Lady in White “Missing” After Violent Arrest. #PopeCuba

Mariblanca Avila Exposito

The young Cuban dissident and human rights activist Yonart Rodriguez Avila denounced, this past Wednesday 21st of March, that his mother, Lady in White Mariblanca Avila Exposito, had been victim of a “very violent arrest” carried out by a number of Cuban political police agents in her hometown of Velazco, Holguin.

Yonart was not able to witness the arrest because he has been out of town for various days.  However, he explains that his mother managed to call him during the aggressions.  “They still hadn’t taken her cell phone“, says Rodriguez, “she told me that it was very violent, that they pushed and shoved her into the police vehicle.  She was then able to call me briefly from the police unit she was being held in“, but her conversation was not too clear because she had said that the agents were going to take her to another unit but that she wasn’t sure when or which one.

On Thursday, March 22nd there was still no word of the Lady in White, except that she was still detained and her whereabouts were unknown.  “We do not know where she is“, affirms Yonart, “when we are detained together we are usually taken to the frontier unit of Gibara, where they beat us violently” but up to this moment there has not been confirmation as to where the activist is being held and therefore is considered “missing“.

This case has occurred as numerous Cuban activists have detailed how a growing wave of repression is sweeping across the island during the past few days as Pope Benedict’s visit nears.  In the Cuban East, dissidents have denounced that they are being surrounded and threatened with prison or physical blows.  In certain cases, communist functionaries have told dissidents that they would not be allowed to travel to the mass which the Pope will offer on Monday, March 26th.

In the case of Mariblanca Avila Exposito, she has been victim of constant vigilance and serious threats of violence by State Security agents, political police officers and members of the Rapid Response Brigades for a series of months.  Her life, as much as her son’s, is under threat because of their civic political activism in favor of freedom for all Cubans.

For more information from Cuba:

Yonart Rodriguez Avila – Cell Phone: +5353 – 602 – 782 / Twitter: @YonartCuba

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