Political Prisoner Andy Frometa Cuenca, Victim of Constant Tortures and Prolonged Sentences

His name is Andy Frometa Cuenca and he has practically lived his whole life behind bars.  His crime? Trying to leave his own country in search of a better life in a free land, something which the Cuban authorities classify as an “illegal exit”.  The day he was taken into prison- May 12th 1992- Frometa was barely 16 years old.  “He was a 15 year old kid, he turned 16 shortly after while in a cell of Park Unit 24 in Guantanamo“, explains Caridad Caballero Batista, Eastern Cuban dissident who has been demanding Frometa’s freedom for some time now.

In a declaration by Andy, shared with this blog through dissident Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina in May of the current year when the prisoner was on hunger strike, he narrates his hellish experiences in the Castro gulags where he has been subjected to countless forms of torture, as well as constant vigilance.  I have been subjected to arbitrary punishment under orders of the Cuban political police, which are bent on keeping me confined in inhumane punishment cells in order to damage my physical and mental health“, the young prisoner writes in the letter directed to Rodriguez Lobaina, adding, “Throughout these 19 years of imprisonment I have contracted multiple diseases and because they were not properly tended to by doctors I was declared incurable. The doctors have paid no attention whatsoever. The regime gets more pleasure knowing that human beings die in prison“.  Due to these diseases Frometa has been exposed to, he was in a handicap state for three years.

Despite that Frometa has already served 20 of the 42 years he was sentenced to, the regime has not ceased in their attempt to oppress him, because, according to Caridad Caballero, “Andy’s protests and rebelliousness irritates them“.  His punishment has not just been because of his attempt to leave the country, but also because of his firm and unbreakable attitude in the Castro dungeons.  “His other sentences have been due to ‘penitentiary misconduct’, ‘contempt’, and other similar categories which the regime creates and applies on people who oppose their system“.  Andy remained in the Boniatico Prison until he turned 20, and then he inaugurated the Camaguey Kilo 8 Special Regime Prison, popularly known as “I lost the key”.  In addition, he has passed through Combinado del Este, Kilo 5 1/2 of Pinar del Rio, the Guanajay Torture Cell, and he was also the first of a group of prisoners to be sent to the prison known as “White Shark” in Combinado of Guantanamo, where he has remained in inhumane conditions during the past 13 years.

Recently,  on the afternoon of October 13th, 2011 Andy was transferred from cell #22 in “White Shark” to the penal center Guantanamo, where he continues suffering ongoing tortures at the hands of his oppressors.  With 35 years of age, Andy Frometa Cuenca is one of the current Cuban political prisoners who has served the most time in the communist gulags of the island, and one of the many on the island who remain imprisoned due to political reasons.  “Andy does not have much family“, explains Caballero Batista, “his wife is the one taking care of him whenever she can.  They allow him phone calls every 7 days, family visits are only allowed every two to three months, and conjugal visits are every 4 months.  This has been so until the 13th of October, when he was transferred to the other prison“.

Frometa’s health is still very poor.  He suffers from progressive myopia, due to a disease he contracted while in prison, and which has led him to be “nearly blind

Political Prisoner Andy Frometa Cuenca, Victim of Constant Tortures and Prolonged Sentences

274 Arrests in May; 6 New Prisoners of Conscience in Cuba

On their Monthly Report on Human Rights Violations in Cuba, the independent dissident news agency Hablamos Press is reporting that just in the month of May there have been at least 274 arrests motivated by political reasons in Cuba.  According to the list, which only captures the violence of this year, the repression increases more and more as the months pass, with the exception of February in which there were 440 arrests (due to the large scale protests in honor of the anniversary of the fallen hunger striking martyr Orlando Zapata Tamayo).  For now, here is their excellent and well detailed report (in spanish).

Although the majority of these arrests lasted (in some cases) hours, days, or weeks, the most recent example of a case where the arrest culminated in actual prison sentences is that of four young men who were sentenced to various years behind the bars after handing out leaflets with pro-human rights information in Havana during the beginning of this year.  They were sentenced under the pretexts of “public disorder” , and these prisoners are:

Luis Enrique Labrador
33 años de edad; 5 años de condena

David Piloto
40 años de edad; 5 años de condena

Walfrido Rodríguez
42 años de edad; 5 años de condena

Yordanis Martínez
23 años de edad; 3 años de condena

In response to these absurd and unjust sentences, relatives of these new prisoners protested outside the Havana tribunal:

Also, two brothers were sentenced under the cynic pretexts of “public disorder” and “insults to national symbols”.  Their crime? They participated in public peaceful protests against the Cuban government and they were publicly listening to the music of the hip-hop duo, Los Aldeanos, whose lyrics tend to criticize the political direction of the island.  These brothers are:

Marcos Maikel Lima Cruz
33 años de edad; 3 años de condena

Antonio Michel Lima Cruz
28 años de edad; 2 años de condena

These are the 6 new Cuban prisoners of conscience.

As we know, the Cuban government releases some and quickly fills those empty cells with others.  They have done the same exact thing since 1959.

Meanwhile, many other dignified Cubans, whether they be classified as prisoners of conscience or not, languish behind the bars of the Cuban dungeons just for defending the freedom and rights of all Cubans, cases like that of Andy Frometa Cuenca who has maintained a lengthy hunger strike.

For more information, Uncommon Sense has some more reports about the recent arrests.

274 Arrests in May; 6 New Prisoners of Conscience in Cuba