With their sons and daughters rotting in a Castro gulag, Mothers all across communist Cuba have no desire to celebrate today.
What will mothers and wives of political prisoners do on Mother’s Day?
Norma Pérez wants nothing to do with Mother’s Day. She is the mother of Sulmira Martinez, a 21-year-old Cuban influencer who has been imprisoned since January 10 for using social media to call for street protests against the Miguel Díaz-Canel regime.
“What Mother’s Day is there when my daughter is in jail? With the pain I have, I can’t have Mother’s Day,” Norma said with a mixture of anger and discouragement.
Her daughter, known as Salem on Facebook, is currently in the El Guatao women’s prison in Havana, after spending two months in detention and interrogation at Villa Marista. Norma still doesn’t know when the trial will take place, if it finally does take place. She only knows she is accused of incitement to commit a crime, a crime that the Penal Code punishes with fines or up to one year in jail.
“When my daughter is released, I will celebrate Mother’s Day, but now I’m in mourning. I want nothing. The only gift they can give me on Mother’s Day is for my daughter to be released, and I know that this will not be possible, therefore, I am in mourning,” said the mother.
Her feeling is the same shared by hundreds of mothers and wives throughout the country. Currently, more than 1,000 people are imprisoned for political reasons, according to records from independent organizations such as Prisoners Defenders and Justicia 11J. And more than 750 of them are cases related to the uprising of July 2021 (11J). It’s nothing on the island, which has suffered from a lack of democracy and political repression since the 1950s. However, the suffering by relatives of prisoners of conscience has perhaps become more visible in recent years due to their denunciations on social networks and media.
“Of course I’m not going to feel an iota of joy, because I won’t have the presence of my son at home. I will not receive his hugs, be able to kiss him, I won’t feel his warmth. I won’t hear his voice saying ‘congratulations, mom’, but I am proud of my son and I know God is taking care of him wherever he is”, said Ailex Marcano, from Camagüey, the mother of political prisoner Ángel Jesús Veliz Marcano, sentenced to six years in prison.
Continue reading (in Spanish) HERE.