It is the never ending clarion call from pro-Castro lobbyists, anti-embargo advocates, and the “Cuba Experts”: Engage the Castro regime and reap the proverbial cornucopia of fruits. Unfortunately, whatever fruit the engagement with the brutal and criminal Castro regime brings is rancid, as Spain continues to find out.
Few, if any countries have “engaged” the Castro dictatorship as extensively or enthusiastically as the Spanish government. They have put aside their principles, ignored whatever conscience they may possess, and have sold out the Cuban people in pursuit of that bounty of fruit (as well as billions of dollars). More often than not, however, the Castro dictatorship responds with a bowl of rotten fruit, which the Spaniards have no choice but to chow down every last bite.
The latest example of how well “engagement” works with the Castro regime is the case of the former Spanish journalist turned Cuba tourism executive Sebastian Martinez Ferrate. As a journalist in 2008, Martinez Ferrate produced a documentary that was televised exposing the rampant child prostitution that takes place Cuba. But when he returned to Cuba as a Spanish tourism executive, Castro State Security immediately arrested him and in an irony the Cuban regime is only capable of, they have charged him with the corruption of minors.
Martinez Ferrate is now in a Castro dungeon facing a 15 year prison sentence. And he is no doubt tasting the bitter fruit that is engagement with a criminal and lawless Cuban dictatorship.
Cuba wants 15 year prison sentence for news report
“I am desperate, I’ve been in this cell for 10 months and I still don’t know why I’m here. The Consulate has abandoned me and I’m at the point of breaking down. I can’t take it any more.” Those were the words of desperation and cry for help that Sebastian Martinez Ferrarte, former television journalist, told EL MUNDO from the Cuban prison La Condesa.
Martinez Ferrate had worked as a journalist on several television programs, among them Mandarina and EL MUNDO TV, and in 2008 he moved to Havana to work on a report on child prostitution in Cuba, which later was televised on the Telecinco network.
After those reports on child prostitution and others, Sebastian Martinez left television journalism and began working as the general director for the Majorca based tourism company Marina Hotels. And on July 11, 2010, he landed at the Havana airport to conduct a series of business meetings related to his new professional occupation. The former television journalist was immediately detained by Cuban authorities and held in the La Condesa prison, which is located some 70 kilometers from the capital.
The judicial process followed by the Cuban Attorney General has not been very clear since the former journalist was imprisoned. First, he was accused of procuring children. Later, the prosecutors dropped all charges against the tourism executive, but kept him in prison without any charges or accusations whatsoever. And just yesterday, according to sources in the Cuban justice system, charges have once again been filed against Martinez Ferrate; this time for corruption of minors. According to Cuban law, this charge carries with it up to a 15 year prison sentence.
In a telephone conversation with EL MUNDO, Sebastian Martinez denies all charges brought against him: “I haven’t done anything. I have never corrupted a minor, and they have no basis to maintain that accusation. I did a journalistic report and it was televised on Telecinco. That is my crime.” During the period that Martinez Ferrate worked on televised reports, between 2000 and 2008, he made extensive use of hidden cameras and collaborated with many Spanish producers and networks.