From Physics to Prison, a Professor Ends in Detention for Supporting 15N in Cuba

The professor said he intended to walk from the Caballero de París [Parisienne Gentleman] statue in Old Havana, to Quijote Park in El Vedado. (Facebook)
14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 5 November 2021–Physics professor, Pedro Albert Sánchez has been detained for over 48 hours since last Wednesday, when he was summoned to a police interrogation. The academic was arrested after announcing a walk “for freedom of thought, expression and peaceful protest.”

Following his arrest, police agents transferred him to a unit knows as “el Técnico de Alamar” [Alamar technical] where his family was informed he was being charged with instigation of a crime, a source close to the family who wished to remain anonymous told 14ymedio.

In a video posted on his Facebook page, Sánchez explained his walk would be from the Caballero de París [Parisienne Gentleman], in the municipality of Old Havana, to Quijote Park in El Vedado. He added that during the march he would not carry a sign or symbol but signaled that he’d be dressed “predominantly in blue.”

Heir to a long tradition of marchers, which include among them charismatic personalities like Andarín Carvajal, a Cuban athlete who participated in the marathon trials of the Saint Louis Olympic Games in 1904, the professor sought, through his steps, to vindicate citizen freedom on the Island.

The professor declared that this would be his fourth march and that “his motives were the same as those of previous marches, but more intense, given the situation in the country is the same, though more dangerous.” He added, “I support the peaceful demonstrations, and I fear that the repressive organizations themselves will be the ones to condition and create violence on 15N.”

The professor’s arrest coincided with an increase in harassment and repression against those who have shown support for the march on 15N and its organizers. On Friday, Vladimir Turró, an independent journalist, denounced that he was beaten in the street by three “henchmen” in the service of State Security, who threatened him saying this aggression was only “a preview,” in case he wanted to participate in the Civic March convened by Archipiélago.

Human rights organizations have shown concern at this wave of repression unleashed by the regime against citizens who publicly express their desire to participate in the demonstration.

Last Thursday, for example, Daniela Rojo, signer of the letter submitted to notify authorities of the march in the capital and one of the main organizers of the initiative, was summoned. On her social media accounts, Rojo explained that, although the summon was at the municipal “Organization for Minors,” it was clear that “the long arm of the dictatorship” was “showing its closed fist.”

After the meeting, she explained on social media that they’d asked her to “think of her children” and “the consequences for them if they were to grow up without their mother… Another thing that worried the official was that I ’mix my kids with politics.’ Here, I will make clear that I do not indoctrinate my children in the same way that I do not allow them to be used for political or repudiation acts,” she added.

In her statements to 14ymedio Rojo expressed that in this moment she is “more convinced than ever that there is a dictatorship in Cuba and that this dictatorship must end, precisely, for the well-being of our children.”

Despite the repression, platforms linked to the Archipiélago initiative continue to grow and have added over 60,000 followers, of which 17,200 live in Cuba. “The three cities where we have the most members are Havana (8,594), Holguín (1,236) and Miami (1,205) in that order,” they stated.

Meanwhile, the Government in the capital continues unleashing forces to prevent citizens from going to demonstrate. Thus, it announced this Thursday an “broad plan of cultural, recreational and sports activities” for the 502nd anniversary of the Villa de San Cristobal in Havana.

 Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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