What Happened in “The Bivouac”? / Michel Iroy Rodriguez

Ladies in White (seated against wall in background) surrounded by police and plainclothes agents, last Monday, photo EFE
Ladies in White (seated against wall in background) surrounded by police and plainclothes agents, last Monday, photo EFE

HAVANA, Cuba, October 18, 2013, Michel Iroy Rodriguez / www.cubanet.org.- At the detention center known as “The Bivouac,” near Calabazar, on the border between the capital municipalities of Arroyo Naranjo and Boyeros, and Cattle Arroyo Naranjo, a repressive wave of arbitrary arrests launched by State Security between the 11th and 14th of this month, just before the second anniversary of the death of Laura Pollán Toledo on the 14th, resulted in the jailing of 46 opponents, in dubious circumstances.

From the early hours of Friday the 11th, until Sunday, State Security agents were arresting Ladies in White, regime opponents, human rights activists and independent journalists, so that they would not be able to attend the second anniversary mass for the death of Laura Pollán, nor participate in the usual Ladies in White Sunday March from Santa Rita Church in Miramar.

In protest against the arbitrary arrests, 23 detainees in “The Bivouac” went on hunger strike and all refused to be indicted on charges by the officers of Villa Marista (headquarters of the State Security). During the interrogations they were subjected to they received threats from officials from the political police.

David Aguila Montero, director of the Social Agency of Independent Journalists of Cuba (ASPI), who was detained from Friday the 11th and who was one of those who declared a hunger strike, said that the treatment of those arrested was deplorable. He spoke of activists with illnesses who were prevented from taking their medication or who were given it off schedule.

During the three days he was held, Aguila Montero claims to have seen 34 male regime opponents in “The Bivouac,”many of them from other provinces, and 9 Ladies in White, including Niurka Luque who, he said, had a wound on her face that looked like it was made with a knife when she was arrested .

After more than 92 hours, the detainees were released, but the whereabouts of 4 activists from the province of Pinar del Rio were unknown at the time of writing this information.

Michel Iroy Rodriguez, yeikosuri11@gmail.com

From Cubanet, 18 October 2013