14ymedio, Havana, 28 April 2023 — A week after his arrest, activist Yasmany González Valdés is still under interrogation at the State Security headquarters in Havana, Villa Marista. His wife, Ilsa Ramos, told 14ymedio that the Cuban regime is investigating him for the crime of “propaganda against the organs of the Government.”
Ramos was able to see her husband this Thursday when she brought some personal hygiene products to the prison. The woman says that the activist already has a lawyer who will represent him, but the police have not yet given details about the accusation.
The young man, also known as Libre Libre, was arrested on April 20 after a “violent search” at his home in Central Havana. About 15 political police officers participated in the search, and they confiscated overalls, a large paintbrush and his mobile phone, in what appears to be an investigation into the graffiti against the Cuban regime that has appeared at several iconic points of the capital.
The Observatory of Cultural Rights (ODC), which initially announced the news about his arrest, said that the activist was summoned by the police at the beginning of April at the Zanja station, in the Cuban capital, where he was linked to the group called El Nuevo Directorio (END). According to Yasmany González’s testimony, on that occasion they did handwriting tests and also tried to arrest him for non-payment of fines that had already been paid.
The first poster signed by END appeared on March 20 on the facade of the Faculty of Physics of the University of Havana. The second, always with the same text – “No to the PCC*” – was on a wall in Aguirre Park, on March 23. The third, painted on April 17, was placed at the entrance of the university stadium, on Ronda Street. And the fourth and most recent appeared on the morning of April 20 at number 7 Humboldt Street, in Central Havana. In a matter of hours it generated a strong police operation to cover the letters with paint in an “act of relief.”
In addition, END remains active on social networks. It posted again on Instagram on April 22 after the account had been blocked since March 2, when, the clandestine movement said in a tweet, the “first action” was carried out. On Twitter, its last interaction is from April 27, with a reflection on Fidel Castro’s first visit to Russia, in 1963.
Yasmany González has been the subject of investigation and harassment by the political police on several occasions. In 2022, after being detained for four days in Villa Marista, the activist, who works as a self-employed bricklayer, said he would stop posting on social networks. Shortly before, he had been fined for denouncing human rights violations and demanding the release of those arrested in the protests of July 11, 2021 [11J].
The Observatory says that González has been summoned, arrested, fined and threatened with prison for his publications on social networks. The police accuse him of violating Decree Law 370, which prohibits dissemination of information “contrary to the social interest, morals, good manners and integrity of the people.”
The latest Prisoners Defenders count indicates that in March there were eight new prisoners of conscience on the Island, and the total number is 1,066 Cubans in prisons for political reasons. Among them are 120 women and 22 minors (29 boys and 4 girls). “All of them are tortured,” the organization states in its monthly report.
*PCC = Cuban Communist Party
Translated by Regina Anavy
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.