Antunez Letter to CBC Members

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Letter to U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Laura Richardson (D-CA) and Bobby Rush (D-IL):

April 24, 2009

Representatives:

When one is fighting for liberty and human rights within a totalitarian society like the one that exists in Cuba, it is hurtful and offensive that citizens of a free society who have access to uncensored information visit our Island and lack the courage to inquire about the unjustly imprisoned political prisoners.

How could you be so insensitive to the oppression that the Ladies in White are subject to every day when they demand freedom for their loved ones? The images of these women marching through the streets of Havana should strike the conscience of all people of good will.

We, the authors of this letter, are a young black married couple and members of the opposition who began a hunger strike on February 17 of this year to demand an end to the harassment against Cuba's political prisoners, against their families and against the members of the opposition in Cuba. Today we continue this protest on a liquid fast. One of the specific requests of our protest is to demand that the regime's authorities respect the rights of political prisoner Mario Alberto Perez Aguilera, brother and brother-in-law of the authors of this letter, who has been repeatedly beaten and is confined to isolation and torture, and kept until this day in an isolation cell in the Provincial Prison in Santa Clara.

While you were meeting with the Castro brothers, only 300 kilometers away from the capital, our home and the five protesters who remain within it were subject to a brutal siege by the combined forces of the national and political police. During that time, the commissaries of the government that you praised so highly launched toxic gases against our home, the harmful fumes putting our lives at risk. Moreover, the Castro regime is using its forces of repression to prevent entry to our home to anyone who is interested in our health, including our families. That is the case of Iris Perez Aguilera, who, to this date suffers from the pain of not being able to hug her 14-year-old son because the Cuban regime prohibits his access to our home.

In addition, if that were not enough, we inform you of acts of police brutality against members of the independent civil society, acts that, had they occurred in a democratic society, would have been condemned. Three young women, black members of the opposition, Donaida Perez Paseiro, Damaris Moya Portieles and Idania Yánez Contreras, and the last one is 6 weeks pregnant, were brutally beaten and dragged through the streets of Placetas so that they could not enter our home. These abuses, just like the one perpetrated against the 70-year-old member of the opposition, activist Bienvenido Perdigón Pacheco, who on April 20 of this year, was dragged by the political police causing him a cerebral hemorrhage, and other violations that occur daily, take place in public view to prevent solidarity with the protesters and to not even allow them know our situation.

Congressmen, it is ironic that individuals such as yourselves, who have been elected to your positions through a democratic system, and who enjoy all human rights, do not wish the same for the Cuban people. It is undignified to use prerogatives that for us are inaccessible, such as to traveling to and from one's homeland, having an opinion without fear of persecution, or associating with others who share similar interests, and then to ignore the victims of oppression in Cuba.

When we recall the fight and integrity of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, without whom you would still be giving up your seat on the bus and would not have the right to vote, we ask ourselves if the legacy of those who conquered the space of opportunity that you enjoy today, has been reserved only for political speeches and has ceased to be a commitment of your generation to justice and truth.

Sincerely,

Iris Perez Aguilera
Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights

Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez
"Pedro Luis Boitel" Political Prisoners' Movement