14ymedio, Havana, 7 October 2017 — Cuban dissident Darsi Ferret, who has lived in the United States since 2012, was found dead Saturday in West Palm Beach, as confirmed to 14ymedio by his colleagues and family.
Ferret, 47, a doctor, was at a local television station planning to launch in that Florida city when he died in circumstances still unknown.
In 2006, the dissident was removed from the practice of medicine in Cuba for his political positions and he founded the Juan Bruno Zayas Center for Health and Human Rights. His work as an opponent was widely recognized, especially for leading a peaceful demonstration in front of the UNESCO headquarters in Cuba every December 10th, International Human Rights Day. These marches were severely repressed by the political police.
In 2009 he was arrested and sentenced to 11 months in prison for the alleged crime of buying building materials in the informal market to renovate his house. Half a year later Amnesty International declared him a “prisoner of conscience” and demanded that Raul Castro’s government release him.
In June 2010, Ferret was released on parole and two years later emigrated as a political refugee to the United States. His wife at that time, Yusnaimy Jorge Soca, and his son Daniel, then 10, resided in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“I left my homeland, friends and a people that is suffering greatly,” Ferret said when arriving in the US “but I keep alive the hope that Cuba will be free because the Cuban people are ever more committed to that freedom.”
In the United States, Ferret dedicated himself to spreading the reality of the island through his work as producer, reporter and event organizer in which several Cuban dissidents participated. Until his death he maintained a very critical position towards the Palace of the Revolution. An attitude emphasized last August on his Facebook wall when he said that “during almost six decades of absolute control of power on the island, the Castros have contributed nothing good or meritorious.”
Ed note: Ferret’s name has been frequently misspelled as “Ferrer,” including on his Wikipedia entry and in articles on this site (which we will correct). His family has confirmed that his name is Ferret, which is also correct on his Facebook.