Health of Cuban hunger striker, demanding a home after a forced eviction, worsens

Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, member of the Central Opposition Coalition, has been on hunger strike in the Vidal Park of Santa Clara, Villa Clara, along with his wife Ramona Maday Garcia, for more than a week, demanding that the regime give him a home after he was forcefully evicted during the month of April.

Santos, a former dissident prisoner, came out of jail to find that his father had passed away and that he had no home.  He spent various months staying at the homes of friends and fellow activists until he decided to occupy an abandoned establishment in the city of Santa Clara.  Police forces violently evicted him and his wife from the place, and the activist took shelter in the house of another dissident.  Eventually, he decided to demand the regime to give him the opportunity to have a house where he could establish himself and establish a family.

This Wednesday, May 29th, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, former political prisoner and general secretary of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, published  an audio in his YouTube account detailing that another 4 activists had joined Luis Enrique’s hunger strike.  The striker shifted his protest to the home of Antunez, where the other dissidents also reside.  They are Arnaldo Perez, Fernando Vazquez, Yunier Santana, and most recently, Damaris Moya Portieles.  The latter is the president of the Central Opposition Coalition.

Although the life of each of these hunger-strikers is in danger, Antunez explains that the most worrying situation is that of Luis Enrique Santos Caballero who only has one kidney.  He lost his other kidney in prison after he was severely beat by a number of guards.  Santos Caballero has also seen his health affected in the last couple of days after sleeping under rain and wind in a public park for more than a week.

“Luis Enrique Santos is on the verge of losing his life for demanding something so basic, so elementary, which is having a home”, declares Antunez in the audio, “he is a man who truly looks like a cadaver…he is suffering the effects of a weakened physical state, and the lack of one kidney.  At any given moment, a fatal outcome may take place”.

Antunez called on the international community, especially people who have Twitter accounts and who run blogs about Cuba, to keep informing about the situation of Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, an activist who is willing to give his life so that at least his wife could have a decent home.

Para más información desde Cuba, contactar a:
Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’ – Móvil: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba

The aftermath of a forced eviction in Santiago de Cuba (Video)

Via the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU): This video shows the aftermath of the eviction of a humble family in Santiago de Cuba.

“I am Cuban, I’m not from anywhere else. Where am I supposed to live?” expressed one of the victims of the eviction in the video, who says he is a father of small children and has to provide for them.

The same man claims that officials ordered him to destroy his previous home (the ruins shown in the video) but when he asked where he and his family had to go, the agent did not provide a response.

The family was left on their own, having to set up an improvised shack, where they are currently living, while housing officials continue ignoring their situation, refusing to provide a solution.

See for yourselves:

Forced Eviction of 20 Families in Boyero, Havana

From Havana, the dissident and Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo is reporting that, among the many forced evictions being carried out by the Cuban regime against everyday citizens which have been occurring during that past few days, another serious case has emerged in the Havana municipality of Boyeros:


Forced eviction of 20 families in Boyero, Havana

Leidys Serrano is denouncing that the President of the Boyeros Local Government- a woman named Rosa- visited the building where more than 20 families reside on Friday February 17th and again on Saturday the 18th, telling all inhabitants that there would be a meeting held there on the 20th.  During that meeting which took place at around 7:30 on the 20th, Rosa told all the families that they would be evicted on February 22nd, adding that she did not care about human rights or anything of the sort.  She also threatened that if the families did not leave, the regime agents would use force to get them out.

The functionary said this in front of Bartolo Marquez, an activist from the Pro-Human Rights Party.  The building had been abandoned for 6 years and was recently repaired by its inhabitants.  More than 20 families are under the threat of being evicted, and within these families there are around 12 children.  The building is located on 26th of July Avenue, between 247 and 249, no number, Abel Santamaria Neighborhood, Boyeros Municipality, Havana.

– Sara Marta Fonseca

In San German, Holguin, Three Mothers Were Evicted Alongside their Children

(Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011)- Via “Diario de Cuba”, Luis Felipe Rojas reports about the eviction of three single mothers along with their young children in San German, Holguin.  It is important to note that, as Luis Felipe shares, the neighbors have reacted to this news, publicly displaying their opposition.

Here is the article (my translation):


Holguín: Las autoridades desalojan a tres mujeres y cinco niños pequeños

This Tuesday, the Police, along with the Housing Authorities of San German, Holguin, have evicted three women who were living in an abandoned house alongside 5 children, among them a newborn of less than 1 week, informed independent journalist and writer Luis Felipe Rojas.

The other minors are 3 and 5 years old.  The evicted women are Yaneisi Álvarez Díaz, Yunia Pupo Díaz  and Yanet Góngora Pupo.

A week ago, they had received a notification from the Municipal Unit Housing Investors as well as a warning by San German’s police.

On Tuesday, “dozens of agents”- both from the local Police and functionaries from the Housing department-  “took advantage” that Gongora Pupo (mother of the newborn) had rushed to the hospital along with one of the other women, said Rojas.  “They made sure they watched and noted that the only woman left was alone with the kids when they violently invaded the house”, he added.

“They tore down the backdoor, they threw out all of their things and they were taken to the house they previously lived in, where they were crammed together with two other families in horrid conditions, without drinking water or efficient bathrooms”, denounced Rojas, a collaborator of this journal.

The independent journalist assured that “the neighborhood responded.  People protested and confronted the police” about the violence used against these women and children, he said.

According to Rojas, some neighbors were putting together a letter which they would hand to the Communist Party as a form of protest.

The women had moved into that house with their children a few weeks ago.  The house had been given first to another family which declined it due to the horrible conditions it was in.

The police operation around the evicted home continued this Wednesday morning.

Mercedes Reyes, Another Victim of the Evictions Carried out by Cuban Regime

Mercedes Reyes is a 57 year old woman who lives in the town of Baguanos, in the eastern area of Cuba.  Her husband was a soldier who fought in Angola, later returning to the island with serious mental conditions.  Together, they have three children.  Through sacrifice and hard work, Mercedes has worked for 33 years in order to gather up enough money to construct her own humble home.

Recently, agents from the Housing Department informed/warned Mercedes that she would be evicted.  Upon hearing the news, Reyes could not help but feel furious and at a loss for words.  She could not understand how it was possible that she was going to be victim of an eviction- she has always paid everything necessary, her home is considered totally legal, and she has been the owner of it for 15 consecutive years.

During these past few days, Mercedes has not been able to sleep, for she has been far too tormented about the accusations made against her and the threats on her household by a Housing Department Chief.  This functionary told Reyes that her home was no longer of value.  As if it weren’t enough, the government representative explained to the 57 year old that her house was to be converted into a Civil Registry, or a government office in other words.

On Friday, August 15th, Cuban police officers surrounded the entire area around the home of Mercedes Reyes, according to reports made by Luis Felipe Rojas through his Twitter account.  Also, the dissident from Holguin, Caridad Caballero Batista, added that these same police agents impeded people from getting in or getting out of the area.  While the troops mobilized Reyes was over at a son’s house.  The officials broke down the door and threw all her belongings out onto the street, later tossing them aboard a truck.  From there, the police forces drove to the house of her son and abruptly threw all that was left of Mercedes’ things in front of the house.  Upon seeing this Mercedes could not control her desire to protest the injustice.

As product of her reaction, police guards rapidly arrested her.  The arrest took place before the eyes of her 2 year old grandson, whom broke out with tears and screams as he saw all of this.  The child’s mother had to tell him that the police were only playing a game with his grandmother.  Meanwhile, Mercedes’ son rushed out to defend his mother, successfully capturing some photographs of the repression, but only to later face a violent arrest as well.

On the morning of Tuesday August 23rd, the former home of Mercedes Reyes stood as a Civil Registry Office.  “The majority of times when an eviction occurs,” explains Caridad Caballero Batista, “it’s purpose is to turn in that home to a party official or to turn it into an office, benefiting only those in power and making the people suffer“.

But who can Mercedes Reyes turn to for a denouncement?  The eviction orders were given directly by the government, set in motion by the Housing Department, and executed by police officers.  Once again, another victim of eviction and injustice turns to the Cuban resistance to channel their denouncements, their complaints.   And the world is paying close attention.

Information for this report was derived from declarations made by Caridad Caballero to this blog, along with news reports by Marti News and updates from blogger/activist Luis Felipe Rojas.


The following is a (translated) transcript of Mercedes Reyes recorded and posted by Radio Marti:

“I have been owner of that house for 15 years, and before that I had a 25 year property title.  I carried out the legal process, but since there is such a huge level of corruption here, police officers just showed up to my house and told me that the house now belonged to the State.  They have not let me sleep in peace.  The police showed up to my house to threaten me, they told me that they’d take me out harassed, arrested, however.  And if not, they’d get me in the street and arrest me.  That is exactly what they did.  They threatened me, and carried out those threats.  I have been evicted from my home.

The Housing Department Chief came and told me that ‘the property no longer has any value, it now belongs to the state, and we will make offices here’.  ‘Poor’ government, they must not have enough money to make offices elsewhere, they are pathetic.  All my things have been thrown outside the house of my son.  They threatened me more and told me to be careful with what I would say and do, because, in their words, ‘up to now you have had no problems, but you could have them’.  That is the only thing we see in this country- abuse.  They destroy people”.