Thursday, December 13, 2012

Repression in Cuba by the numbers and through a 15 year old's victimization

International Human Rights Day 2012 in Cuba marked an important milestone on the island. More than 300 arbitrary detentions over the course of 48 hours beginning on December 9 and ending 48 hours at midnight on December 10, 2012. Before this latest crackdown, human rights groups had already reported on the massive increase in arrests in Cuba.
The Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs in Cuba (CRDHC) released a preliminary report this December 10 on the violation of human rights in Cuba during the last eleven months of 2012 which states, in part: "The CRDHC has observed a dramatic maintenance of the already astronomical levels of political repression throughout 2012. The more than 6000 arbitrary and violent arrests performed by the political police against human rights defenders from January to the present date speak for themselves.." The combined number of arbitrary detentions in 2010 and 2011 will be dwarfed by the number detained in 2012 alone.

Quantitative measurements are of great importance in providing an overall breakdown of what is happening in the island but a qualitative analysis can provide insights into the nature of a system that can be lost in the numbers.

15-year old Martha Beatriz Ferrer Cantillo targeted by Regime
For example, looking at how the Castro regime observed International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2012 in a local school. Officials celebrated the dictator as a human rights champion while at the same time targeting a young girl for refusing to participate and threatening her friends. Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia described over twitter the campaign government officials are waging against his 15 year old daughter:
Martha Beatriz Ferrer, my daughter of 15 years, was the victim yesterday of deception, harassment and ill-treatment at her College Prep school in Palmarito de Cauto. Cuban communist party leaders in the Mella municipality harassed Martha Beatriz for refusing to participate in a political action for Human Rights Day. In the political act that my daughter refused to participate in they began claiming that Fidel Castro was a champion in the defense of human rights. The actions against my daughter Martha Beatriz at school are increasing. Because of her charisma and courage she greatly concerns the political police. The political police, Cuban communist party and education leaders pressured Martha Beatriz's classmates not to involve themselves with her.

They are pressuring parents of the classmates of my daughter Martha Beatriz. Students from the College Prep school have been threatened with measures in their school record if they visit our home in Palmarito de Cauto. The campaign against Martha Beatriz intensifies so that her friends not attend her 15th birthday.
At the same time numbers do matter. Imagine for a moment on International Human Rights Day in Cuba over 300 hundred activists were detained between December 9th and 10th in order to prevent them from taking part in nonviolent activities to commemorate human rights. Imagine for a moment you are arrested at five o'clock in the morning on December 9th and held for over 24 hours until you are finally released at 8:00pm the following night. This is what Lady in White Sandra Guerra suffered through.

Sayli Navarro

At 11:57am on December 12, 2012, Sayli Navarro began to list the names of activists of the United Antitotalitarian Forum (FANTU) coalition that had been arrested on December 10 over twitter stating: 
On Monday the 10th there were 32 members of the FANTU Coalition who were arrested for hours.

In Placetas José Enrique Pablo Oliva & Jorge Prieto Rodriguez remained in detention from 7:00am until 3:00pm.

In Cabaiguan where: Omar Cabrera Rodriguez-Gallo, Mario Cabrera Carrazco, María Elena Durán Bermúdez and Hipólito Elias Rodríguez Pérez from 8:30am until 1:00 pm.

In Santa Clara, the provincial capital, those arrested were: Jesus Aristides HernandezPerez, Antonio Raul Machado Garcia, Jorge Luis Artiles Montiel, David Bustamante Rodriguez, Evergio Ibarra Valdez, Digna Rodriguez Ibanez, Sandra Rodriguez Gattorno, Lizandra Farray Rodriguez, Haymee Moya Montes de Oca, Ramon Arbolaez Abreu, Yosmel Martinez Corcho, Guillermo Farinas Hernandez, Barbaro Fraga Rodriguez, Ricardo Arrechea Gomez, Jose Rodriguez Lopez, Vladimir Morrera Bacallao, Feliberto Perez del Sol, Yayme Llanes Nunez, Raul Lopez Perez, Marbelis Gonzalez Reyes, Rolando Ferrer Espinosa, Ramon Jimenez Arencibia, Miguel Farinas Key, Robersi Zapata Blanco and Alexander Andrade Gimbarda.

 Meanwhile in Matanzas were detained in the PNR in the town of Cabezas, the activist Julia Silvia Gonzalez Fundora from 1:25 pm until 5:00 pm.
Sayli Navarro also gave her heart felt thanks and called people of good will to join in demanding that the life of imprisoned independent journalist now on hunger strike, Calixto Ramon be saved:
Each time that I have the opportunity to connect to the internet, I take the opportunity to send you ALL my deepest THANKS for following me on Twitter, for the direct messages that reach me and for helping me to disseminate what happens inside the island, through your re-tweets. Blessings and a hug to ALL! As a young Cuban who has been suffering firsthand what it is to have a family member held in a prison, obviously with limited space, I join the cries for the life of Calixto Ramon, on hunger strike. JOIN US!
Like Martha Beatriz Ferrer, Sayli Navarro is the daughter of a former Cuban prisoner of conscience but she's a few years older and has years of activism under her belt. They are terrified that Martha Beatriz will also follow the path of human rights activism and this totalitarian system is doing it all it can to stop her. This is precisely why it is important to tell their story and get the word out on the plight of human rights defenders in Cuba and their children who are also targets of repression.

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