Cuban dissident artist forced into exile arrives in Poland, speaks to the press

Hamlet Lavastida and his girlfriend Katherine Bisquet have arrived in Poland after being banished from Cuba by the communist Castro dictatorship and forced into exile.

Via CiberCuba (my translation):

Hamlet Lavastida arrives in Poland, makes statements to the press

Cuban artist Hamlet Lavastida and his girlfriend, poet and activist Katherine Bisquet, arrived in Warsaw, Poland on Sunday after leaving Havana and a brief layover in Madrid.

Lavastida and Bisquet were forced into exile by Cuban authorities after the artist had spent three months at State Security’s Villa Marista prison.

Upon his arrival at the Warsaw airport, Lavastida and Agnieszka Gratkiewicz, a representative of the Polish Cuban Solidarity Committee, spoke to local television and described the details of the case.

“It was a kidnapping ordered by the government,” said Lavastida regarding his arrest, while Gratkiewicz explained that the artist had been threatened with 3 months to five years in prison for the alleged crime of inciting crime.”

Other important media in the European country, such as Gazeta Wyborcza, reported on the case and had harsh criticism for the Cuban regime’s repression against artists and activists.

This past Saturday, Lavastida was taken from a protocol house to the Polish embassy in Havana, “in the custody of more than 20 agents.” State Security also took Bisquet so she could get her Polish visa.

The next day they were taken directly but separately to the airport. Bisquet was not able to even say goodbye to her family.

“State Security imposed forced exile on both of us as the only option to release Hamlet from prison,” said Bisquet later on Facebook.

“Very soon, after we’ve had a little time to recuperate, we will be giving our testimonies. Nothing will remain hidden. Every act of repression and every threat against our lives will be documented in my writings,” said the poet.

Continue reading (in Spanish) HERE.

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