14ymedio, Havana, 7 September 2015 – The congressman from Chile’s Evopoli party, Felipe Kast, who denounced this Sunday that he had been held for almost three hours for participating in a peaceful demonstration of the Ladies in White in Havana, spoke with 14ymedio about his experience from Santiago de Chile.
The Chilean party deputy Evópoli, Felipe Kast, who reported on Monday that had been held for almost three hours for participating in a peaceful demonstration of the Ladies in White in Havana, talks about his experience with 14ymedio from Santiago.
14ymedio. Why did you decide to go with the Ladies in White and other activists?
Felipe Kast. The Ladies in White have long suffered violent arrests simply for walking peacefully to demand respect for human rights in Cuba. On my visit to Cuba for family reasons, the least I could do was accompany them in their Sunday march.
14ymedio. How did you make plans to join the march?
Kast. First I greeted Father Pepe Felix, pastor of Santa Rita Church, whom I met when I studied in Cuba in 2000, and then I joined in the walk of the Ladies in White.
14ymedio. What was the march like?
Kast. It was a very peaceful walk with 49 Ladies and about ten sympathizers. Everything was going great and quiet until the official shock group showed up
The walk was attacked by an ambush of several vehicles, buses and approximately 100 people, who intervened violently against those of us who were walking. There was no dialogue, only force.
14ymedio. What was the arrest like?
Kast. It was a violent arrest. About six or seven people beat me to the ground. After immobilizing and handcuffing me, I was put in an official vehicle and was taken to a police station in Vedado.
“During interrogation, they tried to bond with US groups, but found nothing”
During the interrogation, they tried to link me with groups in the US, but found nothing. They asked me questions like, “How many times have you traveled to United States? More than five? More than ten? Then they asked me about the people who had hosted me, but I explained to them that, for fear that later they would bother them or take away their license, I preferred to remain silent. They were increasingly annoyed until in one minute there was another change in attitude. I imagine it was because the Foreign Ministry had called.
14ymedio. Was your departure from José Martí airport already planned for Monday or were you forced to leave?
Kast. From the police station they sent me straight to the airport. Coincidently my return flight was that same afternoon.
14ymedio. Did you talk about human rights with the Cuban authorities?
Kast. I talked to those who beat me, handcuffed me and then held incommunicado. I do not know whether the delegation of officials and businessmen from Chile visiting Cuba addressed the issue.