Dissidents in Cuba
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Cuban police are detaining activists prior to Human Rights Day

Posted on Wednesday, 12.10.08
CUBA
Cuban police are detaining activists prior to Human Rights Day
Cuban activists are being stopped from attending Human Rights Day events
in Havana, exile groups said.
BY FRANCES ROBLES
frobles@MiamiHerald.com

Up to a dozen human rights activists have been detained in Cuba in
police operations apparently intended to keep them from attending Human
Rights Day events in Havana on Wednesday, according to exile groups in
Miami.

Wednesday's events are being organized to commemorate the 60th
anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Declaration of Human
Rights.

Protests are planned by various Cuban dissident groups, including the
Ladies in White organization formed by wives and female relatives of 75
dissidents and independent journalists who were rounded up during a 2003
crackdown on political dissent.

SECURITY AGENTS

The Federation of Latin American Women, a group that lobbies for an end
to Cuba's dual currency, said Cuban State Security agents beat their
members and broke one woman's hand.

''They did not even ask for identification,'' FLAMUR President Belinda
Salas said in a statement. “My husband Lazaro got such a beating that
he was bleeding profusely through his mouth and head, plus he was struck
hard on his testicles. . . . They ripped my blouse, leaving me naked,
and the beating left me with a fractured hand.''

The incident occurred when several state patrol cars arrived in Havana's
Vedado neighborhood, FLAMUR said.

The whereabouts of some who were picked up by police cruisers was unknown.

The Democratic Directorate, a Miami exile group that works with
dissidents in Cuba, said they knew of about a dozen people in cities
across Cuba that had been arrested since Monday.

Last year, the Cuban government launched a massive operation at bus
stations, train stations and highways where dissidents were trying to
catch rides to Havana Human Rights Day events. The operation illustrated
how well Cuban State Security monitors opposition activities — and how
quickly they were able to snatch people up.

''Right now we have a list of people detained, and it's going to keep
going up,'' said the Democratic Directorate's deputy national secretary,
Janisset Rivero.

“We are not sure of all the details of what's going on, because every
time we get someone on the line, we get cut off. They are cutting off
communications.''

She said dissident doctor Darsi Ferrer had organized some kind of march
in Havana. When Rivero talked to him, he said: ''I've got a big police
operation in front of my house,'' and the call ended.

Arrests have taken place in Cienfuegos, Pinar del Río, Matanzas, Sancti
Spiritus, Santa Clara, Placetas and Havana, she said. Among the detained
is former political prisoner Jorge Luis García Pérez, known as “Antúnez.''

WARNINGS GIVEN

Last week Cuban bloggers reported being taken to police headquarters,
where they received warnings against attending a scheduled Internet
bloggers conference.

''Amazing: They are violating human rights so people can't celebrate
human rights,'' said U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutiérrez, who
headed a Bush administration effort to prepare for Cuba's transition to
democracy.

''I was reading about the crackdown on the bloggers, and I suppose
that's all related. It reminded me of something like rounding people up
because they are suspected of witchcraft,'' he said. “It sounds so
crazy and so out of touch with reality and so old-fashioned —-
old-fashioned like centuries ago.''

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/americas/story/806892.html

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