How November 15th Played Out

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

HAVANA TIMES – On Sunday November 14th, pro-democracy playwright and activist Yunior Garcia Aguilera, decided to walk alone, carrying a white rose in his hand, as a precursor for the protest scheduled for the next day. However, that morning, a mob organized by the government blocked his house. This act went hand-in-hand with a strong military presence, which closed down the street the dissident lives on.

Yunior did a Facebook livestream and said that “he wasn’t being allowed” to leave his apartment. “I woke up under siege. The entire block is surrounded by State Security dressed as civilians, trying to pass as the Cuban people.”

He was not the only target of hate rallies, other admins of the Archipielago platform were also targeted, such as Saily Gonzalez in the city of Santa Clara, who suffered harassment and was blockaded into her house by 30-something women, who were brought in a bus and positioned themselves around her house. 

A video went viral on social media in which the activist says: “I’m going to go out to where this mob of thugs are and hang out these white sheets and curtains, for the freedom of Cuba.”

The government organized hate rally at the house of Saily Gonzalez in Santa Clara.

She then went out into her backyard, which was conveniently fenced off, and hung out the sheets while the women shouted out all kinds of insults at her.

These two examples are typical of a day marked by arrests, house blockades, hate rallies and great deployment of the police on Cuba’s streets, implemented by the regime to stop a civil protest that had been scheduled for this Monday.

Meanwhile, Cuba’s dull Ministry of Foreign Relations, Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, gave a press conference which was published by party-line website Cubadebate, saying: “They were left stuck at home dressed for that party,” in a clear reference to the protests called by the opposition.

The regime’s victory in this one-off battle was expected. The July 11th protests were marked by the spontaneity of thousands of Cubans who, sick of blackouts, hunger, the pandemic and medicine shortages, took to the streets in an unprecedented event in the past 60 years, which the Government was not ready for at all.

However, this protest was called for in advance, it lacked the “surprise factor”, giving the dictatorship enough time to mobilize its blockade strategy. They relied upon the two fronts that have historically worked for them: Propaganda and repression.

As we’ve been able to see, they’ve been launching a huge slander campaign for weeks, telling lies about the leaders of the group organizing the protest, which didn’t manage to confuse most of the population, but it did manage to intimidate them.

Add to this the militarization of Cuba’s streets that has never ended since the protests in July, hate rallies, threats from the Attorney-General’s Office to those who called the protest for November 15th, arrests, severe prison sentences with up to 20-year jail sentences for protestors that took part in the July 11th protests, threats, hate messages and calls for violence, etc.

But with this result, the political dinosaur is sinking into further disrepute. Having used so many logistical, material and political resources to stop Cuban youth taking to the streets to peacefully demand their rights, has once again proven their clearly anti-democratic nature and their absolute contempt for freedom.

Read more by Pedro Pablo Morejon here.