AFP reports that 65 human rights and democracy activists in Cuba were detained by the Castro dictatorship in the last 5 weeks during the regime’s latest wave of violent repression:
Dissidents detained in Cuba: rights group
HAVANA — Dozens of opposition activists have been detained in Cuba over the past five weeks, an outlawed rights group said on Tuesday, blaming President Raul Castro for the crackdown.
The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, known by its Spanish acronym CCDHRN, said at least 65 men and women have been arrested by secret police, 29 of whom remain in custody in the Americas’ only one-party Communist-ruled nation.
“For five weeks the government has carried out violent political repression against women and other peaceful dissidents” in Santiago de Cuba province in the south of the island, according to a statement signed by the rights group’s founder and spokesman Elizardo Sanchez.
“Most were totally unarmed and suffered acts of police brutality,” it added.
According to the statement, several members of the “Ladies in White” group comprising wives and relatives of political prisoners were “beaten and arrested” on Sunday to prevent them joining a Mass in Santiago de Cuba.
A Ladies in White leader, Berta Soler, told AFP the group planned to meet Cardinal Jaime Ortega in Havana on Tuesday, and would ask him to intervene on behalf of dissidents, officially considered “mercenaries” in the pay of the US government.
A US State Department spokesman said Washington was “troubled by reports of increased violence by government-organized mobs against the Damas de Blanco in Havana and Santiago de Cuba in recent weeks.
“The use of government-organized mobs to physically and verbally abuse peaceful protesters is unconscionable,” the US spokesman added, noting: “We call for an immediate end to the harassment and violence committed against the Damas de Blanco.
“We support the Cuban people’s desire to freely determine their own future,” the US spokesman added.