Pedazos de la Isla

"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation

Category Archives: Xiomara Martin Jiménez

Still suffering serious health issues, police once again attacks Yris Tamara Perez

This his how Yris Tamara Perez ended up after beat-down last March 2013.

What’s the danger of a woman- a Cuban citizen, to be specific- who tries to go to a pharmacy to buy some medications she needs for her high blood pressure?

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

Regime Attacks Dissidents But Cannot Impede Tributes to Laura Pollan

Laura Pollan’s daughter Laura Labrada (left) and Berta Soler. October 14th, 2012.

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.

Antunez With Details of Most Recent Arrest in Placetas

The dissident leader suffered strong chest and head pains during his arrest but was denied medical assistance in police unit and local Placetas Hospital.  Meanwhile, activist Atruro Conde Zamora was threatened by police agents that they would fabricate him a crime in order to disappear him.

At around 9 AM on the morning of Friday, August 17th, the renown dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Perez “Antunez” was arrested by the political police along with Arturo Conde Zamora, also an activist, when they were both on their way to carry out a civic demonstration in front of a Jose Marti monument in the city of Placetas, Villa Clara.  According to Antunez, the activity was going to be in condemnation of the deaths of Oswaldo Paya Sardinas and Harold Cepero Escalante, as well as other dissidents like Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Wilman Villar Mendoza, Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia, and Laura Pollan.

He also explained that other members of the Resistance had plans to join the protest.  “Blas Fortun Martinez, Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, Xiomara Martinez Jimenez, Donaida Perez Paceiros and Yaite Cruz Sosa all had plans to meet up with us to join the activity“, said Antunez, but it was not possible at that moment.

Antunez explained that the arrest was violent and both men were taken to the Placetas Police Unit where they were confined to pestilent cells for 24 hours.  During the detention, Antunez started to suffer “strong pains in the chest, head, and on the right eye“.  The activist acquired many health issues during the 17 year prison term he was sentenced to in the 90’s for carrying out a peaceful demonstration against the Cuban regime.  When his brother- Loreto Hernandez Garcia- went to the police unit at around 11 PM and tried to give him medicines for the pains he was suffering, the authorities flat out told him that this was not allowed.  The activist did not receive medical attention during his time in the cell.

Numerous plain clothed agents arrest Arturo Conde Zamora in Placetas earlier in 2012.

While the activists- both who are members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front- remained detained, the group of dissidents which was going to initially join the protest that morning decided to carry out their own demonstration outside the home of Antunez.  His wife Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, also a leading dissident and president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, explained to various news sources like “Radio Republica” and “Radio Marti” that the group took to the streets and started to shout slogans like “Water, food, the people are dying”, “Freedom for Antunez and Conde Zamora”, and “Towards the National Strike”.  These activities were  closely watched by State Security agents but no arrests were reported.

 Antunez also denounced that Arturo Conde Zamora received threats and insults during his time detained.  “One of the officials told him: ‘Nigger, if you do not get out of the opposition we are going to fabricate a common crime for you and take you out of circulation’“.  These tactics are common in Cuba, where countless dissidents have been taken to prison or have been fined for heavy sums for crimes they have never committed.

At around 9 AM of Saturday, Agusut 18th, Arturo Conde and Antunez were released.  In the case of the latter, he was still suffering strong chest pains, so he tried to get checked at the Placetas Hospital, but once he arrived there he was told that they could not tend to him under the excuse that there were not enough doctors present.

Once Antunez returned to his home in Placetas he noticed that the cordons of police agents were still there, watching over all of his actions.  Although he still feels some chest pains, Antunez- the secretary general of the Orlando Zapata National Resistance Front- affirmed that he feels “more firm and decided than ever” of his position: that he will “not shut up, and not leave Cuba“.

 –

For more information from Cuba:

Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’- Cell Phone: +5352-731-656 // Twitter: @antunezcuba

Placetas: 5 Activists are Still Detained, Among them prominent dissident Antunez, with Health Complications

Antunez and Yris Tamara Aguilera

Jorge Luis Garcia Antunez,  opposition activist and national secretary of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, is still arrested in a police unit of Placetas (a town of central Cuba) since the night of Sunday, March 11th, when he was walking out of his house and towards the corner of his block.  The arrest was reported, almost instantly, by his wife Yris Tamara Aguilera who was not at the house at that moment.  Aguilera published a Twitter message where she explained that a witness of the arrest had informed her that when they were detaining Antunez they told him it was “under orders from the high command from Havana”.  Also arrested were dissidents Eriberto Liranza Romero and Rene Rouco Machin in Havana.

On the following day, Romero and Machin were released but Antunez remained arrested.  A detainee which was released hours after Antunez was taken to his cell told Yris that her husband was experiencing “many chest pains and was vomiting”, considering that he suffers from various health complications which he acquired from his 17 years in prison for his political activism.  A few minutes after receiving this news, Yris decided to head out towards the police unit along with activists Donaida Perez Paseiros, Yaimara Reyes Mesa, and Yaite Sosa, all members of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights.  There, the 4 women started to demand the liberation of Antunez.  The protest continued until an official stepped out of the unit and told the women that Antunez would be released on the following day, which did not happen.  For this reason, the women once again marched to the police unit at 9 AM on Tuesday.  In this occassion, Yaimara Reyes could not go, but instead, Xiomara Martin Jimenez was present.

When the 4 women arrived at the unit, they once again started their civic protest.  In just minutes, a number of officials started to harass them, and eventually started to beat them, drag them, and in the end, detain them.  According to Dora Lara, an elderly activists from the Rosa Parks Movement who lives across the street from the police unit, she heard shouts of “Down with Fidel” from her home.  In addition, Lara affirms that she was able to witness the violent beating carried out against the activists.

On the night of that same Tuesday, various activists from the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Resistance Front declared that if the dissidents were not released by Wednesday at 12 pm, they would take to the streets in protest against their arbitrary arrest.

Activists in diverse parts of the island have expressed concern for the fate of the detainees, especially Antunez who, according to various sources, continues to suffer from strong chest pains.  For this reason, we demand the immediate liberation of the 5 human rights activists.

For more information, follow the Twitter account of Yris Tamara Aguilera (@YrisCuba), which is currently being administered by the exiled sister of Antunez, Bertha Antunez.  There is also information available in the Twitter account of the Cuban Democratic Directorate (@DirectorioCuba).

Despite the Sexual Harassment and the Physical Aggressions, the Women of the Rosa Parks Movement Will Continue Marching

Women of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights protest in Santa Clara on February 1st, 2012

Every first day of the month has already started to become synonymous with acts of Resistance by the activists from the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights.  This past March 1st, these Cubans once again took to the streets, but this time in different areas of the island.

In Banes, the Lady in White and Vice-President of the Rosa Parks Movement, Marta Diaz Rondon, led a group of other women to the Northern Cemetery in that same town where the remains of activist Marta Cecilia Perez Duconger lay.  The dissidents decided to pay tribute to this Cuban on this specific date because she was one of the founders of the Rosa Parks Movement.  Although they were able to carry out their tribute, a constant surveillance by the political police surrounded the women.  In Matanzas, dissident Leticia Ramos, along with other activists, also took to the street and carried out a protest march.

However, without a doubt the worst violence occurred in Placetas, where a group of women from the Rosa Parks Movement, among them their president Yris Tamara Aguilera, surprised the regime functionaries in that area and stood outside the headquarters of the Municipal Headquarters of the Communist Party demanding freedom for the political prisoners Yazmin Conyedo and Yusmany Alvarez, an end to forced evictions, and, in sum, freedom for Cuba.  Other women who participated were Donaida Pérez PaseiroYaite Cruz Sosa and Dora Pérez Correa. According to testimonies of these same women, many everyday Cubans displayed support and solidarity with them.

In just instants, a mob made up of State Security agents surrounded the women and quickly and violently arrested Blas Fortun Martinez, a dissident from the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front who was reporting from the scene of the protest.  This arrest was carried out by agent Idel Gonzalez Morfi, best known as ‘Railroad Nail’.  Meanwhile, and despite the aggressions, the women kept firm and shouted “freedom” and “the streets belong to the people“.

The communist mobs did not take long to physically assault the demonstrators.  In this case, the activists denounce that the women from State Security who work in the Communist Headquarters began to scratch them and even bite them. In addition, the functionaries began to take off their shoes and use them to beat the female dissidents.  According to Donaida Perez, numerous passer-bys defended the dissidents, standing in between them and their aggressors.

After this display of violence, the women from the Rosa Parks Movement decided to head back to one of their homes- that of Dora Perez, which is located literally across the street from the Communist Headquarters.  But State Security was not satisfied with beating them and harassing them for just a short while.  Considering that the march was completely spontaneous, the agents could only manage to gather a small group of women from State Security during the initial violence.  When some time had passed, the functionaries organized a larger repressive operation against the women.  A number of agents surrounded the home of Dora Perez and started to hurl rocks and shout offensive slogans.  Various soldiers broke into the home and beat all those inside, taking them detained, even those who did not participate in the protest, like Yaimara Reyes Mesa and Xiomara Martin Jiménez.  Also, the daughter of Dora Perez, who is not even a public dissident, was beaten and arrested.

In the following audio, recorded and provided by the Cuban Democratic Directorate (in Spanish), one can hear the moment when the arrests occurred, as the dissidents are bravely confronting their oppressors and shouting “No more Castros“, “Long live Democracy“, and “freedom for the Cuban people“, among other slogans:

All the women inside the house were arrested and the soldiers even left the door of the house wide open.  Yris Aguilera, Dora Perez, and Yaimara Reyes were taken to the Instructional Police Headquarters (UPOC) in Santa Clara.  When news of this spread, on the next day members of the Central Opposition Coalition  directed themselves to that unit, demanding the immediate liberation of the activists.

The women of the Rosa Parks Movement were released during the afternoon hours of March 3rd.  But the violence did not stop there.  In the case of Yris Tamara Aguilera, she was beat inside the police vehicle which was headed to leave her back at her house in Placetas.  The official known as Yuniel Monteagudo Reina was the aggressor, and he is also forcefully lowered Yris’s pants, sexually harassing her.  Yris protested and did not let him get any closer to her, despite his physical strength.  In declarations made just minutes after this abuse, Yris denounced that agent Yuniel told her “I’m gonna tear off the pants of this nigger and I am going to get on top of her”.  This was also strongly denounced by her husband, the well-known activist for human rights and opposition leader, Jorge Luis Garcia ‘Antunez’.

These women have affirmed that despite the increased violence against them every first day of the month (and any other day they voice their opinions), they will continue demonstrating in defense of human rights, against government impunity, state violence, and, in sum, the Castro dictatorship.

–—

This information was based on Twitter messages published by the Cuban Democratic Directorate.  For more information follow @DirectorioCuba.

And from Cuba: Yris Tamara Aguilera – Cell: 011-5352- 417-749, Twitter: @YrisCuba / Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez – Cell: 011-5352- 731-656, Twitter: @AntunezCuba

Peaceful Activities Interrupted by Regime’s Violence (January 18th)

The repressive tactics of the Cuban dictatorship include forcefully impeding peaceful activities from taking place, even when they are to be held in the homes of dissidents. On Wednesday, January 18th, numerous arrests occurred throughout the island with the intent of preventing vigils and reunions. Here are three of the testimonies:

…In Holguin:

Every Wednesday activist and Lady in White Caridad Caballero Bastista unites dissidents from nearby areas in her home in the city of Holguin to pray and inform each other of the most recent happenings in Cuba. The Cuban Political Police, although aware that these are completely peaceful meetings, tend to use violence against them or extreme vigilance. This Wednesday, January 18th, they utilized both repressive tactics.


It was 5 am when two dissidents- Juan Sacaría Verdecía Torres and Edilberto Sartorio- were violently detained by the political police while traveling to Batista’s home, who also added that “Later on, around 8:30 am Juan Carlos Mendoza was detained” when he was on his way to her house to make presence at the vigil.

They didn’t let me leave my house,” explained Mendoza, “and I told them that my house was not a jail cell. And I started shouting ‘Down with the Castro’ and ‘Down with Communism’, when out of nowhere three policemen detained me.” During the minutes that followed, Batista’s home, as well as that of other dissidents, was surrounded by uniformed regime officials.

At 4pm, Caridad Caballero, Franklin Peregrino del Toro, Isabel Peña Torres and Juan Carlos Mendoza’s wife were walking towards the police unit where it was suspected that the three activists were being held, when they were forcibly stopped by a mob organized by the dictatorship.

We were at the San Jose Park when they attacked us,” narrates Caballero, describing the group as a “mob of female members of the Ministry of the Interior and State Security“. From there, the activists were pushed inside the police cars.

Caballero Batista explains that the agents applied “a martial arts immobilization headlock on me all the way to the Instructional Unit of Pedernales” where the harassment continued. “They were two very tall policemen that applied the headlock on me, and they both twisted my hands…I felt incredible pain, I thought they were breaking my hands.”

The Lady in White explains that in addition to the beating, a group of guards wanted to undress her. “I told them that the only way they could take off my close was ripping it because I wasn’t going to let them…I held on to my clothes and they were not able to take it off from me.”

It was around 9 pm when Caridad Caballero was released along with Isabel Peña, and later Juan Carlos Mendoza. The three dissidents were left in a deserted and obscure zone nearby the Pedernales Unit. “It was extremely cold, since we had been detained in sealed-off cells, and now we were exposed to the air,” narrated Caballero. The dissidents had to find transportation to return to their homes, but it was very difficult since they had been left at a remote area.

…In Havana

At Sara Marta Fonseca‘s home in Rio Verde, Havana, a weekly vigil is also held under the slogan “Total freedom without exile for all political prisoners,” where prayers were said for Wilman Villar Mendoza (deceased on the 19th), Ivonne Malleza, Ignacion Martinez and Isabel Alvarez (the three were released on the 20th).


As expected, Fonseca narrates that “the political police organized an oppressive operation nearby my house to prevent activists from arriving to the vigil“. Amid the vigilance, the participants carried on with the vigil. Around 1 pm, Sara Marta left her house, since she was going to attend the Ladies in White’s literary tea (weekly meeting) in Calle Neptuno (at the house of the fallen Laura Pollan). “I left my house because it is not a prison, and when we have to participate in an activity we are going to do so no matter what,” reaffirmed Fonseca.

Amid the threats, Fonseca continued to her destination but was quickly surrounded by the political police only 4 blocks away from her house. Aware that she was going to be detained, Fonseca had prepared a Twitter message denouncing the events. The dissident tells of how a state agent showed extreme worry and demanded she give him her cellphone when he noticed she had sent a Twitter message. The message went through telling the world in real time: “Castro police is arresting me. LONG LIVE FREE CUBA, FREEDOM, JUSTICE, AND DEMOCRACY! DOWN WITH THE DICTATORSHIP!“.

Agents of the political police and two members of the Revolutionary National Police (PNR) forcibly took her, pushing her inside a police vehicle and taking her to the Police Unit in Santiago de las Vegas.

Even though Sara Marta Fonseca is a woman who suffers from 2 disk hernias on her back, the oppressive political police agents, still treated her aggressively. At the Police Unit she was detained in a sealed-off and extremely humid  cell which had a concrete slab which was supposed to be a bed. Fonseca hurt a finger on her right hand while she tried climbing “the bed- or piece of concrete- since it was located in a high place“. At the same time, these conditions worsened her back pains.

The Lady in White was kept that way until 10 pm when she was released and left in a dark, remote area far away from her home. She had to walk home by herself.

…In Placetas


On that same January 18th, Yris Tamara Aguilera was arrested in Placetas, Santa Clara when she was on her way to Idania Yanez Contreras’s house, where she was going to meet with various activists members of the Rosa Parks Civil Rights Movement- a pro-freedom organization which she heads. In addition to meeting, they were planning a vigil as well.

Yris Aguilera is still suffering from a physical blow to the back of her head which she received at the hands of State Security a few months ago. Her husband, Jorge Luis Garcia Antunez, explains that the arrest was very violent and she was pushed inside of a police car and detained for many hours. Xiomara Jimenez and Giseira Espinosa were also detained when both women  went to “show solidarity with Yris“.

During the arrest, Antunez denounces, “Yris was threatened by an officer called Yuniesky, who threatened with raping her in the cell. Aside from this being a danger, we consider this an offense against these brave women who have chosen to take to the streets to demand freedom in Cuba“. The identification number on the tag of agent Yuniesky is 43348.

All the dissidents whose testimonies are recorded here coincided that they will not stop carrying out their activities regardless of the consequences until there is a free Cuba.

The “War of Wearing Out”: Increase Violence, Destroy Symbols to Martyrs

This will be a war with the aim to wear you out“, that’s what the new political police chief in Placetas- Raul Acare Martinez- told Antunez while the latter resided in a jail cell during his most recent detention.  Martinez signaled that “every time you all (dissidents) go out to the streets, you will all continue to be arrested“.

Antunez has confirmed this, as he has been victim of 3 arrests (of 72 hours in length) in just one month.  The most recent one was on Tuesday, November 8th, when 14 dissidents from the Central Opposition Coalition and the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front met up in a public location in order to carry out a peaceful sit-in in solidarity with Alcides Rodriguez and Rolando Ferrer, both of who were in hunger strike at the time.  In addition, it was also a demonstration of solidarity with the savagely beaten Idania Yanez and various other dissidents who remain imprisoned for political reasons in Santiago de Cuba.

As soon as we concluded that activity and we started to walk back to my house, we were violently repressed and taken to the police unit“, explains Antunez, emphasizing the cases of various of his brothers and sisters in struggle who suffered health complications, such as Xiomara Martin Jimenez who suffered “a serious hypertension crisis” and the blind activist Jose Angel Vazquez who was treated just as ruthless as the others.  In the case of Antunez, relatives were informed that he was also experiencing various complications during his second day behind bars.  “I regularly suffer from hypoglycemic problems, and I grew very dizzy, had tachycardia, and strong pains in my chest“, he narrates.

Political Police agents 'hunting for dissidents' in Placetas. Taken from Antunez's blog "Im not leaving, im not shutting up"

The dissident from Placetas adds that his sister, Caridad Garcia Perez Antunez, who is not even a dissident, was “beaten and arrested along with her 15 year old daughter” as they walked in front of his home, trying to find out what was happening to her brother.

After 72 hours, all the non-violent demonstrators were released but the ‘war to wear out’ was clearly underway.

Since the weekend and Monday the 14th, the home of Antunez “has been target of a massive police operation, where no one is allowed to walk in front of the house, passing cars are diverted and they are asking all neighbors for identification“.  Despite this, numerous activists were able to surpass the police circle and met up to re-inaugurate a monument to the fallen Orlando Zapata Tamayo (which was debuted a few months ago during the ‘Zapata with Us’ campaign) which was destroyed by the political police last October 24th, during the Day of the Resistance.

Though some dissidents were present, many were detained, deported, or impeded from traveling.  Among those arrested were María del Carmen Martínez López and Yanisbel Valido Pérez (Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, Central Opposition Coalition) and among those deported were Yaimara Reyes Mesa, Lorenzo Hernández García, and Blas Agusto Fortun Martínez. Many other activists, from other provinces, were not able to make it due to the strong police operation in their towns which would not let them mobilize, as was the case of Ricardo Pupo Sierra from Cienfuegos.

Regardless, among those present were “from Camaguey, Santo Fernandez Sanchez and Leonardo Garcia Tomas from the Independent and Democratic Cuba Party (CID), and coming from Banes, Rene Quiroga, Aurelio Antonio Morales, and Vivian Tamayo Ramayo from the Eastern Democratic Alliance, and from Ciego de Avila Julio Columbie Batista“, informed Antunez.


The vigilance, the threats, and the repression on behalf of government agents has not ceased, but regardless, the activists carried out the planned activities.  “Though many could not be there with us, there was still a significant number of people present,” affirms Jorge Luis Garcia ‘Antunez’, “and, in addition, Zapata was there with us in heart and in spirit“.

Antunez and other members of the Cuban resistance throughout the island have proved that even if the war unleashed against them by the dictatorship is trying to wear them out, they will not tire.

Antunez and 12 other Dissidents “Under Investigation” for Peaceul Sit-In

The following audio was recorded by Bertha Antunez, in conversation with Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, wife of Jorge Luis Garcia ‘Antunez’.  Aguilera reports that a government official from the Placetas Police Unit told her that her husband, along with the 12 other detained activists, will continue under custody for an “indefinite period of time because they are under a process of investigation”.

The audio is in Spanish but is followed by an English transcription:

” I have just been told by a guard from the Police Unit of Placetas that my husband Jorge Luis Garcia “Antunez” and the other activists arrested alongside him will remain detained for an indefinite period of time because they are under a process of investigation.  This was communicated to the guard by a State Security official who did not want to come out and speak to me”.

Antunez and the 12 other peaceful anti-government activists (Pastor Alexei Gómez, Rene Quiroga, José Ángel Abreu, Oscar Veranes Martínez, María del Carmen Martínez, Donaida Pérez Paseiro, Xiomara Martin Jiménez, Jorge Vázquez Chaviano, Orlando Alfonso Martínez, Enrique Martínez Marín, Mayra Conlledo García and Víctor Castillo Ortega) were arrested violently yesterday (November 8th) during a public sit-in.  With the protest, they demanded freedom for all Cuban political prisoners and the immediate and unconditional end to government sponsored violence against opposition members and the country as a whole.

We must remember that in the 1960’s in the United States, this civic resistance method of protesting- specifically the sit ins- was a very popular tactic among the African-Americans who peacefully fought for their rights.  Just as the Cuban Resistance has, the African-Americans suffered countless violations for their demands.  But we must also point out and remember that, in the end, they did achieve their goals.  The Cuban Resistance will also be victorious.

Santa Clara Dissidents End Hunger Strike, but “the Struggle Continues”

A special thanks to Bertha Antunez who recorded and shared these declarations made by Damaris Moya Portieles on Tuesday, November 8th.

(Left to Right) Rolando Ferrer & Alcides Rodriguez

On Tuesday morning the dissidents from Santa Clara- Alcides Rivera Rodriguez and Rolando Ferrer Espinosa- decided to end their hunger strike which lasted exactly 41 days and left them with serious health ailments.

Damaris Moya Portieles, provincial delegate of the Rosa Parks Civil Rights Movement and Co-President of the Central Opposition Coalition, expressed her relief and satisfaction that both dissidents- which carried out the protest from her home- had ceased their hunger strikes after “Dissidents Marta Beatriz Roque and Arnaldo Ramos Lazarique visited them at home just a few days ago and asked them to please stop, considering that Raul Castro’s dictatorship already gave them an answer, which is that they will not stop the violent beatings” against dissidents.  Many other members of the Cuban resistance asked them to do the same, declaring that these brave men are needed alive.

Rodriguez and Espinosa decided that, just as Moya Portieles expressed, the dissident’s struggle belongs “out on the streets, our stage“.


And it is in that same stage, or sector, where members of the Central Opposition Coalition and the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front have planned to “work more directly and together with the everyday people, so that they step out of the lies hurled upon them by the dictatorship, and see just how they are being oppressed“, affirms Damaris.

Nevertheless, the human rights activist warns that Rodriguez and Espinosa still run serious health risks, considering that their lengthy hunger strike left them in a “very poor state of physical health“.  Alcides is suffering from broncho-pneumonia, pain in his kindeys, and other complications, while Rolando is reeling from pains on his arm, “the tightening of his chest“, and has a “green-ish” color to him on his hands and feet.  “A doctor which visited him told us that it is very probable that he may be suffering from a heart or blood circulation condition“, adds Portieles.

Strikers Alcides Rodriguez and Rolando Ferrer have seen, through this protest, how the Castro dictatorship pays no attention to their demands.  They’ve comprehended, according to declarations made by themselves and fellow dissidents, that before losing their lives while demanding their rights before a nomenclature which simply ignores such demands, it is better to confront the oppressors directly, face to face, despite repercussions this could have.  “They may kill us on the way but we must put an end to this dictatorship“, affirms a confident Moya Portieles, “We are letting the dictator- and the world- know: this has not been a defeat.  We are going to continue out on the streets, our scene, our stage.  The dictator will know very well know who we- the Central Opposition Coalition and the National Resistance Front- are“.

Shortly after putting and end to the hunger strike, a group of 13 dissidents were violently arrested and beaten in Placetas during a peaceful sit-in protest in which they demanded the unconditional release of all political prisoners and an immediate end to government-sponsored violence against the resistance and the people of Cuba as a whole.  Those detained were Jorge Luis García “Antúnez”, Pastor Alexei Gómez, Rene Quiroga, José Ángel Abreu, Oscar Veranes Martínez, María del Carmen Martínez, Donaida Pérez Paseiro, Xiomara Martin Jiménez, Jorge Vázquez Chaviano, Orlando Alfonso Martínez, Enrique Martínez Marín, Mayra Conlledo García y Víctor Castillo Ortega. (As of Wednesday afternoon, the activists remain imprisoned)

The struggle continues“, assures Damaris Moya Portieles.

Members of the Central Opposition Coalition

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