The University of Havana
UPDATED, Aug. 19, 2010 — Two of the prisoners, Sara Fonseca and Yordanis Martínez were released late Tuesday, Aug. 17, but the three others remain in jail. They have started hunger strikes, according to Fonseca.
UPDATED, Aug. 23, 2010 — Luis Labrador, Eduardo Pérez and Michel Rodríguez have been charged with "public disorder" and face up to three years in prison, according to Fonseca.
UPDATED, Sept. 5, 2010 — Labrador, Pérez and Rodríguez have been released.
I usually publish only one Political Prisoner (or Prisoners) of the Week each week, but today I am making an exception in the case of the five dissidents arrested Monday during a protest at the University of Havana. (For the other profile published earlier this week, go here.)
My purpose for this is twofold: To hopefully draw attention to the case, attention that might cause the Castro dictatorship to release them sooner rather than later.
And to belie the notion that despite the release of more than 20 political prisoners in recent weeks, nothing about the repressive, totalitarian nature of the Castro regime has changed. In fact, as Spain, the Catholic Church and the dictatorship bask in the limelight brought by their deal that has led to the releases, Cuban State Security and its goons have heightened their attacks on dissidents across the island.
The least we can do is to demonstrate our support for those brave Cubans still on the front lines — you can listen to their protest, here — in the struggle for freedom.
The Miami Herald reports on the arrests at the University of Havana:
Five Cuban dissidents remained in custody 36 hours after a rare protest at the University of Havana, an iconic spot for airing grievances before the Castro revolution, activists said Tuesday.
``We are peaceful youths and defenders of human rights, demanding freedom and democracy for our country,'' Sara Martha Fonseca Quevedo is heard saying in a recording of the protest Monday morning before the group broke into chants of ``Down with the Castros'' and ``Freedom.''
The anti-Castro protest on the broad stone steps that lead up to the university campus were the first he could remember since the early 1960s, said human-rights activist Elizardo Sanchez Santacruz.
Before 1959, many anti-government protesters -- including Fidel Castro, then a law student -- gathered on the steps because police were legally barred from the campus. Castro ended the university's autonomy after he seized power.
Dissident Jorge Luis García Pérez ``Antúnez'' identified those arrested as Fonseca, Luis Enrique Labrador, Eduardo Pérez Flores, Yordanis Martinez Carvajal, and Michel Rodríguez Luis
Cuban Democratic Direcotorate has more, en español.