Tensions in Cuba increased before the 15N protest: the government threatened and marked it as “illegal”


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The relative freedom provided by the Internet has led to Increase polarization The politics that Cuba experienced in the days before the unauthorized dissident march on November 15 found room for expression and increasingly confronted it online.

Social network Facebook, The YouTube video portal and messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram have become the key to the birth and spread of the July 11 protests. This is the largest protest in more than 20 years. Thousands of people came out to demand freedom and more. Good living conditions.

But his role is now more decisive. Monday’s parade was announced in advance, not a spontaneous initiative, and it allowed Cubans-on the island and abroad- Positioning publicly on the web, As the date approaches, the process of escalating tensions.

“The polarization and aggressiveness in the network are becoming more and more obvious,” he assured Efe. Ted Henken, Professor of Baruch College, New York, editor of this book Cuba’s digital revolution (Cuba’s Digital Revolution).

Cristina Venegas, Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara, author The Digital Dilemma: Cuba’s State, Individuals, and Digital Culture (The Digital Dilemma: Cuba’s State, Individuals, and Digital Culture) Going a step further, in the statement to Efe talked about the “declared war”.

“As with everything about Cuba, information about what is happening is often spread in a very partisan way,” he said.

Venegas from the side “A very powerful American lobby group”, Perhaps “more powerful than ever before”, keeping pace with exile, “seizing the opportunity” to put pressure on the Cuban government. On the other hand, he believes that the island’s authorities have “taken very severe measures against the opposition”, which he believes is a “bad omen” in the face of the 15N initiative.

Henken believes that the tension in the network is entirely due to “The rigid and undemocratic stance of the government” Oppose those who want to exercise “the most basic rights,” and affirm that only the pro-government party “recourses to violence and repression.”

“The government’s business is to use the Internet to slander, spread hatred, violence and chaos, which is the same thing it has done with the party monopoly of the mass media for decades,” Henken said. On the contrary, he pointed out that activists “They are using the Internet to convey their views on civil rights and organize them to provide space for citizens and non-violent demonstrations.”

Internet and protest

A few years ago, as the relationship between Washington and Havana thaw, the Internet began to spread throughout Cuba. Barack ObamaAlthough its implementation is limited, its importance has not stopped growing, especially in the restricted political area of ​​the island.

“The Cuban government and its citizens have become accustomed to using social media. For some time, the government has been selectively blocking (access to the Internet). It is clear that their goal is a global and open audience and a nationwide one. But it is also clear that since Since 11J, attracting a global audience-especially ordinary citizens-has been the key to creating support networks, alliances and strategies,” Venegas explained.

Henken emphasized the obvious “facilitating role” of the Internet in the 11J protests because they “expressed widespread dissatisfaction to a large number of users through live broadcasts” and encouraged many people to “no longer be afraid to express themselves.” It also emphasizes the role of independent digital media relative to national media.

and Arab Spring Venegas warned that ten years ago, creating riots on the Internet and starting riots in the same way could lead to simplifications and misunderstandings.

In his view, despite all the warnings, it is more interesting to investigate the movements against the Batista regime before the victory of the revolution in 1959 and the ways in which they managed to attract the middle class.

As far as Henken is concerned, he pointed out that dissent seems to be “winning” the fight in the digital realm, although he recalled that “most of the Cuban population is far from this realm” and Cuban government It exercises “almost complete” control over traditional media.

But add this expert “Everything is possible” In the current Cuban context where there are multiple interconnected crises, an Arab Spring-style rebellion is “unlikely.”

The other party was arrested

According to his family, the famous Cuban opponent Guillermo Fariñas was arrested again at home this Friday. The arrest occurred three days before a nationwide protest call against the regime on Monday, November 15.

The opponent’s daughter, Haisa Fariñas, used Twitter to condemn her father’s arrest, and “two patrol cars” took him away from her home. “They informed my grandmother tomorrow Will be prosecuted by the prosecutor”, Introduced the other party’s daughter in detail, lamenting that his whereabouts are unknown and the charges are unknown.

Guillermo Fariñas Delicate state of health Due to kidney problems, he was isolated in a small compartment in the “transplant room” of a hospital in Santa Clara.

15N remains unchanged

15N’s peaceful protest continues, although prohibit The Cuban government considers them “illegal”. Demonstrations are expected to be held in Havana and other cities in the Caribbean.

Among the organizers of the march, the virtual platform “Archipiélago” weighed the threats from the prosecutor’s office, which had already warned “Legal Consequences” If the protest continues. Those who can commit disobedience, illegal demonstrations, and instigate crimes shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of three months to less than one year and economic punishment.

Since October 2020, The number of Cuban political prisoners has reached 525, A historical record condemned by the NGO Prisoners Defenders in a reportwith.The Cuban regime imprisoned within twelve months 387 people “arbitrarily”, detailed NGO reports. The turning point was the massive protests in July this year. 5,000 to 8,000 People were arrested during these demonstrations.


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