Tragic Week in Cuba, With the Third Feminist Murder in Five Days Confirmed

Nelbys Leyva, 37 years old, had a daughter. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/EFE, Havana, 23 June 2023 — This Thursday, the Cuban independent feminist platforms Alas Tensas and Yo Sí Te Creo raised to 45 the total number of femicides verified so far this year in the country, with the confirmation of a new sexist murder.

The victim was Nelbys Leyva, 37, with a daughter, who allegedly died at the hands of her ex-partner on June 16 in Guanabacoa (west).

The formal complaint comes just one day after both groups confirmed two other victims of sexist violence in Cuba and four days after they registered two other femicides, in one of the most tragic weeks of the year.

So far in 2023, the total number of femicides verified in 2022 (34) has already been exceeded in Cuba, according to the records of the activists and collated by 14ymedio and EFE (in the absence of official public statistics).

In addition, the collectives have counted 163 sexist murders in Cuba since mid-2019, when they began to register them.

The activists called on the Cuban government to declare a “state of emergency” for “gender violence.”

The work of independent feminist collectives and its dissemination in the unofficial media has contributed to putting the focus on the cases of sexist murders and the disappearances of Cubans in recent years.

These groups also advocate a comprehensive law against gender violence and the implementation of protocols to prevent these events, as well as the creation of shelters and rescue systems for women and their children who are in danger.

Last April, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel assured that there would be “zero tolerance” of sexist violence.

The official Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) gave a presentation at the beginning of June to the Cuban Observatory on Gender Equality, which includes statistics of “women who have been victims of intentional homicide as a result of gender violence in the last 12 months.” However, the data are not clear, based on convictions corresponding to the year.

The Supreme People’s Court reported in mid-May that in 2022 there were 18 convictions for sexist murders, all with penalties above 25 years in prison. However, it did not indicate when they occurred or detail the number of cases investigated that year.

The announcement was published after the court itself confirmed the sentence of life imprisonment for two men previously convicted of sexist violence.

These are the first sentences against perpetrators of femicides for the crime of murder, given that the crime of gender violence does not exist on the Island. They were made public in 2023 and correspond to cases filed in 2022.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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