Michel Martínez Pérez, a Cuban citizen from the province of Matanzas, was arrested in 2011 under accusations of ‘theft and sacrifice’. In Cuba, this means to kill an animal- specifically a cow- which is considered a crime by the state. However, countless citizens are left with no other choice than to carry out this action in order to the increasing amount of hunger in the country. Nearly a yer later, Martinez Perez remains behind bars, and has now been accused of another crime- this time “robbery by force”, which Michel and his mother, Lazara de Jesus Perez Martinez, both assure is false.
This Cuban mother, worried about her son’s life (he is on hunger strike and has suffered countless beatings and tortures behind the bars) is holding the Cuban regime accountable for Michel. She is also making an urgent call on the international community so that their be an intervention in her son’s case, considering that he is still in grave danger of losing his life, if not remaining in prison for many years for something he never did.
The following text is a letter penned by Lazara herself this 27th of July, 2012, regarding her son’s situation:
To whom it may concern,
With this letter, I’d like to let you know about the following situation:
On August 5th, 2011, 3 Cuban citizens were arrested in the town of ‘Union de Reyes’, among them William Martinez Perez, and on the following 10th of August they detained 3 more people. Among this second group was Michel Martinez Perez. Upon the arrest, the detainees were driven around the entire town on a police vehicle which had its police siren at full blast, as if saying the detainees were terrorists, and also creating fear within the locals. In fact, the clinic workers rushed out of their centers with stretchers, thinking that their was some sort of major accident, considering that the sirens kept going off.
These youths were then taken to the Technical Investigation Department of the Provincial MININT offices in Matanzas, under accusations of “theft and sacrifice” of cattle. Once in that center, they suffered physical and psychological abuses under the orders of the instructor known as Alain. They were tortured and kept in a very cold room without shirts and the guards threw water on them. From that moment, Michel Martinez Perez declared himself on hunger strike, and his physical and mental situation eventually were affected, so much so that he was taken to the provincial hospital, seeing as he was gravely dehydrated. On august 23rd of the same year, he was transferred to the penitentiary center known as Combinado del Sur, in Matanzas. After 4 months of being in that place, the instructor and guard of the Union de Reyes town, Maria Suarez, accused Michel and William of armed robbery, and interrogated Michel, threatening and forcing him to give his finger prints. During this process, Michel declared himself on hunger strike again, this time carrying out the protest for 20 days. He was protesting because he considered the accusation to be false, seeing as that it is not possible that, 4 months later, his fingerprints appear at the scene of the “crime”.
On February 21st, 2012, at around 10 AM, William and Michel’s case was taken to trial, under cause number 487-2011, where there were no proofs or testimonies against either citizens. They unjustly remain in prison. After the trial, Michel once again took up a hunger strike, this time his health was seriously affected, as he vomited blood and lost lots of weight. The authorities of the penitentiary spoke to him so that he would eat, telling him that his situation would be solved. Upon seeing that he had been lied to on various occasions and that they have given him no response as to his problem, on June 9th 2012 he declared himself once more on hunger strike. During this protest, he has fainted numerous times and has been vomiting blood. The authorities, upon seeing that his health has been deteriorating, are threatening him to stop the strike, and as punishment they have taken him to the Canaletas prison in Matanzas. He is in critical condition thanks to the injustices of this country. 49 days have passed as of today, Friday the 27th of July, as I write these lines and Michel continues in this condition as long as their is no favorable answer.
This letter has been written by his mother, Lazara de Jesus Perez Martin, from the town of Union de Reyes, General Betancourt street #37, between Maximo Gomez and Antonio Maceo. I am desperate when it comes to the physical and psychological situation in which I saw my son on June 19th, 2012, when I was urgently summoned by the chief of Combinado del Sur.
I trust in you all “because real justice is not the one that is spoken, but the one that is done”. His life is in danger.
Lazara has also provided an audio (in Spanish), where she details her son’s struggles and also denounces that she is being prohibited by the authorities from visiting him in prison. It is the voice of a desperate mother: