Cuba: Increase in arbitrary robberies and arrests at the hands of the State

In the last couple of weeks in Cuba there has been an increase in the amount of arbitrary arrests and robberies of pro-democracy dissidents at the hands of the political police.

Various cases have been coming in from the Eastern region of the country.  The case of activist Yuniesky Dominguez Gonzalez and former political prisoner Dany Lopez de Moya, both member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, is one of them.

Yuniesky recounts that on Tuesday, July 23rd, as they both were leaving a meeting at the home of Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of UNPACU, when they were near the highway of Palma Soriano, members of the National Revolutionary Police and the political police intercepted them.  Agent Norberto was running the operation.

The agents intercepted the vehicle we were traveling in“, explained Dominguez to this blog, “then, the agents used forced to get us out, pulling our clothes and beating us.  They did the same thing with Dany’s son, 15 year old Frank Daniel Rodriguez“.

The first thing the agents did was to snatch all the belongings of the detainees.  “They took Frank Daniel’s phone and purposely spent the money he had on it as a form of blackmail.  They also robbed CDs, USBs and other things” which were never returned.  The discs were destroyed.

Yuniesky explains that the motive of breaking the CDs is to keep them from spreading throughout the population, considering that UNPACU members fill them with images of protests and activism not only of their movement, but of the opposition in general.

Similarly, on July 18th, the political police arrested youth activists Yoandri Montoya Aviles and Juannier Rodriguez in the city of Bayamo. Both dissidents are members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance (ADO) and were arrested while they filmed a documentary for PalenqueVision, the audio-visual project of this group.  The equipment they were using were robbed.

Juannier, who has been victim of expulsions and blackmail at his university due to his ties with the opposition, recounts that they were just “chatting with other young people in Bayamo, working on a video about their day-to-day reality when police agents suddenly arrived and took our cameras, breaking one of them“.

The agents accused the activists of being “delinquents” and were detained by force, shoved inside a bus and taken to a police unit.  Afterward, Juannier Rodriguez was deported to Guantanamo, his province of residence, but he defied the authorities and returned to Bayamo.

On Monday, July 22nd, the Cuban regime carried out a violent operation against a number of members of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) in the province of Las Tunas as they paid tribute to Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero on the first anniversary of their death.

Ezequiel Morales Carmenate, leader of the MCL in that area, denounced that paramilitary mobs, made up by members of the Communist Party, the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution and the political police “assaulted the home of Roger Curbelo, the headquarters of the MCL in the municipality of Puerto Padre“.  The agents penetrated the house, beating activists and robbing a Cuban flag as well as signs honoring Paya and Cepero, also accusing the dictatorship of having to do with the events which occurred on July 22nd 2012.

In the municipality of Majibacoa the home of Elber Perez (another leader of the MCL) was also the scene of excessive violence when the mobs assaulted the house during night hours, robbing countless documents, CDs and other work instruments.

On his part, Yuniesky Dominguez said that the upcoming anniversary of the assault of the Moncada Barracks on July 26th by the movement led by the Castros, who assumed power through violence on 1959, “has the regime very worried“. Why?

Because the activism of the peaceful opposition has put the regime in danger.  We are not fighting with weapons, nor do we carry out acts of sabotage as the July 26th Movement did.  However, our weapon is still lethal, and it is our words, and we work so that the people know what we do against the dictatorship and in favor of human rights and the population“.

That’s why, the activist explains, that in its desperation the dictatorship turns to physical aggressions and robbery of materials used by dissident to work towards freedom.  Materials which are obtained by activists with much difficulty, considering that the majority of these things are sent from abroad by people who have joined in solidarity, or in some cases, bought by the dissidents themselves, at a very elevated price.

Cuba: Increase in arbitrary robberies and arrests at the hands of the State

Spontaneous and successful march in Eastern Cuba (Video)

This past 20th of May, Cuban Independence Day, numerous pro-freedom activities were carried out throughout the island.  Now, a video has arrived from Santiago de Cuba which shows a march carried out by 16 dissidents, members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), throughout various blocks of the Sueño Neighborhood.  The participants of the march described it as a “spontaneous” and “successful” demonstration.

The activists who marched were not repressed by the political police during the moment of the activity, and much less by everyday citizens.  They demanded freedom for all political prisoners, mentioning specific names such as Bismark Mustelier, Jorge Cervantes Garcia and Dany Lopez de Moya.  They also shouted “Zapata Lives“, “Harold Cepero Lives” and “Oswaldo Paya lives“, among other messages in favor of freedom and true change.

Cuban political police agents, infuriated by the success of the march, organized a mob which carried out an act of repudiation against the dissidents when they returned to the home of Daniel Barriel Sanjurjo.  The mob shouted offensive slogans as well as things like ‘Down with the worms’ and ‘Leave the country’.  As a response, the activists expressed “Down with the political police” and “Long live the Cuban People“.

The dissidents did not back down at any moment.  Some of them were detained and beat later on.  See the video here:

Spontaneous and successful march in Eastern Cuba (Video)

Political Prisoner Declares Himself on Hunger Strike, Signs Appear Demanding his Freedom

Bismark Mustelier Galan. Political Prisoner. Held in Aguadores prison since April 1st 2012

Alina Fonseca Guevara, the wife of political prisoner Bismark Mustelier Galan, who has been jailed since April 1st in the Aguadores Prison after he complained in a hospital about lack of medical attention for a minor, informed this Friday, May 4th, about the danger which her husband faces in prison after he declared himself on hunger strike this past Thursday May 3rd.

According to Fonseca Guevara, Bismark began his hunger strike the moment in which the penal authorities, specifically the chief of the unit Luis Enrique Lopez, denied her right, and the right of other activists, to visit him in prison.  “I went to visit Bismark on Thursday along with a group of his childhood and neighborhood friends- Miguel Rafael Cabrera Montoya, Rolando Humberto Rodriguez, Hector Felix Labrada, and Jose Batista Flacon, and they denied our visit“, said Guevara, “so then, I went to speak to the chief of the unit (Luis Enrique Lopez) and he told me that he was the one who had made such decision and that the prison was like his house, that he would decide who could enter“.

Fonseca said that with the hunger strike, Bismark is demanding that the penal authorities  allow his friends and family to visit him, as well as that his prison conditions are immediately improved.  “In his penal ward, the bathrooms are horrible.  There has not been water for 15 days, they give them just a bit of water sometimes to shower and to drink.  Many prisoners chose to drink it and then they cannot shower“, said Alina, adding that she was able to communicate with her husband on Friday morning.  “Bismark told me not to worry, that he was strong.  He told me that he would not depose his hunger strike until his demands are fulfilled“.

Meanwhile, Yuniesky Domínguez González, an activist from the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), reiterated the severity of Bismark’s case, pointing out and warning that the Aguadores Prison is the same penitentiary in which the dissident Wilman Villar Mendoza died just 4 months ago after he was kept in horrid conditions and he initiated a hunger strike.

In other words, we fear for the security and life of Bismark Mustelier Galan,” said Gonzalez, “we know that the Aguadores Prison is a horrid place and we fear very much for his life”.

Gonzalez added that during the morning of Friday, May 4th, in the town of Palma Soriano their appeared 4 signs with anti-government messages written on them, as well as messages demanding the release of the political prisoners Bismark Galan and Dany Lopez de Moya.  The latter was recently sentenced to 1 year and 6 months of prison under false charges of “public disorder” after publcily wearing a T-shirt which read “Boitel-Zapata-Wilman Live“- a tribute to three Cuban freedom fighters who have died while demanding justice for the Cuban people.

According to Yuniesky Gonzalez, in addition to those 4 signs, throughout this past week “various signs have appeared on numerous occassions“, and “they have been put there by dissidents and by people who do not even belong to opposition groups“.

It has gotten to the point that the government, and State Security, have put put up heir own signs with their own messages against the opposition, but people who pass by draw an ‘X’ on it and write ‘NO’, which goes to show the disapproval felt by the opposition and by everyday citizens in regards to these government signs“.

Para más información desde Cuba:

Alina Fonseca Guevara – Cell Phone: +5358-146-523       // Yuniesky González – Cell Phone:   +5352-997-961

Political Prisoner Declares Himself on Hunger Strike, Signs Appear Demanding his Freedom