14ymedio, Havana, 8 October — Daniel Santovenia was released this Saturday after 27 years in prison, according to the writer Angel Santiesteban who confirmed it in his Facebook account. The opponent of the regime was captured in 1991 when he arrived clandestinely in Cuba to start a campaign of sabotage on the island.
“As of today he will no longer sleep while imprisoned, except inside the big prison that is the island of Cuba,” wrote Santiesteban on his wall of that social network. “We hope that soon he will be truly free when he arrives in Miami”, he added.
63 years old, Santovenia Fernandez was sentenced to 30 years and spent 22 years in common cells, while for another five he was interned in a “minimum security” camp, according to the Martí News website.
The arrest of Santovenia Fernández occurred on December 29, 1991 near the city of Cárdenas, in Matanzas, when he arrived on a boat from Miami. He was accompanied by Pedro Álvarez Pedroso and Eduardo Díaz Betancourt and during the capture the agents found weapons and ammunition.
The three detainees were sentenced to death, but in the case of Santovenia Fernández and Álvarez Pedroso the maximum sentence was commuted.
Diaz Betancourt appeared in images before the court reading from a notebook that was found on him containing the names and addresses of three well-known opponents, Gustavo and Sebastián Arcos and Yanes Pelletier, members of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights ( CCPDH). Shortly thereafter pro-government picket lines surrounded the houses of the Arcos brothers shouting insults and slogans.
The three members of the CCPDH were associated with the case by the Ministry of the Interior, according to Cuban television, and were arrested hours before the announcement of the sentences.
Petitions for clemency to commute the death penalty of the three defendants came not only from the US Government, which denied any connection to the alleged terrorist mission, but also from the then presidents of Nicaragua and Spain, Violeta Chamorro and Felipe González.
The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, based in Havana, also made repeated calls to improve the prison conditions of the two convicts who avoided the firing squad. However, Díaz Betancourt was executed on January 20, 1992.
Translated by Wilfredo Díaz Echevarria
The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.