Castro Regime Represses Opposition Activist Invited to Watch Obama Inauguration
By Cuban Democratic Directorate

Repression Increases against Youth in Eastern Cuba

Cuba. January 21, 2009. Cuban Democratic Directorate. Peaceful opposition activist and former political prisoner Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez” was arrested and transported to an unknown location on the afternoon of Monday, January 19th. He was intercepted by the Castro regime’s repressive forces as he traveled to Havana to watch the inauguration of President Barack Obama as a special guest of the United States Interest Section.


Early on January 19th, Antúnez made the following statement by telephone to the Cuban Democratic Directorate: “I want to say that since the early hours of the morning today, my house has been surrounded by political police officers […] there is a visible presence on both corners of my house. I am here with my half brother and fellow human rights activist Loreto Hernández García. We may be arrested at any moment.”


Iris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Civic Movement for Civil Rights, and wife of Antúnez, stated that “It is shameful that today, during the inauguration of a black president in the United States, my husband, who is also black, has been arrested by the political police, and that on top of everything, he has been disappeared. I do not know if my husband is alive or dead. I do not know if my husband has been beaten, because I have had no news of him. I am holding the Cuban government responsible for whatever may happen to my husband.”


Antúnez was held arbitrarily and without charge until the following Wednesday, January 21.


Similarly, in the municipality of Baracoa in Guantánamo province, young opposition activists from the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy (CYMD) and the John Paul II Movement (JPII) have suffered  repression by the Castro regime after holding several meetings and events in previous weeks. Four young people who took part in the activities were detained on the morning of January 20th. Those detained were Ricardo Galván Casar (CYMD), Keyber Rodríguez Fernández (JPII), Vladimir Guilarte Romero (JPII) and Félix Cartesuñe Elvía (CYMD).


These arrests and instances of repression are reprisals for several events held by the young activists, among them the opening of the Jan Palach Independent Library on January 16th, attended by about 20 young people from Baracoa. The library was named in honor of Jan Palach, a young Czechoslovak who immolated himself in Wenceslaus Square to protest his country’s invasión by Warsaw Pact troops in 1968.


Additionally, Alejandro Jiménez Blanco, a young CYMD member, has been threatened and is being pursued by authorities after a hundred Non-Cooperation Campaign stickers appeared on the Windows of foreign currency-only stores and State installations in Guantánamo, according to a report by leading opposition activist Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina.

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