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By Zach Foster
Cuban Libertarian Party – José Martí spokesman Nelson Rodriguez Chartrand disappeared on the night of May 22 under very suspicious circumstances. We in the Cuban LP and LP Nevada believe Nelson was kidnapped on his way home by State Security! The party leaders have searched all the police stations and jailhouses but magically, he’s nowhere in the records.
Spokesman Nelson Rodriguez Chartrand disappeared in the night! We believe State Security kidnapped him, as we saw them earlier. @LPNational
— Libertarios Cubanos (@LibertariosCuba) May 23, 2017
Do the Police Know Nelson Disappeared?
Obviously the police have been contacted, but “No crime has been committed; not coming home isn’t a crime,” and he hasn’t been gone long enough yet to be considered a missing person.
We know that, 1) State Security was seen tailing him. 2) He left his son’s home after 10pm. 3) He’s disappeared. 4) None of the ERs/hospitals have him and the police deny having him. A Mises Cuba co-founder who was previously incarcerated at Combinado del Este prison says this pattern is common with State Security action.
Were There Any Witnesses to the Kidnapping?
No, there were no witnesses, but there is ample circumstantial evidence and reasonably compelling motive. There are witnesses to the group being followed throughout the day by men in civilian clothes. None of the hospitals or emergency rooms have him. The secret police most likely do. Invisible arrests in the middle of the night are common in Cuba.
What Are the Consequences for Dissidents in Cuba?
The Cuban LP believes Nelson was kidnapped by State Security. Based on recent patterns of State Security’s behavior to libertarians in recent months, they believe the police will either hold him for ransom over time, or will convict him in a kangaroo court and send him to a labor prison.]
The Cuban LP’s leaders and I discussed this very possibility, and we knew this kind of thing would happen, that people would disappear without a trace. And we agreed that WHEN that happened, not if but when, we’d light a fire under our own ass and get busy spreading the word -- writing / making videos about it, contacting blogs and media, bugging/shaming the Cuban government, and finding people to donate to Mises Cuba on PayPal.
Motives for Kidnapping Libertarian Dissidents
What’s the motivation for kidnapping an activist? There’s A LOT of American tourism in Cuba now. They’ve increased repression across the board, across the island, since this January. They have to get rid of the problem children, and they have to do it quietly.
Nelson is definitely a problem child. He’s been peppering the hell out of Havana every night with hundreds of posters demanding the regime release the libertarian political prisoners Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez and Manuel Velazquez Visea, who were also very active problem children in the eyes of the regime..
What YOU Can Do to Help?
Reporting it to the media, any and all media outlets, is highly recommended.
Another option to keep the traction going is for as many of us as possible to make a video for Facebook. Facebook videos get higher feed traffic than regular posts or YouTube links, and live videos are even better! That in itself is a marketing asset. Anyone with a mobile phone or webcam can make 1-2 minute video where they:
1) Talk about the alleged, though plausible and extremely likely, undocumented police kidnapping of Nelson and the main reasons why;
2) Ask people to contact both Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Relations (@CubaMINREX on Facebook AND Twitter), AND Amnesty International ([email protected]) and Human Rights Watch ([email protected]) plus other human rights watch groups; and
3) Remind people that LP Cuba NEEDS money for effective activism. They just opened up a new Libertarian Library in Camaguey province. Also, print shops are pricy in Cuba and they’ve put up HUNDREDS of posters and flyers, plus bus tickets to other provinces. Money also helps the Cuban LP boost newsworthy posts as if they were ads, and through specific targeting, find new donors. We the People become the media and we become our own financiers! People can donate at https://paypal.me/institutomisescuba
4) Also, they can ask libertarian friends to do the same. Every single candle is a light in the dark, and their glow intensifies as they increase in numbers until the darkness is fully lit. Every voice counts, yours too.
A joint press release published last night by the Cuban Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Party of Nevada says:
This situation is intolerable and must be protested with every medium available, no matter how stacked against Nelson and the Cuban Libertarians the odds may be. The odds were stacked against the revolutionary statesmen and the revolutionary troops fighting for U.S. independence in 1775. The odds were stacked against José Martí when he led troops into battle in for independence in 1895. The odds were stacked against Fidel Castro when only 17 July-26 guerrillas survived the year 1956. This struggle is another chapter in a longer story, and it’s one that’s about our generation.