Images and testimonies of violent act of repudiation in Holguin

Mobs organized by the political police harass, offend and provoke dissidents in Holguin. August 5th, 2013.

This past August 5th, 2013 a violent act of repudiation took place in the city of Holguin, in the province by the same name, in Eastern Cuba.  The repudiation took place in the home of dissident Ramon Zamora, a member of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, where they had plans to carry out a conference and debate about The Path of the People, a pro-freedom project created by the late Oswaldo Paya.  In addition to the repudiation against the home, a total of 43 dissidents in different areas of the city were arrested as they tried to arrive to their destination. Among the detainees were members of diverse pro-freedom groups, such as the Patriotic Union of Cuba, the Ladies in White, CID, the Republican Party of Cuba and the Christian Liberation Movement.

Now, images of the beginning of the act of repudiation at the home of Ramon Zamora (where there were women, children and elderly people) have arrived.  In the following video, sent by independent journalist Alexei Jimenez Almarales, we can see mobs organized by State Security insulting and provoking the dissidents inside the house. We can also observe the presence of vehicles used by the political police (white Ladas):

Caridad Caballero Batista, renown dissident from Holguin who had to take exile in the United States recently, spoke with this blog and identified two State Security agents at the beginning of the video (second 0:48).  There are two individuals near the Lada car.  Caballero identified the one with the red shirt as “El Polaco” and the one with the baseball cap as Michael.  These agents are responsible for carrying out and ordering arrests, vigilance and repudiation against human rights activists in Holguin.

State Security agents “El Polaco” (red shirt) and Michael (cap) infront of Lada vehicle, orchestrating act of repudiation in Holguin. August 5th, 2013.

A second video also sent by Alexei Jimenez shows the testimonies of two underage children and one elderly man, recounting the moment of the act of repudiation.  The children express that they felt lots of fear while the mobs arrested and beat their family members and tried to raid the house.  Meanwhile, the 63 year old man details how he was beat and later left abandoned in a desolate field far from his home.  There are also pictures of the injuries he sustained after the assault.  Check it out here:

Images and testimonies of violent act of repudiation in Holguin

Ladies in White denounce constant persecution in Holguin province

I want to let the world know about the situation we Ladies in White are going through in the province of Holguin, Sunday after Sunday“, said Berta Guerrero Segura, representative of the women’s group in the mentioned province, highlighting that each weekend the women are arrested by the political police in order to impede them from assisting Sunday Mass to pray for the freedom of all political prisoners.

Guerrero explains that since 2012 the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church, located in the Pueblo Nuevo neighborhood in the city of Holguin, “has been surrounded and under the surveillance of police officials on all four corners“.  These same agents arrest the women whenever they get near the temple, that’s if they even manage to make it out of their homes as these are constantly surrounded as well.

The persecution has expanded to the point that the Second Chief of Confrontation in the area, Yordanis Martinez Leon, has told Berta Guerrero and the rest of the women that “if they want to go to church they will have to buy a helicopter to drop them off inside because he is not going to allow them“.

Due to the constant arrests, a number of Ladies in White from Holguin try to assist Mass in another local church- the Cathedral of San Isidoro.  The vigilance is just the same there lately.

For instance, this Sunday 5th of May, only 3 women made it inside the San Isidoro Church and only 2 at Jesus Christ the Redeemer.  In the municipality of Cacocum another 2 Ladies marched and participated in Mass.  A total of 8 women were arrested.

Yesterday, May 5th, a police agent went inside The Redeemer Church and told the religious authorities that the Ladies in White were provoking public disorder.  A number of other agents entered the church after that“, recounted Guerrero.  “The two women who made it inside were mistreated by a woman who calls herself Eva and says to work in the church“.

On past Sundays the police has invaded the church, even offending Father Aldama on a number of occasions.  We have presented our complaints to the archbishop and the church in general but up to now we have not received a single response“.

Guerrero adds that during the Mass there are State Security agents keeping tight vigilance over the women, photographing the few who manage to make it inside.

When the women are arrested they are abandoned in desolate areas, far from their homes, such as the dumpster or near a cemetery.  Many are threatened with death, as the recent cases of  Bárbara Bauza Drigg and Ana María Aguilera Paneque.

On May 5th, State Security agents not only arrested Barbara Bauza and Ana Maria Aguilera, but they also threatened them with death.  They told them that they would kill them and leave them, once and for all, inside the cemetery because they were giving them too much trouble“, denounced Berta Guerrero.  The women were not able to identify the aggressor because he did not provide a name or badge number.

In 2012 Lady in White and Holguin native Caridad Caballero Batista (now in exile) could only assist Mass a total of 2 times.  She was violently arrested on each attempt every Sunday.  The same repression has continued throughout the entire province against these women who, despite the threats, keep marching, refusing to accept their homes as prison cells.

I am denouncing this regime run by the Castro brothers, for what may happen to any of us“, said Berta Guerrero.

Despite State violence, a total of 143 Ladies in White made it to Mass throughout the country, according to a report by the independent news agency ‘Hablemos Press’.  The female activists dedicated the march to detained hunger striker Luis Enrique Lozada Igarza and in solidarity with the more than 60 activists on hunger strike to demand his freedom.

For more information from Cuba, contact:
Berta Guerrero Segura- Cell Phone: +53-632-110

Ladies in White denounce constant persecution in Holguin province

Last Sunday of 2012: Ladies in White Keep Marching

Ladies in White throughout the country made it to Mass and carried out their weekly march this last Sunday of 2012, the 30th of December, after a year in which repression against them, and the opposition in general, has increased drastically.

32 of these women arrived at Mass in the Santa Rita Church of Havana, 7 in Pinar del Rio, 20 in Matanzas, 6 in Guantanamo, 2 in Ciego de Avila and 2 in Holguin, affirmed Berta Soler, representative of the female group.

Soler considered the situation to be “an achievement“, considering that in nearly all the cases, in the mentioned provinces the Ladies in White arrived at their respective churches, surpassing police cordons and evading arrests, except in Holguin where 9 of the women were detained.

The detainees in the mentioned Eastern province were Bertha Guerrero Segura, Ana María Aguilera Panque, Romelia Piña González, Marlene Abreu Almaguer, Rosa María Naranjo Nieve, Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo, Viviana Campo, Eunices Céspedes Estrada y Bárbara Bauza Driggs.

Bertha Guerrero, representative of the group in Holguin, detailed that the arrests occurred during early morning hours, especially that of Eunices Cespedes, resident of the municipality of Velasco, who was abruptly arrested at 4 in the morning.

They kept us arrested up to around 12:30 in the afternoon, after Mass had ended in the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church“, said Guerrero, “Afterward, they left us stranded in different parts on the outskirts of Holguin, forcing us to walk miles to get to our homes“.  State Security agents placed a video camera this year in front of the mentioned church to keep watch over the Ladies.  The same camera had previously been installed outside the home of recently exiled Lady in White and human rights activist Caridad Caballero Batista, who also suffered countless arrests this year for trying to make it to church.  The camera was relocated as soon as she left the country.

During her arrest, Bertha Guerrero denounced that the Second Chief of Confrontation, known as Yordanis Martinez Leon, told her that “if the Ladies in White want to make it to church, we’d have to buy ourselves a helicopter to drop us off at the church because they were never going to let us get there“.  It is not the first time this repressor tells her that.

Sunday after Sunday we have been detained and, in addition, also threatened with our children and families“, added Guerrero, citing the case which also occurred this Sunday, where one of the detainees- Barbabra Bauza- “had her son arrested because on Saturday, some citizen burned a Cuban flag in the Calixto Garcia park.  Her son was arriving home in the morning and since State Security had not been able to arrest or blame anybody, they did so with him, taking him to the instructional unit known as Pedernales.  Agent Rafael Chapman, of State Security, told Barbara that he does not care if her son is a minor (16 years of age), for he would invent a crime for him and take him to prison.  This happens simply because he is the son of a Lady in White“.  She added that the women are ready to take to the streets in protest to demand his freedom.

Guerrero said that despite the repression, the Ladies in White of Holguin will continue marching and that she has hope that 2013 will bring good things for Cuba.

In an emotional case, Leticia Ramos Herreria, representative of the Ladies in White in the province of Matanzas, explained that in addition to the fact that 20 women of the province made it to Mass, in the church known as “The Parish” in the city of Cardenas, a group of these acitvists were greeted with respect and admiration by churchgoers.

The people rose from their seats when it was time to share the greeting of peace, and they came up to us, hugged us, and gave us their blessings“, recounted Ramos, “When we left the church, we carried out our march and many people also came up to us, displaying their support, greeting us, saying that we are doing the right things and saying that they hope more people rise like us“.

Leticia said she felt lots of happiness, considering that “we have achieved to carve out a space not only in the church but also amongst the people“.

There have been far too many beatings, arrests, deportations, threats, and other forms of State persecution and violence against the Ladies in White this 2012.  In fact, one of the most repressive of cases occurred in February when two members of the group- one from Pinar del Rio and the other from Palma Soriano- suffered miscarriages after police arrested and harassed them.  Their names are Noralys Martin Hernandez and Taimi Vega Biscet. (Read more about these cases here).

Regardless, everything signals that the increase in repression is attributed to the fact that the group has significantly increased in size and that its members have not stopped defying the dictatorship for one moment.  They have been persistent in their marches, declarations and activities.

Despite the repression“, said Berta Soler, “the most important thing is that the Ladies in White will continue stronger and more prepared than ever.  We will continue our peaceful struggle for the freedom of all political prisoners as well as the respect of human rights in 2013.  We will continue to grow throughout the island.  The Cuban government’s repression has only made us more united“.

For more information from Cuba:

Berta Soler- Cell Phone: +5352-906-820

Bertha Guerrero Segura- Cell Phone: +5353-632-110

Leticia Ramos Herrería- Cell Phone: +5352-481-807

Last Sunday of 2012: Ladies in White Keep Marching

Activists and Their Families Receive Threats by Government Agents in Holguin

Zuleidis Lisbeth Pérez Velázquez

Zuleidis Lisbeth Pérez Velázquez, an active Lady in White and the delegate of the Independent and Democratic Cuba Party (CID) in Holguin, is denouncing that since this past 23rd of September, she and other activists from that group in the mentioned province have been receiving serious threats by State Security and political police officials.

“The threats have ranged from ridiculous things to more sublime things”, explains Perez Velazquez, “they are death threats, imprisonment threats, and threats that activists can no longer come to my house to carry out CID reunions”.

In addition, the agents have threatened local self-employed citizens, most of which are dissidents, with taking away their merchandise and removing their patents.

They have also threatened underage children with kicking them out of schools and also have told some of the wives of dissidents who have jobs that they’d be kicked out of their work centers”, adds the Lady in White.

In other specific cases, Zuleidis says that the agents told dissident Martha Barbara Zapata Tomas that her sister- who lives outside of Cuba- would no longer be allowed in the country to visit her family.  On Thursday, September 27th, various State Security officers arrived to the home of the activist Mauricio Martinez Diaz and told him that he would be taken to prison if he continued going to the house of Perez Velazquez and carrying activities which have to do with CID.

All the activists have told their oppressors that they will not stop carrying out CID activities and that they will continue their struggle for the freedom of Cuba”, assures Zuleidis, “they have all said that this is a just cause and that they will accept no more threats or blackmail”.

The agents who have been threatening the dissidents are Rafael Chapman (State Security agent; one of the main oppressors in the area of Holguin, dedicates his time to threaten and detain activists), the agent known as Pavel, agent Yordanys Martinez Leon (who organizes acts of repression against activists—in fact, he was the one who would always impede the now exiled Lady in White Caridad Caballero Batista from leaving her home to assist Mass in the city of Holguin), and the chief of Confrontation for State Security in Holguin, agent Douglas Torres Pupo.

Click here for a more detailed description of other repressive actions carried out by these same regime agents (photos included).

For more information from Cuba:

Zuleidis Lisbeth Pérez Velázquez – Cell Phone: +5358-244-778

Activists and Their Families Receive Threats by Government Agents in Holguin

Cuba: The Enemy Within, #CryFreedom

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a non-governmental organization which documents and denounces violations of religious association rights for Christians around the world has launched a new audio-visual campaign under the slogan of #CryFreedom, where they seek solidarity to demand an end to these violations occurring in countries like North Korea, China, Iran, Burma, Eritrea, and Cuba.

To kick off the #CryFreedom campaign they have put together an excellent short documentary which consists of an interview with recently exiled Cuban freedom fighter, human rights activists and Lady in White Caridad Caballero Batista, who suffered constant persecution in Cuba not only for being a public dissident but also for being a devout Christian who would try and assist Mass every Sunday. The video is titled “Cuba: The Enemy Within”. Don’t miss it!

CSW also calls on all those who can to participate to demand totalitarian governments aroudn the world to stop oppressing their citizens for their religious ideals.  Click here for more information on the campaign.  To further support #CryFreedom, used that same hashtag on Twitter to spread the word!  CSW has been outspoken on the Cuban cause, seeking justice for so many people who stand up against the dictatorship and cling tightly to their Faith.  They recently wrote an article about Caballero Batista prior to the video launch.

Cuba: The Enemy Within, #CryFreedom

Exiled Dissident Family Identifies Oppressors in Holguin

Left to right: Esteban Sandez Suarez, Caridad Caballero Batista, Marta Diaz Rondon, Erik Esteban Sandez Caballero. Caballero Batista’s family- now exiled- has identified various oppressors in Holguin province who have been authors of aggression against them on numerous occasions.

The story of Caridad Caballero Batista and her family is one of a renown activism in favor of Cuba’s freedom.  Due to her tireless work as an independent journalist, activist of the Eastern Democratic Alliance and member of the Ladies in White in the city of Holguin, Caballero Batista, her husband Esteban Sandez Suarez and her son Erik Esteban Sandez Caballero were victims of constant repression at the hands of the political police, State Security, the Rapid Response Brigades and mobs paid and organized by the Cuban regime.

It’s no secret that Sunday after Sunday this family had their home in Holguin completely surrounded by repressive forces who would insult, mock, threaten, and in sum, arrest and beat them without pity, simply because Caridad would try to assist Sunday Mass at church.  But the violence was not only on Sundays, but instead every day that this family would carry out a civic protest or meeting in their home, or whenever the dictatorship felt like it.  In nearly all the cases of arrests, these 3 Cubans would be taken to the Instructional Unit of Pedernales, in Holguin, where they would be confined to pestilent, dark and humid cells, where they would face further tortures and beatings.

On June 2012, this family of freedom fighters went into exile in the United States, but they assured that they would continue fighting- in whatever way they could- for the freedom of Cuba.  Now, they have shared a list (compiled by Erik Esteban Sandez Caballero) of some of the oppressors in the province of Holguin, in municipalities such as Banes, Cacocum, and Holguin.   They are faces of the culprits of countless violence against this family and other dissidents like Marta Diaz Rondon, Franklin Peregrino del Toro, Berta Guerrero Segura, Ana Maria Aguilera Paneque, and many more. Faces of Cubans who were (and still are) in charge of oppressing other Cubans, simply because they are human rights defenders:


Yordanis Martínez León

This Chief of Confrontation of State Security in the city of Holguin is one of the main culprits of the fact that Caridad Caballero Batista could only assist Sunday Mass three times in 2012.  During the papal visit to the island, he kept her from traveling to Santiago de Cuba to assist Mass.  He is responsible for having surrounded the home of Caballero Batista each Sunday, and of arresting her on countless occasions.  In fact, he would even snatch her purse and beat her.


Duglas Torres Pupo

He is also a Chief of Confrontations of State Security in the same city of Holguin.  He has led violent operations to arrest Caridad Caballero and her family as they were on their way to church on numerous occasions (and for those dissidents in Cuba, still leads).  Many times, he called a number of police vehicles, buses, Suzuki motorcycles and other vehicles to detain these peaceful activists.


Rafael Chacman

This State Security agent from Holguin dedicates himself to threaten activists of that province, especially Ladies in White.  In one specific case, he told Lady in White Ana Maria Aguilera Paneque on October 19th, 2011 that if she continued participating in dissident activities, her family would suffer the consequences.  On October 25th 2011, he mocked and blackmailed the wife of dissident Denis Pino Basulto when the latter was arbitrarily jailed.  As recent as July 2012, he has been in charge of setting up and carrying out operations to impede Zuleidis Perez Velazquez and other Ladies in White from marching to Sunday Mass in Holguin. Chacman would also threaten the family of Caballero Batista when they were still in Cuba.



With each passing day, the impunity of the aggressors who work for the Cuban dictatorship is fading.

Exiled Dissident Family Identifies Oppressors in Holguin

Ladies in White Denounce New Threats by Police in Holguin

In Cacocum, Holguín, the home of Lady in White Berta Guerrero Segura has been completely surrounded by State Security agents, agents of the Rapid Response Brigades, and paramilitary troops from the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) for 6 days, in order to try and impede that she or her family assist Mass or step out of the house to meet with other local activists.

My home has been surrounded since Friday, July 20 th, and it is something which is happening week after week”,  denounced Guerrero Segura, signaling that the agents carrying out the operations are “Reymundo Rodríguez Pupo, agent Wilson from Holguín and also Joel Guerrero, among others”.

These same oppressors have been threatening Guerrero, her husband (activist Franklin Peregrino del Toro) as well as numerous other women from that area, saying that if they try to continue their activism or carry out public demonstrations, they will be detained until after the 26th, a date which the regime uses to celebrate and glorify the 26th of July Movement which was headed by dictator Fidel Castro.

The number of arrests of these Eastern Ladies in White have also increased, as was proven this past Sunday, July 22nd, when 8 of these women were violently arrested in the province of Holguin when they tried to make it to church.

The 8 were Ana María Aguilera Paneque, Adisnidia Cruz, Maydelin Guerrero Silva, Yoandra Garrido Silva, María Rosa Rodríguez Silva, Rosa María Naranjo Nieve, Danaime Diota and Rosaida González Escalona.

Meanwhile, another 7 women did manage to surpass police cordons and make it to Sunday Mass, among them Berta Guerrero.  Many may recall that now exiled Lady in White, Caridad Caballero Batista, would continuously be arrested weekend after weekend to keep her from going to church during the present year, but alongside her many other women would also be detained.  Guerrero Segura is one of these women, who during 2012 has not been able to make it to church on Sunday’s due to the fact that she is always arrested and kept in detention cells for a number of hours until Mass has concluded.

Zuleidis Pérez, another Lady in White from the municipality of Holguin denounced that “there is a horrible police operation underway” during these days against activists in the Eastern region of the country.  “Despite this, and under these circumstances, on the 23rd we were able to carry out a symbolic wake in honor of Oswaldo Paya in my home“.

Berta Guerrero adds that numerous activists were able to carry out a pots-and-pans protest at her home in Cacocum during the night of the 24th to celebrate the Day of the Resistance (each 24th of the month) and also to pay homage to Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero

Guerrero also sent out a message to the international community, in regards to the increased repression against the Ladies in White and the civic opposition: “The Castro regime is desperate, and they deny us our rights to freedom of movement, religion, as well as the rights of our families, because they also impede our relatives from coming to our homes.  They also arrest them“.

We are always under threat, and we were denouncing that this is a totalitarian regime which is based on repression, harassment, and vexation against dissidents and Ladies in White“.

For more information from Cuba:

Zuleidis Perez – Cell Phone: +5358- 244- 778

Ladies in White Denounce New Threats by Police in Holguin