Monday, December 6

The Cuban Government prevents with a police deployment the first act of the 15N protest

The Cuban security forces prevented this Sunday from the Cuban activist and dissident Yunior García Aguilera from crossing the center of Havana on foot in what was intended to be an advance of the protests called for this Monday throughout the country calling for a political change, as denounced last night the opponent.

EFE was able to verify live that the playwright and activist remained blocked inside his house, held incommunicado and watched by numerous civilian-clad state security agents, to prevent him from going out into the street as he had announced.

Since 11:00 a.m. local time, the building where García Aguilera lives with his family in the La Lisa neighborhood, several kilometers from the city center, remained surrounded by agents who impeded the passage. At one end of the street, an old yellow school bus had crossed to cut off traffic.

The activist’s mobile phone also had restricted calls and, after a brief recording that he published on Facebook denouncing his confinement, he was left without internet access.

García Aguilera has upset the Government by putting a face to the initiative of the Archipelago virtual platform to march this November 15 against violence, for the release of the so-called “political prisoners” and the solution of differences through democratic and peaceful means.

The objective of the march, as the activist explained to EFE in an interview this week, “is to shake a country, make people aware, generate a debate that causes changes,” something that he hopes will happen “in the most peaceful way. and civic possible “.

To avoid a possible repression against the protesters, the playwright said that he would walk this Sunday alone and “in silence” at three o’clock in the afternoon through the central Havana avenue 23 and up to the iconic Malecón, as an act of “responsibility” and not of “heroism”.

But his attempt was frustrated. Faced with the blockade, the young actor hung a piece of white cloth – the color that identifies 15N – and three roses of the same color by one of its windows. He also waved several times to the foreign correspondents who were waiting for his departure several meters away.

Next, people related to the Government placed three huge Cuban flags that completely covered the playwright’s window. In the basement of the building, a “repudiation rally” was also held against the activist, in which several dozen people related to the Cuban government participated.

The government, which did not authorize the 15N march, has criticized the organizers and assured that the United States is behind this initiative, which is part of its “imperial strategy.”

The 15N is heir to the spontaneous protests of July 11, the largest in decades, the result of discontent over the severe economic crisis – which has brought shortages, queues and inflation – due to the conjunction of the pandemic, the resurgence of US sanctions and macroeconomic mismanagement.

The Cuban government attributes these problems to the United States’ financial and trade embargo, tightened during the previous Donald Trump administration.

In Cuba, the rights to strike and demonstration are rarely contemplated outside state institutions and a march by opponents of the government has never been authorized.

Suspension of accreditation of journalists

The other focus of informative attention of the day in Cuba was the decision of the Government to withdraw the press accreditation from all the journalists and photographers of the Efe Agency in the country, and to return it to only two of them a few hours later.

The International Press Center (CPI) summoned all EFE journalists accredited in the country on Saturday afternoon and announced that their permission to work in Cuba had been withdrawn.

They did not explain the cause of this unprecedented measure – which the independent Cuban media agree to link with the 15N – or whether it was a temporary or definitive decision.

The decision of the Cuban government, which was advanced by Efe and collected by dozens of international media, provoked a cascade of reactions on the part of governments and organizations that defend press freedom.

The European Union demanded “explanations” from Havana and the governments of Spain and the United States separately urged the Cuban Executive to restore all accreditations.

“Revoking the credentials of Efe journalists – hours before the planned peaceful protests – is another method by which the Cuban regime crushes freedom of information,” the undersecretary of the Department of Western Hemisphere Affairs Office said on Twitter. State, Brian A. Nichols.

In this same sense, the president of the Efe Agency, Gabriela Cañas, informed the Cuban authorities that the decision to restore only two credentials is insufficient and reiterated her demand that all of them be returned.

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