By Juan Carlos Linares
LA HABANA, Cuba, May 2010 (Source: Residents of a Havana neighborhood have noticed the comings and goings of Chinese people to and from Villa Maristas, Cuban Political Police main headquarters. “Chinese from China!” shouted a citizen.

"Villa Maristas" inspires fear, not only because it is the most infamous of the Minister of Interior’s building, more specifically the Political Police, or because its inner interrogation precincts that await visitors, and its underground cells. It is just that once inside, the judicial system evaporates for those detained. Lawyers, laws and judicial procedures can exert very little influence inside this mansion with a deceptively peaceful façade that swallows its “guests.”

In democratic countries, the government guarantees and defends its citizens’ safety, even against abuses committed by official institutions. There are laws that defend the individual and commissions formed by parliamentarians, jurists, social activists, that protect the citizen. In Cuba, nothing of the sort exists, and the citizen that enters the sinister building at Villa Maristas is completely at the mercy of the not less sinister Political Police.

On the other hand, the Chinese that enter and exit Villa Maristas do not seem to be “guests.” Their presence there could be related, more than to the physical repression of dissidents, to the technical advise that the Chinese give the Cuban dictators on wiretapping, controlling the information flow on the nets, and interference of foreign radio and TV stations.

It is curious that last February 24th, several bank agencies and other enterprises in the city of Havana, lost their intranet connection. Coincidentally, that day was the 142nd anniversary of the final insurrection against Spain, the 14th anniversary of the shutdown of two civilian airplanes by Cuban military jets in which four crew members died, and the day before the dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo had died.

As Raúl Castro’s government deteriorates, the regime’s international image crumbles.

Once and again, we shall mention the name of Adrián Leiva, independent journalist who recently died in Villa Maristas after attempting to return to Cuba by sea, after the authorities denied him the permit to return to his homeland. This incident has not yet been clarified by the Ministry of Interior.

for the freedom of all cuban political prisoners
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