2 sisters, protestant pastor among those who remain jailed a year after protests in Cuba

More than 1,400 people detained last year, more than 700 remain in jail, Cuban human rights group says

Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela speaks with relatives of some of those who remain jailed in Cuba following last year’s protests.

HAVANA – Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo is a protestant pastor who remains in jail in Cuba after being sentenced to seven years in prison for simply participating in the historic July 11 protests a year ago Monday.

From Palma Soriano -- a town in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba -- his wife told Local 10 News that since the 11th, life has been terrible.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide says the Cuban government has targeted the pastor because of his leadership in the church.

And Rosales Fajardo is just one of many examples.

Cubans of all ages throughout the country were arrested and sentenced to jail following the protests, including sisters Lisdani and Lisdiani.

Both are in their early 20s and both were sentenced to eight years in prison, also for simply joining the protests.

From Cuba, their mother, Barbara Isacc Rojas, told Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela that she remembers the day they were handcuffed as if they were killers.

This family is from the town of Placetas in the province of Villa Clara in central Cuba.

Isacc Rojas says state security officials told her they would make sure her daughters would never see the light of day.

In a 36-page report released Monday, Human Rights Watch says it has been able to document a wide range of human rights violations during the protests, including arbitrary detentions, abuse-ridden prosecutions and torture.

The Cuban human rights group Cubalex says more than 1,400 people were detained and more than 700 remain in jail.

The pastor’s wife says she continues to pray for her husband’s freedom so he and other Cubans can freely worship.


About the Author:

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.