Members of different opposition groups were targets of acts of repudiation this past June 18th in the municipality of Gibara, in the province of Holguin.
Gabriel Arcángel Martínez Leyva, director of the Republican Party of Cuba in the mentioned municipality, said that the actions – organized by functionaries of the regime – began at 7:30 AM and ended near 12 in the afternoon.
“An act of repudiation was carried out around the home of Trinidad Rodriguez. Agents of the Rapid Response Brigade, the political police and of the National Revolutionary Police surrounded the house“, explained the activist, “it was a total of about 30 or 40 people who were shouting at us and threatening to beat us if we stepped out of the house. This happened because we had plans to go to the Gibara Terminal to travel to the town of Velasco“.
‘Acts of repudiation’ is the name given to the situation where the Cuban government organizes groups of people who shout offenses and threats at dissidents outside their homes. Many times, the actions end in house raids and the vast majority of its participants are members of the regime. Very few times do activists confirm the participants as neighbors, and when they do, they are usually drunkards or criminals.
Martinez Leyva considers that the persecution and harassment are due to various social projects that are being carried out in the area.
“This happens because of some projects carried out by the Republican Party of Cuba and by FLAMUR for the benefit of all Cubans“, said Martinez, “among these projects is ‘One Currency’ and ‘Increase and Lower’“.
The latter of the initiatives demands the totalitarian system to increase salaries of Cuban workers and lower prices of products and services of basic needs, like food, clothing and transportation.
Acts of repudiation also took place at the same time against other activists, among them Ylienly Aguilera Santos and Arselio Osvaldo Cruz Velazquez, members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in Gibara.
Repression against other members of the opposition in the province of Holguin have increased within the last months. The Ladies in White in the area have also been denouncing these situations.
For example, Berta Guerrero Segura, representative of the Ladies in White in that province, has said that State Security agents arrest a number of women each Sunday so that they do not make it to Mass, while other members like Gertrudis Ojeda Suárez (in the municipality of Banes) and Mildred Noemí Sánchez Infante (in the municipality of Antilla) have backed up these claims, seeing as they are some of the women who are quickly arrested by the political police when they step outside of their homes each Sunday.
A number of signs with messages in favor of the everyday people and against the Cuban dictatorship appeared in different parts of the municipality of Antilla, Holguin province, this Sunday June 9th.
Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante, a member of the Ladies in White and also of the pro-freedom groups Eastern Democratic Alliance (ADO) and the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) said that the majority of the signs read “Down with Hunger“.
She explained that the mentioned slogan is something which demonstrates the discontent and desperation of the citizens on the island, as well as one of the main concerns of Cubans: finding food.
Among the places where the signs appeared was the popular cafeteria known as “La Popular” located in Maximo Gomez Street and on the walls of the Cuban Women’s Federation office on Maceo Street. These said “Down with Fidel”.
Sanchez Infante said that the apparition of the signs led the National Revolutionary Police to worry.
“The PNR agents quickly showed up and erased the signs on the Federation’s office“, said the activist, “the messages reflect the true feelings of the people of Antilla“.
Sometimes, signs are hung by members of the internal opposition while other times they are placed by neighbors and everyday citizens who express themselves in this manner.
Other common messages on the signs are “Down with Unemployment”, “Fair Salaries”, and “Food for our Children”.
For more information from Cuba, contact: Mildred Noemí Sánchez Infante – Cell Phone: +52-615-097
Wearing flags with the image of the Virgin of Charity which were donated during her visit to the Ermita de la Caridad in Miami, Berta Soler led the march of the Ladies in White in Cuba’s capital, Havana, this past Sunday June 2nd. The women marched throughout the country, despite the presence of the political police.
A total of 68 women participated in Mass at the Santa Rita Church of Havana and marched down 5th Avenue afterward, according to a report by dissident leader Angel Moya Acosta. It was the first march in which Soler participated after returning to the island last week after an international trip denouncing the reality of Cuba.
More than 10 women participated in Mass and carried out marches in the province of Matanzas.
In the Eastern province of Guantanamo, 12 Ladies in White marched and made it to Mass, according to a message published by Sayli Navarro on her Twitter account (@SayliNavarro).
67 Ladies in White marched through the streets of Santiago de Cuba province and made it to Mass in the National Cobre Shrine, an emblematic temple within Cuban culture.
The website “Ya Cuba Twittea” reported that at least 3 Ladies in White from Santiago were taken down from a bus by force by the political police. The agents impeded them from arriving to Mass.
In the province of Holguin, various women were arrested.
Among the detainees were Rosa Maria Naranjo (Holguin), Danay Mendiola (Holguin), Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante (Antilla) and Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez (Banes). The latter- Ojeda Suarez- explained to this blog that the repression against her is constant. In fact, she recounts that when she was detained, a political police agent tried to handcuff her and physically harassed her.
Eleiny Villamonte, a young member of the female group in Holguin, confirmed that despite repression 5 women “were able to march and make it to Mass in the municipality of Cacocum and in the municipality of Holguin“.
Berta Soler also told “Marti Noticias” that she has plans of expanding the Ladies in White movement, creating delegations in all the provinces of the country.
Each Sunday, police forces are deployed throughout the municipality of Antilla, in Holguin province, with the mission of carrying out an arrest. It’s not about a citizen who robs stores, or who breaks into homes or who kills or harasses other citizens. No. It has to do with a Lady in White: Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante. The police cordons are also activated when there are other civic activities taking place, just like the monthly encounter which the Ladies in white carry out. The harassment has been so severe that the mentioned activist has not been able to assist Sunday Mass in 2013 so far to pray for the freedom of all political prisoners as all these women do throughout the island.
Sanchez Infante was arrested at around 5 AM this past Friday, May 17th, as she was trying to travel from Antilla to the city of Holguin to participate in the monthly meeting held by the Ladies in White in that province. The main agent in charge of the arrest was Yosvany Reyes Maltrapa.
“Agent Maltrapa twisted my left arm and with his other hand he punched my mouth“, explained Mildred. The activist was kept in a dungeon of a police unit until a couple of minutes past 10 AM, after the meeting had come to an end.
A couple of State Security agents also threatened Mildred’ mother, telling her that she should “talk her daughter out” of participating in dissident activities. If she didn’t do so, they would both suffer the consequences, one agent told the lady.
Mildred suffered yet another threat. “Agent Yosvany told me that he was going to attack me, or ‘get me’, one of these days when I was alone“, she denounces.
“They always arrest me“, expressed Mildred, “in 2013 so far I have not been able to assist Mass in the city of Holguin…not even here in my own neighborhood of Antilla. When the police sees that Mass ends, then they release me. I don’t have the exact number of arrests I’ve had so far in 2013. I have not been able to participate in the reunions of the Ladies in White, in mass, or in another other peaceful activities of the opposition“.
Listen to Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante’s testimony (in Spanish) here:
This repression against the Ladies in White and other pro-freedom activists in the province of Holguin is constant. Berta Guerrero, resident of the city of Holguin and representantive of the female group for the province, denounces that each Sunday a number of women are arrested when they try to make it to Mass. In fact, a police agent has even told them that they would have to “buy a helicopter” if they wanted to make it to church.
For more informaiton from Cuba, contact: Mildred Noemí Sánchez Infante- Cell Phone: +52-615-097
This 17th of March was the first Sunday in which the Ladies in White marched throughout the streets of Cuba with their leader- Berta Soler– out of the country. The women also dedicated their weekly march in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Black Spring, when 75 dissidents (the majority independent journalists) were arrested and sentenced to years of prison after quick trials.
Ivan Hernandez Carillo, an ex political prisoner from this same group of the 75, informed on his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) that in Havana 51 Ladies in White marched and made it to Mass at the Santa Rita Church.
Hernandez also pointed out that in the province of Matanzas a total of 18 women marched. 4 did so in the city of Colon, 3 in Perico, 1 in the Espana Central and another 10 in Cardenas. In Ciego de Avila province 2 women reportedly made it to Mass.
In the Eastern region of the country, 60 Ladies in White assisted Mass in the National ‘El Cobre’ Shrine (Santiago de Cuba) and 8 made it in Guantanamo province.
Former political prisoner (also from the 75) and leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, denounced on his Twitter account (@jdanielferrer) that a group of Ladies in White in the province of Holguin were arrested by the political police, among them the representative of the group in that area, Berta Guerrero Segura.
“These dignified Cuban women suffer persecution, violence, arbitrary arrests, economic asphyxiation, hunger, etc.”, highlighted another tweet by Ferrer.
Isael Poveda Silva, from the Eastern Democratic Alliance, said on his Twitter account (@IsaelCuba) that Lady in White Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante was “insulted, offended, and arrested by State Security agents” as she was stepping out of her home in Antilla, Holguin. The same thing happened to her last Sunday.
Meanwhile, Berta Soler, national representative of the group, has been denouncing the situation each of these women face on her first trip ever outside of Cuba, on international forums and interviews with diverse media outlets. With the slogan “Yes to Cuba, No to Castro“, Soler has declared that the Ladies in White and the opposition in general have grown stronger despite the regime’s violent tactics and that, in reality, there have been no actual reforms by the totalitarian system, instead “tiny moves” which try to give an image of change to the rest of the world.
The repressive wave known as the Black Spring of 2003 was what led to the creation of this female group, made up by mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and aunts which demanded freedom for their relatives.
This Sunday was also the third anniversary in which many of these women were beaten and violently arrested by police agents in Havana, just days after the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo. These acts of violence are common each Sunday, but when this happened on that March of 2010, the images were captured by the cameras of the international media and went around the world, inspiring a high level of solidarity, including a march of more than 100,000 people in Miami just days later.
State Security unleashed a wave of arrests, a Catholic administrator refused to lend his temple to shelter them, and the weather conditions consisted of heavy rains and lots of cold, and yet more than 100 Ladies in White marched throughout Cuba and participated in their respective churches to pray for the freedom of all political prisoners and the entire country this Sunday, March 3rd.
As each Sunday, former political prisoner of conscience Ivan Hernandez Carrillo used his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) to document what was happening with these women throughout the island.
One of the first tweets published by Hernanez informed that in the province of Pinardel Rio 4 Ladies in White managed to march and arrive to Mass, while another 6 were detained. “Marti Noticias” published an article about the violent of Noralis Martin, the representative of the group in that province, alongside her husband Jose Rolando Casares.
The names of other Ladies detained in Pinar del Rio were Lin Elaida Quiñónez, Caridad Peinado Gutiérrez, Belkis Pérez Pérez, Yaima Ledesma Santana and Yaneris Rodríguez Morejón.
In Havana, despite heavy rains, 44 Ladies in White defied the vigilance of the state police and marched down 5th Avenue and participated in Mass at Santa Rita Church, accompanied by more than 30 male dissidents.
Hernandez Carrillo tweeted that in Matanzas province a total of 14 women made it to Mass. 7 participated in the city of Cardenas, 5 in Colon, 1 in Perico and 1 in Roque.
4 Ladies in White participated in Mass in the central province of Villa Clara, while another 3 were detained. These were Lisandra Farrai Rodríguez, Aime Moya Montes de Oca and Malvelis González Reyes.
In the Eastern region of the country, 4 women were arrested in Granma, 9 made it to Mass in Guantanamo, and a total of 54 Ladies in White participated in Mass at the El Cobre National Shrine, despite having slept the night out in the open after an administrator of that temple refused to offer them shelter.
Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), published a series of tweets (@jdanielferrer) recounting the situation.
“Without any doubts, the administrator known as Enrique, is being hostile towards the Ladies in White due to pressures of the political police”, read one message, while another signaled that “Enrique refused shelter to the Ladies in White because, supposedly, there were not enough rooms available in the Sanctuary…Afterwards, he gave various people rooms, including a political police agent who went there to watch the Ladies in White”.
“The day that the Cuban people open the archives of the G2 (secret police), many will be shocked to see how many collaborators were in different churches”, Ferrer Garcia expressed in another message.
Meanwhile, in Holguin 8 women arrived at church and another 4 were beaten by the police after Mass. The victims of the violence were Romelia Piña, Marlenis Abreu, Mirta Molina Leyva and Glisedis Piña González.
Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo, a young member of the group, told this blog that at around 9 AM she was violently arrested by the police upon trying to make it to the Jesus Chrsit Redeemer of MenChurch in Holguin.
“The State Security agent known as ‘The Polish’ rushed up at me…he grabbed me by one of my arms and told me I was arrested“, said Villamonte, who peacefully resisted but was forcefully introduced into a police vehicle. She was taken to the police unit known as “La Segunda”.
“They left me there in a salon with an immigration agent. I was then taken to a room where a lady approached me and told me her story…she said she was very tired because she had made countless accusations against a man who had threatened her daughter with death but police authorities had completely ignored her case“, says Eleiny, “I told her that that’s how things are in this country, that they waited until someone was killed in order to act“.
When the immigration agent heard this, she told the Lady in White to shut up. “She nearly slapped me and told me various times to shut my mouth because, if not, I would suffer the consequences“. Eleiny stood by her opinions and, under various threats, was finally released at around 12:30 PM, after Mass had come to an end.
In the case of Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante, a Lady in White from Antilla, she was arrested as soon as she stepped out of her house on her way to the city of Holguin to participate in Mass alongside the other women, according to declarations she made to “Radio Republica” in this audio. Mildred was threatened by the police that she could not travel to Holguin during the weekends.
Berta Soler, representative of the Ladies in White at a national level, told the same medium that “just one Lady in White that arrives to any church in the country means that Christ is listening to our prayers…for the liberation of all political prisoners and the respect to human rights. And one Lady in White represents all Ladies in White in the country”.
At around 3 PM on Wednesday, February 20th, leaders of different dissident groups were arrested by the State Police in the Eastern municipality of Antilla after a series of meetings.
The detainees were Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina, general coordinator of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, Yoandri Montoya, president of the Bayamo Youth Movement, and Eriberto Liranza Romero, president of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy. After the arrests, all the dissidents were abandoned in different desolate locations throughout the province of Holguin.
Eriberto Liranza, from Havana, recounts that he was visiting the Eastern region of the country since February 14th and that he had been trying to dodge police vigilance and persecution since then.
“On the 15th, I evaded persecution in the city of Velasco, in the municipality of Gibara. I was with a couple of other activists and we managed to escape without being arrested until arriving to Antilla“, where he participated in the 9th Anniversary celebration of the Eastern Democratic Alliance along with another 50 activists.
He explains that after carrying out another commemorative activity in Antilla during morning hours of the 20th, a group of dissidents congregated outside the home of Lady in White Mildred Noemi Sanchez and carried out a protest, shouting slogans like “Orlando Zapata Lives” and “Down with the dictatorship“. Zapata was the political prisoner who, after tortures, mistreatment, and a lengthy hunger strike, died on February 23rd, 2010. He is considered a martyr and symbol of resistance by the internal Cuban opposition.
“It seems that this protest was too much for the regime. It bothered them very much that we were freely going out to the streets“, said Liranza.
It was at that moment that the arrests occurred.
“They arrested a group of us- Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, Yoandri Montoya, Delmides Fidalgo and me… they aggressively put the handcuffs on us, they put them on very tightly, hurting our hands and arms“, recounts the dissident, “then they shoved us into police vehicles, where there was a glass window dividing us from the drivers seat. It was extremely hot inside“. They were taken to the Pedernales Unit, a center notorious for its mistreatment and torture of recluses, both political and common ones.
After various minutes in Pedernales, where they were mistreated and threatened with further repression, each of the activists were abandoned in different desolate areas. Rodriguez Lobaina was left in the rural area of Holguin known as La Caballeriza, while Liranza was left on the outskirts of Holguin, afterward being forced to leave the province. The whereabouts of Yoandri Montoya were unknown for a while but it was later confirmed that he arrived to his city of residence, Bayamo.
Montoya has been denouncing the increase of violence on behalf of the regime against him and other activists from the Movement which he heads in Bayamo. On recent occasions, in declarations to this blog and other independent outlets, the young activist has said he has been detained numerous times and that the young members of the group live under the constant vigilance of State Security officials and collaborators. In this month of February, police agents threatened Yoandri with taking him to prison. The dissident explains that this repression is due to the group’s increasing opposition on the streets of Cuba, demanding freedom, as well as their work with the community- one of the most prominent projects being the foundation of numerous independent gyms which provide exercise services and equipment for young locals, free of charge.
That same Wednesday, during morning hours, other detentions of Eastern Democratic Alliance members were reported, as were the cases of Yubel Cansino Acosta, Miladis Piñales Rosa, Yoandri Naoki Ricardo Mir (in Banes) and Luis Noa Silva (in Baracoa), according to Twitter messages published by Rolando Rodriguz (@LobainaCuba). Noa Silva was summoned to a police unit on the following day, where he was threatened with years of prison if he chose to continue his activism.
The detentions of the leaders of these different pro-freedom groups unleashed a wave of solidarity among other members of the opposition in the Eastern region, such as other activists of the Eastern Democratic Alliance in the neighborhood of Los Negritos, in Banes, as well as other delegations of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy throughout Holguin.
Meanwhile, former political prisoner of conscience and general coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, published a series of tweets (@jdanielferrer), denouncing the arrests. Minutes later, Ferrer reported that members of UNPACU in Holguin carried out peaceful actions, demanding the liberation of the detainees.
“I am very thankful of all the brothers who heard what was happening to us and protested for our freedom“, expressed Eriberto Liranza, “We appreciate all the support…I have the best of opinions of the opposition here in Holguin. There is lots of youth involved, and there is a strong spirit of protest against the tyranny“.
For more information contact Eriberto Liranza in Cuba: +5353- 341-682