Archipielago Considers Reasons for Cuban Protests Valid and Extends Them to November 27

Screen shot from video recorded by Yunior García Aguilera from his home in Havana on November 14.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 16 November 2021 — The image of Yunior García leaning out of the window of his apartment with a flower in his hand and dressed in white while a mob tries to block his view of the outside by lowering a Cuban flag over his window has become an icon of the civic struggle in Cuba. From Spain, the Cuban filmmaker Yimit Ramírez has made a poster that captures the essence of November 14, when State Security prevented the playwright from marching with a white rose, as he had announced he would.

As he explained to 14ymedio, Ramírez considers that the fact of “covering him with the flag is horrible… You can’t do that with the flag, but even less with people. These people are so outdated that they don’t even know their own horrors. It’s a very symbolic image. The flag as a prison.”

The Archipiélago platform considers that, despite the Cuban government’s attempts to prevent the Civic March for Change on November 15, “never have the Cuban people been more united in the fight for their rights” and so has called for the protests to be extended until November 27, one year since the sit-in of artists and intellectuals before the Ministry of Culture.

Between now and the 27th, the opposition group proposes a series of activities to make its message visible and asks people to continue wearing the color white and carrying a rose of the same tone, joining in on a cacerolazo (banging on pots and pans) at 9 o’clock every night, and spreading the message of what it is happening in the country among families and neighborhoods, particularly to those who do not have social networks.

In addition, they invite each sympathizer to bring a rose to a monument to a Cuban martyr whenever they deem it appropriate and safe, and documenting the act to spread it, since Archipiélago considers that there is still “a debt of honor to the Apostle* José Martí.”

The platform launched its proposal in a statement released after midnight in which it took stock of the previous day. In the text, they emphasize that the Government has criminalized and disrespected the right to freedom of expression, assembly and demonstration recognized by the Cuban Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and, what is worse, setting “Cubans against Cubans.”

“The Cuban government has responded to our demands as a dictatorship does: extreme militarization of the streets, more than 100 activists besieged [in their homes], arbitrary arrests, forced disappearances, acts of repudiation, violence, threats, coercion and hate speech,” denounces the text, which warns that it will not accept this escalation of violence against peaceful citizens.

Despite all the efforts of the authorities, Archipiélago considers that the March was a success due to the solidarity received from 120 cities around the world and those who were able to go out into the streets within the Island or show their adherence to the mobilization with a minimal gesture. “We have surpassed ourselves as a nation and here is the resounding success of 15N”.

The objectives of the struggle that continues from today until the 27th continue to be the initial ones: the liberation of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, respect for the rights of expression, assembly and demonstration, the cessation of violence between Cubans for political reasons ,and the beginning of a dialogue that allows resolving differences through democratic and peaceful means.

In addition, the end of the statement opens a door so that the 27th is not the last day of activities. “If the Government does not give up its efforts to violate our rights, we will continue the civic struggle until Cuba is a State of Rights, a Republic ‘with all and for the good of all’.”

The platform notes that since the 16th, many people linked to the opposition are still unaccounted for, detained or besieged in their homes and sends its solidarity to all those affected.

For its part, the Cubalex Legal Information Center published this Tuesday a record in which it documents the arrests of at least 56 people in the context of civic days for change, of these 27 just on November 15, and they include 11 people reported in enforced disappearance.

Of the more than 50 people arrested, “11 were previously in detention for participating in the 11J [11 July] protests,” details Cubalex.

*Translator’s note: José Martí is considered a hero by Cubans on all sides of the divides, and is popularly called “the Apostle.”

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