Cuban police and State Security agents Wednesday detained a top dissident — Jorge Luis García Pérez who is also known as “Antúnez” — and his wife and seized computers, clothes, a TV, and even cooking pots during a raid of their home, other democracy activists reported.
García Pérez has been organizing an island-wide opposition movement since he and his wife, Yris Pérez, returned in December from a four-month trip abroad that took them to Miami, Washington, and several European countries.
Dissident and neighbor Blas Fortún Martínez told the Miami-based Cuban Democratic Directorate that García Pérez was hauled away by police and State Security agents after a raid Wednesday morning on his home in Placetas, a town in central Cuba.
More than 15 police cars and trucks and even a fire truck turned up for the raid as police painted over the anti-Castro slogans on the front of their house, Fortún reported.
Dissident Loreto Hernández told the Directorate that he and Donaida Pérez were also being arrested before the call went dead. Hernández later reported that he had been freed but that there’s no word on García Pérez’s whereabouts.
Yris Pérez was away from the home during the raid but was arrested later along with five other dissidents in the provincial capital, Santa Clara, as she left the home of a government opponent there, said dissident Damaris Moya.
Moya said she witnessed police punching Pérez and roughly throwing her and the five others into police cruisers when the activists tried to walk to the State Security offices in Santa Clara to demand García Pérez’s release.
Cuban authorities usually detain dissidents for a few hours or more to keep them from attending planned opposition activities. But the Directorate’s Janisset Rivero said she did not believe that García Pérez would be released soon.
Police may hold him longer to try to disrupt his island-wide campaign to organize the opposition to the government, Rivero said, or to keep him from attending a U.N. gathering on human rights in Switzerland this month.
Dissident Manuel Cuesta Morua was held for five days in January and then charged with “disseminating false news against world peace.” He is not expected to be brought to trial but must report to police every Tuesday and cannot travel abroad.
García Pérez, secretary general of the opposition Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Front for Civic Resistance, called for efforts to “destabilize” the Raúl Castro government in a news conference the day before his return to Cuba.