Cubans who dared to complain about blackouts on May 28 arrested for ‘public disorder, contempt, and assault’

May 28 protest in Juraguá (Cienfuegos),

From our very busy Bureau of Socialist Tolerance, Compassion, and Social Justice

This is what will inevitably happen if you dare to complain about anything in a socialist utopia. These men and women who were arrested over the past few days were merely expressing their frustration about Castro, Inc.’s inability to produce electricity. So, in Cuba complaining amounts to “assault” and merits the imposition of an astronomically high bail of 200,000 pesos ($8330 USD). The average salary in Cuba is about $16 US dollars a month.

Loosely translated from Diario de Cuba

At least ten people were detained in connection with the May 28 protest in Juraguá (Cienfuegos), reported the group Justicia 11J on Facebook, which has managed to clarify the situation of some of those under arrest.

According to the platform’s post, the protesters were taken to the Provincial Unit of Criminal Investigation and Operations (Upico), the State Security Investigation Unit, and the First Station of the Revolutionary National Police (PNR).

Authorities imposed a bail of 200,000 Cuban pesos, according to local sources who identified the detainees as Linet Columbié Ramírez, accused of “public disorder”; Maikel Ojeda Rodríguez, accused of “contempt”; Adrián Morales Ojeda, accused of “contempt”; Osmani Paz Hernández, accused of “public disorder.”

Justicia 11J also reported the detention of Damián Velázquez Hernández, accused of “assault” for an altercation with a police officer; Jorge Luis Najarro Hernández and Yasniel Najarro Hernández, brothers accused of “public disorder”; Erich González Lima, a journalist who worked in radio in Cienfuegos; Alberto Donald Serpa, alias Albertico, accused of “public disorder”; Norge Cuba, accused of “public disorder.”

Maykel García, accused of public disorder, was released after paying bail, and citizens Emilio Vladimir Cobas Pérez and Anoidis Vázquez Montes de Oca were identified after the day of the events, summoned for interrogation, and made to sign a warning statement.

Justicia 11J denounced that independent media reported on the persecution of residents to prevent the public from knowing what happened. “We urge the regime to stop censorship and the criminalization of protest,” demanded the group, which used information from local sources for the update.

“The regime’s institutions and media have not reported on what happened in the community near the ruins of the Central Electronuclear (CEN) in Cienfuegos. We ask for help from family, friends, and the general public to obtain details and images of the protest events and the victims of repression in Cienfuegos and other similar incidents in Cuba,” the platform stated.

Yanet, the mother of Leandro Michel Sánchez Abreu, 30, told Martí Noticias on Tuesday that she was able to visit her son for 15 minutes at the first police unit of the provincial capital.

According to her, her son says that a total of 15 people are arrested with him for the protest, including two women. Yanet told the media that she found Sánchez Abreu well and that the authorities’ treatment was good.

“He was detained because he didn’t have his ID the day the protest happened here, in Cienfuegos, in the nuclear city. Some people say he was at the protest, that they were playing a conga. They were banging on pots,” said Yanet.

Regarding Erick González Lima, activist Yoanni Limonta confirmed that the young man worked as a commentator on a local radio station and that he is accused of “public disorder.”

Last week, upon hearing the first reports of detentions at the Juraguá protest, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Pedro Vaca, denounced the events. “I am concerned about reports of attacks on protesters in Cuba, who were expressing themselves against power cuts in Cienfuegos,” he wrote.

“The State must refrain from repressing people who express themselves publicly, and respect and guarantee freedom of expression,” he noted.

Recently, the Municipal People’s Court of Niceto Pérez, in the province of Guantánamo, upheld the prosecution’s requests for sentences of up to nine years in prison against six Cubans accused of various crimes for protesting in the Caimanera municipality on May 6, 2023.

The prosecution requested nine years in prison for Daniel Álvarez González for the crimes of public disorder and incitement to commit a crime, and six years for Luis Miguel Alarcón Martínez for public disorder and assault.

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