Jose Marti’s Birthday Is Marked By House Arrests / 14ymedio

Police patrol in which the dissident Manuel Cuesta Morúa was taken this Saturday. (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 28 January 2017 – On the 164th anniversary of the birth of José Martí, the day was marked by house arrests of several activists and the arrest of the regime opponent Manuel Cuesta Morúa. The most intense operation has been against those involved in a global action to demand the release of political prisoners and demand access to the internet.

The initiative is promoted with the slogan “Occupy Your WiFi Point,” urging Cubans to use the wireless internet connection areas as spaces to claim greater freedoms. One of the main promoters of the campaign, scientist Oscar Casanella, was warned by the police early in the day that they would not let him leave his house.

Opposition leader Manuel Cuesta Morúa, a member of the Democratic Action Roundtable (MUAD), was arrested on Saturday afternoon outside the home of an activist from the organization at Neptuno and San Francisco, in Central Havana, as reported to this newspaper by Ileana Hernandez program director Lens Cubano .

Hernandez said that the arrest occurred around 4:30 in the afternoon when Cuesta Morúa interceded for her before two men in civilian clothes who were preventing her from accessing the house of dissident Aída Valdés Santana, a member of MUAD.

“They threw him on the ground and called a police patrol to take him away,” Hernandez says.

“It was not political at all what was going to happen here, we were just going to eat,” says the activist.

Last year, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) documented a total of 9,940 arbitrary arrests throughout Cuba

A witness later spotted Cuesta Morúa when he was transferred to the police car on San Lázaro Avenue. This newspaper called the official telephone number where Cubans can inquire about people arrested, but was told that Cuesta Morua is not registered.

The leader of the Somos+ (We Are More) Movement, Eliécer Ávila, denounced that fact that as of Saturday morning three members of State Security had warned him that they would not allow him to leave his house. “They have been been in the hallway to the outside to prevent us from going to the street,” the activist said.

“They told me that although they had no confirmation that there was going to be a public event, they were here for safety,” Ávila explains. Officers told him that this January 28 was “a very important day for the Revolution” and they would not allow “provocations.”

A similar situation was experienced by Luis Alberto Mariño, known as Tito, a member of the initiative Cuba Decides and one of the most visible faces of the call for civic action this January 28.

“Yesterday an officer came to warn me that I could not go out, and he is now out there and says if I go out he will arrest me,” he told 14ymedio.

Activist Lia Villares also reported that “two state security agents on a motorcycle” visited her to threaten her and they remained “on guard” to prevent her from leaving her home in Vedado.

From Matanzas the ex-prisioner of the Black Spring, Iván Hernández Carrillo, reported the arrest of regime opponents Sayli Navarro, Félix Navarro and Francisco Rangel, who also participated in the campaign.

In Palmarito del Cauto the coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), Jorge Cervantes García, was arrested according to a report in the Twitter account of the dissident Carlos Amel Oliva.

Last year, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) documented a total of 9,940 arbitrary arrests throughout the country. A figure that “puts the Government of Cuba in first place in all of Latin America,” said the report of the independent organization.