Things That Matter

Cubans Will March for Freedom Nov. 15, This Map Shows Where You Can Join From Anywhere in the World

2021 has been an unprecedented year in Cuba with a record-shattering protest movement taking place over the summer. Although the protests on the island have ebbed and flowed since their peak, the Cuban diaspora — as well as Cubans on the island — remain dedicated to marching for democracy, human rights, freedom from violence and repression, and the liberation of political prisoners on the island.

The most recent march will take place November 15.

Although the government has banned any possible protests — and has made it illegal for Cubans to critique the regime on social media — the planned demonstrations signal continued discontent on the island, which has been going through a major economic crisis, fueled by high inflation, power cuts and shortages of food and medicine.

Cubans are planning island-wide protests for November 15, and the diaspora is joining.

Cuban activists are planning a rally in support of civil liberties, including the right to peaceful protest and amnesty for imprisoned government opponents. The protest request published on social media pointed to Article 56 of the new constitution that protects the right to meet, protest and to associate for lawful and peaceful purposes.

But the government has responded by prohibiting the planned protest, saying “the reasons given to protest are not considered legitimate,” and adding that the new constitution adopted in 2019 states that the socialist system is “irrevocable.”

Cuban officials have also been steadfast in their accusations that the protest movement is being financed and supported by the U.S. government. Cuban actor and playwright Yunior Garcia, who organized the planned Havana protest, told Reuters that, “Whatever the Cuban does, they always say the idea came from Washington. It’s as if we don’t think, as if us Cubans don’t have any brains.”

This summer’s protest movement ignited a fury of activity on the island and abroad.

In images and videos not seen since the beginning of the Castro regime, thousands of Cubans risked their lives to take to the streets to protest the government and the decades of economic decline. In the COVID-19 pandemic, that decline has become more apparent as vaccines are slowly rolled out and citizens are having less access to food and medicine. 

“It is the most massive popular demonstration to protest the government that we have experienced in Cuba since ’59,” said Cuban activist Carolina Barrero to The New York Times. “What has happened is enormous.”

Of course, the government reaction was swift and often violent. A clampdown on protests left at least one dead, dozens injured and more than 1,000 people arrested, with several hundred still behind bars.  

To date, 72 cities worldwide will march in solidarity with Cuba on November 13, 14 & 15.

Cuba has a large diaspora spread around the world — with the greatest concentration of Cubans living just 90 miles north of the island in Florida. It was evident during the summer’s protests, that the diaspora also extends to major cities worldwide and as far away as London.

As many as 72 worldwide cities to date are preparing to march in solidarity with Cuba, including Miami, Washington, New York, Austin, Los Angeles. Activist Yan Estrada created a map that provides updates to protest times and locations worldwide. Cubans are asking the international community to march, and re-post graphics on social media using the hashtag, #SOSCuba, #CubaLibre and #15NCuba.

Here are other ways to get involved and help support Cubans still living on the island.

  • Write your representative: One of the most critical things you can do is write to your senators, congressmen, and congresswomen about the current situation in Cuba. Reaching out to them not only increases visibility on the topic, but it also pressures them to recognize the dictatorship.
  • Donate to top-up cell phones: Internet in Cuba is extremely expensive for the average Cuban; the government’s tight control of the internet sets prices that are unattainable. Providing citizens with internet is essential to getting their stories out. Cubanos Pa’lante has a recharge (recarga) campaign that you can donate to here.
  • Listen to Cuban voices: There are many journalists, writers, and social media influencers risking their freedom and even their lives to report on what’s happening in the ground in Cuba. Yoani Sanchez at 14yMedioEl Toque, and Abraham Jimenez Enoa are just some of the journalists and blogs in Cuba worth noting and reading.

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