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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Sara Marta Fonseca
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.
May 28, 2013Posted by on
After her first trip ever outside of Cuba to denounce the reality faced by those who defend freedom in the country, Berta Soler, the representative of the Ladies in White, has returned to the island this Monday, 27th of May.
Soler was received by her two children and her husband, dissident leader and former political prisoner of conscience Angel Moya Acosta, who used his Twitter account (@jangelmoya) to inform that, since early morning hours of Monday, State Security had set up various operations throughout the capital to arrest a number of Ladies in White who had plans to welcome Soler in the Jose Marti Airport.
Among the detainees were Leidis Coca and her husband, according to a message published by Moya, while other activists were surrounded in their homes by the State police, as was the case of Ladies in White Lourdes Esquivel and Sara Marta Fonseca, and dissident Andres Perez Suarez.
At around 10 PM, Moya confirmed that Berta Soler arrived and was “alongside her family and the Ladies in White”.
Meanwhile, the young Lady in White Sayli Navarro, from Matanzas, tweeted (@SayliNavarro), “Berta Soler embraces her family and the Ladies in White who waited for her. Welcome to your Cuba, the Cuba of all Cubans. Congratulations”.
It was precisely these numerous Ladies in White who stayed in Cuba who never stopped marching, Sunday after Sunday.
This past Sunday, May 26th, many of these women managed to surpass police cordons and arrive to their respective temples throughout the country to pray for the freedom of all political prisoners.
During morning hours the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and also former political prisoner, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, wrote in his Twitter (@jdanielferrer) that a total of 73 Ladies in White marched and assisted Mass in the province of Santiago de Cuba, despite obvious police operations set up in different regions.
10 Ladies in White marched and assisted Mass in the province of Guantanamo, confirmed Sayli Navarro.
Arrests were reported in the province of Holguin but have not yet been confirmed. In Holguin, each Sunday various women are impeded from arriving to church, seeing as the political police surrounds their homes since dawn hours and, in some cases, since the day before.
Navarro tweeted that a total of 21 Ladies participated in Mass in different cities of Matanzas province, according to Leticia Ramos Herreria.
Angel Moya confirmed that another 50 women marched down Havana’s 5th Avenue after participating in Mass at the Santa Rita Church. He added that “47 male human rights activists accompanied them”.
Berta Soler told the digital newspaper “Diario de Cuba” that she had returned “strengthened” to Cuba, considering that she found moral, spiritual and material support, especially on behalf of the Cuban exile.
Soler traveled to Cuba from Miami, where she had been in two occasions. (See video of her first visit to Miami here).Soler pointed out on various occasions during her trip that she did not consider the fact that she, and other dissidents, were allowed to travel outside of Cuba meant there were reforms in the country. Instead, she said it was the result of constant pressure on behalf of the opposition and that it was just an action taken to distract attention from the constant violence against activists, as well as the dire situation of numerous political prisoners.
The leader of the Ladies in White promised to take Cuba’s reality to the world, and she did. Now, she has returned to continue out on the streets, together with so many other mothers, daughters, sisters, and in sum, Cuban women and men who demand a free country.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Ángel Moya Acosta – Cell Phone: +53-820-595 / Twitter: @jangelmoya
Berta Soler – Cell Phone: +52-906-820
José Daniel Ferrer García – Cell Phone: +53-146-740 / Twitter: @jdanielferrer
Sayli Navarro – Cell Phone: +52-731-652 / Twitter: @SayliNavarro
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:
February 23, 2013Posted by on
Members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance and Civil Disobedience Front, the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), the Pro Human Rights Party of Cuba Affiliated to the Andrei Sajarov Foundation, and the Miguel Valdes Tamayo Popular Movement for Human Rights marched together in Boyeros, Havana, this past Thursday 21st of February, demanding a free Cuba and paying tribute to Orlando Zapata Tamayo, political prisoner who died after a hunger strike and torture in prison 3 years ago this 23rd of February, and also in honor of the victims of the Brothers to the Rescue, Cuban-Americans who were shot down by the dictatorship over international waters for flying small planes trying to help rafters out at sea.
Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, Lady in White and member of the Pro Human Rights Party and the National Resistance Front, who is also a resident of Boyeros, could not participate in the demonstration but explained that the dissidents “marched peacefully down the centric Boyeros avenue, walking at least 300 meters while shouting anti-government slogans and slogans in honor of Orlando Zapata for the third anniversary of his death, a death which only has one culprit: the Cuban government“.
Zapata’s jailers beat him on various occasions during his hunger strike and refused him water. His strike, as well as his death, awoke a wave of solidarity amongst Cubans in and out of the island as well as non-Cubans around the world, eventually creating pressure against the Cuban dictatorship, managing the release of the rest of the political prisoners jailed during the Black Spring of 2003.
The march on Thursday culminated, without any arrests or acts of repudiation from the everyday people, at the home of Rene Ramon Gonzalez Bonelly, which is also the sub-headquarters of the Pro Human Rights Party, located in the Baluarte neighborhood of Boyeros.
However, minutes after, Sara Marta denounced that mobs organized by the regime had surrounded the house, starting an act of repudiation. Her own home was also under strict police vigilance.
Rene Ramon Gonzalez, member of the Pro Human Rights Party and of UNPACU, told this blog that mobs, made up by some airport employees and other figures of governmental organisms, surrounded his home and shouted verbal offenses at the 7 dissidents congregated there.
“There are 5 Suzuki motorcycles (of State Security), various police vehicles, and lots of police agents and State Security agents“, said Gonzalez at the moment of the repudiation. The dissident also denounced that “State Security is using underage children to participate in this act of repudiation. They told these kids to shout offenses at us. The mobs are even banging on our windows“.
The activist could not give an exact number of how many communist functionaries were in the mob attack, but said that there was around 100 or more. Actions like these are organized by the regime to try and make it seem as if it is the ‘everyday people’ who are attacking the dissidents, when in reality the victims of the repudiation affirm that the majority of times no neighbor participates in these acts of violence, only people who form part of the repressive units of the dictatorship.
González Bonelly later denounced that one police official, who he was not able to identify by name, “stood in front of one of the windows and made a gesture as if he was going to pull out his gun“, to threaten the dissidents inside.
The names of the other dissidents inside were Roberto Hernández, Mario Rafael Cala, Idania García Martínez, Bartolo Márquez Alcevo, Humberto Parada Miran and Henry González.
UNPACU’s YouTube channel posted an audio in the voice of Rene Ramon Gonzalez with further details of the happenings, which could be heard here.
On the following day, February 22nd, Sara Marta Fonseca denounced that the repressive operations continued around the entire Baluarte neighborhood. Among the surrounded homes were hers and also that of Gonzalez Bonelly. “Agent Camilo, of State Security, is leading this operation“, added Fonseca.
Once again, the regime responds with fear and violence upon witnessing civic actions out on the street, carried out by diverse dissident groups.
For more information:
Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo- Cell Phone: +5353-379-011 // Twitter: @SaraMartaCuba
Rene Ramón González Bonelly- Cell Phone: +5352-379-813
February 16, 2013Posted by on
Closed streets, diverted traffic, countless police vehicles, agents dressed in civilian clothing, and a wave of arrests. That was how the operation of the Cuban regime against the Ladies in White looked like this Wednesday, February 13th, when women from throughout all the provinces of the country set out towards their national headquarters in Havana to pay tribute to Laura Pollan- deceased leader of the group-who would have turned 65.
Despite the repressive measures, the Ladies continued onward with their plans to celebrate the date.
Since the morning hours, former political prisoner Angel Moya Acosta published a series of Twitter messages detailing what was happening with these women.
“Repressive forces are stationed on the streets leading to the headquarters of the Ladies in White on Neptune Street”, read Moya’s first tweet. The activist continued to describe the presence of numerous “police and private vehicles” ready to arrest any of the women who would try to arrive to the encounter.
At around 9 AM, there had already been 5 confirmed arrests of Ladies in White. Just minutes later, the number rose to 27. Throughout the day, many more arrests were confirmed.
Two of the detained women were Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo and Yanelys Cabrera who set out from Boyeros (Havana) towards Neptune Street. The arrests were violent.
“I received physical blows on my head, back and arms. I am dizzy”, tweeted Fonseca Quevedo upon being released minutes later. “Police vehicle # 570 left me in a desolate area in the municipality of Lisa”, added another message, but Sara Marta assured that she would head out again towards the meeting to “carry out her her right to freedom of peaceful association and assembly”.
In that second attempt, Sara Marta and Yanelys were once again detained.
Despite all the police cordons which kept dozens of other women from arriving to the event, more than 50 Ladies in White were able to participate in the encounter in honor of Laura Pollan in their headquarters.
Once the event came to an end, the repressive measures only increased.
When a group of 29 women from the Eastern provinces set out to the bus terminal known as “La Coubre” that night to board a bus to head back home, the transportation never showed up. Hours passed and the situation remained the same, until Berta Soler and Angel Moya head out from their homes and showed up at the terminal in solidarity with the women. Also present was Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) activist Osmany Cespedes Napoles.
The total of 30 women- 13 from Santiago de Cuba, 11 from Holguin, 3 from Guantanamo and 2 from Villa Clara (as well as Berta Soler from Havana)- decided to carry out a peaceful protest at around 2 AM in front of the terminal, shouting slogans such as “We want transportation”.
(Ángel Moya published this video of the protest):
The result of the protest was the brutal arrest of the 30 women, as well as of the other activists present, Angel Moya and Osmany Cespedes. Radio/TV Marti published a detailed video-report of what happened with the activists.(In this video published by ‘Hablemos Press’, Ladies in White express their discontent regarding the lack of transportation).
The young activist Anyer Antonio Blanco, from UNPACU, informed that his mother, Lady in White Ana Celia Rodríguez, managed to establish communication with him during the moment of the arrests. Ana denounced that all the women, including herself, were being violently beat and Anyer heard screams of “Long Live Laura Pollan”.
At around 2 AM, the Ladies in White and other activists were detained and transferred to undisclosed locations and it was during night hours on Thursday and morning hours of Friday that they started to be released and/or deported. All these arbitrary actions against the Ladies in White between the 13th and 14th of February occurred because these women were paying tribute to Laura Pollan when she would have turned 65. The same regime which lead Pollan to her death can’t tolerate that her legacy be celebrated. Regardless, as Angel Moya tweeted:”Do not doubt it, the repressive operations set out through Neptune St in Havana prove the moral strength of the Ladies in White in Cuba”.
Laura Pollan Lives!
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”
January 23, 2013Posted by on
Between the days of January 19th and 22nd, state sponsored violence against the Cuban opposition aggressively increased in different parts of the country. Some of the aggressions started on Saturday 19th, the year anniversary of the death of Wilman Villar Mendoza, a dissident who spent more than 50 days on hunger strike demanding his release from an unjust prison sentence, and continued through the morning hours of Tuesday the 22nd, when Rapid Response Brigades used unknown toxic substances to try and interrupt an encounter among dissidents in the central region of the country:
After brutality in Mafo, Contramaestre, vigilance and repudiation continues
As numerous activists and blogs reported on Saturday, January 19th, the home of Luis Enrique Lozada in Mafo, Contramaestre was raided by mobs made up by Rapid Response Brigades, State Security and political police agents of the regime. The home was destroyed and all those present were beat with cables, sticks, knives, and a sort of whip, as well as other sharp weapons. Images of the results- broken heads, wounded bodies, etc. – went around the world (see here) and, on the following day, the harassment continued.
José Daniel Ferrer García, general coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) denounced that during the dawn hours of Sunday, “another attack took place, this time against the home of Ovidio Martin Castellanos, a coordinator of UNPACU in the province of Santiago de Cuba“. (Video)
Meanwhile, the home of political prisoner Jorge Cervantes, also located in Contramaestre, was attacked in a similar fashion, reducing it to ruble, leaving the wife of Cervantes, Lady in White Kenia Leguen, and her two underage children without a roof.
In an act of solidarity, Luis Enrique Lozada offered his home to the Lady in White and her two children.
“So many stones were thrown at Kenia’s home that the roof was considerably damaged“, explained Ferrer Garcia, “This is not the first time this happens to this family- the young Kenia told me, with much pain in her voice, that she was condemned to live without a roof“.
In other news, on Saturday afternoon, dissident Jesus Diaz Morales was arrested in Velasco, Holguin, for having convoked a peaceful march in honor of Wilman Villar. On Monday, the 21st, mobs once again surrounded the home of Luis Enrique Lozada, watching and intimidating all those who were inside. In this case, the mobs left a few hours later, according to a tweet published by Anyer Anotnio Blanco (@anyerantoniobla).
“These aggressive actions will continue, and they will correspond with the level of non-violent activism carried out by UNPACU, in favor of freedom and democracy in Cuba, as we keep growing in number of activism and actions“, declared Ferrer, “Without a doubt, our activism in a phenomenon that is very worrying for the tyranny but very hopeful for the people“.
Mobs try to impede encounter of the Ladies in White
On Monday, January 21st, when the world celebrated Martin Luther King day, the Ladies in White held an encounter at their headquarters on Neptune Street in Havana to pay tribute to the civil rights leader and, at the same time, to Wilman Villar Mendoza, as well as to demand the freedom of all political prisoners. The presence of State Security was not absent.
According to Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, one of the Ladies in White who managed to make it to the encounter, “during the 116th meeting of the group, various women who tried to make it were arrested, while the headquarter was surrounded by paramilitary mobs, the political police, and State Security. They also blocked off traffic on Neptune Street, a main street in Havana. No car could pass by…all of this to keep women from arriving“. However, the dissident points out that 42 members managed to surpass cordons of vigilance and make it to the house.
But the mobs increased their violent actions, shouting slogans such as “Use a machete, theirs only a few of them“, and other offensive phrases. (Video here)
10 women were reported detained upon trying to arrive.
Despite the offensive slogans, the Ladies in White responded by maintaining their civility, shouting “Freedom“, “Long live human rights“, “Long live Laura Pollan“, and “Freedom for all political prisoners“.
“Once again, it has been demonstrated that the regime highly fears unity within the opposition, as well as the Ladies in White, out on the streets of Cuba“, expressed Fonseca Quevedo, “This implants terror in them, to think that peaceful women march through the streets of Havana to demand freedom. I want everyone to know that we, the Ladies in White, will keep walking for freedom in Cuba“.
On the previous day, Sunday January 20th, ‘Hablemos Press’ reported that 116 Ladies in White managed to march and arrive to Mass throughout the country, but a total of 36 were arbitrarily arrested, deported, and threatened.
Toxic gases and substances against dissidents in Sagua la Grande
In Sagua la Grande, Villa Clara, paramilitary mobs and police agents lasted the entire day of January 21st carrying out an act of repudiation and keeping vigilance over a group of activists from the Central Opposition Coalition and the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front who were meeting in the home of former political prisoner Jorge Vázquez Chaviano, to pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr, Wilman Villar Mendoza and to discuss important subjects of the opposition.
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, leader of the Front and one of the dissidents present, explained that during the acts of repudiation, the agents “shouted offensive phrases” at the group of more than 20 dissidents in the house. He added that there were “underage children and an elderly woman inside as well“.
In the afternoon, two activists of the Cuban Reflection Movement- Nosbel Jomolca and Juan Carlos Fernandez- were arrested as they tried entering the house.
Regardless, Antunez feels that the encounter was “a success“, considering that none of the neighbors of Vazquez Chaviano participated in the repudiation.
“The mobs of the dictatorship have not been able to receive support of the neighbors. Far from helping them, they maintained their solidarity with us“, said Antunez, “The soldiers became very aggressive, inciting us to come out of the house to beat us with stick, but we congratulate and appreciate the support of the people of Sagua la Grande. Right in front of the repressive mobs, they refused to participate“.
Clearly bothered, during the dawn hours of Tuesday, January 22nd, political police officials launched toxic gases and liquids at the home full of dissidents. The attack caused cough, skin eruptions, tachycardia, and breathing problems on its victims, including the underage ones.
Antunez sent out an alert to the world of what could happen to all those who suffered the attacks, seeing as they have already begun to show some symptoms.
Despite all of this, the dissident leader said that they will continue resisting and that “regardless of all the tactics of the tyranny, the Cuban Resistance, beyond any organization, is united…united in action“.
The repression against Cuban dissidents, organized by the dictatorship and carried out by agents of State Security, the political police, the Ministry of the Interior and members of the Rapid Response Brigade, has not stopped, but it has clearly increased during the first weeks of 2013. This past weekend it escalated to a level of immeasurable violence, where the lives of all those who have decided to fight for freedom are in danger.
December 29, 2012Posted by on
In a series of Twitter messages published by the activist and Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo in her account (@SaraMartaCuba) this Thursday, 27th of December, she explained that in the Carlos Valino Sugar Mill, located near the municipality of Santo Domingo, in Villa Clara province, has had 3 significant situations in which they have had to stop production during the sugar harvest which just began this past 18th of December, something which the dissident assures did not happen prior to 1959, when the current communist dictatorship was installed. Two of these situations were due to lack of sugar cane, while the other was attributed to the rupture of various equipment.
In addition, Fonseca detailed in her tweets that the workers were being treated “like slaves”, without any rights to fair treatment, something which she attributes to just one culprit: the Cuban regime.
“The only thing which the Castro brothers have achieved has been destruction“, expressed Fonseca Quevedo, comparing the current situation of the sugar mill with times before, in which things happened differently, according to what her parents and grandparents have assured her.
“This 27th of December, there was much discontent among all the workers of the mill, and I was witness of this, firsthand“, said the Lady in White, who resides in Havana but who was in the central province of Villa Clara visiting her family, “the workers have been complaining because they don’t have any water, neither to drink or even to wash their hands, and they also hadn’t had lunch…they are simply being kept in slave conditions. They have told me themselves that they do not have rights to complain or to demand justice“.
It was reported during the afternoon hours of Wednesday, December 26th, that there was no water in that mill, and when Fonseca Quevedo offered these declarations it was already late afternoon of the 27th, and the water problem was still not fixed.
“We are talking about workers which need to go to their homes at least to shower and to rest a bit, so they could go in to the next work shift with a clear mind. The job is very risky and very dangerous“, added Sara Marta.
The activist cited various stories of her father, Maximo Roberto Fonseca, about how the situation was prior to 1959 in the Carlos Valino Sugar Mill, previously known as the Ulacia Mill.
“According to my father and my grandfather, the former owner of the mill was Francisco Blanco, and he would be sure to take care of his workers if they needed anything“, said Fonseca about those times before the Castro dictatorship. “Francisco gave a Christmas bonus to his workers, and with it, they could cover some of their necessities and clear their minds a bit for Christmas Eve and the end of the year“.
In turn, now, Fonseca explains that “based on what I have seen this ‘Nochebuena‘ (Christmas Eve), there was a very high level of sadness in all the homes around the Carlos Valino Mill. Nowhere could I see happiness. There were no family feasts, just a haunting misery, which is the only thing the Castro brothers have achieved“.
“The only thing they’ve achieved is to destroy traditions, businesses, and the lives of all Cubans in our nation. One can’t even walk down these streets here. They are really just dirt roads, full of dust, animal excrement, filth, etc. No one is in charge of cleaning. However, in times when the Mill had an owner, my father tells me that the roads were cleaned daily so that the dust would not bother any neighbors“, she added.
Another significant problem which affects that central area, as well as the country in general, is inefficiency in transportation. The nearest hospital to Carlos Valino is at least 12 kilometers away, so citizens and workers a like are not protected in case of an emergency or accident. In order to get to the hospital during an emergency, people must travel aboard a truck, a wagon pulled by a tractor, or wait for hours until a rented vehicle drives by. In the latter of cases, the price to board such a vehicle is very high.
Fonseca Quevedo highlights that in pre-revolution times, the situation in Cuba was in no way perfect, considering that there was also a dictatorship, but the current tyranny (which has also been the longest) has utilized absolutely all its resources in repressing, separating families, and attacking Cuban traditions.
“I repeat: destruction is the only thing which the Castro brothers have known how to do. They have destroyed our nation, our businesses, everything. That’s why we must come together more every time and continue fighting to topple this dictatorship and to bring in a system where rights are respected, where people are respected, and where peace, democracy, and harmony may reign for Cuban families“.
For more information from Cuba:
Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo – Cell Phone: +5353-379-011 // Twitter: @SaraMartaCuba
October 14, 2012Posted by on
This Sunday 14th of October, the year anniversary of the death of Laura Pollan, leader of the Ladies in White, operations unleashed by the police forces of the Cuban regime produced numerous arrests throughout the island, but such actions were not able to impede the activities carried out in honor of Pollan.
A wide range of tributes were reported in the country since Berta Soler, representative of the Ladies in White, announced a week of activities last October 7th.
For example, that same day women carried out their traditional march along Havana’s 5th Avenue and screamed slogans like “Laura Pollan Lives“, while dissident Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello managed to arrange a daily Mass throughout the week in the San Juan Bosco Church in Havana in memory of the fallen leader of the Ladies in White. In the eastern town of Manzanillo, where Laura was born, various human rights activists met at the cemetery where part of her ashes remain and carried out a prayer vigil and deposited several white gladiolus flowers, the symbol of the peaceful struggle of the Ladies in White.
The actions continued all week in other regions: Holguin, Baracoa, Bayamo, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and Pinar del Rio, among others.
On Saturday the 13th, the Ladies in White held a meeting in their headquarters, situated in Pollan’s home on Neptuno Street, in Havana. Many of these women were arrested or kept from leaving their homes so that they not arrive to the encounter, but 18 of them were able to carry out the activity.
Marta Díaz Rondon, a Lady in White from the Eastern municipality of Banes, in Holguin province, was one of the women who were present. Diaz Rondon had to leave days before in order to arrive to the capital, where she managed to surpass numerous police cordons and arrive to the group’s headquarters.
Diaz says that the activity was carried out in an atmosphere of peace in the house, as the women “lit candles in front of pictures of Laura Pollan and deposited various flowers”. Meanwhile, outside the atmosphere was not the same. The regime organized mobs around the home which consisted of state police agents in civilian clothing and various pre-university students and even dancers who tried to make the act of repudiation seem like a simple “celebration” before the eyes of the international media.
Not only did the mobs blast pro-government music, but their members also shouted insults and obscene words at the women. The Ladies in White simply responded by singing the national anthem and shouting such slogans like “Laura Pollan Lives” and “Free Cuba“.
Nearby streets were closed off by the police and all traffic was re-routed to keep any other activists from arriving to the encounter.
On the following day- Sunday the 14th- a number of women throughout the country were reported as detained.
In the case of Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, the renown dissident recounted that her home was surrounded by political police agents since 1 AM to keep her from leaving her house and joining the peaceful march to the Santa Rita Catholic Church. Neighbors told her that uniformed officials were keeping a tight vigilance over all the corners of the Rio Verde neighborhood of Boyeros, Havana, where her home is located.
“In addition, the agents had the objective of keeping any other dissident from arriving to my house to pay our own tribute to that grand leader that was Laura Pollan Toledo“, said Fonseca.
Meanwhile, the State Security agents Sanper and Alejandro ‘visited’ the headquarter of the group and threatened the women, telling Berta Soler that the Ladies in White could not march. However, Soler and Laura Labrada Pollan (Laura’s daughter) told the agents that they would not accept their instructions and they went out anyway and carried out their march with 48 women. They were accompanied also by other figures of the opposition like Hector Maceda (former prisoner and husband of Pollan), Ofelia Acevedo (widow of Oswaldo Paya), Antonio Rodiles, Hugo Damian Prieto and former political prisoners Ivan Hernandez Carrillo and Arnaldo Ramos.
Hernandez Carrillo was reporting from the scene of the activities through his Twitter account: @ivanlibre.
A group of women from Santiago de Cuba managed to surpass numerous police cordons and arrive to the Santa Rita church, joining the group of more than 40 women who had already arrived. Meanwhile, back in Santiago, another 30 women made it to the El Cobre Shrine.
In the central city of Santa Clara, 6 women from the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights were violently arrested when they were showing solidarity with the Ladies in White by trying to assist Mass in La Pastora Church. The detainees were Idania Yánez Conteras, Damaris Moya Portieles, Yaite Cruz Sosa, Ana Rosa Alfonso, Xiomara Martin Jiménez and Yanisbel Valido Pérez.
Idania Yanez explains that the women were dressed in white- as a form of solidarity, as these women always wear black during their protests- and that they were dragged off the bus they were aboard while they were “beaten“.
“State Security official Yunier Monteagudo Reina and other agents intercepted the bus we were traveling and started to physically assault us“, detailed Yanez, “Yunier hit Damaris Moya in the face and broke her lips… they dragged us throughout the floor, they shoved us and then they detained us and took us to the local police unit“.
The activists from the Rosa Parks Movement started to shout slogans against the government and others in honor of Laura Pollan while they were being assaulted.
Yanez said that at no point did the everyday people demonstrate hate towards them. Instead, they looked at the events in horror and demonstrated their solidarity with the protestors.
Other activists were arrested as was the case of Angel Moya Acosta and Raul Borges, among many others, but the internal opposition achieved their objective: honoring Laura Pollan, that Lady who made the Cuban regime tremble with just a flower, demanding peace, freedom and justice.
July 18, 2012Posted by on
In his Facebook account, Roberto de Jesús Guerra- independent journalist and director of the (illegal) “Hablemos Press” news agency in Havana- has published a series of photos taken by the Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo when she was confined (for hours) in a cell of the 4th Police Unit of El Cerro this past 9th of July. The photos demonstrate the horrid conditions in which the dungeons of police units throughout Cuba are kept, where the regime sends peaceful dissidents and activists. It seems the activist managed to sneak in a camera or cell phone.
The home of Fonseca Quevedo is constantly under attack by the Cuban political police, who keep a tight watch over who enters and leaves, as well as impeding dissidents from entering or, in many cases, exiting. The house has also been attacked with objects such as condoms, mud, excrement and more. Fonseca is frequently arrested for simply trying to leave her own neighborhood or for trying to carry out a nonviolent activity, as was the case on July 9th 2012 when the Lady in White had plans to carry out a tribute to the victims of the 13th of March Tugboat Massacre. Her family- especially her husband Julio Leon Fonseca and her older son “Julito” (the rapper from the hip-hop duo ‘Primario and Julito‘) are also active members of the Resistance and suffer beatings, arrests, and threats just like Fonseca Quevedo.
It is the first time that Fonseca manages to capture images from the dungeons where she is commonly kept.