B.e unprecedented protests critical of the government in Cuba resulted in one death. A 36-year-old man died on Monday in a demonstration on the outskirts of Havana, said the Cuban Interior Ministry on Tuesday. According to activists, the authorities of the Caribbean state are cracking down on the demonstrators. 144 people were arrested or missing, according to the San Isidro protest movement.
According to the Interior Ministry, the dead is a man named Diubis Laurencio Tejeda. The official Cuban news agency reported that he had participated in the “unrest” in the country. The Home Office said it “regrets” the death of the man.
Protests across the country
Thousands of people took to the streets in Cuba on Sunday to express their displeasure with the worst economic crisis in 30 years. The demonstrations took place in dozens of cities. There were also protests on Monday and Tuesday.
Protesters shouted, among other things, “freedom” and “down with the dictatorship”. The nationwide demonstrations are extremely unusual for Cuba. The only gatherings allowed are usually Communist Party events.
On Tuesday, numerous people were looking for their relatives or friends in Havana. A woman who asked about her 21-year-old son at a police station in the capital reported numerous arrests in her neighborhood.
The police took many people with them, “young and old,” she said. The security forces picked up your son at home. He was handcuffed and beaten. The young man had “no T-shirt and no mask,” said the woman.
The provisionally arrested director and opposition activist Yunior García also claimed to have been beaten by security forces. “We were treated like rubbish,” wrote García, one of the most famous faces of the artist protest movement 27N, on the online service Facebook.
Criticism from abroad
The senior US diplomat Julie Chung condemned the violence against the demonstrators, their arrests and the “disappearance of independent activists”. Spain’s Foreign Minister José Manuel Albaren was dismayed by the arrest of the Cuban journalist Camila Acosta, who most recently worked for the conservative Spanish newspaper “ABC”. Acosta had to be released “immediately”, said Albaren.
Acosta was arrested on Monday, according to the “ABC” editor Alexis Rodríguez. So she worked for “ABC” for six months. She also wrote for the opposition website “Cubanet”.
Party accuses USA of meddling
According to the official Cuban newspaper Granma, President Miguel Díaz-Canel met with his predecessor Raúl Castro and the rest of the Communist Party’s Politburo on Tuesday to discuss the protests. According to “Granma”, the politicians “analyzed the provocations orchestrated by counterrevolutionary elements”, “which were financed by the US for the purpose of destabilizing” Cuba.
Data from the London-based organization Netblocks showed that access to messenger services and online networks such as Whatsapp, Telegram, Facebook and Instagram was restricted in Cuba on Monday. All telecommunications in Cuba are controlled by the state. This enables the authorities of the communist-ruled country to censor websites.
The US called on Cuba on Tuesday to lift restrictions on the Internet and “respect the voice of the people”. For this, access to “all means of communication” must be granted, “online and offline”, emphasized Foreign Office spokesman Ned Price. US President Joe Biden had previously expressed his support for the protesters in Cuba.
US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas warned Cubans to try the dangerous escape by sea to the USA because of the situation in their country. “Regardless of their nationality, migrants who are intercepted at sea are not allowed to enter the United States,” Mayorkas clarified.