Black Berets, Red Kerchiefs and Flags to Silence the Cries of Freedom in Cuba

Immense Cuban flags were unfurled to try to cover the windows of Yunior García Aguilera’s apartment. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 15 November 2021 — Several hours prior to November 15th, the date designated by the Cuban opposition to mobilize, the organizers, Archipiélago, denounced the “cruel blockade, illegal and inhumane” to which the Government subjects one of its leaders, Yunior García Aguilera.

The playwright, who had planned to go out and walk on Sunday, November 14th, dressed in white and with a white rose through Havana’s El Vedado, found himself under under siege in his home in Lisa on the outskirts of the capital, where he was once again visited by neighbors, who weeks back had knocked on his door to warn him that they would not allow him to conduct the Civic March for Change.

“You are at the service of the enemy of our people,” said the same woman who on November 1 led a similar act of repudiation at the gate of his home. “That is not true,” replied García Aguilera calmly. “It is true, you are at their service, and here in this community, this town, we will not allow any media show,” the neighbor continued calmly, but then suddenly exalted.

“I am defending my history, that of my children, the Revolution, my grandchildren,” she continued in an excited state. “And you are doing it in front of my house,” reproached the playwright gently. “Also. And I told you the other day when I came and I will repeat it today, we will not allow that activity. This neighborhood belongs to revolutionaries,” she concludes.

The video, filmed from outside and shared by the Government’s own operatives, shows the day García Aguilera experienced during the protest prior to November 15th, which he intended would create an opening for other citizens.  Since September, all the regime’s might was focused on him, when he led the call for the Civic March for Change, which is scheduled for Monday in most of the Cuban provinces and over a hundred cities around the world–at least 120 have added their support, although in some the events took place on Sunday.

“The act of putting a citizen under siege to prevent him from walking a Havana street not only revealed itself as a repugnant act of ’the culture’ of repudiation and the practice of creating a perimeter of police in civilian dress, it also consisted of covering his window using the sacred national insignia as an embarrassing curtain of repression,” he also reproached on Archipiélago’s Facebook page, which underscored the twisted use of the national flag.

Some sympathizers of the opposition group had reminded people on social media that the use of the flag for political purposes had been considered a crime on some occasions, as an excuse to prosecute dissidents, such as San Isidro Movement member Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.

The focus placed on García Aguilera is possibly what allowed that, at least, he was not arrested, as occurred with other members of Archipiélago in provinces with fewer media eyes on them. That was the case of Víctor González from Holguín, signer of the letter requesting authorization for the march in that province. In that same city, Miguel Montero, his personal friend and coordinator of the group, headed to the street to find out for himself and was detained and taken to a criminal investigation in Holguín at around 5 in the evening, though hours later he confirmed he was already home. Nothing is known about Daniela Rojo, from Guanabacoa, who has been missing for over 48 hours, despite those close to her having looked for her at the police station.

At least two other people were arrested in Quijote Park after yelling, “Long live democracy!” From what can be seen on a video shared on social media, some 15N sympathizers initiated an exchange of words, initially calm, with Government supporters. At the end of the conversation, both parties separated while the first group yelled “Long live freedom,”, to which the second group responded, “Long live Cuba’s Communist Party.” Subsequently, a police car appeared and detained the dissidents amid cries of “Viva Fidel” and “Viva la Revolución.”

A short distance from there, in the Central Park, President Miguel Díaz-Canel, dressed in a red T-shirt with Che Guevara’s face printed in black, participated in a sit-in organized by the so-called “Red Kerchiefs” in support of the regime. The leader wrote on his Twitter, “Members of several groups and leaders of civil society led an anti-imperialist event in protest of the unconventional warfare practices employed against peace in Cuba.”

Tony Ávila performed during the event and rain forced the attendees, including the President, to sit on the floor under the portico of the Alicia Alonso Grand Havana Theater.

“First Secretary of the Party and President of the Republic, Cuban Miguel Díaz-Canel, sat on the floor, among those young men and women bound together by their simplicity and the same sense of anger at what is wrong and love for the Island,” described the state newspaper Granma. A bucolic scene for an event that occurred a few kilometers from where García Aguilar was forcefully being prevented from walking.

 Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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