Nobody Wants to Rent a House to the Mother of a Man Convicted for 11 July Protests in Sancti Spiritus

In the image, Luisa María Milanés Valdés, mother of Alexander Fábregas Milanés, arrested on July 11. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 22 February 2022 — Luisa María Milanés Valdés, mother of Alexander Fábregas Milanés, arrested on July 11, denounces that pressure from State Security made her lose the rental where she lived with her daughter and two grandchildren in the city of Sancti Spíritus. The woman herself must leave her home in the next few hours and no one seems willing to rent her a new space.

“The owner of the house told us that we had to leave on February 19 and although we have looked for another space to rent, people first tell us yes but then they give us the long haul, they don’t answer or they back down and tell us they no longer can,” the woman who sees the political police after these refusals tells 14ymedio   

Milanés’ son, 32, was arrested for broadcasting on social networks his call to take to the streets of Sancti Spíritus to accompany the protests that took place in other Cuban provinces during that day. Nine days later he was sentenced to nine months in prison for the crime of “incitement to commit a crime.”

Now, in addition to the separation from her son she is facing the pressures and threats from State Security, which is maneuvering so that the 58-year-old woman loses her job in a hospital for children with mental disabilities. The reprisals have already materialized, in her opinion, with the difficulties in finding a rental house.

“I could go anywhere because I’m an adult, but my grandchildren are two and a half years old, the girl, and the youngest is only a year and a few months old.” Milanés assures that “there is a lot of economic need and everyone needs money, so it is not rational that first they assure me that they are going to rent to me and then they change their mind.”

“I’m on the street, I have nowhere to go,” explains the woman, who already has all her belongings collected and in the next few hours she must leave the house in the Colón neighborhood of that city, and could end up in the street. “I’ve been renting for more than two years and it’s only now, with my son in prison, that I’m starting to have these problems.”

“The owners of the houses do not confess to me that the State Security went to visit them to scare them, but I know that is the case because I feel that they are lying to me when they tell me that they are no longer interested in renting to me,” she laments. “You can see the fear on their faces, as if they had been given a scare.”

The woman has previously denounced the lack of solidarity she has felt in Sancti Spíritus towards her cause and the fear of approaching her shown by her neighbors  after the arrest of Alexander Fábregas. Unlike Havana and Santa Clara, where the families of those arrested on 11J have created support groups, in Sancti Spíritus province the panorama is different.

Milanés hopes that her son will be released on April 6, the day he completes his sentence, although he warns that “before he had was going to be paroled on November 30, he had it approved, and suddenly they said they had to wait for confirmation that came from Havana and they didn’t give it to him.”

Pressures against homeowners who rent to dissidents or independent journalists are becoming more frequent in Cuba. Last January, the strong threats from State Security forced the independent journalist Yadiris Fuentes to leave the house where she had lived since June 2021. The owner of the house was warned by the political police that if he did not evict her, he could be fined, or even lose the property because it was an illegal rental.

Previously, the CubaNet news portal contributor Camila Acosta had suffered similar pressures and had to move repeatedly from due to the fear of the owners renting to a person heavily guarded by the police.

That scenario served as motivation for a group of independent Cuban journalists to launch the Casa Palanca campaign , with the aim of raising funds to acquire a property. However, the initiative, broadcast by the Verkami platform, failed to raise the necessary amount and the money was returned to the contributors.


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