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Cuba accuses US of coordinating upcoming civil liberties protest

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Cuba is accusing the U.S. of coordinating a civil liberties protest that is set to take place on Nov. 15.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said in a meeting with diplomats on Wednesday the U.S. is helping plan a protest the Cuban government has forbidden, alleging that the U.S. is trying to destabilize the country, Reuters reported.

“U.S. policy … is doomed to failure. It is unfeasible. It hasn’t worked for 60 years. It does not work now … and it will not work in the future,” Rodriguez said.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price addressed the accusation back in October, saying the U.S. is supportive of the Cuban people.

“But what we have seen in Cuba since July 11th, what I suspect we will see mid-next month in Cuba, is a demonstration not of the desires of the United States Government,” Price said. “What we have seen, what we will say – what we will see is a manifestation of the unmet needs, of the unmet aspirations of the Cuban people, and the Cuban people’s clear attribution of responsibility for those unmet needs and unmet aspirations to the Cuban Government.”  

The Cuban government has already warned the leader of Archipelago, the Facebook group leading the protest, against going through with the demonstration, which the group’s leader says is for civil liberties and human rights. 

“We are not mercenaries, nor are we receiving orders from anyone,” Yunior García Aguilera, leader of the Archipelago group, said after meeting with government prosecutors. “We are openly demonstrating a difference of opinion.”

Rodriguez also accused Facebook of “altering logarithms, altering the geolocation mechanism to simulate the massive presence in Cuba of people with accounts that are known to reside outside our country, primarily in Florida and in the U.S. territory,” according to Reuters.

He said Facebook violated international law and could be sued for “practices against Cuba.”

Archipelago says that more than half of its 31,501 Facebook members live in Cuba, per Reuters.

The upcoming protest comes after huge civil liberties demonstrations broke out in Cuba over the summer, during which a human rights group documented systematic abuses the government allegedly committed against protesters.

The U.S. House recently passed a resolution supporting the Cuban protesters and the upcoming protest on Nov. 15. Forty Democrats and no Republicans voted against its passage

The Hill has reached out to Facebook for comment.

— Updated at 9:52 p.m.
Tags Archipelago Cuba Cuba protests Facebook

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