Signs with anti-government messages and social have been appearing nearly every day throughout the city of Sancti Spiritus, in the central province of Villa Clara, according to dissident Segundo Rey Cabrera Gonzalez, the coordinator of the Cuban Pro-Human Rights Committee.
“Down with hunger”, “down with Fidel”, and “down with misery” are the most common slogans which appear on the signs and they have been increasing in number since the last days of August, said Cabrera Gonzalez, who adds that towards the middle of September, signs criticizing and denouncing the “false electoral process in Cuba” have been appearing as well.
In light of these messages, “the lieutenant colonel of State Security, who goes by the name of Yovildo, is accusing the Pro-Human Rights Committee of writing and hanging up these signs”, and has also threatened the members of this dissident organization (which is outlawed by the regime) with arrests, especially against Segundo Rey.
However, the dissident affirms that “we are sending out a clear message: we do not send anyone to put up signs… we go out to the streets, we openly scream ‘down with the dictatorship’. The signs are products of the popular discontent of the people who manifest their protests in this manner.”
And this discontent is, in fact, reflected in all aspects of everyday life in Sancti Spiritus, explains Cabrera.
“Recently, at least 15 people with mental problems- schizophrenic and other similar issues- were arrested after rapid trials, and sentenced to 1 to 2 years of prison. These people were out on the street, begging for food and money. The local population has classified this as a cruel action of the government against defenseless people”, said the activist.
He adds that there is also “lots of violence among the youth out on the streets because young Cubans feel very desperate. One of the most recent cases was a huge brawl between juvenile gangs in the Serafin Sanchez Park where one young man lost a finger and others were stabbed”.
Other cases of murders and severe beatings have also been reported, although not by the regime’s state media.
“These young Cubans feel desperation because they cannot go into any establishment set up by the regime because none of them can afford the money necessary to get in”, he added.
Other problems plaguing Sancti Spiritus are drug usage among a sector of the youth, abuses against the elderly, and extremely elevated food prices.
In other news, a mob made up of members of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) – government watchdog groups set up throughout neighborhoods of the island to spy on dissidents and other citizens who disagree with the regime- surrounded Cabrera’s home this past Friday, 28th of September, and carried out an act of repudiation, screaming at the dissident that they were going to “kill” him and that he was a “worm and a mercenary”.
“We are holding the Cuban regime and the political police of Sancti Spiritus (which is the organism which organizes and sends these mobs to do their dirty work) responsible of anything that may happen to me or any other activist in this area”, Cabrera alerted.
Meanwhile, social problems continue to haunt everyday Cubans of Sancti Spiritus and everything points out to the fact that they will continue demonstrating their discontent, despite all the police operations set up throughout the city to watch and detain the authors of the anti-government signs.