14ymedio, Havana, 19 February 2018 — Daniel Llorente, the “man with the flag,” was denied visits this Sunday at the Havana Psychiatric Hospital, because he is being punished for protesting with a sign in the hospital courtyard, his son confirmed to 14ymedio.
At the entrance to the Comandante Doctor Eduardo Bernabé Ordaz Ducungede Psychiatric Hospital, popularly known as Mazorra, the guards prevented Eliezer Llorente from entering the premises because of his father’s punishment status.
Last Wednesday, Daniel Llorente, who as of March 1st will have been imprisoned for ten months, went out into the hospital’s courtyard with a sign that said “No to injustice, down with the dictatorship of Raúl Castro.” The protest action occurred after he was held incommunicado for several days, unable to go to the common area or use the facility’s telephone.
Days before, Llorente had been subjected to a meticulous search in which a mobile phone was taken from him; he had managed to smuggle the phone in to maintain communication with his son. “They are also annoyed by some pencil writings he has put on the walls of his room with texts by José Martí,” the young man reports.
This weekend Eliezer Llorente demanded to speak with the institution’s higher-ups and was received by the deputy director. The official explained that his father’s punishment was only for one day and that next Wednesday he could come to visit him “without problems.”
“My father is acting like that because in locking him up there they are not complying with the law, but she told me that they already sent their request to release him to the court but it was denied,” says Eliezer.
On Thursday, the young man was summoned to the police station in Santiago de Las Vegas where they returned his phone card and threatened to take him to court and accuse him of “disobedience,” he says. He had to sign a warning document with the commitment not to re-enter the facility with the telephone card.
Daniel Llorente is caught in a legal limbo because the hospital authorities can’t discharge the activis from the psychiatric hospital without first receiving the approval of the court. However, despite not being prosecuted for any crime, the legal authorities still have not signed the authorization.
Daniel Llorente Miranda has been prominent for the activism he displayed alone after the diplomatic thaw between Cuba and the United States. His image traveled through social networks and the covers of many international newspapers when he hoisted the US flag during the May Day parade in 2017 in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution.
Seven security agents jumped on him and took him to the ground him by force. Since then he has been detained, although during the first month the authorities kept him in the State Security Operations Directorate Security (Villa Marista) and later he was transferred to Mazorra.
Considered an “independent” opponent, Daniel Llorente is known for appearing at public events with the North American banner to demand a closer relationship with the neighboring country and democracy for Cuba.
The first time he publicly waved the US flag was during the reopening of that country’s embassy in Havana in 2015. The following year he did it again during the visit to Cuba of US president Barack Obama. Later he was detained for several hours after welcoming with his flag the first cruise ship arriving from the United States in half a century.
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