Date for Civic Marches in Cuba Moved Up to November 15 to Avoid Coinciding with Military Maneuvers

Protesters in Havana on July 11, 2021. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 8 October 2021– As a result of the Cuban Government’s declaring November 20th “National Defense Day,” Archipiélago announced this Friday that it has decided to reschedule for November 15th the march that was originally scheduled for that day.

During an eventful press conference, in which the participants suffered telephone and internet interruptions, Yunior García, the architect of the initiative, managed to say that as soon as they learned of the regime’s announcement to schedule the Moncada Exercise for the 18th, 19th and 20th, the activists felt taken for granted. “We knew we had to respond.”

So, he says, they got together to determine what decision to take. Cancel the march, he assures, “we did not contemplate.” “Since more than a thousand people have joined,” he continues, in Havana, Holguín, Santa Clara, Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo, Cienfuegos, Las Tunas and Pinar del Río, they could not suspend it. Thus, “the first decision was that we had to move ahead.”

This presented another dilemma, reported by another participant, when Yunior García’s communication was cut off: move up the date of the demonstration, maintain it or delay it. After four hours of deliberation, the meeting reached a consensus: the march will be brought forward to November 15th.

Keeping it the same day, Garcia had said, entailed a “great responsibility on their shoulders.” It would be throwing, he asserted, “young people in the middle of an army, something extremely risky.” As a result of the new date announced, this morning the artist himself delivered a new request for the Civic March for Change to the headquarters of the National Assembly.

Although the promoters of Archipiélago did not allude to having considered delaying the demonstration to November 27, the anniversary of the spontaneous demonstration of more than 300 artists in front of the Ministry of Culture asking for dialogue and freedom of creation, the suggestion was made by multiple commentators on social networks.

When asked by 14ymedio why they did not choose to reschedule the march for November 27, Leonardo Fernández replied that they chose November 15 “out of necessity,” due to the urgency of expressing discontent through the march.

In addition, that is the day when the Cuban Government plans to fully reopen the country after almost a year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic. “To delay the date was to give in to pressure,” said Fernando Almeyda. Moving it up, on the other hand, seems to them “sensible and firm.”

They also suggested wearing white to the protest, in the peaceful spirit of the demonstration.

Of course, when he rejoined the call, Yunior García vehemently addressed the leftists of the world, “Stop the hypocrisy, a dictatorship is a dictatorship.” We are “in a crisis of three parts, and you have to call things by their names.”

And he also alluded to attempts by the regime and the official media to discredit the group. “Though they call us mercenaries, they know that we are not paid by anyone,” he said. “Let them prove that a foreign government is telling us what to say. They can’t, because they know it’s a lie.”

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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