|Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia quien se encuentra detenido desde ayer junto a su esposa la Dama de Blanco Belkis Cantillo. Foto de Archivo.|
AFP WASHINGTON -- Estados Unidos manifestó este miércoles estar “sumamente preocupado” por arrestos y ataques recientes contra disidentes en Cuba y pidió su “inmediata” liberación.
Toner condenó “específicamente” que “la mayoría de los arrestos” se produjeron durante la visita del papa Benedicto XVI la semana pasada a la isla, para evitar que los disidentes acudieran a las misas.
Estos arrestos han sido denunciados por la oposición cubana, aunque ni el gobierno ni los medios cubanos, todos bajo control estatal, han informado sobre ellos.
“Llamamos al gobierno cubano a liberar inmediatamente a los pacíficos activistas de la sociedad civil”, dijo Toner.
Toner también fustigó los “intentos del gobierno de Cuba de silenciar los reportes de estas detenciones”, al hacerse eco de denuncias de bloqueos de celulares y conexiones de internet de disidentes.
El régimen castrista considera a los opositores como “mercenarios” de Estados Unidos.
Bajo la presidencia de Barack Obama, Washington suavizó algunas sanciones contra Cuba, pero el breve deshielo se frenó tras el arresto en diciembre de 2009 y posterior condena a 15 años de prisión del subcontratista estadounidense Alan Gross por distribuir material de comunicación a grupos civiles.
US calls for immediate release of government opponents in Cuba
Ladies in White dissident group and the U.S. State Department on Wednesday criticized detentions of government opponents in Cuba.By Juan Carlos Chavez
The Ladies in White, mothers and wives of political prisoners, made an urgent appeal Wednesday to the international community to denounce the Cuban government’s crackdown against dozens of opponents and activists in the east of the island. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., State Department spokesman Mark Toner demanded the immediate release of those detained in recent days.
In a statement signed by Ladies in White leader Berta Soler called for condemnation of the “ferocity” with which authorities acted to silence critical voices.
Meanwhile in Washington, Toner criticized the lack of security and vigilance toward peaceful opponents.
“We call upon the Cuban government to release all peaceful civil society activists immediately,” he said.
Toner added: “We particularly condemn that most of those arrests took place during the pope’s visit and with the aim of preventing those arrested from attending public masses that the pope officiated.”
El Nuevo Herald reported Wednesday that Cuban authorities intensified harassment on Monday and Tuesday of dissidents, arresting dozens of peaceful opponents in the cities of Palma Soriano and Palmarito de Cauto, in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.
Among those arrested was José Daniel Ferrer García, president of the illegal Patriotic Union of Cuba, and his wife, Belkis Cantillo, a member of Ladies in White.
The worst incident took place in Palma Soriano, when State Security agents and the police stopped a demonstration and beat up a group of activists who had gathered in opponent Raumel Vinajera’s house, located in La Concepción neighborhood.
“A total of 24 human-rights activists took to the streets in a peaceful march in Palma Soriano to request the release of the kid who jumped the wall during the pope’s Mass in Santiago de Cuba. All the demonstrators were beaten and jailed,” said Soler.
She said the attack had the support of the Committees of Defense of the Revolution and the Quick Response Brigades. Both organizations function under the umbrella of the authorities and their acts are generally perpetrated with total impunity.
The dissidents had planned to organize wide protests to demand the release of three activists, as well as the one from Santiago, Andrés Carrión Alvarez, 38. On March 26 Carrión shouted “Freedom!” and “Down with communism!” at the Antonio Maceo Square in Santiago de Cuba, minutes before the papal Mass. When he was removed from the square he was violently beaten with a folded gurney by, among others, a man wearing the Red Cross uniform.
Carrión’s arrest prompted numerous demonstrations of concern inside the island and abroad. For several days it was impossible to find out his identity, until a member of the Patriotic Union in Santiago de Cuba recognized him on Friday. The news circulated widely through the media and the movement Háblalo sin Miedo (Say It Without Fear).
Guillermo Fariñas, recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Award, said the brutal repression was caused by Carrión’s identification and the intense opposition work of the Patriotic Union of Cuba.
“It’s an opportunistic and intolerant attitude by the Cuban government, which constantly tries to apply force,” Fariñas told El Nuevo Herald. “We hold the Cuban government responsible for the physical integrity and the lives of Ferrer and Cantillo, among others.”
A mob organized by the government surrounded the house of Ferrer and Cantillo in Palmarito de Cauto. State Security agents emptied their house during six hours and took away materials and office equipment. They also cut the service of their cellular phones, and confiscated books, documents and several articles owned by the family.
Minutes before the raid, Ferrer managed to make a dramatic call to Háblalo sin Miedo and denounced the raid and the violence displayed by the authorities.
“They are assaulting my house. The political police, all the officers of the area’s political police and other officers from Santiago de Cuba have just now come to my house and they want to knock down the door,” said Ferrer, a dissident released last year after eight years in prison. “This is a difficult situation. We have people who have entered the house and we will not permit a forced entry into my house.”
Fuente: The Miami Herald