The communist Castro dictatorship is rounding up Cuban social media influencers and former political prisoners critical of the regime, subjecting them to interrogations and threats. This is socialism in action.
Cuban Influencers and former prisoner of conscience targeted by secret police
Facebook and YouTube influencers, critical of the government, are being rounded up, detained, subjected to interrogations by the secret police in Cuba, and face harsh prison sentences.
Sulmira Martínez Pérez, 21 years old, and a Facebook influencer has been detained by Cuba’s secret police since January 10, 2023 for “propaganda against the constitutional order.” She is known as “Salem” on her Facebook page where she expresses herself against the existing Cuban dictatorship. “First she was at 100 y Aldabó [detention center in Havana] and then they transferred her to Villa Marista [State Security headquarters],” details her mother, Norma Pérez, who revealed that during her daughter’s arrest that her home was the subject of a police search: “They seized our computer, our telephone, and they took away our Internet connection through Nauta.”
Hildina Nuñez Diaz, age 24, is a Youtube influencer who is speaking candidly of the reality Cubans are living on the island, and the Cuban government seeks to silence her, and has barred her husband, Jesus Reyna, working abroad from returning to the island citing that he is “a bad influence,” reports The New York Sun. On March 9, 2023 approximately 30 agents stormed into her home in Santiago de Cuba and arrested her in front of her five-month-old son, Liam Jesus, her mother, and her father. During the arrest, the officials confiscated her cellphone, computer, wifi router, and camera. They blocked off her neighborhood so that there would be no one passing by.
Former prisoners of conscience are being subjected to constant harassment that drove one activist to sow his mouth closed and initiate a hunger strike.
On February 14, 2023 state security officials detained former prisoner of conscience Josiel Guía Piloto in his home in Havana. At the time of his detention, he was hunger striking in protest over his constant harassment and surveillance. A day earlier he had sown his mouth shut in protest, and announced his intention to start a hunger strike in protest of his ill treatment by regime officials. Amnesty International issued an urgent action, and is calling “on the authorities to provide the reasons for Josiel Guía Piloto’s detention, to grant him access to a lawyer of his choosing, and to ensure he is not tortured or ill-treated while in detention.” He previously served a five-year prison sentence for “public disorder” and “contempt” for speaking negatively about Fidel Castro on December 1, 2016 following the dictator’s death on November 25, 2016.
Cuba’s new and more draconian Penal Code, which was announced in February 2022, approved on May 15, 2022, and came into force on December 1, 2022. Amnesty International on December 2, 2022 reported on its severity calling it “a chilling prospect for 2023,” highlighting the expansion of the death penalty to 23 crimes, and punishing expression for even longer prison sentences.
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