Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cuban Human Rights Defender Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera Missing Since September 26, 2011

Arrested, Beaten and Disappeared by Cuban state security agents on September 26, 2011

Yris Pérez Aguilera
Missing Since 9/26

Update Sunday 10/2/11: Finally, after 6 days since they went missing Yris Pérez Aguilera Donaida Pérez Paseiro, and Yaimara Reyes Mesa were finally released in Placetas today. Badly beaten up and emaciated from a hunger strike carried out while under detention. News of the release was tweeted at 1:00pm by Antúnez and confirmed later by his sister in exile Bertha. There whereabouts had been unknown since Monday, September 26.

The last time her husband heard from Yris Pérez Aguilera was Monday morning. Over the next five days Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez” has demanded to see his wife. Yesterday, on Friday September 30, 2011 he formally declared her disappeared after not having received a satisfactory reply from the authorities.

An obvious question presents itself. What was Yris Pérez Aguilera doing that Cuban state security officials would arrest, beat and disappear her? Antúnez reveals the answer when he describes the last time he spoke with his wife was on the morning of September 26, 2011:
"when from the neighborhood Río Verde, in Havana, she communicated to me that at that movement she was going outside with other activists in a march to demand the freedom of Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo and the rest of the activists who had been arrested."
Reports from others who participated in the march, and saw what transpired, such as Julio León Fonseca, the son of imprisoned activist Sara Marta, reported that state security agents unleashed their fury against Yris, Donaida Pérez Paseiro, and Yaimara Reyes Mesa brutally beating and kicking the three women.

Yaimara Reyes Mesa, also brutalized and arrested on September 26

Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez” reported on the evening of September 30, 2011 that "until this moment we have had no news about them. We have observed something very worrying and that is, since the arrest, my home has been under a permanent siege. Numerous political police are nearby within twenty or thirty meters of my home. Telephones continue to be blocked, that is to say with the typical dial tone when they are deactivated."

He also makes the following chilling observation:
"My wife, therefore, in the place that they might have her, if she is alive, must be in an extremely critical health situation. She suffers from diabetes, asthma and epilepsy, and she has become accustomed, on principle, during each of these arrests to maintain a hunger and thirst strike against the arbitrariness of this arrest."

In the early morning hours of Saturday, October 1, 2011 two questions arise: What have agents of the Castro dictatorship done with Yris Pérez Aguilera? Considering under the conditions they were last seen; why are so many so silent to the disappearance of this human rights defender and her two colleagues Donaida Pérez Paseiro and Yaimara Reyes Mesa?

Unfortunately, a third unspoken question was already answered by her sister in law, Bertha Antunez, who on September 22, 2011 at the We Have a Dream Human Rights Summit in New York City said, “If the world remains silent, there will be more deaths and the regime will continue to repress and humiliate our people.”

Governments, press and international organizations are failing to speak out in sufficient numbers it is up to citizen activists to make the difference. In other words it is up to you to speak out for those who no longer can because they have been silenced and disappeared.

What are you waiting for? Spread the word. Take a few minutes and denounce this injustice. Call your elected representative. Call in to a radio talk show. Write a blog entry. Tweet about it. Post it on facebook. Do something! Their lives depend on it.

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