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Cuba’s New Minister of the Interior Inaugurates His Tenure With a Repressive Wave Across the Country

Cuba’s New Minister of the Interior Inaugurates His Tenure With a
Repressive Wave Across the Country / 14ymedio, Mario Penton

14ymedio, Mario Penton, Havana/Miami, 11 January 2017 — While in the
United States Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of
State, made it clear that human rights will be an important part of
Washington’s policy toward Cuba, the island’s police forces carried out
repressive actions in different parts of the country.

“The increase in repression is due to several causes, among them a push
that the government is making in the last days of Barack Obama’s
administration to make it clear to Trump that they do not care about the
policy change he has announced towards Cuba,” said José Daniel Ferrer,
leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu) speaking from Santiago de

Ferrer denounced the arrest of Jesús Romero and Alexis Rodríguez,
activists of his organization who were accused of “posting an opposition
sign in the center of the city.”

Among Unpacu members recently detained are also its coordinator, Ovidio
Martín Castellanos, and the singer Yuniel Aguilera.

“After the death of his brother, Raul Castro needs to increase terror
levels to maintain power,” says Ferrer, who says the government is
willing to do anything to eliminate any hint of dissent.

“They know people are tired of the same thing. When in April we
mobilized more than 1,000 people the political police told us that we
would never do something like that again,” he adds.

At the other end of the island, the editor of the magazine Convivencia
(Coexistence), Karina Galvez, was the victim of search of her home,
which ended up being sealed. Galvez herself, age 48 and an economist by
profession, is under arrest for the alleged crime of tax evasion.

The director of the Center for Coexistence Studies, Dagoberto Valdés
Hernández, called the escalation against the civic project he leads –
including the suspension of a planned meeting and multiple arrests –
acts of “harassment” by State Security.

Also arrested this day was regime opponent Óscar Elías Biscet, founder
of the Emilia Project, which seeks the change of government in the
island by means of a popular uprising. After a few hours, Dr. Biscet,
who has spent long years in jail, was released.

Activists Eduardo Quintana Suarez, Jose Omar Lorenzo Pimienta and Yoan
Alvares, who belong to the same organization, were also arrested, as
reported by El Nuevo Herald.

Activist Martha Beatriz Roque was arrested when she attempted to attend
the scattering of the ashes of the recently deceased opponent Felix
Antonio Bonne Carcassés. She explained to 14ymedio that her detention
lasted until two on Wednesday afternoon.

Opponent René Gómez Manzano told this newspaper that they “appealed” to
his sanity so that he would not attend the ceremony where the ashes
would be scattered, although he finally succeeded in doing so.

According to a press release from Democratic Directorate in the city of
Holguín, human rights activist Maydolis Leiva Portelles, together with
her three children, under arrest since November 27, 2016, were brought
to trial.

The entire family, according to the press release, including two minors,
was the subject of an act of repudiation that included “violent raiding
of the home, beatings, and robbery of personal property.”

This repressive wave has been unfolding within a few hours of the
replacement of the recently deceased Interior Minister, Carlos Fernández
Gondín, by Vice Admiral Julio César Gandarilla. Among other
prerogatives, the person who controls the portfolio of the Interior
Ministry also exercises command over State Security and the National
Revolutionary Police.

“With the [previous minister] repression was quite extensive, although
it must be said that in Cuba a minister cannot do anything without Raul
Castro authorizing it. The policy carried out by Gondín continues with
Gandarilla. We will have more repression as the discontent increases,”
says José Daniel Ferrer.

Source: Cuba’s New Minister of the Interior Inaugurates His Tenure With
a Repressive Wave Across the Country / 14ymedio, Mario Penton –
Translating Cuba –

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