Increased Repression in Cuba

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
From the University of Miami's Cuba Transition Project:

Recent developments in Egypt where protesters took the streets of Cairo and other cities demanding the removal from office of President Hosni Mubarak, have raised the question whether Cuba would follow its lead. Concerned with this possibility, the regime of Gen. Raul Castro has increased its repressive actions. In the past few weeks, the Cuban security system has increased arrests and repressive activities towards the Cuban population:

- Daneysi Gálvez Pereira, wife of Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina who is the leader of the Movimiento Cubano de Jóvenes por la Democracia (MCJD) and one of the most active dissidents in the eastern part of the island, fears for his life after a group of common prisoners of Combinado de Guantánamo were placed in his prison cell to intimidate and threaten him on a regular basis.

- Damaris Moya Portieles, leader of Coalición Central Opositora, told Radio Martí details of the brutal beating she was given by police and agents of the State Security in the city of Santa Clara on Dec. 31 simply for inquiring reasons why dissident Antúnez was being confined to his residence.

- Independent journalist and writer for Primavera Digital, Adolfo Paul Borraz, was violently arrested by two police officers near his home in Central Havana. During the nearly 10 hours detained, he was interrogated and threatened by officers about his activities as a journalist.

- Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez reported that more than a dozen members of Coalición Central Opositora were beaten by the repressive apparatus in the city of Placetas and were later detained.

- Dissident Ramon Arboláez was beaten and threatened by two State Security officials after he opposed the eviction of a family in Placetas.

- Vladimir Turro Páez, President of the opposition organization Seguidores de Cristo Rey, was arrested when he was on his way to a meeting of Concilio Cubano held in Havana. While detained, Major Jose Manuel Carrillo, head of the unit, threatened to shoot him if he did not remain silent.

- Granma, the official Communist Party's newspaper, reported that Cuban authorities will impose fines and prison terms to people who make or sell illegal satellite television antennas and receivers. The newspaper cited the case of three Cubans who were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 16 months to two years for making and selling parabolic antennas and receiver cards designed for satellite television. They were also charged 50 convertible pesos ($55) per antenna and 30 pesos ($33) per data card.

- Reina Luisa Tamayo, mother of the deceased prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo, reported that agents of the State Security apparatus threatened to forbid her future departure from the island, if she continued her Sunday pilgrimages to the cemetery in Banes, Holguín Province, where her son is buried.

- Guillermo Fariñas was detained in Santa Clara along with 15 other people for no apparent reason. While released hours later, that was the second time he had been arrested in a matter of two days.

This report was prepared by Susel Pérez, Program Coordinator, Cuba Transition Project, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami.