Cuban Libertarians Accused of 'Disturbing Public Order' for Holding Quiet Hunger Strike at Home

The chilling encounter was captured on video.


Footage from Cuba shows agents of the government accusing activists of "disturbing public order"—for a quiet protest in a private home.

The context involved the February arrest and detention of two Cuban libertarians, Ubaldo Herrera Hernández and Manuel Velázquez Visea. Their treatment inspired the creation of the Partido Libertario Cubano—Jose Marti, named for the famed 19th century hero of Cuban independence. The party in turn has received yet more harassment by the authorities.

For example: Members of the party met late last month at the Benjamin Franklin Libertarian Library, hosted in a private home in Havana, where two of them claimed to be conducting a hunger strike protesting the detention of their comrades. While the meeting was underway, they received an intimidating visit from some state security officers.

They used a phone to capture the encounter on video, then passed the phone along to a neighbor. The result is a direct look at life for dissidents in Cuba.

In the first half of the video (with English subtitles for the Spanish dialogue), three young men coolly inform the activists that they are "committing a crime" of "disturbing public order" by quietly protesting how their libertarian friends were treated. After the intruders threaten to arrest a woman, she responds: "In my house I'm the boss." The agents reply that they "keep hearing here and there that there's trouble here"—a disconcerting excuse for men to show up threateningly at your door.

In the second half of the video, shot later, several of the activists talk about being taken in, threatened, and beaten following the encounter in the first half. The two hunger strikers claim that their shoes were stolen and they were forced to walk home barefoot after their detention.

Here's the video:

NEXT: Trump's Personal Lawyer Responds to Comey's Testimony

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Communists aren’t generally too keen on protest fellas.

    I’m taking fucking notes because shit’s gonna get real in this country in due time.

  2. It seems the protesters were being accused of being astroturfed. So I guess some things are universal for leftists.

  3. Appears there are more libertarians in Cuba than in America.

    There, I said it.

  4. This current crop of Marxists in the US doesn’t even apologize for this shit or deny it anymore. I’ve heard it. They justify all this behavior in Latin America with stuff like “Well, they’re probably conservatives from families who were wealthy before the revolution”. There isn’t even a mask anymore for a lot of that crowd

    I don’t know if I’d have the balls to be a libertarian in Cuba when I barely have the balls to be one on a college campus. It’s a hell of an awakening to become one here in the US. Can you imagine getting your hands on Mises or Hayek after a lifetime of living in one of these hellholes?

    1. Just what do you suppose happens to libertarians on college campuses? In my experience they just go to the Engineering school and be nerdy with each other.

      1. Every interview I’ve been a part of or witnessed for the past year for a faculty hire/graduate admissions has had 5-10 minutes of center-left whining about Trump during the informal portion (dinner usually). This is in a non-engineering STEM field, not social sciences or humanities and yet I cannot fathom the department hiring or admitting someone who had a dissenting political opinion. The assumption among everyone when starting conversation is that you liked Hillary and would have voted for Obama a third time (maybe after Get Out, they’ll say this part less often). You might score a bemused, patronizing look for Bernie. I’ve just said when it was my turn that I didn’t vote for Trump and left it at that. I’ve yet to see anyone openly give a wrong answer, though I suspect there may be a handful of other people who bite their tongue

        Plus I just assume libertarians are subject to the same threat of violence and censorship that we see for conservatives. I doubt Kmele Foster could participate in a debate on race at a college campus rather than the Soho Forum, for example

        1. I don’t think academia needs to apologize for being largely against Trump and the current incarnation of the Republican party. I think the uneducated morons who put those people in power need to apologize.

  5. However quiet your protest may be, if you’re not disturbing public order, it’s not really a protest.

    1. The Cuban Government seems to disagree with you. They seem to have a very expansive definition of “disturbing public order.”

  6. “Public order” isn’t disturbing the peace. It’s the “order” of communist society so quietly doing anything that doesn’t uphold the “order” is illegal whether it makes noise or not or if it’s private or not.

  7. Thought crimes.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.