Monday, October 31, 2016
LADIES IN WHITE/ HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
October 17-23, 2016
In attachment, a human rights report (in Spanish) sent from Cuba via email by BERTA SOLER FERNANDEZ, the leader of the peaceful civic movement "Ladies in White", that documents the acts of repression carried out by Cuban authorities against human rights defenders during the week of OCTOBER 17-23, 2016 when they tried to attend mass and continue with their ongoing campaign #TODOSMARCHAMOS ("WE ALL MARCH") on behalf of the freedom of all Cuban political prisoners and the defense of human rights in Cuba.
According to this report, a total of 95 human rights defenders became the victims of systematic acts of repression and arrests that included members of the Ladies in White and activists of different NGO's in the island.
NOTE: The Cuban government has incremented its repression to the point that it is succeeding in preventing the participation of members of the ‘Ladies in White’ as well as of Human Rights Defenders in Sunday Mass and in the peaceful “Todos Marchamos” campaign. Repressive forces begin to surround the homes of these activists days prior to Sunday (when the churches are surrounded as well), in particular, the headquarters of the Ladies in White in Havana, located at: Calle E, #51 e/ Cumbre y Porvenir, Reparto Lawton, Municipio 10 de Octubre. The activists are violently arrested as they try to leave their homes to attend Sunday mass in Havana, as well as in other provinces of the island. A total of 78 Ladies in White were arrested this week before they were able to attend mass on Sunday and a total of 23 women were able to attend mass in Cuba Oct. 23, 2016.
SIGNIFICANT CASES OF REGIME REPRESSION:
Oct.19 – In Havana, the Lady in White Josefina Perez Montejo was taken to the detention center known as “Vivac” with the intention of “deporting” her back to Camaguey, her province of residence. Her whereabouts were unknown when this report was issued. The activist, Ariel Gonzalez Cuevas disappeared on his way to visit the headquarters of the Ladies in White in Havana. He had been arrested and was released midday on Sunday, Oct. 23.
Oct. 22 – In Ciego de Avila, Maria Lucia López Rondón was arrested, her cellular phone was confiscated by authorities and she was fined $1000 (national currency). She was released on Monday, Oct. 24.
Oct. 23 – In Havana, Mayelin Peña Bullain was arrested as she came out of the headquarters of the Ladies in White and taken to the “Vivac” in Havana with the intention of “deporting” her to another province.Yurleanis Tamayo Martínez was fined. George Ramírez Rodríguez, a Cuban citizen who visited the headquarters of the Ladies in White in Havana was arrested when he left this site and taken to the 11th Police Precinct. His whereabouts were unknown when this report was issued.
In the city of Aguada de Pasajeros in the province of Cienfuegos, Dianelis Moreno Soto almost passed out after being locked up inside a patrol car during more than 4 hours.
The Ladies in White from Matanzas, Mayelin Brave Osorio, Yailin Mondeja Vázquez, and Yudaimi Fernández Martínez were taken to San Pedro de Mayabobo near the border of the province of Santa Clara and were left to their fate.
NOTE: Activists who try to reach the headquarters of the Ladies in White are subject to violent acts of repudiation organized by the Department of State Security and the Communist Party. These human rights defenders are verbally offended; eggs and rocks are thrown at them; they are exposed to acts of vandalism; they are pushed inside their house when they try to leave; they are arrested as well as threatened to be taken to prison if they continue going to the headquarters of the Ladies in White.
NOTE: Several Cuban State Departments that are complicit with the repressive apparatus of the Department of State Security (DSE) are: Ministry of Culture, Public Health, Education, Transportation, Basic Industries and Electricity.
The following forms of repression below that include torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment were applied by combined forces of the Department of State Security (DSE), Rapid Response Brigades sponsored by the Communist Party, the National Revolutionary Police, and Special Brigades of the National Revolutionary Police to pro-democracy peaceful activists and their families:
· Prevented from exercising their right to freedom of worship, of speech, or of peaceful association.
· Forced to remain as "prisoners" inside their homes under siege.
· Homes are searched and vandalized (personal possessions that include furniture, documents, books and supplies used for their pro-democracy activism, including cell phones, computers, flash drives, CDs, most sent from abroad, are confiscated or destroyed).
· Personal belongings seized (including money) are never returned.
· Subjected, alongside their family, to death threats.
· Children of human rights defenders are also exposed and subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment and even arrested alongside their parents.
· Children whose mothers remain under arrest during 24 hours or more, are unable to attend school during the time their mothers are imprisoned.
· Prevented from traveling from their province of residence to attend mass and join the peaceful march of the Ladies in White in Havana
· “Deported” from Havana to their province of residence or are taken by force to a distant province where they do not reside.
· Subjected to violent "acts of repudiation" (gov't sponsored mob attacks) that last for hours when they are verbally humiliated, insulted, dragged by the hair, scratched, kicked, punched, pinched, shoved, bitten and even injected with unknown substances with a needle and syringe. Their clothes and shoes are torn off, and they are often left exposed or in their underwear.
· Cuban Department of State Security (DSE) is using minors in organized “acts of repudiation” to verbally and physically attack peaceful human rights defenders.
· Subjected to brutal beatings with cables, pieces of water hoses and sticks as well as to Judo choking techniques that result in injuries such as fractures, cuts, dislocated joints, concussions, lacerations, bruises, swelling, etc. that require medical assistance.Arrested with violence and taken to Centers of Detention & Torture in Havana by members of the Dept. of State Security (DSE) who wear uniforms & drive patrol cars of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) as a diversionary tactic and thus be able to transfer the activists to these detention centers where they beat them with impunity.
· Subjected to repeated arrests within a 24-hour period.
· Under arbitrary arrest and detention that last for more than 24 hours
· Arrested and taken to undisclosed locations; their whereabouts unknown to their families and friends.
· Guarded and handcuffed for hours. As a form of cruel & degrading treatment, their hands are forced behind their backs with metal handcuffs or plastic strips placed tight around their wrists to cause serious injury, swelling, cramps, and fatigue.
· Pepper sprayed during arrest.
· Subjected to hours of verbal and psychological torture as well as blackmail by the political police who humiliate them while under arrest.
· Forced to remain hours locked up inside a sun exposed enclosed patrol car under high heat temperatures.
· Detained in prison cells in unsanitary, inhumane conditions where rats and roaches abound.
· Abandoned in the late evening hours far from their towns and cities of residence in deserted and dangerous areas where they could be assaulted and/or raped.
· Are filmed by State Security agents.
· Issued “warning reports” (actas de advertencia) that accuse them of delinquent behavior such as “resistance”, “disorderly conduct”, assault (“atentado”) or “disobedience” ("desacato").
· Arbitrarily accused of committing delinquent criminal acts such as “resistance”, “disorderly conduct”, “assault”, “dangerousness” or “disobedience” and imprisoned indefinitly without trial.
· Fined after being accused of committing criminal offenses.
· Threatened to be taken to prison if they do not stop their activism.
· Activists and their families are promised monies and privileges if they stop being part of the human rights movement in Cuba.
· Robbed and beaten after they pick up money at Western Union sites, that is sent to them from abroad by Cuban exiles who support their human rights struggle.
· Forced to remain seated, denied access to a bathroom, and to their own medication, food and water while in detention
· The Cuban flag is taken away from them as they go out to march and protest peacefully onto the street.
The following 4 Ladies in White were arbitrarily arrested and transferred to Cuban prisons for peacefully exercising their civil rights in the island: Xiomara de las Mercedes Cruz Miranda, Yaquelin Heredia Morales, Aimara Nieto Muñoz and Martha Sánchez González.
The following 20 activists were arrested and remain in prison without a trial: Miguel Borroto Vazquez, Mario Alberto Hernandez Leyva, Leudis Reyes Cuza, David Fernandez Cardoso, Lazaro Mendosa Garcia, Yuneth Cairo Reigada, Marietta Martinez Aguilera, Aurelio Andres Gonzalez Blanco, Henry Rey Rodríguez, Jose Antonio Pompa López, Luis Andrés Domínguez Sardiñas, Emir González Janero, Ibrahim Alemán Urrutia, Alberto Valles Pérez, Pablo Enrique Camero, Ismael Boris Reñí, Yosvani Lemus Martínez, Yeusandro Ochoa Leiva, Felix Juan Cabrera Cabrera y Armando Peraza Hernandez.
The Coalition of Cuban-American Women make the Cuban government responsible for the physical and mental well-being of all members of the peaceful human rights movement who struggle on behalf of freedom and justice for the Cuban people. The lives of these human rights defenders and their families in Cuba are in danger. We urgently ask ongoing solidarity for these brave men and women in the island of Cuba from the international community: dignitaries, journalists, NGO's and all men and women of good will in the world.
Laida A. Carro
Human Rights Defender
Coalition of Cuban-American Women
+ 305 662-5947 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Above, a link to a short video sent via email from Cuba by Angel Moya Acosta, an ex Cuban political prisoner of conscience and husband of Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White. It shows the violent arrest by gov't forces (some in plainclothes) of human rights defenders, particularly members of this peaceful feminine group dressed in white, in front of their headquarters located at: Calle E, #51 e/ Cumbre y Porvenir, Reparto Lawton, Municipio 10 de Octubre, and in other neighborhoods in Havana, Cuba on Sunday, October 23 2016.
1. Photographs at the beginning of the video showing operatives of the Cuban political police (most with their backs to the cameras to avoid facial recognition) posted around the clock during the week from Thursday-Sunday at strategic corners in Havana, with the purpose of stopping and preventing the peaceful activists from leaving their homes and/or reaching the headquarters of the Ladies in White.
2. As the women, dressed in white exit their headquarters to attend mass at the Church of Santa Rita de Casia, they display a sign (taken away by the agents) that reads: #WE ALL MARCH FOR CUBAN POLITICAL PRISONERS.
3. A woman is seen filming the arrest with the purpose of creating propaganda videos to discredit and smear the activists' reputation.
4. Agents transfer all activists who exit the Ladies in White headquarters in a bus to detention centers where they are subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment and conditions. Women seen arrested at other neighborhoods chanting: "Freedom for Cuban Political Prisoners!, "Down with the Dictatorship!" and "Down with the Castros!" are driven away in patrol cars, also to detention centers.
5. The last photo shows the activists posing with the Cuban flag and the sign: #WE ALL MARCH FOR CUBAN POLITICAL PRISONERS inside the headquarters of the Ladies in White just before going out onto the streets on Sunday with the intention of attending mass and carry out their peaceful protests.
The Coalition of Cuban-American Women make the Cuban government responsible for the physical and mental well-being of all members of the peaceful human rights movement who struggle on behalf of freedom and justice for the Cuban people. The lives of these human rights defenders and their families in Cuba are in danger. We urgently request ongoing solidarity for these brave men and women in the island of Cuba from the international community: dignitaries, journalists, NGO's and all men and women of good will in the world.