They Murdered My Son in the Streets of Camaguey

Pedro Armando Junco Torres, alias “Mandy,” 28 years of age, was stabbed to death in Camaguey in the early morning of Saturday, May 16, a day before the beginning of the rock festival Sounds of the City. Mandy would have participated in it as guitarist and leader of the band Strike Back. His father, writer Pedro Junco, Thursday posted on his blog, The Fury of the Winds, this open letter in which he asks for “true justice.”

Mandy Junco, hijo del escritor Pedro Junco, asesinado el pasado sábado en Camagüey. (Blog La Furia de los Vientos)
Mandy Junco killed last Saturday in Camaguey. (Pedro Junco, Fury of the Winds blog)

It is very difficult for me to write. All you mothers and fathers who read these lines, put yourselves in my place. Just for a minute think that it was your son who was stabbed to death in the street at the hands of four killers who did not even know him, who did not even do it to steal from him or to settle accounts. They think that the motivation was to kill, the pleasure of killing. Put yourself there for only one minute and then assimilate what you have felt in your hearts. That is what I am enduring and will endure until the end of my existence. 

I write in order to thank so many people who, in and out of the country, have been at my side recently: the cruelest moments that I have suffered in my long existence. I also do it for so many friends who have not yet heard the news.

Saturday May 16, between 2:40 and 3:00 in the morning, my 28-year-old son: young, beautiful, intelligent, good, was surprised by a foursome of sadistic killers who, for no other purpose than to stab, riddled him with blows and knife wounds. The pathologists found 46 contusions on the body of my beloved Mandy. He was a joyful rocker, always smiling. He had no enemies. He was adored by the most beautiful young women in the city. He was returning from a rock festival, in which he was supposed to participate as a guitarist with his group the following night. Minutes before his murder he spoke with friends about his projects, about the successes he had already achieved and hoped to surpass with each new day, since he was already a professional musician.

I want to put in writing what I feel at this moment. As I said yesterday to a priest, I am angry with God. And I ask him: Lord Almighty, where were you then that you permitted such an injustice? Perhaps you were sleeping so that you did not run to his aid? What debts did we owe you? I believe in you, God Almighty, because you are evident to me, but I doubt your kindness and your justice.

To those who govern my country and dictate the laws; to the members of the courts that say they do justice: how long must one wait before terrifying events like this one receive exemplary punishments? The perpetrators of bloody events go to jails like they were on scholarships, and inside they are trained like graduates, they enjoy monthly visits with their women, they enjoy regular furloughs, and at half their sentence, if they have behaved well, they are granted “conditional” liberty, which many take advantage of to kill with impunity, because now in Cuba the death penalty is not used.

The city of Camaguey is electrified by this event. My son was the third victim of the gang which, that morning, carried out the crime spree. Cases like this emerge almost daily on our streets; but the press, muzzled, is not empowered to disseminate them. And to hide the truth is the most sordid way to lie.

The dismay that overwhelms me will not leave me for as long as I exist. But from now on I will fight with all my strength so that the streets of our city will be truly safe for our young people, whose parents today, horrified, corral them at home. Today it is my turn. Tomorrow the victim might be your child.

Let us demand true justice. Exemplary punishment.

I have been a zealous defender of the right to life. But if the use of the maximum penalty is necessary to save innocent people, then use it.

Translated by MLK

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