At Least 184 of the 187 Trials in Cuba in January were for the July 11th (11J) Protests

Images of the trial of J11 protesters in La Güinera broadcast on state television. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 3 February 2022 — The Madrid-based Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH), denounced the continuing “repressive spiral in Cuba,” amid the silence of Spain, the European Union, and Latin America. In its last report, the organization documented 643 repressive actions in January, of which 136 were arbitrary detentions and 507 other types of abuses.

Although Spain and the European Union have expressed concern over the repression, arrests, and the July 11th (11J) trials and have also demanded the right to protest, OCDH considers these expressions insufficient, “given the grave situation,” and interprets these as complicity, according to its executive director Alejandro González Raga.

The Observatory’s report includes the trials of July 11th protesters in the count of human rights abuses in the first month of the year. These proceedings, it affirms, are manipulated, with witnesses who favor the official version, and an inappropriate application of the law by judges who are not independent. “Of the 187 documented trials, at least 184 have been for the protests,” the report specifies.

These are followed by harassment, surveillance of homes, summons, and threats or fines, with the intent to intimidate. Seven activists were forced into exile, the OCDH confirmed.

“The situation in Cuba is worse by the day. The announcement of a new Penal Code, which even turns some rights conferred in the Constitution into crimes and maintains the death penalty, increases concern at this time. European diplomats as well as the office of Michelle Bachelet at the UN have placed much hope in the regime’s new laws. What will they do now?” said González Raga who thanked the artists who have canceled their participation in the San Remo festival in Havana.

Also this Thursday, Cuba Próxima, which is also based in Spain, published a statement in which the organization denounced that on Tuesday historian Leonardo Fernández Otaño, member of its Deliberative Council was summoned, interrogated, and subjected to demeaning treatment, by agents of the Department of State Security.

Fernández Otaño protested alongside Camila Rodríguez, Carolina Barrero, and Daniela Rojo at the entrance to the People’s Municipal Tribunal of Diez de Octubre on Monday, the first day of the trial for 33 of the J11 protesters. The three women were detained for several hours, but although he was not arrested he did have to appear before State Security.

“Why are Leonardo Fernández Otaño and other citizens being criminalized? For openly advocating for the release of hundreds of Cubans unjustly imprisoned,” the statement laments, in addition to commending the activist’s work at a time when moral support and solidarity were needed by those affected, who are mostly poor.

Cuba Próxima rejects the arbitrary summons and without the presence of a lawyer, experienced by many activists and opponents in Cuba, beginning with the case of Fernández Otaño and argues that their objective is to bend the will of the affected so they renounce their rights. Furthermore, they express solidarity with the most recently affected, specifically those who participated in the protest on Monday, among them Arián Cruz Álvarez Tata Poet, Leonardo Romero Negrín, and Alexander Hall, in addition to Saily González, arrested in Santa Clara.

Among the demands of the association are an end to the repression of activists and their family members, and the initiation of an investigation into who committed these abuses of power, specifically who tried to suppress the protests on July 11th.

Lastly, they denounced the long sentences faced by the defendants and confirmed their “commitment to fight for the release of all political prisoners, the construction of a pluralist Republic, democratic, based on and oriented toward respect and the exercise of all human rights, sociopolitical inclusion, rule of law and political agreements and seeking the welfare of the Cuban nation.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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