Tue, 12 Dec 2023

HAVANA, Cuba: Cuban activists report being forcibly locked inside their homes, amidst a government clampdown on opposition protests on the island.

While protests are not illegal under the Cuban constitution, the communist government said it will not allow November 21's planned demonstrations, which aimed to call for greater political freedoms.

The government also claimed that the protests were secretly organized by Cuban exiles and the U.S. to destabilize the island.

On Monday morning, Havana witnessed a heavy police presence, leading to the streets remaining quiet.

Havana-based independent human rights organization Cubalex said Cuban police arrested 11 people, while 50 others were "besieged" inside their homes.

In a live video broadcast on Facebook on Monday, Cuban activist Saily Gonzalez Velazquez said government supporters barricaded her house in Santa Clara.

"At 5:30 in the morning, people called by the Cuban government arrived in my neighborhood. I know they were called by the Cuban government because of the signs they were carrying," she told CNN, alleging she received death threats from those outside her home.

In a tweet on Monday, Cuban activist, journalist and Washington Post columnist Abraham Jimenez Enoa stated that he was "under siege by plainclothes police and agents."

According to Cubalex, among those arrested on Monday were Cuban citizen Agustin Figueroa Galindo, who often writes for the opposition blog "Primavera Digital en Cuba," and Berta Soler Fernndez, leader of "Damas de Blanco," an organization that advocates for the release of political prisoners on the island.

According to activists, Cuban officials are wary of a repeat of the spontaneous protests that rocked the nation in January and led to over 1,000 arrests.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla stressed that Cuba was "tranquil" and that "outside of Cuba they created expectations that were not met."

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