The Banes Court Accuses a Cuban Activist of ‘Discrediting’ State Security on Facebook
Cuban activist Leandro Pupo Garcés appeared this Monday before the Banes Court, Holguín, charged with “offending and discrediting” the Ministry of the Interior in a post on his Facebook page. The Prosecutor’s Office asked for four years of forced labor with internment for these charges, in a case that the young man considers purely “political.”
Several friends of the activist said a few hours after the trial that he was well and back home, and that he would later give details of the process. A day before the hearing, Pupo explained that he would leave one of his friends in charge of his Facebook page and that he would not take his phone with him because he had already lost one during arrests, of which he was a victim.
On July 11, the holguinero denounced the harassment he suffers from State Security – since he participated in the mass protests of 2021 – which has worsened in recent months despite the fact that the young man claims to have abandoned activism.
“They watch me, pressure and threaten all those who somehow approach me. They exclude me from society like I have the plague, then they call me ’unemployed’,” Pupo wrote in a post, in which he attached an indictment of crimes that accuse him of publishing content “against the revolutionary process.”
The document cited another post from March 11 in which Pupo criticized courses taught by the Ministry of the Interior. “The people need freedom, and what the dictatorship offers to young people are these courses to turn them into informers, into minions, to continue repressing and enslaving Cubans,” he said.
According to the text, the publication had been pointed out and denounced by agents of State Security, “who had him arrested because of his actions.” It also points out that the activist “associates with people of maladjusted social behavior” and that he is being watched as a “person of interest” for inciting the population “to hold protests.”
Pupo has been charged with the crime of defamation of institutions and organizations. “They plan to judge me by a Facebook post: defamation, that’s what they say. We all know that it’s for political reasons.” Pupo said in one of his posts that he himself had been defamed by being called “crazy” by the regime. “I have never felt obliged to attend a trial. I have never committed a single crime for which I should be tried,” he added.
Pupo has denounced numerous times the constant harassment and detentions he suffers for his political position, which have come to affect his friends, relatives and his own son, whom he does not plan to send to military service. “My son wants to study; he has other aspirations. I understand that there are rules that cannot be violated. I understand that a country at war recruits its young people, but what about a country like this that no one has attacked or is going to attack?” he asked in an interview with Martí Noticias.
Several Facebook pages reported the activist’s situation after the trial. “Friends, Leandro Pupo Garcés is at home. He is tired, and as soon as he recovers from the bad time that this dictatorship makes him go through, he himself will make you aware of everything. He thanks you for all the support given,” they wrote.
Translated by Regina Anavy