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Two Democracy Award Winners Arbitrarily Detained and Placed Under House Arrest
By Directorio Democrático Cubano

Havana. July 24, 2009. Cuban Democratic Directorate. Two prominent Cuban opposition leaders, Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez” and Iris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, were arbitrarily arrested amid a disproportionately large deployment of repressive regime forces on Wednesday, July 23, 2009. Antúnez and Pérez Aguilera, recipients of the June 2009 Democracy Award of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), were visiting the grave of martyred Cuban student leader Pedro Luis Boitel in the Colón Cemetary in Havana along with independent journalist Carlos Serpa Maceira and activist Carlos Cordero Páez.

The four activists were arrested by regime authorities who desecrated the burial site, entering in large numbers. Antúnez and Pérez Aguilera were arrested and taken to State Security Headquarters in Santa Clara. However, according to activist Yuniesky García López, when attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of the activists, State Security informed him that Antúnez and Pérez Aguilera were not being held there nor did the authorities know about their situation. Several activists in Placetas and Havana received similar responses from their respective Security Headquarters, leading to the belief that the two activists had disappeared.

We carried a banner with the words ‘WE ARE ALL THE RESISTANCE,’ ‘Long live human rights,’ ‘Men do not abandon the struggle when the cause is just,’ ‘Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights,’ and ‘Pedro Luis Boitel Political Prisoners.’ We had hardly arrived and displayed the banner when a large State Security unit comprised of forty-something officials arrived,” recounted Antúnez.

Antúnez and Pérez Aguilera, according to subsequent statements made to the Cuban Democratic Directorate via telephone, were released by authorities in Santa Clara and subjected to house arrest until after July 26. Upon reaching their household, Antúnez and Pérez Aguilera found the front of the house painted with tar, covering posters referring to the struggle for freedom in Cuba that the activists had placed. The Castro regime authorities covered the posters that stated: “WE ARE ALL THE RESISTANCE,” “Freedom for the Cuban people,” and “Neither will I fall silent nor will I leave.”

Nonetheless, Antúnez and Pérez Aguilera both remain firm in the face of repression and harrassment.

We reaffirm our commitment to the defense of human rights, we continue paying tribute to Pedro Luis Boitel, and we continue demanding the prompt and unconditional release of all Cuban political prisoners,” stated the activist .

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