Cuban Government Lashes Out against One-Man Protest

By Fabian Flores  (Café Fuerte)

Security forces move the demonstrator, Daniel Llorente Miranda, through the esplanade of Revolution Square. Photo: Enrique de la Osa 

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban government lashed out at the protester who interrupted the May Day parade in Havana on Monday carrying a US flag, saying he has a criminal record and is still awaiting trial on non-political grounds.

The official Granma newspaper complained about the treatment given by the international media to the crowded popular parade Monday in Revolution Square, calling the action of citizen Daniel Llorente Miranda an “annexationist monologue.”

“Some media prefer to ignore the reality of a people that every May Day come out to support their Revolution and instead magnify an individual’s performance,” said a commentary by journalist Lissy Rodríguez Guerrero, who said that more than 800,000 people paraded through the Plaza.

Mentioned, but not identified

Without identifying the protester by name, the article said that he is a Cuban citizen “not working for the State,” who in 2002 was sentenced to five years in prison for a crime of robbery with force, and is currently pending trial for an offense of aggravated handling of stolen goods.”
Llorente was identified by witnesses and relatives to the international media and Miami press. At the moment his location is unknown.

Shortly before the start of the morning parade, Llorente broke through the crowd of marchers to run through the Plaza esplanade holding the US flag high. He was tackled by security personnel, who threw him to the ground and then carried him away. President Raul Castro witnessed the incident.

The newspaper also mentioned that it is not the first time that the protester has carried out similar actions noting the arrival of the Adonia cruiser to Cuba on May 2, 2016, when he was arrested carrying a US flag at the Cruise Terminal in Havana Bay.

Show to attract attention

“He held the insignia of the northern nation, which indicates his intention to form a media profile,” the article said.

The writer lamented that Llorente and law enforcement officials who tried to neutralize him became “the focus of cameras and microphones”.

“It was easy to detect that this was a show designed to attract public attention,” said the article, which highlighted the “large delegation from the United States” that was in the parade “denouncing the blockade and repudiating the occupation of a portion of Guantanamo.”

Llorente, 54, is a self-employed taxi driver and has been holding individual demonstrations opposing the government, although he is not affiliated with a dissident organization or group on the island.

Obama admirer

His name began to be known after a public display during the reopening of the Embassy of the United States in Havana, August 14, 2015. Llorente celebrated the reestablishment of relations between Washington and Havana displaying a US flag.

He has also publicly defended the policy and statements of former President Barack Obama on Cuba.

On March 22, 2016, Llorente returned to the US embassy for a one man protest as Obama met with a select group of opposition figures.

Awkward flag

His dissent moved two days later with the US flag to the Place of the Revolution, where it was stopped.

The subject of the exaltation of the flag and the symbols of the United States has become a subject of strong questioning by government leaders and the official Cuban media. Last Friday, the Round Table program of Cuban Television broadcast a documentary criticizing the uncritical adoption of US standards by many ordinary Cubans, calling them acts that are foreign to our national dignity.

A panel of experts followed the exhibition of the documentary with arguments criticizing the proliferation of US symbols among Cuban youth.

10 thoughts on “Cuban Government Lashes Out against One-Man Protest

  • Actually, looks like they treated him with “kid gloves!” If he’s really into masochism, Daniel Llorente Moranda should try this during a parade in Pyrongyang!

  • Well Joel Lahera, in my home town in Cuba there are lots of bici-taxis and many of them have a flag or two adorning their roofs. Some are the US flag, others are those of the capitalistic world of professional soccer – especially Barcelona and Real Madrid, there are at least two flying the Canadian Maple Leaf and one flying the British Union Jack.
    Should they all be arrested?
    Every day I see Cubans wearing T-shirts bearing the stars and stripes – many the gift of tourists, for as you know, Cubans have difficulty if affording clothing. Should they too be imprisoned?

  • Curt9954, you may recall my frequently using the phrase: “the Castro family regime”. That is because it is a family regime. Raul’s son-in-law General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Callejas is boss of GAESA the military holding company which controls over 80% of Cuba’s tottering economy with 57 subsidiaries including even the Ministry of Sugar. Raul’s son General Alejandro Castro Espin controls all security services – both internal (CDR) and overseas. Fidel had become a mere figurehead. But your statement that there is only one Castro running the country is incorrect.
    Although Raul will supposedly retire as President in 2018, he has never said that he will relinquish his role as head of the military. If and when he does, or if he dies in the near future, there could well be a power struggle between the appointed Ministers (Diaz-Canel, Bruno Rodriguez, the 86 year old Machado Ventura on the one hand and the Raul Castro family. One of the all so numerous problems of communism is that it inevitably ends up in dictatorship and in such a system the power and control ends up in the hands of one person. Among those I have mentioned most seek power and only one can achieve it!

  • First, there was full coverage of the sporadic violence that took place during the various May Day marches in the US. Were that not so, how did you find out? Second, of course, Cuba needed to respond to this protester. My comment relates to the severity of their response.

  • Hate? I think you mean to say ‘resent’.

  • Duly noted. As I have explained many times in the past, when other Castro bootlickers, lacking anything substantive to base their criticism of my comment upon, point out that I have included one ‘s’ too many, I use “Castros” to mean the dictatorship in general.

  • Moses, there were fiery May Day riots in Portland, Seattle and many other U. S. cities as well as Paris, Berlin, and many others. But one dissenter in Cuba, a nation of 11.3 million people, makes headlines in the U. S.? Cuba is a small nation and mostly unchecked elements in the superpower to its north have, shall we say, evil intents towards it. Cuba, like other nations, has dissenters but Cuba, perhaps, has more reason than others to be wary of mercenary dissenters paid by or encouraged by foreign elements, which is not to say there are no legitimate dissenters on the island. The U. S., rightfully, worries about Russian influence in our elections and other affairs. Cuba, rightfully, worries about unchecked and violent enemies in another country influencing or inflicting damage to its government or citizens. Your “freak out” comment typically distorts reality to fit your bias against Cuba. Case closed…unless, uh, you can frankly dispute such a contrary opinion.

  • Moses, Fidel is dead. There is only one Castro running the country.

  • American flags and communist have one thing in common they both don’t belong in Cuba. I will never rejoice to see the flag of foreign nation be the symbol of Cuban freedom. Americans need to understand that Cuban historically hate the U.S. and that has nothing to do with Castro’s. They forget but we don’t!

  • The Castros freak out over the smallest measures of dissent. Just one guy with an American flag? What’s the big deal?

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