Cuba has decided that it will prosecute citizens arrested during the many protests that took place earlier this month.
In another blow to human rights, hundreds of protesters will be brought up on charges of inciting unrest, reported The Wall Street Journal. This is concerning because it falls under the same oppressive behavior that led to the most recent demonstrations in Cuba.
However, this is not the first time that Cuba has decided to punish an individual for what many in the states take for granted as a civil right. In December, the Havana Times reported that on December 4, 2020, a young man holding a protest sign was arrested and charged with acts against state security. He was fined 1,000 pesos. As of April 2021, American-based activists were still calling for his release.
Cuba’s ongoing detention of the arrested individuals from its most recent demonstrations is also straining family members, both on the island and stateside.
“My mother just called me crying,” said Arnaldo Falcon, whose brother, Ariel Gonzalez Falcon, 21, has been detained since Sunday in El Cotorro. Arnaldo is a medical student and said his parents went to the prison and waited for hours only to be told their son would be held for four more days, according to the Miami Herald.
El Toque, an independent journalism outlet for Cuba, released a Google spreadsheet of 383 protesters who had been detained, their vital information (age, residence, etc.), and current imprisonment status. According to information provided to the Human Rights Watch, over 500 individuals have been detained.
A week ago, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel took some responsibility for the unrest and said that the government needed to address its failings. He previously only blamed social media and the United States.
However, he has allowed the government to move forward with prosecuting and sentencing citizens without so much as legal representation shows that Cuba’s leaders prefer a much lower level of accountability than they expect from the people they are supposed to serve.