Wednesday, July 28, 2021

‘Terror’: Crackdown after Protests in Cuba Sends a Chilling Message

The July 11 demonstration against the government drew large crowds. An estimated 700 protesters are now being held by the government. Credit...Yamil Lage/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

THE NEW YORK TIMES: In a remarkable act of defiance, thousands of Cubans took to the streets two weeks ago and chanted “We’re not afraid!” Many are now terrified.

The courage many Cubans showed when they poured into the streets two weeks ago, chanting “Down with the dictatorship!” and “We are not afraid!” has curdled into fear for many. Hundreds have been detained, the police have staked out the homes of activists and, among government critics, there is a widespread sense that the crackdown is far from over.

Maykel González, an independent journalist taken into custody after the July 11 protests, has ventured out of his home rarely in recent days, frightened by the surveillance and harassment that other protesters are enduring.

“At any moment they could show up at my door,” said Mr. González, 37. “It’s a fear that’s with me from the moment I wake up.”

When Cubans, spurred by a severe economic crisis, erupted in a rare wave of public rallies, government critics on the island and abroad hoped the act of defiance would force the island’s authoritarian rulers to embrace political and economic reforms.

Instead, the response by authorities has been draconian. State-run media outlets denounce demonstrators as vandals and looters. Police officers have gone door-to-door making detentions. » | Ernesto Londoño and Daniel Politi | Wednesday, July 28, 2021