I Have a Friend Unjustly Imprisoned, His Name is Jose Daniel Ferrer

José Daniel Ferrer, leader of Unpacu, who is now imprisoned in Santiago de Cuba, shown in a file image. The sign reads “On Hunger Strike” (Capture)

Note from Translating Cuba: Somehow this article from December of last year got ‘missed’ and so we are posting it now.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Desde Aquí, Havana, 12 December 2022 — I could add more names to the title, mentioning, for example, Félix Navarro or Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, but Jose (here without an accent) is the one who is having the worst time of all my friends in prison and he is one of all the prisoners for whom I have most appreciation.

Many see José Daniel Ferrer as that grim face that shoots slogans with an almost military tone, but I know the other one, the one who laughs at himself and who has more reading matter than all his jailers and most significantly, more than all those who identify themselves as “counterintelligence officers,” more than the prosecutors who put together his case, more than the judges who sentenced him.

In that dark corner that is euphemistically defined as a “punishment cell” Jose fights with an army of insatiable mosquitoes that suck his blood and leave him unbearably itchy. He does his best to ignore a permanent noise that doesn’t let him sleep or concentrate. Those are his worst enemies; worse than the henchmen who hijack his mail, kick him in the head, and mistreat his family.

During these Christmas days, while we enjoy the family warmth, Jose remains half-naked and only enduring the low temperatures of this tropical winter, in a humid and pestilential cell, but I know that his suffering is different. José Daniel Ferrer is suffering for us. The lines that have to be stood in to buy food hurt him, the blackouts hurt him, the loss of wages, the gag that does not allow protest, the sentences of the other innocents.

Everyone who has a friend unjustly imprisoned feels guilty for not doing something to free him: Write letters, make a public protest, organize a rescue team. José Daniel Ferrer has plenty of political maturity to understand everyone who has abandoned him; to understand those who, due to opportunism, ambition or cowardice, do nothing to get him out of there.

José Daniel Ferrer is my friend and he is unjustly imprisoned.


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