14ymedio, Havana, 26 January 2021 — The Provincial People’s Court of Havana announced on Tuesday the sentence of the three accused of belonging to the Clandestinos group after the trial that took place on December 21. The defendants received sentences of between one and 15 years in prison.
Pánter Rodríguez Baró (43 years old), Yoel Prieto Tamayo (29 years old) and Jorge Ernesto Pérez García (43 years old) were charged with crimes of “defamation of institutions and organizations and of heroes and martyrs of a continuing nature” and “damages to cultural heritage,”,for having covered busts of José Martí in the capital and in Santiago de Cuba with pig blood.
Rodríguez Baró received a 15-year sentence of deprivation of liberty, Prieto Tamayo was given nine, and Pérez García was sentenced to one year. Unlike Rodríguez Baró, who the Prosecutor’s Office had requested 12 years in prison, the remaining defendants received less time behind bars than was initially proposed by the prosecution.
The court reported that the defendants, “reached a common agreement to discredit the image of José Martí,” and bought six rocks of cocaine “with part of the money received by a Cuban citizen residing in the United States.” They later consumed the drug to carry out “criminal acts.”
As described in the press release, “taking advantage of the darkness of the night and the shortage of people in the streets,” the defendants “in the early morning of January 1, 2020, began to spill pig’s blood on the many busts and banners of our National Hero and other heroes of the Revolution that were placed on public roads. “
Among the damaged works “was the bust of José Martí located outside the offices of Bohemia magazine, declared cultural heritage of the Cuban nation,” the statement details.
It was also reported that the actions were recorded with Pérez García’s mobile phone. The material was “forwarded to their US-resident links,” who posted it on social media and other digital platforms.
The note ended by recalling that those sanctioned and the Prosecutor’s Office “have the right to file an appeal.”
According to the testimony of relatives collected by 14ymedio, Rodríguez Baró acknowledged having committed the acts, while the other two defendants, Yoel and Jorge Ernesto, said they had acted at the request of Pánter, “without receiving any benefit.”
“My son Pánter acted for ideological motivations and is unjustly imprisoned in Detachment 47 of the Combinado del Este prison, reserved for the dangerous and fugitives. My son is nothing of the kind and must be released,” said Esther Baró Carrillo, mother of the main accused, speaking to this newspaper.
The supposed images of the monuments covered in red, accompanied by hooded men like those that appear in the Spanish series La casa de papel , came to light at the beginning of the year and were immediately the subject of an intense campaign of support by some activists in exile. Days later, the authorities announced that they had arrested four people implicated in the events.
The group had said that the blood on Martí represented the suffering of the Cuban people and their disgust with “the dictatorship.” Another of the actions to which the Clandestinos were called was to paint messages against the Government in all provinces, cities and towns, or to do the same with the doors of the houses of the regime’s “informers.”
The group took their name from the film Clandestinos, by the director Fernando Pérez.
The group’s arrest was accompanied by a smear campaign that accused them of being mercenaries paid by the Cuban artist living in Miami, Ana Olema Hernández Matamoros.
The Cuban authorities showed videos on Cuban television with the confessions of the alleged perpetrators, as well as photos of alleged money transfers through the Western Union agency, from Ana Olema to Pánter Rodríguez Baró, the main accused.
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.