Family Says Cuban Forces Raided Home, Shot Man After He Participated in Protests

A chilling video circulating on social media and testaments from a family show Cuban police raiding a home and shooting a man inside while children were present, allegedly because the man attended a protest on Sunday.

Recently, thousands of Cubans have been protesting on the streets against the country's communist dictatorship. Outbreaks of the coronavirus and basic food shortages have plummeted the country into the worst economic crisis it has seen in 30 years.

Cuban government officials have struggled to get protests under control in the last few days, and according to several human rights organizations, more than 100 activists and journalists are in custody for their participation. That number is limited, however, by the government's shut down of the internet service and censorship of multiple online platforms.

According to the Miami Herald, Marbely Vásquez told el Nuevo Herald, that officers broke into her home in Cárdenas—near Havana—and shot her husband, Daniel Cárdenas Díaz.

In the graphic video, Vásquez is shouting at officers outside the door with a child in her arms.

"My children are here," she shouts in the video in Spanish, "my children, my children, my children," she repeated. She can be heard asking, "Why do they do that?" as officers attempt to enter the house.

The video then shows officers entering the back door with guns drawn, as shouting continues. The video cuts and does not show the shooting, but blood can be seen on the floor.

She told the Herald her husband was shot at least once, and beaten. After the shooting, she said "[the agents] entered my bedroom when I was with my children. I was very nervous."

Vásquez said her husband participated in protests on Sunday, "But he didn't hurt anyone or do anything," she added.

According to the Miami Herald, authorities reported Díaz was taken to Santa Marta police station in Varadero where he got medical attention for his injuries.

President Joe Biden released a statement Monday, saying, "We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba's authoritarian regime."

Cuban government officials have blamed the United States for organizing and funding the protests, or "small disturbances," according to the island's foreign minister in a press conference on Tuesday.

The president of Cuba, President Miguel Díaz-Canel, urged government officials on Sunday to "go to the streets to defend the revolution. The order to fight has been given."

Newsweek reached out to Human Rights Watch for comment and Americas Division Executive Director José Miguel said in a statement, "The Cuban government has responded brutally to the protests. We have received reports of over 200 people arbitrarily detained. The whereabouts of many of them remain unknown and the total number of detainees is probably much higher."

He added the government appears to be targeting activists and reporters, and "Unless the international community strongly condemns the abuses in Cuba and forces Díaz-Canel to put a halt on censorship and repression, we may never know the true extent of the ongoing abuses against these brave protesters."

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People block Palmetto Expressway during a protest showing support for Cubans demonstrating against their government, in Miami, on July 13, 2021. A viral video showed officers raiding a house and shooting a man in front of his family for participating in a protest on Sunday in Cuba. EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP via Getty Images