Cuban Government Rejects Peaceful Protest Request

Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel (c) has made it clear that only the “revolutionaries” have the right to be in the streets.

By El Toque

HAVANA TIMES – The Cuban government has refused authorization, via its local authorities, for a peaceful protest that has been scheduled for November 15th in several provinces. Official press announced the news accusing the initiative of being “destabilizing in nature“. This is the first formal and widespread call across the country to hold an unofficial political protest in Cuba, in the past 60 years.

Alexis Acosta, Mayor of Old Havana, signed a letter addressed to Yunior Garcia, leader of the Archipielago group, in which he says that “the reasons put forward for the protest are not legitimate. The promoters and their public projections, as well as their ties with some subversive organizations or agencies funded by the US government, have the clear intention of bringing about a change in Cuba’s political system. This confirms that the announced protest, which is being organized simultaneously in different provinces across the country, is a provocation as part of a strategy “to change the regime” in Cuba, which has been orchestrated in other countries“.

In Santa Clara, Cienfuegos and Las Tunas, those requesting authorization received identical copies of the same document, signed by their respective municipal governments.

Archipielago responds

The Archipielago platform says that the decision is still to hold a civic and peaceful protest on November 15th, in spite of the Government’s refusal.

“The government’s response proves yet again that there is no Rule of Law in Cuba, that they aren’t even willing to respect their own Constitution and are violating Cubans’ human rights,“ a brief statement reads on the platform’s Facebook page.

The initiative’s organizers believe that the authorities’ response makes a joke of Supreme Court president, Ruben Remigio Ferro, who previously said that Cuba would respect the right to protest. “The government’s response is full of deceit, slander and lies. The government’s response is a crime,“ they say.

“Our personal decision will be to protest in a civil and peaceful manner for our rights, on November 15th. We will respond to authoritarianism with civility and more civility,“ they conclude.

Four reasons are being used for the protest: the release of political prisoners, especially those detained on July 11th; the end of violence; respect for every Cuban’s rights; and solving problems via democratic and peaceful channels.

On Monday October 11th, Archipielago had announced that officials from municipal assemblies of People’s Power had summoned signatories of the authorization permit for the Civic Protest for Change, that was first scheduled for November 20th and has now been moved to November 15th. Requests were filed in eight provinces: Havana (20/9), Holguín (21/9), Santa Clara (22/9), Nuevitas (Camagüey, 22/9), Cienfuegos (27/9), Guantánamo (28/9), Pinar del Río (1/10), Las Tunas (7/10) and Camagüey (12/10).

The initial date of the protest was November 20th; but it was moved forward when it was announced that a series of military exercises would take place on this day by the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

In recent days, many signatories of these requests have been interrogated and coerced by State Security. Others have been under police surveillance at their homes. Doctor Manuel Guerra, a resident in Holguin and member of the Archipielago platform, was arrested arbitrarily and released a few days later. Yunior Garcia has been the target of a slander campaign from party-line profiles on social media and in state-controlled media. Ever since the government’s negative response to the protest was announced, reports note the arrest of Daniela Rojo, Archipielago’s admin, other activists being cut off from the Internet, as well as cases of home surveillance.

Applicants react

Sally Gonzalez Velazquez (Santa Clara): “While we were handed a letter with many signatories (there were 22 in Santa Clara), I was given a response addressed to myself. The first thing they did was void, ignore the other signatories and of course, the civil society that has stood up for the protest, especially on social media. The authorities have decided to ignore the popular support that this civic and completely peaceful initiative has had. It’s important that the world knows that the Government in Cuba doesn’t allow its citizens, civil society, to demonstrate.

“The Government is using laws that best suit its interests and are ignoring the constitutional rights of their citizens. Even the Institution, which in this case is the National Assembly of People’s Power, is responding to the Government instead of to the people as they should. This is totalitarianism 101. It’s important to also know that many signatories are under police surveillance. Many activists have had their Internet access cut, and others have been threatened. We are asking for everything by exercising our rights. We aren’t asking either: we’re demanding. There are hundreds of political prisoners in Cuba and we’re not going to leave them on their own. This is also a protest to stand in solidarity with those who stood up on July 11th and were arrested arbitrarily.”

David Martinez (Cienfuegos): “At the time of announcing their negative response, they said that any protest against the Government, Communism or the socialist system is organized by the CIA or funded by the US government, which is completely absurd. They have to prove that I’m receiving funds from abroad to support this claim. You just have to be against the current situation and system, to want change in Cuba.“

Leinier Cruz (Guantanamo): “We aren’t from another country. We are Cubans who want to express our disagreement with a lot of the country’s problems. Just like the Government protects and ensures order at officially-organized marches, they should also do this with every other request. People who disagree with the Government should also have legitimate channels to express their nonconformity.“

Leonardo Fernandez Otaño (Havana): “We have seen an authoritarian State take off its mask. When faced with a citizen-led initiative, the only thing it knows how to do is go back to chanting slogans, to the old structures that don’t tell us anything. It’s time for citizens to act responsibly, betting on reconciliation and for a peaceful transfer or power. Pacifism against authoritarianism. The most interesting thing about all of this is that they have seen Archipielago as a real player, with all of their language, and they know that it’s a player that can organize. I believe this is the authoritarian State’s greatest fear. Right now, we have to think with cool heads and be a lot more intelligent. We have transparency and the ability to be democratic on our side. The only thing we can do is be prudent and have good judgement as citizens, listening to every proposal that comes from different social actors and from different Archipielago members. This is what drives us to articulate ourselves further.“

Full text from the response to the application for a peaceful protest:

Having read the document presented, about many signatories’ decision to hold a protest soon, we inform:

Article 56 of the Constitution, which is referred to as a legal basis for the protest, stipulates the requirement of legality and “respect for public order and compliance with regulations established by the Law when exercising your right to protest.“

In terms of legality, the protest is not considered legitimate because of the reasons put forward. The promoters and their public projections, as well as their ties with some subversive organizations or agencies funded by the US government, have the clear intention of bringing about a change in Cuba’s political system. This confirms that the announced protest, which is being organized simultaneously in different provinces across the country, is a provocation as part of “regime change” strategy in Cuba, which has been orchestrated in other countries.

Plus, as soon as it was announced, the protest received public support from US lawmakers, policy makers and the media that encourage actions against the Cuban people, in an attempt to destabilize the country and they urge for a military intervention.

Article 45 of our Constitution stipulates that the “People exercising these rights is only limited by the rights of others,  collective security, general well-being, respect for public order, the Constitution, and laws.“ Article 4 states that “The socialist system that this Constitution supports is irrevocable,“, so that every action against it is illegal.

The Cuban Constitution was widely debated and approved by popular referendum, obtaining 86.85% of votes, an overwhelming majority that chose the socialist system in a free and sovereign way, as well as its irrevocable nature and the right to fight, by all means possible, against anyone who attempts to overthrow the established political, social and economic order.

Bearing in mind the above arguments, it’s clear that while a constitutional right is being invoked, it can’t be exercised against other rights, guarantees and key postulates in the Constitution, which determines the illegal nature of the protest.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

26 thoughts on “Cuban Government Rejects Peaceful Protest Request

  • The Supreme Court of Cuba is a real joke too!

  • Las UMAP fue el macabro plan para reducir la oposición en las calles, centro de trabajo, universidades, instititutos de segunda enseñanza, para así perpetuar la dictadura sin ninguna voz opositora, no fueron gays, hippies y basura como la propaganda del tirano Castro hizo creer a la nación y al mundo y veo que añun persiste, las umaps fueron principalmente los campos de concentración para testigos de Jehovña, Adventistsa, Bautistas , toda religiión con sus pastores, reverendos, curas, y sus seguidores, estudiantes universitarios y de segunda enseñanza, trabajadores, combatientes contra Batista , así como gays, una limpieza total creada para perpetuar la sangrienta dictadura de Castro. Si me pregunta porqué tengo conocimiento de las campos de concentración UMAPS, mi respuesta es yo fuí parte del primer grupo, Noviembre 22 de 1965, grupo de Guantánamo, Baracoa, Realengo 18 y Caimanera, mi número de prisionero fue 57, no teníamos nombre ni appellidos, fuímos números, Diego

  • Just a brief response to dani! Taking very brief parts of comments out of context is a really old practice by lefties with little to offer.

  • Olga.
    I am all in favour of gay rights. It was illegal in parts of the USA to engage in homosexuality right up until relatively recently. As was the case in many other countries influenced by Middle Eastern religious tradition. Criticism of Cuba for LGBT discrimination is valid but when you put this in the context of what occurred in the rest of the world then all you see is same sh*t different country. In the U.K. the totally brilliant and patriotic gay man who cracked the Nazi’s enigma code went on to be chemically castrated by the British state.

    Orange-faced, man-child trump’s policy toward Cuba was to make the hardship in Cuba even harder in order to win FLA electoral college votes in the USA’s antiquated version of semi-democracy. When his attempt at a second term failed, he sought to put a stop to democracy in the USA altogether.
    Olga, you support trump’s twisted and cynical policies toward Cuba. His sick-minded, far right supporters raise their angry semi-automatics and blow your liberal pretensions to a million shreds.

  • Nick what your Obsession with the external groups of Cubans? The Exile? They are organized in the exterior because the dictatorship DO NOT GIVE-THEM THE OPPORTUNITY to the opposition to be legal in Cubs beside the “exterior” groups help the opposition because nobody who openly opposed to the Cuban government would be hired by the government and if some private business dare to hire them they are risking the business license to be removed. There the case of this independent journalist name Camila original from Camagüey renting in a rental home. and the owner of the house was told by the police stop rent to her or loose your license. The Exile have to send phones and computer to the free journalists because their working instrument are confiscated by the state security constantly. The Exile and the Cubans in Cuba want a change? Duh. Who would love to live in a country with a government would tell you every year for more the 60 year that the next year it’s going to be better and it get worse? The support that the Cubans gave to Trump was because the hard police against the Cuban government I don’t care about trump because I’m a liberal pro choice pro gays rights. My two older brother where sent to the gays concentration camps UMAP in Cubs in the 1960’s . But I supported the Trumps police against the communist dictatorship because Obama when to Cuba with the best intentions and the day after he left the Cuban government incarcerated half of the opposition. The dictatorship doesn’t need more oxygen. Enough!

  • Circles,
    I am instinctively in favour of the right to peaceful protest as I have stated in various of my comments.
    My understanding is that the majority of protesters in Cuba have very valid points. My understanding is that some amongst their number will have more sinister motives and some will by out for a bit of looting if the opportunity arises.
    Despite this, I would, as I say, be in favour of the protests going ahead. By the way I was on a call this weekend with people in Havana who are very, very dear to me who said that on November 15th they want no part of it whatsoever. They’re just going to bolt themselves indoors and wait for whatever happens to blow over.
    For your information, there have been various occasions where protesters in the UK have been kicked to f**k and in some cases killed by police and other state forces. This doesn’t happen every week or anything like that but there have been numerous such incidents down through the years. To what extent there has been collusion with those in government is always hotly debated.
    There have even been notorious occasions where state forces, policing protests by either left wing groups or groups protesting against racism, have collaborated with extreme right wing groups in confronting the protesters.
    There was an incident during a relatively recent protest where a newspaper vendor, on his way home after a days work, was thought to be part of the protest and was battered in broad daylight on the streets of London by a member of The Metropolitan Police Force. The beating caused cardiac arrest and death.
    Unfortunately, to suggest that such incidents do not occur in the UK is way, way, way wide of the mark.

    I simply hope that whatever occurs on November 15th in Cuba does not result in any loss of life.

  • Yes, the people in Cuba who have called the protests are supported in their efforts by Cubans in other countries as well but it is their protest, well articulated and for legitimate reasons. Again, the protestors formally requested police protection for their marches like is normal in most countries to avoid the violent actions of a few. The protests are not about an overthrow of the Cuban government. They are about changes in the 62 year system. Even in the UK people protest seeking small or big changes in the system and government policies. That isn’t a coup attempt. In the case of Cuba, young people organize for change and they get supported by others outside the country. Likewise, other government’s spokespeople may give support to their homegrown efforts. The same happens in the UK or elsewhere. Nick, do you think protests should be allowed in the UK if the protestors are asking for significant changes in government policies, or should they be harrassed, beaten, jailed and tried on fabricated charges to get them off the streets?

  • Mr Circles
    Thank you for replying to the first part of my question. You doubt that the protests would be peaceful and that any lack of peacefulness would be caused by the authorities.
    How about the second part of my question?
    To what extent are the protests planned in conjunction with external groups who seek an overthrow of the Cuban Government?

  • Carlyle

    This is all boring old cold war stuff. Both the US and the Soviet Union infiltrated each other and manipulated elections and overthrew governments etc. Cuba was guilty of interfering in other countries also. But the point is the US is still doing it 40 years after the end of the cold war. Instead of disbanding Nato they are encroaching ever further to the east.

    Though you claim to be a democrat you do have some very authoritarian tendencies. eg instead of supporting the Catalans who peacefully held a referendum on independence, you supported the Spanish government throwing them in jail on charges of rebellion. Your comment was “constitution is constitution” which could equally apply to Cuba. When Putin invaded Georgia and raised a city to the ground your comment was “it was his national sovereign right” to do that.

  • Nick, the protests just like July 11th, will most likely not be peaceful in the sense that the government will once again call out its armed forces and supporters to attack the peaceful demonstrators who, by the way, are actually requesting police protection for their marches.

  • Olga,
    As I have said on numerous occasions, I am in favour of the right to carry out peaceful protest. And it is terrible when people engaging in protests lose their lives whether that’s in Former Czechoslovakia, Hungary, China, USA, territories occupied by Israel etc..
    I am in favour of peaceful protest in Cuba as I have said many times. But what I also understand is that sovereign countries have the right to uphold law and order.
    This occurred recently in the USA when a trump-led protest escalated into an attack on the heart of Government. The forces of the U.S. State had the right to restore order. Sadly lives were lost on that day.
    Are the protests in Cuba likely to be peaceful?
    To what extent are the protests planned in conjunction with external groups who seek an overthrow of the Cuban Government?
    What do you think Olga?

  • I know I’m going to start responding to you that way you do to me. Nick in 1968 the Russian tanks rolled into Prague killing civilians because the Check wanted little adjustment in the government. Are you against this atrocity? Never mind Hungary in 1956,

  • Promoting the far left?
    Painting you as a fascist?
    Mr MacD I don’t think you actually read my comments.
    Either that or you simply prefer to misinterpret?

  • As an addendum to Nick pointing out to Olga that Europeans went to America and stole the land off the incumbents. A similar happening occurred in Europe when Homo Sapiens arrived from Africa and dispossessed the Neanderthals!

  • Nick in your enthusiasm to promote the far left, you are becoming ever more conveniently forgetful (I don’t think it is ignorance). It was a stated purpose of Stalinist communism to establish world domination. The threat posed by Russia was such that the Allied countries forces combined to form a protective shield and the UK alone for example, had over 80,000 troops in Germany as a part of that shield.

    Escape routes were planned for the event of a Russian attack, and even had fixed road signs, across Western Germany some running into the Low Countries and others for example down the River Mosel from Koblenz to Trier and on into Alsace.

    I note with scorn, your endeavor to paint me as a fascist, it reflects your extremism. I have not at any time despite indications, deemed you to be a communist. fellow traveller maybe!

    Russia heavily financed British left wing groups and had active Spies and KGB officers in the UK in endeavors to subvert including even specific Labour Members of Parliament. To suggest that Russia was never a threat is nonsensical in the extreme.

    Let me give you one example of Russian infiltration. In the post-war years onwards, British industry was very dependent upon industrial gases. There was however only one supplier, the British Oxygen Company. Russia funded the workers Union in BOC and its leaders were communists. In 1955 an analysis was made of British Industry, that exposed the danger. A recommendation was made to H.M. Government, that production of industrial gases be diversified – and it was! No doubt you will suggest that such action was unnecessary – as Russia had no ambitions to expand, to infiltrate and to undermine UK industry. That however would be but a feeble excuse for your dogmatism and contrary to the reality.

    I note with scorn your somewhat pathetic endeavour to paint me as a fascist, it reflects your own extremism. Nor do I yearn for that wealth you infer I possess. I have not at any time, despite indications, suggested that you are a communist. But fellow traveller?

  • Same deflection as always for the unelected communist dictatorship by Nick.

    One day Cuba will be free but how long will it take.
    Don’t think i will see it, you can only hope. Some of us that is, others not so much.

  • Olga,
    Europeans went to what is now known as America and stole the land off the incumbents.
    Nowadays if the indigenous population of the USA try to protest, they get arrested.
    Indigenous citizens of the USA attempted a peaceful protest in ‘The Land Of The Free’ this week and there were hundreds of arrests by state forces.
    Do you agree with these arrests Olga???

  • Mr MacD, Yet again and for the umpteenth time you forlornly attempt false equivalence.
    Was any Russian influence any kind of even semi serious threat to Capitalist U.K.?
    Never. Not in a million years would it ever be.
    By complete and total contrast the USA used to govern Cuba and it would be keen to do so again.
    There are a bunch of far right trump supporting whackos down there in Miami who would be only too happy to assert control in Cuba. Cuba is in a mess and these whackos are waiting in the wings.
    Cuba will change. No shadow of a doubt.
    Your conservatism Mr MacD has always been and always will be a potential gateway to fascism. There are many decent Conservatives in this world. I have some dear acquaintances of that ilk.
    But when it comes down to it. When yer average Conservative is presented with the choice of either losing their hard earned wealth or bowing down to the fascist cause, history tells us that the majority of conservatives will always go for the latter of the two options.
    I hope that the changes that are to come in Cuba do not result in governance along the lines of your Bolsonaro, trump, Pinochet or other such conservative/fascist hybrid scum.
    I hope that the changes will come in Cuba are for better rather than for the worse.

  • Nick, Holland, France, England, Belgian Italy and Spain got paid in cash for the confiscation of theirs citizens properties Castro offer USA sSugar USA said shove it That is probably in the UN where China holds a seat on the Human Rights committee ( the biggest joke or homage to the absurdity). They condemn the Embargo. In the 1990’s Italy had to paid millions of dollars to American telephone company that owned the Cuban Telephone company before was robed by Castro, when Italian company partners with the ETECSA the Cuban telephone monopoly that spy in its citizen. It’s all about money. The Cubans ppl have the right to protest and the exterior influences are the exile in Miami us because the Cuban government gave the ppl two options exile or prison so the Cuban do not have the right that any other ppl in the Western Hemisphere enjoy the right of free association and the right to organize opposition parties. And yes this is the ppl of Cubs tired of 62 years repression and unproductive system. Enough.

  • As usual, Nick to the rescue of the repressive regime. I was particularly amused by his comment:

    “But when that protest is organized in conjunction with external interests who’s objective is overthrow of the status quo…..?”

    I thought of all those demonstrations in London during the 40’s, the 50’s, the 60’s. the 70’s and the 80’s which were aided and abetted and even funded by the Russian Communist Party. British governments – both Socialist and Conservative each being in turn being the status qou, were the clear objectives of the “external aggression”.

    Democracy made it possible for the multitude of demonstrations to take place. Leicester Square was frequently the destination for the demonstraters, where a succession of extreme left speakers could would subject the faithful to nonsensical claims. But it is that same extreme left that denies Cubans the right to demonstrate. That is the reality of Communism!

    If there are demonstrations in Cuba on November 15th, watch how the Communist regime will do its best to introduce violence! The world will be subjected to the usual crap about “counter revolutionaries” and the need for peace and order. Concern will be expressed about being a Covid spreader, and Alejandro Castro Espin’s goons will be given liberty to assault, injure and imprison those with the courage necessary to peacefully protest.

    I too support the right to peaceful protest, and without any “buts”.

  • A dictatorship denying protests of it’s 1 party brutal tyranny.
    Big shocker who would have guessed.

  • I would always be totally in favour of the right to peaceful protest.
    But when that protest is organised in conjunction with external interests who’s objective is an overthrow of the status quo……?
    Which other country in the word would kow-tow to such external aggression??
    The whole thing is more twisted than a corkscrew.
    Yet some of these erstwhile commentators who frequent this forum kid themselves that we are all talking about some kind of simple good vs evil situation.

  • May I propose to HT, that Curt be asked to fill the void left by Elio Legon and replace him as the voice of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba?

  • Curt says the protesters didn’t want to have their march request approved. The Cuban government, probably as smart as Curt, decided to prohibit the peaceful demonstrations, with the organizers requesting Cuban Police to guard it. If denial was what the organizers wanted why did they deny the request? If only they had Curt to advise them they could have approved it, guarded the demonstrators as they requested, and then boasted that only thousands turned out instead of the many millions they say support their government/Communist Party.

  • The people who are leading the November 15 demonstrations never wanted the Cuban government’s permission to march. It is their dream that the Cuban authorities react towards the demonstrators with violence. That way the demonstrators can justify the Draconian sanctions and the embargo, as well as other repressive measures the US has taken against Cuba.

  • The regimes response is totally to be expected, but should be ignored. Please demonstrate and march peacefully accross the Island. Let the world see Canel Diaz’s response.

Comments are closed.