2.5 Years in Prison for Dating a Foreigner

CAMAGÜEY (Aug. 23, 2018) – 21-year-old LIANET GUERRA PEÑA was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison, convicted of false charges of prostitution.  The “prostitution” to which the arresting officers, the prosecutor, and the judge referred to was traveling to another country with a man she’s not married to.  She was transferred to a rural labor prison, a plantation called El Anoncillo. This is the gulag in the twenty-first century.

Lianet’s aunt, Libertarian organizer Marisol Peña, had the following comments: “First, prostitution isn’t a crime.  A person’s body is their exclusive property and let them do what they will.  Second, this is a phony charge.  There are actual prostitutes all over town and the police never go after them.  The regime merely uses accusations like ‘prostitution’ for women and ‘assault’ for men to silence opposition to the regime.”

Quite the opposite of the “prostitution” she was accused and convicted of, what Lianet was actually being punished for is dating a foreigner (an Italian student) and traveling abroad with him.  The two met early this year at a night club and began dating and soon, the young man was formally courting her.  They fell in love and became engaged to be married, Lianet’s whole family has met her fiance, and she spent the summer with him in Italy where she met her fiancé’s family.  She voluntarily returned to Cuba because she has a small child (who was staying with family while she was in Italy).  Days after returning, she received a written summons requesting her presence at the local police station. Expecting that she would only be questioned, she went to the police station where she was arrested and charged.

Now she will be separated from her young son and serving her sentence of 2 years and 6 months in a labor prison.

Lianet is not a dissident nor has she ever participated in politics.  Marisol believes that she is the reason the regime is targeting her niece.  Over a year ago she sent her daughter to live with family because of all the targeted harassment the young girl was receiving from school teachers for being the daughter of a known dissident.  The Castro regime has a history of attacking family member to punish opponents to the regime, a practice dating back to the Escambray Rebellion (1960-66).

Apart from Lianet who is apolitical but connected to libertarians through her aunt, there are two members of the Cuban Libertarian Party still languishing in prison: Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez (since February 2017) and Yanet Padrón (since late June 2018).

Questions and comments about this civil and human rights violation may be directed to the Mises-Mambi Instsitute of Cuba at zfoster@mises-mambi.org

Questions specifically for members of the Cuban Libertarian Party can be submitted to Facebook.com/PartidoLibertarioCubano

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