Police brutality leaves female dissident leader unconscious and hospitalized

It’s not rare for Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera to suffer a beating by uniformed agents in Cuba.  Both she and her husband, the renown dissident and former political prisoner Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, live under constant police vigilance, which does not allow them- the majority of times- to freely move throughout their own city of residence, Placetas, or throughout the country, for that matter.  And when they manage to surpass vigilant cordons and arrive to other destinations, they are eventually intercepted and deported.  This was proven once again on Thursday, March 7th 2013, when the activist was brutally beaten by State Security agents and left lying unconscious on a street in the city of Santa Clara.

Perez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, was with other women of the group participating in the weekly march they carry out every Thursday to pay homage to Cubans who have died while trying to achieve freedom in the country, when the violence took place.  It was around 9 AM when the others were detained: Damaris Moya, Yanisbel Valido, Natividad Blanco, Ramona García and Yris Tamara Aguilera herself.

The women were taken directly to cells in different police units throughout the region, but agent Eric Francis Aquino Yera and one known as Misael kept Yris in a separate police vehicle, by herself, from which she was taken out, or better said- dragged out– by her hair and thrown against the pavement various times to the point that she was left unconscious after suffering blows to the head, according to declarations made by Antunez in an audio published on the YouTube account “PlacetasCuba100” (belonging to Yris Perez).

Minutes later, some neighbors showed up to the home of Damaris Moya in Santa Clara and told her husband, Yanoisy Contreras, that there was a person abandoned out in the road, passed out.  “We first thought it would be a drunkard”, said Antunez in the audio, “but when Yanoisy went to the corner of the block and saw that heart-wrenching scene, where Yris was just thrown there, bleeding and passed out… we urgently took her to the 20th Anniversary Hospital of Santa Clara”.

Yris’ condition was grave, which is why she was rushed to the Armando Milian Castro Hospital, located in the same city, where she was submitted to various exams.  However, the hospital authorities, in collaboration with State Security, expelled Yris Tamara from the hospital as soon as she gained her conscious back.

Upon arriving to Moya’s home, other dissidents who displayed solidarity with Yris were detained, among them Michel Oliva Lopez and Alberto Reyes Morales.  Others in Sagua la Grande, Villa Clara and Velasco, Holguin also were surrounded and arrested for protesting against the events.

“We are highlighting the seriousness of this situation”, said Antunez about his wife, “we hold the dictatorship accountable for the life of Yris”.

At around 7:30 PM it was reported, via Twitter, that when Antunez was taking Yris back towards Placetas, she suffered another loss of consciousness, as detailed in this other audio.

Due to the countless beatings she has received- product solely of political persecution- Perez Aguilera has developed a cyst in the lower back part of her neck.  She frequently suffers migraines, dizziness spells and other sharp pains due to this wound which she has not been able to tend to medically.

Eric Francis Aquino Yera, one of the agents who attempted against the life of Yris this Thursday, is the same official who, in 2012, threatened to rape the 5 year old daughter of Damaris Moya- Lazara Contreras.

The attack against the president of the Rosa Parks Movement comes the day prior to International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world.

These beatings have not managed to force Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera to give up her fight in the past, which gives rise to an important question- what is the real news here?  Is it the fact that the dissident was repressed? Or, rather, that she keeps going out to the streets demanding rights for all Cubans, despite whatever kind of consequence?  

For more information form Cuba, contact:

Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’ – Cell Phone: +52-731-656 / Twitter: @antunezcuba


“I Fear that my Daughter May Die In this Hunger Strike”. #SOS

Damaris Moya Portieles, on hunger strike, and her young daughter


Alfredo Viso, an exiled Cuban activist has shared the audio above (in Spanish) of Barbara Moya Portieles, mother of hunger striker Damaris Moya Portieles, an active dissident who finds herself in a delicate state of health due to the protest which she has been carrying out for more than 2 weeks.  With this strike, Moya Portieles demands that the State Security agent Eric Francis Aquino Yera be taken before a tribunal for threatening to rape her 5 year old daughter.  This threat occurred when Damaris was detained in a prison cell after having participated in a candlelight vigil for the release of all Cuban political prisoners in the city of Santa Clara in early May.

The government agent, Aquino Yera, explicitly told Damaris that he would rape her daughter and also ordered various common prisoners- who have committed violent crimes- to repeat the threat.

As soon as Damaris was released on the following day, she took her daughter- Lazara Conteras– out of school and has not let her go back since, because she fears that she may really be raped or kidnapped.  After two weeks of not assisting class, the school principal began a legal process against the dissident, alleging that she has deprived her child of weeks of education.  However, Moya Portieles affirms that her small daughter will not return to school until they can assure her that nothing will happen to her, something that no school or government official has done to the date.

Her mother, and the vast majority of the internal Cuban opposition, have called on the international community to show solidarity with Damaris Moya Portieles and her family.  In fact, former political prisoner Jorge Luis Garcia “Antunez” announced the launch of a campaign by the name of “We Cannot Let Damaris Die”, which was convoked by the Orlando Zapata National Resistance Front.  This campaign asks all Cuban dissidents and everyday citizens to carry out peaceful activities in support of the human rights activist.

There is also the video below, published on the YouTube account of Antunez (in Spanish), in which Barbara Moya offers another harrowing testimony, expressing much fear for the life of her daughter and the security of her grand-daughter: