The ongoing battle for freedom in Cuba is often dangerous for those working to promote equality and democracy. As the below article illustrates, many caught up in this fight are Christians, spreading the love of Christ. The government hates such dissidents and will quiet them in any way possible.
Cuba Threatens To Kill Blind Christian Human Rights Activist
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
HAVANA , CUBA (BosNewsLife) – Cuba ‘s security forces and government supporters have allegedly threatened to kill an influential blind Christian dissident unless he stops his human rights activities and leaves the Communist island, BosNewsLife learned Sunday, September 11.
In a phone conversation transcript obtained by BosNewsLife News Center , Juan Carlos Gonzales Leiva, a lawyer and president of the Cuban Foundation of Human Rights, said an angry mob of hundreds of people tried to storm his house in the central city of Ciego de Avila this month where he and activists held a meeting.
“They threatened us with death, saying that they were going to yank us out of the house by our necks and that they were going to pull out our teeth.” Referring to Cuban president Fidel Castro “some 20 or 30 children at the front of the mob shouted, ‘Long live Fidel,’ and ‘Down with human rights,'” Gonzalez Leiva added.
“One young person, with his fist raised, looked at me and shouted: ‘If I catch you, I will kill you!'” the lawyer claimed.
In addition “they tried to fumigate my house with smoke, and they threatened to turn off our water and electricity. They prevented any food from coming in to my house [and] even cut off public phone connections so that the act of repudiation would not be reported abroad,” he said.
“Activists who left my house in the afternoon received insults upon leaving while others were beaten up including Lazaro Iglesias Estrada, National Secretary of the Cuban Foundation of Human Rights and independent journalist, Osmel Sanchez Lopez,” Gonzales Leiva added.
He said the violent protest appeared to have been organized by “forces of state security and the Cuban police” who allegedly used a local official to lead the demonstration.
Cuba ‘s Communist government often summons people for demonstrations but it was unclear whether those attending the violent September 1 rally had been forced to participate in it by local authorities.
Gonzales Leiva said he suffered over “15 acts of repression” since August 6 when he was reportedly detained when 50 activists where holding prayers and planned to elect the board members of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights.
“They constantly attack my friends and family [and] police have attacked the houses of independent farmers, Idael Perez and Manuel Guerra Rodriguez. The Cuban government also [hold in custody] my brother, sister and father who want to emigrate to the United States , without granting them the visa required to leave Cuba .”
He said Cuban authorities had warned him that “receiving visitors or making visits constitutes an act of public disorder”, although “in Cuba no such law” exists. “The situation is very tense because their objective is to pressure me to be forced to leave the country,” he stressed.
Gonzalez Leiva, 40, has been living under house arrest following his release from prison where he served over two years on what human rights groups described as “trumped up charges” of “disorderly conduct, disrespect for authority, disobedience and resisting arrest.”
He and nine other were arrested on March 4, 2002, after staging a protest at the Antonio Luaces Iraola provincial hospital, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) east of Havana, where independent journalist Jesus Alvarez Castillo was reportedly being treated for injuries from a confrontation with police.
Despite the pressure. Gonzales Leiva has refused to stop whet he sees as a struggle for more freedom and human rights. “I can never renounce the Christian love for human beings and the defense of rights … which don’t depend on any state or political power,” he told reporters last year. (With BosNewsLife Research, BosNewsLife News Center and reports from Cuba ).