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Regime forces 'assault' the headquarters of the UNPACU and the homes of several activists

Over 80 dissidents may have been arrested.

Santiago de Cuba

Early Sunday regime forces simultaneously “assaulted” the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in Santiago of Cuba and another eight houses of activists in that city and Palma Soriano, reported members of the DIARIO DE CUBA organization.

Several dozen dissidents were apparently arrested, 12 of them in Palma Soriano and another 10 in Havana. The arrests could total more than 80, according to former prisoner of conscience José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the organization, who was among those detained.

“We are assessing the raids, the robberies and the arrests, but the UNPACU maintains its appeal to take to the streets to demand the freedom of political prisoners and an end to the brutal repression against civil society,” Ferrer told the DIARIO DE CUBA moments after being released. “We continue urging dissidents and the population to stand up to this infamous tyranny,” he insisted.

The UNPACU had announced that this week it would resume Sunday demonstrations, and had summoned its activists to the National Sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity in El Cobre, Santiago de Cuba.

Alexei Martinez, a member of the organization, told DIARIO DE CUBA that the losses inflicted by the police on Sunday “were serious.”

According to activist Liudmila Cedeño on her Twitter account, the authorities took laptops, cell phones, CDs and other equipment used by the dissidents.

Martínez said that, in addition to the UNPACU headquarters, where José Daniel Ferrer resides, the homes raided included those of Ovidio Martín Castellanos, Leonardo Pérez Franco and Yeroslandy Calderín Alvarado.

Also attacked was the home of political prisoner Geordanis Muñoz Guerrero, where his two children were, along with his wife, Yenisey Jiménez Reina, who was arrested.

Cedeño said that the home of Yriade Hernández, another UNPACU coordinator, was also stormed.

Ferrer, one of the members of the Group of the 75 who rejected exile as a condition for release from prison, and who is under a provisional furlough, said that during his detention he was taken to a Micro 9 police station.

“A lieutenant colonel who did not give his name came to me with the old threat that my freedom could still be taken away from me, warning me that if I continued to organize actions that, according to him, spawn crimes of public disorder, disrespect, attacks and espionage, they were going to enforce the law,” he said.

He explained that he was also warned of the consequences that comments about "leaders of the revolution" could entail.

“This has to do with which I have said and  published about the deceased dictator Fidel Castro dictator,” Ferrer said. “The official said that I was making fun of him, which was serious, constituting a crime punishable by quite a serious sanction.”

“I always tell them to spare me the threats, and throw me in prison immediately if that is how it’s going to be,” Ferrer said.

The UNPACU, which regularly carries out surprise actions in the streets, had dedicated the protest this Sunday to one of its coordinators, Victor Campa Almenares, a prisoner in the jail in Aguadores who has been on a hunger strike since the 10th. And also to graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado (El Sexto) and Eduardo Cardet, national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, arrested since 26 and 30 November, respectively.

And to all the prisoners incarcerated "for political reasons," and to the Ladies in White, “who, brave and untiring, for more than 13 years have been on the front lines, struggling for political prisoners,” the organization announced.

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