Daniel Llorente, a Cuban dissident who became famous after receiving a public beating for waving an American flag in Cuba’s Marxist May Day Parade, tells Breitbart News the communist regime forced him on a one-way flight to Guyana to keep him from continuing his pro-American activism.
Llorente asserted that, now in Guyana, he aspires to request political asylum in the United States, citing the “15 to 20” times Cuban police have arrested him for public statements against communism and threats from Cuban police that, if he ever sets foot in Cuba again, “we will disappear you.”
He is currently wandering the streets of the Guyanese capital, Georgetown, possessing only the clothing he is wearing and a bookbag containing a Bible, a copy of the U.S. Constitution, and a book on American history. He grabbed the bookbag when police arrived at his home at 4:00 a.m. Havana time on May 16, thinking he was going to merely be arrested.
He has no mobile phone or other means of communication in Georgetown. He is surviving thanks to the charity of Cubans and Cuban-Americans in Guyana who recognized him and paid for his stay at a local inn, he told Breitbart News, but he is seeking employment and a legal avenue into the United States.
Llorente spoke to Breitbart News in an exclusive interview in conjunction with journalist Leonard Gildaire of Kaieteur News, a Guyanese newspaper.
Upon arriving in Guyana, Llorente contacted the American government outlet Martí News, which operates to inform the Cuban public about the realities of their communist government. Breitbart News translated the story Martí published and sought information on Llorente’s whereabouts. Neither the Guyanese government, the U.S. embassy, nor the airline Llorente told Martí he took, Aruba Airlines, could provide proof that Llorente left Cuba this week. Yet, through Breitbart News, Martí communicated to Llorente that Kaieteur News, whose offices are in Georgetown, was interested in meeting him.
When Gildaire arrived in his office on Thursday afternoon, a man claiming to be Llorente was there, carrying his small bookbag and wearing a shirt reading “I love” and depicting the American flag, the Western Hemisphere, and President Donald Trump.
Llorente provided his Cuban passport, government identification, and airplane ticket stub as proof of his identity. The tattoos visible on his arm matched photos and videos of the activist repeatedly detained in Havana.
His passport has stamps from Cuba’s José Martí Airport and the Guyanese government, the latter signed by an agent named “Archer.” The Guyanese stamp raises questions as to how the Guyanese government claimed to have no proof that anyone named Daniel Llorente Miranda, the dissident’s full name, ever entered the country.
Breitbart News interviewed Llorente jointly from the United States via Whatsapp, translating from Spanish for the Kaieteur News reporter.
Llorente’s journey, he says, began in 2002, when he was arrested after exhibiting signs of displeasure with the regime.
“They kept me nine years in prison because they accused me of crimes I did not commit. One was drug trafficking and the other obstruction of justice – which is to say, there was no evidence,” he told Breitbart News. He said they charged him, essentially, for the crime of no evidence existing that he had committed a crime, then for the crime they had no evidence to prove. “They monitor people. When they see anyone who expresses opinions against the regime, they send you to jail.”
“They took nine years away from me of watching my son grow up. I vowed that when I got out I would declare myself publically against the dictatorship,” he said.
Llorente, a fervent Christian who rattles off Bible quotes at lightning speed, said he learned to love the United States watching American television shows in prison.
“In Cuba, since you are little, for six generations, they teach you that the Americans are bad. When I gained myconsciousness, I was put in jail, I started watching a channel on TV that showed American social programming,” he noted. “And I saw that the Americans raised their children very, very differently from society in Cuba and I learned that they loved God. Instead of hating them, I grew to love them more.”
“Since they [the shows]taught me to love the United States, I learned that this was the Castros’ strategy of uniting Cubans against a common enemy and distracting them with that. The real bad guys and dictators and murderers are them,” he said.
He laid low following his release until 2016, when he made a splash outside of the island by attempting to greet the Carnival Cruises ship Adonia, the first cruise ship to travel from the United States to Havana since the Cuban Revolution in 1959. It was another era, and the administration of former President Barack Obama was enacting policies that allowed corporations like Carnival to enrich themselves by working with the Castro regime. Llorente did not address any of that in his protest, simply waving an American flag at the ship, shouting “yes we can!” in Spanish.
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