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Information Note after eight days of protest

Toronto, October 29, 2003

After eight days of a protest demonstration in front of the Consulate of Cuba in Montreal to demand freedom for Alejandro Merchan Llano, the nine-year-old child that has been kidnapped in Cuba, the Cuban Officers at the Consulate are not giving any sign of understanding the issue. Last Saturday afternoon there was a larger concentration of demonstrators carrying signs with photographs and text. They realized that the sign "Consulate of Cuba”, that had been before on the building, was now missing! The Consulate Officers had removed their own sign with the obvious purpose of concealing their location, so the public would not know whom the protest was addressed to. But the demonstrators counteracted by immediately putting together a sign that read: “This protest demonstration is carried out in front of the Cuban Consulate.”

The Consul’s response to the ongoing manifestations and shouts demanding Alexander’s freedom by the demonstrators, was to call the police and request that they be removed from the site. She must have been extremely disappointed when the answer to her request was that the police could not do that because a permit had been issued for the demonstration and all Canadian citizens have the right to protest, a basic right that, as everybody knows, Cuban citizens do not enjoy under Castro’s regime.
The campaign for Alejandro’s freedom began when Mrs. Carmen Delia Llano Ochoa, his mother, sent us a message asking for help.

Carmen, a Cuban native, now resident in Canada where she arrived as a refugee two years ago, told us that she had an appointment with the Consul at the Montreal Cuban Consulate (a lady who did not spare blunt remarks) in order to request authorization for her son to travel from Cuba to Canada and join his mother in this country. Alejandro has obtained the Canadian residence visa, valid until February 2004. During the interview, the Consul was adamant about the necessary condition for her son to leave Cuba: that Carmen becomes their collaborator, which obviously means an informant on their fellow Cuban émigrés. This blackmail is particularly serious for us since Carmen is a relative of one of our Directors at the Quebec and Montreal Branch, the Cuban entrepreneur Mr. Maximo Morales, a fact most likely known to the Consul. In response to Carmen's negative answer, the Consul told Carmen that she “may now go complain to the Canadian Cuban Foundation if
she so wished because there is no way that her son will ever leave Cuba."

Outraged by the abuse, this mother in despair has shown her outstanding courage and dignity by not yielding to blackmail and, with some friends and relatives, has started a protest demonstration in front of the Cuban Consulate in Montreal. She has vowed to maintain the protest at that site every weekday from 4 to 7 pm and during the morning at weekends until her youngest son is released and arrives safe and sound in Canadian land.
Alejandro’s father has lived in Miami for the last several years, and custody rights pertain to his mother. The child lives now in Cuba with his stepfather, who is Carmen’s present spouse and who has also obtained a Canadian residence visa. Carmen has also requested from the Cuban authorities a permit for her husband to leave the country for Canada, for the family to finally reunite.

Montreal’s weather conditions at this time of the year, rain, snow and low temperatures, make the protest demonstration difficult, but Carmen told us she is absolutely determined not only to persist but also to enhance her protest. She plans to start a partial hunger strike in order to reinforce her claims for her rights. The objective is to make the protest demonstration grow step by step into a total and massive hunger strike with the participation of friends and relatives. Posters have already been displayed at that site with signs demanding the child’s freedom.

Undoubtedly, our duty is to support her struggle to have her youngest son join her. Let us implement a campaign to that effect, both nationally and internationally, with utmost urgency.

People willing to support her may contact us at tel/fax (416) 696 8679 or appear in person in front of the Cuban Consulate in Montreal. Her telephone number is (514) 645 8330
and her e-mail address is Floresita Del Desierto delita@hotmail.com.
She can also be contacted through the Foundation ccnfound@idirect.com

Ismael Sambra
President, Cuban Canadian Foundation
David Levy
Human Rights Director, Cuban Canadian Foundation

Alejandro's case happy ending

Copyright © 2003-2007 Cuban Canadian Foundation.
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