‘I Refuse to Talk About Her in the Past Tense,’ Says Brother of Missing Young Woman in Ranchuelo

At the time of her disappearance, Rojas was working as an administrator at the Ranchuelo pre-university school. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 2 May 2022 — It has been 45 days since the laughter of Yeniset Rojas Pérez has ceased to echo within the walls of her house in Ranchuelo in Villa Clara. The 33-year-old woman disappeared, in broad daylight, on March 18 while she was returning from her work and, since then, anguish has overtaken her family and friends.

Yerandy Fleites, playwright and brother of Rojas, describes as “devastating” the impact that the woman’s absence has had on her loved ones. “She is a person with a simple life, divorced, dedicated to raising her 10-year-old girl and caring for our mother who has major health problems,” he details.

At the time of her disappearance, Rojas was working as an administrator at the Ranchuelo pre-university school. The last time she was seen was that Friday around 11:00 in the morning when she was returning from the educational center to her home, a route that runs through “an overcrowded area, full of interaction, traffic.”

When the hours began to pass and Rojas did not come home, the family knew immediately that something had happened. “We tried to file the complaint with the police on Friday the 18th, but according to the protocols, we had to wait 24 hours, so it had to be done on Saturday the 19th.”

Fleites classifies the treatment they received from the police from the beginning of the investigation as good, but criticizes the authorities who have not supported them in the hard time they are experiencing. “There has not been a much-vaunted ‘social worker’ assisting this family, there has been nothing at all,” he notes.

Rojas was the fundamental pillar of her home, “a true warrior of life,” explains her brother, who says that the woman’s absence is “a nightmare that seems to have no end.” The playwright criticizes the official indifference towards the case: “We feel that apathy, we have felt it, feel it.”

“It seems incredible to me that we have disappeared people in Cuba and that no mass media echoes the news,” Fleites wrote on his Facebook account when 19 days passed without having a proof of life for his sister. Since then, he has maintained the demand on social networks for Rojas’ disappearance to be broadcast in the national media.

“I fear that the silence, this silence right now, this silence that accumulates dangerously, extends over ‘the case’ and it begins to be forgotten,” he wrote then and now reiterates: “we are doing what they have been unable to make the media and the official press do.”

In contrast, the solidarity of the neighbors has been present the entire time. “The people, the neighborhood, the family, the friends, formed several parties and we searched for her for several days (at all hours) around the town. The human support, that support has been fundamental and it is the thing that gives us the most strength in the world. We have had at our disposal everything from a car, through a machete, to the pill that today does not even exist in the spiritual centers.”

Although the police investigation continues, Fleites fears that a lot of time has been wasted and that “from the beginning, more could be done, much more, starting by making the case visible as a matter of Cuba, not of Ranchuelo, and that this would perhaps allow the use of research methods, techniques, resources, intelligence, etc.

Rojas’s mother and father receive little information about the course of the investigation: “They are hardly taken into account, a week goes by and no one visits” from the police to update the relatives about the process. Without new data, the anguish grows, but Fleites clings to hope.

“I refuse and I will refuse to talk about her in the past tense,” he points out and on his Facebook wall the playwright has published several photos of a girl with a mischievous face hugging her brother. In the most recent one, Yeniset Rojas Pérez, already an adult, looks directly at the camera and smiles. “She is not alone,” one can read next to the image.


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