An exiled Cuban dissident’s interpretation of Sunday, July 11th, 2021
Exiliados cubanos de diferentes generaciones recorrieron la céntrica Calle 8 en Miami, Florida, en apoyo a las protestas sucedidas el domingo 11 de julio de 2021.
Guest post by Liz Arza
What We know.
History was made on Sunday, July 11th 2021. For the first time in 62 years of dictatorship,
Cubans in over 60 municipalities took to the streets to protest the Communist regime and
demand their freedom from the oppressive criminal group that has enslaved, starved, abused
and murdered its own people since its foundation. It was a spontaneous miracle. Exiled Cubans
all over the world watched in awe and disbelief.
We think the first protest erupted in Holguin, Fidel Castro’s birthplace, in the middle of the
night during a blackout, following confrontations with the police (See Video 1)*. By 1:00PM,
the world awoke to the fact that protests were erupting all over the island. Some of the first
cities we learned about were Palma Soriano, San Antonio de los Baños, la Habana, Alquizar,
Santiago de Cuba, Güines, Matanzas – it was like watching stars come out to illuminate a very
dark sky (See Videos 2 – 7, Image 1).
As exiled spectators, we cried. We cheered. We hugged our loved ones. We took to the streets
ourselves in solidarity. We pleaded with our local politicians. And we glued ourselves to Cuban
Youtubers’ channels. Alain Paparazzi has 2.2 million views for his 12 hour long live coverage
where he played videos coming from the island.
The first videos of the day were beautiful: troves of people with Cuban flags, American flags,
and signs reading “patria y vida” and “libertad,” chanting “Diaz-Canel singao” and “oye policia
pinga” (See Videos 8 – 9). There were other more civilized chants. The two I have highlighted
include profanities and are therefore being ignored by most news coverage. However crude,
these chants are illustrative of the protesters’ frustration and courage. I could attempt to
interpret them for you but the connotative anger would be lost in translation. Suffice it to say,
these chants are direct affronts to the current dictator and his goons. Those words are enough
to get you arrested, tortured and killed in Cuba.
Our enthusiasm was abruptly muted as the videos and images from the island changed. Here is
the nightmare response we have witnessed from communist regime –
During an emergency press conference, Dictator Diaz Canel declared that the streets of Cuba
belong to the communists. He told the communist citizenry to take to the streets and confront
We saw videos of communists chanting “pin pon fuera abajo la gusanera” and people
violently confronting each other (See Video 10). The chant translates to “down with the
worms.” Fidel Castro gave dissidents that epithet. He also christened us “escoria” or trash,
“parasitos” or parasites, “podridos” or rotten. We wear all those names as badges of honor.
The videos coming from the island showed an extraordinary amount of police and military
presence (See Video 11). Trucks and busses transported massive numbers of law enforcement
officers (See Video 12). We saw officers dressed in civilian clothes unload from trucks (See
Video 13). Notice that the Cuban people are mostly in flip flops or bare feet in most videos.
Now notice the combat boots these supposed civilians are wearing as they march with their
canes (See Image 2).
We saw large numbers of las Boinas Negras or the Black Berets (See Video 14). They are a
special force, learned in martial arts. We fear them because we know the cold-blooded
atrocities they are capable of. We also saw las Boinas Rojas or Red Berets; these are military
captains and generals. We saw that the officers were using dogs, knuckles, batons, bats, and
firearms (See Image 3). We saw officers in strange, black armor (See Image 4).
We know the Cuban citizenry does not have arms or any weapons with which to defend
themselves. We know they are malnourished. We know they don’t even have proper shoes to
run away in. We knew abuses were imminent. And we were right.
We saw police officers fire gunshots indiscriminately (See Video 15). We witnessed people
shot (See Videos 16 – 19).
We saw our people throwing rocks to defend themselves, and officers throwing rocks too
(See Videos 20 – 22). The courage of Cuban people really amazes me in these videos. They are
literally fighting bullets with rocks. And when they cannot find natural rocks, they are breaking
up sidewalks to create some.
We witnessed beatings (See Videos 23 – 28). We witnessed arrests (Videos 29 – 31). We know
that once the regime arrests someone, there is a high probability that person will never be seen
We saw police officers drag children by their four limbs and take them away from their
parents and from their homes in the middle of the night. We do not know what they plan on
doing with the abducted children (See Videos 32 – 35, Image 5).
We heard from the family of a man who was beaten to death. His teeth and eyes were
knocked out of his head (See Videos 36 – 37).
We know the government is mass arresting people. 14 y Medio reported there have been over
5,000 arrests or detentions.
We know people are disappearing. The Reporte de Centro de Denuncia FDP has a count of 338
missing people as of 3PM on July 15th 2021.
As night fell on Sunday the 11th, we received word that officers were going door to door,
searching houses for makeshift weapons, and taking men and young boys into custody.
We saw a video of such a search. A family was inside their home with their three children when
officers arrived and demanded to be let inside. The wife is seen holding one of her two-yearolds, while his twin brother stands close by. The family also has a 12-year-old son. She pleads
with the officers to leave for the sake of her children.
The officers knock down the doors and rampage through the house. They grab the husband to
forcibly arrest him. They shoot him and carry him away. The wife sees how her bleeding
husband is thrown in a truck with about a hundred other men. A pool of her husband’s blood is
seen on the floor of her house. The family has now confirmed the death of the father, 36-yearold Diubis Laurencio Tejeda. He had peacefully participated in the Cardenas, Matanzas protest
(See Videos 38 – 40).
We know the internet and electricity was shut off. We know that even though they have
begun to turn the internet back on, people do not have the data or “megas” to view all the
content that has been posted online. We know the videos and images are being taken down.
That is why we are screen recording now.
Amidst all the violence, terror and death, dictator Diaz Canel has the audacity to tell the Cuban
people that the videos we are seeing online are of protests in Egypt. And Venezuelan
communist leader Diosdado Cabello has the nerve to say the videos of the protests in Cuba are
not real; instead, they are Italian fans celebrating the Euro Cup.
What We Suspect.
We suspect Sunday, July 11th, 2021 was the first of some very dark days awaiting Cuba, darker
than what Cubans already know – a limit we thought impossible to surpass.
We suspect there are people in Cuba who do not know there was an island-wide protest.
We suspect the Cuban regime is receiving aid from its allies, likely in the form of soldiers, law
enforcement officers, weapons and ammunitions, and money. And we suspect they plan to
show the Cuban people, an unarmed, malnourished people, great use of force.
We suspect they will use the children they are abducting for something reprehensible.
We suspect they are torturing and assassinating the people they are arresting at the protests
or going house-to-house and rounding up. We know there are not enough jail cells for all the
We suspect Venezuela. We suspect Mexico. Both a Venezuelan plane and a Mexican air force
plane have landed in Cuba. We suspect Nicaragua. We suspect Bolivia. Brazil. Colombia.
Canada. We suspect all countries in the hemisphere that have ever engaged Communist Cuba.
We suspect China. Russia. North Korea. Iran. Vietnam. And all the other world communist
We suspect the Biden-Harris administration will not help the Cuban people, but they may help
the communist regime. What else can we expect when we know the Obama-Biden
administration not only aided the communist regime, but also dined and watched baseball
games with Raul Castro and Miguel Diaz Canel?
Plus, the Biden-Harris administration has had the gall to say the Cuban people took to the
streets, risking arrest, abuse and death, over COVID-19 and vaccines. That was a statement of
misinformation, originating from the Communist regime, which the Biden-Harris administration
chose to parrot. Cubans in Miami have chanted “Biden es communista” or “Biden is a
communist” in our solidarity protests (See Video 41).
We suspect Canada and Mexico will not help. The United Kingdom will not help. The European
Union will not help. None of their leaders have steadfastly denounced the widespread violence
and mass murder. No one has even mentioned humanitarian intervention.
We suspect the UN will not help. Historically, they are always the last to respond in genocides,
war crimes and crimes against humanity.
For those wondering why the Cuban people took to the streets to protest the
Communist regime, here’s why –
They have nothing to eat. Carnicerias or butcher shops in Cuba only have bones and fat for
people (See Images 6 – 8). There’s no rice. There’s no bread. There’s no fish. There’s no milk.
There’s nothing for people to eat.
There are no food shortages in regime-owned restaurants or hotels, however. But the Cuban
citizenry cannot go to these restaurants or hotels and order a meal for him/herself. Those are
only for tourists. Yet Cuban exiles can go on regime-run websites and order cooked meals to be
delivered to their families from the regime-owned restaurants.
Now if you don’t have family in exile who put their self-respect and dignity aside and spend
their dollars or euros at regime-run enterprises, there is nothing for you to eat. Though the
exile community is large, there are A LOT of people in Cuba with no family or friends abroad.
Their homes are collapsing on them. There’s no infrastructure program for the citizenry. No
safety regulations. Houses in Cuba are all at least 62 years old, with most of them over 100
years old. No materials with which to fix your house. No tools. No time since people must
preoccupy themselves all day with finding something to eat.
They have lost their fear. Cubans are chanting “no tenemos miedo,” “we are not afraid” in the
protests (See Video 42). There is a reason why they have to vociferously declare this. Consider
that you do not hear first world protesters having to declare this. The Cuba communist regime
has run a terror campaign against its own people for 62 years.
They have aired mass dissident assassinations on TV. They drop-in at people’s homes and
threaten to kill or actually do kill their family. They have shot down planes from the sky. They
have sunk ships. They have murdered children. By proclaiming “no tenemos miedo,” Cubans
are taking their power back from the terrorist regime and denouncing six decades of terror.
For those wondering why an island-wide protest had never occurred before,
here’s why –
Cell phones and internet are a brand-new commodity in Cuba. The Cuban people have had
access to cellphones and internet for less than ten years. In 2020, the Cuban
telecommunications company ETECSA announced 6.661 million people had cell phones and
4.421 million had internet access on their cell phones. Cuba’s population is 11.3 million.
Therefore, less than 40 percent of the population has internet access on their phone.
And please don’t think that those with internet access are able to surf the web all day. No,
Cubans pay for their gigabytes and minutes, per use (See Image 9). Those with family in exile
have their phones “recargados” or recharged from abroad. When they run out of gigabytes and
minutes, the phones just function as cameras. And of course, access to websites is monitored
and controlled by the regime.
Nonetheless, internet and social media access has undoubtedly emboldened Cubans and
helped them organize.
People feared Fidel Castro and his goons – for good reason. Diaz Canel does not arouse the
same fear. Communist Cubans respected Fidel Castro. Communist Cubans do not have the
same respect for Diaz Canel. It has always been a failing government, unwanted by the majority
of the population but now people are desperate and fearless enough to say it out loud.
What We Hope.
A little-known fact – during the American Revolution when the Continental Army’s coffers were
empty, affluent Cuban ladies from la Habana and Matanzas took off their jewels and raised 1.2
million pounds sterling to feed, clothe, and pay the salaries of General George Washington’s
army. They did it knowing the low credit worthiness of France and the U.S. colonies at the time.
They did it because they believed the American colonies deserved freedom.
We hope America not only proclaims Cuba deserves freedom as many politicians are doing
today. We hope America acts to ensure Cuba’s success just as the ladies from la Habana and
Matanzas acted during the American Revolution.
We hope we are wrong about the Biden-Harris Administration, the countries in our
hemisphere, European countries and the UN. We hope the international community
acknowledges the severity of the communist regime’s abuses. We hope there is international
collaboration to help the Cuban people.
We hope world governments and corporations come together to provide the Cuban people
with unlimited access to the internet.
We hope the international community confers Cuba humanitarian intervention.
We hope the Cuban military stands down. The active Cuban soldiers are all seventeen- to
twenty-year-old boys, forced into service. We hope Cuban law enforcement officers stand
down. We hope Communist party leaders stand down. We hope they do not stand for the
arbitrary arrests, torture, and murder of their fellow countrymen.
We hope the countries who are aiding the regime are brought to justice.
Exiled Cubans hope we are afforded the opportunity to join the battle, to help our countrymen,
to fight for our country’s freedom. We are already seeing the US Coast Guard apprehending the
private boats of Cuban immigrants and Cuban-Americans who are anxious to help our people.
We know a beaten down, starved, unarmed population cannot on its own take down the evil
monster that is the Cuban communist regime. We hope the international community sees this
and helps us.
We hope the efforts of exiles to bring awareness to what is happening in Cuba saves lives. We
hope the communist regime steps down. We hope Cuba is freed. We hope we can set foot in
our country again. We hope we can hug and kiss our families again.
You will notice that in some of the videos, two female voices can be heard commenting. That
is my mom and me. It was unintentional. I could have rerecorded and provided you with clean
audio versions. However, I have decided to leave the authentic, uncensored commentary so
those of you who speak Spanish can hear the genuine reactions of exiled Cubans. Please know
most videos do not require Spanish knowledge to understand them.