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Repression increases against dissidents in Santiago de Cuba


Riot troops stand in front of dissident's house in Palma Soriano, Cuba

Three members of the opposition group, Patriotic Union of Cuba, remain detained.

Of the 25 human rights activists arrested last Tuesday in Palma Soriano, Victor Campa, Pedro Campa, and Yerolandis Calderin, all members of the opposition organization Patriotic Union of Cuba, remian in a provincial detention center in Santiago de Cuba.

The arrests occurred at dawn on Tuesday when 26 uniformed military officers arrived at the homes of UNPACO activists living in the La Ceiba in Palma Soriano. After a thorough search of some of the homes and confiscating computers, discs, documents, and money, the dissidents were taken to the police station in the town for a few hours, explained UNPACU activist Rodolfo Hernandez Guerrero.
Three detainees were taken to Santiago de Cuba and the rest released hours later, Hernandez said, adding that he could spoke with them during the time they were at the station and found that none of the detainees were given a reason for the arrest and the raids.
The activist called the police proceeding a violation of citizens' rights and filed a lawsuit Provincial Office in Santiago de Cuba, stating that he wasn't present during the police raid of the home. He alleges that the police "stole" a computere with an estimated value of $500, discs, a radio, curtains, blankets, bedding and two thousand euros a sister had given him to be exchange in the Casa de Cambio (CADECA), or foreign exchanges, explained Hernandez.

Meanwhile Yoanna Benitez, wife of Victor Campa, ensures that both the police and the riot troops committed excesses in their home, where there are two minors.
Six gun toting soldiers broke down the door and entered the home, checking everything, but never saying why they were there, said Benitez, who left the scene to prevent the two minor girls from witnessing the events.

Victor and Pedro Campa , the latter father to Yerolandis Calderín, must be detained for seventy-two hours and until it is determined "what to do with them," Benitez , who went to the detention center in Santiago on Wednesday, to bring the men clothes and personal hygiene products.
All the wood he had for carpentry was confiscated from Pedro Campa's home and he was fined, because according to the police, "the timber is illegal," Benitez said.
The day before the arrests, there was a public action in the streets of Palma Soriano where posters with slogans alluding to democracy and freedom, the work UNPACU, and the objectives of a peaceful struggle for Cuba were displayed, said Hernandez who also participated in the marches.
"The police and state security does not recognize that we are in opposition and that we do not agree with communism," said the activist.

While Ovidio Martin, also a member of the UNPACU, said that in recent months the opposition organization has made multiple civic actions in the streets of several towns in the province of Santiago de Cuba. They have made citizen demands and "apparently the government is afraid that people will join the opposition," he said.

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    Idolidia Darias

    Idolidia Darias hails from Santa Clara, Cuba. A teacher by trade, she's worked with educational and cultural institutions in the province of Villa Clara. She has authored two books on the early years of confrontation between peasant guerrillas and the totalitarian regime in Escambray. Also a freelance journalist, she has been exiled in Miami since 2004.  She also maintains a blog, in Spanish, La frontera transparente (The Transparent Frontier). 

    Follow her on Twitter: @idolidiadarias
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