Putting a Face on Cuba’s Political Prisoners: Taimir Garcia

Political prisoner Tamir Garcia

By El Toque

HAVANA TIMES – Taimir Garcia has now been in jail for over two years.  She was sentenced on April 21 2021, to five years in prison for demonstrating in Las Tunas, in central-eastern Cuba. Like the other prisoners, she now faces serious health problems.

On July 2, 2023, Taimir was taken to the “Amalia Simoni” Hospital in Camaguey province with a fever of 103.1⁰, plus bleeding, head and muscle aches and shortness of breath. Following a number of examinations, she was diagnosed with pneumonia, according to information her husband, Holmis Rivas, gave the independent online site ADN Cuba.

Months before this, the Cuban Human Rights Observatory warned that the activist’s health was fragile, and that she hadn’t received medical attention for months while in the Camaguey prison where she was being held.

Taimir was also diagnosed with a deformed gallbladder, a rare condition that can cause pain, inflammation, and digestive problems, among other things. She also has several gallbladder stones, one of them 13 millimeters in size. Because of this, she urgently needs an operation, but this in turn requires surgical supplies that are currently nonexistent in Cuba, due to the scarcity of medical supplies.

On June 6, Holmis Rivas denounced the human rights violations his wife was suffering in jail. Previously, in May, he had warned about the lack of medical attention to diagnose her ailments. The activist’s health deteriorated still further due to a six-day hunger strike she staged in demand of her freedom.

Taimir suffers from a number of ailments. According to her husband, she has bronchiectasis (a widening of the lung airways, leading to build-up of excess mucus), arterial hypertension, sickle cell anemia, diabetes and gastritis.

The dissident, who belongs to the Union Patriotica de Cuba [Cuban Patriotic Union], told him that she didn’t have access to the medications she needs for her illnesses, and that she was suffering from hypoglycemia due to hunger. In addition, since she suffers from both sickle cell anemia and diabetes she requires a special diet, which has been granted as medically indicated to other women prisoners in the penitentiary, except for her.

In December 2022, Holmis Rivas condemned the authorities’ refusal to grant medical attention to his wife, who at that time had been suffering from a severe toothache for three months.

Imprisoned for protesting

Taimir Garcia was detained together with Adrian Gongora and Damian Hechavarria, after they demonstrated against the inspectors and police who had imposed a fine of 8,000 Cuban pesos (around $40 at the street exchange price) on Hechavaria for selling medicinal plants.

Taimir was jailed as a precautionary pre-trial measure in the Correctional Facility known as Farm 5 (Granja 5) in the Camaguey Women’s Prison. Her husband complained that she suffered psychological and physical tortures there. He also stated that the petitions her lawyer, Yosdelmis Alvarez, presented for a change in the precautionary measures had been denied.

In other violations, the court authorities exceeded the six-month deadline for assembling the criminal file, established by the Cuban Criminal Processing Law that was in effect at the moment of her arrest.

Following seven months of imprisonment, the Prosecution moved to add the crime of assault to the existing charges of disobedience (six months), and resistance (seven months), and asked for a sentence of five years in prison. However, there’s no data at all in Taimir’s file to support this accusation. In February 2022, the activist declared that she would submit as evidence before the court a live video transmission she made the day of her arrest, in which no evidence of the crime can be seen.  

On February 14, 2022 she was tried together with the two others in the Municipal People’s Tribunal of Las Tunas. In mid-May, this body sentenced her to five years in prison.

Humberto Lopez, a spokesperson for the Cuban regime, stated on his Cuban television program – a program dedicated to discrediting the opposition in Cuba- that Taimir, Adrian and Damian were “delinquents with terrible social behavior.” He commented further: “their provocations have a clear objective: to get attention and obtain a counterrevolutionary endorsement.” At the same time, he referred to the supposed criminal background of the three political prisoners.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

One thought on “Putting a Face on Cuba’s Political Prisoners: Taimir Garcia

  • Is this a true story ?
    I find it hard to believe that anyone would be treated this way, by any authority.

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