Two months after the violent repression unleashed by the Cuban regime during the massive protests on July 11, which left more than 1,200 people in detention, the Cuban people reconvene to take to the streets again. What do we Cubans demand? No less than the end of the dictatorship. This includes putting an end to violence, respect for the rights of all Cubans, the release of political prisoners, and democracy for their country, with a call for free, fair, plural, transparent elections, monitored by the international community.
The Cuban Conflict Observatory (OCC) recorded a total of 345 citizen protests throughout the Island in October, in what they defined as “the most brutal wave of terror unleashed by the communist state since the civil war in the 1960s.”
The observatory believes that the increase in protests in Cuba during 2021 is linked to the “unjust sentences imposed on peaceful protesters on July 11,” after thousands of Cubans took to the streets to protest against the regime, as well as to the call for mobilization for a Civic March on November 15. This peaceful initiative aims to demand respect for human rights and release of political prisoners, among other issues, using the popular hashtag #SOSCuba all over the world.
There is no rule of law in Cuba and, therefore, speaking or demonstrating against the government of the Communist Party on the Island carries a greater risk. There is no option for citizens to march in a legal, peaceful and orderly manner in disagreement with the regime.
Many citizens, who have declared on social networks that they will participate in the July 11 march, have been summoned to interrogations with State Security agents, where they have received threats of imprisonment if they go out to protest in public. Others have been expelled from their jobs, or detained and transferred to police stations for gathering in a park.
The massive demonstrations in Cuba on July 11 were a clear expression of the will of the great majority of the Cuban people for political and economic change. The dictatorial one-party regime responded by arresting and imprisoning hundreds of innocent people, and they are forcing many young people into exile.
Faced with this extreme situation that Cuban citizens are experiencing―harassment, persecution, and violation of human rights only for claiming for a better country, a more prosperous and democratic country―there is not a single reason not to go out on the streets on November 15.
The regime seeks to perpetuate itself indefinitely in power, faced with a citizenry that never wanted them in the first place.
It is time for a change.
It is time to enjoy our right to have rights.