Cuba: March of opposition activists does not take place

The street marches called for Monday in Cuba did not come to fruition after the organizers denounced that government supporters prevented them from leaving their homes and received citations from the police from days before.

Neither were there any opposition actions that the activists themselves had suggested to the population as a protest if they did not want to leave their homes, such as the placing of white sheets on balconies or windows and applause at three in the afternoon, the scheduled time for the manifestation.

In Havana, the intersection of the central streets of Prado and Malecón – the agreed point of concentration – looked empty and with moderate police control, The Associated Press found. The Cuban government had denied permission for this march, which generated expectations outside the island and was indicated by the authorities as being promoted and financed by the United States.

The prosecution warned a few weeks ago that those who participated in the demonstration would be jailed.

The march was called to demand the release of prisoners -especially those who were detained in July in other protests-, an expansion of human rights and a national dialogue.

The protests held on July 11 and 12 were the first against the government in almost three decades, and unlike those announced for Monday, they did not have clear leadership, nor were permits requested to do so. The news was spread mainly through social networks and one person died in the midst of vandalism, while hundreds were arrested.

“Demonstrating is a civic right. Under the circumstances in which we are and with the tools that we have, each one of us has that right, ”the filmmaker and cinematographer Raúl Prado told the AP by telephone.

Prado indicated that many people “are also suffering the consequences” of having publicly expressed their willingness to demonstrate because, he said, the authorities cut off their internet, policemen in uniform or in civilian clothes were posted at their homes or suffered “acts of repudiation” from neighbors. or activists who chanted revolutionary slogans or shouted against those they consider contrary to their ideas.

The demonstration was called by the playwright Yunior García and his group Archipiélago – an internet discussion forum that has already reached 35,000 members. In September, the organizers presented a request for permission to carry out the march – first in Havana and then almost a dozen cities joined – which was rejected by the authorities for considering it illegal and unconstitutional because, in their opinion, it goes against the precept. that socialism is irrevocable.

The day before García tried to take a solo walk in protest at the denial of permission for Monday’s protest but was prevented by pro-government groups of people who blocked the door in his building and on his street. These from the roof placed Cuban flags covering the windows of his apartment.

In a tour, the AP found that on Monday the area was quiet – no demonstrations by government supporters – but there was a guard in front of the house. Their telephones and other of the Archipelago coordinators remained interrupted.

The squares and parks, where the demonstrations would take place, were taken over by groups of government supporters for cultural activities with which they welcomed the reopening of the country’s borders and airports as restrictive measures due to COVID-19 were made more flexible. Also, to commemorate the 502 years of the founding of Havana.

In social networks, many young people did publish photos dressed in white – the organizers of the march and the actions had called to wear that color – or showed their discontent.

The entrepreneur Saily González, who resides in Villa Clara and is moderator of the Archipelago, uploaded a live broadcast through the internet when she posted white cloths on her website while government supporters dressed in red chanted revolutionary slogans and insulted her.

Archipelago reported on its Facebook page the arrest of a member named Abdiel Pérez in Camagüey and reported that they could not contact his moderator in Las Tunas, Adrián Napoles Capote. Also the arrest of art historian Carolina Barrero and Julio Ledón.

The authorities accused García and Archipelago of being financed and being part of a plan by the United States and interest groups in Florida to destroy the revolution in the context of growing hostility from Washington to pressure a change in the political model and that caused part of the current economic crisis on the island.

“They were dressed for that party. our party, the party in Cuba is being a marvel, “said Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez in an internet broadcast after the marches or other actions were not carried out and which he described as” failed operation “and” complete failure. “

As part of the reopening, in the morning, President Miguel Díaz-Canel inaugurated the restart of the school year throughout the country, with which some 700,000 primary school children resumed their classes. In the past weeks a similar number of students from the other educational levels had already returned to the classrooms.

Cuba achieved relative control of the COVID-19 pandemic after an outbreak caused by the arrival of the Delta variant in the country at the beginning of the year thanks to mass vaccination. The authorities reported that more than eight million people – including children from the age of two – have already been immunized with a complete three-dose schedule of the nationally produced antigens.

Airports are expected to start receiving international tourists on Monday, a vital sector for the country’s economy that is going through a deep economic crisis and has been almost paralyzed with visible effects on supply and inflation, especially in food, fuel and energy. electrical.

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