Justice for Rolando / Yamil Dominguez

Rolando Lorenzo Garcia Perera - CLICK on photo to go to his blog.

Rolando is a great man, father, brother and friend. His incarceration just as he was prepared to bring people, including his family,but he was not willing to sacrifice one life when the Cuban border guard charged him with their ships. He could have run with the chance to escape and those in his boat were screaming at him to keep going, the desire of those people was above all to escape the regime of the island.

But even so he voluntarily stopped his boat because he knew that the military regime were willing to sink it. He then told people that he was not a murderer like the military regime and could not continue to risk their lives. He followed the orders screamed from the soldiers of the other vessel, saying to them, “I will not be complicit in a slaughter that you are looking for, I am not the murderer, the murderers are you.”

Anyone who has lived similar experience knows that this happens for service members of the Cuban coast guard, they ram their boats against those carrying people who want desperately to escape the tyrannical regime. Rolando was sentenced to 25 years in jail. I wonder where in the world this case would result in 25 years, and knew this regime and that the best witnesses to are inside the prisons, because there no one has anything to hide and you say what you did and didn’t do. The phrase, “I did this, but I didn’t do what they made up,” is common among the punished, and that’s how the Cuban judicial system works.

I knew guys who went to get their families and the coast guard criminally rammed their boat running the risk that the families hadn’t boarded yet, among them children, because they would have been dead. What happened to the tugboat 13 de Marzo? They sank it without scruples, and even with so much popular discontent that followed, Fidel Castro in one of his rhetorical speeches supported those who perpetrated such an act that cost so many lives, claiming they were workers from another ship protecting the tools of their trade. That was done only on orders from of his government. That’s exactly what the Cuban regime’s military has most of the time, the advantage and no witnesses.

Those who should have to serve a 25 or 30 year sentence or those who by order of the tyranny are willing to sacrifice the lives of civilians who have committed the crime of loving freedom. Rolando committed his crime and no one denies it, but he has already been in prison 10 years, 9 of those in Combinado del Este, the most inhuman in its conditions, and it now up to the parole law and his application under Resolution 9 of the Supreme Court.

Since 2006, a military medical team rules that he should not have to complete his sentence because of his deplorable state of health, but Cuban State Security reached out their dark hand and denied his parole saying he could finish his sentence in a hospital. None of this happened.

Rolando was like Julio Mesa, me, and others treated as CRs (counter-revolutionary), in my opinion for being a Cuban resident in the United States or having acquired the citizenship of the United States.

Nonetheless Rolando has remained bravely fighting for his rights. When I entered the military hospital in the State Security wing and he was transferred due to his poor health to the next room, only a wall divided us; he was also there for 16 months with the subcontractor Adam Gross as a roommate.

Finally his hope was that they would give him his freedom for having served half of the sanction imposed, but it was not to be, he was transferred to the prison of Guanajay where against the repression he declared a hunger strike. I always knew that this was the last thing that would do because of his poor health, mostly his heart. But guess that’s what they are able to drive him to do, those thugs who are unable to respect a man who has spent 10 years imprisoned and rightfully plays his freedom.

His family and friends have opened a blog, desperately looking for justice and demanding his rights, and trying to ease the repression on the part of the guards at Guanajay prison, while his health continues to deteriorate after 10 long years. The blog, Justice for Rolando, is here.

He is one of many men who have served more than his share, and who are still suffering the relentless punishment without limit of a regime that has no mercy.

March 26 2012

My New Beginning / Yamil Dominguez

Some readers have written to me wondering how I recovered after a year of freedom. Well, it has not exactly been easy to start, I found a country with a critical economic crisis and especially in the field of construction.

I was also a victim of bank fraud and the perpetrators were two people whom I’d considered my friends and they had borrowed $15,000 and $23,000, money which they never repaid despite all the time I was in prison. I also built this supposed friend his house without having paid one cent of what was supposed to be a price of $35,000.

My advice to everyone is to take care, because those we think we can be friends with and who apparently want the best for us, can be turned into the worst unscrupulous opportunists. Other friends and family have told me that we know who the people are at your side when we are in prison or in a hospital, that’s true. I never thought a human being could be so evil and able to do things they wouldn’t even do to an enemy, much less to a friend, but with experience I learned, along with the bitter taste of the Castro regime.

All this forced me to start from zero. Now I am again working as a general contractor, with the highs and lows we are all suffering in this construction industry and in real estate, but it is progressing.

I still have nightmares when I sleep that I am a prisoner in this regime of terror, I dream that they have me in the punishment cell and I wake up very sweaty even with air conditioning. I think I will spend many years with such a nightmare though to forget it is what I most desire. I look at life positively, in this new opportunity, but I keep thinking of all Cubans in the country where we were born who can not aspire to the economic freedoms that I enjoy today, much less freedom of thought and expression.

It saddens me to remember that the country I was born repressed me by imprisoning me in the hardest conditions and punishment only for demanding my rights, judging me for the sad reason that I didn’t think what they thought. They didn’t even imprison me because they thought I wanted to rob a bank, which in this case would be to think about committing a crime, but it’s not a crime if you never execute it.

I was sentenced only for believing that for love I could have what I desired: freedom for my wife because today we are married in the United States, in this case it would be convicting someone for love, because this is not trafficking.

For three years they hid their approval of her visa until it was returned to me along with my belonging. They did not return the video camera that they signed for because it was stored so badly that it deteriorated, in its place they just gave me another of their promises. The boat was supposed to be returned to me, but they did not. Why?

Meanwhile, on arriving in the U.S. the immigration official who checked my U.S. passport asked when I left, by what route, and without asking anything else said, welcome home. What a difference!

Today I have my own company, I have my own construction businesses, and I wonder what would happen if I wanted to do this in Cuba? I am sure that I would end up being arrested and prosecuted for illegal enrichment.

Economic freedoms for Cubans are just one of the inflated balloons among so many other lies of the Cuban regime, like the supposed opening for the sale of cars, I still hope the typical Cuban can freely buy a Toyota or a Chevrolet to develop his business or company, or to go to and from work.

Every day that I enjoy freedom in all its aspects I find it very cruel that a regime fools its people and deprives them of their rights.

April 8 2012

Total Injustice / Yamil Dominguez

As I mentioned before, that later I would talk about the injustices that still remain in Cuban prisons, and their systems of torture in the process of interrogations that are so hidden from the world. A system designed to establish their totalitarianism and the State terror that under no circumstances can promote the exercise of law; of course the criminal violations are so many that this society of terror could not move against common citizens who understand and know their rights.

First, they could not undertake with impunity their tortures in the systems of interrogation. they could not pressure or coerce to obtain a false statement that would be invalid in a court that complies with the law and not the Inquisition under the interest and terror of the State.

The measure of clemency to the limited number of 3000 prisoners is entirely inadequate and disrespectful to the people and the thousands and thousands of families who suffer the consequence of a state that promotes indiscriminate arrests and pre-determined trialseven when there is irrefutable proof of innocence the person is still punished.

Then imagine if for those who have not committed a crime or infraction they are prosecuted and sanctioned in a court no matter how many elements there are in favor of of the defendant making clear his innocence, we can imagine then that there are those who did commit a crime and the inventions that are added on to condemn him to a penalty greater than that for the crime committed.

So the prisons in Cuba are full. The Cuban government should greatly increase the number of pardons, but most still see the base of the problem that has made a great majority of young people prisoners and every Cuban family is living with the bitter experience of having a member in prison or knowing of the cruel methods of tortures in the so-called interrogation centers.

If we talk about those who already take advantage of their conditional liberty — i.e. parole — and even in this they can delay and postpone it, not to mention suspend it without justification. Discrimination against Cubans living abroad whom they take advantage of is another of the crimes in Cuban prisons, imposing a forced repatriation, making them renounce their foreign residence which is supposed to make the world believe that they are sorry they live outside Cuba, or on the contrary forcing them to serve criminal sentences and complete them without ever getting parole, which is almost half the sentence, taking into account that a year in prison is ten months, but they don’t even get that discount, much less of they are residents in the European Union.

Instead they have to comply with Resolution number 9 from the “People’s Supreme Court” of Cuba, approved in December 2009, where it establishes that deportation for those citizens resident abroad at the midpoint of their sentences, or it can be for their state of health or other factor. But it is never met and after speaking about a very particular case among the many, there is clear evidence of that.

March 25 2012

We Meet Again / Yamil Dominguez

A lot has happened since my return to my home, good and bad, of which the most sad and shameful was the death of another hunger striker, Cuban Wilman Villar. It seems as if time flew, but for those of our land where we were born life is still a distressing agony with its endless days.

In the good parts I can say that there are many, such as reunification with family, the freedom of Julio Mesa Fariña, a friend I met at the inhuman and criminal concentration camp “Combinado del Este” and among many more the opportunity to work as general contractor, and to again enroll in the University for Business Administration, specializing in project management.

Reencuentro con Julio Mesa FariñaWhen I look back I see an enormous abyss in the future of Cuba for Cubans. It’s hard to imagine the lack of opportunities and rights on that island so beautiful yet so oppressed by this tyrannical regime.

I knew many men of very good feeling, and excellent sons, fathers and husbands, they deserve the opportunity to return to their family. The vast majority of them have been sentenced to criminal penalties for a crime greater than the crime they committed. Others did not even commit a crime and are sentenced to 20 years of deprivation of liberty.

As someone who lived an injustice I can not stop thinking about those who suffer today under the tyrannical regime, but I will speak about that later.

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March 23 2012

Let Justice Be Done / Yamil Domínguez

Written by: Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

The case opened one afternoon, when two women, one, the wife and the other who turned out to be the sister, of the Cuban living in Florida detained for many months for the crime of trafficking in persons, came to see me in my house.

The crime is one of individuals who, for payment, devote themselves to carrying people at time in good boats and other times not so good, to the United States or other places.

In the Cuban Penal Code it can be read in article 348.1:

He who penetrates the national territory utilizing a boat or airplane or other method of transport with the purpose of effecting the illegal exit of people, incurs a penalty of imprisonment of ten to twenty years.

Based on this, initially it seemed to me one of those cases that we of the Cuban Legal Association are accustomed to rejecting, being that the sanction applied conformed to that established by law and the correct process followed by the authorities.

This, however, was the case the ladies who came to see me presented, according to whom their relative had been (and was being) subjected to a grave injustice.

I listened to my interlocutors and asked them, if they had it, to show me the sentence which they did immediately. As I read I began to change my first impression and by the end I was convinced that what had happened to Yamil Domínguez Ramos was not clear at all.

In an article under the title “It is proved that…” I presented my complete conviction that against this young man, born in Cuba but a United States citizen, nothing had been proved and I decided to help his family. this began a true legal and civic struggle of Cuban civil society in support of a compatriot who needed it.

Soon the blog Notorious Injustice appeared, where the family published everything the family believed would shed light on the truth of this case and of the arbitrariness with which it had been handled from the procedural and ethical viewpoint.

As if all that were not enough, and when it seemed that all hope was lost, Yamil resorted to a desperate course only undertaken when one is completely convinced of the his reasons: a hunger strike that lasted more than one hundred days… and that led him to be hospitalized with his life at risk.

So many people showed their concern for and solidarity with this young victim of process that was… a notorious injustice.

Ina culminating moment of this story, the first vice minister of justice issued a letter which pointed out the irregularities of the proceedings against Yamil Dominguez, saying that the events presented by the trial court did not demonstrate the young prisoner’s guilt.

We recognized this gesture of the first vice minister in a publication entitled, “Honor to Whom Honor is Due.”

Nevertheless, Yamil had to go to a second hunger strike before the blind intransigence that would not admit that he was innocent of what he had been illegally been charged with WITHOUT PROOF THAT…

I had a chance to visit him in prison twice. In both cases I could not help but be reminded on entering the Combinado del Este prison of that famous phrase from Dante: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…”

But another phrase also came to mind, this time from the Master: “We all carry in our hearts a hope that never dies.”

Just now I arrived home and my wife greeted me with a radiant smile, telling me she had just heard from Yamil… from his house, with his family… already free.

So congratulations to Yamil, Inés María, Aya, Marleny and to the bloggers, to Julio Alfredo and all who made possible that, in the end, justice was done.

March 14 2011

News of Yamil from Twitter / Yamil Domínguez

We visit with Yamil in the Military Hospital where they have him, Wednesday and Thursday. We are all expecting his RELEASE at any moment.

Yamil is regaining weight quickly, meanwhile expecting his RELEASE. The Instructor [an official] told him this coming week he will receive the best NEWS of his life.

The Delay in Justice Aggravates an Injustice / Yamil Domínguez

Written by: Yamil Domínguez

For some time I haven’t written for my blog, although I continue being grateful to the three women who, together with my attorney, have raised the flag in the fight for truth and justice: my venerated mother, my stupendous sister and my passionate wife. Today I decided to prepare these words before continue to deteriorate without knowing what will happen going forward. I believe it’s worth it to leave off writing until I know my current situation.

I started this hunger strike on 3 December of last year, suspecting that I would again face the illegalities of the Attorney General of the Republic of Cuba, violating the terms required by the Criminal Procedures Act. Let me make clear that my position is against the shameful conduct of his office, but I hold the Cuban government responsible for situations like these that occur when in its last speech emphasized it equal rights and duties for all, without exception, this from the body that is designed to ensure that expression, but that openly violates it.

Until now they have only given me the opportunity to observe their political hatred; bring a citizen of the United States of American that have seen me like the worst of criminal. I also perceive the cruelty against my person of the acting prosecutor, who clearly does not act alone, but who insists in denying me a change in the terms of my custody without any reason, supporting his opinion with the same reasons that originally put me in the provisional prison. The never existed facts to support such action, but today more than ever he holds onto his original reasoning.

The investigating body of Villa Marista and members of the Ministry of the Interior have expressed to me, on several occasion, errors of one kind or another, when led to my being charged with the alleged crime of trafficking in persons. They recognize and admit that they were wrong, but one learns from one mistakes. They tell me they will not ban my entry into Cuba nor the way it occurred. The conclusions of the investigator, then to widen the investigation, faced with the mandate from the Supreme Court [that I was not guilty] were reported to me, my family and my attorney.

Supposedly according to the investigator I entered illegally, when there is a report from the Institute of Meteorology of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment, confirming adverse weather conditions in the straits of Florida, of which I was a victim. Moreover international laws are published through every means possible. For example, the International Code of Road Traffic indicates that a green light means go and a red light means stop, and this if valid around the entire world. If in Cuba there are exceptions to determined rules then they should be published in newspapers and magazines and made known to the outside world.

Ignorance does not exonerate you from responsibility but when it is beyond your control and impossible for you to know you should not be charged. If I have an illegal entry then everyone who arrived at an international port in Cuba does as well and if the objective is to justify the time I have been detained, there is no justification to detain me for one additional hour, when I have already exceeded the maximum limit of the sanction (3 years) for the supposed crime.

Why the is Prosecutor committed to the unjustifiable delay? What guarantees exist in the present for U.S. tourism? Doubts wash over me in the middle of this prison, I only hope that sooner rather than later, my most basic right is returned to me, which I never should have been deprived of.

“Respect is a right already won. Hatred takes away that right.”

José Martí.

January 26 2011

The Pitcher Can Only Go To The Well So Many Times Before It Breaks / Yamil Domínguez

Written by: Yadaimí Domínguez

Faced with the delay of the Attorney General of the Republic, his refusal to modify the terms of custody and to violate the terms provided in the law, my brother started a new hunger strike on December 30 with only four months of recovery from another that lasted 107 days.

In this he demands a review of his case, seeing how our family has knocked on so many doors and been greeted only by lethargy and deaf ears. Today he claims his freedom to which he has a right, at least until the completion of the process, a change of custody measures.

When we were notified in September by the People’s Supreme Court that the sentence No 120/2010 was annulled and the whole process restarted, Yamil recovered his serenity, having to remain for some time more deprived of his liberty while the Instructor complied with the order from the Judicial Body. It was the middle of October when the case came to the hands of the Instructor and he proved the truth of my brother’s declarations, and so delivered the conclusive report to the prosecutor November 30, saying that the charge that Yamil supposedly entered the country illegally, was based on the argument that he had a flare gun at his disposal which he could have made use of.

On Friday December 3 the Instructor with Yamil and expressed to him that he would be released the following Monday and taken to the legal home of his mother to await the paperwork. While waiting for this to happen, Yamil remained in the same place and the official said he would be released in a week or a week and a half, saying the same thing to the consular officials of the United States Interest Section who visited my brother on December 10.

What happened is that since the beginning of the December the prosecutor had the file of the preparatory phase given to him by the Instructor and until the time there was no pronouncement, when Law 5 (Penal Procedures), in Article 262 gives a time frame for this of up to ten days. On the other hand, the attorney asked for a modification of the custody measures for Yamil and the response of the prosecutor was evasive and without foundation.

The defense was forced to submit to Record of Complaint to the Head of Criminal Procedure of the Attorney General’s Office, with 5 working days to answer, making Tuesday 25 January, the 5th and last day to issue a response.

The Prosecutor, the term implies, should guarantee the legality, however, limiting myself to this case, has been the complete opposite. To commence criminal proceedings, as was done three years ago, under an alleged crime that had no substance and to move it to the courts without objective basis, leaves a lot to be desired. But, he continues in error or perhaps pursuing an objective associated with his apocryphal mistakes, while an INNOCENT man suffer the rigors of an absurd confinement and hunger to demand respect for his rights.

Yes, Yamil is INNOCENT. The flare gun is used to signal that you are in danger and, though my brother was in a similar context, he did not feel unprotected. Despite the horrible weather and sea conditions, he had two sets of GPS equipment that allowed him to orient himself and his vessel had two outboard motors, in perfect working condition. Anyway, this gun is not a used as means to advise that one is entering an international port and his forced arrival for temporary protection (from the storm) exonerates him of any criminal liability, an issue set out in Article 22.1 and 215.2 of our Criminal Code.

The arguments for the innocence of Yamil Dominguez are overwhelming, but Cuba has to justify, before public opinion, the more than three years he has been in prison, so they have no other alternative but to charge him with illegal entry into the country.

Justice should be blind because we all have the same rights and are equal under the law. Unfortunately, many of those responsible for exercising it, remove the blindfold from their eyes and it is, at this exact moment, that they cease to be impartial and give birth to iniquity. Sufficient reasons exist for my brother to be freed. The reasons are obvious and we are confident that the truth will out; the pitcher can only go to the well so many times before it breaks.

January 24 2011

Another Letter to the Attorney General / Yamil Domínguez

Havana, January 11, 2011

To: the Attorney General of the Republic of Cuba

Allow me to present myself, Yadaimí Domínguez Ramos, resident of Calle 4, No 119 between 1st and 3rd, Playa, City of Havana, I direct myself to you to make you aware of the situation of my brother Yamil Domínguez Ramos, as a result of your criminal process.

On 31 August 2010, the People’s Supreme Court issued sentence 120/2010, which annulled the sentence 549/2008 of the Provincial Court of the City of Havana, as a result of a review and appeal process requested by the First Vice Minister of Justice: Urbano José Pedraza Linares.

The Highest Judicial Organ of the Republic ordered the process returned to the preparatory phase to widen the investigation with this result: the investigation made the same statement, confirming what Yamil had stated from the very beginning. In early December the Instructor sent the Preliminary Case File No 97/2007 to the Attorney General with his conclusive report for an alleged illegal entry, and at the same time the attorney asked for a change of custody for my brother.

Up to today there has been no pronouncement on the part of the Prosecutor about this matter and what’s worse is that my brother, since December 30, has been on a hunger and thirst strike at the Security Pavilion of the Carlos J. Finley Hospital, demanding a change in his custody status until the process is complete. It is worth considering that the crime with which he is charged has a maximum sentence of three years in prison, and in this case Yamil has been in prison three years and three months in these conditions.

I request your greatest understanding. From the humane point of view, the case demands your attention, dedication and a solution as quickly as possible. Please do not allow irreparable damages to occur to a good man and a good family. With the change in custody, if the paperwork is delayed, more damage can be avoided and time to amend the injustice gained.

In the name of our whole family, and myself, we thank you in advance for your valuable time.

Yadaimí Domínguez Ramos.

January 12 2011