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Posted December 07, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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By ANITA SNOW | Associated Press

Recent detentions of dissidents, including a roundup on church grounds in eastern Cuba, appear aimed at deflating opposition plans for a march and other activities next week, a veteran human rights activist said Monday.

Elizardo Sanchez of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and Reconciliation told a news conference he believes “there is a campaign of preventive repression to detain any dissident act on December 10,” which is International Human Rights Day.

Cuba’s government has not commented publicly on the recent detentions, or opposition plans for Human Rights Day.

A column in the Communist Party newspaper Granma on Tuesday criticized international journalists in Havana for covering events by dissident groups, which authorities here dismiss as “mercenaries” funded by the U.S. and other governments to undermine state authority. American officials and opposition members deny the charge.

Recent detentions include the roundup of an unspecified number of dissidents on the grounds of a Roman Catholic church in the eastern city of Santiago on Tuesday, Sanchez said.

He noted that Darsi Ferrer, who plans a Human Rights Day march in a Havana park, claims to have received death threats from authorities warning him not to hold the event.

As part of observance of Human Rights Day, Sanchez invited international journalists to his home to see a modest display of photographs of political prisoners, as well as aerial views of some of Cuba’s prisons taken from Internet sites.

Cuban dissidents commonly mark Human Rights Day with small gatherings and protests. American officials on the island have typically marked the day in recent years with a reception honoring Cuban opposition members.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on December 06, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I find this article interesting for a couple reasons.

    First, Anita Snow has been writing many fluff pieces about life in Cuba, perhaps because she is being watched, monitored or under direct orders by the Cuban government or the AP. So, just covering the dissidents could jeopardize her ability to remain as a reporter in Cuba.

    For this, I give her credit. I noticed the line from Granma that “criticized international journalists in Havana for covering events by dissident groups”. Since this was merely a press conference, I think she is obligated to cover such an event.

    Second, I find it interesting that the dissidents held a press rally to announce that they will be marching on December 10. I hope the dissidents stay away from “American officials” as mentioned in the article. “American officials” in Cuba have nothing to offer dissidents that can help them with their struggle for freedom.

    I support a peaceful rally by any Cuban citizen who wishes to attend and hope that the Cuban government exercise restraint and respect for the peaceful march on December 10.

    Don’t screw it up Raul. Let them be.

    To anyone who wishes to keep us informed, please use the email link at the bottom of the page.

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on December 08, 2007 by HavanAndrew with 87 total posts

    I think what it is going to take is all of us that care in the world is to take a vacation to Cuba at the same and converge in Havana with the dissidents to protest. Maybe sometime this year, if not next Dec. 10. I highly doubt that Cuban officials would detain several thousand foreigners at one time, safety in numbers.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on December 10, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Here is the press release put out by BUCL.org/BabaluBlog.com:

    BUCL.org Joins Dr. Darsi Ferrer to Protest Apartheid-Like Policies in Cuba

    Protest Marches Are Scheduled Monday, December 10, in Havana and Cities Around the World

    MIAMI—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty (BUCL) extends its support and solidarity to the Cuban dissident, Dr. Darsi Ferrer, on International Human Rights Day Monday, December 10. To commemorate this day, protest marches are being held to denounce what protesters are calling the immoral and illegal segregationist policies imposed by the Cuban government.

    “In Cuba, apartheid is not racial, but political,” says Henry Gómez of BUCL. “The political system keeps foreigners and Cubans separate. For instance, many public accommodations that are open to tourists and high-level Communist bureaucrats are off limits to everyday Cubans.”

    Protest marches will be held in Havana at the park on Calzada between D and E (Vedado), in Miami at the Graham Center at Florida International University (FIU), and in Los Angeles at 202 West First Street. The marches will begin at 11:00 a.m. EST (8:00 a.m. PST). For information on other marches, visit http://BUCL.org

    Regarding Cuba’s current system, Dr. Ferrer states, “The current constitution supposedly recognizes the rights and freedoms of the Cuban people. The penal code characterizes apartheid as a felony. In practice, both are systematically violated by the established public policy.” Dr. Ferrer continued, “People around the world were horrified with the ghettos of South Africa. It is time to condemn the apartheid suffered by the Cuban people.

    “The vast majority of Cubans crave change,” says Dr. Ferrer. “We’ve endured more than four decades of stagnation while the tyranny has failed in the political, economic and social arenas. It is time to put an end to so much suffering. We advocate change in order to live in freedom and democracy.”

    Dr. Darsi Ferrer is the Director of the Juan Bruno Zayas Center for Health and Human Rights in Havana, Cuba, whose mission is to ensure the policies of international agencies that guarantee health-related rights of all persons are recognized and adhered to in Cuba.

    Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty is a confederation of blogs and websites that pool resources and ideas for use in campaigns to raise awareness of the Cuban reality.


    Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty, Miami
    Henry Gómez, 305-788-4766
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Cuba consulting services

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