|Activists arrested in Cuba on human rights day for peacefully assembling (Reuters)|
Cuban human rights activists are at increased risk of detention or harassment from the authorities amid demonstrations on International Human Rights Day, 10 December, said Amnesty International following a wave of almost 1,500 arbitrary arrests in just over a month. Yesterday, police in the capital Havana arbitrarily restricted the movement of members of the prominent Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) group of activists as they prepared for today’s demonstrations. This came after at least 1,477 politically motivated detentions in November 2015, the highest monthly total in many years, according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN). [...] For years, harassment on Human Rights Day has been the rule rather than the exception, and is absolutely unacceptable,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.Unfortunately 2015 has been a terrible year for human rights in Cuba not only because of the huge number of arbitrary detentions but also the escalating violence against activists and the silence by visiting American human rights defenders who met with representatives of the dictatorship without addressing the violence the system commits against its own people. This has and will continue to have profoundly negative consequences for the marginalized and dispossessed.
|Human rights defender Sirley Ávila León machete attacked on May 24, 2015|
Surprisingly, on October 30, 2015 when Eve Ensler a dramatist and American feminist, known for her work the Vagina Monologues, was visiting Cuba she didn't meet with the women who are regularly beaten up by agents of the Castro regime for exercising their human rights to peaceful assembly and expression but with Mariela Castro. Mariela Castro is the privileged daughter of the Cuban dictator Raul Castro and a fierce advocate of the 56-year-old communist dictatorship. Ms Castro is known to use the same dangerous and dehumanizing rhetoric against dissenters as her dad, Raul Castro, and uncle, Fidel Castro do. An example of this is the highly reported incident over twitter with Yoani Sánchez in 2011 when the dictator's daughter denounced tolerance and called critics "parasites." Eve Ensler has a campaign called One Billion Rising that purports "to amplify the voice of marginalized women." Furthermore the name of the campaign revolves around the idea that one billion women in the world are the victims of some form of violence. This raised a number of questions in the incongruity between her stated aims in the One Billion Rising campaign and her actions and statements when visiting Cuba.
Nevertheless the organizers of the event had a more interactive approach that allowed Cuban activists to raise the plight of Cuban women with several posters and two activists were able to speak out. One of them, Ana Olema, was able to reach the microphone and speak out on behalf of Cuban women. Meanwhile in Cuba the international media captured images of Cuban women being rounded up and roughed up for wanting to peacefully march and express their dissent. It was an honor to roughly translate her impassioned words to English and only hope that in the stress of the moment that it was understood. Let me close by echoing the words that got activists arrested in Cuba earlier today: "For freedom" and "long live human rights" for men and women!
|Castro agents cover Lázaro Yuri Valle's mouth to stop him shouting long live human rights|