When it comes to a totalitarian dictatorship like the one which rules over Cuba, a citizens’ freedom of movement presents a serious threat, especially when it is a public dissident who is trying to travel throughout his own country. The young dissident Yonart Rodriguez Avila, resident of Velasco, Holguin, has proven this various times, the most recent case occurring this past Saturday 12th of November. On that day, Avila was on his way to the home of his brother in Holguin, not even with plans to carry any sort of opposition activity, yet he realized he was being followed by various State Security agents and a political police official.
“When I was very near the home of my brother, the police officer ran up to me and rapidly arrested me“, explains Yonart to this blog. He was not able to carry out his plans and later spent the entire day with his house surrounded. But before being deported back home, Yonart was taken to the local police unit. “Once there, the officials told me just like this: ‘there will be no trip for you‘”.
What came next were the typical and common threats, warning Yonart know that they have been watching every one of his activities. “They mentioned the recent tribute to our compatriot Laura Pollan Toledo“, carried out on November 4th, where 7 activists took part and held a moment of silence, lit the night sky with candles, and prayed for the soul of the fallen, but never forgotten, Lady in White.
According to the dissident, as of the moment that activity was held “they have taken reprisals against each dissident which participated“. Avila pointed out that one of the opposition members who was at the event and who has been suffering constant threats and harassment since then is Rolando Lopez.
“Lopez runs a barber shop on his own initiative and is a very religious man“, and an active member of his local church explains Rodriguez Avila. “State Security threatened to confiscate his small business and that they would speak to his pastor, ordering him to expel him from the temple“.
Avila narrates that Lopez responded to the agents without fear, declaring that “his church accepts everyone, without caring about ideology“, to which the government officials responded that they did not care. “They told him that if he continued meeting with ‘people like us’ he would be expelled from the church, despite whatever he says“, denounces Yonart.
Yonart Rodriguez Avila is the representative of the Republican Impact Delegation (IR) in the zone of Velasco, provincial coordinator of United Cuban Active Youth (JACU) in Holguin, and also member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance. He is the son of the brave Lady in White Mariblanca Avila Exposito who suffered a brutal beating a few weeks ago in the home of Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo in Havana. Some dissidents were able to publish the following video which exposes the physical aftermath of Exposito after the aggressions: