HAVANA – A Cuban opposition group reported Tuesday that at least 25 dissidents were arrested during a “wave of repression” in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.
According to a communique released in Havana by the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, the political police and “other repressive forces of the regime” arrested peaceful opposition members, sometimes with “violence,” in the municipalities of Palma Soriano, Palmarito de Cauto and Santiago de Cuba.
Among those in custody are former “Group of 75” political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer and his wife Belkis Cantillo, leader of the Santiago chapter of the Ladies in White group, the note from commission spokesman Elizardo Sanchez said.
As a member of the Group of 75, Ferrer was freed on parole in March 2011 and was among the 12 members of the group that refused to accept exile in Spain as a condition for getting out of prison.
In recent months Ferrer has been detained briefly and released without charges several times.
According to the rights commission report, the homes of some under arrest were raided Monday and the authorities confiscated items like “office equipment, books and other publications and different objects belonging to the family.”
“Those being detained are members of different opposition organizations, but the great majority are members of the Cuban Patriotic Union, whose coordinator is Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia,” it said.
The note also stated that 24 hours after the arrests, the whereabouts of the detainees was still unknown.
The telephones of Ferrer and his wife are disconnected, which prevented Efe from contacting them.
Last week the rights commission accused the government of arresting more than 150 people and disconnecting activists’ telephones during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba.
The communist government considers dissendents to be counterrevolutionaries and mercenaries at the beck and call of the United States. EFE