By Lente Habanero

Click on CC for the English subtitles.


HAVANA TIMES – Silverio Portal Contreras, a man of the people, this material was made a few days before he was arrested in front of the Hotel Inglaterra, in 2018. As he says in the interview: “I am a humble hard-working man. I make a living looking for wood in collapsed buildings. My hands are callused. My only crime is thinking differently and wanting a democratic country.”

That’s the way he has lived for 20 years. He doesn’t have a job or a retirement due to his way of thinking opposed to the Government. This is his only livelihood. The police pursue him saying he is stealing the wood. Those are the conditions in which he makes a living.

Silverio is still in prison

According to the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights, Portal was violently detained in March 2018 in Havana when he was participating with other people in a peaceful protest, carrying a sign that read “No more deaths from building collapses”, alluding to one of the scourges that terrorize many residents of Havana.

Silverio was sentenced to four years for the crimes of altering the public order and contempt of authority. These are legal figures frequently used by the authorities to imprison opponents. Both the judicial process and the trial lacked the most elementary guarantees. He suffers from various serious health problems due to the mistreatment received in prison.

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