14ymedio, Havana, 2 July 2022 — Various videos have been circulating in social media since Saturday, showing a teenager shot by the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) in the El Condado neighbourhood in Santa Clara. The young man, 17 years old, was identified by several users as Zidan Batista Álvarez.
In the videos, a number of El Condado residents surround a group of police and various patrolmen, in the vicinity of Estrada Palma Street, the main road through the neighbourhood. The recording shows four officials near an individual (presumably Batista Álvarez) handcuffed, with his mouth open, on the street.
One of the police officers has a gun in his hand and kicks him, while the young man writhes about with a bleeding wound in his thigh, or in the abdomen, (the poor image quality makes it difficult to see exactly)
Another video shows how one of the passers-by goes to lift up the injured man, while an official prevents him, hitting him with a baton. “A shot … a shot … I couldn’t record the shots, man … covered in blood,” said the person who recorded the scene with his phone. “Assassin … a policeman shot three warning shots in the air and then shot the kid,” said one of the women at the scene.
Although there is no official confirmation of the death of Zidan Batista Álvarez, several online individuals related to him have recounted what happened in social media.
“Fly high, Zidan, may God accept you in this holy glory” is what Yeris González, a worker at the Básica Fructuoso Rodríguez secondary school in Santa Clara, wrote in Facebook. “They robbed you of your life while you were so young (…) my condolences to your family and friends,” he added. According to Batista Álvarez’ Facebook profile, he and his partner, Susleidy Guerra, were parents of a small girl.
According to one version of the event, the police came to the location because of a disturbance between illegal occupants of a property and the owners, in which another unidentified person also died, as a result of a machete wound. Batista Álvarez had been shot at one point during this altercation, after which the police fired several warning shots in the air.
According to the official Seguidores del Legionario Cubano (Cuban Legion Followers) Facebook group: “The antiCuban media are already starting to misrepresent what happened in the disturbance in El Condado, Santa Clara. As is clear in the recording and in other videos, it is impossible to see the circumstances giving rise to the police shots.”
“You can clearly hear in one of the videos, that they fired three encouraging shots (sic, as opposed to discouraging), and the subject got on top of the police with a machete. Three shots rang out and one of them was injured in the left leg, with non-serious injuries. The deceased was a 17 year old youth who received various knife wounds during the heat of the struggle. The police only came to prevent further deaths, they acted responsibly,” said the publication.
Although this statement does not constitute an official version of what took place, and no newspaper or local media has provided any report, the account by the Seguidores del Legionario Cubano gives us a clue as to the way in which the authorities will explain it.
There is very little clarity over the event and no believable source has commented on the death of Zidan Batista Álvarez or other individuals, or justified the PNR officials’ presence there and the reason why they fired.
El Condado, home of the feared Unit Five of the Santa Clara PNR (National Revolutionary Police), is a location characterised both by the level of delinquency and the large number of police and State Security.
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