US rebukes Cuba over crackdown ahead of protest

The U.S. on Monday rebuked Cuba after the country's government prevented a civil liberties protest from occurring. 

Protests were planned in Cuba for Nov. 15, but authorities and pro-government activists surrounded the homes of civil liberties activists to prevent them from going out into the streets, NBC News reported

“The United States is committed to supporting the agency of the Cuban people as they seek to promote democratic change as an inclusive and broad-based social movement,” national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanWhite House 'strongly condemns' attack in UAE capital Yemen Houthi rebels claim responsibility for deadly drone attack in Abu Dhabi Senators to meet with Ukraine president to reaffirm US support MORE said on the day of the protest. 

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“We urge the Cuban regime to refrain from violence against peaceful protestors and to immediately release all those unjustly detained, and we call on the international community to voice their support for the Cuban people,” he added. 

Yunior García, the leader of the planned protest, was trapped in his apartment building by pro-government supporters and authorities. He attempted to communicate with the media through his window before government supporters got to the roof and hung a Cuban flag over his window, according to NBC News. 

The crackdown to prevent the protest Monday comes after a human rights group accused Cuba of committing systemic abuses, including violence and illegitimate imprisonment, following massive anti-government protests in July.

"By its actions, the Cuban regime failed to respect the civil and political rights enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights treaties ratified by Cuba, including the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile. There is no denying the regime’s brutal crackdown in response to July 11, which were broadcast in real time for the world to see," Sullivan said Monday.

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenUS calls on North Korea to halt 'unlawful and destabilizing' missile launches Wendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Pacific tsunami threat recedes, volcano ash hinders response MORE on Sunday called on Cuba to allow the protest to happen, a day before the government sent authorities into the streets to shut it down. 

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"We must speak with one voice, calling on the Cuban government to respect those exercising their rights in peaceful protest on November 15, and to release all those unjustly detained," Blinken said.

Cuba accused the U.S. of orchestrating the calls for protests, saying it was trying to destabilize the country.

The Cuban regime should take this opportunity to listen to their people: to hear their frustrations and look for ways to work together to better serve the needs and ambitions of all Cubans.  The United States will not waver in its support of Cubans’ pursuit of fundamental freedoms and a democratic and prosperous society,” Sullivan said.