15N protests: Activists report Cuban law enforcement intimidates, threatens, censors

The signs of solidarity with Cubans who are facing shortages on the island continued on Monday in Miami's Little Havana.

MIAMI – Activists in Miami and Havana reported the Cuban government deployed the military and law enforcement to harass, intimidate, threaten and censor those who had wanted to hold the peaceful “Civic March for Change.”

While pro-government demonstrators were allowed to express themselves in public on Monday, some of the activists who are tired of the government’s failures reported they were not allowed to leave their homes.

Men use Cuban flags to block the windows of Yunior Garcia on Sunday in Havana. The artist had planned to demonstrate peacefully against the Cuban government. (AP Foto/ Ramon Epinosa) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Rev. Alberto Reyes Pías, a priest of the Archdiocese of Camagüey, is a critic of the Marxist–Leninist socialist state’s self-praise. He uses Facebook to protest the suffering amid shortages of food and medicine.

Reyes has said Cubans who dare to complain are forced to live under the threat of “a judicial system that convicts and doesn’t allow a defense.” On Monday, he said priests had received threats.

Abdel Legrá Pacheco, a Democrat who lives in Havana, said two young people threatened him and told him to stay home on Monday. He said he looked out the window and saw an intimidating person who appeared to be monitoring him.

Artist Yunior Garcia, a leading activist in Havana, reported that aside from not allowing him outside of his home since Sunday, he didn’t have access to the internet on Monday morning.

Reyes, Legrá, and Garcia reported the Cuban government used resources to keep them from participating in an anti-government demonstration on Monday. They said there was a strong police presence in the streets of Havana. It was a sign the Cold War-era strategies were back.

Also on Monday, the Cuban government welcomed back international tourists after two years of shutting down income to control the spread of the coronavirus.

More about Cuba in Spanish

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.