March 11 2009

Son fired over father’s dissident activities

HAVANA, Cuba, March 11 (Leafar Pérez / - Damián Alejandro Pereda, 17, lost his job at the Alejo Carpentier printing plant for refusing to inform on his dissident father.

Police captain Alberto Cautín summoned the son in January and demanded he cooperate with State Security against his father, Ramón de Jesús Pereda. When he refused, he was fired from his janitorial job.

Capt. Cautín later threatened to have Damián Pereda tried on charges of being a danger to society, common accusations against dissidents. The captain told members of the block committee in the area where Pereda lives that the son supported the anti-government activities of his father, who has distributed human rights literature and the reports of independent journalists.

Police presence increases in Havana

HAVANA, Cuba, March 11 (Leafar Pérez / – Greater police presence and actions against dissidents have been noted in the capital the last few days, presumably because of the upcoming anniversary of the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of 75 dissidents in 2003.

As well, heads of Committees for the Defense of the Revolution have been meeting with their members, retired workers, Communist Party members and military veterans, asking them to be on the lookout for illegal activities. They were told to pay special attention the putting up of anti-government posters.

For its part, State Security has increased its vigilance of opposition groups, cracking down on what it considers to be illegal trips to the city.

Dissident denied permission to travel

HAVANA, Cuba, March 11 (Asela Vega / – Dissident Rafael Ernesto Ávila, president of the Young Cuba Popular Party, was refused permission to attend conferences this month in Athens and Miami at the invitation of the We Care Foundation.

Ávila said that he filled in a request for a passport at the Emigration Office in the capital and was told that he’d be given a reply later.

“I went alternate days to Emigration to see if they’d let me travel and they always told me to return another day,” he said. “On Monday they said: ‘You can’t travel unless you’re leaving for good.’”

Ávila said he had been denied permission in 2000 to attend a conference in Ecuador.