Monday, August 29, 2011

Another Sunday in Raul Castro’s Cuba: Beatings, fractures, tear gas and detentions

The attacks on the Cuban Ladies in White continue

The Ladies in White

September 1, 2011 Update: Amnesty International denounces repression against Ladies in White in Cuba: Further information: Women denied right to protest

Another Sunday that Raul Castro orders State Security to beat up women attempting to attend Mass then march silently demanding their loved one’s freedom. Cuban blogger, Luis Felipe Rojas (@alambradas ) on twitter described it as the 6th consecutive week of women beaten up, detentions, deportations and canceled telephones in Palma Soriano.

Even before Sunday arrived starting on Friday, state security began operations to prevent Ladies in White from attending Mass at the Cathedral in Santiago de Cuba. The homes of nonviolent activists were targeted by paramilitary squads and state security organized acts of repudiation.

On Saturday two Ladies in White, Caridad Caballero and Marta Diaz Rondon, were on their way to Palma Soriano to attend Mass on Sunday when they were intercepted by state security agents who dragged, beat and sexually harassed the women and detained until August 28, 2011. Both women were covered in bruises and Caridad Caballero suffered a broken finger reported the Coalition of Cuban-American Women that had been in contact with activists on the island.

First reports arrived in the early morning via Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia (@jdanielferrer ), a former prisoner of conscience who had a leadership role in the Varela Project and has now begun a new initiative called the Patriotic Union of Cuba [Unión Patriótica de Cuba] ( UNPACU ), that at El Caney, Santiago de Cuba Guillermo Cobas Reyes and Agustin Magdariaga Alvarez were violently detained during a strong act of repudiation. They did not go silently. The activists respond to state security repression chanting against violence, the lack of liberty and misery in Cuba.

A short while later, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia (@jdanielferrer ) tweets that the cell phones of the Ladies in White inside the home of Aimeé Garces Leyva do not respond and are without service. In a series of tweets from Ferrer Garcia the state security operation carried out against the women and other opposition activists are summarized in 140 character increments:

The home of Aimeé Garces Leyva is completely surrounded for over two blocks there are hundreds of agents of repression.

13 women at the home of Aimeé Garcés Leyva in Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba were just violently detained.

Palma: Minutes after the violent detention of 13 Ladies in White when they left Aimeé's home, police agents carried out a search of the home.

The search was carried out by Lieutenant Colonel Alejandro and Major Dorkis of the political police with other officials of repressive bodies and the National Revolutionary Police (PNR).

Objects & equipment taken in the search belong to various persons that visited said home during the weekend.

In Palma Soriano, on Paquito Borrero Street the situation grows more complex, lots of armed police some even carrying sticks. There are many cars.

Caridad Caballero Batista and Marta Díaz Rondón detained since yesterday and beaten have now been freed.

Palma Soriao: Some activists wounded, tear gas used opposition activists and family of Antomarchi affected.

Palma Soriano: Neighbors of Antomarchi’s barrio are in solidarity with opposition activists and the agents are also using tear gas against them.

Palma Soriano: Neighbors in solidarity shouted against the dictatorship and abuse of nonviolent opposition activists

All repressive forces of the dictatorship in eastern region are mobilized to try to flatten us. Until now they have been unable to achieve it.

Following the detentions the twitter account of the Ladies in White (@DamasdBlanco ) tweets that Laura Pollan, spokeswoman for the Ladies in White, is reporting that the location of Lady in White Berta Soler is unknown. Soler had traveled to Santiago de Cuba to be in solidarity with the Ladies in White in the East. At the same time Luis Felipe Rojas (@alambradas) reported that Hector Julio from Havana said that: “We consider Berta Soler who went out to support the Ladies in the East and doesn't appear as missing.”

Guillermo Fariñas (@chirusa32) reported that special riot troops launched tear gas into homes in Palma Soriano and Palmarito de Cauto and that 54 activists had been arrested.

Either through laziness or a well justified fear of being expelled from the country the news bureaus, based out of Havana, have not covered these events in Eastern Cuba. Something is changing in Cuba. Everyday Cubans are losing their fear and now are openly demonstrating their solidarity with the democratic opposition even in the face of repression.

On Monday afternoon Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia (@jdanielferrer ) over the course of a few tweets listed the names of the 27 detained at Antomarchi's home on Sunday:Bismar Mustelier Galan, Miguel Rafael Cabrera Montoya, Dany Lopez de Moya, Alexander Cala Reyes, Nibardo Amelo Ramirez, Osmanis Cespedes Napoles, Sergio Lescay Despaigne, Alexander Colon Fernandez, Alexeis Aguilsabal Rodriguez, Julio Cobas Rivero, Jose Enrique Martinez Ferrer, Ruben Adrober de Armas, Juan Carlos Figueroa Cala, Jose Antonio Elegica Zulueta, Roberto de la Rosa Estrada, Antonio Maso Cespedes,Angel lino Isaac Luna, Armando Sanchez la O, Reimundo Lopez Landazuri, Vitor Campa Almanares, Rolando Humberto Gonzalez Rodriguez, Rosney Vejerano Silo, Angel Luis Campa Almenares, Alexis Yancoy Cuan Jerez, Misael Valdes Vegas, Bismar Alvarez Arias and Ezequiel Pulido Pacheco.

"These are the names of our detained brothers and sisters" concluded Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia. He then went on to add that "Marino Antomarchi Rivero, Jorge Cervantes Garcia and Guillermo Cobas Reyes remain detained since Friday. That brings the total number of activists still in detention at 30.

Jose Daniel then went on via twitter to list those worse wounded over the weekend by the riot police: Miguel Rafael Cabrera Montoya, Alexeis Aguirresabal Rodriguez, Juan Carlos Figueroa Cala, Angel Lino Campa Almenares, Reimundo Lopez Landazuri and Angel Lino Isaac Luna.
The list concluded with those hurt with injuries to the head: Ruben Adrober de Armas,Victor Campa Almenares and Miguel Cabrera Montoya

The massive response by the dictatorship indicates that there is an inverse relationship between the regime and the populace. As the populace loses its fear the regime’s fear increases. Now is the time for friends of the Cuban people to be vigilant in observing events on the ground in Cuba. It is also important for international human rights organizations and institutions to remind the Cuban government and its agents that they will be held individually responsible for gross and systematic human rights violations.

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