Dissident files criminal complaint against Cuba
Wednesday, August 27th 2008, 10:22 AM
HAVANA — A Cuban opposition leader said Tuesday she has filed a criminal complaint against the communist government for airing on state television evidence it collected by bugging her phone, going through her garbage and secretly filming her.
Roque said that while Cuba's constitution allows state security agents to spy on citizens, it prohibits them from making public the evidence they collect.
In May, government television and newspapers dedicated three days to presenting e-mails, photos, letters, videos and audio tapes it claims prove that then U.S. Interests Section chief Michael Parmly personally carried funds to Roque, who allegedly passed them on to other dissidents and activists.
Cuba says the money was donated by a Miami organization headed by Santiago Alvarez, a Cuban-American businessman once convicted in the U.S. of conspiring to collect military-style weapons to overthrow Fidel Castro's government.
In a Tuesday news conference, Roque claimed that much of the evidence presented three months ago was taken out of context or fabricated, but she repeatedly refused to confirm or deny whether she took money carried by Parmly or to say if any cash came from a group linked to Alvarez.
"I don't have an answer for that," Roque said. She added that she would not address the charges unless Cuban authorities allow her to appear on the government's nightly round-table program, which publicized the case against her in May.
Roque is an economist and former government official who was among 75 opposition leaders and activists charged with working with Washington to undermine the communist system and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences in 2003.
She was eventually released on medical parole.
Parmly, the former top American diplomat, has declined to comment on Cuba's charges and left the island in July, at the end of his diplomatic tour.
Also at the news conference, human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez said dissident musician Gorki Aguila was arrested on the charge of "dangerousness."
The government uses the charge to arrest suspects it believes may eventually commit crimes.
Aguila, 39, has been an outspoken critic of Cuba's government and is the lead singer of the rock band Porno para Ricardo, which was banded from official airwaves after criticizing life on the island in its songs.
Cuba's international press office would not comment, but Aguila's band's Web site reported that he was arrested Monday, as he was finishing the band's latest album.
"We are in the process of finding a lawyer willing to help him," said Sanchez, who said he had spoken with Aguila's family.
"If there's a trial on Thursday, we will try to be present for that, if we can."
Sanchez is head of the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, a leading authority on political prisoners being held on the island.