September 2009


State Security agents beat dissident

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept. 30 (Álvaro Yero / www.cubanet.org) –  Ernesto Rafael Mena, an ex-political prisoner and president of opposition Democratic Youth organization, says several State Security agents spotted him on the street last week and got out of their patrol car and beat him up.

Mena said the agents beat him in the face, back and ribs and left him in public view. Passersby took him to the Julio Trigo Hospital.

Mena was sentenced to four years in prison in 2003.


Dr. Darsi Ferrer denied medical treatment

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept. 30 (Yusnaimy Jorge Soca, www.cubanet.org) - Human rights activist Dr. Darsi Ferrer says he is being denied medical treatment in jail.

Darsi, a medical doctor, said from his cell that he is suffering from an oral infection and a metabolic problem that impedes the absorption of calcium.

Lt. Col. Julio Perera Ferrer, director of the Valle Grande jail, said the facility lacks the specialists and budget to treat Ferrer’s problems.

Before he was jailed in last month on charges of buying cement on the black market, Ferrer tried to get a visa on humanitarian grounds so he could travel to Spain for promised treatment.

.charged in Antes de ser encarcelado, Darsi estaba realizando gestiones para ir a España, por visa humanitaria, para recibir tratamiento gratuito ofrecido por un odontólogo español, quien asumiría el costo del viaje, el tratamiento y la estancia.

Darsi Ferrer, who was arrested last month on charges of buying bags of cement on the black market.


Authorities crack down on gay activists

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept. 30  (Aliomar Janjaque Chivaz, www.cubanet.org) –The organizers of a planned Mr. Gay Cuba contest say they are facing government opposition to thwart the event.

Committee members said police raided the home of Mario José Delgado González , vice president of the Reinaldo Arenas Memorial Foundation, one of the organizers, and broke up a meeting and seized equipment.

Delgado González and a medical student named Rafael, who recently won the Mr. Gay Havana contest, were expelled from the University of Havana.

Police also arrested Henri Solís, 27, an artistic education professor and gay rights activist


Police tell families whose shacks they demolished to go home

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept. 29 (Aini Martín Valero, ALAS, www.cubanet.org) – The National Revolutionary Police destroyed last week makeshift shacks occupied by eight families and told the occupants to return to the interior provinces from which they came.

The police, who carried out the demolition Sept. 22, considered the structures illegal as the families did not have government permission to move to Havana. The shacks were made of cardboard, wood, metal and concrete.

The families, including young children, were removed by force from their homes. Their belongings were removed before the structures were demolished.

Human rights advocate Lourdes Vidal said almost all of the residents were from eastern Cuba and had moved to the capital in search of work.

She said one shack left intact belonged to a member of the national police.

The structures were located in the Regla and Bahía de la Habana del Este districts.


Independent journalist released after two weeks

LAS TUNAS, Cuba, Sept. 29 (Ileana Ileana Pérez Nápoles , www.cubanet.org) Ileana Pérez Nápoles , www.cubanet.org) Independent journalist Yosvani Anzardo Hernández, director of the Candonga agency, has been freed after two weeksconfinement in the Pedernales prison in Holguín province.

Anzardo Hernández said he was put in a patrol car and driven to his home in San Germán, Holguín province, at 10 p.m. on September 23.

Police raided his home on September 10, arresting him and seizing his computer and ripping out his telephone line.


Independent journalist threatened with 4-year prison sentence

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept. 25 (Lisbán Hernández Sánches, www.cubanet.org) - Independent journalist Adolfo Pablo Borrazá was detained by police Tuesday as he left the U.S. Interests Section after participating in a workshop.

Chaple said he was taken in a patrol car by the national police to a station where he was questioned and threatened with a prison sentence of four years if he continued his journalism activities.

Police seized a copy of El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-edition of the Miami Herald, and other publications he had been given at the Interests Section.
The workshop he attended was journalism course given by videoconference by the International Media Center of Florida International University. Since the beginning of the year, police have been preventing journalists from attending the course or detaining them as they leave the Interests Section.

Grocery Store Incomplete Seven Months After Inauguration

HAVANA, Cuba, September 22, Moisés Leonardo Rodríguez, www.cubanet.org -
Seven months after being opened to the public, La Sensación grocery store in Mariel municipality outside Havana still has no running water, or electrical service.
Employees must use neighbors' bathrooms and borrow electricity from an adjacent school by stringing what is essentially an extension cord. There are an administrator and two other employees working in the store.

Mother Accuses Caregiver of Beating, Burning 4-year-old

HAVANA, Cuba, September 22, (Aini Martín Valero, ALAS / www.cubanet.org) -
The mother of a 4-year-old boy attending a child care facility in Regla, across the bay from the city of Havana charges that a care giver at the facility beat the child and burned him with a cigarrette for misbehaving during lunch.
The mother of 4-year-old Dairon Echevarría said she had complained to administrators of the “Alegres Marineritos” center about Greydi Rodríguez, the person she said abused her son, but that nothing had been done because Rodríguez is a niece of the center's director.
She said she had also lodged a complaint with the educational authorities in the municipality.


Dissidents blamed for knifing

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept. 21(Álvaro Yero / www.cubanet.org) – A block committee member told police he was knifed by dissidents when he tried to stop them from putting up anti-government posters in the Arroyo Naranjo district of Havana.

However, residents in the area told this reporter that the posters were put up by persons with hoods over their faces and that there was no incident at the time.

The block committee member was taken to the Julián Grimau clinic with knife wounds.

“Counterrevolutionaries attacked with a knife a member of the Defense Committees who tried to stop a counterrevolutionary act,” said a police officer.

The dissidents were not detained.


Anti-government signs painted in 3 districts

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept. 21 (Leáfar Pérez, www.cubanet.org) – Signs saying “Down with Raúl” and “We’re hungry” were painted on walls in the districts of Puentes Grandes, San Leopoldo and Husillo
Caballo in Havana last week.

Police immediately quickly on the areas and tried to paint over the signs before anyone could see them.

“They wouldn’t let us get close to the places that were painted,” said neighborhood resident Edilberto Rodríguez of the September 14 act. “The police were rude and told us to move on as there was nothing to see.”

“People are upset over the hunger there is here,” he said. “Raúl Castro promised a lot but things are worse than when Fidel was around.”


Swine flu prompts quarantine in town of Colón

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept. 21 (Leafar Pérez, www.cubanet.org) – A quarantine has been imposed in the Matanzas town of Colón where three persons, one a pregnant woman, have died of swine flu, according to reliable sources.

Doctors from the Tropical Medicine Institute have been seen making rounds in the town.

One evangelical minister told his Sunday congregation to pray for those in Colón he said were suffering from the virus.

The first swine flu cases in Cuba were of three Mexican students living in nearby residences housing hundreds of Latin American students.


Dissident parolee returned to prison

CAMAGŰEY,Cuba, Sept. 17 (Doralis Álvarez / www.cubanet.org) – Dissident Yoel Marín, who had been free on parole, was reimprisoned on charges he was promoting the overthrow of the government.

Marín’s brother, Rubén, said Yoel was picked up by State Security agents on August 6 after walking through the streets of Las Mercedes with signs calling for the a change of government and abolition of the rationing book.

Days earlier he was expelled from the agricultural cooperative where he worked after demanding higher wages for workers.

After State Security withdrew his parole, he was sent to Camagüey’s Cerámica Roja prison.

Human rights advocate charged with hoarding

GRANMA, Cuba, Sept. 17 (Tania Maceda / www.cubanet.org) – Human rights advocate Alexander Santiesteban faces trial on charges of hoarding, according to fellow dissident Enrique Piñeiro.

A State Security search of Santiestaben’s home had turned up 30 pounds of fish which he said for consumption by his family and 70 pounds he said was for pig feed.

Piñeiro, also a human rights activist, said State Security threatened Santiesteban with a four-year prison sentence. He said the accused was also told he had to stop distributing “subversive” propaganda.


Dissident sentenced to one year imprisonment

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept. 15  (Manuel Guerra / www.cubanet.org) – A municipal court has sentenced dissident Arnaldo Herrera to one year in prison on charges he was responsible for anti-government signs put up near his home.

Herrera’s lawyer, Ricardo Paneca, said his client was given the maximum sentence under Article 144.1 of the penal code that applies to disrespect.

Herrera, vicepresident of the opposition Committee for the Aid of Political Prisoners, was arrested September 1 and tried September 9 in the municipal court of Arroyo Naranjo in Havana.


Government seeks figures on unemployment and prostitution

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept. 15 (Aini Martín Valero, ALAS / www.cubanet.org ) – The government’s Technical Investigation Department is compiling information from Havana’s block committees to determine the level of unemployment and the number of prostitutes in the capital, according to sources.

The source, who is located in the municipality of Regla and Guanabacoa, said the government will use the results of the survey to determine if rationing books should be withdrawn from some families


3 teenagers in solitary confinement

ISLE OF YOUTH, Cuba, Sept. 14 (Lamasiel Gutiérrez, Isla Press / www.cubanet.org) - Three teenagers who wrote anti-government slogans on the walls of their prison cells have been placed in solitary confinement, according to a political prisoners at the Guayabo Prison.

Independent journalist Fabio Prieto, serving a 20-year sentence, said the trio has been in solitary confinement since August 30.

He indentified them as Jorge Luis Estrada and José Alberto González, both17, and Sergio Manuel Rodríguez, 18. He said there were dozens of youths like them imprisoned while awaiting trial on alleged anti-government activities.


Retiree Fined for Peddling Bread

SANTA CLARA, Cuba, September 11 (José Guillén / www.cubanet.org) – A 67-year-old pensioner in Santa Clara was detained and fined by police for selling bread “illegally.”
José Raúl Gómez said he explained to the two agents who detained him that three times a week he buys 10 pieces of bread at four pesos each and resells them at five so that he can buy himself some bread and cigars with the proceeds, but, he said, “they told me that's illegal and fined me 60 pesos.”

Anti-government Graffiti at Bus Stop

CAIBARIÉN, Cuba, September 11 (María Caridad Noa / www.cubanet.org) – Someone painted anti-government slogans on a wall facing the bus stop at El Panqué township, in Manacas, Santo Domingo municipality September 6.
The graffiti read “Down with Fidel” and “Down with Raúl” was painted on the rear wall of the structure by the Central Highway facing the cafeterias that service the bus stop.
Authorities swarmed the place shortly after the graffiti was discovered in the morning, took photographs and painted over the slogans.

Neighbors Blame Housing Authorities for Plumbing Problems

CAIBARIÉN, Cuba, September 11 (María Caridad Noa / www.cubanet.org) – Blame for a plumbing blockage that has contaminated the only well serving the neighborhood has been placed by residents squarely on the municipal housing authority in Cifuentes municipality.
The situation centers around a building in Sitiecito township and has been a problem for the last six months.
“A work brigade from the housing authority came to the building  to clear the drains, and that was a disaster,” said Gladys Regalado, one of the building's residents. “Ever since then, when someone uses the bathroom in the upper floors, bathrooms in the two lower floors overflow and the stench is unbearable,” she said.
Neighbors beyond the affected building are concerned because the overflow of sewage has contaminated the only well serving the area, they say.

Road Decay Isolates Towns

SANTA CLARA, Cuba, September 11 (Yoel Espinosa / www.cubanet.org) – Residents of three towns in Manicaragua municipality charge they have been isolated for the last six months due to the deterioration of the road connecting their towns.
Cars, trucks and buses, and even horse-drawn carriages cannot transit the road connecting La Esquina, La Esperanza, and Arroyo Seco.
“There are no doctors in the area, and we have to walk long distances when we need medical attention,” said Xiomara Morales, an Arroyo Seco resident.  “I don't know what the children who are going to school outside are going to do when they come home. It's not easy walking around here.”
“Of course, things get worse when it rains, because then the road becomes slippery and more dangerous. The problem has been brought up to the municipal and provincial authorities, to no avail,” Morales said.

Night Watchman Killed on the Job

HAVANA, Cuba, September 10, (Jesús Emilio Hernández Figueroa, www.cubanet.org) – One of two night watchmen at a store in Regla municipality was killed overnight and was found dead on the morning of September 7.
The guard, only identified as “Mito” was around 70 years old and a resident of Regla. He was bludgeoned around the head, presumably with a pipe or similar instrument.
Agents from the Department of State Security, the Interior Ministry, Criminal Investigations Directorate, along with canine and forensic units started their investigations early in the morning, but had not made any statements.
It became known that they had taken an interest on a local who is known to have mental problems and is known to residents as “Lalito.”

Taxi Stand for Horses

SANTA CLARA, Cuba, September 10 (Alberto Reyes, Red de Comunicadores / www.cubanet.org) – Alcides Ribera is in charge of a taxi stand for horse-drawn carriages in Santa Clara. He says he is aware of residents' complaints about the smells generated by the animals.
“People are never happy,” he says.  “Like it or not, these vehicles mitigate to some degree the scarcity of transportation in the city. I ask myself, What is worse, the smell or the lack of transportation?”
Neighbors also complain about the traffic jams caused by the slow-moving  carriages.

Officials Fight for Building Materials

ISLE OF YOUTH, Cuba, September 10 (Lamasiel Gutiérrez, Isla Press / www.cubanet.org) – Local government officials at hurricane-damaged Isle of Youth have come down to fighting for scarce building supplies, when there are building supplies to fight over, that is.
Most recently, local residents tell of the shoving match between Carlos Lara, delegate of district 10, and Elena, the delegate of a contiguous district, when a truckload of zinc roofing shingles donated by an Italian businessman arrived. Presumably, the delegates fight for the right to distribute the materials to their constituents.

Electrical worker shocked, but alive

HAVANA, Cuba, September 8 (Ana Aguililla / www.cubanet.org) – A linesman from the Cuban Electrical Company was shocked after he accidentally touched a high-voltage line in Santa Fe, outside of Havana last Wednesday.
The man was working on top of a post when he accidentally touched the primary, which left him with serious burns but alive.

Dangerous Prisoner Missing

HAVANA, Cuba, September 8 (Ana Aguililla / www.cubanet.org) – Political police and officers from the National Directorate of Prisons are looking for Jorge Luis Fleites, who recently went missing from the Combinado del Este prison outside Havana.
Fleites, also known as the “firebug,” is originally from the small community of Santa Fe west of Havana and is considered very dangerous.
He was in prison after being convicted of burning down an appliance store and of murdering two security guards at the “Niña Bonita” dairy.
This is not the first time Fleites goes missing from prison.

No free lunch for those who criticize the government

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept. 1 (Carlos Ríos, www.cubanet.org) - Those who go to the Casa de los Abuelos, a center for the elderly, say the manager recently told them that anyone who speaks ill of the government will not be served a free lunch.
"Be advised that it is forbidden to criticize the government,” she told was quoted as telling them.
At least one hundred needy elderly go daily to the center for lunch.

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