Former political prisoners of conscience, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia (top) and Angel Moya (bottom).
Since the 8th of September, the day of the Virgin of Charity (a sacred day for Cubans), the Cuban regime has unleashed another repressive crackdown against human rights activists throughout the island. As product of the ‘Zapata and Boitel Live’ National March for Cuba’s Freedom- a demonstration which has planned a series of activities from one side of the island to the other- the dictatorship’s political police forces have once again attacked the opposition, causing more injuries and arrests. Among those detained are ex political prisoners of conscience Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia and Angel Moya. Moments before his arrest, Ferrer Garcia published a Tweet about the situation in his region: “New repressive crackdown from the Cuban regime in the Eastern area of the country. The city of Palma Soriano is completely taken by G2 and National Revolutionary Police agents“, read the message.
In addition to these situations, other acts of violence were carried out against dissidents that were only practicing their inalienable rights. Here are some testimonies:
Marta Díaz Rondon
“On Friday, September 9th at around 6:50 AM, I head out to the home of Caridad Caballero Batista. We had plans to go to Palma Soriano to join the Ladies in White in solidarity and assist mass with them. I was detained shortly after stepping out of my house by agents who were in a police vehicle. In the car, there were two police officers and two State Security agents. Among them was Agent Agredo and Major Cruz Rodriguez. I was then brutally shoved into the car. When I began to scream anti-governmental slogans they put a towel over my mouth and they took me to the State Security Unit of Banes. When they took me out of the car, another official (whose name I do not know) used force on me and threatened me, telling me that he would ‘kick my buttocks’ but with another more vulgar word. He then hit me on my thighs, and I have bruises as product of all the blows. They told me many other vulgar words and they took me to another detainment unit known as ‘Rafael Trenes’, where I remained detained for 27 hours. I remained in protest the entire time, refusing water and a mattress. That night I slept on the concrete floor. When I was released, an official by the name of Freddy told me that I was still detained, that I was jailed in my own house and that I was not allowed to leave my town of Banes, not even to see my family. If I did any of this, I would once again be jailed. I have been under strict vigilance for days now, but I am going to continue going out to the streets”.
Diaz Rondon added a few words about the destruction of Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s symbolic tomb in Banes by government-sponsored mobs: “Early on the 8th of September, the day of our Virgin of Charity, I went to the tomb of Orlando Zapata Tamayo with white Mariposa flowers (the national flower, popularized by the Mambises- independendce fighters). When I arrived at the tomb, it was totally destroyed, there was only dirt. Regardless, I deposited my flowers, prayed, and screamed ‘Zapata Lives’. On the next day, I was informed that my flowers were no longer there. But we are going to continue visiting Zapata’s tomb, he was a martyr and an example for us”.
Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina
“I was detained in the late night hours of September 8th in Guantanamo by special troops. In total, my arrest lasted 12 hours. The purpose of the arrest was because I convoked the National ‘Zapata and Boitel Live’ March for Cuban Freedom, which has diverse activities planned throughout the island. Days before, the regime had established various militarized security check points throughout the Eastern region of the country. They checked each passing vehicle for dissidents and also interrupted many means of communication”.
“Yesterday, on September 10th, two activists were detained in the bus station of Guantanamo- Yuselin Ferrera Espinosa and Samuel Leblanc, both members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance. They shouted anti-governmental slogans and up to this moment we do not know where they are being kept, although it is assumed they are in a police operations unit of Guantanamo. Recently, there have been many persecutions against the peaceful opposition of the country, especially in the Eastern region”.
Eric Sander is the son of Caridad Caballero Batista and Esteban Sander Suarez, both detained on the morning hours of September 11th. Eric witnessed the arrests of his parents and he is alone at home, waiting to hear news about them: “My mother (Caridad Caballero) was detained this morning at around 9:45. I saw how everything happened. She left the house with my father, Esteban Sander Suarez and two other brothers in struggle- Juan Carlos Mendoza Martinez and Jose Luis Cedeno Hernandez. From the early morning hours, our house was completely surrounded, there were police vehicles in every corner, as well as motorcycles and many State Security agents. When my parents arrived at the corner of the house, the agents asked them where they were going. They responded that they were going to church, and right then and there they used force on them and violently shoved them in police vehicles”.
Meanwhile, dissident blogger Luis Felipe Rojas reported that 7 activists were protesting outside the “El Anillo” detainment unit of Holguin where Caridad Caballero, her husband, and the other two activists are being held, demanding that they be freed. Among the protesters is Franklin Peregrino del Toro, with who it was impossible to establish communication seeing as his phone line was blocked by government tactics. Rojas warned that at any moment it was possible that the dictatorship’s forces could attack the protestors. (For more information, I recommend to follow the Twitter account of Luis Felipe Rojas- @alambradasen).
Caridad Caballero had denounced that since Wednesday, September 7th, her house had been completely surrounded by State Security (G2) agents. In conversation with this blog, on that same Wednesday Caballero declared that although she was aware of the vigilance, she would not let that deter her. “I am not going to be jailed in my own house“, she affirmed. “Besides, my son is sick with the fever, and I have to solve those issues, which may include me having to go out“, she added. Now, that same son, Eric Sander, will have to remain alone in the house, awaiting news of his parents who have not committed a single crime, yet reside in jail cells.
Update (September 12th, 2011)- In their Twitter account, Marti News has reported that Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia and Angel Moya, along with Tania Montoya, have been released in the morning hours of Monday, September 12th.