14ymedio, Havana, November 20, 2019 — International pressure over the case of José Daniel Ferrer seems to have given a relevance to the opposition figure that has led the newspaper Granma to mention him, a milestone in the official press, determined to cover up the proper name of activists whom it depersonalizes and collectivizes by grouping them together with the epithet of counterrevolutionaries or mercenaries.
This Wednesday, the official organ of the Communist Party spoke of the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), identifying him specifically and offering the official version of his judicial situation.
According to Granma, Ferrer is a common prisoner arrested for a crime of aggression following the complaint of a man who accuses him, along with three other “individuals” — the activists Fernando González Vaillán, José Pupo Chaveco, and Roilán Zárraga — of having “kidnapped him for an entire night and given him a severe beating that left him hospitalized.”
The text emphasizes that the opposition figure does regular physical exercise, and is receiving the medical care he needs (Ferrer suffers from chronic gastritis), and even religious attention in response to a request.
The secretary of the archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, Dionisio García, assured 14ymedio that for his part there had not been any kind of religious attention for Ferrer, but that it is in process and is being discussed. “It’s going to be given to him, but we cannot say at this time that it already happened,” she said.
“Ferrer is awaiting trial. He has received a visit from his wife and his children, according to the norms of his legal situation. All references to his physical disappearance, to supposed physical mistreatment, to torture or that he is receiving insufficient food are pure lies deliberately conceived and guided by the government of the United States and its Embassy in Havana,” indicates the note.
The text, entitled New slander campaign by the US against Cuba, is nevertheless focused on claiming that the case of José Daniel Ferrer is part of a campaign of discredit and slander organized from Washington with the aim of justifying new sanctions and depriving the island of fuel.
“The United States Embassy in Cuba has been the main vehicle of attention, guidance, and financing of the conduct of José Daniel Ferrer, in a clear demonstration of interference in the internal affairs of Cuba and of an open instigation to violence, to public disturbance, and to the contempt for law enforcement of this citizen. The head of the diplomatic mission personally conducts this performance,” maintains the note.
The Unpacu leader was arrested on October 1 during an operation against several homes of activists of the organization in Santiago de Cuba. Since then he has been several times in police facilities with his relatives unaware of where he is, and thus deprived of visits and personal effects, as well as his medications. His family members were able to see him on Thursday, November 7, and corroborated his deteriorated state of health because of the conditions in which he is being held in prison.
Last Friday the District Attorney of Santiago de Cuba delivered an injunction to Nelva Ortega, the opposition figure’s wife, which details the measure of provisional imprisonment for the supposed crime of “injuries,” but his relatives believe that what is written in the document is a manipulation by the District Attorney and State Security that reflects a version that is “far from reality.”
Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera
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