Spiraling Arrests Mean No Rest for Cuba’s Weary Opposition
Antúnez and Wife Yris the Latest Victims to Contradict “Liberalization” Process
Yesterday, Cuban political dissident Jorge Luis García Pérez, better known as “Antúnez,” and his wife, Yris Pérez, were arrested in the city of Placetas, Cuba. This is not the first time that Antúnez has been arbitrarily detained by police officers, nor is he the only victim of the Cuban regime. Despite Castro’s claims of a liberalization process on the island, NGOs have reported that repression in the island has actually increased markedly this year.
The Cuban Democratic Directorate (DDC) — a Miami-based NGO that promotes democracy in Cuba — released a statement on Antúnez’s detention and called on “Cuban exiles, human rights organizations, and the international community to be aware of the situation, and to show solidarity by asking for the immediate release of both activists.”
Antúnez’s neighbor and activist Donaida Pérez Paceiro witnessed the arrest, and told the DDC what happened. Apparently, Cuban police agents arrested the activist without providing him with any details.
Pérez Paceiro went over to the police station and asked for the charges. The police agent, however, only told Pérez Paceiro that Antunez and his wife were going to be prosecuted. The agent did not know for how long they will remain in custody. The police official just said “he had to wait for orders from the high command.”
So far, both dissidents have yet to be released, according to information shared by Antúnez’s brother through the activist’s Twitter account.
Antúnez is the secretary of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Front for Internal Resistance. Orlando Zapata was a Cuban political activist who died in 2010 after going on a hunger strike for 80 days while in prison. Antúnez is also no stranger to the regime, given that he remained behind bars from 1990 to 2007 for his open antagonism towards the Cuban dictatorship.
His wife, Yris Pérez, is a member of the civil rights movement Rosa Parks. Both political dissidents have been arrested at least a dozen times for their open stand against the 55-year-old regime, and this is the second time within a week.
Their home has also been raided three times since February. The last one occurred on June 11, as police agents broke in while they were still in bed. They were dragged out of their home, still in their pajamas, and remained detained for two days.
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