14ymedio, Havana, 25 August 2022 — Dozens of neighbors went out to the street on Wednesday night to the Humberto Álvarez people’s council in Matanzas. “There were a lot of people and the police could not do anything,” stated a resident of the settlement near the old Dos Rosas sugar mill, between Santa Marta and Varadero, where many of the residents are migrants from the eastern part of the country and several makeshift neighborhoods.
“The place is quite violent, so it is not easy,” said the same source.
In videos shared on social media, it is possible to hear, amid the tumult, the sound of banging on pots and screams of: “join us.” At this time, that area does not have internet access.
Meanwhile, in Nuevitas (Camagüey), the regime has managed to quiet, with repression and for the moment, last week’s mass protests, the most important in Cuba since July 11th, 2021 (11J).
“Here, people are very scared because many people have been arrested who didn’t even go out to protest that day, simply for being on their porch filming those who passed,” says one of the residents from the Pastelillo neighborhood, one of those that spilled into the streets last Friday.
The young lady didn’t even want to give 14ymedio her name, “My mother is scared and does not want me to tell anyone what is happening, so I won’t be the next one they take.”
On her block, she says, “they’ve taken two, one of them a kid who keeps to himself and has a young daughter.” His wife, she says, “is desperate because she has no news about where he is being held, though she says they are being transferred to the city of Camagüey.”
“There are a bunch of people who are not from here patrolling the streets, some wearing civilian clothes and also the little roosters, who dress all in black,” she says, referring to the Black Wasps or Black Berets [Army Special Forces]. “There is a lot of discomfort about that because you can tell they walk down the street to instill fear.”
Furthermore, she adds, “Two nights ago they shut off the power and played loud music at the Bar La Patana. People were pissed off at that because the entire neighborhood was dark and they were having fun there and provoking people with their songs. I’ve seen many older people put up with what they are doing to us. Even one of my neighbors who until last week was a badass has retreated because one of her nephews is among those detained and they beat him, forcefully taking him from his house.” The neighbor told her that they didn’t give her nephew any option but to protest, “because all he’s ever had in his life is misery.”
The internet signal, which they had cut off in Nuevitas for more than three days, is returning bit by bit, but the police is heavily guarding the stores that sell in freely convertible currency (MLC).
Justicia 11J confirms this scene in a statement shared on Wednesday, “The park in Nuevitas is completely militarized. They’ve informed us that they can observe about 8 policemen on motorcycles, 6 patrol cars, 3 black beret cars and innumerable policemen.”
At the moment, the organization, which maintains a register of about fifty arrests in all of Cuba since mid-June when the cacerolazos (pot banging) began in response to the scheduled blackouts, denounced that the number of arrests in Nuevitas exceeds 18.
Among them, the 11-year-old girls who were beaten by police the night of August 19th. “This morning, Ivón Freijoo and Daimarelis Echeverría, along with their daughters, Beatriz Aracelia Rodríguez Freijoo and Gerlin Torrente Echevarría, respectively, were taken to an interrogation,” stated the organization in a post on Facebook, reiterating the denunciation made by the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights.
The organization revealed that Beatriz’s father and Ivón Freijoo’s husband, Frank Carly Rodríguez Ultra, arrived in the United States and that at this time, “is being held in custody by the Coast Guard.” For this reason, they warned of the “danger that a return to Cuban represents for this father and this family,” and asked American immigration authorities to “assess his political asylum claim based on credible fear.”
Related to that, the young neighbor who spoke to 14ymedio assured, “I know there are people who participated in the march who jumped on a raft over the weekend. There were about ten young people who knew that if they were caught they’d end up jailed.”
Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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.