by Jeff Franks and Rosa Tania Valdes | Reuters
Well-known Cuban blogger and government critic Yoani Sanchez said she and two fellow bloggers were detained briefly on Friday by security agents and accused of being “counter-revolutionaries” as they walked to a demonstration against violence.
Sanchez, 34, told Reuters the agents forced her and blogger Orlando Luis Pardo into a car as they neared the demonstration in Havana’s Vedado district, took them to a spot near her home and dropped them off, throwing her purse on the street as they drove away.
“We were detained by three men who came in a black Chinese car,” said Sanchez, who is known internationally for her “Generation Y” blog, which frequently criticizes Cuba’s communist-led government.
Sanchez said she told people standing nearby they were being kidnapped, but the men told the bystanders: “They are counter-revolutionaries. Don’t get involved.”
“There was no chance to resist, they were strong men.”
The men offered no explanation for the seizure, but Sanchez said she believes they were preventing her from attending the demonstration. “I’m flustered. It has been very intense,” she said. She said she had a sore shoulder and back from the encounter, but no serious injuries.
Pardo was released with her and had no injuries, she said. Another blogger, Claudia Cadelo, was taken away in a separate police car and released unharmed at a different location.
Sanchez said they had gathered at her home to “reconstruct the events.”
About 60 people attended the demonstration, which is a rare event in Cuba, and unfurled signs that said “No to violence. Join us.” They milled around for a few minutes, gave no speeches and left without incident. One participant said the march was not aimed at Cuba, but at violence around the world.
Sanchez, who has won several international prizes for her blogs, but is little known in Cuba, where Internet access is limited. The Cuban government does not hide its distaste for Sanchez, who is occasionally attacked in the state-run press as an enemy of the state.
Cuba is said to have about 200 political prisoners, whom the government views as traitors working with the United States to toppled the Cuban government.