Let Justice Be Done / Yamil Domínguez

Written by: Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

The case opened one afternoon, when two women, one, the wife and the other who turned out to be the sister, of the Cuban living in Florida detained for many months for the crime of trafficking in persons, came to see me in my house.

The crime is one of individuals who, for payment, devote themselves to carrying people at time in good boats and other times not so good, to the United States or other places.

In the Cuban Penal Code it can be read in article 348.1:

He who penetrates the national territory utilizing a boat or airplane or other method of transport with the purpose of effecting the illegal exit of people, incurs a penalty of imprisonment of ten to twenty years.

Based on this, initially it seemed to me one of those cases that we of the Cuban Legal Association are accustomed to rejecting, being that the sanction applied conformed to that established by law and the correct process followed by the authorities.

This, however, was the case the ladies who came to see me presented, according to whom their relative had been (and was being) subjected to a grave injustice.

I listened to my interlocutors and asked them, if they had it, to show me the sentence which they did immediately. As I read I began to change my first impression and by the end I was convinced that what had happened to Yamil Domínguez Ramos was not clear at all.

In an article under the title “It is proved that…” I presented my complete conviction that against this young man, born in Cuba but a United States citizen, nothing had been proved and I decided to help his family. this began a true legal and civic struggle of Cuban civil society in support of a compatriot who needed it.

Soon the blog Notorious Injustice appeared, where the family published everything the family believed would shed light on the truth of this case and of the arbitrariness with which it had been handled from the procedural and ethical viewpoint.

As if all that were not enough, and when it seemed that all hope was lost, Yamil resorted to a desperate course only undertaken when one is completely convinced of the his reasons: a hunger strike that lasted more than one hundred days… and that led him to be hospitalized with his life at risk.

So many people showed their concern for and solidarity with this young victim of process that was… a notorious injustice.

Ina culminating moment of this story, the first vice minister of justice issued a letter which pointed out the irregularities of the proceedings against Yamil Dominguez, saying that the events presented by the trial court did not demonstrate the young prisoner’s guilt.

We recognized this gesture of the first vice minister in a publication entitled, “Honor to Whom Honor is Due.”

Nevertheless, Yamil had to go to a second hunger strike before the blind intransigence that would not admit that he was innocent of what he had been illegally been charged with WITHOUT PROOF THAT…

I had a chance to visit him in prison twice. In both cases I could not help but be reminded on entering the Combinado del Este prison of that famous phrase from Dante: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…”

But another phrase also came to mind, this time from the Master: “We all carry in our hearts a hope that never dies.”

Just now I arrived home and my wife greeted me with a radiant smile, telling me she had just heard from Yamil… from his house, with his family… already free.

So congratulations to Yamil, Inés María, Aya, Marleny and to the bloggers, to Julio Alfredo and all who made possible that, in the end, justice was done.

March 14 2011