The Cuban government on Tuesday rejected a request from the opposition to stage a protest on Nov. 15, saying that the organizers want to overthrow the regime and are backed by the US.
The proposed demonstrations would follow unprecedented anti-government protests that erupted on July 11 in about 50 Cuban cities.
“The promoters and their public representatives, some of whom have links with subversive organizations or agencies financed by the American government, have the clear intention of promoting a change in Cuba’s political system,” the government said in a statement on the official Cubadebate Web site.
Organizers wanted to stage protests in six of the nation’s 15 provinces in a call for nonviolent change.
However, the communist government said that the reasons were illegitimate and constituted a “provocation,” adding that the new constitution adopted in 2019 states that the existing socialist system is “irrevocable.”
The protest request published on social media pointed to Article 56 of the new constitution, which protects the right to meet, protest, and to associate for lawful and peaceful purposes.
“Even though that is a constitutional right, it cannot be exercised in detriment to other rights,” the government said in response.
Film director Yunior Garcia, who organized the planned Havana protest, hit out at the government’s reasons for refusing the requests.
“Whatever the Cuban does, they always say the idea came from Washington. It’s as if we don’t think, as if us Cubans don’t have any brains,” he said. “Of course every sane Cuban wants change for the better — they want democracy in Cuba, more progress, more freedom.”
In Washington, US Department of State spokesman Ned Price said that the July outpouring on the streets “was not about the United States.”
“The prohibition on peaceful protest that we’ve seen, all of this reminds us that it is a Cuban people who are paying dearly in their fight for freedom, their fight for dignity,” Price told reporters.
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