The first case of Me Too in Cuba has become a delusional soap opera, with political implications and an unexpected ending.
The defendant, a pro-government troubadour of questionable talent named Fernando Bequer, was sentenced last October to five years of "limitation of liberty" without internment for lewd abuse after being sued by several women.
The young women managed to demonstrate before a court in Havana the guilt of the singer, who used the screen of Afro-Cuban religions and false witchcraft to psychologically pressure his victims and commit the abuses.
The scandal, which shook social networks last year and forced the authorities to react, began in December 2021, when five women publicly denounced the abuses of the troubadour in the independent Cuban magazine
considered by the authorities an enemy anti-Castro medium.
This, together with Bécquer's "revolutionary" positions, led one to think that the matter would be diluted and would not reach the courts.
As soon as the
article was published , Bécquer denied the accusations of sexual abuse and raised his defense in terms of homeland or death.
"I don't believe anything, I believe in the Revolution," he replied when asked what he thought of the denunciations, just a year ago.
Some of his nueva trova companions then came out to defend him, but most kept silent given the embarrassment of the case.
The main cultural institutions and the powerful Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) did the same, which sided with the victims but with extreme lukewarmness and without mentioning the troubadour by name, despite the seriousness of the matter.
For several months, very sure of himself and as if nothing had happened, Bécquer continued with his normal life, sharing the stage with other artists, making fun of what happened in public and singing his repertoire in bars, which includes many songs from misogynistic content and disrespectful to women.
However, encouraged by the article in
, for months dozens of women joined the wave of complaints and revealed their experiences of abuse with the singer-songwriter, who has already been baptized in the networks as "the trovabusador".
The thing grew and grew, and what many did not believe could happen, did happen.
On October 18, Bécquer was brought to trial.
In the oral hearing, along with the plaintiffs, numerous women testified who said they had suffered similar abuses by the troubadour.
The pattern of behavior was almost always the same.
Bécquer (Havana, 1970) searched among the followers of the nueva trova for very young girls -some of whom were twice their age- who were having a hard time or were especially vulnerable, and offered to give them a spiritual consultation and a "cleansing ”, something common in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria.
He used to invite them to his house and once there, protected by his false witchcraft,
he threw the snails at them to shed light on their future and told them that to satisfy the saint he was connected with they should masturbate him, or let him masturbate in front of them while they caressed him, to "throw out all the bad" through his semen.
Apparently, Bécquer's practices were well known in the field of troubadours, but many of his classmates let him go.
The sentence for "lewd abuse" was announced weeks after the trial: five years of limited freedom, a subsidiary sanction of the Penal Code that allows the sanctioned person to avoid prison and extinguish his sentence in almost complete freedom.
The limitation of freedom is only applicable in sentences of no more than five years, and when "there are well-founded reasons to estimate that the purpose of the sanction can be achieved without internment", that is, that the court that issued the ruling considered that the abuses sexual acts committed by Bécquer against at least six women could be amended with a sanction that did not imply imprisonment.
The sentence was harshly criticized by feminist organizations and sectors critical of the Government on social networks.
It was said that Bécquerse "passed his hand" and was released from jail for his political positions, and although the victims also expressed their disagreement, on the other hand they showed their joy that the "trovabusador" had been proven guilty.
And it seemed that there it ended.
From then on, Bécquer maintained a more discreet attitude, and when everyone already thought that he was going to get off scot-free, the case took an unexpected turn.
Earlier this year, the troubadour published the lyrics of two songs he was working on on his social networks.
The first says in one of her stanzas: "I want a feminist, to warm her dance floor / To wallow in her bush, so that she yells at me macho";
the other, titled
Wiggle with the negrón
, talks about “sad vaginas” and “broken orgasms”, and intones: “What if harassment, what if abuse, what if a force, what if the insult, calm down mom calm down, wiggle with the negrón”.
As soon as the letters were known, the soap opera acquired another dimension.
The FMC issued a harsh statement in which it affirmed that Becquer, "far from showing respect and repentance before justice, acts with total impunity," and Lis Cuesta, wife of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, also considered that it was "impossible tolerate insults, attacks and violent expressions against girls and women” and demanded “zero tolerance”.
Bécquer immediately went out to apologize to the FMC (not to the victims), but it was too late.
Two days later, the Court of Centro Habana revoked the penalty limiting liberty and ordered his imprisonment for three years and four months, considering that the troubadour had committed "serious acts that flagrantly and notoriously fail to comply,
End of the soap opera?
The first Cuban Me Too case has had political consequences, beyond the conviction of an abuser.
It is the first time that a complaint made through an independent magazine that the government considers "counterrevolutionary" ends up in a legal process, and with the supposed "revolutionary" behind bars.
Nothing like this had ever happened before, nor had women in Cuba managed to make visible the abuses against them with such forcefulness.
Beyond that, it has also become evident that Cuban society is increasingly demanding its rights more loudly.
After entering prison, the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) announced that it was expelling the troubadour from its ranks.
And many wondered these days on the networks:
How is it possible that this official institution did not expel Bécquer as soon as the court handed down its sentence?
If he had not gone to jail for his last letters, would he still be considered a member of UNEAC?
Why didn't the FMC openly criticize the sentence of "limitation of freedom" from the first moment, and had to wait for the troubadour to bring out the colors of the officialdom with his most recent songs?
The prestigious Cuban actor Luís Alberto García went further on Facebook: "I hope that all those who passed him and still pass their arms around his shoulders, his fixers... and those who had a soft hand when condemning him with a sentence that moves laugh, now feel as guilty as him.
He has made them all look like ass ”.