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By Zach Foster
At least 7 Cuban Libertarian Party members and activists were arrested over the weekend. Among those arrested were the national president Caridad Ramirez, national spokesman Nelson Rodriguez Chartrand, and Alexis Muñoz Jimenez, the regional president for Camaguey province.
This mass arrest was carried out in order to keep the Cuban Libertarians both in Camaguey province and the Havana federal district from attending the trial of imprisoned libertarian activists Ubaldo Herrera and Manuel Velazquez.
Caridad and many other activists awoke to find the police surrounding the private home which serves as headquarters for the Cuban Libertarian Party and the Mises-Mambi Institute. The police were also surrounding the headquarters in Camaguey province, arresting anyone who left the buildings or tried to approach. Nelson and Alexis were arrested in Camaguey last weekend, and the local libertarians regrouped with other dissidents and led a protest in front of the local police station. The two men were freed shortly after, and the authorities likely wanted to nip any further shows of strength in the bud.
All 7 people detained were arrested specifically for attempting to attend the trial of Ubaldo Herrera and Manuel Velazquez. Ubaldo and Manuel were arrested by State Security and the National Revolutionary Police under the false charge of attempted assault of a police officer. They have been languishing in conditions unfit for humanity at the Melena del Sur labor prison. Their trial began today with the stakes being at least 1 charge of distributing enemy propaganda, and a hard labor prison sentence of up to 7 years.
In addition to Caridad, Nelson, and Alexis being arrested, the Cuban political police came after several other key members. They arrested Yanet Padrón, the party’s secretary and youngest member, Eduardo Ramos Balaguer, who appeared in a recent viral video testifying that his brother was being held hostage in the prison system for ransom, member Israel Reyes Montero, Miguel Lopez Santos, who appeared protesting against Cuba’s deployment of troops to Venezuela in a photo that went viral yesterday; and an elderly member named Rosa who was also in the image protesting.
As of the early evening of July 7, 5 of the 7 detained libertarians were released. Miguel Lopez Santos and Israel Reyes Montero are still in custody in Havana. These 7 Mises-Mambi Institute activists, like Ubaldo and Manuel, are being persecuted for preaching the wrong ideas. You can report this abuse of civil liberties, and the ongoing human rights violations at Melena del Sur, to Amnesty International on Twitter (tweet to @AIMexico AND @amnistiaespana). You can also send a more detailed report on Facebook to @AmnistiaAmericas, and protest directly to the Cuban government’s ministry of foreign relations @CubaMINREX.
Despite what these Libertarians in Cuba are up against, the Mises-Mambi Institute will be publishing a brand-new Spanish translation of Rothbard’s work later this summer. It’ll be the first of a line of unique and original books from the Mises-Mambi Institute, which the Cuban Libertarian activists will distribute throughout the island. Cuba’s Libertarians are proudly continuing the work of Murray Rothbard and Ron Paul, right under Raul Castro’s nose.