Cuban advocates track new wave of July 11 political prisoners

A Cuban artist based in Spain is among a group of women who have been following the way the Cuban judicial system punished the many young people who dared to protest against the regime last year..

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Salome Garcia, a Cuban artist based in Spain, has been following the way the Cuban judicial system punished the many young people who dared to protest against the communist regime.

Garcia is a coordinator for Justicia 11J, a non-governmental organization that has been tracking the new wave of cases of political prisoners that Cuban prosecutors view as criminals.

“Over 90 people who were detained, from over 1,500, were not part of any opposition group,” Garcia said adding they were not activists or independent journalists.

The organization published a report describing the “repressive patterns” the Cuban government implemented across the country after the historic show of dissent on July 11, 2021.

Police detain an anti-government demonstrator during a protest in Havana, Cuba, Sunday July 11, 2021. Hundreds of demonstrators went out to the streets in several cities in Cuba to protest against ongoing food shortages and high prices of foodstuffs, amid the new coronavirus crisis. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Federal officials report there has been an ongoing surge of Cuban migrants who are risking their lives in makeshift votes to cross the Florida Straits.

“People are fleeing because they want to be free. They want to be able to express freely,” Garcia said adding, “A great part of people who have been released, over 40 people ... they have left the country.”

People protest in front of the Capitol in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, July 11, 2021. Hundreds of demonstrators went out to the streets in several cities in Cuba to protest against ongoing food shortages and high prices of foodstuffs, amid the new coronavirus crisis. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Access to social media played a role in the rare show of frustration after Cuban artists started to protest government censorship.

In response, judges issued sentences as high as 25 years in prison. Prosecutors used laws related to disturbing the peace, vandalism, and sedition.

This Week In South Florida’s July 10 episode

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Local 10 News’ Sarah Ramdin contributed to this report.


About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter.