In Eastern Cuba, April 2nd 2012 began with various non-violent protests carried out by the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in the municipality of El Caney, in Santiago de Cuba, according to the former political prisoner of conscience Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia who published the news through his Twitter account (@jdanielferrer). According to the activist, the members of UNPACU were demanding the liberation of Rogelio Tabio, who has been on hunger strike for more than a month now and who is currently in very weak physical condition. Activists also demanded the liberation of Andres Carrion, the Cuban who screamed ‘down with communism’ during the Pope’s Mass in Santiago de Cuba. The dissidents also demanded freedom for Bismark Galan who was detained on April 1st for filming a documentary about a young girl who is sick and who has not received adequate medicine. In addition, the dissidents were demonstrating against the violence which Ladies in White are constantly victim of.
Ferrer continued to inform through Twitter throughout the day, explaining that in El Caney 10 human rights activists from UNPACU “took to the streets screaming slogans against the dictatorship and in favor of human rights”. When the demonstration came to an end, the dissidents headed to the home of Guillermo Cobas, a well known activist in that area. The home was rapidly surrounded by political police agents who then started a mob repudiation attack. During this time, in another center of Santiago de Cuba, in the Vista Hermosa neighborhood, another 14 activists from UNPACU were carrying out a similar protest, according to Ferrer.
Meanwhile, another Tweet narrated that 22 members of UNPACU were detained with violence in the home of Raumel Vinajera in La Concepcion, Palma Soriano. These dissidents were planning to go to the street to carry out another similar protest. Ferrer Garcia told ‘Hablalo sin Miedo’ that, around 11 AM, the home of Vinajera was “raided”, as was that of his mother. Ferrer explained that “the latter [Vinajera’s mother’s] was destroyed”.
Just hours later, at around 5 PM, Jose Daniel Ferrer made an urgent phone call to ‘Hablalo sin Miedo’, denouncing that his home in Palmarito de Cauto was about to get raided by a number of political police agents. Ferrer said that the “agents want to tear down the door”. Minutes later, former political prisoner Pedro Arguelles Moran confirmed that the police ended up breaking into Ferrer’s home, arresting him and his wife, the Lady in White Belkis Cantillo, as well as other dissidents who were inside the house.
Angel Antonio Blanco, an activist from UNPACU, also told ‘Hablalo sin Miedo’ that police officers were “robbing” things inside the home of Ferrer Garcia, as they also did with the home of Raumel Vinajera.
As of this moment, the whereabouts of Ferrer Garcia and the rest of the detainees are unknown. Ferrer, as well as other activists, had assured that the repressive wave which occurred in Cuba during the papal visit was only a preparation for a larger scale violent crackdown which would be set in motion to squash any social rebellion. We are alerting the international community that right now, in Cuba, there are many peaceful dissidents behind bars, just because they defended human rights. Among the detainees are independent journalists, Ladies in White and former political prisoners, as well as a hunger striker- Rogelio Tabio- who is fighting for his life.