Amnesty International denounces death threats against blind dissident in Cuba
Document - Cuba: Activists receive death threats in Cuba
UA: 288/13 Index: AMR 25/009/2013 Cuba Date: 15 October 2013
ACTIVISTS RECEIVE DEATH THREATS IN CUBA
The head of a Cuban human rights organization and his wife, also an activist, have received death threats from government supporters.
Juan Carlos González Leiva, the President of the Cuban Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs (Consejo de Relatores de Derechos Humanos de Cuba, CRDHC) and his wife Tania Maceda Guerra, received death threats during and after a government-sanctioned demonstration. Their house, which doubles as the headquarters of the CRDHC was the site of a demonstration known as an “act of repudiation” for more than 48 hours. This was done to prevent them from travelling from their home city of Ciego de Ávila in central Cuba to the capital, Havana, for events to commemorate the death of Laura Pollán, the former head of the Ladies in White.
At 4 am on 12 October Juan Carlos Gonzáles Leiva headed to the bus station to travel to Havana, but was turned back by a police officer who said his name was on a list of people who were not allowed to leave Ciego de Ávila. Juan Carlos González Leiva, who is blind, informed Amnesty International that at 8:30 am government supporters accompanied by officers from the Cuban Revolutionary Police and Department of State Security Officials began to gather in front of his house. Three other members of the CRDHC who live in the neighbourhood managed to get into the house, but all five of them were forced to stay there until midday on 14 October.
Music was played at extreme volume for eight hours on 12 October, and the crowd shouted insults calling CRDHC members “rats” and “worms” and one security official threatened to use tear gas against them. A group of government supporters shouted “we’re going to kill you, worms” (“les vamos a matar gusanos”) and one of them entered the house and assaulted Tania Maceda Guerra. Around an hour after the act of repudiation ended, Juan Carlos left his house with two other members of the CRDHC and was accosted by two of the government supporters. They repeated the death threats against Juan Carlos González Leiva and Tania Maceda Guerra.