The Coalition of Cuban American Women has this week’s roundup of repression and brutality suffered by members of the opposition in Cuba at the hands of the violent Castro dictatorship:
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER DYING IN A HOSPITAL AFTER ALMOST TWO MONTHS ON A HUNGER STRIKE
More than 100 Ladies in White march throughout Cuba in spite of violent repressive acts
January 15, 2012
Wilmar Villar Mendoza, a 32 year old Cuban political prisoner of the Eastern city of Contramaestre was transferred on January 14, 2012, from the Prison of Aguadores to the Hospital Juan Bruno Zayas in Santiago de Cuba in critical condition after almost two months on hunger strike. Wilmar is unconscious and suffering from pneumonia. The doctors informed the family that there is nothing that can be done for him and that his death is imminent. The activist, a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UMPACU), was on a hunger strike demanding his freedom and protesting the false accusations that led to his unjust incarceration. Wilmar was beaten and arrested following a public peaceful protest in Contramaestre on November 14, 2011, and sentenced in a trial he called a “judicial farce” to four years in prison. He was charged with “refusing to obey an official” (desacato), “resistance” (resistencia), and “assault” (atentado).
Wilmar’s wife, Maritza Pelegrino Cabrales, as well as activists of several human rights groups had been demanding for several weeks, in front of the prison, that he be taken out of the harsh conditions he was subjected to and that he receive a medical attention he was being denied. She denounced that State Security tried to bargain her husband’s release when he was already on his deathbed, demanding that she stop being a member of the “Ladies in White”. When she refused, the agents threatened to take her children away from her. Maritza was misled to go to the Prison of Boniato where she was falsely informed that her husband had been transferred.
Yasmin Conyedo, the representative of the Ladies in White in Villa Clara, central Cuba, and her husband, Rafael Yusmani Esmoris continue under arrest in a police unit known as the UPOP since Sunday, January 8, 2012 when their house was attacked by a pro-government mob and when they were both severely beaten and arrested. As a result of their unjust detention, twenty seven arrests were documented in the central province of Villa Clara.
The Lady in White, Ivonne Malleza Galano, her husband, Ignacio Martinez Montejo, and a Cuban citizen, Isabel Haydee Alvarez remain confined in maximum security prisons in Havana without formal charges. All three were violently arrested on November 30, 2011, following a peaceful protest in the Fraternidad Park in central Havana.
Throughout the week of January 9 – 15, 2012, members of the peaceful Cuban internal resistance movement who publicly demanded fundamental freedoms in numerous provinces across the island where threatened, intimidated, subjected to threats, beatings, short term detentions, house arrests, and acts of repudiations that were instigated and carried out by the political police.
Below are some of the human rights violations reported from the island since January 9, 2012.
JANUARY 10, 2012 – Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, president of the Cuban Rosa Parks Civil Rights Movement, was beaten and detained when she was on her way to the local hospital in Placetas (Central Cuba) to seek medical treatment. Yris has been beaten with such violence by State Security agents on so many ocassions in the last months that she is suffering from serious injuries throughout her body (see attached photo of Yris sent from Cuba).
JANUARY 11-12, 2012 – In the evening hours of January 11 in (Eastern Cuba), Municipio Luis Antonio Mella, Santiago de Cuba, the house of human rights defender Karina Santana (Lady in White) and her husband Ramón Bolaños was attacked for hours as it has been many times before by a mob throwing eggs.
In Eastern Cuba, Roberto González, Arnold Hernández and Raúl Frómeta, were arrested in Dos Caminos where they were going to carry out a public peaceful protest.
A group of activists in Villa Clara, Placetas, Cienfuegos, Sagua la Grande and Manicaragua (Central Cuba) were subjected to beatings and short term detentions when they went to march and protest on behalf of Yasmin Conyedo and her husband, Rafael Yusmani. After their released, many were left abandoned in remote areas, far from their homes: María del Carmen Martínez López, Alexei Sotolongo Díaz, Yanoisi Contrera Aguilar, Michel Oliva López, Yosmel Martínez Colcho, Víctor Castillo Ortega, Omar Núñez Espinosa, Zander Reyes Machado, José Lino Ascencio López, Rodoisy Zapata Blanco, Jesús Arístides Hernández Pérez, Jorge Luis Artiles Montier, and Guillermo Fariñas Hernández. In Placetas: Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, Yaimara Reyes Mesa, Xiomara Martín Jiménez, Yaite Diosnellys Cruz Sosa. In Cienfuegos: Pablo González Villa, Justo Luis Alonso García.
On January 12, Ignacio Martinez Montero, confined in the Combinado del Este Prison began a hunger strike demanding his freedom. In a recording obtained via telephone by the independent journalist, Roberto de Jesus Guerra in Havana, Martinez Montero states: “ either I’m released or I will be taken out of this prison dead.”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJ8oo0HCvJY
In Havana, a vigil that was to take place on behalf of Ivonne Malleza and her husband Ignacio Martinez caused the short term arrest of the following activists: Vidiet Martinez, Mercedes Evelyn Garcia, Ismael Alfaro, Leonardo Chalas and Odalis Sanabria. Odalis was taken to the outskirts of Havana and left abandoned far from her home.
JANUARY 13, 2012 – The house of Lady in White, Caridad Caballero Batista, was under watch by State Security to intimidate her and prevent her attendance to Sunday Mass in the Eastern city of Holguin.
In the Western province of Pinar del Rio, activists and members of the Ladies in White were subjected to house arrest when their houses were surrounded and their phone service was interrupted. Maria Cecilia Ramos, the representative of the Ladies in White in the western province of Pinar del Rio, was threatened by the political police on January 12 so she would not participate in the marches of the Ladies in White. She was summoned on the 13th to appear at a Police Unit in Pinar del Rio and suffered an act of repudiation or mob attack to her home on Sunday, January 15, 2012.
JANUARY 14, 2012 – Idania Llanes Contreras, president of the Central Coalition Opposition reported from Central Cuba that State Security had surrounded the homes of numerous human rights defenders to prevent any public protests for the arrest of the Lady in White, Yasmin Conyedo, and her husband, Rafael Yusmani Esmoris. The ex-political prisoner of conscience, Librado Linares was held prisoner in his house in Camajuani and the same happened to the activists Enrique Martinez Marin and Orlando Alfonso Martinez in Manicaragua.
Also in Central Cuba, the activist Jose Lino Asencio Lopez declared himself on hunger strike, demanding the freedom of Yasmin Conyedo.
Ladies in White, Marta Diaz Rondon, Gertrudiz Ojeda Suarez and Miladis PInales Rosa were beaten and arrested when they were traveling from Banes to Holguin. Mariblanca Aviles Esposito was also subjected to acts of repression in the town of Velasco, province of Holguin.
Antonio Gonzalez, president of the Cuban Republican Party and affiliated to UMPACU in Eastern Cuba, reported the arrest of the following Ladies in White who were taken to the Police Unit called “Unidad de Enfrentamiento”: Aurora Martin Calderin, Niraida Martin Calderin and Matilde Mejias.
JANUARY 15, 2012 – Rapid Response Brigades, members of the political police, the communist party and communist youth surrounded the homes of activists and Ladies in White to prevent them from attending Mass in the Western province of Pinar del Rio. The home of the ex-political prisoner of conscience, Eduardo Diaz Fleites (located at Calle 20 #1303A at Entronque de Herradura) where he was with his niece and Lady in White, Marielis Diaz Torres, suffered an act of repudiation carried out by a mob of around 40-50 people from 8:00 a.m.-11:00a.m. to prevent them from going to the Church of Consolacion del Sur.
At around midday, at a checkpoint located between the cities of El Cobre and Santiago de Cuba, nineteen members of the Ladies in White who had just attended Mass at the Basilica of El Cobre in Santiago de Cuba, and who were on their way to give their support to the wife of Wilmar Villar Mendoza at the Juan Bruno Zayas Hospital, were violently beaten and arrested by male and female police agents. Those who were beaten the most were Tania Montoya Vazquez, Yakelin Garcia Jaen and Aricel Figueredo Valdes. Other women involved in the incident were: Yanelis Elegica Despaigne, Yamiseli Aliaga Callamo, Karina Quintana Hernandez, Madelaine Santo Grillo, Mayelin la O Montero, Darmis Aguedo Zaldivar,Yarisel Figueredo Valdes, Yanilla Montero Vazquez, Aliagna Isaac Leme,Arelis Rodriguez Chacon, Aurora Martin Calderin, Miraida Martin Calderin, Yudislaidis Travieso Barlobo, Yusmari Chacon Lamot, Elisa Milagro Reinier Acosta, and Maria Alfonso Cordoba. Aurora and Miraida were arrested twice on January 15, and still remain under arrest.
Human rights defenders in Eastern Cuba who were also beaten and arrested when they tried to show their solidarity on behalf of Wilmar Villar Mendoza in front of the hospital where he lies in critical condition were: Raumel Tinajera Altive, Rulisan Ramirez Rodriguez, Enyor Bismar Peña Perez, Yuselin Ferrera Espinosa, Antonio Gonzalez Bordonado, Ovidio Martin Castellanos, Carlos Martin Calderin, manuel Santiago Zaldivar Gonzalez, Andry Verdecia Osorio, Abraham Carrera Torres, Aurora Martin Calderin, Arelis Rodriguez Chacon, Luis Enrique Lozada Igarza, Enrique Lozada Ayedo, and Miraida Martin Calderin. Ana Celia Rodriguez Torres and her husband Henry Perales Elias.
In Contramaestre, Eastern Cuba, the home of human rights defender, Jorge Cervantes was attacked by a mob because he had a sign in the front that read: “Wilmar cannot die”.
The Lady in White, Caridad Caballero Batista and her husband, the activist, Esteban Sande Suarez, were arrested in the Eastern city of Holguin. Though Caridad was released, the whereabouts of her husband are still unknown.
Guillermo Fariñas was arrested in the central Cuban city of Villa Clara.
The Coalition of Cuban-American Women alerts the international community that the lives of those members of Cuban civil society who are actively and publicly struggling on behalf of fundamental freedoms are in danger. We are particularly concerned in the cases of Wilmar Villar Mendoza, Yasmin Conyedo, her husband, Rafael Yusmani Esmori, Ivonne Mayeza, her husband Ignacio Martinez Montero, and Isabel H. Alvarez. International recognition of the peaceful resistance and solidarity for those human rights defenders is crucial. We make an urgent call on religious, civic, political, and cultural entities and its leaders, as well as to non-governmental human rights organizations worldwide.
Coalition of Cuban-American Women / Joseito76@aol.com / Laida A.Carro
FURTHER INFORMATION IN CUBA: Berta Soler +5352906820 / José Daniel Ferrer – + 53 53631267 /
/ Jorge Cervantes – +53 53791610 / Tania Montoya + 5-3146329 / Caridad Caballero Batista + 5-2629749 /
Idania Yanes Contreras + 5-2510980