The Cuban government on Tuesday rejected an opposition request to hold a demonstration on November 15, saying the organizers are backed by the United States and want to overthrow the regime.
The proposed protests would follow unprecedented anti-government protests that erupted on July 11 in some 50 Cuban cities.
“The promoters and their public representatives, some of whom have ties to subversive organizations or agencies funded by the US government, have a clear intention of promoting change in the Cuban political system,” the government said in a statement released on the Cubadebate official site.
Organizers wanted to organize protests in six of the island’s 15 provinces to call for violence and change.
But the Communist government said the reasons were illegitimate and constituted a “provocation”, adding that the new constitution adopted in 2019 stipulates that the current socialist system is “irrevocable”.
The protest request posted on social media referred to article 56 of the new constitution which protects the right to assemble, demonstrate and associate for legal and peaceful purposes.
“Even though it is a constitutional right, it cannot be exercised at the expense of other rights,” the government said in response.
– ‘Change for the better’ –
Director Yunior Garcia, who organized the planned demonstration in Havana, denounced the government’s reasons for refusing the requests.
“Whatever Cubans do, they always say the idea came from Washington. It’s like we don’t think, like we Cubans don’t have brains, ”he said.
“Of course, all sane Cubans want a change for the better, they want democracy in Cuba, more progress, more freedom. “
In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the July spillovers on the streets “did not concern the United States.”
“The ban on peaceful demonstrations that we have seen, all this reminds us that it is a Cuban people who are paying dearly for their fight for freedom, their fight for dignity,” the spokesperson for the department told reporters. of State, Ned Price.
“We call on the government of Havana to respect the fundamental freedoms and fundamental rights of the Cuban people. “
The opposition protest was originally scheduled for November 20, but was changed after the government declared last week this “National Defense Day” and said it would be preceded by two days of exercises. military.
“We couldn’t be irresponsible, we didn’t want violence, we didn’t want Cubans to fight and we couldn’t send protesters into a street battle against the army that could respond with violence,” he said. Garcia said.
The government crackdown on the July protests left one dead, dozens injured and more than 1,000 people detained, several hundred still behind bars.
© 2021 AFP