‘Cuba’s Greatest Enemy is Not Outside, But Sitting in the Presidential Chair’

Demonstration this Thursday in front of the Cuban Embassy in Washington for the freedom of political prisoners on the Island. (Facebook/Anamely Ramos)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 12 March 2022 — Luis Robles, the “young man with the placard,” still has not received his sentence despite the fact that next Wednesday will mark three months after the end of his trial. The Prosecutor’s Office requested six years in prison for him for the crimes of resistance and enemy propaganda.

Imprisoned since he was arrested on December 4, 2020 for walking down San Rafael Boulevard in Centro Habana with a sign calling for the end of repression and the freedom of rapper Denis Solís, a member of the San Isidro Movement who is now in exile, the 29-year-old has published a letter in which he reiterates his struggle and his goal: “Freedom for the people of Cuba.”

In the letter, dated March 3 and delivered to his brother, Landy Fernández Elizastigui, during Landy’s visit last Wednesday to the Combinado del Este maximum security prison in Havana, Robles returns to the reasons that led him to carry out the peaceful protest that today has him in jail.

“I decided to break the silence because I got tired of seeing how my country is destroyed and the government does nothing to fix it,” he explains, “because I think that Cuba’s greatest enemy is not outside but sitting in the presidential chair.”

Thus, he insists that his action was so that “fear and censorship do not continue to rule in Cuban society, so that expressing what you think and feel in any place is not a reason to go to jail, because I want Cuba to be a country for Cubans, no matter their way of thinking, so that the streets of my country are for everyone and not just for the communists.”

He states that going out with that banner and continuing to express what he thinks is the way to “be the voice of many who decided to remain silent,” and mentions Denis Solís – released in exchange for exile to Serbia – Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo Pérez Osorbo, “prisoners only for wanting a homeland and life for Cuba.”

Fragment of the letter delivered by Luis Robles to his brother, Landy Fernández. (CubaNet)

With regards to Osorbo, the curator Anamely Ramos offered news this Friday, reporting that the rapper’s lawyer “received a notification that the trial process would begin,” which the imprisoned man has been waiting for since he was arrested, on May 18th of last year, accused of “attack,” “public disorder,” and “escape of prisoners or detainees” for some events that occurred on April 4, in a demonstration on Damas street, in front of the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement, when the police tried to arrest him and he refused to get in the patrol car.

That process, Ramos explains in a Facebook post, “includes several procedures such as the issuance of the prosecutor’s request, which we still do not have.” The situation, she continues, “was what we feared: that the international coverage of the invasion of Ukraine would be used by the Cuban state to give the repression another twist and ’solve’ the problem with its most visible opponents.”

The curator, who this same Wednesday announced her departure from the San Isidro Movement, does not know if the process will also include Otero Alcántara, given that her case is in the same Osorbo file, but she affirms that these past few days she has been in close contact with the singer, who has asked everyone “to be aware of how we are going to face the trial.”

“It’s impressive the clarity he maintains to understand what is happening in Cuba and what is happening with him. Maykel has never been destroyed, and that is admirable after nine months in prison. He knows he is much more than a victim, much more than a prisoner. And he will behave as such until the end.”


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