The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Extrajudicial killings continue in Cuba

Oswaldo Payá, seen here in 2006, was killed in July 2012 while in a car in Cuba. (Javier Galeano/AP)
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The Jan. 23 editorial “Cuba’s show trials roll on” was spot on, but it left unsaid that the extrajudicial killings also continue.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel appeared on state television after the 11J protests started on July 11, stating, “The order of combat is given, revolutionaries take to the streets.” This directive incited government security forces to commit violence against civilians. They shot and killed unarmed demonstrators.

Authorities recognized one death in these protests. Diubis Laurencio Tejeda was a 36-year-old singer who was shot in the back by the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) in Havana on July 12. There are others, but they have not been officially recognized.

Christian Díaz, age 24, disappeared after joining the protests. Relatives on July 12 reported him missing to the PNR in Cárdenas. Police told his father that Christian was jailed in Matanzas. On Aug. 5, officials informed his family he’d drowned in the sea and was buried in a mass grave. His family is convinced he was beaten to death.

This isn’t the first time Havana has covered up state murders. The 2012 killings of Cuban dissident leaders Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero by security forces are two high-profile examples.

John Suarez, Washington

The writer is executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba.

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