Emigres wave American and Cuban flags outside Versailles restaurant, in reaction to reports of protests in Cuba against its deteriorating economy, in Miami, Florida, U.S. July 18, 2021. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo
The Joe Biden administration has strongly condemned what it said was the Cuban Government’s decision to deny permission for peaceful protests to take place on November 15.
“By refusing to allow these demonstrations, the Cuban regime clearly demonstrates that it is unwilling to honour or uphold the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Cubans,” said Ned Price, a spokesperson for the US Department of State.
In a statement, Price said the Cuban Government’s denial comes after it announced its intent to position troops on Cuban streets, from November 18-20, “to intimidate Cubans and quash the previously-scheduled, nationwide peaceful protests.
“These latest moves add to the repressive response to the July 11protests that people in Cuba and around the world witnessed,” Price said. “The United States remains deeply committed to the Cuban people, their right to assemble peacefully and express themselves, and their struggle to freely choose their leadership and their future.”
Last month, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken noted that “starting on July 11, tens of thousands of Cubans in dozens of cities and towns throughout their country took to the streets to peacefully demand respect for their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“In response, Cuban security forces violently repressed the protests, arresting hundreds of demonstrators simply for exercising their rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” Blinken said. “Demonstrators and human rights advocates have since been convicted in summary proceedings that lack fair trial guarantees.  Some have reported physical abuse while in regime custody. Others remain incommunicado or are being held without formal charges.”
The US Secretary of State said it was “vital that the international community speak out against the repression and mass arrests of Cuban protestors; demand the release of those unjustly imprisoned there; and support the Cuban people’s desire to determine their own future.
“We urge the Cuban Government, a member of the UN Human Rights Council, to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Cuban people, enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights,” he said.
“Cubans deserve a chance to exercise their rights and voice their aspirations without fear of violence or imprisonment,” Blinken added. “The United States will continue to support the Cuban people, and will continue to take action to promote accountability for the Cuban Government’s human rights abuses.”
In addressing the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Debate last month, Cuban President Miguel Marion Díaz-Canel Bermúdez denounced the foreign policy of the United States.
Bermúdez charged that Washington was promoting a “dangerous international schism…through the pernicious use and abuse of economic coercive measures”.
According to the Cuban President, the US “pressures countries to speak and act against adversaries, overthrows legitimate governments and breaks trade agreements.
“It is a kind of behaviour associated to ideological and cultural intolerance, with a remarkable racist influence and hegemonic ambition purposes”, he said, adding that the US attacks against Cuba have “exceeded all limits,” referring to the US Government’s maintenance of his country on a list of countries that sponsor terrorism.
He claimed that the US is projecting a false image of Cuba, and has done everything to “erase the Cuban Revolution from the political map to the world”
But Bermúdez said the Spanish-speaking Caribbean country will continue to stand its ground.
“We ratify Cuba’s determination to continue speaking the truth in a
transparent way, however much this might be upsetting to some; defending the principles and values we believe in; supporting just causes; confronting violations as much as we have confronted foreign aggressions, colonialism, racism and apartheid and struggling ceaselessly for the greatest possible justice, prosperity and development of our peoples, who deserve a better world,” he said.
Last week, Biden signed into law the Havana Act that would compensate Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers, Department of State diplomats and other US federal officials who have sustained mysterious, traumatic neurological injuries that the intelligence community is yet to figure out.
In signing the Act, Biden authorized Blinken and the CIA Director William J. Burns to render financial aid to US government employees who have sustained brain injuries.
The act is named for what has been referred to as “Havana Syndrome,” a series of inexplicable injuries whose victims were first identified five years ago at the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba.