Saturday, April 28, 2012

Was another Cuban human rights defender murdered by the Castro regime?

Another prominent Cuban dissident dies under suspicious circumstances. Was it an extrajudicial killing or natural causes? Will international pressure lead to a  full accounting?

Document published in original Spanish in Notes from a journalist by Angelica Mora, Palabra Cubana and PayoLibre

Urgent Appeal to Public Opinion and the International Community. 

Democratic Municipal Circles of Cuba, in coordination with the Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs of Cuba make known the following:

Council of Rapporteurs activist Sergio Díaz Larrastegui, died this past April 19, 2012 at the Julio Trigo Hospital in Arroyo Naranjo in Havana, Cuba.

He died in the shadows, under the control of Cuban State Security.

The so-called doctor who informed us of the death was very nervous to the point that he couldn’t hide his nervousness. When asked of what did he die? He replied: I don’t know, look we're going to put that he died of liver failure and then do the autopsy and we’ll know. One cannot help but note that Sergio had an almost full recovery within the 3 or 4 last days and remained up all night talking coherently with nurses and a female friend who was allowed to accompany him until two days before the crime.

Furthermore his dynamism, including blood pressure worked perfectly, all the time at 110 with 80. And his kidneys and digestion when he was admitted also functioned acceptably. Sergio was blind, physically of black skin, measuring 1 m, 80 cm tall and was 54 years old.

There was no indication of any illness that would compromise his life or would take him to the risk of death, until only four weeks ago, when, ignoring our warnings that they were going to murder him, he was admitted for10 days to the Julio Trigo Hospital and under the control of the Political Police was diagnosed with decompensated cirrhosis of the liver, at which time he was discharged and sent home without any medical treatment. This forced us, his friends to take him back to the hospital in which they indicated some medicines, which could not be supplied, since at the start of the treatment he died.

Díaz Larrastegui had been threatened with reprisals on many occasions by the Government for maintaining our human rights center at his home. That and his refusal to work for State Security, who had demanded that he place microphones and cameras inside his home and inform them of everyone who visited us, it cost him to be fired from his workplace in Copestel and that they kept him under [constant harassment that amounted to] state terrorism.

The medical facility remained at all times under the control of officers of the Political Police, to the point that the elevator operator asked, what are all these people doing here? Pointing to a makeshift office in the very entrance of the Fifth A hall, where various officials remained and from where the soldiers monitored all of his activity.

The death of Sergio means the destruction of the headquarters of our Council and the most damaging blow in our 5 years of monitoring in the Cuban capital.

We demand from the Cuban government a detailed, written explanation of the causes and conditions that occasioned the death of our dear brother in the struggle, Mr. Sergio Díaz Larrastegui.

Now we’ll wait for the next sentence of murder to fall on independent journalist Tania Maceda Guerra, Juan Carlos González Leiva or the elderly Petra Serafina Díaz Castillo, who welcomed us into her home, because we are the main supporters and promoters of all the work of the CRDHC.

This blind, master of the English language, independent journalist, and creditor of other titles in Japanese, Spanish and French languages, enters to swell the long list of those murdered by the Cuban government or opposition and discontented dead in dark conditions or under suspicion of political crimes. Like the well known cases of: the leader of the Ladies in White, Laura Pollán, Orlando Zapata, Wilman Villar and Wilfredo Soto, and the victims of the “13 de marzo” tugboat.

Sergio Díaz Larrastegui for defending human rights resisted the tyranny of the Castros and suffered martyrdom as one more victim of political repression, for that all Cuba should remember him always as one of its heroes and martyrs.


God bless Cuba in Christ.

Juan Carlos González Leiva. Executive Secretary. 
Tania Maceda Guerra. Secretary of the Organization.
Leticia Ramos Herrería. Secretary for Culture and Information.
Pedro Enrique Martínez Machado. Vice-president for the Eastern Region. 
Virgilio Mantilla Arango Vice-president for the Central Region. 
Raúl Borges Álvarez Secretary for the care of the prisons.
Maiquel Alexander Hernández Perdigón. Vice-president for the Western Region.

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