Castro regime releases Fariñas, fate of 29 other detained dissidents unknown

Angel Moya and Guillermo Fariñas (Reuters)

On Thursday, the Castro dictatorship rounded up and arrested 30 peaceful dissidents and opposition members in several cities in an effort to stop a peaceful march. Included in those arrested were dissident Guillermo Fariñas, and opposition leader and former prisoner of conscience from the Group of 75, Angel Moya.

The Castro regime has released Fariñas, but the fate and whereabouts of the other 29 peaceful activists, including Angel Moya, is still unknown.

Cuba detains 30, releases ex-hunger striker

Havana. High-profile government opponent Guillermo Farinas said Friday he had been released after Cuban authorities detained him along with 29 other dissidents planning a demonstration, AFP reported.

“I’ve just been released. The two security officers who brought me back said the others would also be freed soon,” Farinas told AFP by telephone from his home in Santa Clara, 270 kilometers (170 miles) east of Havana.

Farinas, who has undertaken dozens of hunger strikes in recent years, was detained Thursday in central Villa Clara province along with another well-known former political prisoner, Angel Moya, and 28 others, said the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN).

The group president, Elizardo Sanchez, told AFP that by late Friday about half of the detained protesters had been released.

The activists had planned to protest in downtown Santa Clara to “demand that the government respect civil rights agreements signed in 2008, the end of the crackdown against opponents and the liberation of all political prisoners,” Farinas said.

In recent weeks, CCDHRN has denounced what it describes as a sustained Cuban government effort to ramp-up a crackdown on pro-democracy activists.

Sanchez said the authorities are using “minimal political repression; they are simply neutralizing initiatives, nothing more.”

“The government is working hard to discredit us. They think that just because we are denouncing this repression with no criminal convictions, it will go unnoticed.”

Cuban authorities have been releasing missives accusing the Ladies in White, a group of wives and relatives of former political prisoners, and other opponents of “causing disorder to justify aggression” against Cuba and of being “encouraged and paid” by the United States.

Moya’s wife Betra Soler, a leader of the Ladies in White, said she still had no news about the possible release of her husband.