Cuba's 21st Century Dissident Heroes of Movimiento San Isidro
The Cuban government responded to their pleas for freedom with violence, brutal beatings, and unjust detainment. Over 1000 Cubans were detained and arrested including over 100 minors under the age of 18. More than 620 of them including minors are facing unjust trials and/or prison sentences as long as 20-30 years. Some remain detained without due process. Their only “crime” was marching with thousands of Cubans on that day asking for "Libertad."
Thanks to the expansion of social media access and smart phones in Cuba since first introduced in 2008, the world witnessed these unprecedented events in real time. For the older Cuban generations on and outside the island, the footage captured of these police beatings and arrests were De Ja Vu - all too familiar reminders of a devastating and painful memory in modern Cuban history when a deranged lunatic driven by greed, his hatred for the U.S.A., and hunger for total authoritarian power committed the ultimate betrayal against a nation of peoples who had spent the better part of 400 years fighting for freedom. These were a people whose minted coins in their Republic Era read "Patria y Libertad" or "Homeland and Freedom." To maintain power he killed, imprisoned, or exiled all Cubanos who'd dare speak out against the regime and forcefully instilled cooperation among all others through the threat of persecution, a censored doctrine, and complete isolation from the reality of the outside world. To remind his people of his consequential threats, he changed the motto minted on Cuba's coins to "Patria o Muerte" or "Homeland or Death."
But these mass protests didn't happen overnight by chance or coincidence. These protests erupted on this day as a result of 62 years of pent-up frustrations and unnecessary generational suffering and trauma at the hands of a repressive regime. More specifically, they were a direct result of a series of catalyst events that occurred in the months preceding J11 and the numerous arrests made to artists since 2018 when the Cuban regime passed the law Decree 349, first introduced in August 2018 and enacted on December 7, 2018.