After Hurricane Ian left Cuba in the dark, protestors took to the streets. Now the government is set to charge them for their protest. [Voz de Cuba]
On October 7, Cuban officials announced that protesters would be charged with crimes if the organizers of October’s peaceful “Viva Cuba!” protest are found guilty of violating a law on the island. If authorities find evidence of criminal intent, they may add to the protesters’ prison sentence on top of that.
On the same day that President Raul Castro announced the government’s intention to fine Cubans for participating in the October protest, an announcement appeared on the Internet that the protesters would be charged with crimes if found guilty of illegally gathering for a peaceful demonstration in the first place.
The government’s plans to charge protestors with criminal acts are the latest in a series of increasingly heavy-handed moves by the Cuban regime since the protests began in April.
In response to increased violence, the government has detained several hundred people — including at least one journalist and at least one leader of the protest movement, according to news reports from the United States. While the Cuban regime does not release basic information about the number of arrests, news reports indicate that the government has detained at least 10 people, including a student from the University of Havana.
“In the name of social justice and with the aim of putting an end to the impunity of the so-called government, the State’s authorities will not allow peaceful protests,” said the Cuban government’s statement on October 7.
At the same time, the government has refused to provide medical treatment to wounded protesters who have been wounded by “aggression by the state,” and has refused to provide food or water to demonstrators in protest of the government’s “anti-democratic measures.”
Cuban authorities have also begun issuing arrest warrants for the organizers and organizers of the protest in Cuba.
In response to a question posed on October 7 by reporters from the Miami Herald, a spokesperson for the Cuban government’s information office admitted, “We have a group behind the violence in favor of the government.”
Despite the government’s own admission that its members were responsible for the violence, the government continued with its campaign of silencing critics of