Recently, we saw the results of a machete attack against Werlando Leyva Batista, a member of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), at the hands of a State Security collaborator in the province of Holguin. Leyva Batista suffered injuries on one of his hands and legs. Thanks to the solidarity of a number of Holguin activists, images came out straight from Cuba confirming the news.
Just days later, another 2 dissidents were victims of similar machete attacks, all of which have been orchestrated in one way or another by State Security.
Goart Cruz Zamora was one of the victims.
Zamora is a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and is the secretary of the group for the “Harold Cepero” cell in Altamira, Santiago de Cuba. On June 19th, he was attacked with a machete by Julio Cesar Limonta Nunez, who had been acting as a dissident but apparently had lent himself to the manipulations of State Security, according to declarations by Goart in a video published on the YouTube channel of UNPACU:
Goart assures that the aim of the attack, which occurred in his home, was to cut off his head. The dissident managed to dodge the initial swing of the machete but the blade sliced parts of his shoulder and a hand.
“I told Julio Cesar that ideas can’t be destroyed that way, and that he was not going to triumph being manipulated by the political police“, said the victim in the video, who adds that the aggressor quickly fled after the assault. Goart signals an agent named Frank as the main culprit of the manipulation.
Another dissident who was attacked by a machete is Orlando Lazaro Gomez Hernandez, a member of the Pro Human Rights Party of Cuba and of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance Front in Camaguey.
Gomez Hernandez provided a testimony to the station “Radio Republica”, where he recounts how on the week of June 21st when he stepped out of his house with a sign with messages in solidarity with hunger striker Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, he was intercepted by the local president of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR). This functionary, named Julio, was wielding a machete.
“The president of the CDR ran out of his home with a machete and started to attack me with it. He cut part of my right hand and also struck me on my back…other collaborators of his came out and as I fell to the ground they began to kick me”, recounts Gomez.
Luckily, the 3 activists mentioned in this post are alive to tell the story, but given the rise in violence against dissidents on the island, the next victim may not be so fortunate.
Whether it be in the Eastern region, in the center or in West of the country, the lives of freedom defenders are more at risk each day, all the while the dictatorship project an image of changes and reforms to the rest of the world.