Osmel Ramírez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES – At 3:30 in the afternoon of this Friday, June 22, I was released. I was imprisoned for three days in a cell at the Mayari police station. On this occasion I wasn’t taken to the Pedernales State Security facility known as the “Place where everybody sings” where I was confined the previous time, in November of 2017.
Including my last arrest, I’ve spent six days in political prison, because even though I am only a journalist, State Security treats me as it does dissidents, as an intolerable political issue. According to what they told me in front of my family and then alone, I would have no more peace. I will be detained every time I write an article. I do not know if any writing, like this one that I will now publish informing on what happened to me, or if they refer to those that normally bother them the most.
They threatened to stop me if they see me surfing at the WIFI hotspot and even closing my account on the internet. They assure that they’re making a case file on me and that after several arrests they will have sufficient material to take me to a tribunal and imprison me for a longer time. I suppose it will be for the catch-all accusation “Pre-criminal social danger”, because until today neither they nor the Prosecutor’s Office have been able to tell me what law I violate with my writings.
The 7.5 m2 cell for 4 people was an oven. All the time one is bathed in sweat. The bed is made of cement, without sheets and only in the night an unlined mattress, full of sweat, and God knows what else, of all the prisoners who have gone before. Horrible food, I did not even eat it, just coffee, a piece of mortadella the second day and water. That’s why I lost 6 pounds.
The articles that bothered them the most were: one published in Diario de Cuba about the detention of an important pig breeder and one in Havana Times on corruption. According to the State Security, I have no right to publish about the work of the MININT (the Ministry of Interior which they are a part of) or to comment on issues that discredit the country. That is what they call “playing the enemy”, “counterrevolution” and called me a “mercenary”.
They also attributed to me an article I didn’t even write with the opinion of the sister of prisoner scientist Ariel, (Two siblings fight against a lethal disease: “criticize the Cuban government”) about the intellectual capacity of security agents. It’s the last straw, maybe it was a mistake or maybe intentional, I don’t know. But they were angry about an opinion that was not even in a work of my authorship.
It did not help me to explain to them that I am not a mercenary because I do not work for anyone and that I have my own ideals that move my actions. They don’t understand another way of serving their country other than blindly following the leaders. They locked me up for a crime totally unrelated to what I do: something related to perjury in a judicial process. Of course, I did not sign it.
These three days were a punishment for my daring to be an independent journalist in Mayarí, where apparently intolerance is greater than in the rest of the island. I have already been detained twice, they searched my home, they seized property and forbade me to travel abroad as of seven months ago. According to what they assure me, “they will never allow me again” because they see me as a “potential politician” that can be recruited abroad to “manufacture a counterrevolutionary project.”
Evidently they do not know me. Make me! – I am already made and I only owe my country. They do not mentally accept that a foreigner may be helping in a Cuban cause. They believe that in such a case it is the Cuban who helps or is recruited as a mercenary at the service of the foreigner. Apparently, they believe us incapable of having our own ideals if they are discordant with the official project. A very wrong and obtuse vision of the national situation, denigrating Cubans. Overcoming it is undoubtedly an imperative for them to change.
According to my captors if I continue writing, making independent citizen journalism, I can fall prisoner again shortly, be tried and that they will confiscate any possessions that I have left, assuming for no reason that “they were bought by the empire”.
Not even a single person representing the “empire” has given me a single dollar. My goods are very few and I have sweated them. My family suffers all this, my sick parents, my children and my brave wife. My friends and neighbors would like to shout “free Osmel,” but fear only allows them to murmur.
Well, for now I’m free, and I hope my freedom lasts.