- @Pitbull Please RT #PassItOn to show support for jailed Cuban dissident rapper, check out vid #FreeElCritico: pedazosdelaislaen.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/pas… 21 minutes ago
- @GloriaEstefan THANKS for Retweeting #PassItOn for the freedom of jailed cuban rapper #ElCritico: pedazosdelaislaen.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/pas… 26 minutes ago
- RT @JustoLuisAlonso: #Cuba Luis Santos Caballero, miembro d la Coal Central, inicio huelg d hamb en parque Vidal d Sta Cl porque no tiene c… 29 minutes ago
- RT @FelixReyesGutie: #Cuba Luis Santos Caballero, miembro d la Coal Central, inicio huelg d hamb en parque Vidal d Sta Cl porque no tiene c… 1 hour ago
- RT @joanantoni70: Policía rodea la casa de un periodista que informó sobre peligro de epidemias joanantoniguerrero.net/?p=237 via @joanantoni70 #C… 3 hours ago
- RT @agueros_henry: Sonia Garro and Husband Ramon Muñoz have been held in Castro jail for over a year with/o charges. This is an injustice!! 3 hours ago
- Luis Enrique Santos, arrested today in Santa Clara, declared himself on hunger strike according to @DamarisMoyaP #Cuba 4 hours ago
- 2 dissidents, Luis Santos and Ramona Maday, arrested 2day in Santa Clara for continuing to demand a home after being evicted #Cuba 4 hours ago
"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: News
May 23, 2013Posted by on
As part of a new Project of this blog we launch “Pass it On” (‘Pasa la Voz’), an audio-visual series that aims to tell the story of Cubans with free minds. In this first edition, we dedicate the video to dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico de Arte”, member of the hip-hop duo ‘The Unwanted Children’, from Bayamo. “El Critico” has been imprisoned since March 2013 for handing out pro-freedom literature, as well as because of his protest music and constant activism. The young Cuban is also a member of the pro-freedom Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). As of yet, he has not had a trial.
These videos are designed to be shared online, so feel free to Pass it On!
For more videos visit “Pedazos de la Isla” on YouTube.
May 23, 2013Posted by on
The graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, better known in Cuba as “El Sexto“, was arrested by the political police on the night of May 17th in Havana when he was with a couple of friends and was going to buy himself a beer, just like any citizen has the right to do. The following videos were taken by Claudio Fuentes and Lia Villares and were published in El Sexto’s blog.
The agents which arrested the artist took a can of spray which he had in his pocket and he was taken to the Zapata y C police unit, where he was kept the entire night and where he was interrogated for his dissident art. In fact, one official told him that “the chief of the unit was offering a sum of cash for his capture”.
Maldonado was subjected to certain fingerprint exams and, later, officials entered his apartment where his pregnant wife was and began to carry out a search, taking with them his laptop, his digital camera, a number of spray bottles, artwork, canvases, paint, etc.
Some of these things were given back to him, while many others weren’t, as is the case of a painting which says “Down with Castro”, which the artist describes as one of his favorite works.
“What I felt during all of this was impotence…they want to reduce you to nothing”, expressed Maldonado in these videos, “they want to make you feel as if you represent nothing for this stupid grand machinery, this absurd thing which consists of praising communism as if it was God, and if you paint against it then you are no-one, not an artist, not anything. It’s something very absurd”.
Upon being released on Saturday, the police told him he had to remain “reachable” because he was still “under investigation” for painting according to his own conscience and abiding by the rules of no one else.
May 23, 2013Posted by on
The leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba highlights the situation which a number of political prisoners of the mentioned group are facing, speaks about the repressive methods employed by the State against activists and affirms that activism and opposition out on the streets has only increased in the Eastern region of the country, attracting further solidarity from everyday people.
Protest marches, debates and the handing out of flyers with pro-freedom messages are occurring with much more frequency in different areas of Eastern Cuba. Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, former political prisoner and current executive secretary of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), points out that in the month of May these actions have increased as part of the Boitel and Zapata Live Campaign, where dissidents throughout the country pay tribute to martyrs Pedro Luis Boitel and Orlando Zapata Tamayo, both deceased after lengthy hunger strikes in prison.
On May 20th, Cuba’s Independence Day, two marches were carried out in Santiago de Cuba. One of them was led by 11 activists and finished in the Antonio Maceo Plaza, where police officials beat the demonstrators with helmets, sticks and other objects, all of this while everyday citizens were watching.
A second march was carried out by 16 dissidents who managed to walk down various blocks of the El Sueno neighborhood, shouting pro-freedom messages. The result was police persecution. “State Security and Rapid Response Brigade agents came and began to throw rocks and beat activists“, recounted Ferrer Garcia. The repressors also threw tar and tried to raid the home of Daniel Barriel, secretary of the “Zapata Lives” sector of UNPACU in that neighborhood, where the activists congregated after the march. But the police was not able to achieve their objective, considering that the civic protests of the dissidents only intensified, forcing the aggressors to leave.
“Our activists came out and did not allow the attack. Also, they took up a clever posture. When the regime organized mobs shouted ‘long live the youth’, our dissidents would shout ‘live!’, but when the mobs shouted ‘long live Fidel’, the activists would say ‘down!’. The agents had to leave the house eventually“, explained Jose Daniel, “the police is losing space because they use so many people and use so much gasoline to repress us, but there is not enough gasoline for ambulances and other necessary services. In addition, everyday people are not cooperating with them“.
On the following day, May 21st, another group of UNPACU activists walked to the Palma-Santiago highway and took out a large sign with numerous anti-regime messages, such as “UNPACU in favor of fair salaries” and “democracy and justice“. This captured the attention of various passerby’s who actually would stop their cars to read the messages and show support with the dissidents.
Ferrer Garcia explains that UNPACU has “been following up the Boitel and Zapata Live Campaign as well as on the other commemorative dates like the death of Jose Marti and May 20th” with spontaneous marches and other demonstrations which have lasted more than 30 minutes, shouting slogans in favor of “freedom, democracy, the respect of human rights, the end of hunger, misery, low salaries and so many other ills which affect the population“.
The former political prisoner of conscience denounces that the repression on behalf of the regime has been increasing, but despite this, “the tyranny keeps losing in their confrontation against UNPACU, because even the people who in one way or another serve them are feeling very ashamed of the actions which State Security carries out against us“.
“The people are responding by criticizing the political police. On a daily basis they join the peaceful opposition movement in this area, where UNPACU has been carrying out a labor in favor of the society, working for the community, and this presents a serious problem for the tyranny, and it will just continue to create even more problems“, added Ferrer.
Currently, UNPACU has 40 of its members behind bars because of political motives. This past 21st of May Ferrer Garcia was able to establish communication with one of these prisoners who is being held in the Mar Verde Prision of Santiago.
“The activist told me about the situation which they find themselves in Mar Verde. He told me that Arcelio Noa had already been taken out of the punishment cell, but that he had intentionally hurt himself as a form of protest against the inhumane conditions he was being held in, and which the other 10 political prisoners we have in that prison have had to withstand“, said Ferrer, “lots of mistreatment, aggressions, and the guards are using common delinquents to harass them. These common prisoners are dangerous, many of them murderers, who lend themselves to such actions in exchange for food and other privileges. They are turned against the human rights defenders“.
Ferrer emphasized the situation of dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, known as “El Critico”, who is also the secretary of UNPACU for the city of Bayamo. The musician has been behind bars for more than 2 months in the Bayamo prison known as Las Mangas, still without a trial. He was violently arrested after the political police raided his home in March, attacking him and other relatives with tear gas.
“I was able to briefly speak with Angel Yunier on May 20th. In Las Mangas prison there is a very critical situation“, said the dissident leader, “Angel told me about the horrible medical attention offered to sick prisoners. He also told me that numerous prisoners have so many problems and they turn to self-infliction to call attention on so many abuses, the severe hunger, the lack of medical care and other cruel treatments“.
The young dissident continues to be in a judicial limbo while the authorities have not given his family any details as to what his fate will be.
The situation of activist Jorge Cervantes Garcia, from Contramaestre, is also critical. Ferrer says that “he is still recuperating from the lengthy hunger strike carried out to demand the freedom of Luis Enrique Lozada. Cervantes is still in Las Tunas prison, also amid a very hostile atmosphere. He was physically assaulted last week by a common prisoner who is addicted to mood-altering pills”.
Ferrer Garcia expressed that although the number of political prisoners is increasing, so too is the number of activists, mainly young ones, who are willing to go out to the streets to work towards a new Cuba.
Take a listen to the following audio (in Spanish) of Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia:
For more information from inside Cuba, contact:
Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia – Cell Phone: +53 – 146-740 / Twitter: @jdanielferrer
May 21, 2013Posted by on
Raday Matos Matos, a young dissident from the city of Baracoa, Guantanamo province, spoke with this blog about a recent march that 7 members of the Juan Pablo II Opposition Movement and of the Eastern Democratic Alliance from the mentioned city carried out this past Saturday, 18th of May, as part of the Boitel and Zapata Live Campaign, kicked off to honor Cuban martyrs Orlando Zapata Tamayo and Pedro Luis Boitel, political prisoners who died after lengthy hunger strikes. The march was also to publicly denounce the social situation which everyday citizens go through on the island. The demonstration was repressed by political police forces, but the dissident managed to receive solidarity on behalf of their neighbors.
The dissidents set out in march carrying signs which read “Down with hunger“, “down with the dictatorship“, “down with low salaries“, “long live peace” and “freedom“.
The arrests took place minutes after the march started, which went from La Laguna neighborhood all the way to Marti Park.
Raday recounts, “before the arrest we were physically assaulted by secret agents at the service of the political police. In fact, they hurt a woman amongst us the most, Daisy Romero Fernandez“.
Other assaulted dissidents were Luis Noa Silva, Jorge Luis Reyes and Francisco Luis Manzanet, president of the Juan Pablo II Movement. The latter also provided this audio with more details about the activity, published on the YouTube account of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU).
The police officials snatched the signs which the dissidents were carrying and ripped them, all of this before the stare of various everyday citizens who, according to Matos Matos, started to shout messages against the repressors and in favor of the activists.
With further violence, the agents forced the activists inside police vehicles which took them to the National Revolutionary Police Unit of the municipality, where they were all kept for a number of hours. In the case of Raday, the agents issues a written warning for him because of his acts of civil disobedience.
On the following day- May 19th- the majority of the dissidents in all of Baracoa awoke to find their homes surrounded by the political police. The agents were impeding the activists from stepping outside of their homes.
“We have been surrounded, harassed and haven’t been able to leave our own homes. Other activists have called me to confirm that they are going through the same things, saying that the political police and State Security are keeping a tight vigilance over their homes“, denounces Matos, “many police vehicles have been passing by my house, going around, keeping watch, surrounding each of our homes“.
Persecution of dissidents on behalf of the State police have been increasing in the city of Baracoa, but everything indicates that it is because of the growing level of activism out on the streets, especially on behalf of young nonconformists.
“We accuse the government for all the repression, persecution and all the aggression“, said Raday Matos.
Listen to the audio of Raday Matos Matos (in Spanish):
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Raday Matos Matos- Cell Phone: +58-144-692 / Twitter: @radaymatos
Francisco Luis Manzanet Ortiz- Cell Phone: +58-325-844
May 21, 2013Posted by on
This 20th of May 2013, Cuban Independence Day, Cuban exiles and other members of the community of Miami went to the historic Freedom Tower, where hundreds of Cubans passed through in the 1960′s when they arrived to the United States as refugees, to participate in a chat with 3 Ladies in White: Berta Soler (national representative of the group), Laura Labrada (daughter of Laura Pollan) and Belkis Cantillo (representative of the group in Santiago de Cuba). It was an event organized by Miami Dade College.
Before the chat, the 3 Ladies in White offered a press conference, in which dissident Guillermo Farinas also took part in. There, they responded various questions by the press and debated topics such as the constant repression they face in the island for trying to assist Sunday Mass, the fact that former political prisoners of conscience can’t travel outside of the country, the warm welcome on behalf of the Cuban exile community and the current situation of the youth on the island.
Soler called on young Cubans on the island to not leave the country and to stay and fight for it, while she also called on the children and grandchildren of the older exiles to keep supporting the struggle for freedom from wherever they are.
Once the last questions were asked by the press, the 3 activists went up on stage, where Miami Dade College’s president, Eduardo Padron, awaited them. The audience received them with a standing ovation.
Cuban-born international pop star Gloria Estefan shared some words about the symbolism of the Freedom Tower and about the importance of the Ladies in White and their peaceful activism in Cuba. She pointed that “we Cubans are just one people, and nothing will ever change that, ever“. The singer handed the women a plaque with photos of the march in which thousands of Miami residents took to the streets in support of the Ladies in White on March 25 of 2010. The march was convoked by the Estefans after the women were brutally beat by State Police in Havana on March 17th and was caught on film. Estefan explained that the police authorities of Miami had confirmed to her that more than 230,000 people took part in the historic march for solidarity down Miami’s emblematic Calle Ocho.
Soler, Labrada and Cantillo were interviewed by Miami-based journalist Maria Elvira Salazar. They discussed topics such as the acts of state repression against them and other dissidents for defending freedom, the current situation of the everyday Cuban citizen, the motives which led them to take up their struggle, their convictions, and the legacy of Laura Pollan, fallen leader of the group. Her daughter, Laura Labrada, or “Laurita” as she is known within the Ladies in White, affirmed that the regime had to do with Pollan’s death. In an emotional statement, she also expressed that her mother’s passing only gave her more strength to march not only for the freedom of all political prisoners, but also the freedom of an entire nation.
Before the event came to an end, Eduardo Padron handed the women the Miami Dade College’s Presidential Medal of Freedom with the words “Guardians of Freedom” engraved.
It was another one of those encounters which reminds Cubans that, despite the geographic distance and the difference of ideas, we are only one people, one nation, that fights for freedom and needs each and every one of its sons and daughters to achieve this goal.
All photos taken by Raul Garcia and Jennifer Hernandez from “Pedazos de la Isla”. Feel free to share.
May 19, 2013Posted by on
Each Sunday, police forces are deployed throughout the municipality of Antilla, in Holguin province, with the mission of carrying out an arrest. It’s not about a citizen who robs stores, or who breaks into homes or who kills or harasses other citizens. No. It has to do with a Lady in White: Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante. The police cordons are also activated when there are other civic activities taking place, just like the monthly encounter which the Ladies in white carry out. The harassment has been so severe that the mentioned activist has not been able to assist Sunday Mass in 2013 so far to pray for the freedom of all political prisoners as all these women do throughout the island.
Sanchez Infante was arrested at around 5 AM this past Friday, May 17th, as she was trying to travel from Antilla to the city of Holguin to participate in the monthly meeting held by the Ladies in White in that province. The main agent in charge of the arrest was Yosvany Reyes Maltrapa.
“Agent Maltrapa twisted my left arm and with his other hand he punched my mouth“, explained Mildred. The activist was kept in a dungeon of a police unit until a couple of minutes past 10 AM, after the meeting had come to an end.
A couple of State Security agents also threatened Mildred’ mother, telling her that she should “talk her daughter out” of participating in dissident activities. If she didn’t do so, they would both suffer the consequences, one agent told the lady.
Mildred suffered yet another threat. “Agent Yosvany told me that he was going to attack me, or ‘get me’, one of these days when I was alone“, she denounces.
“They always arrest me“, expressed Mildred, “in 2013 so far I have not been able to assist Mass in the city of Holguin…not even here in my own neighborhood of Antilla. When the police sees that Mass ends, then they release me. I don’t have the exact number of arrests I’ve had so far in 2013. I have not been able to participate in the reunions of the Ladies in White, in mass, or in another other peaceful activities of the opposition“.
Listen to Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante’s testimony (in Spanish) here:
This repression against the Ladies in White and other pro-freedom activists in the province of Holguin is constant. Berta Guerrero, resident of the city of Holguin and representantive of the female group for the province, denounces that each Sunday a number of women are arrested when they try to make it to Mass. In fact, a police agent has even told them that they would have to “buy a helicopter” if they wanted to make it to church.
For more informaiton from Cuba, contact:
Mildred Noemí Sánchez Infante- Cell Phone: +52-615-097
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 15, 2013Posted by on
Another video has been published of the march carried out by the Ladies in White this past Mother’s Day, 12th of May, in Havana, in honor of Cuban mothers around the world. The women marched to the Santa Rita Church and later held a public meeting in the Gandhi Park of the same city.
This new video, filmed and edited inside of Cuba by members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), demonstrated the mentioned activity. Don’t miss it:
May 15, 2013Posted by on
Police agents in the municipality of Vueltas, Villa Clara province, repressed various citizens during the activities of this past First of May.
Among those attacked were dissident couple Raul Gonzalez and Niurcy Acosta Pacheco, members of the Cuban Reflection Movement (MCR) who were surrounded in their own home by the agents and kept from stepping out. When they finally made it out, they were violently arrested
Raul Gonzalez sent the following photos via his cell phone:
Gonzalez accompanied the images with the following text:
“That’s how the first of May was celebrated, with such a ‘democratic’ act, here in our municipality. They prohibited us from leaving our homes. And then they said they didn’t want arrests. Long live FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY! Raul and Niurcy (MCR)”
May 14, 2013Posted by on
Cuban born musicians Gloria and Emilio Estefan recently met with Pope Francis in the Vatican and took a very special message to him in the name of the people of Cuba.
According to a report by ‘CBS’, the Estefans asked the Pope to please pray for human rights on the island. It’s the second time they do so, the first being with Pope John Paul II.
Pope Francis recently met with the leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, after a public Mass and told her and the Cuban people to “continue onward”.
Gloria Estefan is slated to host a chat this upcoming Monday, May 20th, with Soler and other Cuban activists in Miami’s Historic Freedom Tower. The 20th of May is also Cuba’s Independence Day, which is not recognized by the dictatorship. The event is free but tickets are required and can be obtained here, through Miami Dade College.
On March 25th 2010, Gloria and Emilio organized a massive march down Miami’s 8th Street (‘Calle Ocho’) in solidarity with the Ladies in White after a brutal beating by the political police on March 17th 2010 in Havana which was caught on film. More than 100,000 people participated in the march, most of them dressed in white, in a gesture of support with the Cuban women.