Young July 11 protester from viral photo that captured the brutality of the Cuban regime goes into exile

The young man in the viral photo that captured the moment he was being violently arrested by the communist Castro dictatorship has fled the island into exile. The face of Rolando Remedios yelling out in defiance as he’s being brutally arrested has been seen by millions as the photo became the iconic image of the July 11, 2021 protests and the violent response by the Cuban regime.

Via CiberCuba (my translation):

Young man in iconic July 11 photo flees Cuba and seeks asylum in Germany

Rolando Remedios, the young man in the iconic photo from the July 11 protests, left Cuba on a commercial flight and is currently in Frankfurt, Germany, where he has applied for political asylum.

“My asylum process has started, and I have already completed the initial process. Everything is progressing, and they will allow me to carry it out according to the established requirements,” Remedios told CiberCuba this Sunday from Frankfurt.

At 27 years old, Remedios managed to take a Condor airline flight from Havana to Dubai and landed in Frankfurt in the early hours of Saturday for a layover. There, he informed the German authorities of his decision to seek refuge in the country.

“I had an initial interview, and then they transferred me to a processing center about five kilometers from the city center,” the young man said. “I am currently in a refugee camp as a detainee.”

Remedios invoked the “Dublin Regulation,” which is in effect in 32 European countries and allows for the processing of international protection requests from applicants who arrive in those territories. Once the authorities determine Germany is the country responsible for examining the asylum application, the applicant will have the right to remain in the country and receive material reception conditions.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in Germany is responsible for evaluating the case.

“Out of the group of about 20 Cubans who surrendered here, I think only three of us remained in Germany. The others went to Spain, where they will file their asylum requests,” he explained.

Remedios made the decision to leave Cuba after months of waiting for his humanitarian parole request with economic sponsorship to travel to the United States, which was submitted last January. The political refugee program for Cuban residents has been closed since 2018, and there is no date for its reopening.

“I was completely restricted from studying and living in Cuba because I was labeled as a counterrevolutionary,” he explained. “In reality, the work of the opposition within Cuba is severely restricted and requires tremendous courage and resilience.”

Remedios believes the increase in repressive controls, combined with extreme economic limitations, makes survival in Cuba oppressive and provokes an exodus where young people are the protagonists.

“Cuba is a country in erosion,” he affirmed. “It is a place where thinking and even breathing are illegal or not supported by the imposed laws, and you can be screwed over for anything at any moment… Remembering Martí’s phrase, one cannot live where tyrants rule with even a little light on their forehead.”

Given Remedios’ background in civic activism and his demonstrated participation in the July 11, 2021 protests in Havana, his asylum case should not face major obstacles.

Continue reading (in Spanish) HERE.

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