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]