This is how Yosmel Martinez Corcho, a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in the province of Villa Clara, ended up after a beating at the hands of State Security collaborators on the night of Saturday, June 22nd.
The images shown in this post were sent by Maydelis Gonzalez Almeida (@maydeliscuba1), a member of the Cuban Reflection Movement in the municipality of Quemado de Guines, where the violence occurred. Gonzalez explains on her Twitter account that the main aggressor was Ariel Acosta, known amongst locals for his violence against dissidents.
Gonzalez Almeida explained to this blog that political police agents told her that Ariel Acosta had been detained, but she later confirmed that this was false. The aggressor was spotted in his home just hours after the beating.
“This is proof that nothing has changed within this government“, said Maydelis in reference to the supposed reforms the regime has been trying to promote through it’s international propaganda.
This news is still a developing story and we have not been able to communicate with Yosmel Martinez yet but here’s the video of the scars left by the violent assault, sent from a cellphone in Cuba:
Each day, there are more Cubans who, through the “internet without internet”, use Twitter to narrate the real Cuba and to shatter censorship. They are dissidents, bloggers, intellectuals, farmers…Cubans hailing from diverse corners of the country. It’s difficult for them to send out these messages, considering that it costs 1 dollar (an elevated amount for Cubans), and yet, they still do it.
The following are a couple of follow recommendations of new or recent Twitter users, straight from the island:
Maydelis González Almeida
Resident of Quemado de Guines, Villa Clara, member of the Cuban Reflection Movement. She and her family are constantly persecuted by the political police but they continue defying the dictatorship out in the streets.
Carlos Michael Morales
An independent journalist and alternative blogger (‘El Amante de la Libertad’), Carlos Michael is also a member of the Central Opposition Coalition. He has used his account to denounce cases of political repression, social issues and achievements by pro-freedom activists.
Isael Poveda Silva
Member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance and of their information agency ADO-Press, Isael Poveda tweets from Guantanamo, narrating the reality of that Eastern region: cholera outbreaks, signs which appear in public with anti-regime messages, public marches, evictions, and more.
Santa Gonzalez Pedroso
A very brave Cuban woman, member of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, she carries out frequent public protests alongside other dissidents in Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila. Santa Gonzalez does an excellent job on Twitter denouncing human rights violations in that area and documenting the growing level of opposition.
Tweeting from San German, Holguin, Eliecer just opened his account, promising important news from the Cuba ignored by the state media. Palma has been reporting important social issues, like a recent massive strike by carriage drivers in San German.
Yanisbel Valido Perez
One of the most active young dissidents in the city of Santa Clara, Villa Clara province. Valido Perez is the representative of the Cuban Rafters without Frontiers Movement and member of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. She is frequently arrested by the political police but does not stop carrying out public activities in favor of freedom, nor does she stop informing about them on her account.
These were just some of the new Twitter users from Cuba. Everyday there are more. Give them a follow!
Maydelis González Almeida, member of the dissident Cuban Reflection Movement and resident of Quemado de Guines, in Cuba’s central Villa Clara province, sent this brief video straight from the island today, Thursday February 28th, where various dissidents take to the street of that town to demand “human rights for all Cubans“. The march coincided with the fifth anniversary in which the Cuban dictatorship signed the social, political, economic and cultural human rights covenants, of which none have been ratified or upheld. In the activity, other activists such as Nosbel Jomolca and former political prisoner Jorge Vazquez Chaviano (Central Opposition Coalition) participated.
For more information from Cuba, contact Maydelis Gonzalez- Cell Phone: +58-217-833 / Twitter: @maydeliscuba1
“With all and for the good of all” – one of the most famous phrases by Jose Marti is, perhaps, also one of the ideas which the totalitarian system in Cuba fears the most, proven- year after year- every 28th of January when countless uniformed agents are sent out throughout the island to try and impede civic demonstrations to commemorate the anniversary of his birth. 2013, the 160th anniversary, was no exception.
The police operations began on Sunday the 27th. In Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, the home of dissident Yuniesky Dominguez Gonzalez- member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU)- was attacked with feces, staining the door and windows. Dominguez directly blamed the political police for this, since he and his wife, Lady in White Taimi Vega Biscet, had plans to carry out a tribute to Marti.
“These are methods employed by the political police, I hold them responsible as well as the Communist Party and all other instruments of the regime“, said the activist.
Meanwhile, despite police vigilance and direct threats by State Security, in Havana 41 Ladies In White managed to carry out their traditional march to Santa Rita Church and later to Mahatma Gandhi Park (See video, courtesy of ‘Hablemos Press’). These women deposited flowers in a statue of Marti in that park and commenced to read various phrases by the poet.
In Cardenas, Matanzas, Leticia Ramos Herreria and other Ladies in White marched for 26 blocks until they arrived to a local park to also deposit flowers in another Jose Marti statue. This achievement bothered the authorities to the point that State Security officials summoned Ramos to a police unit for the following day. The activist recounts that she was threatened and offended during the interrogation but that she refused to sign any sort of document and let them know very clear that she would continue going out to the streets of Cuba.
On Monday, the 28th, the repression increased but so did the peaceful and public demonstrations. In the same province of Matanzas, but in the city of Colon, Juan Francisco Rangel was also summoned to the police station and later surrounded in his own home by agents to try and impede a march. However, he managed to take to the streets along with other activists from the Pedro Luis Boitel Party for Democracy, successfully carrying out the activity and depositing flowers for Marti, according to a Tweet published by Carlos Olivera (@COliveraCuba).
In Santa Clara, Villa Clara, a group of dissidents from the Central Opposition Coalition also took to the streets shouting slogans in favor of change and honoring Marti. They were all violently arrested, according to a report by independent journalist and blogger Carlos Michael Morales Rodríguez.
Not too far from that city, in Placetas, members of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front carried out a protest against the regime, also screaming slogans such as “Jose Marti Lives“, as was captured in an audio published by ‘Radio Republica’ in the voice of dissident leader Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’.
A successful march with signs containing anti-regime messages and Jose Marti phrases took place on the streets of Quemado de Guines, Villa Clara, by various members of the Cuban Reflection Movement, among them Maydelis Gonzalez Almeida, who said the march “took place despite strong police vigilance“.
Despite acts of repudiation and some arrests, in Camaguey a public activity was carried out by activists of the Pro-Human Rights Party of Cuba, said Daniel Millet Jimenez.
In Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila, dissidents of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights and from the Pedro Luis Boitel Resistance Movement congregated to honor Jose Marti.
Throughout the Eastern region of the country, members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance in Baracoa, according to Francisco Luis Manzanet Ortiz, and of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy (CYMD) in Velasco, according to Yonart Rodríguez Avila, also carried out their own meetings, marches and demonstrations in honor of Marti. Yoandri Montoya Aviles said that in Bayamo, members of the Youth Movement of Bayamo paid homage to the “Apostle of Cuba”.
CYMD also carried out other activities in the municipality of Arroyo Naranjo, in Havana, publishing some photos of the events in their blog. In the same province, Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca held a vigil and an encounter in her home located in Rio Verde, Boyeros.
UNPACU also published some testimonies on their YouTube channel detailing repressive actions against activists for trying to carry out their own tributes in Guantanamo.
Former political prisoner of conscience Ivan Hernandez Carrillo published a series of Twitter messages (@ivanlibre) denouncing that dissidents Pastor Alexis Huerta and Carlos Alberto Gómez, members of the Independent and Democratic Cuba Party (CID), were violently arrested in the central city of Sancti Spiritus also for trying to carry out similar tributes as those occurring throughout the country. Cases of repression, police cordons, and beatings were also confirmed in Pinar del Rio against other CID members and the Pinar del Rio Democratic Alliance.
These were only a few of the events which took place on the island between the 27th and 28th of January, when Cubans paid tribute to one of the figures most representative of their culture- a culture which does not belong just to one political group or dictator.
“A just cause, from the bottom of a cave, is more powerful than any army”
On Wednesday, January 23rd, dissident Orlando Triana Gonzalez, member of the Cuban Reflection Movement, was sentenced to 2 years and 8 months of prison due to his political activism. The prison sentence was dictated in the Tribunal of Camajuani and numerous dissidents were arrested throughout the central province of Villa Clara as they tried to make it to the trial to show solidarity with Triana, among them Librado Linares Garcia, leader of the MCR.
But a group of 4 dissidents in the municipality Quemado de Guines- 3 of MCR and 1 from FANTU- carried out a protest march with signs condemning the sentence and demanding freedom for Triana Gonzalez. The demonstrators were Maydelis González Almeida, Nosbel Jomolca, Juan Carlos Fernández Morales and Yosmel Martínez.
“Upon hearing the news of the sentence in the afternoon, we carried out a march down Second Avenue South in Quemado de Guines with signs and shouting slogans demanding freedom for Orlando Triana and all political prisoners“, said Gonzalez Almeida, “this dictatorial regime has committed yet another one of its injustices“.
The pro-freedom activist adds that the trial was “based on lies and false testimonies against the human rights defender Orlando Triana“.
During the protest, neighbors did not repudiate the demonstrators when they shouted slogans of freedom, while political police agents did not have time to carry out arrests, affirmed Maydelis. The video of the protest below:
Meanwhile, Librado Linares, who spent various hours detained in a police vehicle for trying to make it to the trial, said that the Movement which he leads will continue demanding freedom for Orlando Triana Gonzalez.
This past 16th of January, State Security used some very vulgar methods to bother, harass and offend dissident Maydelis Gonzalez Almeida and her family in Quemado de Guines, Villa Clara. In this brief interview, Gonzalez tells us about these mechanisms being used by repressors on the island, the reaction of everyday people towards the Cuban opposition, and the handing out copies of the Citizen’s Demand for Another Cuba:
PDLI: Throughout the island, copies of the Citizens Demand for Another Cuba are being handed out. In your area- Quemado de Guines, Villa Clara- activists of the Cuban Reflection Movement and other organizations have been giving out these documents as well. You have mentioned that the times this has occurred the people have reacted positively. What happened this past 16th of January when these Demands were given out for the fourth time in that region?
Maydelis González: In Quemado de Guinez, during the afternoon of January 16th, dissidents Nosbel Jomorca and Juan Carlos Fernandez from the Cuban Reflection Movement, and Oscar Martinez of FANTU, walked throughout Second Avenue South, one of the most centric streets in Quemado, and handed out more than 60 copies of the Demand for Another Cuba.
PDLI: And what was the reaction of the people?
Maydelis González: Some people would give the papers back to us, but most of them accepted it with much valor, despite the presence of State Security and various collaborators. In fact, there was one elderly man- he must have been about 80- who received a copy from Nosbel and he asked him to please read it to him because he was illiterate. Nosbel went ahead and read the demands to him. The man said that it was a very good project and that he would take it home with him.
This all occurred while I took photos. The objective was to inform the people about their rights as citizens of this country.
PDLI: You have denounced that State Security used a very low and degrading technique against your family after the handing out of these documents…
Maydelis González: Yes. I live in Quemado de Guines, on 2nd Avenue South, house #55. After handing out copies of the Demand on Wednesday, during the night, State Security was apparently very upset. So they used very corrupt people to carry out their dirty work.
They put 4 heads of cows outside my door. These heads also had signs hanging from them with messages offending my husband, my daughters, and myself, with very obscene words. They were attacking the morality of my daughters, as well. There were 4 heads that night, but neighbors have told my husband that throughout the entire block there are many other heads lying around with more signs with messages against us. In fact, there are many starving street dogs lurking throughout the different blocks, following the scent of these heads. .
PDLI: What exactly did the signs say?
**[The following phrases were the exact content written on the signs. They are vulgar and grotesque, but they represent the characteristics of the repressors at the service of the Cuban dictatorship]:
Maydelis González: There were four heads with signs. The signs had messages written in the front and in the back. One of the heads read “Nosbel is a tarru” [a derogatory term in Cuba for when a man knows his wife is having an affair with someone else and does nothing about it] as well as the “Citizens Demands for another Cuba are tarru initiatives”. The other said “Maydelis, whore” and the other “Maydelis is a deadbeat”. The other said “Nosbel is an idiot and he knows it” and the most grotesque of all, which used the name of Juan Carlos Fernandez, a young dissident who joins us in giving out flyers, said “Nosbel, Juan Carlos has sex with your daughters”.
My two daughters are minors- one is 15 and the other 13.
PDLI: Is this the first time they do something like this to you?
Maydelis González: No. But I’ve noticed that they are planning something against us, perhaps a beating, because various people have told us that the word out on the street is that they [the regime] are waiting for us to go out again to beat us with sticks.
They feel threatened because the repartition of Demands for Another Cuba has been a success; the people have really accepted this project. This was the fourth time that we give them out successfully. The people are starting to understand what their rights are and are becoming more motivated to support us in achieving a new Cuba.
PDLI: Those people which you mention- the ‘everyday people’- how do they treat you all, the human rights defenders?
Maydelis González: Well, sometimes it really hurts me when I see people who do not do anything, don’t care, or lend themselves to snitch on us and/or repress us. Sometimes you almost lose the desire to keep fighting because we are fighting for them as well. But we do not give up, because there are more of those who help us than those who collaborate with the dictatorship.
In fact, about a month ago State Security carried out a beating against Nosbel and me at a bus terminal in front of my daughters, and a group of people that were there went up to us and started pushing the police and other agents away calling them “abusers”.
This fourth time which we went out to distribute copies of the Demand I saw many more people accepting them than other times- older people, young people, students… all ages.
I know that people who lend themselves to repress exist, but I see that there are many more of those who support us. And that’s why I am happy. We have managed to achieve a public space. The regime responds with repression as a way to counter their fear, because the people want change, they support us, and they are losing their fear, and besides, this communist system is about to collapse.
PDLI: What message would you like to send out to your oppressors?
Maydelis González: Amid these dirty methods, all these low maneuvers- of the many- it has neither been the first nor will it be the last time, because we will continue firm in our stance. They feel very threatened and this is their reaction.
PDLI: And a message for your fellow Cubans in and out of the island…
Maydelis González: I exhort all Cubans who suffer like we do, to come together and lose your fear. You can count on us dissidents as examples. I ask you follow our steps.
I have 3 daughters and have continued fighting, and here I am, and will continue. I am a mother, a woman. We all want change, that democratic change, we all want to see a free Cuba, a Cuba which is not repressed and which is not suffering as it currently is.
Raise your voices, have valor, and keep moving forward. I ask you support the opposition movement. I know that Cubans in and out of the island all want the same thing: freedom for Cuba.
For more information, Maydelis Gonzalez can be followed through Twitter on @maydeliscuba1 or can be reached via phone at +011-5358-217-833.
Minutes before 2012 came to an end, members of the Cuban Reflection Movement (MCR) met in the ‘La Libertad’ Park in the town of Vuelta, in Camajuani, Villa Clara, to carry out a protest demanding freedom for Cuba. The following day- the first of 2013- these activists took it upon themselves to carry out a peaceful march while they carried signs with pro-freedom messages. Both civic actions occurred without arrests and were well-received by everyday citizens.
Maydelis Gonzalez Almeida, member of the MCR, said that the first protest was carried out by 5 dissidents, who were (besides her) Niurcy Acosta Pacheco, Raúl González, Nosbel Jomorca and Juan Carlos Fernández.
“We held up a sign in ‘La Libertad’ Park, with a message demanding freedom and democracy for Cuba in 2013“, recounted the dissident, “We were there for various minutes in that centric area and a number of citizens stopped by and read our sign. It was a very positive thing”.
For the first of January, the same group of activists, along with 3 minors who wished to participate in the demonstration (Sumely Santana González, Juliani Santana González and Daniel David Santana González) took to the streets of the same town of Vuelta and carried out a peaceful march.
Gonzalez Almeida says that they “walked for various blocks with a sign which read: ‘There is no such thing as the triumph of the revolution if there is no freedom and no democracy’. We walked through a very busy area of Vuelta. In fact, we even walked past the police unit of the town while carrying the sign“.
After some minutes, the march culminated without arrests or other repressive actions at the home of Niurcy Acosta.
“I feel that we have won a significant space because the people were staring at us, they were observing us, but at no point in time did they react negatively to us. We achieved our march“, expressed Maydelis, “We always have to say the good things that are happening, as well… we feel very happy because we feel we are gaining even more space here in Cuba“.
With this positive momentum, the dissident is of the opinion that very soon “the old dream of so many Cubans in and out of Cuba can be achieved: freedom“.
“But to get there, we have to all be united, despite the way we think. We must come together through love, truth, and democracy. And, like that, we will continue in the struggle“.