Police couldn’t tell a father about his son because he was taken by another “institution,” meaning “plainclothes officers at the protests.”
I’m seeing reports of 57 to hundreds of missing or arrested Cubans after Sunday’s protest, which spanned across the island. People flooded the street, demanding an end to the Communist regime.
Cuban civilians documented multiple instances throughout the country of state security agents firing live rounds into crowds and beating protesters with baseball bats and other weapons. Witnesses also documented the use of tear gas and other repressive anti-riot gear.
Cuba Decide, which advocates for the replacement of the repressive Communist Party autocracy with an election-based democratic system, published the names Monday, stating these are only those whom they can confirm with certainty are missing or in police custody as of 10 a.m. local time Monday.
— CUBADECIDE (@CUBADECIDE) July 12, 2021
Martel pointed out a few prominent names:
At the top of the list is a perennial target of Castro repression: José Daniel Ferrer, the head of the largest Cuban dissident organization, the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). While UNPACU has not taken credit for organizing any of these protests, it has laid the groundwork for years on exercising peaceful assembly on the island, often at the price of Ferrer’s arrest. Ferrer most recently disappeared in October 2019 after organizing an anti-communist protest the month before in commemoration of the feast day of Our Lady of Charity, the patroness saint of Cuba. He resurfaced in April 2020, having clearly endured torture at the hands of the regime and suffering from several health conditions that he was diagnosed with during his time in police custody. Police never justified to Ferrer or his family his extended stay in prison.
Also missing at press time following the Sunday protests is Father Castor José Álvarez Devesa, a Catholic priest who has spent years advocating for the end of authoritarianism in Cuba. Álvarez was one of three priests behind a famous 2018 letter to Raúl Castro seeking free elections in Cuba and has used his position as a clergyman to urge a peaceful transition out of communism. Reports on Monday indicated that Cuban state security severely beat Álvarez in his native Camagüey, leaving him with a visible bloody head injury before his disappearance. The priest’s whereabouts remain unknown.
Reuters reported the authorities arrested at least 100 protesters. These include people who marched on the streets, but also people who attempted to leave their houses.
The regime shut down the internet and other messaging services. People have to stand outside of the police station to find out about their loved ones:
Ariel González told BBC News Mundo he had been to his local police station twice to enquire about his son, a 21-year-old student who was arrested during the protests.
“I knew he got roughed up because some of his friends who were with him told me. At the police station they told me they couldn’t tell me where he is because he was taken by another ‘institution’,” he said referring to the presence of plainclothes officers at the protests.
Today marks 27 years of one of #Castro’s most horrendous crimes,the sinking of tugboat #13deMarzo. The youngest victim was 6 months old.With powerful hoses children were swept from their parents embrace.Any doubt as to why #Cubans are on the streets demanding freedom? #SOSCuba pic.twitter.com/wmpkpHnnvm
— Ninoska Perez C🎙 (@NinoskaPerezC) July 13, 2021
The Black Spring was almost 20 years ago. Just like in Hong Kong, part of what is fueling the Cuba protests is that a new generation with no memory of the last repressive wave is now grown up.
Just like in Hong Kong, Chinese money will come in to crush them.
— Frances Martel (@francesmartel) July 13, 2021
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