Detentions and Threats to Prevent a Demonstration in Front of the Yara Cinema

The zone around the cinema, at the corner of Avenue 23 and L, in the center of the capital, threatened to be overrun by agents of the Ministry of the Interior. (Facebook/Jesús Jank Curbelo)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, June 30, 2020 – Several activists have denounced detentions and threats this Tuesday after being prevented from attending the demonstration called for 11:00 in front of the Yara cinema in Havana, to request justice for the murder of Hansel Ernesto Hernández at the hands of the police this past Thursday.

The zone around the cinema, at the intersection between Avenue 23 and L, in the center of the capital, threatened to be overrun by agents of the Ministry of the Interior, according to several witnesses. One of them said that in the streets next to the theater, there were several buses with soldiers inside, one of them with only women, dressed in green.

The artist Tania Bruguera was detained early in the morning by agents of State Security when she left home, according to her Facebook page.

“Tania Bruguera was taken (we still don’t know if it was by soldiers or police dressed as civilians – a kidnapping) leaving her house at this precise moment (6:17 Cuban time) to prevent her presence at the peaceful demonstration that will take place today in several points of the country against #PoliceViolence,” said the publication.

Other activists, artists and independent journalists also reported on their networks, with the hashtag #30JunioCuba, that they were surrounded at their homes or received warnings from State Security to not go out in the street today.

The writer Ariel Maceo Téllez says that two State Security agents woke him up to tell him that he was under house arrest for eight hours without clarifying the reason. In the same way, the independent journalist María Matienzo said on her social networks that a “supposed Major Alejandro” knocked on her door to prohibit her from leaving for the whole day.

The activist Juan Antonio Madrazo Luna, coordinator of the Citizens Committee for Racial Integration, said on his Facebook page that the night before, he went to throw out the garbage and was “kidnapped” by agents of State Security and a police official and taken to the police station.

“Now at 5:30, Major Alejandro interrogated me to tell me that my movement was limited, that I wasn’t to leave my house today, that they’re not going to allow the protest, that there won’t be rebelliousness of any kind, and that whoever protests today will be detained even for “propagation of the epidemic,” he said.

He says he was “escorted” to his home and they warned him that he could be criminally prosecuted “under the Law in Time of Emergency and War”.

The journalist of the digital magazine El Estornudo, Abraham Jiménez Enoa, also said that he is under “house arrest.”

“Several State Security agents dressed in civilian clothing and a patrol car with four officers were stationed on the ground floor of my house to prevent me from going out to cover the march protesting the death of Hansel Hernández,” the reporter complained.

The film maker, Carlos Lechuga, wrote this morning: “I woke up smoking an exquisite cigar so that the smoke would keep away the fat agent they had stationed outside my house.”

The organizers of the protest are asking for justice in the case of Hansel Ernesto Hernández, but also for the activist, Ariel Ruiz Urquiola, who will speak this Thursday at the headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, and for Silverio Portal Contreras, a member of the opposition organization “Cuba Independent and Democratic,” and a prisoner since 2018, for humanitarian reasons due to his health.

Besides the concentration in Havana, the promoters have called on people to come out in every province.

Hernández’s death was discovered last Thursday when his aunt reported the facts on social media. The young man, 27 years old, had an altercation with the police, who went beyond what was necessary, and he was killed by an agent’s gunshot.

According to the official version, published in Tribuna de La Habana three days later, Hernández was caught robbing spare parts from a bus. A patrol tried to intercept him, and he responded by throwing stones, after which the police discharged a weapon.

According to the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH), with headquarters in Madrid, although the official version was adjusted to the facts, there was no proportionality in the police act.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.