Claudio Fuentes Madan

* 1975

  • “Whoever believes, from exile, that a political option that has legitimacy, that is made from here inside (Cuba), can be bypassed, is condemned to fail, and will bear that responsibility, with having been responsible for not having supported that a replacement to Castroism from the political, the economic, and from all points of view.”

  • “What we did was shout: 'Long live freedom', 'End to Castroism', 'Long live Human Rights', 'Stop the repression', that kind of thing, they carried us, there were struggles, there were broken arms, there were scratches, that is, friction burns, bruises, blows, spitting, many offenses. Later they came with some carnivalesque-type congas with an attitude that was always coarse, half sibylline, lascivious, very disgusting, really. Sometimes there was a patrol, sometimes there was a guagüita (bus) of the kind they call ‘güasabitas’, which would fit inside an average of 8 or 10 people, and they threw us inside. The women had a bus apart. The women were taken to Tarará, a center that they took as a momentary detention center, the men were taken to another detention center called Vivac. There, before arriving, many times we were held approximately an hour or two under the sun in those cars, which was simply being inside an oven. To dry our sweat while handcuffed, we had to dry ourselves on the shoulder or on the back of the prisoner next to us. Then we went through interrogations that were also a series of permanent threats, and sometimes they released you that same day at night, sometimes they put you in a car and released you far away, in a place you didn't know and with no money with you, and you had to return as you could.”

  • “The responsibility for what we have today is not just Castroism, if you point it right it also has a little to do with our parents, who somehow taught us that one had to be a hypocrite if one wanted to survive here. And between the political disinformation, that many Cubans still do not know who Che Guevara was and his trail of murders and disastrous phrases, and of hypocrisy and cruelty, too, our parents knew what awaited anyone who was critical, and they simply put blindfolds on us. And you say, there is a moral crisis, which was lined as a decency, but had nothing to do with the truth.”

  • "When a phrase like: 'Abandoning them is a crime' is being said, it is also being said that, in addition to the regime, there are other enemies -from complicity, silence, indolence, comfort...- which are also doing harm.”

  • “We have the case of Ernesto Borges Pérez, a prisoner of conscience who has already been imprisoned for 23 years. He is under an accusation, under a case, under a sanction of attempt of espionage, as he did not actually spy. He was a counterintelligence captain, he studied in the Soviet Union, when he came back, after the Fall [of the Soviet Union] and so on... They knew that this didn't work, that the systems were broken, cruel and so on, and he tried to get them to some American officials, it was an information related to 26 spies of Castroism who were ready to be sent to North American territory and do that work. He was detected, first he was asked for the death penalty; you can imagine that first shock to the family; then he was lead to a military trial, his penalty turned 30 year, and of those 30 years, because of issues of that type of legal regulation of that specific type of military trial, he was supposed to serve a third part of the original sentence, thus 10 years, however, he already served 23. They say that it is a special case of Raúl Castro and his son, Alejandro Castro Espín.”

  • “The Presos de Castro project, which originated from Estado de Sats, arose approximately two years ago. And it was configured, basically, first because we had contact with relatives of prisoners that we had known since we had been in Todos Marchos, which was, at the same time, a project of going out to the streets to march every Sunday for a year and so, they were 64 or 65 Sundays, it was a project in which Sats participated. We were learning about prisoners who spent 20 or more years in Cuban prisons and who, simply, were forgotten. And based on that democratic, Christian and Catholic premise that no one is left behind, abandoned; because if not, one also enters himself into a kind of criminality; well, we simply took on the task that, if not we didn’t make these people visible, then, in some way, we would be actually turning down our very own discourse of talking about justice and being committed to them.”

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    Cuba, 28.10.2021

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If the political prisoners in Cuba are abandoned, how can we sell the discourse that we can defeat the tyranny?

Fuentes Madan Claudio, 2021
Fuentes Madan Claudio, 2021
photo: Post Bellum

Claudio Fuentes Madan was born in Havana, Cuba, in the municipality of Vedado, on January 29, 1975. He comes from a wealthy and well-structured family. In 1996 he graduated from the Enrique José Varona Higher Pedagogical Institute in the specialty of Biology, and, later, from the San Alejandro Academy of Plastic Arts. Gradually and empirically, he was also trained in the field of photography. He later worked as a Biology teacher in the “El Fanguito” neighborhood and, at the Blogger Academy, together with Yoani Sánchez and Reinaldo Escobar, as a Photography teacher. He entered the opposition after meeting Gorki, a singer from the group Porno para Ricardo, who was taken prisoner in 2008, which sparked the interest of the independent media and opponents of the system with whom he began to relate gradually. Later, he joined “Estado de Sats” as an activist, created the project “Los presos de Castro” and participated in the “Todos marchamos” initiative. He conducts a radio program every Tuesday, where the current situation regarding political prisoners in Cuba is being updated.