Cuban dissident leader José Daniel Ferrer arrested and brought home, activist says – 02/27/2021 – World

Cuban dissident José Daniel Ferrer, opposition leader Cuban Patriotic Union (Unpacu), was arrested Friday at his home in Santiago de Cuba, in the east of the island, one of his supporters said.

“José Daniel Ferrer, leader of Unpacu, has been arbitrarily detained and has so far disappeared,” Zaqueo Baez, deputy national coordinator and representative of the organization in Havana, told AFP.

Ferrer, who was under house arrest, is one of 75 political prisoners in the so-called 2003 Black Spring, a movement that has called for democratic political reforms.

After being released in 2011, under pressure from the Catholic Church, he formed the Cuban Patriotic Union, an opposition group.

The same year, he rejected the possibility of emigrating to Spain, after an agreement between then-president Raúl Castro and the Catholic rulers of the island. Ferrer was among the group of 12 people, including more than 130 prisoners, who decided to stay in Cuba and continue the opposite activities.

Members of Unpacu reported that on Friday morning a police operation surrounded the block where the opposition leader lives in the Altamira neighborhood, preventing residents from entering and leaving.

An activist said police entered Ferrer’s home, Unpacu’s national headquarters, and led the group leader through the back door of the residence.

Ferrer had painted the phrase “Homeland and Life” on the facade, the title of a protest song by Cuban rappers criticizing the government.

The opponent and three members of his organization remained in detention from March 2019 to April 2020 on allegations of injury, deprivation of liberty and assault, but were released with sentences of four to five years, which they have served at their home.

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