The human rights situation in Cuba continues to worsen under the leadership of Raúl Castro. The regime's assault brigades stormed the home of human rights activist Juan Bermúdez Toranzo on Thursday, Nov. 22, where a prayer vigil was being led by Pastor Yordis Ferrer on behalf of Cuba's political prisoners.
The armed troops, who numbered about 30, fell upon the family and its guests with savage fury, beating even the women and children, and then ransacked the house in the Havana municipality of San Miguel del Padrón, destroying the family's furniture and personal belongings.
Bermúdez was dragged to the patrol car with his 2-year old son in his arms, who was wrenched from him so that he could be pushed inside. Nothing is known of the child's whereabouts. Bermúdez's wife, Nery, who was not allowed to follow them, was also beaten by security forces. Pastor Ferrer attempted to come to her defense, whereupon the Pentecostal minister was also arrested. Nery Bermúdez was advised to "look for a lawyer" because formal charges were to be pressed against her husband for engaging in activities contrary to the interests of the State. These might include the holding of a religious service in a private home without a government license as well as defaming the Revolution and other singularly Cuban offenses.
The 30-year old Bermúdez founded an independent labor union for Cubans denied a permit by the government to work for themselves. He is also involved in programs to better the quality of life for the impoverished children of his neighborhood, one of Havana's most marginalized.
In an encouraging development, which is now becoming more common in the wake of such arbitrary arrests, family members and friends of the arrested men protested outside the police station to demand their release, risking, of course, arrest themselves.
News of the detention of the human rights activists was reported by Juan Carlos González Leiva, a blind lawyer who leads the Cuban Human Rights Foundation and the Human Rights Rapporteur Council in Cuba.