14ymedio, Madrid, 25 April 2023–Just two days after announcing his departure from La Joven Cuba magazine, the director of which demanded he modify an opinion column where he quipped about State Security, writer and journalist Jorge Fernández Era accused the regime of retaliating against his son. Twenty-two-year-old Eduardo Luis Fernández, is serving a sentence for robbery with violence perpetrated in March 2021 and enjoyed some prison benefits for his good behavior, until authorities began using his situation to pressure his father.
In an extensive Facebook post on Tuesday, Fernández Era wrote about how his son ended up sentenced to ten years in prison for a robbery in which his partner wielded a sharp weapon. For those events he ended up in the Western Prison for Minors in Guatao, where he was held until 2022 when he turned 21. Already, while he was under investigation, the journalist wrote, he witnessed strange attempts to separate them, including separating him from the visitation group.
In prison, Eduardo Luis — whom he affectionately calls Eduardito — began to work as a barber for the prisoners and guards, a trade he learned thanks to a course arranged by his father. When he turned 21, he had a brief time in the 1580 penitentiary in San Miguel del Padrón and was later transferred to the Toledo 2 internment camp, near the Universidad Tecnológica de La Habana José Antonio Echeverría (Cujae), where he is currently held.
His behavior earned him four passes to date, most recently last weekend, when he told his father what happened on April 12th and gave the author consent to denounce it.
“In March, an official who ’got along well with my son’ proposed that he move to the El Chico prison — which is nearby and higher security — where he’d be ’more relaxed’. My son responded that it wouldn’t suit him, there are few prisoners there and he’d have less work. Days later one of his friends approached him and suggested they transfer together to that jail,” he explained.
A few days later, the head of Toledo 2 called a close relative to let him know that they had decided to transfer Eduardo to El Chico to “protect him from his father’s influence”, a change which would include six months without passes or visitations. However, said the official, they were available to intercede on behalf of the young man. “We will make a request to the Ministry of the Interior that his transfer be postponed to allow for his father to account for the offensive social media posts against the government and the Revolution,” he said.
Although the relative, whose identity the writer does not want to reveal, alleges that those messages were not related to the young man, the female official urged the him to be on alert, while insisting that she would do “the impossible” to keep Eduardo Luis at Toledo 2 until he was either out on parole or served his sentence.
The artist emphatically rejects making his son pay for crimes he did not commit, as well as using ministry officials for “such low methods of human degradation” with the sole aim of silencing him. “What occurred with Eduardito violates the most fundamental human rights and the Constitution of the Republic,” he reproached.
Fernández Era took the opportunity to request that the Government of Spain and its embassy in Havana intercede and approve a visa for him to present in Madrid several books he edited, a visa he had requested before his problems with State Security, which now prevents him from leaving the country, began. “We will see if they dare, once again, to forcibly exile a Cuban by birthright, or to prevent me from returning to my country,” he added.
He also asks the international community, including the United Nations, Amnesty International, churches of different faiths, and democratic governments worldwide, with a special request to the international left, to intercede on behalf of his son. “I demand, from the only pages I am allowed, my son’s immediate release and to allow him to abandon the country. Here, his physical and psychological wellbeing are at risk,” he states.
The journalist, who holds the highest authorities of the State responsible for anything that might happen to his son, cited the words of Fidel Castro himself to accuse the regime of implementing “a policy that has nothing to do with the principles of the revolution.” Furthermore, he reproaches them for practicing a socialism that “gets on with attrocities like this, typical of entrenched fascism, in the soul of the nation.”
Fernández Era announced that if his requests are not addressed, on Saturday between 12 pm and 1 pm he will position himself at the monument to José Martí in Havana’s Central Park in peaceful protest against the harassment endured by so many like his son. “I will repeat it week after week, at the same time. I have nothing left to lose,” claimed the writer, who ended the post with a phrase in all caps, “DO NOT TOUCH MY SON!”
Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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