On Friday, April 23rd, a group of human rights activists had planned on delivering at the headquarters of the Cuban Parliament the declaration of the “#OZT: I accuse the Cuban government,” alongside the more than 52 thousand signatures from all over the world that support the demand for an immediate and unconditional release of all Cuban political prisoners.
A police raid under which several citizens were banned from leaving their houses and others were arrested when they were in the nearing their destination, impeded that these signatures reach the National Assembly of the People (ANPP, in Spanish), a form of government that, from many years, had the motto “the power of the people, that is the real power.”
What follows is the report from the coordinator of the illegal party Cuba Independiente y Democrática (Cuba Independent and Democratic, CID, in Spanish), regarding the raid against the human rights activists and peaceful dissidents:
Repression against the members of CID for the delivery to the Cuban Parliament of the signatures gathered by the “#OZT: I accuse the Cuban government” campaign
In commemoration of the fifth month of the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the “#OZT: I accuse the Cuban government” campaign collected 51168 signatures worldwide condemning the premeditated assassination of the prisoner of conscience and demanding the release of all Cuban political prisoners. These signatures were attempted to be delivered at several Cuban consulates and embassies around the world and a team of activists of the (illegal) party Cuba Independiente y Democrática (CID) planned on delivering then on July 23rd at 10:30 am at the headquarters of the Cuban Parliament, located on Avenue 42, between 23rd and 25th Streets, in the municipality of Playa, Havana.
Here’s a detailed account of what happened to the activists of CIF from July 22nd -24th.
July 22nd, 2010
At 6:00 pm, the Departamento de Seguridad del Estado (the political police, DSE, in Spanish) ordered the house arrest of Hugo Damián Prieto Blanco, a delegate of CID in the municipality of La Lisa and President of the hard-line and boicot platform “Orlando Zapata Tamayo”, as well as to Lazara Bárbara Sendiña Recalde, neighbors of 89 Street # 21410 between 214 y 216, in the municipality of La Lisa, for which a large number of policemen were deployed around their house, impeding the access to any pro democracy activists and checking the passersby against their ID cards, asking where they were going; besides they interrupted the home and cell phone lines of Yasnely Gainza Sendiña, daughter of Lazara Bárbara Sendiña Recalde, from9:25 pm, of July 22nd till 6:00 pm, of July 25th. The cell phone of Ricardo Santiago Medina Salabarria, Secretary of Attention to Political Prisoners, as well as the mobile lines of Katia Sonia Martín Véliz, coordinator of CID in the western part of the island, and her aunt, Amelia Véliz Pérez, until after 8:00pm of July 23rd. In the municipality of La Lisa, at around 6:00pm, Luís Enrique Labrador Ruíz, activist of CID was kidnapped by the Political police, while he was getting a haircut.
July 23rd, 2010
At 7:00 am, “Pavel”, an officer of the Political police showed on the streets a judicial order of house arrest against Ricardo Santiago Medina Salabarria, Secretary of Attention to Political Prisoners, and his wife, Katia Sonia Martín Véliz, coordinator of CID, signed and approved by a fiscal of the headquarters of the political police “Villa Marista;” but he refused to let them read the act, alleging they could destroy it. This very officer told them that there were seventy (70) agents, armed with sticks, with orders to beat them and even kill them if that were necessary, because the Castro brothers were very upset with the subversive activities of the CID. At that time, Abdel Rodríguez Arteaga, delegate of CID in Havana y Aimé Cabrales Aguilar, Attention to Political Prisoners in Havana were at the house of Ricardo and Katia. At 10:00 am, Katia went to the corner and agent “Pavel,” surprised, told agent “Ariel,” who was the other one assigned to the entrance of their building: “let her come back.” Ricardo, Aimé and Abdel were able to exit the apartment and shout out loud the reason why they were prevented from exiting, managing to catch the attention of neighbors and passersby. Katia was dragged by force to the interior staircase that leads to her apartment.
Elizabeth Linda Nañonga Kawooya Toca (who is 6 months pregant), wife of Lisbán Hernández Sánchez, delegate of CID in the municipality of Centro Habana was impeded from arriving to the apartment of Katia and Ricardo. Someone was able to make a phone call to inform the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN, in Spanish) to let them know what was happening.
An order of house arrest was also issued against Richard Morera Ramos, with residence in San José Street # 17714 between América and Aleja, Guardiola neighborhood, in the municipality of San Miguel del Padrón, Havana; the same for Jorge Félix Candelario Martínez, delegate of CID in the municipality of Habana del Este, with residence in building H-62, Apt. 15, Zone 14, Alamar, and Aramís Tudela Pérez, Attention to Political Prisoners in the municipality of Habana del Este, with residence in building H-54, Apt. 13, Zone 14, Alamar. Their buildings were heavily watched by numerous political police agents.
The following activists were arrested as they approached the area of the headquarters of the Cuban Parliament, located in 42nd Avenue and 25th Street, in the municipality of Playa: Lázaro José de la Nodal Usín, vice delegate of CID in the municipality of La Lisa, who was then taken to the 4th Unit of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR, in Spanish), located in the corner of Infanta and Amenidad, in the municipality of Cerro, and then taken on July 24th to the Departamento de Técnicas Investigativas (a branch of the political police, DTI in Spanish). Eduardo Pérez Flores, activist, was taken to the 4th Unit of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR, in Spanish), located in the corner of Infanta and Amenidad, in the municipality of Cerro, and released after 24 hours, Francisco Sa Fuster, activist, was released after 4pm of July 23rd. Lisbán Hernández Sánchez, a resident of Centro Habana, was taken to the police unit located in the corner of Zanja and Dragones, and placed in a cell with transsexuals infected with HIV, who claimed the police to get him out there; one of the transsexuals was bleeding from the wounds of a sex transplant. Robmer Gálvez Urrutia, activist in the municipality of 10 de octubre, was taken to the police unit of of Zanja and Dragones, in Centro Habana. Leydis Coca Quesada, vice delegate in the municipality of Playa, was released near her house. Niurka Caridad Ortega Cruz, delegate in the municipality of Boyeros, was taken in police car #315 and release in Vía Blanca highway, in the border of provinces Havana and Matanzas. During the time of their arrests, they all kept a hunger strike, refusing also to drink water. Luís Enrique Labrador Ruíz, activist of CID in the municipality of La Lisa, who was originally arrested and taken to the 5th police unit of the PNR, located in 7th Avenue and 62 Street, in the municipality of Playa, from 6:00 pm on July 22nd until 4:00 pm on July 23rd, was then taken to the police unit located in the corner of Zanja and Dragones, in the municipality of Centro Habana, where he spent all his time shouting anti-establishment slogans and “Zapata lives!” until he lost his voice. He was release after 6:00 pm on July 23rd. At 6:00 pm, the officer of the political police activated the phone line of Katia’s house and told her that the house arrest order had been lifted. At that time, Ricardo and Abdel contacted the CCDHRN.
July 24th 2010
Finally at 1:30 pm, Katia Sonia Martín Véliz, made a phone call to the “Section 21” of the political police, explaining to them that a group of 16 activists of CID was in front of the police unit at the corner of Zanja and Dragones awaiting the release of the arrested activists and that if they weren’t released they’d protest in front of the police unit demanding that they be set free. “Section 21” approved the release of Sergio García Argentel and Lisbán Hernández Sánchez, after 2:00 pm, of July 24th; then, past 6:00 pm, Robmer Gálvez Urrutia was released. Lázaro José de la Noval Usín, vice delegate of CID in the municipality of La Lisa, was under arrest in the DTI in the municipality of 10 de octubre until after 8:00pm of Sunday, July 25th.
Major Pedro Chávez, instructor in the political police heaquarters of Villa Marista, drove his car, a blue Lada, against Ricardo Santiago Medina Salabarria, in the corner of Matadero and Calzada del Cerro, at 5:45 pm.
Katia Sonia Martín Véliz
Coordinadotor of CID in the Western Region of Cuba