“People who are following us from abroad must know that if we are not able to go out to protest today, it is not because the causes are not important, but because they are cornering us, they are showing strength in the streets, parading in military cars , watching our homes,” said in a virtual group to journalists from around the world youtuber and influencer Dina Stars.
The 25-year-old actress, who has 44,000 Twitter followers, was arrested at the last rally, in July, in the middle of a broadcast. Released, she started to set up programs through stories on Twitter to tell what has been happening.
Since early this Tuesday (15), your channel has been gathering testimonies from those who are trying to mobilize to leave. “This time, I’m broadcasting from my mother’s house, everyone here is afraid, but they’re supporting me. For now, I think the most important message I want to get across is that if the protest is weak, it’s not because we’re chickening out, it’s because the regime isn’t letting us do anything.”
Through an internet chat, protesters on the island and supporters from other countries had been exchanging information about how they intended to act this November 15th.
Blogger Yoani Sanchéz drew attention to the fact that the city was being watched and almost no one had taken to the streets during the morning. “We’ve already been made to see that the armed army is circulating, the Black Berets have also been circulating since yesterday. The houses of the main protest leaders are surrounded. If there is no protest, it is pure intimidation. It is impressive how the government armed itself to overthrow even one. simple smartphone in the hand of a teenager who is on the street in Havana today”.
Some journalists threatened the day before continue with their limited movement. Such is the case with Abraham Jiménez Enoa of the Washington Post, who is under house arrest. Others who cannot leave their homes are journalists from the Spanish agency Efe, who, as they do not have their credentials, cannot circulate without the risk of arrest.
The Committee to Protect Journalists urged authorities to respect journalists who stand against censorship and harassment. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called these “deterrent strategies”.
Reports by journalists who were able to circulate a bit in Havana show that areas such as the Capitol, Prado and El Vedado have a strong police presence and help from “revolutionary” groups, citizens prepared to “defend the revolution”.
At 3pm local time (5pm in Brazil) a tweet began with the hashtags “Cuba Libre”, “Cuba Vive y Renace”, “Cuba 15N” and “Cuba é a dictatorship”.
Soon after that, some protesters began to warn that they were going to leave their homes, even though they were surrounded by security groups. Saily de Amarillo was one of those who managed to leave her home and would be walking along this beginning of the demonstrations.
The events scheduled for this Monday seek to continue the spontaneous and unprecedented demonstrations that took place on July 11 and took thousands of people to the streets to protest against the power cuts, the persecution of regime dissidents and the lack of food and medicine . The scarcity of these products has been aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has interrupted the entry of tourists —tourism is the country’s main industry— and remittances from Cubans abroad.
While the July protests started suddenly, this time the protesters sought international support by asking the regime’s permission for Monday’s protest. It is, after all, a right guaranteed in the Constitution, and if the government did not allow it, it would show signs that the law is a dead letter.
That’s what happened. The dictatorship refused permission, on the grounds that, during the period, there will be military exercises aimed at promoting the reopening of the island and the arrival of tourists. The entry of foreigners will be allowed for the first time since the pandemic, from this second on.
So far, the repression of the movement has already led to the arrest of 1,175 people, according to the Cubalex association, which monitors issues related to political arrests on the island. More than half of them remain behind bars and only about 60 trials have been held.
According to the NGO Human Rights Watch, in a report carried out through interviews with victims and their families, prisons are places for psychological torture, such as sleep deprivation and humiliation — dissidents were, for example, forced to strip off their clothes and walk for hours screaming “Hooray, Fidel”.