14ymedio, Havana, 11 May 2018 — Daniel Llorente, “the man with the flag,” has confirmed to 14ymedio by phone that he left the psychiatric hospital in Havana today. It took a little over a year for the authorities to finally make the decision to free the man who ran with an American flag in the May Day parade in 2017.
At the time of the call, Llorente was visiting his son, Eliézer Llorente, who had been arrested on 30 April and released a few hours after this year’s May Day parade. The political police wanted to prevent him from attending the parade and publicly demonstrating in favor of his father’s release.
The “self-employed dissident,” who had been transferred to the psychiatric hospital shortly after his arrest, said he is “happy” to be able to again walk the streets of Havana and thanked all those who were aware of his situation.
Daniel Llorente (b. 1963) has been prominent for his activism after the diplomatic thaw between Cuba and the United States. A few yard from the stand where then Cuban president Raul Castro was, and in front of the accredited press on the island that covered the event, Llorente shouted for freedom for Cuba.
His spontaneous action broke the uniformity of a rehearsed choreography but lasted only a few seconds, because Llorente’s path was interrupted by seven security agents who rushed in and tackled him by force.
With a degree in engineering from the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), this Habanero ended up making a living working as a bricklayer, electrician, plumber and private taxi driver.
Llorente spent the first weeks of his imprisonment in the prison known as 100 and Aldabó but was quickly transferred to the Commander Dr. Bernabé Ordaz Ducungé Psychiatric Hospital, popularly known as Mazorra. In June of last year he asked the Cuban authorities to banish him to the United States. After a year of confinement, Llorente has not been accused of any crime nor has a trial been held.
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