The trial schedules for this Tuesday against Gorki Águila, leader of the punk rock band Porno para Ricardo, was postponed because of the health problems of his defense attorney, according to the musician himself on his Facebook page. Gorki spoke about the background of his case with Diario de Cuba.
Gorki, what are they accusing you of?
The formal citation they gave me said the crimes of pre-criminal social dangerousness and illegal drug possession, with many points suspended.
Were you carrying drugs?
When they stopped me on the street and searched me and found two Tradea pills — methylphenidate — for which I have the appropriate prescription, signed and sealed, which are strong proof that they were bought legally. The police investigation has no evidence beyond those two pills.
Why are they accusing you?
The classic recourse of the government is to tie the “uncomfortable” individual to some prefabricated crime. In my case they didn’t ahve much more and I thought it unlikely that they’d convict me, if it was a free trial, for the (completely legal) possession of two tables of a medication that I need, according to a doctor’s prescription.
What’s your impression of this new trial and now the suspension of it?
It has the same characteristics of the 2008 trial, the same intentions, because a despotic government like ours never renounces the idea of silencing protestors like me by constant threats of prison, whether we are artists, activists, journalists or simply citizens.
On the morning of the day before yesterday I learned that the trial had been postponed because of my attorney’s health. It was to have been held on Tuesday, the 11th, but was delayed approximately a week. I thought this surprise, without any definitive date, could be dangerous because State Security could use it as a strategy and take advantage of less media coverage so I’d have a silent trial with weaker visibility.
Meanwhile, the government could create a parallel campaign to discredit me on the social networks, which seems like a recurring error on their part, because the exaggeration of creating false situations against each and everyone who dares to denounce them or express an opinion contrary to its purposes becomes suspect.
Castro never could admit that his opponents could be dignified enemies and have a body of more elevated moral principles; his attitude has always been not to recognize opponents and so to underestimate them, but taking care that they are never respected, rather defamed and in extreme cases imprisoned and even assassinated.
What are your expectations for the trial? Why summary?
I understand that these trials are held in very few countries and almost always in times of war, as an immediate lesson. The summary trials in Cuba are produced serially, with little documentation, that is, they can hold several trials on the same day, at the same time, with the ruling made in advance, where the political police has everything to gain. In this sense the regime takes great advantage of them against the peaceful opponents.
In these trials, mostly rigged by State Security — it’s expected that the ruling will go against the accused. So I think it’s extremely important to maintain solidarity among everyone because, as demonstrated in the previous trial in 2008, the more public opinion was moved and the more visibility the case got at the international level, it was possible with everyone to change a decision already decided by the anti-revolutionary injustice, on the retrograde sense of the Cuban government.
Your case is not isolate…
The government finds in these moments in the practice meant to “neutralize” the various opponents, one of their bad so-called “revolutionary offenses.” This is the case with my friend Manuel Cuesta Morúa, who finds himself under police investigation with absurd charges like “the spread of false news that threatens international peace.”
It’s incredible that someone who threatened the total destruction of the planet earth, could say that a simple opinion or the exercise of free expression could threaten international peace. It’s something as cynical as his persona, someone who dedicated his whole life to launching the false image of “revolutionary and ecologist.”
There was also the case of the independent journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez, who spent long months in prison simply for exposing the spread of the cholera epidemic in the country, work that should have been the job of the national press, which has never mentioned, with sincerity, news that is alarming to the population.
Tell me how it was in 2008…
I was in the dungeon without knowing anything that was going on outside. At a specific time a cop came with the file and told me what I was charged with would be changed. Then the treatment inside the jail mutated tremendously. When they reduced the charges, some official even said that all those who were there were criminals while I was just there for being “anti-Castro.”
That is, they changed the crime of social dangerousness to the crime of disobedience and from then is where I can corroborate the rapid collapse of the armed farce. When they substituted the charge of one crime for another following no procedures at all, completely lacking in rigor: what’s missing is the Rule of Law. This leaves the usual arbitrariness of the Cuban judicial system completely exposed, where terms like “legal certainty” or “res judicata” are alien to is citizens, frequently defenseless before such procedures.
Then I knew I had a strong international solidarity campaign and within the country all my friends and activists supported me making sure everyone knew about my situation and the false charges I was accused of.
I’m convinced that the only way to transform these previous designs of the tyranny is to realize that uniting in the demand against injustice we can multiply the message that we all need right now, that of freedom for civil Cuban society, in short, freedom for Cuba.
I would like to thank all the people sensitive to my situation who have signed the petition and who are continuing to pay attention to what could happen with respect to this inadmissible case.
Thank you so much! Hopefully this is the year that yes, it falls!
Diario de Cuba, 12 February 2014, Lia Villares