria recounted that “the sea level rose and lots of water penetrated countless homes, and no officials from Civil Defense showed up to help us“.
In the absence of functionaries, many citizens turned to Ramos Herreria and other activists so that they would help them.
“A number of us activists went to the local Communist Party headquarters…after hours that we had presented our complaints there, some firefighters showed up in Playa Larga to save some lives”, declared Ramos, “in fact, the fire truck could not even enter the area because there was so much water. You couldn’t tell the street apart from the ocean. Many people told those firefighters that they had left them there abandoned”.
The accustomed repression against other human rights activists during the weekend was not withheld. On the same day of the hurricane, three activists from the Eastern Democratic Alliance were arrested by the political police in Guantanamo when they were helping various people who evacuated themselves in a community known as El Caribe, according to Yanniel Cisneros. The detainees were Jesus Manuel Pena (father and son) and Isael Poveda Silva. In addition, a number of detentions of UNPACU members were also reported, while in Antilla, Lady in White Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante said a group of dissidents had been persecuted and arrested, among them Amada Pileta, Miguel Santana and Ángel Batista Vega.
From Havana, Berta Soler said that the Ladies in White dedicated their Sunday march this 28th of October not only to all political prisoners of conscience but also to the victims of the hurricane. “Despite the weather conditions which ravaged the Eastern region, and despite the repression of the government, 51 of us Ladies in White were able to march down Havana’s 5th Avenue, demanding the Cuban government to release all political prisoners and to respect the human rights of all citizens, but also in solidarity with all our Eastern brothers and sisters who have suffered, and continue suffering, lack of water, food, and attention from the government“.
Soler highlighted that although the political police detained a number of women throughout the East on that same day, 8 of them were able to march to church in Guantanamo and 2 in Holguin. Meanwhile, in Matanzas 16 women were able to carry out their emblematic and peaceful march.
“The Cuban regime truly did not prepare the people for these conditions in the East, but the Ladies in White are keeping our minds positive and we are offering all our solidarity to the Eastern people. In any way we can help, we will do so”, assured Soler, who added that more than 15 Ladies in White suffered partial or total losses of their homes.
The promoters of the Citizen Demand for Another Cuba initiative have published various addresses on their blog where aid can be sent to directly assist the people affected by the hurricane.
For more information from Cuba:
Marta Diaz Rondon – Cell Phone: +5352-771-639 // Twitter: @MartaDiazRondon
Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia- Cell Phone: +5353-146-740// Twitter: @jdanielferrer
Berta Soler- Cell Phone: +5352-906-820
September 27, 2012Posted by on
In light of the more than 58 confirmed arrests, deportations and disappearances of Ladies in White during the past weekend of September 21st (and in some cases, before this date), many women suffered threats and/or beatings at the hands of government agents.
The following testimony is just one of the many (more to come) of a Cuban woman who has not allowed the dictatorship to break her spirit with their harassment, vigilance, and their futile effort to paralyze her with fear and lies:
Leticia Ramos Herreria
The arrest of Leticia Ramos Herreria (representative of the Ladies in White in the province of Matanzas) took place on Wednesday, September 19th, when she had arrived to Varadero from Cardenas, her city of residence, en route to Havana. Her husband, Rudel Montes de Oca, was accompanying her on her trip when they were both intercepted while aboard a public bus by political police agents “Kenny”, “Cao”, and two others who did not identify themselves.
These agents rushed towards Ramos Herreria and her husband, shouting at her that “she sold herself for 3 pesos“. To these insults, the Lady in White responded with a protest in the middle of the street, in front of many passer-bys. She screamed “slogans such as ‘down with Fidel’“. Agent Kenny snatched her cell phone and physically assaulted her.
“He scratched my hand and hit me on my back, right where I had suffered a serious injury last March when I was beat by the political police“, explained the dissident, “at that moment, they arrested both of us and threw us in police vehicles, driving us to the police unit of Santa Marta“.
At Santa Marta, the officials also took Leticia’s camera, kept her for an hour and then took her to the police unit of Marti while her husband was taken to the Cienagas de Zapata unit. During this whole time, their families did not receive any information about their whereabouts.
Leticia decided to protest by starting a hunger and thirst strike at the police unit and she continued the protest through Friday the 21st, when she was released at around 3 PM in the city of Cardenas. With a very delicate state of health, Ramos Herreria noticed that her husband had not yet been released so she head to the State Security unit and demanded his release. The pressure she exerted over the officials forced them to release Montes de Oca, who had also been on hunger and thirst strike during his arrest.
On Saturday morning, a strong pain in her arm forced Leticia to try and seek medical attention and she directed herself to the nearest hospital. However, her attempt was frustrated because numerous military agents were surrounding the perimeters of her home. Agent Kenny was once again in charge of this operation. “Kenny intercepted me and told me that I could not go anywhere“, denounced Ramos, “I told him that I was free and that I’ll go wherever I want“. Kenny’s response was to order various police officers to detain the Lady in White once again.
“They took me to the police unit of the Union de Reyes municipality, and there I continued my hunger and thirst strike. On Sunday night, I suffered a diabetic coma due to a hypoglycemia attack (I am diabetic) and they took me out of the unit and put me in an intensive care unit of a local hospital“, detailed Ramos, “they put a serum on me and when I regained my consciousness a State Security agent was talking horrors about fellow dissidents like Antunez, Felix Navarro, Berta Soler and other brothers in struggle. Sincerely, I was not willing to listen to that so I ripped off the serum and told them that if they were going to keep me detained, then to take me back to my cell”.
After this incident, Leticia was in fact returned to her cell, where she was locked away until 8 PM when she was told that she’d be returned to Cardenas. “However, instead of traveling down the route of Pedro Betancourt (the fastest route), they drove by the outskirts of the city of Matanzas, where they slowly drove in front of the women’s prison known as ‘La Bellotes’. I think it was an attempt to try and scare me, but they know very well that I am willing to serve prison time if I must, I’d do it with dignity and pride“.
When the Lady in White arrived to her home, the police operation continued. There were numerous armed officials keeping guard, and many had German Sheppard’s with them.
“Upon entering my home, agents told me that I could not leave anymore, and I simply responded that I am going to recuperate myself, seeing as how I still feel a bit weak because of my hunger strike, but that I was going to continue onward. I will continue to challenge them, and I told them to put lots of gasoline in their cop cars because I am going to keep carrying out dissident activities on the streets of Cuba“.
For more information from Cuba:
Leticia Ramos Herrería – Cell Phone: +5352- 481-807
July 14, 2012Posted by on
18 years ago, forces of the Cuban regime assassinated 41 people who were trying to flee the country in search of freedom in the United States aboard an old tugboat (“13th of March”). The crime occurred on July 13th, 1994, when a couple of other state vessels persecuted the tugboat (which had 69 people on board), blocked its path, and used a cannon to fire water at the Cubans. 41 of those people died, drowned or from the impact, and among them were 11 minors.
In 2012, during the anniversary of this massacre, the repression of the regime (the same one which committed the crime) was not able to impede Cubans throughout the island from honoring the victims.
On the eve of the anniversary, about 18 activists in Santa Cruz del Sur, Camaguey, met at the home of dissident Yoan David Gonzalez Milanes to carry out a candlelight vigil followed by a pots and pan protest in memory of the vicitms. On the following day, July 13th, this same group had plans to march out of the home up to a local river, where they would deposit flowers in honor of those assassinated. However, government mobs surrounded the home, shouted violent slogans, kicked down the door, and impeded the dissidents from stepping out. Regardless, on the morning of Saturday July 14th, the dissidents once again tried to step out of the house, and this time they did, although they were arrested by forces of the political police.
Another successful pots and pan protest took place on July 12th in the city of Placetas, in Santa Clara, where dissidents like Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez”, Marta Díaz Rondon and Leticia Ramos Herrería participated. They were carrying out a meeting there, debating a new opposition campaign dubbed “Towards the National Strike”.
July 13th began with the news that 6 activists from the Central Opposition Coalition in Santa Clara also carried out a peaceful march to a local river to also deposit flowers, but all of these members were violently arrested. Among them was Idania Yánez Contreras, Rolando Ferrer Espinosa, Alcides Rivera and Damaris Moya Portieles. However, Alcides Rivera managed to throw the flowers into the river right before being arrested. In the case of Yanez Contreras, she was shoved into a police vehicle and kept in there for nearly an hour before being taken into custody in a police unit, with the engine off, the windows up and under the scorching sun.
The Free Yorubas Association of Cuba, a religious organization independent from state control, carried out a religious ceremony a couple of days before the anniversary, in which they prayed for the victims and prayed for the freedom of Cuba.
In Havana, the home of Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo had already been completely surrounded by the political police for 5 days, keeping her family and other dissidents from going out to the street. Fonseca explained that, although they could not make it out, she managed to hang a large sign on her porch with messages condemning the Castro regime for the tugboat massacre and honoring the victims, highlighting that there were minors among the murdered. The activist added that other members of the group which she presides over- the Pro Human Rights Party of Cuba- did manage to surpass police cordons and pay tribute to the victims publicly in the same province of Havana.
Meanwhile, also in Havana but in the neighborhood of Arroyo Naranjo, Eriberto Liranza Romero said that various activists from the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy shocked the police, despite having been under threats and vigilance for 2 weeks, managing to throw flowers into a local river. On the morning of Saturday the 14th, Liranza explained on Twitter that other activities were being carried out by other members of the same youth group.
In Banes, Holguin, a group of dissidents from the Eastern Democratic Alliance marched to a river as well, successfully throwing flowers. These same dissidents managed to surpass a police cordon which had been set up by State Security Major Roilan Cruz, one of the main culprits of Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s assassination in 2010.
Other similar activities were reported in other provinces and cities, although telephone interruptions made it difficult to confirm further details.
Meanwhile, various Cubans across the island sent out messages through Twitter, using the hashtag #Remolcador13M (#Tugboat13M). One of these Twitter users was former political prisoners Pedro Arguelles Moran who mentioned the anniversary and emphasized that the crime was executed under “orders of the Castro tyranny“.
The Pastor and blogger Mario Felix Barroso tweeted, “The assassins are still out on the street, but God will do justice“. Meanwhile, Yoani Sanchez recalled that she was 17 years old when the massacre occurred and mentioned that many people, including her friends, would also risk their lives at sea in search of freedom. She explained that she did not know of the crime until “a couple of months after“, but affirmed that “ignorance does not free us of responsibility“.
“Help us to not forget them“, continued another Tweet by Sanchez, “to denounce the injustice“. The blogger also published a link to a harrowing testimony by one of the survivors.
May 7, 2012Posted by on
“On hunger strike because she cannot tolerate that the Cuban authorities get away with so much impunity”
On April 23rd, 2012, the Lady in White Leticia Ramos Herreria was arrested by the Cuban political police as she was carrying out her work as an independent journalist and trying to photograph the collapse of the Europa Hotel in the city of Cardenas, Matanzas. Herreria was released from jail after various hours but the agents who had carried out her arrest had stolen her bicycle during the arbitrary process. For this reason, upon being released, the activist directed herself to the front of the Police Unit of Cardenas and began a protest in demand that they return her only bicycle, which she shares with her brother. Her protest lasted until the following day, April 24th, when police agents handed her a brand new bicycle (instead of her own) along with all the pertaining ownership documents. Ramos Herreria had expressed that she felt victorious after having put the Cuban authorities in a situation where they had no other option but to give into her demands and give her what was hers, or something even better than what she originally had.
A couple of days later, Herreria’s brother was riding the bicycle when a man stopped him and told him that the bicycle belonged to him and that it had been stolen. Leticia’s brother explained that he had not robbed anything, and that the bicycle was given to his sister by the police. As it turns out, the uniformed Cuban officials had given Leticia a stolen bicycle and, for this reason, Leticia, her brother, and the man who claimed the bicycle all presented their complaints and demands in the Cardenas police unit.
On Thursday, May 3rd, various police agents showed up to the home of Ramos Herreria with a registry and occupation warrant and took the bicycle by force. The activist and her brother quickly filed a complaint and she and her brother were summoned to the police station for Friday, May 4th, at 9 AM. In the unit, the agents told her brother to convince Leticia to withdraw her claim but he refused, while she also affirmed that she would not cancel her denouncement and that she would begin another protest in demand that her bicycle be returned to her. And so she began to protest outside the Police Unit of Cardenas.
As the weekend began, the activist turned her protest into a hunger strike. Throughout the entire time, her sister in law- Katiuska Rodriguez- was accompanying her. At around 3 PM on Sunday, May 6th, police officials took Leticia Ramos Herreria, still on hunger strike, away from the front of the police unit, according to the former political prisoner from Matanzas, Ivan Hernandez Carrillo who published the information on his Twitter account (@ivanlibre). When Herreria’s husband, Rudel Monteoca, tried to find out information about his wife, he was told that she had been taken to a hospital due to various health complications. However, minutes later, it was confirmed that the activist was not in a hospital, but instead in the detention center known as Cienaga de Zapata. A police captain by the name of Lazaro had told Monteoca this.
During the moment in which Leticia was detained, she had “cracked lips, was shaking with fever, and her vision was blurry“, according to Ivan Hernandez. The Lady in White had been suffering from inflammation of her lungs recently as well as strong pains in the same area due to a beating she received at the hands of the state police on March 18th. On April 30th, Leticia and 10 other activists were brutally beaten by police agents when they were protesting against the robbery (by State Security) of various materials from the home of the dissident couple Yanerys Perez and Ivan Mendez. Due to this violence, former political prisoner Diosdado Gonzalez suffered from fractured ribs, and in the case of Leticia, she said on Friday, May 4th that she had “liquid in her left knee, and am wearing an orthopedic corset due all the kicks I received on my back where I have a hernia“.
Despite all the health complicaitons, Rudel Monteoca affirmed that his wife had told him that she would not leave her hunger strike until the police has returned her bicycle, not so much because of the fact that she had her bicycle stolen, but because she cannot tolerate that the Cuban authorities get away with so much impunity. “Leticia says that if they even try to put a serum on her, she will rip it off, because she will continue her hunger strike“, said another Tweet by Ivan Hernandez.
Various human rights activists in and out of the island have expressed much worry for the life of Leticia Ramos Herreria, considering that she is in no physical condition to carry out a hunger strike. Meanwhile, the political police has told the dissident and her husband that they “could complain wherever they wanted to, but we are not going to return the bicycle” (@ivanlibre). However, when the Lady in White was still standing outside the police unit on Friday May 4th, she assured that she felt “very strong and with lots of energy being provided by God“ to continue her protest.
For more information:
(From Cuba) Ivan Hernandez Carrillo – Cell Phone: +5352-599-366 / Twitter: @ivanlibre
These accounts can also be followed for up to date news: @mspianoteacher / @SayliNavarro / @DirectorioCuba
Despite the Sexual Harassment and the Physical Aggressions, the Women of the Rosa Parks Movement Will Continue Marching
March 5, 2012Posted by on
Every first day of the month has already started to become synonymous with acts of Resistance by the activists from the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. This past March 1st, these Cubans once again took to the streets, but this time in different areas of the island.
In Banes, the Lady in White and Vice-President of the Rosa Parks Movement, Marta Diaz Rondon, led a group of other women to the Northern Cemetery in that same town where the remains of activist Marta Cecilia Perez Duconger lay. The dissidents decided to pay tribute to this Cuban on this specific date because she was one of the founders of the Rosa Parks Movement. Although they were able to carry out their tribute, a constant surveillance by the political police surrounded the women. In Matanzas, dissident Leticia Ramos, along with other activists, also took to the street and carried out a protest march.
However, without a doubt the worst violence occurred in Placetas, where a group of women from the Rosa Parks Movement, among them their president Yris Tamara Aguilera, surprised the regime functionaries in that area and stood outside the headquarters of the Municipal Headquarters of the Communist Party demanding freedom for the political prisoners Yazmin Conyedo and Yusmany Alvarez, an end to forced evictions, and, in sum, freedom for Cuba. Other women who participated were Donaida Pérez Paseiro, Yaite Cruz Sosa and Dora Pérez Correa. According to testimonies of these same women, many everyday Cubans displayed support and solidarity with them.
In just instants, a mob made up of State Security agents surrounded the women and quickly and violently arrested Blas Fortun Martinez, a dissident from the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front who was reporting from the scene of the protest. This arrest was carried out by agent Idel Gonzalez Morfi, best known as ‘Railroad Nail’. Meanwhile, and despite the aggressions, the women kept firm and shouted “freedom” and “the streets belong to the people“.
The communist mobs did not take long to physically assault the demonstrators. In this case, the activists denounce that the women from State Security who work in the Communist Headquarters began to scratch them and even bite them. In addition, the functionaries began to take off their shoes and use them to beat the female dissidents. According to Donaida Perez, numerous passer-bys defended the dissidents, standing in between them and their aggressors.
After this display of violence, the women from the Rosa Parks Movement decided to head back to one of their homes- that of Dora Perez, which is located literally across the street from the Communist Headquarters. But State Security was not satisfied with beating them and harassing them for just a short while. Considering that the march was completely spontaneous, the agents could only manage to gather a small group of women from State Security during the initial violence. When some time had passed, the functionaries organized a larger repressive operation against the women. A number of agents surrounded the home of Dora Perez and started to hurl rocks and shout offensive slogans. Various soldiers broke into the home and beat all those inside, taking them detained, even those who did not participate in the protest, like Yaimara Reyes Mesa and Xiomara Martin Jiménez. Also, the daughter of Dora Perez, who is not even a public dissident, was beaten and arrested.
In the following audio, recorded and provided by the Cuban Democratic Directorate (in Spanish), one can hear the moment when the arrests occurred, as the dissidents are bravely confronting their oppressors and shouting “No more Castros“, “Long live Democracy“, and “freedom for the Cuban people“, among other slogans:
All the women inside the house were arrested and the soldiers even left the door of the house wide open. Yris Aguilera, Dora Perez, and Yaimara Reyes were taken to the Instructional Police Headquarters (UPOC) in Santa Clara. When news of this spread, on the next day members of the Central Opposition Coalition directed themselves to that unit, demanding the immediate liberation of the activists.
The women of the Rosa Parks Movement were released during the afternoon hours of March 3rd. But the violence did not stop there. In the case of Yris Tamara Aguilera, she was beat inside the police vehicle which was headed to leave her back at her house in Placetas. The official known as Yuniel Monteagudo Reina was the aggressor, and he is also forcefully lowered Yris’s pants, sexually harassing her. Yris protested and did not let him get any closer to her, despite his physical strength. In declarations made just minutes after this abuse, Yris denounced that agent Yuniel told her “I’m gonna tear off the pants of this nigger and I am going to get on top of her”. This was also strongly denounced by her husband, the well-known activist for human rights and opposition leader, Jorge Luis Garcia ‘Antunez’.
These women have affirmed that despite the increased violence against them every first day of the month (and any other day they voice their opinions), they will continue demonstrating in defense of human rights, against government impunity, state violence, and, in sum, the Castro dictatorship.
This information was based on Twitter messages published by the Cuban Democratic Directorate. For more information follow @DirectorioCuba.
And from Cuba: Yris Tamara Aguilera – Cell: 011-5352- 417-749, Twitter: @YrisCuba / Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez – Cell: 011-5352- 731-656, Twitter: @AntunezCuba