What you should know about the protests this Monday in Cuba

(CNN Español) — Cuban activists march this Monday, November 15, despite the fact that the Cuban government announced that it will not allow it.

This is what you should know about the protests scheduled in various cities in Cuba and around the world.

Protesters gather in Miami to support Cuban anti-government protesters, on November 14, 2021. – The United States urged Cuban authorities on Sunday to lift the ban on protests ahead of the anti-government demonstrations planned for Monday, the Department said. of State in a statement. The Cuban opposition has called for demonstrations in Havana and six provinces on November 15, which have been banned by the communist authorities, to demand the release of political prisoners. (Photo by Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / AFP) (Photo by EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI / AFP via Getty Images)

Why will the protests be held in Cuba?

Yunior García Aguilera, the leader of a civic group called Archipiélago, requested permission in September to carry out a peaceful march in Cuba in November, as he explained, “to demand that all the rights of all Cubans be respected, for the liberation of the prisoners. politicians and for the solution of our differences through democratic and peaceful means “.

In support of his protest plan, García Aguilera formed a group in Facebook that has more than 33,000 followers. Members of the group say they too are harassed for their activism and complain of being followed by civilian-clad state security agents and receiving threats from government officials.

The members also accuse Cuba’s state telecommunications company of preventing Cubans from sending text messages with the word archipelago in Spanish or the date of their planned protest, a censorship tactic long established on the island. CNN has independently confirmed the message blocking.

“Because the Cuban has been silent for too long and it is time that he can open his mouth to freely say what he thinks,” García Aguilera told CNN.

In a closed Facebook group, activists from Archipelago they say that in Cuba there are “systematic violations of civil and political rights” in addition to “the worsening of the humanitarian situation, which is evidenced in the deterioration of all public services, the family economy and the continued gentrification of the population.”

The planned march aims to call for democratic reforms to the Caribbean nation’s political system, as well as the release of political prisoners.

When will the protest be?

Initially, the date of the protest was November 20, but García Aguilera passed it to November 15 after the government announced military exercises throughout the island for the same day.

Where will the protests be?

While the protests are being scheduled to take place in Havana, organizers say that in addition to the island’s capital, it will spread to seven provinces and will be replicated in more than 90 cities around the world.

What does the government of Cuba say?

The central government denied permits for the march, claiming that those who called the protest are financed by the United States.

“The promoters [de la protesta], their public projections and links with subversive organizations or agencies financed by the United States government have the open intention of changing the political system of our country, “said the president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, in a speech before the Central Committee. of the Communist Party of Cuba in October.

Cuban state media have already broadcast images of militias training with AK-47s and members of the “Committee for the Defense of the Revolution” patrolling the streets with metal batons.

“There are enough revolutionaries here to face any type of demonstration that intends to destroy the revolution with intelligence”, Diaz-Canel said.

Rosa María Payá: Cubans are not going to stop 0:48

Organizers of the march say they will go ahead with the protest.

“We see that they are capable of violating even their own laws. It would not be the first time they have done it. This is how it works,” García Aguilera told CNN’s Camilo Egaña.

“But nevertheless we are determined even if they play dirty, even if they violate the rules, even if they break even their own laws, we are willing to behave in a civic manner and to move forward with the proposal because we consider it legitimate, that it has not been done in 62 years and that it is time that we conquer that space for Cubans who think differently, “added García Aguilera.

What does the United States say?

The United States rejected the Cuban government’s decision to deny permission for a “peaceful protest.”

“By refusing to allow such demonstrations, the Cuban regime clearly demonstrates that it is not willing to honor or defend the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Cubans,” the State Department said in a statement on October 16.

“The Cuban regime is not meeting the most basic needs of the people. That includes food. That includes medicine. Now is an opportunity to listen to the Cuban people and make a positive change,” said the spokesman for the Department of State, Ned Price.

The Biden administration warned the Cuban government that if it prevents the march from taking place, the island could face new economic sanctions.

What does the Cuban constitution say about the right to protest?

Government officials insist that the island’s constitution gives Cubans the right to protest, but in practice, demonstrations are quickly broken up by the police and government critics are accused of being “mercenaries” in the service of the Cuba’s nemesis in the Cold War, United States.

“Having different opinions, including political ones, is not a crime,” said Rubén Remigio Ferro, president of the Supreme Court of the Cuban People, at a press conference in July shortly after the protests. “Thinking differently, questioning what is happening, demonstrating is not a crime.”

The ban on the November 15 demonstration is based on the presumption of crime in the protesters of wanting to change the socialist character of the Cuban system, “irrevocable”, according to Article 4 of the Constitution. However, the president of the Supreme People’s Court says that the right to demonstrate, “far from constituting a crime, constitutes a constitutional right of the people,” Jorge Dávila Miguel wrote in a column for CNN.

The July protests

On July 11, thousands of Cubans took to the streets to protest the lack of food and medicine, while the country is going through a serious economic crisis exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic and US sanctions.

Many chanted “freedom” and called for the resignation of President Díaz-Canel.

According to journalist Jorge Dávila Miguel, a CNN contributor, that protest was spontaneous, but the one that will take place on November 15 will be planned, announced and rejected. But still, it will be done.

“So here there is a contradiction between what is allowed by the constitution and the laws. Now, what the government argues is that these marches are to overthrow the government, which is not true, that is not the purpose of the march, “said Dávila Miguel.

According to the Cubalex group, which monitors legal affairs on the island, at least 1,175 Cubans were arrested after the July 11 demonstrations.

While government officials said they detained protesters who attacked police and looted shops, dozens of people said they were violently arrested for marching peacefully or simply for filming the protests.

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What you should know about the protests this Monday in Cuba