This past 16th of January, State Security used some very vulgar methods to bother, harass and offend dissident Maydelis Gonzalez Almeida and her family in Quemado de Guines, Villa Clara. In this brief interview, Gonzalez tells us about these mechanisms being used by repressors on the island, the reaction of everyday people towards the Cuban opposition, and the handing out copies of the Citizen’s Demand for Another Cuba:
PDLI: Throughout the island, copies of the Citizens Demand for Another Cuba are being handed out. In your area- Quemado de Guines, Villa Clara- activists of the Cuban Reflection Movement and other organizations have been giving out these documents as well. You have mentioned that the times this has occurred the people have reacted positively. What happened this past 16th of January when these Demands were given out for the fourth time in that region?
Maydelis González: In Quemado de Guinez, during the afternoon of January 16th, dissidents Nosbel Jomorca and Juan Carlos Fernandez from the Cuban Reflection Movement, and Oscar Martinez of FANTU, walked throughout Second Avenue South, one of the most centric streets in Quemado, and handed out more than 60 copies of the Demand for Another Cuba.
PDLI: And what was the reaction of the people?
Maydelis González: Some people would give the papers back to us, but most of them accepted it with much valor, despite the presence of State Security and various collaborators. In fact, there was one elderly man- he must have been about 80- who received a copy from Nosbel and he asked him to please read it to him because he was illiterate. Nosbel went ahead and read the demands to him. The man said that it was a very good project and that he would take it home with him.
This all occurred while I took photos. The objective was to inform the people about their rights as citizens of this country.
PDLI: You have denounced that State Security used a very low and degrading technique against your family after the handing out of these documents…
Maydelis González: Yes. I live in Quemado de Guines, on 2nd Avenue South, house #55. After handing out copies of the Demand on Wednesday, during the night, State Security was apparently very upset. So they used very corrupt people to carry out their dirty work.
They put 4 heads of cows outside my door. These heads also had signs hanging from them with messages offending my husband, my daughters, and myself, with very obscene words. They were attacking the morality of my daughters, as well. There were 4 heads that night, but neighbors have told my husband that throughout the entire block there are many other heads lying around with more signs with messages against us. In fact, there are many starving street dogs lurking throughout the different blocks, following the scent of these heads. .
PDLI: What exactly did the signs say?
**[The following phrases were the exact content written on the signs. They are vulgar and grotesque, but they represent the characteristics of the repressors at the service of the Cuban dictatorship]:
Maydelis González: There were four heads with signs. The signs had messages written in the front and in the back. One of the heads read “Nosbel is a tarru” [a derogatory term in Cuba for when a man knows his wife is having an affair with someone else and does nothing about it] as well as the “Citizens Demands for another Cuba are tarru initiatives”. The other said “Maydelis, whore” and the other “Maydelis is a deadbeat”. The other said “Nosbel is an idiot and he knows it” and the most grotesque of all, which used the name of Juan Carlos Fernandez, a young dissident who joins us in giving out flyers, said “Nosbel, Juan Carlos has sex with your daughters”.
My two daughters are minors- one is 15 and the other 13.
PDLI: Is this the first time they do something like this to you?
Maydelis González: No. But I’ve noticed that they are planning something against us, perhaps a beating, because various people have told us that the word out on the street is that they [the regime] are waiting for us to go out again to beat us with sticks.
They feel threatened because the repartition of Demands for Another Cuba has been a success; the people have really accepted this project. This was the fourth time that we give them out successfully. The people are starting to understand what their rights are and are becoming more motivated to support us in achieving a new Cuba.
PDLI: Those people which you mention- the ‘everyday people’- how do they treat you all, the human rights defenders?
Maydelis González: Well, sometimes it really hurts me when I see people who do not do anything, don’t care, or lend themselves to snitch on us and/or repress us. Sometimes you almost lose the desire to keep fighting because we are fighting for them as well. But we do not give up, because there are more of those who help us than those who collaborate with the dictatorship.
In fact, about a month ago State Security carried out a beating against Nosbel and me at a bus terminal in front of my daughters, and a group of people that were there went up to us and started pushing the police and other agents away calling them “abusers”.
This fourth time which we went out to distribute copies of the Demand I saw many more people accepting them than other times- older people, young people, students… all ages.
I know that people who lend themselves to repress exist, but I see that there are many more of those who support us. And that’s why I am happy. We have managed to achieve a public space. The regime responds with repression as a way to counter their fear, because the people want change, they support us, and they are losing their fear, and besides, this communist system is about to collapse.
PDLI: What message would you like to send out to your oppressors?
Maydelis González: Amid these dirty methods, all these low maneuvers- of the many- it has neither been the first nor will it be the last time, because we will continue firm in our stance. They feel very threatened and this is their reaction.
PDLI: And a message for your fellow Cubans in and out of the island…
Maydelis González: I exhort all Cubans who suffer like we do, to come together and lose your fear. You can count on us dissidents as examples. I ask you follow our steps.
I have 3 daughters and have continued fighting, and here I am, and will continue. I am a mother, a woman. We all want change, that democratic change, we all want to see a free Cuba, a Cuba which is not repressed and which is not suffering as it currently is.
Raise your voices, have valor, and keep moving forward. I ask you support the opposition movement. I know that Cubans in and out of the island all want the same thing: freedom for Cuba.
For more information, Maydelis Gonzalez can be followed through Twitter on @maydeliscuba1 or can be reached via phone at +011-5358-217-833.