[Ed. – Hail, Obama! Champion of human rights!]
Cuban police have detained at least three leading dissidents ahead of a planned free-speech demonstration in the Plaza de la Revolución.
The arrests of Antonio Rodiles, Eliezer Avila and Reinaldo Escobar look set to be the biggest test yet of diplomatic relations with the US since they were restored earlier this month after 53 years of tension.
The crackdown came around lunchtime on Tuesday, just hours before local performance artist Tania Bruguera was due to stage an open-microphone event in Havana’s most politically sensitive square.
Police had denied Bruguera a permit for the “Yo tambien exijo,” [I also demand]” demonstration and warned activists not to participate, but several had indicated their willingness to participate in this test case for public dissent.
The authorities did not give them a chance.