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    Laritza Diversent, Devastated by the Police Operation Against Cubalex

    Laritza Diversent, Devastated by the Police Operation Against Cubalex /
    Iván García

    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
    her house.

    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 –

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