Exile says eight dissidents arrested in Havana restaurant protest
Magdelivia Hidalgo, Miami-based international representative of a
women's dissident group in Cuba, said Wednesday that eight dissidents
were detained for hours by state security in Havana for attempting to
pay their bills in Cuban pesos at a restaurant frequented by foreign
Hidalgo, in an interview with The Miami Herald, said the incident
unfolded at lunch time Tuesday at the Havana restaurant Vadia when four
couples walked in one after the other separated by 10-minute intervals
and sat down at different tables.
Hidalgo (second from left in photo) said one couple ordered ham and
cheese sandwiches, another asked for beef, a third fish and the fourth
Trouble started when they asked for their bills, said Hidalgo. They
offered to pay in regular pesos but the restaurant manager said regular
pesos were not accepted because at tourist sites only so-called
convertible pesos were taken.
Hidalgo said the manager then summoned the authorities who arrested
the four couples and drove them to state security units.
According to Hidalgo, the couples were released early Wednesday. In
the end, said Hidalgo, authorities allowed them to pay in regular pesos
but warned them not to try the tactic again.
The couples were members of FLAMUR, a group whose name stands for
Federacion Latinoamericana de Mujeres Rurales or Federation of Latin
American Rural Women.
The group has been spearheading a campaign to force the Cuban
government to allow Cubans to pay for goods and services in regular
pesos – not convertible pesos.
June 25, 2008