HAVANA, Dec. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The following is from the promoters of Cuba Decide:
It has been more than 75 days since Jose Daniel Ferrer, founder of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and a leading promoter of the Cuba Decide movement, was arbitrarily detained on Oct. 1, 2019. He was taken captive by the Cuban regime and is still being held prisoner under torture. It has been almost a month since anyone has seen Ferrer. The regime fabricated criminal charges against him, which is a tactic they use to quell dissent and avoid international condemnation for holding political prisoners. The treatment in Cuban prisons is of such a harsh nature, where victims report the administration of narcotics and the provision of rotten food, that Ferrer had to start a hunger strike in order to protect his life. As the United States Department of State declares it, this is a “flagrant violation of human rights.” The European Parliament has also condemned the arbitrary detention of Ferrer.
This particular seizure is part of a wave of escalated repression going on in Cuba right now. Those pleading for freedom and democracy on the island are getting louder, and the Cuban government fears and retaliates against this behavior.
Others are imprisoned alongside Ferrer and it will be a matter of time before they face similar conditions and treatment. Activists such as Roilan Zarraga Ferrer, José Pupo Chaveco, and Fernando González Vaillant are among those currently held captive, and it is important the world know their names so that it is not just one person falling victim to the Cuban regime, but all those who are fighting for freedom.
A Brief History of Cuban Regime Oppression
The Cuban regime has had a strong hand in backing, and in many cases, helping to install puppet governments around Latin America, including places like Venezuela and Bolivia. Bolivians however, have recently spoken and taken down the fraudulent presidency of Evo Morales, marches in Venezuela are demanding the removal of Maduro, and inside Cuba, people are also demanding their voice back. Ferrer is one of these.
The Cuban regime, however, has perfected the silencing of its people through tactics of fear and repression. Ferrer has been a voice for democracy on the island and has experienced these tactics before.
In 2003, Ferrer was imprisoned for eight years during what came to be known as the Black Spring, when the regime swept in and imprisoned 75 dissidents, among them 29 journalists and 49 leaders of the Varela Project, a preceding Democracy movement led by Oswaldo Payá in Cuba that gathered more than 35,000 signatures for a Democratic change in Cuba.
Ferrer referred to his nearly decade long imprisonment as one of “constant terrors.” Oswaldo Paya’s daughter, Rosa Maria Payá, an activist in her own right and founder of Cuba Decide – a platform that currently seeks freedom for Cuba and the right for Cubans to pen their own democracy through a vote – spoke to Ferrer in the months before his October imprisonment.
“My understanding from our conversations”, said Rosa Maria Payá “was that he was feeling the government tightening around him and our platform as they had during the Black Spring“. Payá asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to intervene before the Cuban regime and resume the Precautionary Measure granted 7 years ago for the protection of Ferrer from government harassment. The IACHR responded by urging the Cuban government to guarantee the life of Ferrer.
When Ferrer’s family was allowed to see him in prison, it was clear he had been beaten. His wife, Nelva Ortega Tamayo, MD, states that he has lost some sight and also his voice due to torture, “He’s very, very grave, he’s in danger,” she said. The only way to release him and restore his voice, which the regime is currently cinching, is for the international community to take note and speak up.
The last time someone disappeared in Cuba for a month, it was Orlando Zapata Tamayo, an Amnesty International political prisoner of conscience, who was left to die in 2010 after fasting in prison for 80 days.
The government has not permitted any independent monitoring bodies to determine the prison conditions or the presence of torture or other cruel or inhumane punishment.
About Cuba Decide
We are a movement of 60+ dissident organizations with thousands of activists mobilizing the Cuban People to become agents of change, defy the regime’s succession plan, and exercise the right to choose a new democratic future.
Our tool to empower the Cuban People: Convene an independent, binding, and internationally-monitored plebiscite to invalidate the communist constitution and begin a transition to democracy. Together, we will take back our human rights and self-determination, and make Cuba a free and democratic society where all Cubans can thrive.
The Fundación para la Democracia Panamericana is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a lead supporter of Cuba Decide.
SOURCE Cuba Decide