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Posted April 26, 2006 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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Cuba’s most prominent female dissident says she was brutally beaten at her home by a pro-government mob of people who knew she was heading to a meeting at the home of the top US diplomat in Havana.

“I see it as a (government) message to the opposition,” ailing economist Marta Beatriz Roque, 60, told AFP on Wednesday at her home, where she showed injuries to her eye, knee and elbow which she said were from the assault a day earlier.

Roque, who opposes Cuba’s one-party communist government, leads the Assembly for Promoting Civil Society.

She was released from prison in July 2004 due to her failing health after she had been convicted and sentenced to 20 years behind bars along with 74 other dissidents following the government’s 2003 crackdown, which was the largest in years.

She said she recognised some of the people who beginning at 2130 GMT on Tuesday shouted insults at her and beat her outside and later inside her home in the Havana neighbourhood of Santos Suarez.

“They were not neighbours, because they knew that I had been invited to a meeting at the home of (Michael) Parmly,” chief of the US Interests Section in Havana, who has had high-profile clashes in the media with Fidel Castro’s government.

The crowd gathered for an organised “act of repudiation” as Roque left for the engagement, she said, and began insulting her and then jostled her to block her from leaving her home.

‘Down with Fidel’

“They threw me on the ground and they beat me,” said Roque, who says she suffers from diabetes and circulatory ailments.

When she shouted “Down with Fidel!” she was further beaten by a large man who burst into her home and slugged her squarely in the eye, she said.

The crowd continued its “repudiation” until the early hours of Wednesday, Roque said. Pro-government activists threw clippings from the official media through the windows of her home, as well as a sign calling George Bush, the US president, a fascist.

On the back of the sign a message was scrawled, warning that a dissident meeting planned for October “is not going to be held,” she said.

Elizardo Sanchez, who leads the outlawed Cuban Committee for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, added that the attackers remained at Roque’s home for some time, blocking her from seeking immediate medical attention for her injuries.

“This is particularly alarming, given precisely the brutal nature of the attack and the fact that those para-police elements who took part committed a whole range of crimes, with complete impunity and under the approving gaze of the government of Cuba,” said Sanchez.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on April 27, 2006 by Ralph

    I fret over the future of my country,I would like to see a reconciliation process
    like a gazacha in Ruanda or the forgiveness and reconciliation in SouthAfrica,
    and like many other regions in the world,such a Bosnia,etc,But the structure of
    Power in Cuba looks interested in making the gap of confrontation bigger and
    that is seen by me and others with a genuine dismay,Power in our human context is a runner,it goes and back,it is not a permanent asset,but when——
    hard feelings roots in the heart of the people,that lasts a lot and cause turmoil
    and retaliation,revenge,etc.Definetely,as i said early,the worst scenary could
    be in the unevitable transition period in the real pearl of the antilles.

  2. Follow up post #2 added on April 27, 2006 by Ralph

    I don’t want be hopeless,somehow we find the way to avoid Omertas and
    retaliation and to go ahead"con todos y para el bien de todos"as the best
    of the cubans has already said.May GOD give us the way to do so.

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