On August 31, 2021, Dayron Dadiz Larrondo, a member of the Free Yorubas of Cuba, was summoned to appear at a police station in Placetas, Villa Clara, after participation in island-wide protests that broke out July 11.
When Mr. Dadiz arrived, he was fined 1,000 CUP for his involvement in the peaceful protests. The penalty issued in lieu of a trial, denies Mr. Dadiz of his right to due process under Cuban law. He was neither granted the opportunity to defend himself against charges bought forth by political police, nor was he provided with state-appointed legal counsel.
Dayron Dadiz Larrondo was previously summoned by authorities on July 13, shortly after island-wide protests broke out. Political Police accused Dadiz of promoting the protests and detained the young man upon his arrival at the Placetas police station. Processes were initiated for transfer to the “Zona Especiales” of a nearby men’s prison where alleged re-education programs have been conducted.
Mr. Dadiz was eventually released after 24 hours under a precautionary measure of 1,000 CUP cash bail pending a trial. Today he was summoned to the police station in Placetas and ordered to pay a fine of 1,000 CUP in lieu of that trial.
Though there is little information provided by the Cuban government on average income for Cuban citizens, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic various sources and expert studies generally estimated an average income of $25-$30 (USD) per month, or roughly 600 CUP to 720 CUP.
A fine of 1,000 CUP (or $41.70 USD) far exceeds the average monthly income for a Cuban citizen that completes a 40-hour work week. Lawyers in Cuba have reported to GLA they have seen fines as a high 8,000 CUP (or $333.61 USD). While there are no official figures published about Cuba’s poverty rate, experts believe close to 60% of the population lives at or below poverty indexes. The pandemic has put additional strain on the tourism-travel dependent island, making jobs a lot tougher to come by.
GLA President Jason Poblete spoke to the use of excessive fines by Cuba’s justice system, noting, “There is no rule of law in Cuba; it is ruled by law as decreed at any given time by the Communist Party, fines and bail included. These excessive fines are another form of political coercion and a tool of repression that the system uses to silence the opposition by making it very expensive to engage in freedom of expression or assembly. It’s cruel and it disproportionally hurts the poorest and the most marginalized people in Cuba.”