Shout of ‘Freedom!’ paid for with beating instead
If his intention was to point out the lack of it, the message was underscored. Security personnel hauled him away, beating him up in the process. Because it happened near a nest of cameras, images were captured and transmitted around the world, a sour sidelight to the pope’s visit.
Internal dissident sources have identified the man as Andres Carrion Alvarez, 38. Along with “Libertad!” (Freedom) he also yelled “Down with Communism!” in Spanish.
The incident took place before the papal Mass at the Antonio Maceo Square in Santiago de Cuba, in an area close to the platform set up for photographers.
As he was removed from the square, Carrion was slapped and beaten violently with a folded gurney by a group of at least three men, including one wearing a Cuban Red Cross uniform.
Carrion’s personal information was confirmed by Alfonso Chaviano Pelaez and by Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, a spokesman for Cuba’s Patriotic Union. In the early hours of Friday, Ferrer reported through the digital site Hablalo sin Miedo (Say It Without Fear) that Chaviano had recognized Carrion “but had not been able to report it, first because he did not have means of communication and because his house was under severe police vigilance.” [More]