‘El Gato de Cuba’ is Freed After Two Years in Jail, ‘They Did Not Extinguish Me’

El Gato de Cuba, during his livestream on Wednesday. (Captura)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 6 April 2023–Yoandi Montiel Hernández, known as El Gato de Cuba, left prison on Wednesday after obtaining a pass to visit his family last weekend.

He shared the news himself immediately via a livestream. “They thought they’d extinguish someone and they did not extinguish me”, said the influencer who was sentenced to two years in prison for contempt after lobbing criticism against the regime on his social media livestreams.

“I just bounced and I’m overwhelmed,” apologized Montiel in the video in which he was grateful for all the support received from outside and stated that it wasn’t easy for him inside prison. “The didn’t give me the slightest conditional freedom, they didn’t reduce my sentence by two months as they were supposed to, nothing, I served every minute.”

In the video the activist asserted that he will “speak with everyone” and “will tell all.” “They didn’t change me, I came out the same,” he repeated. “I didn’t give in.”

The influencer was arrested at his home on April 12, 2021 during a Ministry of Interior operation that included about twenty police officers. The trial took place a year later. At that time, there was the possibility that the attorneys and the Prosecutor might reach an agreement to release him in three or five months, but that never materialized.

Montiel was initially at Villa Marista, the general quarters of State Security in Havana, and was later transferred to the Valle Grande prison, where he remained until Wednesday. During that time, the regime rejected efforts by his family for him to be released conditionally and, instead, in May 2022 they appealed his case to increase his sentence.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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