American civil rights icon Rosa Parks didn't take any grief from those who would repress her.
And neither does the Cuban human rights activist and independent librarian Juan Bermúdez Toranzo.
Journalist Roberto Santana Rodríguez, in a story posted at Payo Libre, reports that the 40-year-old Bermúdez — who runs the "Rosa Parks Independent Library" — was arrested as he left the the U.S. Interest Section in Havana on March 5.
He was taken to a police station, where he was interrogated about his work as a librarian. When one of the officers challenged him on how he could call himself a librarian when he didn't hold a university degree in library science, Bermúdez said he was only trying to pass on uncensored information to the Cuban public — a service, he added, not provided by the Cuban government.
Before releasing him about four hours later, the officers seized a box that Bermúdez had been carrying from the Interest Section. In the box, were literature, a portable radio, two baseballs and other items. The officers also took a photograph of Bermúdez and said it would be shown on one of the regime's propaganda television programs. They also warned him to stay away from the U.S. Interest Section.
This is not the first time Bermúdez has been punished for his activism. In January, he lost his job as a karate instructor, after he participated in a march commemorating World Human Rights Day.
After his release last week, Bermúdez told journalist Santana he would not be turning his back on the Americans, nor the struggle for Cuban freedom.
The opponent said that despite the repression, he would be continuing his work for human rights, liberty and democracy in Cuba, and that he would continue going to the Interest Section and its press and culture department, for which he is thankful for the support he has received for his 'Rosa Parks' independent library."
Rosa Parks, who showed how one brave person saying "No" to injustice, could change the world, would be proud.