14ymedio, Santiago de Cuba, 14 September 2023 — On Thursday, a sign with the phrase “Canel, you asshole, hand over the country” was scribbled on an exterior wall in Palma Soriano, an area in downtown Santiago de Cuba. Sources living in the area confirmed the graffiti can be found near a very busy intersection where Lora Street crosses Libertad Avenue.
“It was before the markets were open, in a well-travelled area near where cars drive by. It’s full of police and State Security agents,” says a local resident who prefers to remain anonymous.
Though several reports on social media as well as sources from the Santiago neighborhood confirmed there had been a power outage in the area lasting several hours, the previously mentioned source speculated there could be other reasons for the graffiti: “It’s not just because of the blackouts. It’s for several reasons. It’s because of all the problems we’ve been having here.
According to Cubanos por el Mundo [Cubans for the World], the graffiti appeared on the house of Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, who is serving a seven-year prison sentence for participating in the 11 June 2021 demonstrations. The publication claims that three other people from the same block are also serving time for the same protests.
Palma Soriano was the second area to erupt in protests on 11 July 2021 after the massive demonstration in San Antonio de los Baños went viral. The young man who livestreamed it, Yoan de la Cruz, was released last May after almost 10 months in prison. First sentenced to six years in prison, his sentence was reduced to five years of house arrest.
The people seen on the streets of Palma Soriano on June 11 were mostly young. Commander Ramiro Valdés, who was visiting the area on that day, was heckled by the crowd according to videos released by critics of the government.
Fifteen area residents were arrested in a police roundup after the protests. They were charged with public disorder, contempt and battery, and received sentences of up to 12 years in prison.
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