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

Police brutality leaves female dissident leader unconscious and hospitalized

An SOS for Yris Tamara Aguilera, Sara Marta Fonseca, Donaida Pérez, Yaimara Reyes, Julio Ignacio León, Eriberto Liranza Romero…

Yris Tamara Aguilera

Sara Marta Fonseca

The worrying situation of the recently detained Cuban dissidents remains the same.  Of the women arrested after a peaceful march through the streets of Rio Verde, Havana, very little is known, except that they have been severely beaten and the majority of them are disappeared, with unknown whereabouts.

Among them, one of the most worrying cases is that of Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, who has various serious health complications.  According to her husband, prominent dissident leader Jorge Luis Garcia ‘Antunez’, “various activists who witnessed the repression last weekend on September 24th (during the march marking the Day of the Resistance, held every 24th of the month) have affirmed that my wife Yris received a brutal beating and many kicks all over her arms and head“.  The same occurred to Donaida Perez Paceiro and Yaimara Reyes Mesa, both of whom together with Yris are part of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights.  “I am denouncing that these women are still arrested/disappeared and I am directly accusing the Castro dictatorship and its political police of this brutal repression and of everything that could occur“, declares Antunez, adding that, “the authorities of the country have been incapable of even informing the relatives of those jailed about their condition or their whereabouts“.

Antunez took the moment to also express gratitude for all the “signs of solidarity received from different parts of the world” and also emphasized that many dissidents within the island have also joined in solidarity.  He mentioned protests which demanded the release of these dissidents in places like Palmarito de Cauto, Palma Soriano, and a hunger strike “being carried out right now by members of the Central Cuban Coalition, a group headed by Idania Yanez Contreras“.  Up to the moment, the hunger strikers are Guillermo del Sol Perez, Michel Oliva López, Rolando Ferrer Espinosa, Alcides Rivera Rodríguez, and Julio Columbie Batista.

On the afternoon of Thursday, September 29th it was also reported that Eriberto Liranza Romero (detained on the previous day and released that same night) was once again arrested while he demanded to know the situation of Sara Marta Fonseca and her husband Julio Ignacio Leon, both detained.  During night hours of that same day, Antunez published a Twitter message in which he informed that ‘Julito’ Leon Fonseca, son of Sara and Julio Ignacio, was finally able to see his mother for a few minutes after he protested for hours in the 4th Police Unit of El Cerro.  According to Antunez, ‘Julito’ denounced that his mother has clear marks of a severe beating and was in a poor state of health.  He also learned that his father had been checked in to the Carlos Finlay Hospital of Marianao in the Prisoners Unit.  The information comes from an audio accompanying Antunez’s Tweet, which can be heard in Spanish here.

An SOS for Yris Tamara Aguilera, Sara Marta Fonseca, Donaida Pérez, Yaimara Reyes, Julio Ignacio León, Eriberto Liranza Romero…

Once Again, Women Beaten by Cuban Political Police (Part II- Idania Yanez Contreras)

On July 21st, the same day in which the most recent arrest and beating of Yris Tamra Perez Aguilera occurred, the repressive crack down also reached the city of Santa Clara, where the president of the Central Opposition Coalition, Idania Yanez Contreras, was intercepted (along with many other dissidents) by the authorities of the regime while she was trying to reach the trial of Michel Oliva Lopez. According to Yanez, Michel Oliva was being accused of “completely false” crimes.

Michel Oliva was arrested on July 20th under accusations of threatening the lives of others.  “Michel Oliva had an amicable relationship with his former wife“, explains Idania Yanez, “and now, supposedly it was her who was accusing him“, proving the falsity of the charges.  Yanez narrates that, “On Monday Michel was trying to get to the home of Antunez for a meeting, and on Tuesday the police was already looking for him.  On Wednesday, he was finally arrested.  We then found out that he was going to be tried here in Santa Clara on July 22nd“.  33 dissidents then agreed to go together to Michel’s trial in act of solidarity with the dissident.  “We knew that the accusation was a manipulation on behalf of State Security“, affirmed the dissident from Santa Clara.

These dissidents were rapidly intercepted and detained. “Damaris Moya, Maria Carmen Lopez, Victor Castillo, and myself were arrested.  The arrest was violent- we were shoved in cop cars while being beaten by the Special Brigade“, narrates Idania Yanez.  The physical blows did not cease once inside the vehicle.  “They hit me on my left arm, where I now have two large bruises and varios scratches“, she explains, adding that “I also have a rather large bruise on my right arm“.

The majority of the other dissidents suffered the same fates.  In the following audio clip, Yanez Contreras lists the names of those arrested and beaten:

In the end, Michel Lopez was sentenced under the crime of ‘threat’.  As punishment, he will have to pay a 500 peso fine in national currency.  And he has 72 hours- 3 days- to do so.  Meanwhile, Idania Yanez Contreras and the other dissidents were taken back, by force, to their homes aboard Special Brigade vehicles.  “We didn’t want that“, affirms Contreras, “I told them that they should save the money they were spending on gasoline to drive us back and instead use that money to buy some food for the people“.

Once Again, Women Beaten by Cuban Political Police (Part II- Idania Yanez Contreras)