Screen shot from Television Marti’s Antena Live newscast

Martí Exclusive with Imprisoned Cuban Activist

Sonia Garro Alfonso prior to her arrest.

On July 30, the Martís captured an exclusive interview with human right activist Sonia Garro Alfonso from El Guatao prison in Havana, hearing from her directly for the first time since her March 2012 imprisonment.  Garro, a member of the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White), was arrested along with her husband Ramón Alejandro Muñoz on the eve of the 2012 visit to Cuba of Pope Benedict XVI.

Garro and Muñoz were detained and accused of “attempted murder” and “public disorder.” According to Amnesty International, the couple was arrested at their home in Havana after 50 police forced their way into the house and fired rubber bullets at them. After two years in custody, the Cuban Court system has suspended the proceedings and the couple’s lawyer has been replaced. Today they find themselves in legal limbo facing a possible 10 – 14 year sentence.

“No one tells me anything,” Garro told the Martís via a telephone provided by independent journalist Dania Virgen García.  In addition to a lack of information about court proceedings, as of this interview, she still doesn’t know the whereabouts and fate of her husband.

Screen shot from Television Marti’s Antena Live newscast
Screen shot from Television Marti’s Antena Live newscast

Garro explained that the new lawyer in the case, Manuel Alonso Dias, proposed a condition of release or at least a transfer to a minimum-security prison because he did not understand the constant postponement of the trail. She added, “the argument is that there is much backlog in the prosecutor’s office and that he did not understand why they were working new cases in the courtroom when my case was two years and four months already underway.”

While in prison, Garro has suffered multiple medical issues. “I don’t feel well, but not as bad as they want me to” referring to her jailers.

Their case continues to draw international attention to the many human rights violations in Cuba.