Cuban dissident leader Youniol Garcia after Spain’s crackdown | Political News


The founder of the opposition organization Archipelago was at the core of the major protests that shook Cuba in July.

According to reports, Cuban dissident, playwright and activist Union Garcia fled Cuba and flew to Spain after the government suppressed protests in Havana.

Spanish government officials told news organizations that Garcia and his wife landed at Madrid’s Barajas Airport on Wednesday afternoon, ending uncertainty about his whereabouts.

A government source told AFP: “We confirmed that he arrived with his wife on a tourist visa.”

Garcia, 39, is the founder of the opposition organization Archipelago and a central figure in the major protests that shook Cuba in July. The protests against the shortage of basic commodities and restrictions on civil liberties are Cuba’s largest protests in decades.

The Cuban government responded with severe repression, arresting hundreds of people. This week, the planned demonstration in the capital Havana on November 15 was blocked by the detention of opposition leaders and the influx of security forces on the streets.

Garcia originally planned to walk through the center of Havana with a white rose in hand to draw attention to the non-violent nature of the protest movement.

But Garcia’s home in Havana was surrounded by national security agencies and government supporters, and by the day of the planned protests, his community was basically quiet.

On November 15, the Cuban flag covered the windows of the home of actors, playwrights, and the leader of the Facebook group “Yuniol García” in Havana, Cuba [Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters]

Other activists on social media said they had not heard from him since Tuesday morning.

Spanish newspaper El Pais quoted sources close to Garcia as saying that he left because he was under “cruel police pressure” in the weeks before the planned demonstration.

“I know they will do everything possible to prevent me from going there. Of course, they will try to arrest me. They may set up surveillance outside my house to prevent me from leaving,” Garcia told AFP in an interview in Cuba last month .

US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken condemned what he called the Cuban government’s intimidation tactics on November 15.

Brinken said: “We urge the Cuban government to reject violence and instead seize this historic opportunity to listen to their people.”

Despite the government’s repressive measures to prevent the assembly, the islands tried to continue the demonstrations for 10 days on Tuesday. It called on its members to protest alone by wearing white clothes, making personal videos, and beating pots and pans at night until November 27.

The Spanish news agency EFE stated that the authorities had revoked the press cards of several of its reporters in Havana.

The Cuban authorities arrested human rights activist Guillermo Farinas on November 12, three days before the planned protests.

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