The Young Woman Who Broadcast the Nuevitas Protests Is Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

  • Fray Pascual Claro Valladares attempts suicide in prison upon learning of his sentence, 10 years in prison for sedition
  • Between 4 and 15 years in prison for 13 peaceful protesters in the city of Camagüey
Mayelín Rodriguez Prado was 21 years old at the time of the protests in Nuevitas, Camagüey / Facebook/Mayelin Rodríguez Prado

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, April 28, 2024 — The judgments of the Provincial Court of Camagüey handed down against the demonstrators of Nuevitas in August 2022 repeat the repressive pattern of the protests of 11 July 2021 (11J). Thirteen Cubans have been sentenced to between 4 and 15 years in prison for peacefully taking to the streets to protest. According to activist Marcel Valdés, one of them, Fray Pascual Claro Valladares, “tried to hang himself” in the Cerámica Roja prison, in the same province, when he learned of his sentence: 10 years of deprivation of liberty for the crime of sedition. His mother, Yanelis Valladares Jaime, also prosecuted for sedition, was acquitted “for insufficient evidence.”

The highest sentence was for Mayelín Rodríguez Prado, the then 21-year-old who transmitted the protests through Facebook, and who has been sentenced to the 15 years in prison that the Prosecutor’s Office requested, for “enemy propaganda of a continuous nature” and “sedition.” Prosecutors also asked for 15 years for José Armando Torrente Muñoz, who was finally sentenced to 14 years of deprivation of liberty for the crimes of sedition, attack and resistance.

Jimmy Jhonson Agosto and Ediolvis Marin Mora were sentenced to 13 years in prison, both for sedition and sabotage

Jimmy Jhonson Agosto and Ediolvis Marin Mora were sentenced to 13 years in prison, both for sedition and sabotage. They are followed in gravity by the conviction of Lisdan Cabrera Batista with 11 years in prison for sedition and “other acts against State Security.”

Most of the defendants were sentenced to 10 years in prison for sedition, the crime par excellence that was also used in the sentences of those arrested for 11J. Along with that of Fray Claro Valladares, it was applied to Davier Leyva Vélez, Keiler Velázquez Medina, Menkel de Jesús Menéndez Vargas, Frank Alberto Carreón Suárez and Lázaro Alejandro Pérez Agosto.

For his part, Yennis Artola del Sol received an 8-year sentence of deprivation of liberty for “enemy propaganda of a continuous nature,” and Wilker Álvarez Ramírez received 4 years for cover-up.

The Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH) issued a statement this Saturday in which it condemns “in the most energetic terms” the resolution of this trial, which took place for two days last January.

The Justice 11J organization, which compiles the list of demonstrators detained since that day in 2021, reported in August 2022, after two consecutive days of peaceful demonstrations in Nuevitas, the “violent” arrest of José Armando Torrente, who took to the streets in the Pastelillo neighborhood. The NGO then warned that there was “audiovisual evidence of the assault on his 11-year-old daughter, Gerlin Torrente Echeverría” and another girl who accompanied her, when the police repressed the protesters.

The OCDH issued a statement this Saturday in which it condemns “in the strongest terms” the resolution of this trial

Gerlin’s mother was also violently arrested, but released on Saturday night. Fray Claro Valladares and Mayelín Rodríguez Prado were interrogated for transmitting the protests through Facebook.

The demonstrations in Nuevitas began on the night of August 18 with the cry of “the people are tired.” Hundreds of neighbors took to the streets to shout slogans of freedom and demands for electricity. They also threatened to return to the streets if the authorities cut off the power again.

The next day, the neighbors of Nuevitas reported the militarization of the place.

The protests, as observed in numerous videos shared on social networks, were massive, lit by the flashlight of cell phones and motorcycle headlights and accompanied by beating on saucepans, honking horns, clapping and yelling slogans.

Along with the cries that called for the end of the blackouts – “turn on the current, dicks” – those of “freedom” and “homeland and life” also resounded. Some citizens shouted that irreverent slogan repeated on 11J – “hey, police dickheads” – and others sang the national anthem in unison at the top of their lungs.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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