to of the March in Baracoa, taken by Luis Felipe Rojas
Members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, together with other dissidents, formed a group of about 26 dissidents and carried out an important march in Baracoa on Monday, September 12th under the banner of the National ‘Boitel and Zapata Live’ March for Freedom. The activists initiated the march from Playa Duaba, a Cuban historic site where freedom fighter Antonio Maceo disembarked in 1895, during the War for Cuban Independence.
Among those present were the well-known dissident leader Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, Eliecer Palma, Jose Triguero, and the dissident blogger Luis Felipe Rojas.
Rojas explained that the march began with the singing of the national anthem, and then they began to walk, Cuban flag at hand. Both dissidents- Rojas and Lobaina- were reporting all that was happening via telephone to various means of communication which had contacted them, like Radio Marti and Radio Republica (stations from Miami which dedicate their programming to report the latest news from Cuba). By doing this, the dissidents were also informing passer-bys about what they were doing and why they were doing it.
Once again, it was proven that the everyday Cuban people did not impede the march in any way. “People came out of their houses to see us“, says Luis Felipe, “It was received well by the locals, not even a single person attacked us, despite the fact that in times past, that region has been known for talking horrors of the opposition“.
The response of the authorities, which had been keeping a strict watch on the march from the early morning when it began, was all the opposite. The authorities quickly mobilized to arrest the demonstrators, though this time it was not marked by brutal beatings as usually occurs, though there were displays of violence, evident “in the cases of Isael Poveda Silva and Anderlay Guerra Blanco who were both violently handcuffed and shoved into police vehicles“, according to Rojas.
All the dissidents were detained in hot, pestilent cells which were “in horrible conditions“, until the following day. Upon being released, they were “accused of public disorder and alteration of public order. Of course, we refused to sign any of the documents they presented us with- the accusations and the release form“, explains the author of “Crossing the Barbed Wire“.
In the case of Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, Luis Felipe explains that he was threatened with 20 years of imprisonment if he continues organizing events for the “Boitel and Zapata Live” March. Regardless, Lobaina has paid no attention to these threats, assuring that he will continue his anti-dictatorial demonstrations and activities. The dissidents were then released and dispersed throughout various regions far from their homes, forcing them to travel long distances (at their own expense) in order to return home. In his own case, Luis Felipe was released in Moa, significantly far from his hometown of San German.
“(The threats and deportations) are common characteristics of the regime“, affirms Luis Felipe Rojas. Meanwhile, Rolando Lobaina published a message on Twitter where he states that, “we will continue taking to the streets and we will keep demanding freedom and rights for Cuba“.