Several Cuban Activists Arrested During "Performance" In Solidarity With Guillermo Del Sol

Last image distributed by Guillermo del Sol, which shows his physical deterioration. (Alexander Rodríguez Cárdenas)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 30 September 2019 — This Monday, as Guillermo del Sol’s hunger strike reached 50 days, a group of activists, opposition figures, and independent journalists have made public a letter of support in which they intend to express their “solidarity and recognition” to the activist for his “sacrifice to eradicate one of the most lamentable arbitrary actions committed against our people.” The letter is signed by dozens of people from independent civil society, many of whom are affected by prohibitions on leaving the country like the ones Del Sol is denouncing.

The text urges the activist to take care of his health, although the signers respect the decision he has made. “Today marks 50 days since your hunger strike began and we are very worried about the accelerated deterioration of your health, which makes your life more fragile every minute. We want you to protect yourself, we want you alive to achieve along with us our final objective, which is to enjoy a free Cuba like the one our Apostle dreamed of. Without you there, the freedom that we will inevitably win will not have one of its best sons raising its flag; but know that we respect your will and we will continue supporting you.”

Óscar Casanella was arrested this Sunday, along with five activists, for an action aimed at supporting Del Sol. (Michel Matos)

Adrian del Sol, Guillermo’s son, told 14ymedio first thing on Monday morning that his father remains in critical condition. “Now it’s 50 days on strike and counting 10 after they gave him serums. On that day he was denied healthcare, State Security practically dragged him out of the bed as he was still hydrating, toward a police car to leave him here at the house. For me it’s a show of force to humiliate. He’s getting weaker and weaker, the doctor comes but she doesn’t take his vital signs.”

The activist’s son indicated that both he and his father know about the letter of support and believe that “it’s good;” his father is grateful, he added, “for the support and concern” of everyone who signed it, but he maintains his decision to continue on the hunger strike.

Yesterday, four activists and two independent journalists were arrested in Havana when they were attempting to meet to carry out a performance in solidarity with Guillermo del Sol. The group had planned to wear paper masks with photos of the face of the opposition figure from Villa Clara and walk in the area around the Coppelia ice cream parlor on the centrally located corner of 23 and L, in El Vedado, to support Del Sol’s protest against the prohibitions on traveling that Cuban authorities impose on dissidents.

Those arrested were Iliana Hernández, Oscar Casanella, Pablo Morales Marchan, Yunia Figueredo, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, and Michel Matos. The last three were released a few hours after the arrest.

Yunia Figueredo, who was in the Regla police station, was released at four in the morning this Monday. Before arriving there, she had been in Guanabacoa along with Hernández, who remains detained there first thing Monday morning, as her mother confirmed to this newspaper.

The artist Otero Alcántara, one of the first released after the arrest, explained to 14ymedio the circumstances in which the events occurred. “We were on the corner of Yara waiting to begin. Then a patrol car arrived with two police officers and a Lada with three oppressors of those who go after Iliana. They took her and, as Óscar protested, they took him too,” he explained after being released.

“Michel Matos and I were also there protesting. We began to film their arrest and one of the oppressors fell on me to try to take away my phone. They swatted at Michel to do the same to him and threw him to the ground. Then they handcuffed me, they took me in the Lada with particular bodywork, and they took us to [the police unit located between streets] 21 and C. They were never able to take away my phone,” he adds.

“For whoever says that in Cuba arrests aren’t arbitrary. Simply seated on the grounds of the cinema Yara Iliana Hernández, Oscar Casanella, Michel Matos, and this writer, they took us prisoner in front of the entire public on the corner of 23 and L, without previous identification nor legal recourse,” reported Otero Alcántara on his Facebook account with a photo of the police patrol that participated in the arrests.

“We were simply talking about a performance in favor of accompanying our brother in the fight, Guillermo del Sol, hunger striker in defense of the activists ’regulated’ from leaving Cuba. We continue in the fight,” he added.

Guillermo del Sol was brought a few days ago to the Arnaldo Milián hospital, in Santa Clara, because of the deterioration of his health, according to the most recent information. There he received intravenous hydration, but the following day two uniformed officers brought him again to his home.

Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera


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