Cuban independent journalist and former prisoner of conscience Jose Daniel Ferrer in the Canada Free Press:
Cuba: Peaceful human rights defenders continue facing brutal mob attacks
n the Eastern city of Guantanamo, the home of Niovis Rivera Guerra, (member of the Resistance and Democracy Movement), his wife, Yurilaidy Travieso and three young daughters, 13, 9 and 3 years old, was surrounded by patrol cars, military vehicles, and subjected to, at least, two days of brutal mob attacks (October 25-26, 2011) of around 400 people. Asphalt was thrown against the house, all the windows, as well as the door, were stoned and broken, the family received death threats, and Rivera Guerra was beaten and tear gassed. All this brutal violence was because the family displayed pro democracy and human rights posters in the front of their home. This is the fifth time in 2011, that the home of this activist is attacked. Several members of the Resistance and Democracy Movement were beaten and arrested when they tried to come to the aid of Niovis Rivera Guerra and his family: Hermis Figueras Ros, Francisco Osoria Claro, and the Adventist Pastor Raul Martinez Caraballo.
Also in Eastern Cuba, on October 26, 2011, several cities suffered government repression, In Contramaestre, any activist or citizen who visits the home of human rights defender, Jorge Cervantes is under scrutiny by the political police. In Moa, Rapid Response Brigades threw eggs against the home of the coordinator of the UMPACU, Juan Carlos Vazquez Osoria and the Lady in White, Annis Sarrion Romero.
Two human rights defenders in Santa Clara (Central Cuba) who were on a hunger strike since September 28, 2011, demanding that the Cuban government put a stop to the violence against peaceful activists, were taken in critical state to the Provincial Hospital Arnaldo Milian Castro. Alcides Rivera Rodriguez was admitted to the hospital on Thursday, October 27, 2011, and diagnosed with broncho pneumonia. Rolando Ferrer Espinosa was admitted on the following day. Alcides has lost almost 60 lbs. while Ferrer Espinosa who is suffering a severe abdominal pain has lost over 30 lbs.of his body weight. Both continue in critical condition.
On October 24, 2011 several human rights activists were arrested in Havana when peaceful organizations such as the National Front of Civil Resistance and Desobedience and the Human Rights Party called on activists to gather at the Martin Luther King Park. Adjacent streets to this park were all surrounded by State Security agents. Among several activists arbitrarily detained and released were Sara Marta Fonseca and Rodolfo Ramirez Cardoso.
On Sunday, October 30, 2011, ten Ladies in White, in Eastern Cuba, were beaten and arbitrarily detained as they tried to attend mass in the Cathedral of Santiago de Cuba. The following women were mistreated and suffered short term detention: Aymeé Garcés ( as well as her husband Julio Valcarcel) Leyva, Belkis Cantillo Ramírez, Vivian Peña Hernández, Liudmila Rodríguez Palomo, Adriana Núñez Pascual, María Elena Matos, Oria Casanova Moreno, Yuremi González Pavót, Tania Bandera González, Ana Celia Rodríguez Torres and a minor 14 years old, Marta Beatriz Ferrer Cantillo the daughter of Lady in White, Belkis Cantillo and the expolitical prisoner of conscience, Jose Daniel Ferrer.
At least three homes of activists who had gathered in the Eastern cities of Palma Soriano and Palmarito de Cauto to protest the violence against the Ladies in White on October 30 were surrounded by repressive forces. Under siege were the following human rights defenders of the National Front Orlando Zapata as well as members of the UMPACU (Patriotic Union of Cuba): Prudencio Villalon, Roberto Quiñones, Pedro Manuel Guerrero, Julio Cesar Salazar, Ruben Torres, Dany Lopez, Rudy San Ramirez, Rolando Humberto Gonzalez, Maximiliano Sanchez, Abraham Cabrera, Amauri Abelenda and Manuel Martinez.