Americas

Cuba accuses US of ‘destabilizing’ country ahead of anti-government protests

Country saw widespread opposition demonstrations in July, resulting in hundreds of arrests

Laura Gamba   | 11.11.2021
Cuba accuses US of ‘destabilizing’ country ahead of anti-government protests

BOGOTA, Colombia

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Wednesday accused the US of trying to “destabilize” the island as government opponents prepared to hold protests in Havana and other provinces.

Government dissidents organized by a Facebook group called Archipelago initially planned the rally for Nov. 20 but switched the date to Nov. 15 after authorities declared the 20th a “National Defense Day” during which citizens practice their preparedness for a US invasion.

On Nov. 15, the island will reopen its borders to tourists and primary schools will open their doors after months of disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will not in any way allow the continued aggression of the United States government and its continuous attempts to create conditions of internal instability and disturb the peace and security of citizens to spoil our celebration,” said Rodriguez before the diplomatic corps accredited in the country.

Cuba has said that anti-government protests are “illegal” and are linked to “subversive organizations or agencies financed by the US” seeking to change the island’s political system.

Although Cuban authorities have refused to allow the protest, arguing “unconstitutional” and “destabilizing” purposes, organizers have decided to defy government orders and go ahead with the demonstrations.

Rodriguez also threatened to take legal action against Facebook for supporting the upcoming rally by “altering algorithms, altering the geolocation mechanism to simulate the massive presence in Cuba of people in accounts that are known to reside outside our country and fundamentally in Florida and in US territory.”

The rally that is being planned follows demonstrations in July in Cuba, when the island country was hit by widespread anti-government protests and hundreds were arrested in various cities. People protested against shortages of food and medicine, price hikes and the government's handling of the pandemic. According to rights groups, Cuban forces arrested more than 949 people.

Cuba has blamed the US economic embargo for the protests, calling its tight sanctions on the island a "policy of economic suffocation."

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