Large Police Deployment on Havana’s Malecon and Against the Independent Press

A strong police presence is deployed along the Malecón and other areas of Cuba’s capital. (File)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 20 May 2021 — On May 20th the Cuban regime is celebrating the 119th anniversary of the Republic, with a strong police operation that keeps several independent activists and journalists under siege.

The 14ymedio newsroom in Havana is without internet and one of our reporters, Luz Escobar, once again has a State Security agent at her building who prevents her from leaving her building.

The same police surveillance at the doors of their homes is reported by the journalist Héctor Valdés Cocho, the artist Tania Bruguera and the opposition and political analyst Julio Aleaga.

Aleaga is also a witness to the strong deployment established on the Malecón, where word had spread among activists that this Thursday there would be a demonstration to commemorate the anniversary of the creation of the Republic of Cuba.

23rd Street starting from L Street, known as La Rampa, is controlled by uniformed police and State Security agents in civilian clothes. A reporter for this newspaper also observed several black vehicles belonging to the political police.

In any case, that part of the Malecón has been under surveillance for months, as a result of one of the most unpopular restrictions imposed to try to contain the Covid-19 pandemic: it is forbidden to sit on the wall of the seaside promenade.

In Santa Clara, the regime opponent Guillermo Coco Fariñas, winner of the European Parliament’s 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, was detained for several hours after demonstrating in his neighborhood, something he had announced that he would do this May 20.

This Thursday, on the occasion of the anniversary, the US State Department issued a statement congratulating the “Cuban people” on their independence. In it, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that “America stands by their side and seeks to support them in their fight for freedom, prosperity and a future with greater dignity.”

Blinken also said that they will support “those who improve the lives of families and workers, the self-employed, who have forged their own economic path, and all those who are building a better Cuba.”


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