Reports From Havana: What Happened to Dissident Who Protested During Papal Visit?

Mar 28, 2012
5:34 PM

The following image was shared by a member of our Facebook community today and it got us to do a little digging and find out what happened in Havana during the Pope's visit on Monday.

We went straight to Twitter to see what some Cuban profiles were saying and @yoanisanchez tweeted the following on Tuesday. Here is loose translation: "A man screams 'Down with communism" yesterday [Monday] in Plaza Santiago and they beat him down #PapaCuba [the Pope] says that "Communism does not function in #Cuba and he is received with open arms."

The HuffPost wrote about the story yesterday. Here are some selected excerpts:

SANTIAGO, Cuba — Leading Cuban dissidents say they don't know the man who shouted anti-government slogans before Pope Benedict XVI's Mass in the eastern city of Santiago. Nor do they know his whereabouts a day after security agents removed him from the ceremony.

But they say they are trying to find out, and worry he might face punishment.

An independent Cuban group that monitors the detention of dissidents "has not been able to identify by name the young man who pronounced slogans in favor of freedom and against communism," said Elizardo Sanchez, who heads the organization and is a de facto spokesman for the dissidents. In his statement Tuesday, Sanchez called on the government to identify him.

The Cuban government did not respond to requests for comment.

Just before Monday's Mass was to begin in Santiago's main square, a man wearing a dark T-shirt and cap yelled "Down with the Revolution! Down with the dictatorship!" near journalists covering the ceremony.

Security agents quickly hustled him away. Video of the incident showed him being hit by an apparent first aid worker wearing a white T-shirt with a large red cross, before they were separated.

You can read more of the story here.