Cuban President Diaz-Canel Accuses the US of Trying to ‘Rekindle’ the July 11th Protests

Image of the protests held on July 11, 2021 in Santiago de Cuba. (14ymedio)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 16 May 2022 — On Monday, the president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, accused the United States Embassy in Havana of “reviving what happened” in the anti-government protests of last July 11.

During his speech at the closing of the extraordinary sessions of the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP), in which former president Raúl Castro (2008-2018) was present the president spoke out against Washington. He accused the United States of promoting actions to “provoke a social outbreak” on the Island.

According to Díaz-Canel, the United States — whom he accused of “cynicism” — has constructed “infamous versions of the trials” against the 11J protesters. “Blind with frustration, the empire and its employees resort to old practices of attack with modern techniques of unconventional warfare,” Diaz-Canel charged.

According to the Cuban Attorney General’s Office, 790 people have been prosecuted for these protests, of which 55 are between 16 and 17 years old. Since December, trials of 11J protesters have been registered in the country, with hundreds of defendants.

The United States and the European Union, as well as Cuban and international NGOs, have denounced irregularities in the processes and criticized the high prison sentences, which have sometimes reached 30 years.

Díaz-Canel also rejected the accusations from Washington that accuse the island of imprisoning minors under 16 who participated in the protests. “From the country that holds world records for incarceration and prison mistreatment of girls and boys, we are accused of having tried and sentenced minors under 16 years of age,” he criticized. The minimum criminal age in Cuba is 16 years, according to the Island Prosecutor’s Office.

In recent weeks, the president assured that “the established legal procedure” was applied to 27 children under 16 years of age. Ten were interned in schools for comprehensive training and conduct and 17 were given “individualized attention” in their own school.

The NGO Prisoners Defenders, for its part, reported in its last count that at the end of March it had registered measures against at least 26 adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17.


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