|Antonio Enrique González-Rodiles Fernández|
July 21, 1972 |
|Occupation||Physicist, Mathematician & political activist|
|Website||Estado de SATS website|
Antonio Enrique González-Rodiles Fernández (Antonio Rodiles, born July 21, 1972) is a Cuban political activist who has achieved international visibility for his work as the coordinator of Estado de SATS, a forum which was created in July 2010 to encourage debate on social, cultural and political issues in Cuba. Rodiles is also the main coordinator of the Citizen Demand for Another Cuba (Demanda Ciudadana Por Otra Cuba), an initiative calling for Cuba to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the country signed in 2008.
Rodiles studied Physics in the University of Havana, Cuba. He also received a PhD candidacy in Physics from the Institute of Nuclear Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico(UNAM) in 2003. In 2003 he emigrated to America and settled in Tallahassee, Florida. He earned a Master’s degree in Mathematics in 2007 from Florida State University (FSU), and worked as a professor at FSU and Tallahassee Community College before returning to Cuba.
In 2010 he founded the forum "Estado de Sats" in Havana, Cuba, with the aim of creating “a plural space for participation and debate” between different sections of the Cuban society. Videos of the debates have widely circulated via YouTube, and have also be seen inside Cuba, where people pass them to others using USB memory sticks and DVD's (Internet access is severely restricted in Cuba).
On June 2012, the "Citizen Demand for Another Cuba" campaign, coordinated by Rodiles, handed in a petition with 500 signatures to the National Assembly of People’s Power (Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular) – Cuba’s legislative body located in Havana – calling on the government to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Arrest in November 2012
On November 2012, shortly after the arrest of an independent lawyer and journalist, Antonio Rodiles and several other government critics went to the Cuban State Security headquarters, known as Section 21 (Sección 21) in the neighbourhood of Marianao in Havana, to enquire after her whereabouts. Before they could reach the building they were approached by 20 people, all plain-clothed, as two officials from the Ministry of the Interior looked on. Antonio Rodiles was reportedly knocked to the ground and pinned down by several men. Several of the other activists were also manhandled and were forced into a police vehicle and sent to various police stations around Havana. All were released by 11 November, but Antonio Rodiles remained in prison. Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action call for his release. He was finally released after 19 days in a prison cell.
Letter to Raul Castro, December 2013
Rodiles sent an open letter to Cuban president Raul Castro, dated Dec 6th 2013, to protest against the multiple threats and pressure he has received because of this dissent activities.
Human Rights Day meeting 2013
In December 2013, Rodiles and Estado de SATS hosted a meeting about human rights ("Encuentro Internacional de Derechos Humanos y Pactos de la ONU") at his house in Havana, with the participation of dissidents and artists from Cuba and other countries. The Cuban state security police surrounded his house and detained several people who wanted to join the meeting. Rodiles was also detained, but freed hours later.
Arrest in 2015
While walking in Havana on July 5, 2015 on the way to a peaceful protest, a civilian car driven by two men in civilian car stopped him. The two unknown men, presumably part of the country's secret police, demanded he enter the car. He refused, however, to enter a civilian car and asked for a regular police vehicle to come if he was to enter a vehicle. The men jumped and attacked him. They wrestled him on the street in an attempt to forcefully drag him into the car. After being choked, handcuffed and thrown in the back of the civilian vehicle, the agents continued to beat him. While in the car and handcuffed, his nose was broken while he continued to yell, "Viva Cuba libre" and "Viva derechos humanos".