The dissidents from Cuba’s Matanzas province Jose Francisco Rangel Manzano, Provincial Delegate of the Pedro Luis Boitel Democracy Party in Matanzas, and Carlos Olivera, Vice-Delegate of the same Party, were summoned on the morning of February 19th to the police station in the city of Colon. Major Osmany Hernandez- a well known henchman and aggressor of Colon and surrounding municipalities- was in charge of the interrogations.
Francisco Rangel was warned, as agents told him that they would not tolerate further anti-government signs and/or graffiti propping up on walls along the centric roads of Colon, to which the dissident responded that he had no control over the appearance of those signs because it was the everyday people who was putting them because they have grown weary of the constant lies and oppression.
Major Osmany Hernandez said that they (the political police) knew that the orchestrator of the signs were Ivan Hernandez Carrillo and Felix Navarro, both former prisoners of conscience from the group of the 75. Francisco Rangel responded that if he was going to talk about an orchestrator that he too was one, because he did not need to demonstrate his opposition to the regime with signs put up in the dark of night. “My opposition and my posture against your system is up-front and public, out in the light of day. This shirt I am wearing right now which says ‘Change’, my bicycle has a sticker which says ‘change’, and right now I’ll tell you that I do not want to fix anything with you all in any way“, said the dissident.
When Major Osmany Hernandez mentioned that the anniversary of Orlando Zapata’s death was getting close, Francisco Rangel bravely reminded the agent that it was not just a mere death, but an assassination at the hands of the regime. The henchman told Rangel: “Let’s respect ourselves”. Rangel reminded Hernandez that “if we are going to talk about respect, then do not forget about how you have all thrown excrement at the homes of dissidents in Colon“. Upon saying this, the functionary had no response.
After this incident, dissident Carlos Olivera was interrogated. This specific interrogation was more violent, considering that Carlos refused to sit and the agents threw him against a window. After being beat as well, Carlos told his oppressors that he had nothing to talk about with them. They accused Olivera of being disrespectful for not wanting to sit, and the activist responded, “you’d have to kill me first. I have nothing to talk about with you. The signs are being put up by the people because they are tired of you all, they have nothing to do with Ivan and Felix“.
On the following day, February 20th, they also summoned Caridad Burunate, dissident and Lady in White of Colon, for more of the same as well as Lazaro Diaz Sanchez, an activist from the Pedro Luis Boitel Democracy Party. On this occasion, they wanted both dissidents to sign citations and take their finger prints. The interrogators, however, could not force them to do such things because the activists refused to subject themselves to the humiliation. One of their slogans are: “We are dissidents, not delinquents“.
Burunate then affirmed in one her most recent Tweets that despite all this harassment and all these citations: “The opposition in Colon, Matanzas will pay tribute to Orlando Zapata Tamayo and Pedro Luis Boitel on the anniversary of their assassinations. No more state terrorism!
A special thank you to the Cuban and Twitter activists @mspianoteacher for providing this report and these photos