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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: News
December 2, 2013Posted by on
Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, the rapper best known as “El Critico” who has been unjustly imprisoned in the Eastern town of Bayamo since March 2013, has not received medical attention after carrying out a 27-day long hunger strike and being returned to Las Mangas Prison, despite suffering various health complications, among them chronic gastritis. In addition, this week penal authorities suspended family visits for the young musician.
Yudisbel Roseyo, wife of Remon, informs in the following audio that the suspension of the visits took place after he refused to shave his beard as a sign of protest and after he painted his sheets with the word “change”.
On her part, Roseyo has been victim of arrests each Sunday for trying to make it to Catholic Mass along with other Ladies in White in Bayamo. Recently, she was kept in a bus under the sun for various hours and this 1st of December her home was stoned by political police officials. These tactics did not impede her from stepping out of her house, and upon doing so she was arrested and physically assaulted by police agents.
Both Roseyo and Remon Arzuaga have been threatened by the regime to not continue with their posture in favor of freedom but both have reiterated that they will keep doing what they have done until now, despite the consequences.
November 20, 2013Posted by on
On Wednesday, November 20th, renown dissident Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, from Havana, sent out a message through “Radio Republica” so that members from all opposition organizations in and out of Cuba raise their voices and carry out activities to demand the liberation of political prisoner Marcelino Abreu Bonora who is currently suffering in the Arnaldo Milian Castro Hospital of Santa Clara, Villa Clara, in a hunger strike which has already lasted more than 60 days.
Fonseca, who serves as the spokesperson of the OZT National Resistance Front and one of the leaders of the Pro Human Rights Party of Cuba, as well as a member of the Ladies in White, highlighted in the audio that no person should be taken behind bars because of their ideas, explaining that this is precisely what has happened with Abreu who was jailed after handing out pro-freedom pamphlets in the Cuban capital (Havana). Afterwards, State Security fabricated a crime of “attempt, resistance and damages to a door lock” against the dissident. His time in prison has been in the central province of Villa Clara but due to his severe health situation during his prolonged hunger strike he has been taken to the hospital.
Sara Marta also sent out a message on her Twitter account (@SaraMartaCuba) calling on Cubans from around the world and from all social networks to join the call of solidarity with Marcelino Abreu, asking them to use the hashtag #FreeMarcelino on Twitter.
Almost immediately, a number of Twitter users, bloggers and activists began to Re-Tweet and share Fonseca’s message and convoked a Tweet-Protest for this Friday, November 22nd starting at 9 AM using #FreeMarcelino to raise awareness on the situation of this dissident who is in very “grave” condition, according to relatives and fellow opposition members. Similar protests have successfully taken place and have garnered massive participation in days past with the cases of dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon ‘El Critico’ (#FreeElCritico), the Lady in White Sonia Garro (#FreeSonia) and the case of Cuba’s election into the UN’s Human Rights Council (#DontVoteCuba).
Other dissidents currently in and out of Cuba have also been rallying support for the liberation of Marcelino, including José Daniel Ferrer García, Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, Carlos Michael Morales Rodríguez, Ricardo Lázaro Fiallo López, Damaris Moya Portieles and Anyer Antonio Blanco Rodríguez, among many others. All of the previously mentioned have described Abreu’s case as “urgent”. The young activist is a member of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Hard Line and Boycott Front.
November 19, 2013Posted by on
Dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico” has been returned to Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo, where he was being held originally before starting his hunger strike which lasted 27 days and nearly cost his life. He has now been put in a cell where he is being denied medical assistance, confirmed his wife Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena.
“El Critico” suspended his hunger strike after State Security agents told him they would revise his case – a fabricated case of “attempt” created after agents beat him in his Bayamo home last 26th of March.
Now, the musician and UNPACU activist, has been returned to prison without medical assistance despite his very weak state of health (product of the lengthy strike) and other health ailments such as chronic gastritis.
Yudisbel Roseyo informs in this audio:
The campaign for Remon’s freedom, which originated on social networks and backed up by the hashtag #FreeElCritico, has kept going and will keep going until the young rapper is freed, affirm twitter users, bloggers and activists.
On her part, Roseyo Mojena has been victim of detentions and persecution at the hands of the political police due to her activism withing the Ladies in White in Bayamo.
November 19, 2013Posted by on
The young Cuban Yunior Ramirez Roca is the cultural promoter of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy, an opposition group which, as the name suggests, focuses on working with the youth of the island. 28-year old Ramirez also distinguishes himself as a Hip-Hop dancer, or B-Boy, and dedicates much of his time to impart classes to other youths in Havana in this style of dance with the purpose of keeping them away from drugs, alchoholism and participation in State events such as acts of repudiation against non-conformists.
The following video was published by the CYMD on its YouTube channel and shows a performance by Ramirez Roca. It is precisely because of these dances and his project to attract the youth that State Security has violently arrested him on various occassions. In the two most recent cases the authorities have deported the activist from the capital to Isle of Youth (originally known as Isle of Pines), his place of birth, despite the fact that he has been living in Havana for several years.
During his arrests Yunior has been threatened by police officials that if he continues in the opposition and working with civil society he would be sent to prison. Apparently, his Hip-Hop dance skills turn out to be very dangerous for the military regime of Havana.
UPDATED on November 19th 2013: Eriberto Liranza Romero, president of the CYMD, informed via text message that Yunior Ramirez was arrested once again on Monday, November 18th in Havana and is being held in the police unit known as “El Vivac”.
November 13, 2013Posted by on
As has been reported in various outlets, Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico” has suspended his hunger strike which lasted 27 days and has left him with serious health consequences, nearly costing him his life. The dissident rapper – unjustly imprisoned since March of 2013 – decided to stop his strike after State Security agents “promised” him that they would revise his case.
The young musician was arrested after a series of acts of repudiation organized by the State and violent arrests by the political police in Bayamo. He was later accused of “attempt” against an agent’s life, when in reality he was the victim. In prison he has suffered beatings, confinements in punishment cells, threats, and has even contracted diseases such as cholera.
Although his case will supposedly be revised, El Critico will continue demanding his freedom and will continue assuming his posture against the dictatorship and in favor of freedom, according to declarations by his wife Yudisbel Roseyo from the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Hospital in Bayamo, where Remon is still interned.
Roseyo has not left the hospital during her husband’s strike, despite the fact that State Security agents have been harassing her and other dissidents. The young member of the Ladies in White said she did not feel fear and although she feels more relief, considering that her husband has left the strike, she pointed out that he is still arbitrarily detained. She declared that she’d keep demanding “his liberation as well as the liberation of all political prisoners on the island”.
In the name of El Critico, Yudisbel thanked every person who joined in solidarity with his case, including bloggers, twitter users, activists, NGOs, media outlets, politicians and artists. (Gloria Estefan joins the call to free El Critico)
Meanwhile, the #FreeElCritico campaign will continue until the rapper, who is a member of the hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children, is freed. It will also merge with other campaigns to demand the liberation of all political prisoners in worrying situations such as Roilan Alvarez, Marcelino Abreu and Ivan Fernandez Depestre, all of who are currently on hunger strike.
October 31, 2013Posted by on
The absurd Law of Pre Social Dangerousness has taken another victim in Cuba. This time, it’s Jose Manuel Rodriguez, a member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance in Baracoa, Guantanamo, in the Eastern region of the country.
According to an audio published on ‘Radio Republica’ by Isael Poveda Silva, a dissident and member of ADO-Press, Rodriguez had been receiving a series of acts of repudiation and threats at the hands of police agents until they finally detained him. On Wednesday, October 30th, he was sentenced to 4 years behind bars for the “simple fact of defending human rights and refusing to collaborate with the State Security apparatus”.
Poveda adds that the trial was extremely brief and authorities did not allow the presence of relatives and barred lawyers to participate in his defense.
The Law of Pre Social Dangerousness gives power to the regime to jail any citizen under the pretext that they may commit some sort of crime in the future. It is widely used to punish those who protest against the system as well as the youth.
Jose Manuel Rodriguez is the father of three underage children and he is married. The Eastern Democratic Alliance is demanding his immediate and unconditional release.
October 13, 2013Posted by on
Yunior Ramirez Roca is the 26 year old Cultural Promoter for the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy. He dedicates his time to handing out pro-freedom literature on the streets of Havana as well as using art – specifically music and dance – to carry out activities aimed to attract young Cubans and keep them away from drugs and alcohol, as well as keeping them away from participating in State-sponsored acts of violence and propaganda.
At around 6 AM on Saturday, October 5th, agents of Cuba’s political police pounded on the door of the home where Yunior had been living in the Cotorro neighborhood of Havana. Shocked and confused, the onwer of the house- a lady named Maria – opened the door just to find the police barge in and forcefully take Yunior, destination unknown, according to Eriberto Liranza, president of the CYMD.
No one knew where Yunior was being kept for various days until Liranza finally managed to investigate and confirm late in the week that the young dissident was being held in the detention center known as Vivac.
After further invesigation, Liranza confirmed that “the police wants to deport Yunior Ramirez to Isle of Youth”. The Isle of Youth is a small island-province below mainland Cuba and was originally known as Isle of Pines before the Castro dictatorship took over.
Eriberto explained that Ramirez is originally from the mentioned province but has been living in Havana for some time now. His activism is enough reason for the State to try and get rid of him and maintain him in a more isolated location.
“On behalf of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy, we hold the regime accountabile for the life of Yunior Ramirez Roca”, declared Liranza.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Eriberto Liranza Romero – Cell Phone: 58-183-142
October 13, 2013Posted by on
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?
September 26, 2013Posted by on
The audio-visual series #PassItOn once again highlights the situation of Cuban dissident rapper and pro-freedom activist Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga ‘El Critico’, who is still behind bars in the Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo since March of 2013. He has been subjected to beatings and threats at the hands of his jailers. On occasions, he has been denied his right to telephone calls and family visits. During the month of July 2013 he contracted cholera and was in a very critical state of health. Although he has recuperated from the condition, he is still suffering from another ailment — chronic gastritis — and the authorities refuse to provide him with medical assistance. His wife, Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena, has also been under constant harassment by the regime’s State Security apparatus. On September 23rd 2013, Remon was mistreated in prison and denied his right to his family visits. His crime continues being his protest music and his activism. He is also coordinator of the opposition group UNPACU in Granma province and a member of the hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children (‘Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso’).
If you like this video, help spread the word and #PassItOn
September 26, 2013Posted by on
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’.