Miguel Rafael Cabrera Montoya is a dissident from Palma Soriano and a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) who recently canceled his hunger strike this past February 2nd. He was carrying out the protest against his arbitrary arrest and the false charges pressed against him. However, Montoya is still under the danger of being sentenced for a crime he never committed.
The dissident was one of the 6 eastern Cuban activists to be violently detained on August 28th of 2011 after being attacked by tear gas while at the home of Marino Antomachit (also a dissident). Montoya, along with other activists who were arrested on that day, was released in November, but under the threats that he still had a pending trial.
From his town of Palmarito de Cauto, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia- former prisoner and current national coordinator of UNPACU- explained that the Cuban regime recently accused Cabrera Montoya of having committed a robbery. “But what is absurd of this accusation“, highlights Ferrer Garcia, “is not only that the robbery is fabricated, but that the robbery he was being accused of had occurred in October of 2011 and in the city of Havana. But in October, Miguel was jailed in the Aguadores prison along with the 6 other activists from UNPACU“. In addition, Garcia pointed out that the wife of Montoya affirmed that her husband had not traveled to Havanas since 2 years ago.
After the accusations, various relatives of Cabrera went to a nearby State Security Unit and presented their complaints. It was then that “they (the regime) changed their accusation to a supposed crime of public disorder“, according to Ferrer Garcia, who added that “this public disorder, in reality, was that Montoya stepped out of his house at 4 AM to see who was throwing things at his front porch“. The activist did not even have enough time to clearly see what was happening outside of his house when he stepped out of his door, because he was rapidly detained by political police officials stationed outside. Jose Daniel Ferrer added that these same officials “who actually were the ones throwing paint at Montoya’s house, also painted the phrases ‘Down with Fidel’ and ‘Down with Raul’ with the intention to accuse him of disorder. Once in the police vehicle, the officials also informed him that he was being accused of public disorder, that he had a pending trial, and that he could not leave Palma Soriano“.
Upon being arrested again, Montoya decided to carry out a hunger strike in protest for his arbitrary detention and the pending false charges. He was released during the night of February 2nd and he canceled his hunger strike. However, the dictatorship’s officials informed him that he was still under the accusations of public disorder.
Why Miguel Rafael Cabrera Montoya?
Jose Daniel Ferrer explains that in Palma Soriano the UNPACU recently created 5 cells of the dissident group, 3 of which already have names- 28th of August (after the arbitrary and violent arrests of that day), the 10th of September (after another repressive wave against dissidents), and the 18th of March after the events of the Black Spring of 2003.
“Due to the level of activism which is being carried out, we decided to vote on one coordinator for these groups, and everyone was agreeing on Miguel Rafael Cabrera Montoya“, pointed out Ferrer Garcia. “As soon as that reached the ears of the political police, they unleashed a wave of slander, threats, pressures, defamation, and more, against him and his family. But upon seeing that none of this affected him, they decided to detain him and accuse him“.
“That’s why they have done all of this against Miguel, which of course worries us very much because it is possible for him to be taken to the tribunals and end up sentenced. In that case, it would be yet another political prisoner which the regime will try to accuse under fabricated common crimes“, alerts Jose Daniel Ferrer.
A tactic of the Cuban regime against the non-violent Resistance has been to try and incriminate them under common crimes, thus making it seem to the world as if they were never taken to prison for opposing the dictatorship, and instead for being vandals who have committed robberies, aggressions, rapes, or other crimes. Ferrer Garcia denounced that “with the death of Wilman Villar Mendoza, it is clear that the dictatorship does not want to publicly accuse us of anything political, because they know that they had to release all those dissidents jailed in Aguadores since the 28th of August thanks to the dissident’s own firmness, their protests, and the international solidarity campaign in their favor. Now the regime has to fabricate common crimes because they know that this stirs doubts in some people- but only some people, because the majority of people who know anything about Cuba know that such things are purely fabricated“.