There have been numerous arrests in Cuba. The people had demonstrated against the economic crisis and for more freedoms. According to observers, people are also said to have been killed in the protests.
After rare mass demonstrations against the government in Cuba, according to independent journalists, more than 5,000 people have now been arrested. Among them are more than 120 activists and journalists, reported on Wednesday the online portal 14ymedio, which had gathered information from the population. Some of the security forces acted brutally, as can be seen in a video, the authenticity of which was confirmed by the human rights organization Human Rights Watch on Wednesday.
“Why are you doing this?”
This shows how security forces in the city of Cárdenas try to break into an apartment through the front entrance, while inside a woman with a small child in her arms says “my children!” and “why are you doing this?” cries. Then an officer comes into the apartment from the other direction with a raised pistol. A part of the video, apparently recorded later, shows a pool of blood on the floor. The online portal “CiberCuba” reported that the woman’s husband was shot, beaten and taken away in front of his family.
State media reported on Tuesday of a death in a demonstration in Havana on Monday. The 36-year-old criminal tried to attack a police station as part of an “organized group of anti-social and criminal elements”. There was no information about the circumstances of his death.
Demonstration against shortage economy
Independent journalist Yoani Sánchez said on her podcast Ventana 14 on Wednesday that there could have been many more deaths in the demonstrations, according to popular reports. Opposition media reported that the government is blackmailing young men into attacking protesters with sticks.
On Sunday, thousands of Cubans demonstrated in numerous cities for freedom, against oppression and an economy of scarcity. That hadn’t happened in the Caribbean country for decades. Cuba’s economy is suffering heavily from the slump in tourism in the pandemic as well as from US sanctions. There is also no aid from Venezuela, as the allied state itself is in a crisis.
There is a lack of food and medicine in Cuba. The number of corona infections and deaths has also increased significantly recently. Access to the Internet was temporarily blocked after the protests began. Since then there have been only isolated reports of small new demonstrations.
“Crimes against the Security of the State”
Prime Minister Manuel Marrero announced on television on Wednesday (local time) that value restrictions on the import of food, medicines and hygiene items in passengers’ luggage would be lifted by the end of the year. Also, as an exception, no customs duties would have to be paid on it.
One of the arrested journalists is the correspondent Camila Acosta of the Spanish newspaper “ABC”. She was arrested on Monday after reporting on the demonstrations in Havana and has been in custody ever since. According to the newspaper, she is due to be tried on charges of crimes against the security of the state.
Numerous Cuban and Cuban-American celebrities expressed their solidarity with the demonstrators, including the actor Andy Garcia, the singer Gloria Estefan and the jazz pianist Chucho Valdés – the latter had previously publicly defended the government’s tough punitive measures against dissidents.
“Fatherland and Life”
At the all-star game of the US Baseball League MLB on Tuesday in Denver, two Cuban players had caps on which they had written #SOSCuba. The identifier was originally used on Twitter to write about the health situation on the Caribbean island, but now mainly about the protests. Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said in a press conference on Tuesday that the hashtag was part of a US government-funded operation against Cuba.
The caps of the players Aroldis Chapman and Adolis García also read “Patria y Vida” (Fatherland and Life). The saying was often shouted at the demonstrations. It is the title of a protest song released in February by several well-known Cuban musicians. This is an allusion to a much quoted saying by Fidel Castro: “Patria o Muerte” (Fatherland or Death).