These are only some of the many Cubans who reside behind bars in a prison cell for defending human rights and freedom in Cuba. Let us demand their immediate release!
Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia
Leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), he has organized countless civic demonstrations on the streets of Eastern Cuba during the past year. He was violently arrested on April 2nd, 2012. Various political police agents raided his home and took him and his wife, the Lady in White Belkis Cantillo, away. The latter was released a few days later. In addition, the agents took books, voice recorders, cameras, pictures, and other materials used by the activist to promote freedom on the island. They also physically assaulted other family members and dissidents who were in the house at the time. The three young children of the couple witnessed all the violence. Up to the moment, Ferrer Garcia is being kept in a cell in the police unit of Versalles in Santiago de Cuba. On April 23rd, Ferrer began a hunger strike, which he canceled three days later upon being able to receive a visit from his wife. Ferrer is suffering from serious pains due to some ulcers he has and has lost several pounds. Communist functionaries have told Belkis Cantillo that Ferrer is being accused of “public disorder”. Cantillo, as well as countless other Cuban dissidents, have demanded the release of Ferrer, denouncing that the Cuban regime wishes to condemn him to various years of prison, continuing his sentence during the Black Spring of 2003 when 75 activists were rounded up and jailed. Use the hashtag #FREEjdanielferrer on Twitter to demand his immediate release!
Jorge Vazquez Chaviano
An active member of the Central Opposition Coalition, he was arrested on March 27th 2012 when Pope Benedict XVI was still in Cuba. Chaviano was trying to travel from his home in Santa Clara to Havana in order to assist papal mass on the following day. His arrest was very violent. His wife, Maria del Carmen Hernandez, has said that she will continue demanding freedom for her husband, although she and her two children are going through a very difficult time. In fact, the couple’s youngest son suffers from various psychological issues because he has witnessed countless instances of aggression against his home and his parents, just for being human rights activists. These three were able to see Chaviano recently and have affirmed that the activist continues firm in his convictions, despite the threats and violence against him.
Niurka Luque Alvarez
Lady in White from Havana and activist from the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy. Her arrest was reported on March 16th by Eriberto Liranza Romero, president of that youth organization. Alvarez’s arrest occurred while she was carrying out a peaceful protest in a marginal Havana neighborhood, condemning the forced eviction of a humble family. The police agents who carried out the arrest used much violence against the female activist. She was taken to the women’s prison known as “Manto Negro” but was transferred to the “Guatao” prison, also for women. She is epileptic and has suffered numerous of these attacks while in her cell. Dissidents throughout the island have expressed much worry for the life of Luque Alvarez. In fact, activists from the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights recently launched a campaign under the name of “Free them Now”, demanding freedom for Luque and another jailed Lady in White, Sonia Garro Alfosno.
Sonia Garro Alfonso
Lady in White and member of the Independent Afro-Cuban Foundation, Garro Alfonso was arrested on March 18th 2012 after a very aggressive procedure. She was taken down from a bus on that same day by police agents. They took her back to her house in Havana and told her she’d be confined to house arrest. Upon witnessing this, her husband Ramon Munoz decided to protest outside the house. And so he did, screaming slogans against the dictatorship. In a matter of minutes, and after an act of repudiation under the orders of the Communist Party, brigades of regime forces raided the home and attacked the couple, firing rubber bullets at them. Both were jailed. In the case of Sonia, she was taken to the “Guatao” prison of Havana. The independent journalist and lawyer, Laritza Diversent, recently reported that Sonia Garro will be processed but that her “crimes” are yet unknown.
Though I do not have photos of the following Cubans, their cases are also of equal importance and urgency:
Dany López de Moya was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months of prison after an extremely short (hours) trial. His wife denounced that the agents who were accusing him during the trial were using false charges against him, charges which they were inventing on the spot. The young activist was arrested this February for appearing in public with a shirt that read “Boitel-Zapata-Wilman-Lives” and later released. The names displayed on this t-shirt are of some Cubans who have died while on hunger strike to demand freedom for Cuba (Boitel’s case was in the 70’s, Zapata in 2010 and Wilman in 2012), Since that day, the Cuban regime has wanted to jail Lopez de Moya. In addition, in 2011, the political police had robbed Dany’s identification card for carrying out a public demonstration. He was taken away before being sentence to a year on April 18th, 2012, while he was having lunch in his home.
Bismark Galán was arrested on April 1st, 2012. Due to his arrest, a number of activists from UNPACU took to the streets, or planned to take to the street, in Eastern Cuba to demand his release. Many were arrested. All were released except for Jose Daniel Ferrer and Bismark himself. Galan was quickly jailed after he denounced the case of a young girl who was not receiving medical assistance in a Cuban hospital. He had intentions to film the case. As of yet, there are no known charges against the dissident. The only thing that is confirmed is that he is being held in a prison cell.
(Feel free to use any of these edited pictures)