Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cuban mother denounces her disabled son's unjust imprisonment as blackmail by Cuban regime

"There are political prisoners in Cuba; the son of a member of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) was sentenced to 12 years in jail for the sole reason of being the son of a MCL member."- Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, September 23, 2011 interview

Rosa María Rodríguez Gil addresses the UNHRC in Geneva

One day a secret policemen approached Rosa María Rodríguez Gil and demanded that she become an informant spying on other members of the human rights group of which she is  a member. She rejected their offer saying that she would not be subjected to blackmail. They warned her that her learning disabled son, Yosvani Melchor Rodríguez, would pay. Three days later he was arrested on March 19, 2010 and held in custody for nine months then subjected to a show trial and given a 12 year prison sentence. 

Rosa responded by denouncing the blackmail and demanding the immediate release of her innocent son. Two years later and her son is still unjustly imprisoned and international attention draws some attention to his plight. Early one morning her sister, Dalia Margarita Rodríguez, who is a cancer survivor, gets a phone call they ask her if she is related to  Rosa and they ask Dalia her son's name. She answered all their questions truthfully and then they tell her to talk to Rosa and to take care of her son or that he would end up the same way.

Now more than five years after his arrest on June 24, 2015 with her son still in prison, Rosa María Rodríguez Gil addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and called for her son's freedom denouncing Yosvani's unjust imprisonment. In the video above beginning at 2:28:20 you can watch what transpired and below is a transcript of her statement before the Council:

Thank you very much Mr. Chairman,

My name is Rosa Maria Rodriguez Gil, I am a member of the Coordinating Council of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) and I live in Havana, Cuba.

For my activism and commitment to the MCL and Oswaldo Payá, who with Harold Cepero died in circumstances that have not been cleared up; because I refused to collaborate with the Cuban political police, my son Yosvani Melchor Rodriguez, a young man with psychological problems, was arbitrarily arrested, subjected to a show trial, where the prosecution was unable to demonstrate evidence of an alleged crime of trafficking in persons that he did not commit, they sanctioned him to 12 years in prison and he has spent 5 years in the prisons of Cuba.

My son is being punished as a vendetta for my participation in the civic and constitutional campaign for a referendum where the people can freely decide whether if they want democracy.

Not content to kidnap my son, the Cuban authorities denied Yosvani even the right to parole, that all inmate has on the island once they have passed the half way point of the sanction imposed, in this case unjustly.

I come before this honorable forum to ask for justice and that my son Yosvani Melchor Rodriguez be released immediately, that the blackmail and threats against me and against all Cubans who peacefully work for human rights and real change to democracy with the people's participation cease.

Thank you very much.

In an interview on the same day with Radio República she described how the dictatorship's diplomat interrupted her, along with several anti-democratic states, questioning her credentials when she addressed the Council and how she was able to finish her statement. Rosa María also recalled how others in the council chamber approached her to express their admiration for her courage, some taking pictures with her.

Unjustly imprisoned: Yosvani Melchor

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