14ymedio, Havana, May 29, 2022 — Villa Clara businesswoman and activist Saily Gonzalez was informed by State Security that she would not be allowed to attend the ninth Summit of the Americas, which she was invited to attend as a representative of Cuban civil society.
Word was sent through her family that the activist will not be allowed to pick up her visa at the United States Embassy in Havana. She received a summons from the political police, who notified her of the travel ban and also reminded her that she was still the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.
“To do so they brought an arbitrary criminal proceeding against me for urging people to join the civic march for change on November 15. They resort to this whenever they see fit,” Gonzalez denounced on Twitter. At the Criminal Investigation offices, Gonzalez was met by an agent going by the name “Daniel,” who has arrested her twice before, on November 20 and January 13.
The young activist insists that, in spite of the threats against her, she still plans on participating in the Summit of the Americas, which will be held from June 6 to June 8 in Los Angeles, California. Gonzalez was planning on flying to Los Angeles on Saturday at 11:50 A.M.
Gonzalez called on the region’s democratic governments to lobby for the participation of Cuban civil society and the dissident community in the summit. She anticipates she will not be the only one barred from attending. “I think it’s time to act like the regional bloc we are and demand that Cubans be allowed to participate, that the Cuba government allow Cubans to participate in this summit,” she says. “Of course they’re not going to invite government representatives. Those people represent absolutely no one.”
This week the U.S. government confirmed that it was not inviting Venezuelan or Cuban officials to the Summit of the Americas but has still not confirmed whether or not it has extended invitations to their Cuban counterparts.
When asked on Thursday by Senator Marco Rubio if Cuba had been invited, summit coordinator Kevin O’Reilly responded, “Not to my knowledge, sir.” In explaining the U.S. government’s position, O’Reilly stated, “We want to have as broad a participation from civil society [as possible] from every country where authoritarians or dictators are seeking to snuff out public debate.”
In a series of four tweets posted Wednesday night, Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel criticized Washington’s handling of the event and stated, “In no case will I attend.”
“It is well known that the government of the United States conceived the Summit of the Americas as a non-inclusive event. It was its intention from the beginning to exclude several countries, among them Cuba, in spite of strong regional demands to do away with such exclusions,” he wrote.
In reaction to Cuba and other possibly other countries being sidelined, Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he will attend only if everyone is invited. Bolivian president Luis Arce and Guatemalan president Alejandro Giammattei have also indicated their attendance is conditional. Likewise, Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez and the Hondura’s Xiomara Castro have also raised doubts about their attendance for similar reasons.
After announcing that it would not attend the Summit of the Americas, Cuba proposed holding an improvised ALBA summit with leaders of countries the United States has described as undemocratic.
8/ Cuento con que los actores sociales de otros países cuyos gobiernos no actúan de la misma manera arbitraria que el Gobierno de Cuba contra la sociedad civil, se pronuncien por a quienes nos niegan la posibilidad de asistir a la IX Cumbre de Las Américas.@CumbreAmericas pic.twitter.com/kihviYVBoy
— Saily González Velázquez (@SailydeAmarillo) May 27, 2022
Text of Tweet: I am counting on social actors from other countries whose governments do not behave in the same arbitrary way towards civil society as the Cuban government, which is denying us the opportunity to attend the IX Summit of the Americas. @CumbreAmericas pic.twitter.com/kihviYVBoy — Saily Gonzalez Velazquez (@SailydeAmarillo) May 27, 2022
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