The Move

April 24, 11:39 PM, my phone receives a test message from Claudia Cadelo: “Sentenced to 1 year and 8 months of prison and transferred to Manto Negro, the journalist and ‘Dama de Apoyo’, Dania Virgen Garcia.”

After reading it my subconscious also received a message, “Be careful what you do, I have power and none of you are safe, I can imprison you for any reason.” I gave a name to this message: Exemplary warning.

The dissident’s name wasn’t familiar. I called some friends looking for information but nobody knew anything. We were all surprised by the message. Jailed on 20th and judged on 23rd: too fast for Cuba’s Justice System. The dissident Darsi Ferrer has been waiting months for judgment.

Days passed and still we had no information about Garcia’s case. A bad mother/daughter relationship and domestic violence, a common occurrence in any Cuban family from the suburbs. Most of all I thought: two people can think differently and argue, but not to the extreme of sending your mother to prison.

April 28, I decided to accompany some friends on a visit to Monte Rey in San Miguel del Padrón where the accused lives. I expected to find myself in a small house. I imagined that Dania and her family would live in crowded conditions. I was mistaken. The building was roomy enough for cohabitation.

The lights were on, but nobody answered our call. We decided to ask the neighbours and surprisingly we talk with the President of the Revolution’s Defence Committee (a political neighbourhood organization). We presented ourselves as religious colleagues.

The woman, a teacher in a military high school, said Dania has lived in the place since two years ago. She also gave us some details about Dania’s personality. She said Dania is an introverted person, changeable and is sensitive to rejections, to which she reacts negatively.

She had changed physically in less than a year. She was fat before, almost 200 pounds. She told us about the hard work and dedication to her morning physical exercises. Her personality and relationship with the neighbours changed when she took up Christianity.

There is not much information about her family, she is usually home alone. Her daughter comes sometimes to see her and brings the grandson, the child has even stayed with her for some days.

After the visit some things became a little clearer to me. The government did their homework. They chose their victim and the victimizer. After a psychological study they intruded into her personal life, God knows what means they used to achieve their goals.

They looked for a small crime and a legal procedure that is characterized by its speed and few options for the accused. In that way they avoided the chances of a warning and an international campaign the moved public opinion, as happened in the cases of the musician Gorki and the ex-sailor Panfilo.

We don’t know what the next move of the historic leadership will be and nothing good can be expected. I only know that imagining Dania isolated in a maximum security prison, for an irrelevant issue, and under huge psycological pressure is a scary picture and worries me.

Archived under: Dania Virgen García, Historias de cubanos, Mi Isla, Sistema penitenciario en cuba, Sobre la ley cubana

Translated by:  Chipiwini

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