Communiqué of the #OZT: I accuse the Cuban government Campaign

The #OZT: I accuse the Cuban government Campaign denounces and condemns the arrest in La Habana of members of the opposition who were on their way to deliver our campaign’s Declaration for the Freedom of Cuban Political Prisoners, and the more of 52,000 signatures supporting it.

Katia Sonia Martín Véliz, coordinator for the organization Cuba Independiente y Democrática [Independent and Democratic Cuba], and her husband, the former political prisoner Ricardo Santiago Salabarría, were arrested at their house in the morning of 23 July. At the moment of their arrest, they were getting ready to go out, and deliver the Declaration and the signatures at the National Assembly of the People’s Power [Cuban “parliament”] in La Habana.

A political police agent, who introduced himself as Pavel, showed them an order of “domiciliary confinement”, signed by a prosecutor from Villa Marista [Security of State Headquarters] and warned against leaving their home. When the couple stated that it was their right to freely enter and leave their house, the police agent continued to threaten them in a very rude manner. He finally told Katia: “You will not be able to move [from the house]! We have people everywhere! If we have to beat you, we will beat you! We can throw you in jail, and if we need to kill you, we will kill you!”

Independent journalist Lisbán Hernández Sánchez from La Giraldilla Press Center, and other members of CID Aimé Cabrales Aguilar, Sergio García Argentel, Eduardo Pérez Flores, Lázaro José de la Noval Usín, Francisco Sa Fuster and Adbel Rodríguez Antiaga (provincial chairman of the organization) were all arrested around the National Assembly headquarters building.

Among the dissidents that were supposed to participate in the delivery of the signatures was Elizardo Sánchez Santacruz, from the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation, who was the first one to report the arrests.

This delivery is part of a broader activity planned by our campaign to mark the five-month anniversary of the death of Orlando Zapata. It also occurred in several Cuban diplomatic representations around the world.

Cuban diplomatic personnel has refused to receive the signatures, and have instead closed their doors during working hours, thrown punches at some of those who went to deliver the signatures, called the police to block access to the buildings, etc. We have approached their locales in a civilized and respectful way, even notifying them in advance of our visits.

The situation has repeated itself in Madrid, Barcelona, New York and Montreal.

In Miami, the campaign delivered the Declarations and its supporting signatures at Consulate of Spain that did not object to receiving them. These documents were also accompanied by a letter to the President of the Spanish Government, asking him that his government relays them to Raúl Castro, and that they are attached to the “Cuba and the European Union’s Official Position” dossier.
Hasta el momento, la anunciada excarcelación de los presos políticos cubanos ha sido solo uno más de los actos rituales de destierro de opositores y críticos que ha practicado el gobierno de Fidel y Raúl Castro durante décadas para obtener algún crédito internacional.

Our campaign reiterates that there cannot be advances in matters of human rights in Cuba without the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, and without official protection to the freedoms of expression, press, gathering and all other fundamental rights. To ignore the opposition, to banish it from Cuba or to repress it, is not the best way to achieve those changes.

The delivery of the signatures from our campaign at Cuban diplomatic headquarters around the world and to international organizations will continue next week.

for the freedom of all cuban political prisoners
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