Governments, Airline Appear to Have No Evidence Cuban Dissident Stranded in Guyana Arrived

Cuban dissident Daniel Llorente Miranda, an anti-communist, pro-American protester, has been placed in one of the nation’s most notorious mental institutions following his interruption of the annual May Day parade, where he ran down the parade route waving an American flag.
STR/AFP/Getty Images
FRANCES MARTEL

Local media in Guyana reported Wednesday that immigration services there, the U.S. Embassy, and the Red Cross all had no proof that Daniel Llorente, a Cuban dissident imprisoned for a year following a public display of the U.S. flag, was in the country.

Llorente told the Miami-based news service Martí on Friday that Cuban government agents had kidnapped him from his Havana home and forced him on a flight to Georgetown, the Guyanese capital. In an audio report published by the outlet, Llorente says Castro regime police officers did not allow him to pack for the one-way trip and threatened to “disappear” him if they ever found him in Cuba again. They allegedly suggested applying for political asylum to the United States.

The Trump administration shut down non-essential services at the Havana embassy in 2017 following a series of unexplained attacks on American and Canadian diplomatic personnel. Cubans who wish to come to the United States must apply for entry in Guyana.

Following that report, a photo surfaced on Facebook showing Llorente on a flight. Juan Echezabal, the man who posted the image, told Breitbart News he took it from a private post by Eliézer Llorente, the dissident’s son, who wrote that the photo was on the flight from Havana to Georgetown. The window behind Llorente in the photo is open, suggesting he flew during daylight hours.

Yet government officials have no record of him entering the country, according to Guyana’s Kaieteur News.

“According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the police force, checks with the Immigration Department could find no evidence that Daniel Llorente landed in Guyana,” the newspaper reported. “The US Embassy also said that no one by that name visited the embassy this week. The Red Cross said the same thing.”

Guyana’s national Crime Chief Lyndon Alves also reportedly told the newspaper that he was not aware of the entry of a Daniel Llorente into the country.

Kaieteur also contacted Castro regime agents, who reportedly did not offer any information on the case.

Both the U.S. embassy and the Red Cross would be natural locations for Llorente to reach out to following his landing in Georgetown, a place with which he has no known history and where he is not known to have any relatives, friends, or others to help him. Legally, Guyana’s Immigration Department must process him to allow him out of the airport.

A State Department spokesperson told Breitbart News via email Wednesday that the agency was “aware of reports of dissident Daniel Llorente’s travel from Cuba to Guyana. We are tracking the situation.”

“President Trump has made clear his intention is to demonstrate solidarity with the Cuban people and promote human rights and democracy,” the spokesperson said. “The Department of State continues to support and engage with human rights and democracy activists in Cuba and to work with regional partners and in multilateral fora to support respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for the Cuban people. We publicly denounce the Cuban government’s human rights violations and continue to call for the release of all political prisoners in Cuba.”

In addition to the lack of proof that Llorente arrived safely to Guyana, there is no confirmation that he ever took a flight out of Cuba.

Llorente told Martí that he was put on an Aruba Airlines flight from Havana to Georgetown, Guyana, sometime early morning Friday, May 17. A representative for Aruba Airlines told Breitbart News that a charter company, Services MIA, runs the Cuba-Guyana flights through planes that Aruba Airlines rents out. A representative for Services MIA told Breitbart News that they had no listing for a Daniel Llorente or a “Daniel Llorente Miranda,” the dissident’s full name, on any flights from Havana to Georgetown and Llorente was not listed on any flight manifests from that day.

Breitbart News also attempted to contact Llorente or his family by calling a Cuban phone number Llorente had emailed to this reporter in August 2018, which matched the number that appeared on his official business card. An operator responded saying the number had been disconnected.

Kaieteur News suggests that the Cuban regime may have forced Llorente to use a false name to leave the country. Llorente told Martí, in the only interview currently available with him following his disappearance, that Cuban regime police took his passport several days before he was abducted.

Llorente is a particularly vulnerable dissident because he does not belong to any pro-democracy groups on the island, stating in an interview that he fears organized groups have been infiltrated by Castro regime agents. He has been an active dissident since at least 2016 when he was arrested for publicly waving a U.S. flag at the port of Havana to welcome the first American cruise ship to dock there since the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

A year later, Llorente interrupted the regime’s biggest annual celebration of Marxism, the May Day parade, running in front of the parade line waving a U.S. flag. Cameras recording the parade caught plain-clothed police officers beating him and hauling him away.

Fearing pressure from international human rights groups, the Cuban regime never charged Llorente with a crime. Instead, they imprisoned him at “Mazorra,” the vernacular name for Havana’s largest psychiatric facility, which has a well-documented history of use as a torture center for political prisoners. There, Llorente claimed he was subject to electroshock torture and told that his faith in God was a sign of mental illness.

The Castro regime freed Llorente from Mazorra in May 2018 but temporarily detained him for anti-communist activism on multiple occasions since then, most recently while dressed in an American flag outfit under suspicions that he was planning to attend an “illegal” gay pride parade in Havana this month, which Llorente claimed on Facebook he had not planned on doing.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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