14ymedio, Havana, 2 May 2018 — Eliezer Llorente, the son of the “man of the flag,” was released on Tuesday after eleven o’clock in the morning, one hour after the end of the May Day parade in the Plaza of the Revolution. The young man, 18, was arrested last Sunday in San Antonio de los Baños for the alleged crime of “receiving [stolen property].”
Llorente was in the company of independent journalist Vladimir Turro when police stopped the car they were traveling and both were arrested, the youth told 14ymedio after being released. Later the officers insisted that the reporter was carrying beef, a tightly controlled product.
“I was detained for two days and the first 24 hours I refused to eat, but on Monday after seeing the police investigator, and when I knew they were going to release me early Tuesday, I had lunch,” he said.
During the 48 hours he was held, he was not entitled to a phone call or a family visit. His mother, Judiza Perez, who learned of her son’s arrest after receiving a call from a police officer, remained outside the San Antonio de Los Baños Police Station the entire time.
When she asked the authorities for explanations of the detention of her son, the officers told Pérez not to worry because he would be released “after the parade.”
“On Monday there was an interrogation with agents of the counterintelligence to talk about the meat issue but it was clear that I had nothing to do with it or knew anything about the matter and they told me that Turro would be released later with a fine for the crime of ’receiving’, but other than that I don’t know if he is still being held,” Llorente said.
This newspaper tried unsuccessfully to communicate with the journalist Vladimir Turro.
For his part Daniel Llorente told this newspaper from the psychiatric hospital in Havana, popularly known as Mazorra, where he is being held*, that he is “relieved” to know that his son is “back at home with his mother.”
“They do not know me if they think I’m capable of using my son. Eliezer is still a boy who has other interests, he likes to play soccer and understands almost nothing about politics, he comes to see me because I’m his father but I could not ask him to do anything in my name. I want to do what I want to do,” Llorente said from his confinement while reporting that after learning of the release of his son he had abandoned the hunger strike that he began when he learned of the arrest on Sunday.
Daniel Llorente Miranda has stood out for the activism he displayed on his own 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 2017 May Day parade in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution.
Seven security agents pounced on him and took him down him by force. Since then he has been detained. Although during the first month the authorities kept him in the Operations Directorate of the State Security (Villa Marista), he was later transferred* to Mazorra.
There he went on a hunger strike, sent several letters and gave interviews to various independent media to denounce a confinement that he described as “unfair” since in his case there was no mediation by a court decision that justifies the “post-trial security measure” being applied to him.
*Translator’s note: Holding political protestors in mental hospitals is intended to keep international organizations from classifying them as political prisoners.
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