Strange Coincidence of Attacks Against Regime Opponents and Independent Journalists / Michel Iroy Rodriguez Ruiz

Mario José Delgado González after he was beaten
Mario José Delgado González after he was beaten

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec. 6, 2013, Michel Iroy Rodríguez Ruiz / In recent weeks, several independent journalists and opposition have been victims of kidnappings, assaults and theft. Many blame this on State Security.

On 7 November, between eight and eight-thirty in the evening, Mario José Delgado González, correspondent of the Social Agency of Independent Journalists ( ASPI ) and member of the gay community was the victim of a brutal beating.

González Delgado says he wanted to take a taxi back to Alamar, where he lives, he called the driver of an old American car for hire — one of the so-called almendrones — that was white or light beige and parked next to the Hotel Saratoga across the street from Fraternity Park, in Havana, and he said jokingly he was waiting to take him to Alamar.

After he got in he realized there were only two passengers aboard. Then the car changed direction and headed to Lawton, in the Diez de Octubre municipality. The car parked near the train line, where two men overpowered him and gagged him. Then they dragged him out of the car by force, and beat him with a rock in the face. The aggressors stripped him of a copy of El Nuevo Herald, his cellphone, his backpack and a USB notebook that had the names and phone numbers of his work contacts.

Mario José Delgado is convinced that this was the work of state security. “There aren’t any thieves who steal these items and much less use a car to steal something of so little value,” he said.

González Delgado is not the only one who has been attacked. According to journalist José Alberto Álvarez Bravo, in recent weeks others attacked include Jose Diaz Silva, leader of the Movement for a New Republic, regime opponent Vladimir Ortiz Suarez, blogger Joisy García Martínez and independent journalists Julio Rojas Portal and Emilio Castillo González.

“The modus operandi of the attackers was similar in all cases,” Alvarez Bravo said.

Joisy Garcia has been attacked twice in just over a month. They also beat him in the face and stole his cellphone.

Julio Rojas Portal was attacked by two unknown people after being provoked by a drunk when he was with a friend at La Taberna, a nightclub in La Lisa, on Saturday night, November 30. After the fight, when he picked his wallet up off the floor, Rojas discovered that they had stolen all the money it contained.

On November 14, Emilio Castillo González was the victim of a beating in his own home in La Conchita, Pinar del Río. Castillo recognized his attackers, Orleidys and his father Juan Valentin, both agents of State Security, who warned him he would pay with blood before leaving the country.

Apparently , the lives of opponents and independent journalists are in danger. It can’t be categorically affirmed that it is a strategy of State Security, but we can not rule out that possibility.

6 December 2013