Fear over fate of arrested protesters in Santiago de Cuba

Just in from Maria Werlau, Executive Director of the Cuba Archive,
via Dr. Leonel Morejón Almagro
 Concilio Cubano (from abroad)
almarbol@yahoo.com

February 20, 2011. Yesterday, Cuba´s political police arrested an undetermined number of dissidents soon after they staged a peaceful public demonstration in the city of Santiago de Cuba.

The repression was unleashed after several members of the umbrella group Cuban Council (“Concilio Cubano”) took to the centric public park Cespedes in the morning hours of Saturday, February 19th. In an unprecedented and courageous public action, the demonstrators cried out for freedom and bore posters with the name Cuban Council and memorializing Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the political prisoner who died in a hunger strike last February 23rd. They also demanded justice for the four Cuban Americans murdered on February 24, 1996, when Cuban MiGS shot down their civilian airplanes, flying for “Brothers to the Rescue,” over international airspace.

Among those arrested are Ernesto Vera Rodríguez, former law professor at the University of Santiago (shown in the photo), the economist Idalmis Nuñez, and another group leader, Eunice Madaula. Held at State Security headquarters in Santiago, their condition is unknown. Vera’s mother, María Rodríguez Vaillant, reported they were charged with “possessing posters and demonstrating publicly”, both of which are forbidden in Cuba. She was asked to deliver hygiene products to her son after next week and is very worried for the fate of all of those involved. She may be reached in Santiago at tel. 011.53.22.64.6333.

The Cuban Council (www.conciliocubano.net) is an umbrella group of opposition organizations in Cuba working jointly to promote a peaceful transition to democracy. Founded in 1995, it was dismantled by State Security in February 1996, when hundreds of its members planning to attend its first congress were arrested. It was reactivated last July.

Few details are known of what took place. Monitoring the fate of those arrested is very challenging, as the Cuban government controls the limited telephone communications and the internet remains extremely restricted.

The Cuban Council urgently calls on the International community to demand from the Cuban government the security and release of its members arrested yesterday and the respect of all fundamental rights of the citizens.

Maria C. Werlau
Executive Director
Cuba Archive
P.O. Box 529
Summit, NJ 07902 U.S.A.
Tel. 973.701-0520
Fax 973.701-0521
info@CubaArchive.org
www.CubaArchive.org

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