“A colonel from the Ministry of the Interior and several officers of the Armed Forces went there that day [to the Guantanamo Naval Base to where Anderlay escaped in October 2005 but from where he was going to be returned to the Cuban authorities according to the 1994 immigration agreement] to receive people. That day, we were handed over three people - two from the city of Guantanamo and one from Havana. They arrived there in a little bus that was used for tourists, they read the immigration agreements, they started their conversation, and in a couple of minutes we were already in the Cuban part and going in the transport. Several kilometers later, between three and four kilometers after leaving that area, out of sight of the US military officers, the transportation stopped and they ordered us to go out. They burned the clothes we owned at that time, they burned them there in a pile they had made there. The documents they gave us at the base, and which they said could not be taken from us, they took them away. And they put us in a patrol car, in such a car-cage, which took us directly from there to the Provincial Operations Unit, located north of the city of Guantánamo, a center that did not have, or does not have the conditions to keep a detainee in custody, or any prisoner in Cuba. There we were informed, as I didn’t get to know anything about the others since they separated us coming from the Base… thus they told me that from that moment I was being accused of illegally leaving the country. Which means that there occurred a total violation of the immigration agreements of 1994.”
“The CDRs [Committees for the Defense of the Revolution] were created by Fidel [Castro], and as their name indicates, it is an organization that defends the principles of the [Cuban] Revolution or what they have stipulated in the country. Its main function is surveillance... block to block, between the neighbors... I consider it the most complete surveillance system that the country has, regardless of all intelligence and counterintelligence and military services. It is the most complete, because it uses the neighbor and the family, to keep an eye on each other.”
“I, like the others with who we were working at the Recreation Group, lived and suffered from this lack [during the so-called Special Period, thus during the economic crisis of the 1990’s], but what was our main interest, what motivated us, what moved us, was precisely the music and fun, and all the activities we did in the clubs every night. These clubs were run by the Youth [Union of Young Communists]. The Recreation Group was created by the Youth and they continued leading all that recreational situation. The discotheques had as particularity that they became Roman circles, that is to say, full of gladiators. There, the young people were not going to have fun anymore but they were going to practically kill themselves. It happened in Santa Rita which is an infamous part of the city of Guantánamo, thus one of the most violent neighborhoods the city had. There, just to mention something, I remember seeing first hand, as I worked in the place, an average of seven or eight young people being killed at different times, there, inside the club.”
“To have freedom in mind on an island without freedom.”
Anderlay Guerra Blanco was born on April 25, 1976, in Guantanamo, Cuba, as the eldest of three brothers of divorced parents. His mother suffered from mental disorders; therefore, he was raised by his grandparents. In 1987 he finished elementary school, but afterward, he left high school in 1991 due to the hostile and violent environment at the school. In 1992 he joined the Recreation Group within the Union of Young Communists and participated in forming the first music clubs in Guantanamo. Between the years 1997 – 1999, he passed through obligatory Military Service, within the tank regiment, mechanized infantry. Between 1999 - 2002 he worked in the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution as head of activities in the province of Guantánamo, from where he was expelled. In 2003 he traveled for the first time outside of Cuba - to Spain. There, he realized that the reality of a capitalist country was way different from how the Cuban authorities were describing it. In 2005, he made his first attempt at an illegal emigration through the Guantánamo Naval Base, but he was arrested and returned to the Cuban authorities. Despite the existence of immigration agreements between the United States and Cuba from the year 1994, according to which he should not have been persecuted, he was imprisoned and not released until 2006. In 2007, he made his second attempt at emigration through the Guantanamo Naval Base, but once again, he was captured and sentenced to 4 years in prison. After his release in 2009, he joined the Eastern Democratic Alliance and learned to be a journalist. In 2011, he co-founded the independent audiovisual project Palenque Visión, in which he remained until 2015 when he separated to develop his personal project Huellas de Cuba [Cuban Fingerprints]. He lives in Guantanamo, is married, and has two children.