Two Cuban human rights activists traveled to Miami on Thursday where they will be medically examined after reporting that they were violently pinched during a Sunday attack in Havana.
Antonio Rodiles, Director of Community Project ‘Estado de Sats’ and one of the Coordinators of the Rights and Liberties Forum, and his partner, activist Ailer Gonzalez, decided to have their bodies medically examined after discovering marks that appear to be “from a vaccination syringe.” Rodiles spoke to el Nuevo Herald via telephone while at the airport in Havana.
According to Rodiles, on Sunday, after the 36th march within the #TodosMarchamos or #WeallMarch campaign — advocating the liberation of political prisoners in Cuba — “a mob” attacked the activists.
“The level of violence was very marked, there was a lot of aggression, they pushed us against a wall. This incident took place when they were loading us into the police vehicle and the mob, which was committing a hate crime, threw itself on top of us while they insulted and shoved us,” Rodiles said.
At that moment, “a man approached Ailer and yelled into her face calling her a “mercenary and a worm”. Rodiles intervened and exchanged some words with the man. The first thing the man responds to Rodiles: “I have not touched her.” After reviewing all that transpired the activists say they realized their aggressors’ modus operandi.
“I think the shouts and screams were a way to distract,” said the activist, who added that he felt a strong pinch in one of his arms, he describes the pinch as being similar to what a “nail twisting into your skin” could feel like.
Both were detained and taken to a police station located on 7th Avenue and 62nd Street in Havana. At the police station both activists were interrogated. Due to the confusion and tension they both felt in the heat of the attack, Rodiles and Gonzalez forgot about the incident until Monday when they discovered the marks: “three small orifices in the shape of a triangle and one in the center”.
The marks are located on both of Rodiles’ arms and on Gonzalez’s chest.
Anti-Castro activists in the United States such as Frank Calzon, Director of the Center for a Free Cuba, warned of the possibility that the activists had been injected with an unknown substance.
Rodiles, however, said he hadn’t felt “anything in particular” but that he had experienced “a noticeable reaction on his skin.” Other dissidents and activists voiced their preoccupation over the occurred events and motivated Rodiles to travel to the United States and have “a blood test done, to discard the possibility of a toxic substance” in his blood.
This is not the first time the activist is attacked in one of the #todosmarchamos protests. In July of last year, Rodiles had an operation after being beaten by a State Security agent, which resulted in a fractured nose.