BRUTAL REPRESSION OPENS THE YEAR 2012
Political arrests increased threefold in 2011
The independent news agency Centro de Informacion Hablemos Press in Cuba documented 3,835 political arrests in its 2011 report on human rights violations in the island: http://www.cihpress.com/2012/01/informe-mensual-de-violaciones-de-los.html.
The Lady in White, Ivonne Malleza Galano, her husband, Ignacio Martinez Montejo, and a Cuban woman, Isabel Haydee Alvarez remain confined in maximum security prisons without formal charges. All three were violently arrested on November 30, 2011, following a peaceful protest in the Fraternidad Park in central Havana.
The Lady in White, Caridad Caballero Batista denounced from her hometown in Holguin in Eastern Cuba, that the pardons of more than 2,900 Cuban prisoners announced by Raul Castro are a “farce and a manipulation of the regime“, “Those who have been released are highly dangerous inmates, they are people who have murdered, raped; who are truly delinquent, and who will be used to repress the dissidents.” Caballero Batista received phone calls from countless prisons in Cuba from political prisoners who wanted to denounce their cases, many who have already served their unjust sentences. Of those 2,900 who were supposedly released, there are, at least, five political prisoners, according to Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz, of the Comisión Cubana de Derechos Humanos y Reconciliación Nacional (CCDHRN) in Havana.
Berta Soler, leader of the “Ladies in White Laura Pollan” denounced an increase in the regime’s violent methods of intimidation and harrassment against members of this peaceful femenine human rights movement throughout the island.
Below are some of the human rights violations reported from the island since January 1, 2012.
JANUARY 1, 2012 – In the city of Santa Clara (central Cuba), The Rosa Parks Movement alongside members of the Central Opposition Coalition were victims of the cruel and brutal aggression of the political police, as well as of members of the Rapid Response Brigade and the Communist Party when they tried to carry out a peaceful march “for the freedom of Cuba, against impunity, and in support and solidarity with Ivonne Malleza Galano.” The activists were taken away and arrested with brutal force from the home of Idania Yanes Contreras, president of the Central Opposition Coalition. Frank Reyes Lopez, who was filming the attack, fractured his right arm after he was thrown off from the roof by State Security agents. Maria del Carmen Martinez also suffered a fracture in one of her arms, while Aramilda Contreras was victim of serious injuries. Robert Alcides Rivera Yanez, the son of Yanez Contreras and a minor, was also beaten and shoved by police officials and suffered injuries and bruises all over his small body. Several neighbors intervened and managed to shelter the child from the police. The activists who were subjected to short term detentions and suffered physical as well as verbal attacks were: Ydania Llanes Contreras Damaris Moya, Maria del Carmen Martinez Lopez, Ana Iris Burune Rivera, Yanoisi Contreras Aguilar, Alcides Rivera Rodríguez, Frank Reyes López, Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, Natividad Blanco Carrero, Aramilda Contreras Rodríguez and Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera. While in their cells, the guards screamed obscenities at the women and threatened to rape them. According to Yanes Contreras, the guards were “raffling” off the women amongst themselves to see which one they would rape. Damaris Moya denounced that her 13 month old son was desperately screaming in the arms of his grandmother while agents were applying martial arts immobilization locks on her. She was dragged into a patrol car and taken to a detention center. Her husband Yanoisi’s face is swollen because of the beating and choking. Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez was savagely and repeatedly punched by agents in the patrol car during the ride to the police station in Santa Clara while the agents forced him to cry out “Viva Fidel”. Antunez has numerous swellings on his head and is suffering from dizziness and loss of vision in his left eye. All the activists vowed to continue with their public peaceful marches in 2012, a year they consider important for the Cuban Resistance Movement.
JANUARY 4, 2012 – Act of repudiation in Camaguey against the home of activist Virgilio Mantilla Arango from 3 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. to prevent a group of activists from meeting in a public park in the city of Camaguey. Among the activists who were arrested were: Elizardo Reyes Jimenez, Jorge Luis Suarez Varona, Virgilio Mantilla Arango, and Alexis Sabatelo of the Unidad Camagueyana por los Derechos Humanos. They were all taken to the Center of Criminal Investigation and confined in cells. They were all interrogated and threatened not to continue with their public independent acts.
JANUARY 5, 2012 –In Havana, Independent journalist, Dania Virgen Garcia, Lady in White, Belkis Felicia Jorrin, and human rights defender Yosvani Martinez Lemus (beaten) were subjected to short term detentions. The home of Lady in White, Caridad Burunate, in the city of Colon, (Matanzas province) was victim of an act of repudiation.
JANUARY 6, 2012 – According to independent journalist, Luis Felipe Rojas, the Lady in White, Isabel Peña was attacked by a government thug in Guantanamo (eastern Cuba). In Havana, the political police surrounded the home of Lady in White, Anisley Pavon in the suburb of Marianao. Paramilitary forces of more than 100 agents attacked the home of Maritza Castro in the Havana district of El Cerro with stones, sticks, and bottles. Maritza Castro has been carrying out a hunger strike for almost a month, demanding the freedom of Ivonne Malleza, Ignacio Martinez, and Isabel H. Alvarez. Maritza is a neighbor of Ivonne Malleza and her husband Ignacio.
JANUARY 7, 2012 – Hot tar was thrown against the front of the home of Lady in White, Gertrudis Ojeda in Banes (eastern Cuba) because she displayed anti-government signs in her home. The tar’s pungent odor is affecting one of her sons who is seriously affected with asthma. According to the independent journalist, Roberto de Jesus Guerra, Ojeda was beaten and dragged by the paramilitary forces that invaded her home.
JANUARY 8, 2012 – The activist Prudencio Villalon Rades of the Union Patriotica de Cuba (UMPACU) denounced that Ladies in White, Annis Sarrion, Milagros Leiva, Maritza Cardosa, Osmeilis Jimenez, as well as her daughter Arianis Gainza Jimenez (12 years old) were all aggressively attacked by a member of the Communist Party and paramilitary forces in Municipio Mella, (eastern Cuba). Also, the Lady in White, Caridad Caballero Batista and her husband, Esteban Sade were arrested as they were entering the Church Pueblo Nuevo in Holguin (eastern Cuba). In Cacocun, Holguin, the Lady in White, Berta Guerrero and her husband, Franklin Pellegrino del Toro were arrested with violence to prevent their assistance to Mass.
The independent journalist, Jose Lino Asencio reported that In central Cuba, the house of Lady in White, Yasmin Conyedo Riveron, located at calle Trista 374 entre San Pedro y Virtudes, in the city of Santa Clara, was attacked by a pro government mob brought in a bus by State Securiy forces.
In Pedro Betancourt, a town in the province of Matanzas, the independent activist Oscar Sanchez Madan was violently arrested alongside Juan Francisco Sigler Amaya and other human rights defenders, members of the Independent Movement Alternative Option, who were on their way to the cemetery to honor the Lady in White, Gloria Amaya, an activist and mother of three ex political prisoners of conscience.
The Coalition of Cuban-American Women alerts the international community that the lives of those members of Cuban civil society who are actively and publicly struggling on behalf of fundamental freedoms are in danger. We are particularly concerned in the cases of Ivonne Mayeza, her husband Ignacio Martinez Montero and Isabel H. Alvarez. International recognition of the peaceful resistance and solidarity for those human rights defenders is crucial. We make an urgent call on religious, civic, political, and cultural entities and its leaders, as well as to non-governmental human rights organizations worldwide.
Coalition of Cuban-American Women / Joseito76@aol.com / Laida A.Carro
FURTHER INFORMATION IN CUBA: Berta Soler +5352906820 / Belkis Cantillo + 5353790867 /
José Daniel Ferrer - + 53 53631267