Maritza Believed in the Revolution

My name is Maritza Castro Martinez.  I was born in Santiago de Cuba on March 28, 1959. I was born a revolutionary and they taught me in school to separate myself from God and that is how I lived for a long time, but not anymore.

I studied like many others and made it to my first year of Chemical Engineering. Later, I began working as a secretary in the provincial PCC headquarters. After a while I moved to Havana and here is where I worked for the Central PCC Committee, also as a secretary.

I was a revolutionary, I had faith. I was also somewhat of a critic, but blind like many others. But my change really was radical.  It turns out I had a nephew who, like any other boy, served his military service at the young age of 21. One day he escaped from his unit and decided to take part in an illegal exit. They caught him and put him on trial.  They held him in a military prison in Ganuza which was run by an official by the last name of Paniagua. My nephew died of dehydration.

That was a very strong blow for the entire family. And even so, I had faith in this Revolution. I started writing thousands of letters denouncing this situation, I complained and demanded explanations. The solution never came- I was fired from my job.  They humiliated me, they frightened me.

In 2002 I enrolled in the Committee of Mothers as a form of escape and protest. My intention was to create awareness and pressure so that no other young person would suffer the same fate my nephew did when he was in prison.

In 2003 I took part in the fast organized by various women who protested the arrests of the Black Spring. That is how The Ladies in White were born.

Since then my life has been defined by repression, arrests, physical blows, acts of condemnation, etc.  It was because of that, and because of the fear of what could happen to my life and the lives of my children that I applied for political asylum in the US Interests Office in Havana.  My CU number is 35941.  Some personalities interceded for me, amongst them Congresswoman Ileana Ros and Doctor Maria Dominguez.  Even then they have denied my refuge because of my position as a PCC secretary, according to an application which I hold in my possession.

On February 20, 2009, after waiting for a valid response on behalf of the Americans, I once again wrote to the official in charge of the department of internal security and immigration of the US pleading him for a revision at least for my kids.

Since there was no response on October 20, 2009 I wrote an open letter to Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos asking for asylum in Europe.  A functionary of the Spanish embassy wrote back to me claiming that in order for them to give me the visa it had to be according to the interests of the Cuban government.

Today my kids are 22 and 28. They are electrical and telecommunication technicians. One of them was removed from their job in the sugar ministry. We urgently need a foreign country to give us asylum. The fact that they might free a few prisoners, or transfer them from their prison cells to move them nearer to their homes does not mean that this danger is over.

Please, I ask that an international humanitarian organization in favor of refugees take notice in me.  It is urgent, I am a mother and I am asking for this for the sake of my kids.

Translated by Raul G.

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~ by Juan Juan Almeida on June 13, 2010.

 
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