August 2009


Pastor threatened because of association with dissidents

HAVANA, Cuba, August 31 (Leafar Pérez / www.cubanet.org) – Baptist pastor José Carlos Pérez says he has been warned not to preach against the government.

Pérez, who graduated from the Baptist Seminary of Cuba in 1991, said he was forced by the Baptist hierarchy to leave the Cárdenas parish church in Matanzas province after criticizing several protestant denominations for remaining silent about human rights violations in Cuba.

“For that reason,” he said in an interview, “I had to leave the church in Cárdenas, and for publicly condemning the rapprochement of the Baptist hierarchy with Raúl Castro, I was separated from the Convention.”

He said there’s a campaign to disaccredit him and that he constantly receives anonymous telephone calls that he should distance himself from dissidents.

Political prisoner reported beaten on orders of State Security

HAVANA, Cuba, August 31 (Juan Carlos González Leiva / www.cubanet.org) – Political prisoner Abel López says fellow dissident Ricardo Galván was recently beaten by guards at the Guantánamo provincial prison on orders of State Security.

He said the beating took place after Galván had written “Down with Fidel” and “Down with tyranny” on the wall of his cell in protest after guards had taken the water heater he needed for medical purposes.

Galván was arrested February 25 on charges of resistance and damage to the public for writing the word CAMBIO (Change) on walls.

Dissident sentenced to 4 years for disrespect

HAVANA, Cuba, August 31 (Juan Carlos González Leiva / www.cubanet.org) – Dissident Nelson Curbelo sentenced to two years imprisonment by the municipal court in Cárdenas, Matanzas province, for disrespecting four state inspectors, according to human rights activist Leticia Ramos.

Despite security at the trial August 21, Ramos was allowed to attend.

Curbelo, 48, is a member of the Independent Option Movement.

State Security agents and police prevent demonstration

HABANA, Cuba, August 31 (Roberto de Jesús Guerra, Hablemos Press / www.cubanet.org) – State Security agents and police last week prevented a demonstration of the Martian Civic League in the municipality of Arroyo Naranjo, detaining some dissidents and forcing others to disperse.

Among those detained were Julián Guerra, Moisés Mestres, Zoila Hernández and Alfredo Montano of the Civic League and Georgina Noa of the Latin American Federation of Rural Women (FLAMUR).

“The protest was organized because of the refusal of authorities to allow us to meet at the Carmen Church in Central Havana, where we pray and demand freedom for political prisoners,” said FLAMUR’s Noa.

Investigators seek 70 tons of missing powdered milk

HAVANA, Cuba, August 28 (Jaime Leygonier / www.cubanet.org) – Interior Ministry investigators are trying to determine what happened to 70 tons of powdered milk missing from warehouses, according to port workers in Havana.

The disappearance comes several months after the dismantling of a gang that sold powdered milk on the black market in the city, raising fears that the gang has been reestablished.

"We’re afraid that we port workers now are going to be made the scapegoats,” said one worker.

“A stevedore or a guard might steal a bit of milk for his children or a sack to sell, but the supplying a black market in a city of three million inhabitants like Havana is impossible by small robberies and requires millionaire thefts at high levels of the government,” he added.

Boy probably dropped from baseball team because of uncle’s politics

HAVANA, Cuba, August 28 (Frank Correa / www.cubanet.org) - The dropping of a player from Cuba’s infantile baseball team on the eve of a tournament in Venezuela has led to speculation the action was taken because the boy’s uncle is a former political prisoner.

Jordan Maldonado, aged 10, is the regular pitcher on his home team, but he can also catch and play first and third base. Those who know him say he hits for a high average.

His uncle, Medardo Maldonado, is a member of the Cuban Liberal Movement. It was not immediately known when and for how long his prison sentence was for acts considered anti-government.

Crackdown on stores in the capital

HAVANA, Cuba, August 27  (Leafar Pérez / www.cubanet.org) –An undetermined number of managers and clerks in government stores and businesses in the Cerro district of Havana were detained by police following audits carried out between August 14 and 19.

Ramón de Jesús Pereda, who lives in the district, said the audits showed merchandise missing in some stores while others had more than required. He said those detained faced sanctions.

As well, he said authorities fined and ordered dismissed longshoremen, inspectors and drivers responsible for goods taken to the stores.

Activists pay in pesos in hard currency restaurant

HAVANA, Cuba, August 26 (Julio Beltrán, ALAS / www.cubanet.org) – Activists from the “Pay with the Same Money” campaign ate at a foreign currency restaurant in the Arroyo Naranjo municipality and insisted on paying their bill in Cuban pesos.

“With this action we’re demanding from the government the right to use the same currency with which workers are paid,” said Georgina Noa, a delegate of the Latin American Rural Women’s Federation (FLAMUR), which has been sponsoring the campaign.

When the bill in foreign currency was presented, they gave the cashier Cuban pesos. FLAMUR members have used the same tactic several times in the last few months.

I.D. needed to purchase fresh fish

HAVANA, Cuba, August 26 (Georgina Noa, Red de Comunicadores / www.cubanet.org) – Butcher shops in the municipality of Arroyo Naranjo have been demanding the presentation of identity cards to those wanting to buy fish, according to one customer.

“It’s the limit when you have to bring an identity card when you want to buy fish,” said customer Juana Alfonso. “At any moment we’ll have to present an authorization from the police to buy it.”

Fresh fish recently appeared at the shops in Arroyo Naranjo for the first time in four months.

Single mother unable to repair her damaged home

HAVANA, Cuba, August 26 (Fidel Mojena, Red de Comunicadores / www.cubanet.org) -  Rosa Felicia González, whose roof was damaged last year by Hurricane Charles, says she has been told that she has to be a member in good standing of the Committee to Defend the Revolution in order to be able to buy construction material.

González said she has repeatedly complained to Dinorah Acosta, the committee delegate in her neighborhood, about the problem of repairing her roof.

“When Hurricane Charles came, it destroyed the roof of my house and no one looked after my needs, even though they knew I had a three-year-old son,” González said. “My life has been Hell because the communists only look after those who cooperate with the government.”


State Security orders postal employee fired

HAVANA, Cuba, August 25 (Roberto de Jesús Guerra, Hablemos Press / www.cubanet.org) – Postal employee Rosario Morales says she lost her job last week on orders of State Security because she associated with a dissident group.

Raúl Ortega, manager of the Villa Clara post office, told her she was being fired because of her association with the Committee for Racial Integration. He said the decision was made by State Security.

“I was fired because they didn’t think I trustworthy and because I associated with an opposition group,” she said.

7 women imprisoned for  prostitution

HAVANA, Cuba, August 25 (Aini Martín Valero, ALAS , www.cubanet.org) – Seven young women were given prison sentences of two to four years last week, accused of pestering tourists,  a euphemism for prostitution.

According to friends of the women, they were arrested in various Havana night clubs where they were accompanied by foreign tourists.

Their mass trial was held August 21 in the Regla district.

Independent journalist detained by State Security agent

HAVANA, Cuba, August 24 (Yudelmis Fonseca Rondón, www.cubanet.org) – Independent journalist Ismary Salomón Carcasés says she was detained last week by two State Security agents who questioned her for three hours in an “extremely cold” room at police headquarters.

Salomón Carcasés said she was leaving the offices of the College of Independent Teachers of Cuba at 7:30 PM August 19 whens he was detained by agents named Ricardo and Omar. She said two magazines she carried were seized, Disidente and Misceláneas de Cuba.

She said the two agents told her she would be prevented from accompanying dissident Segundo Rey Cabrera González to Matanzas province to support the family of political prisoner Ariel Sigler Amaya, who has been in a prison hopsital for the past two months. He’s serving a 20-year prison sentence.

Prisoner writes “Down with Fidel” with his excrement

HAVANA, Cuba, August 24 (Tania Maceda Guerra, www.cubanet.org) – Political prisoner Aurelio Antonio Morales Ayala says he used his own excrement to wrote “Down with Fidel” on the wall of the solitary confinement cell where he’d been held for over two weeks.

Morales Ayala, a member of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights, was then at the Potosí prison in las Tunas province. He told of the incident in a telephone call after being transferred to the Típico Viejo de las Tunas.

He said that he slept on the bare floor “among the rats and cockroaches” in the solitary confinement cell.

He is serving a two-year and nine-month sentence for civil disobedience

Dissident stopped from leaving city and questioned

HOLGUÍN, Cuba, August 21 (María Antonia Hidalgo / www.cubanet.org) – Dissident Arnoldo Expósito says political police agents detained him in Banes, Holguín province, when he was about to leave the city and verbally abused him during several hours of questioning.

He said the agnets detained him at 6 a.m. and held him until the afternoon at the police station. He said he was questioned by an agent named Freddy who had hit him on a previous occasion

Expósito is president of the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Democratic Cuban Committee

Adequate drinking water a problem in Holguí

HOLGUÍN, Cuba, August 21 (José Ramón Pupo / www.cubanet.org) – Serious problems are being reported in the distribution of drinking water in Holguín

The pumping of water to homes and buildings is constantly interrupted and the pressue is so weak that water can’t reach tanks located higher than the second story

Pools are said to form in some streets because of leaky outlets, which lose gallons of water every hour.

Freedom Prize winner suffering in jail

HAVANA, Cuba, August 20 (Víctor Manuel Domínguez, Sindical Press / www.cubanet.org) - Prisoner of conscience Iván Hernández, serving a 25-year sentence, is suffering from several ailments contracted in prison, says Carmelo Díaz, president of the Confederation of Independent Workers of Cuba (CTIC).
Hernández is currently incarcerated in the Guajamal jail in Villa Clara after serving time in several prisoners since his conviction in 2003 for acts against the government and the economy under Law 88).
“Chronic gastritis and arterial hypertension prevent him from eating what they serve him on dirty trays in the messhall where the foulness caused by sewer water makes it impossible to ingest food,” said Díaz
He said that Hernández is only able to eat bread, biscuits and uncooked food brought by family members every three months.
Hernández, named a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, received the 2009 Freedom Prize awarded by the National Endowment for Democracy.

Water scarce in some provincial towns

HAVANA, Cuba, August 20 (Leafar Pérez / www.cubanet.org) - Drinking water is being trucked into several towns in Havana province because of shortages, deteriorated pipes and salty local sources.
Workers at the National Institute of Water Resources said the towns being served included San Antonio de los Baños, Quiebra Hacha and Mariel.
They said funds were lacking to replace the pipes, so tanker trucks were being used as a temporary measure.
They also said that open containers of water had become breeding areas for mosquitoes.

Confiscated plantains

HAVANA, Cuba, August 20  (Roberto de Jesús Guerra, Hablemos Press / www.cubanet.org) - A farmer taking 8,000 plantains to a private market in Gibara in Holguín province had his produce confiscated by police and turned over to a state market for sale, according to an eye-witness.
Manuel Martínez said the farmer was hauling the plantains in a cart when he was stopped by police.
The farmer said he doesn’t take his produce to the state market for sale because he never gets paid.

Havana area beaches reported contaminated

HAVANA, Cuba, August 20 (Leafar Pérez / www.cubanet.org) - An investigation by experts at the Ministry of Technology and Environment revealed that beaches around Havana are contaminated, according to sources.
Tests made from April to August showed there was fecal matter and high levels of microorganisms which could put beachgoers at risk.
The study covered 13 zones on the east, from Bacuranao to Rincón de Guanabo, and 12 on the west, from the Cristino Naranjo workers complex to the Hemingway Marina.
The study has not been made public for fear of affecting tourism.

Crowd forces police to free detained woman

HAVANA, Cuba, August 19 (Leafar Pérez / www.cubanet.org) – Neighbors fought police agents and threw fruit at them to prevent the arrest of a 60-year-old woman at a public market in the 10 de Octubre municipality.

Pedro Moisés Calderín, an eyewitness, said two police agents pushed the woman by the head as they tried to get her into their patrol car. He said she had recently been operated on for a facial tumor, so those knew her starting attacking the policemen

“Suddenly three patrol cars arrived, but the pople didn’t stop,” he said. “They threw mangos, bananas, anything they could get ahold of. The crowd grew until there were about 100 people shouting at the police.

He said it took the presence of a high official of the Interior Ministry to calm the crowd.

The police did not take the woman. It was not known why they wanted to arrest her.

Prisoner’s son denied visit because his father refuses to wear prison uniform

ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD, Cuba, August 17 (Lamasiel Gutiérrez, Isla Press / www.cubanet.org) - Political prisoner Rolando Jiménez, says authorities at the Guayabo prison deny him visits by his 10-year-old son because he refuses to wear a prison uniform.

Jiménez said in a clandestine letter that prison chief José Ondares told him there could be a visit on his son’s birthday August 11 if he wore a prison uniform.

“Once again I won’t see my son because I’m not going to change my ideals for the crumbs you have to offer,” he said he replied.

Jiménez is serving a 12-year-sentence for revealing state secrets and disrespecting Fidel Castro.

Women arrested fighting over soap

HAVANA, Cuba, August 14 (Ana Margarita Perdigón Brito, Agencia Yayabo Press , www.cubanet.org) – Police arrested several women who started fighting over soap on sale, according to an eyewitness.

Bárbara Cristina Alfonso Zerquera, a human rights advocate, said the fight broke at the Epoca hard currency store on Independencia street on Tuesday among women standing in line to buy scarce soap. She said the lack of airconditioning on a hot summer day contributed to the fight.

Several police cruisers showed up and agents several participants while others fled.

“It’s not a question of hoarding,” said Alfonso Zequera, “but a result of shortages suffered by the Cuban people.”

Fined for hoarding fruits and vegetables

HAVANA, Cuba, August 14 (Carlos Manuel Hernández, Hablemos Press / www.cubanet.org) - Alexander Cueto was convicted of hoarding by a Havana court and fined 1,000 pesos because he was unable to produce receipts for fruits and vegetables in his car when he was stopped by police.

Police who stopped Cueto asked for his identity card and receipts and took him to the police station when he couldn’t prove he had paid for the bananas, melons and two sacks of okra in his car.

Police seized the produce, which they believed Cueto was taking to a nearby public market to sell.

Dissidents refused permission to live with wives

LA HABANA, Cuba, August 14 (Ana Aguililla, www.cubanet.org) –Two dissidents have been told by authorities they cannot continue living with their wives in Havana because their identify cards list addresses elsewhere.

Jorge Luis Piloto González’s official residence is given in San José de Las Lajas, but he was evicted on the grounds that the government needed the place. His wife, Ariadna Molino Barrios, owns a house in Havana’s San Pedro neighborhood.

Jesús Adolfo Reyes Sánchez, president of the Association of the Sons of the Virgin of Regla, is unable to live in the house in Regla which his wife has owned for 20 years because his official address is in Arroyo Naranjo.

Cubans need government permission to move from one town or city to another.

Collision of two trucks kills 14 and injures 38

CIEGO DE AVILA, Cuba, August 14 (José Manuel Caraballo Bravo, APLA / www.cubanet.org) – Fourteen people were killed and 38 injured in a collision of two trucks that was not reported in the official press, according to one of the injured.

The accident was said to have occurred Monday at Kilometer 499 on the Central Highway when a truck coming from Holguín collided with one coming from Ciego de Ávila. The first truck was converted into a bus and had seats on its bed.

The injured were taken to the Hospital Provincial de Ciego de Ávila.

Dissident to be tried for disrespect

HAVANA, Cuba, August 13 (Juan Carlos González / www.cubanet.org) - Dissident Ernesto Mederos was arrested by State Security agents at the Colón bus depot August 4 and sent to the Agüica prison three days later.

According to human rights activist Francisco Rangel, authorities told Mederos’s sister that he will be tried for disrespect.

Rangel also said that Mederos had started a hunger strike.

Anti-government posters appear in prison

HAVANA, Cuba, August 13 (Tania Maceda / www.cubanet.org) – Anti-government sayings were painted on the walls of the Las Tunas provincial prison last week, according to prisoner of conscience Laudel Camacho.

The sayings – “Long Live Human Rights,””Down with Fidel and Raúl” and “Long Live Democracy” – were discovered August 5, the anniversary of a disturbance on Havana’s Malecón in 1994.

“The guards immediately erased the sayings,” Camacho said in a telephone interview. “State Security is constantly questioning us about who is behind us.”

New political party founded in Camagüey

HAVANA, Cuba, August 13 (Roberto de Jesús Guerra, Hablemos Press / www.cubanet.org) – A new opposition party was formed last weekend in Camagüey, the Cuban Independent and Democratic Party, said the organization’s spokesman, Josiel Hernández.
Hernández said the founders met in the old Agramonte barracks where Commander Huber Matos was arrested October 17, 1959, on orders of Fidel Castro.
The party slected as its president Marcelo Maury, president. Others chosen were Félix Sánchez, vice president; Yoel Soriano, human rights; Rosa Díaz, executive secretary; Ernesto Rodríguez, political prisoners; Tania Pérez, treasurer; Alejandro García, propaganda; Alejandro Cabrera, press; Miguel Ángel Pérez, religious affairs; and Josiel Hernández, public relations..
“The main work will be acts of civil disobedience in the streets of this city to let the people know the labor of peaceful opposition” said Maury.

Hunger strikers said to be weak

HABANA, Cuba, August 13 (Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas , www.cubanet.org) –Inmates in the Las Tunas provincial prison have sent out word that hunger strikers José Daniel Ferrer and Alfredo Domínguez Batista are in a weakened condition.
The two political prisoners started the strike last week. Both belong to the Christian Liberation Movement.
Ferrer is in solitary confinement in the prison while Domínguez Batista was being held in a special cell away from the prison.

Dissident warned about Castro’s birthday
HAVANA, Cuba, August 13 (José Alberto Álvarez Bravo, www.cubanet.org) – Militants from the Communist Party went to the home of dissident José Ávalos and warned him against any provocative acts marking the 83rd birthday today of Fidel Castro.
They told Ávalos that he would be declared an “illegal occupant” and forced to leave the house he has lived in for the past 52 years.

Dissidents fined when ID returned

HAVANA, Cuba, August 11 (Ana Aguililla / www.cubanet.org) – Brothers William and Eddy Rodríguez of the dissident February 24 Movement were fined 30 pesos each, the equivalent of nearly a month’s average salary, when they picked up their indemnity cards, which had been seized by police last week.

The brothers were detained by police August 5 in San José de Las Lajas in Havana province. They were released the same day but their identity cards weren’t returned.

The police orders them to return to the police station where the cards were handed back. No explanation was given for the fines.

Activist detained and threatened

HAVANA, Cuba, August 11 (Ana Aguililla / www.cubanet.org) - Luis González, delegate of the Pro Human Rights Party in Havana province, was arrested when he arrived at the home of a fellow dissident.

The home of Ángel Polanco, a veteran pacifist, was surrounded by police when González arrived.

González was taken to the police station where he was obliged to remaining standing up during the two hours he was held.

Upon his release, he said he was told by a police official that he will be put on trial if he continued to associate with Polanco.

Tourists at risk because of government policy

HAVANA, Cuba, August 10 (Moisés Leonardo Rodríguez / www.cubanet.org) – The Interior Ministry has ordered independent tourist guides in the municipality of Mariel to stop offering their services to foreigners who pass through on their way to Pinar del Río.

No explanation was given to the tourist guides, who feel that tourists will be put at risk as there are many delinquents in the area.

Many of the tourists arrive tired at dusk without having made arrangements for lodgings, which the guides can provide.

Some of the tourists are said to be cyclists.

Four human rights activists detained by police

HAVANA, Cuba, August 10 (René Gómez Manzano, www.cubanet.org) –Four human rights activists were detained by police last week in San José de las Lajas in Havana province, according to Carlos Manuel Pupo Rodríguez, a member of the International Human Rights Society.

Pupo Rodríguez identified the four as Julián Enrique Martínez Pérez and Luis González Medina of the Pro Human Rights Party of Cuba and brothers Eddy and William Rodríguez Paredes of the February 24 Movement.

They were detained the morning of August 5 and taken to the police station in Güines for questioning. They were released at 6 p.m.

René Gómez Manzano, president of the Society’s Cuban Work Group, said the detentions were probably related to a demonstration planned for August 5 on Havana’s Malecón.

Dissident arrested in front of his children

HAVANA, Cuba, August 6 (Odelín Alfonso Torna , www.cubanet.org)  -Dissident Carlos Ojeda, a member of the November 30 party, was arrested early Wednesday by two plainclothed agents who took him away in a jeep from the National Revolutionary Police.

“They tried to forcibly take away his cell phone in front of his children,” said his wife, Liset Gutierrez

She assumed that the detention was to prevent her husband to participate in a protest held every August 5 on the Malecón since 1994.

Last Saturday Ojeda inaugurated the Agustín Acosta Bello independent library.

Problems affect Chinese buses

HAVANA, Cuba, Augustr 6 (Carlos Ríos Otero, www.cubanet.org) –Four years after the state-owned  Ómnibus Nacionales put into service 1,000 Chinese Yutong buses, 287 are out of service, according to sources familiar witch the operation.

The sources predicted that within a year’s time 60 percent of the buses will be inoperative.

They said that problems with the rear axle, collisions and broken windshield wipers were the main reasons they have been taken out of service. Theys aid others have been sabotaged.

A recent accident in Plan Cítrico de Girón resulted in 36 deaths.

Opposition leader wants to contest elections

HAVANA, Cuba, August 6 (Roberto de Jesús Guerra, Hablemos Press / www.cubanet.org) - Silvio Benítez, president of the dissident Liberal Party of the Republic of Cuba, says he wants to run candidates in elections planned for  next year.

 “We’re prepared because the party has possibilities with various candidates, not only in the municipality of Lisa but also in the provinces of Havana and Pinar del Rio, where we can count on outstanding candidates who could win,” Benítez said.

The government only recognizes parties which are communist.

Dissidents detained by police

HAVANA, Cuba, August 6 (Ana Aguililla, www.cubanet.org) - Dagoberto Vergel Souto, president of the dissident November 30 Party, and Dagoberto Vergel Souto, president of the Mario Chanes De Armas Movement, were arrested by police Wednesday.

As well, Gilber Sierra Pérez and seven other activists were stopped by police and threatened when they arrived at the home of Humberto Guerra, president of the Freedom without Fear Movement.

It was believed police action was related to an annual August 5 protest on the Malecón.

Fined for selling coffee 

HAVANA, Cuba, August 4 (Ana Aguililla / www.cubanet.org) – Pensioner Rubén Reguera has been arrested for the second time in less than a month for selling coffee without a license.

The first time he was fined 500 pesos, the equivalent of more than a month’s average salary in Cuba.

Reguera, who was a communications technician, said his pension is not enough to cover the cost of medication he must take.

“Everything is difficult for me since my ailment prevents me from taking another job,” he said of his arrested yesterday.

He said his request for a license to work on his own was denied.

Fined for selling coffee

HAVANA, Cuba, August 4 (Ana Aguililla / www.cubanet.org) – Pensioner Rubén Reguera has been arrested for the second time in less than a month for selling coffee without a license.
The first time he was fined 500 pesos, the equivalent of more than a month’s average salary in Cuba.
Reguera, who was a communications technician, said his pension is not enough to cover the cost of medication he must take.

“Everything is difficult for me since my ailment prevents me from taking another job,” he said of his arrested yesterday.

He said his request for a license to work on his own was denied.


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