Cuban Regime Harasses, Arrests and Dissappears Independent Labor Leaders

Sunday, September 25, 2016
From Diario de Cuba:

Cuban regime blocked a meeting of trade unionists who sought to create a broad and independent coalition

The spokesman for the Independent Trade Union Coalition, Iván Hernández Carrillo (pictured below), reported that State Security deployed forces on Tuesday to thwart a meeting of several trade unionists seeking to unify the Island's three historic trade unions.

"We had a meeting organized to finalize the details," Hernández Carrillo told DIARIO DE CUBA.

The meeting, however, could not be held because several activists were arrested, others besieged in their homes and threatened, and one, at least, has apparently disappeared, said the union activist

Among those detained was Ariadna Mena Rubio, while another activist, Aimé Cabrera, "was threatened with arrest if she left her house."

The whereabouts of three activists summoned to the meeting are still unknown. "Their phones are switched off or without coverage, suggesting that they may have been arrested, but this has not been confirmed," explained Hernández Carrillo.

In the case of Ariadna Mena, said the activist, "her relatives do not know where they have taken her. She was intercepted after dropping her daughters off at school." Also detained for four hours was the unionist Alejandro Sánchez.

The venue where the meeting was to be held was surrounded by plainclothes police officers.

Hernández Carrillo, meanwhile, explained that he managed to elude the siege he faced in Matanzas.

The unionist regretted that State Security was able to foil a meeting whose purpose was to "unite the three organizations and make union work in Cuba stronger, more solid, and more united."

This unit, he added, "intends to join forces to achieve what we are looking for: real changes within the Cuban nation, which lead to the rule of law, and where all workers enjoy rights, including that to organize freely."

“The political police,” said Hernández, “insists that it will not allow this to happen. We are going to work to achieve our goal.”