Caridad Caballero Batista, Esteban Sander Suarez, Jose Luis Cedeno, and Juan Carlos Mendoza were all victims of an arrest which lasted 30 hours in total. The Cuban police authorities arrested the 4 dissidents as they were stepping out of the home of Batista and Suarez this past Sunday, September 11th at around 9:15 am. The activists were only trying to assist mass that Sunday, but were impeded from doing so by the police operation. They were only able to walk about a block when they were stopped, by force.
Since last Wednesday, the home of Caridad Caballero had been surrounded by State Security agents, but the dissidents did not let this cause fear in them. “There were around 50 agents with their police vehicles, and they immediately told us that we could not leave. They told us we had two options- either either go back home or go to prison“, explains Caballero. The dissident adds that, “we had already been surrounded in our home for a week, and we are not going to allow them to convert our home into a prison“.
The agents quickly forced the activists into their police cars. Caridad Caballero and Esteban Sander were put onto the same vehicle. When Sander tried to shout anti-government slogans, an official covered his mouth, using so much force that his lip was actually broken. They were all then taken to the Instructions Unit of Pedernales where they were kept for many hours in completely sealed off cells, suffering many verbal abuses in the process.
Esteban Sander and Jose Luis Cedeno were handcuffed various times, and muscular tall soldiers were used so that they threaten them with beatings and/or death. “In the case of Jose Luis, who is a young dissident“, explains Caridad, “they told him they were going to execute him and all of his family. They would then take him in and out of his cell various times, handcuffing him and interrogating him“.
The 4 human rights activists were released during afternoon hours of Monday, September 12th. Upon returning home (where their young son- Eric- had stayed alone), both Caridad Caballero and Esteban Sander assured that they will enter and exit their home as they please, even if the government tries to impede them.