Prominent dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez has been released by Cuban security forces after being arrested (below) alongside other 20-odd other government critics enquiring about political detainees.
By late Thursday night she was back on Twitter. She wrote that she was once again walking the streets of Havana after several hours of detention. Sanchez wrote, ‘‘I am fine! Thanks for the solidarity.’’
The Inter American Press Association had just named Sanchez its delegate in Cuba and demanded her release.
The group was arrested while protesting over the detention of a lawyer, Yaremis Flores, who provides free legal assistance to opposition activists.
“A wave of repression has been noted in the capital. It has a spiral or domino-effect,’’ Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz, a spokesman for the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation told El Nuevo Herald:
The commission also confirmed the arrest of the director of State of Sats Project, Antonio Rodiles, and activists Andres Perez and Mario Morales. The project is a movement based in Havana, which promotes the exchange of ideas. On several occasions, the group has made written demands for an end to the Cuban government’s censorship practices. In this context, it organizes monthly meetings, panel discussions and analyses on art and social activism.
The organization has repeatedly asked the government not to prohibit entry into the island of various intellectuals and artists now barred by the government because they do not fit in with the island’s political expectations.
“As the world’s eyes were turned on the U.S. election, Cuba’s regime unleashed a wave of arbitrary detentions, arresting 20-25 dissidents on November 8 and 9, as they were on their way to an organizing meeting for a campaign to end human rights abuses,” says Freedom House, the rights and democracy watchdog:
The Cuban government began arresting activists on November 8 to thwart a meeting organized by activist and intellectual Antonio Rodiles on the Citizens’ Petition for Human Rights or “Demanda Ciudadana por Otra Cuba,” a civic campaign which raises public awareness about Cuba’s human rights record and calls on the Cuban government to recognize its obligations under UN treaties… These detentions are in addition to another 520 arrests that took place in October, according to the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation, led by Elizardo Sanchez. Freedom House condemns Cuba’s crackdown and urges the regime to release these activists and heed citizen calls for greater respect for its human rights obligations under UN treaties.
Freedom House consistently ranks Cuba among the world’s most repressive societies. Cuba is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2012, Freedom House’s survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2012. The island nation also received the second-lowest ranking in Freedom on the Net, a study of internet freedom in 47 countries released in 2012.
“The 37-year-old Sanchez — who has won numerous journalism awards, been named on Time’s 100 Most Influential list and interviewed recently re-elected US President Barack Obama — was detained as she and others protested the arrest of opposition lawyers and activists outside a Havana police station,” Global Post reports.