Rigorous and Severe Revolutionary Justice
Bárbaro López Villavicencio, 44 years old, and Rafael Felipe Martínez Irizar, 41, from Cienfuegos, both black and addicted to alcohol, agreed, in mid-2009, to take a boat to get to México and from there to go to the United States.
In shaping the plan they distributed tasks. Irizar Martínez would be responsible for locating people who had money, interested in leaving the country, as a way to get help towards the cost of the operation. López Villavicencio would look for fuel and the owner of the boat, who would be paid for faking a hijacking.
Pablo Gómez Castillo, a counterintelligence officer, reported the incident. Although they didn’t have even a quart of oi in their possession, both were arrested. The Cienfuegos court declared them guilty, as authors, of a crime of illegal departure.
None of the evidence assessed by the court could give the exact dates of the commission of criminal acts alleged against the accused. The court considered documentary evidence on the role of the creation of the plan, the inquiries and the attempts to buy gasoline, between the end of May and early June 2009.
The offense was proved solely by statements of witnesses and defendants, who at trial confessed to having devised a plan that they never actually implemented. In vain they tried to argue for a dismissal of charges. The court did not grant it, because “before the arrests, they were taking steps and inquiries to try to accomplish the proposed objectives.”
The “dangerous plan” “fortunately did not happen thanks to timely action by the authorities.” who by detaining the defendants, prevented them from carrying out the illegal activity. This was the verdict of the court in its ruling, the Unit for Crimes against State Security in Cienfuegos, a body charged with “criminal investigation.”
It did not matter that the prosecutor acknowledged, in his provisional findings, that López Villavicencio “thought to speak about the mission” to the witness, Rafael Jiménez Solís, the boat captain, and the fool the defendants planned to hijack. However, “It did not come to anything definite.”
Neither did it matter that “in the summation, their confessions were explicit and detailed, to the point of helping to clarify the alleged criminal act,” according to what the court argued at sentencing. They naively believed in the law. The Penal Code exempts from liability a person who voluntarily desists from committing a criminal act, when it is brought to the attention of the authorities.
In its eagerness to tackle crime and injustice, the provincial court of Cienfuegos overlooked the fact that all the defendants’ attempts were unsuccessful. It even acknowledged in its ruling that Martinez Irizar was unable to “realize efforts to locate the fuel.”
This trial was an example of “efficiency, rational and differential treatment, adequate communication, professionalism and speed in the clarification of criminal acts and other services provided to the people,” by the organs of justice and defense of the revolutionary government, according to a recent report by the newspaper, Granma.
The court appraised the statements of 5 people contacted by Martínez Irizar, working to promote the illegal departure. However, the judgment failed to give the details of whether they had the resources to finance the operation, a requirement of the plan devised by the defendants. On the contrary, it assumed that no one accepted the proposal, a rare thing these days.
The evidence to incriminate them was evaluated “in accordance with the principles of science and reason.” Bárbaro was sentenced to 4 years’ and Rafael to 5 years’ imprisonment, the maximum penalty provided for the crime of promoting and organizing the illegal exit of people from the national territory.
If all Cubans who dream up plans to abandon the country were put in jail, the prison population of the island would reach 11 million inmates. This reality doesn’t matter, just as there is no interest, when determining the sentence, in prevention and repentance. It’s better to punish as an example. The key to revolutionary justice is to apply the law “with the utmost rigor and severity necessary. ”
Translated by Regina Anavy
January 28 2011