14ymedio, Havana, January 10, 2024 — Migdalia Gutiérrez Padrón, mother of political prisoner Brusnelvis Cabrera Gutiérrez, has planted herself outside prison 1580 in the municipality of San Miguel del Padrón in Havana. The woman demands medical attention for her son — sentenced to 10 years in prison for participating in the protests of 11 July 2021 — who has felt sick for weeks.
Gutiérrez Padrón refuses to move from the place until her son is transferred to a hospital center, since the young man feels depressed and has lost a lot of weight, according to what she told the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights. “Even if I’m alone, I’m not leaving until they take him to a hospital,” the woman said.
Brusnelvis Cabrera Gutiérrez, 24 years old, was transferred to the maximum security prison last August. “That prison is also called ’the dryer’ because everyone there is very skinny and hungry. In all prisons in Cuba there is 99.9% hunger, but in that one you suffer 100%,” the mother told this newspaper.
The change of prison occurred several days after the young man refused to eat or wear the prison uniform in the Combinado prison of east Havana. The mother saw the move with suspicion: “I don’t expect anything good from the dictatorship. The dictatorship doesn’t give anything good and we don’t want it,” she told 14ymedio at the time. “I see that it is a prison with many complications. There is nothing favorable in this transfer.”
Cabrera Gutiérrez was initially sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly demonstrating in the popular protests of 11 July 2021
Cabrera Gutiérrez was initially sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly demonstrating in the popular protests of 11 July 2021 (’11J’), a participation that both the young man and his family emphatically deny. Last year, his sentence was reduced to 10 years after an annulment verdict.
Migdalia Gutiérrez Padrón has been one of the mothers of the 11J prisoners who has maintained a constant complaint in public spaces and social networks. In July 2022, the day of the first anniversary of the protests, she was detained for a few hours for wearing white.
Gutiérrez Padrón also alleges that the evidence against her son is spurious. During the first trial, which took place in March last year, the image of a young man on a motorcycle who, with the movement of his arm, summoned the demonstrators, was enough for the Court to condemn him, despite the fact that the mother has insistently refuted that he was her son: “The boy in the photo has no tattoos on his arm and my son is full of tattoos”
Now, Migdalia Gutiérrez Padrón is carrying out a new battle, and this time she is demonstrating outside the prison.
The concept of “planting yourself” began to be used in Cuba from 1959, when the first political prisoners were convicted after Fidel Castro came to power. Many of those inmates, the plantados, refused to accept rehabilitation in prison, to wear the prison uniform and to perform forced labor. For the relatives of the inmates, the concept means protesting and remaining intransigent until the prison authorities improve the prisoner’s situation or release him.
Translated by Regina Anavy
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.