Human rights defender harassed by Cuban government agents


The President of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights, Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, who is blind, is denouncing the psychological torture he is being subjected to by agents of the Cuban government, who have surrounded his house since January 12.

In a message sent to CNA, Gonzalez Leiva said the government is trying to force him to leave the country before March 4, when his sentence of house arrest will expire.

“My home is under military siege and I am a victim of violent acts carried out and controlled by soldiers from the Cuban government and from the State Security force of the Ciego de Avila province, where I reside,” he stated.

In his letter González Leiva said he was without water, food and electricity and that phone service is intermittent.  Outside government agents have set up huge speakers which are blasting music into his home 24 hours a day, making it impossible to sleep or rest.  Agents have also organized small bands of delinquents and university students who stand in front of his home and shout government slogans over the massive PA system. 

“They threaten that they will use tanks to enter the house, that they will burn us all, that we are social radicals loyal to the imperialism [of the US],” said Gonzalez Leiva. 

Two other prominent dissidents, Tanisa Maseda Guerra, also of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights, and independent journalist Luis Esteban Espinosa, are also holed up with Gonzalez Leiva.

“It’s important that the international press in Havana come to Ciego de Avila so that the world can see the true face of the Cuban government,” he said, adding that he was not afraid and that agents would have to force him to leave his home.  “If I was able to withstand 26 months in prison under daily torture by Cuban soldiers—harassed, beaten, and drugged with chemical substances, because of which I am still sick—I can withstand 26 more months inside my home,” Gonzalez Leiva wrote in his letter.

After thanking the Cuban people and international organizations for their solidarity, the dissident leader noted that “this struggle proves that the government is crumbling.” 

In conclusion, he wrote, “Jesus Christ is with us, he is accompanying us, he is giving us victory and peace.”  He said his resistance would be non-violent and that whatever happens will be solely the responsibility “of the State Security, Cuban soldiers and the Cuban government.”

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