After being confined to a dungeon of the Versalles Police Unit in Santiago de Cuba for 27 days, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, narrates how his recent arrest occurred, of which “crimes” he is being accused of, and sends out a message to the international and national (Cuba) community in the following interview:
Pedazos de la Isla: We have heard the testimonies of your wife, Belkis Cantillo, and of your daughter Martha Beatriz about what happened in your home on April 2nd. Tell us about that moment from your own experience.
José Daniel Ferrer García: I was detained on April 2nd, 2012 after consecutively participating in two programs on Radio Marti. Upon finishing the final program, the 3 main chiefs from the repressive organisms of the Castro tyranny of Santiago de Cuba showed up to my house along with other members of the political police and the national police. They raided my home, tearing down the door and taking my wife amid physical blows. They even used forced against my mother-in-law.
I only had enough time to send out a message on Hablalo sin Miedo, detailing that my home was being invaded. They forcibly took my wife and I, another relative, and 7 other activists from UNPACU who were carrying out their activities in favor of freedom.
After they detained us, the police officials stayed in my house, sacking it. They took laptops, 2 printers, lots of information on CDs, USB drives, lots of books, print outs from UNPACU, our cell phones, photo cameras, microphones, TV cards (during those days we had just finished recording images from the papal visit to Cuba), blank sheets of paper, pens, everything. They robbed us as they regularly rob the home of any peaceful dissident.
PDLI: Have they returned any of these materials which they stole from you?
JDFG: None of the things they robbed from me have been returned. It is all in their possession (the regime), including my wife’s cell phone and my cell phone. They even robbed flashlights and photographs.
PDLI: What happened after they arrested you?
JDFG: They took us to different police units- some to Micro 9, other to “La Tercera”. My wife, our other relative, and I were taken to the Versalles Unit, to the department of Criminal Operations and Instruction. After 72 to 96 hours, they started to release the rest of the activists, including my wife.
PDLI: You spent 27 days detained. During this time, you declared yourself on hunger strike, you received threats, etc. Now that they released you, what do you know of what is happening with other activists from UNPACU who are still being held?
JDFG : In these very moments, there are still two of our members in prison. One of them- Dany Lopez de Moya- was sentenced under a false judicial process which the regime routinely puts in practice in the Castro tribunals. Moya was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months of prison for the supposed crime of resistance and disobedience to the authorities. There is also the case of Bismark Mustelier Galan who is in preventative prison in the Aguadores Jail, waiting for a trial for the supposed crime of “attempt” when he did not do such a thing. He was actually the victim of an arbitrary and violent arrest on behalf of one of the delegates from the Ministry of the Interior in Palma Soriano and another police agent.
PDLI: Their were many civic demonstrations throughout the island in demand of your liberation, as their also were in the Cuban exile community and in other parts of the world. How does all this solidarity make you feel?
JDFG : It has made my spirit stronger, especially upon seeing all of the brothers and sisters who have displayed valor, intelligence and sacrifice not only in this Eastern region but in other parts of the country, as well as my brothers in exile and many other people around the world. There has been much solidarity. Now, we must continue in the fight and put our grain of sand for the freedom and democracy of Cuba.
PDLI: In your case, you still have pending accusations…
JDFG : They released me on the afternoon of April 29th under the warning that there is still an open process against me. They gave me a file number- 66- in which they accuse me of “instigating, organizing, and financing” acts of public disorder in the Eastern region of Cuba. According to them, our peaceful actions in favor of the democratization of Cuba are acts of provocation which contribute to public disorder. They have told me that if i continue “organizing, inciting, and financing” these kinds of actions, then they would accelerate the process against me and taken me to prison under supposed crimes of disorder and I would have to serve the rest of my sentence of the Black Spring of 2003. In other words, I would have to serve the remaining 17 years of my 25 year sentence, in addition to more time which they would add for the crime of public disorder.
They told me that, if on the contrary, I understand this and chose the “best” way out and avoid this situation, turning ourselves into a “closed door” opposition, an opposition of only denouncements, of moderate and timid actions, then they would possibly analyze my case and decide a new verdict. This is their threat.
PDLI: And what is your response to this threat?
JDFG : My response is that whatever we need to do, in a peaceful manner, for the freedom of Cuba, we will continue doing. And if we have to return to prison, then we will go back to prison. As the saying goes, in a nation where the elemental rights of men are violated, the best place for an honest man is a jail cell.