Ariel Released and Cuban Police Call for Biotechnician Oscar Casanella

Lynn Cruz

Omara Ruiz Urquiola (c) and Ariel (r) after being released. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — When I got off the phone with Ariel Ruiz Urquiola, I couldn’t hold back my tears. It has all been so painful. I can only put my thoughts into writing, I’m speechless. 

His “manic depressive” state was the reason given for his release. So, from now on, they’ll have to take responsibility for prisoners’ mental health because Ariel has spoken about the isolation he suffered, the horror.

Now, he feels he needs to give a voice to the convicts he shared all that time with, many of whom were also victims of a blind power. 

Having met him just a week before he was imprisoned was very moving for me.

When I read that he had been imprisoned, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t get my head around it… Such a noble man was being charged with contempt and sentenced to a year in prison.

At that moment, I understood that the Cuban government finds itself at a crossroads, which might lead to a tragedy.

The State’s power is now experiencing the consequences of its actions. Putting off its decline, giving the green light to illegal activities has wreaked social havoc; unstoppable today, and the reason why any honest person like Ariel or Oscar Casanella constitute a danger.

This struggle developed on independent and social media for two months, which led to Ariel being released for who he really is. His integrity and heart moved Cuban civil society both on and outside the island, foreign newspapers too.

I also spoke to biotechnician Oscar Casanella, Ariel’s friend and colleague, on the phone. Along with Ariel’s sister, Omara Ruiz Urquiola, Casanella was one of the main figures in the fight to get Ariel released. They were the ones who were responsible for reporting everything that happened in prison and making it public knowledge.

This must be why Casanella was sent an unexpected summons to go and present himself on Thursday (yesterday) at the police station on Zapata and C Streets. His wife Elianne Triff Delgado received the notice and refused to sign it.

Casanella won’t go down to this station because he needs at least 72 hours’ notice, according to the law. On the other hand, he claims that this meeting is a guise for the State Security Department (DSE) to interrogate him, in retaliation for his activism to get Ariel released.

The DSE’s tentacles continue to suffocate the just. Only the online Cuban community support him, recognizing the power the Internet has.

One day, Cubans in exile will return. Most of them fled in search of a dignified life. They will understand that this land also belongs to them and they will fight for the rights that were stripped from them.

Now, we will be paying close attention to the State’s reaction to Casanella’s absence, repression’s new target.


Lynn Cruz

It's not art that imitates life, its life that imitates art," said Oscar Wilde. And art always goes a step further. I am an actress and writer. For me, art, especially writing, is a way of exorcising demons. It is something intimate. However, I decided to write journalism because I realized that I did not exist. In Cuba, only the people authorized by the government have the right to express themselves publicly. Havana Times is an example of coexistence within a democracy and since I consider myself a democrat, my dream is to integrate this publication’s philosophy into the reality of my country.

3 thoughts on “Ariel Released and Cuban Police Call for Biotechnician Oscar Casanella

  • A week has passed and not one of the Castro admirers has responded! Obviously they are unable to defend the indefensible!

  • The actions of the Cuban State Police meet fully, the description of terrorists.
    “a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims.”
    Their clear objective is to terrorize:
    “create and maintain a state of extreme fear and distress.”
    Anyone who doubts that the Cuban communist state is totalitarian, should study the sad saga of the repression of Ariel Ruiz Orquiola and now Oscar Casanella.
    There are those who write here that criticize describing the communist dictatorship in Cuba as evil.
    So how do they justify this illustration of the Castro regime’s methods in practice?

  • Gracias, Lynn, tu corazon esta grande, y tiene mucha coraje tambien. Gracias.

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