Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day in Cuba: Update on Yris

On International Women's Day 2013 in Cuba a woman is spitting up blood due to a beating  administered to her by a male state security agent on the morning of March 7, 2013 for a nonviolent demonstration she had participated in. The attack was so brutal that they knocked her out and she had to be taken to a hospital. When she finally regained consciousness, regime agents kicked her out of the hospital. This was not the first time that she had been the object of such an attack by an official of the Cuban government. Her name is Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera and she is the president of the Rosa Parks Women's Movement for Civil Rights.

Today her condition worsened. She complained that she was losing vision in her left eye, vomiting (that included blood), dizziness and numbness in her cheek. It appears that the attention drawn to her plight in the social media generated a reaction and tonight she was picked up and finally taken to a hospital.

Unfortunately, that does not mean that she will be provided proper care. The case of Laura  Pollán and the systematic medical neglect that she was subjected to contributed to her death.

Her husband, Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez",  described Yris's condition and the situation over twitter today: At 3:29pm he reported that "she complains of losing vision in her left eye, vomiting, dizziness and numbness in her cheek." At 5:14pm he announced that "Right now they are moving my wife to the Santa Clara provincial hospital, they are taking her in an ambulance. Jorge Luis explained that the doctor who referred [her to the hospital], said that what "worries him is how high her arterial blood pressure is." At 5:19pm he tweeted "We are all very sad, Pray to God for my wife." The last tweet reported at 6:42pm that "the ambulance arrives with Yris at the pediatric hospital where they will perform a TAC on her." The tweets ended.

Librado Linares is reporting at 7:58 pm that Yris Perez has her trapezoids very swollen, vision loss, severe pains and a possible cervical fracture from the brutal beating. He is also reporting at 7:50pm that state security agents are blocking him from visiting the hospital. "Have clash with officials Misael & Lester trying to get to the hospital where they have Yris Perez. A car brushed past me."

Her life is still in danger. Vigilance and international solidarity is needed to save her life.

The Free Cuba Foundation in a post earlier today placed into context the violence visited on Yris and other Cuban women highlighting five examples copied and pasted below but left one high profile victim out and her name is Yoani Sanchez:

Yris Perez Aguilera
 Yris Perez , Damarys Moya ,Yanisbel Valido, Natividad Blanco and Ramona Garcia were beaten and arrested in Santa Clara for marching on March 7, 2013.  Yris Perez Aguilera had been beaten so badly that she lost consciousness and had to be admitted to a hospital. When she regained consciousness despite still being in a bad state she was discharged on orders of State Security. Due to the multiple beatings she has received from government agents Yris Perez Aguilera has developed a cyst on the top of the spine where it meets her head.  She frequently suffers migraines, dizziness spells and other sharp pains due to the repeated attacks which she has not been able to tend to medically. The man who assaulted Yris on March 7, 2013 is Eric Francis Aquino Yera, the same official who, in 2012, threatened to rape the 5 year old daughter of Damaris Moya- Lazara Contreras.
Marina Montes Piñón
 Marina Montes Piñón, a 60 year old woman and long time opposition activist, was beaten with a blunt object by regime agents on December 15, 2012 in Cuba. The end result was three deep wounds in the skull and a hematoma in the right eye. She needed nearly thirty stitches to patch up the wounds.
Berenice Héctor González
 Berenice Héctor González, a 15-year old young woman, suffered a knife attack on November 4, 2012 for supporting the women's human rights movement, The Ladies in White. News of the attack only emerged a month later because State Security had threatened the mother that her daughter would suffer the consequences if she made the assault public.

Damaris Moya Portieles and her daughter
Human rights activist and member of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, Damaris Moya Portieles, denounced on  May 3rd 2012 that in addition to having been the victim of a violent arrest along with other dissidents the previous night, State Security and political police agents threatened to rape her 5 year old daughter. According to Portieles, the main culprit of this threat was the State Security agent Eric Francis Aquino Yera.

Laura Inés Pollán Toledo
 Laura Inés Pollán Toledo, one of the founders of the Ladies in White in March of 2003 and its chief spokeswoman was widely admired inside of Cuba and internationally. She fell suddenly ill and died within a week on October 14, 2011 in a manner that a Cuban medical doctor described as "painful, tragic and unnecessary." This was just days after the Ladies in White declared themselves a human rights organization dedicated to the freedom of all political prisoners, not just their loved ones.
Yoani Sanchez
 Yoani Sanchez has been physically assaulted twice and still has a sign of the most recent attack: a missing tooth. The first time was on November 6, 2009 Yoani Sanchez was kidnapped and beaten up by Cuban state security agents and the second time was on October 6, 2012 when she lost the tooth.

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