Relatives say Cuba punishes violators of 9 days of mourning Fidel Castro

Cuban police guards against celebrations, protests, dissidents

By Liane Morejon - Reporter , Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer , Nicole Alvarez

MIAMI - Elizabeth Pacheco Lamas was speaking on behalf of her father, a former political prisoner who she said was silenced again.

Lamas said Cuban state security forces detained her dad, Eduardo Marcos Pacheco Ortiz, who is an outspoken dissident.

"My family and I fear for my father," Lamas said. 

After Cuban President Raul Castro announced his brother Fidel Castro died on Friday night, Cuban police put a stop to Cuba's nightlife. The government also issued an order for nine days of mourning.

Relatives of Cubans on the island, who live in South Florida, say state security forces were enforcing the time of mourning with arrests. The crime, Pacheco said, was "refusing to pay tribute to Fidel Castro at the Plaza de Revolucion." 

Lamas said relatives noticed government officers were standing outside of their home in Cárdenas, a municipality in the province of Matanzas. Lamas was hosting a Democratic Recovery Movement monthly meeting on Monday night when officers stormed in.

"He was beaten unconscious," Pacheco's niece Janet Pacheco wrote on Facebook. "After he was sent away in an ambulance, where not even his wife was allowed to ride with him, he is now incarcerated."

Pacheco hosted the meeting despite warnings from the government that it be canceled. 

"They broke his nose and glasses," Lamas said. 

State security forces will not tell the family where he is being held, or how long they will be holding him for. Lamas said she is speaking about the arrest, "so those people in Cuba will know that their crimes will not stay hidden."

State security forces also dragged Danilo Maldonado Machado, better known as artist "El Sexto," from an apartment in Havana. Machado has an art studio in Miami's Little Havana. Before Castro died, Maldonado warned Nov. 21 on his Twitter account that he had been threatened with arrest. 

His girlfriend, Alexandra Martinez, wrote on Miami New Times on Sunday that he was able to make a call before he was taken.

His mom, Maria Victoria Machado Gonzalez, told Martinez, "he was beaten and dragged across the floor." They also don't know where Maldonado was being held. 

Maldonado has been in Cuban jails before. In 2014, he spray painted two pigs with the names of the Castro brothers for a public art installation. This time, Martinez reported, he was shouting "Down with Fidel, Down with Raul" on Saturday outside of the La Habana Libre Hotel in El Vedado neighborhood. 

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