Havana: dissident hunger-strikers arrested

Cuban police agents raided the headquarters of the dissident San Isidro Movement (MSI) in Old Havana on Nov. 26 and arrested the 14 activists who were inside the building, several of whom had been on hunger strike for the past week. Simultaneously, authorities cut off access to Facebook and Instagram across the island, in an apparent attempt to prevent images and reports of the raid from being disseminated. A tweet from MSI stated: "Agents of the dictatorship broke into our headquarters, savagely beat our compañeros, took them away and we do not know their whereabouts. We fear for their physical integrity." Cuban authorities said the raid was carried out over a violation of pandemic restrictions.

A total of nine people, including artists, activists and independent journalists, began the hunger strike Nov. 18 to demand freedom for Denis Solís, a popular dissident rap artist. Solís had been arrested Nov. 9, apparently after getting into an altercation with a police officer on a Havana street, and was sentenced to eight months in prison for the crime of "contempt."

The San Isidro Movement was founded in 2018 by artists, musicians, journalists and academics to oppose censorship by Cuba's government. The day after the raid, some 150 of the group's supporters gathered for a protest outside the Ministry of Culture building. (Havana Times, Translating Cuba, Translating Cuba, 14yMedio, BBC News)