The 0.0012 Grams of Marihuana Found at Odalis’ Home in Santiago de Cuba

Vicente Morin Aguado


HAVANA TIMES — Clearly, invoking 0.0012 grams of marihuana residue as criminal evidence following a meticulous search is ludicrous. In addition to the legal documents related to the case I’ve quoted (at the request of several readers), I have factual evidence and testimonies about the incident involving Odalis Guerra Gomez, who was evicted from her home in Contramestre, a municipality of Santiago de Cuba.

Here is an excerpt from the first page of the ruling signed by the Ministry of Construction, confirming the Santiago de Cuba Housing Department’s previous decision to confiscate the home:

The document was signed on January 15, 2015 by Rene Mesa Villafaña, an engineer working for the Ministry of Construction.

Before the trial of Juan Carlos Despaigne Guzman, sentenced to 7 years in prison, the prosecutor assigned the case arrived at the following “provisional conclusions”:

That is to say, the amount of marihuana found was so insignificant that it was “used up” during the laboratory weighing and analysis.

Note that the ministerial declaration mentions 0.0012 grams and the prosecutor’s conclusions 0.002 grams. Such differences may be irrelevant in terms of judging the facts, but they are used interchangeably in the different documents I consulted.

Below is the signature, date and seal applied to the abovementioned documet, courtesy of Havana Times:

In this connection, the interviewee has this to say:

“The day of the search, they (the DNA) searched and searched the house and couldn’t find anything. They came for a second search and said that, after so much effort, fuel spent and time wasted, they weren’t going to leave empty-handed. That’s when Ernel and his backpack came into the scene. There was no previous contact between this man and Juan Carlos. They made him declare that the contents of the backpack were for Juan Carlos, almost by force. It’s true, they never proved he was guilty of any crime.”

Drug trafficker or not, no evidence proving such a serious crime was ever produced. The charges resulted in the confiscation of the house and the eviction of the family. Regrettably, in Cuba, people are commonly sentenced on what is referred to as the “judge’s conviction,” a principle far removed from the internationally recognized tenet of “beyond reasonable doubt.”

I have just read a letter written from prison by Ernel Perez Garces, who personally denies, in writing, any ties to Juan Carlos. Finally, the Department for Citizen Serivices of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) has ordered a review of the case in connection with those convicted for drug trafficking.

There was also not enough substantial evidence to justify the eviction of the family. Given the legal options available, it could have been avoided. As the State confiscated the unfinished property (which was being built by the owners themselves) there was no need to relocate the family to the seedy apartment where Odalis and her family were taken.

A review of the case files reveals several inconsistencies which merit further analysis.

Vicente Morin Aguado: [email protected]

8 thoughts on “The 0.0012 Grams of Marihuana Found at Odalis’ Home in Santiago de Cuba

  • Set up! Where is the justice here? who is to be placed in the premises? I think that this is shamefull and stinks of corruption in it’s highest degree.

  • Well Tucson is short term as my tour is about over and Cuba will be my next
    venture. It’s all related somewhat as University of Arizona is my home, for now, and foreign students are part of my deal. Sadly no Cuban citizens yet but hopefully that will change in the coming years. Desert is interesting
    and the people are quite nice. Canadian’s aplenty and have yet to meet one nasty one in my entire life. Can’t say that about my own kind, the Irish but
    I would include Cuban folk equally as nice. Regarding Circles, he runs the best broad spectrum blog. Phil Peters’ Cuban Triangle was great but rarely posts anymore. Otherwise you’ve got the extremes from both sides..

  • John, do you enjoy a pop? Well you better not live in several middle eastern countries. You could serve time for having a cold one. Cuba is right in trying to control drugs as it has been a scourge in this country ad infinitum!

  • Weed is becoming accepted across the United States as the people raised in the 60s and 70s assume all political offices that deal with the legislation process.
    Florida missed passing a med marijuana bill by 2% but a couple of counties went ahead and made possession of small amounts a misdemeanor offense thereby going around the vote ( the anti-pot movement was sponsored by big out-of-state money )
    The next time up on the ballot , the measure to decriminalize/legalize will pass easily.
    Cuba is another case entirely.
    I think Cuba must be very careful upon opening to the United States because of the historic and very real corrupting influence of the U.S. tourist trade. The tourists will want drugs, prostitutes etc and will engage in all manner of immoral activities that they think they can get away with doing .

  • As you have disclosed living in Tucson bjmack, I have to tell you of the first time that my late wife (I re-married long after her sad passing) and I ever visited Arizona. We flew into Tucson, where we took a taxi to our hotel.
    To our amazement, as we drove along, there were newly laid out roads, obviously for housing projects. But for some odd reason the vacant spaces in between had piles of sand on them! Then we realised that we were looking at the natural terrain. As folks originally from northern Europe and then Canada, we had never been in desert country.
    At the hotel which faced inwards onto an area with bars and swimming pool, we read about: “The World Famous Desert Museum”. As neither of us had ever heard of it, we took this as a bit of local pride.
    Later we visited the said museum, which certainly ought to be world famous! A fascinating place out there in the Sonora. Huge cacti as big as trees were new to us, but we had a wonderful time at the AGM of the American Livestock Show and Rodeo Manager’s Association, then celebrating it’s 50th anniversary. I was the only Canadian member and the hospitality was remarkable.
    I hope Circles will accept this non-Cuba related contribution!

  • John, I was afraid you entered eternal paradise but here you are. The old laws in the US
    were draconian but have changed. I’m living in Tucson where weed is as plentiful as Tequila
    and no one cares. Cuba is just coming out of the shadows and rightfully is terrified that
    drugs could become as big of a problem as it is in the US. I’m referring to hard drugs of course but yes, it’s absurd and yes, I agree, rarely, with you as to Odalis’ photo.

  • The penalty for this tiny amount of marijuana is ridiculous and is on a par with the penalties in backward states like Texas where a joint gets you years in prison.
    Planting weed on people they want to nail is a common practice in most places.
    Cuba is correct on taking the position on drugs it does given that the bulk of any shipments from the south that pass through Cuba are heading to the United States and the fantastic stories of Fidel being behind the drug trade in the area would have some credence
    That said, on the humorous side, from that picture, it appears that Odalis smoked most of what she had just before the picture was taken ..

  • Justice – Castro style!

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