Important pro-freedom groups march together in Havana

Members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance and Civil Disobedience Front, the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), the Pro Human Rights Party of Cuba Affiliated to the Andrei Sajarov Foundation, and the Miguel Valdes Tamayo Popular Movement for Human Rights marched together in Boyeros, Havana, this past Thursday 21st of February, demanding a free Cuba and paying tribute to Orlando Zapata Tamayo, political prisoner who died after a hunger strike and torture in prison 3 years ago this 23rd of February, and also in honor of the victims of the Brothers to the Rescue, Cuban-Americans who were shot down by the dictatorship over international waters for flying small planes trying to help rafters out at sea.

Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, Lady in White and member of the Pro Human Rights Party and the National Resistance Front, who is also a resident of Boyeros, could not participate in the demonstration but explained that the dissidents “marched peacefully down the centric Boyeros avenue, walking at least 300 meters while shouting anti-government slogans and slogans in honor of Orlando Zapata for the third anniversary of his death, a death which only has one culprit: the Cuban government“.

Zapata’s jailers beat him on various occasions during his hunger strike and refused him water. His strike, as well as his death, awoke a wave of solidarity amongst Cubans in and out of the island as well as non-Cubans around the world, eventually creating pressure against the Cuban dictatorship, managing the release of the rest of the political prisoners jailed during the Black Spring of 2003.

The march on Thursday culminated, without any arrests or acts of repudiation from the everyday people, at the home of Rene Ramon Gonzalez Bonelly, which is also the sub-headquarters of the Pro Human Rights Party, located in the Baluarte neighborhood of Boyeros.

However, minutes after, Sara Marta denounced that mobs organized by the regime had surrounded the house, starting an act of repudiation.  Her own home was also under strict police vigilance.

Rene Ramon Gonzalez, member of the Pro Human Rights Party and of UNPACU, told this blog that mobs, made up by some airport employees and other figures of governmental organisms, surrounded his home and shouted verbal offenses at the 7 dissidents congregated there.

There are 5 Suzuki motorcycles (of State Security), various police vehicles, and lots of police agents and State Security agents“, said Gonzalez at the moment of the repudiation.  The dissident also denounced that “State Security is using underage children to participate in this act of repudiation.  They told these kids to shout offenses at us.  The mobs are even banging on our windows“.

The activist could not give an exact number of how many communist functionaries were in the mob attack, but said that there was around 100 or more.  Actions like these are organized by the regime to try and make it seem as if it is the ‘everyday people’ who are attacking the dissidents, when in reality the victims of the repudiation affirm that the majority of times no neighbor participates in these acts of violence, only people who form part of the repressive units of the dictatorship.

González Bonelly later denounced that one police official, who he was not able to identify by name, “stood in front of one of the windows and made a gesture as if he was going to pull out his gun“, to threaten the dissidents inside.

The names of the other dissidents inside were Roberto Hernández, Mario Rafael Cala, Idania García Martínez, Bartolo Márquez Alcevo, Humberto Parada Miran and Henry González.

UNPACU’s YouTube channel posted an audio in the voice of Rene Ramon Gonzalez with further details of the happenings, which could be heard here.

On the following day, February 22nd, Sara Marta Fonseca denounced that the repressive operations continued around the entire Baluarte neighborhood.  Among the surrounded homes were hers and also that of Gonzalez Bonelly. “Agent Camilo, of State Security, is leading this operation“, added Fonseca.

Once again, the regime responds with fear and violence upon witnessing civic actions out on the street, carried out by diverse dissident groups.

For more information:

Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo-  Cell Phone: +5353-379-011 // Twitter: @SaraMartaCuba

Rene Ramón González Bonelly- Cell Phone: +5352-379-813



Important pro-freedom groups march together in Havana

16 Years Later, We Honor the Brothers to the Rescue

16 years later, Cubans of all ages still remember and pay tribute to the 4 heroes of the Brothers to the Rescue who were assassinated by the Cuban dictatorship on February 24th of 1996 as they flew over international waters on civilian aircraft in search of Cuban rafters.

Mario de la PeñaCarlos CostaArmando Alejandre Jr and Pablo Morales are names which are part of a long list of martyrs in the struggle for a free Cuba.  Although they were Cuban-American, they carried Cuba in their blood, and for this reason- for the love of their parents and grandparent’s homeland- they lost their lives.

The Castro dictatorship has not yet been brought to justice for this horrendous crime, but one day justice will reign for the brave Brothers and for the countless men and women who have died in the island in the name of freedom.  Due to the shoot-down of these planes, as well as because of the “Yell of Baire” which started the Cuban wars of independence from Spain in 1895, members of the internal Cuban Resistance have chosen the 24th of each month as the Day of the Resistance.  Though justice on an international scale, in terms of tribunals and sentences, has not occurred, we can say that their is some form of justice on the island, in the sense that dissidents are challenging the dictatorship, protesting out on the streets in the name of martyrs like Zapata, Boitel, Wilman Villar Mendoza, and, yes, Mario de la PeñaCarlos CostaArmando Alejandre Jr y Pablo Morales.

And each year that passes, young people, in their majority, take part in events which take place in tribute to these 4 grand men.  Perhaps one of the most symbolic of the events is held in Miami’s Florida International University (FIU), where relatives of the victims and students of FIU carry out a silent vigil around a water fountain at the same exact time in which the aircraft were shot down, from 3:21 pm to 3:28 pm.  Below are photos of this year’s event, as well as one from a mass celebrated in their honor at night:

Miriam de la Pena (center) mother of Mario de la Pena, and his father, of the same name (right)

At evening mass:

16 Years Later, We Honor the Brothers to the Rescue