‘A Grieving Mother is Capable of Doing Anything for her Imprisoned Children’

Yudinela Castro calls for the immediate release of her son Rowland Jesús Castillo, one of the 11J protesters. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 14 February 2022 — What the State newspaper Granma reports “is a great falsehood, and I don’t care if State Security comes for me and if the police come to my house, that’s a lie.”

This is how Yudinela Castro, mother of young Rowland Jesús Castillo, one of the July 11 protesters tried in Havana earlier this February, reacted to the publication this Monday of a report in the official organ of the Communist Party. In it, is transcribed an alleged audio in which her son regrets having demonstrated on that day of protest. “I witnessed my son’s oral hearing and at no time did he say what the Granma newspaper published.”  

“At no time did he state that he felt sorry, he only asked to be given the opportunity to continue his sports career in wrestling, and to help me, a leukemia patient, and to be able to finish raising his son who is now not even two years old,” details the mother, who has already given her testimony to 14ymedio.  

“Give me the facility to continue my studies and continue practicing my sport, that’s what he said,” insists the mother. “I am proud of what he did, although I am very upset that I could not be by his side on the day of the demonstrations and had been able to give him the support that he and the other young people who took to the streets deserved.”

Despite the fact that the authorities told him that he would receive the sentence last week, this did not happen, but he remembers that the Prosecutor’s Office lowered the initial prison request for Rowland Jesús Castillo, from 23 to 12 years.

“During the trial, they tried to make people believe that there was no aggressiveness or violence on the part of the police,” lamented Castro, “but Miguel Díaz-Canel himself gave the order to combat, threw a town into a fight, and my own son received beatings by a police officer from the Aguilera unit.” Others were less lucky: “they were shot.”

In addition, she denounces all the manipulation that the media is displaying at the service of the Government: “The first day that I was able to enter the trial, after being repressed and beaten on the first day, official television approached me to interview me. I asked the journalist if they were going to convey my opinions that I did not agree with the prosecutor’s petition against my son. Then another person came and told me to come into the room, they did not interview me.”

“Perhaps I am not in good health, but I have all the moral strength to continue fighting for my son’s freedom,” she clarifies. “Whatever it takes, I’m not going to get tired until he’s released. He’s not a criminal.”

Castro does not stop showing her discomfort: “I am disgusted not only by the injustice that is being committed with my son but also with this cruel dictatorship that is capable of depriving these young people of their freedom.”

The mother sends a direct message to the repressors: “To all the henchmen who are playing with the feelings of mothers who have their children in prison, I warn you that a grieving mother is capable of doing anything.”

Castro gave thanks for the support she has received from other women in the same case, from the independent press that has given her the opportunity to tell what is happening, and from those outside of Cuba who have supported her in such a difficult cause: “Mothers, although the pain kills us, we have to continue fighting for the freedom of our children.”


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.