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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The South Florida family of a Cuban dissident is speaking out after learning a loved one was beaten by members of the Communist government for violating a house arrest order given when Fidel Castro died.
Eduardo Pacheco is not among the thousands of Cubans who have visited a memorial to Fidel Castro in Havana. He was ordered under house arrest, his family says, before the ceremonies began. His daughter Elizabeth says a Cuban agent also told Pacheco he could not have any visitors.
“My father said, ‘Of course I can! It’s illegal what you’re doing. I can let anybody in or out of my house as I like.’”
With that she says a Cuban agent named Yurien Villamil lashed out.
“He hit him over the head with a heavy object. He was knocked unconscious, all bloodied. They grabbed him and took him away bloodied,” Elizabeth explained to CBS4’s Gary Nelson.
After only a couple of phone calls from her mom, Elizabeth says the line was cut.
“From that moment, my father has disappeared. They may have taken him to the hospital or to jail. I don’t know is he’s alive or what.”
Eduardo Pacheco has been arrested countless times for speaking against the regime, always flashing the peace sign while being led away. As for the passing of Fidel Castro, Elizabeth said, “I do not celebrate the loss of anyone. But he was a terrorist, a tyrant who ruled with an iron fist, and no one can have tolerance for that.”
Does she believe there will be a new Cuba without Fidel?
No, she does not.
“It will continue. The only way change will happen in Cuba is if the people become wise, and rise up and do something about it.”
While some grieve the passing of Fidel Castro, for others there is grief of a different sort, grief for a family back home that may not be safe and grief for a country that is not free.
Elizabeth says she and her mother were active in the dissident Ladies In White movement until about two years ago, about the time the U.S. and Cuba began to establish relations.
Why did she leave the Ladies In White?
“It had become too dangerous,” she said. “It just became too dangerous.”