Four Cubans were arrested, fined, and sentenced all in one day this past 28th of February, under accusations that they killed and ate a rare species of bird in an exclusive Cuban key. Their sentences were not based on any proof.
The Cubans arrested were Andreis Guzmán, Losmany Cardoza Fuente, Reinier Fonseca and Reinaldo Fonseca. On February 28th, these four Cubans managed to make it to Cayo Saetia, an island in the Mayari municipality, in the province of Holguin, which is home to a number of rare animal and plant species. The island is also strictly protected and reserved for the recreation of the high functionaries of the Cuban government, Raul Castro and his sons among them, as well as for foreign tourists. Cayo Saetia is also used for foreign hunters, considering that hunting permits are allowed with the exemption of certain animals. In this case, a bird species similar to an ostrich, which has a dwindling population, disappeared, and without any proof, the authorities accused Guzman, Fuente and the Fonsecas (father and son) of having killed the bird and eating its meat which is valued at 20,000 pesos, according to Cuban functionaries.
After this accusation, the Cuban police arrested the four men and took them to La Palma Cabaret in Holguin, where they held an extremely brief trial, sentencing them between 2 to 6 years behind bars, according to the Lady in White and independent journalist Caridad Caballero Batista. Caballero explains that during this trial, there was “an enormous display of police presence and the everyday people were very upset by this. In fact, a number of citizens started to shout ‘henchmen’ and ‘assassins’ to the soldiers and policemen“. The activist added that two dissidents were present, reporting from the scene.
In addition, the four accused were fined between 2,000 and 3,000 pesos “without any proof that they were the ones who ate that bird“.
Andreis, Losmany and Reiner are between the ages of 20 and 26, while Reinaldo is around 50 years old. They are four Cubans who were severely punished in less than 24 hours for trying to visit a forbidden area of their country.
For more information directly from Cuba:
Caridad Caballero Batista – Cell phone: 011-5352- 629- 749; Twitter: @caricaballero