Biden Grants Asylum to Cuban Communist Official as Political Prisoner Count Surpasses 1,100

Cubans file past waving national flags and flags with the image of revolution hero Ernesto
AP Photo/Ramón Espinosa

The Biden administration allowed entry to U.S. territory to Arelys Casañola Quintana, an official of Cuba’s communist Castro regime now requesting asylum proceedings out of “fear of socialism,” according to a report published by Martí Noticias on Thursday.

Martí Noticias, a U.S-based outlet focused on Cuba, stated that 56-year-old Casañola Quintana served as president of the Municipal Assembly of People’s Power on the Isla de la Juventud island between 2012 and 2018. The Municipal Assemblies are the communist regime’s highest local authorities in each of Cuba’s regions.

Casañola Quintana and her son, Fidel Alejandro Espinosa Casañola, arrived in Kentucky after requesting asylum on April 20, 2024, through the Biden Administration’s CBP One application, a platform used by migrants to enter U.S. territory. Martí Noticas reported that Casañola Quintana claimed “fear of socialism” as the reason for her asylum request.

The Castro regime official and her son reportedly arrived in Mexico, where they waited an unspecified amount of time for their CBP One asylum appointment, and then entered the United States through the southern border.

Cuban media outlets at the time reported Casañola Quintana’s presence in Mexico and her intention to enter the United States since at least November, denouncing her extensive public track record as a member of the communist Castro regime.

Casañola Quintana was allegedly an active member of the Communist Party of Cuba and the regime’s Federation of Cuban Women, as well as the head of the Union of Young Communists and former positions among some of Cuba’s state-owned enterprises.

Martí Noticias reported that it held a telephone conversation with one of Casañola Quintana’s family members, who confirmed that she entered the United States through the CPB One application and that “she does not want to talk to the press about her communist past.”

Martí Noticias relayed that both Casañola Quintana and her son deleted their Facebook profiles upon being contacted by the news outlet, but a profile under the name of Arelys Casañola Quintana still appears to exist on Twitter, actively sharing pro-Castro regime propaganda until May 2023.

The U.S-based outlet reached out to Cuban citizens to know their thoughts on the Castro regime official’s arrival to the United States.

María Antonia Guerra, a Cuban citizen from Isla de la Juventud, said that everyone on the island is outraged, as Casañola Quintana “spoke wonders” of late dictator Fidel Castro, his brother and successor Raúl Castro, and the regime’s figurehead president Miguel Díaz-Canel.

“She went around the towns asking people to trust in the revolution and socialism,” Guerra said.” Everyone is outraged on the island. How can they let someone like that into the United States?”

Cuban activist Ramón Salazar told Martí Noticias that it is a “shame” that someone “with those credentials” was allowed to enter the United States.

“We want to bring the matter to U.S. immigration authorities to let them know that this lady, during her time as president of the People’s Power, ordered and participated in acts of repudiation against opponents and is also a member of the Communist Party of Cuba,” Salazar said.

“We ask that her case be analyzed and that she be returned to Cuban territory,” he continued. “She enjoyed the benefits of the dictatorship and now she also wants to do it with the United States of America.”

The news of the alleged Castro regime official being allowed entry in the United States by the administration of President Joe Biden comes as the Cuban human rights organization Prisoners Defenders released its latest report confirming the existence of at least 1,100 political prisoners in Cuba — including 30 children, of which 15 have been convicted on “sedition” charges.

Prisoner Defenders, a non-governmental organization based in Spain, said in its report that, in addition to the 1,100 political prisoners, there are more than 11,000 other civilians facing “pre-criminal” prison sentences that average two years and 10 months.

The human rights organization explained that the sentences, issued without criminal convictions or due process, were given to individuals alleged to have a tendency to commit crimes in the future “due to the conduct they observe in manifest contradiction with the norms of socialist morality” as stated in Cuba’s pre-2023 Penal Code.

Prisoner Defender said that, while the Castro regime reformed the penal code and replaced it with a new one that “eliminates” the articles that established the “pre-delictive” clauses, the practice nevertheless continues through new articles that “allow everything to remain exactly the same.”

The human rights organization accused the Castro regime of wanting “to silence, at all costs,” the families of Cuban political prisoners in international media, and has dedicated the efforts of all of its repressive apparatus against independent journalists still working in the country.

The human rights organization cited several cases of journalists and citizens facing repression for their journalistic work or for peacefully protesting against the ruling communist regime — including the case of 22-year-old Mayelín Rodríguez Prado, who was sentenced by he Castro regime this month to 15 years in prison for the alleged crimes of “continued enemy propaganda” and “sedition.”

Rodríguez Prado was detained by Castro regime officials in August 2022 and accused of the charges she is now serving a prison sentence for after she filmed and published footage on social media of the peaceful protests that took place in the municipality of Nuevitas.

At the time, hundreds of Cubans in Nuevitas had taken the streets to peacefully demand an end to more than six decades of communist rule in Cuba and an end to the near-endless blackouts and other inhumane living conditions that the Castro regime continues to subject Cubans to.

The footage published by Rodríguez Prado at the time showed Cuban police officers beating Cuban citizen José Armando Torrente and three 11-year-old girls, including Torrente’s daughter. One of the girls, presumed to be Torrente’s daughter, described in another video published at the time how she attempted to fight police officers herself to defend her father.

“I was holding on to my dad, and she was holding on to my dad, and then, to arrest my dad, the police had to hit us,” the girl said. “I also hit them because they hit me.”

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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