My name is Roberto Casanueva. I came to Belarus from Cuba in the early 1990s, received a residence permit and settled in the country. I have a family and a job in graphic design in Belarus. After 30 years of living in the country, I began to understand perfectly well what the real Belarus means, and what a violent power is.
In August 2020, I could not delude myself and look calmly at the violence being perpetrated against the citizens of Belarus. I was an active participant in the protests and expressed my disagreement with the actions committed by the authorities. In September 2020 it was time to renew my residence permit. This is the time when the Migration Department began to exert the first pressure on me for participating in the protests.
On November 8 I was detained before the protests started, taken to a police van and taken to the Partyzanski District Police Department. Even before the trial and deprivation of liberty, there was violence toward me and other prisoners. We were beaten, insulted, threatened, and kept in the basement. The cells were overcrowded. We could only sleep on the benches. I served 15 days in the TsIP and PDFs, but it didn't end there.
For a year I had to stay in Okrestina in terrible conditions and was subjected to physical and psychological abuse. After my request to see my son was refused, I had to go on hunger strike. The hunger strike lasted seven days, after which I was allowed to see my son for thirty minutes. It was a happiness that did not last long and it is not clear when it will happen again.
The last sentence was expulsion. I was sent to Russia as a tourist, ostensibly “of my own free will.”
After a while I managed to go to Lithuania.
Now I am forced to build my life anew, which is why I need help for the first time.
How much is needed?
1,500€ — room and board for the first time until you get a job and buy a computer for your work.