Saturday, December 12, 2015

Over 300 detained on Human Rights Day and a focus on two taken away

Two people behind the numbers and the images coming out of Cuba

Independent journalist Lázaro Yuri Valle after Embassy of Ecuador
Reports still emerging from Cuba on the total number of arrests on International Human Rights Day with estimates now ranging at over 300 Cuban activists detained.  However in this blog entry will focus on two detainees, Rosa María Rodríguez Gil and Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca, out of the hundreds taken. She has a story that is compelling and he appears in a series of powerful images that speak volumes on the nature of the regime that presently exists in Cuba.

Rosa María Rodríguez Gil with her son Yosvani in 2015

Rosa María Rodríguez Gil, a member of the coordinating council of the Christian Liberation Movement was detained on December 10, 2015 at 8:00am  and was released the following day on December 11 at 4:00pm amid threats and insults hurled at her by state security agents. She spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council on June 25, 2015.

Rosa María Rodríguez addresses UNHRC with Regis Iglesias
Rosa Maria had been threatened on March 16, 2010 that if she did not begin informing on the Christian Liberation Movement, a nonviolent movement that seeks a democratic transition in Cuba, that her learning disabled son, Yosvani Melchor Rodríguez, would suffer the consequences. She refused and Yosvani was arrested on March 19, 2010 and held in custody for nine months then subjected to a show trial and given a 12 year prison sentence. In Geneva she denounced this blackmail along with the deaths of Christian Liberation Movement founder Oswaldo Payá, and its youth leader Harold Cepero on July 22, 2012 under suspicious circumstances that have not been cleared up. Five years, five months and 12 days after he was arbitrarily detained Yosvani Melchor Rodriguez was freed on probation on August 30, 2015.  

Independent journalist Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca
Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca is an independent journalist and social communicator who lives in Havana, Cuba and has a blog of opinion about the political and social reality titled YurielConteston Blog. He posted the photograph above on November 30, 2015 after being roughed up by Castro agents at the Embassy of Ecuador in Havana when he was covering a story on Cuban nationals protesting the change in visa policy.

On International Human Rights Day he was surrounded by Cuban state security agents who covered his mouth in order to silence him as they took him away. Towards the end of the video below you can see him taken away and how other elements use the flags to try and cover up what is going on. However, other media in the vicinity captured the following images which have been pieced together. Cuban state security agents tried to silence Lázaro on December 10th but the photos that others took speak volumes on the repressive and totalitarian nature of the Cuban government in 2015.

Int'l Human Rights Day 2015 in Havana
 These are but two of the over 300 hundred activists detained today in Cuba for their exercise of free expression and independent journalism. This is not normal and demonstrates a totalitarian regime that fears its populace and maintains control through a combination of fear and physical coercion.

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