Faces Which the Pope Did Not See: Denis Pino Basulto

Activist attacked with pepper spray and arrested.  Is also accused of two crimes which he did not commit.   

Denis Pino Basulto showing some scars after having been beat by State Security during the beginning of 2012

In response to the countless arbitrary arrests of peaceful Cuban dissidents before and during the Papal visit to the island, on Tuesday March 27th the young dissident Denis Pino Basulto, from the province of Holguin, decided to direct himself to the local police unit where it was presumed that the majority of the detained activists were being held.  Basulto had plans to peacefully protest outside the unit, demanding the liberation of his brothers and sisters in struggle.  However, when he was on his way to the unit and right in front of the “Las Flores” Park, two State Security officials (one of them being agent Charlie and the other who he could not identify) intercepted him and began to beat him without explanations.

Pino Basulto says that the officials “threw me on the floor, they kicked me on the ribs and they put a dirty piece of cloth in my mouth, trying to asphyxiate me.  They then rubbed that cloth all over my face and then used pepper spray on me“.

These violent events against the young Basulto were witnessed by everyday Cubans who were at the “Las Flores” Park at that very moment.  “The people stood on my side and began to yell at the officials, telling them not to beat me, that they were abusers“, said the dissident, “and that gave me lots of strength to keep on standing firm“.

Despite the solidarity of the everyday people, the police agents dragged Basulto all the way to the police vehicle and threw him inside.  In addition, the activist explains that “the driver of the vehicle would purposely break abruptly so that I would fly forward and hit my head against the plastic which divides the front from the back of the car“.

Denis was taken to the unit known as “El Anillo”, located in the center of the city of Holguin.  There, agent Charlie kept Denis in a very small room where he was interrogated.  Also, “Charlie began to talk bad about my compatriots, dissidents like Caridad Caballero and others who were detained, and I did not accept this“.  It was at that moment when the official accused the dissident of having carried out a violent robbery, something which, according to Denis, is completely false.  Without being able to defend himself from the accusation, the guards confined the dissident to a dungeon where he spent the rest of the day.  On Wednesday, March 28th, Denis was taken to another unit known as “La Segunda”.

At “La Segunda” Pino Basulto was once against interrogated by an investigator known as Orlando who also accused him of having trespassed into a privately owned backyard.  Once again, Pino was taken to a dungeon, and he began to shout slogans in favor of freedom in light of his false accusations.  “It seems that the case which they were accusing me of was a robbery“, explains the dissident, “and it was violent case where various people were hurt in their home.  But the thieves were already caught and they are in prison.  However, they are still accusing me of this“.

Agent Orlando let Denis know that he was still under investigation.  “He also accused me of meeting with foreigners. He told me: ‘You will go to prison‘”, adds the activist.  During the detention of Denis, an official with plate number 26763 hurled him from the high concrete bed located in the jail cell and he also slapped him on the face.

At around 8 PM, the same investigator-agent opened the jail cell where Denis was being held and handed him a document which dictated that the dissident could not leave the province of Holguin, that he could not meet publicly with anyone, and that he could not be out on the streets during late night hours.  “In addition to this, the officials fined me for 30 pesos and told me that I had to present myself in the police unit every other day“, denounced Denis.

The pro-human rights activist emphasized that he now has two files over him for two crimes which he never committed.  He reiterated that he was only on his way to the police unit of Holguin to demand freedom for fellow dissidents who were jailed when he was arrested.  He warned that, at any given moment, he could unjustly be sent to prison.  Denis Pino Basulto declares to the world “that this is an injustice on behalf of the Castro repressors against us human rights activists who fight for a free and democratic Cuba.  I want the world to know that Cuban State Security is responsible for anything that could happen to me from now on.  They have been constantly threatening me“.

Pino was expelled from his job in 2011 for being a dissident.  From that moment on, he has not been able to find any other form of employment, considering that “we dissidents are not allowed to work in Cuba“, he said.  The wife of the activist is commonly threatened and impeded from leaving their house, even if it is just to look for food for the couple’s small daughter.

For more information from  Cuba:

Denis Pino Basulto – Cell phone: +5352 -552-837

Faces Which the Pope Did Not See: Denis Pino Basulto

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