HAVANA – After a group of artists was evicted during a hunger strike to protest a criminal case against a rapper, dozens of demonstrators stood in front of the Cuban Ministry of Culture building on Friday night in Havana to demand answers.
The artists who were evicted on Thursday belong to a group known as the “Movimiento San Isidro,” a movement against censorship that is named after a neighborhood in Old Havana.
While protesters on social media say the government is once again limiting freedom of expression and violating human rights, Cuban officials say the eviction was related to safety violations during the coronavirus pandemic.
The group of Cuban artists has been demanding the freedom of Rapper Denis Solis, who is serving eight months in prison after he was arrested on Nov. 9 for criminal contempt. Solis shared a video of a police officer who entered his home without his permission.
U.S. diplomats and human rights activists have condemned Solis’ case and the Cuban government’s actions against the members of the San Isidro movement, also known as SIM. The Washington Post published a dissenting opinion on Solis’ case by Carlos Manuel Alvarez, a Cuban author, on Nov. 22.
“The repressive machinery of the state was capable of disguising its constant episodes of injustice quite effectively,” Alvarez wrote. “But that cloak, after years of resistance from various political opposition groups, seems to have been finally torn off, never to be mended again.”
Meanwhile, in Miami-Dade County, a group of supporters was planning a 2 p.m., Saturday demonstration of solidarity with the protest in Havana at Versailles in Miami’s Little Havana.
Last night regime agents stormed and forcibly removed peaceful activists in their latest string of human rights abuses. @Mov_sanisidro went on a 10 day hunger strike to protest precisely such attacks. The international community is demanding the regime respect Cuban human rights.— Michael G. Kozak (@WHAAsstSecty) November 27, 2020
Denis Solis rapped for a free Cuba & the Castro regime sentenced him to 8 months in prison.— Michael G. Kozak (@WHAAsstSecty) November 20, 2020
Right now, police are harassing, to include use of a chemical agent, those peacefully gathered to #FreeDenis.
The regime must cease this utter disregard for human rights.
#CUBA: Several activists are on hunger strike as a response to the sentencing of rapper #DenisSolis from @Mov_sanisidro. Two of them are now in critical condition. The accusations against Denis are baseless & he should immediately be released⬇️ #FreeDenis https://t.co/tqgNruSnkV— Civil Rights Defenders (@crdefenders) November 24, 2020
ON THE WEB (Spanish)
Power just went out in the street where more than 200 artists, activists and others are protesting in front of #Cuba’s culture ministry. Police no longer letting anyone in. But the vibe here is still upbeat, with the crowd singing, waving their phone torches, clapping ... pic.twitter.com/bEJM3Pth7N— Sarah Marsh (@reuterssarah) November 28, 2020
Hoy viví un momento historico en Cuba. Más de 100 artistas, activistas y periodistas nos citamos frente al Ministerio de Cultura para exigir el a la represión en Cuba, solidaridad con @Mov_sanisidro y la libertad de Luis Manuel Otero y Anamelys Ramos. Algo cambió en Cuba hoy!! pic.twitter.com/ZQbZ0IqpMy— Abraham Jiménez Enoa (@JimenezEnoa) November 28, 2020
Local 10 News’ Hatzel Vela and Andrea Torres are reporting from Miami.