On Thursday, August 8th, a press conference took place at the Institute of Cuban and Cuban-American Studies “Casa Bacardi” at the University of Miami with the renown Cuban dissidents Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’ and Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, both recently arrived to the city in a visit with the purpose to tell the world what really happens in Cuba.
Diverse local, national and international media outlets assisted the event, as did figures of the exiled Cuban community, many of them former political prisoners.
Antunez responded questions in regards to activism on the island, assuring that the pro-freedom movement is growing, making reference to the organization he leads – the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front – as well as the opposition in general, mentioning movements such as the Ladies in White.
Garcia Perez said that State violence has increased and that the recent deaths of Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero are proof of what can happen to any citizen who decides to fight for true change. He highlighted the situation of political prisoners, making emphasis on people like Armando Sosa Fortuny and Ivan Fernandez Depestre.
He denied that on the island there have been real reforms and explained to the public about a new campaign in and out of the country under the title “I do Want”, created by the Assembly of the Resistance, a coalition of pro-democracy organizations in and out of the island.
Yris Tamara Perez, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, briefly spoke to the press, detailing all the violence she and all the women of her group confront when they peacefully take to the streets and carry out marches in honor of pro-democracy martyrs and to demand freedom for the political prisoners. But she also sent out a message of hope for all Cubans, assuring that “our time of freedom is near”.
Antunez also responded to questions about racism in Cuba (which, according to him, the dictatorship practices with frequency) and the importance of technology and information, free from censorship.
Another subject touched by the dissident was the necessity to work towards a National Strike on the island, and thus creating a wave of actions of civil disobedience and non-cooperation to paralyze the structures of the tyranny.
During an emotional moment, journalist Vanessa Ruiz of ‘Marti News’ asked the dissident leader what have his impressions been of the Cuban exile in Miami. Antunez, with tears in his eyes, responded by saying that he feels pride every time he sees so many people which have never forgotten Cuba and continue helping those inside.
“The same dictatorship which assassinated Pedro Luis Boitel is the same dictatorship which assassinated Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero“, expressed Antunez, “and we are not from here or over there, the resistance to the dictatorship which began in 1959 is the same which continues now. We are only one“.