Colonel Víctor Álvarez Valle, second head of the specialized body of the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation of the Ministry of the Interior of Cuba, assured that "In Cuba there are no disappeared persons", neither related to the events of July 11, nor to any other case , reviews the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean island.
When speaking on Tuesday in the television program "Make Cuba", Álvarez Valle alluded to the United Nations International Convention for the protection of all persons against forced disappearances, of which the island is a signatory: "For the purposes of the present Convention, 'forced disappearance' shall be understood as the arrest, detention, kidnapping or any other form of deprivation of liberty that is the work of agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by the refusal to recognize said deprivation of liberty or the concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, removing them from the protection of the law ”.
The Colonel emphasized that the right to life, preservation and security of the people is a principle that characterizes the Cuban Revolution and the actions of local authorities.
Although “forced disappearance” is not classified in the Cuban legal system as a crime, “there is a group of figures that include and sanction the commissioners of these actions in cases where it is proven that someone has carried out the forced disappearance of others, ”he explained.
Álvarez Valle stressed that in the offices of the Ministry of the Interior there is no secret establishment for the prosecution of people. "There is no place in Cuba where you can take a detainee outside of the procedures and issues that are established in the Law."
For his part, José Luis Reyes Blanco, head of the Department of Supervision in the Directorate of Criminal Proceedings of the Attorney General's Office of the Republic of Cuba, clarified that the arrest of a person is preceded by a complaint, that is, “the actions of the authority is legitimate from the knowledge of the possible commission of a criminal act ”.
When a person is taken to a police unit, the first thing that is done is to register him in a book, which collects his data, where and why he was arrested. The "record of detention" is signed by the detainee himself. "It means that the person is knowing from the first moment the reason for which he is being driven," said Colonel Víctor Álvarez Valle. .
After that, he continued, in the first 24 hours of the first statement, it can be determined, in case the crime is minor, to release the detainee and if it is a more serious fact, it is passed to the criminal investigation bodies , those who would practice the course of the investigation.
In the first 24 hours, the family generally knows where the detainee is. "The Ministry of the Interior has an automated system, intertwined between all units, a system of attention and information to the population where each of the people who are detained is settled."
In the case of the detainees linked to the July 11 demonstrations, Álvarez Valle assured that all the families have been informed about their situation, “they have attended the places, they have been given care and they have handed over personal belongings such as cleaning , even medicines for those who have certain conditions ”.
The head of department at the FGR highlighted that the presence of the Prosecutor's Office in criminal proceedings, which occurs since they begin, "contributes to controlling the investigation and allows us to ensure that there have been no disappearances in our country."
In 2020, he counted, the Prosecutor's Office served more than 129 people throughout the country and in the first half of this year the figure exceeds 000. As of July 49, due to the events associated with the crimes committed during the day before, 000 people had attended that institution.
More than 30 people have gone directly to the organs of the Prosecutor's Office to formulate different concerns. "These reports are not related to disappearances, but to arrests, seeking information because sometimes they did not know where their family member was."
"There are those who have said: 'we know he is detained somewhere,' and what they want is to know where." Reyes Blanco commented that "everyone has left with that information," because it is also one of their rights: to know where their relatives are being held.
According to the official, many of the people have come to explain, for example, that their relative "was in the place in a casual way" or to convey any disagreement with the performance of a record or action.
He reported that at the moment the Prosecutor's Office is investigating five claims, in which it is documented to give the answer, “as has always been the work style of the Prosecutor's Office”, and reaffirmed that there is immediate communication with the family members.
Reyes Blanco insisted on the possibilities that the people have of communicating with the FGR, of denouncing criminal acts and of a possible incorrect action by some organ of the State institutions.
A manipulated and unserious list
Regarding the list of “disappeared” that circulates on the networks, Colonel Víctor Álvarez Valle, second head of the specialized body of the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation of the Ministry of the Interior of Cuba, stressed that it is “a manipulated list, which loses seriousness, support and solidity, based on the lack of data ”.
The identity card numbers do not appear, nor the province of residence, there are even names with a single surname. Furthermore, "we have verified that there are people who have never been detained or interviewed by the police."
One of the names on the listings is Ramón Samada, the president of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry. From the projection room, on the seventh floor of the Icaic, the supposed “disappeared” spoke to Hacemos Cuba: “Here we are, working a lot, trying to organize the film festival to be held in December; carrying out the Fund for the Promotion of Cuban Cinema; important productions that collect the events of the life of Cuba today ”.
Legal status of those detained for the events of July 11
Colonel Víctor Álvarez Valle, second head of the specialized body of the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation of the Ministry of the Interior of the Caribbean island, detailed the legal status of those detained for the events of July 11.
"There is a very small number, whose lawyers have been appearing since the Prosecutor's Office has decreed provisional imprisonment."
Other detainees have already been released, after "the evaluation of their participation in the act (disorder and disturbance of order)", but always with a precautionary measure, such as home confinement, with the possibility of requesting a lawyer for their defense .
Lawyers, he stated, have all the right to go to the investigative bodies of the Ministry of the Interior and the Police to review the performance, privately interview their client, participate in some investigative and criminal investigation actions, as well as propose tests.
The Cuban Constitution establishes that in order to deprive a citizen of liberty, there must be a provision of the competent authority, in this case of the Prosecutor's Office. "The prosecutor is the competent authority to order provisional detention, that is, the precautionary measure of provisional detention."
"From those first moments in which the existence of a crime is confirmed in which there is evidence that shows the participation of a person in that criminal act, precautionary measures are taken."
Regarding prisons, he pointed out that there is a legality control department that, through thematic visits, checks that the premises meet the requirements and conditions established by law.
“In all the places where people are detained, whether in the police or criminal investigation units, there is food and medical services 24 hours a day. As a rule, to enter these organs, a medical check-up is carried out ”, summarized Álvarez Valle.
Torture is not and will not be a practice in Cuba
Torture is not and will not be a practice in Cuba, assured Colonel Víctor Álvarez Valle. "It is not and will not be the practice of colleagues from the Ministry of the Interior to use force to obtain confessions."
Regarding coercion as a method for the detainee to confess, he began by explaining that the defendant's statement does not constitute evidence in the criminal process, therefore, “the colleagues who are dedicated to this in the Ministry of the Interior have the necessary preparation to be able to exchange, persuade and convince, but never use coercion, force, to achieve a person's confession ”.
It was learned that after the increase in processes these days, the presence of prosecutors in places of detention and the processing of the investigation has increased.
“We are interested in talking. Because behind that conversation we know motivations, implications and, in some way, contribute to perfecting the work and deepening the investigation of the case. Therefore, it is an opportunity for prosecutors to be alone with the detainees, always in a place for interviews, where there is a fluid dialogue, "added the head of the Supervision department in the Directorate of Criminal Proceedings of the FGR.
"The prosecutor is interested in knowing, even if this person has children, family, who might be concerned about his arrest, the motivations and the background he may have had."
People, he summarized, generally have interests related to their rights, guarantees and expectations related to the process. For this reason, "more than an interrogation, it is a dialogue where the favorable conditions exist so that if there is any concern or complaint, it can be transmitted to the Prosecutor's Office for investigation."