On Saturday, February 18th and Sunday the 19th, a number of repressive acts against peaceful dissidents occurred throughout Cuba, as it tends to happen during all weekends. The following testimonies are just 3 denouncements among many, and they highlight the beatings, arrests, and the vigilance which the Cuban dictatorship unleashes upon the Resistance.
The general coordinator of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, was violently arrested on Saturday the 18th along with activist Isael Pooveda Silva as they were heading back to their home towns from a meeting in Antilla. “When we arrived at the police checkpoint, we were taken out of the car by force“, denounced Lobaina. It was then that police agents began to carry out a search of their bodies. “The check was very violent. They twisted my arm, despite the fact that it is injured“, added the dissident.
Lobaina noticed that various people were witnessing the arrest and so he began to shout phrases in favor of freedom and he explained that he and Isael were human rights activists. Despite this, the “police violently lashed out against me, and they handcuffed me. Minutes later, we were taken to the Operations Unit of Guantanamo” where both activists remained until the following day. “As usual“, signals Rodriguez Lobaina, “the political police showed its deep worry of the recent travels we carried out through different provinces of the Cuban East as they began to threaten us“. Lobaina refers to the meeting held in Antilla in commemoration of the 8 years of the Eastern Democratic Alliance’s activism in favor of freedom.
This past Sunday February 19th, Lady in White Marta Diaz Rondon was “under constant vigilance” as she walked to church along with Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez, also a Lady in White.
“We were able to make it to church in spite of the constant surveillance by State Security officials,” explained Rondon, “They would look at us and would try to provoke us, they were constantly behind us“. After mass, both Ladies in White had their homes surrounded for the rest of the day.
Although dissidents like Diaz Rondon and Ojeda Suares are always under surveillance by State Security agents, especially on Sundays, Rondon highlights that the repression has actually intensified against her since the communist authorities “want to prevent us from traveling to the city of Holguin to meet with other Ladies in White and attend mass at the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church. Also, Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s second anniversary of his murder is coming up, which is another reason they are intensifying the repression“.
“Amid the threats, we, the dissidents in Banes, do not fear repression. We will go to where Zapata was buried because his body rested there for 6 months and we will continue going to leave flowers on his tomb. Zapata gave his life for Cuba’s freedom and we will continue his example. His death will never be in vain“.
Sara Marta Fonseca, Lady in White, was arrested by the political police on Sunday at 8:50 am when she left her home in Rio Verde to join the march of the Ladies in White. Before her arrest, she was able to send the message “I’m being detained” through Twitter.
Fonseca was violently pushed inside the police car and taken to the police unit of Calabazar in the municipality of Boyeros where she was left for 30 minutes before being taken to the National Revolutionary Police (NRP) unit in Cotorro. Sara Marta explained, “I was interrogated 3 times and was detained for a total of 12 hours. I was released at around 8:30pm“. This time, she was told to get off the car a few blocks away from her house, contrary to the usual treatment where she is left stranded in desolated, dark areas.
The Lady in White affirms that during her detention she was “witness of the increase of violence in Cuba. I witnessed attacks with aggressors using short weapons, and apparently this kept them from leaving alone since they were responsible for me because they had arbitrarily arrested me“.
Fonseca suffers from various disc hernias in her back and is currently under immense pain due to the arrests, beatings and aggressions.