State Security forces detained 51 Ladies in White dissidents and 38 other activists for over six hours on Sunday, May 3, 2015, in Havana. (Martí Noticias)
There were at least 338 politically-motivated arrests in April, bringing the total for year to at least 1,618, according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, or CCDHRN.
The monthly tally was a little more than half of the 610 arrests recorded in March, but the CCDHRN, reported that the lower count was accompanied by a spike in police violence against Cuban dissidents.
The dissident Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, or CCDHRN, on Monday announced that in April there were at least 338 arrests for political reasons in Cuba, fewer than the 610 it tallied the month before, but it claimed there has been an increase in political violence directed against opposition members.
According to the CCDHRN, the only organization on the communist-ruled island to tabulate and report political arrests, police violence has particularly targeted the Ladies in White dissident group, which organizes peaceful marches every Sunday.
The head of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, confirmed to Efe that police repression against the group's members has increased in recent weeks after the Summit of the Americas held in Panama on April 10-11, with dozens of arrests each Sunday, many of them carried out with violence.
That is the reason that the organization on April 24 presented a formal complaint to the island's General Prosecutor's Office and the Military Prosecutor's Office in which they denounced the increase in arbitrary arrests and police violence against them and other human rights activists who join them at their Sunday protests.
Soler said that, besides the complaint, they also presented photographs to the legal authorities proving the violence, documents that they have turned over to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and which they intend this week to provide to the European Union's delegation on the island.
The CCDHRN said in April that it identified 101 "innocent victims" of other forms of political repression in Cuba "generally directed by the secret political police, such as physical attacks, harassment, vandalism and acts of repudiation."
The organization, headed by Elizardo Sanchez, says that Cuba continues to have the worst situation of police repression in the entire hemisphere and is also demanding an investigation into the murder of Yunieski Martinez, 30, in central Matanzas province, who was "shot in the back despite being unarmed," a killing it says was perpetrated by an Interior Ministry official who "could be a member of the secret political police."
In the first four months of 2014, CCDHRN reported at least 3,821 arrests.
As for the first four days of May, it's off to an ugly start for Cuban dissidents.