More than 100 protesters have been arrested or disappeared in Cuba
Havana, Cuba and Madrid, Spain (CNN) – Anti-government activists from Cuba They claim that more than 100 people have been arrested or missing on the island after the massive protests on Sunday.
The San Isidro movement, which advocates greater artistic expression in Cuba, published a list of activists it said authorities had detained.
Among the arrested is journalist Camila Acosta, according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Jose Manuel Alparis, who requested their release.
On Sunday, CNN reporters witnessed several people being forcibly detained and arrested thrown into the back of trucks At protests in Havana. protest videosفيديوهات They showed protesters overturning a police car and throwing stones at officers.
The Cuban government has not announced the number of people detained or injured in the riots.
These are the island’s largest protests in decades, as Cubans complain of lack of food and medicine at a time when the country is going through a serious economic crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and US sanctions.
In San Antonio de los Baños, a city of about 46,000 people west of Havana, hundreds of Cubans took to the streets Sunday, fed up after nearly a week of power outages during the sweltering July heat.
“Everyone was on the street,” one resident, who asked not to be named, told CNN. “It’s been six days with only 12 hours of electricity every day. That was one of the things that made this happen.”
In a nationally televised address later on Sunday, President Diaz-Canel blamed US trade sanctions for the communist-ruled island’s economic woes.
Diaz-Canel also urged his supporters to physically confront the protesters. “The order has been given to fight, the revolutionaries must be in the streets,” he said at the end of his appearance.
Camila AcostaThe arrested journalist writes for the newspaper ABC From Madrid, the Spanish capital.
ABC She reported that she was arrested Monday morning in Havana because she was leaving her home. He said that Cuban security agents later searched his house and took his computer. Hours earlier, the journalist had written about Sunday’s anti-government demonstrations in the Cuban capital.
She said it was not the first time that Acosta had faced off against the Cuban authorities for doing her job as a reporter. ABC.
The newspaper said his arrest was “totally unacceptable”. He also demanded “the immediate release of Acosta and the return of all professional materials stolen from her home”, as well as the withdrawal of charges against her for alleged crimes against the security of the Cuban state.
editor ABC He confirmed to CNN that Acosta is a Cuban citizen and that he worked for the newspaper for about six months.
The Spanish Foreign Minister, Alparis, demanded his immediate release in a tweet, saying that “Spain defends the right to free and peaceful demonstrations and demands the Cuban authorities to respect it. We defend human rights.”
US President Joe Biden has warned the Cuban government not to crack down on its newly revolted citizens. But Cuban President Diaz-Canel said on Monday, at another lengthy government meeting, that the protesters are criminals. “They stoned the police and damaged cars,” he said. “Totally vulgar, completely inappropriate behaviour.”
Cuban government officials They said Monday That there were no more protests, while they imposed a blackout on the Internet. This prevented Cubans from posting photos of the demonstrations that sparked the protests in the first place.
Meanwhile, relations between the United States and Cuba are at their lowest point in years. The Trump administration has enacted some of the toughest economic measures against Cuba in decades, and so far, the Biden administration appears unwilling to lift them.
The already struggling Cuban economy has been hit hard, with imports of tourism and goods dropping sharply during the pandemic. On Sunday, Cuban health authorities also reported a record one-day increase in new COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday joined Cuban authorities in calling for the United States to suspend the trade embargo against Cuba as a humanitarian gesture. “No country in the world should be fenced off, banned, this is the opposite of human rights,” he said.
When asked why Biden did not reverse Trump’s policies toward Cuba, he replied White House Press Secretary Jen PsakiOn Monday, he said the United States had continued to provide humanitarian aid and medical supplies, but added, “I have nothing to expect in terms of a policy change.”
US Secretary of State Tony Blinken responded to the Cuban government’s criticism, saying it “would be a huge mistake for the Cuban regime to interpret what is happening in dozens of towns and cities across the island as the result or product of something the United States did.”
“This is what we hear and see in Cuba, and it is a reflection of the Cuban people, not the United States or any other outside party,” Blinken said.
— Patrick Opman reported from Havana, The Goodman newspaper reported from Madrid. CNN’s Tara John wrote from London.