After ten days of arbitrary detention for participating in the re-initiation of the the National Boitel and Zapata Live On March, former political prisoner of conscience Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia narrated his experience during his violent arrest and during his forced stay in inhumane prison cells.
The arrest occurred on December 2nd in Palma Soriano, during the second stage of the National March in that region. The previous day the March had taken place in Guantanamo and there were 35 dissidents arrested. In Palma Soriano, according to Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, “dissidents were able to get 49 activists together. The others were detained outside the house we were all in as they tried to come inside“.
Despite the arrests, Ferrer points out that the activists were able to surpass the local police operation against them because for two days activists were going into the house, one by one, hailing from Contramaestre, Santiago de Cuba, San Luis, Palmarito de Cauto, and other regions. Angel Moya Acosta, also an ex prisoner of conscience, was also present representing the Matanzas Unity group. “When the officials became aware of this,” narrates Ferrer, “they unleashed a huge operation with hundreds of uniformed agents, dozens of political police officers, including chiefs and collaborators, and they closed down the streets and surrounded the house“.
Quickly, the Cuban regime officials parked two buses near the house. Ferrer, the president of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), highlighted the irony and hypocrisy of utilizing such buses, for they were the buses that were “introduced in the country by the religious group known as ‘Pastors for Peace’, supposedly to be used for noble social causes“. Instead, the oppressors utilized the buses to crack down on the people who stepped out of their homes to carry out their march. “They used the buses to block the roads and forcefully shoved us inside of them“. The group of activists were divided between both buses and were also beaten against and inside of the buses.
“Compared to Angel Moya, I received less physical blows,” tells Ferrer, “they did punch me, slap me, and even shoved a finger inside my mouth to prevent me from shouting for freedom“.
From there, the dissidents were distributed throughout police units of the region, all the while suffering beatings. “In fact, the blood of three of the worst wounded was spread over the windows of one of the buses, right before the eyes of hundreds of neighbors from Palma Soriano who had took to the street to witness the brutality with which the police attacked a group of peaceful dissenters”
As a result of the public violence, the activist confirmed a very important development: on the streets of Palma Soriano “one can hear many comments of everyday people favoring the opposition and many comments against the repressive agents of the tyranny“.
Inside the cells
The cell of the “La Maya” Unit where Ferrer was forced to stay was nothing new for a former political prisoner who spent 7 and a half years in the communist Cuban gulags- poor food, poor hygiene, filth, insects, and in sum, inhumane conditions. “In addition to such horrible conditions, the cell was infested with mosquitoes and I now have bites all over my body“. Also present were the common threats. “They threatened us with taking us to prison and in the case of Angel Moya, Jorge Cervantes, and myself (the last three to be freed) they presented us with a cautionary measure- a document which accused us of the crime of public disorder“. The three members of the Resistance refused to accept the document and did not sign it at any moment, despite the pressure.
Jose Daniel adds that among the threats against him, they also threatened Jorge Cervantes, Angel Moya, and all the others who were participating in acts of civil disobedience against the dictatorship. “The political police officials told me that their strategy is to jail 20, 30, or 40 activists or to jail the leaders which keep this dissident activism growing“, to which the opposition activist replied, “neither with my imprisonment or the imprisonment of 20 or 30 others will they be successful in paralyzing and destroying the struggle for freedom and human rights in Cuba, because the struggle is growing and will continue onward because it has a clearly defined goal: the absolute freedom of Cuba“.
Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia was released in the afternoon hours of Monday, December 12th, along with Jorge Cervantes who remained in hunger strike during the entire length of the 10 days. Ferrer declared that various police officials had told him that Angel Moya Acosta would be transferred and released to Havana because he was not wanted in the East.
“If as of tomorrow, December 14th, we confirm that Moya is not released, then a group of Ladies in White and other dissidents will protest outside the Micro-9 Police Unit where Moya was detained in the first place. We will demand his immediate release“, declared Ferrer. As of the afternoon of the 14th, Moya had not been released and not much other information has been able to be confirmed for the moment.
Ferrer Garcia showed no signs of stopping or slowing down his constant activism in favor of a completely free Cuba.