Jorge Luis Garcia Antunez, opposition activist and national secretary of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, is still arrested in a police unit of Placetas (a town of central Cuba) since the night of Sunday, March 11th, when he was walking out of his house and towards the corner of his block. The arrest was reported, almost instantly, by his wife Yris Tamara Aguilera who was not at the house at that moment. Aguilera published a Twitter message where she explained that a witness of the arrest had informed her that when they were detaining Antunez they told him it was “under orders from the high command from Havana”. Also arrested were dissidents Eriberto Liranza Romero and Rene Rouco Machin in Havana.
On the following day, Romero and Machin were released but Antunez remained arrested. A detainee which was released hours after Antunez was taken to his cell told Yris that her husband was experiencing “many chest pains and was vomiting”, considering that he suffers from various health complications which he acquired from his 17 years in prison for his political activism. A few minutes after receiving this news, Yris decided to head out towards the police unit along with activists Donaida Perez Paseiros, Yaimara Reyes Mesa, and Yaite Sosa, all members of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. There, the 4 women started to demand the liberation of Antunez. The protest continued until an official stepped out of the unit and told the women that Antunez would be released on the following day, which did not happen. For this reason, the women once again marched to the police unit at 9 AM on Tuesday. In this occassion, Yaimara Reyes could not go, but instead, Xiomara Martin Jimenez was present.
When the 4 women arrived at the unit, they once again started their civic protest. In just minutes, a number of officials started to harass them, and eventually started to beat them, drag them, and in the end, detain them. According to Dora Lara, an elderly activists from the Rosa Parks Movement who lives across the street from the police unit, she heard shouts of “Down with Fidel” from her home. In addition, Lara affirms that she was able to witness the violent beating carried out against the activists.
On the night of that same Tuesday, various activists from the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Resistance Front declared that if the dissidents were not released by Wednesday at 12 pm, they would take to the streets in protest against their arbitrary arrest.
Activists in diverse parts of the island have expressed concern for the fate of the detainees, especially Antunez who, according to various sources, continues to suffer from strong chest pains. For this reason, we demand the immediate liberation of the 5 human rights activists.
For more information, follow the Twitter account of Yris Tamara Aguilera (@YrisCuba), which is currently being administered by the exiled sister of Antunez, Bertha Antunez. There is also information available in the Twitter account of the Cuban Democratic Directorate (@DirectorioCuba).