Another bloody Sunday in Cuba, but the opposition continues defying the dictatorship

Ladies in White in Cardenas, Matanzas. The same ones who were violently beat this Sunday, 21st of July.

State Security and other police sectors of the Cuban regime repeated their violent actions against a number of Ladies in White and male dissidents in the province of Matanzas this Sunday, July 21st, mainly in the cities of Colon and Cardenas.  The news arrived just one week after similar violence on July 14th and after State Security agents had visited a number of work centers in the mentioned cities, convoking ‘corpulent’ people to participate in beatings against the dissidents.

However, the people who were convoked did not participate in the aggressions, according to independent unionist and former political prisoner Ivan Hernandez Carrillo on his Twitter account (@ivanlibre).  For this reason, the police was clearly bothered and once again unleashed a wave of arrests and beatings.  Ivan was one of the victims of repression that morning.

The dissident leader was arrested and beat by political police agents when he stepped out of his home in Colon to show solidarity with the Ladies in White of that area who were being harassed by paramilitary mobs.

Some of the other arrested activists between Colon and Cardenas were Juan Francisco Rangel, Reinier Penates Calzadilla, Francisco Brias Tamayo, Ibrahim Navarro, Emanuel Valles Rodríguez, Jorge Serrano Alfonso, Jesús González Lemus, Rudel Montes de Oca, Javier Erbello, Eduardo Hernández, Marisol Fernández, Batista Rodríguez Rivas, Niurka Rivero, José Hernández Carrillo, Irania Borrego, Nelson Ruiz Alonso, William Acevedo Roque, Yudaimis Hernández, José Hernández López, Elizabeth Pacheco, Juan Carlos Pazos, Eduardo Pacheco, former political prisoners Ángel Moya Acosta and Félix Navarro, as well as the daughter of the latter, Sayli Navarro.

In the majority, if not all, of these cases, after being threatened and beat, the dissidents were abandoned in desolate fields situated miles away from their homes or cities of residence.

Leticia Ramos Herreria, representative of the Ladies in White for Matanzas province and one of the most beat during this police operation, had much to tell about this.  She explains that in Cardenas the violence began after a group of women began their march after Mass at La Parroquia Church.

Since morning hours, there was a large cordon set up by the political police and the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) in front of the church.  There were also many women dressed in civilian clothes but they were really officials“, detailed Ramos. “We walked about a block or so when these people rushed up against us…they began to beat and started to shove us inside police vehicles“.

The detainees were taken individually to the Offices of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), which Leticia describes as “a place being used lately as a torture center against dissidents, because it is located far away from the city and there no one can see how they beat us“.

In that center, police agents continued to beat the men and women while the guards simply joked around and laughed.  “The guards were laughing as the agents were beating us and together they began to verbally offend us, calling us ‘lesbians’ and threatening to ‘put a finger in our anus’, while the men were called ‘homosexuals’“, denounced Leticia.

One of the officials who beat the Lady in White the most was one known as “Chuly”, a member of the PNR.  She told Ramos that she was going to kill her, specifically by “putting a bullet right through my forehead if I kept assisting Mass and walking on Sundays“.  The same agent who injected Leticia with an unknown substance last Sunday also participated in the aggressions against her once again.

Leticia Ramos shows fracture on her lip after beating. July 21st 2013

There is also the case of Lady in White Odalys Hernandez who has a burn on her neck because they tried to strangle her.  She has bruises on her ribs, her abdomen and in her interior from the kicks she received.  Yamila Senda Ruiz was beat by the same officials who were beating me, while activists Francisco Villa, Manuel Barrio, Nelson Curbelo and others were detained and abandoned in desolate places“, recounts the dissident.

Leticia was abandoned in a place known as Sequeira, more than 20 kilometers from the road which leads to the town of Limonar.  The activist was able to return to her home in Cardenas thanks to the solidarity of an anonymous citizen who drove her back.  Something similar happened to Ivan Hernandez, who wrote on Twitter that a farmer gave him water and drove him back after the activist told him what had happened.  It is precisely this citizen solidarity which gravely worries the dictatorship.

“Today has been a victorious day for us, and a defeat for the tyrant”, wrote Hernandez, “they had to arrest us because they were not able to unify and convoke Cubans to repress us…as much as State Security tried to intimidate and recruit men in Colon for quite some days now, the people did not come to attack us”.

On her part, Leticia once against accused the government for what happened and assured that the official leading the operation was State Security Lieutenant Coronel Joaquin, the same person who masterminded the aggressions last weekend.

“All the blows are the fault of the regime and of Lieutenant Joaquin, who is in charge of this bloody hunt of Ladies in White and peaceful dissidents since last week in the province of Matanzas“, expressed Ramos Herreria, “but if they want to kill us, they are going to have to do it on the streets because the streets belong to the people of Cuba.  And I am Cuban and I am firm in my convictions.  We are all firm.  We will continue going to church and marching“.

Despite the violent atmosphere in Matanzas, it was reported that many Ladies in White in other provinces were able to surpass police cordons and march to and from their respective churches, from East to West of all Cuba.


For more information from Cuba, contact:

Leticia Ramos Herrería – Cell Phone: +52-481-807
Iván Hernández Carrillo – Cell Phone: +52-599-366 / Twitter: @ivanlibre
Sayli Navarro – Cell Phone: +52-731-652 / Twitter: @SayliNavarro

Another bloody Sunday in Cuba, but the opposition continues defying the dictatorship

A Summary of State Violence Against Minors in Matanzas, Cuba

In the province of Matanzas, an 18 year old Cuban girl is beaten, arrested, and injected.  In the same province, a 17 year old Cuban boy is arrested at gunpoint

Among the constant violent arrests, arbitrary detentions, and police harassment against Cuban human rights activists in the central province of Matanzas, two cases of abuse against minor-age relatives of dissidents occurred recently.  These happened on Tuesday, March 27th, as Pope Benedict XVI was traveling from the Eastern province of Santiago to Havana where he would give his final Mass on the island:

Yisabel Marrero Burunate, the eldest daughter of Caridad Burunate, a Lady in White from Matanzas and member of the pro-human rights group known as the Pedro Luis Boitel Party for Democracy.  Just a few months ago, Yisabel turned 18 years old.  While Pope Benedict XVI was on his way to Havana, the arrests in the area of Colon, Matanzas intensified.  Just 300 meters away from the home of Burunate, a dissident was being violently arrested when Yisabel decided to step out of her house in his defense, screaming at his oppressors so that they cease beating him.  She thought they were going to kill him.

The paramilitary brigades detained the dissident amid kicks and they then turned to assault Yisabel.  Out in the street before the view of the public, the soldiers ruthlessly beat her.  William Acevedo Roque, a friend of Yisabel who is 17 years old, tried to protect Yisabel, covering her with his arms.  William was also violently attacked and ended up arrested, confined to a pestilent dungeon during that entire night and during the entire following day.

As this all occurred, Caridad Burunate was surrounded in her own house by a cordon of more than 50 political police officials, Rapid Response Brigade members, and various government ‘snitches’.  These functionaries started to scream obscenities and offenses at the Lady in White.  They threatened her, telling her that if she stepped out of her house she would be arrested.  As a form of protest, Burunate hung a sign on her porch which read “give me my daughter back, she was kidnapped“.  She also had another sign which said “the Castro tyranny is not letting me travel to Havana to assist the Pope’s Mass“.

Felipe Marrero, Caridad’s husband and the father of Yisabel, managed to head out to the State Security Unit of Colon along with Regla Burunate, Caridad’s sister.  They started to protest in front of the unit, demanding the liberation of the young Yisabel.  After 2 am, she was released.

The young Cuban was full of bruises and she said that she had suffered an asthma attack which was ignored by her oppressors, who shoved her into a dungeon.  Without parental consent or authorization, Yisabel was injected with two drgus-  Diazepam and Benadrilina, both of which are used in Cuba to treat patients who suffer from mental disorders.  For the rest of the world, Diazepam was discontinued, but such is not the case for Cuba.  Before returning the girl to her father, regime agents took her to a doctor so that he would write a medical report which stated that Yisabel had not been beaten.  However, the doctor chose to stay true to his conscience and declared that he would not write up a false report, according to Yisabel herself.

Meanwhile, another similar case of repression in the same province was that of Ernesto Martinez Gonzalez, a 17 year old Cuban who was arrested at gunpoint.  This arrest was carried out by a political police official.  The agent threatened the youth by putting a gun to his head, only because Ernesto had defended his uncle, the dissident Carlos Olivera who is also an activist from the Pedro Luis Boitel Democracy Party and who was being violently arrested by the Cuban police at that moment.  Olivera was victim of a beating before being introduced into a police vehicle, while his brother-in-law Richer Martinez Rodriguez, and another relative Leslier Morales Torres were also arrested.  These dissidents were only trying to leave their homes and travel to Havana in order to participate in the papal Mass which would take place on March 28th.  According to their own testimonies, the activists assured that it was thanks to international solidarity that they were released two days later, but each dissident received fines of 30 pesos.

According to relatives and his own testimony, Ernesto Martinez is still suffering from “panic” and “trauma” after being arrested under such violent conditions.

For more information from Cuba:

Caridad Burunate – Cell Phone:  +5352 – 563 – 003       // Twitter: @CaridadBurunate

Also follow the Twitter account of this Cuban exiled activist: @Mspianoteacher

A Summary of State Violence Against Minors in Matanzas, Cuba