Cuban protestors charged with sedition, public disorder, and attacks await official sentencing for the protests that took place on July 17, 2022.
Cuban protestors charged
The families of Cuban protestors and activists and the defendants charged with public disorder, attacks, and sedition now await official sentencing as trials against them concluded earlier this week.
According to reports, the prosecution is aiming for long sentences of up to 30 years for what they have deemed criminal activities in the wake of mass protests that broke out in Cuba. The Cuban protestors took the streets in light of poor socio-economic conditions and political turmoil prevailing in Cuba and took place on July 2021 and involved hundreds of thousands of people.
The hearings were conducted in the form of mass trials across different cities over the past few months and brought up charges against over 100 defendants accused in the process.
Details on the events leading up to and following the protests
Organizations like Justice 11J report that over 1300 arrests were made and 400 people tried, while officials reported in August 2021 that 67 defendants were tried in 23 summary trials.
Although official arrest numbers are still unclear, there’s a lot of speculation about the outcome. It’s been reported that prosecutors are gunning for long sentences of up to 30 years for the accused.
But what caused Cuban protestors to take the streets in what were fairly peaceful protests in the first place?
Economic turmoil and hardship included inflation, lack of jobs, shortage of goods, power outages, and other factors that contributed to insecurity and distress for the general public. People demanded a change of government, which, suffice to say, was not a welcome response.
During the protests, it was reported that one demonstrator lost their life while various vehicles and shops had been set ablaze or vandalized, leading to greater disruption and outcry.
The protests that died in Havana's La Guinera neighborhood, where at least six members of the Román family are being held under arrest. Two brothers who were defendants in the Havana trials, Yosney, a 25-year-old laborer, 18-year-old brother Emiyoslán, and their sister, 24-year-old Mackyanis, who awaits a trial date, had been detained by authorities. Additionally, three of their cousins, including one who was freed after an $83 fine, and one who was among current Cuban protestors who are defendants, were also arrested.
What international organizations have had to say
Both international organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have been critical of the government’s attempts at squashing out dissent and silencing protestors through fear tactics.
As expressed during the trials, many of the demonstrators and Cuban protestors have vocalized regret over certain actions, including pelting stones at law enforcement, but their youth and naïveté are to blame. An overwhelming majority of protestors have no prior records or histories of criminal activity or issues with the government and have been integral members of their communities.
Cuban authorities do accept and acknowledge that certain complaints that Cuban protestors had were justified, and President Miguel Díaz-Canel has promised locals social welfare and programs to assist them. The chances the people will see these programs enacted and how far authorities will go to hold up on their word are non-existent.
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