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Cuban dissidents concerned about violence against opposition leaders

Havana, Dec 3 (EFE).- The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, or CCDHRN, said Wednesday that in November there were 398 political arrests on the communist-ruled island, the lowest monthly figure so far this year, but the dissident group expressed its concern over recent violence against opposition leaders.

According to a communique released by the CCDHRN, headed by Elizardo Sanchez, the violent acts against prominent members of the internal opposition are being undertaken “under the cover of personal incidents, behind which it is easy to see the hand of the political police.”

The CCDHRN was specifically referring to violence against opposition members such as Jose Daniel Ferrer, Felix Navarro, Angel Moya and Guillermo Fariñas, the latter of whom last week complained of an attack on him that resulted in his being stabbed by a “lady in white, Maria Arango Percival, during a meeting of dissidents in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara.

Fariñas, who was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights in 2010, suspects that the person responsible for the attack was an agent “infiltrated” by the government into the United Antitotalitarian Front dissident group, which he heads.

Regarding the arrests of opposition members, the report says that in all the cases the arrests were of short duration, “completely arbitrary” and carried out by “a police regime that persists in criminalizing the exercise of all civil and political rights.”

The organization says that, besides the arrests, about 100 “peaceful citizens” were victims of repressive acts such as “physical attacks, acts of vandalism, threats and acts or repudiation.”

Last May, the group registered this year’s highest monthly number of arrests – 1,120 – but in the following months that number dropped, falling to 411 in September and 413 in October.

The CCDHRN is the only group on the island that tallies and releases figures for such incidents in Cuba, where the government considers dissidents to be “counterrevolutionaries” and “mercenaries” in the service of the United States.