“Before there were arbitrary arrests and they beat you, but since July 11 of last year, the dictator Miguel Díaz Canel gave an open letter to the misnamed State Security, the Cuban political police, to rob and murder,” Nelva Ismaray Ortega Tamayo denounces. , who demands proof of life from her husband, the dissident José Daniel Ferrer.
“He gave the order for them to do what they want, it’s an open letter,” she insists desperately.
Ferrer, leader of the opposition Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), is in a small cell, isolated and without natural light. He has been imprisoned since July 11 of last year when he was preventively detained before he managed to join the historic demonstrations on the island. At first they kept him in house arrest but then the Castro justice system confined him in the Mar Verde prison, in Santiago de Cuba, where he is supposed to still be but neither his wife nor anyone around him can see him.
Just before he was held incommunicado, on June 4, he had announced that he would fast during the days of the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, in protest at the position of presidents such as the Mexican and Argentine who wanted the dictators of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua will participate in the event. “That’s what bothered me so much, that was the last communication I had with my husband. Everything is torture for him and for us”, says Ortega Tamayo.
According to what he reveals, Ferrer himself told him that they were going to silence him. “If they disappear me, it is because they brutally beat me or so that they do not find out about my hunger strike,” he told his wife in that last telephone conversation that was abruptly interrupted by the regime more than 35 days ago.
Ortega Tamayo is sure that they want to silence Ferrer so that he does not give a message for the anniversary of the historic 11J protests, when thousands of Cubans spontaneously took to the streets to protest against the Castro dictatorship. “You can see the repression, there are cars of black berets -the Castro repression squad- everywhere. They seek to intimidate, because they have an open letter for everything”, she affirms.
The dissident’s wife details the horrors he suffers in prison: “They don’t give him medical attention, he’s sick, he’s hypertensive, they have chronic gastritis, they give him food with worms, they subject him to deafening noises that give him unbearable headaches… ideal for them would be to assassinate him but they cannot do it due to international pressure, thanks to MEPs and the UN Committee Against Enforced Disappearances”. And she adds: “Until they comply with our right, which is proof of life, we will continue to consider him missing.”
“This is a cruel, murderous and drug-trafficking dictatorship,” he denounces. “My husband gave more than half of his life for this fight for freedom.” But he warns: “Even if they have us all locked up, there are going to be a lot of 11Js.”
Days ago, the UN Committee Against Forced Disappearances demanded that the Cuban regime report on the whereabouts of the opponent. In a press release released by the NGO Prisoners Defenders, it is detailed that the United Nations responded in this way to a previous request from the association, based in Madrid. “Among other actions, a Habeas Corpus procedure was initiated, to which Cuba did not respond by complying with the formal and temporary procedures required by Cuban Law itself,” the statement said.
In a letter addressed to the island’s regime, the UN Committee recalls that “the refusal to acknowledge said deprivation of liberty or the concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, removing him from the protection of the law, whatever the duration of said deprivation of liberty or concealment” constitutes an “enforced disappearance”.
The dissident leads a life of struggle against the Castro dictatorship: he was imprisoned as part of the Group of 75, during the Black Spring of 2003 and spent 8 years in the dungeons of the regime.
After the international efforts that allowed the release of these prisoners of conscience, he decided to remain on the island but was arrested on October 1, 2019 and in February 2020 sentenced to prison after a trial behind closed doors for an alleged crime of injury to another man. , a charge that his relatives and collaborators deny.
After six months locked up, and amid strong international pressure, in April 2020 his sentence was commuted to a sentence of four and a half years of house arrest, but last July the dictatorship feared that he would take a leading role in the spontaneous day of July 11 and put him back in jail: from then on the last chapter of the nightmare of Ferrer and his family began.
Ortega Tamayo tells from the guts what her husband suffers. “He is my love, he is my friend and he is innocent”, she repeats over and over again while she affirms that she will never get tired of asking for him.