Political prisoners in Cuba

Castro sics dogs on flower-carrying women

Castro sics dogs on flower-carrying women
Posted: September 06, 2011
6:12 pm Eastern
Nat Hentoff

Among the bravest and most persistent protesters against dictatorial
regimes have been, for years, the Ladies in White of Cuba. With Fidel
presumably sidelined, his brother Raul carries on the brutish family
tradition of crushing dissent, as seen in his attacks against this
non-violent group.

Ladies in White members are comprised of relatives of caged political
prisoners, as well as unyielding Cuban human-rights activists. For an
ongoing account of what they have to endure while much of the world –
including America – now largely ignores the victims of this ruthless
"Revolution," read the account below:

On Aug. 7, 20 Ladies in White bearing flowers (never weapons) began
their march on the streets of the city of Santiago de Cuba after leaving
its cathedral.

Government-organized mobs battered the women and pushed them into buses
headed for an unknown destination. More of these hoodlums, also
assembled by the Ministry of the Interior, also beat up Ladies in White
that day in the city of Palmarito del Cauto. ("Activists With Fractures
Are Hospitalized After Brutal Attack," Aug. 7, netforcuba.org).

For their "disloyalty" to the Castro regime, six Ladies in White and
other human-rights dissidents were hospitalized. And dig this if you
have been led to believe that Cuba's rulers have been "humanized" in
recent years:

"By orders of the political police, doctors refused to provide these
wounded activists with a medical certificate, which they need in order
to accuse Cuban authorities of the perpetrated against them."
(Raul seems to be becoming more meticulous in denying charges of cruelty.)

Trapped in Castro's gulag and lived to tell about it – check out Armando
Valladares' story of 20 years under 's thumb: "Against All Hope"

One of the few U.S. newspapers still covering the Stalinist beat in Cuba
is the Miami Herald ("Cuban dissidents say cops again beat women,"
miamiherald.com, Aug. 16). These violently enforced gag rules "marked
the fourth weekend in a row that authorities have used physical force
and even violence to break up the women's attempt to establish their
right to protest in eastern Cuba."

And this is how utterly insistent on squashing dissent the Castro
administration remains after all these bloody decades, as reported by
the Miami Herald:

"Police also detained another seven Ladies in White supporters before
they could get to the cathedral (in Santiago), including three who tried
to sneak out of their homes around 2 a.m. in hopes of evading the
security forces," said Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, a recently freed
political . "One of the women fainted when confronted with a
police guard dog."

Is Raul Castro, shown enlisting combative dogs, becoming insecure?

Another rare U.S. news source staying on the Castro brothers'
revolutionary crusade against free speech is the Wall Street Journal
("On Cuba's Capital Steps," Aug. 27). The week before, there were four
Cubans "who took to the steps of the Capitol in Havana … chanting
'liberty' for 40 minutes" – until dragged into patrol cars by uniformed
Castro state security thugs.

One of them, Sara Marta Fonseca – a member of Cuba's Rosa Parks Feminist
Movement for Civil Rights – in a telephone interview with Diario de
Cuba, a -based online newspaper, said she was pleased with the
results of her arrest "because she heard the crowd crying 'abuser, leave
them alone, they are peaceful and they are telling the truth.'"

Fonseca explained: "I am very happy because in spite of being beaten and
dragged, we could see that the people were ready to join us."

However, she does admit: "Realistically, we do not have the strength and
the power to defeat the dictatorship. The strength and the power are to
be found in the unity of the people. In this we put all our faith, in
that this people will cross the barrier of fear and join the opposition
to reclaim freedom."

These Cuban forces of freedom, however, will continue to get no support
from, gosh, the American Library Association (ALA), despite its mantra
"The Freedom to Read." The ALA resolutely will not condemn the Castros'
attacks on Cuban independent librarians.

Because I've long reported on this shame of the ALA, the world's largest
organization of librarians – by contrast with library associations in
other countries rebuking Cuba – I've been scorned by Eliades Costa, the
director of the Cuban National Library, where biographies of Martin
Luther King Jr. are banned.

Said Costa: "What does Mr. Hentoff know of the real Cuba?"

My public answer (The Friends of Cuban Libraries, "Defenders of
Intellectual Freedom," Aug. 28, 2011): "I know that if I were a Cuban,
I'd be in ."

I also damn well know that I'm right about the ALA's silence on Castro
courts ordering the burning of books seized from Cuban
independent librarians – and that these raids continue. From Friends of
Cuban Libraries late-breaking news section, on April 9: "Jose Ramon
Rivera, the director of an independent library in Pinar del Rio
Province, complains that a State Security major named Rafael and two
police agents entered his house at #655 Garmendia St. and, without
showing a warrant, took away four boxes of books."

Now hear this: On April 30, in New York, ALA activist Rhonda Neugebauer,
when asked why in 20 years of visits to Cuba she hasn't been able to
find any censorship of books, said: "The question does not deserve an

Fortunately, Americans still find public libraries essential. Next time
you're in one, ask the librarian to insist that the American Library
Association help Cubans gain their right of freedom to read by speaking
the truth about the Castros!

And why has so much of our online, print and electronic media let the
ALA get away with this naked hypocrisy? I can only imagine that the
smiling Castro brothers approve of the august ALA's silence.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

September 2011
« Aug   Oct »
We run various sites in defense of human rights and need support to pay for more powerful servers. Thank you.