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Friday, Dec 03, 2021

Cuban activist Yunior Garcia Aguilera arrives in Spain

Cuban activist Yunior Garcia Aguilera arrives in Spain

Cuban activist Yunior Garcia has arrived in Spain on a tourist visa, along with his wife, a Spanish government official confirmed to CNN on Wednesday

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the opposition leader and playwright thanked his family and friends, and those who made his journey to Spain possible.

"We arrived in Spain, alive, healthy and with our ideas intact. We have to thank the many people who have made this journey possible," Garcia Aguilera said in his first public comment since leaving Cuba.

"I have been without communication for several days and need to update on the situation of other members of the Archipelago," he added, referring to his opposition group.

The organizer of protests that were thwarted by Cuban police had not been seen since a mob of hardline pro-government supporters surrounded his house on Sunday, a spokesman for Archipelago group said on Tuesday.

Magdiel Jorge Castro told CNN that the last time activists spoke with García Aguilera was on Sunday at 6 p.m. local time. A member of the group went to his house on Tuesday to try to locate him, but after knocking for more than an hour at his door, no one opened or answered, he added.

Garcia Aguilera faced possible arrest and trial in Cuba for his role in organizing the protests -- intended to call for greater political freedoms -- which had been planned for Monday but never took place.

Cuban police arrested at least 11 people while government agents and supporters had "besieged" 50 others inside their homes to forestall the demonstration, the Havana-based independent human rights organization Cubalex told CNN.

Cuban activists also said they were blockaded inside their homes on Sunday and Monday.

Protests are permitted under the Cuban constitution -- but in practice, police routinely arrest anyone suspected anti-government activity and protestors face lengthy prison sentences.

The government had vowed not to allow the demonstrations, claiming they were a pretext to stir up trouble on the communist-run island, and that they had been secretly organized by Cuban exiles and the US government.

There was a heavy police across Cuba on Monday morning as authorities prepared to face potential protesters. Ultimately, streets remained quiet, however -- evidence of the chilling effects of the government's warnings.

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