January 8th in Cuba: Jubilee and Repression / Luis Felipe Rojas
Luis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.
What a surprise his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will find when he visits
the two main cities of Cuba. To kick off the Year of Jubilee, the
repressive machinery unleashed a wave of aggression in nearly all the
cities in the country against dissidents who were simply trying to
assist religious mass on Saturday in El Cobre Sanctuary or on Sunday in
their respective towns. Will Cardinal Jaime Ortega call on the Cuban
authorities to provide an explanation of all the arrests, beatings, and
acts of mob repudiation which have occurred during these days? Would he?
Regardless, it seems like it will be a visit marked by restriction of
movement and temporary and arbitrary arrests.
This Sunday, January 8th- a date which coincides with the official
celebration of the entrance of the bearded rebels into Havana during
1959- Catholics throughout the country were trying to celebrate the
beginning of the Year of Jubilee. In Holguin, Caridad Caballero, her
husband Esteban Sande Suarez, and Denis Pino Basulto- all of whom are
members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance- suffered under an operation
directed by Political Police Major Yordanis Martinez (aka The Burnt
One). Martinez ordered that they be arrested and they were then driven
to the Operations Barracks known as Pedernales. The three of them were
trying to assist mass in the Catholic Church which is located in Barrio
Pueblo Nuevo. At the time of writing this report, they had released the
married couple, but Pino Basulto was driven in a police vehicle towards
an undisclosed location. The fate of husband and wife Franklin Peregrino
del Toro and Berta Guerrero Segura from Cacocum was very similar.
Meanwhile, in Holguin they also arrested Zuleidis Pereza, Adisnidia
Cruz, Marco A Lima Dalmau, Mariblanca Ávila, and Yonart Rodríguez. That
Sunday, I also received a text message detailing an act of repudiation
outside the home of a Lady in White Yazmin Conyedo in Santa Clara. In
the house, there were also other women which has been cornered by a
large police operation which also impeded them from going to Church.
On the previous day, Saturday January 7th, Roberto de Jesus Guerra
shared an SMS message with me, which he later published on Twitter. The
message read "They are carrying out a mob repudiation attack against the
home of Maritza Castro in Cerro, Havana. More than 100 soldiers are
throwing stones, sticks, and bottles". And, from Guantanamo, I received
news from Isabel Pena that a neighbor of hers felt offended by someone
who put up an anti-government sign in public, and that person
aggressively confronted her and shouted obscenities and threats, even of
death, to her. That person even told her that he "felt like slicing her
open like a pork".
These acts of vandalism occurred in the midst of certain clerical hype
about the improved relations between the cardinals and those who implant
terror in Cuba.
The two locations chosen to be visited by the Pope (Santiago de Cuba and
Havana) will, once again, display an oppressed people who wish to
un-politicize every minute of their battered lives.
Although Meurice Estiu (The Friend) is no longer with us, we are in real
need of a titan who tells it like it is…who tells the truth to the
General President as he stands before him.
Translated by Raul G.
10 January 2012