Monday, July 6, 2015

Two violent assaults in Cuba and two radically different media responses

Violence escalates in Cuba. 

Two high profile dissidents in the past two months have been victims of violent attacks. A former academic turned dissident was badly beaten up on July 5, 2015. A former government official turned dissident was machete attacked a month and a half ago that took her left hand and may yet claim her life.

Antonio Rodiles attacked by State Security agents on Sunday
Yesterday opposition activist Antonio Rodiles was badly beaten up by state security agents who broke his nose and big toe leaving him bloody while he was on his way to join the Ladies in White on their weekly Sunday march following Mass in a peaceful demand for the release of political prisoners. The courageous activist denounced the attack shortly after returning from the hospital describing in a video with detail the beating and choke hold he was placed in while peacefully dissenting and the news has been covered widely in the international media as it should be.

Sirley Ávila León: Holds state security responsible for May 2015 machete attack
In contrast, on May 24, 2015 Sirley Ávila León was brutally attacked with a machete by a husband and wife team in a state security coordinated assault. She lost her left hand and may still lose her right arm. She went on record, before a camera to denounce the attack. She is a former delegate to the so-called "People's Assembly" who disenchanted with the regime shutting down a school in her district and without avenues to address it ended up joining the opposition. This made her a target of escalating harassment that ended in the brutal machete attack earlier this year. However the international media has by and large ignored her plight. She was sent home from the hospital in mid June while still in a critical state.

The situation in Cuba for nonviolent dissidents is deteriorating and requires international attention and solidarity. Over the past 12 Sundays in Cuba hundreds of activists have been violently arrested for exercising their fundamental rights.

Hopefully the international media will pay more attention to their plight.

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