The case of Cuban political prisoner Carlos Álvarez Guerra reminds that when a Cuban man or woman is jailed because of their political opposition to the Castro regime, they are not the only victim.
Their children also suffer.
That was on top of mind for Guerra's fellow activists who wrote a letter to UNICEF officials in Havana imploring them to intervene with the government on behalf of Guerra's 4-year-old daughter. Yirisleidis Alvarez Pérez has been left an orphan since her father was arrested Sept. 5 for refusing to pay a fine for displaying outside his home signs affixed with anti-government slogans.
Here's the letter, as translated at Babalú:
To: General Director of UNICEF
The signatories below are contacting you in the hope that you will intercede before the Cuban government in regards to the situation of a little girl of 4 years, Yirisleidis Álvarez Pérez. Yidi was abandoned by her mother only days after her birth, and her father, Caros Álvarez Guerra, assumed the care and protection of this little girl from that moment.
Yirisleidis has grown up counting as her only family her father, who has devoted himself to provide all the necessary things for her to live and be educated. During this girl’s four years, she has developed a total dependency on her progenitor.
Recently, Carlos Álvarez Guerra was arbitrarily imprisoned and little Yirisleidis was taken to an orphanage in Matanzas; the Cuban government, without considering the consequences of this abrupt separation of a girl from her father, did this solely to exact revenge against Carlos. They do not care about this little Cuban girl that is now suffering in an orphanage because of the separation from her loving father.
We would like to point out that Yirisleidis’ father has now been in prison for 4 months for refusing to take down an anti-government sign at his home; an act that in any democratic country would be respected, but that in Cuba is considered a crime.
Sir, we come to you because we are convinced of your organization’s dedication to infants and children. Saving little Yili from psychological trauma is a responsibility that all of us who love children have. Returning her to her father is our goal, and we are convinced that you will do everything possible to do that.
Members of the Feminist Movement for Civil Rights “Rosa Parks” (MFDC-RP)
Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, president of MFDC-RP
Marta Días Rondón, vice president of MFDC-RP
Damara Meya Portieles, delegate of MFDC-RP (Villa Clara)
Ydania Yanes Contreras, adviser of MFDC-RP
Donaida Pérez Paseire, spokesperson for MFDC-RP
Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, delegate of MFDC-RP (Havana)
About a dozen activists last month marched through the town of Colón, in Matanzas province, demanding that Álvarez be released from prison.
Here's the video: