after three months of total isolation
By Vicente Morin Aguado
HAVANA TIMES – The leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, UNPACU, Jose Daniel Ferrer García, was shown to his relatives this Thursday afternoon, after three months of total solitary confinement in the Mal Verde prison in Santiago de Cuba. A message campaign had begun on social networks and other media, demanding Proof of Life for the emblematic opponent of the Cuban dictatorship.
Luis Enrique Ferrer, brother of the political prisoner recognized by Amnesty International, the European Parliament, the United States and many other governments and international institutions, is circulating a family message that states:
“They took the family to the corridor that leads to the prepared isolation cell where they have kept Jose Daniel since August 14, 2021, in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions, under constant physical and psychological torture. Since March 6th Jose Daniel remains half-naked again, exposed to aggressive and dangerous mosquitoes, ants and rodents.”
“They saw him in his underwear, with difficulty walking, severe pain in his hands, arms, and legs, extremely thin, with toothaches and a loss of vision. Jose’s body is full of lesions, to such an extent that he preferred not to hug them so as not to infect them with the bacteria that he has been presenting on his skin for months.
“Jose Daniel told his wife and daughter that during the months of April and May he could not walk and now he does so with great difficulty. He began to feel some relief by taking Ibuprofen 800mg available in the United States through the family, because it is a prescription medication. We do not know what could be causing the immobilizing pain that he suffers, since he lacks minimal medical attention and receives no treatment at all.
“With horror, his daughter and wife listened to Jose Daniel tell that in recent days he was taken from the Mar Verde prison and taken to the Clinical Surgical Hospital in the city of Santiago de Cuba with the apparent purpose of extracting one of the damaged teeth, but it was only to be tortured once more. It turns out that they removed a healthy tooth and did not touch the sick ones. A G2 (Political Police) agent later went to his cell to mock and threaten him, saying that “everything he was going through was avoidable, that he just had to agree to leave the country.”
“A previous attempt for a family visit on June 7, was denied. We only received a brief letter asking for strong painkillers and broad-spectrum antibiotics. The prison repressors did not give us another letter of his that explained why he needed the medicines.”
“It is totally confirmed that my brother is being murdered in the slowest, most perverse, and cruel way that can exist. Amid such a difficult and worrying situation, he sends his message of gratitude to all the people in solidarity, friends, brothers and sisters in struggle and ideas, the independent media, institutions and justice-loving governments. He states that he “does not lose hope of getting out of such hell alive, but if he does not, he recalls that he was always willing to give his life for the freedom of his people.”
As part of a generation completely educated under the guidelines of the Communist Party of Cuba, I remember one of the repeated references made by the late Fidel Castro condemning torture, as well as any other degrading practice applicable to prisoners.
“And our Revolution was born fighting against injustice, against tyranny; seeing how every day they persecuted our comrades, murdered them, tortured them, and our people were educated in the deepest hatred of crime, injustice, torture, and violations against the humans. […]. And our people were educated on those principles; Those principles became a value, a culture of our people. And if something has characterized our Revolution, it is loyalty to the principles.”
(Speech given at the closing of the V Congress of the Young Communists League, Karl Marx Theatre, April 5, 1987)
The case of Jose Daniel Ferrer is not unique, the dictatorship that has ruled Cuba for 64 years has developed a systematic persecution, together with the physical annihilation, of the figures that could become opposition leaders.
Like Ferrer, it is impossible to forget the young people of the San Isidro Movement, Luis Manuel Otero and Maykel Osorbo, and over a thousand imprisoned compatriots, many serving sentences of more than ten years, arrested after the peaceful popular uprising of July 11, 2021.
The leader of the UNPACU, considered the anti-dictatorial Cuban organization with the greatest convening power and membership, especially in the east of the country, has reiterated the decision he expressed when offered to legally escape into exile in Spain, when he was released in March 2011 under the mediation of the Spanish government and the Cuban Catholic Church:
“Jose Daniel Ferrer does not give up, he does not abandon his brothers in disgrace, and I prefer a thousand years in prison, even death, rather than reaching a pact with the dictatorship.”