The trial against the Cuban opponent José Daniel Ferrer, accused of injuries and deprivation of liberty for an alleged attack, will take place today, as announced by both his family and the organization he leads, the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). The trial has become a symbol of oppression that the regime has maintained against dissidents for more than 60 years. The case has taken international character. Ferrer, who already spent eight years in prison after his arrest in the Black Spring of 2003, was arrested on October 1 at his home in Santiago de Cuba. The authorities accuse him of beating and kidnapping a man who even came to interview television.
The family accuses the authorities of torturing Ferrer. The regime, meanwhile, ensures that everything is part of a “slander campaign” and accuses the US of trying to take advantage of this media case.
On the other hand, the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH) explains in a statement that the Prosecutor’s Office will request a total of nine years in prison for Ferrer: One for the crime of injury and eight for the deprivation of liberty. The organization asks the European External Action Service and the EU Member States to send observers to the process.
Meanwhile, the Castro dictatorship continues with threats to defense witnesses. In addition, family members have not been summoned to the hearing, scheduled for today.
Officials from the Ministry of Interior and the Police raided the UNPACU headquarters on Tuesday and arrested several of its activists, including the leader of that organization, José Daniel Ferrer. According to those present, the lieutenant colonel who calls himself Alejandro substitute of the former chief arrived with his pack in disguise and presenting himself as “integral inspectors of hygiene”, and then “penetrated with special troops and other units, dozens of cars and equipment.” “As has happened on previous occasions that they repressed, this time they loaded again with tables, chairs, cleaning utensils, food, loaded with the kitchens in order to leave the place empty,” adds activist Cervantes García.
UNPACU, the opposition organization with the most members in Cuba, has remained under permanent harassment since the mass protest called on September 8. In fact, the March of Sunflowers culminated in several arrests, including that of José Daniel Ferrer, who said he had received a “brutal beating in jail.”
Almost a month later, Ovidio Martín Castellanos, one of the UNPACU coordinators arrested, remains in prison after a summary trial in which he was sentenced to five months in jail for refusing to pay a fine of 2,000 pesos (55 euros).
Meanwhile, the Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez, sent a message to the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo – one of the most critical in this process – in which he invited him to worry about medical insurance, the poor and migrants In U.S.A. In the text, he complains that Pompeo doesn’t care about the human rights situation in Cuba. Finally the relations continue frozen between the two shores. The block continues, more in force than ever, with several companies recently sanctioned for negotiating with Cubans. Although the EU opened the door to dialogue and trade, the timid reforms undertaken within Congress and the power dome do not foresee that anything really changes on the island. And less in terms of human rights. Ferrer could be the next martyr.