http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/martha-beatriz-roque-and-others-detained-for-protest-in-cuba/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Martha Beatriz Roque and others detained for protest in Cuba

Posted September 27, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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Reuters

Cuban security police detained seven dissidents who went to the Justice Ministry on Thursday to demand better conditions for Cuba’s political prisoners.

The demonstrators, led by prominent dissident leader Martha Beatriz Roque, were pushed and yelled at by a group of 100 government supporters sent to quell the protest, and then put on a bus and driven home, Roque said.

“I was scratched, pushed and insulted,” she said by telephone from her Havana home. “There was no need to resort to violence.”

Roque handed in a letter at the ministry demanding that Cuba’s Communist authorities improve the jail conditions for political prisoners. She and her group then stood outside waiting for a reply.

Veteran rights activist Elizardo Sanchez, who heads the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said more than a dozen other dissidents were picked up by state security police—some in their homes—before they could join the protest. He was not sure they had all been freed.

“We are demanding that the political prisoners be treated with dignity, because they are human beings, and besides, they are innocent,” Roque, an economist who has twice been jailed for several years for criticizing Cuba’s one-party state.

Sanchez said there are 250 Cubans in prison for political reasons, though the number has dropped since ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro handed over the government to his brother Raul after intestinal surgery last year.

Most prisoners lack hygienic cells, clean water, adequate food and medical attention, he said, and many are ill.

The government denies there are political prisoners in Cuba and does not recognize the existence of dissidents. Instead, it labels them “counter-revolutionary mercenaries” on the payroll of the United States, its ideological arch-enemy.

Member Comments

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On September 28, 2007, Curt wrote:

Martha beatriz-Roque deserves to be trown back in jail. She is a strong supporter of President Bush and has advocated a “Yankee Invasion” for Cuba. She is a hardliner just like her counterpart in Congress, Illeana Ros-Lehtinan.

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On September 28, 2007, publisher wrote:

Yikes. I wouldn’t go that far. I’m sure she is risking her life for her country.

I may not agree with her affiliations but I do admire her desire for a free Cuba.

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On September 28, 2007, Cuban Dan wrote:

Wow Curt, ignorant much?  Talk about talking out of your ass.  Pardon me for my comments publisher but a comment like that screams out ignorance and idiocy to say the least. 

Curt please do forgive Martha for being and advocate for human rights and democracy in a nation where a totalitarian system reigns.  I mean are you serious?  We are talking about a nation where someone who asks for the right to vote, or tries to speak freely can be imprisoned for 30 years (even executed in the past).  So, sorry that Martha is a fan of a multi-party democratic society that allows dumbasses like you to speak freely without a care in the world.

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On September 29, 2007, abh wrote:

The question is does she have support or is she just as good as a state-sponsored infiltrator?  She might garner some sympathy but I doubt many people look to her for solutions.  The valuable part of these exercises is we see how the system responds to dissent; in my opinion the response is purposefully engineered to be firm and quick but not severe.

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On September 29, 2007, publisher wrote:

abh,

I think you have a good handle on the situation. At least it’s not Myranmar.

If this is as bad as it gets for cracking down on dissent in Cuba, the dissidents should do it more often. I guess people were roughed up a bit but if everyone is accounted for and healthy. They should gather every week and put Raul to the test.

If he oversteps the line, other countries will take notice. If he does not do enough, dissent will grow.

Just another reason why Raul won’t be able to manage change after Fidel.

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On September 29, 2007, Cuban Dan wrote:

The problem is that if the response does get worse than this (which it most likely does) then we will probably never hear about it.  I think it isn’t a secret that the Cuban government is known for not letting things be reported in the international press.

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On September 29, 2007, abh wrote:

Cuban Dan,
I don’t agree.  If the Cuban gov. knows anything, it’s that the “dissident movement” is followed closely by the international press.  I believe that’s precisely the reason that such incidents are handled in this manner.

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On September 29, 2007, Curt wrote:

Cuban Dan,
You are the one who is ignorant. Marta beatriz Roque is an extremist who has
received money from right wing Cuban organizations in Miami and from U.S AID
ORGANIZATIONS ALSO.  She lives much better than the average Cuban due to the revenue she receives from abroad. Maybe I was talking out of my ass when I said that she shold be thrown back in jail. I do not believe that she or any of her coherts would be good future leaders of Cuba. If any dissidents would be good leaders I would mention Eloy Guiterrez Montoyo or maybe even Oswaldo Paya.

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On September 30, 2007, publisher wrote:

I agree with this part

I do not believe that she or any of her coherts would be good future leaders of Cuba. If any dissidents would be good leaders I would mention Eloy Guiterrez Montoyo or maybe even Oswaldo Paya.

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On September 30, 2007, publisher wrote:

Here’s a good summary with comments on the New Repression from La Contra Revolucion.

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On October 01, 2007, Cuban Dan wrote:

Curt,

I never said to name her future president, but at the same time your remarks were uncalled for.  Most Cuban dissenters have to recieve aid from US aid groups and exile groups because the Cuban government won’t let them get paid as a punishment for there dissent. 

If there is one thing we agree on is the names you mentioned for prospects for good leaders.

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On October 01, 2007, Cuban Dan wrote:

abh,

I agree with the fact that the international press follows the movement.  However, I think this pertains mostly to the “high profile” dissidents.  Like your Oswaldo Paya’s, or Dr. Biscet, and so forth.  If there was a public demonstration of dissent and it didn’t involve any of this high profile groups or people I am sure the international press would hear very little about the incident, or atleast very little about the truth of what happened at the incident.  Plus all the networks that have correspondents living in Cuba have to watch what they report or they will be told to leave for reporting “negative” things agianst the regime.

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On October 01, 2007, abh wrote:

Maybe if it was very small it might not be reported but any demonstration of significant size would undoubtedly be a news story.

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On October 01, 2007, Curt wrote:

Cuban Dan,
  One difference between the dissidents I mentioned that would be good future leaders of Cuba and Marta Beatriz Roque is that the former stay away from the U.S embassy. Receiving funds from a hostile government in order to provide regeme change is a crime in almost every country. What would you think if U.S groups received funds from Iran to overthrow the government? Those people would certainly go to jail.