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Man Convicted in Bayamo Child Prostitution Ring is on Hunger Strike

21 Dec

One of those sentenced to prison following the prostitution scandal revealed in Bayamo, Cuba, in May 2010, after the death of a 12-year-old girl, has declared a hunger strike and as of today and has gone 16 days without eating.

Ramón Enrique Álvarez Sánchez owned a rental house for foreigners in Bayamo, and was arrested on August 4, 2010, allegedly involved in a child prostitution ring discovered after the death of the child Lilian Ramirez Sanchez, whose body was found in May 2010 on the outskirts of the city.

Alvarez Sanchez, 51, was sentenced in October 2011 to 14 years imprisonment for the crime of “complicity in the corruption of minors.” As part of the sentence, Alvarez Sanchez’s property was confiscated, including his home with his belongings, and the car inherited by his family.

According to Alvarez Sanchez’s daughters, Rosa Nelvia Alvarez and Maria Isabel Alvarez, he needed to be hospitalized last December 17 in the provincial prison “Las Mangas” due to low blood pressure problems after two weeks without food.

Both of Ramón Enrique Álvarez’s daughters say that he had been transferred to an isolation cell in the days before his hospitalization, to force him to eat.

Ramón Enrique Álvarez Sánchez y su nieta recién nacidaRamón Enrique Álvarez Sánchez and his newborn granddaughter

The fundamental demand of Alvarez Sanchez is to have his case reviewed by Havana military prosecutors, as, according to him “this case has unacceptable irregularities, lies and manipulations” on which investigators/prosecutors in Granma province relied for their reports.

In a “manifesto” sent by Alvarez Sanchez from Las Mangas Provincial Prison in Granma, a central point of his complaint that the girls questioned after the death of Lilian Ramirez claimed to have participated in sexual orgies in a rented room on the second floor of his house, when the rooms available for rental were all in the first floor.

On the second floor of his house, he said, his daughter Maria Isabel Alvarez lives with her husband and young daughter.

In addition, Ramón Enrique Álvarez Sánchez reports that another of those involved in the case, Yaina Cosett Pardo Munoz (condemned to 22 years for murder and corruption of minors) testified against him under pressure and psychological torture, as he himself admitted publicly during the trial.

In his “Manifesto”, Ramon Enrique Alvarez alleges torture, beatings, being put in cold rooms, isolation cells, and other methods to force him and others involved to confess to crimes he did commit.

In his account, Alvarez Sanchez states that another man convicted in the case, Leonel Gamboa Milan, aka “Spike” (sentenced to 25 years for murder and corruption of minors) was put in the same cell with an alleged inmate who assaulted him with a sharp object, and told him to confess or he would kill him himself because he was the uncle of the dead child. According to Alvarez Sanchez, Milan Gamboa needed to be hospitalized for a kick in the testicles given to him by the interrogators.

Jeep decomisado a Álvarez SánchezJeep seized from Alvarez Sanchez

Another of Ramon Enrique Álvarez’s demands is that they return all assets to his family, especially the Jeep, for which, according to him, there is nothing to justify their seizure.

The trial of the nine involved in the case (three Italians and six Cubans), was held behind closed doors between 26 and 30 September this year at the Manuel Muñoz Cedeño Professional School of Arts, located on the outskirts of the City of Bayamo.

The decomposing body of 12-year-old Lilian Ramirez Espinosa, was found on May 19, 2010 in a rural area on the outskirts of Bayamo. The death of the child in a sexual orgy with foreigners and Cubans caused a local and international scandal. Many arrests followed as part of an investigative process that has been denounced for numerous irregularities and inconsistencies.

All those arrested in the case were found guilty, sentenced to terms of between 10 and 30 years in prison, and their homes and belongings were confiscated immediately.

Following is the unabridged manifesto of Ramón Enrique Álvarez Sánchez.

Unabridged Manifesto of Ramón Enrique Álvarez Sánchez

Bayamo, November 10, 2011

Name: Ramón Enrique Álvarez Sánchez

Date of Birth: 29 / March / 1961

Case Number: 364/11

Alleged Crime: Accomplice to Corruption of Minors

On August 4, 2010 I was arrested and taken to the Granma Criminal Investigation Unit by the Official Instructor Luis Medina.

In a raid on my house they seized a computer, external hard drive, a flash memory and mobile phone, all clean, with nothing of child pornography, or anything relevant.

In the search they took Willys’ car, but the instructor sent it back that same August 4, 2010, saying the car was not linked in the case at all, that it had not been used in anything illegal and was inherited by the family, and under this reasoning it was returned to my family.

That day Officer Instructor Luis Medina took my statement, he asked if I know Gallego’s wife, Yaina Cosett Pardo.

My answer was that only knew her by seeing her with Gallego.

Then he continued questioning me about on other people to which I replied:
– Yoker (Yoel Rafael Sanchez Ramirez) by sight because his grandmother was massaging my daughters.
– Pincho (Leonel Milán Gamboa) no, I didn’t know who he was talking about.
– Nano (Vicel Ramos Cedeño), only by sight.
– Iliana Muños (Iliana Victoria Muñoz Yero) yes, as we studied in the same school, but since high school we haven’t been friends.

They took me down and put me in cell # 11. That afternoon they took us out to get some sun, we were 3 in that cell.

On the 5th day they took me to a line up where there were 4 men next to me saying that Lieutenant Colonel Rafael Varela Luna had brought them there.

I wore a blue shirt, shorts and sandals, all the others wore long pants, pullovers and shirts, on the four occasions. I was placed the center (I think intentionally) and then I moved to the left first and then right. They never changed my clothes, even the phosphorescent blue shirt that I was wearing in the cell.

On day 5 or 6 I heard from the cell the line up of Rebeca Esther Gómez Paneque (Milka) and that of Dolores Rita Marsán Sosa (Lolita), in which he said several times: “Raise your hand and say your name .. !” And I heard: “Dolores Rita Marsán Sosa!” At the end she told the court: Oh, I thought they had brought me for a more serious problem! Without knowing what they were doing was line up.

Afterward the Instructor/Investigator Frank Solano Ramirez pulled me out, and made me sign where the children said they had been in my house in a room high in a 2nd floor, and that they called me Melo or Memo. He said he was clear with me. That just meant they had done these line-ups. I, realizing that in fact there was no room my house up above, after a few hours of thinking, in their company, and then only in a cold room and for about 4 or 5 hours, I decided to sign them, as every half hour he said, “just sign boy, that’s not going to hurt anything.”

At 2 days lager I was taken out in the morning, about 20 minutes after breakfast (I think at 7 am), leading me to a cold room. At about 11 am Instructor Frank Solano Ramirez and The 1st Lt. Instructor Lesther Leyva Vega took me to a man, thin and very nervous like he had had a shock, as his head moved far to the right and then left, and he kept shrugging his shoulders.

This man supposedly Italian, (according to the Instructor Frank Solano Ramirez), barely looking at me, eyes glued to the floor, told me, he went to Central Park and that Yoker was at the corner of the park, he’s been invited to a party, and they took him to my house, and went upstairs to a room, that I had opened the front door, he and Yoker had gone up to that room where they had a sex party.

I tried to attack the lies he was saying, he had never been to my house and his own statement as evidence, but the Instructor Frank Solano Ramirez would not let me do anything, then 1st Lieutenant Instructor Lesther Leyva Vega, who was at the typewriter behind the desk, stepped in too.

Instructor Frank Solano Ramirez asked the date and the supposed foreigner said it was April. They took him out immediately and when the Instructor Frank Solano Ramirez gave it to me to sign cleverly he had not put the date (April). The 1st Lieutenant Instructor Lesther Leyva Vega told me it was not important and I told them I was not going to sign, after a while they gave in and put the date was April and I signed, but I was sure they would release me because it was all a lie, I was sure when they investigated they would release me, as that gentleman didn’t know my house because there are no upstairs bedrooms. It was all in invention.

After half an hour of being alone in the cold room they took me to Gallego’s wife, I didn’t know her name but I had seen her with him and I knew she was from the Munoz family. This young woman (Yaina Cosett Pardo Munoz) when she began to say she knew me, I turned on her in fury and said  and said “shameless” and immediately Instructor Frank Solano Ramirez violently threatened me and I calmed down.

She said she was waiting with a group of women in the Policlinic, in the banks and waiting for them to send her a sign and she went up to 2nd floor room in my house. Instructor Frank Solano Ramirez was the questioner. She said they had sex there and she was filming it with a video camera and gesturing with her hands as if she was holding a camera.

In those moments when I confided in those instructors, I was thinking inside, I thought it would be best for me and I told the instructor Frank Solano Ramirez that if he would just take me to my house, we could go this afternoon, and he could see that it was all lies. He said no, he had to have lunch and that when I left he didn’t want me to be weak from hunger, that we had to continue in the afternoon with others, I did not know who  the people were.

There was no more confrontation, no more anything.

They changed my cell and I could see my family on day 11 and my lawyer (Leonor de los Dolores Estrada Jimenez), when she questioned me I told her what I have narrated in this paper, afraid, because through signs she told me they had cameras and microphones. I told her that in my house there was no room upstairs, much less sex among so many people, they were crazy. This is what I whispered, not wanting them to learn that I had no room upstairs.

But I noticed that when making the search, on August 4, when they went up the stairs, the Instructor Frank Solano Ramirez and a very disgruntled prosecutor dropped the clothesline of clothing that is on the top floor of my house. And something important was that, on the concrete stairs, specifically this, not iron, I told the photographer to photograph and look carefully.

Something else also important was that the Instructor Frank Solano Ramirez, before sending me to prison, took me out and told me to sign a statement that “yes Gallego’s wife and the foreigner and other people had been in my house…” but that “… Nothing would happen to me, because I didn’t know what they were doing in the bedroom, that supposedly it was a party among friends, and in the confrontation they said before me that I didnt’ participate in nor charge anything for the bedroom for the party.”   Which I refused to sign because my house was controlled by the DSE, Emigration and Housing, and they didn’t even allow family parties in my house.

My lawyer as a precautionary measure requested bail, but I was denied and they gave me detention.

Later that afternoon of August 11, 2010 they brought me to the Granma Provincial Prison.

Here I met Yoker and Pincho, a young man who I had never seen and who had very bad nerves, very disturbed.

A few days later took me to the “Instruction Point” and 6 am the next day they took me to my house to take some goods that were in the rented room.

The Instructor Luis Medina put the things that were in the room on a cart. Later he presented it to the prosecutor Aliuska and said before all the neighbors, who were crying in front of the house, along with my lawyer who was there, “We had to take everything, even the clothes, to not leave hardly anything!”

Instructor Luis Medina told him that the car had no involvement in the crime nor did the other things in a different part of the house. She told him, “I said ALL.” This shows that clearly that she contradicted the Instructor Luis Medina and young prosecutor (I can not remember his name), she was the one who had come from Instruction intending to pick up things from the rental room.

The Instructor Luis Medina and the Young Prosecutor, very disappointed, were sent to load everything, even the bed of my daughter and husband; and under protest from us they left the cradle of my grandson and 2 personal little cots, forcing my daughter to sleep separately from her husband. When they took the Jeep out of the garage I had to take it out and the Instructor Luis Medina authorized me to take from if the mechanic’s tools; at this point I told him that this was too much, what the prosecutor Aliuska had ordered and that the car had nothing to do with the crime, they were heirlooms, they only had to take the things out of the rental room.

I said to them, and my children also declared, that everything they were taking was in the inheritance from my grandmother.

My oldest daughter asked the Instructor Luis Medina and Young Prosecutor if that was confiscated, they said that was only being seized under investigation, my daughter told me that they felt embarrassed and worried about what was happening there, obviously they were uncertain that any crime had been committed in my house.

The next day they took me to the Provincial Prison.

In September they took me to “Instruction” for at least 17 days, to Pincho and Gallego’s wife, the latter, in a whispered aside told me that she would tell the truth, that she’d never been in my house, which I knew very well, that they had pressures and forced her to convince her to tell a complete lie.

Lt. Col. Felipe Ordonez Valdivieso, like the 5 days in the hospital, and Lieutenant. Colonel Damian Artiles Pulido (who at the trial proved to be only a Lieutenant) put me in the cold room and asked me, very politely, to narrate the events. And I told him everything that I have narrated here.

In the end, Lt. Colonel Felipe told me that even though the girls said my house was in Guisa and in fact my house is in Bayamo, the prosecutor was going to sentence me, that is, in my judgment, the sentence was already dictated.

Then Lt. Damian asked me about the young Pincho, about what he’d told me about the process of “Instruction” and the treatment given there.

I told him everything: that they’d put me in a cell with a Rafael, an alleged offender, who brought a stick in the form of a sharp punch, this, says Pincho, he was poked with a sitck and said that he was the godfather of the dead girl and Pincho had to say he killed her.

Also that some guy called Lugo had beat him and kicked him the nuts (testicles).

I also told them that in prison I had seen a guy named Wilfredo Benitez, this man was put in the cell with Pincho and he (Wilfredo Benitez) said he spoke by phone with Mercedes, Pincho’s  mother who was a friend of Gallego’s wife (Yaina), by this date I knew her name, I found it out there in prison.

And this Wilfredo told him to cooperate in the reconstruction of events that the police would certainly ask him to do and if they didn’t ask him he should volunteer it, so the police would realize he didn’t know anything about events and would let him go.

Wilfredo Benitez (Agent Cellda) told me that at the line-up, the day before they took me out in the sun so the girls could look at me through the window overlooking the patio. And he told me how Pincho worked with him and with Yaina to persuade them to cooperate with everything they asked for in Instruction.

Lt.. Damian got quite worked up when I expressed all this and he said: “Pincho was gay, the doctor of criminology of Havana had drafted a statement that boy’s ass was torn up…” those were his words, obviously using obscenities I would not want to capture in this document. I told him that was not my problem, I just knew and was quite sure that none of them had been either in my home or in the “Ghost Room” or anywhere in the house. That was the first interview that neither Felipe nor anyone made a record of.

The 14 or September 15, 2010 I had the last interview with Felipe alone, where I said: “I was fucked, that the prosecution would take everything.” He didn’t question me. I just asked him to: “Where were the videos of the party in my house? Where was the upstairs room they talked about?” That all this was like a farce.

He told me to go to the cell, that there were no videos, there were photos that would be revealed or published abroad after paying me for the room. I was confident that with the lack of arguments, and the logic of I said, the courts and the Prosecutor would not swallow such nonsense and so convinced of my innocence I was brought to detention.

I emphasize that the Instructor Felipe never took notes of my statements.

Here in the Provincial Prison in Granma applied Order 22 to me, which is said to be for murderers and terrorists.

I was not allowed to use the telephone, only every so often could not communicate with the family, while the other inmates could make calls every other day.

For 6 months I was struggling because I stopped studying (because I just started and they took me out of school). Until after much struggle, and raising complaints and protests, the prison director and authorized me to study so I am finishing as best I can my twelfth grade class. A Certificate of Recognition can be seen attached to that letter  for my good attitude and academic performance. Although I am still under the Order 22 and I’m still searched and controlled as any other inmate, and even more when the bosses are present.

Also, I was denied medical attention as well as any other special attention given by the Central Penitenciary, even more so when my dissatisfaction had been brought to the attention of the Prison Chief in Granma. However, they diagnosed me with a prostate lump due to a urinary incontinence and involuntary expulsion of urine that I suffered, it was necessary to resort to the police Instructors who were on the case to beg for a physical exam, with the uncertainty that for lack of emergency medical treatment it could trigger a carcinogenic terminal illness.

My wife after several complaints and grievances was summoned to Granma Provincial government and Lt. Colonel Rutinier, who saw her, explained that the Jeep would be returned, because it was an inheritance and had nothing to do with the case.

My lawyer from the beginning, Leonor, on learning of some statements which they’d confronted me with, presented evidence that Video and photos that, incredibly, were accepted by the Instructor Frank Solano Ramirez Solano and in 3 or 4 days and he said the delivery and accepting it was a violation.

These pictures and videos were copied and girls were tutored to say that in March 2011 after a year of the supposed events, these girls (who are listed by psychoanalysts, teachers and lawyers in this specialty as “Manipulators,” “Liars,” “Incoherent,”…”Telling lies without thinking of the consequences…” according to the words of the experts in File No. 69/10, Volume II, Page 82 and 93).

These girls incredibly changed a year later and said that “the 3 had been wrong” that they went to a room below, the other defendants emphasized in room upstairs. No one, not minors or defendants gave a correct description of my house, nor of me, they did not speak of significant elements in view of any person such as the safe in the room, walls covered in plastic that is not common in other houses, a large mirror and 2 beds, I had noticeable objects in the room of my house, like the windows of the room indicated by the prosecutors are Miami windows facing to the street, which means that everything that happens in this room is heard by passersby. These elements distinguish one place from another, even a retarded person would call attention to and remember some of this.

It was a year after my arrest when my lawyer had access to the case file, and they only give a month of preparation for my defense, because before she knew almost nothing of the alleged facts or the evidence we would face, because the case was in a closed investigative phase.

When we learned that the date on which the events allegedly happened I felt that things would begin to unravel more smoothly because I could show that I was not at home that day during the hours of the accusation because since late February 2010 in order to build a trailer for my family, I began work in the mechanical workshop belonging to Alexis Robles located in the  Jesus Menendez neighborhood, a work in which I was directly involved and where I arrived in the very early hours of the morning and stayed until after 8:00 pm, that I did every day of the week, including some Sundays, keeping this trailer at the home of the neighbor Mrs. Josefa Antonia Peña Ayala, taking care of these tasks throughout the month of March to May when it was concluded. (Folio 80 Volume XVI of the cause).

March 6, 2010 is the date to which I attribute this criminal act which did not occur in my house, because in addition, in Pio Rosado # 22 (my home) my wife, Margarita Tamayo Chelala, was recovering from a  fibroid, in an absolute state of rest from March 4, 2010.

The trial was conducted from between September 26-30 2011 at the Provincial School of Art behind closed doors and only 3 of my relatives could attend the trial. My innocence was clearly demonstrated with statements such that of Angelo Malavasi (Italian who first told me his name was Luigi), of Yaina Cosett Pardo Munoz and all other defendants and especially film evidence, where minors in the center help girls and boys from Santiago de Cuba (File No. 69/10, folio 62 Volume II, specifically the back of folio 64), they say they went to a house by the Bayamo Polyclinic, with a blue door without bars, a floor of Shopping (a CUC Store), red furniture and the owner of the house was dark and of medium height, in a ROOM UPSTAIRS, it was declared for the 3rd time on July 30, 2010 in Santiago de Cuba and in the case on 23 and 26 June 2010.

I think the penalty to which I sentenced, (14 years in prison and forfeiture of all my property) is totally excessive and unfair, with which I would lose the rest of my life.

Yaina Cosett and Angelo Malavasi in the act of oral trial agreed to forgo the benefits of Article 52ch and declare the truth, that they were never in my house, they pressured, intimidated and coerced them into telling lies about the location and presence in my house, which he explains  in his statements, supposedly lawful, where they say they went to a room on the second level, which does not exist.

Also in the case of Angelo Malavasi he says explicitly how he was taken to my house, the schedules indicated that he allegedly committed the crimes in my home and how Lieutenant Colonel Rafael Varela Luna and the other actors were not in agreement on deciding by which of the two doors to my house they had gone in, Angelo Malavasi said how he filmed this statement and they erased it several times in the camera while they changed the script like he was a movie star, until he made a statement that was supposedly consistent with these Law Enforcement Officers.

This can be corroborated in the videos of the oral proceedings and for more accuracy and depth by Angelo Malvasi himself, who could give details of this theater, as well as how he was indoctrinated into how to behave in the line-up.

The same thing happened to Yaina Cosett, who can attest to all her false statements and confrontations under pressure exerted by Instructors.

I don’t consider the line-ups (Identification of Persons) that they conducted with me legitimate, first because I am innocent and no one can truthfully identify me as participating in the crimes they accuse me of, and second because, as I related, Mr. Wilfredo Benetiz (Agent Celda) told me that for these line ups I was taken to Soleador the afternoon before, and on the top floor there they found the minors (involved in the case), who were there to see me and at the time of the line up they remembered me, physically, well.

For making clear my dissent and opposition to such line-ups, which were totally faked and organized maliciously, the participants on my side were dressed completely differently from me and had an aspect totally differently from mine, I was totally scruffy, bearded, in shorts, sandals and a blue fluorescent shirt, that I never changed. The other participants in the line up were brought in from the street, nicely dressed, hair combed, long pants, etc.

In short:

They have unjustly sentenced me — I am almost 51 and have various illnesses — to 14 years in prison.

They seized the home I inherited from my family, where I was born, for me one of the most prized material possessions  for a human being and for me personally a possession with great sentimental value.

They seized the car I inherited from my family, which I bought and sold 3 times in response to the economic conditions in my country.

It prompts me to think that the judicial system of my country has lashed out against me with immense cruelty, without giving me the opportunity to tell my truth, the truth, punishing me for a crime of which I am innocent.

December 21 2011

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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Ernesto Morales Licea

 

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