“The repression against the Ladies in White has not ceased, nor have the operations to impede them from participating in Sunday Mass in Holguin”, said from that same city Lady in White and independent journalist Caridad Caballero Barista, one of the detainees, as tends to occur, this past Sunday April 29th, 2012.
Caballero Batista and her husband, Esteban Sandez Suarez were detained during morning hours when they were on their way to the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church in the city of Holguin. Some other activists/Ladies who suffered arrests at the hands of the political police were Isabel Pena Torres, Adisnida Cruz, and Marco Antonio Lima in Holguin and Berta Guerrero Segura in the municipality of Cacocun. The latter was arrested along with her 2 year old daughter. She was simply walking down a sidewalk, on her way to church, dressed in white and carrying her small child when police agents intercepted her.
In the case of Caballero and Sandez Suarez, both were physically assaulted by police officials who then shoved them into police vehicles and took them to the instructional unit known as Pedernales, where they are usually taken when detained. The activist explained that they were placed in “pestilent cells which are completely sealed off and where there is barely enough ventilation to breath…it is horrible“.
Due to these horrid conditions in which the Lady in White and her husband are regularly confined to, as well as all the physical blows they receive and all the hunger strikes they carry out as a form of protest, both have started to suffer from serious pains and complications in the kidneys.
Meanwhile, Caballero adds that “in other regions of the country there were police operations which impeded various women from other municipalities, such as Banes and Velasco, from traveling to the city of Holguin to march together“. In addition, during the morning of Saturday April 28th, the Lady in White Miladis Pena was intercepted, detained and deported by the police “despite the fact that she was not even traveling to Holguin“.
Other cases of violence against Ladies in White were reported throughout the island, as was the case in Santiago de Cuba where 7 women were violently arrested as they were on their way to the El Cobre Sanctuary. They were then abandoned in desolate and remote areas, far from their homes. Among these women was Belkis Cantillo Ramirez, wife of the recently released opposition leader Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia. Despite the repression and the aggressive measures, whether it be in Holguin or in Santiago de Cuba or other provinces, some women were able to surpass police cordons and assist Sunday Mass.
Strong censorship still remains, cellphones blocked
In her case, Caridad Caballero adds that “it has been more than 1 month since I do not have telephone service“. The dissident explains that this has been part of yet another method of censorship being practice by the Cuban regime so that she cannot communicate with fellow activists. Up to this moment, her phone “does not receive and cannot dial any national calls and cannot send or receive any text messages from within the country. Only a few international calls are allowed to be received“.
In fact, Caballero has had various family issues in Guantanamo (her native province) during the past few weeks- one uncle passed away, another uncle is in critical condition, and her elderly grandmother is sick- and yet, the activist has not been able to establish concrete communication with them. Her house phone is also blocked.
Because of this, Caballero and Sandez recently went to the central office of CUBACEL (State phone company) in Holguin and present their complaints and demands. However, they did not receive a response and their phones are still not working properly.
The Cuban regime has tried at all costs to impede Cuban dissidents from communicating with one another, from traveling freely within their own country, and from demanding their rights out on the streets. But despite all of this, according to Caballero Batista, “as long as we are alive, we will continue resisting“.
For mor informaiton form Cuba:
Caridad Caballero Batista – Cell phone: +5352-629-749 // Twitter: @caricaballero