Standing on a Wall in Central Havana, an Activist Asks for Freedom for Cubans

The citizen began to carry out his peaceful protest a approximately 8:47 am. (Camila Carballo/INSIDE/Capture/YouTube)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 28 April 2022 — “If you want Fidel to live, well let Fidel live, that is your problem. I do not want to be a communist!” The phrase was spoken very loudly early on Thursday morning on San Rafael boulevard in Havana. Some stood and watched, others filmed with their cell phones.

The clamor came from a lone man, Carlos Ernesto Díaz González (known on social media as Ktivo Disidente), standing upon the walled entrance of a playground located on the corner of San Rafael and Industria, a busy pedestrian walkway that includes numerous businesses and connects the municipalities of Centro Habana and La Habana Vieja. A few meters away there is an MLC* store which only takes payments in freely convertible currency.

“There doesn’t need to be violence, there doesn’t need to be bloodshed but they must allow us to participate in the political life of this country,” he demanded. “Whoever is a communist, let them be, but they must respect whomever does not want to be,” continued the activist in a spiel that continued for five minutes.

At several points during his presentation, the man stated, “All Cubans have a right to participate in the political life of the country, be they communists or not.” Díaz González is a member of Archipiélago and was arrested last November, on the eve of the Civic March for Change, for putting up protest posters in Cienfuegos.

“Soon they will place two or three there so that they can conduct an act of repudiation, to a Cuban who is raising his voice. But it will continue to be that way until we do what we have to do and demand what we need to demand because it is ours, because we have the right to have rights,” he said referencing the daily repression of the Cuban regime against opponents or regular citizens who criticize the government.

On Wednesday, a few hours before climbing on the wall in Havana, Ktivo Disidente had uploaded a video in which he invited Cubans to a march in favor of freedom for political prisoners.

During his speech, the man received shouts of disagreement from some people who demanded he be quiet, but he was not daunted. “The people are scared , the people have been terrorized: citations, the sector chief on your back, a snitch on you. How long will we live like this?” he insists.

“Yes, you can buy there,” he warned another who requested silence from the line to enter the hard currency store — where the line had begun to form early in the morning — and where they sell personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies for the home.

The man demanded freedom for Cuban political prisoners and again insisted, “All Cubans deserve to participate in the political life of the country. They must count on us. Inclusion! An inclusive homeland! We are not obliged to be communists or socialists. Wherever communism has passed is a disaster. They are going to turn us into a North Korea.”

Police began to congregate around him, but their intervention was hampered by the height of the location from where the man shouted. Finally, more than ten uniformed  policemen around the corner ordered the passers-by to turn off their mobile phones or move away from the area.

Later the man came down without resisting and, according to witnesses, was handcuffed and placed in a car. “I know nothing more of this sad story,” said one of those present.

Street protests have a recent history. On 4 December 2020, young Luis Robles protested on that same boulevard in Havana, a few meters from where Thursday’s events occurred. At that time, the activist peacefully protested, raising a placard which sought freedom, an end to repression and the release of protest rapper Denis Solís.

In March, Robles was sentenced to five years in prison and in the sentencing document, the judges justified their decision because the young man maintained a “marked interest in creating an environment to destabilize the social system and domestic economic development.”

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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