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April 19, 2019

On a breezy day in Manchester, New Hampshire, Mateo and his wife, Lisa, decided to run an errand.

As the couple rode down an interstate highway on July 31, 2017, they came upon a police vehicle on the shoulder with its lights flashing.

Under New Hampshire traffic laws, drivers must slow to a safe speed and “give wide berth” to stationary emergency vehicles with flashing lights.

But Mateo, 36, did not know this.

April 16, 2019

On the stretch of highway careening south from Columbus to Lumpkin, patches of Georgia red clay lie like open sores on the road’s shoulder. The sun burns bright orange, through air that is hazy with pollen and smoke from controlled forest fires.

The land here was once valuable. It was coveted. Nearly 200 years ago, white men named this county Stewart, after a revolutionary war militia general. White men massacred the men, women and children of the Creek Confederacy over this land.

April 08, 2019

In March 2018, Cuban police took Adrian Toledo Flores to a prison cell, violently beat him, and threw him against a sink.

As he started to bleed, one of the officers said, “You don’t deserve to be in this country.”

His “crime?” As a pharmacy technician, he was ordered not to give a man the prescription he desperately needed. But he did it anyway, and the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) – which monitors Cuba like Big Brother with its eyes always open for “counterrevolutionaries” – cited him.

April 08, 2019

After fleeing persecution in Cuba, Yerandy Valdes Ruiz was swiftly locked up at Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center in May 2018. For over eight months, he was deprived of the medical attention he needed just to stay alive.

Ruiz, 30, is a Type 1 diabetic, but ICE officials denied him sufficient insulin injections from the beginning of his incarceration. They also refused to give him suitable food for his illness, causing him to faint four times due to low blood sugar.

April 08, 2019

During a crisp, cool evening in Cuba, police barreled into Rodrigo’s home and brutally beat him with their batons – striking his stomach, shoulders and back. He fell to the floor and rolled over in pain. He listened as police warned him they could “make him disappear.” Then, he watched them scurry off into the night. 

His “crime,” according to police: He had refused to participate in the country’s political reunions, and the beatings were his punishment.

April 08, 2019

As Jose Antonio Hernandez Viera said goodbye to his 6-year-old daughter in Cuba, he was distraught. She suffers from terminal brain cancer, and needs his emotional and financial care. 

But Viera had no choice. The political persecution he was facing had reached its peak, and he would die if he were to remain in his home country, leaving his daughter fatherless. 

Viera decided to seek asylum in the U.S., and prayed for a job that would allow him to support his family from afar.

April 08, 2019

Two Cuban police officers barged into Brayan Lazaro Rodriguez Rodriguez’s home, handcuffed him, and shoved him to the floor. They beat him in the face with their batons, and broke one of his teeth. They labeled him a “criminal,” and locked him up at a nearby prison.

Rodriguez’s only “crimes” were that he had refused to vote, would not participate in Cuba’s mandatory military service, and did not join the country’s political assembly. The Cuban government labeled him “defiant.”

April 08, 2019

After refusing to join the young Communists assembly, Pedro – a high school math teacher – was blacklisted from all teaching jobs and was branded as a “counterrevolutionary.”

The Cuban government forced him to sell rice and beans from a bicycle to people in the streets. To make matters worse, police repeatedly robbed him of all his merchandise. Eventually, officers detained him in a prison, where he was kept awake without food or water for 72 hours, in the company of convicted murderers.

April 08, 2019

While Yasmany Jorge Borges Alfonso was detained in a Cuban prison, four police officers beat him until he was unconscious. They took turns hitting him in the head with their batons, each blow harder than the last. As Alfonso lay on the rock-hard prison floor, his forehead dripped with blood. The gashes from his assault were so deep, he needed four stiches. He also lost a tooth from the beating.

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