Former President of Costa Rica Requests that the Cuban Lazaro Yuri Valle Roca be Freed from Prison

Óscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize winner, in a moment from his video appeal on behalf of Cuban journalist Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca. (Screen capture)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 3 November 2022 – Former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize winner Óscar Arias demanded on Wednesday the liberation of Cuban journalist and activist Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca, condemned to five years in jail in July for “continuous enemy propaganda”.

“Those of us who live in freedom and democracy must raise our voices for the liberation of Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca”, the former leader said in a video message. Via this message Arias offered to be “the voice” of Valle Roca, as part of a campaign by the Casla Institute, a Czech human rights NGO.

“You cannot attain noble ends via ignoble means. Because when you torture and imprison men and women who oppose your regime, you are not going to silence the voices of those who have lost their freedom in their fight against dictatorship”, he said.

“Cuba isn’t some kind of special democracy, nor have the Cuban people chosen the path that it has taken. Cuba is plainly and simply a dictatorship. And that is painful for those of us who love freedom”, the former president said.

Arias, who stressed that “political prisoners don’t exist in democracies”, was twice president of Costa Rica: between 1986 and 1990, and later, between 2006 and 2010.

Valle Roca, along with three other dissidents, was jailed in July by the Popular Provincial Tribunal of Havana – the journalist’s wife, Eralidis Frometa, has reported on social media.

The Tribunal considered it proven that the four accused, members of an “illicit” NGO, shared political pamphlets with “a point of view contrary to the current social and political system in Cuba” as well as pro-democratic announcements.

They were condemned also for organising a demonstration, filming it, and posting it on social media.

The case of Valle Roca, 60, was mentioned in the biannual report on Cuba of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), presented in April. A number of NGOs have condemned the verdict.

Translated by Ricardo Recluso


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