From its beginnings, the Castro dictatorship has utilized terror not only against public dissidents but also against their loved ones and relatives. It is a tactic aimed at demoralizing, separating and paralyzing citizens. This cynical method was used in full swing during the 1960’s when the regime carried out the massive eviction/deportation operation of peasant relatives of those fighting the dictatorship in the mountains of Escambray. Entire families were separated, their lands and modest homes confiscated, and they were then deported to cities throughout Havana or to the city of Sandino, in Pinar del Rio, which was created specifically as a concentration camp for the families of non-conformists. From then on, seemingly ceaseless chapters can be written about similar methods and cases which have occurred and continue occurring to this day in Cuba, as the relatives of dissidents suffer blackmailing campaigns, expulsion from work or school, imprisonment, harassment, beatings and many other degrading treatments.
Yonart Rodriguez Avila, active member of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy and resident of Velasco, Holguin, has written the following report about various cases of repression which have extended to the relatives of opposition members in that Eastern zone of the island:
Increased repression against the family of dissidents
Yonart Rodriguez Avila
Within the past three days, relatives of dissidents have been targets for attack on behalf of the Castro regime in coordination with the State Security apparatus. In the case of the young Hector Perez Gonzalez, son of dissident Hector Perez Batista, and Abel Moises Pena Leyva, son of activist Marlene Leyva Leyva, both were violently arrested by the police and then fined for supposed acts of “disrespect” and “resistance”.
In the case of Perez Gonzalez he received a beating from 5 police officials once he was detained in the Orlando Velazquez Park as he was heading home. In the end, he was fined for 500 pesos and released.
Pena Leyva was detained when various officials stormed a birthday party he was at. He was taken to the PNR Unit of Velasco, fined for 40 pesos, and threatened with having a “dangerousness” expedient opened for him.
This signals that repression against those who oppose the regime has not only increased but has been extending more and more to close relatives of dissidents.