14ymedio, Havana, 22 February 2021 — The activist Anyell Valdés Cruz and her family were victims this Monday of an act of repudiation in which Kirenia Pomares, the mayor of Havana’s Arroyo Naranjo municipality, State Security agents and other people participated. The rally included slogans, posters and graffiti on the facade of the house to erase the words that Valdés had painted hours before: “Patria y Vida” [Homeland and Life], “#Revolution is repression,” “Down with the dictatorship,” “We do not want any more dictatorship,” and “Díaz-Canel we don’t want you.”
Some complaints on social networks accompanied by videos recorded how several men and a woman jumped the fence of the house and with blue paint erased the phrase that Valdés had painted and put “Patria o Muerte” [Homeland and Death] on the walls and the floor. From the street, looking at the panorama, other neighbors who came to the act of repudiation with a Fidel Castro poster, applauded and shouted: “Viva Díaz-Canel.”
“These practices are those of common criminals,” Valdés denounced on her Facebook profile, and they are not justified because of her speaking out “against the system or painting posters on the facade of her house.”
While the ‘repudiators’ were painting the facade, from inside the house the activist Adrián Rubio, who was with Valdés and her family, was heard saying: “Down with the dictatorship,” “Cuba is hungry.” For her part, Valdés energetically shouted: “Down with the CDRs [Committees for the Defense of the Revolution], down with the Communist Party of Cuba.”
“The children have been crying to see so many people screaming. The woman who came inside the fence was the head of the provincial CDR, who claims to be the owner of this place. Along with another man who is from the Party, they threw paint with a very strong smell and they threatened to get me out of here,” the activist told 14ymedio.
“We were very upset, we have been very nervous, I am afraid that they will come back at night when everyone is at home because of the curfew,” she said.
In another video filmed from outside the house, more than a dozen people are seen shouting slogans and holding pro-government posters. A State Security officer, dressed in civilian clothes, approaches the independent reporter Sadiel Gonzaléz and snatches his mobile phone. Transmission is abruptly interrupted.
Valdés said that among those who participated in the act of repudiation were some of her children’s teachers.
“So that you can see what they are doing with the glass on the door of my house, with minors inside,” Valdés emphasized during a video when one of the people painted the door blue. “So that it is not seen neither inside nor outside and it is shown that they are dictators, repressors.”
At first, it seemed that they had also poisoned the activist’s dog, but ADN Cuba journalist Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho refuted that, after seeing the pet getting up with difficulty and on the wall near where it was tied up the phrase “Homeland or Death” was painted. “Obviously the State Security and sympathizers of the system put him to sleep with some liquid in order to get up next to the house,” the reporter denounced.
Since 2015, Valdés has lived in that abandoned state premises with her four children. Although the family has nowhere else to live, the authorities have tried to remove her from the premises and she constantly receives eviction threats, reports Cibercuba. According to this independent media Valdés was detained by the police last December, after expressing her solidarity with the San Isidro Movement and the peaceful activists who were on hunger strike and under siege by State Security.
In another incident this weekend, in the municipality of Ciro Redondo, in the province of Ciego de Ávila, the opponent Omar Torres Sosa was arrested twice for writing “Patria y Vida” along with other slogans on the facade of his home. In several posts shared on his Facebook profile, Torres showed how he was besieged by the police.
“I demand my right to an arrest warrant, they are not giving it to me; however, I am going to go because I am not afraid of them, I am going with the truth. Demanding freedom and rights is not a crime. Homeland and Life,” he said moments before being arrested. “I’m going against my will, but I’m not afraid of them.”
In a video, he denounced that the authorities want him to leave the country, “to stop doing the peaceful activism that I do, because at no time have we incited violence.” According to his account, State Security is fully willing to help him leave the country with his family, “but this is my country, this is my homeland, this is my Cuba and what we are doing is nothing more than claiming our rights” Torres emphasized.
The motto “Homeland and Life” has gone viral from the song of that name released last week, which has joined reggaeton artists Gente de Zona, Yotuel Romero and Descemer Bueno with rebellious rappers Maykel Castillo Osorbo and El Funky.
The video clip, directed by Cuban filmmaker Asiel Babastro, pays tribute to the San Isidro Movement — it features the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, wrapped in the exact flag they had at the headquarters while they were on hinger strike last November — and denounces the precarious economic situation from the country. It also includes several moments of the repression that Cuban artists have suffered in recent months , both in acts of repudiation and arbitrary arrests.
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