The Cuban Police Intimidate Young People to Force Them to Delete Content on Their Social Networks

The tweeter Ariel González celebrating his return home after being forced by State Security to give explanations for the use of a hashtag on his social networks. (YoUsoMiNasobuco [I wear my mask])
14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, August 6, 2021 – Ariel González Falcón, one of the main promoters of the #SOSCuba label, has been forced to delete all messages tagged with that “call for help” after State Security detained him on Wednesday for about two hours in a police station where he was taken without a summons. The medical student affirms that he is trying to ask for healthcare aid and denies the insinuations of the authorities, who link the hashtag with a request for military intervention on the Island.

“I make these tweets to try to join forces and help get medications to the people who need them,” he said in a video posted on his Twitter account YoUsoMiNasobuco (I wear my mask). During the days before, González had invited others to share the hashtag in their publications. “This tweet is cited with #SOSCuba and is discussed with #SOSCuba. Let’s make a useful chain,” he asked.

“They were not intended to help or promote any military intervention in my country, much less to call people to an uprising,” adds the young man, who places himself on the sidelines of political issues and “campaigns.”

His case is not the only one. Youtuber Daguito Valdés, creator of the channel Yo hablo Fútbol (I speak football), also had to go before State Security. The young man, summoned this Thursday for an interrogation at a police station in Pinar del Río, told 14ymedio that he was “questioned” about his publications on his social networks outside of sports and what they have to do with the Cuban reality.

Saily González, founder and director of the first coworking space for entrepreneurs in Cuba, is also among those who support the use of the label as a wake-up call to the world. “It’s not an empty hashtag. The world has to recognize our pain: There are no medicines. There is no capacity in the hospitals. They can cut our internet at any time because they are making the situation visible and arrest us. The Cuban government doesn’t care about us #SOSCuba,” she wrote.

On Tuesday, on the State television program Razones de Cuba (Cuba’s Reasons), the ruling party returned to its theory that the hashtag SOSCuba was launched in New York, as stated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez, in a press conference a few days after 11J (July 11).

“They used agents paid by the U.S. Government who have committed illegal acts here in Cuba to try to obstruct the pronouncement of the United Nations General Assembly against the blockade,” said the foreign minister.

He added that since July 5, the “media laboratory that operates from Florida launched the Twitter campaign for humanitarian intervention in Cuba.” For the Minister, it is an aggression by the U.S. Government, which “today does not need missiles, does not need marines, and has an enormous capacity for unconventional warfare.”

According to Razones de Cuba, the United States uses the “cyberwarfare system to undermine the unity of the people.” The program used as illustrative content, publications from independent media and captures of tweets from computer scientist Norges Rodríguez, founder of the Yucabyte site, who also used the hashtag on his social networks.

More than a week ago, Rolando Arias Peñas and Luis César Rodríguez from Holguin were threatened in their homes by two agents of the political police. Both share on their social networks, constantly, content from independent Cuban media censored on the island, and denunciations of the regime’s repression against activists and journalists. In addition, they define themselves as “anti-communists” who advocate for freedom of the Island.

On July 23, Yoan de la Cruz was arrested; on 11J he made the first live broadcast through Facebook of the first protests in San Antonio de los Baños. Several friends and family denounced his arrest and demanded the release of the young man, whom they described as “brave.” “With a cell phone and a few megabytes, he taught the whole world that in San Antonio de los Baños there is a small town, but full of brave people like him.”

Translated by Tomás A.


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