Cuba: An Island Prison

Juan Juan Almeida Garcia: Currently being denied the right to leave Cuba

Consuelito(left) and Indira(right), Wife and Daughter of Juan Juan, respectively. Currently, they reside in Miami, forcibly separated from Juan Juan

Juan Juan Almeida Garcia(referred to as Juan Juan from here on out), is not your average Cuban: He is the son of the late Juan Almeida Bosque, who was one of the original revolutionaries to fight alongside the likes of Che, Fidel, and Raul and was one of the most prominent figures in the Cuban leadership up until his death in 2009.

Juan Juan did not follow in the illustrious revolutionary footsteps of his father; in fact, in 2009, he published a book, Memorias de un Guerrillero Cubano Desconocido(Memories of an Unknown Cuban Guerilla), which is infused with comedic mockery of the Cuban leadership. In that book, Juan Juan recounts his life as a son of the revolutionary elite.

Perhaps this book is what placed Juan Juan in his current dilemma…

Juan Juan suffers from an rare , debilitating form of spinal arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis. The U.S. granted him a humanitarian visa so that he could receive specialized treatment here.

The problem? For the past 5 years,  Juan Juan has been denied the right to leave Cuba. Granted, Juan Juan did try to sneak out furtively on one occasion but was promptly caught and arrested. When he protested against the Cuban government for not allowing him to leave, he was, once again, arrested.

As of this writing, Juan Juan has yet to achieve success in leaving Cuba. He is not alone; at his personal blog, he collects stories from Cubans who A) are not allowed to leave or B) not allowed to enter Cuba.

At first glance, the denial of one’s right to freely enter and leave one’s own country may not appear to be the most flagrant of human rights abuses. Delve deeper, however, and a devastating chain of  despair can be found. The effects rather than the plain inability to move freely are what should be looked at: Juan Juan, and many other Cubans, are being deprived of one of the world’s most established pillars of support: Family. The support and comfort that can be derived from a simple hug between Father and Daughter, Wife and Husband, or Grandmother and Grandchild should not, cannot in fact, be denied to Cubans based upon an ideology.

It is deplorable that Fidel and Raul believe it is permissible to irrevocably damage human lives’ in the name of an Ideology(here maintaining the appearance of the last functioning communist state).

Equally or more disturbing, many individuals in the United States brush off, minimize, or flat out ignore the Castro regime’s continuing denial of human rights to its citizens because of their own personal political beliefs.i.e. a typical statement would be: “well, the U.S. is just as bad, and Castro is doing what he is doing for the greater good). Unacceptable.

The Cuban government should immediately rescind any bans on the Cubans’ rights to leave and enter their own country. There is no compromise if they want to even have a chance of not burning in the deeper levels of hell.


7 Responses to “Cuba: An Island Prison”

  1. Sherlie Says:

    I’m becoming a regular follower of your blogs. Btw, is Fidel still alive or are they just keeping him on ice? I was sure he died years ago, Why hasn’t anywone attempted an assassination on Fidel or Raul as these are two “dispised” leaders? Makes you wonder, right?

  2. bjohns15 Says:

    Glad to hear.

    I believe he is still alive, though can’t be sure. As to the second question, I can’t answer with certainty but it probably has something to do with the Castro regime’s thus far success in extinguishing any organized political opposition.

    Also, although there are many who despise the Castros, there are likely many that still support him, or are simply just getting by on a day-to-day basis and don’t have the time or will to do anything to upset the status quo.

    There are many blogs, translated to English, written by Cubans that live in Cuba. Try starting here:

  3. Indira Says:

    I’m flattered: thanks for providing me the joy of reading about my father, specially coming from you! I’ll send this to him immediately. Thank you once again, for your support and dedication! You can always count on me, always!

    • bjohns15 Says:

      I am so glad you liked it! I look forward to the day you and your mother are reunited with your father. Likewise, you can always count on me for support!

  4. Rolando Pulido Says:

    Thanks Bryan for such a great article, I’m cuban myself…born in 1961…raised with the “best” of the so called ¿Cuban Revolution?…
    My generation is the best example of the “New Man”…Hombre Nuevo and so is my friend Juan Juan.
    It’s not about right or left…it is about freedom, it’s about Human Rights.
    Thanks again Bryan.

  5. bjohns15 Says:

    Rolando, Jamie:

    Thank you for reading. You are right, Rolando: it is not about right or left, it is about Human Rights. Unfortunately, for many Cubans, Human Rights are being held hostage to an ideology. In fact, any leader who does not condemn the Cuban government for its human rights abuses does the same thing: politics before human rights.

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