Monday, April 30, 2012


“…in my country, the exercise of internationally recognized fundamental freedoms is penalized.”  
Jorge Luis Garcia Perez “Antunez”,                                                                                                                         
Placetas, Cuba / April 9, 2012                                                                                                                                       
Letter to the VI Summit of the Americas                     
April 9-15, 2012
Cubans who dissent in the island continue to be subjected to systematic acts of intimidation, threats, surveillance, beatings, mob attacks, to being kidnapped to remote areas, to house arrests, arbitrary short term detentions in inhumane prison cells as well as to hours of cross examination. They are denied access to a lawyer and their families, including minors, are harassed and physically mistreated. In addition, their homes are arbitrarily raided with violence and their belongings are confiscated. In Cuba, the five fundamental freedoms of religion, movement, association, assembly and speech continue under siege.

The Independent group in Havana, Cuba, CIHPRESS recorded 1575 arrests for political reasons for the first three months of 2012:  and on April 2, 2012, forty three human rights defenders were violently arrested in Eastern Cuba, adding the total number of Cuban citizens arrested this year to more than 1,600. Most of these detentions are of short duration but they constitute a form of torture carried out by Cuban authorities to dissuade anyone in the island from exercising or expressing their free, independent ideas.

Belkis Cantillo, the wlfe of former prisoner of conscience Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, requested world solidarity for her husband whom she reported continues under arrest, without charges, under very difficult conditions at the provincial headquarters of the Department of State Security in the neighborhood of Versalles, on the outskirts of the Eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, since April 2nd when their home in Palmarito de Cauto was violently attacked by paramilitary forces. According to Cantillo, this State Security Center is used to imprison murderers. Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action alert on April 13, 2012 that calls for the unconditional release of Ferrer Garcia (in attachment)

Members of the peaceful feminine movement, “Ladies in White Laura Pollan” continue under very strict surveillance in Eastern Cuba and only 17 of them were able to reach the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity and attend Mass this Sunday, April 15, 2012 while 13 were intercepted by the political police. These women walked kilometers through mountainous countryside to evade the police control points set up to prevent them from reaching the Sanctuary of El Cobre. Police agents have repeatedly threatened the Ladies in White that only a very small group will be allowed to assist Sunday Mass at El Cobre.

The Lady in White and independent journalist, Caridad Caballero Batista reported the violence against members of the Ladies in White in the Eastern province of Holguin began on Friday, April 13. Caridad, her husband Esteban Sandez and her son Eric Sandez, as well as Isabel Peña, have been blocked by authorities from attending Mass during 14 consecutive Sundays in the city of Holguin. In the town of Velasco, Mariblanca Avila Esposito was violently arrested. “She was dragged” informed Caballero Batista. Romelia Batista Gonzalez was arrested on Saturday, April 14. In Banes, Marta Díaz Rondón, Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez and Miladis Rosa were under surveillance since Friday and were prevented by authorities from attending Mass this Sunday, April 15 in the city of Holguin.

Andrés Carrión Álvarez, a Cuban citizen whose protest and arrest were caught on tape by the international media on March 26, 2012 as he cried out, “down with communism!” and “freedom!” just minutes before the Pope’s Mass in the Eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, was released on April 13 under “conditional freedom”. According to an activist of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UMPACU), Carrion was “forced to sign a document that, among several restrictions, he is prohibited from traveling outside of the province of Santiago de Cuba”. Carrion was described as physically well though “very nervous and dazed” as a result of his confinement in an isolation cell and due to the countless cross examinations he was subjected to. [1][1]

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 peacefully on behalf of fundamental freedoms are in danger. We are particularly concerned with the mental and physical well-being of the following human rights defenders arbitrarily held under arrest: Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, Sonia Garro and her husband Ramon Muñoz, Niurka Luque, and the brothers Antonio Michel Lima Cruz and Marcos Maiquel Lima Cruz, and with the continued physical and mental harassment against all members of the Ladies in White, Laura Pollan throughout Cuba.  International recognition of the peaceful resistance and solidarity for these 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 / / Laida A.Carro                  
Facebook Page: Coalition of Cuban-American Women
Twitter: @COCAW1
Belkis Cantillo Ramírez  +5353-790-867 /   Caridad Caballero Batista +5352-629-749                     
Berta Soler + 535 2906820


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