Cuban Activist Yasmany Gonzalez Has Been Detained for Three Weeks by State Security in Villa Marista

Activist Yasmany González and his wife, Ilsa Ramos. (Facebook/Ilsa Ramos)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 12 May 2023 — “He is very emaciated and they continue to interrogate him,” wife of activist Yasmany González Valdés, tells 14ymedio, after her husband has been detained for three weeks at Villa Marista, the State Security headquarters in Havana. “I ask and ask the officers about his case, but they don’t give me information,” she says.

Ramos was able to visit her husband this Thursday to bring him some toiletries. “We have not been told if he will finally be brought to trial or when it will be. It seems that he will continue in Villa Marista for the time being,” says Ramos, who reiterates that González is being investigated for the alleged crime of “propaganda against government bodies.”

The activist, also known as Libre Libre, was arrested on April 20 after a “violent search” at his home in Centro Habana. About 15 political police officers participated in the search, confiscating a workman’s overalls, a brush and his mobile phone, as part of the investigation into the graffiti that appeared in several central points of the capital against the Cuban regime.

“I pray to God that you will soon be free, as well as all our political prisoners,” Ramos wrote on her Facebook account, where she also recounts the vicissitudes she has had to overcome after the arrest of her husband, especially since the couple has an autistic child who needs care and who is very attached to González. The woman denounces pressure from the political police and having been “also interrogated.”

Initially, the Observatory of Cultural Rights (ODC) alerted about the detention of Libre Libre and noted that the activist was summoned by the Police at the beginning of April at the Zanja station, in the Cuban capital, where he was linked to the group that calls itself El Nuevo Directorio (END). According to González’s account, on that occasion they did graphological tests and also tried to detain him for a non-payment of fines that had already been paid.

The first painting signed by END with the slogan “No to the PCC” appeared on March 20 on the walls of the Faculty of Physics of the University of Havana. The second appeared in Aguirre Park, on March 23, and a third on April 17 was placed at the entrance of the university stadium, on Ronda Street. But it was the fourth and most recent poster that would have bothered State Security the most, when it appeared on the morning of April 20 at number 7 Humboldt Street, in Centro Habana.

The location of this last sign coincides with the place where four young people belonging to the Revolutionary Directorate were murdered in 1957, during the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. The graffiti, made on the same day as the anniversary of that repressive action, generated a strong police operation to cover the letters with paint, in addition to an “act of atonement.”

Yasmany González has repeatedly denounced the harassment he has suffered from State Security. In 2022, after four days of detention in Villa Marista, the activist, who works as a self-employed bricklayer, said he would stop posting on social networks. He had previously been fined for denouncing human rights violations and demanding the release of the detainees in the ’11J’ protests of July 11, 2021.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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