Relatives of ’11J’ (July 11th) Prisoners Detained in Havana Accused of Public Disorder

A group of relatives of the 11J prisoners was arrested this Monday for asking for their release before the Cathedral of Havana. In the photo they make the sign of “L for Libertad (Freedom).” (Marta Perdomo)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 2 August 2022 — The relatives of the 11J (11 July 2021) prisoners detained this Monday outside the Cathedral of Havana are accused of public disorder. After midnight, the niece of one of the detainees confirmed that all the women had already been released.

Liset Fonseca, mother of Roberto Pérez Fonseca; Marta Perdomo, mother of Jorge and Nadir Martín Perdomo; Ailex Marcano, mother of Ángel Jesús Véliz Marcano; Saily Nuñez, wife of Maikel Puig Bergolla; and Delanis Álvarez, wife of Duniesky Ruiz; all left the provisional detention center known as Vivac, in Calabazar, in the Havana municipality of Boyeros, after paying a fine of 7,000 pesos.

Meanwhile, Wilber Aguilar, father of Walnier Luis Aguilar, is still under arrest, although they will be released this Tuesday; along with Luis Rodríguez, husband of Angélica Garrido. The latter, who did not appear in the first report of detainees, was unaccounted for for several hours, according to the Justice 11J organization.

In addition, the activist Leonardo Romero Negrín approached the police unit to inquire about the situation and was also briefly arrested, although he was released moments later without charge.

“Peaceful public protest is a human right contemplated in the Cuban Constitution,” claimed Justice 11J, which attended the families this Monday and has called for the attention of the international community and the press to firmly oppose the punishment of peaceful demonstrations of discontent.

The arrests took place at 2 in the afternoon on Monday when the group of relatives of prisoners met at the door of the Cathedral – although they were scheduled to do so before the Capitol and changed their minds due to the strong police presence – carrying a sign and demanding the release of their children and husbands, all of them sentenced to prison terms ranging between eight and 23 years for demonstrating on July 11, 2021.

The small group shouted “freedom” and “patria y vida” (homeland and life) when they were summoned by several agents who approached those present to ask for their documentation and, finally, took them into custody.

The protest coincided with those that have been sweeping the island in recent weeks due to blackouts and power outages, which are wearing out the patience of Cubans in a malaise that seems to increase every day.

At least a hundred people took to the streets in the Altamira Popular Council, in Santiago de Cuba, after about 10 hours without electricity. It was the most resounding of the protests on Monday, but the the sounds of the people banging on pots and pans broke out different parts of the island and videos of Consolación del Sur, in Pinar del Río, circulated; Antilla , in Holguin; Mabay, in Bayamo (Granma province) – where the cry “the people united will never be defeated” was heard; and in Trinidad, in Sancti Spíritus.

Over the weekend there was another protest in Nuevitas, Camagüey, coinciding with the failure of a block of the municipal thermoelectric plant, which had just been synchronized with the national energy system. Similar protests occurred in Bauta, Artemisa; the Central Australia community, in Jagüey Grande, Matanzas; and the Covadonga neighborhood in the municipality of Aguada de Pasajeros in Cienfuegos.

In the midst of this situation, at 1 in the afternoon there was a breakdown in Havana that “provoked a strong oscillation in the National Electric System” and the loss of three mobile generation units, those of Mariel, Tallapiedra and Regla. In addition, the Energas Jaruco units were also disconnected, causing an unforeseen deficit of 312 MW in addition to the announced deficit of more than 400 MW.

July has been marked, ultimately, by a multitude of protests: 263 of them according to the Cuban Observatory of Conflicts, which highlights from these cacerolazos [banging of pots and pans] in the darkness in which they occur due to blackouts, a scenario that also gives some protection to Cubans, fearful of the kind of repression that followed the demonstrations of 11 July 2021 (11J).

According to the NGO, 71.4% of these protests are caused by economic and social problems, while 28.6% are politically motivated. “The imbalance between the two reflects the general crisis that in Cuba has turned so-called daily life into daily death,” the report states.

The observatory considers that the national crisis is marked by the collapse of the energy system, the health and sanitation problems caused by dengue fever and the lack of medicines, and the rampant inflation suffered by the Island.

“The government’s inability to justify the national disaster continues to cause fissures in the state apparatus itself,” warns the Observatory, which considers the provincial press reports pointing to poor health or economic indicators to be a sign of this weakness. In addition, at the international level, the regime’s support for Russia, the text maintains, worsens the external perception of it.

“The rulers continue to avoid the transformation of the system that blocks the solution [to the problems]. In July it was shown that terror no longer paralyzes Cubans,” the report concludes.


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