Cubans from Havana Protest Against Police Abuse

April 22, 2012

During the afternoon hours of this past 16th of April, more than five-hundred people joined a heated protest in the centric Fraternity Park in Havana.  They were protesting against the manner in which members of the PNR (National Revolutionary Police) carried out the arrest of a young citizen who had been detained because of a quarrel with another citizen.  The abuse carried out by the officials was sufficient to detonate a display of popular discontent.

While the police officers violently handcuffed and transferred the young Cuban, the people there started to scream: “abusers, assassins, release the young man, stop mistreating him”.  The police officers, upon seeing that they were outnumbered, decided to start releasing the Cuban from his handcuffs.  The marks of the cuffs on the young man’s hands provoked further rage.  A man who seemed to be older than seventy shouted, “you are all a bunch of abusing henchmen”.

During the incident, Jorge Castorbery Dias Dias, president of the Democratic Voice of the People Movement, was detained.  Dias was at the scene taking photographs.  One State Security official rushed up to the human rights activist and shoved and handcuffed him, then introduced him into the police vehicle.  However, he was taken by other officials of that same oppressive entity.  During the arrest, Jorge received physical blows on the head as he was shoved against the roof of the vehicle.

Amid the denouncements of the activist which stated that his arrest was arbitrary, the response from the official was “you know that this is Cuba, and that you cannot do that here.  Besides, I know who you are, I know you’re a well known counter-revolutionary”.  Jorge was taken to the Dragones Unit of Old Havana and locked away in a dungeon for more than three hours.  He was threatened by the political police and then was released.

Photos and Report courtesy of Eriberto Liranza Romero; Information and Press Commission of the CYMD. 


Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy Carries Out Activity in Velasco, Holguin

April 22, 2012

Photo courtesy of the Information and Press Commission of the CYMD

Report by Eriberto Liranza Romero, president of the CYMD

Activists from the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy from the municipality of Velasco, located in the Eastern province of Holguin, carried out an activity regarding Democracy and Human Rights during the beginning of the month of April.

Yonart Rodríguez Ávila and George Luís Leyva Ferras, vice delegate in the East and of Gibara, respectively, organized the meeting which counted with the participation of more than a dozen youths.

During the activity, the members who were present denounced the unjust incarceration of Niurka Luque Alvarez, a member of CYMD who has been imprisoned in a punishment cell in the women’s prison known as “Manto Negro” (“Black Cloak”), for the sole reason of defending human rights.  The activists shouted and demanded “freedom for Niurka Luque, she is innocent”.

Rodriguez Avila also played a film for all the activists present as part of the Youth Video Club program which was designed to elevate the political culture among the new generations and to provide factual information about happenings in Cuba and in the world.

The National Front Honors Laura Pollan on the Day of the Resistance

December 22, 2011

By Eriberto Liranza, Coordinator in the West for the National Resistance Front

More than a dozen human rights activists met in the Havana municipality of Arroyo Naranjo, responding to the call from the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front to dedicate the past 24th of the month to honor the memory of Laura Pollan, recently deceased in a Havana hospital.

Every 24th of each month the National Front will convoke all its member parties and movements throughout the island to concentrate their activities against the Castro dictatorship.  In this specific commemoration, activists from various organizations met in the headquarters of the Hard Line Front in the neighborhood of La Guinera.  There, the dissidents dedicated a minute of silence to Laura Pollan and signed a note of condolences from all those who loved the leader of the Ladies in White.

Amid slogans against the  dictatorship, the participating activists expressed that “the ideas of Laura Pollan of achieving freedom for Cubans persist, and that she lives on in the hearts of those who fight for the country of Marti”, declared Hermogenos Guerrero, president of the Hard Line Front.

When the simple but emotional ceremony concluded, the activists took the national symbol (flag) and marched in silence throughout a neighborhood of La Guinera.  Every member also carried a national flower- “The Mariposa”- in order to commemorate the patriotism of Laura Pollan.

Various activists arrived after the ceremony concluded, including their signatures in the book of condolences for Laura Pollan, who for many years was the steward of freedom, peace, and hope for hundreds of political prisoners of conscience in Cuba.

The following activists participated in this activity : Yamilet Clapé Leandro, Hard Line Front; Hermógenes Guerrero Gómez, Hard Line Front; René Rouco Machín, Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia Movement; Yosvani González Lemus, Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia Movement; Martha Belquis Martínez González, Hard Line Front; Santiago Días Soto, Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy; Caridad Ramírez Útria, Brothers to the Rescue Freedom and Democracy Movement; Heriberto Pons Ruíz, Brothers to the Rescue Freedom and Democracy Movement; Antonio Pérez Romero, Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy; Yaimí Alfonso Miret, Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy; Humberto Martínez Almeida, Hard Line Front; Maida Leyva Reyes, Natur-Paz; Rolando Luis Ramírez Cabrera, Natur-Paz; Yunior Ramírez Roca, Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy; Yusniel Estévez Martínez, Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy and Eriberto Liranza Romero, Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy.

Political Police Threatens Neighbor of Dissident with Arrest

December 19, 2011

Roxilene Sotolongo Cruz & Ariel Gonzales Cueva

Image and report by Eriberto Liranza Romero.

This past 13th of October, Roxilene Sotolongo Cruz from Cervantes Avenue, #272 between Pinar del Rio and Yumuri, Parraga, Arroyo Naranjo was summoned before a political police official.

The State Security officials known as “Luis” and “Ale” carried out the interrogations and threats against Sotolongo.  “The citation stated that my presence in the police station was just for a ‘conversation’.  When the agent known as Luis arrived he began to threaten me, telling me that if my family and I continued our friendship with the family of Eriberto Liranza Romero, my husband Ariel Gonzales Cueva would lose his job, or something worse would happen to him.  He also assured us that our friendship with a ‘counter-revolutionary’ would bring consequences to my 25 year old son, who doesn’t even live with us“, declared Roxilene.

All of this is the wrong doing of these people.  I fear that they will comply with their threats, and I don’t have a way to maintain my family.  They already detained me once for helping the wife of Liranza to carry a couple of buckets of water when her husband was on hunger strike in January of this year.  I know that they don’t threaten just because.  If something happens to me or my family, they will be the responsible ones.  Meanwhile, we will not stop visiting or helping Liranza, because they are good neighbors, as opposed to the hypocrites and thieves nearby which wave around their Communist Party ID cards and revolutionary signs“, declared Ariel Gonzales, husband of Sotolongo.


Resistance, on the Day of the Resistance

October 9, 2011

It was approximately 6:00 pm, we had been able to get together various activists and group leaders that were supposed to be present on the 24th of September.  Days prior, the executive board of the National Front had convoked a national ‘pots and pans’ protest for that day, which had been designated as the Day of Resistance.

We were carrying the Front’s flag, better looking than ever- that fist held high in the air- and we had the desire to take to the streets to let the people know that we were there to defend their rights.  And we also wanted to prove to the tyranny that without the presence of their assassins, nothing would happen to us.

We were correct.  Upon going out to the street and shouting our slogans, the people stepped out.  There were even those  who echoed our shout of ‘Down with the dictatorship‘.  Much to the shock of those present, we marched up and down the street, we were successful.  The National Front triumphantly marched.

It took the henchmen around 1 hour to recruit the mob that always attacks us.  The majority of the ‘staff’ do not work on Saturdays and they were only able to get a group of older people.  Behind the quixotic troops, the political police and State Security deceitfully approached.  We bravely waited for them, some of us with our arms crossed, while some of us responded with the opposite slogans of the ones being shouted at us.

The mob stopped in its tracks, they did not think we would stay standing there during their confrontation.  A military order led them to surround us, and like vile cowards, they began to beat us.  I was able to see how they took Antunez away by pushing him and shoving him into a vehicle of the political police.  Ramses suffered the same fate.  And then it was my turn.  I continued to sing the national anthem, stronger than ever.  I wasn’t even finished when a punch on my face impeded me from singing the last note.  “I forgive you”, I told the aggressor who was wearing a blue shirt.  Another blow led me to repeat the same phrase, this time with a bit more- “I forgive you, when Cuba is free you will live without fear because I would never do this to you just for thinking differently”.

Three men were carrying Sara Marta after having beat her.  One of them continued to hit her until she was put in the vehicle which kidnapped her.  As for Julio, Sara’s husband, he was also dragged into the Jeep in which I was being kept.  No one else fit in that car.  I was there with Hermogenes Guerrero, all swollen from so many physical blows, barefoot, and with torn clothes.  Ramses was also there.  Julio was thrown on top of us.  There was blood coming from his mouth from all the aggression.

The uniformed police official sped off form that place and took us to the National Revolutionary Police Unit of Santiago de Las Vegas.  We left behind  activists in the home of Sara Marta who also were resisting and suffered acts of vandalism.

My Neighbor’s Boyfriend

October 8, 2011

by Eriberto Liranza Romero

My neighbor has a boyfriend who is a police officer.  My neighbor’s name is Yaelianis and she is the daughter of a snitch at the service of the political police- Mario.  Mario is the same one who, during the terrible days of January of the present year, offered buckets of manure belonging to his pigs to members of the Rapid Response Brigade so that they would throw it at my front porch, along with all the other acts of vandalism and rock hurling which still goes on now to interrupt the sleep of my children.

Mario and Yaelianis live behind my house.  To get into their home, you have to go by the side of mine.  On some occasions it is inevitable to hear their snitching and boasting of how much harm they do to people.  I remember the reaction of Tania, the mother of Yaelianis, when she praised the boyfriend of her daughter because he was jailing a Cuban worker.  The police boyfriend had surprised the unfortunate man who was using the business’ vehicle to solve personal issues.

I was shocked before so much hypocrisy.  Yaelianis’ boyfriend drives a cop vehicle, made in China and acquired with the money of the people by the Ministry of the Interior.  I have been witness of the infinite amounts of times this vehicle, number 079E, has been used by the police boyfriend as a taxi, road trip car, or as a transport vehicle for the feed of Mario’s pigs.  In sum, they use the state’s vehicle for personal errands.  Is this not the same thing which Tania mentioned and the same grounds which her son-in-law used to fine another citizen?

This same police vehicle, present in dozens of Political Police operations to jail peaceful dissidents of the regime which meet at my house, is driven by a corrupt official that is capable of jailing and fining a simple Cuban who surely has to buy each piece of his rickety car in order to make it drive so that he can try to solve the issues of his ruined business.

That’s how it is, this is the revolutionary police which Castro talks about, the one that abuses and extorts the Cuban people, the one which consists of double morals.  I send my condolences to the victims of my neighbor’s boyfriend for so much abuse.  If any of them ever read this post, at least they will be satisfied to know that the hypocrisy of the National Revolutionary Police is being unmasked.

The partner of the in-love police official

Taking the family for a ride in the cop car

Tania and Yaelianis with the boyfriend cop

Mario during a mop repudiation attack against my family

We are Not Learning Anything

October 8, 2011

By Eriberto Liranza Romero
President of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy

I am Cuban, but as a youth leader I feel compelled to share my point of view, and why not, to send a message to the Chilean government and, especially, to the thousands of young people who are out on the street demanding an improvement of  their countries’ education system.  The Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy has kept up to date with the news regarding the young Chileans.  Since we are closed off in our island-prison, we cannot be as informed as we wish to be.  It is only through foreign publications, which are very scarce, that every once in a while we can find out what is happening outside of our own country.

It is truly painful that after such a heroic display of solidarity and love on behalf of the Chilean government in order to save 33 miners who were trapped after a copper mining accident, now the images of that government and those people are pushed aside amid student protests.

It is time that the administration of Sebastian Pinera find a solution to this conflict.  We have read, in the free press, that the students are demanding just things from their government.  What is not just is that marginal neighborhoods have worse academic conditions and enrollment in comparison with well-off neighborhoods.  The Chilean government cannot allow the death of some of these youths who are on hunger strike.  They have shown that they love their country and that they are firm in their convictions.

This situation can only benefit extreme-left totalitarian regimes, which without a doubt take advantage of such events to launch their own media campaigns against the democratic government of Pinera.  Surely, they have already gotten their hands on the opportunists of his cabinet who intend to morph the real motives of the protests.  It would be a triumph for democracy and a good example for the civilized world if the government would grant the logical demands of the students.

We favor a public education system under the government and NGOs which protect the students from political manipulations.  We also favor a private education, if someone wishes to pay for a school that fits their interests, whether they be political, social, or religious.  Regardless, the constant inspections from the government towards these private centers must be present, in order to remind the owners of the schools that they do not own the future of the country.

We believe that students are exaggerating with the demand to nationalize education in Chile.  It is fine that they demand more funds for public schools under the control of the government.  But nationalizing all schools would be fatal for education.  This would turn schools into centers of ideological indoctrination for future governments.  Education in Cuba is state-run, centralized, and responds to the agenda of the Communist Party, the only legalized (and in power) political party in the country.  Despite being “free for everyone”, the reality is that there is a very high rate of poor academic performance, a disastrous civic disinformation, child prostitution, a high level of alcohol and drug consumption, and corrupted professors.  That is the result of an education under the tight control of the state.  They are evils which daily deform the future generations.

I would ask the Chilean youth that, for the sake of democracy, they do not cease their demands on the streets and that they continue pressuring the government so that their demands be heard, but do not fall into anarchy, and do not allow leftist-fascist opportunists and populists to convert their genuine concerns for the Chilean youth into a political mess.  Never forget that freedom of expression is the product of democracy.