Written by Staff Writer
Cuban dissidents detained in recent days have been taken to a house in the eastern city of Santiago and prevented from leaving, amid a recent crackdown on anti-government activists, according to press reports.
About 30 members of Ladies in White, the largest group in Cuba whose members criticize the Castros’ government, were to attend the protest rally of independent labor activists, but were turned away, according to press reports.
The dissidents had been arrested in two other locations across the country in recent days, including one woman and her teenage daughter, according to reports.
Activists of the Ladies in White and independent labor unions say the number of the detentions continues to rise in recent weeks, a tactic increasingly used by the government to silence political dissent on the island, but denied by authorities.
In August, authorities prevented about 75 people from participating in opposition-organized demonstrations.
“The government is issuing more and more threats to the organizations,” independent labor activist Simel de los Reyes told the press. “Every day, we’re seeing more violations of the rights that we’re trying to safeguard.”
Since the fall of socialism in Cuba, the government has frequently harassed and prosecuted human rights activists.
The Center for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an independent NGO in Cuba, says it has documented about 140 political detentions in October.
As a sign of protest, some activists plan to call Tuesday for the release of all political prisoners, while other will visit iconic buildings that were part of the protests that brought the Soviet Union to its knees.
“At least 50 of our comrades went to the secret police in Holguin to protest,” said De los Reyes. “It’s because of this that we are here today.”
The government accuses the activists of having ties to the United States government, including the CIA.
Independent labor organizations on the island say they are facing numerous bureaucratic obstacles to organizing.
The clampdown has escalated following months of tension between Cuba and the United States, especially since President Donald Trump took office, activists say.