Chronology of the events which have taken place in Vista Hermosa, Santiago de Cuba which led dissident Ovidio Martin Castellanos to declare himself on hunger strike on October 8th.
April 2nd- The home of Antonio Gonzalez Bordonado, located on 5th Street, #106 interior, between C & E, Vista Hermosa, Santiago de Cuba. The political police was in charge of the attack. Various belongings of the residents are stolen, among them a computer CPU and monitor, keyboard and mouse which belonged to Carlos Gonzalez Martin, two cell phones and patriotic materials belonging to Antonio Gonzalez Bordonado. The residents of that house are:
– Antonio González Bordonado.
– Aurora Martín Calderín (wife of González Bordonado, niece of Ovidio)
– Carlos González Martín (son of González Bordonado).
– Yarisbel Martínez Fernández (wife of González Martín).
– Lorena Beatriz González Martínez, 3 years old (daughter of Carlos and Yarisbel).
– Milena González Martín (daughter of González Bordonado).
– Yanara Pérez González, 10 months old (daughter of Milena).
During the assault, the minor Yanara Pérez González suffered injuries during an aggression against her mother Milena González Martín at the hands of the police agents who were trying to detain her.
While they searched and destroyed the home of Antonio Gonzalez Bordonado, the police agents directed themselves to the nearby house (#106th) of Ovidio Martin Castellanos and his family. Matilde Maria Mejias Roque opens the door and demands to see a legal document (search warrant) when they try to penetrate the home. The political police agent at the head of the operation responds with two options: they either allow them to search the house or they will search by force. The two minors who were in the house, Amanda María Mejías Robert (4) and Amalia Esther Mejías Robert (2) began to cry and were very afraid. The agents forced Mejias Roque to allow them to pass. They went in all the way to the living room, where the two girls were and continued to search. The residents of that house are:
– Ovidio Martín Castellanos.
– Matilde María Mejías Roque; wife of Ovidio Martín Castellanos.
– Lázaro Curbelo Mejías; son of Mejías Roque
– Lisandra Robert Salazar; wife of Curbelo Mejías
– Amanda María Curbelo Robert; 5 year old daughter of Lázaro and Lisandra.
– Amalia Esther Curbelo Robert; 3 year old daughter of Lázaro and Lisandra.
– Ovidio Martín Luna; son of Ovidio Martín Castellanos
May 2nd– Antonio González Bordonado and Aurora Martín Calderín turn in a letter to the political police unit known as “Confrontation”, demanding that their belongings, stolen on April 2nd, be returned. The letter is signed by 22 people who support the demand. During a period of 4 months and on 4 different instances, the activists fruitlessly visit the “Confrontation” Unit to ask about the status of the denouncement.
June 23rd- The political police organizes a public disorder, controlling all access points of the streets leading to the homes of the activists from Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). They bring in the “Squadrons of Terror” as well as national police agents. The Squadrons form a scandal in front of the homes and two of them break into the home of Antonio Gonzalez Bordonado, armed with wooden sticks and other sharp objects. The chief of “Confrontation”, the main organizer of the repressive actions, breaks in to the home of Antonio Gonzalez Bordonado and detains two people with the help of two male police agents. Carlos and Milena Gonzalez Martin show up to the 2nd PNR Unit of Santiago de Cuba and turn in a formal denouncement because their property was violated. There is no information on the status of the denouncement, or of the investigation.
September 15th- All access to the homes are blocked, the street corners are blocked. The squadrons of terror appear again and their members vandalize the homes with oil. One of the houses attacked is that of Vladimir Martín Castellanos (#106), as well as that of Ovidio Martin Castellanos and Antonio Gonzalez Bordonado, all of which are nearby each other. Vladimir Martin Castellanos does not belong to any dissident group. The detainees that day are: Alexei Pécora Ravel, a dissident who was on his way to his house which is located where the police operations were underway and Heriberto García Tamame, another dissident who was going to visit the Martin family.
September 19th- The access to he homes are blocked again. Toxic products are used to vandalize the homes of Antonio Gonzalez Bordonado and his family, Ovidio Martin Castellanos and his family and that of Vladimir Martin Castellanos and his family. Members of the squadrons of terror throw rocks at the homes, one of which hits Ovidio Martin Luna (son of Ovidio Martin Castellanos) on his forehead, another which hits Carlos Gonzalez Martin (son of Antonio Gonzalez Bordonado and Aurora Martin Calderin) and another hitting Lazaro Curbelo Mejias (son of Ovidio’s wife) in various parts of his body. Lazaro Curbelo Mejias and Vladimir Martin Castellanos are violently detained in front of their homes.
October 3rd- Between 4 or 5 AM condoms with toxic products are thrown at the homes and parts of it land inside the homes. The 4 minors begin to cry of fear. In the morning, the political police blocks all access points to that neighborhood.
The homes are vandalized using toxic products and they are further applied on the walls with brooms. Vladimir and Alexei are arrested. During the night, they throw chicken eggs inside the house.
October 8th- At dawn, the walls of the home are vandalized with toxic products and feces. Part of these things land inside the house. The small girls begin to cry again. The National Police is summoned and they arrive with car # 602. Vladimir is transferred to the 2nd PNR Unit. Three agents dressed in civilian clothing violently arrest Ovidio Martin Castellanos, he is dragged on the floor and beaten in the police vehicle #548, which was summoned by one of the civilian clothes agents. They continue to beat Ovidio in the car. He is taken to the 3rd PNR Unit, where a detainee (imprisoned because of a common crime) starts to threaten him. However, the threats don’t work on him and members of the political police start to beat him, all the while Martin Castellanos is under police custody. The officials of the National Police simply stand by and observe the beating.
The families turn in denouncements to the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology because of the toxic products which were hurled at them. They re-introduce the denouncement to the Department before the current functionary Vilma Giron Enamorado. She refuses to proceed with the process of the denouncements turned in on the 4th and 8th of October.
As a consequence of the toxic products, the minors Lorena Beatriz Lorena Beatriz González Martínez, 3 year old daughter of Carlos and Yarisbel; and Amalia Esther Curbelo Robert, 3 year old daughter of Lázaro and Lisandra, have all suffered the decline of their health because they suffer from allergies. They now require medical attention and close care.
Ovidio Martín Castellanos, in September, was victim of threats against his life and a frustrated attempt of assault. Martin Castellanos carried out the formal denouncements with information about the people who participated in both acts (members of the Squadrons of Terror). As of now, there has been no news on the status of the investigations or its results.
UNPACU has also published a video of a march in solidarity with Ovidio Martin Castellanos, who has been on hunger strike for more than 11 days. The march took place on Enramadas Street, in Santiago de Cuba: