14ymedio, Havana, 12 August 2021 — A letter signed by Cuban activists, journalists, intellectuals, and artists asks the Government of the Island for information on more than 800 people who were detained, and others who remain missing, after the protests of July 11.
The signatories also demand justice and transparency in the legal processes that have been carried out against the protesters.
This initiative was published on the Justicia11J Facebook page and on the Change platform, demanding the approval of the Decree Law on the right to assembly and demonstration. Both norms are provided for in the legislative schedule approved by the National Assembly of People’s Power for the year 2021. The letter specifies that these regulations must be drafted together “with a framework that regulates and does not penalize this right, in accordance with the letters and treaties of which the Cuban State is a signatory.”
The text asks the authorities to repeal Articles 208 and 209 of Law No. 62 of the Penal Code, which restricts the rights of free association and demonstration. Similarly, it asks for a law to claim constitutional rights before the courts.
They also ask for an Amnesty law for political prisoners, a national reconciliation commission and a public apology from President Miguel Díaz-Canel for promoting the use of force and repression against citizens.
Among the signatories of the letter is the director of the Cubalex Legal Information Center Laritza Diversent, who has provided legal advice to opponents and political prisoners and in this particular case to the families of detainees seeking justice.
Cuban artist Salomé García Bacallao, journalists Ivette Leyva Martínez, Luz Escobar, Cynthia de la Cantera, Darcy Borrero Batista and María Matienzo, art historian and activist of the San Isidro Movement (MSI) Anamely Ramos, as well as researchers Eilyn Lombard Cabrera and Camila Rodríguez, complete the initial list of rubrics to which more than 700 names have already been added.
The July 11 protests began in San Antonio de los Baños, Artemisa province. After learning about this demonstration through videos that circulated like wildfire on social networks, the streets of Cuba became a hive of people, and protests were added in Matanzas, Camagüey, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos and Havana. Shouts of “Cuba Libre,” “Patria y Vida” (Homeland and Life) and “Down with the Dictatorship” echoed through the most important streets of the country.
So far, the Cuban government has not recognized official figures of detainees, injuries or deaths. It has only admitted the death of one person, Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, 36, a resident of the Arroyo Naranjo municipality of Havana.
Along with hundreds of anonymous citizens who came out on July 11 are several of the main figures of the Cuban dissidence and they also ended up in detention. Among them, the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the MSI; Félix Navarro, from the Democratic Action Unity Roundtable; and José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba.
Ferrer’s wife, Nelva Ortega Tamayo, from the city of Santiago de Cuba, told 14ymedio that she has gone several times to the Versailles State Security investigation center to speak with the opponent, but she has not been able to communicate with him a single time, only once in the last month.
“As long as we do not see him and they don’t give him the right to a phone call, we report him as kidnapped and missing,” said Ortega Tamayo.
According to the list made by several volunteers under the coordination of Cubalex, of the more than 800 detainees, 377 remain in jail, 10 of them in a state of enforced disappearance.
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