No Somos Desertores. Somos Cubanos Libres (We are not Deserters. We are Free Cubans), is a group of thousands of Cuban professionals who are resident in different parts of the world, and who are now denied entry to their home country of Cuba, and accordingly, denied the right to see their children and the rest of their families.
Estamos luchando por la reunificación de la familia cubana. Necesitamos tu ayuda para impulsar este desafío legal. Por favor, dona ahora y comparte esta página en las redes sociales. ¡Tu aporte puede hacer justicia!
We are fighting to reunify Cuban families. We need your help to bring this legal challenge. Please contribute now and share this page on social media.
Since the Cuban revolution, thousands of professionals have been sent, by the Government, to different countries under the premise of subscribing to the humanitarian needs of others. The reality is that such missions were undertaken so as to generate international support for the revolution; further, it has become a significant source of income for the Cuban State at the cost of the sacrifice and surrender of its workers who, weary of the inhuman conditions in which we have been forced to live and work, have terminated the contracts we were bound by. In reprisal the Government labels us as “deserters” and “traitors” and bans us from returning to Cuba for a period of not less than 8 years; we are being denied our most basic human rights to see our children and our families.
We signed up for working on State missions because:
- Cuban professionals and qualified workers are among the worse remunerated worldwide, with salaries that range from the equivalent of 18 to 60 US dollars per month and are, generally, prevented from working abroad independently.
- We were told that the state missions in other countries represent the opportunity for us to help others, to grow professionally and to earn better salaries that would allow us to provide for our families in Cuba; however, the stipend we would receive while working on government contracts in other countries is not paid in full to us unless we return to Cuba when the term finishes, usually after years working abroad.
Our experience of the State missions:
- the Cuban State retains approximately 70% of what the receiver country had established as a salary for our services whilst:
- we worked in precarious conditions and were exposed to disease and violence.
- we also had to deal with the prohibition of traveling with relatives
- we were expected to get involved in political campaigns in favour of the pro-Cuba party in whatever country we were;
- all this while under constant watch by the Cuban authorities in such countries, subject to humiliations and pressures of all kinds.
- We were not informed in advance of these terms, nor of the inhumane conditions we were going to live in ,or the dangers that awaited us while performing services in those countries.
- As a result, some of us have either died abroad or developed permanent mental and physical illnesses and, accordingly, a number have refused to continue to work under such conditions and left their positions of employment.
In exercising this freedom however, a significant cost has been borne: the cost of families torn apart because of the abuse of power by the Cuban government in targeting hundreds of thousands of families who cannot be with their children, parents, siblings, grandparents.
The consequences of the Government reprisals are:
- some of our relatives in Cuba suffer from high blood pressure, senile dementia, diabetes mellitus, vision loss, cancer, as well as symptoms of immuno-depression associated to the stress that causes the separation of a loved one and the uncertainty of the situation.
- the Cuban government turns down visa applications on humanitarian grounds and, as a result, many of us will never see our loved ones again.
- Some of our under-age children in Cuba are currently receiving medical treatment for various psychiatric disorders including suicide attempts as a direct result of the forced separation;
- These children not only have to deal with the absence of their mother, father or both, but also the humiliation of being offspring of "deserters" who no longer have any value for the society in which these children live and develop.
- Some of them are being refused permission to leave the country, solely because their parents have left their jobs.
As a final punishment, we are prevented from obtaining copies of relevant academic and professional records, and therefore, prevented from securing alternative employment elsewhere.
What we want to achieve
No Somos Desertores. Somos Cubanos Libres is the coming together of those effected by this reprehensible action of the Government of Cuba, with a view to:
- highlighting the position internationally and seeking change.
- restore the right of free entry and exit to the territory of the Republic of Cuba for those effected, and therefore allowing families to be reunited. For some of us, this is a matter of ‘life or death’.
Why your support will make a difference:
We have been able to secure expert legal representation in the form of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, a group of international lawyers that specialise in transnational litigation enforcing international human rights standards and international criminal norms, bringing about truth, justice and accountability for human rights violations.
- We seek funds therefore to enable Guernica to begin the formal legal action on behalf of the tens of thousands of innocent civilians who remain estranged from their families because of the illegal policies of the Government of Cuba.
- Our aim is to raise £100,000 to cover fees for 12 months, however, we are splitting this into 4 separate campaigns of £25,000 for each 3-month period.
It is essential that we act, so that children do not continue to grow-up not seeing their parents, so people are not labelled traitors simply for exercising their rights, and so families are not discriminated against solely because members have exercised their freedoms abroad. We are no illusion that this project is a great challenge and will take a significant amount of time. However, it is imperative that we try to bring about change. Hundreds of thousands of families are counting on it.
Thank you for your support
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