On July 21st, the same day in which the most recent arrest and beating of Yris Tamra Perez Aguilera occurred, the repressive crack down also reached the city of Santa Clara, where the president of the Central Opposition Coalition, Idania Yanez Contreras, was intercepted (along with many other dissidents) by the authorities of the regime while she was trying to reach the trial of Michel Oliva Lopez. According to Yanez, Michel Oliva was being accused of “completely false” crimes.
Michel Oliva was arrested on July 20th under accusations of threatening the lives of others. “Michel Oliva had an amicable relationship with his former wife“, explains Idania Yanez, “and now, supposedly it was her who was accusing him“, proving the falsity of the charges. Yanez narrates that, “On Monday Michel was trying to get to the home of Antunez for a meeting, and on Tuesday the police was already looking for him. On Wednesday, he was finally arrested. We then found out that he was going to be tried here in Santa Clara on July 22nd“. 33 dissidents then agreed to go together to Michel’s trial in act of solidarity with the dissident. “We knew that the accusation was a manipulation on behalf of State Security“, affirmed the dissident from Santa Clara.
These dissidents were rapidly intercepted and detained. “Damaris Moya, Maria Carmen Lopez, Victor Castillo, and myself were arrested. The arrest was violent- we were shoved in cop cars while being beaten by the Special Brigade“, narrates Idania Yanez. The physical blows did not cease once inside the vehicle. “They hit me on my left arm, where I now have two large bruises and varios scratches“, she explains, adding that “I also have a rather large bruise on my right arm“.
The majority of the other dissidents suffered the same fates. In the following audio clip, Yanez Contreras lists the names of those arrested and beaten:
In the end, Michel Lopez was sentenced under the crime of ‘threat’. As punishment, he will have to pay a 500 peso fine in national currency. And he has 72 hours- 3 days- to do so. Meanwhile, Idania Yanez Contreras and the other dissidents were taken back, by force, to their homes aboard Special Brigade vehicles. “We didn’t want that“, affirms Contreras, “I told them that they should save the money they were spending on gasoline to drive us back and instead use that money to buy some food for the people“.