14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 6 July 2015 — Ailer González, artistic director of the Estado de SATS project, called me on Sunday afternoon. Knowing it was her, I opened the communication with the festive and very pertinent question of whether she was a grandmother. Sounding crushed and full of indignation she let me know that Antonio Rodiles, her partner and director general of Estado de Sats had just arrived home. He had been savagely beaten in the morning by several individuals dressed in plainclothes while trying to get to the Sunday March of the Ladies in White; he was then arrested, and because of his injuries, taken to the hospital. Continue reading
Hablemos Press, Roberto de Jesús Guerra Peréz, Havana, 29 June 2015 — Offices of the National Police, the Department of State Security, and other members of the Interior Ministry arrested at least 226 Cuban activists and dissidents this past Sunday, 28 June, 2015.
Police operations were carried out in various provinces of the country to keep activists and opposition members from attending Mass.
Among those arrested in Havana were Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White Movement, Antonio G. Rodiles, director of Estado de SATS; José Díaz, of Opponents for a New Republic Movement; photographer Claudio Fuentes; and several of the former political prisoners who were released in January 2015. Continue reading
Diario de Cuba, Havana, 7 June 2015 – Over 40 Ladies in White and some 27 activists were arrested this Sunday, the ninth of repressive operations in Havana, according to dissidents.
Among those arrested were the musician Gorki Aguila, the director of Estado de Sats, Antonio Rodiles, photographer Claudio Fuentes and artist Tania Bruguera, who has already been released, according to the activist Ailer Gonzalez.
Other Ladies in White and opponents were arrested on leaving their homes, or forced to remain in them, according to the dissident Martha Beatriz Roque. Continue reading
Cubanet, Antonio Rodiles, Havana, 3 June 2015 – Right from the year 1959, Fidel Castro made it very clear that public spaces were only for “Revolutionaries.” To achieve this objective he converted every public act in a harangue to intimidate the citizenry. Very quickly Cubans saw that the saber-rattling was converted into actions and mobs that could demolish them and their loved ones. Terror was implanted, the “Revolution” imposed.
Fifty-six years later, totalitarianism seeks to maintain its power with the tool it knows best, violence. Reactivating the panic genes that put you in a straightjacket is the regime’s priority.
Can Cuba change if we continue to sustain the memory of fear? Can Cuba change if we accept the terms of some decrepit old men and their followers?
It is not about a dilemma between a supposedly peaceful change and a violent one, as some want to show. Cuba will change if we feel the determination to make it so, if we push a genuine desire to end the nonsense and the stupidity. Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 31 May 2015 – This Sunday the Ladies in White Movement experienced its eighth consecutive Sunday of repression in Havana, resulting in the rest of 53 of them. Some of the 25 activists who participated with the women in their traditional Sunday pilgrimage were arrested near the Church of Santa Rita in the capital municipality of Playa.
According to several witnesses, 53 Ladies in White and 25 activists were arrested at the exit of the parish and taken to a destination still unknown. At least seven women had been prevented from arriving to the place and several dissidents reported threats by State Security since Saturday, warning them not to attend the pilgrimage.
Iriades Hernández Aguilera of the Patriotic Union of Cuba informed 14ymedio that no arrests of activists of the organization were reported in the province of Santiago de Cuba, although a heavy guard was seen around the headquarters of the organization. Our correspondent in Pinar del Río, Juan Carlos Fernandez, reported that three Ladies in White were able to attend Sunday mass.
In the province of Matanzas, the activist Sayli Navarro confirmed that at least 38 Ladies in White across the province made it to their respective parishes without difficulties.
Cubanet, Rafael Alcides, Havana, 13 May 2015 – Extremely worried, doctoral candidate in physics Antonio Rodiles and his wife the actress and political activist Ailer Gonzalez, in their home, related to me two events that I have prayed over, that those events that started with the blood of Moncada wouldn’t end up being a circular story. Ailer and Antonio spoke of the increased police repression after December 17, most particularly of the brutality with which the oppressors are being dispatched.
On Sunday the 26th of last month, with their trucks crammed with martial arts experts at the end of the usual parade of the Ladies in White, Carlitos, the son of Jesus Menendez, an elderly diabetic with heart problems, was grabbed, dragged and thrown in the back of the truck like a sack of potatoes. Yury, Blas Roca’s grandson, was put in plastic handcuffs so tightly that his hands turned black and they didn’t cut them off. Up Calabazar, the truck with the prisoners inside was left in the sun to bake them a little. They grabbed Antonio among the many present and pushed him with blows to the back before throwing him headfirst into the truck. An endless number of books could be written about the mistreatment and repression of the Ladies in White, apparently excluded from government’s media campaign to end violence against women. Continue reading
Cubanet, Ignacio Gonzalez and Osmel Almaguer, Havana, 13 May 2015 – A Mass for the deceased Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, opposition leader, and Harold Cepero, activist, was held this afternoon at the Church of Los Pasionistas in Havana, with Rosa María Payá in attendance. Rosa María, daughter of the Cuban human rights activist and recipient of the European Union’s Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, arrived from the Miami Airport to Cuba on the morning of May 11, to reunite with her family and friends and to honor the memory of her father.
The Mass was attended by activists of the Estado de Sats project, Antonio Rodiles and Ailer González, and by Manuel Cuesta Morua, leader of Progressive Arc, among others.
The repression against the Ladies in White, opposition activists and human rights defenders in Cuba, that we have seen during the last couple of weeks is alarming. The increase of violence from the authorities has come as a result from the exercise of the right to public protests and from the public exposure of the faces of political prisoners. Beatings, physical abuse and various types of torture have become routine. In only a few weeks, the numbers of arrests have skyrocketed and they now exceed several hundred.
The Forum for Rights and Freedoms and Civil Rights Defenders raise a warning regarding the deteriorating situation for human rights defenders in Cuba, and we note with great concern the indifference of the international community, especially from the US government, the EU and the Vatican, of which the latter played an active role in the talks between the Cuban government and the US administration.
The current actions by the Cuban government are a response to the silence of the international community. Continue reading
Unfortunately we do not have the resources to translate and subtitle all the wonderful videos coming out of Estado de Sats and the Forum for Rights and Freedom, but for our many readers who do understand spoken Spanish, we just wanted to remind you they are there.
This particular video is a discussion of the Americas Summit in Panama.
29 April 2015
14ymedio, 17 April 2105 – This Friday morning, the Forum for Rights and Freedoms convened a group of activists to a meeting under the title After the Summit in Panama, what next? The event took place at the home of Antonio González Rodiles, director of the opposition group Estado de Sats.
About 70 attendees heard testimony from Berta Soler, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez, Gorki Águila, Roberto de Jesús Guerra and other activists who participated in the Civil Society Forum during the recently concluded Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama.
The discussions addressed issues related to the restoration of relations between Cuba and the United States and on the actions taken by the representatives of civil society sent to Panama by the Cuban government.