The Lady in White Mariblanca Ávila Expósito and her son Yonart Rodríguez Ávila- also a dissident and a member of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy and the Eastern Democratic Alliance- are denouncing the Rapid Response Brigade member Alexei Perez Alvarez for being an “assassin“, in addition to constantly harassing and attacking them and many other dissidents in the town of Velasco, Holguin.
According to Yonart Rodriguez, the oppressor Alexei Perez was previously a police official in the city of Havana but left his position after killing another police official. “He used a weapon to assassinate another police official and, apparently, he was removed from his position, or at least he disappeared for a while“, explained Rodriguez, “but now he is back and in Velasco, as part of the Rapid Response Brigades“- a group of people who are under the orders of the Castro regime, carrying out beatings and arrests of peaceful dissidents and carrying out mob repudiation attacks. In addition to his new tasks, Perez Alvarez also maintains constant surveillance over the home of the dissident family.
Yonart affirms that “Alexei is a person who doesn’t sleep. He is outside of our house 24 hours a day. If we step out to try and buy absolutely anything, he is there. He drives a taxi bicycle, puts on shades, and begins to follow us, shouting threats and obscene words at us”.
Mariblanca Expósito, who has been victim of countless beatings and arrests during her activities alongside the Ladies in White, reiterated her son’s declarations, adding that “on Sunday, January 14th, I was heading to church when Alexei began to follow me. I was only by the corner of my block when he cut me off and told me ‘you better not go to church, because I am going to make you disappear. Remember that you only have one son, and he will end up without his mother, or you will end up without a son‘”.
Expósito added that various neighbors who work in the nearby vegetable stand had witnessed the entire scene. These same neighbors began to shout against Alexei Perez. “They were saying ‘Alexei, leave Mariblanca alone, she is only walking down the street and has not done anything to anyone‘”, recounted the dissident.
“I simply do not understand what his official job is supposed to be, because he supposedly works as chief of security in a local clinic, but we all know that even there he has had many problems”, explains Exposito, “in fact, a woman recently died because of Alexei. He simply did not want to call and ambulance in time”.
Yonart Avila adds that Alexei Alvarez is also an alcoholic, “as are all other members of the Rapid Response Brigades“, denounces the young dissident. “They station themselves in the park in front of my house, start drinking alcohol and keep tight vigilance over each and every activist which comes in and out of my house…many of these dissidents have been arrested under the provocations of this man (Alvarez)“.
“I want the world to know that Alexei Perez Alvarez is a henchman, he is a dangerous assassin and his cowardice makes him even more dangerous”, stated Rodríguez Ávila.
Both dissidents- mother and son- describe the repressive situation which they live as something asphyxiating, but they have assured that they will not stop taking to the streets and carrying out dissident activities. And precisely because of this posture, the violent actions have continued against them. In the case of Yonart, on that same Sunday 14th he was arrested at 5 AM as he was trying to travel to a farm where he had planned to work. A few hours later, he was released and then detained again in a park of Velasco, where the dissident affirms that “various other youths in the park actually interceded for me…some of them even ended up arrested as well“.
But the repression extends to the entire family, not just his mother and him. Mariblanca Avila narrates that when Laura Pollan died on October 14th, “we left my house and two police officials began to corner us and push us. I was with my 87 year old father and he was also pushed, and he fell over a horse drawn carriage and onto the street. In addition, our home is constantly stoned by agents, constantly surrounded, and more“, denounced the activist.
In the dissident household also lives Yonart’s very young daughter, who is only 4 years of age. Both dissidents have expressed worry for the life of the young child, considering that the house is constantly under attacks at the hands of the dictatorship.