Challenge to Cuba’s Decree-Law 35

Cuban activists with flowers in their hands in support of Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara on April 29, 2021, when the artist had been on a hunger and thirst strike for days. (Esteban Rodríguez / Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Desde Aqui, Havana, 18 August 2021 — As I do not have the patience needed to analyze paragraph by paragraph, article by article, the ways in which Decree-Law 35 violates the rights of freedom of expression, I opt for the following challenge.

I formally challenge President Miguel Díaz-Canel, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero, President of Parliament Esteban Lazo and any minister or official who has the power to legislate to dare to legally prohibit the following presumed manifestations of citizen disagreement:

    • Placing a black cloth on the clothesline in protest
    • Turning off the lights in the house for one minute every day at 9 p.m.
    • Shaving the left side of the mustache (for adult men)
    • Shaving the left eyebrow (valid for all genders and ages)
    • Planting a sweet potato in the garden
    • Carrying a flower, a book, a tree branch in the right hand when walking down the street
    • Stopping on public roads for one minute at an agreed time
    • Applauding the doctors 30 minutes before the orientation (or 30 minutes after)
    • Starting all posts on social media with the same words, for example: “friends,” “what a beautiful day” or “I would like to tell you that …”

    If a consensus of citizen protest was achieved and expressed in any of the hypothetical examples above, would those challenged here dare to decree the corresponding prohibitions?

    I challenge them to make fools of themselves. Let’s see if they understand once and for all that the need to exercise freedom is as precious as that oxygen that is scarce in hospitals today.


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