Tag Archives: cuba women

Tackling Gender Violence in Cuba

Patricia Grogg – Havana Times – 24 May, 2009

Yamila Gonzalez Ferrer. Image: trabajadores.cu

Yamila Gonzalez Ferrer. Image: trabajadores.cu

HAVANA TIMES, May 25 (IPS) – Mercedes Toyo has begun smiling again, but only after years of crying and enduring violence, though painful memories continue to haunt her. “Now I’m falling in love with a 50-year-old man who tells me that I’m very withdrawn, that I don’t pay much attention to him,” she explained in the living room of her home.

Her story is no different from those of other women who have been battered by their partners. The Cuban Constitution and numerous laws assure women’s equality and the protection of the family, but the abuse that occurs in the intimacy of the home doesn’t always escape the fear and prejudice, nor is it reported to the authorities or tabulated in statistics.

“I never thought about going to the police; it would have been worse. Plus, nobody ever does that, everything remained within the family,” said a 55-year-old professional, who also went through that painful experience in her first marriage. . .

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Cuba’s Long Black Spring

Carlos Lauria, Monica Campbell, and María Salazar – Committee to Protect Journalists – 2 Jan , 2009

Five years after the Castro government cracked down on the independent press, more than 20 journalists remain behind bars for the crime of free expression.

In her kitchen overlooking Havana’s crumbling skyline, Julia Núñez Pacheco recalls the day five years ago when plainclothes state security agents, pistols on hips, stormed into her home. They accused Adolfo Fernández Saínz, her husband of three decades and an independent journalist with the small news agency Patria, of committing acts aimed at “subverting the internal order of the nation.” Over the course of eight long hours, agents ransacked the apartment, confiscating items considered proof of Fernández Saínz’s crimes: a typewriter, stacks of the Communist Party daily Granma with Fidel Castro’s remarks underlined, and outlawed books such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. As Fernández Saínz was hauled away, Núñez Pacheco remembers one of the agents turning to her and saying, “You know, we’ve been told you are decent, quiet people. No fighting, no yelling. It’s a shame you’ve chosen this path.”

Today, the 60-year-old Núñez Pacheco lives alone in this same Central Havana apartment. A blown-up photograph of her husband and autobiographies of Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X rest on a bookshelf. Núñez Pacheco survives on family remittances from overseas, occasional donations from international human rights groups, and her government-issued ration card, which allots for basic provisions. Like most prisoners’ relatives, she is blacklisted and unable to work in any official capacity, as the state is Cuba’s sole employer.

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