April 7th 2012 was the 9th year anniversary of the death of former political prisoner Angel Moya Acosta’s mother, Nomidia Acosta. Due to the meaning of this date, Angel Moya, alongside other dissidents and relatives from the town of Pedro Betancourt, Matanzas (where Nomidia was from) had plans to visit the local cemetery where she is buried. However, this completely un-political, normal, and personal gesture was interrupted by the violence of the Cuban political police, as well as other agents representative of the Castro regime.
“There was a large repressive operation on behalf of State Security in the municipality of Pedro Betancourt“, said Moya, “there were many homes which were surrounded. Between arrests and people retained in their own homes there was a total of 25 human rights activists“. In this case, there were 5 people who were taken to police units- Silvio Noriega, Rubén Ojeda, Juan González, Félix Sierra Sotomayor and Angel Moya Acosta. The arrest of the former prisoner occurred with much violence, according to his own testimony. “I was walking by a sport area when State Security officials dressed in civilian clothing suddenly intercepted me, threw me against the floor, handcuffed me, and without even identifying themselves, violently shoved me into a police vehicle“.
The activist from Matanzas was taken to the police unit located in Cienagas de Zapata, where he was kept in a torture cell without light, a mattress, or water. It was also in pestilent conditions and full of mosquitoes. “This cell was designed specifically to confine activists which the regime considers to be the most ‘recalcitrant’, as they said in their own words. It was designed to torture them mentally and physically“, explained the dissident. During his time in captivity, the penal authorities denied Angel the right to communicate with his relatives. Because of this, he was considered missing for various hours. On the night of April 7th, the other 4 detainees were released, while Moya was kept until 8 PM on Sunday.
According to the dissident, during that weekend “all of Mantanzas was taken by a State Security operation which consisted of members of the Rapid Response Brigade and agents of the National Police. They had the objective of terrorizing the population“. In that manner, the activists were kept from paying tribute to the mother of the ex political prisoner during the weekend. However, after being released, the dissidents once again head out to the cemetery on Monday, April 9th. This time, they were able to make it, though under the tight watch of State Security.
Moya Acosta explains that during the 7 years and half in which he was in prison, native Matanzas activists from the Alternative Option Movement and from the Democratic Freedom for Cuba Movement, as well as friends and relatives, would visit the tomb of his mother, depositing flowers and paying tribute to her, considering that he could not do it himself due to his unjust confinement. The former prisoner recounts that his mother died the same day in which the Cuban authorities were celebrating his “extremely brief” trial on April 7th of 2003, as part of the wave of arrests known as the Black Spring.
“On that day, State Security took me to Pedro Betancourt and only allowed me to stay for an hour in my mother’s funeral“, says Moya. After that single hour, he was taken to prison, where he would spend the next 7 years of his life. “During the funeral, there was a large presence of State Security officials, but there were also many dissidents who were joining the family in solidarity. My mother, Nomidia, was a primary school teacher for 30 years in Pedro Betancourt and she was a well known person in the town“.
On numerous occasions, Cuban political police agents have told Angel Moya that it will be “prohibited for the ‘counter-revolutionaries’ to pay tribute to their relatives“. This seems to be an approach which the regime has stayed true to. Just a few days before this incident, on Wednesday April 4th, the Cuban political police intercepted and arrested a number of human rights activists and dissidents who were on their way to the funeral of the grandmother of Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, another political prisoner whom also lives in Matanzas. Among the detainees was Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez. Hernandez Carrillo was constantly persecuted by the state police while his grandmother was in the hospital as well.
However, activists in Cuba have assured that no police operation or state order will ever keep them from paying tribute to their relatives or brothers in struggle.
For more information from Cuba:
Ángel Moya Acosta – Cell Phone: +5353-820-595 // Twitter: @jangelmoya