Mass Trials Underway in Cuba as Protestors Face Up to 30 Years in Prison

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Currents News Staff

After anti-government protests swept across Cuba in July, police arrested hundreds of the people who had taken to the streets denouncing chronic shortages and lack of basic freedoms. Teams of special forces units went house by house searching for the protestors.

Two days after the disturbances first broke out, police and special forces troops raided the home of protestor Daniel Cardenas Diaz.

His wife Marbelis Hernandez, who managed to film some of the violent altercation, says police fired multiple shots – one that she says grazed her husband’s head and beat him, leaving a pool of blood on the living room floor.

“When I saw him on the floor, and they were hitting him with a baton,” said Marbelis. “He was on the floor covered in blood, in a huge pool of blood. I thought he was dead.”

Following Cardenas’ arrest in July, Cuban state-tv released video of his police interrogation to dispute accounts that he was gravely injured.

According to his wife, Cardenas was convicted of sabotage and public disorder for damage the government says he caused to this gas station during the protests.

He now faces up to a 15 year sentence in jail.

From her cinder block home on a dirt street, Marbelis says many Cubans are fed up with the neverending economic hardships.

“There has been no medicine, nothing and on top of that they sell everything in a currency that most Cubans don’t have,” said Marbelis.

Despite widespread calls for amnesty for the protesters, the government is holding mass trials and handing down lengthy prison sentences.

Marbelis says she lies to her two-year-old twins when they ask where their father is and she knows he might not be with them again for years.

“And these people didn’t kill anyone, they didn’t put bombs,” she said. “They threw rocks and asked for liberty, that was all. And they are being sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.”