Guillermo Farinas Reports that the Minor Who Died at the Hands of the Police in Santa Clara, Cuba, was Arrested in Last Year’s July 11th Protests

The young Zinadine Zidan Batista “died handcuffed with his mouth against the ground, from bleeding, after receiving three bullet wounds,” said opposition leader Guillermo Fariñas. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 3 July 2022 — Cuban opponent Guillermo Fariñas revealed this Saturday the results of a personal investigation he carried out into the events of police violence in the El Condado district of Santa Clara.

According to Fariñas, who lives in that city, the full name of the 17-year-old teenager shot by a police officer is Zinadine Zidan Batista Álvarez. He says that the young man, who was the father of a little girl, participated in the protests of July 11, 2021 (11J), in Santa Clara, and was detained for 23 days, after which he had to pay a fine of 3,000 pesos.

Regarding the events of El Condado, Fariñas affirms that a “brawl” initially took place while people were standing in line in the vicinity of the La Latina store, located on Tomás Estrada Palma street, at the corner of Rodolfo Valderas. The disturbance prompted police intervention.

Relatives of Batista Álvarez, known as Los Pitirres, clashed with police officers, who used their firearms to neutralize the participants in the fight. Batista Álvarez then received “bullet wounds to the shoulder and arm,” Fariñas said.

“However, the murdered young man died handcuffed with his mouth against the ground, due to bleeding after receiving three bullet impacts from a firearm,” continues the opponent. “The fatal shot was unnecessary, because the deceased was already wounded and unable to put the life of the police officer who killed him at risk.” The policeman, according to witnesses, had the badge number 15388.

Fariñas, who carried out this investigation together with Mabel Hernández White, Dayamí Villavicencio Hernández and Yaima Villavicencio Hernández (these last two women are former Ladies in White), concludes the note by referring to Batista Álvarez “from the ground continued, with integrity, challenging the police officers and they kicked him, as well as hit him with a regulation tonfa.”

More than 24 hours after the events in El Condado, the Ministry of the Interior (Minint) finally offered its version. The note says that the agents “responded to the call of the population before a disturbance of public order, in which the lives of two women who were inside a house were in danger.”

“The two citizens,” says the official note, “were besieged by eight individuals with terrible behavior, who attacked the house with stones, carrying knives and hurling insults and threats at them.” The attack occurred “for personal reasons.”

Upon the arrival of the police officers, “the subjects attacked the law enforcement officers with stones.” One of the participants in the fight would have attacked an officer “with a chalk knife in one hand and a machete in the other, injuring him in the forehead.”

Although the statement does not identify this last aggressor, a comparison of the version of Guillermo Fariñas and the information circulating on social networks makes it clear that it is Zidan Batista Álvarez.

The statement continues, asserting that the agents “used the regulatory weapon, in defense of their physical integrity,” which led to the death of the “main aggressor, characterized by violent behavior, with multiple criminal records.” The note does not provide any details about the alleged criminal past of the young man.

The statement adds that “a citizen unrelated to the altercation, who received immediate medical assistance, was also injured,” but it does not proceed to identify who he is or under what circumstances he was injured. A “rigorous investigation for the total clarification of the fact” is still ongoing, the note concludes.

Before the authorities published their version, the official journalist Pedro Jorge Velázquez reported on Facebook that he had communicated with “the authorities of Villa Clara” and that he had received a kind of “draft” of the story that was going to be circulated hours later.

However, Velázquez points out several details that were excluded from the official version. For example, he “confirms” that the cause of the events was “a conflict between families due to an extralegal dispute over a home,” of an “extremely violent” nature. “If the action of the [Police] had been improper, as some social media sites allege, the people themselves would have confronted it,” he says.

The authorities say nothing about those “involved who were arrested” or about the “other observant sources” whom, according to Velázquez, the police interviewed. Without identifying him, the journalist affirms that Batista Álvarez “died in the hospital,” information that the authorities do not provide either in their statement and that is contradicted by Guillermo Fariñas in his note.

The local media in Villa Clara have not offered any information about Zidan Batista Álvarez and the events of police violence in El Condado. They have limited themselves to reproducing the official statement.


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