Cuba: Diaspora Blogs About Dissidents

The plight of prisoners of conscience is a front-burner issue with Cuban diaspora bloggers. This week, they are talking about two in particular: Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, a former member of the Black Spring “Group of 75″ and Andres Carrion Alvarez, the man who was detained after shouting, “Down with Communism!” prior to the start of a mass during Pope Benedict XVI's recent visit to the island.

Uncommon Sense chose Ferrer as this week's “Cuba Political Prisoner of the Week”:

Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia knew the risk he was taking last year when he decided to remain in Cuba instead of taking exile overseas after he was released after eight years as a “Group of 75″ political prisoner. He knew that the Castro regime was reserving the right to return him to jail at less than a moment's notice, especially if he resumed the type of activities that had landed him in prison in 2003.

Since his release, Ferrer has become one of the more active and vocal leaders in the Cuban opposition, leading the Patriotic Union of Cuba and reporting on events in Cuba as an independent journalist. He has been arrested and detained numerous times, most recently on April 2.

As of this morning, he remains in jail, and Amnesty International is again listing him as a prisoner of conscience.

The blogger also noted that:

The repression suffered by Ferrer and some others of the Group of 75 who remained in Cuba belies the notion that their release signified a major shift in how the Castro dictatorship treats its opposition. It was only a tactical maneuver designed to move continued repression out of the glare of international attention, which had made the Group of 75 powerful symbols and into the shadows.

Pedazos de la Isla posted details about Ferrer's latest arrest, even publishing testimony from his wife, who is a member of the Ladies in White:

‘Jose Daniel has not committed any crime, he has no reason to be detained’, said his wife, Lady in White Belkis Cantillo…from Palmarito de Cauto. The former political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia has been jailed in the Versalles Police Unit since last April 2nd after a number of armed Cuban agents raided his home, confiscating various recording devices, a laptop, CDs, USB drives, and other materials.

Uncommon Sense noted that…

Ferrer was facing numerous charges, including ‘public disorder’ and accepting money from overseas and that he was at risk of having his parole revoked.

…and also made a connection between the arrest of Ferrer and the re-arrest of the second dissident, Carrion:

Before Cuban Papal Mass protester Andres Carrion Alvarez was released from jail late Friday almost three weeks after his arrest, he was required to sign a document noting that he would be re-arrested if he gave interviews with foreign journalists or if he met with opposition activists.

So it was no surprise when on Monday, a day after he was interviewed by Radio Marti, Carrion was arrested in a park in Santiago de Cuba, where he had gone to participate in an opposition demonstration to demand the release of former Group of 75 prisoner of conscience Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia.

Pedazos de la Isla gave additional details by quoting an activist from the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU):

Carrion was ‘forced to sign a document which prohibits him from leaving his municipality and/or province, Santiago de Cuba.’

In regards to the conditions of the young Cuban, Chaviano said that ‘he is physically well but is very nervous, dazed’ considering that he was subjected to countless interrogations and was confined to a hermitically sealed off cell in inhumane conditions.

The blogger uploaded a video of Carrion's arrest, and added his own perspective:

The international community should remain attentive over what may still occur to this brave Cuban, considering that the forces of the communist Cuban regime will, without a doubt, keep surveillance over him and will impede him from moving freely throughout his own country. All for expressing what he felt.

Finally, Capitol Hill Cubans posted an image of yet another dissident, Morales Gonzalez, who had previously spent 12 years as a political prisoner and was released in 2005:

Last month, the Castro regime's secret police brutally beat pro-democracy activist and former political prisoner, Julio César Morales González.

He was essentially left for dead in front of a Methodist church near his mother's home in the eastern Cuban town of Holguin.

Here's a picture of him after the beating.

More ‘reform’ you can't believe in.

The thumbnail image used in this post, “Cuba Libre”, is by flippinyank, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) Creative Commons license. Visit flippinyank's flickr photostream.


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