- @BabaluBloggers Thanks Babalu! #FreeElCritico #PassItOn: babalublog.com/2013/05/24/pas… 0 minutes ago
- RT @LibradoLinares: A MaydelisGlez A y Nosvel Jomolca B le niegan subsidio para constucciony la Policia Politica le hace seguimiento. Son l… 17 minutes ago
- RT @AimaraPerez28: #Cuba en 3ra unidad depolicia en Santa Clara activista del #CID Gladyz Medina Gzalez es interrogada por Coronel de contr… 1 hour ago
- RT @martinoticias: Cuba, desde adentro: Los Almendrones #Cuba ow.ly/lmyec 1 hour ago
- RT @PorotraCuba: #Cuba cambia si tú quieres. Firma y comparte la Demanda Ciudadana Por otra Cuba porotracuba.org 1 hour ago
- RT @maritovoz: #PCC #Cuba no da visas a hnos d #USA para visitar nuestra iglesia y @USINTHavana las niega a miembros d la nuestra para ir a… 1 hour ago
- #FF @AdriBoschBlog @CarlosMCuba @Lori759 @RoderickNavarro @KennedyBolivar @radiomambi710 @periodista75 @MiscelaneasCuba @johnjsuarez 2 hours ago
- Un #FF especial para @angelyunier, rapero contestatario arrestado desde marzo. #PasaLaVoz #FreeElCritico: youtube.com/watch?v=HjUYIm… 2 hours ago
"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera
April 27, 2013Posted by on
Cuban authorities have only responded to this question with more violence.
Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, a pro-freedom group made up by various women who dress in black and carry out peaceful marches and acts of civil disobedience, continues to be victim of beatings at the hands of Cuban political police agents, even when she is trying to take care of personal chores which have absolutely nothing to do with a political demonstration.
Perez was left unconscious after a beat down by the police this past March in the city of Santa Clara. She suffered numerous health complications after that, including a concussion and serious head pains. Meanwhile, all the hospitals of the mentioned city as well as her city of residence- Placetas- refused to let her in, all because State Security had ordered so, due to her ideology.
Her health situation was so serious that her father passed away a few days later and, because she was bed-ridden and in so much pain, she could not even go to his funeral and bid him farewell for the last time, something which has been extremely difficult for her.
This 25th of April, Yris was once against arrested and beat, this time by a police official known as Akaema. The activist was on her way to the Rafael Pharmacy of Placetas to buy some medications for her high blood pressure. She was accompanied by two other activists- Yaite Cruz Sosa and Xiomara Martin Jimenez- but they were not carrying out a protest, march, or any dissident activity. The three were arrested.
“Agent Akaema savagely beat me on the head… I have a neck brace and she hit me there on purpose, shaking my head all over the place”, recounts Yris Tamara in an audio published in the YouTube channel of her husband, well known former political prisoner and dissident leader Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez‘.
The three women were shoved into police vehicles, kept for a brief period of time in a police unit, and later were left abandoned in desolate and abandoned spots, respectively. They had to walk back some blocks to get to their homes.
Politically-driven assassinations in Cuba have different forms. In many cases, the regime takes away all food of political prisoners, while other times they beat them while they are on hunger strike, already weakened to begin with. Other activists are beat in dawn hours, left to die out on a street. ”Accidents” have also been organized, leading to the death of those who defend freedom.
In the case of Yris Tamara Perez, everything points to the fact that the Cuban regime does not want her to receive medical attention, which she desperately needs due to all the beatings their agents have given her.
Regardless, the dissident leader says that she feels she is “a free citizen”.
And, precisely with that same inherent freedom she feels, she declares that “I will go back out again to the street, I am not going to send someone to get my medicines for me, because that is my right, and they are violating my rights”, expressed Perez.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera- Cell Phone- +52-417-749 / Twitter: @YrisCuba
April 19, 2013Posted by on
On the night of Wednesday, April 17th, Cubans in diverse parts of the country rang their pots and pans as a display of support and solidarity with the Venezuelan opposition, a movement which also uses these methods of civil disobedience.
The protest was convoked by the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, a coalition which groups numerous internal opposition organizations. Other groups, as well as members of Cuba’s civil society, participated.
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, secretary general of the Front, said in an audio published on his YouTube account that “a group of members of the Cuban resistance in different provinces shook neighborhoods and towns with the pots and pans protest” despite the fact that “the political police had a violent reaction against these activists”.
In the city where Antunez lives- Placetas, Villa Clara (right in the center of Cuba) – dissidents rang their pots and pans despite being surrounded by political police agents which threw rocks and shouted profanity. One of the rocks hit a 6 year old as well as the leading dissident Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, who is still suffering from a brutal beat-down at the hands of State Security agents in March.
Santa Clara (another city in the province of Villa Clara) was the scene of another demonstration, where member of the Central Opposition Coalition met at the home of Damaris Moya Portieles to carry out the protest. There, the political police arrested various dissidents, while they organized a violent act of repudiation. Regardless, independent blogger Carlos Michael Morales said that those present began to shout “Down with Nicolas Maduro, Down with Communism” and “Long Live Capriles“.
Other pots and pans protests were reported in the province of Camaguey, according to activist Santos Fernandez Sanchez, member of the Pro-Human Rights Party of Cuba. Former political prisoner of conscience Librado Linares Garcia reported on his Twitter account (@LibradoLinares) that in Cienfuegos there were also protests, which provoked a violent reaction by the State police.
In Havana, numerous demonstrations were reported in more than 6 different municipalities, according to dissident Jose Diaz Silva. Among the municipalities was Boyeros, where Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo carried out a significant pots and pans protest along with her family and other activists. Agents of the Rapid Response Brigades and the political police surrounded the house and began to throw rocks, dirty water, eggs, tar and even used condoms. Julio Leon Fonseca, husband of Sara Marta, received a death threat from one of the agents in the mob.
“We have done this in support of the Venezuelan opposition, who are out on the streets demanding their rights”, said Sara Marta Fonseca in an audio published on ‘Radio Republica’, “they [the political police] have broken our windows…they came in to our porch and tore down signs. These are the things dictatorships do when they are about to topple…they are very bothered because the pots and pans rang in many parts of Cuba in support of the opposition and people of Venezuela”, said the dissident.
Alternative blogger Yusnaby Perez said on his Twitter account (@Yusnaby) that pots could be heard in parts of Central Havana.
“Not only in Central Havana”, read another message by Perez, “the pots and pans could also be heard in the town of Santa Fe…there are people on the street with signs”.
He managed to publish a video of the demonstration on YouTube minutes later:
Other pots and pans protests were confirmed in places like Mayabeque, Granma, Holguin and Guantanamo.
“We paid tribute and showed our support with our brothers in Venezuela, a country which was victim of a grotesque electoral fraud at the hands of Nicolas Maduro’s regime which is trying to perpetuate itself in power”, reiterated Antunez, “may these words serve to send all of Venezuela our respect, our admiration, our affection, and so that they know that the Cuban Resistance stands with them”.
The complete audio by Antunez here:
March 27, 2013Posted by on
Agents of the Cuban political police arrested a group of 9 dissidents, members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance and Civil Disobedience Front, in the city of Placetas, Villa Clara this Tuesday 26th of March when they were carrying out a public demonstration as part of the “Yris Tamara Perez and Calixto Martinez Cannot Die” campaign. The officials used violence against the demonstrators and, upon seeing that they did not have sufficient police vehicles to take the detainees, decided to tie some of the dissidents to a nearby porch until reinforcements arrived.
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, secretary general of the OZT Front, witnessed the events and confirmed that they occurred during afternoon hours. “These activists were carrying out a peaceful protest under the campaign to save Yris Tamara Perez and Calixto Ramon Martinez“, he recounted, explaining that the dissidents “took to the streets carrying signs with messages like ‘Justice for Yris and Calixto’ and ‘Don’t let them die’ when they abruptly assaulted and arrested by the police. The agents violently threw them against the pavement“.
The former political prisoner identified some of the detainees as Julio Columbie Batista, Maikel Almenteros, José Lino Ascencio López, Yunier Santana Hernández, Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, Yanisbel Valido Pérez and Orlando Almaguer.
The solidarity campaign was launched this March by the OZT Front after Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, wife of Antunez and president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, was beat unconscious by police agents, causing serious health complications. Her problems intensified when doctors in different hospitals of Placetas and Santa Clara refused her admission or treatment under strict orders of State Security. Yris remains with ailing health, without medical assistance and in danger of being beat again at any time, just for stepping out of her house.
Meanwhile, ‘Hablemos Press’ reporter Calixto Ramon Martinez Arias has been imprisoned for 6 months now because of his work as an independent journalist. He declared himself on hunger strike this month and this Tuesday marked the 20th day of his protest.
The campaign demands medical attention for Yris Perez and the immediate liberation of Calixto Ramon, through demonstrations like vigils, protests, marches, etc.
“The police responded in a brutal and cynical manner“, added Antunez, as he explained that the usual methods applied such as beatings and arrests did not shock him, but he could not believe what he was seeing when “two of the activists- Yanisbel Valido Perez and Maikel Almentero Orama- were tied to a porch of a house located on Marti street when the police realized they did not have enough cars to take them all away at once“.
“This tells us that the regime is even losing the capacity to repress“, said Antunez.
Another protest with similar outcomes took place on Monday in the same city of Placetas when a group of dissidents from Camaguey, among them Daniel Millet Jimenez, arrived. A number of other activities have been reported throughout the island as part of this new campaign in solidarity with Yris Perez and Calixto Martinez.
“There are more of those who protest than those who repress“, assured Antunez, who added that the campaign will continue with more strength, energy and activism until the objectives are achieved.
For more information form Cuba, contact:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’- Cell Phone: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba
March 11, 2013Posted by on
The health conditions of the Cuban dissident Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, worsened during this past weekend after the violent beating she endured at the hands of State Security agents on March 7th in the city of Santa Clara. This Monday, March 11th, her husband and renowned dissident Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, said that Yris remained “stable”, according to an audio published on her YouTube channel.
The beating occurred when Yris and other women from the Movement carried out their weekly march in honor of all those fallen in the name of democracy in Cuba, as they do every Thursday. That specific march was being dedicated to the assassinated dissidents Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero, and the beating was carried out by State Security agents Eric Francis Aquino Yera and one who goes by the name of Misael. Perez Aguilera was left unconscious on the street and, when found, was rushed by Antunez and other dissidents to the “20th Anniversary” Clinic of Santa Clara, and from there was remitted to the Arnaldo Milian Castro Hospital in the same city, from where she was eventually kicked out as soon she regained her consciousness that same Thursday.
On Friday, March 8th, her health worsened, as she suffered dizziness spells, convulsions, memory lapses and was vomiting blood. Various relatives rushed her to the PlacetasHospital that night. In his Twitter account, Antunez (@antunezcuba) recounted the events of that Friday through a series of messages.
“Yaquelin, a doctor from the PlacetasHospital, diagnosed the grave situation of Yris and wrote down the number of physical blows she had received in her clinical history”, read one message, “The opinion of this doctor and the orthopedic coincide in that Yris be remitted to the ProvincialHospital, they say she should receive specialized assistance”.
Minutes later, a number of State Security agents entered the hospital and began to give orders to the doctors. Dr. Yaquelin was kept from traveling with Yris Perez on the ambulance which would take her to the ProvincialHospital.
“Yris arrived to the provincial hospital, while various doctors commented on how much physical blows she had received”, said another tweet by Antunez, later adding that they had to carry out a ‘TAC’ exam on her, but minutes later “a State Security agent arrived along with Agustin Arocha (a doctor) and they dismissed a possible cerebral trauma”.
Instead, they recommended Yris have a “rectal exam and a gastric cleaning”, which Yris herself, along with her relatives, refused, considering it to be a humiliation. The dissident was kicked out of the hospital but the activists present protested and she had to be rushed to the General Hospital of Placetas, where doctors told her that she had to leave the place, for they were “first revolutionaries and then doctors”, according to other messages published by Antunez.
With Yris back in her home in Placetas, Villa Clara, Antunez informed on Sunday, March 10th, that his wife awoke “delirious and in pain”.
Perez Aguilera suffers from epilepsy and hypoglycemia, and she also has a cyst on the back of her neck due to so many beatings at the hands of the political police. The beating on March 7th worsened her health. But it also unleashed a chain of solidarity throughout the island, where dissidents carried out different activities in solidarity with the opposition leader.
The Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy, for example, published a statement in the voice of its president, Eriberto Liranza Romero, in solidarity with Perez Aguilera, while in Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila, activists like Julio Columbie Batista, Idael Pérez Díaz and Santa González Pedroso reported pots and pans protests in that city as part of the campaign “We must not let Yris die”, after a call launched by Damaris Moya Portieles from Santa Clara for a national protest during the night of March 9th. Other activities of solidarity were confirmed in the center and Eastern regions of the country, while activists like Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, Librado Linares García, Sayli Navarro, Félix Reyes Gutiérrez, Manuel Cuesta Morua and Félix Navarro published messages on their Twitter accounts condemning the beating and in support of Yris.
“It seems that the order to eliminate Yris has been given”, wrote Antunez in another message, “We cannot allow the crime”.
A diverse group of dissidents have said that they will continue demanding medical assistance for Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, as well as an end to violent against her.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’- Cell Phone: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba
March 8, 2013Posted by on
It’s not rare for Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera to suffer a beating by uniformed agents in Cuba. Both she and her husband, the renown dissident and former political prisoner Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, live under constant police vigilance, which does not allow them- the majority of times- to freely move throughout their own city of residence, Placetas, or throughout the country, for that matter. And when they manage to surpass vigilant cordons and arrive to other destinations, they are eventually intercepted and deported. This was proven once again on Thursday, March 7th 2013, when the activist was brutally beaten by State Security agents and left lying unconscious on a street in the city of Santa Clara.
Perez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, was with other women of the group participating in the weekly march they carry out every Thursday to pay homage to Cubans who have died while trying to achieve freedom in the country, when the violence took place. It was around 9 AM when the others were detained: Damaris Moya, Yanisbel Valido, Natividad Blanco, Ramona García and Yris Tamara Aguilera herself.
The women were taken directly to cells in different police units throughout the region, but agent Eric Francis Aquino Yera and one known as Misael kept Yris in a separate police vehicle, by herself, from which she was taken out, or better said- dragged out- by her hair and thrown against the pavement various times to the point that she was left unconscious after suffering blows to the head, according to declarations made by Antunez in an audio published on the YouTube account “PlacetasCuba100″ (belonging to Yris Perez).
Minutes later, some neighbors showed up to the home of Damaris Moya in Santa Clara and told her husband, Yanoisy Contreras, that there was a person abandoned out in the road, passed out. ”We first thought it would be a drunkard”, said Antunez in the audio, “but when Yanoisy went to the corner of the block and saw that heart-wrenching scene, where Yris was just thrown there, bleeding and passed out… we urgently took her to the 20th Anniversary Hospital of Santa Clara”.
Yris’ condition was grave, which is why she was rushed to the Armando Milian Castro Hospital, located in the same city, where she was submitted to various exams. However, the hospital authorities, in collaboration with State Security, expelled Yris Tamara from the hospital as soon as she gained her conscious back.
Upon arriving to Moya’s home, other dissidents who displayed solidarity with Yris were detained, among them Michel Oliva Lopez and Alberto Reyes Morales. Others in Sagua la Grande, Villa Clara and Velasco, Holguin also were surrounded and arrested for protesting against the events.
“We are highlighting the seriousness of this situation”, said Antunez about his wife, “we hold the dictatorship accountable for the life of Yris”.
Due to the countless beatings she has received- product solely of political persecution- Perez Aguilera has developed a cyst in the lower back part of her neck. She frequently suffers migraines, dizziness spells and other sharp pains due to this wound which she has not been able to tend to medically.
Eric Francis Aquino Yera, one of the agents who attempted against the life of Yris this Thursday, is the same official who, in 2012, threatened to rape the 5 year old daughter of Damaris Moya- Lazara Contreras.
The attack against the president of the Rosa Parks Movement comes the day prior to International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world.
These beatings have not managed to force Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera to give up her fight in the past, which gives rise to an important question- what is the real news here? Is it the fact that the dissident was repressed? Or, rather, that she keeps going out to the streets demanding rights for all Cubans, despite whatever kind of consequence?
For more information form Cuba, contact:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’ – Cell Phone: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba
August 18, 2012Posted by on
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.
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
June 2, 2012Posted by on
As part of the “March Against Impunity”, the female activists from the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights carry out civic activities in Cuba during the first day of each month. This June 1st, 2012 was marked by a nonviolent sit-in by three activists from the mentioned group- Donaida Perez Paceiro, Yaite Cruz Sosa, and Dora Correa- in the city of Placetas, Villa Clara.
The woman carried out the protest on 7th Street South, in front of a number of public institutions, during the morning hours. They began to shout various slogans, not only against the Cuban regime but also demanding the freedom of all political prisoners, as well as other messages such as “down with the forced evictions”, “down with the high price of electricity”, and “down with hunger”. In declarations made on the Rosa Parks Movement’s blog, Donaida Perez explained that the women were also showing solidarity woth Damaris Moya Portieles, another activist from the group who is currently facing a difficult situation as a police official threatened to rape her 5 year old daughter.
In a matter of minutes, agents at the service of the dictatorship arrived on the scene and began to aggressively arrest the demonstrators. The former political prisoner Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez managed to capture these images on his cell phone and was able to publish them on his Twitter account. (These photos were also published on the Rosa Park Movement’s blog).
The police agents dragged the women, shoved them in police vehicles, and drove them off to unknown locations.
Peaceful sit-ins are one of the most popular methods among international civic movements. They have been successfully applied around the world against dictatorships or corrupt systems. In the United States, during the 1950′s and 60′s, these methods were frequently used by black Americans who suffered under a system of discrimination and racism. Under the direction of activists such as Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, these demonstrators achieved their objectives despite constant violence. Currently in Cuba, human rights activists not only carry out sit-ins, but also hunger strikes, pots and pans protests, vigils, public marches, as well as the distribution of pamphlets with pro-freedom messages and the hanging of anti-government signs in public places. Though in the majority of cases the activists are arrested, the demonstrations achieve the objective of showing the local population how they are being mistreated just for demanding rights for an entire nation.
The women of the Rosa Parks Movement are an example of this civic struggle which is being carried out throughout the entire island by diverse groups who fight for a free future.
For more information from Cuba:
Yris Tamara Aguilera (president of the Rosa Parks Mov.)- +5352-417-749 // Twitter: @yrisCuba
March 19, 2012Posted by on
March was yet another month which began with the accustomed peaceful protest carried out by the women of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. This time, the activity took place in front of the Communist Party headquarters in the town of Santa Clara. The video of the protest was published recently and you can see how Yris Tamara Aguilera, Yaite Cruz Sosa, Donaida Pérez Paseiros and Yaimara Reyes Mesa are rapidly harassed, dragged, and beaten by functionaries of the communist headquarters. In the case of Yris Tamara Aguilera, it can be seen how she sits down on the floor as a sign of non-cooperation. A functionary starts to yell at Yris, demanding that she get up from the street. The women were simply demanding freedom and an end to the impunity excercised by the regime, as occurs every first day of each month. The demonstration culminated in a violent arrest. See the video:
On Sunday, March 11th, dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Antunez was arbitrarily arrested as he was leaving his home in Placetas. He was kept in a dungeon until Wednesday the 14th despite the fact that he was suffering from serious chest pains. His wife, Yris Tamara Aguilera, and the same activists which participated in the march on video, were also arrested during afternoon hours of Wednesday the 14th. In the case of Yris Tamara, she was once again arrested on the morning of Thursday, March 15th, when she was on her way to a medical center to tend to the wounds she had received during her previous time in jail. After a public call from various activists who declared that they would “take to the streets if Yris was not liberated”, the regime decided to release the activist. The repression against these men and women is constant, but so too is their perseverance.
Placetas: 5 Activists are Still Detained, Among them prominent dissident Antunez, with Health Complications
March 14, 2012Posted by on
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).
Lady in White: “As Pope Benedict’s visit to Cuba nears, the political police increases its repression”. Another Sunday of Arrests.
March 12, 2012Posted by on
This past 11th of March was the twelfth consecutive Sunday that Lady in White and independent journalist Caridad Caballero Batista was forcefully kept from reaching church alongside other Ladies in the city of Holguin. This time, Caballero was arbitrarily detained on Saturday, March 10th, together with her 19-year old son, Eric Sandez Caballero, at around 8:30 AM as they were both aboard a car headed towards a taxi and bus stop at the center of the city to take care of some personal chores.
“As soon as we stepped down from the car, various State Security and political police officials ran at us and aggressively arrested us”, explained the activist, adding that the operation was led by agents Duglas Torres Pupo and Yordanis Martinez Leon, among others. The arrest occurred before the eyes of a number of everyday citizens which were passing by that centric area. Regardless, the regime deployed a number of police vehicles just to arrest two people.
Both mother and son were introduced in one of those police vehicles and taken to the Instructional Unit of Pedernales where they were kept in separate interrogation rooms. “They told us that they were not going to allow us to move freely throughout the country and that they were going to start a smear campaign against us. We responded by saying that we do not care for how many campaigns they carry out against us and that we are anti-Castro until the death, and that we will keep fighting for our rights: for freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and the respect of human rights in Cuba“.
After this exchange of words, Caridad and Eric were moved to separate small and sealed off cells. In the case of Eric, there were 4 other prisoners in his cell, all of who were being charged with different crimes, including robbery. The guards did not give him a mattress and the 19-year old had to sleep on a piece of concrete in the cell. Eric Sandez suffers from a medical condition where his sugar level and blood pressure suddenly drop and the blood flow to his brain becomes insufficient. Whenever this happens to him, he must urgently be rushed to a doctor or a hospital. Despite suffering from such a delicate condition, the functionaries of the Cuban regime still subject Eric to cruel and degrading treatment.
In the case of Caballero Batista, she was the only person in her cell, which was completely sealed off. “The bathroom of the cell was a small hole on the floor and it was clogged. I had to put up with that very strong smell, among mosquitoes, roaches, spiders, and other bugs“. As she usually does, the Lady in White began to shout messages from her dungeon: “Down with Communism“, “Down with the Castros“, and “Long live Human Rights“. Caballero affirms that she heard some common prisoners in the distance repeat her slogans. “In fact, one of them told me to scream louder so it could be heard in all of the prison, and others would repeat my phrase when I would say ‘long live Human Rights‘”.
Caridad and Eric were kept in those cells (without drinking water) until Sunday at 11:30 AM, once the mass in the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church of Holguin had concluded. During this whole time, Caballero’s home was surrounded by numerous police vehicles and State Security officials with the intentions of keeping Esteban Sandez, Caridad’s husband, from leaving his own home. Despite this, the dissident found a way to leave his house and directed himself to the nearest State Security unit where he publicly demanded the liberation of his wife and son.
In regards to her son, Caridad Caballero assured that although the regime is trying to “frighten him, he has come out much stronger. Every time he has one of these situations he gets even more inspired to stay in the struggle“.
Meanwhile, in the town of Banes the Ladies in White Marta Diaz Rondon, Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez, and Miladis Pinales Rosa were once again arrested at around 5:30 AM as they were trying to travel to the city of Holguin to march to mass alongside other Ladies. Diaz Rondon explained that in her case her home had been under “tight surveillance since Wednesday“. Despite the vigilance, the dissident and these other two women decided to leave their homes during the early morning hours. They noticed that barely any State Security officials and political police officers were around their homes at that time. They took advantage of the moment and boarded a bus. However, as the bus arrived to the exit point of Banes, a military checkpoint composed of numerous State Security officials were waiting for the Ladies.
“They took us down from the buses by force, and at that moment, we were arrested. They put us inside police vehicles and took us to the State Security headquarter of Banes”, said Rondon. The three women were kept separated in that unit for 6 hours until mass in Holguin and Banes came to an end. “They told each of us that every time we leave our homes we will be detained“. Diaz Rondon has not been able to leave her own city for various weeks now.
“All the exits of Banes are under control of State Security and the political police, but I have told all the officials that my house is not a dungeon”, affirmed the Lady in White.
Other Ladies in White, such as Berta Guerrero Segura in Cacocum and Adisnidia Cruz in the city of Holguín, were reportedly detained also on that Sunday. Only 3 women made it to mass in Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church, under much vigilance and constant threats on behalf of functionaries from the communist regime.
During that same Sunday night, it was confirmed that dissidents Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez, Eriberto Liranza Romero (president of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy) and Rene Rouco Machín (President of the Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia Movement) were suddenly arrested. The detentions were reported by Yris Tamara Aguilera, wife of Antunez and active dissident in her own right, who published various Twitter messages (@YrisCuba) with the information. In the case of her husband, his arrest occurred in the central town of Placetas as he stepped out of his house and was walking to the corner of his block when guards detained him “under orders of the high command from Havana“. Eriberto Liranza and Rene Rouco were arrested in their respective homes in Havana. Yris Aguilera added that she does not know the whereabouts of her husband or of Liranza or Machin, and that in the town of “Sagua la Grande all homes of dissidents are surrounded“.
In regards to all these arbitrary arrests, Caridad Caballero declared that “as Pope Benedict’s visit to Cuba nears, the political police increases its repression against the peaceful defenders of human rights and the Ladies in White“.
For more information from Cuba:
Caridad Caballero Batista – Cell Phone: 011-5352-629-749; Twitter: @caricaballero / Marta Díaz Rondón – Cell Phone: 011-5352-771-639; Twitter: @MartaDiazRondon / Yris Tamara Aguilera – Cell Phone: 011-5352-417-749 ; Twitter: @YrisCuba