Celebration and Condemnation

16 Dec

Photo: Luis Felipe Rojas

While throughout many parts of the world many tributes were being held for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Cuba once again opted to go against it.  They began on Thursday the 9th with beatings, mob acts, and harassment towards the Ladies in White, who were carrying out their usual march throughout the capital.

All throughout the country there were arrests, blocking of telephone service, and police harassment towards activists.  The first piece of bad news came to me in text message from Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina at 7 am on Friday.  He and his brother, Nestor, were detained at that time.  They left Rolando in the Parque 24 barracks in Guantanamo, and Nestor was taken to the center of police operations.  Later, the government cracked down on Enyor Diaz Allen, Isael Poveda Silva, Jorge Corrales Ceballos, Jose Cano Fuentes, and other activists.

From Santiago de Cuba I received word that Idalmis Nunez and Tania Montoya had not been detained in the capital city, which they traveled to in order to support the Ladies in White.  However, they did suffer from much harassment, collective repression, and overall harsh treatment carried out by trained mobs.

Later on I received a message from Moa: Omar Wilson Estevez, Angis Sarrion Romero, and three other activists (whose names I could not decipher due to the strange sounds emanating from the phone line) had all been detained.  In Velazco, a small town near Gibara, there was also a repressive wave.  They detained Jonas Avila and Rafael Leiva.

Bayamo reported the detention of Yoandris Montoya Aviles and another young man by the name of Ariel.  I still do not have the names of the detainees in Banes and Antilla, and they also have not been able to explain to me why Nestor was kept in the G2 offices until Sunday, the 12th, when he was taken to the Provincial Prison of Guantanamo without a single trial or formal accusation.

I did not even try to travel out of San German.  I am well aware of the vigilance and control methods exercised over my family and me.  I also know which individuals are responsible for this.  But once Jorge and Rolando were released they were able to inform me that in Villalon Park there were students and social workers placed there by the government.  These groups attempted to halt the activities of the Eastern Democratic Alliance which were to take to the streets to hand out flyers with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on them, while also explaining how the Cuban police and government violates this document which was signed 62 years ago.

I don’t know why they are so fearful of a celebration where the present members were holding pieces of paper that, among other things, stated:

Article 19. Every individual has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes not being harassed because of your opinions, having the freedom to investigate and receive information and opinions, and to spread them without the limitation of borders, through any means of media expression.

Article 20: Every person has the right to freedom of peaceful reunion and association.  No one shall be forced to belong to a specific association.

Translated by Raul G.

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