A Week of Violent Homicides in Havana

The young Dariel Fonseca had been missing since October 11th. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 16 October 2020 — Safety and the absence of robberies and street crime were always a symbol of the Cuban regime. That was not the case these last few days, when various murders took place in Havana, without a single mention from the official press. As in other similar instances, the sources of information were close contacts and social media.

This Friday, it became known that the theater producer René Pita was found dead in his home on Thursday, where he lived with his mother. Close contacts of the victim, like the presenter and critic Oni Acosta Llerena, claim that he was assassinated in his own home.

“It has been horrible because of the nature of what happened. I am also from the neighborhood and we used to chitchat from time to time. I hope that everything is cleared up and justice is done,” Acosta Llerena said on her social networks.

The historian Julio Pagés also shared details about Pita’s death on his Facebook feed: “His violent death demands justice, at this moment there is a criminal investigation.” He detailed that Pita’s lifeless body was found by his mother, an elderly woman who was under his care for being a centenarian.

“I can’t can’t help but think about his elderly mother, what will become of her now. Pita was everything to her. May he rest in peace and justice be done,” said Monica Gonzalez.

On the same Thursday, Dariel Fonseca was also found dead in Playas del Este. The young man, 21 years old and resident of Bejucal, had been missing since the previous Sunday, and was found near the place where he was last seen in El Mégano beach.

The news was revealed on the Facebook page of Dariel’s brother Yasel Fonseca, who had been recounting every step the family took to find him. Along with the post, he also published a photograph of the area where the yellow police tape can be seen, which limits the area where the experts’ investigation takes place. The young man’s brother said that when he was found he did not have any identification or his cell phone with him.

On the other hand, this Thursday it was also confirmed that the murder of Cary Vidal, 24 years old, the young woman whose body was found on Monday in a field in East Havana, was a crime at the hands of her former partner, according to people close to the family. The page #YoYoCreoenCuba denounced the event, which occurred last Saturday, October 11, at the entrance of zone 23 in Alamar, as a “violent femicide.”

So far none of the three incidents have been reported by the official press, which, as a rule, do not report on murders or other violent events. Nevertheless, the independent press maintains a detailed police blotter that has served in recent years to divulge the real situation in the homes and streets of Cuba.

Likewise, the official statistics do not reflect violent deaths in detail, despite the fact that international organizations and Cuban activists have repeatedly requested statistics on afflictions such as femicides, domestic violence, homicides and robberies.

Only in 2019, after many complaints and as part of the National Report for the Implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Development, presented to the UN, the authorities publicized the annual femicide rate on the island, which stood at 0.99 per 100,000 women, a figure that raised doubts and questions.

Translated by: Rafael Osorio


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