Laritza Diversent, Devastated by the Police Operation Against Cubalex /
Ivan Garcia, 28 September 2016 — After passing the crossing of La Palma,
two kilometers from the old bus stop of Mantilla, El Calvario is found
nestled, a district of one-story houses, roads without asphalt and a
multitude of dogs without owners.
At the end of a narrow alley the Cubalex Center of Legal Information
headquarters is located, a two-story house constructed from private
resources, that also serves as the waiting room for the public on the
lower floor and housing on the upper floor.
There, in the summer of 2011, the lawyer, Laritza Diversent Cambara, 36
years old, founded a law office to give legal advice to citizens without
charging anything nor caring about the person’s ideological position.
“The last year we dealt with more than 170 cases. Most of the people
were poor and without resources, and they felt helpless because of the
State’s judicial machinery. We advised on homicides, cases of violence
against women, drugs, prostitution and also for any dissident who needed
it,” indicated Laritza, seated on a small roofed patio at the back of
The judicial illiteracy in Cuba is lamentable. Very few know the
Fundamental Law of the Republic or the proceedings that the police force
must fulfill during arrests, confiscations or when they give a simple
Since 2009, lawyers like Laritza Diversent has given lectures to
bloggers, independent journalists and the opposition, so they would know
how to act at the moment of an arrest.
But the laws in Cuba are an abstraction. They are a set of legal
regulations that supposedly should be respected by the authorities. But
the repressive forces are the first to violate them.
What occurred on Friday, September 23 is an example. Lartiza says that
“several neighbors had warned us about an operation that State Security
was preparing. About 20 uniformed agents presented themselves in the
office, some with pistols in their belts, as officials of several State
institutions. They brought a search warrant that didn’t comply with the
requirements established by law. When we let them know it, they resorted
to force and invaded the entrance of the Cubalex headquarters, which at
the same time is my home.”
They destroyed the door to the patio and came into the living quarters
after forcing the kitchen door. Now inside, they took away five
computers, seven cell phones, a server, six security cameras, three
printers, digital media, archives and money.
“They acted with total impunity and arrogance. The authorities assume
they are above the law. They filmed everything. Then they stripped us
one by one and body-searched us in a degrading way. It was really
humiliating,” said Lartiza.
They took away and detained the lawyer, Julio Ferrer Tamayo, and the
activist Dayán Alfredo Pérez, whom they freed 12 hours later. Ferrer was
confined in the Zanja and Dragones police station, very close to the
Chinese Quarter of Havana.
Laritza assumes that the olive-green Regime could send Julio Ferrer to
prison. “From his family we found out that in a couple of days, Julio
will be presented in the Second Chamber of the criminal court. We will
do everything we can to prevent this.”
Ferrer Tamayo, perhaps one of the best prepared Cuban jurists, was a
prosecutor in Guanabacoa and later a defense attorney. He knows like few
do about the corruption, nepotism and trafficking in influence in the
sewer of the legal system.
He has proof that points to several judges. When he decided to become an
independent lawyer, he suffered all kinds of harassment from State
Security. And in an underhanded legal plot, they sentenced him to three
years in prison. But his legal knowledge obliged the olive-green
autocracy to free him, without completing his sentence.
Now, everything indicates that they are going to prosecute him and
incarcerate him again. The coercion of Special Services has no limits on
the Island. Marienys Pavó Oñate, herself a lawyer and the wife of
Ferrer, has been confined since 31 July 2012 in the women’s prison,
Manto Negro, in a case that he considers a conspiracy.
Cubalex, like other law offices and groups on the State’s margins,
operate in a real judicial limbo. In one form or another, they have
tried to enroll in the Ministry of Justice Association’s registry. But
either they haven’t received a response, or they have been denied the
right to associate themselves legally.
In that regard, Laritza says that this indefinite or semi-clandestine
status was the perfect pretext to launch the violent operation against
Cubalex on Friday, September 23.
“At the head of the search was Lieutenant Colonel Juan Carlos Delgado
Casanova and the prosecutor, Beatriz Peña de la Hoz. But to give it a
veneer of legality, other officers participated, like the ones from the
Institute of Physical Planning, the National Office of Tax
Administration and the Integral Direction of Supervision, a body of
inspection that forms part of the Council of Provincial Administration,”
points out the lawyer from Havana.
The Cubalex team is worried about the legal actions that the State can
take against Jorge Amado Iglesias, a collaborator of the office, since
he has a license to work for himself and they can fine him 1,500 pesos.
For her part, Laritza suspects that Physical Planning initiated a
process in order to confiscate both the headquarters and her own home.
Since it’s a process of investigation that can last for months, Cubalex
cannot take on any cases.
Laritza Diversent is devastated. She believes that the operation
suffered by the office, added to other cases of detentions and
confiscations against opponents and alternative journalists, could be
the beginning of an imminent repressive wave against the dissidence on a
national level. “I never thought that by defending human rights I would
have to go through all this,” she says.
And that new turn of the repressive screw brings back memories of the
Black Spring of 2003. The only thing different in the modus operandi is
the season of the year. To make it true, it would have to be in the fall.
Note: The photo of Laritza Diversent in her office was taken by Iván on
Monday, September 26, three days after the police operation against
Cubalex, which took place on the first floor of her house. In 2009,
Laritza began writing as an independent journalist on the blog, Desde La
Habana (From Havana). Her works from that period can be read in the
folder entitled Las Leyes de Laritza (Lartiza’s Laws).
Translated by Regina Anavy
Source: Laritza Diversent, Devastated by the Police Operation Against
Cubalex / Iván García – Translating Cuba –