Cuban dissidents attending forum on racism arrested by Castro political police

More than a dozen Cuban dissidents were arrested by the political police of the Castro dictatorship as they tried to attend a forum on racism being held in Havana. These arrests are added to the ones that took place earlier in the week to stop members of the peaceful opposition from gathering in public to commemorate the “Day of Resistance.”

Via McClatchy Newspapers:

Police detain dissidents headed for Havana forum on racism

Cuban police detained more a dozen dissidents to force the cancellation of Friday’s session of a forum on racial discrimination on the island, according to forum organizers.

Dissidents also reported several dozen detentions earlier this week to avert street protests on Thursday, declared a nationwide “Day of Resistance.” Most of them had been freed by Thursday night.

Antonio Madrazo, national coordinator of the Citizens’ Committee for Racial Integration, said about 40 people attended Thursday’s opening session of the second-annual Forum on Race and Cubanness at his Havana apartment.

But police told him Friday morning that they would not allow any further sessions. Stationed outside his apartment, they began turning away people as they arrived, and arresting those who resisted, Madrazo added.

“Right now Rafael Campos is trying to get in. He’s at the door,” he told McClatchy Newspapers by phone. Minutes later, he added, “Rafael Campos has been arrested. Police are taking him away.”

Madrazo said that among those detained were dissidents Manuel Cuesta Morua, Darsi Ferrer and Yusnaimi Jorge Soca, as well as Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto, a graffiti artist whose work often include political messages.

The only person allowed through the police lines Friday was Juan de Dios Mosquera, a black activist visiting from Colombia, Madrazo added.

The Citizens’ Committee was created in 2008 amid growing complaints that although the Cuban government has outlawed discrimination against its citizens of African descent, it has done little to eliminate actual racism.