Archipielago: Yunior Garcia, Saily Gonzalez, Daniela Rojo, David Martinez

The activists Yunior García (top left), Daniela Rojo (bottom left), Saily González (top right) and David Martínez (bottom right). (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 December 2021 — In the second half of the year, a group turned the Cuban reality upside down, the Archipiélago platform, which was placed under the global spotlight after less than a year of its creation. The Cuban authorities had just announced with great fanfare the reopening of the country for November 15, when this group decided to make a formal call, in most Cuban provinces, for demonstrations to demand the freedom of the prisoners and a national dialogue to resolve the differences between all Cubans. What was unusual about the proposal was its resort to legal channels to authorize the march, which would expose the regime if it was prohibited.

Since that day, the most visible faces of this collective, founded after November 27, 2020 (27N) by the playwright Yunior García Aguilera, have become more and more known inside and outside of Cuba. The government itself was the one who placed the spotlight on them through almost daily personal attacks  after torpedoing the first date requested by the Archipiélago, November 20, by calling for that date to be National Defense Day.

Archipiélago decided, in an collective manner, to move the date to November 15, at which time the authorities changed their strategy and went on to an intimidating attack. All the signatories of the march requests or supporters of the platform and even people who had simply clicked on the ‘like’ button in their social media posts were warned by police officers or prosecutors of the possible crimes they would incur if they demonstrated on 15N.

The pressure from the authorities and the shock troops launched by the Government took effect, causing people such as the businesswoman from Villa Clara Saily González, the Guanabacoa activist Daniela Rojo, and the Cienfuegos activist David Martínez, who had led Archipiélago, to be repudiated and cornered in their homes, not to mention that on 15N the regime deployed all its artillery to keep the activists locked up in their homes.

The most visible head of the movement, Yunior García, was harassed for weeks by the state media and the police even told him which prison he would go to if he persisted in his attempt to march. The playwright moved his idea forward by one day and announced that he would walk alone dressed in white with a rose, but he could not even set foot outside his house, besieged by officialdom through the bars of his window.

The situation ended when three days later it was learned that the activist had traveled to Madrid , convinced that on the island he would be silenced and locked up between the four walls of his home or a prison. This decision, very controversial, was received by his colleagues in different ways, but it was a before and after in the life of the movement. A movement that, this last month of the year, having been raised to world fame, has been broken with the abandonment of several of its best known members. Despite everything, Archipíelago aspires to continue fighting.


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.