Ten Months Forced Labor for Young Cuban

His “crime”: marching on the street on July 11th

The moment in which Armando Sardiñas Figueredo is detained by a policeman and a State Security agent in civilian clothes, on July 11 in Havana. (14ymedio)

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – The image of a young man violently taken into custody by a plainclothes policeman a few meters from the Capitol in Havana has become one of the iconic photos of the repression against protesters on July 11. Now, the protagonist of the snapshot taken by a 14ymedio reporter faces a sanction of ten months of internment in a correctional labor camp.

On Monday, Armando Sardiñas Figueredo, 20, shared on his Twitter account the document issued by the Supreme People’s Court (TSP) in which he is informed that he has been sanctioned to “ten months of deprivation of liberty subsidized by correctional work with internment,” a sentence to be served in the center of La Lima, Guanabacoa.

“I never offended or attacked any official,” the young man assures this newspaper, who says that no one ordered him to demonstrate that Sunday, that he learned of the protests “through the social networks,” and he went out into the street at the corner of hotel Manzana de Gómez. Sardiñas narrates that several State Security agents addressed him when he joined the peaceful demonstration in Central Park. One of them tried to hit him, but Sardiñas dodged him, after which they restrained him, put him in a patrol car and transferred him to the Zanja police station.

There, they put him in a cell. “I did not know why they were arresting me, because I knew that I was not committing any crime,” says the young man, who assures that inside the cell there were “about 70 people who continued to demonstrate.”

An officer, says Sardiñas, interviewed him about two hours later, “and practically forced me to sign the arrest warrant.” The accusation: “public disorder.” He spent ten days imprisoned at the 100th y Aldabó,  station in Havana, and, regrets, that as a result of the arrest he lost his job.

The legal document specifies that he must present himself at the correctional center on October 7, under penalty of having the current measure revoked to go on to serve his sentence in a regular prison. “The tasks to be carried out” are mainly in agriculture, the document points out.

It also recommends that Sardiñas come to the place with a “towel, sheet, a bucket, clothing” suitable for the work to be carried out, in addition to other personal hygiene products, since “the center cannot guarantee them,” clarifies the information from the TSP.

“I am going to serve an unfair sanction on the 7th but this is not the end, it is only a sign that they have to remove the blindfold and be realistic,” Sardiñas added on his Twitter account after publishing the document. “Let’s be realistic. Cuba is a dictatorship and Human Rights are violated and freedom of expression is not respected.”

The July 11 protests began in San Antonio de los Baños, Artemisa province. After learning about this demonstration through videos that circulated like wildfire on social networks, the streets of Cuba became abuzz with people and protests were added in Matanzas, Camagüey, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos and Havana. Shouts of “Cuba libre,” “Patria y vida” and “Down with the dictatorship” echoed through the most important streets of the country.

Around the Capitol in Havana, where Sardiñas was arrested, hundreds of people gathered shouting “libertad” and “patria y vida.” A 14ymedio reporter took several videos and photos, one of which records the moment when Sardiñas was violently arrested by a plainclothes policeman who grabbed him by the neck.

The image reflects the excessive repression against the demonstrators that the Government deployed, especially after Miguel Díaz-Canel assured that the “combat order is given” and that they were ready “for anything,” words that unleashed violence against those who protested.

So far, the Cuban government has not recognized official figures of detainees, injuries or deaths. It only admitted the death of one person, Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, 36, a resident of the Havana municipality of Arroyo Naranjo.

Along with hundreds of anonymous citizens who went out into the streets on July 11, several of the main figures of the Cuban dissidence  also ended up in detention. Among them, the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the San Isidro Movement; Félix Navarro, from the Democratic Action Unity Roundtable, and José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba.

According to the list drawn up by various volunteers under the coordination of the Cubalex legal advice center, of the more than 800 detainees who have been confirmed from those days, 377 remained in jail in August, 10 of them enforced disappearance.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.


15 thoughts on “Ten Months Forced Labor for Young Cuban

  • I loved the way that many of the july protesters were chanting, “El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido”!

  • Dan, you are great at diverting away from the articles you are commenting on. This one happened to be about a peaceful Cuban protestor given ten months of forced labor for excercising that right. You either think that’s legit or you don’t, there is no middle ground no matter what happens in Minnesota.

  • Aahh, Circles. Look down at Stephen’s and Carlyle’s posts about how protestors in their countries supposedly don’t get harassed or arrested. Can you tell me why, in this “open-minded” forum, you attack me for talking about similar shortcomings in other countries, but not the slightest peep from you when someone points out a comparison which is unfavorable to Cuba ?

  • Dan continues to harp that things are worse elsewhere, and especially his USA, so Cubans should put up or shut up and that they have nothing to complain about if they get arbitrary prison sentences on fabricated charges for peaceful protesting. With that kind of empathy who needs hate?

  • Oh- I thought we were not supposed to compare other countries with Cuba on this website. Well if the rule suddenly changed, then all you Anti – Cubans need to look at how climate activists are treated in my country – Minnesota, USA. They end up with paralyzed faces and felony charges for protesting the Embridge Line 3 pipeline. And they aren’t recieving any cheerleading or assistance from China or Iran.

  • Mr Patterson,
    Firstly – You most definitely have referred to U.S. ‘exceptionalism’ on this HT debate forum.
    Unless it was an imposter using your name.
    Secondly – Any debate on Cuba, by necessity, must include the failed and twisted foreign policy of the USA toward Cuba.
    If only this were not true.
    But unfortunately it is a fact. A bad situation in Cuba is made worse by the cowardly and Imperialistic policies of the USA. These are the facts. I know they are shameful facts from the perspective of decent U.S. citizens, but no matter how much you try to run away from the facts……..
    they are still facts.

  • Nick has not been paying attention. As an African American, I am hardly a cheerleader for US foreign or domestic policy as my people have been typically the last to benefit and the first to suffer from whatever moves my government has made in the past. But this blog is called HAVANA TIMES and my comments reflect my opinions about what goes on in Cuba. If and when I choose to weigh in on what goes on in the US, I would choose a medium focused on the US. Rejecting the failed Castro dictatorship is not the same as supporting US policy. I have never claimed “US excepcionalism” in this space nor in any other. What is clear is that rather than defend Castroism on its own merits, Nick took the bait in my original comment and deflected to a make-believe notion about US superiority. Nick should understand that Cuba sucks because of what the Castros did in Cuba. Police brutality in the US does not nor will it ever justify the lack of basic human rights in Cuba. Both are the results of failed leadership. But, this blog is about Cuba and this is what we should focus on here.

  • The response by Curt is as usual, support for the Castro regime. Curt however appears to think that the Castros are no longer active. So Curt, who holds the highest rank in the Cuban military? Raul Castro. Who is in charge of both interior and exterior security? Alejandro Castro. Who controls GAESA? Raul Castro’s con-in-law. (Who incidentally was known to beat his wife – with Raul’s knowledge).

    It was made crystal clear by Diaz-Canel when he was appointed President by Raul Castro, that Raul would still be in charge. Following the demonstrations of July 11, 2021, who did Diaz-Canel turn to for advice? Raul Castro!

    Curt is either on the defensive, or has been under a foolish misapprehension.

  • Unjust arrests happening the US all the time. At least this young Cuban isn’t presently in jail. I suppose Fidel ordered his arrest from the grave or Raul ordered it from his bed. Anything to blame the “ Castro government”.

  • In ont I and others camped out at Queens Park for 7 weeks protesting cut to health care and cut food and medical supplies to homeless shelters. Another group was also there protesters against private nursing homes and insurance companies actions that made many more people sick and homeless. In the entire 7 weeks no was arrested at Queens Park and the gov only made our lives a little difficult. In cuba or russia would have went to jail or just disappeared

  • Everyone should have the right to peaceful protest.
    That’s my opinion. And always will be.
    I note the remark from Mr Patterson, he who firmly believes that the populace of the USA is inherently superior (or more exceptional) than the vast majority of the human race who do not share his nationality.
    I note that he slobbers over the collective butts of those who implement the gutter-born foreign policies of the USA. And that he is still an enthusiastic apologist for the national disgrace of his country’s sicko, anti-freedom, anti-democratic and cowardly policies toward Cuba.
    Clamp down on Cuba. Surrender to the Taliban.
    Exceptional huh?
    It’s such a shame to see how people are so desperate to cling onto the delusions which their nation’s cradle to grave propaganda has instilled into them.

  • After the July 11 marches, Silvio Rodríguez called for amnesty for those who had taken part but were not violent. He publicly vowed to do everything possible to encourage amnesty for peaceful marchers.

    It has been over two months since his declaration but I have heard nothing further about this endeavor. Did I miss some news of amnesty? I know Silvio has been busy with his music, and I think he’s on tour now. Did he forget his promise? I hope he is working secretly, behind the scenes!

    I think the idea of amnesty or a pardon for the non-violent protesters is an elegant idea. It could improve relations and promote good will both within Cuba and in the eyes of the watching world. I keep hoping for an update on this.

  • I think of all the demonstrations held in democratic capitalist countries against whichever political party is in power and whoever is Prime Minister or President. I live not far from the Legislature building of a Canadian province, where demonstrations are a frequent occurrence. The police stand by conversing amicably with the demonstrators.

    But demonstrations reflect the rights that are entrenched in capitalist democratic societies. In Cuba, no such rights are permitted, indeed the sole choice is compliance. The citizens are a “mass”, not merely expected but compelled to act in accord with the edict of the dictatorship.

    Imagine being like Armando, a mere twenty years of age, with life stretching out before you! Is there hope for a better life and future? Is there hope that your voice will ever be heard? Hope is irrelevant for the young people of Cuba. Theirs is not to question where or why, theirs is but to submit and mentally to die.

  • As Cuban I know the horrendous the cuban regime but what I can’t believe is how some people still defending this horrible dictatorship

  • I can hardly wait for the Castro buttkissers to defend the dictatorship on this one. Go ahead, the embargo made them do it, right?

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