Cuban Opponent Silverio Portal Returns to Prison After Parole for Health Reasons

Silverio Portal must serve the remaining four months of his prison sentence. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 1 December 2021 — The activist Silverio Portal, leader of Independent and Democratic Cuba (CID), entered prison yesterday to serve the four months that remain in his sentence after having spent a year at home with an extra-penal license that was granted to him for health reasons.

“Our brother Silverio Portal Contreras, leader of the CID, is currently detained in prison 1580, San Miguel del Padrón municipality, Havana, by order of State Security and officials from this same place have revoked his case,” according to Lady in White Laura Labrada Pollán, speaking this Tuesday.

Portal’s return to prison was anticipated since last October when the authorities alleged the expiration of the measure he obtained on 1 December 2020 due to his state of health, although the opponent himself believed it was a punishment for his declared intentions to participate in the Civic March for Change called by Archipíelago for 15N (15 November).

Portal, in fact, managed to break out of the surveillance and march on November 15 and deposit a white flower in front of a bust of Martí, although at that moment he already had in hand the revocation of the extra-penal measure. “Silverio Portal Contreras chooses Liberty. Homeland, Life and Liberty!” he said in the video he posted on his Facebook profile to document his action.

The 73-year-old activist was sentenced to four years in prison in 2018 for the alleged crimes of public disorder and contempt, charges frequently used by authorities to imprison opponents.

Shortly after entering prison, he suffered a thrombosis that paralyzed one side of his face and had to be treated for two strokes, derived from his hypertension problems.

In addition, in mid-2020 the activist suffered partial loss of vision, apparently caused by a beating by prison guards.

“I hold Diaz Canel and the DSE responsible for what may happen to such a patriot, worthy and brave brother. I ask the world to raise our voices for Silverio Portal Contreras and for all political prisoners,” Labrada Pollán asked yesterday.

Portal has been one of the political prisoners who has received the most international support in recent times. At least 150 opponents signed a letter in his favor calling for his release, and the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Amnesty International, as well as some governments such as the United States, demanded his immediate release. Now he will have to spend almost four months in Prison 1580 to finish his sentence.


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