Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

Dec. 15, 1999


Santiago.- On Dec. 10, agents of the Office of State Security (OSS) carried out a burst of repression against the non-violent Cuban Movement of Youngsters for Democracy, preventing the small march that the youths had scheduled for 10 a.m. along a street near the city's center. The young people had hoped to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Theirs was the only activity scheduled on that date in a public place by the non-violent dissidents in this second largest city in the country. Santiago has about 500,000 inhabitants.

The march was to start at the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes park, the most central in the city and would finish at the Francisco Vicente Aguilera park, three blocks away. The participants planned to carry white roses in their hands as a symbol of peace and once at the Aguilera park would hear an activist read the human rights declaration. That was what the non-violent youth had planned.

However, between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. the OSS agents arrested six members of the youth movement and threw them into what some called "inhumane dungeons" used by the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) at the José Martí Ninth Micro District and Territorial Unit No. 2 of the PNR site at San Jerónimo y Santo Tomás streets.

The OSS agents arrested Eddy Alfredo Mena González, province coordinator at the house of his aunt, Georgina Mena. Eddy was beaten several times because he was shouting, "This is the mafia of Fidel Castro! I am a defender of human rights!" Also arrested was Reymundo Pelegrino Ramírez, found at the home of another activist of the youth movement, as well as Jorge León Cabrera, César Torres Nimer and Adonis Gómez Sánchez. The last four started a hunger strike until they were released from prison. Another activist arrested was Adel Jiménez Cintra.

They were all released, one by one, after some 27 hours of imprisonment. All except Reymundo Pelegrino and Adonis Gómez were forced also to pay fines of 30 pesos of Cuban money for a "disruption of public order."

Reymundo Pelegrino told Cuba Free Press that before they arrested him the police tried to get him to sign a statement that he planned a disruption of public disorder. He first refused to sign but later had to do so because an OSS agent threatened to beat him if he did not sign. That threat followed the beating Reymundo saw being given to Eddy Mena.

Despite all the repression, nine activists gathered at Moncada park in Trinidad between Moncada and Calvario streets close to the Church of the Holy Trinity. They started to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights aloud. The document has 30 articles of which only the three first could be read before several OSS agents appeared and observed what reaction the reading had. At that point a lady who is the president of the Revolution Defense Committee (CDF) of one block demanded that the youths move to another block to do their reading.

Consequently some activists returned to their homes and five, including four women, left the park and looked for another public place suitable to read the declaration. But two blocks away, OSS agents intercepted and arrested them while they were walking. The agents took them to Territorial Unit No. 2 of the PNR where the women remained under arrest for an hour and then were released. Among them were Raisa Lora Gaquin, wife of political prisoner Marcelo Amelo Diosdado Rodríguez, president of the non violent "Club de Presos y Ex-Presos Políticos (Club of Present and Former Political Prisoners). Marcelo has been in prison about two years and has been very sick for the past several months.

Also arrested and released were Gerardo González, known as a "brother of faith" in the community; Zoe Fuentes, Sósima Simoneau Vidal and César Torres Nimer. Fuentes and Simoneau also were fined 30 pesos each for "public disorderly conduct."

Adalberto Yero, Cuba Free Press.

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