Murdered by Her Ex-partner in Line at the Pharmacy in Las Tunas, Katia Ortiz Was Pregnant

Another confirmed case of femicide occurred in Havana on May 18

“Violence leaves marks — Ignoring them leaves femicides.” March against violence against women and femicides. / (YoSíTeCreo en Cuba Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, June 13, 2024 — The Yo Sí Te Creo in Cuba observatory added two new femicides in Cuba on Wednesday. One of them is that of Katia Ortiz Figueredo, 25, on June 5. The attack occurred in the street, in the city of Las Tunas, allegedly at the hands of her ex-partner, who already had a history of violence, as reported by her. The victim had two minor children, according to the platform.

An uncle of the victim told Cuban journalist Alberto Arego that the murder took place at the door of the pharmacy located on 11th Street in the Aguilera neighborhood, where her ex-husband – who was standing in line with several people to buy medicine – stabbed her several times. “They had been divorced for a few months but he, under threats, had held her for five days in his house and sexually abused her, leaving her pregnant, according to the autopsy report, and leaving two children, a boy 8-years-old and a 3-years-old girl,” revealed the man.

Asked if the family was aware of the situation, the victim’s uncle said that his niece was very afraid and did not want to “expose” the family to possible reprisals, so no complaint was filed, although he is now raising his voice so that the aggressor, who is in custody, is convicted of double murder since she was pregnant.

 The victim’s uncle said that his niece was very afraid and did not want to “expose” the family to possible reprisals, so no complaint was filed

The other case dates back to May 18, the day Cindy Samanthy González Espinosa, age 32 and originally from Camagüey, tried to hide in the house of a friend of her ex-partner, who followed her there to kill her. The alleged murderer also had a history of mistreatment against the victim and previous partners, “without this leading to preventive measures,” laments Yo Sí Te Creo en Cuba. These events occurred in Barrio Obrero, a neigborhood of San Miguel del Padrón, in Havana.

The Alas Tensas and Yo Sí Te Creo en Cuba observatories, both based in Cuba, count these deaths as femicides, which number 25 so far this year. (The count carried out by 14ymedio rises to 22, since it does not include the murders of two elderly women last March or that of Aniuska Hernández Ginard on June 5, which this newspaper does not consider to be in the nature of a femicide).

The organizations have six cases in their accounts that require further investigation to determine whether they are murders due to gender-based violence, three of them in Havana, two in Santiago de Cuba and one in Esperanza, Villa Clara. In addition, there are three attempted murders and four violent acts (in Havana, Artemisa, Camagüey and Santiago de Cuba) about which they are trying to gather more information.

In March 2021, the Cuban government announced the creation of a Gender Observatory, which was expected to include updated records of femicides and “other expressions of sexist violence.” At that time, the general secretary of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), Teresa Amarelle, stated that they were studying how to do it, but that the organization would contribute to “demonstrating the reality of the country” regarding gender violence.

It took two more years for the Cuban Observatory on Gender Equality to be launched in June 2023, which included statistics on “judicial proceedings resolved in the country’s courts in 2022” linked to gender-based murders. The data reported cases tried that year, without further details and without knowing the date of the commission of the crime, leaving this record far below that kept by feminist associations since 2019 and, therefore, useless.

Months later, in December, the Attorney General’s Office announced that it would be in charge of carrying out an “administrative registry” to collect real-time information on the deaths of women and girls due to gender-based violence. Half a year has passed without any further news of this registry and, in addition, the statistics on femicides from the Observatory created in June, which is now mainly dedicated to data on the gender gap, have also disappeared.

 Half a year has passed without any further news of this record and, in addition, the statistics on femicides from the Observatory created in June have also disappeared

“The times when women go to the police and the police even make fun of them…” lamented one commentator in Arego’s post about the murder of Katia Ortiz. Another commentator agreed with her: “Every time I read a news story like this I feel angry, because we women are unprotected. There is no justice for us in this country. As I read in a comment before, many go to the police seeking protection and the response of those who are supposed to be in charge and in authority is to make fun of them, they even say it (‘she’s crazy’) and they don’t even ask to find out what’s happening to her.”

Feminist associations have been calling for years for a comprehensive law against gender violence that goes beyond criminal content and encompasses prevention, through the involvement of all sectors of society, from the security forces themselves to judges and health workers, as well as education and communication. The Government postponed such a law until at least 2026 in a timetable published in 2021.


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