Caridad Caballero Batista denounces that the day of November 2nd began with arrests, beatings, and a strong vigilance throughout Eastern Cuba. Luis Felipe Rojas narrates his arrest alongside Librado Linares on November 1st.
“As of the very early morning hours here in Holguin, various homes of dissidents have been completely taken and surrounded by the political police“, explains the dissident Caridad Caballero Batista. She adds, “At around 7 am, Denis Pino Basulto was arrested right outside his home. It was a violent arrest, according to what his wife told me. They applied a headlock on him and they took him away in a police vehicle“. Just a few weeks ago, Denis Pino suffered a similar arrest, also when he was stepping outside of his house. The young dissident was recently fired from his job for his anti-dictatorship stance.
“In Gibara, the son of Leonides Trinidad Rodriguez- Josue- told me that his mother was also detained. In her case it occurred in the bus terminal and it was also very violent. She was kicked a lot and was shoved into the a Operational Guard vehicle in that same manner. She was taken to the Frontier Unit“, adds Batista.
In the same vein, homes across the region also awoke to a heavy police presence. The agents surrounded homes and impeded dozens of activists from mobilizing. In towns like Buenaventura the political police has maintained strict vigilance over democracy activists, as well. Also, there are various homes surrounded in Cacocum, Holguin, as confirmed by Berta Guerrero and in San German, according to Luis Felipe Rojas. Rojas himself was victim of an arrest on November 1st after assisting a non-violent struggle lecture taught by former political prisoner of conscience Librado Linares.
“I was on my way from Baracoa to Holguin to the home of Caridad Caballero, but upon nearly arriving the political police quickly intercepted me and Librado Linares“, tells Rojas, explaining that the operation consisted of various officials and a police vehicle. “Once detained, they took us to the Pedernales Detention Center. They took all of Librado Linares’ belongings, which were materials he used for his class, including pamphlets he had given out to his students and which he had planned to continue giving“. Those pamphlets explained the importance of the non-violent struggle, which according to Rojas is a very efficient method of struggle. “Those in power know that non-violence can knock down totalitarian regimes, that is why they are so fearful“.
Librado Linares was deported to his home in Camaguey, while Luis Felipe was deported to his town of San German. Although this time they did not confiscate any of his belongings, the accustomed threats were not left out. “They told me I could not leave my house… the same old story“.
Every Wednesday Caridad Caballero offers her home in Holguin city and hosts a vigil, a prayer group, or a simple meeting to pray for the political prisoners, demand their release, and show moral support to them and their families, as well as to other people suffering political persecution or similar issues. For this reason, Rojas and Linares were on their way to her home, though this time it was not possible. Caballero adds that “Juan Sacaria Verdecia Torres and Gilberto Leyva were also on their way to my home this morning when they were arbitrarily detained. Now, we do not know their whereabouts. Also, we do not know what is happening with our other brothers and sisters who were supposed to come because we have not been able to establish communication…it seems they are also detained. We do not know what will happen to them“. Another possibility, besides being detained, is that their telephone lines have been blocked and intercepted by the political police, a frequently employed tactic which attempts to cut communication among dissidents.
Nevertheless, a group of 8 dissidents (3 from Velazco in the city of Gibara and the rest from Holguin) were able to surpass the repressive chain of political police and State Security agents and arrive at the home of Caballero Batista, where they will go on and carry out the planned activities.
For more information on the non-violence course taught by Librado Linares, Luis Felipe Rojas has published an entry on his blog in which he describes his experience in the class. It can be read here: “The obsession for freedom”.