- Title: A month on from Cuban protests, police crackdown jails demonstrators
- Date: 11th August 2021
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (FILE - JULY 11, 2021) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS MARCHING AND CHANTING (Spanish): "FREEDOM" PROTESTERS MARCHING
- Embargoed: 25th August 2021 23:38
- Keywords: Cuba Havana President Miguel Diaz-Canel protests
- Location: HAVANA + SAN ANTONIO DE LOS BANOS, ARTEMISA, CUBA
- City: HAVANA + SAN ANTONIO DE LOS BANOS, ARTEMISA, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: South America / Central America,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA005EPU69MV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: On the one-month anniversary of anti-government protests that rocked Cuba, protesters still remain detained for their alleged role in the demonstration. Some say it is part of a crackdown to stamp out any future dissent.
The July 11 protests, Cuba's most widespread since Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, appeared largely spontaneous as Cubans vented frustrations over long lines for food, power outages, medicine shortages as well as curbs on civil freedoms.
Protests petered out within a couple of days amid a large deployment of security forces and a wave of detentions.
One of those detained was 17-year-old Gabriela Zequeira, who received an eight-month jail sentence that has since been commuted to house arrest.
Speaking to Reuters, Zequeira said she was an onlooker at the protest but was followed home and arrested. A Cuban court found her guilty of "public disorder".
Zequeira's mother told Reuters she had only been made aware of her daughter's detention days after her arrest.
According to the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights, at least 757 people were arrested or went missing after the protests, 13 of them being minors.
Cuba issued its first jail sentences in late July for detainees accused of being involved in the protests, with sentences of up to a year.
Among those in prison is Dashiel Alfonso Cata, who received a 10-month sentence. His wife Yakelin Salas told Reuters that authorities are looking to make an example of detainees.
"The truth is it's very cruel. The way I see it they (authorities) are taking these measures as an example for society, to stop this from happening again, to scare people. I can't think of another reason," said Salas.
Cuba has blamed the protests on online meddling by counter-revolutionaries backed by the United States, which has for decades openly sought to force reform on it through sanctions.
The pandemic and tighter U.S. sanctions has exacerbated Cuba's economic woes, plunging it into its deepest crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union.
(Production: Nelson Gonzalez, Mario Fuentes, Paul Vieira)
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