Monday, October 24, 2011


October 24, 2011
On Tuesday, October 18, 2011, Dania Virgen Garcia , an independent journalist, blogger, and a member of the support group of the Ladies in White, was arbitrarily and violently detained by State Security agents in Havana. Dania and her husband, Michel Iroy Rodriguez, were on their way to the home of the recently deceased leader of the Ladies in White, Laura Pollan where a regular cultural event was to take place as it always has been every 18th day of every month.
At around 11:30 a.m., a half dozen unidentified plainclothes men and women beat and pushed around Dania Virgen and her husband in the public thoroughfare, and carried them away to the 11th Precinct of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) in Havana. Michel Iroy Rodriguez was released the following day (Oct. 19) but Dania remained cut off from her family and friends until her husband was able to see her on Thursday, (October 20) with visible injuries on her arms.
A group of 15 human rights defenders, including Dania’s husband, staged a peaceful vigil at 7:30 p.m., October 20 in front of the police station where Dania was being held to protest the activist’s arbitrary arrest. They were all taken into custody by the police to different undisclosed detention centers and later released: Michel Iroy Rodriguez, Belkis Felicia Jordan, Pedro Lopez Cuni, Fernando Bergara, Roberto Ubeta, Michel Suarez, Jose Angel Luque, Emilio Jerez Oliver, Joel Lazaro Carbonell, David Aguila Montero, Florentina Machado, Ruben Picrin, Jose Ignacio Martinez, Esmit Castillo and Rebeca Rodriguez.
Dania was released on the afternoon of Friday, October 21 and denounced that as a result of the severe beating and mistreatment; she suffered from acute headaches and passed out twice. The police took her to the hospital where she was administered a shot of an unknown medication and, in spite of the doctor’s recommendation to authorities to release her, Dania was returned to a cell where she said she was “…thrown inside like a dog.” Just before being released, Dania was transferred to an “Alternative Detention Center” in the southwest section of Havana and a disciplinary action was taken against her, in which she is accused of “contempt” and “public disorder”.
Human rights defender, Sara Marta Fonseca was also violently arrested on October 18, 2011 and released later that afternoon. Cuban authorities warned her that she will be arrested if she assembles publicly in the streets with other activists; that she cannot leave her house after 10:00 p.m. and that she must remain within the limits of the province of Havana. Sara Marta declared that she will continue her peaceful struggle on behalf of the freedom of Cuba as she always has and will not be constrained in any way by the political police.
The following women activists were also stopped and prevented from going to Laura Pollan’s home in Havana on October 18, 2011: Mercedes Fresneda, Mayra Morejon, Rosario Morales, Leonor Reino Borges, and Sandra Guerra.
October 17 – 23, 2011 – A list of some of the activists, independent journalists, etc. who were subjected to short term detentions in different parts of Cuba to prevent their participation in events that honored the deceased Lady in White, Laura Pollan:  José Ángel Luque, David Aguila Montero, Juan C. Vázquez, Solemnis Abad, Leuvis Fajardo, Héctor Silot, Bárbaro Tresol, Omar Pérez, Marlon Azahares Girón, Jose A. Garrido, Luis E. Lozada, Emiliano Gonzalez Olivera

On Sunday, October 23, 2011, State Security set up control points in the island to prevent members of the Ladies in White from attending mass and marching in Havana and Santiago de Cuba.  Rita María Montes de Oca, Florentina Machado, Lourdes Esquivel ( all three remained under house arrest in Havana) while in Eastern Cuba, Oria Casanova, Yurenis Gonzalez and Tania Bandera were forced down from the truck they were traveling.
The Coalition of Cuban-American Women makes an urgent alert to the international community of the human rights violations committed by the Cuban state against citizens who exercise and demand fundamental freedoms in the island.
FURTHER INFORMATION IN CUBA: José Daniel Ferrer - + 53 53631267 / Belkis Cantillo - + 53 53790867 /   
 Berta Soler +5352906820
Coalition of Cuban-American WomenLaida A. Carro /  /

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