Cuban authorities make mass arrests in response to rare nationwide protests

Cuban authorities severely cracked down on a nationwide protest demonstration that took place three days ago. While the Cuban government rested on its laurels and stressed that nothing happened, some 130 people were jailed or reported missing, according to a list published on Twitter by the San Isidro protest movement, following the massive and unprecedented demonstrations that rocked Cuba, which is usually so quiet. A number of Cuban dissidents have also been arrested or reported missing.

The Cuban government is downplaying the Sunday, July 11 protest demonstrations that saw thousands of Cubans march through the streets across the country, according to the station. Economic crisis, shortages, new coronary pneumonia virus… This in a country where demonstrations are forbidden unless authorized by the Communist Party, the Cuban public cried out last Sunday that it could not take it anymore. The Cuban government justified the country’s economic difficulties with the U.S. embargo and denounced the U.S. for instigating popular protests.

Life in Cuba has been almost back to normal for several days. On July 11, there were no social explosions in Cuba,” reported our local correspondent Domitile Pilon. There were none, because of the will of our people and the support of our people for the revolution and the government,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said at a press conference on Tuesday, July 13. There was no social uprising, only some unrest.”

That’s how the Cuban government downplayed Sunday’s protests. But about 130 people were arrested, jailed or reported missing, according to a list posted on Twitter by the San Isidro protest movement, after massive and unprecedented demonstrations rocked Cuba, which is usually so quiet.

The Cuban government said the demonstrators were arrested for clashes with security forces. Cuba’s Interior Ministry announced Tuesday that a 36-year-old demonstrator died Monday while taking part in a “riot” in the popular Güinera district on the outskirts of Havana, but gave no details.

A number of Cuban dissidents have also been arrested or disappeared, such as José Daniel Ferrer, Manuel Cuesta Morua and Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White organization, and protest artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara.

On Sunday, thousands of Cubans took to the streets to express their discontent with the economic crisis. Social networks also fueled the demonstrations, creating a snowball effect across the country. But since Monday, mobile Internet networks have been cut off and the few who managed to connect and broadcast messages have been arrested, such as independent journalist Camila Acosta, a special correspondent for Spanish newspaper ABC. She has been charged with “contempt of court and disturbing public order” and could be sentenced to three to six years in prison.

On Tuesday, the deeply influential Dina Stars was also taken away by authorities while sending a message live for Spanish television.