14ymedio, Havana, 1 June 2022 — Saily González Velázquez was freed on Tuesday night, after spending several hours in the custody of State Security, which detained her as she marched down a Santa Clara street demanding freedom for Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo Osorbo.
They told several family members who were waiting for her at the door of the police station that they’d release her if they provided another T-shirt for her to wear over the one she was wearing, which contained the hand-written slogans, “Free Maykel Obsorbo” and “Free Luis Manuel.”
“They freed Saily González. She is on her way home now!” informed blogger Boris Sancho on social media. The message was shared on the accounts of several activists who also confirmed that a patrol car dropped off the Villa Clara-based activist at home and that the political police also interrogated her mother.
The measure is part of a government policy denounced by the Madrid-based Cuban Observatory for Human Rights which sent a report on Tuesday to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that detailed how family members of those arrested are used as part of the harassment.
“The government strategies consist of surveillance, interfering with or suppressing the use of internet by family members to silence them or reduce their presence on social media and independent news media; exhorting them not to organize defensive legal actions before national and international organizations; infiltrating agents or trusted subjects; and offering legal benefits conditioned on forced exile,” they warn.
Until now, the young entrepreneur and former moderator of the Archipiélago platform had not made any public statements beyond demanding freedom for Carlos Ernesto Díaz González, aka Ktivo Disidente. The rapper from Cienfuegos was arrested in April after he launched an antigovernment diatribe while standing on a wall in Havana.
“All I want to say is that if I’m home, Ktivo must also be. Both of us protested similarly in a public street. Both equally demanded freedom for political prisoners, because those prisoners are also my brothers,” said González adding the hashtags that are being used for the trials against the July 11th (11J) protesters and the trial of Otero Alcántara and Osorbo.
The video she recorded while she marched, described the government as “terrorist” and “fascist” for “all the injustice and arbitrary actions” it commits. González added that the regime “cannot handle the free souls,” which is why “they want them in prison.” “Disrespect against patriotic symbols?” she asked alluding to the charges against Alcántara for his performance Drapeau, to which she responded, “That is when I see Miguel Díaz-Canel standing alongside a Cuban flag.”
At that moment, a State Security agent violently pounced on her and said, “You know you can’t do that. Give me the telephone. You know you can’t do that. What is that for?” The individual took González’s telephone and interrupted the livestream while he admonished her for her behavior.
The court day on June 1 was also expected to be intense, as the appeals of several 11J protesters in Las Vegas were expected as well as the appeal of Abel Lescay, who was sentenced to six years in prison for his participation in the July 11th protests in San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque.
Singer songwriter Silvio Rodríguez came to the musician’s defense, asking for transparency during Lescay’s trial and a higher level review of his sentence. “I do not have faith that the system will correct itself. As I have said before, it continues to be a very small circle of people, practically a sect, which makes decisions,” he said despite everything.
Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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