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Opposition Leader Antúnez Vows Continued Activism, Decries Arrest and Intimidation
By Cuban Democratic Directorate

Blames Detainment on Climate of Increased Repression before Juanes Concert

Placetas, Villa Clara, Cuba. September 9, 2009. Cuban Democratic Directorate. Leading opposition activist and former political prisoner Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez” reaffirmed his commitment to democracy activism in Cuba after being released on Wednesday after a 48-hour detainment. Antúnez was arbitrarily detained along with fellow activist Frank Reyes López on Monday afternoon, September 7, and held until Wednesday afternoon, September 9.


“I am going to continue my activism. I will continue to leave my house. I reserve the right to declare a hunger strike if this harassment and pressure against activists, and in this case against me, continues,” stated Antúnez by telephone to the Cuban Democratic Directorate from Placetas in Central Cuba. Antúnez leads the Pedro Luis Boitel Political Prisoners, part of the Central Opposition Coalition.


According to the activists, they were traveling to Havana on a public bus when they were arbitrarily arrested, searched, and held at the Police Unit in Aguada de Pasajeros in Cienfuegos province. They were later transferred to the Provincial Police Operations Unit of Santa Clara province.


“When we arrived at the Aguada mile marker, the bus on which we were traveling was boarded by National Police officers, who, after asking for our identification, had us get off and cuffed our hands behind our backs as if we were criminals,” stated Antúnez.


The activists suffered mistreatment, intimidation, and threats of official reprisal. They were not fed during their 48 hour detainment. Antúnez suffered bouts of hypoglycemia and asthma due to the repressive measures applied against him.


“They put Antúnez in a room that might as well have been a refrigerator. He came out with chest pains. I was in a room that seemed like an oven. There was no ventilation. I came out with the biggest headache in the world… First, they put me in the cold, and after a while they take me out… They switched us from the cold to the heat. He was in the heat and they moved him to the cold. They stuck him in that refrigerator for about three hours to torture him,” related Reyes López.


Antúnez said that his detainment was due in part to increased repressive measures being taken by the regime against the Cuban people and the opposition movement in the run-up to the September 20 concert in Havana set to feature Juanes, a Colombian pop singer.


“I attribute this arrest to what is going on in relation to the Juanes concert. I also associate it with a videoconference in Havana to mark the anniversary of the ‘Misceláneas de Cuba’ (http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net) magazine to which I had been invited,” stated Antúnez.


The activists were officially warned of future official reprisal upon their release.


“The State Security officer he drove me [from the Santa Clara Operations Unit] to my house told me I have been placed under house arrest for the duration of an ‘investigation phase.’ I do not know what ‘investigation phase’ he had in mind; I am going to continue my activism,” stated Antúnez.


During Antunez’s and Reyes Lopez’s detainment, activists from the Cuban resistance movement campaigned intensely to pressure the authorities to provide information about their whereabouts and conditions, as well as to release them immediately.


On Tuesday, September 8, Iris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, president of the Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights and Antúnez’s wife, decried his disappearance in public statements.


That same afternoon, Loreto Hernández García, Antúnez’s brother went to the political police unit in Placetas to demand information about his brother’s whereabouts, along with fellow activists Blas Fortún Martínez and Diosiris Santana Pérez. He was then informed by State Security Confrontation Chief Miguel González that Antúnez was being held at Santa Clara’s State Security unit.


Short-term detainment is a tactic employed by the Castro regime’s repressive apparatus with the intention of impeding opposition activists from acting effectively as well as preventing them from receiving the international solidarity generated by long-term cases.



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