December 15, 2020 at 1:08 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay man who participated in Cuba protest movement arrested
Osmel Adrián Rubio Santos while on hunger strike. (Photo courtesy of Katherine Bisquet Rodríguez’s Facebook page)

Cuban authorities on Tuesday arrested a gay man who is a member of a protest movement against the government.

A video that Osmel Adrián Rubio Santos’ mother, Isbe Santos González, sent to Washington Blade contributor Yariel Valdés González shows authorities placing Rubio into a patrol car outside of his home in Havana’s Cotorro neighborhood.

Rubio in the video is wearing a face mask with his hands behind his back. Santos says her son was arrested after he left their home to buy bread at a nearby bakery.

Rubio, 18, was one of the 14 members of the San Isidro Movement who went on a hunger and thirst strike last month in a dilapidated building in Old Havana to protest the arrest of Daniel Solís, a rapper who was sentenced to eight months in prison for “disrespect” after he criticized the Cuban government in a Facebook Live video.

Authorities on Nov. 26 forcibly removed Rubio and the other San Isidro Movement members from the building.

Rubio told the Blade during a recent interview that state security agents subsequently prevented him from leaving his home. Rubio also said his neighbors marched in front of it to publicly repudiate him.

“It was a wonderful few days,” Rubio told the Blade, referring to the days he spent in the San Isidro Movement’s headquarters. “I could see what a free Cuba would be like, because there were all kinds of people there, from a gay man like me to a Muslim.”

Authorities later on Tuesday released Rubio after they fined him 150 Cuban pesos ($5.67) for violating the perimeter that had been created around his home. Rubio told the Blade after his release that he was once again at home and he was “good.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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