Cuba and Nicaragua Compete for the Absurd

By Circles Robinson

Freedom. No more repression. Free Denis

HAVANA TMES – Luis Robles Elizastigui, a young Cuban who dared to bare a sign on a pedestrian boulevard in Havana demanding freedom and the release of rap singer Denis Solis, faces seven years in prison charged with “enemy propaganda” and “disobeying authority”.

His lone protest with a homemade sign was filmed and widely circulated on social networks and independent media. Many bystanders showed their support to him when he was ruffed up and arrested by a contingent of police.

Robles was first charged with “terrorism” and “endangering state security” but later the prosecutors decided to change their invented charges. 

Desperate to see his brother released, Landy Fernandez Elizastigui said, “Nothing he did was a crime, he just exercised his constitutional right as a citizen.”

Meanwhile in Nicaragua

Sergio Betata

Sergio Betata, 30, dared to take out a flag of his country on a street in Managua.  His one-man protest called for the release of the many political prisoners and for unity among the opposition forces.

Betata is now facing 15 years in prison.  He is charged with the often-fabricated charge of drug trafficking after the police loaded up his empty backpack.

When the authorities planted bags of drugs in Sergio’s backpack they didn’t hide what they were doing. When Betata shouted in protest they replied: “They’re yours now.”

In both countries over a hundred political prisoners wallow in jail as the governments tries to suppress any dissent to their eternal monopoly rule.

Many other artists, journalists and activists are routinely detained in Cuba by state security, usually for several hours of interrogation. Those who detain them present no warrant and are often in plain clothes.

The Nicaraguan police and paramilitary forces specialize in besieging dissidents, including former prisoners, and opposition politicians, at their homes, not allowing them or their families free movement. The same goes for the families of the current political prisoners.

It’s clear that Cuba is the model for repression, unjust charges and sentences, but Ortega’s Nicaragua is proving to be an excellent student.

Read more from Cuba and Nicaragua here on Havana Times.