On July 11, 2021, a spontaneous street protest in San Antonio de los Baños, near Havana, went viral on social media and thousands took to the streets all over Cuba, marching peacefully and chanting for freedom. Authorities violently put down the protests, militarized the country, and arrested thousands; at least 1,555 detentions were documented by the group Justicia 11J. Peaceful demonstrations and arrests have continued all over the country; to date, at least 909 individuals have been sentenced to prison, 773 are still in custody, and 84 have been forced into exile. After the protests, the Cuban government enabled and encouraged a huge mass exodus that has cost many lives; in 2022 alone, Cuba Archive reported 263 deaths and disappearances of Cubans fleeing the country by land or sea. In the 22 months from July 202 to May 2023, 391,282 border encounters with Cubans, presumed entries, have been reported in the U.S. alone.
Since July 2021, 21 Cubans have been killed by state agents enabled and empowered by the Cuban government. Cuba Archive has to date documented 4,374 extrajudicial killings by the Cuban regime (partial list) since January 1st 1959, of which 3,069 were ordered executions without due process of law. This number excludes thousands more deaths of a political nature from other causes. (All victims profiled below have a record in Cuba Archive's database.)
Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, age 36, was shot in the back by Policeman Yoennis Pelegrín Hernández on July 12, 2021, when he fired indiscriminately at a crowd of demonstrators in the neighborhood of La Güinera, Havana, a day after the mass protests began all over the country. 5 other persons were injured by the bullets, including a 16-year-old shot in the legs, and 161 protesters reportedly faced criminal charges. Tejeda’s family was only allowed a two-hour funeral with heavy police presence and forced to have his body cremated. Authorities declared the shooting justified in "legitimate defense." Pelegrín was reportedly promoted and given a better motorcycle.
Christian Barrera Díaz, age 24, was presumably killed extrajudicially on July 12, 2021, while attempting to flee Cuba a day after participating in the mass protests. He was at Playa Larga, Matanzas, trying to escape by boat at dawn when elite government troops arrived, opened fire, and started beating people. A friend said he had seen him jump into the ocean. The police told the family he was under arrest and, after desperately searching for him for three weeks, told them that his decomposed body had been found on July 15th and buried in a common grave. They were told he had drowned but believe he was murdered by authorities.
Aiser Roque Rivero, age 18. Roque had been arrested and fined for participating in the July 11, 2021 mass protests in his hometown of Placetas, Villa Clara. On May 2, 2023. he was taken into custody in Placetas, accused by an ex-girlfriend of threats and invasion of residence. and was pronounced dead a few hours later at a local hospital. His family was told he had died of asphyxia by suicide but reported that he was a joyful person with no suicidal inclinations; they believe he was murdered by police.