By Fabian Flores (Café Fuerte)
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.
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.
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.