Cuban dissidents Friday reported a crackdown across the island, with more than 30 activists detained to keep them from marking the monthly “Day of Resistance” and the one-year anniversary of one of the most active opposition groups.
Fourteen members of the Cuban Patriotic Union were detained in Havana as they gathered for the anniversary of the group, according to Pedro Arguelles, another member of the Union.
Five other dissidents were reported detained in the central city of Santa Clara during a vigil demanding the release of all political prisoners. Another four were arrested in the eastern town of San Luis and three more in the central town of Placetas.
Police told a dozen dissidents in eastern Camaguey province they would be arrested if they left their homes to attend an opposition gathering, and told seven others gathered in a Placetas home that they would be arrested if they did not leave.
Another 11 Union members gathered in the eastern town of Palma Soriano reported late Friday that they were headed outside to demand the release of all the activists detained. There was no further word from them.
Dissident Osmani Cespedes said more than 30 signs with anti-government slogans such as “Down with Raúl” and “Raúl Murderer” appeared Friday morning in several spots around the eastern town of Palma Soriano.
The Cuban Patriotic Union was founded a year ago by a group of opposition activists that include Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, a peaceful dissident who served eight years in prison and was freed last year. Based in Palma Soriano, his hometown, the Union has been one of the most active opposition groups in recent months.
Police detained Ferrer himself during a police raid of his home early Thursday morning, and seized several documents, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation noted Friday in an “urgent communiqué.”
Dissidents also have been marking the “Day of Resistance” on the 24th of each month, recalling the Feb. 24, 2010 death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo after a lengthy hunger strike to demand an end to prison abuses.
The dissident Ladies in White, meanwhile, urged democratic governments and human rights organizations to “take urgent and coordinated action to stop the violence unleashed by the Cuban regime” against the women and other peaceful opposition figures.
Their statement alleged that the Raúl Castro government “has stepped up the intimidations, the arbitrary jailings and the cruelty against all those who fight to install a democratic system in our country.”