BREAKING NEWS: Yoani Sanchez Arrested in Cuba

Penultimos Dias has word that Yoani Sanchez and other Cuban bloggers have been arrested in Havana.

Yoani Sánchez, Orlando Luis Pardo, Ciro Díaz and Claudia Cadelo among those arrested. Cadelo is reported to have already been released. Details on whereabouts of other dissident bloggers are still sketchy.

UPDATE 6:46 EST: Im told all were picked up, harassed, manhandled and released at some distance away from where the march was to take place. Will keep updating as the news trickles in.

UPDATE 7:15: Penultimos Dias reports the Yoani and Orlando were verbally abused and severely beaten. Yoani was told that “this is as far as she would go.”

Ernesto, acabo de hablar con Yoani, Ya está en su casa. Tiene un golpe en un ojo. La han agredido física y verbalmente. A Orlando también. Les gritaban dentro de la patrulla que hasta ahí habían llegado, la pusieron con la cabeza hacia abajo y los pies hacia arriba y les aplicaron golpes de karate. Estaba muy nerviosa. Yo también.

Please help with translation.

UPDATE (translation):

Ernesto, I have just spoken to Yoani. She is now back home. She has bruising around one eye. She has been verbally and physically assaulted. Orlando was too. “This is as far as you’re getting!” was repeatedly shouted at them inside a patrol car. She was placed head over heels and subjected to karate blows. She is very nervous. I am too.

WHERE IS THE ARMY OF DAVIDS?

UPDATE 2:04: Here’s video of the march the castro monarchical dictatorship just couldn’t allow Cuban bloggers to participate in:

UPDATE: Yeah! Let’s lift the embargo, dialogue with fidel and raul and co., and allow Americans to travel freely to Cuba so they can witness Yoani and her colleagues be treated like chattel!!

Update 8:15 AM Saturday: From Orlando Luis Pardo, posted at Penultimos Dias:

nucaorlandoluispardolazo

Miro mi nuca.
No ha sido nada.
Un cinturón de petequias por la demasiada fuerza de un efebo oficial y acaso por mi mala coagulación.
Miro mi nuca en un jpg.
Según se interprete, es insultante o interesante de contar.
En el principio no fue el Verbum, sino la Barbariem.
Violencia extra-verbal a pulso.
Caminar en El Vedado será a partir de hoy una experiencia extrema.
La Avenida de los Presidentes remitirá ahora a una prisión post-principesca.
En segundos, Yoani y yo estábamos de brazos torcidos dentro de un auto importado desde nuestra Madrastra Patria: China.
Mi cabeza contra la alfombra del carro y Yoani casi de patas arriba.
No pude verla, la identifiqué porque no se callaba ni maniatada.
En segundos, la oí gritar con la vehemencia del ser más libre del planeta.
Tenía una rodilla de macho cubano clavada en el pecho y todavía los increpaba.
En segundos, de esa energía chupé fuerzas para sostener un poco mi voz.
Me dijeron que le dijera a Yoani que se callara.
Esa frase, pronunciada por tres desconocidos a nombre del Estado Cubano, resume toda la escenografía obsoleta y obscena de este país:
Díganle a Yoani que se calle.
Díganle a Yoani que se calle.
Díganle a Yoani que se calle.
En segundos, nos depositaron despóticamente en una esquina que confundí con el patio interior de un barracón.
Yo estaba mareado.
Sentí asco, tuve ganas de vomitar.
No podía mover el cuello.
Abracé a Yoani (antes nunca lo había hecho).
Empezó a sollozar.
La mujer más grande de Cuba parecía una niñita de cero años.
Porque Yoani es eso: el futuro de Cuba cristalizado sobre un esqueleto frágil e irrefrenable.
La besé en la cabeza. Su pelo tironeado con odio olía a la libertad.
Una.
Dos.
Diez.
Incontables veces besé su cabeza sin edad.
Pero nunca le dije que se callara.
Pero nunca le dije que se callara.
Pero nunca le dije que se callara.

Orlando Luis Pardo
La Habana

Update 8:38 AM: Ninety-five pound Yoani Sanchez takes a beating for 12 million Cubans and writes:

Cerca de la calle 23 y justo en la rotonda de la Avenida de los Presidente, fue que vimos llegar en un auto negro —de fabricación china— a tres fornidos desconocidos: “Yoani, móntate en el auto” me dijo uno mientras me aguantaba fuertemente por la muñeca. Los otros dos rodeaban a Claudia Cadelo, Orlando Luís Pardo Lazo y una amiga que nos acompañaba a una marcha contra la violencia. Ironías de la vida, fue una tarde cargada de golpes, gritos y malas palabras la que debió transcurrir como una jornada de paz y concordia. Los mismos “agresores” llamaron a una patrulla que se llevó a mis otras dos acompañantes, Orlando y yo estábamos condenados al auto de matrícula amarilla, al pavoroso terreno de la ilegalidad y la impunidad del Armagedón.
Me negué a subir al brillante Geely y exigimos nos mostraran una identificación o una orden judicial para llevarnos. Claro que no enseñaron ningún papel que probara la legitimidad de nuestro arresto. Los curiosos se agolpaban alrededor y yo gritaba “Auxilio, estos hombres nos quieren secuestrar”, pero ellos pararon a los que querían intervenir con un grito que revelaba todo el trasfondo ideológico de la operación: “No se metan, estos son unos contrarrevolucionarios”. Ante nuestra resistencia verbal, tomaron el teléfono y dijeron a alguien que debió ser su jefe: “¿Qué hacemos? No quieren subir al auto”. Imagino que del otro lado la respuesta fue tajante, porque después vino una andanada de golpes, empujones, me cargaron con la cabeza hacia abajo e intentaron colarme en el carro. Me aguanté de la puerta… golpes en los nudillos… alcancé a quitarle un papel que uno de ellos llevaba en el bolsillo y me lo metí en la boca. Otra andanada de golpes para que les devolviera el documento.
Adentro ya estaba Orlando, inmovilizado en una llave de kárate que lo mantenía con la cabeza pegada al piso. Uno puso su rodilla sobre mi pecho y el otro, desde el asiento delantero me daba en la zona de los riñones y me golpeaba la cabeza para que yo abriera la boca y soltara el papel. En un momento, sentí que no saldría nunca de aquel auto. “Hasta aquí llegaste, Yoani”, “Ya se te acabaron las payasadas” dijo el que iba sentado al lado del chófer y que me halaba el cabello. En el asiento de atrás un raro espectáculo transcurría: mis piernas hacia arriba, mi rostro enrojecido por la presión y el cuerpo adolorido, al otro lado estaba Orlando reducido por un profesional de la golpiza. Sólo acerté a agarrarle a éste —a través del pantalón— los testículos, en un acto de desespero. Hundí mis uñas, suponiendo que él iba a seguir aplastando mi pecho hasta el último suspiro. “Mátame ya” le grité, con la última inhalación que me quedaba y el que iba en la parte delantera le advirtió al más joven: “Déjala respirar”.
Escuchaba a Orlando jadear y los golpes seguían cayendo sobre nosotros, calculé abrir la puerta y tirarme, pero no había una manilla para activar desde adentro. Estábamos a merced de ellos y escuchar la voz de Orlando me daba ánimo. Después él me dijo que lo mismo le ocurría con mis entrecortadas palabras… ellas le decían “Yoani sigue viva”. Nos dejaron tirados y adoloridos en una calle de la Timba, una mujer se acercó “¿Qué les ha pasado?”… “Un secuestro”, atiné a decir. Lloramos abrazados en medio de la acera, pensaba en Teo, por Dios cómo voy a explicarle todos estos morados. Cómo voy a decirle que vive en un país donde ocurre esto, cómo voy a mirarlo y contarle que a su madre, por escribir un blog y poner sus opiniones en kilobytes, la han violentado en plena calle. Cómo describirle la cara despótica de quienes nos montaron a la fuerza en aquel auto, el disfrute que se les notaba al pegarnos, al levantar mi saya y arrastrarme semidesnuda hasta el auto.
Logré ver, no obstante, el grado de sobresalto de nuestros atacantes, el miedo a lo nuevo, a lo que no pueden destruir porque no comprenden, el terror bravucón del que sabe que tiene sus días contados.

Yoani Sánchez
La Habana

From Claudia Cadelo:

Friday at the Blogger Academy, we ended the day with a class on Cuban culture with Miriam. Relaxed atmosphere: the Tainos and their myths. Before leaving Ivan told me, “See you at five-thirty.” We had found out from friends we knew that Aldo, Luis Eligio, Amaury and other young people were going to walk today from 23rd and G Street to L Street, with signs against violence. A civic march in a country where citizenship has been kidnapped by the totalitarianism, where power has grown old and the ultimate death rattles of a collapsing system are a blind response, pure temper tantrum.

We stayed, Orlando Luis (Pardo Lazo), his girlfriend, Yoani and I, cleaning up until it was time for the march. We left the house nervous, but confident that we wouldn’t be alone. By G Street Orlando was making jokes that I don’t remember but I was falling out laughing. A man was masturbating in broad daylight in Zapata, Havana looked the same as always.

The bus stop for the P11 was full, at 27th and G, the only corner from where you can catch something to take you to Alamar. The car appeared from nowhere, yellow plates, a new Chinese model: money for repression. “Let’s go in comfort,” Yoani said to me jokingly, and the guys got out with faces that were not pleasant, it must be sad to be a thug. We refused to get in the car, there were three of them and they threatened us:

“Get in the car, now.”
“Let us see your documents, or wear a uniform.”

Orlando had his cell phone in his hand. “Pardo, don’t record,” said the said the one in the orange shirt, and I got my cell out. Nobody noticed me, I sent the first Tweet…

In less than three minutes a patrol car came up with a couple of cops—a woman and a man—completely dumbstruck by the scene. The carried out their orders almost in slow motion, the woman told me:

“Don’t resist.”
“They are undocumented,” it occurred to me to enlighten her.

Yoani was clinging to a bush, I was clinging to her waist, and the woman was pulling me by the leg. They had already dragged Orlando off, outside my field of vision. A man stopped, looking on with an expression of terror, people didn’t say a single word. The officer, very young, got me in an armlock that immobilized me, I could have kicked a little but I was too astonished at seeing Yoani’s legs sticking out of the rear window of the State Security car.

They shoved me into the patrol car while I was screaming, “Yoani! Yoani!” But I realized that no one could hear me, everything was hermetically sealed, Orlando’s girlfriend was struggling with the police, Yoani’s body was being pushed headfirst into the car, and Orlando’s telephone flew out through the window… I sent the second Tweet hoping someone would be able to understand it with my terrible typing. The girl cop got in the patrol car and said to me,

“Why did you resist? We don’t want to hit you.”
“You almost ripped my shirt,” said the other PNR (National Revolutionary Police), meanwhile putting Orlando’s girlfriend in the car.

They looked embarrassed, for a moment I thought they were going to apologize:

“Do you have your identity cards handy,” she said, almost sweetly, and passed us Orlando’s phone which wouldn’t stop ringing.

Unfortunately, the one in the orange shirt got in and shut the door… I fell over. The police fell silent and started the dialog.

“Claudia, turn off the telephone.”
“Forget it.”
“How disgusting,” said Orlando’s girlfriend.
The rest pure insult, a surrealistic rage.

“Your name is not going to go down in history,” he said.
“I don’t care, you don’t even have a name.”
“Then it will be worse.”
“Your threats are your fear. That’s their purpose.”
“Comedian.”

Stepping foot on the corner by Yoani’s house made me dizzy, there was no light in the building, I couldn’t get anyone’s cell, and I was losing my balance. Then the first call came with a 00 international prefix and I knew nothing had been in vain, even if we had all been arrested and the march suspended. When, later, I saw the video that Ciro brought me I knew for certain: They lost, it’s the countdown.

50 thoughts on “BREAKING NEWS: Yoani Sanchez Arrested in Cuba

  1. Um, my Spanish is far from brilliant, but here’s a shot:

    Ernesto, I have just spoken with Yoani, she is already in her house. She took a blow to the eye. They have beaten her physically and verbally. Orlando as well. They were shouting at the patrol from inside until they had arrived, they placed her head down and her feet up and they applied karate blows. She was very nervous, so was I.

  2. Man,

    Do they fear this women or what, what if she’s the one?
    The one that makes a change happen?
    Too bad the current administration is trying to appease the regime.
    Its coming and when it really starts nothing will stop it!
    This is what they fear.

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  4. Ernesto, acabo de hablar con Yoani, Ya está en su casa. Tiene un golpe en un ojo. La han agredido física y verbalmente. A Orlando también. Les gritaban dentro de la patrulla que hasta ahí habían llegado, la pusieron con la cabeza hacia abajo y los pies hacia arriba y les aplicaron golpes de karate. Estaba muy nerviosa. Yo también.

    Ernesto, I have just spoken to Yoani. She is now back home. She has bruising around one eye. She has been verbally and physically assaulted. Orlando was too. “This is as far as you’re getting!” was repeatedly shouted at them inside a patrol car. She was placed head over heels and karate chopped. She is very nervous. I am too.

  5. El que empuja no se da golpes. Por favor, que alguien le traduzca a las wannabe cubanas, a las yuquitas del foro.

    ¿Me pregunto, cuántos patriotas, héroes del teclado, están dispuestos a hacer lo mismo? Nada les prohibe hacerlo; digamos el 2 de enero 2010.

  6. A telling comment by Yoani to El Nuevo Herald which was posted at Penultimos Dias:

    “No blood was shed. We have bruises, blows, hair yanked out, punches to the head, kidneys, knees and chest. In the end, professional violence (violencia profesional)”.

    I have never heard the term violencia profesional used before. It’s a unfortunately perfect description of the actions of the regime.

  7. But…but..but anyone who reads articles in the NY Times, WA-PO, Miami Herald, AP, UPI, etc. with their multifarious quotes from their multifarious “Cuba experts”– coulda SWORN (!!!) that Cuba was experiencing an “opening” under the “pragmatic reformer” Raul????

    So what’s going on here??!!

    Am I given to understand that those unspeakable intransigents were right all along????????!!!!!!

    Before they finished their gallantry, hope Yoani kicked a couple of ’em in the timbales!!! And DURO!!!

  8. The above link is a Youtube video by Ciro Diaz, Claudias husband and member of Porno Para Ricardo. Of the group he was the only one that made it to the demonstration, as Yoani, Claudia and the rest were arrested when they tried to go to the demostration. They never made it to their destination, instead they were dropped off in different sections of the city and told that if they tried to go to the demonstration, they would be picked up again and dragged away.

    This was said by Yoani Sanchez, Claudia Cadelo & Ciro Diaz live via telephone on Oscar Haza’s “A Mano Limpia” show this past evening.

  9. This is the kind of news that makes me angry on the one hand, for obvious reasons, but also fills me with pride to know there are those like Yoani and her compatriots who are trying so hard to find a way to make freedom a reality in Cuba.

    With that in mind I sat down this evening, it’s almost 2:30 Central Time here in Louisiana, and did a full English translation of the Penultimos Dias article linked at the top here, and posted it at StJacques Online: A Freedom Blog, so that everyone will have access to it.

    Here is the direct blog post link:

    Brutal Arrest and Detention of Cuban Bloggers in Havana on Friday

    Take it and run with it everyone. No one needs to ask my permission to use it. The most good we can do is to circulate the story.

    And to you guys at Babalu, I didn’t know you had me in your “Honorary Cubiches” link list. Thanks!

    StJacques

  10. Interesting how all of the protesters are young, yet, the mainstream media is always trying to turn the struggle against the tyranny into a generational thing with young people–according to them– either indifferent to the ossified tyranny or only interested in total appeasement and capitulation, while the only people who are against it are the Oliphant-like old timers who want to turn the clock back to the mythical days of Batista when slavery existed, blacks suffered segregation, women had no opportunities and rich Cubans routinely stepped on the backs of the poor.

  11. How far away from this crap are we?

    I’m CERTAIN those Hollywood whores are just completely appalled by this and will make public statements to that—- huh? Don’t hold my breath???

  12. And to the so-called “moderate” voices (i.e., useful idiots and fellow travelers) who have enabled this evil regime for so long, I say FUCK YOU. You’re as guilty as the men who beat Yoani…

  13. Mmmmmm, I seem to remember a month ago that one of the regular bloggers here, of the psychotic persuasion, was claiming that Yoani was really a pro-Castro advocate because she offered an opinion contrary to his. And now, he’s growling at what the Reds did to her.

  14. This is a good opportunity to remembes at least two who are doing far worse than Yoani and friends: Dr. Oscar Biscet and Dr. Darsi Ferrer. I don’ mean to belittle Yoani and the others, but we should not allow the Castros to dictate and narrow the focus of attention. In relation to spygirl I would say: maybe some babaluers will now be reconciled to Yoani, although they don’t always agree with her.

  15. It is really amazing the courage of this girl that even after her little ‘torture session’ or if you see things through bought and paid for American Media’s eyes ‘ brief detention’ is that she is willing to talk about it and tell what happened risking and even longer detention.Where is the outrage? this is sickening that in our home country 90 miles away a young girl is terrorized for blogging!

  16. I’ve always wondered whether Yoani was on the Castro payroll. This incident hasn’t really changed that.

  17. What this incident allows is for the MSM to put forth that the worst Castro’s oppression has to offer are a few neck scratches. When it covers up cases like Biscet and others.

  18. J Alvarez, we have always supported Yoani, even when we have strongly disagreed with her on some of her positions. It is our prerogative and our God-given right to express our opinion and strongly held beliefs. regardless of who disagrees.

  19. Wow, George, that sounds so “tolerant”.

    But that simply cannot be, you being a rightwing, conservative and a “hater” and all …

    ; ^)

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