Just days from turning 15, Martha Beatriz Ferrer Cantillo– daughter of renown dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia and Lady in White Belkis Cantillo Ramirez– is being victim of a blackmail and harassment campaign at the hands of functionaries of the Communist Party and teachers from her school, the Pre-University of Palmarito de Cauto. The smear campaign culminated in an argument and a physical aggression against the young student when she expressed her opinion during a political act which she had been tricked into attending during class time.
Ferrer Cantillo says that harassment against her and the rest of her family is constant, but that in the last two weeks it has increased in school. “The professors and the members of the Communist Party are very bothered because the students in my class agree with me when I say my opinion“, said the youth, “it hurts them that I have friends and that they visit my house often“.
In addition, points out Ferrer, “a few days ago a professor started teaching a history class, in which he said that in Cuba human rights were not violated, to which I raised my hand and responded, saying that it wasn’t true. And my classmates agreed with me“.
This past Monday, December 10th, precisely when International Human Rights Day was being celebrated throughout the world, the professors of her school announced a mandatory activity. When Martha Beatriz asked if it was a political act- which she always refuses to attend- all her professors assured her that it was a “common” activity. She noticed that this allegation wasn’t true upon entering the place, seeing that in fact it was a political activity.
“The event started with a couple of kids from the primary school- who were being manipulated and pressured by the professors- who went up on stage and started saying that human rights are respected in Cuba, and that Fidel Castro is one of the leaders of the revolution who most respects these rights“, recounts Martha Beatriz, who did not wait to respond. “I quickly said that in Cuba human rights are not respected- nothing of the sort. Suddenly, a member of the Communist Party hit me on my arm and told me to shut up, saying that I did not have the right to say that“.
At that moment, the adolescent left the classroom, declaring that she would not return to school until her opinions are respected.
“I’m not going back to school until they apologize to me for doing this and until my rights are respected“, she said. However, Martha explains that her classmates were once again supporting her during the entire ordeal.
Jose Daniel Ferrer, father of Martha Beatriz, added that there are already a number of police operations which have already been set in motion to impede his daughter’s friends from coming to their home to celebrate her birthday this Thursday, December 13th.
In one of his tweets, Ferrer (@jdanielferrer) highlights that “members of the Communist Party and of the Education sector are already pressuring classmates of Martha Beatriz so that they won’t associate themselves with her” and also “pressuring their parents“.
On her part, Martha Beatriz, who is also one of the youngest Ladies in White in Cuba, affirms that her position in regards to the situation has not changed with the passing of the days. The youth has been beat and detained by the political police on a number of occasions for participating in activities of the Ladies in White and the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and says that she will not allow manipulations from her teachers and members of the Communist Party to cause any fear in her, assuring that she will continue expressing her thoughts.
For more information from Cuba:
José Daniel Ferrer García – Cell Phone: +5353-146-740 // Twitter: @jdanielferrer