Castro Regime Attacks Children of Democracy Activist

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
From the European NGO, Frontline Defenders:

Physical attack against the children of human rights defender Damaris Moya Portieles

On 2 January 2014, the 5-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter of human rights defender Damaris Moya Portieles were beaten by Cuban state security agents in Santa Clara. Damaris Moya Portieles is a member of the Movimiento Femenino por los Derechos Civiles Rosa Parks (Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights), and president of the Coalición Central Opositora (Central Oppositional Coalition), an organization that works against evictions carried out by state agents and protects the well-being of children and the elderly.

On the morning of 2 January 2014, the son and daughter of the human rights defender were on their way to visit the president of the Movimiento Feminino por los Derechos Civiles Rosa Parks, Yris Pérez Aguilera, when they were beaten by the National Revolutionary Police. Damaris Moya Portieles had to bring them to a medical center for immediate attention. At this moment, the children are physically recovered but are suffering from psychological trauma.

Throughout the past year, Damaris Moya Portieles was the subject of various intimidatory acts, sexual abuse in detention, and the threat of the rape of her young daughter. Front Line Defenders previously issued an urgent appeal on her case on 10 October 2013.

In December 2013, particularly in the context of vigils and protests around International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2013, there was an increase in the number of detentions. 1,123 people were arbitrarily detained over the month, amongst these dissidents, political opposition figures, protesters and human rights defenders.

Front Line Defenders expresses its profound concern at the physical attack against the children of Damaris Moya Portieles, especially as it appears to be linked to her legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights in Cuba. Front Line Defenders views this attack as part of an ongoing campaign against the human rights defender, as well as part of a broader campaign to silence critical voices and those working for human rights in Cuba.