Cuban Family Evicted

Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo

Alain Maikel Hernandez Sotolongo is the father of three children, aged nine, eight and six months or age, all of whom were evicted on 19th February from housing located in Passage A # 7, between Desagüe and Peñalver, Central Havana.

The owner of this house died in January, and her only daughter who lives in Spain has no interest in the property. The municipal housing management collected all the belongings of the deceased and sealed the house; Alain has a document signed and sealed from November 2008 in which the Housing Authority stated that the living space of their property “located in Pocitos # 172 between Oquendo and González Márquez, Central Havana, suffered a total collapse of the roof and floor, that they would be relocated to cubicle 10 of the parking lot of Poliplast (Plastics Company) while it is pending constructive alterations to make it habitable”. This cubicle where Alain was relocated with his family has a hole for the overflow sewer water of the adjacent building. But the three children of the family have asthma and allergies, so they cannot live in the midst of these odors and moisture.

Alain and his wife Arlen, informed that there was this empty apartment, made a formal request to the Housing Office, before the deadline to decide who would inhabit the premises.

According to the declaration of the police it reached a person named Charon in the PNR*, the police, in the Central Havana municipality of Zulueta y Dragones; Bárbara Araujo, the Head of Shelters at the Housing Authority, and the Police Chief.

Although Cuban authorities claim that on January 1, 1959 the sad story of eviction and homelessness ended, this Cuban family lived and experienced the grim reality of being homeless and living like nomads and despite being a month in this situation still remain homeless, returning to the building where they were taken and are undergoing another eviction.

*National Revolutionary Police


Pacifist of the 21st Century

The peaceful Non-Violent struggle has been fostered throughout the Western hemisphere gaining in importance.  This form of demanding and calling for rights has led hundreds of Cubans, who have been dedicated to the future of the nation, to jail.  An example of this was the repressive wave known as The Black Spring of 2003.

The hunger strike has been recognized as the most complete peaceful demonstration, and defines itself as the total self-imposed abstinence from food.  This is used as a form of protest against a situation which is considered unjust; it’s an act of voluntary sacrifice of one’s life in support or honor of a cause.

Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a young black man, has been the most recent victim of a dictatorial Stalinist-type regime implanted in Cuba for more than half a century.  Zapata was a tireless fighter for the basic freedoms of Cubans which are violated daily.  He was detained on March 20, 2003, while fasting with other pro-democratic activists to demand the release of Cuban political prisoners.

I met this man in person and I enjoyed his friendship, he was always respectful towards all his brothers in struggle and tried to be a uniting force within the internal opposition movement, a man whom God provided with great courage and unshakable will and principles, the principles necessary to undertake a hunger strike, and that were common during his 6 years of imprisonment, always for justifiable and coherent causes.

While in prison he adopted the floor as a bed because his mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo Danger, took a mattress to him, which she purchased with her own cash, and the prison authorities did not allow such a delivery.  So, then, when it was sleeping time he sported an overcoat and a black snow hat, just like a Russian, and covered himself with any blanket he could find.  The nails on his hands and feet were infected with fungus due to the humidity of the jail cell, especially thanks to sleeping on the floor.  His prison cell, which was located in Taco-Taco, isolated from the rest of the jail, was constructed over the very center of a marsh, surrounded by swamp.  His bunk-bed was a library which showcased over 500 books and he lent many of these books to many inmates throughout the jail.  Many of those prisoners, after examining the penal code which belonged to Zapata, used every trick to get close to him to ask him to investigate the details of their crime or sentence from the point of view of justice, because he did not possess any knowledge of laws.

The lack of comprehension and the intolerance which has characterized the Castro brothers led Orlando Zapata Tamayo to start a hunger strike on December 3, 2009 which lasted over 80 days.  During this time, many demands for support were made to the international community with the intention of having them intervene for his life. Under the orders of the maximum authority of the State Security and the incompetence of the Cuban government, he died on February 23, 2010, becoming in universal history an example of pacifism in the 21st century.

The Purpose of OMBUDSMAN in Cuba

OMBUDSMAN:  This is the person that runs, channels, and makes public all the complaints and demands made by the people of a country against public organizations and all its functionaries.

With this blog I do not seek any kind of role but to be of service to my countrymen. I urge anyone to collaborate with me in helping denounce any action of unreasonable decision, shameless deed or act of discrimination. As far as I am concerned, I will be personally at your disposal.

My first words are of gratitude to you, who are those who make and will make the miracle of this blog in obtaining its objective, which is nothing other than to be a window of complaint against all the anthropological harm that the people of Cuba have suffered and are suffering.

Me, I only desire to be an instrument of justice in the midst of so much intolerance, taking seriously the priestly ministry in which I was ordained, I’ll be the voice of one who cries in the wilderness, with the hope of living to see every valley filled and every mountain and hill levelled, as was the preaching of John the Baptist. This dream will come true the moment Cuba embraces each and every one of its children, without distinction of race, color, religion, political affiliation, place of residence, etc.  The day in which all the political prisoners are released and the cases of all common prisoners are reviewed and analyzed by impartial courts, given to repair and compensate all those who have been arbitrarily punished by courts today, the day that the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba will be based on the 30 points of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It will be at that moment that this blog which is yours as well, will have rightfully accomplished its purpose.