HAVANA, April 24th The President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, assured this Saturday (04.23.2022) that it is a “lie” that children under the age of 16 are in prison due to the July 11 protests and that people are jailed for criticizing the revolution.
Díaz-Canel made these statements in a radio interview -reproduced by different stations in Latin America- with the Argentine political scientist Atilio Borón, who is currently in Cuba for the International Book Fair (FIL) in Havana.
“Those who committed crimes, fundamentally violent, have been prosecuted. No person has been prosecuted for speaking out against the revolution. That is a lie,” said the president. With regard to adolescents, he stated that “it is a lie that there is someone under 16 in prison” and considered that the convictions of 16 and 17-year-olds have been carried out with “extreme judicial rationality.”
In addition, Díaz-Canel affirmed that “the trials have been carried out with full respect for the law, with all the guarantees and with total cleanliness and transparency,” in the face of criticism that due process is not being followed in the processes. Likewise, the Cuban president added that only criminal action has been taken against “a minimal number” of the July 11 demonstrators.
According to the Cuban Attorney General’s Office, a total of 790 people have been prosecuted for the July 11 protests, of which 55 are between 16 and 17 years old. The minimum criminal age in Cuba is 16.
In addition, added to the Prosecutor’s Office, “the established legal procedure” was applied to 27 children under 16 years of age. Ten were interned in schools for comprehensive training and conduct and 17 were given “individualized attention” in their own school.
For its part, the NGO Prisoners Defenders assured in its last count that -by March 2022- there were 894 people in Cuban prisons for the July 11 protests and has registered measures against at least 38 boys and girls.
Meanwhile, the Cuban president denounced the “hypocrisy” and “double standards” of the United States in his assessment of these protests and spoke of an attempted “soft coup” orchestrated by Washington. He considered that the Government of the United States “bet that the Cuban revolution would fall”, but “none of that” has happened.
Díaz-Canel pointed out that the US “increased blockade” on Cuba “generates extraordinary tensions, especially in the midst of the country’s effort to confront the pandemic.” The US sanctions, he said, have “social consequences” and referred to problems with fuel, remittances, foreign trade and access to financing.
On July 11, the largest anti-government protests in decades took place in Cuba, demonstrations whose main cause was the serious economic crisis that the country is going through.