Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

December 27, 1999


Havana.- Late on Christmas morning, two Cuban agents of the Office of State Security (OSS) violently arrested María Esther Valdés Suárez, wife of Secretary José Orlando González Bridón of the Cuban Confederatión of Democratic Workers after she had left her home with her daughter, Lisandra, 14, and son, José Luis, 18, to accompany them to lunch. The three had walked about two blocks before they were intercepted by two OSS agents of more than 50 years of age.

María Esther tried to explain to the officers that she had to accompany her son so that he could obtain a meal before he went to work as a stevedore about five blocks away. The officers ignored her words and while one grabbed one of her arms with a judo brace the other grasped her free hand and twisted it so as to force her to move toward her home. The opposing actions were so strong that María Esther cried out in pain and lost her footing. Lisandra tried to keep her mother from falling and one of the agents pushed the girl violently aside. The two officers then forced María Esther into their automobile so as to drive her to the OSS quarters on San Miguel del Padrón St.

Lisandra, sobbing frantically, tried to follow her mother on foot. A neighbor heard and saw the situation and took Lisandra home, where she stayed alone and frightened. At the OSS station, María Esther had to sit waiting, with nothing said to her until 8:30 that night, when her husband, José Orlando was brought to the same station. He had not known what had happened to her until he arrived to see her.

Meanwhile, an OSS agent stayed near the couple's home as if to watch it. Some of the neighbors later said that other neighbors showed the agent their impatience and disgust at the activities they had observed.

At the police station, María Esther complained of the pain in her arms and elbows; both arms had been broken in 1998 when she had fallen while riding her bicycle. Eventually the OSS released the couple and they went home. On Dec. 27 María Esther went to an orthopedic physician to check her arms for damage.

Neighbors who did not wish to be identified said this was a history of Christmas day for the family of González Bridón, union leader and pacifist opponent of the Cuban regime, that was much too sad.

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