Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez- Lady in White, activist of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights and of the Eastern Democratic Alliance– made an urgent call on July of 2012 when she was informed by State Security that she would be taken to trial and possibly sentenced to 2 years in prison along with her husband, activist Yoandry Naosky Ricardo Mir and his two brothers- Orlando Baez Mir and Luis Manuel Garcia Mir– under false accusations of having committed crimes of “slander and libel”.
The dissident, who is mother of three underage children and resident of Banes municipality, in the province of Holguin, denounced that the accuser is Orestes Hernandez, an individual who collaborates with State Security. Hernandez accused the 4 of having “defecated on Fidel Castro’s mother” and of having offended and harassed him in the month of June of 2011. Ojeda Suarez explains that Orestes works as security guard in the Pantheon of Martyrs Fallen in Defense of the Country and the Northern Nuevo Banes Cemetery where he alleges that the supposed crimes took place. The Lady in White assures that the accusations are completely false and are only methods to take her husband, her relatives, and herself to prison due to their constant and growing activism in favor of human rights.
In addition, explains Gertrudis, “Orestes Hernandez and his mother Lorenza Hernandez lend their home to hide State Security agents and political police officers when they carry out acts of repression against us dissidents here in Banes“. She also said that she was able to confirm that both collaborators of the regime are trying to leave the country and are making the accusations for this reason, so that the authorities give them exit Visas. In Cuba, many participants of acts of repudiation and other violent actions are ‘rewarded’ with such permits to leave the country permanently or on vacation.
The trial took place this Thursday, August 16th 2012 in Banes, “behind closed doors“, explained Suarez. “The trial was completely taken by State Security, among them agents like Lieutenant Colonel Roylan and Freddy Aguero Diaz“, well known local oppressors.
Because of the trial, other activists from Banes received violent threats that they could not direct themselves to the tribunal to show solidarity with the accused dissidents.
Marta Diaz Rondon, a well known Lady in White and independent journalist, was one of those threatened. “During the morning of Wednesday, August 15th, when we were carrying out the weekly vigil for Cuba’s freedom in my home, State Security agent ‘Roylan’ showed up. He threatened me, saying that he was not going to let me, or any other dissident, go to the trial“, explained Rondon. “He also told me that he knew that I was recently operated but that he did not care…he told me he would arrest me and lock me up in the worst cell. I told him that I did not care, that I was going to go to the trial, because my house is not a dungeon“.
The activist added that the agent, who goes by the name of Roylan, is a well known aggressor in that area and that he “brutally beat Gertrudis Ojeda, Miladis Rosa and myself this past January 2012 when we were trying to travel to Holguin city. In fact, he dragged Gertrudis by the hair up to the third floor of a State Security office. He is an aggressor against women…but we are not afraid of him“.
Diaz Rondon and 5 other dissidents were able to make it to the building where the trial would take place, but they were not allowed to enter, so they stayed outside, although under the vigilance of State Security. Those who accompanied her were Delvis Martínez, Rafael Meneses Pupo, Alexander Rodríguez Santiesteban, Genaro González Acosta, and Miladis Piñales Rosa.
When the farce judicial process came to an end, Gertrudis was informed that her sentence would be announce on August 31st.
However, the Lady in White explained that “the witnesses who were present, who were supposedly going to testify against us, did not agree with the accusations. They said that they had no knowledge of what had supposedly occurred in the Pantheon of the Martyrs and said that they knew us and had never had problems with us“. It was a display of solidarity on their part.
Despite the solidarity, Getrudis Ojeda Suarez, Yoandry Naosky Ricardo Mir, Orlando Baez Mir and Luis Manuel Garcia Mir still run the danger of being sent to prison for 2 years.
Meanwhile, Marta Diaz Rondon assured that not only she, but all dissidents from Banes, will not allow “that threats from State Security intimidate us. We are going to keep fighting“.
“We know very well what we are going up against, we know that this is a dictatorship, but we are going to keep on in the struggle. Wherever there is a dissident in trouble, we are going to be there supporting them, that’s why we are brothers and sisters in struggle, and we are all fighting for the same cause”, said Diaz Rondon.