Several Relatives of July 11th (11J) Detainees are Arrested at the Cathedral in Havana, Cuba

Several police officers approach the group and demand to see their IDs. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 1 August 2022–Several relatives of 11J (11 July 2021) detainees were arrested on Monday after conducting a peaceful protest at the steps of Havana’s Cathedral. The protesters have been identified as: Liset Fonseca Rosales, Marta Perdomo Benítez, Ailex Marcano Fabelo, Delanis Álvarez Matos, Saily Núñez y Wilber Aguilar, who were taken to the police station at Cuba and Chacón in Cuba’s capital.

Fonseca is the mother of Roberto Pérez, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison while Marta Perdomo is mother to Nadir and Jorge Martín Perdomo, brothers who are serving 6- and 8-year prison sentences, respectively.  Aguilar is the father of Walnier Aguilar (a 23 year sentence), and Núñez is the wife of Maikel Puig (a 14 year sentence).

A video posted on Twitter by Albert Fonseca, a Cuban activist based in Canada, who is Roberto Pérez Fonseca’s brother and Liset’s son, shows the group yelling slogans such as “Patria y Vida [Homeland and Life]” and “Libertad [Freedom]” while someone dressed in civilian clothing, whose identity is unknown, attempts to silence them.

Later, several police officers approached the group and demanded to see their IDs. After the protesters had apparently dispersed, Fonseca himself denounced his mother’s arrest, along with that of the other  protest participants, stating that he held “the Cuban dictatorship” responsible.

Moments before the arrest, I’m asking for freedom they are just parents and spouses asking for the release of their political prisoner relatives.

During a livestream, Fonseca explains that, “it was all planned to be a protest at the Capitol building.” “We don’t know if they were infiltrated,” the activist suspects because “it was teeming with police.”

The family members then decided to look for an alternative, and, taking into consideration the public visibility factor, they marched to the Cathedral plaza in Havana.

“The protest did not last any longer than that,” added Fonseca, who believes that the progressive opening to tourism and recurrent protests have spurred, “a lot of police movement.” Although the camera could not record the moment of the arrest, as soon they demanded their IDs, the police officers arrested the family members.

According to Fonseca’s sources, officer Yoel Argüelles will be in charge of investigating the the family members’ case. “He is one of the oppressors in charge of activists and their family members.”

Before concluding the livestream, the activist added that this is the moment to pressure the regime through peaceful protests, since the economic crisis and the presence of international tourism on the Island increase the visibility of the situation.

Today, at the Cathedral of Havana, I demand freedom for all those brave family members of  political prisoners.

Fonseca promises to share more images but stated that he needs to edit them, so as to not jeopardize his sources.

Since the 11J protests, several people have been detained for protesting in favor of freedom for their family members. Some family members of political prisoner, Andy García, who is being held in Villa Clara, have been harassed and interrogated by State Security on several occasions over the last year.

In February, Yudinela Castro Pérez, mother of 18-year-old Rowland Castro, was arrested for demanding her son’s release. This also happened to Migdalia Gutiérrez Padrón, mother of one of the protesters at La Güinera, arrested by police on the anniversary of 11J for dressing in white.

Bárbara Farrat, mother of Jonathan Torres Farrat, who is only 17 years old, was jailed for several hours on December 24, 2021 for demanding that Cuban families be together during Christmas and the end of the year. Several times State Security has threatened Farrat with the possibility of charging her with sedition.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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