Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

13 de Marzo del 2000


Palma Soriano.- René Rojas González, activist of the Pro Human Rights Party affiliated with the Andrei Sahkarov Foundation, awaits trial in the next 40 days and has already been fined 4,000 pesos for being found with three pounds of shrimp that he himself had caught and even expected to eat.

According to what government officials told him, his file has for the moment been set aside since there are so many other cases ahead of his. His family does not have the means to pay this fine. He knows the chances of his being allowed to pay the sum little by little are almost nil. So he expects to be punished with a prison sentence of at least six months.

At 10:45 a.m. Sunday, March 5, Vladimiro Marrero, the area chief of the National Police (PNR) appeared in person at the home of Rojas González and left him an official document without a stamp or other legal documentation. It told him to appear at the PNR Unit at 12 noon that very day.

When Rojas González reached the unit, Pedro Hernández Rodríguez, the chief of State Security awaited him. Chief Hernández, a well-known bully of the citizens of Palma Soriano interrogated him from one until three p.m. and made him sign a Certificate and Record of "Dangerousness." Along with his signature the chief demanded and got a tuft of the victim's hair and a piece of his fingernails. Along with his fingerprints, it all became part of the record of a "catalogue of dangerousness."

Every Friday René Rojas González must go sign his name at the Unit so as to show he is "under control" because he is a potential criminal until the day of his trial.

René Rojas González served 18 months in prison in Valle Grande in East Havana in 1989 for illegally leaving the country. He made a second attempt in 1992 and was caught 23 miles from shore with four other youths. Their "rescuers" beat them thoroughly and released them on shore.

Rojas González says Cuba must be the only nation in the hemisphere if not in the entire world whose citizens are imprisoned for wanting to leave the country. Rojas González' condition is that if he goes on trial and the government does not reduce the fine, he will go to prison on a hunger strike from the very first moment.

Rojas González finds it impossible to get work because of his record as an activist and of course he cannot practice his profession as a machinist and aviation mechanic. Because he belongs to the Pro Human Rights Party affiliated with the Andrei Sahkarov Foundation, whose president is René Montes de Oca Martija, Rojas González and members of his family live with constant harassment.

René Rojas González asks for the support of national and international human rights organizations for his case and if he gets such backing he has hopes of getting a commutation of the sanction, since he has committed no crime.

Virginia Salvia Segura, Cuba Free press.

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