An immigration court granted political asylum on Tuesday to Cuban activist Yeilis Torres Cruz, who is in a detention center in South Florida after a long 10-month odyssey to join her husband in the United States.
“This victory was achieved after a difficult day in court, but it had faith and a consistent story, and in the end justice was done,” lawyer Willy Allen told CiberCuba after leaving the court hearing.
Torres, 37, of Pompano Beach was processed at the Broward Transit Center and released overnight.
A member of the opposition, a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) organization, was detained on a boat off the coast of Florida along with 16 other Cuban immigrants last May. On this occasion, she was the only one in the group who passed the interview in front of the authorities and was taken to the Guantánamo Naval Base (GITMO).
In December, she was transferred from GITMO to a detention center in Florida due to medical reasons. Her husband Pavel Pérez is a US citizen and lives in West Palm Beach.
Allen indicated that Torres’ testimony lasted for an hour and a half and was followed by a lengthy questioning session before the judge’s final decision.
“He has a powerful story of a political struggle that needed to be heard,” Allen added. “The value of his testimony was to explain his life in Cuba and the reasons why he had no other choice but to escape the country by boat.”
By the same token, Torres’ career as a human rights activist and UNPACU soldier was the main subject of the asylum case, which has been represented by Allen since last January.
Cruz is known on social networks as “La Prosecutor”, because he studied law and was expelled from the university for his positions opposed to the Cuban government.
His activism in Cuba became notable because he opposed Humberto López in the middle of the street, the official speaker, and was thrown into prison for nine months. In the incident, López attacked her for carrying her phone to take her away from filming.
On May 8, 2021, Torres released a direct message on Facebook in which López was involved, who had hit her in the middle of the street to leave him thrown at the house of his lover. Three days later she was arrested by the Cuban authorities.
After being detained without trial, she was released in April 2022, considering the appropriateness criteria, described in the Penal Code. He was fined 3000 pesos and a case was filed against him.
For the release, the prosecution considered the “low social damage act” and the family situation of Torres, being a mother of two children and pregnant at the time.
After this release, the activist decided to leave the country in May 2022, but was intercepted by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and sent to Guantanamo, with a view to possible relocation to a third country.
But authorities decided to bring her to a facility in Florida because of her health problems, which made it possible for her to apply for asylum in a US court.
“A political refugee, Yeilis will start a new life in the United States and will have the opportunity to have his three children who remain in Cuba,” he said.