Humberto Real Suarez: 16 Years Old, Condemned to Death / Lilianne Ruiz
Posted on October 20, 2013
Havana, Cuba, October 2013, www.cubanet.org – Humberto Real Suarez is
another of the men who disembarked on the night of 15 October 1994 on
the coasts of Caibarien, along with Armado Sosa Fortuny.
Today he is serving a sentence of 30 years imprisonment in “Kilo 8?
maximum security prison in Camagüey.
The group of seven men, under the command of Sosa Fortuny, had sailed
from Tavernier, Florida. They belonged to the Democratic National Unity
Party (PUND), but they had received minimal military training, barely
knew each other, and they were inferior in number and materiel to the
army they intended to fight when they got to the Island.
It’s been 19 years since the night when an accidental shot from Real
Suárez’s rifle cost the life of a man and thwarted the plans of the
command to create a guerrilla front in the Escambray Mountains.
Real Suárez has never recanted his actions, but he regrets that a man is
dead, so he characterizes his act as recklessness:
“I came here to fight against the government army, not to kill any
civilians. The man’s death was an accident. But the reasons that made me
return to Cuba, ready to engage in armed insurrection, are still valid,”
he says in a telephone interview with Cubanet.
After a year and a half of psychological torture at the Villa Marista
prison, he was tried in 1996 and sentenced to death. He was then 26
Independent lawyers from the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and
National Reconciliation, after analyzing the prosecutor’s file,
concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge Real Suárez for
the death, and issued a call to human rights organizations to intercede
with the Castro government for his life.
The pressure exerted by the appeal of his parents, Graciela Suarez and
Humberto Real, calling for international support to preserve his life,
alongside the work of human rights organizations and the declaration of
renowned intellectuals like Mario Vargas Llosa, resulted in Real Suárez
not being executed. In December 2010 the initial sentence was commuted
to 30 years in prison.
The document in which the sentence was given in 2010 again stated that
no explosives were found among the weapons taken. That did not remove
what was in the prosecution’s description of the alleged intentions —
without any proof: “to carry out violent actions against schools and
On the other hand, several paragraphs describe the accused as
anti-social elements, imitating the propaganda the Spanish government
used against the mambises — at the beginning of the Ten Years War —
painting them as “highwaymen” to the Cuban public. And much later — in
the sixties of the last century — against the rebels fighting the Castro
autocracy, calling the extermination of thousands of Cubans in the
Escambray mountains, “a fight against bandits.”
Demanding Dignified Treatment
During the 16 years he was under a sentence of death, confined in an
isolation cell, the only request Real Suárez made to his jailers – in
all the hunger strikes he made during that period – was his right to go
to the firing squad dressed in the same military clothing he was wearing
when he arrived in Cuba.
When asked how how he endured for so many years a death sentence staring
him in the face, Real Suárez replied that faith in God allowed him to
live those 16 years without fear of execution.
Today his life is spent in a cell in the Kilo 8 prison, but shares the
day with other prisoners. At 6:00 am, the guards open the gate and let
him walk up and down a 40 yard corridor, until 6:00 PM. Each day, the
prisoner is entitled to one hour of sunshine in the courtyard of the prison.
Recently, Humberto Real Suarez’s launched a new public petition. This
time before the Archbishop of Havana, begging Cardinal Jaime Ortega to
arrange the transfer of their child to a prison in the province in
Matanzas, as it very difficult to travel to the province of Camagüey,
given the difficult conditions of transportation in Cuba and the
advanced age of both parents. Graciela Suarez and Humberto Real, have as
the only purpose in life to alleviate the prison hardships of their son,
through family visits that have been held during these 19 years.
Humberto Real’s father, also interviewed Cubanet, related that when he
saw his son for the first time after the 1996 trial, he only managed to
say, “Here is your father.” Graciela, the mother, says she has never
been able to sleep a full night.
Justice in Cuba looks after its own interests
The speech that served as an ideological alibi to the court that
convicted Real Suárez – in 1996 and 2010 – is a discourse of extreme
violence, exemplified in the slogan “Socialism or Death,” among others.
On July 13, 1994 (the same year of the failed landing), 41 people, some
of them children, died at sea as a result of the deliberate sinking of
the tugboat “13th of March.” The responsibility for these deaths was
never acknowledged by the government, which instead of bringing forward
those who were guilty, responded to the popular protests known as The
Maleconazo (August 5, 1994) with more repression. Later they justified
it, in the face of national and foreign public opinion, with
uninterrupted ideological propaganda in all the mass media, a maneuver
known as the Battle of Ideas.
Humberto Real Suárez and his companions were not tried with all the
procedural guarantees, but none has asked for clemency. They, along with
many inside and outside the island, continue to hold on to the dream of
freedom and human rights for all Cubans.
Cubanet, October 18, 2013
Source: “Humberto Real Suarez: 16 Years Old, Condemned to Death /
Lilianne Ruiz | Translating Cuba” –