They Returned Yili: Another Victory for the Resistance / Antunez

We received the call precisely when we were concluding the Central Opposition Coalition reunion and were displaying our unconditional support of our leader, Idania Yanez Contreras.

“They released Carlos, but they don’t want to give him back his daughter, Yili.”

“They have to give her back! They’ve made them suffer far too much already,” my wife Yris exclaimed, full of tears and clearly bothered.

“Let’s go to Los Arabos,” Idania and Yris exclaimed in unison.

“What a mess. Now how are we supposed to do this? We barely have the necessary resources for so many of us to go out, and the only one who can transport us in his car only has room for 6. And there are almost 20 of us!”

Everybody wanted to go.

Yirisleidys Alvarez Perez.  The young girl was returned to her father, Carlos Alvarez, with those scars and bruises on her face.
Yirisleidys Alvarez Perez. The young girl was returned to her father, Carlos Alvarez, with those scars and bruises on her face.

Alcides, Idania, Yris, Adriano, Columbie, Francisco, and I all hopped into the car, where we were only able to get as far as Santa Clara, for there was a strong police operation underway. Those of us who went were strategically chosen due to our individual representation of the provinces which took part in the event: Matanzas, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, and Villa Clara. Our brother, Tur Valladares from Cienfuegos, could not join us due to health reasons.

Along with the cold which chilled our bones in Santa Clara, we were joined by Guillermo, Frank, and Carlitos. In the railroad terminal for Colon, we were also joined by Joseito and Carlos himself, and we traveled to Colon, where the same police operation was taking place.

They did not want to give him his daughter back until he pulled out his ID Card. This was a condition the father did not accept.

With a hunger strike, along with our support and the support of other compatriots — the Lady in White Alejandrina Garcia, Lazarito, and Cari — there were more than 20 of us in that display of solidarity.

Three hours had not even passed when State Security major Alejandro knocked on the door to tell Carlos to go to Los Arabos to pick up his daughter. Yris, Idania, and Alejandrina all accompanied him, and they were all witnesses of that emotional moment where a desperate father once again embraced his daughter after 4 months of absence and separation. The young child had scars on her face.

That moving scene put an end to the “Return Yili to her Father” campaign, which had been launched by the Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights and counted with the support of many Cubans in and out of the island which joined in solidarity through this unforgettable drama.

That is the Coalition, that is unity, and those are the results. And that is our response to those who, for matters of greed and other grave reasons, never cease to attack us.

Translated by Raul G.

December 28, 2010