Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Eight hours with State Security

Eight hours with State Security
YUSIMÍ RODRÍGUEZ LÓPEZ | La Habana | 20 de Septiembre de 2016 - 14:28 CEST.

On Friday morning the Human Rights activist and member of the Citizens
for Racial Integration (CIR) committee, Martha Adela Tamayo, was seized
by State Security forces. Her family and friends knew nothing of her
whereabouts for the eight hours she was detained. DIARIO DE CUBA
received the report of her abduction and spoke with her.

What happened?

I went down to pick up a friend's laptop that a colleague had repaired.
I saw a man with a butcher's apron, but I realized that the butcher
there was a woman. On my way back to my apartment at Soledad and
Peregrino a man called me over, by name, and told me he wanted to talk
to me. I asked what about, and he said it would just be a moment. I said
I wanted to go up to put away the laptop, but he wouldn´t let me. I saw
a car several meters away back up to where we were, and I realized that
it was not going to just be a moment; I took off running, and I yelled
at [Juan Antonio] Madrazo that they wanted to take me away.

When Madrazo came and looked out they were already forcing me into the
car. One of those who grabbed me was the "butcher," now without his apron.

They caused this whole scene in front of my neighbors who peered out
when they heard me screaming, as if I were a criminal. There were two
cars, one on Salud and another on Peregrino. And there were two
motorcycles. We later learned from the neighbors that the cars had been
there since 6 am.

By running, and resisting arrest, couldn't you have justified them using
violence? (She has a small bruise near her wrist from when they forced
her into the patrol car)

I wanted for them to at least let me go up to my apartment and leave the
laptop and to explain what was going on. And I told them: I had just
gotten up and was having my period. Besides, he wasn't a police officer,
who have the authority to arrest you. He was a State Security agent, who
cannot summon or arrest you.

They normally give you a citation signed by a State Security agent,
ordering you to show up. But the summons must be signed by an officer of
the Court. As people are ignorant of these things, he just shows up like
that. We have informed ourselves about these things. One can even refuse
to talk to him. In the case of a police officer it's another story; you
cannot resist or run.

In the car they said they were taking me to Santiago. I thought they
would deport me to Santiago de Cuba, but in reality I'm from Holguin.
Then I realized that they were taking me to the police station in
Santiago de las Vegas. There they took me to an interrogation room,
without going through the entrance area. They do not register you as

What happened during the interrogation?

A lot of coercion. They told me: "You're not from Havana. Now, if we
feel like it, we'll take you, handcuffed, off to Antilla, Holguín. We
know you have a romantic relationship with Madrazo Luna; if he tries to
pick you up, we won't let him anywhere near the terminal, and we won´t
let you come either."

They brought up the work I do with the platform # Otro18. Another point
was the research work I do with colleagues in Colombia at the Institute
of Race and Equality. They said a lot of work was being done from the
outside to empower civil society, about women of African descent, who
are under-represented in the State and self-employed labor markets; that
they knew what Madrazo was doing; that we were mercenaries who were
receiving money from the Human Rights Observatory in Madrid directed by
Alejandro González Raga, one of the 75 former political prisoners
expelled from the country by this Government. The said they were not
going to allow #Otro 18 to carry on, and if they had to take measures
they were going to do so, like not letting us travel, seizing our
passports at the airport. And if they had to subject us to house arrest,
or confine us elsewhere, they would do that too.

They also talked about the question of culture; as you know, there are a
lot of people unhappy with what happened to Juan Carlos Cremata. Look at
what Abel Prieto said, that they were sabotaging them through the
empowerment of civil society, which they could not allow.

They talked about my personal life. They claimed to have evidence that I
had betrayed the father of my child with a woman. I told them to go
ahead and publish it. I do not know whether it was to discredit me, or
my partner, by claiming that I like women or that I am bisexual.
According to them, that is why I fight for LGBT rights. I'd like to see
what they have to say about our president's daughter, Mariela Castro...

That bit about how I was with a woman, they published it on a blog,
Esperanzas Holguineras. According to them I was a State Security agent,
a prostitute and a lesbian. They also threatened me, mentioning my son.
They told me to think of him, that he was all I had. He was also calling
me all day, worried, not knowing where I was.

You say you were menstruating. How did you manage all that time?

I asked for a sanitary pad and they brought me one ... after four hours,
but they brought it, and I was able to use the bathroom. They also
offered me water. I declined food, not to be obstinate, but because in
such cases I'd rather not eat.

Martha Adela was transferred to the station at Zapata and C, at night.
At nine they allowed her to call her family to let them know where she
was. They seized her laptop, and made her complete and sign a form that
allows her to recover claim it, but she was not given a copy. When I
talked with her she seemed very collected.

One is always calm ... after everything is over. But while it's
happening you're scared. You don't know what might happen, how far they
might go.

Source: Eight hours with State Security | Diario de Cuba -

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