Las Tunas Joins Peaceful November Marches in Cuba

Protesters on a street in Havana on July 11, 2021. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 7 October 2021 — Las Tunas joined the initiative for a peaceful demonstration called by the Archipiélago collective for this coming November 20th,[Ed. note: now moved to the 15th] just as Havana, Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, Guantánamo, Holguín and Pinar del Río did before.

Archipiélago reported that a group of citizens signed the document notifying the Tunas authorities of the march “against violence, to demand that all rights be respected for all Cubans, for the release of political prisoners and for the resolution of our differences through democratic and peaceful means.”

They also point out that “peaceful demonstration is a human right recognized in the Constitution” and that “violating or preventing the full exercise of this right constitutes a crime.” The group hopes that the authorities “act in strict compliance of the law and respect the dignity” of each participant in this citizen initiative.

“Whatever the defenders of single thought and exclusion say, the Homeland belongs to everyone, and so do its streets,” they conclude.

In the town of Consolación del Sur, in the province of Pinar del Río, another group of Cubans presented the letter on Wednesday, and the action was recorded in a video shared on social networks.

“Whatever the defenders of single thought and exclusion say, the Homeland belongs to everyone and so do its streets!”

“This is a unique moment in the history of Consolación del Sur,” is heard on the recording, which was made at the entrance to the building of the Popular Power. Yahima Díaz, one of the signatories, explained to 14ymedio that the document was received by Olga Lidia Prieto Blanco, the employee in charge of customer service, who refused to sign the notification, but said that the document would be delivered to the mayor.

This municipality was the second one in Pinar del Río to sign up for the initiative.  The provincial capital had joined earlier. As Manuel Cuesta Morúa, a member of the opposition, reported on his Twitter account, it was dissident and former political prisoner José Cásares Soto who was in charge of delivering the document to the authorities in that town.

In the city of Santiago de Cuba, an attempt was made to deliver a similar document last Tuesday, but activist Dariem Columbié was detained by State Security and the police while on his way to the headquarters of the governments of that province.

Members of Archipiélago also denounced this Thursday that “harassment” was being suffered by several mothers of the organizers of the march. “As they cannot confront us with ideas, they resort to intimidation, defamation and blackmail. Enough of the baseness!” they warned before concluding with the demand that the cowardly harassment of our mothers, friends and other relatives cease immediately.”

“My mother was summoned at work again. She called me crying for fear of losing her job,” one of the signers, who preferred not to identify herself to protect her family, reported to 14ymedio.

“My parents were in tears when they begged me to leave the group and I had to do it. I’m very nervous, this town is very small and everything is known”

The repression of the State Security has also reached universities. A young resident in Sancti Spíritus denounced to this newspaper that they are threatening and persecuting students “for belonging to the Archipiélago group.”

“They have already mentioned several friends of mine. Although they have not mentioned me yet, I am very afraid. They ask them why they are in the group, how did they get in, if they plan to demonstrate on the 20th, and one of them even proposed he come work for them. They touched on the subject of his career and told many that they have to be ‘revolutionaries’ if they want to graduate.”.

“My parents were in tears when they begged me to leave the group and I had to do it. I am very nervous, this town is very small and everything is known,” he said.

Several of the petitioners have suffered arbitrary arrests or are being summoned by State Security for interrogations where harassment and the threat of jail have not been lacking. Cuesta Morúa was arrested last week when he left his house, warning him that they would not allow the march.  The same thing happened to activists Marthadela Tamayo and Osvaldo Navarro.

Translated by Norma Whiting


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