EFE (via 14ymedio), Madrid, 11 February 2022 — The Spanish-Cuban activist Carolina Barrero said this Friday at a press conference held at the Ateneo de Madrid that “the [Cuban] dictatorship has never been in a moment of weakness as great as it is now.”
“They know it, that’s why they look for ways to repress, that’s why the sentences are so disproportionate,” she added. Barrero arrived in the Spanish capital last Friday after having left Cuba temporarily and to avoid greater harm to other activists, as she herself explained on her social networks.
Barrero was arrested on the 31st when she was protesting in front of the Diez de Octubre Municipal Court in Havana, where the trial of 33 July 11 protesters accused of sedition is being held. During her detention, she was warned that the mothers and activists arrested with her could go to prison if she did not leave the Island.
Today in Madrid Barrero recounted the days prior to her “forced” departure from the island and said that the Cuban authorities conditioned on her departure the security of other activists, including rapper Maykel Osorbo Castillo, who has been in prison for several months despite the fact that “the Prosecutor’s Office has not yet ruled on whether there is a crime or not.”
“Maykel is presenting ailments that have not been correctly diagnosed,” she explained. On the other hand, fellow artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, in pre-trial detention in prison, is on an “intermittent hunger strike” but avoiding ending up in the prison hospital. “He is fighting with what he has, with his body.”
Barrero set April 4 as the deadline, when it will be one year since the protest organized by the San Isidro Movement (MSI) to the rhythm of the already famous song Patria y Vida and for which both were singled out, to have news of improvement over the situation of Osorbo and Otero Alcántara or, if not, her return to Cuba.
“On April 4, if we have no news, the same plane that brought me will return me. For me it is an important date, I know that I will return as I have to return,” she added.
Barrero recalled that after the protests in July of last year “massive arrests” took place, “thousands or tens of thousands of people” of whom “today at least nine hundred, as far as is known, are still detained.”
In addition, she drew attention to the fact that 115 are minors, of whom “55 are in house arrest, 27 under 16 in detention centers, and the trials are massive and without [public] access,” according to figures provided by Justicia 11J.
Barrero believes that the “accredited international press in Cuba has decided not to cover the trials despite the fact that society has requested it” and called for rectification in this regard.
“Let them cover the trials in Cuba, let the press listen to the mothers, there is no excuse for that, being complacent with the regime, with silence, is also being an accomplice,” she stressed.
The playwright Yunior García Aguilera was also present at the event, who showed his support for Barrero.
“The Cuban dictatorship is misogynistic and sexist, it is not by chance that women like Carolina and so many other Cubans are the eye of the hurricane in Cuba, when beauty, firmness and intelligence come together, it is a powerful combination that makes the dictatorship tremble,” said García Aguilera.
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