Social Networks and International Pressure Achieve the Release of a Cuban Minor

Starting image of the video broadcast by ’Girón’, in which, once it begins, only Reniel González’s mother speaks. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 19 November 2021 — Reniel Rodríguez, the 15-year-old activist arrested on Wednesday at his school, was released this Thursday as confirmed by his own brother through Twitter and spread the account of the Alianza Juvenil Libertaria (ALJ), of which he is founder. The day before, the boy had been led by a teacher to a police car in which he was taken to an EFI (Comprehensive Training School — i.e. ‘reform school’) of the Ministry of the Interior.

The release came shortly after the provincial daily Girón published a video in which his mother, María Josefa González Mayé, appeared “clarifying what had happened.” In the images, published on the newspaper’s Facebook account, the video starts with a photograph of the young man with his mother in which it is seen that he his hair appears as it had previously, in apparent contradiction with the dissemination of information that his head was shaved. However, immediately afterwards the video starts with the mother alone and Reniel is not seen again.

González Mayé tells the camera that on the 15th her son uploaded a video to the networks with a call in favor of the Archipiélago opposition march, something that she was unaware of at that time. Later, some officers came to her house to tell her that she should take her son to Menores, so she went to the school to pick him up. Rainel’s mother insists that he was present throughout the interrogation and insistently alleges that he was treated “very well.”

According to her version, at that time they informed her that she should go to the EFI, something that at first upset both of them, but she later said that she had visited the place and greeted the director and the workers and changed her mind about the good treatment that, she repeats, she saw was given to the boy. “If my son had been treated badly, I would say so, I am not going to lie,” she says pre-emptively.

Before finishing the video, González Mayé sends a message to parents, asking them to be very aware of their children’s activities on social networks.

From the account of the Libertarian Youth Alliance, it has been assumed that Reniel’s mother was coerced to record the version that exonerates the authorities of an event that has spread like wildfire on social networks and led to a complaint to organizations such as UNICEF regarding the attitude of the Cuban government.

“The love of a mother for her son knows no limits. We believe that it would have been more true if the child, Reniel, would have made the statement, giving his reasons and demands. Not making this cheap copy of a reality show. We keep asking for concrete images of his situation,” said the AJL, which also observed that González Mayé was “having a horrible and depressing moment with her son, and that the Government is only trying to castrate his voice as it has always done with citizens who demand their rights.”

The youth organization also celebrated the news of the departure of its founder from the center with a tweet in which it praised the avalanche of solidarity received, resulting, in its opinion, in the resolution of the situation. “We are all grateful for the exceptional support they have offered in all forms and means. Once again we show that we are Fuenteovejuna. We unite for a just cause, injustice trembled and the people rose up.”

See also: #FreeLunatico


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