One Day, They Will Not Return / Luis Felipe Rojas

Photo: Luis Felipe Rojas

The automobile pretentiously came to a stop and interposed itself in front of the four individuals dressed in civilian clothing. Suddenly, two more vehicles arrived and took away one woman and a man. Nobody protested, everyone was astonished by the arrest. Those being detained screamed slogans against the government, but no one dared get involved with the protest, or what for the rest of the world is better described as a kidnapping.

A neighbor from the “Hilda Torres” Holguin neighborhood was the one who described the scene to me. Those arrested were Human Rights activists who, this past May, were protesting against the government’s behavior towards their ideological counterparts in the center of the country.

“Only one young man protested and they took him away”, said Fidel Garcia Roldan, former political prisoner and victim of that kidnapping.

For some time now, we have been seeing some changes in the behavior of the political police in various regions of the country. Caridad Caballero Batista and Mari Blanca Avila were locked in a car and savagely beaten, according to testimonies offered to this blogger. Jose A. Triguero Mulet was taken to a “security house” in the municipality of Mayari in 2010 and during his entire arrest there none of his relatives received any news about him. Journalist Alberto Mendez Castello was taken from his work place in Puerto Padre and kept in a “comfortable hotel room” with a hood over his head for a few hours while they warned him.

Caridad Caballero herself was locked away in a small cell of the political police unit of San German for three days. Her young under-age son was alone at home the entire time and did not receive any response from the authorities. Various friends living outside of Cuba called the number 53-243-81-323, the office of the police unit, and they were redirected to 53-243-80-480, which is supposed to be the office of the MININT Delegation. In each of these cases, the officials swore that there was “no one there by the name of Caridad Caballero”.

On February 2008, a green Lada vehicle stopped at the door of my house while the driver, who claimed to be called Douglas and who claimed to be the 1st official of Confrontation with the enemy in the province, assured my wife that I was going to be taken to the local police barracks but he quickly turned the wheel in the first street corner and I found myself in the G2 Operations Barracks. My family waited for hours outside the unit until a clumsy official assured them that I had been taken to Holguin.

Now, the repressive forces have alternated between kicks and punches and scaring the family. There has been an abrupt turn towards what, in the Central America of the 80’s, was considered a “kidnapping”. Now, we are insulted when people do not believe our testimonies.

Our names or identities are not registered in the Penal Control record books, we are never listed as detainees, and the operational G2 officials, the police officers, and the Military Prosecutor lawyers all lazily assure, over the Penal Code and the Constitution of Republic of Cuba, that “they do not need summons or citations to detain us”. “We do not have to add you in the book of detainees”, I was assured on August 4th 2010 by Juan Carlos Laborde, the attorney of the Ministry of the Interior of Holguin, located in Marti and Narciso Lopez. Captain Laborde, didn’t you assure me that there, in that unit, positive responses were always given to the PEOPLE? “And you are not one of the PEOPLE”, he replied to me in front of another Castroite official.

Cuban police units are reservoirs of people who bitterly stare at those who are detained and scream slogans against the dictatorship. While one is sitting in the bench at the waiting room, the functionaries dressed in blue stare at you out of the corner of their eyes as they try to relate you to some sort of robbery or violation of norms. But those claims are hammered onto us by the men from the G2 dressed in civil clothes when they deal with us. Then we become food for “the fattest of the fish”.

Photo taken from Cubanacan Press Blog

12 June 2011