The Cuban Opposition Warns of a Risk to Ferrer’s Life, As Happened With Alexei Navalny

José Daniel Ferrer’s daughter, at the door of the Mar Verde prison to demand to see her father. / Unpacu/ Facebook

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 20 March 2024 — After several days of rumors that led to fears for the life of José Daniel Ferrer, his daughter was finally able to visit him this Tuesday in the Mar Verde prison, in Santiago de Cuba, where she confirmed that he is still alive. The situation in which he finds himself, however, has left his family very concerned, and they have asked for a mobilization to help protect his life. In a few hours, the Christian Democratic Party (in exile) of Cuba has already echoed that request, and has published a statement in which it asks that the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu) not become a new Alexei Navalny.

“The collusion between the Russian and Cuban states is clearly evident. Ferrer, like Navalny, represents a real challenge for the Cuban Government,” says the statement, titled: José Daniel Ferrer, we do not want a new Navalny. Let us raise our voices to avoid a fatal outcome.

The communication states that the opponent is the Cuban political prisoner with the greatest international visibility and that, despite the numerous times he has been in prison, he has never wanted to leave his country. “He has stoically endured his various arrests in maximum security prisons, without bowing to the pressures received,” it emphasizes.

“The collusion between the Russian and Cuban states is clearly evident. “Ferrer, like Navalni, represents a real challenge for the Cuban Government”

The text briefly reviews the comments, in video format, from his sister, Ana Belkis Ferrer García, who spoke hours earlier about the situation in which the opponent finds himself.

“They only let her see him for two minutes. Upon arriving at the isolation cell – where he has been confined since August 2021 – she saw José Daniel lying there, not even being able to sit up on the floor itself, where he has been lying for so many hours. Fatima, very alarmed, rushed to stand over him and asked him if he had been hit again. José Daniel told her no and, surprised, asked her what she was doing there, to which Fátima replied that since yesterday there were strong rumors both inside and outside of Cuba that he had been murdered. He replied that, thank God, he is still alive,” the activist described.

According to their testimony, the relatives, after a long time of anguish and suffering, are “a little encouraged” to have managed to have proof of Ferrer’s life, but at the same time they feel extremely worried because the dictatorship of Raúl Castro and Díaz-Canel is “assassinating” the leader of Unpacu.

Ana Belkis Ferrer stated that, up until March 2023, her brother still was still allowed to make phone calls, a right that has been withdrawn, as have family and conjugal visits. “He told us on several occasions that he was buried alive, and dying slowly. These are the conditions in which José Daniel finds himself, and if we do not do something to achieve his immediate freedom, the next rumor is not going to be false, the next rumor is going to be true,” she warns.

The activist thanks the people who have demanded proof of life in these days – whom she credits for the visit being allowed – and asks them to continue the effort “to prevent the dictatorship from murdering José Daniel as it did with Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, Harold Cepero, Orlando Zapata, Pedro Luis Boitel, Wilman Villar and Laura Pollán, among other brave Cubans.”

The Christian Democratic Party has quickly picked up the gauntlet and, while denouncing the “cruel, inhuman and degrading” conditions, with “constant physical and psychological torture” that Ferrer suffers, demands his unconditional freedom and calls on the international community to mobilize, to “avoid a fatal outcome, which, if it occurs, will weigh on everyone.”

“These are the conditions in which José Daniel finds himself, and if we do not do something to achieve his immediate freedom, the next rumor is not going to be false, the next rumor is going to be true.”

“It is our collective responsibility to denounce with firmness and determination the constant violations of rights and freedoms by the Cuban regime. Their voices are and will always be present in the imagination of all of us for their dedication, fortitude, generosity and coherence. Let us raise our voices. Let us avoid new martyrs. We are all Ferrer. We are all Navalny,” closes the document, which adds a brief biographical-prison summary of the Unpacu leader.

José Daniel Ferrer has been in prison since 11 July 2021, before he could join the massive protests of that day, although his history of repression began much earlier. He was part of the group of prisoners of the Black Spring, sentenced to death commuted to 25 years in prison and released after eight years as a result of the negotiations with the Vatican and the mediation of Spain.

Amnesty International has designated him a prisoner of conscience as a symbol of the hundreds of political prisoners that the Cuban regime keeps in its prisons.


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