- @SteveColecchi But wouldnt it be more ethical for Church & @UN to tell the agressor (the regime) to stop as well? 3 weeks ago
- @SteveColecchi It would be nice to hear The Church or @UN tell the dictatorship to respect rights, as opposed to make them seem like victims 3 weeks ago
- @SteveColecchi Concentrating so much on the embargo is a distraction. Rest of the world practically does business w/ Cuba..still no rights. 3 weeks ago
- @SteveColecchi My concern is that there's too much for & against the embargo. The problem of #Cuba is the dictatorship 3 weeks ago
- @SteveColecchi the same gov in power today in Cuba is the same one that has murdered thousands and continues to arrest innocents 3 weeks ago
- @SteveColecchi I respect your POV but how is doing (more) business w/ the dictatorship going to improve human rights? 3 weeks ago
- @SteveColecchi The @UN & The Church should use that same energy 2 tell dictatorship of #Cuba 2 end its own embargo on rights of the people 3 weeks ago
- Cuban jailed rapper, El Critico, on hunger strike in #Cuba to protest his unjust imprisonment #Censorship #Rap #Music bit.ly/ZMIaEt 1 month ago
"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Yoandry Naosky Ricardo Mir
August 22, 2013Posted by on
Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez and her husband Yoandri Naoki Ricardo Mir are no strangers to what it means to be a dissident in Cuba. She is a member of the Ladies in White and both are members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, two groups which oppose the communist dictatorship. Because of this, they have been arbitrarily arrested by the political police, beat, deported, kept under vigilance and threatened with death. These are consequences which they have accepted in their struggle for freedom. But now, their three children are directly suffering from this State repression, especially their 6 year old daughter, Bianca Ricardo Ojeda.
The three children of the couple have first-handedly witnessed how police agents have raided their home in Banes, Holguin, physically assaulting their parents. They have also seen how mobs organized by State Security have surrounded their home and shouted obscene words and severe threats. They have all suffered the fear, but the young Bianca seems to be the most seriously psychologically affected.
On Saturday, August 17th 2013, Gerturids, Naoki, their children and other relatives were in the town of Guardalavaca when – during afternoon hours – they tried to board a bus back home to Banes. Upon seeing the extremely long lines at the terminal and after waiting several hours without transportation, the dissidents decided to carry out a public protest, demanding transportation for everyone who was waiting.
“Suddenly, agents of the National Revolutionary Police arrived and they brutally attacked me along with my brother Luis Manuel Garcia Mir“, recounts Yoandri, “they attacked us with sticks, shoving us, kicking us, and even launched pepper spray against us. They then detained my brother and I in a police vehicle and took us to the police unit of Banes, where they threw us into dark dungeons. We remained there until 10 AM of the next day“.
Also present was Janet Vergara, Gertrudis’ sister who is 6 months pregnant. “We were also mistreated…Janet was pushed and beat. Right now she has pains in her stomach“.
The 3 minors of Suarez and Ricardo witnessed all the violence.
“My little girl, Bianca, is sick in the nerves…she is very afraid. This has happened on various occasions but now she seems to be worse. We are considering taking her to receive psychiatric help, because she has too much trauma after seeing all these violent actions“, expressed Yoandri Naoki, notably worried.
“She saw everything…how they punched us, handcuffed us, kicked us, and how they sprayed us…everything“.
One of the agents who was most violent to the Holguin natives could not be identified by name but his badge number was 21771, according to Gertrudis and Yoandri.
After the arrests, Gertrudis traveled with her 3 children to the police unit, where she remained outside until very late at night as a form of protest, demanding the liberation of her relatives. She did not receive a single response from any official and had to eventually leave because of her children.
“These are the typical problems faced by dissidents in Cuba“, says Gertrudis, explaining that entire families are subjected to repressive measures, from the elders to the youngsters. “My daughter is traumatized and I hold State Security accountable for what may happen to her“.
Ojeda Suarez managed to dodge police cordons on Sunday, August 18th, and arrived at Mass as part of her habitual march as a member of the Ladies in White, but she denounced that her home remained under very tight police vigilance. Agents – such as Freddy Aguero, among others – frequently knock on their door and let them know that they will be jailed if they step outside.
Despite the risks, Gertrudis and Yoandri continue to carry out vigils, debates and other encounters with members of the opposition in the Eastern city of Banes, as well as spontaneous protest marches which usually end in detentions.
Ojeda also said to feel extremely concerned for the fate of her pregnant sister.
“My sister Janet still has pains after the physical mistreatment at the hands of the police in Guardalavaca. These agents did not care that she was pregnant. We really do not know how this will end, if she will have to go to the hospital for some time or – hopefully not – she may even lose the child“.
To contact Gertrudis and Yoandri in Cuba:
Cell Phone – +58-025-501
July 4, 2013Posted by on
Jorge Cardona, son of a Major (with the same name) of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and of the Military Counter-Intelligence, stoned the home of the dissident family of Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez and Yoandri Naoki Ricardo Mir and physically attacked one of their underage children in Banes, Holguin, in Eastern Cuba.
The events took place at around 7 PM on July 3rd when two of Ojeda and Mir’s children were playing outside their house.
“Jorge Cardona showed up and started to throw rocks towards my children and my house“, recounts Gertrudis Ojeda, notably agitated by the actions which put the lives of her children in danger, “Cardona rushed up to my oldest son, Ernesto, who is 14 years old, and kicked him twice on his left leg, causing him some injuries“.
When they noticed what was happening, Gertrudis and Yoandri rushed out of the house in defense of their children, just to find Jorge Cardona shouting pro-government slogans at them, as well as offensive phrases, such as “worms“.
Ojeda Suarez says that Cardona, who is 18 years old, began to throw more rocks which nearly hit Yoandri in the head, as well as their 5 year old son.
“We know that this was all set up by State Security against us because, earlier that day, we had gone to the police unit to show solidarity with one of our brothers in struggle from the opposition“, explained Ojeda, who could confirm her declaration even more when “suddenly a Suzuki motorcycle (used by State Security) arrived on the scene and rapidly took the 18 year old away“.
On the afternoon of that same day, Gertrudis, her husband and other activists protested in front of the police unit of Banes, as a display of solidarity with Antonio Gonzalez Costa, a member of Independent and Democratic Cuba (CID), who had been summoned to the police unit and threatened by State Security because of his activism. Just 2 days before, Gertrudis and Yoandri also protested in the same unit, demanding the release of dissident Rafael Meneses Pupo and 2 other activists who had been arrested upon leaving their home. The pressure they carried out led to the liberation of the 3.
It’s common practice for State Security to retaliate against citizens who publicly oppose the totalitarian system through actions like these, using members of the military forces to carry out acts of violence.
The Cardona family frequently participates in these acts of repression, whether it be Jorge (father) or his wife, affirm the Holguin activists.
“The wife of Jorge Cardona (father) has participated in acts of repudiation against us“, recounts Gertrudis, “State Security uses these people since they are military officials to try and provoke us and then jail us“.
However, it’s not necessary for a dissident to respond to a provocation to be taken to a prison in Cuba. Gertrudis, a member of the Ladies in White, and Yoandri Naoki, both member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance (ADO), are continously detained for various hours and, many times, days, just for carrying out marches, organizing debates, workshop and vigils, as well as carrying out other acts of civil disobedience in public. When they are not detained, they are victims of beatings and house raids at the hands of the political police.
In their monthly report of human right’s violations in Cuba, the independent news agency ‘Hablemos Press‘ documented less arbitrary arrests of pro-freedom activists in the month of June, but noted the sharp increase in excessively violent actions carried out by the political police, paramilitary forces and highly dangerous citizens used by Cuban Intelligence. Among them: machete attacks, house raids, beatings during dawn hours, and deportations.
“I want to call on Amnesty International and public opinion in general, so that they please intercede for us…because this dictatorship is putting the lives of my children in danger“, declares Gertrudis Ojeda, “They could have hit my kids with a rock and could have killed them, as well as my husband. I am very fearful of what may happen to my family, and it’s likely that this cruel dictatorship will attempt against our lives again, considering that this is a dictatorship with absolutely no feelings and very violent“.
“The violence against us is constant. It doesn’t consist just of shouting slogans against us, but also carrying out violent actions with rocks, beatings, and more“, she adds.
Audio: Declarations by Gertrudis Ojeda (in Spanish):
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez – Cell Phone: +58-025-501
July 2, 2013Posted by on
When dissident Daniel Barriel Sanjurjo, organizer of the “Zapata Lives” cell of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in Santiago de Cuba, heard abrupt knocks on his door on the morning of June 28th and noticed that they were coming from agents of the Cuban political police, he knew there were going to be problems, all because of his pro-democracy activism. The agents ordered him to open the door, but since they did not present a search warrant, Barriel refused. Police officials kicked down the door, breaking parts of it and raiding the house.
“Upon entering my home, the 6 agents rushed towards me“, recounted the young dissident, “they started to beat me in front of my wife and my 5 year old son“.
Barriel was aggressively handcuffed (he still has the marks) and he was forcefully taken out of his home while still wearing underwear and shoved into a police vehicle. He was taken to the Operations Unit of Versalles.
The police agents were accusing the activist of having painted messages against the Cuban regime on top of a mural with images of dictators Fidel and Raul Castro. Daniel denies this, not because he is against the gesture, but because he explains that his activism is “public” and he does not have to hide his actions.
“Upon arriving to the unit, they put me into an inhumane cell with only enough room for 2 prisoners which were already there. One of these prisoners was an assassin and the other was a marijuana dealer“, said Barriel, who assures that he was victim of “psychological tortures” at the hands of State Security agents who continuously warned him that they would “disappear” him and that he “would not see the light of day again“.
The Santiago native adds that he was interrogated 2 more times and was then moved to another cell at around 4 in the afternoon, where the threats that he would go to prison continued.
Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of UNPACU, explains that the Versalles Unit is known for the psychological tortures against detainees, as agents “try to break the will-power of the dissident and try to convince them to drop out of the opposition movement“.
In this torture process the detainees are usually kept for various days, weeks or months, but in the case of Daniel Barriel he was released the same day. “All of this is due to the brave response of more than 40 of our activists“, explains Ferrer.
Numerous activists “met at the home of Barriel in the Sueno Neighborhood and publicly declared that they were going to take to the streets to protest“, recounts the former political prisoner.
“Upon seeing the intelligent ad rapid response of the dissidents, the police decided to surround them in the house and brought members of the Rapid Response Brigades (paramilitary group) who tend to attack human rights defenders with weapons such as sticks, rocks, metal objects, etc”. Despite this, the demonstrators remained firm and ready to go out to the street.
The persistence of the activists led the police to release Barriel Sanjurjo.
“Suddenly, a couple of agents visited me and told me that there was a process open against me for the crime of writing over the murals and that they would summon me again to the unit, but that I would be released for the time being“, recounts the activist. At the same time, Barriel’s mother received a phone call from a police agent asking her to please keep the more than 40 activists “calm” because they were going to release her son.
Daniel details that he was taken to his home in a police vehicle. Upon arriving, he noticed the presence of mobs who were carrying out an act of repudiation. He pointed out that the aggressors were all officials or members of paramilitary groups but “none of them were neighbors or everyday people“.
Barriel pointed out that he was still in danger of going to prison, considering that the police told him accusations against him were still open. Regardless, he thanked all dissidents who showed solidarity with him during his arrest and affirmed that he will continue carrying out his work as director of the “Zapata Lives” Cell of UNPACU, which is made up mostly of young activists who define their activism with public activities on the streets, such as marches or the handing out of pro-freedom pamphlets.
This effort of working together and using pressure to achieve the liberation of a detained activist is not an isolated case. This Monday, July 1st, for example, 3 activists were detained in the municipality of Banes, Holguin, among them Rafael Meneses Pupo.
The 3 were released from the National Revolutionary Police Unit when Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez, member of the Ladies in White and of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, and her husband Yoandri Naoki Ricardo Mir carried out a protest inside the unit.
Cases such as these “prove that the political police doesn’t feel sure of itself, not even with their own officials“, while everyday citizens and the organized opposition continue gaining space, expresses Jose Daniel Ferrer.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Daniel Barriel Sanjurjo – Cell Phone: +53-388-130
May 5, 2013Posted by on
Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez and Yoandri Naoski Ricardo Mir are residents of Banes, Holguin, and parents of 3 underage children. They live under constant surveillance, harassment and repression at the hands of Cuban political police agents, just because they have ideas different than those who are in power.
Gertrudis is a member of the Ladies in White and both are members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, a pro-freedom group based in the Eastern region of the island. Recently, the violence against them has duplicated, mainly affecting their children.
This past Thursday, 25th of April, Gertrudis and Yoandri stepped out of their home in the Nuevo Banes neighborhood, accompanied by 7 other dissidents, and carried out a peaceful protest-march in solidarity with the more than 60 hunger strikers of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) who are demanding the immediate release of activist Luis Enrique Lozada Igarza, who was arbitrarily arrested last April 9th and who has also been on hunger strike since. The protest was a success, considering that its spontaneous nature allowed them to surprise police officials who usually crack down on similar activities quickly. The 9 activists returned to the house without any problems after having marched several blocks shouting messages in favor of the freedom of all political prisoners and in solidarity with the everyday people.
Only a few minutes passed when, suddenly, numerous agents of the State police showed up in front of the house. Among them were agents Freddy Aguero and Lieutenant Colonel Roilan Cruz Oliva, notorious oppressors of the area. In just a matter of minutes, the agents raided the house, savagely beating Gertrudis, Yoandri and all others present, even two brothers of the Lady in White- Yadian Vergara Suarez and Yunior Vergara Suarez.
In an audio published by ‘Radio Republica’, Ojeda Suarez recounts how she was beaten by various members of the Ministry of the Interior to the point that they even broke her mouth. Her mother, Justina Suarez Rojas, was pushed and threatened, while Yoandri Naoki was beat and detained, taken in a cop car to the unit known as Pedernales, infamous for its inhumane conditions and horrid treatment against inmates (most of who are there unjustly). The police broke various objects inside the house and took various belongings of the dissidents, among them their only cell phone.
Witnessing all these events were the youngest children of Ojeda and Ricardo: Bianca Ricardo Ojeda (6) and Yoandri Naoki Ricardo Ojeda (5). The minors started to desperately scream for their parents.
Gertrudis was released a few hours later but Yoandri Naoki remained arrested for a little over a day. While she was still alone in her house, the political police organized a mob to carry out against an ‘act of repudiation’ against Gertrudis on the night of April 26th. During the repudiation, Ojeda was completely in-communicated.
Juan Miguel Gonzalez Marrero, a human rights activist and neighbor of the dissident couple, confirmed to this blog that the act of repudiation ended at about 9 PM.
On Thursday, May 2nd, the police once against lashed out against the activists, organizing a second act of repudiation outside the home of Gertrudis and Yoandri, and later, another outside the home of Juan Miguel Gonzalez. The reason this time around? Earlier that day they had held a vigil in the home of Ojeda Suarez, praying for the freedom of all political prisoners on the island.
“As soon as the vigil ended at Gertrudis’ home, I left towards my house and was brutally detained by State Security“, said Gonzalez, “I was threatened while in the police unit by Freddy Aguero, captain of State Security“.
The repudiation occurred that night, after his release. The participants were mostly members of the Communist Party, while almost none were neighbors. They shouted offensive words, slogans and threats against the dissidents.
Gonzalez points out that his 13-year-old daughter, Dayani Gonzalez Rodriguez, is also suffering psychological problems.
“She has witnessed various detentions firsthand and she is very afraid…she doesn’t even want to go to school“, he said.
The children of Gertrudis and Yoandri are also on the same path.
“They have traumatized my children. They don’t want to eat, they don’t go to school. They are treated differently and looked badly upon just because of the way their parents think, just because we are against this regime”, expressed Ojeda Suarez in another audio published by ‘Radio Republica’. “The State is torturing two children”.
On another note, Naoki denounces that the police agents robbed “67 signs, 28 books, a cell phone, the charger, and even a monument to Orlando Zapata Tamayo (assassinated political prisoner)” from his home. “They even took books by Jose Marti. In fact, an instructor known as Ezequiel from Banes told me: ‘this is not the Jose Marti I know’ and I responded, ‘as far as I know there is only one Jose Marti. What happens is that many of his thoughts are censored in this country and not included in your books’“.
“The mobs also woke my children up during the second act of repudiation on May 2nd…my kids are traumatized“.
Everything indicates that the acts of State-sponsored repression will continue against Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez, Yoandri Naoki Ricardo Mir and all other dissidents in Banes, Holguin, but they have taken on a posture of persistence and bravery.
“My defense is to say the truth…I am prepared for them [the regime] to come…and I do not care if they kill me…I do not mind dying for a just cause, to defend the human rights of all Cubans”, affirmed Gertrudis Ojeda.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Juan Miguel González Marrero- Cell Phone: +24-803-580
February 21, 2013Posted by on
At around 3 PM on Wednesday, February 20th, leaders of different dissident groups were arrested by the State Police in the Eastern municipality of Antilla after a series of meetings.
The detainees were Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina, general coordinator of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, Yoandri Montoya, president of the Bayamo Youth Movement, and Eriberto Liranza Romero, president of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy. After the arrests, all the dissidents were abandoned in different desolate locations throughout the province of Holguin.
Eriberto Liranza, from Havana, recounts that he was visiting the Eastern region of the country since February 14th and that he had been trying to dodge police vigilance and persecution since then.
“On the 15th, I evaded persecution in the city of Velasco, in the municipality of Gibara. I was with a couple of other activists and we managed to escape without being arrested until arriving to Antilla“, where he participated in the 9th Anniversary celebration of the Eastern Democratic Alliance along with another 50 activists.
He explains that after carrying out another commemorative activity in Antilla during morning hours of the 20th, a group of dissidents congregated outside the home of Lady in White Mildred Noemi Sanchez and carried out a protest, shouting slogans like “Orlando Zapata Lives” and “Down with the dictatorship“. Zapata was the political prisoner who, after tortures, mistreatment, and a lengthy hunger strike, died on February 23rd, 2010. He is considered a martyr and symbol of resistance by the internal Cuban opposition.
“It seems that this protest was too much for the regime. It bothered them very much that we were freely going out to the streets“, said Liranza.
It was at that moment that the arrests occurred.
“They arrested a group of us- Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, Yoandri Montoya, Delmides Fidalgo and me… they aggressively put the handcuffs on us, they put them on very tightly, hurting our hands and arms“, recounts the dissident, “then they shoved us into police vehicles, where there was a glass window dividing us from the drivers seat. It was extremely hot inside“. They were taken to the Pedernales Unit, a center notorious for its mistreatment and torture of recluses, both political and common ones.
After various minutes in Pedernales, where they were mistreated and threatened with further repression, each of the activists were abandoned in different desolate areas. Rodriguez Lobaina was left in the rural area of Holguin known as La Caballeriza, while Liranza was left on the outskirts of Holguin, afterward being forced to leave the province. The whereabouts of Yoandri Montoya were unknown for a while but it was later confirmed that he arrived to his city of residence, Bayamo.
Montoya has been denouncing the increase of violence on behalf of the regime against him and other activists from the Movement which he heads in Bayamo. On recent occasions, in declarations to this blog and other independent outlets, the young activist has said he has been detained numerous times and that the young members of the group live under the constant vigilance of State Security officials and collaborators. In this month of February, police agents threatened Yoandri with taking him to prison. The dissident explains that this repression is due to the group’s increasing opposition on the streets of Cuba, demanding freedom, as well as their work with the community- one of the most prominent projects being the foundation of numerous independent gyms which provide exercise services and equipment for young locals, free of charge.
That same Wednesday, during morning hours, other detentions of Eastern Democratic Alliance members were reported, as were the cases of Yubel Cansino Acosta, Miladis Piñales Rosa, Yoandri Naoki Ricardo Mir (in Banes) and Luis Noa Silva (in Baracoa), according to Twitter messages published by Rolando Rodriguz (@LobainaCuba). Noa Silva was summoned to a police unit on the following day, where he was threatened with years of prison if he chose to continue his activism.
The detentions of the leaders of these different pro-freedom groups unleashed a wave of solidarity among other members of the opposition in the Eastern region, such as other activists of the Eastern Democratic Alliance in the neighborhood of Los Negritos, in Banes, as well as other delegations of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy throughout Holguin.
Meanwhile, former political prisoner of conscience and general coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, published a series of tweets (@jdanielferrer), denouncing the arrests. Minutes later, Ferrer reported that members of UNPACU in Holguin carried out peaceful actions, demanding the liberation of the detainees.
“I am very thankful of all the brothers who heard what was happening to us and protested for our freedom“, expressed Eriberto Liranza, “We appreciate all the support…I have the best of opinions of the opposition here in Holguin. There is lots of youth involved, and there is a strong spirit of protest against the tyranny“.
For more information contact Eriberto Liranza in Cuba: +5353- 341-682
November 29, 2012Posted by on
More than a month after hurricane Sandy swept through Cuba, leaving countless material and human losses in its trail, the Cuban government continues to deny assistance to citizens to repair their homes, whether they be dissidents or everyday people. In one specific case, the Lady in White from Banes, Holguin, Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez and her husband, human rights activist Naoki Ricardo Mir, continue living practically out in the open air, considering that parts of their roof and some walls were completely destroyed, and all this with their 3 underage children, 2 of which suffer from asthma.
Recently, it was brought to light that the donations which have arrived from abroad to the island are being sold- at elevated prices- by Housing Department functionaries to those citizens in need who are already impoverished to begin with. Ojeda Suarez points out that some functionaries have visited the homes of her neighbors to assess the damages, but at no point have they asked her if she needs any assistance, despite the fact that what’s left of her home is “practically pieces“.
This led the dissident and her husband to hang various signs on the front porch which denounced that her children suffer from asthma and are suffering an increase in attacks due to the humidity and the coldness they are being exposed to after pieces of the roof were torn off by the massive storm.
“The signs said ‘Discrimination of asthmatic children on behalf of the government’, and ‘They are refusing our right to reconstruct our roof because we are dissidents‘”, recounts Ojeda, “this was after my husband had asked one of the functionaries when they would sell us the materials and he simply responded that we would not be helped“.
The eldest son of the couple is 14 years old, while the daughter is 6 years old and the youngest boy is 5. The two latter are the ones who suffer from “chronic asthma“.
“The regime knows very well that my children suffer from this condition. I have showed them the medical certificates on other occasions, but they (the regime) do not care about any of that. They are endangering the lives of 2 children because of the way we, their parents, think“, affirmed the Lady in White.
This past 19th of November, when Gertrudis and Naoki were out of the neighborhood, they returned to find that the signs and the front wall had been covered with paint, an action they attribute to State Security.
“Some neighbors who sympathize with us told us all the details of what had happened”, explained Gertrudis, “a number of State Security agents, among them Lieutenant Colonel Roilan, showed up to my house and threw buckets of paint at the walls and signs. They also photographed the entire house“.
Gertrudis and Naoki, both active members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance (ADO) express that they are tired of demanding the necessary materials from the regime and assure that they will find a way to rebuild their home through their own means, something very difficult considering Cuba’s economic situation.
“One day, with the help of God, and through my very own means, I will fix all of this. They are selling the materials at extremely elevated prices that no Cuban can afford. The amount Cubans make in one month is less than the price that they are selling one roof-tile for. And because we are dissidents, they refuse to sell it to us. But we will fix this house, for my children“, said Ojeda Suarez.
“My smallest child suffers from frequent air loss due to all the recent cold nights“, she adds, highlighting the urgency of her situation.
Meanwhile, activists from the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) have published various videos which demonstrate the reality of other citizens who lost nearly everything during hurricane Sandy and who also have not received help from the regime, as is the case of this mother and her infant son. On the same note, these photos depict some destroyed homes throughout the Eastern region of the country, while the following video sheds light on the testimonies of various affected citizens. See for yourselves:
For more information on the situation of Gertrudis Ojeda and her family, she can be reached at: +5358-025-501
August 17, 2012Posted by on
Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez- Lady in White, activist of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights and of the Eastern Democratic Alliance- made an urgent call on July of 2012 when she was informed by State Security that she would be taken to trial and possibly sentenced to 2 years in prison along with her husband, activist Yoandry Naosky Ricardo Mir and his two brothers- Orlando Baez Mir and Luis Manuel Garcia Mir- under false accusations of having committed crimes of “slander and libel”.
The dissident, who is mother of three underage children and resident of Banes municipality, in the province of Holguin, denounced that the accuser is Orestes Hernandez, an individual who collaborates with State Security. Hernandez accused the 4 of having “defecated on Fidel Castro’s mother” and of having offended and harassed him in the month of June of 2011. Ojeda Suarez explains that Orestes works as security guard in the Pantheon of Martyrs Fallen in Defense of the Country and the Northern Nuevo Banes Cemetery where he alleges that the supposed crimes took place. The Lady in White assures that the accusations are completely false and are only methods to take her husband, her relatives, and herself to prison due to their constant and growing activism in favor of human rights.
In addition, explains Gertrudis, “Orestes Hernandez and his mother Lorenza Hernandez lend their home to hide State Security agents and political police officers when they carry out acts of repression against us dissidents here in Banes“. She also said that she was able to confirm that both collaborators of the regime are trying to leave the country and are making the accusations for this reason, so that the authorities give them exit Visas. In Cuba, many participants of acts of repudiation and other violent actions are ‘rewarded’ with such permits to leave the country permanently or on vacation.
The trial took place this Thursday, August 16th 2012 in Banes, “behind closed doors“, explained Suarez. “The trial was completely taken by State Security, among them agents like Lieutenant Colonel Roylan and Freddy Aguero Diaz“, well known local oppressors.
Because of the trial, other activists from Banes received violent threats that they could not direct themselves to the tribunal to show solidarity with the accused dissidents.
Marta Diaz Rondon, a well known Lady in White and independent journalist, was one of those threatened. “During the morning of Wednesday, August 15th, when we were carrying out the weekly vigil for Cuba’s freedom in my home, State Security agent ‘Roylan’ showed up. He threatened me, saying that he was not going to let me, or any other dissident, go to the trial“, explained Rondon. “He also told me that he knew that I was recently operated but that he did not care…he told me he would arrest me and lock me up in the worst cell. I told him that I did not care, that I was going to go to the trial, because my house is not a dungeon“.
The activist added that the agent, who goes by the name of Roylan, is a well known aggressor in that area and that he “brutally beat Gertrudis Ojeda, Miladis Rosa and myself this past January 2012 when we were trying to travel to Holguin city. In fact, he dragged Gertrudis by the hair up to the third floor of a State Security office. He is an aggressor against women…but we are not afraid of him“.
Diaz Rondon and 5 other dissidents were able to make it to the building where the trial would take place, but they were not allowed to enter, so they stayed outside, although under the vigilance of State Security. Those who accompanied her were Delvis Martínez, Rafael Meneses Pupo, Alexander Rodríguez Santiesteban, Genaro González Acosta, and Miladis Piñales Rosa.
When the farce judicial process came to an end, Gertrudis was informed that her sentence would be announce on August 31st.
However, the Lady in White explained that “the witnesses who were present, who were supposedly going to testify against us, did not agree with the accusations. They said that they had no knowledge of what had supposedly occurred in the Pantheon of the Martyrs and said that they knew us and had never had problems with us“. It was a display of solidarity on their part.
Despite the solidarity, Getrudis Ojeda Suarez, Yoandry Naosky Ricardo Mir, Orlando Baez Mir and Luis Manuel Garcia Mir still run the danger of being sent to prison for 2 years.
Meanwhile, Marta Diaz Rondon assured that not only she, but all dissidents from Banes, will not allow “that threats from State Security intimidate us. We are going to keep fighting“.
“We know very well what we are going up against, we know that this is a dictatorship, but we are going to keep on in the struggle. Wherever there is a dissident in trouble, we are going to be there supporting them, that’s why we are brothers and sisters in struggle, and we are all fighting for the same cause”, said Diaz Rondon.