Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rights defender speaks out about machete attack in Cuba

"That person was prepared. He knew who I was, how I think and how to identify me. His goal was to end my life. Deprive me of my life. Why? Simply because I have demonstrated to the people that I know and where I live that Cuba needs freedom it is the time for people to be free." - Werlando Leyva Batista
Human rights defender Werlando Leyva Batista attacked

A video has emerged of Werlando Leyva Batista, member of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) who was attacked with a machete by a paramilitary agent on June 8, 2013 in Holguin, Cuba. The video was sent to Pedazos de la Isla by independent journalist Alexei Jimenez Almarales. In the video, we see Werlando in the hospital, with a cast on his arm, explaining what happened to him at the hands of his attacker, “Amauri”.


What is known so far... 

Eduardo Cardet Concepción of the Christian Liberation Movement, said that Leyva Batista had to have surgery as a result of machete wounds on his right forearm. “They yelled insults calling Werlando a worm, a counterrevolutionary, an opposition member [...] and then using a machete they attacked him,” said Cardet in a telephone message released by MCL.” Cardet later reported on June 10, 2013 that Leiva Werlando was "improving, today they changed his dressing, but until they remove the cast in a month they will not know if he regains all the mobility of the hand.

State security ensures that the individual who assaulted Werlando is detained (his name is Amaury Diaz Hernandez)" The attack is not an isolated incident but fits into an overall pattern of heightened repression that has targeted a number of Christian Liberation Movement activists.

In an interview with Radio Republica, the activist said that the worse blows with the machete were received in one hand and on one thigh, "the goal of the attacker was to end his life because he had taken it upon himself to provide training and do public activism in favor of freedom." In a declaration published by the Christian Liberation Movement, Werlando also described his work on "The Peoples Path" initiative.

 Independent journalist and Holguin native Alexei Jimenez Almarales sent the following report from the island to Pedazos de la Isla:  “More than 10 dissidents were threatened on the morning of June 12th for standing in front of the Lenin Hospital in the city of Holguin.  These human rights activists were showing solidarity with MCL activist Werlando Leyva Batista who received two machete blows three days ago.  They are at the Hospital under threats of being detained, as authorities have said they will call the police.   Those present are:  Yoel Ordeñe Garrotiza, Yonis Leon Abarta, Osnai Pérez Matinés, Luis Quintana, Julio Cesar Ramos Cúrvelo, Juan Carlos Iznaga Santisteban, Denis Pino Basulto, Liliana Campos Buzón, Robier Cruz Campo, Madelaine Escobar Barseló, Juan Carlos Reyes Ocaña, Jorge Taylor y Daniel Rodrigué Osorio”.

Early this morning the Christian Liberation Movement tweeted that State Security was trying to eject MCL activists from hospital in Holguin where they were visiting their colleage Werlando Leyva Batista and machete attack victim.

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