The Cuban Regime Continues with Arrests in Nuevitas

Jimmy Johnson Agosto was arrested by the police on his way back from having an electroencephalogram. (Justice 11J)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 8 September 2022 — Despite the apparent calm in Nuevitas, Camagüey, where three weeks ago the largest demonstrations took place on the island since July 11, 2021, the Cuban regime continues with arrests. The organization Justice 11J reported on Wednesday the arbitrary arrest of five people in recent days.

The legal platform pointed out, on Tuesday, the arrest of Jimmy Johnson August, 26 years old, when he returned from having an electroencephalogram after an episode of epilepsy.

In a Facebook post, the organization explains that Johnson Agosto was arrested without shoes and is still in poor health. He remained in these conditions in a unit of the Nuevitas Police, where he was also not offered food or carbamazepine, the drug used to stabilize an epileptic patient during a seizure.

The young man was transferred to Villa María Luisa, the State Security prison in Camagüey, and the authorities have not reported the type of crime for which he is accused. “There is only one alleged complaint of having damaged a store window” during the protests, Justice 11J points out, taking as the only evidence that the young man possessed “a slingshot and pellets, that he has used for years to hunt doves.”

The organization also reported that the police searched his home, but it’s unknown if they had a court order to support this procedure. “We demand the immediate release of Jimmy, who remains in detention under the imminent risk of deterioration of his health,” the movement insisted.

Likewise, Justicia 11J confirmed to 14ymedio the arrest in the Camagüey town of La Gloria of four more people, whom it hasn’t yet been able to identify, in similar circumstances.

On the night of August 19, hundreds of people in Nuevitas took to the streets banging on their pots and pans, not only to demand the restoration of the electricity service, but also to shout “freedom.” The demonstrators were immediately repressed by the police and military, and there were even complaints about two girls who were beaten by the uniformed men.

Recently Roberto Morales Ojeda, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba, said that the Government understands the “annoyances and inconveniences” caused by the continuous power outages, which, he asserted, don’t “justify” the demonstrations.

“There will never be a justification for those who try to generate vandalism, destabilizing acts or promote violent demonstrations in the country. Each of these provocations will have a strong response within the framework of the law,” he said at an event for the 65th anniversary of the Popular Uprising on September 5 in Cienfuegos.

The organization Prisoners Defenders (PD) said on Thursday that there are 1,016 political prisoners in Cuba, of which 43 were arrested this month alone, and 904 correspond to the demonstrations of July 11, 2021.

In a statement, PD points out that hundreds of arrests have been carried out since the demonstrations in Nuevitas, including adults and children beaten “savagely” by the security forces. “In particular, there are 43 defendants, which is the most conservative figure possible since many families are terrified and still don’t dare to speak.”

PD pointed out that the repression occurs at the hands of a new unit of the Counterintelligence Services, created by people from Havana, who study all possible protests and coordinate the deployment of the security forces. PD adds that this unit has an “order to use violence without limit to stop demonstrations and take to prison, without consequences for any of the agents, officials or civilians involved in these operations, even in the event of deaths.”

The protests of Nuevitas were also alluded to by the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH), which, in a report released on Tuesday, pointed out that at least 327 repressive actions have been recorded; 90 correspond to some type of arrest and 237 to unspecified abuses.

The OCDH warned that the exact number of repressions during the protests in both Nuevitas and Artemisa – where the police thwarted the attempt of Cubans to flee – is unknown, but said that judging by the images, there could be more than a hundred.

The images show evidence of abuses, such as entry into homes, harassment, police summonses, threats, fines, physical assaults, impediments to travel to foreigners and forced exile. OCDH also recalls that five independent journalists were forced to give up their professional activities due to threats from State Security.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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