A special thanks to Bertha Antunez who recorded and shared these declarations made by Damaris Moya Portieles on Tuesday, November 8th.
On Tuesday morning the dissidents from Santa Clara- Alcides Rivera Rodriguez and Rolando Ferrer Espinosa- decided to end their hunger strike which lasted exactly 41 days and left them with serious health ailments.
Damaris Moya Portieles, provincial delegate of the Rosa Parks Civil Rights Movement and Co-President of the Central Opposition Coalition, expressed her relief and satisfaction that both dissidents- which carried out the protest from her home- had ceased their hunger strikes after “Dissidents Marta Beatriz Roque and Arnaldo Ramos Lazarique visited them at home just a few days ago and asked them to please stop, considering that Raul Castro’s dictatorship already gave them an answer, which is that they will not stop the violent beatings” against dissidents. Many other members of the Cuban resistance asked them to do the same, declaring that these brave men are needed alive.
Rodriguez and Espinosa decided that, just as Moya Portieles expressed, the dissident’s struggle belongs “out on the streets, our stage“.
And it is in that same stage, or sector, where members of the Central Opposition Coalition and the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front have planned to “work more directly and together with the everyday people, so that they step out of the lies hurled upon them by the dictatorship, and see just how they are being oppressed“, affirms Damaris.
Nevertheless, the human rights activist warns that Rodriguez and Espinosa still run serious health risks, considering that their lengthy hunger strike left them in a “very poor state of physical health“. Alcides is suffering from broncho-pneumonia, pain in his kindeys, and other complications, while Rolando is reeling from pains on his arm, “the tightening of his chest“, and has a “green-ish” color to him on his hands and feet. “A doctor which visited him told us that it is very probable that he may be suffering from a heart or blood circulation condition“, adds Portieles.
Strikers Alcides Rodriguez and Rolando Ferrer have seen, through this protest, how the Castro dictatorship pays no attention to their demands. They’ve comprehended, according to declarations made by themselves and fellow dissidents, that before losing their lives while demanding their rights before a nomenclature which simply ignores such demands, it is better to confront the oppressors directly, face to face, despite repercussions this could have. “They may kill us on the way but we must put an end to this dictatorship“, affirms a confident Moya Portieles, “We are letting the dictator- and the world- know: this has not been a defeat. We are going to continue out on the streets, our scene, our stage. The dictator will know very well know who we- the Central Opposition Coalition and the National Resistance Front- are“.
Shortly after putting and end to the hunger strike, a group of 13 dissidents were violently arrested and beaten in Placetas during a peaceful sit-in protest in which they demanded the unconditional release of all political prisoners and an immediate end to government-sponsored violence against the resistance and the people of Cuba as a whole. Those detained were Jorge Luis García “Antúnez”, Pastor Alexei Gómez, Rene Quiroga, José Ángel Abreu, Oscar Veranes Martínez, María del Carmen Martínez, Donaida Pérez Paseiro, Xiomara Martin Jiménez, Jorge Vázquez Chaviano, Orlando Alfonso Martínez, Enrique Martínez Marín, Mayra Conlledo García y Víctor Castillo Ortega. (As of Wednesday afternoon, the activists remain imprisoned)
“The struggle continues“, assures Damaris Moya Portieles.