Report from Cuban Prisoners Defenders, October 4, 2019:
AFTER THE ASSAULT OF HIS HOUSE FOR SPECIAL FORCES, ITS DETENTION AND DISAPPEARANCE …
- In the morning of October 1, in Santiago de Cuba, the house of José Daniel Ferrer was assaulted by special assault forces
- With violence and in the presence of his wife and children, a 3-month-old baby, a 2-year-old baby, a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old boy, arrested José Daniel Ferrer and 4 activists (Fernando González Vaillant, José Pupo Chaveco , Ibeisi Chacon Garcia and Sandy Ramirez) and took them to unknown locations. The youngest of 16 years, José Daniel Ferrer Cantillo, was arrested and held for 5 hours at the scene of the assault.
- Mr. Ferrer, Fernando González Vaillant, human rights activist and José Pupo Chaveco -a person at risk of social exclusion that UNPACU hosted at its headquarters to assist him socially- remain detained and unknown.
Concern for José Daniel Ferrer and the detainees
Prisoners Defenders expresses his deep concern for the state of health and physical integrity of José Daniel Ferrer, the visible head of the social and democratic opposition in Cuba, and the people detained next to him.
José Daniel Ferrer García is General Coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), the most widespread and active peaceful human rights and pro-democratic organization in Cuba. He was recognized prisoner of conscience after being imprisoned in 2003 accused of participating in the collection of signatures of the Varela Project, a plebiscite request articulated as legitimate and legal in article 88g of the Cuban Constitution in force on those dates, having collected with its network of contacts more than 5000 of the 11000 signatures that were presented in the National Assembly by Oswaldo Payá, fact which caused the regime’s prosecutor to request for his death penalty. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison and, since then, was named Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International. He is awarded as International Prize for Human Rights of the Hispano-Cuban Foundation, and Democracy Award of the National Endowment for Democracy. In 2010, given the dilemma of accepting the offer of the Spanish and Cuban government to leave prison on the condition of suffering a forced expatriation that was offer with pressures to be accepted to each of the prisoners of conscience of the Group of the 75, he was one of the 12 who refused to leave from Cuba and remained in prison. Given the international pressures that Cuba received, basically to launder its image (the entire “forced expatriation” operation of the Group of 75 was based on a mere image washing with the collusion of the Spanish Government of then President Zapatero, precisely to prepare the agreement of current dialogue and thus maintain and expand Spain’s economic positions on the island), José Daniel was the last one released from the Group of 75, to then founding the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) on August 24, 2011 along with some people from within and off the island, making the NGO, in just two years, the most numerous organization that has had the opposition within Cuba in all its modern history.
Since his alleged “release”, which was not such because it has been carried out with the current penalty and the constant threat of returning to prison, José Daniel Ferrer has been provenly been detained more than 100 times without charges (more than once per month for 8 years), most of the time in an extremely violent way, with brutal beatings, threats and assaults on his home on dozens of occasions, stealing all his personal belongings, whether they were technological and communications material, or domestic belongings such as food, books, or furniture.
José Daniel created the UNPACU to serve the helpless people, as these videos show, and denounce the abuses in terms of human rights, needs and lack of protection of the population. The activities of the UNPACU include a social free canteen, free medical service, free transportation service for medical emergencies, free repairing and sanitation of streets and neighborhoods, construction of bridges and access roads to facilitate communications, service of communal laundry given the shortage of soap and water, or training workshops in computer science, human rights and democracy, and many other subjects.
It is all this social activity precisely what has taken root in the affection of the population of Cuba, in addition to its courageous confrontation to denounce the abuses of the system prevailing in Cuba. And it is this rooting that most fears the dictatorship of Raúl Castro.
The assault and his detention
In the early hours of October 1, 2019, special combined forces under command (forces directly directed by Raúl Castro and not dependent on provincial commanders in Cuba) and auxiliary forces of State Security and Interior Ministry, besieged the house of José Daniel Ferrer, where the UNPACU headquarters are located, and cut communications to all activists. At 7:00 am, these forces violently entered three homes that make up the headquarters of UNPACU in Santiago de Cuba:
- Address #1: Calle 9 entre E y G #9, Reparto Mármol, Santiago de Cuba
- Address #2: Calle 9 entre E y G #10 reparto Mármol, Santiago de Cuba
- Address #3: Calle 9 entre E y G #10 Alto reparto Mármol, Santiago de Cuba (home of José Daniel Ferrer)
In the assault, they arrested José Daniel Ferrer García, Fernando González Vaillant, José Pupo Chaveco, Ibeisi Chacón García, Sandy Ramírez, José Daniel Ferrer Cantillo (son of José Daniel Ferrer García, under 16) and Evert Luis Hidalgo Ladrón de Guevara. The last two were detained for 5 hours at headquarters until they were released. The first 5 were transferred to unknown whereabouts.
In the assault an inventory of the stolen has been carried out, which at least consists of:
- Home cutlery
- 3 dining tables
- 15 chairs
- 2 gas bullets
- 1 oven cooker
- Kitchen pots
- Glasses, plates and others domestic utils
- 1 printer
- White sheets
- Organization formulaires
- Organization documents
- Flash memories
At the home of José Daniel, his wife and children of 14 years, 2 years and 3 months suffered the assault. In another of the aforementioned offices was José Daniel Ferrer Cantillo, 16, who was also detained for 5 hours. José Daniel Ferrer García was taken to custody before starting the search. The facts have been reported by numerous neighbors who have transferred us various videos that show that the operation, with more than 60 military and State Security personnel, consisted of:
- 60 members of special forces, political police and members of State Security
- 2 motorcycles of the National Revolutionary Police
- 12 State Security motorcycles
- 2 patrol cars
- 1 Criminal Instruction Car
- 2 special troop trucks
- 1 truck with civil appearance
At this time they are still detained:
- José Daniel Ferrer García
- Fernando González Vaillant
- José Pupo Chaveco
- Roilán Zárraga Ferrer, who was not at the headquarters when the assault occurred but went to look for him and arrested
Attempt of judicial process. Irrefutable evidence of the farce
The authorities now justify, after the assault with violence and robberies, that a citizen named Sergio García González accused José Daniel Ferrer García of causing him injuries. He left it on September 21 in perfect conditions. After leaving the aforementioned citizen, the next day, we learned from neighbours of the headquarters that the political police had pressured numerous neighbours to falsely testify about an altercation with said citizen. The neighbours told us how they refused to declare falsely. Even more, the next day the wife of Mr. García González told us that the day after being at the headquarters he had suffered an accident in which he had suffered certain injuries. Mr. García González, she said, received a visit from the State Security to pressure him to say that the injuries of the accident had been caused by José Daniel Ferrer García. Thus, she informed us that Mr. García González had refused such a State Security’s plan. Subsequently, the wife, Ms. Maribel Cabreja Leiva, was recorded in a telephone conversation to provide evidence in the event that said State Security operation would take shape in a false accusation. This recording is reflected in the following video, along with the report of everything that happened: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1F9GH2K89em1KmfnNyjZBFpAbPvSf6gL4.
Call to the European Union
The European Union must be aware that, while with its position of dialogue and apparent fantastic relations with Cuba, it directly feeds two of the pillars of the Castro dictatorship (facilitating the propaganda of false ideological superiority and international relations) and favours obtaining funds and credit from both the European Union and the financing sources that allows the regime to guarantee ongoing relations and projects, and as long as it does not make visible and legitimate the true civil society of Cuba, nor ever publicly condemns these acts (such as the EU Commission has been omitting to do so), the repression against human rights activists will increase as it has done the last year, reaching a climax this September with the visit of Ms. Moguerini, with the more than 480 arbitrary arrests made, and four new political prisoners jailed by the regime this last month.
We call on the European Union, especially the Commission, to be brave and consistent with its principles, and demonstrate at the public level that human rights are a backbone of relations with Cuba, and respectfully but firmly condemn this assault and the 8 raids and hundreds of detentions that occurred both in the visit of Mrs. Moguerini and in the month of September.
Failure to act in this way endangers the life and physical integrity of José Daniel Ferrer, beaten with extreme violence every time he is arrested while being interrogated and threatened in the dungeons of detention centres, and of numerous human rights activists and, still sure that with the best intentions, nevertheless it favours the conditions so that the repression in Cuba increases disproportionately.
The European Commission is moving from being an entity with good intentions to being an entity that, by negligent or naive, is endangering the life, integrity and health of human rights activists in Cuba.
ABOUT CUBAN PRISONERS DEFENDERS
Cuban Prisoners Defenders is an independent group of analysis, study and action, with the collaboration of all dissident groups on the island and the families of political prisoners to gather information and promote the freedom of all political prisoners, as well as to maintain the updated weekly lists of Convicted of Conscience, Condemned of Conscience,, Political Prisoners and Long-lasting political prisoners imprisoned. Cuban Prisoners Defenders is part of the Prisoners Defenders International Network, a legally registered association based in Madrid, Spain, and whose Internet address is www.prisonersdefenders.org.
The group from Cuba is coordinated by Iván Hernández Carrillo (ASIC), Adolfo Fernández Sainz (FNCA) and Javier Larrondo (UNPACU), without these organizations controlling to any degree, allowing a dedicated work to all political prisoners without distinctions and equally. In Madrid’s office, the legal reports have the contribution of another one of the founders of Cuban Prisoners Defenders, the international criminal lawyer Mr. Sebastián Rivero, who, among other experiences, has been a collaborating jurist of the Permanent Ambassador of Spain at the United Nations. The organization also has different patrons from all ideologies, among others several deputies of the National Congress of Spain of different parties, as well as D. Blas Jesús Imbroda, president of the International Criminal Bar (ICB, elected in 2017) and Dean of the Bar Association of Melilla, Spain.
The works of Cuban Prisoners Defenders are adopted by numerous institutions and are sent, among others, to CANF, UNPACU, ASIC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States, European Parliament, Congress and Senate of the United States, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, People In Need, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the UN for Latin America and the Caribbean, Real Instituto Elcano, Fundación Transición Española, International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, FANTU, Party for Democracy Pedro Luis Boitel, Independent Pedagogues College of Cuba, Freedom House, Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL), FAES, Ladies in White y Citizen Movement Reflection and Reconciliation, among many other institutions and organizations.
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