A gay man who livestreamed an anti-government protest in Cuba last summer has been sentenced to six years in prison.
14ymedio, an independent website founded by Yoani Sánchez, a prominent critic of the Cuban government, reported a court in Havana on March 15 sentenced Yoan de la Cruz. His mother, Maribel Cruz, on Tuesday during an interview with Tremenda Nota, the Washington Blade’s media partner in Cuba, confirmed the sentence.
“This is an injustice,” Maribel Cruz told Tremenda Nota. “What my son did was not worth six years.”
Yoan de la Cruz on July 11, 2021, used Facebook Live to livestream a protest in San Antonio de los Baños, a municipality in Artemisa province that is just west of Havana.
14ymedio reported authorities held De La Cruz “somewhat incommunicado” in a prison in Mayabeque province, which is east of Havana. Maribel Cruz told Tremenda Nota that her son’s health has deteriorated and was worried he would suffer discrimination in prison because of his sexual orientation.
Cuba’s attorney general had sought an 8-year prison sentence for De La Cruz.
“If they wanted to condemn him, because July 11 hurt them so much, they could have been more benevolent,” Maribel Cruz told Tremenda Nota. “People in that court also have families.”
14ymedio reported De La Cruz is one of 17 San Antonio de los Baños protest participants who the court sentenced to between three and 10 years in prison.