Cuban Dissident: Blacks, Women Swell Ranks of Freedom Movement

Saturday, 10 Aug 2013 09:05 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Foes of the Castro regime are gaining increased support from blacks, women and residents of rural areas of Cuba, a former political prisoner said in Miami this week.

Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, 48, spent 17 years in prison after shouting anti-government slogans during a 1990 speech by then-Cuban Defense Minister Raul Castro. He landed in Miami Sunday on his first-ever trip abroad.

In an interview with the Miami Herald, Garcia, a combative, blunt-spoken man, portrayed the Communist regime in Havana as hostile to blacks and women. He said he and his wife Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera both of them prominent black pro-democracy activists
had been brutalized by the Castro regime.

In one instance, government agents attacked with machetes several female dissidents including Perez, head of a Cuban civil-rights group called the Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights.

A prison guard once threw a rope into his cell and taunted him: “Look, black guy. So you can hang yourself,” Garcia said.

A growing number of Cubans, among them military officers who have been intensely to the regime, are voicing criticism, and more people are posting signs critical of the government, he said.

Raul Castro, who succeeded his ailing brother Fidel in 2006, has responded with increased harassment, threats and detention of dissidents, who are arrested and later released on isolated rural roads.

Although the government has instituted some limited economic reforms, the Cuban political system remains as repressive as ever, Garcia said.

He faulted foreign journalists based in Havana, saying many are either “insensitive to the pain” of the opposition” or “in clear complicity” with the Castro regime.

 

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