Cuba Politics

No Violence rally in Vedado Cuba - Yoani and Pardo detained, returned home

Posted November 07, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

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.

Member Comments

On November 07, 2009, publisher wrote:

CNN is reporting

Blogger says Cuban agents beat her

On November 09, 2009, manfredz wrote:

a sign of progress?  Was a time they would have just disappeared or been brought up before a kangaroo court.

On November 09, 2009, publisher wrote:

As you can see by the CNN and other main stream reporting, she is WAY too well known around the world AND she has an outlet to the outside world with her blog.

The Cuban government has no choice but to deal with her and maybe even protect her so nothing terrible happens to her.

On November 09, 2009, manfredz wrote:

You’re right on in that aspect.
Again was a time when the Cuban govt couldnt have cared less.
Don’t get me wrong, Cuba has a long long way to go, but even these small steps are important in the long run.
JUst look at one of our/your greatest trading partners in the news today executing those 9 protesters in East Turkistan.

On November 10, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

Unfortunately, we all know well that in the past the fact that some dissident were well known internationally did not stopped the Castro regime from prosecuting and abusing them.

Most of the times some unfounded charges are fabricated and they are sent to the worst jails in the world for unthinkingly long periods of time.
They have all sorts of laws to have the chance of “legally” dealt with the dissidents.

They have charges like “disrespecting the figure of the Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro”, “conspiring for a foreign potency” and also “not having a proper government job” any of which may allow the Castro government to throw you in jail “legally” whenever they do not like what you are saying.

On November 10, 2009, publisher wrote:


The United States said it “strongly deplores” the forcible detention and beating last week of three Cuban bloggers on their way to a peaceful march in Havana.

Award-winning blogger Yoani Sanchez, whose online reports chronicle the dark side of everyday life in communist Cuba, was detained and beaten along with two fellow bloggers by Cuban secret police on November 6.

“We have expressed to the Cuban government our deep concern with the assaults,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement.

“The US government strongly deplores the assault on bloggers Yoani Sanchez, Orlando Luis Pardo, and Claudia Cadelo.

Sanchez, who writes the blog “Generation Y,” told AFP last week: “(The government agents) beat me and then they shoved me into a car head first. They did not give me any explanation at any time, but it is clear their goal was to stop us from taking part in the march.”

Three agents in street clothes had snatched them off the street in the Havana district of Vedado.

Sanchez, winner of the Maria Moors Cabot 2009 award and Ortega y Gasset Prize awarded by Madrid’s El Pais newspaper, said she was not seriously injured and was released half an hour after the arrest.

“Clearly, the beating hurts even more a day later; I am still really affected by all of this, but it is not going to stop me from writing my blog,” she added.

Kelly said the United States called on Cuba “to ensure the full respect of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its citizens.”

Washington has repeatedly urged action by Cuba to move forward on free speech and greater respect for human rights before lifting the US embargo on the island.

Cuban authorities say Sanchez and all other political dissidents are “mercenaries” in the pay of the United States and other western countries.

On November 11, 2009, publisher wrote:

The Wall Street Journal and Reuters follow up on this story.

On November 15, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Yoani is pretty quick to take pictures of everything else, so why didn’t she take some of her supposed wounds to prove her case?

On November 16, 2009, Cubana wrote:

Doubting Thomas pipefitter needs evidence!

Follow the link here for a photo of Orlando Luis Pardo’s bruising:

On November 16, 2009, manfredz wrote:

I have no doubts she got roughed up. 
Official governement policy is, I’m sure, still to intimidate anyone publicly crossing state policies.
And even once protest is “officially” allowed, something I’m sure is coming, albeit slowly, thre will be elements of police (and state security) who will still not accept it.  Just look at some police in our countries after homosexulaity was decriminalized (and in the states, treatment of blacks).
But maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but I think not, when I say, liberalization is coming in Cuba, albeit slowly.

On November 16, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Looks like Pardo has a heat rash from his t shirt and Yoani had to use the crutch prop to make it look convincing. Cubans like Pedro Santos Campos do much more to change Cuba by injecting critical dialog for public discussion about their system of government than she ever will with her antics,

On November 16, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

Pipefitter I totally disagree with you on those points.

The same way that you are allowed saying wherever you want, they in Cuba should be allowed their rights to say wherever they want and not for that should be attacked and/or kidnapped at the most perfect terrorist style. Why anybody should be prosecuted and/or punished for having a different point of view??

Not because you consider that Mr. Campos style is the more appropriate to solve the problems in Cuba (which is obviously debatable) you should approve and imply that is ok to attack and abuse women and also men.
Violence should not be tolerated, I’m against all types of violence and those that in one way or another approves and encourage them.

On November 16, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

I don’t think it’s acceptable to attack anyone any place in the world. What I am saying is that she is putting on a show for the world outside Cuba. I read her posts from time to time and she is very confrontational and most of her posts sound like a whining kid with no real depth to the threads. She obviously lives on money sent from outside Cuba and needs to make it look good to keep it coming. She likes to get attention and photograph herself with her cheeks sucked in to look like she is starving.

On November 16, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

Confrontational?, you may call it like that, I call it TRUE. What can you say in Cuba against the government that you guys do would not consider confrontational?
You may like it or hate it but that’s her own style. That’s what have brought her a lot of recognition. That without hiding she simply and plainly say the true.
What difference makes how she lives? Nobody questions how you, Fidel Castro, Raul Castro or I live.
Now as soon somebody say something against the regime in Cuba, and so openly, immediately people star fantasizing that they are CIA agents.
I’m sure lots of people send her money, which I would also try to do myself. For obvious reasons she cannot get a job with the government, and we know very well that in Cuba everything belongs to the government.