This week the Cuban regime denied two well-known dissidents their right to travel out of Cuba, providing little or no explanations as to why the decision was taken.
The first of the refusals occurred in Eastern Cuba – specifically in Santiago de Cuba – when former political prisoner and leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia was told by authorities on October 7th that he would not be able to acquire his passport. The functionaries said the activist could not travel for reasons of “public interest”, alleging he has engaged in criminal activities (in Cuba, political dissent is considered one of the highest offenses).
Ferrer Garcia was invited by the Unity Progress and Democracy Party to participate in an event in Europe. It was the second time the Cuban regime denied him his passport.
On Friday October 11th, Leticia Ramos Herreria – representative of the Ladies in White for the central province of Matanzas – received a negative response from Cuban authorities after she started travel procedures two weeks earlier.
“ ‘Your petition has been denied, we cannot give you your passport to travel”’, that’s what immigration official told me”, tweeted Leticia on Friday (@LeticiaRHCuba). No further explanations were provided.
Former political prisoner Ivan Hernandez (impeded from traveling as well on past occasions) also tweeted (@ivanlibre) about this situation, classifying it as “arbitrary” and pointing out that the Lady in White is in no way under an ‘extrapenal license’ that would impede here rights.
Leticia Ramos and Jose Daniel Ferrer are two of the many active opposition members on the island. Ramos is subject to frequent violent arrests every Sunday as she marches in Cardenas, Matanzas with other women for the freedom of all political prisoners and also engages in other activities in favor of the civil society. Ferrer heads UNPACU, one of the many active pro-freedom groups in the country which started in the East and has spread throughout the island with many members.
Meanwhile, Blanca Reyes – exiled Cuban activist in Spain and representative of the Ladies in White in Europe – was also denied the right of entry into Cuba this week to visit her elderly and sick father.
“My father fractured his hip, he is going to be operated and the government of Cuba refuses my entry into the country to see him. He is 93 years old”, wrote Blanca on the Ladies in White’s official Twitter account, @DamasdBlanco.
Reforms in Cuba?