Ladies in White Continue Marching: Sunday Report

Caridad Caballero Batista

As has occurred during the majority of Sundays of the present year, the Lady in White and independent journalist Caridad Caballero Batista was impeded from arriving to Sunday Mass at the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church in her city of residence- Holguin- due to an extensive police operation headed by the repressive agent Yordanys Maritnez Leon this past 24th of June.

The mentioned agent- Martinez Leon- has been responsible for the majority of violent acts against Caridad Caballero, her family, and other Ladies in White from Holguin, ordering acts of repudiation, beatings and arrests of those mentioned activists in order to keep them from arriving to Church every Sunday to pray for the freedom of all political prisoners and for a democratic future on the island.

Caballero Batista explains that this Sunday, she awoke to find her home “completely surrounded by a police operation, which consisted of female police agents, numerous motorcycles, and other officers“.  Because of this, the activist was not able to leave her home.

In Cacocum, Holguin, the Lady in White Berta Guerrero Segura was violently arrested by the political police at around 7:30 AM as she was trying to assist the same church in Holguin.  Meanwhile, two Ladies in White in Banes- Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez and Miladis Rosa– were trying to travel to Caballero Batista’s home to later march to church but they were intercepted and impeded by State Security agents from leaving their town.

Caballero Batista added that in the same province of Holguin, on Saturday June 23rd, the Lady in White Adisnidia Cruz Segreo, who was visiting her children in prison, was arrested.  Both of her sons are political prisoners- Marcos Maikel Cruz and Antonio Michel Lima Cruz. They were jailed for publicly listening to the rebellious and independent music of the rap-duo Los Aldeanos, and they have been considered prisoners of conscience.  Adisnidia was detained upon leaving the prison and held behind bars until afternoon hours on Sunday, after Mass had concluded.

Despite this crackdown, Caballero highlights that “4 women were able to make it to mass in the city of Holguin“.

The former political prisoner  José Daniel Ferrer García informed through ‘Háblalo sin Miedo’ that 4 Ladies in White managed to surpass police cordons and arrive to church in Bayamo.  Ferrer Garcia added that 35 Ladies in White assisted mass in the Sanctuary of El Cobre in Santiago de Cuba, while another 7 women made it to Catholic Mass in Guantanamo.

From the province of Matanzas, Caridad Burunate informed through her Twitter account (@CaridadBurunate) that 6 Ladies in White (among them, her) made it to mass in the city of Colon, despite a strong vigilance on behalf of Cuba’s political police.

Ladies in White Continue Marching: Sunday Report

274 Arrests in May; 6 New Prisoners of Conscience in Cuba

On their Monthly Report on Human Rights Violations in Cuba, the independent dissident news agency Hablamos Press is reporting that just in the month of May there have been at least 274 arrests motivated by political reasons in Cuba.  According to the list, which only captures the violence of this year, the repression increases more and more as the months pass, with the exception of February in which there were 440 arrests (due to the large scale protests in honor of the anniversary of the fallen hunger striking martyr Orlando Zapata Tamayo).  For now, here is their excellent and well detailed report (in spanish).

Although the majority of these arrests lasted (in some cases) hours, days, or weeks, the most recent example of a case where the arrest culminated in actual prison sentences is that of four young men who were sentenced to various years behind the bars after handing out leaflets with pro-human rights information in Havana during the beginning of this year.  They were sentenced under the pretexts of “public disorder” , and these prisoners are:

Luis Enrique Labrador
33 años de edad; 5 años de condena

David Piloto
40 años de edad; 5 años de condena

Walfrido Rodríguez
42 años de edad; 5 años de condena

Yordanis Martínez
23 años de edad; 3 años de condena

In response to these absurd and unjust sentences, relatives of these new prisoners protested outside the Havana tribunal:

Also, two brothers were sentenced under the cynic pretexts of “public disorder” and “insults to national symbols”.  Their crime? They participated in public peaceful protests against the Cuban government and they were publicly listening to the music of the hip-hop duo, Los Aldeanos, whose lyrics tend to criticize the political direction of the island.  These brothers are:

Marcos Maikel Lima Cruz
33 años de edad; 3 años de condena

Antonio Michel Lima Cruz
28 años de edad; 2 años de condena

These are the 6 new Cuban prisoners of conscience.

As we know, the Cuban government releases some and quickly fills those empty cells with others.  They have done the same exact thing since 1959.

Meanwhile, many other dignified Cubans, whether they be classified as prisoners of conscience or not, languish behind the bars of the Cuban dungeons just for defending the freedom and rights of all Cubans, cases like that of Andy Frometa Cuenca who has maintained a lengthy hunger strike.

For more information, Uncommon Sense has some more reports about the recent arrests.

274 Arrests in May; 6 New Prisoners of Conscience in Cuba