The Cuban Regime is Cruel to the Family of Luis Robles, ‘The Young Man With the Placard’

Yindra Elizastigui and her son Lester Fernández, brother of Luis Robles. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 16 January 2023 — Yindra Elizastigui, mother of Luis Robles, “the young man with the placard”, reported on Monday that her younger son, Lester Fernández, has been detained since 19 December and is currently being held in the Valle Grande central penitentiary in Havana. Via a Facebook Live link the mother said that they were accusing the young man of “an illegal attempt to leave the country”, as he was arrested whilst building a boat.

“They didn’t arrest him at sea”, she stressed, after leaving the Provincial Tribunal in Havana. “The border guards gave him a 7,000 peso fine”, according to what they told Yindra. The seven others who were arrested with her son were fined 3,000 pesos and “they have all been free to go about their business since that day”, the woman said.

Yindra Elizastigui said that the way in which they brought the charges against her son is a clear “reprisal for being the brother of Luis Robles, who is suffering an unjust imprisonment”.

Lester Fernández was arrested and taken to the police station in Cojímar. His mother tells us that in this place the first question that the State Security officer asked him was whether he was the brother of Luis Robles, because the surname Elizastigui is very rare on the Island.

The young man’s mother doesn’t understand why they transferred Lester from Cojímar to Villa Marista, State Security’s centre of operations. “Why did they take him there? Why didn’t they release him like they did the others that they’d arrested that day?

She only hopes that they don’t accuse Lester of being the “leader, the instigator, the one who paid for everything: food, fuel and everything that they found” for the building of the boat.

“It seems it’s not enough for them to make me suffer for one son, and now they have the other one”.

“Enough now. I won’t give up until I see them set free”, she posted on the same social media page, along with two photos of the boys, after she had gone live. “Freedom for my sons Luis Robles Elizastigui and Lester Fernández Elizastigui and for all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience”, she demanded.

The mother of Robles has gained notoriety on social media since she started to denounce the unjust imprisonment of her son Luis Robles and the maltreatment he has suffered in prison. The woman reported on her first Facebook Live last June that Robles had received constant ill treatment, such as being photographed unclothed and against his will.

This denouncement by Yindra was made a few months after learning about the sentence of five years in prison for the youth, condemned for demonstrating peacefully on 4 December 2020, on the central boulevard of Calle San Rafael in Havana, with a banner in his hands asking for the end to repression and freedom for the Cuban rapper Denis Solís.

“Perhaps a lot of the people who are watching and listening to me will say that I took a long time to speak out because it’s a year and six months since my son Luis Robles was jailed, unjustly I believe, and I know many other believe that too”, she said. “I have dared to go live today because I am outraged and disturbed by what is happening to my son”.

Robles is currently serving his sentence in the maximum security prison Combinado del Este.

Translated by Ricardo Recluso


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