HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — Cuban dissident sources reported today the arrest of more than 200 political opponents over the weekend on the Caribbean island.
“The figure looks set to exceed 200 arrests over the weekend, especially on Sunday,” said Elizardo Sanchez, leader of the illegal but tolerated Cuban Commission for Human Rights.
Among the affected groups were the Ladies in White, several dozen of whose members were arrested when performing their traditional Sunday march in Havana’s Miramar district. Among those arrested was Berta Soler, the leader of the group of wives of former political prisoners.
Also arrested were several members of the banned Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), according to a statement from that group led by former political prisoner José Daniel Ferrer, which operates mainly in the east of the island.
All activists have been released, Sanchez said. For several years the CCHRNC accuses the government of Raul Castro of intensifying short-term detentions for hours or days, to prevent meetings or protests from taking place.
The weekend arrests “were like an almost unexpected repressive surge,” said Sanchez. In its latest monthly report for January, the CCHRNC reported the arrest of 178 activists, the lowest figure of the last four years.
The arrests came just days before the Barack Obama and Raul Castro administrations hold a new round of talks in the US capital.
Negotiators from Cuba and the United States will meet in Washington on Friday to work out the details for the planned reopening of embassies. The first round of talks on the issue took place on January 22 in the Cuban capital.