Cuba Silent on Child Prostitution Case

Rosa Martinez 

Street in Bayamo, Granma

HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 27 — According to unofficial media here, yesterday a trial began — behind closed doors — in which 14 people (among them three Italian citizens) are implicated in the death of a Cuban junior high school student.

When a friend commented to me about this incident involving a teenager from the eastern Cuban city of Bayamo, I was left stunned.  I quickly began searching on the Internet to find what was being said about the girl, Lilian Ramirez Espinosa, who was only 12 years old.

Thinking about my two daughters, each detail that I discovered concerning the police investigation turned out more painful than the previous one.  The mere thought of one of my little girls entangled in a case of pedophilia or child pornography cut me to the core.

How much is true in what’s being said on the Caféfuerte website?   They’re reporting that the girl’s mother is detached and dispassionate, that she has a low educational level and doesn’t take care of herself or her other daughters.  They’re say that her father, on the contrary, is an affectionate and honorable man, and that Lilian was introverted, docile and disciplined.

Did the girl die from respiratory arrest due to the consumption of alcohol and narcotics forced on her by the degenerate pedophiles, or was she overcome by the toxic effects of gases inhaled in the trunk of the car in which she was later transported for burial?   Did she die from suffocation after being buried alive, or did one of the Italians choke her with his own hands in an act of desperation?

It seems that we’re destined to remain in the dark about yet another case that we’ve only found out about through foreign newspapers and independent bloggers.  Once again the national press remains silent before a threatening incident, and once again others have to tell us what’s going on under our very own noses.  Should we believe what they say in Miami, Italy or Spain about something that’s happened in our own country?

Just like me, many people will wonder: Why are the Cuban authorities submerged in total silence?  There’s no reason to remain quiet when they know that the Internet doesn’t allow the slightest secret to go undisclosed.  If they don’t give the official version, others will give theirs, often misinforming and circulating nothing more than rumors and speculation.

When will they figure out that keeping silent about such delicate issues doesn’t do anybody any good?  I thought they would have learned this from the more than two dozen deaths — resulting from negligence — of elderly people at the Mazorra Psychiatric Hospital last year.

Perhaps it’s embarrassing to the government to recognize that child prostitution is practiced in the safest Latin American country for children.  Or could it be that discussing the issue will give the Yankee enemy ammunition for defaming the revolution?  Or are they simply afraid that coverage will immediately put them on the spot?

I really don’t understand it.  I will never understand silence in the face of a circumstance that not only must be combatted but must also be thoroughly reported on so that the Cuban public knows that situations like these occur in many provinces.

In this way fathers and mothers will be made aware that not all tourists who visit us come to enjoy their vacations or do business – some come here solely and exclusively to practice prostitution, especially with children.

A statement by the Cuban government might have possibly bothered some Italians or other Europeans who believe in the innocence of their compatriots, but what does it really matter if we lose some guests when it’s a question of serious damage also being done to the Cuban government’s own moral standing.

If there’s someone who is in fact innocent in this case (one dubbed “El Salado” — because the body of the murdered victim was found near a bridge with that name), then I hope they go free.  But what I hope for more is that the guilty individuals, whoever they are, serve the long sentences they deserve, even though years in prison obviously won’t bring back the little Bayamo girl who was ripped from the world in May of last year.