Press Advisory: Cuban family, calling on Cubans to gather in Churches to analyze the problems facing Cuba, targeted with repression by the dictatorship.

Press Advisory

Cuban family, calling on Cubans to gather in Churches to analyze the problems facing Cuba, targeted with repression by the dictatorship.

Ramón Jesús Velázquez Toranzo, his wife Bárbara María González Cruz, and his son René Ramón Velázquez González at the Cobre Sanctuary in Santiago de Cuba.

Contacts: John Suarez (612)-367-6845 and Janisset Rivero (786)-208-6056

Center for a Free Cuba. Washington DC, March 12, 2024, Washington, DC. Ramón Jesús Velázquez Toranzo, his wife Bárbara María González Cruz, his son René Ramón Velázquez González and his niece Lorena Velázquez Hechavarría who traveled to the Sanctuary of El Cobre, and on March 8, 2024 made public a video, and statement inviting Cubans to come together, and reflect on finding solutions to the problems they face as a people. The response of the Cuban government was to round them up, and arrest Ramón Jesús Velázquez Toranzo.

Rufina Velázque, daughter of Ramón Jesús, over Facebook on March 11, 2024 updated her family’s situation: “I just spoke with my family in Cuba. I confirmed with my brother that they were taken, against his will, from Cobre, where they were staying. in the hostelry of the same sanctuary. “They took my father by force, handcuffed, even in his underwear, they took him to who knows where.” Rufina reported today [ March 12, 2024] that she had not been able to communicate with her family.

Beginning on March 8, 2024 Ruffina, over social media, has been sharing both statements and information on the plight of her family. On March 9, 2024 she reported that she spoke with them in the morning, that she went to the Ermita de la Caridad in Miami, and later in the day revealed that she had lost contact with her family members.

Below is the dissident family’s message calling on Cubans to be protagonists in finding solutions to the problems they face,

People of Cuba who suffer…

 

In order to find for ourselves a quick and definitive solution to so many difficult problems that have been suffocating us for more than 60 years, we have decided to: Call a general meeting to thoroughly analyze these problems, find the causes that provoke them and eliminate these causes.

 

We have meditated much on what would be the best place to hold this people’s gathering, and the answer has come to us in a providential way.

 

Where better than under the care and protection of almighty God and the virgin Patroness of Cuba? Where so many Cubans have gone to request difficult favors, consolation for our sorrows and, above all, to thank with our knees on the ground the favors granted and the prayers heard.

 

Yes, Cuban, we are already waiting for you with open arms and a heart full of fraternal love in the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, in the town of the same name in Santiago de Cuba. Come and bring your sufferings, your anguish and your injustices. And rest assured, as all of us who are already here have, that with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and the favor of our father God we will return to our homes with the greatest and most beautiful of miracles granted. 

 

The miracle of freedom and justice for an entire suffering people.

 

I am Ramon Jesus, a son of God.

 

Background

Ramón Jesús Velázquez was an actor in the Las Tunas theater company in Cuba, until he was fired and blacklisted by the Cuban dictatorship for his political activism in 1990. On December 10, 2006 set out on a “March for Dignity” with his wife, and 18 year old daughter Rufina. Each of them carried an individual sign with a message: “respect for human rights,” “freedom for political prisoners,” and “no more repression against the peaceful opposition.” Their objective was to walk the length of the island from east to west. They started in Santiago de Cuba on December 10, 2006, and, despite harassment by state security, made it as far as Camagüey on January 19, 2007 before they were arbitrarily arrested and taken. Ramón Jesus was sentenced to three years in prison.

Ramón Jesus was jailed in February 2007. He completed the three year prison sentence, and returned to opposition activism upon his release in 2010. In December 2011, the family carried out an initiative, bags of hope, for Christmas, and he was threatened by Cuban state security, and told not to give out toys to children on Christmas, but was able to do it. This was done through word of mouth, with toys donated from the Cuban diaspora.

In May 2013, he and his wife arrived in the United States as political refugees, and were reunited with their daughter Rufina who arrived in the United States before them. Now they have returned to Cuba, and when given the choice between leaving Cuba without the right to return, or remain and risk prison. They have chosen to remain on the island.

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