Sunday, February 12, 2012
ARBITRARY VIOLENT ARRESTS, BEATINGS, PERSECUTIONS, INSULTS, THREATS AND SEXUAL HARRASSMENT PRECEDE THE VISIT OF POPE BENDICT XVI
Human rights defender alerts the international community of the danger in the rise of sexual harrassment against women activists by the Cuban political police
February 5, 2012
According to the report by the independent information group in the island, Hablemos Press, the first month of the year 2012 concluded with 428 arbitrary arrests of Cuban citizens who were exercizing their right to freedom of expression, assembly and association:
In its Press Freedom Index Report 2011/2012, Reporters Without Borders scored Cuba as one of the worst censors in the world: http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2011-2012,1043.html
Yasmin Conyedo and her husband, Yusmani Alvarez both remain under arrest since January 8, 2012 in the central city of Santa Clara. Yasmin Conyedo is an independent journalist of the group, United Antitotalitarian Front and a Lady in White. Her husband, Yusmani Alvarez is an activist of the Young Democratic League of Las Villas. They are both falsely accused of attacking the home of a communist party official in their hometown of Villaclara who had initially subjected the couple’s home to a pro government mob attack the same day of the arrest. Yasmin was transferred to the Prison of Guamajal and Yusmani to the Prison of La Pendiente on January 16, 2012.
Female human rights defenders continue to be at the forefront of the peaceful resistance movement and their demands, meetings and attendance to Mass are being met by Cuban authorities with increasing physical and psychological violence. The Ladies in White are being intentionally kicked and punched on their breasts, buttocks, thighs, etc. (Photo of Sandra Guerra’s bruises in attachment). Throughout the island there is a worrisome rise in sexual harassment (verbal and physical) against them by agents of the Cuban regime who are threatening them with rape and are touching them inappropriately. Just in 2012, Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Human Rights Movement has reported two recent arrests when she was a victim of sexual harassment: once threatened with rape and, this week, she was inappropriately touched by an officer. Other activists who’ve also reported sexual harassment: Sara Marta Fonseca, Idania Llanes Contreras, Damaris Moya Portieles and Odalys Sanabria. Hablemos Press taped interviews of several women’s testimonies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b9vHNrREs0&feature=youtu.be
The 2012 Sakharov Prize recipient and independent journalist, Guillermo Fariñas continues under arrest, since Saturday February 4th. This is the fifth time he’s been arrested this year in the central city of Santa Clara (January 14, 17,19 28). This last detention is related to a 2011 legal demand he presented against a Security guard who beat and threatened him to death at the Arnaldo Millan Hospital. On January 28 he was detained for paying public homage, along with other activists, to the Cuban patriot Jose Marti. All other arrests in January were related to his public protests for the release of Yasmin Conyedo and Yusmani Alvarez.
This is the fifth consecutive weekend that the home of the independent journalist Felipe Rojas has been under surveillance by uniformed officials, jeeps, etc. in the Eastern city of San German.
The Cuban regime denied the blogger Yoani Sanchez the exit permit to travel to Brazil in violation of article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states that anyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. She had been granted a tourist visa by the Brazilian government where she is invited to attend the screening of a documentary.
Rosa Maria Rodriguez, is being blackmailed by Cuban authorities by condemning her mentally disabled son, Yosvany Melchor, to a 12 years prison sentence because she will not stop her activism as a member of the Christian Liberation Movement. Yosvany, who is 29 years old, is presently in Prison 1580 in San Miguel del Padrón, Havana, among violent common delinquents. Video of this case with testimony by Rosa Maria Rodriguez was posted this week in the internet by Osvaldo Paya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doTZeTG3AiQ Further detailed information on the case: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/%C2%A1libertad-para-yosvany-melchor.html
The following are some of the reports of human rights violations reported this week from the island:
JANUARY 31, 2012 - At daybreak, a member of the prodemocracy group, UMPACU in the Eastern city of Palma, Dany Lopez de Moya heard noises in front of his home and surprised two men vandalizing it with black paint. Dany ran after the perpetrators and found that other individuals were also vandalizing the home of another UMPACU member, Miguel Rafael Cabrera Montoya. When both activists tried to catch the culprits, the police placed under arrest Miguel Rafael Cabrera Montoya.
Students and teachers of a polytechnic institute in the Eastern Municipality of Mella threw stones against the house of the activists, Ramon Bolaños Martin and the Lady in White, Karina Quintana Hernandez almost hitting their youngest daughter. Carmen Bolaños Quintana, another daughter of the activist couple is being ostracized by her fellow classmates and teachers in her secondary school by orders of the principal because her parents are human rights defenders.
FEBRUARY. 2, 2012 – The following seven women activists were violently arrested and remained in prison cells for 20 hours in inhumane conditions following a peaceful march demanding the release of Yasmin Conyedo and Yusmani Alvarez in the central city of Santa Clara: Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, Xiomara Martin Jimenez, Yaite Diosnely Cruz Sosa, Yanisbel Valido Perez, Damaris Moya Portieles, Maria del Carmen Martinez and Idania Yanes Contreras.
FEBRUARY 3, 2012 – Activist Caridad Caballero Batista reported that Franklin Pelegrino del Toro was arrested at 8 p.m. taken to the police unit in the Eastern city of Cacocun.
Jose Daniel Ferrer reported that Miguel Rafael Cabrera Montoya, who was arrested on January 31 was released.
FEBRUARY 4, 2012 – In Guantanamo, Angel Frometa Lobaina was injured during a violent arbitrary short term arrest and released on a bail of $1000 pesos for carrying out a peaceful protest.
Since early in the morning State Security and Police forces carried out violent arbitrary arrests of numerous Ladies in White in the Eastern cities of Palmarito de Cauto, Palma Soriano, Contramaestre, and Santiago de Cuba. Road blocks were placed on the main road leading to the Basilica of El Cobre to prevent the Ladies in White from attending Sunday Mass. Aurora Martin and Niraida Martin were arrested early in the morning in Santiago de Cuba and in Mella, Karina Quintana, was prevented from leaving her home and Oria Casanova Moreno was dragged, forced into a patrol car and taken to a police unit. In Palmarito de Cauto a police operation was carried out. Darmis Aguedo, Alina Fonseca, Aliagna Issac, Eduvenia Issac, Yanelis Leiva, Yaima Bejerano, Mercedes Fernandez, Adriana Fernandez, Annia Pecora, Darelis Chacon., Ana Celia Rodriguez Torres, Kenia Legren Elliot, Maria Teresa Darroman Lopez, Araceli Maria Elena The Ladies denounced that the police agents threatened them with burning their white clothes:
CLANDESTINE VIDEO TAPED IN CUBA – Testimony of Ladies in White after their release in Eastern city of Contramaestre ( 5:53 min) Celia Rodriguez Torres, Kenia Legren Elliot, Maria Teresa Darroman Lopez: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Nku81yQ1FI&feature=youtu.be&a
FEBRUARY 5, 2012 - Eleven Ladies in White were held under siege by the political police in the Church of Santa Catalina de Ricci in the Eastern city of Guantanamo.
In Holguin, the Lady in White, Adisnidia Cruz, was arrested early in the morning alongside two activists when she was on her way to the Church Cristo Redentor. The Ladies in White, Caridad Caballero Batista, Marta Diaz Rondon, Berta Segura, Gertrudis Ojeda, and Isabel Peña were beaten, subjected to short term detention and threatened.
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 with the cases of the activist couple Yasmin Conyedo and Yusmani Alvarez, with Yosvani Melchor, and the particular rise in sexual harassment against members of the Ladies in White, Laura Pollan throughout Cuba. International recognition of the peaceful resistance and solidarity for these 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
Facebook Page: Coalition of Cuban-American Women
FURTHER INFORMATION IN CUBA: José Daniel Ferrer + 53 53631267 / Belkis Cantillo + 5353790867 / Caridad Caballero Batista + 5-2629749 / Yelena Garces +5353790818 / Dany Lopez de Moya +5352997725