Journalism Student Expelled from University For “Political Reasons”
14ymedio, Havana, 13 April 2017 — Karla Pérez González was not summoned
to the meeting where her future was decided. The first-year Journalism
student received a telephone call on Wednesday to notify her of her
expulsion from Marta Abreu University in Santa Clara. Her crime? Having
contacts with the Somos+ (We Are More) Movement and publishing on
digital sites critical of the government, as confirmed by the young
woman herself speaking to 14ymedio.
On March 15, Perez Gonzalez was excluded from a student assembly where a
video was projected to discredit the independent Somos+ Movement led by
activist Eliécer Ávila. “I only found out several days later because
they warned my classmates not to tell me anything,” she says.
On April 10 the situation worsened when the militants of the
department’s Union of Communist Youth (UJC) met to present “the
evidence” against her, she explains. “Members and leaders of the
organization warned that those who were on my side would be
investigated. Nor was I not invited to participate.”
On Tuesday, the 18-year-old scientist was summoned along with her
parents to the Department of Humanities. “I arrived at 8:30 in the
morning and the group of decision-makers were 14 freshmen, 4 professors
in the department and 6 members of the management of different
organizations, in addition to the dean, Osneidy Leon Bermudez,” she details.
The brigade chief of the University Student Federation (FEU), Ney Cruz,
proposed the expulsion of Gonzalez from the University. “There were
three hours of psychological abuse and they made false charges against
me, ranging from recruiting members at the school, to belonging to the
leadership of Somos+.”
“I was also accused of manipulating my friends and having a strategy
from the beginning of the course to subvert the young, according to
leanings of the Somos+ Movement.” The student was also questioned about
her relationship with digital sites critical of the Government.
The first secretary of the UJC, Hermes Germán Aguilera Pérez, stood out
among “the most violent,” recalls Pérez González. “He used phrases
intended to influence the vote” of the students. He told the students
that they had the opportunity to demonstrate that they were
Revolutionaries because this moment was “your Moncada, Sierra Maestra,
Bay of Pigs.” “She is with the enemy,” he spit out during the meeting.
Eight students voted for the expulsion of Pérez González, while six
supported her continuing in the department. “Those were the people who
really knew my story and who defended me in that hell,” she says.
Later, Perez González appeared before a Disciplinary Commission that
inquired about her “projections, actions, membership in organizations
and pages in which she published.” The young woman was even asked how
much she paid for a rental house in Santa Clara.
“It was a very cordial and respectful meeting [compared to] the string
of abuses I had been subjected to,” Karla recalls.
González denounces the political and non-academic motivations for her
expulsion; she ended last semester with the maximum score in all
subjects except in computer science and also obtained an English
certificate that exempted her from attending those classes during her
The young woman does not plan to make a complaint through university
mechanisms, but will “write a letter to the Minister of Education and
will denounce what happened to organizations that watch over human
rights,” she confirmed to 14ymedio.
The expulsion of Karla Pérez González joins a series of repressive
actions against the Somos+ Movement in recent days. Last Thursday the
General Customs of the Republic confiscated Eliécer Ávila’s laptop
computer, which provoked a protest of several members of the
organization in Terminal 3 of the José Martí International Airport.
Avila was arrested on Saturday and police searched his home where they
seized “hundreds of things from pens, clothes, business cards, books,
phone chargers, cables, mirrors, everything they found,” the leader told
14ymedio. Since the raid, he is now being prosecuted for crimes of
illicit economic activity and “receiving” unauthorized goods.
This same week the philologist Dalila Rodríguez González, who had worked
as a professor for over ten years, was expelled from Marta Abreu
University. The academic told the independent press that her departure
was due to the university authorities considering her “a bad influence
on the students,” in addition to the security forces linking her to her
father, Leonardo Rodríguez Alonso, a defender of human rights and an
opponent of the government.
Rodríguez González also denounced that she has been harassed by State
Security in recent months and clarified that she does not belong to any
opposition group and does not participate in activities organized by
activists or dissidents.
Last February, a young student of 24, David Mauri Cardoso, was not
allowed to enroll in the law school of Carlos Rafael Rodríguez
Provincial University, in Cienfuegos, for expressing ideas “against the
Revolutionary Process” in a Spanish exam.
Source: Journalism Student Expelled from University For “Political
Reasons” – Translating Cuba –