Yunior Garcia Will Request Asylum in Spain Because ‘It Would be Suicide’ to Return to Cuba Now

Yunior García Aguilera at a press conference after his arrival in Madrid. (EFE/Fernando Villar)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 24 January 2022 — The playwright Yunior García Aguilera will request asylum in Spain, where he arrived in mid-November 2021, after leaving the island forced by the siege around his apartment that he was subjected to by Cuban State Security. The founder of the Archipiélago platform traveled to Madrid with a tourist visa granted by the Spanish Government, valid for 90 days and not valid travel to another country. However, more than two months have passed and the opposition figure admits having realized that he cannot return as soon as he expected, he said in an interview with the newspaper El País that was published this Sunday.

“Since my arrival in Madrid, my theater group in Cuba has been closed and the actors have been fired. My works are prohibited. The case against me is still open. As soon as I set foot in the Havana airport they have excuses to send me to jail for 27 or 30 years, as they have done with other protesters. Going back now is not a real possibility. It would be suicide,” he says from his new host city.

On his arrival in Madrid, García Aguilera said that his intention was to exhaust the duration of the visa, recover mentally and physically from the wear and tear suffered in the weeks prior to the Civic March for Change, of which he was one of the promoters, and return to the Island willing to continue advancing the demands for freedom for political prisoners and the dialogue to initiate a change towards democracy in Cuba.

However, since he left, his Trébol Teatro group has been closed and he notes that before leaving Cuba, State Security threatened him with 27 years in the Combinado del Este prison. continue reading

In the interview, García Aguilera talks about his landing in Madrid’s daily life. After an arrival under the spotlight, with spaces in the Spanish news and pages in the newspapers, the playwright has had to start an ordinary life and says that he survives “honestly” thanks to some collaborations with the media and the support of the Cuban exile. As he explains, the coat he was wearing during his conversation with the El País reporter was given to him and he is willing to work at whatever is necessary to maintain the small apartment where he lives in Lavapiés.

García Aguilera says they he must tae some precautions, such as keeping his exact address secret – “State Security has tentacles everywhere” – but he is delighted with his host neighborhood. Less than a kilometer from Puerta del Sol, Lavapiés is an area in which more than 88 nationalities coexist and which, despite the gentrification process that has been going on for a few years, preserves the tradition of the oldest residents of the capital, together with the multiculturalism of its new inhabitants.

“On Sundays, the Blacks take out their drums and play them. That reminds me of my land,” says the playwright, who emphasizes that he feels very grateful for his current austere life, because he has had the warmth of the Cuban community, which has even helped him to protect himself from the cold Madrid winter, which these days registers temperatures between 28 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

“In politics, what is real is what is not seen” he says to describe the “discreet” work which, he maintains, he has continued to carry out for democracy in Cuba. This links to one of the most unpleasant episodes that he has experienced since he arrived in Spain, an act of repudiation that he suffered in the Faculty of Political Sciences of the Complutense University of Madrid when he tried to relate his experiences in a presentation organized by an association of the same Faculty.

García Aguilera attributes the action to “young people from the United Left” (one of the member parties of the United We Can coalition, currently in government) and considers that many of these people preserve the unreal myth of the Cuban Revolution as an ideal of justice and equality. The playwright urges people “of good will who dare not call Cuba a dictatorship” to “understand that this romantic vision is doing Cubans a lot of harm” and asks the international community to abandon its “hypocrisy” and its “lukewarmness” toward “that brutal and cruel dictatorship that rips out the hearts of Cubans,” as he did since the most recent column published in 14ymedio, where he has a fortnightly collaboration.

Despite this bad time, García Aguilera is happy in his new city and confesses that he is happy when he can give himself a little treat such as buying a chocolate bar, some pork or visiting the bookstores in his neighborhood, always with caution, since some Cuban media have come to spread images of him buying cheap clothes with the aim of painting him “as a consumer who is happy eating ham,” he says.

At night, sometimes until 5 in the morning, he speaks with Cuba through video calls with his 10-year-old son, who continues to live in Havana, with the Archipiélago moderators and the relatives of the political prisoners.

Although his exile is expected to be longer than initially announced, García Aguilera insists that “he will never give up returning to his country. Being Cuban is a chronic condition that has no cure. I cannot forget that I am a Cuban who wants to return to Cuba.”


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Yosvany Garcia’s Health Suffers After Ten Days as a ‘Plantado’ in a Cuban Prison

Mailin Sánchez, wife of Yosvany García Caso, a ’plantado’ on hunger strike in Holguín, in a video with her three children. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 January 2022 — Yosvany Rosell García Caso, for whom the Prosecutor’s Office requested 30 years in the trial in Holguín for sentencing on January 14, has been on a hunger strike for ten days in protest of what he considers an unjust sentence. As confirmed to this newspaper by his wife, Mailin Sánchez, he is the only one who continues to be a plantado* out of the defendants who went on a hunger strike in the same prison.

Mailin Sánchez says that this Sunday a State Security agent called her to tell her that she had to appear at the prison on Monday morning, but that her husband did not want to see her. “He does not want to receive visits, he did not want to talk to me, he continues in the position of being a plantado in respnse to the unjust request of 30 years,” she says.

Sánchez says that her husband is in the infirmary because his health is deteriorating. “I spoke with the doctor and she tells me that the analyses that they did today are already altered, there is already damage to his health, that he has lost a lot of weight,” she says, adding that García Caso “does not have the right to calls at this time.”

“They are destroying this family,” Mailin Sánchez denounces in a video, accompanied by her three children, where she also asserts that her family “wants him free and at home now.”

In addition to García Caso, two other political prisoners continue on hunger strike: the artist and leader of the San Isidro Movement Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, in Havana, and Chadrián Vila Sequin, in Matanzas. continue reading

At the same time, the case of Walnier Luis Aguilera Rivera, one of those arrested after the July 11 demonstration in the La Güinera neighborhood, Havana, sentenced to 23 years in prison, has been brought before the United Nations.

The Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH) has denounced his case before the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Aguilera Rivera, who suffers from mental retardation, according to his father, was sentenced on December 23 for the crime of “sedition” and is in the Combinado del Este maximum security prison.

“The denial of a forensic medical/psychiatric test in the investigative and judicial phase certified the predisposition to convict him,” explains the OCDH in a statement published this Monday, detailing that the young man was arbitrarily arrested on July 20 and his whereabouts were unknown for seven days.

“He was confined alongside common criminals,” says the Madrid-based organization. “He was prevented from having immediate access to his parents, to the medications he requires, and to lawyers.”

The clinical history of Aguilera Rivera, continues the Observatory, “is evidence that he has required special psychiatric treatment since he was a child.” The Diagnosis and Orientation Center certified since 2014 that he had “special educational needs, due to suffering from intellectual disability.” For this reason, and since then, “he is permanently medicated” and, in addition, he was not required to undertake Compulsory Military Service, for “borderline intellectual functioning” and being an “unfit subject” to assume natural or daily obligations.

The OCDH also emphasizes that the “criminal figure of sedition” serves the regime to “sow terror in the Cuban population,” since “it foresees sentences that range between 10 and 20 years in prison, or the possible death penalty.”

Among the four trials for 11J that will take place this week in Cuba, for a total of 39 detainees, is that of the opposition figure Félix, who will be tried in Matanzas. Accused of “public disorder” and “attack,” Navarro faces a sentence of 15 years in prison.

Navarro, 68 years old and a former prisoner of the Black Spring of 2003, was one of the few from the Group of 75, after his release in 2011, who refused to leave the Island.

He was arrested, along with other prominent figures of the opposition, in the heat of the demonstrations on July 11. Specifically, as recorded by the group Justicia 11J, his arrest occurred on the morning of the next day, when he was inquiring about the situation of other detainees in the municipality of Perico.

President of the Pedro Luis Boitel Abraham Party for Democracy and a member of the Democratic Action Unity Table (Muad), the opponent is being held in the Combinado del Sur prison in Matanzas, where he has suffered from covid-19. In September he staged a hunger strike for three weeks in protest against the accusations against him.

In the same trial, his daughter Saily Navarro, a Lady in White and a promoter of Cuba Decide, is facing a trial with the prosecutor, Idania Miranda Ferrer, asking for 11 years for the crimes of “public disorder,” “disrespect” and “attack.” Currently, she is under house arrest.

According to a complaint by the Cuban Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Press (ICLEP), its executive director, Alberto Corzo, and several reporters from the independent outlet Cocodrilo Callejero are “besieged in their homes” in Matanzas by agents of the National Revolutionary Police and State Security.

If something is surprising about this week’s trials, it is the, once again, high sentences that weigh on the 21 accused in Havana, between the 19 years in prison that Liliana Oropesa Ferrer faces and the 26 years requested by the prosecutor of the Municipal Court of October 10, Gustavo José Mayo González, for Alejaime Lambert Reyes.

*Translator’s note: A ’plantado’ — literally ’planted’ — is a term with a long history in Cuba and is used to describe a political prisoner who refuses to cooperate in any way with their incarceration.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuba: The Calendar Hits Us Again On January 28

Police operation at the gates of the Santa Clara courthouse where the July 11 protesters were processed. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 24 January 2022 — Lately, the anniversary of the birth of José Martí has ​​been preceded by tragic moments in Cuba. The death of three girls due to a partial building collapse on January 27, 2020 occurred just twelve months after a tornado tore through Havana. This year, on the day that marks the 169th anniversary of that anniversary, a week of trials against the July 11 protesters concludes.

The hearings where those who protested that day are being judged have been characterized by injustice and the regime’s attempt to convey a message to make an example of them. The long prison sentences requested by the prosecutor for many of the defendants, together with the sentences that have already been announced, cast a bleak picture. Serving that time behind bars, in many cases, means spending more years in prison than the defendants have already lived.

So much excess in penalizing the citizen act of protest is leaving a sad balance. In addition to the families destroyed by having a son or daughter in jail, the fear of falling into a similar situation spurs thousands of Cubans to leave the country as soon as possible. Among those who leave are not only those who participated in that day of popular demonstration and also fear being prosecuted, but, above all, those who could potentially join the next social outburst. continue reading

This dissuasive effect joins the pressure against relatives who denounce the irregularities of the trials, the threats to those who share, on their social networks, the debauchery of prosecutors or judges and an intense campaign of social demonization against those arrested on 11J. Incapable of havinv foreseen that the streets would be filled with cries of “freedom” that Sunday, Cuba’s ruling party now wants to reverse those impressive images by means of dungeons and fear.

On the same 28th of January, the day José Martí cried for the first time, almost 40 trials will have concluded against dozens of Cubans who, like him, believed that a freer country could be achieved “for the good of all.” At age 16, that attitude cost the then Havana teenager Martí a shackle on his ankle and later exile. A disturbing parallel with what is happening this week in Cuba.

The calendar has once again placed us in front of history’s mirror. Young people continue to be condemned and pushed into exile on this Island.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Coffee is Missing From Cuba’s Ration Stores Due to Shipping Company Problems, Authorities Explain

People buying in a Cuban ration store that sells the ’standardized family basket’. (14ymedio, Archive)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 23 January 2022 — Cubans haven’t finished with one disappointment before facing another: coffee sold in the ration stores (called bodegas in Cuba) has not yet appeared in those markets in the month of January. The product has been missing from the bodegas due to “existing difficulties with the shipping companies,” the Government justified on Saturday.

The Business Group of the Agri-Food Industry stressed on its social networks that the coffee in the family basket “presents distribution problems in the months of December and January,” due to the fact that part of the product must be imported from other countries, after the drop in ground coffee from the national harvest.

However, the official message specifies that even when “national production” was met, a plan that is adjusted downwards each year in order to achieve it, “there is a level that is ensured with imported coffee, but that has not arrived in the country due to existing difficulties with the shipping companies.”

Cuba’s annual coffee production was 60,000 tons in 1959, it has plummeted since then to below 6,000 tons a year. continue reading

The instability in the distribution of the product has been a persistent problem, increasing the outrage among consumers, especially after the official announcements of an upcoming sale of coffee which has not actually materialized in the bodegas that distribute the standardized basic basket.

This is how it came to be that, in the second week of January, a shop assistant on Calle E between 23 and 21, in Havana’s El Vedado, chose to put up two large signs with the phrase: “There is no coffee,” tired of repeating it with her voice to every customer who comes in asking about the product, while she has no idea when it will be available.

“I put up the posters so that people would be warned,” the state employee said with annoyance, while recalling that the capital’s official press published, at the beginning of the year, an announcement saying that the distribution of coffee through the ration book corresponding to January was imminent.

Despite this scenario, the Agri-food Industry assured that “the industrial processing of coffee” has already concluded and “work is being done on the distribution of the remaining territories before the end of January” without specifying whether the product that has already been processed contains one hundred percent domestic raw material.

The Cuba-Café Company had warned in December of delays in the arrival of imports and in the deliveries from the businesses that process the beans, which harmed “the retail distribution of blended coffee for the family basket” in that month. [’Blended’ coffee refers to the fact that the beans are often mixed with other material, such as dried peas.]

And not only is there a delay in the distribution of coffee, milk for people on medical diets is still missing. As justified by the company, “its delivery has not been possible due to the lack of financing to insure it.”

Since last September, the Ministry of the Food Industry announced that due to the “delay in arrivals” of powdered milk, people who had been assigned a medical diet would not be included in the distribution.

The only alternative that affected people have, said the agency, is to depend on the “availability” of other products derived from soybeans that are sold freely, an option developed, they say, in consulttion with “specialists from the Ministry of Public Health.”

The cuts in delivery, the Government reported then, would continue in the month of October, after clarifying that children are the priority in the delivery of the precious food, but the truth is that people with medical diets have already gone almost half a year without milk.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.


Cuban Police Detain Several Ladies in White to Block a Protest

Images of the arrests of the Ladies in White outside their headquarters. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 23 January 2022 — On Sunday, women dressed in plainclothes at the service of State Security detained a group of Ladies in White along with the mothers of some political prisoners, among whom was Bárbara Farrat, the mother of the 17-year-old Jonathan Torres, imprisoned after the protests of the July 11 (11J).

“They were arrested when leaving the organization’s national headquarters in Lawton-Havana,” activist Ángel Moya Acosta spread on his social networks. Hours earlier, he had reported Farrat’s arrival at the national headquarters of the Ladies in White. “Cuban political prisoners are waiting for everyone. Together we can do more,” he stressed.

In social networks, “Farrat’s courage” was highlighted; in an intimidating act she was arrested and held for hours in December of 2021. Meanwhile, the activist Saily González shared a video in a Twitter message in which Disney Azahares More, Dixan’s sister Gainza, arrested for demonstrating on 11J, along with other relatives of political prisoners from Camagüey, went to the Church in support of the Ladies in White to “demand freedom for political prisoners in Cuba.”

Last Saturday, Ángel Moya Acosta denounced on his Facebook account the “repressive operation” deployed by members of State Security dressed in civilian clothes in the vicinity of the headquarters of the Ladies in White. continue reading

The activists had announced on Friday that this Sunday they were going to resume the demonstrations in the streets of Cuba. “We activate the campaign of confrontation for the freedom of all political prisoners without exclusion,” they announced.

The message was broadcast last Friday, the same day that the Justicia 11J platform reported that Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, William Manuel Leyva Pupo, Yosvany Rosell García, Cruz García Domínguez and Chadrián Vila Sequin, detained during the popular protests of July 11, were on a hunger strike.

The complaint highlights that the trials carried out so far are held behind closed doors, under operations in the vicinity of the courts that bloc access to the courtrooms, and only the presence of one family member of the accused is allowed.

In this context, a message shared by Berta Soler on her social networks says that the “moral and political” commitment of every Lady in White is “to support the relatives of political prisoners who act for the freedom of their loved one.”

In the morning, Soler denounced the theft, for the second time, of the padlock and chain from the gate of her apartment, located in Alamar, in Havana. This event was considered by the Lady in White as “an attempted robbery so that I would leave the headquarters and stop my activism. There is no pact with the communists, to the street, keep stealing.”


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuban State Security Evicts Journalist Yadiris Fuentes from Her Home

Yadiris Fuentes is a reporter for ADN Cuba. (Julio Llopiz-Casal)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 22 January 2021 — Serious threats from Cuban State Security are forcing independent journalist Yadiris Fuentes to, in a few days, move out of the home she’s lived in since June 2021. The owner of the home was warned by political police that if he did not evict her, he could face a fine or even lose his property, which is an illegal rental.

As Fuentes told 14ymedio, she will only be able to remain in the home until February 5th, the last day through which her rent is pre-paid. “Since the state of siege we all had around November (stemming from the announcement made by Archipiélago) they had not bothered me anymore, they had not called me nor seen me,” she explained.

“On Monday, January 17th I was not home, but Manuel called my cell phone, the agent who ’takes care of me’,” says Fuentes, who for years lived in Cienfuegos although she is originally from Pinar del Río. The official told her he wanted to see her in two days, last Wednesday, in the afternoon. “Summon me, if you want to see me, summon me,” she replied.

The ADN Cuba reporter let the Security agent know that she refused to respond to verbal summons and to date, she has not received an official document to appear before the authorities; thus, she believes the objective of the political police “was to intimidate and that, perhaps, to them, the rental thing is enough” harassment. continue reading

“The day after that call, my landlord informed me that State Security went to see him and told him that, ’either he evicts me, or they would fine him 15,000 pesos’ and that they could confiscate his house. Obviously, I will not subject anyone to live under that pressure and I said if that is how it is, I’d leave on February 5th,” she declared.

Fuentes assures us that these pressures to leave her without a place to live will not divert her from her profession, “This won’t influence anything I do as a journalist but while I concentrate on where to live, obviously I cannot work in the same way and they know that and I believe that is part of the method.”

The reporter stated that this type of pressure has been seen before and that her case “is not extraordinary nor unique… It is a technique they’ve already used a lot, especially against women, as if they view us as weaker and more susceptible to pressure.” Among the independent reporters who have suffered this type of pressure so they’d lose their rentals is Camila Acosta, a contributor to the online news portal CubaNet.

Faced with this dilemma, she says, “A friend always appears,” who can take her in for a few days while she finds a place to live, but she insists that she will try “not exploit these avenues” because she does not like “to be bothering anyone nor subjecting them to the pressure from State Security.”

“Right now, finding a rental is super difficult. There was a time when Havana was the easiest place to find one because there were several channels for finding them but right now, for example on Revolico, the online platform for buyers and sellers, there are very few options. Most of the ads are for people looking for rentals,” she says.

According to her experience, looking for options these days, she’s noticed that prices “have increased a lot” and that right now “everything is above 7,000 or 9,000 pesos,” (between 280 and 360 dollars, according to the official exchange rate), and when she communicates with the owners, they inform her that they are already taken.

The independent reporter is aware that what she is experiencing “is a cyclical story,” and that wherever she lives they can, once again, pressure her landlords, even if the rental is legal.

This scene has served as motivation for a group of independent Cuban female journalists to launch the Casa Palanca campaign, with the goal of fundraising to acquire a property. With the initiative, shared on Verkami, the activists and reporters want to create a network “of linkages, protection, and emotional and psychological support.”

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Five Cuban Political Prisoners from July 11th are on a Hunger Strike

A protester on July 11, 2021, is beaten by agents of the police in Havana. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, January 21, 2022–Five political prisoners, of those detained for the popular protests on July 11th (11J), are on a hunger strike. Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, William Manuel Leyva Pupo, Yosnavy Rosell García, Cruz García Domínguez, and Chadrían Vila Sequin are refusing to ingest food, demanding their immediate release, reported Justicia 11J on Friday.

On its Facebook page, Justicia 11J provided updated details about the upcoming trials of 39 J11 protesters, which will take place between January 24th and the 28th. Among the crimes for which they are accused are “sedition, sabotage, public disorder, contempt, assault, and sexual insult,” it states.

The platform [Justicia 11J] denounces that in the trials to date, “we have identified the same patterns: police operations at the tribunals where the trials are held behind closed doors.” A cordon [blocking access to the court], which “constitutes a violation of the right to due process, and an assault on transparency of the judicial proceedings.”

“The authorities only allow one family member per defendant to be present at the trial,” explains Justicia 11J. Activists call upon the prosecutors and judges to guarantee, “justice for the more than one thousand people who ended up arbitrarily detained and who are being subjected to torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment for exercising their right to protest.” continue reading

In order to restore the rights of those arrested that day, Justicia 11J proposes dropping “the charges for which there is no evidence,” dismissing “the cases against protesters which have yet to be charged,” and acquitting those who have been tried, “but who have not yet been sentenced.”

“In the cases of those who have been convicted, but not yet sentenced, promote ex oficio appeals and declare the protesters absolved,” adds the document. “Promote ex officio revision of the proceedings,” and “initiate an investigation against agents of the Ministry of the Interior and the Revolutionary Armed Forces who used excessive force,” were the other recommendations.

The platform [Justicia 11J] reiterates its demand that the Island permit entry to “international organizations such as Amnesty International and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, so they may inspect the state of detention centers across the country.” They also joined the #UEenCubaMiraLasPrisiones [European Union in Cuba Look at the Prisons] campaign, targeting European diplomats in Cuba.

With a demand that foreign press credentialed in Cuba be present at the trials, Justicia 11J completed its report on Friday. The document is accompanied by a list, by province, of the trial dates and the names of protesters who will be tried, their age, and the sentences sought by the prosecutor’s office:

January 24th and 25th, prosecutor Idania Miranda Ferrer, People’s Municipal Tribunal of Jovellanos, Matanzas:

1. Félix Navarro Rodríguez (68), 15 years

2. Saily Navarro Álvarez (35), 11 years

3. Daymelin Abreu Rodríguez (20), 7 years

4. Odrey Rodríguez Lanz (30), 11 years

5. Adrián Echegoyen Espiñeira (25), 7 years

6. Cristian Carlos Contreras Matos (24), 16 years

7. Yoandy Ripoll Smith (32), 16 years

8. Yanelys Rosabal Milanés (36), 9 years

9. Mildrey Mederos Soca (44), 9 years

January 24th, 25th and 26th, prosecutor José Mayo González, Municipal Tribunal of Diez de Octubre, Havana (sedition):

10. Carlos Alberto Hernández Pérez (23), 26 years

11. Elian Seguí Cruz (21), 21 years

12. Mackyanis Román Rodríguez (23), 25 years

13. Juan Piloto Ferro (58), 21 years

14. Alejaime Lambert Reyes (22), 26 years

15. Lázaro Daniel Cremé Bueno (21), 21 years

16. Arielvis Rill Baró (30), 25 years

17. Amaury Fernández Martínez (33), 21 years

18. Rolier Salazar González (36), 21 years

19. Luis Miguel Oña Jiménez (23), 21 years

20. Yaquelin Castillo García (49), 20 years

21. José Luis Castillo De La Torre (56), 25 years

22. Andrius López Fragosa (29), 25 years

23. Liliana Oropesa Ferrer (20), 19 years

24. Dayan Jesús Ramírez Rondón (23), 25 years

25. Osvaldo Lugo Pita (34), 21 years

26. Wilfredo Limonta Mesa (20), 21 years

27. Yurema Ramos Abad (25), 25 years

28. Eris Diógenes Mejías Vinent (21), 25 years

29. Juan Walberto Verdecia Rodríguez (48), 25 years

30. Germán Barrenechea Echevarría (24), 25 years January 25th and 26th, prosecutor Yerandy Calzadilla Dávalos, Municipal  Tribunal of Quivicán, Mayabeque:

31. Jorge Martín Perdomo (38), 10 years

32. Nadir Martín Perdomo (37), 8 years

January 26th, prosecutor Daylet Fuentes Morales, Municipal Tribunal of San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque:

33. Angel Miguel Martín Caro (50), 12 years

34. Jorge Luis Reynoso Barrios (21), 6 years

35. Omar Valenciano Donatien (25), 6 years

36. Raul Xavier Díaz Pérez (17), 5 years

37. Alain Yamil Sánchez Baluja (21), 7 years

38. Livan Viel de la Peña (19), 7 years

39. Abel González Lescay (23), 7 years

Justicia 11J also explained that of “the 1,379 people arrested in connection with the protests on July 11th, at least 727 remain in detention centers, 71 of them are women and 15 are minors younger than 18 years of age.

Of the 613 people who have been released, many are awaiting trial and were either released on bail as a precautionary measure or are under house arrest.

“A total of 158 people are being tried or have been tried for sedition and 40, for sabotage. Of the 93 people arrested in connection with the Civic Day for Change, on November 15th, nine remain in detention.

Unedited images of the protests on July 11, 2021, in Havana.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Dollar Store Imports Hurt Cuban Soft Drink Factory

The factory, located in Guane, Pinar del Río, has seen how the crisis has reduced the production of its beverages to below 100 million units. (Granma)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 21 January 2022 — As Cuba’s domestic soft drink manufacturing declined, the shelves of stores that only take payment in freely convertible currency (MLC) were stocked with similar but imported beverages. The complaint comes from the director of the mixed-ownership company — with a foreign partner — located in Pinar del Río Los Portales, Mario Venero Bencomo, who explains to the official press why the national product is scarce while she strives to convince of the importance of betting on the native industry.

The director reviews the decline in the production of cans and bottles, key in the shortage of Ciego Montero beverages (Tukola, Diet Tukola, Naranja, Soda, Pineapple, Mate) and the Cimex corporation (TropiCola, Cachito, Najita, Ironbeer ), which are produced exclusively at their plant. Los Portales is responsible for the manufacture of containers for 90% of national beverages, but the total number of units has suffered a resounding collapse.

In 2018, with renewed machinery, they achieved a record of 278 million units, a figure that they thought they would exceed each year. But in 2019, with the fuel crisis, which Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel called “temporary,” production fell to 247.9 million. In 2020 covid-19 arrived and with it, everything got worse. That year barely 112 million units were manufactured, not even half of the previous year. And this last one, 2021, a tiny 86 million. continue reading

The project to double the line of plastic bottles, in the making in 2018, foundered sine die.

More figures for the disaster: of canned soft drinks, only 23.5 million units were produced in 2021, which under normal conditions would hardly take a month and a half of work.

Los Portales is the result of an association with the Swiss brand Nestlé, arranged at at the end of the last century. In 1999, its first year of work, it managed to produce 12 million units, and by 2009 it was already making 48 million soda bottles and 153 million cans.

The factory, predictably due to its mixed-ownership category, can boast of having been well equipped technologically. So much so, that Venero Bencomo assures that there is not a single team left from the first factory, reopened from a pre-existing industry. Few Cuban companies renew their technology in an integral way and so that they no longer depend on obsolete machinery from the Soviet era.

However, the director resorts to the embargo to explain some problems encountered over time, a situation that she describes as “harassment” by the United States. As she explains, some companies have canceled contracts or  refused to supply spare parts which forced them to abandon the use of necessary machines.

At this very moment, she maintains, there are no parts for the can capper because the supplier company has sold shares to a US firm, now preventing the sale.

Venero Bencomo attributes the drop in production to the shortage of raw materials, most of which are imported. The purchase of aluminum cans and lids, which is “where the most is spent in this factory, from the point of view of annual consumption,” has been weighed down by the serious economic crisis that afflicts Cuba.

Los Portales has solved part of the problem by boosting the line of plastic bottles, which reached 62.6 million units in 2021, not far from the 68 million that is the norm in the industry, he says.

On the other hand, the production of cans was disastrous, with barely 10.6% of the 220 million able to be made.

Venero Bencomo defends her company and assures that it is exemplary, since it has not increased its prices with the Ordering Task* nor has it fired its workers – whose salary exceeds the country’s average several times, in her words – despite the collapse of the industry. “It is better to produce in Cuba. Employment and development are generated, and dependency on foreign suppliers is avoided,” she argues.

To understand how Los Portales holds up in this context, you have to read to the end of the text. The company has chosen to sell to stores that only take payment in hard currency (MLC), tourism and online in order to capture foreign currency and be able to pay its commitments.

By 2022, the production of some 50 million canned soft drinks is expected, more than double what was achieved in 2021. Although it remains to be seen if it is possible to achieve the goal.

Despite the high production, before the 2018 record, the shortage of these products was noted. Already by 2017 the factory explained that it could not cope because consumption was very high. And all this despite the health problems associated with the sugariness of these drinks.

*Translator’s note: Tarea ordenamiento = the [so-called] ‘Ordering Task’ which is a collection of measures that includes eliminating the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), leaving the Cuban peso as the only national currency, raising prices, raising salaries (but not as much as prices), opening stores that take payment only in hard currency which must be in the form of specially issued pre-paid debit cards, and others. 


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuba: Police in Camaguey Arrest Motorcycle Thieves

At least nine motorcycles were recovered by the Ministry of the Interior’s Camaguey office. (Captura)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, January 14, 2022 — Just two weeks ago the Ministry of the Interior described social media accounts of stolen electric motorcycles as “fake news,” but actions by authorities in Camagüey now contradict this claim.

On Thursday state television reported the arrest of several individuals for theft of motorcycles using violent means. Though it did not provide exact figures on how many cases of theft were recorded in the city, how many people were arrested or when the assaults took place, the news report confirms that there has been a breakdown in “law and order,” something the Government tried to deny on January 2 when it claimed the high level of public safety the country allegedly enjoys is “one of the triumphs of the Cuban Revolution.”

According an agent with the Provincial Criminal Investigative Unit, the perpetrators’ method involves first choosing their victims, then following them at night and, “using violence and intimidation,” robbing them at knifepoint.

Faced with a growing number of victims filing complaints, the police set up a response team to investigate what the television news broadcast described as nine incidents of stolen motorcycles. It is very common in crimes like these for thieves to dismantle the vehicles and sell their parts.

The New Year’s celebrations saw a rise in the number of reported cases of assault, which has alarmed many citizens. Armed robberies, stolen gold chains and cell phones, and the theft of electric motorcycles are some of the increasingly common crimes taking place on Cuban streets.

Some social media posts, especially those by motorcycle clubs, report armed robbery of electric motorcycles. “It’s best to avoid intersections with traffic lights,” they warn. One of the videos circulating online shows a man driving one of these vehicles being assaulted when he stops for a red light. He is thrown to the ground as the thieves ride off with his motorcycle. continue reading

Alvaro Alvarez, member of a Facebook group called All about Electric Motorcycles in Havana, posted an account of how he was assaulted at the stop light at 51st and 76th streets in the Marianao district. According to Alvarez, the assailant, who was brandishing a knife, stole his motorcycle. The victim had been using the motorcycle to support his family by working as a courier.

Alvarez proposed motorcycle owners form a caravan to protest in front of the Attorney General’s office or another public place to draw attention to the crime problem and the growing wave of assaults.

According to the latest official statistics, the Interior Ministry received 468 criminal complaints of armed robbery of electric motorcycles between between January and November of 2021. Only 60% of those, or 281 cases, were resolved and only 186 motorcycles were recovered.

As of January 1, almost 200,000 electric motorcycles were in circulation throughout the country.


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Don’t Fall Into the Trap Again, President Diaz-Canel

Russian President, Vladímir Putin, and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel. (Estudios Revolución)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 22 January 2022 — A few days ago, Mr. Díaz-Canel, Dimitri Peskov, the Russian spokesman, said candidly, “We think about how to guarantee our own security.” He was referring to statements by Sergei Riabkov, Russian deputy foreign minister, in which he, mumbling, threatened the US with deploying troops and missiles in Cuba and Venezuela if NATO continued to besiege Russia or to supply Ukraine with weapons.

Your job, Mr. President (and that of Mr. Maduro in Venezuela) is not to guarantee Russian security, but rather the well-being of Cubans (and Venezuelans). Something that is far beyond your possibilities, as long as there are no changes in the productive system that this poor country suffers from, but, at least, you can save our compatriots the bitterness of another defeat and the anxiety of losing their lives uselessly.

For that same reason, in October 1962 the “Missile Crisis” broke out in Cuba. You were very young, and you don’t know how the events occurred. The USSR wanted to target the heart of the United States, but John F. Kennedy put his country on a war footing and prepared to fight if there was no other choice.

On that occasion, Fidel Castro sent an encrypted telegram asking the Russian Premier to preventively bombard the United States with nuclear weapons. Nikita Khrushchev replied that he was a fool and dismissed his crazy initiative. Cuba would have remained a smoking, radioactive hole for half a century. It was an operatic ending for a raving madman. continue reading

I was living in Miami then, I was 19 years old, and I took several dozen young Cubans to the US Army with the promise that we would land in Cuba. “Tony” Varona, returning from Washington where he met with JFK advisors, assured me of this and I repeated his words to the boys. Varona was one of the leaders of the resistance, former Prime Minister of democratic Cuba, and a fundamentally honest person. He had a son imprisoned in Cuba after the landing at the Bay of Pigs

Fortunately, that did not happen. We all would have died. The Soviet colonels – there were 40,000 Russian soldiers in Cuba – had tactical nuclear weapons that they could use at will. That was found out many years later. They would have launched them against us, which would have generated an atomic war between the USSR and the United States in a short time.

There was even an episode in which the direct confrontation between a landing of the United States army and the Soviet troops stationed in Cuba was not necessary to ignite the spark. Many years after the incident, it was learned that a Soviet submarine broke through the US Navy’s blockade during the “October Crisis.” It was equipped with a nuclear charge that would have shattered an aircraft carrier and its attack flotilla, a fact unknown to the Americans.

The Americans launched depth charges to bring it to the surface. The submarine had lost contact with its base and its crew didn’t know if the war had already begun. According to the rules for launching an attack, all three commanding officers had to agree: the captain, the first mate, and the second mate. The captain and the first officer thought that the fighting had already begun, but the second mate, named Vasili Arkhipov, didn’t believe in that possibility and persuaded his two companions not to fight back. He was a hero of whom nothing was known until many years later.

In 1962 Marxism-Leninism was actually a vaguely credible option. Nikita claimed that in 10, 20 or 30 years the USSR would be on a par with the US. The Soviets had inaugurated the space age with the Sputnik and “the power of the Soviets plus electricity,” as Lenin wanted, was paying off, especially after the devastation of World War II. There were urban areas that grew at 10% per year.

But it was a matter of ignorance. One had only to read the book entitled Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, written by Ludwig von Mises in 1922 (probably written for Lenin, then in his heyday), about the failure of the price system under socialism, and how it would end up producing a monstrous distortion that would make economic calculation totally impossible. However, in 1962 it was not necessary to resort to reading or theoretical analysis. It was enough to compare the results of the two Germanys to know what would happen in one and the other system after a few years.

In short, Mr. Díaz-Canel, Putin is playing with fire and he’s going to burn himself. The British have sold the Ukrainians hundreds and hundreds of state-of-the-art weapons that are fired from the shoulder at tanks and artillery pieces. Estonia is used to deliver Israel’s Spikes missiles against aviation to Kiev. To direct the presumed war, the US has installed its headquarters in Albania, the most anti-Soviet of the former satellites of the USSR. France, England and the US guarantee that Russia will not use nuclear warheads. NATO under Biden is working reasonably well. What are you going to get into that war for, President? It is a grave for Russia. Do you them to bury you in it?

The size of the Russian economy is roughly that of Italy, but Italians are less than half the population of Russia. Putin is making the same mistake as his predecessors. They see that they have the largest nation on earth (approximately twice the size of the US or China) and from this they deduce that they can develop an empire. In 1991 it was seen to be “Bangladesh with missiles,” as US diplomat Jeanne Kirkpatrick used to say. Only 32% of Russians want to revitalize the empire; 68% presumably want to live better. Like the Cubans, señor Díaz-Canel. Cubans want to pursue their own dreams and not those of the leaders. When will you learn your lesson,  president?


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Cuba Receives 84 Buses Donated by Japan and Assembled in Colombia

In this case, the buses belong to the economic and social development program in its Transportation section. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 13 January 2022 — The poor fleet of Havana buses will have a face lift thanks to the donation of 84 Japanese buses scheduled to arrive on the Island on Thursday.

The Cuban ambassador in Tokyo, Miguel A. Martínez, announced on social networks that the vehicles left Colombia on January 9, where they were assembled by the Busscar company thanks to an agreement with Itochu Corporation and Isuzu Motors. According to official documents, the donation has a value of about 9 million dollars.

The shipment is part of the non-reimbursable financial aid, one of the sections of the agreements that Japan has had with Cuba since 1961. In this case, the buses belong to the economic and social development program in its Transportation section, which plans to take advantage of the “technological superiority of Japan” to help improve and maintain such infrastructure.

The imports, however, will not be enough to cover the shortcomings of the State’s fleet. At the end of last year the bus deficit reached 49% of the total fleet in the capital.

Of 878 buses, only 435 travel the streets of Havana, and many of them do so with serious mechanical and structural damage, as this newspaper has documented in recent weeks. Henry Aldama, head of the Provincial Directorate of Transportation, acknowledged last December to the official press that of the 435 urban buses that left in the morning, fewer than 400 remained on the road by noon. continue reading

In a meeting of the authorities of the capital in which the arrival of the buses was announced, Governor Reinaldo García Zapata demanded better maintenance on the roads along which the routes circulate and promised that the care of the brand new Japanese vehicles will be ensured. The buses are the first to arrive in the country in four years. The official said that the new buses “will make it possible to improve the public service, which has deteriorated greatly in the last stage due to breakages, lack of parts, tires and batteries,” according to the official newspaper Tribuna de La Habana.

The general director of Provincial Transport, Leandro Méndez Peña, explained that the causes of the deterioration in the public transport system were due to “a serious problem with financing and foreign suppliers” that made it difficult to make new purchases and acquire the parts and pieces necessary for the maintenance or repair of damaged buses.

Overuse, improper handling, the quality of the roads and the precariousness of vehicle maintenance have resulted in 443 vehicles out of service, and around 60 paralyzed due to “total breakdowns in the engines,” added Méndez Peña. The rest of the vehicles are not working due to the “lack of tires, batteries, oil filters and even material to cover the punctures.”

Faced with the constant complaints from riders, who accuse the Government of not guaranteeing the necessary fuel for transportation in the capital, the official pointed out that “there is availability to cover the buses that are in operation.”

The new Japanese vehicles will be destined for the Guanabo (59) and Bahía (25) terminals, both located in the peripheral municipality of La Habana del Este. The old buses that currently operate from these bases will be redistributed to the terminals of Diezmero in Cotorro and Fortuna in La Lisa. The remaining municipalities will have to wait for a future donation to meet their transportation needs.

Japan’s cooperation with Cuba, in force for 60 years, intensified from the 1990s with coverage also for community projects for human security and cultural assistance.

The Large-Scale Non-Reimbursable Financial Assistance agreement was negotiated in 2015 and its first project was signed during the visit to Cuba of Japanese Prime Minister Abe in 2016. In April 2019, the first installment of a donation of 100 trucks for the garbage collection .

In February, 13 units of X-ray equipment and 500 units of suction equipment will arrive as part of these agreements. In addition, last October, Tokyo sent 44 ultrasound stations manufactured by Fujifilm to the island for the diagnosis of various pathologies.


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Cuban Family Submits a Complaint to the Governor of Villa Clara for ‘Systematic Harassment’

Roxana García Lorenzo, Andy’s sister, and her partner, Jonatán López, with the letter delivered to the governor of Villa Clara this Wednesday. (Facebook/Roxana Garcia Lorenzo)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 19 January 2022 — The family of Andy García Lorenzo, one of the prisoners for the July 11 (11J) demonstrations in Santa Clara, delivered this Wednesday a letter addressed to the governor of Villa Clara, Alberto López Díaz, to denounce the “damages” that he is causing them. the “systematic harassment” to which he is being subjected.

Signed by Roxana García Lorenzo, Andy’s sister, her partner, Jonatán López Alonso, and her parents, Pedro Osvaldo López Mesa and Yenia Alonso Melgarejo, the letter, to which 14ymedio had access, says it is based on the “right to complain ” enshrined in Article 61 of the Constitution “and as a preliminary step in the face of a possible lawsuit and subsequent access to competent human rights organizations.”

The family members insisted that Andy García is “a peaceful protester” of the 11J protests and that he is deprived of liberty due to the “combat order” issued by Miguel Díaz-Canel. “It is in our ethical principles as well as in the exercise of freedom of expression, a human, universal and inalienable right, to defend it and denounce violations against it,” they say in the text.

In their letter, they complain to Governor López Díaz that they are being victims of “harassment by the operational officers of Section 21 of the General Directorate of Counter-Intelligence.” As an example, they cite the most recent altercation: being arrested on January 14 by an agent when they were going “peacefully” to the headquarters of the People’s Provincial Court of Villa Clara, where Andy García and other defendants were being tried. continue reading

“It happens that we were intercepted on public roads by an operational officer, dressed in civilian clothes and without identifying himself, on his motorcycle license plate B58394,” they detail, “who without an arrest warrant and without informing the reasons for the arrest made us get off the means of transport and led us to a patrol car of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR), which took us to the Provincial Criminal Processing Unit.”

There, they continue, they were held for about ten hours and were “interrogated in a coercive manner, without recording equipment and without legal representation.” Roxana García, Jonatán López and Pedro López were fined 3,000 pesos under Decree Law 370 of 2018, known as the “scourge law.” The first two, in addition, and by the same rule, had their mobile phones confiscated.

With regards to this they will present “the claims before the competent authority,” says the family of Andy García, who asserts that the harassment by the State Security “is causing us serious damage, harm and affecting our mental health.”

As reported by Roxana García on her Facebook wall , the authorities received the letter assuring that they would give a response.


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Cuba: The Mother of a Young Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison Denies it Was for Throwing a Rock at a Store

“He did not go out on July 11th, but he live-streamed from the house, which they considered contempt because he addressed the president in a very bad way while he spoke on television,” said Pérez Colón’s mother. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, January 20th, 2022 — The five-year prison sentence, which the Provincial Tribunal of Sancti Spíritus announced against Leodán Pérez Colón was for “associating to commit a crime” and two counts of “contempt”; none of the charges were for throwing a rock at a store, explained his mother, Elizabeth Colón Peña, who attended the trial at the end of December, speaking to 14ymedio.

“He did not go out on July 11th, but he live-streamed from the house, which they considered contempt because he addressed the president in a very bad way while he spoke on television,” explained the woman. The video, or a segment of it, was used by state-run television to discredit those arrested for the protests.

Another contempt charge and the charge of associating to commit a crime were also imposed upon the young man around July 16th, when they arrested him, says Colón Peña, who has not received a copy of the sentence.

Néstor Estévez, an activist from Sancti Spíritus, who currently lives in the United States, insisted on Wednesday during a live-stream on social media that “throwing the rock through the window” never happened, and he took responsibility for sharing it, “when it all started, everything was based on testimonials and talk.”

During the live-stream he also emphasized that Leodán Pérez is not “a person we can point to as someone who threw a rock through the window of an MLC [hard currency] store.” continue reading

“The official record of what occurred in Sancti Spíritus says that some young men were arrested for throwing rocks at a store and we later learned that they were other people,” he declared.

Wednesday this newspaper reported on the Provincial Tribunal’s decision, which sentenced Leodán Pérez Colón to five years deprivation of liberty, Yoanderley Quesada to two years, and Yoel Castillo to 1 year and 8 months.

The note mentioned that the three young men were tried on December 27th and their sentences were expected on January 13th, but it was postponed by a week, denounced Colón Peña. Furthermore, Leodán Pérez’s mother believes the delay is punishment and torture for the family members. Her son was the only one who was in pre-trial detention, whereas the other two defendants, now convicted, had been out while they awaited trial.

Pérez Colón was arrested on July 16th at his home on Independance Street, between Tirso Marín and Frank País. The young man was with several companions, who were also arrested, and who according to Néstor Estévez, behaved improperly during the trial “trying to implicate their friends to save themselves.”

According to his family members, Pérez Colón was accused because of those two Facebook live-streams asking Miguel Díaz-Canel to resign so his country could “prosper,” although the authorities considered it contempt, associating to commit a crime and acts against State Security.

Yoanderly Quesada, who considers himself a brother to Pérez Colón, was accused, in turn, of “conspiring to reactivate the protests,” while Yoel Castro is the only case not registered on the lists of those arrested for J11.

According to Estévez, of the 42 arrested in the province, only one went out to protest, Luis Mario Niedas Hernández, who was convicted in October and sentenced to three years in prison, half of what the prosecutor was seeking for “contempt, propagating the epidemic and instigating a crime.”

Alexander Fábregas, the fifth one sentenced in Sancti Spíritus since the summertime protests, was taken out of his home and tried nine days later; he was sentenced to 9 months deprivation of liberty.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Police in Cuba find Child’s Body, Yosvany Villar Who Disappeared a Year Ago

Yosvany Villar Ávila was 14 years old the day his family saw him for the last time on the corner of his house. (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 17 January 2021 — Yosvany Villar Ávila, the 14-year-old boy who disappeared in Havana in December 2020, was found dead on Friday in La Loma de Chaple after the alleged murderer confessed, according to this newspaper’s sources. His mother, Airovis Ávila Pérez, confirmed the news to 14ymedio and added that this Monday she will go to legal medicine and will be able to take the body. There will be a wake for the boy and he will be cremated that same day in the Cuban capital.

A week after this newspaper reported the minor’s case, the authorities reactivated the case. On Thursday, Ávila explained, “Ariel’s family,” the neighbor she had named as a suspect in her son’s disappearance, was summoned to testify, after the discovery of the body. The 29-year-old man has been in 100 and Aldabó prison for several months awaiting trial for a similar matter.

“Yes, it was Ariel, we mothers made little mistakes,” the mother told 14ymedio . She insisted to officers from the beginning of the investigation that her son had been seen talking to that neighbor the day he was lost.  Months later, when she learned that the man was in prison for allegedly attempting to rape a minor, her suspicions grew stronger. “I told the head of Attention to Minors from the first moment, but he told me that he could not suspect that man if there was no evidence,” she declared disappointed. continue reading

Ávila Pérez denounced in an interview with 14ymedio that her son had disappeared more than a year ago without the authorities having done, in her opinion, everything possible to find him. The delays and the lack of information on the development of the investigation were also among her complaints.

“Work is being done, but we have to wait,” the policemen repeated to the woman, without giving her any new information. Annoyed with the delays, she filed a complaint with the Office of Attention to Citizenship in the Plaza de la Revolución. But the answer she expected never came.

The first phase of the investigation barely lasted a week and, according to Ávila Pérez, when she asked Aguilera’s unit for an explanation and demanded that they continue the search, they told her that it had not been possible “because there was no fuel” for their vehicles. The minor’s mother returned home with the promise of the uniformed officers that they would call her when they resumed the investigations, but they never did. Now, her worst suspicions have been confirmed.


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Prosecutor’s Office Asks for 15 Years in Prison for a Cuban Writer for July 11th Protest

The writer and activist María Cristina Garrido faces 15 years in prison in the trial in San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque.[Hand: No More Violence Against Women] (Facebook)
14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 20 January 2022 — In San José de las Lajas (Mayabeque) a trial began this Thursday against seven July 11th (11J) protesters, including the writer María Cristina Garrido Rodríguez and her sister Angélica, for whom various activists have mobilized in recent hours.

Those responsible for Ilíada Ediciones informed through their networks that the income from the sales of Garrido Rodríguez’s book Examination of Time will go entirely to the author, “who, a long time ago, became an activist in Cuba for the defense of human rights and the human rights of women,” detail the editors.

For her, the Prosecutor’s Office asks for 15 years, for the crimes of “attack,” “disrespect,” “resistance,” “public disorder” and “organization to commit a crime.” In statements to 14ymedio, Garrido’s husband, Michel Valladares Cala, described the trial as a “circus,” in which he even insists that the prosecutors exposed the contradictions that the police officers incurred in offering their testimonies. “They haven’t told a single truth, a pure lie, a pure contradiction between them,” says Valladares, who says, however, that the lawyers “are working well.”

For the writer’s sister, Angélica Garrido Rodríguez, prosecutor Ruth Rodríguez Reina asks for a 10-year sentence. The rest of the defendants are: continue reading

– Giorbis Pardo del Toro (37), 18 years
– Alexis Pedro Acosta Hernández (45), 13 years
– Yanet Sánchez Cocho (39), 10 years
– Patricia Lázara Acosta Sánchez (20), 7 years
– Osmany Hernández Rodríguez (34) , 6 years

In that same court in San José de Las Lajas, the process against the 11J demonstrators in Batabanó was carried out, ending on Tuesday, although initially it was expected to end on Wednesday.

In it, there was no change between the requests of prosecutor Ariagne Pérez Pérez, recently included in the list of repressors of the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba (FDHC):

– Vladimir Castillo Llanes (26), 14 years
– Jorge Yenier Ortiz Aguilera (31), 10 years
– Rogelio Lázaro Domínguez Pérez (26), 8 years
– Manuel Velázquez Licea (39), 8 years
– Alien Molina Castell (38), 7 years
– Mailene Noguera Santiesteban (34), 6 years and 6 months
– Humberto Monrabals Camps (65), 6 years
– Arturo Valentín Riverón (48), 6 years
– Enmanuel Robles Pérez (32), 6 years
– Jesús Pérez Quintero ( 27), 5 years of correctional work with internment
– Emelina Pendás Rodríguez (46), 5 years of correctional work with internment
– Yusmely Moreno González (42), 3 years
– Danger Acosta Justi (43), 3 years
– Sergio Enseñat Valladares (29), 1 year of correctional work with internment
– Yaroski Amat Salabarria (38), 1 year and 6 months of correctional work with internment

On the other hand, three young people arrested for demonstrating on July 11 and tried in Havana this week have seen their sentences reduced by the Prosecutor’s Office. Nelson Néstor Rivero Garzón and Emiyoslán Román Rodríguez are 17 years old and the other, Yensy Jorge Machado González, 18.

From 15 years in prison requested by the prosecutor of the Municipal Court of Diez de Octubre, Mabel Palacios Aties — also included in the list of repressors of the FDHC — the judges reduced the possible sentence to 7 years, reports Radio Television Martí with the source  being the father of one of the defendants.

The high prison sentences for the rest of those prosecuted in that court are ratified:

– Elieser Gordín Rojas (42), 27 years in prison
– Roberto Ferrer Gener (48 years), 20 years
– Santiago Vázquez León (21), 20 years
– Yosney Emilio Román Rodríguez (25), 20 years
– Carlos Luis Águila Socarrás ( 34), 20 years
– Frandy González León (27), 20 years
– Adonay López López (34), 20 years
– Harold Michel Mena Nuviola (28), 20 years
– Jaime Alcide Firdó Rodríguez (21), 20 years
– Alejandro Bécquer Arias (23), 20 years
– Amaury Leyva Prieto (29), 20 years
– Julián Yasmany Díaz Mena (34), 20 years
– Raudel Saborín González (24), 20 years
– Juan Carlos Morales Herrera (49), 20 years
– Eduardo Alvarez Rigal (31), 20 years
– Yasiel Arnaldo Córdova Rodríguez (25), 20 years
– Yeiner Ibáñez Boude (19), 18 years
– Frank Daniel Roig Sotolongo (19), 15 years
– Yasell Guerra Campos (19), 15 years
– Marcos Antonio Alfonso Breto (19) , 15 years

The trial held in Havana was scheduled to last until Friday, but it ended on Tuesday, explains Cubalex, because “they had no evidence and they finished it earlier, just like the one in Batabanó.”


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.