Nov. 9, 2002: Diario Las Américas, Miami (FL)

Latin American summit: Cuban physicist reports family drama

In a message addressed to the leaders participating in the next Latin American summit, Dr. Juan López Linares states that the Cuban government is inflicting the most serious ill-treatment on him as a father as he is banned from travelling to the Island to meet his nearly 4 year old son

CAMPINAS, BRASIL, Nov. 7, 2002 (AI) - In a letter addressed to the Latin American leaders participating in the next XII Latin American summit that would take place in the Dominican Republic on the 15th and 16th of November, the Cuban physicist Dr. Juan López Linares, postdoc at the University of Campinas, reports that the Cuban government has banned him from entering Cuba to meet, hug and kiss for the first time his little son Juan Paolo, nearly 4 years old. Dr. López , 31, states that " this separation is the cruellest ill-treatment a father can suffer, and this is just because the Cuban government considers me 'a desertor' only because I decided to study in the big and homely Brazil".
Dr. López Linares adds that " Cuba is the only country in the hemisphere that bans its citizens from entering and leaving their homeland freely, which results in a completely incomprehensible, inhuman and degrading situation that goes beyond my own personal drama, as this is a tragedy that I share with thousands of compatriots". The Cuban physicist reminds us that this situation violates Art. 13 of the Universal Human Rights Declaration, that states that " Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country"; and also violates Art. 10 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed by the Cuban government: "Applications by a child or his or her parents to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive, humane and expeditious manner".
A copy of the letter has been sent to the Brazilian president-elect, Mr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and to
the Latin American ministers for Foreign Affairs.

Last June, after 3 years of paperwork and procedures before the Cuban consular authorities in Brazil, the young Cuban physicist decided to make public his family drama. From then on, he has received tremendous support from people all over the world, among them, the President of the European Commission, Prof. Romano Prodi. In Washington, the Cuban jurist Dr. Claudio Benedí presented a formal complaint before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
In Brazil, this case has been widely covered by the media. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Celso Lafer, announced that he will intercede with La Habana. And the Brazilian senator Eduardo Suplicy, from the Workers Party (PT), declared his concern in a letter addressed to the Cuban ambassador in Brasilia, Mr. Jorge Lezcano Pérez. In his answer, Lezcano accused the young Cuban physicist of "slandering" the Cuban people and even of collaborating with organizations that would have a "record" of "terrorist actions".
Before this accusation, López Linares, in defence of his personal honour "as a Cuban and as a father", felt obliged to publicly ask for presentation of evidence and if not for the accusation being withdrawn; and he reminded that, in lack of evidence, the accusation falls on the accuser. Until the moment, the Cuban ambassador has remained silent.