Posted on Thursday, 08.16.12
Cuban police detain 3 dissidents handing out leaflets demanding human rights
The leader of an opposition group in Cuba said the high number of police
searches of dissidents' homes reported in recent weeks has been the
result of government efforts to seize leaflets reproducing or supporting
the Citizens' Demand.
By Juan O. Tamayo
Cuban police detained three dissidents Thursday who were handing out
leaflets on a Havana corner in support of a human rights initiative that
activists said has prompted the recent string of house searches around
Yosvel Ramos, Idalberto Acuña and Santiago Cardozo, members of the Cuban
Patriotic Union, were arrested on a busy corner of the Marianao
neighborhood, said Jose Daniel Ferrer García, a leader of the opposition
Ramos was on his cellphone with another dissident during the arrest and
was recorded screaming that police were hitting him and spraying him
with pepper gas inside their patrol car, Ferrer noted.
The three men were handing out leaflets supporting the "Citizens' Demand
for Another Cuba," an initiative by a broad range of dissidents and
activists demanding that the government ratify and enact two
international human rights agreements it signed in 2008.
Ferrer said the unusually high number of police searches of dissidents'
homes reported in recent weeks was the result of government efforts to
seize leaflets reproducing or supporting the Citizens' Demand.
The 41-year-old former political prisoner said he was detained for 36
hours earlier this month while traveling from his hometown of Palmarito
de Cauto to Havana, to keep him from attending an organizational meeting
on the initiative.
The initiative is nevertheless gathering steam, he added, with more than
500 Cubans signing a digital page endorsing it and several musicians,
graffiti artists and performance artists working on ways to spread its
message around the island.
The document says the signers want to talk publicly about "the exercise
of democracy" as well as government restrictions on migrations and the
rights of Cubans to obtain a dignified salary, start economic
initiatives and access the Internet.
Cuba's government also should fully adopt two United Nations agreements
on human, political and civil rights that it signed five years ago but
has never officially approved or put into effect, it added.
Among the first signers of the declaration were Ferrer and dissidents
Guillermo Fariñas, winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov prize in
2010, and Sara Martha Fonseca, as well as bloggers Yoani Sánchez and
Miriam Celaya, authors Raúl Rivero and Carlos Alberto Montaner and
artist Geandy Pavón.
Also signing the document on June 11 were human rights activist Elizardo
Sánchez Santa Cruz and Antonio G. Rodiles, director of Estado de Sats, a
Havana-based movement promoting discussions on Cuba's situation.