Another Cuban Woman Locked Up for Political Activism

Lazara Karenia Gonzalez, a 28-year-old woman, is still being held in detention after taking part in the July 11th protests in Cardenas.

| Wings | 20/01/2022
La activista Lázara Karenia.

Lazara Karenia Gonzalez Fernandez, a young 28-year-old woman, living in Cardenas. Matanzas, is still being held in detention after taking part in the July 11th protests.

Karenia’s arrest was extremely violent, as videos broadcast live on social media that day show. Three red beret officers grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the ground, using extremely aggressive immobilization techniques that were unwarranted against a person who was unarmed in every way and peaceful.

The Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) has not spoken out about this or any other violent event that day.

While women like Karenia continue to be wrongfully held, Cuba’s Public Prosecutor’s Office continues to deny minors, mothers, children, brothers and sisters and parents their constitutional rights.

If we take a look at these Public Prosecutor requests, prison sentences, the way summary hearings have been held, as well as the impunity of government authorities and supporters of the regime who took to the street that day to beat fellow Cubans; we can understand the extremely vulnerable position civil society and citizens are in.

Let us give you some examples: 

Sissi Abascal Zamora, 24, sentenced to 6 years in prison, charged with Public Disorder, Attempt and Contempt.

Gabriela Zequeira Hernandez, 17, sentenced to 8 months of home arrest, charged with Public Disorder.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office is asking for an eight-year prison sentences for Arianna Lopez Roque, Donaida Perez Paseiro and Nidia Bienes Paseiro.

Reyna Yacnara Barreto Batista was sentenced to 4 years labor in prison, charged with alleged crimes of Public Disorder and Attempt. 

Liliana Oropesa, 20, who protested in La Guinera, in the same neighborhood where the police killed Diurbis Laurencio, faces a potential 19-year prison sentence.

Sisters Lisdany and Lisdiany Rodriguez Isaac are being charged with contempt, vandalism, propagation of an epidemic and public disorder; and the Public Prosecutor’s Office is asking for a 10-year prison sentence for them.

There are many sad cases, and they need all the support they can get from relatives, organizations, the press, international community and civil society.

Inhibiting Cuban women from exercising their right to occupy the public space is a violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Cuba has signed.

The Cuban government has acted outside of the concept of “public and political life” implemented by CEDAW, when it slanders these activists in the press, practises cyberbullying, intimidates opposition members’ families, carries out evictions, arbitrary arrests, forces nationals into exile, etc.

According to this Convention,

“the term covers all aspects of public administration and the formulation and implementation of policy at the international, national, regional and local levels. The concept also includes many aspects of civil society, including public boards and local councils and the activities of organizations such as political parties, trade unions, professional or industry associations, women’s organizations, community-based organizations and other organizations concerned with  public and political life.”

The Cuban Government’s violation of conventions like this one that fights for better security and wellbeing for women, just puts Cuba in the category of an authoritarian and macho State.