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Miami activists rally for arrested gay dissidents in Cuba

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From left: Unity Coalition members Rachel Alfonso, Efren Martinez, Ron Brenesky and Arturo Alvarez. Photos by Steve Rothaus / Miami Herald Staff

By STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Gay dissidents in Cuba report that a planned gay-rights rally Wednesday was canceled after government security officers detained nine organizers.

"The march was not able to take place because the government stopped our leaders," said Ron Brenesky, a Miami Cuban who heads the Unity Coalition, South Florida's largest Latin gay rights group.

"Our brothers and sisters in Cuba, they are not alone," said Brenesky, who spoke with gay activists in Cuba by cellphone Wednesday evening. Unity Coalition members gathered for the phone call at Club Azucar on Southwest 32nd Avenue in Little Havana.

Dissident Ignacio Estrada Cepero told Brenesky and the others that he was detained early Wednesday before the planned rally in Havana. Security guards told him he didn't have permission to leave his home province of Santa Clara, Brenesky said.

Cuban Aliomar Janjaque was put on house arrest after being warned not to gather in a park with other gay dissidents, he told Unity Coalition members.

The park was taken over by security forces, Janjaque said.

For more news about Cuba, read The Miami Herald's Cuban Colada blog.

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Unity Coalition members speak to dissidents by cellphone on Wednesday.

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