15N Cuba protests: Cuban artist dressed in white forced to demonstrate from home

Cuban activists on the island protest from their homes by wearing white, making noise and holding up signs as law enforcement targets demonstrations of dissent.

MIAMI – Yunior Garcia dressed all in white, stood at his window in Havana’s La Coronela neighborhood, and held up a white rose.

The 39-year-old artist, playwright, and pro-freedom of expression activist displayed a sign in Spanish.

“My house is blocked.”

His supporters said government officials have been censoring him. People climbed his roof and used a large Cuban flag to cover his window on Sunday. Officers used a bus to block access to his street.

Garcia also used Facebook Live to say in Spanish that it is his “human and constitutional right to walk as a free citizen on a street, carrying a white rose” and the government is not even allowing him to do that.

Garcia said he has seen how police brutality has increased in the last few years and how government officials use hateful language to describe anyone who thinks differently.

“We are living very ugly days in Cuba,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, we are returning to the worst times ... [as the] ideological apartheid increases.”

In Miami-Dade County, Cuban-American activists were following the repression of dissent in Havana and other cities.

“We are getting reports of activists being arrested, ” said Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat, a spokesperson for the Miami-based Cuban Democratic Directorate. “I have seen videos of activists being harassed by thugs from the regime and we are seeing a lot of troops.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists is monitoring the censorship and harassment of reporters who are not government employees.

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About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.