Torture in Cuba
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May 6, 2009
Cuba democracy activists chide CBC members for Castro meeting

by Mosheh Oinounou

Cuban pro-democacy advocates went up to Capitol Hill Wednesday to call
on legislators who recently met with former Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro
to address human rights concerns on the island.

Activist Berta Antunez visited the offices of Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA),
Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Laura Richardson (D-CA) where she delivered a
letter written by her brother, a longtime civil rights advocate still in
Cuba, accusing the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members of being
"insensitive" to their cause during a trip to Cuba last month.

Antunez, who was joined by fellow activist Anolan Ponce today, is the
sister of famed Cuba civil rights advocate Jorge Luis Garcia Perez
Antunez who served 18 years in prison for protesting the regime.

Lee, Richardson, and Rush were part of a six-member delegation that
traveled to Cuba in April where they called for the opening of US-Cuban
ties and met with both Fidel and Raul Castro.

The activists accuse the delegation of refusing to meet with civil
rights advocates during their trip.

"It is ironic that individuals such as yourselves, who have been elected
to your positions through a democratic system, and who enjoy all human
rights, do not wish the same for the Cuban people. It is undignified to
use prerogatives that for us are inaccessible, such as to traveling to
and from one's homeland, having an opinion without fear of persecution,
or associating with others who share similar interests, and then to
ignore the victims of oppression in Cuba," the letter reads.

"When we recall the fight and integrity of Martin Luther King and Rosa
Parks, without whom you would still be giving up your seat on the bus
and would not have the right to vote, we ask ourselves if the legacy of
those who conquered the space of opportunity that you enjoy today, has
been reserved only for political speeches and has ceased to be a
commitment of your generation to justice and truth," they continued.

Upon arrival at Lee's office, Berta Antunez and Ponce met with a
legislative aide for the California congresswoman.

"I came to deliver a letter to the congresswoman from my brother which
expresses the insult of the pro-democracy movement on the island that
just kilometers away from where they were meeting with Fidel and Raul
Castro that my brother and other pro-democracy activists in Cuba were
being assaulted with tear gas and were being subjected to the most
repressive activity," Berta Antunez said through a translator following
the meeting.

"It was almost a slap in the face to the pro-democracy and human rights
movement on the island," she added.

A spokesman for the CBC has been contacted for a response.

FULL LETTER BELOW:

April 24, 2009

Representatives:

When one is fighting for liberty and human rights within a totalitarian
society like the one that exists in Cuba, it is hurtful and offensive
that citizens of a free society who have access to uncensored
information visit our Island and lack the courage to inquire about the
unjustly imprisoned political prisoners.

How could you be so insensitive to the oppression that the Ladies in
White are subject to every day when they demand freedom for their loved
ones? The images of these women marching through the streets of Havana
should strike the conscience of all people of good will.

We, the authors of this letter, are a young black married couple and
members of the opposition who began a hunger strike on February 17 of
this year to demand an end to the harassment against Cuba's political
prisoners, against their families and against the members of the
opposition in Cuba. Today we continue this protest on a liquid fast. One
of the specific requests of our protest is to demand that the regime's
authorities respect the rights of political prisoner Mario Alberto Perez
Aguilera, brother and brother-in-law of the authors of this letter, who
has been repeatedly beaten and is confined to isolation and torture, and
kept until this day in an isolation cell in the Provincial Prison in
Santa Clara.

While you were meeting with the Castro brothers, only 300 kilometers
away from the capital, our home and the five protesters who remain
within it were subject to a brutal siege by the combined forces of the
national and political police. During that time, the commissaries of the
government that you praised so highly launched toxic gases against our
home, the harmful fumes putting our lives at risk. Moreover, the Castro
regime is using its forces of repression to prevent entry to our home to
anyone who is interested in our health, including our families. That is
the case of Iris Perez Aguilera, who, to this date suffers from the pain
of not being able to hug her 14-year-old son because the Cuban regime
prohibits his access to our home.

In addition, if that were not enough, we inform you of acts of police
brutality against members of the independent civil society, acts that,
had they occurred in a democratic society, would have been condemned.
Three young women, black members of the opposition, Donaida Perez
Paseiro, Damaris Moya Portieles and Idania Yánez Contreras, and the last
one is 6 weeks pregnant, were brutally beaten and dragged through the
streets of Placetas so that they could not enter our home. These abuses,
just like the one perpetrated against the 70-year-old member of the
opposition, activist Bienvenido Perdigón Pacheco, who on April 20 of
this year, was dragged by the political police causing him a cerebral
hemorrhage, and other violations that occur daily, take place in public
view to prevent solidarity with the protesters and to not even allow
them know our situation.

Congressmen, it is ironic that individuals such as yourselves, who have
been elected to your positions through a democratic system, and who
enjoy all human rights, do not wish the same for the Cuban people. It is
undignified to use prerogatives that for us are inaccessible, such as to
traveling to and from one's homeland, having an opinion without fear of
persecution, or associating with others who share similar interests, and
then to ignore the victims of oppression in Cuba.

When we recall the fight and integrity of Martin Luther King and Rosa
Parks, without whom you would still be giving up your seat on the bus
and would not have the right to vote, we ask ourselves if the legacy of
those who conquered the space of opportunity that you enjoy today, has
been reserved only for political speeches and has ceased to be a
commitment of your generation to justice and truth.

Sincerely,

Iris Perez Aguilera
Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights

Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez
"Pedro Luis Boitel" Political Prisoners' Movement

» Cuba democracy activists chide CBC members for Castro meeting The
Speakers Lobby « FOXNews.com (9 May 2009)

http://congress.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/05/06/cuba-democracy-activists-chide-cbc-members-for-castro-meeting/

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