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Alejandro's Case Happy Ending

A case for the history of the Cuban community in Canada.

By Ismael Sambra
President of the Cuban Canadian Foundation
and Honorary Member of PEN Canada

When Carmen Delia Llano Ochoa began the fight for the liberation of her 9 years old son Alejandro Merchán, imposing her dignity above the vulgar blackmail by the authorities of the Cuban Consulate in Montreal, perhaps she did not imagined such a quick victory.

The repressive monster that the Castro’s regime has created against the Cuban people and Cuban exile, was defeated this time by a group of relatives and friends that together with Carmen Delia launch themselves to the protest with signs, drums and shouts that requested day by day, over and over, the freedom of the boy kidnapped in Cuba. The consul in person said to Carmen that “her son would not be given to her, unless she registers and collaborates with them and if she would like she could complain to the Cuban Canadian Foundation or who ever she wanted.” Carmen and the Foundation got together convinced that sooner or later the tyrant would have to yield and would be defeated.

Months ago the Residence Visa was already granted to Alejandro Merchán to travel to Canada and to meet with his mother, but in Cuba it is necessary to ask permission to Fidel Castro to leave the country, act which totally violates article 13 of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights, because “every person has the right to leave any country, even their own, and to return to his or her country.”

The boy Alejandro was used as hostage to break the will of his mother of wanting to continue fighting in exile for the freedom of the Cubans that where left behind in the greatest prison of the world that is Cuba. But Carmen said not to the blackmail, said not to a regime that wanted to break her will and make her collaborate with them in exchange of the release of her son. And the repressive monster had to give up because of the right campaign.

We thank the press in general, and especially the newspapers El Popular that represents the Hispanic Canadian community, The Gazetta of Montreal and The Chasqui Latino, for covering extensively the case. We also thank the nongovernmental organizations that in and out of Cuba supported us and above all to the Canadian government for having taken quick action in the matter.

When we made a recap in a recent article of the activities carried out in the campaign, we said to take this case and other similar cases of children kidnapped in Cuba, to the Human Rights Consultations event to be celebrated in Ottawa next February, so that verifies with this and many other examples the kind of regime with whom some dreamers still try to negotiate or to establish “constructive engagement.” Anyways we will bring the case, but as a won and closed case so that it does not occur again.

We are able to say that it was a quick victory of hardly two months of campaign, if we compare it with other similar cases. We had already initiated a new stage where relatives of the kid and the groups of human rights in Cuba, as well as the international press credited in Cuba would play their role. The CNN had done the contacts to carry out their coverage after having done with intelligence a new report on the boy Elian González and the hysteria of the tyrant to return him to Cuba after his mother died drowned trying to take her son to lands of freedom. The comparison was obvious, it was evident. Without doubts the tyrant understood that the longer he took in Alejandro’s liberation, it would be much worse and anyways at the end he would have to yield, because his cynicism and flagrant violation would be each time more evident.

This is one more example that it reaffirms us that that is the way, because as our Jose Martí said, “the tyrant yields to whom faces him, not to whom humiliates itself to him, with its only way to yield that means disappear. He respects those who face him, never those who collaborate with him.”

The boy Alejandro Merchán finally arrived to the airport of Montreal the past Friday 12 of December along with his stepfather. Right, dignity prevailed over the blackmail and the boy is already found among us, safe and sound, as his mother demanded, as all of us that supported her, demanded; because when a case is right, it deserves the victory. Right, the freedom of this free nation will also be for you Alejandro Merchán.

CCF campaign


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