Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dissidents report a crackdown in Cuba

Posted on Saturday, 08.25.12

Dissidents report a crackdown in Cuba
By Juan O. Tamayo

Cuban dissidents Friday reported a crackdown across the island, with
more than 30 activists detained to keep them from marking the monthly
"Day of Resistance" and the one-year anniversary of one of the most
active opposition groups.

Fourteen members of the Cuban Patriotic Union were detained in Havana as
they gathered for the anniversary of the group, according to Pedro
Arguelles, another member of the Union.

Five other dissidents were reported detained in the central city of
Santa Clara during a vigil demanding the release of all political
prisoners. Another four were arrested in the eastern town of San Luis
and three more in the central town of Placetas.

Police told a dozen dissidents in eastern Camaguey province they would
be arrested if they left their homes to attend an opposition gathering,
and told seven others gathered in a Placetas home that they would be
arrested if they did not leave.

Another 11 Union members gathered in the eastern town of Palma Soriano
reported late Friday that they were headed outside to demand the release
of all the activists detained. There was no further word from them.

Dissident Osmani Cespedes said more than 30 signs with anti-government
slogans such as "Down with Raúl" and "Raúl Murderer" appeared Friday
morning in several spots around the eastern town of Palma Soriano.

The Cuban Patriotic Union was founded a year ago by a group of
opposition activists that include Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, a peaceful
dissident who served eight years in prison and was freed last year.
Based in Palma Soriano, his hometown, the Union has been one of the most
active opposition groups in recent months.

Police detained Ferrer himself during a police raid of his home early
Thursday morning, and seized several documents, the Cuban Commission for
Human Rights and National Reconciliation noted Friday in an "urgent

Dissidents also have been marking the "Day of Resistance" on the 24th of
each month, recalling the Feb. 24, 2010 death of political prisoner
Orlando Zapata Tamayo after a lengthy hunger strike to demand an end to
prison abuses.

The dissident Ladies in White, meanwhile, urged democratic governments
and human rights organizations to "take urgent and coordinated action to
stop the violence unleashed by the Cuban regime" against the women and
other peaceful opposition figures.

Their statement alleged that the Raúl Castro government "has stepped up
the intimidations, the arbitrary jailings and the cruelty against all
those who fight to install a democratic system in our country."

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