When the Cuban Gestapo entered the home of Caridad Caballero Batista in Holguin on December 29th, the repressive nature of the Castro regime was merely confirmed.
I had to confirm with my own eyes what she was telling me over the phone. For 5 days, 10 dissidents were in her house to protest and show solidarity with the hunger strike that Orlando Zapata Tamayo was holding in Kilo 8 Prison in Camaguey. However, it annoyed the Holguin political police that various people, who did not think like they did, met in a private citizen’s home.
With a metal bar the military was able to break down the bars to enter the home, kicked the door down and took the protesters by kicking them in their heads and bodies. When the shock commandos left the house it left the impression of a Dante-like panorama. A score of olive green uniforms trashed the bedrooms, they stole Caridad’s 16-year-old son’s textbooks and now they can’t find the electric chargers, the radio receiver and its batteries, and other things that Caridad and her husband Esteban suppose were misappropriated in the illegal home search.
Arriving at the station, they shoved Caridad into a chair, screaming “FATSO” at her like they scream “WORM” at a dissident in Cuba.
I spoke to two neighbors in the area and they told me what the G-2 was saying around town while they were there, was that there was a black person hidden in that house (they were referring to Jorge Luis García Pérez, Antúnez) who had killed a child; that Caridad and her family tried to leave Cuba in a boat but when they failed they returned with the black guy, again Antúnez.
For four days 15th Street in the town of Hilda Torres was barricaded by troops of the G-2. When they dragged off the peaceful civil rights defenders they brought a tank of beer in bulk, watered it down so it was poor quality, and sold it “only to those who had collaborated in the act of repudiation.” But since they didn’t want to sell to others, a crowd of thirsty drunks fell on them with stones and had to be hauled off drunk to another neighborhood.
When the search ended they put a groups of kids there shouting slogans, the ones it only occurs to Cuban revolutionaries to utter. The babies were babbling about worms, U.S. imperialism, and referring to Fidel.
Carl told me that the officer who interrogated him told him that the only God is Fidel and that Jesus Christ was the first communist. For all he thought, the son of Mary should have been twisting on the cross again.
Now the struggle of the family starts to get his cell phone returned to him. I have gone twice to the military headquarters in Agramante between Maceo Street and Liberty, marking that location, but have been unsuccessful.
This time there will be more of us protesting, I’m sure. With what wonders the year begins!
Translated by Luz Brito