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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights
June 17, 2013Posted by on
The debate about whether dissidents working for a democratic Cuba should turn to hunger strikes or not always rises in and out of the island whenever these protests are undertaken. Whichever the opinions may be, the reality is that, right now, in Cuba there are 3 human rights activists on hunger strike, all of them on the verge of losing their lives due to the serious deterioration of their health. And while their lives extinguish slowly, the dictatorship ignores their demands.
Luis Enrique Santos Caballero
A member of the Central Opposition Coalition (CCO) and of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, from the city of Santa Clara, Villa Clara. Has been carrying out his hunger strike since May 24th, demanding a home after he was forcefully evicted alongside his wife Ramona Maday García, an activist of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. Santos Caballero spent more than 15 years behind bars and upon being released his father had passed away and he had nowhere to live. He spent some time living at the homes of friends and fellow dissidents until he finally decided to occupy an abandoned establishment. Police forces violently evicted Santos from this establishment. He has been under constant persecution since then.
The dissident began to protest with his wife in the Vidal Park of Santa Clara for a number of days, demanding a home. He was arrested, beaten and repudiated by government mobs on various occasions. Santos decided to start a hunger strike, moving his protest to the city of Placetas, specifically in the home of dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’.
Santos Caballero has only one kidney. He lost the other organ after a brutal beating by his jailers while he was still in prison. It is precisely because the lack of one kidney that his health has deteriorated so quickly and why his health is critical. Authorities have ignored his demands but Santos has said that he will take his protest to the final consequences. #SOS
For more information from Cuba:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’ – Cell Phone: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba
Osvaldo Rodríguez Acosta
The home of dissident Osvaldo Rodríguez Acosta and his family in the town of Bejucal was raided by police forces on September 2012 after he had announced the formation of a new pro-freedom group, the Patriotic Alliance, and that his oldest son, 24 year old Osvaldo Rodriguez Castillo, refused to participate in military service. Father and son were beaten until the point that their heads were broken. Juana Castillo, wife of Osvaldo Rodriguez, was also physically assaulted while her youngest son (12 years old at the time) witnessed everything. The minor is severely traumatized.
The 3 activists were rapidly detained and sent to an arbitrary trial in 2013. Osvaldo Rodriguez was sentenced to 9 years of prison, his son to 7 years and Juana was sentenced to 5 years of correctional labor. Osvaldo (father) is jailed in the Combinado del Este Prison, where he began his hunger strike on May 10th, protesting all the abuses against his family and the authorities’ refusal to allow family visits. His son is being held in Valle Grande Prison of Havana. On June 8th, dissident and Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, from Boyeros, Havana, reported that Osvaldo Rodríguez Acosta had been transferred to the National Hospital’s penal ward, already with more than 30 days on hunger strike and in a “critical” state.
Fonseca has informed on her Twitter account that Rosa Acosta, mother of Osvaldo Rodriguez, suffered a pulmonary effusion and was interned in the National Hospital, where her son resides. Authorities have not allowed them to see each other. #SOS
For more information from Cuba:
Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo – Cell Phone: +53-379-01 1/ Twitter: @SaraMartaCuba
Wilbert Parada Milán
Wilbert Parada Milán is a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). He was violently detained along with Roberto Hernandez on March 30th in Habana Vieja. He began his hunger strike on May 13th in the Valle Grande Prison, also in Havana.
In a recent interview with this blog, José Daniel Ferrer García, leader of UNPACU, explained that Parada’s arrest was due to the constant activism he had been carrying out throughout the capital, carrying out civic protests and handing out pro-freedom literature.
In another recent interview to ABC, Yudisnelis Rodríguez Reina, wife of the dissident, explained that the hunger striker is in “critical state” in a cell of the Cominbado del Este’s hospital.
Jailers have not allowed Wilbert to have family visits and he has reportedly lost consciousness on a number of occasions. Relatives and fellow dissidents fear for the worst with this activist, who finds himself in a struggle between life and death. #SOS
For more information from Cuba:
José Daniel Ferrer García – Cell Phone: +53-146-740 / Twitter: @jdanielferrer
Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, Osvaldo Rodríguez Acosta, Wilbert Parada Milán. Three names we shouldn’t forget. No more repression, no more dictatorship.
June 6, 2013Posted by on
Members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance and Civil Disobedience Front in the city of Placetas, Villa Clara have been carrying out continuous public demonstrations since the beginning of June, in solidarity with the demands of hunger striker Luis Enrique Santos Caballero who has refused to intake food since May 24th, demanding a home after he was forcefully evicted by government forces.
Now, new images of these protests have arrived from the island. The demonstrations took place on the 1st, 2nd and 5th of June in the city of Placetas. The videos have been published on the YouTube channels of Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, leader of the OZT Front, and of Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello.
On June 1st, a group of activists demonstrated in a Placetas neighborhood, shouting slogans in favor of Santos Caballero and letting neighbors know about the situation. In this activity, once can see the face and body of the hunger striker, clearly deteriorated:
After the protest, various activists were violently arrested by the political police. Among the detainees was Yoel Bravo. We can see the moment of his arrest here:
On June 2nd, Ramona Maday Garcia, wife of Luis Enrique Santos and member of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, marched down the streets of Placetas with a sign explaining the situation of her husband, asking for solidarity from neighbors and denouncing the indifference of the regime:
The most recent video, filmed on June 5th, shows a protest in the a popular spot of Placetas. According to Antunez and other dissidents, this activity ended in police violence when neighbors came out in defense of the demonstrators:
These audio-visuals show the desperation of a Cuban family which, after having been left without a home, have been demanding justice. Luis Enrique and Ramona spent a number of days protesting and sleeping in Vidal Park of Santa Clara and after arrests, acts of repudiation and the indifference of the authorities, the dissident decided to declare himself on hunger strike and take his protest to the home of Jorge Luis ‘Antunez’. Activists have alerted that Santos’ state of health is extremely weak and he is suffering from frequent faint spells. He also only has one kidney. A photo published on Twitter by Antunez (@antunezcuba) shows the deterioration of the dissident:
June 3, 2013Posted by on
The home of Damaris Moya Portieles and her family in Santa Clara, Villa Clara. Damaris is the president of the Central Opposition Coalition and a member of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. She is one of the most persecuted activists in that central area but also one of the most active. Her home has become a constant target of repression on behalf of the political police, but as one can see, it has also become one of the bastions of resistance.
This is how dissidents live in Cuba.
As a response to constant acts of repudiations, raids and attacks organized by the regime, Moya Portieles and her family decided to write pro-freedom messages on her walls. Some of them read:
“The Cuban people are hungry, but they are also afraid. When the fear ends, so too will the hunger”.
“Down with Raul and Fidel (Castro)”.
“Freedom for Sonia Garro Alfonso and her husband”.
“Fidel and Raul are corrupt thieves”.
“No more hunger and misery”.
This photo was published on Twitter by Cuban-American activist Cecilia Rojas (@CeciliaF_Rojas). Cecilia recently visited Cuba after her mother passed away. She was brave enough to meet with some dissidents, among them Damaris Moya and Antunez. Due to this display of solidarity she was detained for various hours by the political police.
May 11, 2013Posted by on
Mobs organized by the Cuban regime’s State Security apparatus have been repudiating and harassing various dissidents in Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila, this week.
Idael Pérez Díaz, member of the Central Opposition Coalition, the Pedro Luis Boitel Movement and the Orlando Zapata Resistance Front, told this blog that during the morning and afternoon of Wednesday, May 8th, the mobs “threw rocks and shouted offensive words at us, while about 10 State Security jeeps spent the day stationed in the corners of the block, giving alcoholic beverages to all those participating in the repudiation“.
The acts of aggression took place outside the home of Perez Diaz where a number of dissidents from other cities, like Santa Clara, were congregated.
He also explained that the mobs were made up by people from other municipalities because the vast majority of neighbors refused to participate. Some neighbors even took food to the activists, considering that they couldn’t step outside their homes due to the police cordons. Such actions of citizen solidarity are being reported with much frequency throughout the entire island.
“Lediño, the chief of state Security for the province of Ciego de Avila, was the one directing the entire operation“, added Perez, “the other people are mainly from the Communist Party, only a few from this municipality, and the rest from other areas“.
Idael and his wife, Santa Gonzalez Pedroso, are renown local dissidents, as are their children, Idaelvis Perez Gonzalez and Delvis Perez Gonzalez. The latter is just 12 years old and has been suffering psychological traumas due to the constant harassment of the regime against his family.
“Delvis became very nervous and we had to get him out of the house with the help of some relatives“, said Idael. On January of 2013, the minor was expelled from his wrestling team at school under the orders of State Security. The pretext of the agents were that his parents were ‘counter-revolutionaries’. (Audio here).
Meanwhile, activists Julio Columbie Batista and Jenni Barallobre Columbie, also from Grua Nueva, were violently arrested near the city of Moron on May 7th, as they were returning from Camaguey. They were detained for more than 48 hours and both were threatened with being jailed if they continued their opposition activities out on the streets, and if they kept on creating pro-freedom groups in nearby areas.
Idael, Santa and the rest of the congregated dissidents were also demanding the liberation of Columbie and Barallobre.
The repudiation came to an end on Thursday afternoon, but police guards were still keeping a tight vigilance over the dissident family, while still handing out beer to people from the Communist Party and other institutions of the dictatorship which were lending themselves to take part in such actions.
Despite all this, Santa Gonzalez Pedroso and other women from the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights carried out a march to the local church as they do each Thursday, in honor of all those Cubans who have been killed for wanting democracy. In this case, they were not arrested.
But the vigilance continues.
“I hold State Security accountable for what could happen to us, my family and all other dissidents“, declared Idael Perez.
Listen to declarations by Idael Perez (in Spanish) below:
For more informaiton from Cuba, contact:
Idael Pérez Díaz – Cell Phone: +58-163-741
Santa González Pedroso – Cell Phone: +58-163- 728 / Twitter: @SantaCuba1
Julio Columbie Batista- Cell Phone: +52-627-602
April 27, 2013Posted by on
Cuban authorities have only responded to this question with more violence.
Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, a pro-freedom group made up by various women who dress in black and carry out peaceful marches and acts of civil disobedience, continues to be victim of beatings at the hands of Cuban political police agents, even when she is trying to take care of personal chores which have absolutely nothing to do with a political demonstration.
Perez was left unconscious after a beat down by the police this past March in the city of Santa Clara. She suffered numerous health complications after that, including a concussion and serious head pains. Meanwhile, all the hospitals of the mentioned city as well as her city of residence- Placetas- refused to let her in, all because State Security had ordered so, due to her ideology.
Her health situation was so serious that her father passed away a few days later and, because she was bed-ridden and in so much pain, she could not even go to his funeral and bid him farewell for the last time, something which has been extremely difficult for her.
This 25th of April, Yris was once against arrested and beat, this time by a police official known as Akaema. The activist was on her way to the Rafael Pharmacy of Placetas to buy some medications for her high blood pressure. She was accompanied by two other activists- Yaite Cruz Sosa and Xiomara Martin Jimenez- but they were not carrying out a protest, march, or any dissident activity. The three were arrested.
“Agent Akaema savagely beat me on the head… I have a neck brace and she hit me there on purpose, shaking my head all over the place”, recounts Yris Tamara in an audio published in the YouTube channel of her husband, well known former political prisoner and dissident leader Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez‘.
The three women were shoved into police vehicles, kept for a brief period of time in a police unit, and later were left abandoned in desolate and abandoned spots, respectively. They had to walk back some blocks to get to their homes.
Politically-driven assassinations in Cuba have different forms. In many cases, the regime takes away all food of political prisoners, while other times they beat them while they are on hunger strike, already weakened to begin with. Other activists are beat in dawn hours, left to die out on a street. ”Accidents” have also been organized, leading to the death of those who defend freedom.
In the case of Yris Tamara Perez, everything points to the fact that the Cuban regime does not want her to receive medical attention, which she desperately needs due to all the beatings their agents have given her.
Regardless, the dissident leader says that she feels she is “a free citizen”.
And, precisely with that same inherent freedom she feels, she declares that “I will go back out again to the street, I am not going to send someone to get my medicines for me, because that is my right, and they are violating my rights”, expressed Perez.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera- Cell Phone- +52-417-749 / Twitter: @YrisCuba
April 24, 2013Posted by on
Pictured in this photo is Luis Enrique Lozada (right), an activist of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), along with his family, in Maffo, Contramaestre. Lozada has been imprisoned for more than 2 weeks, after he was arbitrarily arrested by the political police. He offers his home each Tuesday to impart courses on civil disobedience and non-violent struggles for local activists as well as everyday citizens- neighbors, friends, etc. These encounters usually end in acts of repudiations and house raids at the hands of State Security, and it is also the reason for his detention last April 9th.
Luis Enrique was kept in the Third Police Unit of Santiago de Cuba for various days before being transferred over to the Boniato Prison. In response, approximately 14 relatives and friends stood outside the unit demanding his release, carrying out hunger strikes and protests. On his part, Lozada also declared himself on hunger strike.
The protest expanded when a total of 20 activists from UNPACU joined in. But now, there are more than 50 Cubans on hunger strike for the same cause. Here are the faces and stories of some of them:
Pictured above is Enrique Lozada Aguedo. He’s the 17-year old son of Luis Enrique Lozada. For a while, he was the youngest member of UNPACU, and in 2012 called on the Cuban youth to join the dissident movement to demand their rights. Now, he has put his life on the line to demand his father’s release.
Darmis Aguedo Zaldivar, wife of Luis Enrique Lozada, mother of Enrique; she is a Lady in White and member of UNPACU. She demands an end to the violence against her husband, her children, and the rest of her family and members of the peaceful opposition movement in the Eastern region of the country.
Arnoldo Lozada Igarza is Luis Enrique’s brother. He is frequently subjected to police violence along with his brother while they participate in the courses on non-violent civic struggles.
This is Lady in White Ana Celia Rodriguez, from Santiago de Cuba. She is frequently persecuted and arrested by the political police when she tries to make it to Sunday Mass at the National Cobre Shrine. She is the mother of the young activist Anyer Antonio Blanco Rodriguez.
José Daniel Ferrer García, executive secretary of UNPACU, he is a former political prisoner of conscience and one of the leaders of the internal opposition on the island. He started his hunger strike alongside dozens of other activists in the Cespedes Park of Santiago de Cuba, right in front of the Cathedral of Santiago. Afterward, he took his protest back to his home in Palmarito de Cauto, which serves as one of the main meeting points of UNPACU. He said his protest was for the release of Luis Enrique Lozada as well as for the release of all detained UNPACU activists. In addition, he is calling for an end to violence against all peaceful dissidents in Cuba and is shedding light on the situation of more than 40 members of UNPACU who have been sentenced to prison terms for several years. Ferrer Garcia suffers from various health issues, all of them acquired in dungeons during his 7 year prison sentence, and his hunger strike may intensify these complications.
Sirley Avila, an ex delegate of the Popular Power Department in Limones, Las Tunas. She was fired for speaking without censorship and for trying to truthfully represent the people. Recently, she has joined the opposition. She’s been blacklisted by the government since.
More photos of some other hunger strikers:
Anyer Antonio Blanco, who provided the photos shown in this post, said on his Twitter account (@anyerantoniobla) on April 23rd that there are now a total of 54 hunger strikers. They hail from Palmarito de Cauto, Palma Soriano, San Luis, Holguin, Banes, Las Tunas, Pinar del Rio and many other places. The strikers are from UNPACU, but many other activists from diverse pro-freedom organizations have joined in fasts or with public protests, like the case of Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila, where members of the Pedro Luis Boitel Movement and of the Rosa Parks Movement have been carrying out several demonstrations, and the members of the Democratic Alliance of Pinar del Rio, who have more than 60 members fasting in the province of Pinar del Rio. The Ladies in White and national coalitions such as the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Resistance Front have also joined in solidarity.
The political police has increased the level of violence against all those who lend their homes to show solidarity with the strikers, as well as against those who carry out marches or other civic protests. Many have been arrested and beaten, as was the case of Rubislandi Avila, rushed to a hospital after a brutal beat-down at the hands of the police in the town of Mella (Santiago de Cuba).
Meanwhile, in exile, Luis Enrique Ferrer Garcia and Ana Belkis Ferrer Garcia (siblings of Jose Daniel Ferrer) have started a fast in solidarity with the strikers. Various Cubans living in different cities have joined the call. They are convoking others to participate in this display of support. Visit their webpage here.
For more videos of the hunger strikers, visit the YouTube channel of UNPACU.
April 19, 2013Posted by on
On the night of Wednesday, April 17th, Cubans in diverse parts of the country rang their pots and pans as a display of support and solidarity with the Venezuelan opposition, a movement which also uses these methods of civil disobedience.
The protest was convoked by the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, a coalition which groups numerous internal opposition organizations. Other groups, as well as members of Cuba’s civil society, participated.
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, secretary general of the Front, said in an audio published on his YouTube account that “a group of members of the Cuban resistance in different provinces shook neighborhoods and towns with the pots and pans protest” despite the fact that “the political police had a violent reaction against these activists”.
In the city where Antunez lives- Placetas, Villa Clara (right in the center of Cuba) – dissidents rang their pots and pans despite being surrounded by political police agents which threw rocks and shouted profanity. One of the rocks hit a 6 year old as well as the leading dissident Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, who is still suffering from a brutal beat-down at the hands of State Security agents in March.
Santa Clara (another city in the province of Villa Clara) was the scene of another demonstration, where member of the Central Opposition Coalition met at the home of Damaris Moya Portieles to carry out the protest. There, the political police arrested various dissidents, while they organized a violent act of repudiation. Regardless, independent blogger Carlos Michael Morales said that those present began to shout “Down with Nicolas Maduro, Down with Communism” and “Long Live Capriles“.
Other pots and pans protests were reported in the province of Camaguey, according to activist Santos Fernandez Sanchez, member of the Pro-Human Rights Party of Cuba. Former political prisoner of conscience Librado Linares Garcia reported on his Twitter account (@LibradoLinares) that in Cienfuegos there were also protests, which provoked a violent reaction by the State police.
In Havana, numerous demonstrations were reported in more than 6 different municipalities, according to dissident Jose Diaz Silva. Among the municipalities was Boyeros, where Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo carried out a significant pots and pans protest along with her family and other activists. Agents of the Rapid Response Brigades and the political police surrounded the house and began to throw rocks, dirty water, eggs, tar and even used condoms. Julio Leon Fonseca, husband of Sara Marta, received a death threat from one of the agents in the mob.
“We have done this in support of the Venezuelan opposition, who are out on the streets demanding their rights”, said Sara Marta Fonseca in an audio published on ‘Radio Republica’, “they [the political police] have broken our windows…they came in to our porch and tore down signs. These are the things dictatorships do when they are about to topple…they are very bothered because the pots and pans rang in many parts of Cuba in support of the opposition and people of Venezuela”, said the dissident.
Alternative blogger Yusnaby Perez said on his Twitter account (@Yusnaby) that pots could be heard in parts of Central Havana.
“Not only in Central Havana”, read another message by Perez, “the pots and pans could also be heard in the town of Santa Fe…there are people on the street with signs”.
He managed to publish a video of the demonstration on YouTube minutes later:
Other pots and pans protests were confirmed in places like Mayabeque, Granma, Holguin and Guantanamo.
“We paid tribute and showed our support with our brothers in Venezuela, a country which was victim of a grotesque electoral fraud at the hands of Nicolas Maduro’s regime which is trying to perpetuate itself in power”, reiterated Antunez, “may these words serve to send all of Venezuela our respect, our admiration, our affection, and so that they know that the Cuban Resistance stands with them”.
The complete audio by Antunez here:
March 27, 2013Posted by on
Agents of the Cuban political police arrested a group of 9 dissidents, members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance and Civil Disobedience Front, in the city of Placetas, Villa Clara this Tuesday 26th of March when they were carrying out a public demonstration as part of the “Yris Tamara Perez and Calixto Martinez Cannot Die” campaign. The officials used violence against the demonstrators and, upon seeing that they did not have sufficient police vehicles to take the detainees, decided to tie some of the dissidents to a nearby porch until reinforcements arrived.
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, secretary general of the OZT Front, witnessed the events and confirmed that they occurred during afternoon hours. “These activists were carrying out a peaceful protest under the campaign to save Yris Tamara Perez and Calixto Ramon Martinez“, he recounted, explaining that the dissidents “took to the streets carrying signs with messages like ‘Justice for Yris and Calixto’ and ‘Don’t let them die’ when they abruptly assaulted and arrested by the police. The agents violently threw them against the pavement“.
The former political prisoner identified some of the detainees as Julio Columbie Batista, Maikel Almenteros, José Lino Ascencio López, Yunier Santana Hernández, Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, Yanisbel Valido Pérez and Orlando Almaguer.
The solidarity campaign was launched this March by the OZT Front after Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, wife of Antunez and president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, was beat unconscious by police agents, causing serious health complications. Her problems intensified when doctors in different hospitals of Placetas and Santa Clara refused her admission or treatment under strict orders of State Security. Yris remains with ailing health, without medical assistance and in danger of being beat again at any time, just for stepping out of her house.
Meanwhile, ‘Hablemos Press’ reporter Calixto Ramon Martinez Arias has been imprisoned for 6 months now because of his work as an independent journalist. He declared himself on hunger strike this month and this Tuesday marked the 20th day of his protest.
The campaign demands medical attention for Yris Perez and the immediate liberation of Calixto Ramon, through demonstrations like vigils, protests, marches, etc.
“The police responded in a brutal and cynical manner“, added Antunez, as he explained that the usual methods applied such as beatings and arrests did not shock him, but he could not believe what he was seeing when “two of the activists- Yanisbel Valido Perez and Maikel Almentero Orama- were tied to a porch of a house located on Marti street when the police realized they did not have enough cars to take them all away at once“.
“This tells us that the regime is even losing the capacity to repress“, said Antunez.
Another protest with similar outcomes took place on Monday in the same city of Placetas when a group of dissidents from Camaguey, among them Daniel Millet Jimenez, arrived. A number of other activities have been reported throughout the island as part of this new campaign in solidarity with Yris Perez and Calixto Martinez.
“There are more of those who protest than those who repress“, assured Antunez, who added that the campaign will continue with more strength, energy and activism until the objectives are achieved.
For more information form Cuba, contact:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’- Cell Phone: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba
March 11, 2013Posted by on
The health conditions of the Cuban dissident Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, worsened during this past weekend after the violent beating she endured at the hands of State Security agents on March 7th in the city of Santa Clara. This Monday, March 11th, her husband and renowned dissident Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, said that Yris remained “stable”, according to an audio published on her YouTube channel.
The beating occurred when Yris and other women from the Movement carried out their weekly march in honor of all those fallen in the name of democracy in Cuba, as they do every Thursday. That specific march was being dedicated to the assassinated dissidents Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero, and the beating was carried out by State Security agents Eric Francis Aquino Yera and one who goes by the name of Misael. Perez Aguilera was left unconscious on the street and, when found, was rushed by Antunez and other dissidents to the “20th Anniversary” Clinic of Santa Clara, and from there was remitted to the Arnaldo Milian Castro Hospital in the same city, from where she was eventually kicked out as soon she regained her consciousness that same Thursday.
On Friday, March 8th, her health worsened, as she suffered dizziness spells, convulsions, memory lapses and was vomiting blood. Various relatives rushed her to the PlacetasHospital that night. In his Twitter account, Antunez (@antunezcuba) recounted the events of that Friday through a series of messages.
“Yaquelin, a doctor from the PlacetasHospital, diagnosed the grave situation of Yris and wrote down the number of physical blows she had received in her clinical history”, read one message, “The opinion of this doctor and the orthopedic coincide in that Yris be remitted to the ProvincialHospital, they say she should receive specialized assistance”.
Minutes later, a number of State Security agents entered the hospital and began to give orders to the doctors. Dr. Yaquelin was kept from traveling with Yris Perez on the ambulance which would take her to the ProvincialHospital.
“Yris arrived to the provincial hospital, while various doctors commented on how much physical blows she had received”, said another tweet by Antunez, later adding that they had to carry out a ‘TAC’ exam on her, but minutes later “a State Security agent arrived along with Agustin Arocha (a doctor) and they dismissed a possible cerebral trauma”.
Instead, they recommended Yris have a “rectal exam and a gastric cleaning”, which Yris herself, along with her relatives, refused, considering it to be a humiliation. The dissident was kicked out of the hospital but the activists present protested and she had to be rushed to the General Hospital of Placetas, where doctors told her that she had to leave the place, for they were “first revolutionaries and then doctors”, according to other messages published by Antunez.
With Yris back in her home in Placetas, Villa Clara, Antunez informed on Sunday, March 10th, that his wife awoke “delirious and in pain”.
Perez Aguilera suffers from epilepsy and hypoglycemia, and she also has a cyst on the back of her neck due to so many beatings at the hands of the political police. The beating on March 7th worsened her health. But it also unleashed a chain of solidarity throughout the island, where dissidents carried out different activities in solidarity with the opposition leader.
The Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy, for example, published a statement in the voice of its president, Eriberto Liranza Romero, in solidarity with Perez Aguilera, while in Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila, activists like Julio Columbie Batista, Idael Pérez Díaz and Santa González Pedroso reported pots and pans protests in that city as part of the campaign “We must not let Yris die”, after a call launched by Damaris Moya Portieles from Santa Clara for a national protest during the night of March 9th. Other activities of solidarity were confirmed in the center and Eastern regions of the country, while activists like Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, Librado Linares García, Sayli Navarro, Félix Reyes Gutiérrez, Manuel Cuesta Morua and Félix Navarro published messages on their Twitter accounts condemning the beating and in support of Yris.
“It seems that the order to eliminate Yris has been given”, wrote Antunez in another message, “We cannot allow the crime”.
A diverse group of dissidents have said that they will continue demanding medical assistance for Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, as well as an end to violent against her.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’- Cell Phone: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba
March 8, 2013Posted by on
It’s not rare for Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera to suffer a beating by uniformed agents in Cuba. Both she and her husband, the renown dissident and former political prisoner Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, live under constant police vigilance, which does not allow them- the majority of times- to freely move throughout their own city of residence, Placetas, or throughout the country, for that matter. And when they manage to surpass vigilant cordons and arrive to other destinations, they are eventually intercepted and deported. This was proven once again on Thursday, March 7th 2013, when the activist was brutally beaten by State Security agents and left lying unconscious on a street in the city of Santa Clara.
Perez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, was with other women of the group participating in the weekly march they carry out every Thursday to pay homage to Cubans who have died while trying to achieve freedom in the country, when the violence took place. It was around 9 AM when the others were detained: Damaris Moya, Yanisbel Valido, Natividad Blanco, Ramona García and Yris Tamara Aguilera herself.
The women were taken directly to cells in different police units throughout the region, but agent Eric Francis Aquino Yera and one known as Misael kept Yris in a separate police vehicle, by herself, from which she was taken out, or better said- dragged out- by her hair and thrown against the pavement various times to the point that she was left unconscious after suffering blows to the head, according to declarations made by Antunez in an audio published on the YouTube account “PlacetasCuba100″ (belonging to Yris Perez).
Minutes later, some neighbors showed up to the home of Damaris Moya in Santa Clara and told her husband, Yanoisy Contreras, that there was a person abandoned out in the road, passed out. ”We first thought it would be a drunkard”, said Antunez in the audio, “but when Yanoisy went to the corner of the block and saw that heart-wrenching scene, where Yris was just thrown there, bleeding and passed out… we urgently took her to the 20th Anniversary Hospital of Santa Clara”.
Yris’ condition was grave, which is why she was rushed to the Armando Milian Castro Hospital, located in the same city, where she was submitted to various exams. However, the hospital authorities, in collaboration with State Security, expelled Yris Tamara from the hospital as soon as she gained her conscious back.
Upon arriving to Moya’s home, other dissidents who displayed solidarity with Yris were detained, among them Michel Oliva Lopez and Alberto Reyes Morales. Others in Sagua la Grande, Villa Clara and Velasco, Holguin also were surrounded and arrested for protesting against the events.
“We are highlighting the seriousness of this situation”, said Antunez about his wife, “we hold the dictatorship accountable for the life of Yris”.
Due to the countless beatings she has received- product solely of political persecution- Perez Aguilera has developed a cyst in the lower back part of her neck. She frequently suffers migraines, dizziness spells and other sharp pains due to this wound which she has not been able to tend to medically.
Eric Francis Aquino Yera, one of the agents who attempted against the life of Yris this Thursday, is the same official who, in 2012, threatened to rape the 5 year old daughter of Damaris Moya- Lazara Contreras.
The attack against the president of the Rosa Parks Movement comes the day prior to International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world.
These beatings have not managed to force Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera to give up her fight in the past, which gives rise to an important question- what is the real news here? Is it the fact that the dissident was repressed? Or, rather, that she keeps going out to the streets demanding rights for all Cubans, despite whatever kind of consequence?
For more information form Cuba, contact:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’ – Cell Phone: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba