Locked up in his house in Havana, blocked by State Security agents, separated from the cameras by the Cuban flag that covers his building, Yunior García has been erected in recent days as the banner of the desire for change on the island Caribbean. Although he could not march on Sunday alone as he had proposed, the 39-year-old playwright has dealt a severe blow to the regime. The Government of Miguel Díaz Canel has responded to the call of citizens who wanted to go out and march peacefully, plaguing the streets of Havana with police officers and besieging and arresting voices critical of Castroism.
García is the son of that revolution. Although he was part of the cultural apparatus very subdued by the regime, his concerns led him to question a system, which pounces against dissent and any critical voice, even if it is produced in a poem, a song or a tweet. When they took to the streets in the spontaneous protests of July 11, the young people said that appealing to revolutionary romanticism is no longer an option for them.
García explained that the objective of the march called for this Monday is “to shake his country.” “Make people aware, generate a debate that causes changes. A good part of the population pretended not to be interested in political matters and avoided looking for trouble. Now people believe that they can achieve change and are deciding to participate, especially the youngest, whose only hope was to leave the country. Those who cannot leave or have decided to stay know that they must take charge of their destiny, participate in reality and bring about changes for their benefit. We want that to happen in the most peaceful and civic way possible, ”the playwright explained to the EFE agency. After the interview was published, the government withdrew their press credentials from its correspondents on Saturday, although it later returned them to two of them. In addition, the houses of several journalists woke up under siege by State Security agents.
Yunior García was born in Holguín, a city located in the east of Cuba, whose inhabitants have a reputation for being fierce, first for facing the Spanish Crown and then for rejecting the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. García has dedicated himself to acting from a very young age, with local groups that he created with his friends. At the age of 17, he entered the prestigious National School of Art (ENA) to study acting. It was precisely his dissatisfaction with a theater, closely linked to the official discourse, which led him to investigate some forms of creation and thus to question not only culture, but also the system, until he became a prominent figure of the generation young man demanding change.
García has been the main promoter of the so-called Civic March for Change. He has also created the Archipelago platform after the protest of 300 young artists at the gates of the Ministry of Culture on November 27, 2020, produced after the arrest of several members of the dissident Movement San Isidro. Archipelago brings together a group of artists who from social networks demand openness and political change in Cuba. “It constitutes a plural space in which the existence of diverse ideas is important, where we learn to reach consensus, at least what unites us within that diversity, but respecting the difference, the possibility that the other has its share of truth and that we can extract a collective truth, let’s say, without canceling that difference that characterizes us ”, explained García.
The march promoted for this Monday, and promoted from the networks, soon generated the attention of the press and a lot of international expectation, for which the regime declared it illegal and considered it a “destabilizing provocation.” Faced with the possible mobilization of the entire security apparatus to prevent the demonstration, García warned that he would march alone on Sunday “on behalf of all citizens who the regime has deprived of their right to demonstrate.” He would be dressed in white and with a white rose in his hands, like the white rose in Martí’s poem, cultivated both for the sincere friend and for the perfidious who is locked in cruelty.
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“I’m ready,” he said Sunday, but was soon isolated and disowned. The international press accredited in Havana, which went to his neighborhood, could not access the building that day, because the security forces created a perimeter of 200 meters. “According to Miguel Díaz-Canel, those who support the regime have gone from being the” vast majority “to being” sufficient. ” “They will never be able to talk about small groups anymore. Those of us who ask for a change are a considerable part of this people. We need ballot boxes, not combat orders, ”Garcia wrote on Twitter in late October. His voice has had an international resonance and several governments have demanded respect for his integrity. As Nicaraguan writer Gioconda Belli wrote on Sunday, “fear is afraid of a man who walks with a white rose.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.