14ymedio, Havana, 9 May 2023 — Those arrested in this Saturday’s anti-government protests in Caimanera, Guantánamo, will be tried for “altering public order.” In an informative note, Saimara Llamaré Galano, president of the Assembly of People’s Power of this town, assured that what happened will not go “unpunished” and that the detainees will have “all constitutional guarantees and respect for their rights,” despite the fact that relatives of those arrested have already reported ill-treatment at the police station.
On Saturday night, hundreds of Cubans took to the streets to protest in the emblematic municipality that is located near the United States naval base. The demonstration, with a majority participation of women and young people, was broadcast on social networks, and the Cuban regime immediately cut off the Internet connection.
As has happened with the protests in the last two years — especially those of 11 July 2021 [’11J’] and those of the summer of 2022, coinciding with the power cuts the government of President Díaz-Canel has tried to paint the demonstrations as people who “only want to disturb the tranquility of the citizens,” adding in this case that they were “in a state of drunkenness.” According to the note, local authorities first arrived to “address the situation,” but the detainees circumvented the “civilized dialogue to expose their demands,” so police action was required.
“Acts of this nature that threaten social peace will not go unpunished,” says the president of the Assembly in the text.
The images disseminated revealed the violence exerted by the National Special Brigade of the Ministry of the Interior, known as the Black Berets, who beat and arrested several people in the crowd. The statement does not provide information on how many Cubans were arrested, but independent journalist Yosmany Mayeta Labrada shared on his Facebook page that at least five were arrested. Their names are Yandris Pelier Matos, Felipe Correa Martínez, Luis Miguel Alarcón Martínez, Rodi Álvarez González and Daniel Álvarez González.
Assembly president Llamaré Galano described the transmissions and treatment in the independent media of the protest as a “campaign orchestrated from the outside by the usual haters,” who through social networks “invoke” the “acts of vandalism, called to attack the lives of citizens and even for a military intervention.” She also pointed to the celebration of Labor Day on May 5 as an “expression of support for the Revolution,” in her opinion backed by “the people of Caimanera.”
The information note of the Popular Assembly was released by the official Channel Caribe, causing a division of opinions among readers, since there are those who are in favor of the “hard hand” and others, the majority, who question the behavior of the security forces.
“The violent ones there were the policemen. It’s in the video and we’re not blind,” one user wrote. Another commentator joined the criticism stating that the “true manipulation” is to pretend that everything is fine when there is “hunger, misery and inattention.”
On Monday, the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights warned that journalist Yeris Curbelo Aguilera, who interviewed the relatives of those arrested at the protest, was summoned by State Security.
In one of her videos, Victoria Martínez, mother of two of the detainees — Felipe Correa and Luis Miguel Martínez — denounced the police brutality. According to her account, the uniformed officer “kicked” one of her sons “in the head,” and she does not know the state of his health. His brother, who is mentally retarded, went out to defend him and was also the victim of “hits everywhere.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
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