The Same Old Story Again / Antunez

Here comes the same old story again, the elimination of restrictions on commerce with the Havana dictatorship.  Once again the same voices, influenced by powerful interests, continue talking about the same thing.  Sometimes, it’s as if we lose faith in our own efforts as Cubans.

Not long ago, I read and heard about an important shipment of I-don’t-know-what kind of ham that arrived from the United States for none other than the members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.  This is a crude insult to the people who suffer, not only from those who eat it, but also on behalf of those who promote politics that allow this to happen.

Enough of double standards, enough of feeding those who spill the blood of and oppress our people!  Enough of the dictatorship eating quality ham while the everyday Cuban feeds himself with whatever he is able to fish, if he is even allowed to do so.

Could it be that if we promote tourism, and if we fill up homes and the hotels that belong to the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (MINFAR), and the oligarchy while our children go to bed hungry and go to school nearly barefoot and in rags;  is that how we promote democracy?

Oh, Barack Obama!  Oh, all those letters to  Congress asking for more trips, increased remittances and cultural exchanges only with artists approved by the dictatorship!  Oh, Cuba, how you suffer and how they toy with your pain!  Oh, Jose Marti and Antonio Maceo!  If only you could see what they have done with your country.  If only you could see how our Church, from Rome all the way to Holguin, allies itself with our oppressors, lending itself to an operation to clean out and exile the best sons of the Nation.

If only Pedro Luis Boitel and Orlando Zapata Tamayo were alive and could see how the message of reconciliation, understanding, and flexibility was being appealed to in order to not to bother those who murdered them by starvation  during their hunger strikes.  But at times when some seemed to doubt and to resort to an alternative without independence, the Bronze Titan* said:  “I don’t want even freedom, if with it comes dishonor.”

And that is the watchword of those who struggle for Change in and out of Cuba, a maxim which strengthens and encourages us.

*Translator’s note: Bronze Titan was the alias of Antonio Maceo, historic Cuban freedom fighter for independence from Spain.

Translated by Raul G.

August 20, 2010

The Spy Gerardo Hernandez and the Cynical Campaign Supporting Him / Antunez

For those who do not have the slightest idea what prison is like in Cuba, a punishment cell and how prisoners are treated, they would have been shaken by the fanfare regarding the supposed mistreatment of Gerardo Hernandez, confined in an American prison for committing serious and proven crimes against the national security and stability of that nation.

The fanfare could have even confused those who know that the Castro-Communist penal system is a veritable hellhole of torture and death where human life has no value.

As it turns out, Gerardo Hernandez is prohibited from having in his punishment cell a radio, books, a fan, and other conveniences. Imagine the indignation the ringleader of the infamous Wasp Network must have felt when he was deprived these luxuries.

It seems that in addition to being an accomplice and a liar, Ricardo Alarcon is exceedingly cynical and shameless to the point that he and his thugs cannot ignore that in Cuba no prisoner is permitted to have a radio, telephone, or even a fan. Access to telephone calls is limited and under strict control and has only been allowed since 2002 or 2003. This is thanks to the famously stupid mistake committed by the spies’ wives and mothers who complained on the Mesa Redonda TV show that none of them – Gerardito , Renecito, nor the others – were not allowed to call them in who knows how many days.

In my case, I had to wait fourteen years and six months to make my first telephone call. Cuban prison cells lack water and the majority of the time there is no light. When one is there as a prisoner, you can only bring with you your woeful personal toiletries such as soap, toothpaste, deodorant – items that many times are useless due to the lack of water.

The Cuban regime’s punishment cells, in contrast to where Gerardo is serving, are veritible coffins where there is not even sufficient space to walk. A hole, referred to as a turco, serves as the toilet and is near the bed.

I am certain that Gerardo can sleep at any hour of the day; that he is not given his mattress, pajamas, and spread to cover himself at 10:00pm, only to have them taken away at 5:00am; or that, as an additional punishment, he sleeps on the floor like a dog. I am certain that if he violates some that he is not brutally beaten.

I don’t pretend to compare either the two prisons nor the penal systems, much less the food and visitation policies – that would be like comparing night and day – only the situation in the punishment cells.

Still, it would be a good thing if these spies could spend a few hours in one of those Cuban prisons. Even if they lack the courage to face it, they would think to themselves, “Cuban prisoners truly live in veritable holes.”

When I heard about Gerardo’s radio, I remembered that when I was found with one in Camaguey’s Kilo 8 prison, I was beaten so badly that my teeth came loose. When I heard about his books, I recalled how in 1996 I went on a hunger strike for more than 20 days until they returned the Bible they had taken from me. And while in prison in Guantanamo in 1998, they confiscated my copy of La Prision Fecunda(The Fertile Prison), edited by Cuban officialdom, which details Fidel’s Castro’s conveniences while in serving time in the Isle of Pines prison.

The comfortable conditions enjoyed by the spies are proven by how the Castro brothers obfuscate and deny them outright. In their methods and human insensitivity, you can draw parallels between Nazism-Fascism and Communism. Unlike Hitler and Mussolini who publicly proclaimed their crimes – the theory of Lebensraum (living space or territorial annexation) and racial superiority – the Communists hide and deny their crimes.

Please, Ricardo Alarcon, have some self-respect. You should defend the common sense of almost 100,000 men and women who are permanently confined to their holes. Respect and consider their families and quit sounding so ridiculous about your five spies. For the true heroes are those suffering torture and mistreatment, of which I am convinced that neither you nor your five spies could ever withstand.

Translated by Louis A. Mayor

August 5, 2010

Castro Responds to the “Reformists” / Antunez

The recent speech by the ruling Castro in the National Assembly of People’s Power is a clear and devastating response to those who believed in the possibility of reforms and relaxations within the current system, and that the controversial releases – better understood as exilings – could be the signal of a process of détente and tolerance, a prelude to a step towards democracy.  Once again the government’s strategy for maintaining its position of power consists of well-calculated delaying actions and sowing false expectations.

Even though the large media outlets have brought more attention to the economic situation he laid out, I believe that discourse of the barricade, the same rhetoric against his opponents, and threats against Cuban civil society are more important and are the equivalents of a clear demonstration of his rigidity and continuing policy, such that the people have no other option but to fight for their freedom.

Castro was clear and precise, and once again made our argument for us – those of us who do not subscribe to bland politics and approaches, like the naive idea that with moderation one can exhaust his repressive speeches and gestures regarding failed and useless strategies.

When one has no enemies, one invents them – the siege mentality is his strength, and whoever tries to take that away is taken out of circulation.  “He that is not with me is against me” – this is and will continue to be his ideology.

Sometimes I find it hard to see that any analyst who knows the macabre mind of the Castro regime would entertain the slightest hope that reforms and change would come with Raul, as if the dictator was not involved in the creation and support of this totalitarian monster, as if his younger brother did not share his fierce anti-democratic and dictatorial zeal.

The other part of his speech concerning warm openings in the economic sphere I believe is secondary, and to spotlight them with too much seriousness would make it easier for the regime to spread them.

It is true that Cuba needs the introduction of a market economy and economic liberation from the tight control the government monopoly exercises over people and property; anything else is more of the same and sleight of hand.

There, in the words of the dictator, are the answers and the results of those who urge restraint to avoid hurting the beast, and there also is clear affirmation of we who refuse not to continue calling things by their name, we who do not accept that a president who is not one governs by tyranny. We who refuse a reconciliation without justice first.

Translated by Alexander Gonzales

August 5, 2010

Bethlehem Hill / Antunez

In the early morning hours Idania Yanes called me. “Antúnez, there is going to be an eviction here in Santa Clara, in the Bethlehem Hill subdivision. Seven or eight families were given 48 hours to vacate their homes, or else the bulldozers will come and remove them. They just called us asking for support. I cannot allow this. We must go back them up.”

“And when is the deadline?” I immediately asked her.

“Tomorrow at noon. I’ve prepared the troops here to help these families.”

Very early the next day we arrived there – more than a dozen members of the Central Opposition Coalition. Bethlehem Hill is far removed from the city center, close to the ice plant and nearly adjacent to the National Highway, so an eviction there would be hard to hear in the city. Seven or eight houses, nearly all masonry, were to be demolished.

Upon seeing us, the families were visibly and touchingly hopeful. The number of children and pregnant women there broke our hearts. As soon as we arrived we explained to them what their legal rights were, and how they should defend them.

“We are here and we will be with you until the end. We are human-rights activists and our duty is to stand with the victims. Don’t let them provoke you. When they come to remove these houses we will get in front of the bulldozer and if there is repression we will remain peacefully in the front row, but we will not let you be homeless.”

Our words encouraged the neighbors, and the rumor that “the human-rights people have arrived,” had spread throughout the area, so even families that had not been threatened with eviction were there to see and hear us.

Thirty minutes later a Lada pulled up on the side of the highway; two more stopped on the other side further back, watching and taking photographs. Out stepped Major Oirizat, Commander of the State Security Confrontation Brigade for the province, along with the Head of the Provincial Housing Department who, by way of greeting the families, said:

“What’s going on here?”

We dissidents preferred not to speak at that moment, or at least not until we were addressed. We were not there to do politics, but in solidarity to solve a problem.

“Although yesterday you came to tell us we had 48 hours to leave or you would demolish our houses, we do not . . .”

“That was a mistake – nobody is going to be thrown out of here, so be calm. What I can assure you is that by your being here you will not get title to the property because this is illegal!” said the official.

Upon hearing that we breathed easier – the same person who hours before had publicly announced to these families: “You have 48 hours to collect your stuff and leave or I will come back with the bulldozer,” now said the opposite.

Oirizat looked at us hatefully. “And now we are leaving and we hope you will withdraw and not complicate things,” he said as he was leaving.

August 5, 2010

A Victory for the Cuban Resistance

State Security Agents threaten Reina Tamayo in Banes

For the first time in a half-century of totalitarian oppression, the Castro regime in Cuba has given in to pressure from its victims. For the first time a release of political prisoners was achieved by actors from within, the internal resistance, even though the church hierarchy wants to minimize the strength of an opposition which, across the length and breadth of the country, has said and has demonstrated that “Yes we can.”

It is no secret to anyone with average information and power of analysis that the martyrdom of Orlando Zapata was the trigger that caused internal popular anger and the unprecedented international pressure for the Castro dynasty, as well as the important and high-profile protests by Guillermo Fariñas with his heroic hunger strike, and the Ladies in White, which even forced a break in the way official censorship is out. The writings condemning Zapata, Fariñas, and the Ladies in White, although they outraged us, contributed significantly to domestic public opinion being informed by the knowledge that there are political prisoners in Cuba and especially that the resistance is alive.

Despite all this, we believe that this process of releases from prison – read forced exile – is a ploy to get rid of pressure on the regime. Domestic opposition has just won an important battle that encourages us to not cease until the last of our compatriots is released. Yet there is something that many do not understand, which seems absurd or fanciful: while many prisoners leave prison, while ombudsmen of the church, the Spanish Foreign Ministry, and the dictatorship talk about political prisoners and the human rights situation in Cuba, back in Banes, Holguín, Reina Luisa Tamayo Danger is the victim of constant persecution, repression and harassment, including death threats from the repressive Castro regime, to keep her away from family and other activists who visit the grave of her fallen son. And there in the easternmost part of Cuba, members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance are brutally repressed, cruelly and systematically arrested in brutal retaliation for their courageous pro-democracy optimism.

The Same People as Always and With Identical Methods

Placetas, July 19th 2010.

When, in April 2007, I was released after 17 very long and difficult years of captivity, I did not know that I was to face a much more difficult battle than the one I was in before. Assimilating into civil protest would mean dealing with numerous different personalities, temperaments, points of views, and political views.

In that context, my experience was similar to that of the commander Huber Matos, who (through his book entitled “How Night Fell“) described that he reached the Sierra Maestra mountains with an incorrect notion about Fidel Castro, nearly placing him on the same level as the Father of the Nation and other past figures who fought for our independence. To me he seemed to be just like some of those who, here, they call historic leaders of the internal opposition; I had been enamored of more than a few, and I saw them, or more to the point I heard them, as integrity and pluralism personified.

From the beginning, I could not understand the suggestions of living from tales or from having a well-recognized name. Upon leaving prison I could have become a decorative figure behind a desk, spent all my time in meetings, or could have spent my time drawing up and signing documents.

I could have lost my own independence, giving up my points of view and political and ideological ideas, because, one way or another, that was what was going through my head.

I would have had to be a really big hypocrite to then turn my struggle against my brothers in exile, to support politics that consisted of dialogue and close approaches with the tyranny of Havana — this is something I have never supported. Or to be an accomplice of attacks and criticisms against true patriots, in and out of the island, who give the best of themselves for the freedom of the country. Or to contribute to minimizing the importance of that tool of the media which my country depends on, Radio Marti.

It would have been very disloyal of me to not continue promoting the strategy of community work through regional projects, for such programs put one in contact with the true potential for change: the ordinary Cuban. Projects and initiatives are for the people, not for public opinion, they are for the sake of results, not glory or names. True opposition leadership derives from convocation, from sympathies, respect, and admiration from the community one lives in, not from the media, nor from international organizations, despite how much prestige or credibility they may have. In speaking about all of this, I cannot forget to point out the important leadership roles of Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello, together with the Assembly to Promote Civil Society and, more recently, the Network of Social Communicators, Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva and the Council of Rapporteurs, and Osvaldo Paya Sardinas (although I disagree with him about the Varela Project on a subject as sensitive as that of the political prisoners), I do not let that stop me from acknowledging that the Varela initiative had an unprecedented impact on the population. It is as if the message of freedom and the invitation to defend rights was knocking on the door of every Cuban home for the first time.

But standing sharply against those, and other noble efforts, are the same people as always. Now they sharpen their attacks towards the Central Opposition Coalition, the same way they once did against the Eastern Democratic Alliance and against the Committee of Rapporteurs of Human Rights in Cuba. They are the ones who feed off individuals of few scruples, information, and especially, who desire to be among big names, in order to attack the indisputable leader of the opposition in the center of the country, Idania Yanez Contreras, one of the most pure people with the greatest integrity which the cause of freedom in Cuba relies on. They also try to create a public confrontation between yours truly and the independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas Hernández.

I believe that the Castro-ite sectors of intelligence and counter-intelligence should distance themselves from their current methods because they are already worn out and each day that passes they are less and less effective, and to top it off, they perform such methods always with the same people and with identical methods.

On Olga Guillot’s Death

Olga Guillot has just left us. Another matchless Cuban patriot is gone without having returned to a free Cuba. In Cuba and in exile there is the same feeling, pain and nostalgia. When I received the news of her death, I remembered Celia Cruz, and like those of my generation here in Cuba, I could not nor will I ever see her. I will have to be content with listening to her music and taking pride in her having been born in Cuba.

Her dying without seeing her homeland free, and her artistic life linked to her patriotism, give us one more reason not to falter in this noble effort.

Those of us who continue living and fighting, are depended on by many others, like Olga, in order for them to be able to return to this beautiful and unique Cuban land of their birth. It’s no wonder that our apostle said, “There is no ground more firm than the ground on which one was born.”


Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez

In view of certain statements appearing in the media and on the Internet saying that, together with the dissident Juan Juan Almeida Garcia, I had accepted political asylum in the Republic of Chile through the efforts of that country’s Foreign Minister, I think it an opportune moment to clarify that at least in my case, I have not undertaken the slightest effort to leave my country, although I sincerely appreciate any efforts made on my behalf, and I once again reaffirm my position that I will not leave. I remain consistent with my watchword: I will not shut up, I will not leave Cuba. Any statement, affirmation or insinuation to the contrary should be considered erroneous and unfounded, though I am infinitely grateful for any gesture or concern for my person and for my compatriots.

Hunting in Placetas

Agents of State Security in Placetas

In the early morning hours they arrested Adriano Castaneda Meneses while aboard the Yuton bus on its way back from Sancti Spiritus. He was detained at the entrance of Placetas by a national political police unit. Officer Idel Gonzalez Morfi, aka “Railroad Spike”, did not notice Yordanis and only charged Adriano. When Yordanis got to his house, the dissidents Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, Jose Cano Fuentes, Isael Poveda Silva, and Idalmis Nuñez Reinoso were all there. I told Yordanis and the others that “they are going to arrest you for sure.” Since the night before last the chief of the political police has been prowling around my house, and the presence of these titans had them (the police) terrorized. The meeting called by Yris, along with the situation of Coco Fariñas, was more than enough to alarm them.

“He has the message of an arrest on the tip of his tongue,” I insisted to Lobaina, “although Blas would go with you all to the terminal to let me know what happens.” In fact, about ten minutes later my cell phone rang with the message of the arrest. Upon his return, Blas told us that they were waiting for them at the Marti house, they arrested them, and that Idalmis was beaten just for screaming slogans in favor of human rights. That all happened at around 11 AM, but at around 2 PM I got the same text message on my cell, this time from Yordanis’ phone. He said that he was arrested along with them. Rolando, Jose, and Isael were transferred to their Guantanamo province. The next morning Yordani called me to tell me that he had been released along with Adriano. Now, these dissidents from Camagüey, Virgilio Mantilla Arango and Belkis Barbara Portal Prado, are honoring me with their visit. They will most likely be arrested when it is time for them to return. All that can be said is that, as opposed to repression, the solidarity is increasing and becoming stronger.

Translated by Raul G.

Another Crime Committed by the Foreign Minister

Placetas, July 5, 2010

I confess that I am one of those who feel justly scorned by the servile and complicit posture of the Spanish Foreign Minister. I commented sincerely while I was reading the official newspaper, Granma, which took up the task of misinforming us about the situation of our brother hunger striker. That article, I thought, was a ratification of his death sentence. In this very moment, there is one person who can save the life of Coco, and that is Moratinos, when he arrives here on Monday. But today, we Cubans heard on the news on Radio Marti that the Spanish chancellor, Miguel Angel Moratinos, will not be visiting Guillermo Farinas Hernandez. Once again, the feeling of human sensibility and the hope that there would be miracles faded, while this chancellor and his government ratify the conspiracy and also, in my opinion, are complicit in the possible death of this peaceful and courageous Cuban who continues on his mission of giving his life for the freedom of his jailed brothers.

Translated by Raul G.

The United States Interests Section in Havana on that Country’s Independence Day

This year, as usual, the United States Interests Section in Havana held a well-deserved celebration of the independence of the United States and, as always, invited members of Cuban civil society. I think that Cuba is one of the few countries in the world that has outlawed this celebration, and far from honoring it, it discredits it with already tired epithets. Since I left prison in 2007, every July I receive with satisfaction and gratitude an invitation for myself and my wife,  Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera.

But this year I could not be there for various reasons, all of a repressive nature.

First, my wife Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera was suffering the pain of intercostal neuritis brought on by the cowardly agents of the political police in two brutal beatings and arrests in less than a week, for the simple and sole reason of trying to exercise two rights: to deliver a letter in the diocese of Santa Clara bound for Cardinal Ortega so that he might intercede before the tyranny of Havana in order to save the lives of both his brother, Mario Alberto Pérez Aguilera, as well as that of our beloved compatriot Ernesto Mederos Arrozarena, both on hunger strike in prison in Agüica.

Second, although the opportunity would have been conducive to telling those present to lend aid in the case of Mario Alberto and Ernesto, it was precisely the concern over their lives that has turned me into a sort of spokesman for the desperate and constant efforts Yris to that effect.

Third, if in other less complicated circumstances they have arrested me while trying to reach the capital, and at times after managing to do so, it appears that the hunting dogs are after my person, I don’t believe that with the bullying and harassment of which I’m a victim at this time in my own house, I would have been able to make it even as far as the bus or train station.

Congratulations to this great and hospitable nation in this patriotic day. I am convinced that sooner or later, we Cubans may also celebrate on May 20, in a free and democratic Cuba, where you and we can attend with reciprocity and without these absurd prohibitions of the repressive Castro regime, as it was in the times of the Republic, as it is in the free and civilized world.

Ernesto Mederos Arrozarena

Political Prisoner Ernesto Mederos Arrozarena

Perhaps, dear reader, this name may remind you of little or nothing, but for me, and for all of us who have the privilege of knowing him, it means a lot.  I met him a few months after being released from prison in 2007.  I had gone to Colon with my wife to visit her brother who, at the time, was in Aguica prison.  The home of the Merejo and Cari family was, and is, the point of reunion and hospice for every brother that arrives in that city.  It is where bags are put together and distributed that will go to the political prisoners.  Pancho and Regla, another family, also join them on this humanitarian mission.  Each of them are love and solidarity personified.  Yet there are always dispositions, temperaments, and attitudes that stand out from all the others and this is true of Ernesto, who, as we Cubans say, is the center where it all comes from.

Ever since I met him, I knew I was in the presence of someone loyal, inseparable, simple, and brave.  Then came the protests around the Civic Plaza of the Revolution, the protests in front of the Holguin prison, the arrests in Havana, Santiago de Cuba, the sit-ins, and the hunger strikes.  In sum, the struggle, sacrifice, and loyalty all describe the life of this passionate patriot from Matanzas who currently finds himself between life and death since June 7th due to a hunger strike together with the political prisoner Mario Alberto Perez Aguilera, who has inspired Ernesto to carry out numerous civil acts of protest.

Ernesto Mederos Arrozarena cannot die, he is demanding his freedom.  Mederos Arrozarena should not be in prison because his only crime has been to attempt to travel to Santa Clara last August 4th to take part in a peaceful homage to the day of the “Maleconazo”*, the day of resistance.  Mederos Arrozarena has to return safe and sound to the warmth of his old mother, Celia, who is more than 90 years old and finds herself in a delicate state of health.  Her friends and family, in order to prevent a fatal outcome, tell her that Ernesto is actually on vacation.

*Note: The Malaconazo was an uprising that broke out in Havana on August 5, 1994, along the Malecon (the waterfront seawall and arterial street),when thousands of Cubans took to the streets shouting “Libertad” or “Freedom.”

Translated by Raul G.

Mario Alberto Pérez Aguilera

Placetas, July 2, 2010

Though held at Nieves Morejón prison since 1999, he began his activism within the ranks of the Pedro Luis Boitel Political Prisoners and suffered severe repercussions for his steadfastness in prisons, taking part in numerous hunger strikes to the point of risking his life. The repressive and harassing practices against Mario Alberto have raged from late July 2004, when his body protected me from police brutality in the dark Cienfuegos prison of Ariza. It was during a family visit to which he came, along with my sister Bertha, my wife Yris, and two small children: Mariangel, age 2, Bertha’s granddaughter,  and Yris’s son Yediel, age 9. The family meeting was interrupted by a fierce punch in my face followed by a brutal beating from which only Mariangel, asleep on a table, escaped.</p>

Lying on the ground bleeding from my face and neck, two handcuffs pulled my arms in opposite directions with the clear purpose of butchering me. A wooden bench had hit my face and only the timely and courageous intervention of Mario Alberto, who threw himself on me, protected me from receiving a hard blow against my back. They had to justify the abuse, especially the kick they gave little Yediel, so they arrested Mario, accusing him of attacking authority and he was only able to leave the cells of the Cienfuegos police station, to which they had taken him, due to the firm decision of Bertha and Yris to stay outside until he was released. But the police didn’t release him without threats: “We’re going to let you go now, but don’t forget, you’ll pay dearly for this.”

Less than a year later, and in the presence of his young son Cristian, a Macarot revolver in the hands of a soldier discharged its fury of lead against his body. Mario, after being jailed in another murky criminal proceeding, had been acquitted on proving his innocence and, and above all because of a 50 day hunger strike, but the repression persisted; they returned to punish him for the same event, and after exhausting every avenue of appeal he chose evasion, ending up captured, shot and beaten nearly to death. In those moments, barely having recovered from serious kidney, liver and cardiovascular problems, he was hovering between life and death in Agüica prison. He did not ask to be released, no. Mario asked for a basic right assumed in any civilized country. He demanded that the authorities give him prompt and specialized medical attention and that they put an end to the inhumane maximum security and punishment that he’d suffered for more than four years, in clear violation of the country’s own penitentiary regulations.

He is dying, his sister Yris knows, everyone feels it, even though the Agüica jailers hide his condition. Will the same thing that happened to Zapata happen to him? Only God knows, and the criminals, far from responding to his just demands, confine him nearly dead in the dark cells of Agüica prison. The death of Mario is very possible if one takes into account the systematic brutality applied against him and the difficulty with which he has recovered from a previous hunger strike. Meanwhile the regime and the Cardinal continue calling for calm and are sowing expectations on all sides, with little or no basis in reality, given the complete lack of goodwill on the part of the government.

Yris Made It to Colón

My wife Yris left early this morning, as always with a cell phone ready with a message of arrest or detention*. Our brother Blas Fortun accompanied her as far as the station and stayed there with her until he saw her leave in a rental truck headed to Santa Clara. As always, on the few occasions when we don’t travel together, I waited with cell phone in hand for the damned message. This time, fortunately, it didn’t come, and when I called her phone she was already at the home of our dear sister Idania Yánez.

She told me how painful it was to pass by the Provincial Hospital without be able to inquire about Coco Fariñas for fear of being arrested there and not be able to continue the journey.Much less would they let her know about her brother on hunger strike. She did not ask permission to exercise this legitimate right, she was going, or more accurately she could go, as far as Colón thanks to her determination not to abide by orders that limit her rights and movement. She could go because call to alert the public that was put out hours earlier left the repressors no other option. And that decision not to accept impositions, to be consistent with what we believe and what we are fighting for is a very important and significant form of non-cooperation with the repression, a way to say I, also, am resisting.

Thanks to all those who helped her. They are, as my fellow Cubans would say, the steps towards freedom that our people are taking.

*Translator’s note: Many Cubans such as Yris enter text messages into their cell phones “ready to send” so that with the touch of a single key they can alert someone if they are arrested or detained, before their cell phone is confiscated.