The 11J Prisoners Detained for Shouting Freedom in Cuba

Since the end of November, the 11 July detainees are being tried in different cities on the Island. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 27 December 2021 — They did not belong to any opposition organization within the island nor, as the official media claimed in a foreseeable smear campaign, were they instigated by the “enemy” from outside. Simply, together with thousands of compatriots in dozens of cities throughout the island, they decided to go out into the streets infected by the images from San Antonio de los Baños that, that July 11, spread like wildfire on social networks.

“We are not afraid,” “we want freedom,” “we are more,” “down with the dictatorship” and “homeland and life” were some of the cries that sounded in those spontaneous demonstrations. The first jug of cold water for those events, unpublished in 62 years –  the antecedent is the Maleconazo in 1994, but only in Central Havana – was the declaration of the president Miguel Díaz-Canel that same afternoon: “The combat order is given.

The internet blackout established by the state telecommunications company Etecsa, at the service of the State, that day and the following days, generated confusion about the balance of the repression. At first, non-governmental organizations counted more than 5,000 detainees. Ultimately, there was one dead, Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, shot in the back by a policeman in the Havana neighborhood of La Güinera, in Arroyo Naranjo, on July 12.

Cubalex, the legal advisory group that accompanies the relatives of the prisoners, registers a total of 1,314 people detained those days, although it says that its list presents a “sub-registry.” Of these, at least 696 are in detention centers. Of the 570 released, many are awaiting trial on bail or in house arrest. A total of 140 people face charges of sedition.

Among those arrested are also opponents and former prisoners of the Black Spring of 2003, such as José Daniel Ferrer and Félix Navarro.

Since the end of November, the 11J detainees have been being processed in different cities of the Island. The fiscal requests range between 6 and 15 years of deprivation of liberty, for alleged crimes such as resistance, attack, public disorder, instigation to commit a crime or disrespect.

A particularly dramatic case is that of Yoan de la Cruz, the first to broadcast the protests live via networks from San Antonio de los Baños. For him, they are asking for 8 years in prison.


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