Cuban prisoner of conscience would rather die in prison than accept forced exile

The communist Castro dictatorship has basically four methods to quash dissent: harassment, imprisonment, forced exile, and if all of those don’t work, then murder becomes the method of choice. The Cuban regime uses all of them, but forced exile is one of their favorites because it eliminates the problem without much mess or expense. Since harassment, imprisonment, and torture hasn’t silenced Jose Daniel Ferrer, the communist dictatorship wants to forcibly exile him. Ferrer, however, would rather die in a Castro gulag than leave his country.

Via Martí Noticias (my translation):

Ferrer reiterates he would ‘prefer to die in prison’ before accepting leaving Cuba

The Cuban regime’s cruelty against political prisoner and activist José Daniel Ferrer García is intensifying, depriving him of phone communication, family visits, and conjugal visits, according to Nelva Ismaray Ortega, his wife, who spoke to Martí Noticias.

From Santiago de Cuba, she stated they have violated his right to phone contact since March 6, 2023. “They’ve also denied us family visits, like the last one on December 11, denying us that right for the ninth consecutive time, and conjugal visits the next day, December 12, for the tenth time.”

José Daniel Ferrer was detained on July 11, 2021, for attempting to join anti-government protests occurring that day in Santiago de Cuba, simultaneously with protests in other parts of the country. After his arrest, authorities revoked a 2020 sentence of 4 years and 14 days, for alleged injuries and other offenses, which he was serving on house arrest.

According to Dr. Ortega, also a political prisoner from the Black Spring, at 53 years old, Ferrer has remained in total isolation since August 14, 2021.

“He is being held in a punishment cell set up for the purpose of torturing him, under inhumane, cruel, and degrading conditions. Isolated from the prison community and once again from his family,” she lamented.

Furthermore, Ferrer has been defamed in state-run media, as indicated by his wife, who emphasizes that he has not been given the right to defend himself.

Ortega specified that during his 2 years in prison, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba has only had 11 family visits and 9 conjugal visits, while his family has requested proof of life from the Cuban dissident 3 times due to a lack of information about his situation in Mar Verde prison in Santiago de Cuba.

“On November 28, after an exhaustive search, they only gave us 1 minute. During the scarce and limited meeting, my husband told me that he remains in the same situation, with the same induced health problems, and on November 14, he was the victim of another act of repudiation, to which he responded with slogans over the verbal attacks of hatred and rejection. As always, he reaffirmed his position because he is aware that everything he has survived has been part of the regime’s strategy to weaken and subdue him into accepting exile. That’s why they’ve been determined to slowly kill him, but he hasn’t stopped showing them and making it clear that he prefers to die in prison rather than accept leaving the country. Likewise, he sends his greetings and gratitude to brothers, relatives, friends, and supporters. We continue to demand proof of life; it is our right to see and hear him,” she emphasized.

As a proof of life, the medical professional clarified she will not accept notes, photos, or videos, only real evidence that her husband is alive.

Organizations like Amnesty International have called for the release of the activist, a father of six, the youngest being Daniel José, from his marriage with Ortega.

The activist holds Raúl Castro and Miguel Díaz-Canel responsible for Ferrer’s physical and mental health while questioning them about “how much they fear an innocent man.”

Ortega also made a plea for justice, immediate and unconditional life and freedom for Ferrer García and all political prisoners, as well as for the Cuban people.

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