Cuban opponents Félix Navarro and Esteban Rodríguez have been added to the ¿Prisoners Why? (Jailed For What, in English) that since October 2018 launched the US administration to make visible the cases of political prisoners in Cuba and human rights violations.
The United States Embassy in Cuba and the Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs published details on the situation of Navarro and Rodríguez on their Twitter accounts.
“Instead of allowing freedom of the press, the Cuban government silences journalists with prison terms,” he said. the post about Rodríguez, who is also a collaborator of the independent media ADN Cuba, and was one of the barracks on hunger strike of the San Isidro Movement (MSI), in November 2020.
Esteban Rodríguez was jailed on April 30 of this year while demonstrating with other activists on Obispo Street in Old Havana to demand an end to the repression for political reasons and to show support for the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the MSI, who had then been on a hunger and thirst strike for several days and surrounded by the police.
Since that day, there have been multiple complaints that he has made mainly through his family and friends about the mistreatment received in the different prisons in which he has been. At the moment, he is in the Combinado del Este, in the capital, he is accused of “public disorder” and “resistance.”
“Freedom of the press strengthens civil society and access to information; It must not be repressed! ” He expressed the post of the American institution.
For his part, Felix Navarro, from Matanzas, leader of the Pedro Luis Boitel Movement for Democracy, founded since 1999, has been deprived of liberty since July 12. That day he was arrested at the Perico station in Matanzas, where he went to find out about the members of his group who had been arrested the day before in the popular protests.
Currently, the 68-year-old activist is in the prison known as Combinado del Sur and for about three weeks he has been on a hunger strike that has seriously affected his health.
On September 11, the Bishop of Matanzas, Monsignor Manuel Hilario de Céspedes, visited Navarro and confirmed that he is continuing his strike and will not dismiss it until the charges of “attack” and “public disorder” are dropped.
The Matanzas human rights defender is one of the survivors of the repressive wave launched by the Cuban government in March 2003 and known as the Black Spring. In just three days, 75 independent journalists and activists were arrested and then processed in summary trials where the authorities imposed sentences of up to more than 20 years of deprivation of liberty.
Navarro, who is one of the most constant opponents on the national scene, spent eight years in jail after the Black Spring and, unlike most of the Group of 75, once he was released in 2011 he did not go into exile. Instead, he stayed in Cuba to continue his political work.
“Instead of allowing the family to visit their sick relative, the Cuban government silences Navarro in jail,” he said. the post of the US administration.
The Prisoners Why? It was launched at the United Nations, in New York City, on October 16, 2018, during the term of Republican Donald Trump, with the purpose of drawing attention to specific cases of Cuban political prisoners.
The activist Luis Robles and the artist Hamlet Lavastida, arrested in December 2020 and June 2021, respectively, are two of the other cases recently made visible.