Misael Canet Velázquez

* 1973

  • “There (in the prison) I started a hunger strike that lasted 51 days.” "Why the strike?" “Because they unfairly penalized me, and I already went on a 51-day hunger strike. From there they took me to Kilo 8 (prison) and there they kept me naked, naked… There, psychological torture by the system.” “How many days were you naked?” “The 51 days that I was on a hunger strike, naked.” "Cold?" Yes, it was the end of the year. I started to go on strike on December 22, 2015.” “51 days without eating…” “51 days.” "How did you hold up?" “Well, I came out of the strike in a wheelchair. My balance was affected, so I came out in a wheelchair. The 51-day hunger strike was the biggest I've ever done. I was prepared to die in that strike. Then I did one of 17, after 16, after 15, after 5, then I did the one of 9 without water and thirsty. It was a straight of strikes that I did. That is why the affectation I had was greater.”

  • “They threatened me that they would put me in jail for 30 years if I didn't leave the opposition. They threatened me a lot." “Did they beat you up in the arrests?” “Yes, during the arrests they did beat me.” "Tell me about one of these arrests." “Well, there were so many… In an arrest it was that in the first unit they gave me a beating that broke my leg, and I was injured for six months in my right leg. That was the biggest beating they gave me.” “More than 200 times I was arrested. Bah. Lots of arrests. Many, many..." "How many beatings?" “I have been beaten many times. They have given me many beatings…”

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    Cuba, Camagüey, 01.01.2022

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If I was brave on the Cuban streets, I was brave also in the prison

Misael Canet Velázquez, 2022
Misael Canet Velázquez, 2022
photo: Post Bellum

Misael Canet Velázquez was born in Las Tunas, Cuba, on June 27, 1973 and at the age of 37 he moved to Camagüey where he currently resides. He attended 12 school grades since his family was from a humble class, with a father who was a farmer and a mother who was a housewife. However, he was not always like this – his grandfather was a farmer but they took all his lands with the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and for opposing it, his grandfather spent nine years in the prison of Boniato. Misael never conformed to the communist system either, which is why he fell into the so-called danger index, a Cuban invention that tries to separate and threaten all who might oppose it. Not so much, however, Misael. He joined the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Front of Civic Resistance and Civil Disobedience and despite strong persecution by the regime, he continued in peaceful protests, for which he was arrested more than 200 times and received countless beatings. On December 22, 2015, he was taken to prison once more, but this time he was sentenced to six years in prison. Misael decided to carry out hunger strikes as a form of peaceful protest, and arriving at the prison, he began what would be his longest hunger strike – 51 days, from which he left seriously impaired in a wheelchair. Soon after, however, he went on another 17-day hunger strike, and many more after that, demanding medical attention and the right to phone calls. He spent 5 years, 4 months and 12 days in prison without receiving anything he claimed. He was released in the spring of 2021 and despite suffering serious health consequences, the regime does not allow him to see a doctor, threatening health sector personnel not to receive him as a patient.