Brutality on behalf of the regime, bravery on behalf of the Ladies in White

A number of Ladies in White were violently attacked and arrested by agents of the Cuban dictatorship this Sunday, April 28th, as they tried to assist Mass to pray for the freedom of Cuba.

One of the women who suffered the worst beatings was Belkis Cantillo Ramírez, representative of the group for the province of Santiago de Cuba who recently returned to Cuba after traveling to Brussels to receive the Sajarov Award alongside Laura Labrada Pollan and Berta Soler.

Cantillo’s arrest took place when a group of these women were on their way to the Rosario Church of Palma Soriano. The activist told ‘Diario de Cuba’ that various men, agents of the political police, were the ones who carried out the beating against her, even punching and attacking the women with umbrellas. “They punched me in one of my breasts, they kicked my ribs”, Belkis told the digital newspaper.

Other detainees were Taimi Vega Biscet, Yaima Naranjo, Mariela Rodríguez, Niurka Carmona, Denia Fernández, Madelaine Santos, Yasnay Ferrer and Yanela Ferrer, according to ex prisoner and dissident José Daniel Ferrer García who published the information on his Twitter account (@jdanielferrer).

Another 30 women managed to make it inside the church, but the political police organized an act of repudiation which consisted in shouts of death threats, racial slurs and other offensive phrases, according to Aime Garces, one of the Ladies inside. She explained to this blog that despite the repression “the Ladies in White will continue firm and without fear”.

Jose Daniel Ferrer recounted that Father Palma displayed solidarity with the persecuted women. On the YouTube channel of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) videos of what happened in Palma Soriano have been published:

In the same channel there are also videos of interviews with some of the detained Ladies in White, here and here.

In other parts of the island, Ladies in White marched and assisted Mass, as was the case in the province of Matanzas and in Havana. Dissident leader and former political prisoner of conscience Angel Moya Acosta published various photos of these women marching in Havana on his Twitter account (@jangelmoya).

Moya recounts that 44 Ladies marched in the capital, demanding the release of Sonia Garro Alfonso (one of their members, jailed for more than a year) and her husband Ramon Alejandro Munoz. They were accompanied by more than 40 men, human rights activists.

Published by @jangelmoya

Meanwhile in Miami, the representative of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, participated in an emotional and very symbolic Mass at the Ermita Shrine, along with exiled Ladies in White and former political prisoners, as well as many members of Miami’s exile community. The Mass, hosted by Father Rumin, was dedicated to the fallen Laura Pollan and all martyrs of the Cuban dictatorship. There was a moment of prayer for the Ladies who were violently arrested that morning in Cuba, simply for trying to do what so many people were doing on that afternoon in Miami.

Soler was handed a Cuban flag with the image of the Virgin of Chartiy, while she presented a Cuban flag at the altar.

A moving surprise came when Cuban musician Amaury Gutierrez showed up to sing “Laura“, a song written by Luis Piloto and dedicated to Laura Pollan. In Cuba, the Ladies in White sing this song each Sunday after carrying out their Sunday marches.

Soler has been received with much affection by the Cuban exile, while she has been seeking more international support for the internal opposition.

Through an excessive amount of violence, the dictatorship has sent a clear message to Berta Soler and other activists who have traveled outside the country to let the world know about the Cuban reality, as was the case of the repression against Belkis Cantillo, just days after having returned from her trip abroad. However, the Ladies in White are also sending out a clear message to that same dictatorship: they do not fear them, they will continue out on the streets and they will not rest until Cuba is free.

Dictatorship tries to impede celebrations of a date which belongs to all Cubans

Drawing of Marti on cover of famous Cuban magazine. 1955.

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“.

Activity in Quemado de Guines infront of Marti bust. January 28th, 2013

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”

-Jose Marti

Worker of educational sector in Palma Soriano fired for being family of dissident

María Teresa Domínguez González, resident of Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, was officially fired from her work as an educator in a children’s center known as “Friends of Camilo” this past January 21st, all because her son, Yuniesky Dominguez Gonzalez, is a member of Cuba’s opposition movement.

Yuniesky, an active member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), explained that it all began recently when his mother had to miss 2 days at work for having a severe cold. The director of the center, along with other administrators, told Maria Teresa that her absences were not permissible, and that she had to sign a letter for her lay-off, which she refused.

On Friday, January 18th, the directors of the educational center already had a medical certificate from my mother“, explained Yuniesky, “the document proved that she was sick, and this was not something unknown or mysterious to the workers and directors there“.

On the following day, the activist’s sister- Danielis Consuegra Dominguez– showed up at the children’s center to offer more details about the health of her mother. That same night various administrators saw for themselves when they visited the home of Mrs. Dominguez who received the visitors while still with a cold and bedridden.

When my mothers fever was over, on Monday January 21st she visited the director in her house, trying to find an explanation for why she had to go to a labor trial on the following day“, detailed Yuniesky. It was at that moment that the real reasons for her being fired came out.

The center’s director told my mother and my sister that they were well aware of my political position as well as that of my wife and that they did not want any problems“, recounts the young dissident. His wife- Taimi Vega Biscet- is a Lady in White who, Sunday after Sunday, suffers arrests and deportations for trying to make it to Mass to pray for the freedom of the political prisoners in the country.

On countless occasions María Teresa Domínguez has told her bosses that the political ideology of her son is not an excuse for kicking her out of her job.

All of this is a manipulation which corresponds with the constant persecution of State Security“, assures Yuniesky, reiterating that it is a tactic put in place to affect him and that they “have opted for the last resource against my mother: to asphyxiate her economically“.

María Teresa also suffers from liver disease and now, without work, it will be much more difficult for her to purchase medication. Meanwhile, Yuniesky Dominguez affirms that he will not abandon his struggle in favor of human rights.

Tactics such as these are very common in Cuba. When one decides to publically oppose the totalitarian system not only do they run risks, but also their families. They are methods set in motion to try and ‘crack’ the dissident.

In another similar case, this 19th of January, dissidents Idael Pérez Díaz and Santa González Pedroso– residents of Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila- reported that their 12 year old son Delvis Pérez González was expelled from his wrestling team when numerous State Security agents showed up to the gym and pressured his professors to take those measures.

Starting in 1959, families of any person who chose to oppose the regime were victims of abuse at the hands of the State, one of the more famous cases being the deportations to forced labor camps of hundreds of rural families in the 60’s.

For more details from Cuba, contact Yuniesky Dominguez Gonzalez at +5352-997-961

“What is Unjust Will Never be Just”: Dissident Family in Danger, Suffers Act of Repudiation

The home of the dissident couple made up by Yuniesky Dominguez Gonzalez (activist from the Patriotic Union of Cuba) and Taimi Vega Biscet (Lady in White) was the target of acts of repudiation and vandalism at the hands of communist soldiers during the 25th and 26th of July in Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba.

According to Dominguez Gonzalez, the repressive acts took place because of two reasons.  Firstly because on the morning of the 25th, the neighborhood of “‘La Yuca” awoke to find numerous signs hung throughout military units which read “Raul [Castro],  you killed [Oswaldo] Paya“.   This is a neighborhood made up mostly by ministerial officers, soldiers, and members of the Communist Party.  As a response, and without any proof, the local authorities accused Yuniesky of having hung the signs, retaliating against him with an act of repudiation.  The activist narrates that the second reason why the violence occurred was because he had “put up a quote by Gandhi, various UNPACU logos, and the image of the recently deceased Laura Pollan” on the outside of his home during the night of the 25th.

The phrase by Gandhi which the dissident chose to hang on his house read: “What is Unjust Will Never be Just, Although Many Would Like it to Be“.

On the night of the 25th of July, mobs of soldiers and members of the Communist Party gathered around the house and began to shout offensive slogans like “Down with the worms” and “Down with imperialism”, common phrases which are required by the regime to be shouted during such acts.

On the morning of Thursday, July 26th, the activist adds that the oppressors “used children and sick elderly people as shields” to carry out another act of repudiation, and this time they threw asphalt to the front porch of the house, covering the phrases and other photos which were hung there.  Afterward, an unidentified lieutenant colonel arrived along with Captain Lazaro, “who threatened with beating us and demanded that we leave that neighborhood“, affirmed Gonzalez.  Forces of State Security and of the political police have been telling Yuniesky and Taimi to leave the neighborhood for a number of months now, saying that the neighborhood is “revolutionary” and does not accept any human rights defenders.

The activist couple has a 5 year old son who has also suffered constant threats to the point that he has psychological traumas.  “Just this week, we had to take him to a psychologist precisely because of all the persecution which we are subjected to“, said Gonzalez.  The minor had been extremely worried about his mother this past 18th of July when she was arrested and disappeared for more than 72 hours along with another Lady in White- Arianna Issac– when they were trying to get to the home of Belkis Cantillo.  Both women were kept in punishment cells.  During that time, the small child of Vega Biscet only cried and asked for his mother.

In regards to the arrest of his wife, Yuniesky says that the Lady in White affirms that during her time in a dungeon “she witnessed how the dictatorship is increasing their form of attacking the democratization process and of mistreating and beating women who simply want freedom of expression, freedom for all political prisoners, freedom for Cuba, and complete freedom for all its people.  Taimi says that during the interrogation process, State Security officials called a doctor so that he would deny that Taimi had been beaten.  Ironically, one of the agents asked the doctor how Taimi was feeling and told her that she was lying when she said that, because of all those repressive methods, she had suffered a miscarriage“, referring to events that happened during the beginning of 2012.  “The agents simply laughed at Taimi when she said this“.

She is very worried about the health of her son and his security, considering that he is totally unbalanced psychologically because of all the manipulations, arbitrary actions, and the persecution by the Cuban government“.

Despite that the military forces of the Cuban regime are demanding that these dissidents leave their home, both are affirming that they will not do it and that they will continue their civic activism.  “State Security is wrong if they think that they can make us give in“, affirms Dominguez Gonzalez, “we condemn State Security of what could happen to us, of our integrity.  We are in danger“.

For more information from Cuba:

Yuniesky Domínguez González – Cell Phone: +5352-997-961

Worry Over the Arrest and Disappearance of Ladies in White in Eastern Cuba

From the Eastern municipality of Palma Soriano, Yuniesky Dominguez Gonzalez, an activist from the Patriotic Union of Cuba has alerted about the situation of his wife, Lady in White Taimi Vega Biscet, who was arrested on the morning of Wednesday, July 18th, along with another member of the feminine movement  when they were both on their way to the home of Belkis Cantillo in Palmarito de Cauto for a reunion.  As of July 20th, Vega Biscet had not returned to her home and Dominguez Gonzalez does not have any more information about her, and is therefore declaring her “disappeared”.  The same goes for the other missing Lady in White, Arianna Isaac.

I do not know if my wife has been beaten, nor where she is being held, or what State Security has done with her“, expressed the dissident, “I am very worried, she is also a mother of a 5 year old who is also very worried about his mother, he is crying and asking for her“.

Taimi Vega has been involved in Cuba’s Resistance movement for about 6 months, and although she has suffered other forms of repression at the hands of the regime, it is the first time she is detained in a cell and for such a long period of time, according to the human rights activist, assuming that she is in a police unit.

On February of 2012, Vega was one of the two Ladies in White who suffered a miscarriage because of a violent arrest and numerous aggressive threats at the hands of State Security after being pregnant for 6 weeks .  The oppressive operation forced the Lady in White to enter a stage of hypertension to the point that she suffered a miscarriage.  Since then, both Taimi and Yuniesky have been targets for vigilance and blackmail by political police forces.

Now they have once again detained Taimi“, said Yuniesky, “I consider that it is because of the valor and honor which she has been demonstrating as a Lady in White“.

Meanwhile, the general coordinator for the UNPACU, former political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia sent out a series of Twitter messages this 19th of July denouncing the case of Vega Biscet and the other Lady in White which was detained alongside her, Arianna Isaac.  Ferrer Garcia tweeted that  Isaac’s family also does not know where she is being held, and are also declaring her missing.

Ferrer, as well as relatives of the missing women and other activists, are worried that they may have suffered beatings or other forms of repercussions.

Regardless of the repression, Yuniesky Dominguez assured that his wife, Taimi Vega Biscet, “will not cease her brave character as a Lady in White

For more information from Cuba:

Yuniesky Domínguez González – Cell Phone: +5352-997-961

Cuban Dissident Sentenced to Two Years in Prison (News Summary)

This Tuesday, June 19th, the Cuban regime sentenced Bismark Mustelier Galan, an active dissident and member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) with two years in prison, according to the coordinator of the mentioned organization, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia.  Galan was being held in the Aguadores Prison since April 1st 2012 for civically protesting in a hospital when he learned that a minor who was sick was not receiving medical attention.  Because of this, the communist authorities on the island accused him and, ultimately sentenced him, for “resistance” and “disrespect”.

Only Bismark’s wife, Alina Fonseca Guevara, and a handful of relatives were able to assist the trial, said Ferrer Garcia, explaining that “more than 30 activists who were trying to show solidarity with Galan were arrested and taken to different police units throughout the province of Santiago- the majority to the Third Unit, and others to Micro 9 and a police unit in Mella“.  The police operations began during the morning hours of that same Tuesday.

Some cases of repression which the former political prisoner outlined were that of activist Ovidio Martin Castellano, “who was beaten by police agents” during his arrest, as well as that of Sergio Lezcay– also an activist- who was detained in the Third Unit and attacked by tear gas by the prison guards.  “Sergio passed out because of these gases, and it is something very serious, the use of tear gas against peaceful dissidents who are being held in narrow cells with very little ventilation.  It is a criminal and abusive behavior on behalf of the jailers, the police officers of the unit, and the political police which allows such actions“.

In addition to activists from UNPACU, various members of the Ladies in White also faced reprisals, as did “two activists from the Republican Party of Cuba“.  Many were impeded from leaving their homes by police officers, while others were held in security check points alongs the way to Bismark’s trial.

On June 14th, more than 20 dissidents had also mobilized towards the tribunal where the trial was supposed to be held, but it was suspended for the 19th.  In total, the trial was postponed three times.  Jose Daniel Ferrer explains that the authorities gave Bismark’s wife very little information and that State Security was very fearful of such mobilization of so many dissidents, so much so that a couple of agents visited his home in Palmarito de Cauto to tell him to dissuade the activists.  “They came to my home to try and convince me to talk with the dissidents of UNPACU, they told me that it was not necessary for them to go near the court, and they told me they moved the trial to the 19th.  They also said that if we failed to comply they would have to act…but it is us who act, and who set the initiative, carry out peaceful protests whenever necessary“.

On the same 14th, another activist of UNPACU- Yuniesky Dominguez Gonzalez– informed that the home of Alina Fonseca had been surrounded by State Security officials, among them agent Alejandro.  The wife of Gonzalez, Lady in White Taimi Vega Biscet (who lost her unborn child in the beginning of 2012 due to the aggressions of the political police), was also “surrounded and later threatened by agent Rodolfo“.

Although it all indicates that the state repression will continue increasing against human rights activists in the Eastern region of the country, Ferrer Garcia signals that the activities of the Resistance in favor of freedom and democracy will also increase, something proven by the constant apparition of signs with anti-government messages, according the dissident.

Signs appear on police units, on the headquarters of the Communist Party, at the homes of Rapid Response Brigade members, etc“, he explained, “the messages on the signs demand change“, in addition to including slogans such as “Down with the Dictatorship”, “Down with Hunger”, and “Down with the Castro brothers”.

Signs and stickers are also appearing on buses and trucks“, adds Ferrer, sharing a story of one case where the police chief of Palmarito de Cauto found a sticker upon entering his unit.  The sticker read: “Join us“.  According to some witnesses (dissidents among them), the agent was infuriated and started to rip the stickers from the wall.  Signs also propped up in front of the home of the Aguadores Prison Chief, Luis Enrique Lopez Diaz, in the city of Santiago de Cuba.  These signs read: “Down with Luis Enrique, assassin”, and “Down with Fidel and Raul“.

To inform everyday Cubans about situations such as that of Bismark Mustelier and other activists, members of UNPACU have also been handing out leaflets which explain the work they do and which demand the rights of the people for a just salary and access to the internet, among other rights.

This mechanism is yielding very good results“, said Ferrer, “One thing that paralyzes the majority of Cubans is misinformation.  So we talk to them and tell them to tear off the oppressive methods around them in order to live in honesty, with freedom and human rights“.  And, according to the dissident, the everyday Cubans are listening to the message and often have public chats about these issues.

On his part, Ferrer Garcia said that the prison sentence of Bismark Mustelier Galan was not because of any crime, but instead it was simply “vengeance of the political police because of his successful activism in favor of freedom“.

The leader of UNPACU affirms that this organization will keep carrying out activities demanding freedom for Galan and all of the Cuban population in general, a struggle which “is difficult, but not impossible“.

Cuba: Two Ladies in White Suffer Miscarriages Due to Police Aggressions in February

Pedazos de la Isla
March 15th, 2012

Noralys Martin Hernandez and Taimi Vega Biscet are two young Cuban women who live on opposite sides of the island (Hernandez lives in the town of San Juan & Martinez, Pinar del Rio, in the Western Cuba, and Biscet lives in the Eastern town of Palma Soriano), but they have many things in common, starting with their public and civic opposition to the Cuban regime.  Both women are Ladies in White.  Both are only 22 years old and their husbands, who are also dissidents, are 31.  And recently in the month of February of 2012, both women suffered miscarriages due to the aggressions they were subjected to during violent operations carried out against them by the Cuban political police.

Despite having suffered the loss of their unborn children and the fact that they are still recuperating health-wise, Noralys and Taimi continue being victims, along with their families, of vigilance, threats, and acts of repudiation on behalf of State Security, the political police, and other Cuban functionaries.

Noralys Martin Hernandez

On the afternoon of February 27th, a number of Ladies in White and dissidents decided to hold an event in solidarity with various human rights activist who were on hunger strike at the time as a form of protest against the regime.  The event took place in Noralys Martin Hernandez’s parent’s home.  Because numerous dissidents were all in the same spot, an act of repudiation was organized outside the house, which was made up by State Security officials, police officers dressed in civilian clothing, some neighbors, and the delegate of the local Communist Party.  These aggressors interrupted the meeting of dissidents and began to shout insults at them.  It was at that moment that Noralys decided to step outside and peacefully confront the Communist delegate, asking her why she was carrying out such a hateful act.  The response of the functionary was to continue insulting and threatening the activist.  This hostile approach created “much stress” for Noralys who was 3 months pregnant at the time.  This aggressive atmosphere lasted until 8:30 PM when Martin Hernandez started to “feel very strong pains in her lower abdomen“.

On the following morning, on Tuesday February 28th, the Lady in White urgently rushed to the nearest hospital because her pains had only increased and she also had a fever and was bleeding.  The doctor who examined her told her she had to rest, and almost at that same moment, Hernandez explains that “I started to feel even stronger pains, to the point that I nearly lost conscience and then that’s when the miscarriage occurred“.

The dissident was released from the hospital hours after this grave situation, only to return on the following morning because she was still bleeding.  In the hospital, she had to wait various hours to be tended to.  When a doctor finally saw her, he informed her that she had suffered an incomplete miscarriage on the previous day and that she had just aborted again.  An incomplete miscarriage occurs when the evacuation of the uterine contents is partial and ovular and/or membrane pieces are still in the interior of the uterus.  Once again, after a few X-rays, the doctor sent the young activist back home with orders to rest.  But her bleeding and fever continued.  She returned to the hospital with her husband and another Lady in White at around 2 in the afternoon and she was not tended to until 4.  “All the residents of the city of Pinar del Rio go to the Provincial Abel Santamaria Hospital with all their problems.  And even then, only one doctor was there and he was not even a professional doctor, but instead a medicine student.  He was also from another country, which meant he barely spoke Spanish and he really did not know the diagnosis too well“.

This time, the doctor ordered Noralys to check-in to the hospital, considering that there were still some remains left.  After a lengthy process, she was administered with antibiotics and was taken to an isolated room.  The activist noticed that despite her serious condition, she was under the surveillance of numerous State Security agents.  “These agents would practically not even let me go to the bathroom“, the dissident said.  These Cuban officials remained stationed in the hospital.  In fact, when various Ladies in White and other dissidents suspended their Sundays activities to instead visit their sister-in-struggle, “the agents forcefully removed the Ladies from the room during visiting hours.  They asked me why these people were visiting me and I told them that they were my family and, besides, that I am a dissident and Lady in White“, denounced Hernandez.  The agents even took repressive measures against Noralys’ mother who was very worried about her daughter considering that she was taken to an even more isolated room where she would not have access to a phone or visits.

After various tests and very little information from the doctors, Noralys remained interned in the hospital until Tuesday when the nurses informed her that she was to leave.  “They practically kicked me out of the hospital“, said Hernandez, adding that “I still have pains and a bit of bleeding.  I think that what they really wanted to do was get me out of the hospital so that what they fear the most would not happen- that we dissidents come together and that the people start to know the truth“.

The aggressive measures against Noralys Hernandez had begun weeks before her miscarriage.  Due to her human rights activism and her membership within the Ladies in White, mobs organized by State Security and the local Communist Party delegation have been insulting, harassing, and repudiating her in her workplace- a primary school where she teaches fine arts.  In fact, Cuban agents have told the director of her school to expel the activist.  According to her own testimonies, Noralys emphasizes that “I do not teach the slightest bit of politics, I respect my students.  But my husband is an active dissident and they (the regime) do not want to allow that the wife of a dissident, who is also a Lady in White, to teach in a primary school“.  For this reason, State Security has also ordered members of the Communist Youth to shout insults at Noralys while she is in the middle of class.

The pressure in Noraly’s workplace had reached the point that she could not even leave the building during lunchtime, seeing as “they had stationed a municipal education vehicle outside the main school door so that in case I step out of those perimeters they would arrest me“.  State Security agents have frequently pressured her director to fire her and have threatened her friends to cease their relationships with her.

It is possible that they will officially expel me from my job (after I recuperate from this situation)“, assures Noralys, “They have already been oppressing my family and I for a long time“.

Her husband, Jose Rolando Casares Soto, who was notably affected by the loss of his child, blamed the Cuban regime for the tragedy, pointing out that “the political police is nothing else but a tool used by the totalitarian regime of the Castro brothers.  I hold them responsible for this horrible experience we are living through“.

For such reasons, Casares Soto, who has been living with various years of repression due to his involvement in the pro-human rights organizations “Republican Party” of Cuba and the Pinar el Rio Democratic Alliance, expressed that “all dissidents should continue uniting- not just those from Pinar del Rio, but throughout the entire island- so we can stand up against these people who choke and suffocate our freedoms in this country“.

Taimi Vega Biscet

 When Taimi Vega Biscet, Lady in White from Palma Soriano, was on her way to the Cobre Sanctuary on Saturday February 18th so that she could arrive early to mass on the following morning, she was detained by one State Security official and three police agents.  These arbitrary arrests are common throughout Cuba during the weekends and they constitute a repressive operation of the Cuban regime which tries to impede all Ladies in White from assisting mass on Sundays.

They forced me down from the car I was on, they checked all the white clothes I was carrying in a bag and they seized all my belongings“, explained Vega Biscet, adding that the agents began to “interrogate me, asking me where I was going to and who I was“.  This detention occurred at two in the afternoon and lasted until nine in the evening.  “During this entire time they had me there under the scorching sun and later the wind“, explained Biscet, who was 6 months pregnant at the time.  After some hours, the activist started feeling “strong lower abdomen pains, dizziness, and strong headaches“.  She was not permitted to call her husband even for a second.

A police vehicle and Suzuki motorcycle (commonly used by State Security officials) arrived on the scene.  Major Dorki threatened Biscet, even shining a flashlight on her face when the sun had already gone down.  It was a moment of harassment which caused much worry and stress for the young dissident.  “Then they put me up on a very tall truck“, says Biscet, “and I think that is one of the things which caused the most damage to me because I was suffering from many pains when they put me up there on that truck“.  The truck drove to the Confrontation Unit of Palma Soriano, where the driver got off and delivered orders to the Lady in White to remain where she was.

Despite these orders, Biscet escaped the truck through the backdoor and managed to borrow a phone in order to call her husband.  In addition, the young Cuban looked for and boarded an independently owned car which dropped her off right in front of her home.  But during this time, Taimi noticed that a State Security motorcycle had been following her all the way back and even outside of her own house.

When I arrived to my house, my pains continued so I decided to go to bed but it was futile.  I was already bleeding.  I always had the faith that I was going to be able to save my child but at around 1 AM a sharp pain awoke me and when I tried to get out of bed, the miscarriage occurred right there“, explained Taimi.  She urgently rushed to the hospital with her husband and she was “cleansed” and was prescribed medication.  “It can be said that the visit to the hospital was clandestine because the doctor did not want to give me any paper, he did not want to print a clinical history for me“.

A hostile atmosphere created by the political police has remained against Taimi Vega Biscet and her husband Yuniesky Dominguez Gonzalez.  In fact, the mother of Biscet, who is not in agreement with her daughter’s activism and who is a functionary of the Ministry of Health, has had agents “show her videos of me assisting mass as a Lady in White” in a tactic to pressure her to tell her daughter to abandon her opposition to the regime because it could bring problems for her in her workplace.  “This has hurt me very much, because my mother has chosen to defend this system instead of me.  She is a victim of this regime and she has let herself be manipulated by them“.  In addition to this, there has also been much harassment against Biscet’s 5 year old son considering that they live in a neighborhood located at the center of a military zone and that they are the only family in the area that are open dissidents.  Taimi and Yuniesky (who is the step-father of the child) decided to send off the young one to the home of another relative because their own neighborhood has become too dangerous.  “I already lost one and I do not want to lose the other“, said Biscet.

Yuniesky Dominguez, who is an active member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and of the Human Rights Observatory of Cuba declared that “the measures being taken against us as a married couple have been due to our constant and persistent struggle against the regime of the Castro brothers“, outlining that “what really does worry me a lot is the security of my wife and of our child“.

Yuniesky added “that I lost my unborn child, which I have always wanted to have, even more now that I am 31 years old“.  The young dissident explains that he is originally from Havana, he graduated from a military academy and served in the Cuban Armed Forces but he soon became aware of the reality of the country and began to publicly oppose the communist system.  Instantly, he was expelled from his ranks and deported from the province of Havana.  Yuniesky ended up in the eastern town of Palma Soriano and found a home in a “neighborhood which is very hostile, because we are living in the midst of a military community.  The head of the Ministry of the Interior  for this area lives here and all the local military chiefs too.  And they cannot conceive that there is a dissident living among them.  But Cuba does not belong to them, Cuba belongs to all Cubans and I chose where I want to live“.

I am asking all international organizations, those who are in favor of human rights, who are pro-life, pro-freedom, and all those who simply care, so that they show interest in us, the non-violent Cuban dissidents, and also in the case of my wife and I because we really do not know how this will finish.  Every single day that I get up from bed the regime carries out new repressive methods against us“, declares Yuniesky, clearly affected by the loss of his child.

Under this repressive system, it is difficult to predict what will happen with people like Taimi and Yuniesky in Palma Soriano and Noralys and Jose in Pinar del Rio.  For this reason, this blog joins the call to international organizations of good-will so that they denounce and intercede for these Cubans who simply put their human rights in practice and suffer reprisals for it.

There have already been two of us suffering through this situation“, said Taimi Vega Biscet, in reference to the miscarriages she and Noralys suffered, “and there will be more“.

To contact Noralys Martin Hernández directly: +53-53-312-212 (Cell Phone) // Taimi Vega Biscet: +53-52-997-961 (Cell Phone)

Lady in White Suffers an Abortion Due to the Violence of the Cuban Political Police

Lady in White Daymi Vega Biscet lost her six weeks old baby when she was aggressively arrested by agents of the Cuban political police on the afternoon of this past Saturday, February 18th. The Lady in White was on her way to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity from her municipality of Palma Soriano to participate in Sunday mass. According to ex-political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer, the violent threats from the political police led her to a state of nervousness which induced her abortion.

The arrest took out on the side of the highway  in Palma Soriano,” explained Ferrer Garcia, “the police were determined to prevent her from attending mass,”  which numerous Ladies in White were doing as well on the Sunday.

Ferrer pointed out that when Vega Biscet was taken to local police unit “they (the political police) got her out of the car, and she was frightened by their threats of beating her. Her blood pressure rose and she started vomiting. This led to the loss of the fetus“.

This is yet another case of the numerous crimes committed by the Castro dictatorship, and has occurred  just weeks before the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI to the island.

Jose Daniel Ferrer has not been able to communicate with Daymi Vega to check how she is doing but her husband, Yuniesky Dominguez, did tell Ferrer via text message, “these communist just ripped a piece from me“.